We joined the MSC Preziosa in Hamburg for the west European cruise visiting Le Havre, Southampton, St. Peter Port, Brest, Lisbon, Cadiz, Malaga, Vigo, Rotterdam and back to Hamburg.
This was our first time with MSC and we booked the Yacht Club (YC).
The embarkation experience with the separate YC welcome lounge and being accompanied through security and through to the YC concierge was a pleasant start to the cruise.
Out butler Nandan Priolker and junior butler Muhammad Moelyadi did an excellent job and were very friendly. We explained to them that we didn’t want to be waited on hand and foot and they respected this wish. But they did treat us very well and were always there to give us advice and to help us with any problems we had. Overall the staff in the YC were very friendly and helpful. They know when the guest would like to chat or if the guest wants to be left alone. Nayara, Priscilla, Natish, Pradeep, Mungroo, the barman “Odd-Job” just to name a few, work hard to make a pleasant cruise experience.
The Top Sail Lounge offers continental breakfast, afternoon tea and various small snacks according to the time of day. It would be nice to see a change in the selection of bread rolls and Danish pastries on the breakfast buffet but otherwise it was sufficient for us. For a light breakfast with scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon etc. it’s possible to go to the outdoor One Bar on deck 18 – even during bad weather. The lift to deck 18 is in the YC area. The One Bar also offers light lunches with salads and cooked food which vary from day to day. The cooked food is on warming trays but is not covered. So, if the weather is cool (as it was in northern Europe), the food gets cold. Added to the plastic plates also being cold doesn’t make the food very appetising. On our first day we asked if there is any soup as the weather is cold. We were informed that they could get us some but why didn’t they just have a tureen on the buffet. The next day there was a card to say that soup and a daily menu could be ordered. If you order eggs (e.g. poached, omelette etc.) at breakfast or if you order the soup or daily menu these are cooked in another part of the ship. Therefore, when you get them they are not hot anymore.
We didn’t use the YC Palmerie restaurant; it’s at the other end of the ship. If the weather is nice and NOT windy you can stroll along deck 15, otherwise you have to go down in the lift (preferably to deck 7), swim though the crowds to the back of the ship then go up in the lift to the restaurant. This was the only part of the YC which was not actually in the YC area and was a big disappointment.
We visited the Inca/Maya buffet twice. We didn’t eat there but it seems there is a good selection of food but we can’t comment on the quality. The food stations are spread around to avoid queues. The front of the restaurant was crowded but there was plenty of free seats at the back. We liked the idea of the take-away burgers, hotdogs and French fries which we tried and found to be very tasty.
We had roomservice pizza twice. This was delivered quickly by our butler. It was warm and we found the quality very good. But then again, we wouldn’t expect anything different on an Italian ship.
When visiting the ports, we didn’t do any MSC excursions but used the shuttle buses. The service was good and the prices reasonable. If you have time do not go on shore first thing, wait a while until the rush is over. The queues are very long at the 2 gangways. When we went ashore in Guernsey by tender, we waited in the YC concierge lounge and where then escorted as a group by a YC butler. For the other guests this may seem that we were pushing in front but, Hey! we paid for this service.
Disembarkation was a pleasure! We had to leave the cabin by 8:00 to 8:30. We could have breakfast in the Top Sail Lounge and could wait there. When we wanted to leave we were again escorted by a butler who helped us with our cases which were waiting in the Cruise Terminal. We were the escorted outside to the Taxis.
On the whole we enjoyed our cruise in the MSC Yacht Club. We were just dissapointed at not having the restaurant actually in the Yacht Club Area and that the only other choice was to go to the One Bar on the 18th deck. As mentioned above there wasn't much choice on the buffet and the food wasn't hot. Also, it's not the place to be in cold weather.
We had stateroom 15001 which is called a suite but is, compared to other ships, a larger balcony cabin. It has a nice sized bathroom with bath /shower (shower hose). The walk-in wardrobe is a small but has sufficient space for 2 people. The fitted furniture in the cabin is so well made we didn’t find the cupboard next to the entrance mirror until the 2nd week of the cruise. This offered ample extra space. There is enough room under the beds to stow away large cases. We found the beds to be very comfortable and the sofa and small table offered a nice place to relax. The cabin has a lot of mirrors that give an impression on space. The stateroom has a mini-bar which is replenished daily and coffee/tea making facilities.
The TV is small but adequate. There is only one English TV channel but other languages are better catered for. Otherwise there is a good choice of videos on demand. We were disappointed with the channel showing the cruise information. Pictures of the officers and managing staff are shown constantly, but the position of the ship – which is what we wanted to know – is so fast that we hardly had time to look at it properly. Perhaps MSC could change this and just have a channel showing the ships position and weather information.
Cabin 15001 is at the very front of the YC behind the Top Sail Lounge. We were worried that we might be bothered by noise, but this was not the case. We heard nothing from the lounge and only very seldom the door to the lounge being closed. The balcony has a metal front and the roof slants towards the front of the ship. Before the cruise we had read that some guests had been bothered by this. We were please to have this extra protection from the weather. It didn’t spoil the view at all