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jkgourmet

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About jkgourmet

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    Raleigh, NC USA

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  1. If so, did you feel I'll during or with 14 days of the end of that cruise? I did I'm scheduled for an antibody test.
  2. Maybe it's old news around here. This extension appears to be beyond the date other cruise lines have announced. (And shows that MSC management has a more sensible idea of what is reasonable given this infection.) https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/22739-when-the-major-cruise-lines-plan-to-restart-service.html
  3. We've sailed out of miami several times and NEVER experienced lines like we did on feb 16. It's not the POM - it's MSC doing the checkin and it MAYBE the port TSA not being set up to deal with 4000+ passenger ship. I would not hesitate to sail out of POM again, but we'll NEVER sail on a mega ship again regardless of port or cruiseline.
  4. Good on you. BUT it's still a damn site more expensive than the "cheap seats". Regardless, it's a matter of personal choice.
  5. The "cheap seats" = inside and OV cabins. And of course you found nothing "cheap" in the YC experience - nor was it as cheap as an inside or OV cabin. I'm betting that on MSC, it's kinda dumb to compare the rest of the ship with the YC; hence, my subject line.
  6. The Very Good and the Very Bad of MSC We are seniors who have sailed 25+ times on 7 different mass market cruise lines. We always sail in inside or OV cabins as we don't see value in spending our money on where we sleep. We had sailed on the MSC Divina 4-5 years ago and enjoyed the cruise enough to book another. This time, we selected the Meraviglia. It was our first experience on a super-sized ship. Embarkation was very slow. Not enough personnel to handle the number of people. The inside cabin is roomy, but the lack of storage is simply ridiculous. We travel lightly - two carry ons and that's it. The drawers barely held my clothing, so my husband lived out of a suitcase all week. Storage in the bathroom was adequate. The bed was comfortable. The cruise was a week of contradictions: Getting a drink at some bars could be frustrating, at others easy and pleasant. Some of the staff smiled, others walked around looking bored or angry. The food in the MDR for dinner was quite good, and we enjoyed it. The food in the MDR at lunch was poor (except for the bacon cheeseburger, which was terrific). Service in the MDR for dinner was some of the best we've ever had on all our cruises! Service in the MDR at lunch was so lousy that we actually gave up after waiting more than 30 minutes to be served (and no, they weren't busy). The breakfast and lunch buffet was abysmal. The roasts were overcooked to the level of shoe leather. No sandwich bar, chicken or tuna salad. The charcuterie was excellent on our last MSC cruise - high quality imported meats and cheeses. It's been replaced with basic supermarket quality items - not a slice of prosciutto in site. The "ethnic" area was mexican every day, and visually looked like it had been there for days. An Italian ship and no Caesar salad on the buffet? Yep - only Caesar salad dressing. Want an omelet at breakfast? Be prepared to wait and don't expect much customization - for example, if you want onions, they are pre-mixed with bell peppers. Want cheese? It's cheddar or nothing. But the staff did an excellent job of busing the tables. The Easy Alcohol Package is incredibly annoying. Wine = one cab, one merlot, one chardonnay, one sauvignon blanc (which magicalliy turned in the pinot grigio in some venues). Given the price, the wines weren't bad - but boy, we got sick of drinking the same wine all week! Easy package includes a few basic mixed drinks with brand quality alcohol. BUT - Want a bloody mary? You're going to ask for a virgin mary and a shot of vodka, then play bartender yourself. Same thing with the frozen drinks. You'll have to settle for straight gin in your martini because they won't mix in any vermouth. It's really a ridiculous program. To add insult to injury, you can't use the Easy package AT ALL in the specialty restaurants (hence, we didn't eat in the specialty restaurants.) And if you want a higher priced drink than allowed on your package, you're paying the full price, not just the difference. The ship IS gorgeous, but the interior design and furniture decisions were selected for their looks and aesthetics. Comfort and function has been lost in translation. The basic design of the ship doesn't always work with 5000+ passengers. With the exception of certain areas, we regularly felt like we were in an ant farm. (I recognize that our feeling may not be related to just this ship; rather, it is probably that we are simply unsuited to sailing on mega ships.) Of course, chair hogs exist on all cruises, but on this one they wake up before dawn, plant their flag and go into port for the day. Asking the staff to do something is futile. After 9am on a sea day, forget about getting a lounger. BUT the entertainment! OMG was it great! The MSC productions and the entertainers are professional quality. They make other cruiseline entertainers look like a high school music production. Cirque de Soleil was a treat and well worth the $19 (though the included drink was undrinkable.) One big disappointment: The night that we reserved the Cirque show it was cancelled due to "technical issues." It was rescheduled for 3pm on the last sea day. Unfortunately, that was the exact same time as the only showroom entertainment offered on the sea day. We had to chose. That's a scheduling mistake that shouldn't happen. We did need to contact guest services several times over minor issues or questions. Rather than going to the desk and waiting on line, I used the phone and always received efficient, quick and personable service. Many consider MSC to be bargain/value based quality, and our expectations were exactly in that place. And if one is used to paying the high prices for high end cabins on other cruise lines, MSC is a good bargain/value proposition. But for those of us who travel in the cheap seats of inside and OV cabins, the pricing on MSC is not dramatically cheaper. Would we sail MSC again? Unlikely. Would we recommend it to others? Yes, but with reservations and explanations.
  7. That's entirely true. And it's the reason we drink Two Buck Chuck sometimes. But here's the thing: if one sails in the cheap seats (inside or OV gty, bella, and the like), MSC is NOT appreciably cheaper. Especially when one compares the small print. One example = the Easy package compared to basic alcohol packages on every other cruise line.
  8. We scheduled with Rony for a tour in Roatan. We paid in full prior to the tour (our choice - he offered to only take a deposit by PayPal, and remainder in cash on the day of the tour.) I confirmed with him the day prior to our arrival. We arranged for a pick up between 9:30 and 10am. For those of you who have never been to this port, you meet private guides at a gate just outside the port. Getting to that gate is like going to a maze of vendors - unpleasant to say the least. At the gate, it's even worse. Noisy, dirty and vendors who were aggressive, but polite. We were there between 9:25 and 9:30am. By 10am we were feeling like there was a problem. One of the vendors offered to call Rony on his personal cellphone. He spoke with Rony, and was told that Rony's driver was caught in traffic. Okay, but why did the other tour guides get there on time? The vendor gave me his personal cellphone to talk to Rony. Unfortunately, due to the noise of the vendors and traffic, it was nearly impossible to hear Rony. The next thing I know, other driver's are coming up to us (again, rather aggressively) explaining that they worked for Rony and would take us on our tour. I asked for ID to show they were Rony's employees, which they could not produce. The ID badges around their necks indicated they worked for other companies. My husband and I were certainly not getting into a car with some other tour company of which we know nothing, especially since we had already paid Rony. It was a total mess. Very, very upsetting - not just that he was a no-show, but also the environment of that area. We are very well traveled - in the Caribbean, Istanbul, Bangkok, etc. many, many places where haggling and hassling with vendors is known to be awful. Heck, we lived in Mexico part time for two years. We are NOT easily intimidated by any of this kind of stuff. But this port area was BAD. After waiting for 50 minutes we left. I told Rony to refund our money. Within a few hours, I received a sincere email of apology, with the same excuse of a traffic jam. In that email, he said he would refund the amount he received from PayPal - $84 and change. In other words, the amount he received after PayPal's transaction fee. As a matter of principle, I objected and said I had paid him $90 and I wanted a full refund. A full refund was process quickly, with another note of apology. So - no sloths, no beach day for us. In 30+ years of arranging independent tours, this is the very first time I've had any difficulty (beyond a few driver's who were English language challenged).
  9. This was one of the most disappointing and irritating things on our Mera feb 16 cruise. In the morning before the Captain finished announcing that we would not be stopping at Ocean Cay, we could hear people slamming their cabin doors and running down the hallway to get their lounger. On this cruise, We did not get off the ship. We were convinced that people kidnapped loungers before they left for shore excursions. The crew was unwilling to deal with it, even when we spoke with them. And it is one of the few reasons we are very unlikely to sail MSC again. (Yes, we have cruised other mass market cruise lines that DO police the reserved lounges, at least minimally or on request. ) PS I was told that the tiny pool at the back of the ship is supposed to be adults only.
  10. With some (all?) cruise lines, the casino workers are NOT employees of the cruise company. The same is true of those who work in the shops. NOT cruise line employees. So what his vlog or paycheck shows is irrelevant to this issue. (and if one believes everything that people say/show/document on the internet, I've got this program to sell you that will teach you how to make $100,000 a week. . . I'll show you my ebay account history to prove it!) This entire issue of what happens to the DSC is factually unknown to ALL of us. It's like saying there's no God - how do you know for sure?
  11. Depends on what you want/expect/will put up with. The $6 list is very short. Two reds - cabernet and merlot. Both La Terre. Two whites - a chardonnay and pinot grigio (or sauvignon blanc - there was no consistency between venues). And prosecco. We are NOT wine snobs. The cab, pinot grigio and sav blanc were okay, but after a week of same, same, same, we were really bored. One brand of draft beer - I think it was Heineken. Bottled Miller Lite. AFAIK, that's it. Basic cocktails - rum and coke, scotch and water, vodka and sprite, gin and tonic, etc. Liquors were fine, the basic name brands - bacardi, Smirnoff, etc. Strangely, long island iced tea was included. Want a bloody mary? You have to order a virgin mary and a shot of vodka. Same procedure for frozen drinks. Seriously dumb. Easy package not useable in speciality restaurants. Also seriously dumb. Want a drink that costs more than $6? You're paying for the whole thing plus gratuities, not just the difference in cost. We did not upgrade because we didn't like the idea of paying extra just to get a basic, DECENT drink package. Others obviously disagree. But if you're going to upgrade, do it before boarding. You'll save paying the gratuities.
  12. Yes. Up by one of the pools. Vanilla, chocolate and swirl. It was actually pretty good!
  13. About 5-6 minutes to arrive, 8-10 minutes in the car. On our return, the lyft arrived more quickly. Smooth and pleasant experience.
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