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Virtuosa maiden voyage


Stu UK
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2 hours ago, little britain said:

Thank you all for the fabulous photos, menus and answering out unending questions! Just one more.... were they offering any deals to dine in the specialty restaurants please? 
thanks. 

Didn’t see any discounts offered. However we ate in the speciality restaurants a few times and the charges didn’t ever make it to our account. Nor did the Robbie the Robot drinks. 

Edited by Stu UK
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1 hour ago, Couple-Somerset said:

Got absolutely soaked walking from the ship to the ABP parking area for our car - then had to sit in car for 3 hours dripping wet.

 

That reminds me why I don't usually book ABP - it is always a risk getting from/to the car if the weather is poor.

 

I left my wife and the suitcase nice and dry in the taxi area so at least only one of us suffered lol

 

Usually - we book cruise parking next to Southampton Airport and they do a 20 minute mini bus transfer - dropping you off under cover at the cruise terminal. 

 

It does take 20 minutes to get to/from the cruise terminal but then you are that distance out of the City so your total drive time from/to home is about the same as leaving the car at the Port.

Sorry to be so thick but why did you have to sit in the car for three hours?

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Yeah!... Once again many thanks all for the wonderful review!...

 

And again, wonderful to have actual cruise reviews coming again!... Let them to flow again and again for ever and ever, Amen!... :) :) :)

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5 hours ago, Ladyshopper23 said:

 

My husband and I are both coeliac, and we are boarding the ship on Friday, so will update on here. I am also vegetarian, some people I'm sure would argue that makes me fussy! Stu very kindly managed to get hold of a gluten free menu for lunch to give me some ideas. Be interesting to see how I get on, as there was no vegetarian starters at all, and for the main courses, although there are two options that look to be vegetarian, they are not marked as such. I'm really hoping that as such, I can have a discussion with someone in the MDR and maybe order meals for the following day if there is nothing suitable.

As for the buffet, I watched a video someone put up yesterday, apparently there is normally a gluten free section, however it's closed due to restricted capacity!! There seems to be no allergen information on any of the food on the buffet, so I can imagine we're going to have to ask someone and it could be a long process. I'm hoping it's not too problematic, as we would like to have the freedom to eat wherever we want to (and on the first day we might not be onboard in time to eat lunch in the MDR, so won't have any choice other than to go to the buffet). Again, I'm hoping there will be someone who can help us in there.

We are packing a few snacks just in case!! We've upgraded to the premium plus package which includes your mini bar and room service. I'm hoping they can swap out the beers in the mini bar for the GF Estrella Damn Daura that they have onboard. Snack wise, all the products in the mini bar are either not suitable because of their ingredients (Pringles), or are a 'may contain gluten', so also not suitable (nut products). Not sure if they'll be able to swap these for any pre-package GF goods or not, so another reason we're taking some goodies with us. They do have some GF pre-packaged muffins in the buffet that I saw on a video! No idea about room service, all the pics I've seen there is no allergy info. We're unlikely to get it, as although it's free with our upgraded drinks package, we're in a Bella cabin and therefore we would still have to pay the delivery fee (and being tight I don't want to!). 

When we cruised on the MSC Seaside we asked for the soft drinks to be replaced with diet versions as my husband was diabetic.  Our steward explained that unfortunately he could only restock the mini fridge with the same items as per the standard list as that's all he had access to.  If we wanted the fridge stocked with 20 Fanta orange instead of mix of Fanta, Sprite, beers etc he could do that as he had Fanta in his storeroom - but he couldn't provide diet Coke as it wasn't a standard mini bar item.  He did suggest we go to the bar though and just ask for however many diet coke cans we wanted and we could then put those in the fridge ourselves.  Same issue with the beers (but not for medical reasons) - I just fancied Peroni but it's not stocked in fridge either.  Again he couldn't stock them for me but advised me to just get some from bar and he'd remove some of the stocked items to make room for them.

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5 hours ago, Ladyshopper23 said:

 

My husband and I are both coeliac, and we are boarding the ship on Friday, so will update on here. I am also vegetarian, some people I'm sure would argue that makes me fussy! Stu very kindly managed to get hold of a gluten free menu for lunch to give me some ideas. Be interesting to see how I get on, as there was no vegetarian starters at all, and for the main courses, although there are two options that look to be vegetarian, they are not marked as such. I'm really hoping that as such, I can have a discussion with someone in the MDR and maybe order meals for the following day if there is nothing suitable.

As for the buffet, I watched a video someone put up yesterday, apparently there is normally a gluten free section, however it's closed due to restricted capacity!! There seems to be no allergen information on any of the food on the buffet, so I can imagine we're going to have to ask someone and it could be a long process. I'm hoping it's not too problematic, as we would like to have the freedom to eat wherever we want to (and on the first day we might not be onboard in time to eat lunch in the MDR, so won't have any choice other than to go to the buffet). Again, I'm hoping there will be someone who can help us in there.

We are packing a few snacks just in case!! We've upgraded to the premium plus package which includes your mini bar and room service. I'm hoping they can swap out the beers in the mini bar for the GF Estrella Damn Daura that they have onboard. Snack wise, all the products in the mini bar are either not suitable because of their ingredients (Pringles), or are a 'may contain gluten', so also not suitable (nut products). Not sure if they'll be able to swap these for any pre-package GF goods or not, so another reason we're taking some goodies with us. They do have some GF pre-packaged muffins in the buffet that I saw on a video! No idea about room service, all the pics I've seen there is no allergy info. We're unlikely to get it, as although it's free with our upgraded drinks package, we're in a Bella cabin and therefore we would still have to pay the delivery fee (and being tight I don't want to!). 

Thanks - I will be very interested in how you get on with your meals in the buffet and MDR.

On our usual cruise line my wife is given the next nights menu and she chooses anything she wants from it and they adapt it to gluten free if they can at all. If there is nothing on it she likes , she tells them what she does want and they make it. Similarly in the buffet they are very accomodating. 

I could not take the risk of booking Virtuosa without knowing in advance that meals could be prepared to suit.

Your experience will be invaluable !!

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1 hour ago, Trixie21 said:

Thanks - I will be very interested in how you get on with your meals in the buffet and MDR.

On our usual cruise line my wife is given the next nights menu and she chooses anything she wants from it and they adapt it to gluten free if they can at all. If there is nothing on it she likes , she tells them what she does want and they make it. Similarly in the buffet they are very accomodating. 

I could not take the risk of booking Virtuosa without knowing in advance that meals could be prepared to suit.

Your experience will be invaluable !!

 

We found MSC (on Meraviglia) absolutely superb on the GF front. The separate menu contains what they make in the GF kitchen. But my daughter has a wheat allergy and can tolerate a bit - which meant that there were things on the main menu that she could also have - even though couldn't be guaranteed GF, as made in the main kitchen.

 

So there she was every night with her two menus, being guided through the options on the main menu by the head waiter (taking no risks on misidentifying the GF options) absolutely spoilt for choice. We were in the YC, so some poor kitchen staff member was running all the way down to the MDR when she selected something from the GF menu. They often brought her multiple desserts without her asking to guard against the risk of having to make the trip again when one wasn't quite enough!

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1 hour ago, irs101 said:

 

We found MSC (on Meraviglia) absolutely superb on the GF front. The separate menu contains what they make in the GF kitchen. But my daughter has a wheat allergy and can tolerate a bit - which meant that there were things on the main menu that she could also have - even though couldn't be guaranteed GF, as made in the main kitchen.

 

So there she was every night with her two menus, being guided through the options on the main menu by the head waiter (taking no risks on misidentifying the GF options) absolutely spoilt for choice. We were in the YC, so some poor kitchen staff member was running all the way down to the MDR when she selected something from the GF menu. They often brought her multiple desserts without her asking to guard against the risk of having to make the trip again when one wasn't quite enough!

That's fantastic!

I have often felt that my wife receives extra special treatment on our cruises , which is so different to our experience on land where being coeliac is often seen as a nuisance in restaurants. 

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Wonderful to see this thread becoming a "rolling release" sort of thread with new cruisers embarking today coming in! Be welcome everyone!... :)

 

Meanwhile: Yeah, while I have personally no major dietary restrictions whatsoever, or the ones I have are pretty much manageable at the serving time, I'd notice that MSC takes great care of those whom indeed have them. Once on a charter group there was a girl with very severe dietary restrictions. At booking she asked for them to deliver a special menu for her to chose from. Not only they provided, but everyday the head waiter came himself to pick her orders. At the first day even, our tour leader came with one of the ships nurses so that they could to apparently chose from certain items from the special menus. They arranged a time for her to have breakfast and lunch all days on the MDR, and all went well!... My advise: If you have such a kind of problems, book with a TA whom is partnered with MSC and let them to deal with the before the cruise oddities with them.

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2 hours ago, Irishsmurfy said:

When we cruised on the MSC Seaside we asked for the soft drinks to be replaced with diet versions as my husband was diabetic.  Our steward explained that unfortunately he could only restock the mini fridge with the same items as per the standard list as that's all he had access to.  If we wanted the fridge stocked with 20 Fanta orange instead of mix of Fanta, Sprite, beers etc he could do that as he had Fanta in his storeroom - but he couldn't provide diet Coke as it wasn't a standard mini bar item.  He did suggest we go to the bar though and just ask for however many diet coke cans we wanted and we could then put those in the fridge ourselves.  Same issue with the beers (but not for medical reasons) - I just fancied Peroni but it's not stocked in fridge either.  Again he couldn't stock them for me but advised me to just get some from bar and he'd remove some of the stocked items to make room for them.

Same issue for us. We wanted tonic to go with gin. Simplicity for all was to get it from a bar as we had the drinks package. 🤦🏻

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7 minutes ago, caffeine_demon said:

I think the advice is to wear one if distancing is dificult

On the first cruise it was definitely wear one outside when not in a pool, eating or drinking. 

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5 hours ago, Couple-Somerset said:

 

It was indeed 3hrs for the drive home.

 

Of course I packed an umbrella - its silly to go anywhere in the UK without an umbrella - it was in the car where I left it before getting on the cruise. oops.

 

My "Storm Umbrella" is excellent (https://www.senz.com/) - I was planning to buy the wife some saucy undies but guess I got the wrong website and ended up with a brolly.

 

It was really windy when we arrived last Thursday so I left the umbrella in the car boot.

 

The cleverly shaped umbrella will handle really heavy rain and strong winds and never tears or turns inside out.- it just rips your arm from its socket in gale force winds which isn't ideal when dragging a suitcase.

The foreign crew may have enjoyed seeing a male Mary Poppins and suitcase fly across the bow of the ship but I wasn't keen to be honest.

If I had been in Yacht Club I'm sure I could have asked my butler to run across the car park in the torrential rain and wind and I'd have stayed nice and dry (oh if only their service did extend that far lol).

 

.

This made me laugh so much after a long wet rainy day. Thank you once again!

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3 hours ago, Onasunnyafternoon said:

Just completed muster drill. Please note that our one way route to the assembly station involved queuing on an outside deck for a while. Of course, I didn’t take my jacket and proceeded to freeze over. Your route may not be the same, but consider yourself warned! 
 

 

I left my cruise card in the electrics slot, and didnt know where to go! 

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3 hours ago, Onasunnyafternoon said:

Just completed muster drill. Please note that our one way route to the assembly station involved queuing on an outside deck for a while. Of course, I didn’t take my jacket and proceeded to freeze over. Your route may not be the same, but consider yourself warned! 
 

 

Have they fixed the problem with tv’s going off ?

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43 minutes ago, Stu UK said:

Sounds like conflicting info. Instructions onboard were very clear as were the hourly announcements. 

825DDD6F-AA87-46DA-962D-D9AD41453EB3.jpeg

 

It's not conflicting, the link says you don't need to wear a mask while "seated" on the sun deck so moving around on the sundeck as your letter mentions would require a mask.

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