The MSC Yacht Club is MSC Cruises ship within a ship concept which offers luxury cruising and the experience of being pampered on a small ship yet with the facilities of the most innovative and advanced mega ships at your disposal.
For our first cruise since Covid struck we booked two 4 night cruises, back to back, on the stunning, brand new, MSC Virtuosa. The first cruise we had booked a cabin in the main ship but were surprised at the cruise terminal to have been upgraded to Yacht Club. Thank you very much to MSC Cruises for making this happen! For the second cruise we had booked a Yacht Club cabin as we wanted to join our friends who were booked onboard.
Although Virtuosa was completed and ready to take passengers last year, Covid had other ideas and as such the ship was resting patiently to welcome passengers. As the UK government gave the go ahead for domestic cruises, MSC’s team scheduled their new flag ship for the UK market.
We have cruised in the Yacht Club several times before but thought it’s time to re-visit our blogs and give an update on the experience.
Yacht Club passengers benefit from priority check in and boarding. On the UK cruises time slots are assigned which need to be adhered to more strictly in order to aid social distancing in the cruise terminal, especially since every passenger is required to have a nasal swab as a covid test.
Once checked in and ready to board, one of the ships butlers will escort you to the Top Sail, the Yacht Club lounge reserved exclusively for Yacht Club guests. This is the chance to meet your butler and the key members of staff in the Yacht Club and ask any questions before being shown to your cabin. We were delighted to meet both Dany the Head Butler and Rosalia the Yacht Club Director who we know from previous cruises. It was somewhat emotional seeing old friends again after the pause to cruising due to Covid.
Yacht Club Cabins
Since MSC Meraviglia and all subsequent ships, the types of cabins available with the MSC Yacht Club experience has grown, with the introduction of various new cabins. Yacht Club inside cabins are a cost-effective way of experiencing the luxury of the Yacht Club and can often be found at not much more cost than a Fantastica balcony with drinks.
Aboard MSC Virtuosa the Yacht Club cabins available are Insides, Deluxe Suites with balconies, Duplex Suites which span two decks with a shower room, living room and dining space on the first storey which opens on to a balcony with private whirlpool and the main ensuite bedroom on the deck above. Access to the cabin is possible from both floors.
The Royal Suite is the most prestigious suite on MSC Virtuosa, featuring a living and dining room area, a large balcony with dining table and whirlpool and another smaller balcony off the ensuite bedroom.
We had Deluxe Suites for our two cruises, one was overlooking the side of the ship on deck 18 and the other was forward facing on deck 15. The forward facing cabin’s balcony was sheltered with glass which made it a lovely, sheltered place to sit out and take in the sea views.
MSC Seashore, launching later this year will feature a new cabin type – the Owners Suite. This cabin will be around 98 square meters with an additional 25 square meters of space on the balcony!
In the MSC Yacht Club, outstanding service is provided by an exquisite team of butlers. Your butler is your go to contact for anything you need. Prior to our first Yacht Club cruise we wondered what this would be like as we’re very easy going and self sufficient – for anyone in the same situation, don’t worry they’re not stood in the corner watching what you’re doing or following you around!
What does the Yacht Club include?
The Yacht Club is an all inclusive cruise experience. Whilst the drinks package isn’t officially the Premium package, it is treated as such around the ship. WiFi is also included, as is room service and the mini bar. Rather than miniature bottles of spirit and the usual mini bar bits and pieces, guests choose from a selection of bottles of spirit, wines or Champagne. Beers, mixers and soft drinks are replaced every day and a gourmet treat will be left in your cabin each evening. We love this idea and find it feels more luxurious than a tub of Pringles. The lemon meringue that was left for us one evening would win a Hollywood Handshake on Bake Off, Mary Berry would give a cheeky wink and say “that’s a bit of alright!”.
Access to the Aurea Spa is also included for Yacht Club passengers.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in the Yacht Club Restaurant on deck 18. This beautiful space can be accessed from the Top Sail Lounge by the stunning Swarovski Crystal staircase. Panoramic windows surround the restaurant, affording diners sea views a plenty.
An experienced Somelier is on hand to pair fabulous wines with the gourmet dishes cooked by the chef. On our cruise Salvatore found us some excellent wines that complimented the food beautifully.
All of the food we ate was exquisite. Well-presented, tasty, and cooked to our liking. In some respects it was hard to decide when to leave the Yacht Club in order to use our Diamond Card perk of a meal for two in one of the speciality dining restaurants!
To supplement the Yacht Club restaurant and provide cruisers with a casual dining option, the pool deck has a grill offering a variety of dishes for breakfast and lunch (weather permitting!). You can choose from a selection of salads, meat and fish grilled to order and main course dishes which change every day.
Afternoon tea is served in the Top Sail Lounge – a wide selection of teas are available and white-gloved butlers serve the delectable treats on a traditional cake stand with various sandwiches, cakes and scones with clotted cream and jam to devour.
As briefly mentioned previously, the Top Sail Lounge is the exclusive lounge for Yacht Club guests. Open for most of the day, this relaxing space has sumptuous furnishings providing a very relaxing space. The well-stocked bar is at your disposal with a connoisseur’s selection of fine wines and spirits available at an extra charge if your tastebuds fancy something extra special.
Canapés and small bites are freely available; at breakfast time it’s possible to have pastries, fruit and various other continental breakfast items – this can make a welcome change to a larger breakfast and the informal setting is perfect if you’ve over-indulged the night before!
During the evening some of the fabulous singers and musicians from around the ship play a couple of spots in the Yacht Club – mainly relaxing music and easy listening rather than party songs so as to keep the atmosphere chilled. That being said Andy and I did seize the opportunity to do our impression of a waltz on one of the evenings!
The Yacht Club pool deck has it’s own bar, serving teas and coffees, pool-side classics such as Pina Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri and just about every other drink you can think of.
Meraviglia class ships such as Virtuosa (she’s a Meraviglia-Plus, actually but that’s splitting hairs) are designed to be the ship for all seasons. The sun deck therefore has a fair amount of glass wind breaks to keep the deck sheltered. This worked perfectly for us, enabling us to sun bathe a few times – in May – in the English Channel!
The heated swimming pool is a good size and a refreshing dip is always welcome on warm days! A hot tub is also available. Ample sunbeds, sofas, ‘dining’ tables and bar tables provide several spaces to relax and enjoy the luxury of being pampered.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog. Should you wish to book a cruise or have any queries, remember we are also travel agents – feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to assist.