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Virtuosa Vacation

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    Virtuosa Vacation


    Arrived at Liverpool Convention Centre at 10.50 our allocated check-in was 11.Quite large queue already probably about 100 people, had to queue outside .Started moving bang on 11.
    Took an hour to reach check- in desk, there were only 4 open. They went through insurance cover with fine toothcomb as we warned did see someone being taken off to ring their insurance company as printed information they had provided was not sufficient. Also checked vaccination record or evidence of lateral flow test.
    Taken to test area, about 10-minute wait. Member of staff was very pleasant apart from the fact that the swab up the nose was very uncomfortable. I’ve done plenty of tests myself and it’s pretty clear I’ve not been doing it properly, felt like she was going into my brain!
    We were then steered towards a numbered holding area and waited and waited and waited. We were offered a free bottle of water and told there is an I.T. issue apologies for the delay bear with us, same message repeated, no idea what the issue was or whether it was it was a “stock excuse” but we waited 2 hours, others behind her apparently waited longer.
    We then were bussed a very short journey to the cruise terminal building and embarked.
    Staff very friendly on entering person by lift gave us information overload.
    She wrongly assumed that we would want to go to our cabin first but we wanted to go the buffet.
    Ship is beautiful has new car smell and very bright and shiny.
    Encountered our first experience with lift where you touchscreen the deck you want and it allocates you a lift, we loved this system and rarely waited any time at all but obviously only a 1,000 on board.
    Went to Marketplace buffet aft on deck 15, very standard large buffet area, except absolute insistence that you wash your hands with soap and water at washing stations at the entrance. Excellent range of choice, first station breads pizza, hot dogs, burgers etc cheeses, then hot carvery of the day plus veg, sandwich station, “dishes from the around the world usually stir frys, curries etc with small traditional British section too e.g. cottage pie , bangers and mash etc. Finally, dessert station with cakes, pastries and the sort of jelly- based dessert that looks like you will glow in the dark if you eat it.
    Tables have some seats blocked off , you can find your own or ask to be escorted.
    Quite a few drinks waiters working the buffet area and this is where we first used our wristband which we were given at the cruise terminal in a cardboard box as well as a cruise card. However, part from getting off the ship, you really didn’t need the cruise card. I loved the wristband! It is used for track and trace onboard but you can use it to open the cabin door and pay.
    Ordered a glass of red to go with Vesuvius Pizza, cheese bread and also pork stir fry as seconds as I spotted it too late, that’s my excuse! More adjusted to checking the whole line before deciding later.
    Had fresh strawberry tartlet and custard filled puff pastry for dessert. All were excellent quality.
    20210624_141357.jpg


    We were travelling with my OH’s friend who joined us for the first 2 nights travelling to Southampton. We had upgraded to Premium Plus but MSC’s app and online system would not allow her to upgrade and our agent tried and failed to sort it direct with MSC their phonelines were a nightmare last week. So, we went to Guest Services to sort it out. This took ages despite there being no queue, but we were assured all was done. However, this was not the end of this particular saga…
    This wait coupled with me spotting a small bar and seating arear led to us all having a cocktail...
    20210624_161331.jpg




    Mine was whisky based can’t remember the name, but I can report that the cocktails did not appear weak to me if anything the opposite.
    Went back to the cabin briefly. Fairly standard inside cabin but quite a bit of dead space underneath the quite large TV. Small wardrobe with 1 small rack above, safe below and 2 tiny drawers.
    Underneath the TV was what I can only describe as a magazine rack, a bit like a chocolate teapot. This wall space was crying out for more drawers or storage space.
    Standard vanity area with hairdryer in drawer EU and US plug socket and USB. Also 2 USB points by each side of the bed.
    Bathroom stand was standard hoover toilet and shower with screen not dreaded curtain and shampoo and shower gel dispenser. No tissue dispenser though, only loo roll.
    I went up to main pool area Atmosphere pool which is 2 large pools next to one another. This was a lovely space but can’t begin to imagine how packed it would get with “normal” capacity.
    Arranged to meet for pre- dinner drinks at Champagne bar, Deck seven near atrium. Had a Veuve Clicquot rose. Champagne is a bit wasted on me, but I manged to struggle it down along with a Kur Royale. Bar is open to everyone walking through so not my idea of a bar really but nice enough.

    20210624_191941.jpg

    Was now feeling distinctly peckish so we went to MInuetto dining room one of MDR, having a brief view of the Galleria Virtuosa, the LED ceiling is stunning.
    We were originally told that we were on 2nd sitting but it became open sitting 6.30-8.30.
    Temperature check at dining room entrance, standard one that looks like a Star Trek phaser , also had to gel hands .Greeters very pleasant and welcoming. Allocated randomly to table.
    Had lovely meal Calamari, seafood medley and cheese plate. Service pretty haphazard and quite a long wait. Drink waiter very attentive though and wine flowed. Though the packages only included wine by the glass, the tactic was repeated throughout the cruise. They would open a bottle and leave it nearby and replenish.
    We then went to the TV studio for karaoke and my wife’s friend is a BIG fan of Karaoke. I am not but after a few drinks enjoyed it thoroughly! She was the star of the show and encouraged to perform again and again by the staff and crowd a lively atmosphere.






    #2
    Thanks for an interesting report.

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you for the review , oh it seems so long ago now that people were putting reviews if their cruises ,

      Comment


        #4
        MSC has never appealed to me, maybe because they are much bigger than the ships we usually cruise on, but I love to read reviews of all ships especially now in light of restrictions. Looking forward to the rest of the review.

        Barb

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          #5
          Sounds wonderful, I've missed cruising so much ............................................Carol

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Gill Nickson, Albox View Post
            Thanks for an interesting report.
            Thanks Gill only day 1 so far I will add more when I get chance!

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks Phil
              Sounds like standard fare for MSC.
              Having been on the wrong end of their customer services I can't wait to hear about your friends upgrade and how the handled it.

              Garf

              Comment


                #8
                I agree with Carol 😀reading this has made me realise how much I missed cruising. Plus the fact that it goes from Liverpool is a massive bonus . 90 minutes drive as opposed to 5 hours makes it very appealing. I am getting tempted 🛳

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for your first day review Phil. Looking forward to the next one. Oh boy like everyone else I have missed cruising. Roll on 6th Aug for my cruise to the sun cruise.
                  don't want to work, just want to cruise.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    On I've really missed cruising and reading cruise reviews and yours is great Philhar, thank you. The long wait to board are all worth it in the end especially when you can relax in the buffet and get that first drink in 😊

                    Looking forward to the next instalment.
                    BIG SHIPS, little ships, small world

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Warning Food photos (not everyone likes them!)
                      Calamari starter:
                      starter.jpg
                      Seafood medley-Prawn, Swordfish,Culltefish:
                      main.jpg
                      Cheese plate:
                      cheese plate.jpg

                      Comment


                        #12
                        At this point Phil, a trip on the ferry across the Mersey would sound wonderful to me! The pictures look great although I have to admit that I am not a “fishy” person. We miss cruising for the wonderful, relaxing experience that it can be; at the same time we have enjoyed seeing so many places that we had never been to before. Keep the review and pictures coming. It’s like much needed rain in a parched place!

                        Take care. Helen

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Day 2
                          Less to say as today was a recovery day. Taking full advantage of the Premium Plus package with cocktails, champagne, wine and Jameson’s seemed such a good idea at the time, less so the next morning. All 3 of us felt delicate but I was the only one to make breakfast buffet but could only face toast.
                          However, the weather was surprisingly good, so we lazed around on sunbeds in the deck above the Atmosphere pool. Plenty of space to be had but can’t see it when ship is full. Further along was the aft pool with a tier of sundecks. The also had quite luxury style double loungers. There were not many and they were always reserved really early by the placing of the dreaded towels.
                          By afternoon teatime we had recovered somewhat and we had scones with jam and cream. the scones were quite biscuity in consistency and the jam was loganberry which tasted a bit weird (it changed every day). I also had Blueberry Bread and Butter Pudding with custard and this was excellent.
                          The ladies went to the cabin for a nap so I went to the pool area for a read/ doze except I couldn’t as there was a man having a loud conversation with another man (who actually barely spoke). The conversation started with the immortal phrase “It’s not like this on P & O”
                          I suppressed a giggle. I was about to move when his long suffering OH decided it was time to take decisive action and hoiked him off.
                          20210626_110439.jpg
                          20210626_110526 (1).jpg

                          After nipping back for a quick shwoer and change we went to the Sky Lounge for a drink, a lovely bar with fabulous views.
                          All the bars had scannable QR codes to bring up the drinks menu or staff would produce a hard copy if necessary or reel off choices. This Bar specialised in Smoky cocktails ( dry ice at a guess?) and My wife’s friend had a smoke on the water whilst I had a fruit smoothie and OH had a tonic water.


                          We went to MDR at 7.45 and had a disappointing meal both, quality and service. We waited an hour and 20 minutes for our main course after the starter. The service the previous night was a bit lacking in finesse but not too bad. Here it was chaotic and the plates were slammed down. I had spicy lamb parcels which were just ok and Canneloni which was not very nice at all. We had a show booked at 9.30 so told the waiter we would have to leave. He tried to encourage us to stay but I simply explained we had a show to go to and we couldn’t stay as we had had to wait quite a long time to be served with the main course. I didn’t say it aggressively, nor did I shout or pull a face but he certainly did. No apology either.
                          We pre-booked the show a New York tribute show via the MSC for Me app. You could just turn up but you had to wait until those who had booked were seated. We were all told to wear our masks whilst seated and whilst people did wear masks when moving around most removed them when seated.
                          The show was of good quality some good singers and dancers but similar show are available…
                          We then went to the Starship bar to say hello to Robbie for a nightcap .the ladies had a hot chocolate which they said were really good, I just had bottled water.
                          Practically everyone I saw took photos of Robbie but I never saw him dispense a drink once.
                          When everyone has a drinks package you are unlikely to spend £18 on a cocktail you can have for free elsewhere I think if they’d offered discounts of different levels people might have tried it.
                          20210625_222431.jpg



                          Last edited by philhar, wallasey; 29th June 2021, 08:16 PM.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I wonder if you have to pay gratuities to Robbie if he makes you a drink?
                            don't want to work, just want to cruise.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks for the review Philar. It's great to be reading them again.

                              Comment


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