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New to MSC, Please Forgive Me

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Hello All, first MSC post. 

Wife and I are both Elite on Princess but have never sailed MSC. Looking to change that. The whole idea of status matching got my attention. 

We’re looking at putting on our “MSC training wheels” for a Caribbean cruise next year.  

Have a ton of very basic MSC questions if you’ll permit me. (Before asking, I did read all 217 posts in skier52’s excellent sticky “Updated: all the info....”)

 

The only parameters we’ve nailed down are these:

  • Seaside or Divina or Mera (leaning towards Seaside)
  • YC Deluxe Suite  

 

So, here goes, (BTW, we are in the US, if it matters)

  • Are OBCs available that can be “earned” (shareholder, military, etc)?
  • Are OBCs stackable/combinable?
  • Starting this spring WiFi will be included in YC, correct? Is the 4GB per cabin or per pax? If we exceed 4GB, how do we buy more?
  • Are we permitted to bring soft drinks/bottled water on board?
  • Are pax laundry facilities available on board? If so, how much?
  • Is laundry ever an included perk (Diamond/Black or YC)?
  • I typically make cruise reservations through my TA. Is there an advantage to making reservations directly with MSC and perhaps moving to a TA later?
  • Where can I find a cancellation schedule? I’ve looked and have found nothing. 
  • The “status” page talks about a 5% cruise discount for everyone with status.
  • MSC also  offers a 10% discount to various groups (one of which I belong to). Do any of these discounts combine? How does this all work? 
  • Been looking for instructions for using the MSC for Me wristband but can’t find anything. Is this similar to the Princess Medallion?
  • YC Dining Attire - gave up tuxes, suits, jackets and ties many years ago. On other cruise lines I’m always OK with dark pants and a SS Hawaiian shirt  for dinner (I’ll normally wear a LS shirt on formal nights). Will this work on MSC?
  • I see where MSC requires pax to purchase bottled water in the MDRs (no tap water available???). Does this apply to YC? 
  • Does MSC offer airline package add-ons (like EZAir on Princess)?
  • Do any or all of these ships (Seaside, Divina or Mera) have full walkable promenade decks? The deck plans are difficult to interpert. 
  • Is there really a charge for on demand movies in YC cabins?

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Posted (edited)

I can answer some of your questions, but have never sailed in YC.  

Not permitted to bring on any beverages including water.  

Water from a pitcher is available in the MDR free on cruises from the US.  You may also purchase bottled water if you prefer.  Your suggested attire will be fine.

The wristband will do everything your cruise card would do except ding you on and off the ship.  I believe it is free in the YC, the rest of the ship we pay $5.  I found it convenient.  

Divina has a promenade below the lifeboats but it goes up and down each side, not all the way around (unless you venture into a crew only area).  Seaside does have more promenade but still not all the way around.  I can speak for Meraviglia.  

I don't believe you can stack discounts...

There are no self serve laundry facilities.  You can purchase a laundry package.  

EM

Edited by Essiesmom

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41 minutes ago, Bgwest said:
  • Are OBCs available that can be “earned” (shareholder, military, etc)? Yes...join the Voyager club (free...do a status match instead of a straight join) and sail on Voyager cruises...you will get $50/pp (or 50 euro if not in US). There are also sometimes deals where MSC will give you OBC and if you book a future cruise onboard you'll get $200 OBC/cabin. Discounts are what you really want, though...5% always once a Voyager member and if you sail on a Voyager cruise you'll get an *additional* 5-15% off.
  • Are OBCs stackable/combinable? Yes...you can combine the above with OBC from your TA.
  • Starting this spring WiFi will be included in YC, correct? Is the 4GB per cabin or per pax? If we exceed 4GB, how do we buy more? Cabin. You can buy them just like anything else once you have a reservation (e.g., laundry, drink package, excursions, etc.)
  • Are we permitted to bring soft drinks/bottled water on board? No, but if in YC you won't care unless there is something very specific you need.
  • Are pax laundry facilities available on board? If so, how much? Varies by sailing but packages of 10-40 pieces. Once you get a reservation you can see this. I think you can also pay per piece for like $2-3.
  • Is laundry ever an included perk (Diamond/Black or YC)? No
  • I typically make cruise reservations through my TA. Is there an advantage to making reservations directly with MSC and perhaps moving to a TA later? No...in fact transferring to a TA is a manual (from you) process. Easy, but a little bit of a pain. And every time I've done a xfer it has been messed up. 
  • Where can I find a cancellation schedule? I’ve looked and have found nothing. 120 days without penalty if YC. Here is a link to the schedule on their site: https://www.msccruisesusa.com/en-us/Terms-Conditions.aspx
  • The “status” page talks about a 5% cruise discount for everyone with status.See above what I said about Voyager.
  • MSC also  offers a 10% discount to various groups (one of which I belong to). Do any of these discounts combine? How does this all work? Not 100% sure about this since I am not in any of those groups 🙂
  • Been looking for instructions for using the MSC for Me wristband but can’t find anything. Is this similar to the Princess Medallion? Essiesmon answered this above. I will add that Divina does *not* have these. I personally find them amazingly useful.
  • YC Dining Attire - gave up tuxes, suits, jackets and ties many years ago. On other cruise lines I’m always OK with dark pants and a SS Hawaiian shirt  for dinner (I’ll normally wear a LS shirt on formal nights). Will this work on MSC? As long as you wear pants you are fine. I usually wear Dockers and a short sleeve collared shirt. Others dress more fancy. Either works.
  • I see where MSC requires pax to purchase bottled water in the MDRs (no tap water available???). Does this apply to YC? Free in YC...as much as you want. Also, note, the minibar contents are free and, at least on US sailings, restocked as much as you want.
  • Does MSC offer airline package add-ons (like EZAir on Princess)? Not sure.
  • Do any or all of these ships (Seaside, Divina or Mera) have full walkable promenade decks? The deck plans are difficult to interpert. Essiesmom gave a good answer to this. There is an outside walking track on Divina.
  • Is there really a charge for on demand movies in YC cabins? Yes

 

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BTW, you can find lots of YC comparisons here. I recently sailed Divina and Seaside and wrote the below (brief) synopsis:

 

Just got off a b2b with Divina and Seaside. It was my first time on Divina and second on Seaside. Definitely prefer Seaside, but both were nice.

 

Places where Divina was better...topsail. No comparison here...more food and changed more throughout the day. Many butlers...I couldn't get to a chair without a butler offering me a drink. On Seaside many times there was a single butler who was overworked. It was nicer seeing directly outside instead of seeing a deck and then outside.

 

YC restaurant. Here I mean only the look and feel. Far more elegant.

 

Non YC bars and entertainment areas. They were also laid out so you could easily walk through them instead of being off to the side.

 

Sports bar. Lots of free food.

 

Deck has wind barriers so you can actually eat there without everything blowing away.

 

In almost every other way we felt Seaside was better. Staterooms much larger, bathroom better, larger balcony. Having the wristband option was nice. Food was far superior (even though we greatly enjoyed food on both), grill was larger and way more selections.

 

Seaside is also a better designed ship. Beautiful, few if any chokepoints (walking to dinner on Divina was hard because you are funneled through the photo shop area unless you walk outside).

 

And for me personally, having dinner right above topsail was nice as I could run to the cabin, throw on pants, and then back to shorts quickly and easily.

 

Bottom line, you cant go wrong with either ship, but we preferred Seaside.

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OP, what a great bunch of questions! 

 

We are also new to MSC and  Yacht Club so I will be paying attention to this thread.

 

And very helpful answers.  Thanks!

 

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12 hours ago, Bgwest said:

Hello All, first MSC post. 

Wife and I are both Elite on Princess but have never sailed MSC. Looking to change that. The whole idea of status matching got my attention. 

We’re looking at putting on our “MSC training wheels” for a Caribbean cruise next year.  

Have a ton of very basic MSC questions if you’ll permit me. (Before asking, I did read all 217 posts in skier52’s excellent sticky “Updated: all the info....”)

 

The only parameters we’ve nailed down are these:

  • Seaside or Divina or Mera (leaning towards Seaside)
  • YC Deluxe Suite  

 

So, here goes, (BTW, we are in the US, if it matters)

  • Are OBCs available that can be “earned” (shareholder, military, etc)?
  • Are OBCs stackable/combinable?
  • Starting this spring WiFi will be included in YC, correct? Is the 4GB per cabin or per pax? If we exceed 4GB, how do we buy more?
  • Are we permitted to bring soft drinks/bottled water on board?
  • Are pax laundry facilities available on board? If so, how much?
  • Is laundry ever an included perk (Diamond/Black or YC)?
  • I typically make cruise reservations through my TA. Is there an advantage to making reservations directly with MSC and perhaps moving to a TA later?
  • Where can I find a cancellation schedule? I’ve looked and have found nothing. 
  • The “status” page talks about a 5% cruise discount for everyone with status.
  • MSC also  offers a 10% discount to various groups (one of which I belong to). Do any of these discounts combine? How does this all work? 
  • Been looking for instructions for using the MSC for Me wristband but can’t find anything. Is this similar to the Princess Medallion?
  • YC Dining Attire - gave up tuxes, suits, jackets and ties many years ago. On other cruise lines I’m always OK with dark pants and a SS Hawaiian shirt  for dinner (I’ll normally wear a LS shirt on formal nights). Will this work on MSC?
  • I see where MSC requires pax to purchase bottled water in the MDRs (no tap water available???). Does this apply to YC? 
  • Does MSC offer airline package add-ons (like EZAir on Princess)?
  • Do any or all of these ships (Seaside, Divina or Mera) have full walkable promenade decks? The deck plans are difficult to interpert. 
  • Is there really a charge for on demand movies in YC cabins?

Sodas/water - Absolutely no need in YC (or other Experiences if you have a drink package). MSC offers a much much much wider selection of soda options than Princess - Dr Pepper, Cherry soda, lots more diet choices, etc.  Something like 10-15 choices versus Princess coke, Sprite, orange, root beer. 

Bottled water is covered by YC, all you want, 24/7, in cabin, delivered by room service, at any bar, dining venue, and so forth.  Ask your butler for extras, and you'll have 6-8 on your desk within minutes. Lol. (If in "lower"Experiences, ie Aurea, Bella, etc and have a drink Package, bottled water is included all you want, but not through room service, unless Premium Plus).

Wristband basically replaced room key for while aboard. You'll need room key itself to get on/off the ship. Tap wristband for entering cabin, making purchases, elevator, etc. 

No self service laundry on MSC. Laundry packages (20 pieces for $30 or some such). For a week, laundry usually isn't really necessary. We do the 40 peice package when we do two weeks cruises with MSC. 

 

 

Very different onboard atmosphere and experience than Princess, much more diverse demographic, dining options are more limited (along with hours, although there's 24/7 no charge room service for YC), different service style (continental European versus American more in your face), etc. We absolutely love MSC (and are long time Elite on Princess) and they're who we look at first now for cruises, before Princess or Celebrity....

Enjoy

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OP, thanks for asking these questions! We are cruising MSC for the first time in September in the YC, and I am so looking forward to it but had a lot of the same questions. :)

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“and sail on Voyager cruises“
 

Terrific bunch of responses! Thanks everyone. I’m learning a lot. 

 

What exactly is a “Voyager Cruise”? 
Is this a specific itinerary or ship?

The terminology is new to me. 
 

 

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6 minutes ago, Bgwest said:

“and sail on Voyager cruises“
 

Terrific bunch of responses! Thanks everyone. I’m learning a lot. 

 

What exactly is a “Voyager Cruise”? 
Is this a specific itinerary or ship?

The terminology is new to me. 
 

 

If you go to the website and click on the Voyager section you'll see another section for Voyager sailings. On the US site it is:

 

https://www.msccruisesusa.com/en-us/MSC-Voyagers-Club/MSC-Club-Pax-Type-515.aspx

 

There you will find cruises are *further* (i.e., on top of the 5% you already get) discounted 5-15%. The only problem is you need to do 3 searches...once for the 5, then the 10, then the 15...kind of a pain. But if you are flexible then you can get some great deals.

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Not able to answer all of the OP questions, but my experience from January 5th cruise on Meraviglia in YC.

 

During the evening in the Lounge and Restaurant, people were well dressed.  I wore my tux one of the two formal nights and did not feel out of place.  Smart casual evenings, guests were dressed as they would have been on most other cruise lines.  Wearing nice shorts in the DR for breakfast or lunch?  You would not be alone.

 

8 hours ago, reedprincess said:

Been looking for instructions for using the MSC for Me wristband but can’t find anything. Is this similar to the Princess Medallion?

 

No experience with the Princess Medallion.  On Meraviglia YC, you will be given a wrist band that has some type of electronic medallion.  It opens your suite door, provides access to the YC and helps to summon an elevator for priority service--sometimes.  (Really never figured out during my 7 day cruise how this "feature" really worked.)

 

If you are able to match your other cruise lines' highest level of status to MSC Voyager's Club, your cruise card will be Black.  That was more significantly recognized by bartenders/stewards outside of YC that I expected.  Particularly with the bartenders in the Meraviglia Lounge and the Atmosphere Pool Bar saw that I was a YC guest, one drink was enough at that time, thank you very much.

 

In room movies cost $4 each even in YC.  

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7 hours ago, Bgwest said:

“and sail on Voyager cruises“
 

Terrific bunch of responses! Thanks everyone. I’m learning a lot. 

 

What exactly is a “Voyager Cruise”? 
Is this a specific itinerary or ship?

The terminology is new to me. 
 

 

 Voyager's Club is MSC's Frequent Cruiser Club.

Just like Captain's Circle for Princess or Captain's Circle for Celebrity or Crown + Anchor for RCI, etc.  

Simply the name for frequent cruiser group. 

 

If you Status Match from Princess to MSC, you'll then qualify for the automatic 5% Voyager's Club discount. And there's multiple sailings that have extra VC discounts above the regular 5%>>>

 

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14 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

If you are able to match your other cruise lines' highest level of status to MSC Voyager's Club, your cruise card will be Black.

FYI, it is Diamond now, not Black.

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16 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

It opens your suite door, provides access to the YC and helps to summon an elevator for priority service--sometimes.  (Really never figured out during my 7 day cruise how this "feature" really worked.)

 

Priority elevator only works on certain elevators and even then, some elevators are more receptive than others. Check with the butlers for the scoop.

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8 hours ago, alyssamma said:

FYI, it is Diamond now, not Black.

 

My cruise card had a Black border at the top.

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1 hour ago, rkacruiser said:

 

My cruise card had a Black border at the top.

That may be, but the status level is Diamond. It was renamed a few months ago. If you get a card now, that is what will be written on it - Diamond. The color of the actual card may still be black, but the status level is Diamond.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, alyssamma said:

The color of the actual card may still be black, but the status level is Diamond.

 

I realize that.  It seems to me that it makes no difference if the card is Black or my status would be Diamond.   

 

 

Edited by rkacruiser

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1 minute ago, rkacruiser said:

 

I realize that.  It seems to me that it makes no difference wither the card is Black or my status would be Diamond.  

 

 

Agreed...color of card doesn't matter. I was making it clear to the OP the status is Diamond.

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I'm still struggling with:

  • Does MSC offer airline package add-ons (like EZAir on Princess)?

Anyone?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Bgwest said:

I'm still struggling with:

  • Does MSC offer airline package add-ons (like EZAir on Princess)?

Anyone?

 

I really don't know.  Do you have a MSC brochure?  If so, such information ought to be printed there.  Have you searched their website?  If so, such information ought to be there.  

 

Their North American office is in Fort Lauderdale on North Andrews Avenue.  A call to them ought to answer your question, if nothing else.

Edited by rkacruiser

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1 hour ago, Bgwest said:

I'm still struggling with:

  • Does MSC offer airline package add-ons (like EZAir on Princess)?

Anyone?

Yes, they do...it depends on where you are sailing from. It is probably best to call them directly to get specific details.

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Sent MSC reservations an email yesterday. Received the following this morning:

Good afternoon,
 

Thank you for reaching out to us, as we are happy to assist you. Here at MSC, we offer a package that is called Fly and Cruise. If you would like more information on this package, please visit our website, https://www.msccruises.com/en-gl/Manage-Your-Booking/Parking.aspx, to view information.

Regards,

MSC Reservations

 

The link really doesn't provide any useful information. Seems like maybe when a reservation is booked this part of the reservation "comes alive" and allows flights to be explored and booked. 

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MSC says they will status match but in reality they do not.  It is a con to get you to book. Just sailed on Armonia with a friend who has NCL perks and MSC did not honor one of them.  Also, I think you will be disappointed in the food on an MSC ship.

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2 hours ago, BucketListFun said:

MSC says they will status match but in reality they do not.  It is a con to get you to book. Just sailed on Armonia with a friend who has NCL perks and MSC did not honor one of them.  Also, I think you will be disappointed in the food on an MSC ship.

 

Well you do the status match before you sail, and thus you are matched to a level on MSC and therefore know what you are getting before you sail. It works.

 

Tell me your friend didn't just turn up and say 'Oh I'm such and such level with NCL"?

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Unlike me, my friend is a lifetime cruiser,  who also had never sailed on MSC before and the sales department told her they would match her status and she provided the information and MSC sent an email verifying status, but when we boarded the reception desk  disputed what the MSC sales department had promised her even though she had the email.  I have no reason to lie about this.  I guess I could say we are two old women (76) who pay a premium for being solo travelers in our own cabins and MSC saw targets for ripping us off, like some automobile mechanics think they have the right to do. I have never been a fraud or a lier just a single mother, hard worker, now disabled trying to enjoy life and see the world in my old age.  And sorry to say that after my cruise on the MSC Armonia, am somewhat bitter about being deceived.

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I'm curious what level you were promised, and what you did not receive.

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