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WonderMan3

Celebrity cruiser tries MSC Yacht Club for first time

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I'm relaxing by the pool at the Seaside Yacht Club as I write this. I've done 3   cruises on X and this is my first time on MSC.  I'm a firm believer that there isn't a "best" or "better" cruise line.  It's totally up to what an individual is looking for and what's important to them. I don't sail in suites and so my impressions are probably not relevant to those who do. I'll write a more detailed comparison once I'm home, but for my style of crusing Yacht Club is a great option. I don't expect fine dining on a mainstream cruise ship, but do enjoy some of the speciality restaurants on some ships.  My best meal always seems to be at an upscale restaurant precruise in the departure city. So finding the food in YC to be pretty much on a par with the Celebrity MDR is not a deal breaker for me - especially since the rest of the dining experience was so pleasant and un-MDR-like.  We like to spend a lot of time relaxing by the pool. The YC is wonderful for this - uncrowded, great service, quiet, small but nicely done buffet and bar poolside. Everything I look for. What isn't so great? The experience outside the YC. It's pretty much like Carnival - great for kids and the party crowd, but not for me. This does stretch to the casino as well. Crowded and loud.  The tables are full and it can even be hard to find an open slot at primetime. If you're like us and are content to relax and enjoy life within the YC, it might be just the thing to give you an upscale experience without paying suite prices.  I suspect those who find good dollar value in Celebrity suites will not favor MSC Yacht Club.  More to come once I return home.........

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On 9/13/2019 at 6:53 PM, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

 

No smoking indoors in the Yacht Club.  Do not know about the rest of the ship, have only sailed in Yacht Club.  Out of Miami.

I can relate the smoking situation on the Divina (it is similar for their other ships in the North American market.  In the Yacht Club the only smoking area was a nice size area outside on the pool deck (on the opposite side of ship from where they have the food area.   Outside of the Yacht Club they do allow smoking in part of the casino and at a large bar area on the aft of the ship (Port side).  There might have been some other smoking areas, but since we are non-smokers we do not go looking for those places.

 

Hank

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18 minutes ago, mnocket said:

More to come once I return home.........

Thank you for this perspective.  I will look for your review.  Hope you continue to enjoy your vacay.

BTW...I've never heard of being hard pressed to find an open slot machine in the casino...even during peak times.  Is the casino small or just not equipped with many machines?

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3 hours 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

 

.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!

 

 

I agree he does not seem too impressed with YC compared to Celebrity suites. I can say that on our Seaside cruise in the Caribbean the service has been near flawless and there are no language issues.  Now keeping in mind that this ship/itinerary has a much higher percentage of N. AMERICANS, I'm sure it caters to them.  Since N Americans are a minority on their European itineraries, I'm sure cultural issues are more profound. I'm not surprised if some find the European vision of service different.

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8 minutes ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

Thank you for this perspective.  I will look for your review.  Hope you continue to enjoy your vacay.

BTW...I've never heard of being hard pressed to find an open slot machine in the casino...even during peak times.  Is the casino small or just not equipped with many machines?

 

Me either.  It's a large casino, but it's also a large ship. They would certainly make more money if they had even more slots. It's mostly a problem in the early evening hours. Still very strange.

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2 hours ago, grandgeezer said:

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.

If you don't buy anything not covered by the cruise fare, what did you spend the $600 OBC on?

If you don't feel that suites are worth the money why do you sail in nothing but suites?

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2 hours ago, TommyD3 said:

If you don't buy anything not covered by the cruise fare, what did you spend the $600 OBC on?

If you don't feel that suites are worth the money why do you sail in nothing but suites?

We spent the money on one tour each cruise, my wife made a blown glass piece each cruise, and a piece of jewelry each cruise. The few dollars left each leg, we let them have it in order to make their profit goals.

The suites, although over priced, gave us some enjoyment in cruising. Anything below suites, do to cutbacks and rising prices, left us with the feeling that it was money wasted.

I said that the normal pricing for suites made then not worth the money. I could live with the three deals mentioned above, if I could get something similar again. If not, we'll stay home and go back to land vacations like before we got hooked on cruising in 2003. 485 days at sea is plenty.

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9 hours ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

 

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. 

Our thoughts, exactly.

 

We are Elite on Celebrity. We have been on 33 cruises on seven different lines. We are blindly loyal to none and happily play the field. We sailed in an MSC YC balcony last year. We ate all our meals in the Yacht Club. I found the food to be pedestrian, but the bigger disappointment was the middling dinner service in the Yacht Club. Our flighty waiter would seemingly disappear and the waits between courses were often interminable. A chat with the maitre d' resulted in zero improvement. 

 

Perhaps unrealistically, I was expecting nightly dinner to bear a passing resemblance to a specialty restaurant experience on a Celebrity ship. Not even close. The food served at lunch actually outshone that of dinner and lunch allowed us to experience different waiters. And while some waiters were indeed better than our dinner waiter (not a difficult task), none were an appreciable improvement over what most cruisers would expect to find in the main dining rooms of any other cruise ship.

 

The Seaside is lovely and the amenities and facilities of the Yacht Club are refined and delightful. The production numbers in the theater are fabulous, head and shoulders above anything we have seen at sea. Every show was a treat.

 

Once outside the YC, you realize in a heartbeat that there are 5,000+ fellow passengers on board. 

 

I was hoping the YC experience would knock my socks off; in the end it may have dislodged one sock. Yes, I would sail YC on MSC again, but I am in no particular rush.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

 

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. 

Here is a link to my Seaside YC experience from January of 2018 when the Seaside was just starting out.  I have heard that she is becoming slightly more Americanized, which of course can be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view.

 

 

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We had considered a cruise on MSC but after reading the comments I'm glad we didn't.  We are admitted foodies and winos so I know we would not be happy.  We're also used to sailing on higher suites on Celebrity so going back to one room would also put us off.

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One thing I can say is that MSC is trying to do better and improve the experience, especially in the YC.

Can you say the same for Celebrity?

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17 minutes ago, mafig said:

One thing I can say is that MSC is trying to do better and improve the experience, especially in the YC.

Can you say the same for Celebrity?

 Even though we have access to Luminae, Michaels Club, or the Retreat areas I don't feel the need to stay in one area of Celebrity's ships in order to have a good experience. We enjoy the solarium, most of the bars and restaurants,  and most of the shows and always find someone to socialize with in any area of the ship. From my readings of comments and reviews of MSC it seems as though once you leave the YC you are in a different world. So far I haven't seen too many comments about what is being done by MSC to improve the experience overall.  While I may not cruise exclusively with Celebrity I doubt I would try MSC.

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9 minutes ago, CHEZMARYLOU said:

 Even though we have access to Luminae, Michaels Club, or the Retreat areas I don't feel the need to stay in one area of Celebrity's ships in order to have a good experience. We enjoy the solarium, most of the bars and restaurants,  and most of the shows and always find someone to socialize with in any area of the ship. From my readings of comments and reviews of MSC it seems as though once you leave the YC you are in a different world. So far I haven't seen too many comments about what is being done by MSC to improve the experience overall.  While I may not cruise exclusively with Celebrity I doubt I would try MSC.

 

That sounds like a good decision. Given the preferences you have expressed, I don't think the Yacht Club would be a good fit. 

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chezmarylou, I have sailed on Celebrity many times, for many years.  

 

I have also recently sailed on MSC, twice.  While in the YC we have often left the Yacht Club …. to go to the excellent shows, to go to the casino, to the shops, to get some chocolate.  I can't say I noticed any difference in those forays between MSC and Celebrity.   The world was not different, not to us, at least.  We didn't go to the pools, why would we?  When we went to the pool on MSC YC  there were only two other people in it.  We were in the hot tub for hours (I know, not good for you)  and we were the only people in it.  

 

Almost forgot, a great Cruise Critic party!👍

Also liked the daily newspaper delivery and having the stocked mini bar which is replenished daily.

 

 

Edited by mafig

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Not impressed so far,  Did not realize it carries 5, 000 people  as posted,  if that is correct,  that's  just too large for us nit matter what they offer,

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49 minutes ago, CHEZMARYLOU said:

 Even though we have access to Luminae, Michaels Club, or the Retreat areas I don't feel the need to stay in one area of Celebrity's ships in order to have a good experience. We enjoy the solarium, most of the bars and restaurants,  and most of the shows and always find someone to socialize with in any area of the ship. From my readings of comments and reviews of MSC it seems as though once you leave the YC you are in a different world. So far I haven't seen too many comments about what is being done by MSC to improve the experience overall.  While I may not cruise exclusively with Celebrity I doubt I would try MSC.

I would agree, i’m not sure paying a premium with a level of quality that only applies in a very small area is what we would be looking for. If we wanted a ship that was 95% Carnival levels we would just book with Carnival.

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On 9/17/2019 at 11:26 PM, Hlitner said:

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.

 

 

   We only sailed on Divina and Poesia(smaller) out of Florida in regular balconies and think exactly the same. We are not sailing for food, and we do sail with other companies that do not concentrate on food.. like Royal, NCL etc, but on MSC it was very obvious. Bad cuts badly prepared.

 

  However we enjoyed most of other aspects of cruising with MSC. Ships are extremely beautiful. Entertainment - everyday production shows. International flare... although Divina was not as authentic as Poesia. Poesia had real Italian tenor, Sicilian guitar duo. Overall we enjoyed a lot interacting with various guests from (mostly) Europe.

 

MSC price beats everybody in terms of pricing.

However MSC lost for us some attractiveness with trying to be too American. We had all other mostly American lines, being more international was their advantage. 

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8 hours ago, CHEZMARYLOU said:

We had considered a cruise on MSC but after reading the comments I'm glad we didn't.  We are admitted foodies and winos so I know we would not be happy.  We're also used to sailing on higher suites on Celebrity so going back to one room would also put us off.

The do have a few Royal Suites which have two rooms. The reason we are trying it was that at the same time Celebrity wanted around £12k for a Sky suite. The YC equivalent was £4.5k for 9 nights. We then managed to pick up a RS which cost around £6.7k after discounts.

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1 hour ago, mafig said:

chezmarylou, I have sailed on Celebrity many times, for many years.  

 

I have also recently sailed on MSC, twice.  While in the YC we have often left the Yacht Club …. to go to the excellent shows, to go to the casino, to the shops, to get some chocolate.  I can't say I noticed any difference in those forays between MSC and Celebrity.   The world was not different, not to us, at least.  We didn't go to the pools, why would we?  When we went to the pool on MSC YC  there were only two other people in it.  We were in the hot tub for hours (I know, not good for you)  and we were the only people in it.  

 

Almost forgot, a great Cruise Critic party!👍

Also liked the daily newspaper delivery and having the stocked mini bar which is replenished daily.

 

 

 

Love, love, love that newspaper!  And the chocolate covered peanuts in the mini bar.

 

What people who are freaked out by the number of people on the ship don't get is that YC people don't need to stand in lines to get on or off the ship.  You bypass all those lines.  So it doesn't matter how many people are on the ship.

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What I don't get is coming to this forum and reading nothing but complaints about Celebrity.…. you know what they are.  Food not as good, cc amenities diminished, specialty restaurants not as good but more expensive, no foot stool on balcony, suites more expensive,  etc. etc.

However, will you guys even consider another line?  And I don't mean MSC I mean any other line?  

If there were 7 reviews of cruise line XYZ and 6 were good and one said Celebrity is better, most of you would say "see, that's why I won't try another line."  

Why not try something else?  

I guess I don't understand such unwavering loyalty.  Do you think it's appreciated?

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1 hour ago, mafig said:

chezmarylou, I have sailed on Celebrity many times, for many years.  

 

I have also recently sailed on MSC, twice.  While in the YC we have often left the Yacht Club …. to go to the excellent shows, to go to the casino, to the shops, to get some chocolate.  I can't say I noticed any difference in those forays between MSC and Celebrity.   The world was not different, not to us, at least.  We didn't go to the pools, why would we?  When we went to the pool on MSC YC  there were only two other people in it.  We were in the hot tub for hours (I know, not good for you)  and we were the only people in it.  

 

Almost forgot, a great Cruise Critic party!👍

Also liked the daily newspaper delivery and having the stocked mini bar which is replenished daily.

 

Our experiences in many way are very similar to "chezmarylou". We have been sailing Celebrity since 01/95. as well as Princess on and off the past few years (and many other lines going past the last few years). All recent cruises on Celebrity have been in Sky Suites and on Princess in their similar sized suites. Between those two lines, and cabin experiences, Celebrity wins easily, Princess not even in the game (except for their cheap prices at the times/ships shown in my signature).

 

Last December we took a cruise on the Seaside to try something different (ships not ports since we have seen all the Caribbean ports many times). To be able to make a fair comparison we picked a YC outside cabin (pricing was far less than Celebrity's prices; more inline with Princess prices for a similar cabin). 

 

The Seaside YC cabins are nearly identical to Celebrity' SS in all aspects (size, amenities, etc., in other words very, very nice), the big difference is the "experience", or extras, that are part of the YC experience. We really liked having a butler meet us as soon as we exited the Uber car and guide us quickly through the check in process. The butlers on the pier immediately take your luggage and that is the last time they are seen until they are delivered to the room. As you may have read, each YC cabin has a butler assigned to it and seemed to always be available to help with any issue (not that we had any). At the end of the cruise your butler will guide through the crowds that are disembarking and then to Customs/Immigration. YC passengers have all their luggage in one easy to find location. Total disembarkation time (told butler that we were ready to disembark to the taxi curb) was fast, very fast; maybe 15 minutes.

 

Celebrity Suites also have butlers assigned to each cabin. Their on ship tasks seem to be similar to MSC's butlers with the exceptions of greeting passengers on the pier to guiding you off the ship (although Celebrity handles suite passengers disembarking very well also). I our opinion, MSC's YC cabin and butler experiences were, in total, superior to Celebrity, but very close.

 

The YC enclave has its own inside resturaturat and outside grill. We had excellent meals, and great service, at both restaurants. We did have dinner one night at Seaside's steak restaurant for free since we were "status matched" to their "Black Card" level since we are Elite on Celebrity. Black Card has several perks (some already part of the YC experience) one of which is a free meal for two at one of their speciality restaurants. Other than that one food diversion, we stayed in the YC for all other meals; no reason not to except to go to the excellent, and beautiful chocolate bar for a free (at the time) super hot chocolate.

 

The main theatre entertainment was excellent. All shows are production shows (which we normally cannot stand and no longer attend when on Celebrity), but in this case they were great. It was hard to believe that they had so much variety with the same core cast members.  YC passengers have their own reserved section, but the roped off area is not an area that we liked so we seated ourselves elsewhere. BTW - - No opera except for a special show one afternoon.)

 

As others have mentioned, there is not much reason to leave the YC enclave. For us the exceptions were to; 1) go to the wonderful (and free for YC passengers) spa (blows Celebrity away, S-class anyway) and is close to being as good as the "Enclave Spa" on Princess' Regal class ships, and 2) to explore the large and beautiful ship (the atrium is stunning). The areas where more people gathered was on the aft parts of the ship and at the main pools, neither of which we had any interest in other than to pass by when exploring.

 

I do not really understand why people are comparing MSC to other lines at the same price levels. The YC is a great experience that really gets you away from the crowds and associated noise, but these areas are not that much different than on other lines that we have sailed.

Edited by sptrout

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2 hours ago, mafig said:

What I don't get is coming to this forum and reading nothing but complaints about Celebrity.…. you know what they are.  Food not as good, cc amenities diminished, specialty restaurants not as good but more expensive, no foot stool on balcony, suites more expensive,  etc. etc.

However, will you guys even consider another line?  And I don't mean MSC I mean any other line?  

If there were 7 reviews of cruise line XYZ and 6 were good and one said Celebrity is better, most of you would say "see, that's why I won't try another line."  

Why not try something else?  

I guess I don't understand such unwavering loyalty.  Do you think it's appreciated?

 

Let's keep YC a closely held secret.  It's already difficult enough to book.  No need to try to encourage people to try it.  If they enjoy paying Celebrity's suite prices, good on them.  As for me, I'm looking forward to my second YC cruise--one with no single supplement!  Try that on Celebrity.  Nope!

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Follow up question for those who have done an MSC cruise out of Florida - what is the smoking policy in the casino?  One of the biggest reasons we love Celebrity is that the casino is non-smoking since we spend a good deal of time there.  It sounds like Wonderman’s casino has a smoking and non-smoking section but I thought maybe that’s just because it’s a European itinerary.  That is actually a make or break situation for us.  We did a Royal Caribbean sail on Symphony last year after mostly Celebrity cruises and it was awful (the smoke, not the cruise). 

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17 hours ago, ATLgirl15 said:

Follow up question for those who have done an MSC cruise out of Florida - what is the smoking policy in the casino?  One of the biggest reasons we love Celebrity is that the casino is non-smoking since we spend a good deal of time there.  It sounds like Wonderman’s casino has a smoking and non-smoking section but I thought maybe that’s just because it’s a European itinerary.  That is actually a make or break situation for us.  We did a Royal Caribbean sail on Symphony last year after mostly Celebrity cruises and it was awful (the smoke, not the cruise). 

I'm at the end of my first cruise on Seaside out of Miami.  Sorry to say that MSC does allow smoking in one section of the casino slots.  Those who are highly sensitive to smoke will find the casino a no-go zone.

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We just got off the Seaside yesterday after spending 14 spectacular days in the Yacht Club Deluxe Suite. We also spent 14 average days in a Sky Suite, on the Equinox about six weeks ago, so any comparables are easy. 

The Yacht Club is like an upscale boutique hotel on a ship. All the rooms are together, on the front of the ship, right above the bridge, and the area can only be accessed with your seapass card. Deck 16 consist of the Concierge, rooms, and the Topsail lounge. There is no deck 17 but there is a deck 13, go figure. Deck 18 has rooms and the Topsail restaurant. There is a hallway that runs front to back and you don’t walk by any suites, hence no unnecessary noises. These hallways are what you would expect in a high class hotel, all marble, glass, chrome, and artwork. In both the restaurant and lounge, the views are the same as you get from the Sky Lounge. Both areas are huge, way to big for only having about 200, or so, maximum customers.

The star of the show, Deck 19. First you see the pool, with plenty of pool chairs around it. Everytime we were there, port days and sea days, there were empty chairs. Next is the Bar/Grill, picture the Mast bar and grill on steroids. Full service bar and a much bigger selection of food, sort of a mini buffet. Your burgers, and such are made when ordered and delivered to your table. Beats sitting on K mart quality furniture sitting in the blazing sun, if you are lucky enough to find one. Many tables, all with wicker chairs and wicker tables with glass tops. The best part is most of them are in the shade. Finally there are two hot tubs and at least 50 more pool chairs, all wicker with thick pads as are the ones around the pool.

The service is as good as anywhere, not only in the the Yacht Club but all the other areas we went to. Mixed revue on the food, I’m a beef eater and I rate Luminae a little bit better. My wife likes seafood, chicken, and pasta and she says Topsail by a bigger margin. The biggest differences are The Luminae isn’t open on port days and has no everyday menu. The alternative was ordering off the MDR menu. MSC has an everyday menu and the beef selection was filet mignon.

Drink packages. MSC package has a $12 per drink limit but since drinks are much cheaper none of our drinks came anywhere near that. They have a premium package but I don’t know, or care if you can upgrade. If you do order a more costly drink you pay full price not just the difference. The minibar is included. We had the butler stock it only with what we drank. 

Internet: It goes by data transferred. After two weeks, we had only used a little over half of it. Like the drinks, we feel no reason to try to get our moneys worth.

Ship is spectacular, entertainment is special all production show and each one is different.

Based on what we saw in the buffets and pool areas, we would gladly do Yacht Club but would stay home for balconys or below.

Two bonus points, the thermostat actually works like at home and the mini bar actually keeps things cold. Also live music in the dining room, lounge.

Something that probably not everyone knows, tips for any cabin on the ship is $12.50 p.p. per day and the upcharge is 15% compared $18 and 20% on Celebrity.

I asked several people about this and they know what the competition gets and they say their total pay is very competitive and their ship life, when they aren’t working 

is as enjoyable as can be. This would have been the perfect time to come out with a sob story for extra tips, but not one did. We made up most of the difference based on the quality of their total product not out of pity on how hard they worked or how friendly they were.Must be part of the difference between working for a private versus public company.

Final words, the boss says she would really like to do a transatlantic B2B with the second leg being in Europe. Anything different better be on MSC, in the Yacht Club,

or unless it’s a special itinerary, book solo.

 

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