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Megtheblackbelt

MSC Yacht Club, or Carnival Balcony - Help?

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Alright friends, I'm in a little bit of a situation here, and I am hoping that you can provide some great opinions.

 

My husband and I recently re-located from Florida to Barcelona, Spain (permanently) for our jobs. Due to the lockdown, we have been living in Europe since January 2020, but have not been able to do much traveling. We are planning our first ever European cruise (though certainly not the last) for early 2021.

 

I have booked the MSC Virtuosa (their newest ship, which fingers crossed will be done by April 2021 when we have booked to sail). I got a FANTASTIC deal for a Deluxe Suite within the Yacht Club for roughly 2,500 euros (for those unfamiliar with the Yacht Club - this includes the unlimited beverage package, wifi, special dining within the Yacht Club, etc. within the price). The downside is that it is only a 6-day cruise, I'm a little nervous the ship will not be completed by April 2021, the embarkation and debarkation ports are different so I can't book a round-trip flight, and I wonder if MSC YC will be too "posh" for what will then be my 25 year old self, and 26 year old husband. Note: Even though the MSC cruise is only 6 days, we would add a land-trip on to the beginning, probably in Venice and Rome, as this cruise ports out of Civitavecchia. 

 

That leads me to the situation. I found that - also in April 2021 - the Carnival Magic will be in Barcelona, and offers an 8 day round-trip cruise from Barcelona which includes ALL of the same ports of the already scheduled MSC cruise, plus Pisa. The benefits of the Carnival cruise would be that we would simply take a 20 minute taxi to the Barcelona port there and back, which eliminated the cost of AIRBNB/flights (albeit I will be honest, inter-Europe flights are not too expensive in the first place). 

 

That said, the Magic cruise costs roughly 3,000 euros, and that is 1. Only in a balcony (not a suite/YC, such as on MSC), and 2. Does NOT include the unlimited beverage package or wifi, which we would end up paying for.

 

What would you do? The Magic has Blue Iguana which I want to try SO BADLY (in love with tacos, hello), and the ease of porting out of BCN would make things less stressful. Also, 8 days would be nice. But the price I grabbed the MSC YC for will probably be a once-in-a-lifetime type ordeal. The current prices for YC on MSC are roughly double what we paid, if not more. 

 

Thoughts?

 

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That's a difficult one.  I have sailed MSC from the US, and would love to try the YC, but the convenience of driving to the port would be a p;us for the Magic.  Keep in mind that the cruise product of MSC sailing within Europe will be different from what you (I presume) have experienced on Carnival or other US based lines.  You will be picking up and dropping off passengers in every port, so you would be seeing new faces every day/night...  Not that you wouldn't be anyway on a ship that large...  If you think you won't see this bargain again I would stick with it.  If you are anticipating a long stay in Barcelona, there will be lots more opportunities to try new things.  You might even think about cruising from port to port aboard the many cruise ferries that ply the Med.  EM

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Hi. I've sailed Carnival many times, as well as MSC, in the Yacht Club on the Meraviglia. I like both, but the experiences are quite different. Outside of the Yacht Club, I found the ship to be a lot like Carnival-Busy, active, and "fun". The Yacht Club was like being in a different world. The service was incredible, and it was nice to get VIP treatment for boarding, being escorted to things, etc. I never had to worry about finding a seat in a show or anything-they whisk you right past the line. It was also nice having beverages included. Inside the Yacht Club, the Top Sail Lounge was lovely-there was always nibbly thngs, you could always get a seat, and service was attentive. The food (which is of course, subjective) was excellent in quality, but was definitely on the fancy side. I didn't eat every meal there--I did some specialty dining, and ate in the buffet a couple of times. 

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We have not sailed MSC but have done extensive research on status match and YC. We have done many Carnival balconies and they are all the same. The YC was way more expensive and the YC status match is useless even as a Platinum. All the Platinum beefits are already included in YC. The phone customer service was excellent. Honestly, there is no comparison to the amenities of the YC. We like the pampering.

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Thank you everyone for your thoughts! I think we will end up trading the comfort/ease of embarking/disembarking from BCN for the comfort of the YC. It just seems like a once in a lifetime experience, so might as well take it.

 

Another day, hopefully I will get to eat tacos at the Blue Iguana. 🙂 

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The tacos at the Blue Iguana are legit (and I'm a taco fanatic from Texas). However, that price for the YC on MSC sounds awesome. I would stick with MSC personally for that experience at that price.

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1 hour ago, Scoreboard2017 said:

The tacos at the Blue Iguana are legit (and I'm a taco fanatic from Texas). However, that price for the YC on MSC sounds awesome. I would stick with MSC personally for that experience at that price.

*heavy sigh* I will make it to the Blue Iguana one day! My one gripe about Spain is that there are far fewer Mexican/faux-Mexican restaurants to satiate my addiction. 🥺

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So while the YC would be a once in a lifetime experience I understand your plight! I got a Haven Suite to Bermuda on NCL once for $2700 total for 3 before the changes so it included unlimited drinks package for everyone in the room with no extra instead of all the stuff they offer now. I don't regret doing it, but I get the thoughts that you might feel out of place. We did in the Haven with people talking about how they spent $5k in spa reservations/items the first day for the mom and 2 teenage girls. But having been a teenage mom, I learned a lot time ago how people act and nothing bothers me to much anymore 🙂

 

That being said, MSC in Europe (from reading these boards) isn't like the MSC US experience. I haven't sailed MSC US but have in Europe, it really is a lot different from a US based cruise.  

 

On a note, I would look into say the over-night ferry from Barcelona to Civitavecchia for getting there instead of flights. I don't know for sure, but I am sure there is a luggage storage there you plan to visit Rome before hand to leave most of your luggage and just take a bag for what you need in Rome. Round trip looks to be about 550 cost. Staying in Venice after you could always take a train back to the area as the outbound is over night also back. Or you could save a day and just book a flight back from Venice to Barcelona after. 

 

How I would personally do it is take the overnight ferry ($260) to arrive X days before the cruise as the ferry leaves at 10pm. Get a good nights rest and hit Rome running for  X days, train back to port, get on the cruise, Venice for X days at the end and fly back. Or alternatively ferry in the day of the cruise (ferry gets in about 7am so plenty of time), cruise,  Venice for X days after, train to Rome then X days, then overnight ferry back ($550ish round trip on ferry)  

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I would not base my decision for cruising on tacos. I have had Blue Iguana and it is not all that,  IMHO.  They only had flour tortillas,  which is not Mexican.  Based on your description of both cruises it is a no brainer. MSC is the way to go.

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Once you try the Yacht Club, you will be spoiled. After 6 cruises on Princess, 2 on Carnival and 1 on MSC, YC was over the top. If you are worried about it being too fancy, just ask for help. If you feel you might be intimidated in the YC, just do want you feel is right  Heck, you will never the 200+ people in the YC again, so have fun, treat the staff well and enjoy being pampered. 

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10 hours ago, Jasalth said:

So while the YC would be a once in a lifetime experience I understand your plight! I got a Haven Suite to Bermuda on NCL once for $2700 total for 3 before the changes so it included unlimited drinks package for everyone in the room with no extra instead of all the stuff they offer now. I don't regret doing it, but I get the thoughts that you might feel out of place. We did in the Haven with people talking about how they spent $5k in spa reservations/items the first day for the mom and 2 teenage girls. But having been a teenage mom, I learned a lot time ago how people act and nothing bothers me to much anymore 🙂

 

That being said, MSC in Europe (from reading these boards) isn't like the MSC US experience. I haven't sailed MSC US but have in Europe, it really is a lot different from a US based cruise.  

 

On a note, I would look into say the over-night ferry from Barcelona to Civitavecchia for getting there instead of flights. I don't know for sure, but I am sure there is a luggage storage there you plan to visit Rome before hand to leave most of your luggage and just take a bag for what you need in Rome. Round trip looks to be about 550 cost. Staying in Venice after you could always take a train back to the area as the outbound is over night also back. Or you could save a day and just book a flight back from Venice to Barcelona after. 

 

How I would personally do it is take the overnight ferry ($260) to arrive X days before the cruise as the ferry leaves at 10pm. Get a good nights rest and hit Rome running for  X days, train back to port, get on the cruise, Venice for X days at the end and fly back. Or alternatively ferry in the day of the cruise (ferry gets in about 7am so plenty of time), cruise,  Venice for X days after, train to Rome then X days, then overnight ferry back ($550ish round trip on ferry)  

Great tips! Thanks so much. I'll have to check out the ferry. That said, if it's not decent sized, it may not work for us because I am easily motion-sick. As in... still feel the waves when I am on Oasis. Is bad. 😛  We are pretty used to how Europeans act/interact, so I am hoping the atmosphere won't shock us too much! We will see, though. Thanks so much for the advice. 🙂 

 

7 hours ago, joeyancho said:

I would not base my decision for cruising on tacos. I have had Blue Iguana and it is not all that,  IMHO.  They only had flour tortillas,  which is not Mexican.  Based on your description of both cruises it is a no brainer. MSC is the way to go.

Haha, it is not 100% about the tacos. The main points for Carnival would be having a closed-loop trip out of our home-port 20 mins from where we live, and 2 extra days at sea. But since we have the ability to extend the trip with adding on land portions, I'm thinking it won't be too huge of a deal to lose 2 days at sea, and swap it with land. 🙂 

 

7 hours ago, eagletwo said:

Once you try the Yacht Club, you will be spoiled. After 6 cruises on Princess, 2 on Carnival and 1 on MSC, YC was over the top. If you are worried about it being too fancy, just ask for help. If you feel you might be intimidated in the YC, just do want you feel is right  Heck, you will never the 200+ people in the YC again, so have fun, treat the staff well and enjoy being pampered. 

Thanks so much - you are right! Even if it is a bit too posh for us, we can always check out the rest of the ship. That said, it's still totally worth it to have the assisted embark/debarkation, unlimited drinks, and priority getting ashore at ports. Super looking forward to it. And also hoping that MSC diverts some of their newer ships away from the Spain-France-Italy loop at some point, because all of the ships sailing Northern Europe, or Greece/Turkey itineraries are the much smaller, older ships (which I would have a rough time on due to getting sea sick easily). *fingers crossed*

 

 

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Personally, I would not spend the extra for the YC. In this case, when it is a better price, I would definitely jump on it. Maybe it's for you, maybe it isn't. What better time to try it than a price that is hard to beat?

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You'll never have to convince me to travel in YC or Haven but in your case, something to consider is the fact that with such a port intensive itinerary, you will likely be off the ship more than you are on.  Therefore, perks like the drink package and even the special amenities offered in YC will be lost.  If I knew for sure I was going to be on the ship for a long enough period of time to take full advantage of the amenities, then it would be a no brainer for us to go with YC. 

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2 hours ago, Joebucks said:

Personally, I would not spend the extra for the YC. In this case, when it is a better price, I would definitely jump on it. Maybe it's for you, maybe it isn't. What better time to try it than a price that is hard to beat?

Very true! Don’t think we’ll have the opportunity at this price again, which is why I booked it within minutes of seeing it (without much other consideration). 😂

 

2 hours ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

You'll never have to convince me to travel in YC or Haven but in your case, something to consider is the fact that with such a port intensive itinerary, you will likely be off the ship more than you are on.  Therefore, perks like the drink package and even the special amenities offered in YC will be lost.  If I knew for sure I was going to be on the ship for a long enough period of time to take full advantage of the amenities, then it would be a no brainer for us to go with YC. 

Valid point! I will note, though, that one of the port stops in the itinerary IS Barcelona. So we will be staying on the ship during this stop... yay for what will hopefully be the YC to ourselves. 😛 

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Those ferries are the size of medium/large cruise ships.  And I believe they take 36 hours to do the 'transit'.  There are two that alternate between Barcelona and Civitavecchia:  Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona.  https://www.cruisemapper.com/ships/Cruise-Barcelona-ferry-1893#:~:text=Cruise Barcelona ferry is a,or 211 trucks%2Ftrailers).

 

https://www.grimaldi-lines.com/en/  There are accommodations ranging from a seat at a table, to an airline type reclining seat, to cabins.  And there are shops and restaurants...

 

Google Mediterranean ferries and you will have a host of opportunities open up to you for future trips.

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