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WonderMan3

Celebrity cruiser tries MSC Yacht Club for first time

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Thanks for the link-I’ve enjoyed the initial posts so far.  We have been mulling a sail on MSC but the thing that holds us back is the YC rooms.  They seem to be glorified balcony staterooms.  There are 2 true suites but I can search a 6 month period and not ever find those as available.  I know many people sail in suites for the added perks and the room isn’t the main draw.  It seems like MSC is catering to those cruisers.  But we’ve gotten spoiled with all the extra space and large balconies on Celebrity.  Look forward to reading more of the review.  

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5 minutes ago, ATLgirl15 said:

Thanks for the link-I’ve enjoyed the initial posts so far.  We have been mulling a sail on MSC but the thing that holds us back is the YC rooms.  They seem to be glorified balcony staterooms.  There are 2 true suites but I can search a 6 month period and not ever find those as available.  I know many people sail in suites for the added perks and the room isn’t the main draw.  It seems like MSC is catering to those cruisers.  But we’ve gotten spoiled with all the extra space and large balconies on Celebrity.  Look forward to reading more of the review.  

Lots of celebrity suites have tiny balconies had one on a sky suite on infinity and also a celebrity suite also on infinity, but looking forward to our royal suite with a large balcony.

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On 9/12/2019 at 10:30 AM, WonderMan3 said:

I do have expectations set appropriately for these European cruises. When the two of us are not traveling with family or friends we tend to keep to ourselves anyway, so the “culture clash” probably won’t faze us. We did decide to try out MSC Caribbean though. Just booked Seaside for a 7 nighter in May the other day. Will be interesting to compare the two MSC experiences.

 

Could you tell me more about what is needed re: what are appropriate expectations for European cruises? 

 

I only recently started cruising.

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On 9/15/2019 at 10:12 AM, ATLgirl15 said:

 We have been mulling a sail on MSC but the thing that holds us back is the YC rooms.  They seem to be glorified balcony staterooms.  There are 2 true suites but I can search a 6 month period and not ever find those as available.  I know many people sail in suites for the added perks and the room isn’t the main draw.  It seems like MSC is catering to those cruisers. 

 

What features are different in those "2 true suites" from the glorified balcony staterooms? 

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On 9/12/2019 at 11:41 AM, Hlitner said:

We look forward to hearing about your cruise :).  The YC is a completely difference experience then we have ever had on any cruise line or ship (and we have been on more then 75 ships of 16 cruise lines).   It is truly a ship within a ship.  Inside the YC we felt like Royalty and it was difficult to find any fault other then the cuisine (which could be improved).  But step out of the YC enclave (it is protected from the remainder of the ship by electronic doors only opened if you have a YC card) and you are in an atmosphere somewhere between RCI and Carnival.  As soon as you tire of all that hubbub you simply walk back to the YC and its entering a different world.   Unlike the suite experience on most lines the YC has its own private sun deck, pool, expansive lounge (with nightly entertainment), restaurant, pool area buffet, bar, etc.  Service on the Divina was amazing (inside the YC).  Whenever we went into the special lounge a waiter would follow us to our seat so he could quickly take our drink order.  About the only thing missing is caviar (you have to go on Seabourn for that).

 

Hank

So if you go to shows, ship events or take an excursion   you are with other cruisers who you describe as between Carnival and Royal C?

 

" Good old days "  on X  ships like Century and Mercury,  there was a very  loyal, homogeneous well- travelled  customer base  from diverse  countries . We ran into folks repeatedly on diff itins and ships, esp in Michaels when it was a Cap Club lounge. We kind of enjoyed that Club feeling.

 

Are there many repeat cruisers on the MSC in the YC  suites.

 

How are the gym and spa?

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On 9/15/2019 at 11:12 AM, ATLgirl15 said:

Thanks for the link-I’ve enjoyed the initial posts so far.  We have been mulling a sail on MSC but the thing that holds us back is the YC rooms.  They seem to be glorified balcony staterooms.  There are 2 true suites but I can search a 6 month period and not ever find those as available.  I know many people sail in suites for the added perks and the room isn’t the main draw.  It seems like MSC is catering to those cruisers.  But we’ve gotten spoiled with all the extra space and large balconies on Celebrity.  Look forward to reading more of the review.  

 

The YC suites are actually slightly larger balcony cabins.  They are more than adequate...and comfortable.  The big difference is the array of extra amenities you get in the Yacht Club and the level of service.  Compare the YC price to a Sky Suite and you will see the difference.  The YC is a Big Bang for the money.  IMO I would consider the YC as a very good alternative to a Sky Suite.

Edited by CGTNORMANDIE

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1 hour ago, hcat said:

So if you go to shows, ship events or take an excursion   you are with other cruisers who you describe as between Carnival and Royal C?

 

" Good old days "  on X  ships like Century and Mercury,  there was a very  loyal, homogeneous well- travelled  customer base  from diverse  countries . We ran into folks repeatedly on diff itins and ships, esp in Michaels when it was a Cap Club lounge. We kind of enjoyed that Club feeling.

 

Are there many repeat cruisers on the MSC in the YC  suites.

 

How are the gym and spa?

Yep, it is like living in two cruise worlds on the same ship.  Within the YC you are in a private enclave but once you exit that section of the ship you are out there with the masses :).  It is similar on the some of the NCL ships that have a distinct Haven Suite area as well as the Grill Suite area on Cunard.  The term "ship within a ship" is a really apropos label.  I do also remember when Celebrity still attracted a lot of Europeans (likely because of the previous Chandris roots).  But we have never seen anything quite like what we experienced on the Divina.  I do not have the actual statistic of that cruise, but it seemed like a majority of passengers on the ship were from outside North America...and yet it was a normal closed-loop Caribbean cruise.  MSC is a huge privately held company that has been operating cruises in Europe for many years.  It is only recently (perhaps the last 5 years) that they have actively marketed to North Americans and they are rapidly expanding their presence in our market.  Consider that they started over here with a single ship in the Florida/Caribbean market and now have expanded to 4 ships.  Since the company continues to build new ships (about 2 per year) they will soon have a fleet of about 30 vessels (including 4 future build luxury vessels) that will likely become more of a worldwide cruise line.  

 

We think that MSC is still finding their way in the North American Market.  There has been somewhat of an "Americanization" of their ships that are based in this market and they seem to be in a very open-minded learning mode.  They have lured some very experienced senior staff from other lines (a good Senior Officer friend of ours was hired away from HAL) to take advantage of their expertise in dealing with the North American market.  I find the company an exciting new product on our side of the "pond" and are really curious to see what impact they will have on the USA companies.  Keep in mind that MSC is the only major privately held cruise line (owned by a single Italian family) which gives them the ability to quickly make major decisions.  Building 4 new luxury ships (likely spun off into a separate division) is a good example.  This decision was obviously based on the immediate success of their "ship within a ship" Yacht Club concept and I suspect this is going to shake-up the luxury market.

 

Hank

 

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I have been following this review on the MSC boards. The pictures of the food do not look very appetizing. Those of you who have cruised with X and MSC what are your thoughts about the food. 

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12 minutes ago, maggie.1008 said:

I have been following this review on the MSC boards. The pictures of the food do not look very appetizing. Those of you who have cruised with X and MSC what are your thoughts about the food. 

 

I am  not overly impressed so far from what I see and hear but still curious and want to hear more about food, shows etc...enjoying the Wonderman review,

The ship within a ship concept  seems  a bit restrictive.. 

 

X seems to gave a good balance of the suite life but  a lovely  product for the rest of us.  We are branching out from AQ Class and have booked our 1st suite, good deal on Connie!

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On 9/15/2019 at 4:12 PM, ATLgirl15 said:

Thanks for the link-I’ve enjoyed the initial posts so far.  We have been mulling a sail on MSC but the thing that holds us back is the YC rooms.  They seem to be glorified balcony staterooms.  There are 2 true suites but I can search a 6 month period and not ever find those as available.  I know many people sail in suites for the added perks and the room isn’t the main draw.  It seems like MSC is catering to those cruisers.  But we’ve gotten spoiled with all the extra space and large balconies on Celebrity.  Look forward to reading more of the review.  

We managed to pick one up for our cruise next month. It became available around final payment time. I don't think there are any extra benefits from having it but I will advise if they are once we have sailed. From what I read it is just more real estate. Cabin size is around 52sqm with a large balcony so it is between the CS and RS on Celebrity.

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Gordoncruickshank - Good idea on looking at late bookings.  We've lucked out in the same manner with some of our Celebrity cruises.

CGTNormandie - I agree the rooms look very comparable to a Sky suite although the bathroom looks a little more cramped on the floorplan.  I'll have to ask Wonderman about that.

SempreMare - those 2 Royal suites on MSC offer much more space.  We like the separate bed area - its not a deal breaker, but some separation is nice.  The main things we like are the larger bathroom and a "work" area.  My husband often ends up working on our cruises (a small trade off allowing us to travel more frequently) so having a desk or table for him that is not shared with the vanity and facing a mirror is a huge factor for us.

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Looking forward to following your comparison of MSC to Celebrity.  We cruised MSC Bellissima earlier this year and enjoyed the Yacht Club.  We normally cruise NCL Haven, but the prices have gotten exorbitant lately.  Now I have 2 more Yacht Club sailings from Miami for 2020, another Haven (because of the 2 bedroom suite), then trying out a Sky Suite on Celebrity for 2021.  I do love the 3 bedroom Villas on NCL, but hard to swallow the price, especially if we are paying for more than 2 people!  I just haven't found a good stateroom on most cruise lines that gives 2 bedrooms/2 baths with the suite perks.  So, I'm open for suggestions.....;)

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11 hours ago, maggie.1008 said:

I have been following this review on the MSC boards. The pictures of the food do not look very appetizing. Those of you who have cruised with X and MSC what are your thoughts about the food. 

I have read the first 5 pages of your review. Not impressed with the menu, food quality or service that you are experiencing! Most feel that Celebrity specialty restaurants are pricey but it appears that MSC is similar (since prices are in Euros). Celebrity prices are rising and suite prices are absurd now! Seems like the best bet is still Celebrity in a Concierge or lower and getting the specialty dining package for most nights. Current upgrade from Concierge to AQ costs the same as a dining package for most nights! Sky suite is 2X AQ or more! Was not impressed with Luminae on Eclipse earlier this year (preferred Blu and specialty). Also sounds like there is a big language barrier on MSC.

Edited by TommyD3

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11 hours ago, maggie.1008 said:

I have been following this review on the MSC boards. The pictures of the food do not look very appetizing. Those of you who have cruised with X and MSC what are your thoughts about the food. 

This is a difficult question because we think the quality of Celebrity cuisine has really gone downhill.  We can only speak to MSC's Yacht Club which has its own restaurant (Le Muse).  On the Divina we thought the food in Le Muse varied from terrific to near awful...with most OK.  I thought MSC really lagged with the quality and preparation of most meat dishes.  On the other hand, their pastas were often world-class and DW had a couple of risotto dishes that she thought were amazing.   Seafood in Le Muse was pretty good (as good or better then Celebrity). In the Yacht we also had our own small buffet area (for breakfast and lunch) up by our private pool area.  For breakfast our cook made all eggs to order from real eggs (cracked to order).  In the Yacht Club there were no boxed (liquid) eggs like they use to make omelets and scrambled eggs on X.  At lunch we had our own pasta chef and everything was made to order in frying pans.  Having customized pasta sauces was quite nice.  We also had a snack buffet (for 20 hours a day) in our private lounge which had everything from potato chips to chocolate covered strawberries.  There were also small sandwiches, fresh fruit, etc.  

 

The Lido (on the Divina) was pretty typical of Lido buffets on most mass market ships with its hits and misses.   Pizza was served for breakfast, lunch, dinner and pretty good.  The breakfast pizzas were really interesting such as one with a sunny side egg on top of every slice.  They had the usual salad bars, hot food line, burgers, etc.   Since we were in the Yacht Club we never got to dine in the main restaurant but we heard (from other cruisers) that the food was disappointing.

 

You have to remember that the roots of MSC are that it is an Italian Line (although headquartered in Switzerland) that is owned by an Italian family.  A lot of the dinner menus did feature some decent Italian dishes.  I recall having a veal scaloppini dish which had perfectly prepared veal (hard to find on most cruise lines).  Suffice it to say that we never starved but there was much that could have been improved.  The burgers (made for lunch) in Le Muse were among the best I have had on any ship.  Always made to order and no problem getting it rare.   Speaking of Le Muse (the private restaurant for the Yacht Club folks) it is open for 3 meals a day 7 days a week.  Even when in ports you can go to Le Muse for lunch.  We stayed aboard at several ports and often would go to Le Muse at lunch time and share the restaurant with no more then 1 or 2 other tables.  There was always plenty of staff, service was excellent, and those lunches all seemed to be made to order.  I actually thought the lunch food on port days was generally excellent whether I ordered a burger, salad, fruit, steak, etc.

 

We have since heard that some things are better on the newer ships (like the Seaside) which has a slightly larger Yacht Club and a more expansive poolside buffet.   We also had dinner in a couple of the alternative restaurants and were not overly impressed although the Asian restaurant did have some pretty good dishes.   As you would expect on an Italian line both the pizza and gelato were genuine and good.

 

If trying to rate the pros and cons of the Yacht Club the biggest pro would be the service....which was near perfection.  From our room stewards, butler, dedicated concierge (the desk was staffed 24/7) bar tenders, bar waiters, whatever....it was terrific.  From the moment we arrived at the port (we had a private check-in area outside the terminal building) to the moment we disembarked (our Butler escorted us down a private elevator and to the ship's exit) we thought we were in a 6  Star hotel.  Even in most of the ports we had our own entrance (back onto the ship), private elevator, etc.  

 

Hank

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11 hours ago, ATLgirl15 said:

Gordoncruickshank - Good idea on looking at late bookings.  We've lucked out in the same manner with some of our Celebrity cruises.

 

We booked a regular YC cabin a year ago and just watched to see if either of the RS became available. One did and we upgraded to it.

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On 9/17/2019 at 11:14 AM, maggie.1008 said:

I have been following this review on the MSC boards. The pictures of the food do not look very appetizing. Those of you who have cruised with X and MSC what are your thoughts about the food. 

 

The food is not as good in YC as it is on Celebrity.  Not to say it's bad, just not as good.  That is the only category in which MSC's YC does not completely blow the Celebrity suite experience out of the water.  Particularly after my recent experience on Equinox in the Retreat Lounge.  It was cold and sterile and there was virtually no service whatsoever.  No view or access to outside.  That would be unheard of in the YC on Seaside.  Butlers falling all over themselves to get you a drink or something.  About 180 degree wall of windows with view of the ocean.  YC Pool Deck is completely accessible by elevator, has food service and bar, butlers tending to your every need, and SHADE.  Can't say for sure about Celebrity's Retreat Deck as I was unable to access it due to no elevator service.  But all reports say no pool, no shade.  No bar.  Food service comes from elsewhere.

 

MSC really gets the ship within a ship concept.  Celebrity doesn't.  

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I am not getting the impression of lavish service and great food from  Wonderman's review...or photos.  He reports language / understanding issues  in the part of  some staff. He did say he would withhold final judgment til they finish  on both MSC  ships

 

.But so far..sounds not anything too exciting except for folks who want to be apart much of the time from other guests..For that experience Cunard  excels!

 

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From reading Adam’s LIVE review it appears to me that not only is the food inferior but the service is not on par with the service we experience while sailing Celebrity.  It seems as if communication (language) issues are causing problems.

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46 minutes ago, hcat said:

I am not getting the impression of lavish service and great food from  Wonderman's review...or photos.  He reports language / understanding issues  in the part of  some staff. He did say he would withhold final judgment til they finish  on both MSC  ships

I have been following Wonderman's review as well.  Am concerned about the communication issues more than the food.  Since food is so subjective and the pictures don't look much different than what I see on X or NCL.  I did find it concerning that there were no buns at the YC grill.  But then I remind myself that this is an Italian cruise liner on a Med. itinerary and they are not catering to the American market at all.  Last year we took a land vacay to Italy and completely immersed ourselves in the culture for two weeks.  Talk about communication issues...and the food was just meh on my Americanized palate.

I wonder how different it would be on a Caribbean cruise on the Seaside with regard to communication issues and even food offerings.  That's the ship we opted for in order to try MSC in March.  Based on Wonderman's review, I am not sure I'd book a foreign cruise liner for a European itinerary.  I think he has the right attitude though and seems to be going into it with an open mind.

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He is certainly an experienced traveller who has a  very positive attitude.We enjoy his reviews and  take  note of his comments.

 

The notion of no buns and hot dog rolls kind of puts me off..Seems .like they do not really go out of the way to cater to diff backgrounds of guests.  X always  makes that effort.  We took a July 4th cruise on QM2...They served an American style lunch in the pub...dogs buns, beans..burgers and top notch fries! It was a great meal and very much appreciated that they made the extra effort!

Edited by hcat

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Just so you know, we were on Seaside in the YC last year and had burgers and hot dogs at the grill.  Very good and they came with the appropriate buns.

 

They also sometimes serve lobster tails on the grill for lunch (depends if there's any left over from the previous night's dinner).

Also new on Seaside is a late night buffet at the grill …. also with lobster (and probably buns if you order hamburgers).  This was in the US.

 

 

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Nothing in Adam's review makes me say "Hmmmmm I need to book myself on a MSC Yacht Club cruise".  He's very familiar with the "suite life" he receives on Celebrity and I'm getting the impression that this sailing is not par with what he's experienced on previous Celebrity sailings. I don't think the lack of a proper hot dog or hamburger bun is the most pressing issue he has experienced!!  I'm getting the feeling that he's not blown away by the level of service he and Mike are receiving.  I think his itinerary, and not the ship, is what he is most impressed with on this vacation.  

Edited by jcpc

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Agree that it is not about the lack of buns at the grill.  He is so very detailed in his reviews that everyone will likely land on something that sticks for them.  And I would also agree that when you get used to a certain level of service, such as what one typically receives on Celebrity, it can be difficult to live up to.   Still many of his observations are spot on for things that would be turn offs for us.  With an itinerary such as his, you can't really go wrong though.  For us, we are cruising the Caribbean for the 100th time so it's less about the itinerary and more about the experience.

Edited by Georgia_Peaches

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Based on pricing, I would hope Celebrity is/was better, but is it worth the premium paid? We just got home from 14 days on the Equinox (B2B) a week ago Saturday, in a Sky Suite. We paid about $9,000, for the two of us, with all four perks and taxes. We are leaving  October 5 for a 14 day cruise, on MSC Seaside, in a Yacht Club Deluxe Suite and the total cost, for the two of us is $5,700 total. The only difference being MSC is only giving us $150 obc and Celebrity gave us $600 ($300 x 2 cruises). It's a nonissue to us because there is nothing on the ship worth the prices being charged, hence we never pay for anything not covered by the cruise fare.

We did the Seaside last October so we know exactly what we are in for. Is Celebrity better? Probably, but not $3,300, for two weeks, better.

Under normal pricing, we don't think any suite, on any line, is worth the money. We also did 14 days (B2B) on the Allure, in a Grand Suite last year, at pricing similar to MSC. At the price we paid, or somewhat close to it, I can see us doing the Allure or Seaside again, but I don't hold out much hope of doing a suite on Celebrity again.

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