This was my second and my girlfriend's first cruise with MSC. We booked a Yacht Club interior cabin as we didn't plan or actually spend much time in the cabin. I did try to get an upgrade to a balcony but didn't pan out, but was still more than happy with what we had!
We arrived the day before so we can see some of what Miami has to offer. I booked a hotel (the YVE) on Biscayne Blvd and had a beautiful view of the cruise port and the ships. It was close to the port terminal and was very conveniently located, with many different restaurants, bars and things to do and see.
On embarkation day we hired a local van service to take us to the terminal. We stopped at the Royal Caribbean terminal first to drop off the first group. Wow the traffic was something else! Diana, our driver was awesome and entertaining. After a very brief stop at NLS's terminal it was our turn to be dropped off, right at the Yacht Club tent. There we were immediately greeted, our bags taken and after a few moments taken through security and then up to the YC lounge for check in where prosecco, drinks and light snacks were served.. The lounge is nice and quiet but very dated and well worn with a mish mash of furniture, but I guess that MSC is not investing money into it as they are building a brand new terminal which opens, I believe next year. The check in process was very quick and painless. Not long after the first groups were called to board. One thing I was very disappointed about was that some groups, including us, waited in the lounge and were not called to board until well after the general boarding had started, so we were herded by a butler through the crowds, onto the ship, which did not sit well with some of the other guests!
Our first impressions of the ship were, as expected... WOW!!!! A very clean, beautiful and well appointed ship! I do not like just getting on a ship and immediately seeing many crew trying to upsell drink packages, dining and photography. Just say welcome aboard and sell, sell sell later on!
Once we arrived to the yacht club area we were introduced to the staff and our butler Mevin. He took us to our cabin, 15007 (I picked that one as I love James Bond movies). The cabin is not huge but was a good size. It was clean, well layed out and looked beautiful! Due to the floor plan, we had an outer door, which led to a private tiny hallway and a second door that opened into the cabin! It was so great as we left our bags and shoes in the hallway. The cabin has all the usual Yacht Club amenities, was quiet and the bed was soo comfortable. The only noise we heard was in the mornings we could hear toilets flushing. Nothing bad nut noticeable.
We ate our meals in the the YC dining room, and had some snack meals in the market place buffet. The service and food in the YC dining room was, in our opinions top notch!! We had no complaints at all. The staff were great, learning everyone's name, being very attentive, friendly and always going that extra bit to make it such a great experience. The chef even made us an extra Indian meal, which was simply delicious after a couple we were cruising with had asked for! There were always great snack and finger foods available in the Topsail lounge, and many times we saw the butlers delivering pizzas! We had one on the pool deck on the last night. The food we tried in the Marketplace buffet was great but wow, does it ever get busy at times. Made us really appreciate how nice, quiet and comfortable the YC area really is!
We attended most of the shows in the main theater and both the Circ du solei shows (which cost extra). We thought the shows were great and well done! It was so nice that YC has an exclusive area in the main theater so that one was pretty much guaranteed to get seats at you showing of choice. When attending the Circ du Solei shows, we were escorted to the show by our butler which was nice. The open dance parties in the Mall area under the LED screen were a real great time and enjoyed by LOTS of people!
The service that we had was nothing less than excellent.Everyone seemed to care and be happy! The ship was clean, well stocked and very well run. I did heard some people complaining about the security, which upsets me, as they are the most professional and hard working I have ever seen. I was at the concierge desk and asked him to thank the security officer and their team on our behalf for their top level of professionalism and he laughed and said it was the first time anyone asked him that, as all he hears about them was negative. The YC officers, butlers, dining room, bar staff, room and pool attendants were amazing and did such a great job to make for a memorable vacation! The only negative was the spa/thermal area, where there only seemed to be one lady trying to keep up with all the used towels! Many times there were used towels all over the place, and not one clean one anywhere. We mentioned this to the spa reception and they seemed to try to rectify this, but there is still lots of room for improvement. The thermal area was nice, but got crowded at times. A few of the treatment room were not working but they seemed to try their best to fix thing as quickly as possible.
We had a lot of fun in the arcade area, bowling, F1 simulator (one was broken) and the 4D cinema. We attended the cruise critic meet and mingle which was well done with cake, drinks and meeting the Captain and senior officers. We never got to try the water slides as they were broken couple of times and then waiting for parts to arrive to fix them. Bummer... but not the end of the world. We even watched the kids having a Master Chef competition, which was great to watch them having a fun time.
The shore excursions were great, and well run. We could not book them before the cruise as the Canadian website didn't have them yet. Talking about that, I think MSC still has a way to go to improve their website and 1-800 phone services, as it can be confusing and not clear on some things. The last day was at the private island, which was so beautiful! It was relaxing, the butler service on the beach and the private restaurant and area was so nice! The only issue was that it seems to be so dependent on the wind! We thankfully made it to the island but our scuba diving and all other water excursions had to be cancelled but we so enjoyed the water, food and island. Just one word of advice, as a Canadian I applied sunscreen that was should be good enough for a nuclear blast, and a monsoon rains, but still got burnt. I reapplied it every couple of hours but our butler told us you are lucky if it lasts 30 minutes.
Before we knew it, it was time to disembark and head home. Disembarkation, customs etc was painless and quite quick, and far too soon we were on the plane heading to the great white north! The cruise was not perfect, but I don't think any can be. We had an amazing time, met some extraordinary people and have great photos and memories. I would do another cruise with MSC for sure and would not hesitate to recommend it to others! Thanks to all who made this such a great time!!!1
Very nicely appointed, clean, quiet and loved the private hallway!
Excellent port, great bus ride and very fun and informative excursion!
Tale of two cities. Was well run, informative and fun!View All 187 Altun Ha Reviews
Good transfer, fun and relaxing excursion!View All 35 Horseback Riding Reviews
A very beautiful island and work in progress. Our scuba diving excursion as well as all other water excursions cancelled due to high winds :( The Yacht club area, and rest of the island, is just beautiful and relaxing and the service amazing!