We enjoyed every minute of the worst cruise we have ever been on

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Review Details

Views:
74
Overall Rating:
Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
Cruise Ship:
MSC Virtuosa
Destination:
Middle East

Review Profile

Sailed:
November, 2021
Occasion:
Annual/regular holiday
Age:
56 - 65
Cabin:
Balcony
Times cruised before:
10+

Cruise Elements:

Quality of Food:
YC restaurant - every lunch and dinner bar 2 - all superb. Also ate in the Kaito Teppanyaki - no way near so much fun as in the USA due to 'elf & safety nonsense. Butchers cut - our freebee as Diamond voyagers - good if of limited need for people in YC where the standard dining room steaks are so excellent
Entertainment:
Weak point due to the multi language nature of MSC. Not of much interest to us, our evenings are spent having a leisurely meal in the top quality on-board Italian restaurant (ie the YC dining room)
Shore Excursions:
Very poor due to MSC's Covid over-reaction
Staff:
All staff excellent - friendly, efficient and professional. This is true not just in YC but in all the bars, restaurants and facilities we used
Onboard Activities:
The facilities, activity areas and spa are all excellent - but only 4 stars again due to MSC's Covid over-reaction closures
Cabins:
see main review
Barcelona to Dubai via the Suez Canal, 22 nights in Yacht Club on MSC Virtuosa.

“We enjoyed every minute of the worst cruise we have ever been on” – so what am I on about ?  In a word – Covid.

We have had 3 cruises cancelled over the past 2 years, this was our first since April 2019 and that is why we enjoyed every minute of it – it was just so brilliant to be back at sea living in the luxury that is Yacht Club on MSC.

It was however on an objective basis also the least interesting.  We only went ashore 6 times in 23 days including Dubai at the end.  MSC in our opinion are being far too restrictive in their Covid policy.  All passengers are at least double-vaccinated (triple in our case) so the need to wear masks everywhere seemed excessive.  Sensible in crowded areas like lifts or when in a queue for something but not when moving about a ship which was only 1/3 full.

Worse was their attitude to shore visits.  All the western Med (pre Greece) stops were official-excursions-only.  Mistakenly we took one in Malta – trapped on a coach for 3 hours with just one comfort break where we were told we must not use the opportunity to wander around to take photos etc.  I and many others totally ignored this “instruction” and the tour guide was clearly of the view that having said the words she was told to say it was job-done !

The stop in Jeddah was cancelled, shame as I was looking forward to first hand info about what I assume to be a dreadful place.  Good if expensive official excursion jeep trip in Oman.  But note it’s only good if there are 4 of you in the vehicle.  The operator wants 5 which is ridiculous unless at least 2 of the passengers are small.  We were lucky.

OK now to the ship itself, so no more complaints at all.  It’s very like the Meraviglia which we’ve been on and just as amazing.  YC food was as excellent as normal and so is the whole YC area (lounge, dining room and pool deck).  The tables-for-2 dining room layout was very sociable (vs the 4 Fantasia class ships which are largely back to back along the windows).  The central arcade is superb although very sad for MSC to see how empty it was.

The cabins are also much better than the Fantasia class.  Much wider so: a) the balcony is far larger, b) there is plenty of space around the 2-seater sofa, table and 2 chairs, c) loads of space between end of bed and cupboards.    The bathroom is also far better with a huge walk-in shower.  

We were in 15018 (starboard side).  My favourite would be one of the 6 front facing cabins in deck 15.  Second best anything on decks 16 and 18 (there’s no 17).  Avoid deck 14, it’s not really Yacht Club.

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