MSC Preziosa - Yacht Club - 5-19 March 2019.
Caribbean from Barbados via Cruise Club UK.
The cruise consultant, Ian\, delivered on every promise and commitment made. He has been superb throughout the whole process and I would strongly recommend using his services if booking a cruise package.
Our second Yacht Club experience having been on board Fantasia last year. We were a party of 6 taking up 3 cabins but this assessment is largely confined to mine, my wife’s and our friend’s experiences.
All in all, not as positive on this occasion compared to the near faultless holiday of last year’s transatlantic.
We prefer to travel Premium Economy. This time on Virgin but these were chartered flights by MSC. The experience outbound was very good but inbound less so in a 23 year old jumbo with limited staff to look after 450 passengers. However, since this provision was directly by Virgin, it would be inappropriate to criticise MSC.
Once again, airport to ship was very good but in reverse, the coach arrived earlier than we were advised; was an elderly conveyance with poor (almost non-existent) air conditioning.
EMBARKATION & DISEMBARKATION
MSC (for Yacht Club) do this better than anyone (we have travelled in Suites with P&O, Celebrity & RCI). Escorted onto and off ship.
No different - perfectly adequate “de-luxe type” cabin - small balcony but the huge “exclusive” top deck area more than compensates. I say “exclusive” but this year it wasn’t. Non Yacht Club passengers accessed this space easily as the two entrance doors were not secure enough. Staff never challenge (not allowed to) and I found myself escorting 5 passengers out of this private area during our 2 week cruise with others unchallenged.
Small babies of an age to still be in nappies accessing the jacuzzis with their parents; young teenagers diving in the no diving pool and cigars being smoked in a smoking area next to a sign “no cigars.”
TOP SAIL LOUNGE
First class facilities & service.
After the faultless experience courtesy of Putra last year, we struggled with Olivier this year, mainly because of his poor English.
La PALMERAIE (Yacht Club Restaurant).
There are not enough superlatives to describe this amazing man. The Restaurant Maître Di (officially the Supervisor).
He misses nothing. His staff love him. The passengers revere him - in truth, they adore him. Not only is he in complete control of all that happens, he never loses focus on his customers. He is the ultimate professional but is so personable that he is never less than entertaining. The personal service we received was beyond first class as his team aspire to his own very high standards.
MSC MUST retain his services because on the strength of this experience, our next cruise would be assured.
Thankfully, the Yacht Club Restaurant in the new ships is an integral part of Yacht Club rather than at the opposite end of the ship.
YACHT CLUB STAFF
It seems unfair to single out anyone but there MUST be special mentions for our lovely waiters, Anna, Nayara (unfortunate to fall sick - hope she is OK), Durian, Zaheem, Luis and Reina (day time concierge).
However, I was much less impressed with the night Concierge. very much needs some guidance on the provision and delivery of effective customer service and the avoidance of the attitude he displayed toward me on two occasions. Perhaps he was annoyed I had disturbed his Facebook access.
Despite a complimentary visit being included for black card guests (4 of us are) we declined offers to the Sushi and Italian eateries. They simply had no appeal since the lay-out was in no way inviting. In any event, why would we miss the chance to be looked after by Pepé and his excellent staff? However, our daughter & son-in-law did pay for a visit to the Galaxy (Sushi Restaurant) and described the food as excellent.
Strange as it may seem, this was an irritating regular occurrence, even for butlers. Yacht Club cards rarely delivered the exclusive provision to decks 15-18 and we very regularly found ourselves travelling randomly up and down or the cards simply didn’t work.
TO SUM UP
We do enjoy Yacht Club very much, despite these frustrating instances. However, with us usually travelling as a 4 (we took our daughter & son-in-law with us on this occasion), our deposits for trips on Seaview (Yacht Club) in November 2019 (Barcelona to South America) and on the same ship in December 2020 (Dubai) are now in some doubt.
These deposits are, of course, via Cruise Club UK.
The cabin was kept spotlessly clean. It isn’t huge but it is functional and adequate with all expected amenities.The only irritating feature is the light in the wardrobe/safe area. It comes on automatically when you enter but this lasts about 5 seconds before going out. Arm waving exercises required.
Small balcony with two chairs and one stool.