“EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING” - a luxury cruise with a lot of “BUTs…”
The arrival and the embarkation had indeed a WOW factor. When the transfer bus stopped a butler was waiting for us already, he took care of our luggage and escort us to the special Yacht Club check-in area. A welcome buffet with some nibbles and Prosecco was waiting for us, the check-in formalities were quick and after that another butler escorted us straight to the ship passing all the lines and queues. We spend around 10 minutes in the Concierge area to have our credit card registered and we were escorted to the room. Our luggage was already there. From our arrival at the airport to entering the room we needed only 1h30minutes. Impressive and well done MSC!The arrival and the embarkation had indeed a WOW factor. When the transfer bus stopped a butler was waiting for us already, he took care of our luggage and escort us to the special Yacht Club check-in area. A welcome buffet with some nibbles and Prosecco was waiting for us, the check-in formalities were quick and after that another butler escorted us straight to the ship passing all the lines and queues. We spend around 10 minutes in the Concierge area to have our credit card registered and we were escorted to the room. Our luggage was already there. From our arrival at the airport to entering the room we needed only 1h30minutes. Impressive and well done MSC!
There are 20 bars, including the new Diamond Bar that's one of the quieter venues and two outside pool bars. Others include the Green Sax jazz bar, chic El Dorado piano bar and the large Safari Lounge that hosts smaller shows with a very annoying animation team and has a dance floor. Our favourite place was with no doubts Green Sax with nice deco and good music (especially the mix duo Romanian-Ukrainian); and of course an amazing Romanian bartender, Vlad, who’s cocktails very close to perfection in mixology.
BUT … MSC having a very cosmopolitan crowd on board all the announcements are done in 6 languages…even the safety ones (can you imagine if you speak Japanese you will be the last one to find that the ship is sinking…oops…sounds like Costa Concordia story). The annoying thing is that while you enjoy a lovely cocktail with some good music in the lounge the charm is destroyed by a Chinese man screaming on PA system something that’s sound like a menu in a Chinese Takeaway. Priceless moment(s)!
This is not a ship where the majority of passengers are running to bed before midnight. The main entertainment venue is the 1,600-seat two-story Platinum Theatre on Decks 6 and 7. The emphasis is on visual shows which supposed to appeal to an international audience. The theatre is, once again, like the entire ship impressive and has all the ads on to host amazing shows.
BUT… MSC definitely cut costs in the entertainment department because I never saw such a poor offer in my entire “cruiser career”. The cast, sets and costume are repetitive and the production are just a line-up of well-known songs with no concept or imagination. The dancer were quite good but looking at their performance you can realise the different background and training: ballroom, cabaret, street dance. It was a repetitive performance of how they couldn’t manage to synchronize their movements every night and lift their hands or legs in a random order, for sure not created by the choreographer. As I said the dancing was not so bad. What really made me leave the theatre before the end of the show were the two leading voices…Painful most of the time, far from being a duo when was a need for that, more interested in their stage pose than their vocal performance and managing to kill every song in a very personal and powerful way. Worse than the first pre-pre-pre-pre selection for XFactor in Margate! I wonder if MSC found that Italians invented big lavish TV entertainment on Canale5 or they host every year the high quality Festival San Remo ?
MSC Voyagers Club
Is the scheme for frequent travellers on board of MSC ships. All cruise lines offer a series of benefits depending the level that you have in the framework. MSC made a step forward, trying to encourage passengers from other lines to try MSC by offering them the equivalent status they have attained in their loyalty club in the MSC Voyagers Club. Genial marketing idea !
BUT…in reality is a little bit different. We are Diamond on Cunard and Platinum on NCL so we got an equivalent Black level on MSC. A statement from the line said: "As with the previous MSC Club, members qualify for a whole range of benefits and extras which increase as they rise up the membership tiers. Gold and Black members will now receive additional tier benefits as standard. The only benefits that you will get is a Welcome back cocktail, Complimentary basket of fresh fruit in cabin, Complimentary MSC Voyagers club photo, Complimentary speciality restaurant dinner (no beverages), MSC Voyagers Club black party, MSC Voyagers Club chocolate ship, Complimentary dancing class sounds more like budget scheme the a loyalty one. And don’t expect to get all of this without asking. In two weeks we manage to get the party invitation, the chocolate ships and the free dinners. Actually, quite sad, the person who supposed to be your Voyagers Club host and the one who can make you to book another cruise with MSC, the Cruise Consultant, was the rudest and unprofessional person on board. When we try to speak with Melanie about another booking she push her hand in our faces and shout at us to wait because she was busy! If she’s working on commission for sure she lost a lot and she needs some training in customer service. And reading the online reviews the changes in their benefits for Voyagers Club members is not very popular.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Would I go back to MSC Yacht Club? YES ! As a test, to see if all those BUTs were just a one-off glitch in an amazing product. At the end of the day, for today's value-conscious traveller, the Yacht Club offers the feeling of a luxury small ship with all the advantages of large vessel cruising at a