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Taking the plunge… trying MSC


Kevinb1176
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Have been exclusive with Celebrity since 2007. Last 5 or 6 sailings have been in suites with Michaels Club or The Retreat. We haven’t cruised since January 2022 which was a third makeup from Covid. 
 

When I priced a suite for 2 adults and a 1 year old it was a lot more than it used to be. Celebrity was charging a lot for my 1 year old. Looked at Royal, Norwegian and found MSC. Under $6000 and a ton of onboard credit for 7 nights on Seashore in a Yacht Club Grand Deluxe Suite. Was lucky to find one of the few extra wide ones. Looks nice and some reviews say Yacht Club is great.
 

Looking forward to trying something new. Hoping it’s a great experience. 

Edited by Kevinb1176
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You are going to love Yacht Club!  Seashore was my first MSC experience after bailing on Celebrity. There is absolutely no comparison between the Retreat and YC. The outside areas are nice as well but be prepared for a bit more of a lively atmosphere than on Celebrity. For some, this is a good thing and for others, it’s overwhelming. For us, we really enjoyed the many venues throughout the ship and then relished in the quiet of the YC. Enjoy!!

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Thanks! Looking forward to seeing the differences. Have a 1 year old so a little concerned about disturbing others. Will try and do dinner as early as possible and try to get a table in the corner. We probably won’t make it to shows unless they have babysitting but that’s ok. 
 

Reviews on MSC service aren’t great outside yacht club but I find most reviews are complaints as positive ones don’t always make it to boards. 
 

I’ve seen celebrity is slowly cutting back on perks like group butlers for sky suites starting soon. It’s a good time to see what else is out there. 

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1 hour ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

There is absolutely no comparison between the Retreat and YC.

 

No comparison... in a good way? Trying YC out for the first time in November and looking to get excited and/or hedge expectations accordingly! 

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The reviews seem to be not great outside Yacht Club, and outstanding in the Yacht Club.
 

Have had mixed experiences on Celebrity. Had sailings that were flawless, some that were a disaster. Service has been hit or miss. Been in a suite on Silhouette where carts rolled through the buffet all hours of the night that vibrated the cabin, others where my wife got hurt on a windy day where the deck 5 door closed on her arm where they admitted it should’ve been closed.  They put the out of order sign on right after and in medical center were only concerned about covering their butts with taking pictures as I told them to attend to her arm before you worry about covering your butts. Cabins that smelled like paint from the vents where they said nobody was painting to find a guy waving to us as he varnished the handrails in the staff stairs outside the cabin. Another one where there was a large outbreak of norovirus, medical was supposed to come up to the suite to help instead of my wife puking in the public areas and never showed. Was told they’re very busy, time to disembark. Butlers that we’re great, one’s that never showed. 
 

I’m open and looking forward to trying new experiences and will give MSC a shot. Hopefully it’ll be great. One thing that has great reviews is the pizza. Since moving south from NY that’s one thing I am looking to trying. 

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14 hours ago, Kevinb1176 said:

Celebrity was charging a lot for my 1 year old.

What Celebrity is charging for small kids is actually nothing else but an insulation. I will never ever cruise with them anymore with the kids. Without kids they can always make me a great oder and I will consider 🙂

No problem as my kids anyway insist on MSC without having ever cruise another line. So you better like msc whatever will happen 😄

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Well: Nothing in this life is perfect, is it? That said; to know the exact product from objective analysis is perhaps the best way to not end up disappointed on ones options. Let me to try to help a little bit on that:

 

YC on MSC equals a Premium suite enclave (EU 5*) inside a Mainline ship (EU 4*).

Retreat on X equals a Premium suite enclave (EU 5*) inside a Premium ship (EU 5*).

 

That's perhaps the most important to know about both products. Both are equally Premium products on the same land hotel industry standard. Perks and value per buck may vary. YC has such a fame of being the smaller suites at sea, but that may be changing as MSC's new builds are coming side by side with their competitors.

 

The main difference will be round ship's "steerage": X will be your typical Premium clientele. MSC will be your younger, less affluent clientele.

 

Oh! And to not forget: Once MSC is Italian owned and operated, chances are you'll find a more international crowd at their ships as well.

 

In summary: You'll be either way well whatever the product you chose. The "steerage" part of the ship will be far different from MSC to X, despite the fact that decoration wise and general environment wise I can to describe MSC as being sort of an "X lite".

Edited by Nunagoras
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There are several babies in strollers on this ship )Seaside) and we’re on the previous cruise. They don’t seem to be a problem. I see them at the shows, too. But the music can be quite loud, if that bothers your child. I went up to the kids area and spoke with one person in the under 3 area. The hours for baby time are 8-11p and baby care is 6-8p. I’m not sure what the difference is. The shows run 30-40 minutes and there are three shows a night, earliest 7:30.  You have to make reservations because the theater is not large enough to hold everyone. Your butler could do it for you. 
 

there is also the jungle pool area for kids and the young at heart. The rules clearly state no non-potty trained but when I was observing today I clearly saw one child with a diaper under swimsuit, and a couple younger with no diaper under suit and they were barely toddler age yet. 
 

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2 hours ago, Avatar345 said:

 

No comparison... in a good way? Trying YC out for the first time in November and looking to get excited and/or hedge expectations accordingly! 

Yes, in a great way!  YC is night and day over Retreat. And I don’t say that lightly as we have been pretty loyal Celebrity Suite Life for the last 8 years…had to give MSC a try when Celebrity began pricing us out of the suite category. 

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8 hours ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

You are going to love Yacht Club!  Seashore was my first MSC experience after bailing on Celebrity. There is absolutely no comparison between the Retreat and YC. The outside areas are nice as well but be prepared for a bit more of a lively atmosphere than on Celebrity. For some, this is a good thing and for others, it’s overwhelming. For us, we really enjoyed the many venues throughout the ship and then relished in the quiet of the YC. Enjoy!!

@Georgia_Peaches Hi.  We, too, are loyal Celebrity Suite cruisers (been sailing with Celebrity since the first year they came out with the Horizon and for the past 15 years or so have been sailing exclusively in suites).  We, also, are making the move to MSC (Meraviglia sailing next month).  The Celebrity suite pricing is out of control (and their product is slowly getting worse and worse!)  Here's my question for you:  Regarding tips for the bar personnel, waitstaff, etc.  On Celebrity, we are very well known to most of the bar personnel because we sail so often.   On the last night we make sure to visit all the bars that we frequented regularly (mostly Martini Bar....LOL), and the Retreat Deck pool guys, etc. and give them a hefty tip to put in their tip bucket.  The crew knows this is our modus operandi so they are not looking for a few bucks each time they serve us a drink.  Since we will be "strangers" to the MSC crew how would you suggest we do tipping in the lounges?  Tip each night as we get our drinks or wait until the last night?  Also, how about the YC restaurant?  Do you usually get the same wait team every night.  WIth Luminae we always have the same waiter but, as you know, all other waitstaff pitch in and help wherever needed.  We know tips are pooled in Luminae so on the last night, again, we give a nice wad of cash to our waiter or the maitre'd.  What do you suggest we do on MSC?   I would imagine that since we are creatures of habit we will pick our "favorite" lounge or two and spend the majority of our time there.  Thanks so much for any advice you can offer.

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Looking at a Seascape YC cabin as well.

We're mostly Princess cruisers but have migrated recently to smaller ships. Now the Seascape may be the largest ship we were ever on, but the YC experience seems to get rave reviews. We also tried the Retreat class on X, right after the cruise lines started up after the COVID shutdown. The ship was only 50% capacity and we thought that the Retreat class was fantastic. This has apparently changed not for the better with full capacity according to friends - not to mention that the cruise fare for Retreat has greatly increased. So for a short 1 week cruise with no flying, we figured why not give MSC's YC a try.

Whatever, how bad can it be?! It's fun trying new cruise lines anyway! I doubt we would cruise on a ship this size in a class other than in Yacht Club though.

Any experienced YC cruisers out there with an opinion?

 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, jcpc said:

@Georgia_Peaches Hi.  We, too, are loyal Celebrity Suite cruisers (been sailing with Celebrity since the first year they came out with the Horizon and for the past 15 years or so have been sailing exclusively in suites).  We, also, are making the move to MSC (Meraviglia sailing next month).  The Celebrity suite pricing is out of control (and their product is slowly getting worse and worse!)  Here's my question for you:  Regarding tips for the bar personnel, waitstaff, etc.  On Celebrity, we are very well known to most of the bar personnel because we sail so often.   On the last night we make sure to visit all the bars that we frequented regularly (mostly Martini Bar....LOL), and the Retreat Deck pool guys, etc. and give them a hefty tip to put in their tip bucket.  The crew knows this is our modus operandi so they are not looking for a few bucks each time they serve us a drink.  Since we will be "strangers" to the MSC crew how would you suggest we do tipping in the lounges?  Tip each night as we get our drinks or wait until the last night?  Also, how about the YC restaurant?  Do you usually get the same wait team every night.  WIth Luminae we always have the same waiter but, as you know, all other waitstaff pitch in and help wherever needed.  We know tips are pooled in Luminae so on the last night, again, we give a nice wad of cash to our waiter or the maitre'd.  What do you suggest we do on MSC?   I would imagine that since we are creatures of habit we will pick our "favorite" lounge or two and spend the majority of our time there.  Thanks so much for any advice you can offer.

Simply hand out envelops on the last night.  The service in the YC is top grade and you won’t have to wave your wad around to get their attention.  If you decide to go outside the YC and frequent one or two of the bars you might want to give a discrete $20 bill just so a particular bartender will remember you.  

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1 hour ago, loge23 said:

Looking at a Seascape YC cabin as well.

We're mostly Princess cruisers but have migrated recently to smaller ships. Now the Seascape may be the largest ship we were ever on, but the YC experience seems to get rave reviews. We also tried the Retreat class on X, right after the cruise lines started up after the COVID shutdown. The ship was only 50% capacity and we thought that the Retreat class was fantastic. This has apparently changed not for the better with full capacity according to friends - not to mention that the cruise fare for Retreat has greatly increased. So for a short 1 week cruise with no flying, we figured why not give MSC's YC a try.

Whatever, how bad can it be?! It's fun trying new cruise lines anyway! I doubt we would cruise on a ship this size in a class other than in Yacht Club though.

Any experienced YC cruisers out there with an opinion?

 

 

 

We just booked a YCP which is the deluxe grand suite. It’s around $100 more pp than the deluxe not grand. Keep an eye out there are 6 of the wider grand ones that are huge compared to the rest. Only 3 cabins total were available the other night. I check 3x a day because I’m nuts. Around 7:00 at night a ton of cabins showed available including 3 or 4 of the wide ones. I was able to get my agent to rebook me as I only had a hold at that point. They all were off the site again by early morning. IMG_7823.thumb.jpeg.af331cf51de6a8d0b069119a161c5356.jpegAlso get a voyagers club membership which they match to other companies. The membership will get you 5-15% off. IMG_7821.jpeg.dde104afc7ca7f8ef74bf6700f6e3053.jpegIMG_7822.avifIMG_7822.avifIMG_7822.avif

Edited by Kevinb1176
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1 hour ago, jcpc said:

@Georgia_Peaches Hi.  We, too, are loyal Celebrity Suite cruisers (been sailing with Celebrity since the first year they came out with the Horizon and for the past 15 years or so have been sailing exclusively in suites).  We, also, are making the move to MSC (Meraviglia sailing next month).  The Celebrity suite pricing is out of control (and their product is slowly getting worse and worse!)  Here's my question for you:  Regarding tips for the bar personnel, waitstaff, etc.  On Celebrity, we are very well known to most of the bar personnel because we sail so often.   On the last night we make sure to visit all the bars that we frequented regularly (mostly Martini Bar....LOL), and the Retreat Deck pool guys, etc. and give them a hefty tip to put in their tip bucket.  The crew knows this is our modus operandi so they are not looking for a few bucks each time they serve us a drink.  Since we will be "strangers" to the MSC crew how would you suggest we do tipping in the lounges?  Tip each night as we get our drinks or wait until the last night?  Also, how about the YC restaurant?  Do you usually get the same wait team every night.  WIth Luminae we always have the same waiter but, as you know, all other waitstaff pitch in and help wherever needed.  We know tips are pooled in Luminae so on the last night, again, we give a nice wad of cash to our waiter or the maitre'd.  What do you suggest we do on MSC?   I would imagine that since we are creatures of habit we will pick our "favorite" lounge or two and spend the majority of our time there.  Thanks so much for any advice you can offer.

Great questions!!  Our primary hang out spots tend to be the casino and the Top Sail Lounge (YC). For the casino DH tipped each time he got us drinks but on the last night and since we had done quite well, DH tipped our main bartender a nice little bonus. I happened to turn back as we were leaving and he was smiling ear to ear. Made us happy. For YC, we didn’t tip at all along the way. I didn’t see anyone tipping. But on the last night we gave the restaurant and the lounge bartenders envelopes with our tip. They will divvy up accordingly since they share with bar staff who serve the drinks. When you order at the bar they will ask you to have a seat and someone brings the drink to you…unless of course you just want to sit at the bar. 
 

as for the restaurant, we mostly had the same wait staff each evening and we also tipped the sommelier, who was extremely attentive. 
 

Bars and lounges around the ship were just tipped as we went. Same with the YC pool deck. Nobody seemed to expect a tip but they were always gracious and happy to receive one. 
 

I hope you enjoy your MSC experience as much as we have!

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Here is our list for those that might have missed it, that Yacht Club has all of them.

Never sailed on a MSC ship in a cabin outside the Yacht Club. But we can list now all the things to look out for when booking any cruise ship.

#1 E muster drill is better

#2 Two cabin cleanings per day

#3 No % charge for gambling if using credit card

#4 No extra charge for can sodas vs fountain drinks

#5 Reserved seating in the theatre for all shows

#6 Complimentary bottled water

#7 Reserved or ability to reserve pergola/cabanas on pool deck

#8 'Cushioned' pool lounges

#9 Escorts on and off ship avoiding long lines

#10 First to use tenders off the ship at ports that tender

#11 Dedicated restaurant that is so good one need not book Specialty Restaurants

#12 Service that does not involve 2 hours to complete a meal

#13 An attentive butler not hard to find when needed

#14 Cabins ready upon embarkation/ key cards in hand at checkin

#15 Dedicated restaurant OPEN port days

#16 Dedicated buffet to only suite guests

#17 Dedicated pool and sun deck only for suite guests with ample lounges

# 18 All the advantages of a mega ship with the exclusivity of a gated community

#19 walk-in shower not low profile tub/shower combo

#20 No non-suite paying Pinnacle/Zenith/Diamond passengers taking up prime real estate in the Yacht Club

#21 Elevator over-ride key cards for suite guests

#22 Pristine out island with NO bugs crawling all over cabanas

#23 short distance between cabin and restaurant decks

#24 At least a 100 sq ft balcony accommodating a cushioned lounge chair

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@CGTNORMANDIE  Thank you for the information.  I'm looking very forward to sailing YC on MSC.

 

@morpheusofthesea I have read every one of your Observations from the Poop Deck posts and thank you for all the info you have provided.

 

@Georgia_Peaches Thank you for your very informative answers to my questions.  I believe most of our time will be spent in the Casino and the Top Sail Lounge (although I do want to check out all the other bars on the ship even if it's just for one drink!)  And thank you for your reviews as I found them very helpful.

I'm looking forward to the YC experience for sure.

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Understand that MSC is NOT Celebrity, nor is it any other cruise line. As long as you go in with the right expectations you should have an amazing time. We've sailed 9 cruise lines now and while MSC would not be my favorite cruise line, for price you pay it's a good value and we will definitely be sailing their ships again.

 

Celebrity is much more adult centric, MSC is much more family centric. We met family groups of 12 to 20 or more during our recent sailing on MSC Seaside. It reminded me of a European Carnival cruise with so many families, but so many from all over the world. It was a real melting pot of cultures that was super cool. So be prepared for a lot of kids that you would not normally see on Celebrity. 

 

The entertainment onboard is decent, but not the best at sea. Royal and NCL have the best entertainment, but MSC's is entertaining. 

 

If you have an overnight stay at Ocean Cay, that's awesome. LOVED the nighttime party and then waking up to the island the next day. Be sure to pack water shoes as the shore beaches are very rocky. They're lovely but rocky. 

 

The bars were decent on MSC, they're much better on Celebrity, especially the World Class Bar. The best bar I found on MSC Seaside is the one up on 16 as you enter the specialty dining area. Otherwise, they were just decent. But the affogado from Venchi was otherworldy. I had 4 of them during our cruise. 🙂

 

We did the Pan Asian trio dinners on our cruise and really enjoyed them, especially the Sushi and Pan Asian restaurants. The Teppenyaki was good, but not as good as other cruise lines. 

 

The pools were awesome on MSC Seaside, very deep and plentiful. We especially loved the salt water pool in the Jungle Lounge or whatever they called it. I appreciated it was tinted green to fit the Jungle motif. 🙂

 

Have an amazing cruise! 

 

 

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17 hours ago, loge23 said:

Looking at a Seascape YC cabin as well.

We're mostly Princess cruisers but have migrated recently to smaller ships. Now the Seascape may be the largest ship we were ever on, but the YC experience seems to get rave reviews. We also tried the Retreat class on X, right after the cruise lines started up after the COVID shutdown. The ship was only 50% capacity and we thought that the Retreat class was fantastic. This has apparently changed not for the better with full capacity according to friends - not to mention that the cruise fare for Retreat has greatly increased. So for a short 1 week cruise with no flying, we figured why not give MSC's YC a try.

Whatever, how bad can it be?! It's fun trying new cruise lines anyway! I doubt we would cruise on a ship this size in a class other than in Yacht Club though.

Any experienced YC cruisers out there with an opinion?

 

 

 

You will love the Yacht Club. The beauty of the "ship within ship" concept is that you really could stay in YC for whole cruise and have an enjoyable time without dealing with the craziness and large crowds of rest of ship.  Your butler will escort you to any show you reserve..so again expedited service. You have prority and butler escort for excursion or leaving ship on port calls. I would recommend you do visit other areasand stroll the whole ship as MSC ships are gorgeous. If crowds concern you....use a prt day to explore the ship and try venues outside YC. The bang for the buck can't be matched on any other line for YC sailings.  

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4 hours ago, lcpagejr said:

You will love the Yacht Club. The beauty of the "ship within ship" concept is that you really could stay in YC for whole cruise and have an enjoyable time without dealing with the craziness and large crowds of rest of ship.  Your butler will escort you to any show you reserve..so again expedited service. You have prority and butler escort for excursion or leaving ship on port calls. I would recommend you do visit other areasand stroll the whole ship as MSC ships are gorgeous. If crowds concern you....use a prt day to explore the ship and try venues outside YC. The bang for the buck can't be matched on any other line for YC sailings.  

Thank you! We plan on staying onboard for at least a couple of ports that we have been to several times already in order to enjoy the ship. I appreciate your suggestions!

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20 hours ago, Kevinb1176 said:

We just booked a YCP which is the deluxe grand suite. It’s around $100 more pp than the deluxe not grand. Keep an eye out there are 6 of the wider grand ones that are huge compared to the rest. Only 3 cabins total were available the other night. I check 3x a day because I’m nuts. Around 7:00 at night a ton of cabins showed available including 3 or 4 of the wide ones. I was able to get my agent to rebook me as I only had a hold at that point. They all were off the site again by early morning. Also get a voyagers club membership which they match to other companies. The membership will get you 5-15% off. IMG_7822.avifIMG_7822.avifIMG_7822.avif

Good tips - thanks! We noticed that when we were booking this cruise and weren't quite sure of the differences - we have a YC1 which should be fine for the "try me" cruise - thanks again!

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