SQUADRA GRANDIOSA – 7 days on the newest MSC ship

 

A cruise is always exciting…

A last-minute booking is always thrilling…

A week with MSC is (almost) exhilarating…

But a last minute booked cruise on the newest MSC ship is for sure more than that.

Episode 2

This time, just because I made the booking too late, on MSC Grandiosa I had a YC1 cabin. MSC still call it a “suite” but I think will be fair to name it Yacht Club Balcony cabin: 14021. Quite spacious with approx. 28m², I found in my cabin almost everything I needed for a comfortable and luxury voyage: Interactive TV, telephone, Wifi connection available, and excellent Nespresso machine, safe and minibar.

Due to the square design and the layout of the furniture YC1 cabin seemed to be more spacious than on other ships. I absolutely loved the presence of the two chairs in the sitting area – which give a feeling of a dining area without having a separate space like the suites on other cruise lines (Cunard, NCL, Royal). Another brilliant addition was lifting the beds from the floor level which create a great storage space for my 5 suitcases.

Without being extremely large, the bathroom size was like on other MSC ships, but on Grandiosa the bathtub was replaced with an excellent large shower. As I am not a big fan of laying for hours in the bathtub, most of the time too small for my size I was very happy with the shower addition, especially the exposed rain shower option.

My only problem on YC1 cabin was the storage space: a very small double wardrobe, a tiny one with shelves at the entrance of the bathroom (quite unusual layout which demand a serious “verbal communication” when leaving the bathroom to don’t injure you travel companion who’s trying to find something in the wardrobe) and couple of drawers. I know that I don’t travel light, but not everybody is flying with tickets “hand luggage only”. At to be honest on a such an elegant ship with an exquisite crew to have dinner in jeans and trainers is not a fashion faux pas … is a CRIME!

MSC YACHT CLUB passengers enjoy an exclusive butler service (available 24-hours) and I was extremely lucky to sail with the A Team: Pascal Ismael Mamode (butler) and Mohamed Moelyadi (assistant butler) were real gems. Their dedication, attention to details, passion for excellence and genuine care made a huge impact on my on-board experience.

With the help of Miss & Mr. Perfection ( my nicknames for Rosalia the YC Director and Dani the Head Butler) I had the chance to have a quick look to other different cabins on board MSC Grandiosa: the beautiful Family Suite an excellent option with 39m² and a beautiful large angle balcony with private whirlpool bath and my favourite – Duplex Suite covering two decks and bringing together in 59m² an elegant living area with a double sofa bed (on the ground floor) a spacious master bedroom (on the second level) two incredible bathrooms (one with bathtub, one with shower), two walk-in wardrobes and a breath-taking large balcony with a whirlpool bath. Both offered with Aurea Experience. Don’t ask me way…looking again and again at the cabin layout and photos I still don’t understand why MSC doesn’t include these cabins in YC product. They are closer to the idea of “luxury of a private club” than the tiny Yacht Club Interior, a kind of a pastiche of real luxury. I know that MSC try to be innovative but none of the big competitors sell a wardrobe as a luxury cabin. Is like Ryanair selling business class tickets. Believe me, if those cabins will be included in YC that will be my first choice if Royal Suite (again superb but only 2 of them) will be already booked. And that will be a win-win situation comfort for me and a new revenue source for MSC.

I know that I will repeat myself, but I still believe that the Yacht Club product win comfortably in front of similar options like NCL, Cunard or RC. A YC cruise is almost a certitude for an uncompromising luxury with a wealth of exclusive features. On MSC Grandiosa this experience was raised to another level. The entire team in Yacht Club was perfect and this is without doubt the merit of the excellent management. Rosalia Scaldaferri – the YC Director is an excellent leader and a superb host inspiring every second trust and respect, both of her team and the guests while Dani Agung Sri Prasetyo – the Head Butler makes a daily routine one of the principles of the Yacht Club product: “Your relaxation, our dedication”

After almost 40 cruises with MSC in the last couple of years, I can say that my 7 days on board MSC Grandiosa was the best YC experience EVER! And I will give you two examples:

  • In the first day I called the Concierge asking about the possibility of increasing the AC air flow in my cabin. In less than 10 minutes an engineer escorted by the Head Butler Dani sorted the problem perfectly. 10 minutes later my butler Pascal asked, and the Chief Concierge Raj called me to check if everything was now fine with the AC. And that’s not all: later that evening The YC Director approached me and check again if the little problem was solved. This is what I call excellent customer service.
  • You don’t expect more than efficiency from the pool attendants. But Jun, Widi and Eric could find very easy another position in Yacht Club: very professional, excellent manners and consistently demonstrate genuine care. And always with a big smile. I still miss our daily early conversation on the sundeck (I always wake up at 6.00AM for my French Breakfast – Nicotine Macchiato) and the every day questions: “Are your sure that you don’t want another coffee? It is cold today, shall I bring you Sir a towel?”

Reserved exclusively for MSC Yacht Club Guests, Top Sail Lounge was another hit on board MSC Grandiosa. Keeping the idea of open space and live link with the restaurant above this elegant lounge with its panoramic views offers the Yacht Club bar list of craft cocktails, beer, fine wine, soft drinks and coffee drinks. And how can I forget the fine selection of gourmet finger food throughout the day. The deco was extremely trendy but keeping that touch of classic elegance of the previous ships I cruised with. And I still believe that having the restaurant partially open to the lounge brings more life in both spaces: listen to the live music as a background for your dinner or feeling the buzz of the restaurant when you sip your pre-dinner cocktail.

But of course, the Top Sail Lounge will not shine so bright without the team working there: Jerry, Silvester, Jayson, Boris, Dinesh Anna, Astari were always efficient and professional. How you can not feel home away from home when smiling Irina remembered every morning my usual double expresso with ice and my mandatory Bloody Mary, when Marie thoughtful and elegant will have a suggestion for my day in port or when charming Michelle will ensure that everything is perfect surprising me daily with her superb communication and interpersonal skills. To be honest I hope that on my next cruise I will have the privilege to have Michelle as my butler.

On MSC Grandiosa YC gave me the advantage of indulging myself in the luxury of a private club, while enjoying access to the myriad of recreation and entertainment possibilities that the rest of the ship offers. And a big part in the success of this experience was the Concierge Team Maria, Alessandra and Cedric guided discreet and professional by the incomparable Raj. Ignore Zoe at the Concierge desk the answer is always YES … you just need to ask the question.

If you red my previous reviews of MSC cruises you will see that sometimes the only weakest link was the YC Restaurant. This time, even if I would have a PhD in professional moaning, I couldn’t find anything but excellence both from gastronomic and service point of views. The menus were very well balanced, and the food was cooked perfectly. Every breakfast, lunch and dinner were authentic gastronomic treats. I am not a good photographer but believe me each course served in the Yacht Club Restaurant on Gauguin deck looked and tasted fantastic.

The restaurant is not very big and sometimes can be busy. Is hard to say the perfect time for a quiet meal as the dynamic of the restaurant depends a lot of the nationality profile of the cruise: Brits and Germans they like an early dinner, while Italian and Spaniards will start eating around 9.00PM. However, busy or not, the elegant restaurant was perfect managed by Maître D Luigi Fusco and his assistant Dora: no waiting time, no hassle, no stress. Everything was smooth and very elegant. And talking about the service style, my gastronomic adventures in YC Restaurant would not be the same without the grace and professionalism of Amir – a real Michelin star waiter and all the “liquid “suggestions of YC sommelier, Salvatore always able to find the perfect pairing for the delicious food. Sometimes too much pairing…but that was my fault!

Another place, if the sun is part of the daily program, to enjoy a relaxed breakfast or lunch is the “YC Grill & Bar” a sundeck buffet and bar offering an exceptional selection of freshly grilled specialities. Every day talented chefs prepared right before my eyes an enticing array of first-rate dishes from the freshest ingredients. With carefully selected and perfectly roasted meats, the lunch time carvery is a must. Alternatively, I loved to grab something from the grill, from an impressive selection of fresh fish, meat and burgers and homemade pasta plus a wide choice of fresh salads

Who could not get excited about being one of the first to sail a brand-new ship?  The smell of the new carpets and furniture and how everything shined and glimmered can create a perfect vacation. But MSC Grandiosa, at least with me brought something else.

After the disappointed experience sailing MSC Divina in springtime now I regain trust in MSC, Yacht Club and theirs ships. As a result already booked a back to back 2019-2020 on Bellissima sailing from Dubai and another 4 cruises in the first 5 months of 2020.

And all of this because of SQUADRA GRANDIOSA on board MSC Grandiosa.

Thank you for helping me to find my way back!

 

Read tomorrow Episode 3 of my experience on board MSC Grandiosa

2

~ by leonard69 on December 18, 2019.

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