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SirWolf

MSC Meraviglia - YC Restaurant - HIT or MISS...

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We just came back from a 7-night Baltic Sea cruise on MSC Meraviglia.

While the cruise was fantastic and Yacht Club was very good, we had some minor issues with the food and service in the YC Restaurant.

Compared to two past Western Med cruises this time the YC Restaurant has declined in quality of food and service.

MSC Seaview - Rating YC Restaurant 9.5

MSC Bellissima - Rating YC Restaurant 9.0

MSC Meraviglia - Rating YC Restaurant 6.5

We are easy going and usually don’t complain. We enjoy cruising and understand that there is a slight up and down in quality and service.

This time was different:

- Dinner: Meat lukewarm - 3 evenings

- Dinner: Fish salty - 2 evenings

- Dinner: Meat very bad quality - 1 evening

- Dinner: No wine refill - 3 evenings

- Dinner: No butter - 2 evenings

- Dinner: Knifes for butter missing - 1

 

The waiter acted somewhat disconnected and did not pay attention to details.

Service was slow every night. We came for dinner at 6:30pm and barely made it to the show at 8:45pm in time on two nights.

 

The sommelier was only at the first night in the YC Restaurant, we have not seen him again during the cruise. 

 

On Seaview and Bellissima the breakfast in YC Restaurant was full-service.

On Meraviglia the breakfast was semi-buffet style where we had to get bread, rolls, pastries and yogurt from a small buffet at the entrance of the YC Restaurant.

The food at breakfast was not freshly prepared. French Toast and waffles were not hot and tasted like they were sitting somewhere for quite a while.

 

We brought some of the issues to the attention of the Maître d’ but he did not even acknowledged the problems, just walked away. We didn’t want to make a scene so we let it go.

 

We still enjoyed the Yacht Club and have future cruises booked on other MSC ships in Yacht Club but there is certainly room for improvement on the Meraviglia.

 

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That's unfortunate to hear.  Hopefully they will improve when Meraviglia gets to the US, perhaps a major change of crew is due?

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We did hear in the past that the waffles on MSC Seaside were frozen and not to order them....so we didn't. Also, not having hot food has also been a  complaint for MSC...even in the YC.  Doesn't make it right!  

 

Hopefully, they fix these problems or I can see the boards lighting up with complaints when Mera comes to the US.  A Maitre'd  that just walks away will be famous on Cruise Critic....not in a good way.

 

Remember when Seaside first came out when all we heard about was the smell?  

That was fixed pretty quick.  Maybe these issues will be too.

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19 minutes ago, Até said:

That's unfortunate to hear.  Hopefully they will improve when Meraviglia gets to the US, perhaps a major change of crew is due?

From talking with waiters, butler and assistant butler I have learned that a lot of crew members have extended their contracts for the TA crossing and cruises in the US. They are looking forward to go shopping in Miami...

Hopefully MSC will review and intensive the training for service personell and improve quality control of food before serving to passengers.

 

I may be wrong but it seems to me that MSC selects the most experienced and professional service crew members for new ships and inaugural cruises.

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To be fair the soups were hot and the salads were cold.

We shared a Risotto on 2 dinners as first course and unfortunately that was the best part of our dinner.

Oh, I just remember that my DW noticed the Tiramisu tasted more like Vanilla pudding but not in any way like the Italian Tiramisu we had on Seaview and Bellissima.

Another thing... no second round of bread during dinner on some evenings.

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21 minutes ago, mafig said:

Hopefully, they fix these problems or I can see the boards lighting up with complaints when Mera comes to the US.  A Maitre'd  that just walks away will be famous on Cruise Critic....not in a good way.

Mafig,

you are right. The expectations of US passengers are high and MSC is with all respect not a well known and established cruise company in North America.

They not only have to match the other cruise lines but do better to win passengers over.

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They had also better use the next few years to hone their Yacht Club food and service –  before launching those  "Luxury Class" ships with 1,000 Yacht Club-only passengers!

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I had a hip replacement in 2011 and I spent a great deal of time on these boards reading reviews of MSC.  They were hysterically funny!  Of course, they were funny to me, but not to the people writing the reviews.  I recall one where someone went to GS and asked if he could borrow a pen and the person said NO, turned his  back and walked away.

Also, I recall someone asking for more bread and being told "you don't need more bread, you're fat enough."

I know it sounds hard to believe now, but it just shows how far MSC has come.

 

So I did book a cruise on them and then another.  They are getting better.  

Keep your sense of humor, though!

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32 minutes ago, SirWolf said:

 ... The expectations of US passengers are high and MSC is with all respect not a well known and established cruise company in North America.

They not only have to match the other cruise lines but do better to win passengers over.

 

Sorry to hear of your poor experiences, SW.  I was disappointed in the food offerings on Seaview recently, though the service we received was excellent.

 

The 'wonderful' Pepe (Giuseppe) that everyone raved about on here when he was manager of YC restaurant on Seaside was the manager for the Speciality Restaurants on Seaview;  we had a problem in Butcher's Cut (which I intend to elaborate on when I get 'round to sharing our overall experiences onboard).  He was less than useless when we brought the issue to his attention!  Sure - he did the "everyone onboard is my friend" act.  Maybe that goes down well, Stateside, but, when it came to the crunch, he didn't deliver!

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3 hours ago, mafig said:

Hopefully, they fix these problems or I can see the boards lighting up with complaints when Mera comes to the US.  A Maitre'd  that just walks away will be famous on Cruise Critic....not in a good way.

 

Absolutely correct in your thinking.  MSC has now had enough experience in the North American market that staff and procedures will be tuned to what North American guests expect.

 

3 hours ago, SirWolf said:

We brought some of the issues to the attention of the Maître d’ but he did not even acknowledged the problems, just walked away. We didn’t want to make a scene so we let it go.

 

It's my understanding that there is a "Manager of YC" that overseas the experiences of YC guests.  The Concierge or whomever, or am I misunderstanding what I have read.  If this is so, an unsatisfactory response from the Maitre d' or whomever is responsible for a particular venue of a ship's YC ought to be brought to their attention.  Or, if that is not possible, the ship's Hotel Manager/Director whatever his/her title might be.

 

In my experience on ships of various lines, whomever is the ship's Executive Chef makes a major difference in my satisfaction of the food I consume.  Even in the ships' specialty restaurants, the Chef in charge of that restaurant influences what is served to the guest.

 

Two specific examples of this:  My MDR dinners on Royal Princess this past December/January were mostly disappointing.  Service was lacking as well.  My most recent cruise was aboard Coral Princess.  My MDR dinners--in fact all of them, including breakfast and lunch when the dining room was open--were excellent.  Service was excellent as well including breakfast that last morning in Vancouver.

 

Nieuw Statendam in January on b2b cruises:  MDR dinners and menus were nothing better than "OK".  Service was good.  On Westerdam in July, MDR dinners and menus were very good to excellent as was the service.  HAL's Pinnacle Grill has disappointed me on all of the ships except for Prinsendam.  Sel de Mer on Nieuw Statendam and the pop-up on Westerdam were nothing less than superb!  

 

As customers of the cruise industry, "we pay our money and we take our chances" with the expectation that the staff that will take care of us and our needs will be "at the top of their game".  I have learned from Behind the Scenes Tours that a ship's Executive Chef may "tweak" the corporate recipes that he/she receives.  I have concluded that some are better "tweakers" than others.

 

 

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Did the wonderful Pepe say 'excelenteee' a lot Bea? If so he was our YC Mannager/Maitre'd on Presiosa last year, largely ineffective, all style and no substance. Although I had a recent discussion with a poster who thought he was very good during their Preziosa sailing early this year.  

 

I certainly hope they resolve the issues prior to the US sailings.

Edited by CruisingFox27

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1 minute ago, CruisingFox27 said:

I certainly hope they resolve the issues prior to the US sailings.

 

Well, I, for one, wouldn't be settling for the service SirWolf experienced.  I don't believe in waiting for a re-fill of my wine glass, for one thing.  We had a problem with food not being hot on Splendida last year.  I spoke with the restaurant manager and got nowhere, so I escalated it to the head butler.  After that, the food was so hot even DH had to wait for it to cool a little before attempting to eat it (and he can eat food straight from the oven at home!).

 

Now that MSC has a dedicated YC Director (on the new-builds, anyway), that's the person to speak to if you want an issue sorted!  Alessandro, on Seaview, was so good to us and ensured we were well taken care of due to DH's illness.  I got talking to a woman at the pool who was having serious problems with service in the restaurant (she'd never sailed in YC or on MSC before, so she wasn't sure if what she was experiencing was standard).  I advised her to speak to Alessandro;  the next time we spoke she couldn't thank me enough as there was a major change in the service once she'd spoken to him.

 

Andrea on Meraviglia, in June 2017, was also fantastic.  We had some problems that he looked after for us.

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1 hour ago, Beamafar said:

Now that MSC has a dedicated YC Director (on the new-builds, anyway), that's the person to speak to if you want an issue sorted! 

 

I assume that MSC Meraviglia is considered a new-build.  Therefore, if there are issues that I find, I request speaking to the YC Director?  I should do so through the Concierge?

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Is there a difference* between the ships where the YC restaurant is located within the YC area, vs those where it is as the back of the ship?

 

* in food quality, hot-ness, and service

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55 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Is there a difference* between the ships where the YC restaurant is located within the YC area, vs those where it is as the back of the ship?

 

* in food quality, hot-ness, and service

I can’t tell , sorry. The three ships we were on have the YC restaurant within the Yacht Club on deck 18 in the front of the ship.

The food and service on MSC Seaview and MSC Bellissima were excellent compared to MSC Meraviglia (Baltic Sea, September 2019).

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10 hours ago, SirWolf said:

On Meraviglia the breakfast was semi-buffet style where we had to get bread, rolls, pastries and yogurt from a small buffet at the entrance of the YC Restaurant.

 

 

This I really like. I prefer that the cold items are at a buffet.

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7 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I assume that MSC Meraviglia is considered a new-build.  Therefore, if there are issues that I find, I request speaking to the YC Director?  I should do so through the Concierge?

 

Yes ... we had Andrea (the one I mentioned) on Meraviglia on her first Med sailing.

 

Personally, I don't use the Concierge for complaints; just requests.   I would either speak with the head butler or directly to the YC Director if it's more serious or if I feel an issue hasn't been dealt with (when there is one - I've never encountered one on a Fantasia-class ship.  The ship's Hotel Director would be the one to escalate an issue to in that instance, but I would prefer to keep it within the YC confines).  However, a good Concierge will pass your complaints on to the relevant person.

 

Having said all that, I've rarely had a situation where I've had to escalate a problem to a higher authority.

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5 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Is there a difference* between the ships where the YC restaurant is located within the YC area, vs those where it is as the back of the ship?

 

* in food quality, hot-ness, and service

 

No, not really.  I agree with another poster who said that it often comes down to the Executive Chef.  We had the best food, both in terms of quality and being hot, when on Meraviglia in June 2017.  It was so good, I wanted seconds many, many times (that's a first for me).  Unfortunately I can only eat small amounts at any one time, but a couple of times, I really couldn't resist!

 

However, having experienced the changed menus when on Seaview, I can't say I'm impressed (so much for bringing in someone from Celebrity to "improve" the food offerings 🙄).

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I agree that on Meraviglia there was a bit of hit & miss - on both the service side and food quality side. Whilst overall I still thought it was above the MDR fare, there was only one or two dishes that excelled and truly befitted the narrative MSC like to trot out about the YC.

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4 minutes ago, Captain-John said:

I agree that on Meraviglia there was a bit of hit & miss - on both the service side and food quality side. Whilst overall I still thought it was above the MDR fare, there was only one or two dishes that excelled and truly befitted the narrative MSC like to trot out about the YC.

 

Our overall experience on Seaview was similar, Cap'n.

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I wonder if there will be a different approach on Meraviglia when she goes Stateside;  I'm looking forward to finding out!

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7 hours ago, sverigecruiser said:

 

This I really like. I prefer that the cold items are at a buffet.

Due to passengers going to the small buffet the restaurant felt more busy. People standing up, walking to the buffet and coming back. Just not my idea of a full-service restaurant. I go to deck 19 if I want to eat buffet-style. They used to bring baskets with bread to the table but I guess MSC thought they can save at least one waiter at breakfast by introducing the small buffet. Not a smart move in my opinion.

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My DW just reminded me that she had “Bircher Muesli” twice for breakfast and the Muesli was watered down and extrem liquid. Just another food fail !

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I don't like the idea of the buffet section either - reminds me too much of a Costa MDR for breakfast!!

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32 minutes ago, Captain-John said:

Whilst overall I still thought it was above the MDR fare, there was only one or two dishes that excelled and truly befitted the narrative MSC like to trot out about the YC.

Captain John,

that is 100% correct and reflects what we have observed.

Bottom line: The menu reads excellent and the food is advertised to a certain level of expectation. They promise but don’t deliver.

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