As my husband was on his first ever cruise, I decided to ruin him forever by booking us into the Yacht Club. I know this is going to come back and haunt me on our annual sailing on the Oscar Wilde from Rosslare to Roscoff! Flights and transfers were included in our package but one thing that bugged me was the inability to check ourselves in online and select our seats with Aer Lingus (this is because MSC book a block of seats under a single reference number) but we were exceedingly lucky to get a pair of emergency exit seats and buy breakfast onboard. At least 30 of our fellow passengers were cruising and had already affixed their MSC luggage labels to their bags. Me, I brought a roll of sellotape and slapped them on when we landed in Venice. The MSC staff met passengers at the arrivals hall, brought us over to a marquee where we were checked in and assigned our coach number. 10 minutes later and we boarded the coach. Put everything but your handbag in the luggage area underneath, there isn't room to swing a cat in the overhead bins.
Arrived at the port about 25 minutes later to see a huge line of passengers waiting to check in and board. Not for us - off we toddled to the Yacht Club entrance where we met one of the first of many butlers for a speedy check of our passports before being escorted to the YC check in area. Prosecco awaited. The perfect start. About 10 minutes after having our (very unflattering, can we do that again please) photos taken and our ID cards issued, we were welcomed onboard into the YC reception. More prosecco. Finally, another lovely butler escorted us to our suite 16027 and showed us around.
We explored the ship thoroughly. Not impressed by the stink of cigarettes in the vicinity of the Casino -reminded me of Las Vegas, but not in a good way. The Inca and Maya buffet were chaotic and the food was ok, but not fantastic. All of the bars were great with friendly staff, a good selection of drinks (book the Allegrissimo package in advance to save a lot of money) and the evening shows in the Safari lounge were good fun. Bingo in the Platinum Theatre (3 books for €20, play for a full house only) was as camp as a row of tents and utterly hysterical - have never laughed as much in my life! Shows in the theatre had a tough job trying to keep every nationality entertained. It wasn't for us, but fellow passengers loved them.
Perfectly appointed. The most comfortable bed I've ever slept in, apart from my own and the pillow menu guaranteed a good night's sleep. The minibar was well stocked and regularly replenished. The bathroom was spacious with lots of storage and amazing water pressure. Most suitcases apart from our giant coffin sized one slid under the bed. The beast hid in the walk in wardrobe. Heaps of hangers and drawer space. For once we weren't fighting over who had the most space for clothes.