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Virtuosa Vacation

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    #16
    Thanks Phil for your efforts in giving us a review on your cruise.

    I do miss cruising but not enough to go on another MSC cruise because their big ships, food and way of doing things just isn't for me. I was surprised however at the poor service in the MDR. I would not have been happy to wait an hour and 20 minutes for my main course.
    Jill

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      #17
      Some things never change, not in my experiences with MSC. The long wait for boarding brings back unhappy memories for me, although I do admit to being the worst person in the world for queuing. If I am not onboard within 15 or 20 minutes of stepping out of a taxi, poolside, with drink in hand, I get palpitations!

      I beat them at their own game on my last MSC out of Dubai. I arrived at checkin at 4.30pm when the place was deserted. Less than 10minutes kerbside to poolside..

      P.S. I note your opinion of their food is similar to mine..............Wilba
      Wilba

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        #18
        Originally posted by Wilba View Post
        Some things never change, not in my experiences with MSC. The long wait for boarding brings back unhappy memories for me, although I do admit to being the worst person in the world for queuing. If I am not onboard within 15 or 20 minutes of stepping out of a taxi, poolside, with drink in hand, I get palpitations!

        I beat them at their own game on my last MSC out of Dubai. I arrived at checkin at 4.30pm when the place was deserted. Less than 10minutes kerbside to poolside..

        P.S. I note your opinion of their food is similar to mine..............Wilba
        Hi Wilba, it's only my 2nd experience of check in with MSC and to be fair first time it was fine. There is more positive news on the food front later, but it was patchy.

        Comment


          #19
          Thanks Phil, Its a good read and nice to be able to think a little about an actual cruise, did you think there was sufficient seating in the bars etc if the ship was busy?

          John

          Comment


            #20
            Originally posted by Haworth, Wokingham View Post
            Thanks Phil, Its a good read and nice to be able to think a little about an actual cruise, did you think there was sufficient seating in the bars etc if the ship was busy?

            John
            Hi John, thanks. Seating wise I would say no, some of the popular bars were pretty crowded at night with much reduced capacity.

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              #21
              Day 3 Southampton.
              Another beautiful day weather wise where we had to say goodbye to my wife’s friend, this was only her second cruise and she really enjoyed it (till the very end of it anyway). Had full buffet breakfast .The “English oven baked bacon” is pretty tasteless in my view but the fattier American bacon much nicer. Sausage was not a traditional Uk sausage and wasn’t nice. I did have a pancake as well though, different flavours every day, today had banana pieces cooked in to it, very good.
              We then went to see our friend off or so we thought we waved her to the exit and waited for her to go down the gangplank. Suddenly, she was being frogmarched back the way she had come, cruise card showed unpaid bill. Escorted into MSC Foundation area and we accompanied her.
              They had a couple of guest services staff stationed there to deal with such issues. No one adequately explained was what going on up to that point. The person allocated to deal with our friend said that she owed a bill for minibar items. Our friend explained that she was on the premium plus package and that she understood minibar items were included. You are not on the premium plus package was the terse reply. Our friend explained that we had gone to Guest Services the day before to upgrade, as she had been unable to do it online in advance and the customer care line were not answering. I know this to be true as I tried myself.
              The person replied that it was not possible to upgrade at Guest Services ,only in bars and made it clear she did not believe what she had said .Both my OH and I repeated the tale as we were there and added that the person on Guest Services involved a member of staff from the nearby bar to perform the upgrade. The person we saw said you will have no problems, but if you do here is my name. We quoted his name but the person was very reluctant to contact him but did when another guest services representative got involved. This person looked us in the eye, apologised for the inconvenience. During the whole of this encounter the other person never once looked up from their laptop to make eye contact.
              Our friend then said I have a train to catch I have a linked booking with my friends they will resolve this. We agreed, but the original person said you are not leaving until this is resolved, for 3 items from the minibar!
              Eventually it was resolved, but the treatment we received was appalling. The second guest services representative apologized profusely and I requested a full investigation and an explanation at a later time and he agreed. We never received it.
              We all decided not to let it ruin our holiday but it was quite upsetting and honestly in numerous cruises I have never experienced customer service like this.
              Still, onwards and upwards. The weather in Southampton was lovely so we went on deck in the same space as previous day nice and sheltered. We have both become addicted to the freshly squeezed orange juice which is fantastic and available in quite a few of the bars.
              Many of the drinks are included in the premium package as it’s up to the value of £10 and includes well known brands and some cocktails but premium plus for £13 a day means anything by the glass is available.
              We were berthed at the City Cruise terminal and could see the Horizon terminal next door which though it has been opened is clearly not finished yet, believe MSC are using it from sometime in July. We were berthed near Aurora and Britannia.
              After an exhausting morning reading and snoozing , we went for buffet lunch. I had Lamb Madras and rice with mini-Naan and poppadoms. Mini Naan was disappointing, but the rest was lovely .Also had cheese and mint bread and a selection of cheeses (can you tell I like cheese?!).The breads onboard are wonderful.
              madras.jpg
              After another rest, we went in a jacuzzi (capacity controlled only 1 party at a time. There are several around the ship. The outside ones are not round shaped but like a moon crescent looking out over the side of the ship. We also went for a swim in the large pool and you could swim properly which is quite rare. We had a further sunbathe until after 7 we love that quiet time on deck, it seems like you are getting a more private special experience at that time of day.
              After last nights’ less than impressive meal, we tried to book Butcher’s Cut the speciality steak restaurant but it was booked until 9.30 which is too late for us, so we booked for Monday.
              Instead we tried Hola! Tacos and had a fantastic experience. There is currently an offer of £16.99 all you can eat and you can literally go through the whole menu if you wish. Our server was from Ukraine and was very helpful and friendly. He guided us through the menu and made suggestions but didn’t force choices.
              We started with Nachos and salsa , then progressed to tacos tapas which were basically mini tacos with various meats, steak , chicken, pork and some cheese based and some cheesy Quesadillas all of which were great.
              Finally on the savoury front we had Enchiladas Chicken and Beef which we shared, there were other choices like Burritos on offer.

              We then shared Churros with salted caramel dip and I had a Lemon Meringue tacos, it was like lemon sorbet .Both desserts were top notch.
              hola tacos.jpeg
              nachos.jpg
              tacos.jpg
              churros.jpg
              ice cream.jpg

              Before we went back to the cabin, we had a walk round the deck .I love walking round the deck at night hearing the sea and trying to spot things which we did- The Isle of Wight!
              A very mixed day a terrible start but the rest of the day was good.







              Comment


                #22
                OMG Your poor friend, what a horrible end to her cruise I hope it hasn't put her off.

                Loving your review of the ship, thank you for sharing your experience. I do find it quite worrying that they find it so difficult to cope in the MDR with hardly any passengers. I wonder what they will do when they are full!! .................................................. .......Carol

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                  #23

                  Enjoyed sharing days 2 and 3 with you - warts and all1 I hope lessons have been learned from your friend's appalling experience, but pleased to hear you managed to rise above it.

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                    #24
                    Originally posted by carol, welwyn garden city View Post
                    OMG Your poor friend, what a horrible end to her cruise I hope it hasn't put her off.

                    Loving your review of the ship, thank you for sharing your experience. I do find it quite worrying that they find it so difficult to cope in the MDR with hardly any passengers. I wonder what they will do when they are full!! .................................................. .......Carol
                    Hi Carol,many thanks for your kind comments. It's not put my friend off she is already talking about the next one and is a very positive person.
                    One of the MDRs was closed I honestly think they would have been better spreading people out.However, later on we had a much better experience in the MDR.

                    Comment


                      #25
                      Many thanks Philhar for sharing your cruise break with us plus all the foodie photos. You were lucky with the weather and I hope you took home some good memories of your time on board.

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                        #26
                        Thanks for writing about your cruise. Very interesting, photo's are great. Hopefully, there'll be some more reviews over the summer.

                        Barb

                        Comment


                          #27
                          Day 4 Portland
                          Set Alarm on cabin phone as we were on shore excursion today. Good job I did as we would have overslept and might have faced the walk of shame on the coach. Usually sleep very well in inside cabins as they are not quite as dark as the old days ,light through peephole, TV standby light and also Zoe has a glowing light. Much has been said about Zoe. However, she doesn’t talk much or rather not at all. I tried talking to her a few times, but she gave me the cold shoulder.
                          I did manage to use her as a Bluetooth speaker but other than that she just took space up on an already quite small vanity area.
                          Had buffet breakfast had full English plus a made to order Mushroom Omelette which was ok , nothing special.
                          We then went to the Theatre as the excursion meeting point .It is probably 35 years since I went on a ship shore excursion. We had a tour of Portland , then of Weymouth including a walk along the prom. The guide was just like I remembered complete factual overload, including the fact that Portland has a large sex offenders’ prison, I don’t think we needed to know that. I was more interested in the cruise ships sheltering in the bay. Visibility was poor as there was a sea fret, but I could make out better when it lifted later .In the bay were Iona, Aurora (following us!),Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Escape. Quite sad seeing them all huddled there.
                          We drove high up to see the lighthouse and had a good view of the Chesil beach.
                          We had a final photo stop to view the concrete Olympic rings built for when the sailing was hosted for 2012.
                          It was nice to hit dry land, but I would never do such a tour in normal times. We were warned at the beginning of the consequences of leaving the party.


                          olympic rings.jpgOlympic Rings

                          chesil beach.jpgChesil beach
                          ships.jpgShips sheltering off Weymouth

                          Back onboard we went for lunch in the buffet and I had Pea & mint soup which was really good and Sea Bream with lemon and herb which was also delicious.
                          We had a walk around deck and the deck above the main pool has a track for walkers and joggers.
                          I made a guest appearance at the gym and rode on the bike in a very poor attempt to address the level of excess. The gym was well equipped and felt very covid safe.
                          We then went back up on deck to watch us sail away and wave at passengers on Marella Discovery berthed next to us.
                          We then decided to give the MDR another try and deliberately asked to be sat in a different part of the restaurant. What a completely different experience from 2 nights ago! The food and service was so much better it was like we were on another ship!
                          The key for me was the section assistant head waiter. On the first 2 nights, this guy just wandered around with his nose in the air. Here, it was a young woman who engaged with all passengers and waiting staff as well as getting hands on. Excuse the pun, but she ran a tight ship. The service was attentive, responsive and quick.
                          I had Lentil and Potato soup (bit too many lentils but then the clue is in the title!)full of flavour though, Lasagna which was excellent and cheese plate for a change…
                          If the MDR was like that every night MSC would be fine ,in fact a lot better than fine.
                          Went to main theatre to see impressionist Andrew Fleming who apparently was on Britain’s Got Talent a few years back .His impressions were pretty good but quite dated :Cilla, Michael Caine, Tony Hancock, Michael Crawford etc.
                          Progressed straight to Carousel Lounge which was designed for the ill-fated Cirque show .It’s a nice space with a circular stage in the middle of the audience. There was a rock tribute band Legends who were ok ,they did some good versions and also murdered some, notably Layla. Very attentive table drinks service.



                          Comment


                            #28
                            Thank you for day 4. As you say, such an excursion would not be my choice either, but needs must. Really pleased that your dining experience was much improved. Not from a complaining point of view, but it might be an idea to mention the two differenct approaches in the MDR, in the hopes that it makes for future improvements? Evening entertainment sounds ok.

                            Comment


                              #29
                              Great to see the service in MDR has improved greatly as has the food.

                              it didn’t seem the best of ships tour you had. The beach in the distance in one of your photos looked lovely though.
                              don't want to work, just want to cruise.

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Originally posted by Issyalex, Glasgow View Post
                                Great to see the service in MDR has improved greatly as has the food.

                                it didn’t seem the best of ships tour you had. The beach in the distance in one of your photos looked lovely though.
                                Thanks.If there had been less restrictions I think we would have picked the Lyme Regis tour.However you were only allowed off there for a photo so I thought going to such a beautiful place for such a short time would just be annoying

                                Comment


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