MSC Virtuosa – An Arabian Adventure

My wife and I have recently returned from our second successful cruise aboard an MSC ship, The Virtuosa…

We joined the ship in Dubai on a package that included  a 3 Day pre-cruise stay at a Dubai Hotel –  which will be covered more comprehensively in the later ‘Itinerary’ Section.

Following our successful initial MSC experience just over two years ago, on MSC Preziosa…

 

MSC Preziosa – Yacht Club Experience

 

…we once again chose to stay in a Yacht Club Suite. The full package was booked through… 

https://bookandgoholidays.com

…whose excellent service  I will mention again in my summary.

Once again we were impressed with the service offered to Yacht Club guests: right from the moment we arrived at the Dubai Cruise Terminal…

 

…everything was pretty slick and proceeded like clockwork. MSC had provided very clear joining instructions mainly concerning the  the Covid requirements to embark. They had made arrangements for all passengers arriving in Dubai to receive a free PCR Test at the airport. The validity of this particular test was 72 hours. I mention this because our pre-cruise stay in Dubai, coupled with our Emirates flight early morning arrival, took us over that particular time scale. We therefore were required to take an additional PCR test which we did at our hotel within 48 hours of our joining – all very efficient and no real problem.

As part of the check-in process we both received our ‘key cards’ and an MSC wristband…

 

The wristband was  a multi purpose device linked to the very good “MSC for Me’ App. Apart from allowing ‘Proximity and Contact’ tracing the wristband also works to allow for guests to be identified when making contactless transactions, to open cabin doors, to find out information or book services on interactive screens around the ship.

Additionally the app allows passengers to book services, as well as to manage passengers’ daily activities on board and source information.

For this cruise we had booked Suite number 18012…

Once checked in we were collected from the Terminal by our ‘Butler’ and escorted to our Yacht Club Suite…

*****

 

******

 

 

As our hotel to ship transfer taxi had arrived early we were at the Dubai Cruise Terminal…

 

 

…some 30 minutes before our 11.00 am check in time. This was not a problem and we found ourselves in the Suite well before that recommended check-in time.

Once settled in we took ourselves off for a drink and a bite of lunch, choosing the Yacht Club Sun Deck as opposed to the air-conditioned Yacht Club Restaurant…

******

******

We were, of course, keen to discover what the Virtuosa had to offer and where better to start our discovery tour than on the Yacht Club Sundeck…

The YC Sundeck occupies a forward area on Deck 19.  Access can be gained either internally or through two security access doors at the rear of the deck…

The Sun Deck occupies the breadth of the ship…

 

…and has it’s own pool and jacuzzi …

…more than ample sunbeds and shaded seating areas…

…a number of Cabanas on the Starboard Side…

…and a bar and grill facility on the Port Side…

 

Below the Sun Deck, on Deck 18, is the Yacht Club Restaurant…

…with panoramic views over the ship’s bows.

Below the Restaurant, and still within the Yacht Club complex, is the ‘Top Sail Lounge’….

from which there is direct access to the restaurant above…

 

*****

There will be more about the Yacht Club service in the section ‘Life onboard Virtuosa’.

Central to almost everything onboard MSC Virtuosa is The Galleria Virtuosa…

…a promenade deck spanning almost the length of the ship and encompassing two decks (Decks 6 & 7) and sporting the largest ‘Digital Dome’ at sea…

On each of the two decks are a variety of shops, restaurants and bars. Each evening the dome features a moving display on completion of the shows in the Grand Theatre…

 

Bars and entertainment venues fronting the Galleria included the L’Atelier Bar and Art…

The Virtuosa Bar and Lounge…

The Masters of the Sea Pub…

…and the TV Studio and Bar…

Eating venues along the Galleria included  Hola! Tacos and Cantina…

*****

 

Butchers Cut Steakhouse

Kaiti Teppanyaki…

 

and the spicy Oriental restaurant, Indochine…

There were a variety of shops and boutiques…

*****

 

…but the stand out retail premise was the Jean-Philippe Chocolate & Cafe…

…where amazing displays of Chocolate figures dominate…

At the forward end of The Galleria is  Le Grand Theatre…

It is spacious and comfortable with a very good seating rake…

The after end of The Galleria encompasses The Infinity Atrium…

*****

…around which can be found the Reception Desk, Infinity Bar, Excursion and Future Cruise Desks on Deck 5, while on Deck 6 can be found ‘The Hub’, MSC’s  Photo & Digital Gallery and the innovative  ‘Starship Club’…

…complete with its Robot Bartender…

On Deck 7 level of the Infinity Atrium is the  Champagne Bar…

*****

Completing the entertainment venues on deck 7, aft of the Infinity Atrium, is the Red Gem Casino…

 

*****

…and the ‘Carousel Lounge’….

******

 

Also aft of the Infinity Atrium, on Decks 5 and  6, are the Virtuosa’s Main Restaurants…

 

*****

*****

*****

 

…and…

******

 

…while on Deck 5, aft of the Infinity Atrium, can be found the larger Blue Danube Restaurant…

******

The final piece in the dining jigsaw is of course the ship’s buffet restaurant, known as the…

******

Noticeably pretty standard as buffets go, though we felt it a little on the dark side in comparison to our more recent experiences…

What was impressive, however, was their Bakery counter …

and Pizza Corner…

with a good variety including the Charcoal Pizza…

 

Next up on our ‘discovery tour’ were the upper decks and pool areas, commencing with the main pool area , known as The Atmosphere Pool…

or, viewed while in use…

 

The Atmosphere Pool certainly lent itself to a romantic setting at night time…

The pool with a moveable roof, the Tropical Indoor Pool…

 

…and at the stern, the Horizon Pool…

******

*****

There is also another sun deck facility dedicated to those guests who book the MSC Aurea Package. The more private deck/solarium  – which I discovered is accessible with one’s Yacht Club card – is known as…

 

…and one can only hazard a guess as to the name being due to the fact it’s situated on Deck 19…

******

*****

Two decks directly below the Aurea Guest facility (on Deck 16) is the Gym Complex….

*****

That just about completes our tour of Virtuosa so maybe time to embark on how we found ‘Life Onboard’…

 

One of the joys of the Yacht Club is that it is super freedom dining experience.  Breakfasts were taken in the Yacht Club Restaurant daily and, when onboard, we took lunch on the YC Sun Deck’ Grill & Bar…

Always a good selection of fish and meat dishes and all cooked to order…

Excellent Swordfish

While the Seafood Risotto was to die for…

Fancy a ‘Rack of Ribs’? No problem…

But the real joy of Yacht Club dining comes in the evenings when the Yacht Club Restaurant really excels…

The restaurant was open between 6.30 and 9.30 pm every evening and we enjoyed our pre-dinner evening drinks in either the Topsail Lounge or at one of the bars along the Galleria. (more about that later)

To start, the Raw Ham and Melon…

The evening’s ‘Deliciously Healthy’ starter option, Buffalo Mozzarella Caprice…

followed by the Grilled Lamb Chops

and closing with the Turkish Baklava…

…for myself and for my wife the Lemon Delight with Limoncello Cream…

Another evening’s fare…

The Asiago Cheese Fritters…

…followed by the Fillet of Beef Rossini…

followed the Caramelised Meringue Ice Cream Pyramid…

…and  the Cherries Jubilee…

Most evenings we additionally availed ourselves of the outstanding Cheese Board…

Wines are all included and generally there were 8 different bottles available.

It soon became apparent that should one’s preference for wines not be matched on what was immediately on offer the Head Waiter,  Mauricio, was more than happy to find something suitable. We have a penchant for full bodied and high ABV reds when eating steak and other red meats hence…

….Mauricio found this delightful full-bodied, harmonious wine weighing in at 15.5%… 

We dined in the Yacht Club six of our seven nights onboard. The other venue that ‘took our fancy’ was the speciality restaurant on the Galleria, Indochine…

 

*****

Indochine offers an exciting selection of French-Vietnamese dishes…

*****

We chose to follow the ‘Dining Experience’ menu and first up was a selection of Rice Paper Rolls…

…with dipping sauces. Almost a meal in itself but, I could not resist the Indochine Spicy Tom Yam Soup…

…one of my Eastern favourites, while my wife tried the equally good ‘Crispy Squid’…

For our main course our similar tastes saw us…

…tucking in to the Lemongrass Black Cod Papillote…

*****

Finishing off with what was billed as Vietnamese Custard…

…which from my days in the kitchen I recognised as a Crème Caramel.

Our meal at Indochine was excellent in itself: made even more palatable by the fact that it was complimentary on the grounds that we are Diamond members in MSC’s Loyalty Club.

With such a variety of bars and entertainment around the ship we rarely relied on the Yacht Club’s Topsail lounge though when we did we enjoyed the pre dinner light entertainment…

*****

 

However, over the course of our week onboard we mainly patronised two of the bars fronting onto the Galleria. By far our favourite and most popular pre-dinner venue, particularly for listening to music and people watching , was the L’Atelier Bar and Art…

A warm and  elegant  bar offering a selective wine list and creative signature cocktails  – though on our visits we generally chose our favoured ‘Gin & Tonic’ before dinner. It offers the sound of live jazz music and an interesting pop-up art gallery.

*****

*****

 

…while post dinner our main preference was The Virtuosa Bar and Lounge…

******

…the regular venue of the excellent and popular  Party 4 Band…

…which also proved good for a little dancing later in the evening…

There was another bar that we discovered on the higher level of the Galleria –  the token English Pub, Masters of the Sea…

******

…with music provided by the exceptional ‘Takes 2 Duo’…

A most popular venue, and certainly popular entertainers, we  enjoyed one particularly good night there with fellow Yacht Club guests…

 

…and of course, never one to miss a photo opportunity…

…meet the singer Richard.

During our week onboard we made it to two shows in the main theatre and found them pretty good. One show, Le Ciel de Paris…

and the other, by far the better, Capriccio…

…featured the music of Italy…

…with some superb solo performances.

Probably worthwhile mentioning here, as it is applicable, the onboard app proved most helpful, particularly when reserving entertainment or venues…

 

Prior to joining Virtuosa we booked, on recommendation, seats at one of the two Carousel Lounge shows…

The show ticket includes a cocktail on arrival…

…and there was a ‘warm-up’ artist to entertain while the Carousel Lounge filled up…

I have to confess here that we used the Yacht Club privilege of being escorted in by a butler: hence the empty seats yet to be filled.

On with the show. Fast, colourful and very much in the vein of a Cirque du Soleil, ARKYMEA proved great entertainment and well worth the additional expense…

*****

I’d be the first to admit that my pictures just cannot do justice to the performances of the cast…

…that guy dismantled his bike while continuing to ride it on basically a very small stage, ending up doing circuits on just the one wheel. Anyway, here’s a taster I spotted on Youtube. Readers will need to click the link.

 

I mentioned earlier that we had pre-booked our show prior to joining the ship. No great deal but it was interesting to note once on board that the prices of the shows was some 50% higher than that when pre-booked…

Food for thought if you’re watching the pennies.

 

The Itinerary

This cruise was part of a package deal booked through

https://bookandgoholidays.com/#header

…and included flights with Emirates, three private transfers, a three night All Inclusive (AI) stay at the Riu Hotel and of course, a 7 night cruise onboard MSC Virtuosa in a Yacht Club suite.

Having stayed in Dubai on numerous occasions The Riu Hotel suited us fine for a pure and simple relaxing beachfront break  doing very little other than sun, sea and sand alongside what we do best, eating and drinking.

Having landed on at Dubai’s International Airport around 9.00 am we were whisked by private transfer to the Riu Hotel, arriving there around 10.30. Joy of joys, our sea-view room was available and we were soon soaking up the rays on the beach…

*****

*****

Supping Mango Daiquiris…

Pina Coladas & Mojitos…

Long balmy sunny Lunches on the patio…

Rich dinners in one of the speciality restaurants…

…and some sheer indulgence….

By way of an amusing anecdote, I’m  proud to place on record my achievements in the sunbed bagging stakes on consecutive mornings…

*****

We were aware that when we joined Virtuosa on the Saturday that she would not be sailing until early evening the following day. So having been suitably rested at the Riu Hotel we decided that on the sunday, after breakfast on the ship, that we would head out to visit Dubai’s Expo 2020 site…

Two favourable items played their part in our decision to visit the site. Firstly, by flying with Emirates we were able to claim two complimentary online admission tickets…

…and secondly, it just so happened that the Expo Organisation was running a complimentary return shuttle bus service  from the Dubai Cruise Terminal to the site.

 Probably a good idea because the distance between the two is in the region of around 45 kilometres or 40 minutes travel time.

Expo is a global event that links innovation, technology, art, and culture to offer a great experience.

******

Different parts of the world mark their presence to share new ideas.

That’s The Saudi Arabian Pavilion above and, seen from a different aspect below…

No clues or prizes for guessing the next…

…where we enjoyed the innovative moving walkway through the various exhibits…

We probably took in around 7 or 8 countries’ pavilions and agreed that one  could not fit as many as we would have liked into one day. We found the Thai, Italian and Israeli Pavilions most interesting.

We returned onboard ready for the evening sailaway which we enjoyed from the comfort of the Sky Lounge…

 

The following day, Monday 7 March, we arrived at Sir Bani Yas Island…

The largest natural island in the United Arab Emirates and famous for its Arabian Wildlife Park – with its roaming giraffes, cheetahs and gazelles. We, however, had decided, like the majority of passengers, to utilise the beach facilities. On arrival at the jetty we were greeted by a team of Yacht Club Butlers…

…and whisked by golf buggy…

…. to the furthest beach point where there was an exclusive Yacht Club passengers’ beach area…

*****

******

*******

We spent an enjoyable  long morning on the beach, later enjoying the on-site buffet lunch…

*****

…before eventually returning onboard.  We took the decision to walk back and enjoy the facility with some photography…

 

*****

*****

******

We eventually sailed from Sir Bani Yas Island at 6.00 pm and headed for our next port of call.

The following day, Tuesday 8 March, we arrived early at Abu Dhabi…

….sailing past the Louvre Abu Dhabi,  an art museum located on Saadiyat Island at the port’s entrance. It runs under an agreement between the UAE and France, signed in March 2007, that allows it to use the Louvre’s name until 2037, and was noted as a popular visitor attraction on the Virtuosa’s excursion lists.

Once berthed alongside the cruise terminal…

…visibly no shortage of ship’s excursion coaches and Open-Top Big Bus facilities…

…we headed ashore.

 

We had a plan and knew what we wanted to see. It was going to be a DIY day for us in conjunction with Uber…

We had made two online reservation before leaving UK, the first, at no charge, guaranteed us a speedy and timely entrance to The Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque…

On arrival the procedure for visitors was most efficient: particularly when armed with one’s online booked pass. My wife of course needed to abide by their pretty stiff female dress code…

Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest mosques and Abu Dhabi’s modern showpiece. The white-marble courtyards of the complex exude the  affluent traditional designs from flooring to ceiling are fine examples of modern Islamic architecture. Clearly defined visitor routes and dedicated photography points abound…

 

*****

*****

…each area well signposted and informatively documented with its purpose and  tradition…

The Grand Mosque  boasts  the biggest hand-woven carpet of the world…

… as well as the third largest chandelier that decorates the main prayer hall…

The exterior reflective pools are another major attraction of the mosque…

…well worth a walk around before completing the visit…

Our visit to the Grand Mosque over, next on our itinerary was the Qasr Al Watan – the Presidential Palace of the United Arab Emirates and, as luck would have it, an Uber driver was waiting in the Mosque car park…

The Qasr Al Watan, unlike the Grand Mosque, charges an entrance fee. I had picked up a tip, from a facebook group for the Virtuosa, that booking online saved considerable time queueing on arrival. That’s what we did and sure thing, we were shepherded straight in…

The palace was only opened to the public in the March of  2019.

That’s the main gate entrance down there in the distance. Prior to its opening, the palace was used only for official purposes, mainly hosting foreign leaders and Heads of States, and for meetings of the country’s Supreme Council and Federal Cabinet. Even after being opened to the public, the palace continues to be used for these purposes…

Centre piece of the interior is ‘The Great Hall…

…which boasts a dome with a diameter of 37 metres.

Two wings lead off the Great Hall, one of which allows access to the ‘Majlis’, or Council Chamber…

…with its chandelier containing 350,000 pieces of crystal and some pretty comfortable looking furniture.

 

The other wing contains a sculpture entitled ‘The Power of Words’…

During our visit we also spotted a rather grand ‘canteen’ on one of the wings…

Applying a little bit of lens zoom we clearly recognised the ‘buffet’ table…

Equally grand of course were the toilet facilities…

…and another ‘golden’ opportunity for a selfie…

 

As with the Grand Mosque, there were some pretty impressive water features on the exterior of the Palace…

Our visit to Qasr Al Watan complete we opted to walk the 20 or so minutes to visit another of Abu Dhabi’s gems, The Emirates Palace Hotel…

******

Located on a pristine private beach, Emirates Palace is the epitome of luxury in Abu Dhabi

The building was designed by British architect John Elliot with the design of the hotel a mix of Islamic architectural elements alongside modern methods of design and construction. The central dome features elaborate geometrical patterns and 114 smaller domes are spread over the building. The colour of the building was inspired by different shades of sands found in the Arabian Desert.

 

Interesting to admire the view from the top of the steps and see some more modern hotel designs…

…and of course the grandeur inside…

*****

******

Anyone for tea?….

There was lots of choice…

With our three main goals complete, and still some time left, we continued to explore Abu Dhabi by walking  from the Emirates Palace Hotel along the Abu Dhabi Corniche…

…taking in first the Abu Dhabi Founders Memorial…

…and a view of the popular giant UAE Flag…

…flying above the Emirates Heritage Club village on Al Marina Island

Needless to say we were now somewhat exhausted and after stopping for some light refreshment we took our final trip back to the ship courtesy once more of Uber.

On return to Virtuosa my wife’s fitbit indicated….

…that over the course of the day, and in 33c temperatures, we had covered 8.78 miles…

The following day, Wednesday 9 March was a sea day following the cancellation of the initial itinerary  planned call to Damman, Saudi Arabia. I can safely say that in view of our previous day’s activities this was probably a blessing in disguise.

Thursday 10 March saw us arriving in Doha…

*****

Doha had imposed some restrictions on unescorted travel and it was only admissible to go ashore if passengers had booked an MSC excursion. Certainly many had, judging by the numbers of coaches outside the Cruise Terminal and queuing along the  causeway in the above photograph.

We had been aware of this restriction and had pre booked the Dhow Cruise….

 

…again on the recommendations of a facebook group. Unfortunately, even before we joined the ship this particular excursion had been removed from the itinerary.  Not fancying any of the others we opted to have a second consecutive day onboard.

I did however manage a few photographs of Doha from the ship, including Stadium 974…

The stadium is a football stadium  and was opened in November 2021. Remarkably, it is a temporary venue that will host matches during the 2022 Fifa World Cup, after which it will be deconstructed.

 

Another photograph of interest close to the terminal is the development of a traditional style of housing in what is known as the Mina District…

And finally I managed to capture the night version of my earlier photograph of the cruise terminal causeway with the city as a backdrop…

Our penultimate day onboard, Friday 11 March, saw our mid morning return to Dubai, passing two rather deserted looking Costa cruise ships…

…on our way to our berth. It was also good to get a reasonable view of another of our past cruise ships, the QE2…

Now a floating hotel, we eagerly recalled our experience on her back in 2002  when we did one of her famous ‘Line Voyages’, 37 nights Southampton to Mauritius and return.

We had a plan for today and were most grateful for the earlier than planned arrival at Dubai. We were going to head to ‘The Palm’ and as in Abu Dhabi, we were going courtesy of Uber….

 

 

 

*****

Out of interest the objects in the water are the fountain heads for the ”Water Fountain Show’…

…which takes place each evening. Easily googled or searched for on Youtube.

 

During my research I had spotted a number of interesting restaurants along the walkway at ‘The Pointe Palm Jumeirah”…

*****

*****

…and one in particular had appealed to us…

The Lebanese specialist, Al Safadi. It was a no-brainer….

******

******

A fab meal and two happy bears…

Following that excellent lunch we bagged another Uber and headed to Jumeirah Beach…

…in order to see how much it had changed since we stayed there on two previous occasions…

…and noting two new hotel construction sites surrounding the Burj Al Arab

Our final day, Saturday 12 March, saw us disembark and head for the airport for our Emirates flight home.

Had we so wished we could have had our luggage taken into the terminal the evening before and checked into the flight at the Cruise Terminal’s Emirates desk. We chose not to take up this offer though it sounded a good option for those so inclined.

Following a leisurely breakfast we relaxed in the Topsail Lounge waiting to be escorted off he ship, at a pre-arranged time,  by one of the Yacht Club butlers. Our travel agent arranged transfer was on time and we were soon heading off for our mid afternoon flight home.

And so yet another cruise came to an end.

 

Summary

Overall the cruise and stay package covered by this review proved another enjoyable experience: particularly as once again it was taken while limited Covid restrictions remained in place, albeit somewhat more relaxed than on our previous cruise in December. Having said that we were of the opinion that MSC were running a more controlled and regimented system than other lines.

Indeed, we have come to the conclusion that some form of restrictions are going to be the norm for some time and that if we wish to continue with foreign travel then we might just as well get used to it. As we are triple jabbed and more than likely swimming in antibodies, we certainly think any small risk is worth taking.

Booking into MSC’s Yacht Club certainly has its advantages and is good value for money. Our expectations were met as we had factored in some adjustments to the level of service.  We would add however that the dining completely matched our pre-covid previous Yacht Club dining experience. On a slightly lower key, we found that the Topsail lounge generally lacked atmosphere in the evenings, but that isn’t MSC’s fault; that’s down to their passengers who for whatever reason weren’t interested in using it.

MSC Virtuosa is a big ship, glitzy and innovative in a lot of its facilities. We never found it crowded, there was always something on that we felt comfortable joining in with. It soon became obvious to us that we would have needed more than a week onboard had we wanted to experience everything Virtuosa had to offer onboard.

We are more than happy to say that the whole package was made even more pleasurable by the outstanding service provided by Tim and Andy of https://bookandgoholidays.com . Nothing whatsoever is too much trouble for these two  guys and they are the most pro-active cruise travel agents that I have experienced.

 

 

If you have enjoyed this review of MSC’s Virtuosa, and would like to be amongst the first to hear of new reviews including a Croatian Coastal cruise aboard The Lady Eleganza, plus  Solent Richard’s next guide to the Canadian port of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, in his ‘One way to do…’ series,  why not join over 500  followers by clicking on the ‘Follow’ link on the front page.

You will be alerted by email immediately a new post appears.

 

©2020 – 23 * Solent Richard’s Cruise Blog * All Rights Reserved

Duplication in part or whole without prior written consent is prohibited by international laws.

 

Disclosure to potential conflict of interest:

It is common throughout the travel industry for travel journalists and many cruise bloggers to be provided with complimentary cruises for the purpose of their reviews.

Solent Richard has no ‘conflict of interest’ as he is not an accredited journalist, he pays for his cruises, and is happy to confirm that all his reviews are his own given without fear or favour.

10 responses to “MSC Virtuosa – An Arabian Adventure

  1. It looked to have been a wonderful holiday! The ship looks delightful & the food and drinks most appetising! Will have to try MSC, at present Celebrity being our favoured cruise line. Off on Celebrity Beyond Maiden on 27th April, looking forward to that! We are in Stubbington! …

    • They compare quite favourably over many services and facilities and indeed often go further on the service – escorts to gangways and shows, a proper daily newspaper, and of course the inclusive drinks ship wide. The one area though that they cannot match though is ambiance: the standard of dress and manner created by Grills passengers.

  2. So interesting Richard, I sailed the same cruise starting on the 12th March. Good to see the yacht club facilities and cabins / I did try and have a sneek peak beyond the gates – now I know how the other half cruise!!! Excellent reviews of the ship, great photos too.

  3. We did this cruise and ship this past December although we were in an inside cabin which is basically steerage class compared to you, lol. Nonetheless, it was a great cruise. We did Abu Dhabi on our own but took a required MSC excursion in Doha. As they say, any day at sea is better than a day at the office. Thanks for the great review!

  4. I’m glad that you have come to the conclusion that MSC are worthy of consideration for cruises. i’m just sorry it took you so long to get to where I got to in 2006.
    I recall you derided those of us that stood up for them in that time so long ago.
    I extend a warm Welcome to you as a fully paid up member of the MSC supporters club. The club is fully of experienced cruisers including myself (Pete Caerphilly, aka Skier Pete), 1fifthavenue, toshtosh, lawnmowerman, Wandsborough, to name but a few and not forgetting you best friend forever (BFF): TOMVET .

    best wishes on your conversion to an MSC lover

    Pete

    • Good afternoon Pete.

      Good to hear from you.

      Not quite sure I qualify to become a fully paid up member of the MSC Supporters Club. My one hundred per cent Yacht Club record is, after all, a little detached from the levels those that you’ve named/nominated experience. I mean to say, they all now appear to be members of the ‘CD Budget Cruising Club’ – another rather pathetic coterie of weirdos and wannabe cruisers – and some even are ex-members of the now defunct ‘Playmates’: You and Mike of course being the only ones to show your faces, is it any wonder these anonymous forums have given way to far more informative Facebook cruising groups.

      I’d be delighted to hear what on earth happened to Dave Lane’s great vanity project, the demise of which dispossessed me and my blog of a considerable amount of Satirical material.

      I think you’ll find that Tomvet’s (aka Tom Kennedy) best mate was actually Jolly Jill, aka Smith 7 on CD. She eventually lost her ‘playmate moderator’ status over it. Still, I can only surmise that Tomvet has now been completely priced out of the cruise market no longer being able to claim his daughters were babies. Happy days, no doubt you will recall his most infamous escapade frogmarching his family from their hotel, with their luggage, to join Costa Mediterranea in Trieste – definitely a 24 carat tightwad.

      Take care and happy cruising – I’ve something pretty glamorous coming up.

      • I think that as a Diamond member of the Voyagers Club you qualify to be in the MSC supporters club, irrespective of the route there. Status Match (YOU) or the hard way by actually cruising with them (ME) I have over 27000 points and hope that if they introduce another top level, say at 25000 points, i would qualify by right.

        I must correct one assumption you have made. Smith7 did not lose her moderator status because of anything to do with Tomvet.
        She simply found it was not fulfilling any need she had and simply resigned from the position. In addition she was not very computer savvy and found some of the tasks the moderators undertook beyond her capabilities.
        (I was a mod so I am informing you about the situation from a position of really knowing what happened)

        Pete

  5. Great piece Richard and informative as we are going in November but on board Opera and nice to know we can get our bags dropped off at the emirate check in at the port

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.