My husband and I (both in our 40's) went on our first MSC cruise and were in a balcony in the Yacht Club. We've been on about 15 prior cruises and have never upgraded beyond a balcony room. We decided to splurge since it was our first time taking a Mediterranean cruise. We were in room 16007.
The ship itself was beautiful, however the Yacht Club is where we spent all of our time. We ventured out a few times, but since our kids weren't with us we enjoyed the peace and quiet in the Yacht Club area. Our butler, Agus, and his assistant, Mini, were amazing! I cannot begin to tell you how much they would try to go out of their way to make our trip special. We never asked for anything crazy, but I felt like they would've washed my feet if I had asked!
We booked all of our excursions from third party vendors and each day a butler walked us off the ship. One day we tried to go on our own, but the concierge insisted on having them walk us. We tendered at one port and did not have to get a ticket to go or wait in line. The major benefit of the Yacht Club was never having to wait in a line for anything. Our first two nights we went to the shows on our own. While we were out we received a letter on our bed from the Yacht Club director asking us to meet at the concierge the following night if we planned on going to the show. We were then walked to the show and sat in a reserved seating area which was the last three rows in the back of the theater.
One difference I noticed was that the food in the Yacht Club differed from the food in the main dining room. The menus did not have the same selections. If there was nothing on the menu that you liked, you could order a steak or something else and they would make it. We don't eat fish so we did order steak several times. I was also craving a salad with ranch dressing and the waiter brought it to me with no hesitation. Every night after that he asked me if I wanted my special salad.
We weren't very fond of having embark/debark at several locations because we didn't have the opportunity to meet new people for the week. We met one couple and they left the following day, met another couple and they left the next day too. We look forward to meeting new friends but it was almost impossible with the setup on this ship.
La Spezia - the tour we had booked with San Giorgio Boats was canceled the night before due to rough sea conditions. We ended up taking HopHopBoat 70 euros each and stopped at two different villages. We recommend this as it was simple to find, right next to the cruise port and the max number of passengers was 12.
Civitavechhia - Since we spent several days before the cruise in Rome we opted to just stay near the port area. This town was great for shopping, however just about everything closes from 1pm-4pm. That saved us a lot of money!
Palma - We did an e-bike tour through Airbnb and it was nice, but hot as all get out! The bike tour was a great way to see areas that we would not have found on our own.
Cannes - We did a walking tour through Airbnb and we felt that it was something we could have done ourselves.
Barcelona - We did an e-bike tour through Airbnb and loved it. We covered so many things in the 3 hours that we wouldn't have ever been able to do on our own.
Ajaccio - We went to the free beach that was about a 10 minute walk from the port. It is a small area but a very nice place to just get in the water. No chairs, umbrellas, food, etc. We didn't stay long because I forgot our waterproof pouches on the ship and we didn't have a place to secure our valuables. We walked around the town but due to the holiday most places were closed.
Genoa - This was where we boarded and we did came straight from the airport so we did not see the city at all.
Pros and Cons Outside of the Yacht Club -
The activities did not always follow what was listed on the daily planner (karaoke did not happen 3 nights in a row when it was listed)
We ate in the buffet twice. Once for a quick snack and it was okay. The second time for a late night barbecue and it was YUM!
We attempted to watch the Master Chef at Sea but it was so blazing hot that we ended up leaving after 20 minutes. It hadn't even started because the opening was done in at least four languages.
The shows were absolutely amazing from the choreography to the costumes. We both agreed it was some of the best shows we have seen at sea. Every night there was a different show.
The zip line was a joke. It was so slow some people were just hanging over the pool area and moving at turtle speed. People were laughing and pointing at them.
Pros and Cons in the Yacht Club -
There were no activities. It was very quiet and we felt like we were in a library at all times. In our opinion there should have been some music change in the lounge instead of only piano every single night.
Having a pool and two hot tubs was great. Getting a chair was no problem at all.
The food at the pool bar and restaurant were great.
You never had to show your card or sign for anything when ordering.
The all day announcements are not broadcasted in the Yacht Club and that alone was a WIN in our book!
We normally buy a thermal package to use the hot tub without it being overcrowded with kids. The Yacht Club comes with the thermal package, but we found that we didn't use it as much because we didn't have the overcrowding issues in the outdoor hot tub. The downside of this thermal area is that there was no view outside. It felt like being in a closet. It did have a snow room which was neat.
Overall, we were so glad that we tried the Yacht Club. We enjoyed it a lot and decided it was the way to go for us in the future, but only when traveling without our teenagers. They would have been bored to death in there.