Cruises

Is cruising for me? My honest opinion


As you may know, I have been invited to go on a cruise recently, which was a bit of a surprise, as I always said that I would never go on one. Never, ever, ever. But I did. Did I like it? Will Mrs. O go cruising again? What did I really think about the experience? Here is my honest opinion.

Some of my favourite moments

Some of my favourite moments

I was invited by MSC Cruises to go on a bloggers’ trip in early July. The itinerary was quite exciting, and perfect for a weekend. We started in Rome, where I did a bit of shopping, we then stopped in Genoa and managed a little hop to Portofino, and I even learned how to make mojitos on the ship.

I accepted this invite as we were not going on the main part of the ship. These ships are big – we are talking 3,000+. I liked the concept of the Yacht Club which is “a ship within a ship”, or a boutique hotel inside a hotel. With only 70+ suites – 140 people.. I was definitely curious.

Want to know more about it? Well I did, and asked the Yacht Club’s head butler to tell us a bit more about this luxury product. Just click here, or on the image below.

My 3rd and final video

My 3rd and final video

The Yacht Club was lovely – the rooms could have been a big bigger, but to be honest, I didn’t really spend a lot of time in them. Everything worked perfectly,  and I loved having a butler. I was an easy passenger as I didn’t ask for much – I never leave for a trip without shiny shoes, so didn’t need that and all my dresses travel well. But of course I can see the appeal of having your ironing done, which I would totally use, if necessary.

I LOVED the pool deck. We had a huge area with a bar, lounging chairs, a pool, 2 jacuzzis and a viewing deck, for exclusive use of the Yacht Club guests. It was super spacious and not crowded at all (my worse nightmare). I loved the fact that there are more sunloungers than guests… so even if at full capacity, it will never look full.

The Top Sail Deck - nice and peaceful

The Top Sail Deck – nice and peaceful

I LOVED the spa – it was one of the best experiences ever, and I have had a few massages and facials around the world. The treatment rooms were amazing, state of the art, and the view.. wow, that will be difficult to replicate anywhere else. Must confess it was a bit strange to undress whilst leaving Genoa – I know that no one could see me, but a very weird feeling indeed.

A spa room with a view

A spa room with a view

I LOVED the Yacht Club lounge – just like a hotel lounge – with food, drinks, etc. You could have simple meals throughout the day, drinks, etc. Very nice and the hub of this part of the ship

Food and drink were also excellent. We had access to the fine dining restaurant, and I cannot fault anything.

What I didn’t like? Having to cross the whole ship in order to get to it. It is not for the walk, it is for the sheer contrast of the cruising experience. I am talking thousands of people, being super loud, everywhere. And not wearing trousers after sunset. Or shirts. I am not being snobbish (maybe I am), but there is a time and place for everything. If you wear shorts during the day, make an effort for dinner. I am not suggesting everyone should wear tuxedos and evening gowns (although I would love to have an evening like that!), but trousers, long sleeve shirt and proper shoes is an absolute minimum for men. On the yacht club, there is a requirement for gentlemen to wear jackets and that was absolutely fine. I wore cocktail dresses every night, nothing formal, but as I would do for any dinner.

Would I go again? To the Yacht Club, absolutely – for a long weekend, it would be perfect for me. And with a group of friends – I think cruising is like skiing, more of a group activity. To the other part of the ship? Absolutely not. If we all liked yellow, life would be very boring and I am glad that there are different options at different prices.

So there you have it. I would really like to thank MSC for the great trip they organised for us. One of the best parts of the trip was actually meeting fellow bloggers and the team. We had an amazing weekend, not a lot of sleep, but I got back to Barcelona feeling happy and relaxed.

W Barcelona is becoming my home in this city. Always welcome to drop by :)

W Barcelona is becoming my home in this city. Always welcome to drop by 🙂

With enough time before my flight back to London, it would be rude not to enjoy the sun and have my first dip ever in Barcelona, thanks to the W Hotel, who let us use their beach club. And, of course, enough time for some delicious Spanish Tapas.

Oh yes - boquerones, calamares, croquetas, pan con tomate and the piece of resistance, ibérico ham. This and cold rosé wine was a treat!

Oh yes – boquerones, calamares, croquetas, pan con tomate and the piece of resistance, ibérico ham. This and cold rosé wine was a treat!

 

Who knows if you will find me on a cruise again? 😉

Mrs. O

 


View Comments (60)

60 Comments

  1. nuno ribeiro

    December 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Hi,

    I had been on Yacth Club (MSC Fantasia) a year ago and it was fantastic.
    About the rest of the ship, i cant agree more with you, a lot of people in a small area.

    I even write a review about the trip. You can see it here:
    http://www.cruzeiros.com.pt/cruzeiro-de-luxo-a-nossa-experiencia-no-yacht-club-do-msc-fantasia-reportagem-fotos-e-videos/

    Thanks!

  2. Trish - Mum's Gone To

    September 9, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Great to read such an honest account of your experience. I agree with many of the sentiments here and in the comments – it’s finding the right fit. We took a family Mediterranean cruise when my son was about 10 and it suited us fine (although we booked the most expensive room, with balcony). My son is 17 now so will doubtless be travelling without us soon so, as a couple, I would want to experience something more stylish and quiet!
    Trish – Mum’s Gone To recently posted..Grand DesignMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 9, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you, Trish! I did enjoy my experience, but simply because it was ‘secluded’. Almost the same concept as business class 🙂

  3. whatkatedoesnext

    September 5, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I don’t think I would ever go on a cruise but I enjoyed reading this 🙂
    whatkatedoesnext recently posted..Pink sugar glitter cocktailsMy Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      September 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Hi Kate 🙂 I didn’t either 😉 but wasn’t so bad!

  4. Geoff H.

    August 31, 2012 at 9:50 am

    It looks fantastic! You said nothing about the price, I know you were invited but do you have any clue on how much this may cost?
    Geoff H. recently posted..Someone said “Vacations”?My Profile

    • @mrsoaroundworld

      August 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Geoff, I can check for sure, but I would say around €1500-2000 for a week with all drinks/meals included? Same as a 5-star hotel, I’d say

  5. Gina

    August 21, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I work in the cruise industry so have been on several inaugural cruises and full-length cruises on a variety of cruise lines and ships. Sounds like you would really like the small, luxury cruise ships as they are more like the ship within a ship experience you experienced in the Yacht club, except it IS the whole ship. While cruising isn’t my preferred way of travel, I think it’s a great way to have a relaxing, get-away-from-it-all, type vacation (slow Internet and no cell service makes it so you pretty much have to disconnect or pay a lot) and I truly believe there is a cruise out there for just about everyone that they will enjoy, but the key is picking the right cruise line and ship.
    Gina recently posted..Couple Travel: Camping for ClosenessMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 22, 2012 at 8:26 am

      I think you nailed it, Gina. Let’s see if I find more cruise lines pour moi 😉

      • Dannielle Belsham Farrant

        October 2, 2015 at 9:50 am

        Have you ever done a private cruise with your family or friends on a luxury hotel barge? Hotel barging definitely falls into the more authentic and “real-experience” end of travel while still offering exclusivity and privacy, good climate and good wine and food, particularly if you choose Southwestern France!

  6. Craig Zabransky

    August 19, 2012 at 4:40 am

    this yatch club totally sounds like the place i’d want to be. i recently found myself on my first cruise in 20 years… I did a partial passage of the panama canal… it’s the best way to see it… but my challenge with it was the control and schedule… it’s seems much more relaxed in the yatch club…
    stay luxurious, Craig
    Craig Zabransky recently posted..Two Local Drinks to Enjoy in AmsterdamMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      It was a lovely place indeed 🙂 also good for a tweet-up, me thinks!

  7. lola

    August 18, 2012 at 12:28 am

    OMG that food. i CANNOT WAIT for Spain and sooooon!! i love this post and would consider the same scenario for cruising. the “yacht club” is the waaay to go. thank you Mrs. O.
    lola recently posted..Cambodia Countdown – week 1My Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 18, 2012 at 11:47 am

      OMG that will be our lunch when we arrive in Barcelona 🙂

  8. Marian Krueger

    August 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Love the honesty of your post. I think with new cruisers, lots of people are just happy to be on a cruise. Some people love the crowds and the opportunity to do nothing but drink and hang out in the sun. I have found that I am getting far pickier in my cruise choices and would prefer less crowded ships with more amenities. Standing in long lines in a buffet or fighting over a lounger on the pool deck just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. I hope you’ll give cruising another chance and see which one is a right fit for you.
    Marian Krueger recently posted..LIVE Onboard Carnival Magic | Day 6 of Our CruiseMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Marian, thank you so much for stopping by. I totally agree with you – I don’t look for those things in a hotel, certainly wouldn’t want to in an even more confined environment. I think that this trip was very useful to dispel my personal myths/anxieties about cruising, and good to see cruise lines offering segmented products to different travellers.

  9. Traveling Ted

    August 17, 2012 at 2:43 am

    I think I would be the same way. I would only go on a cruise if invited for a blog press trip.
    Traveling Ted recently posted..Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, London: an eternal travel tipMy Profile

  10. Tracy Antonioli

    August 16, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I saw this posted on the TBEX thread on FB and was amused–because I wrote a post with the exact same title (but then hid it from my blog because I felt it was too harsh). I’ve been on three cruises just this year alone (long story why) and I feel the same way. If I could sail like you did–on a ‘ship within a ship’ that would seriously change my opinion. But it seems like each successive cruise just got more and more…rowdy? Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts!
    Tracy Antonioli recently posted..Cape Cod Cuisine: Falmouth EditionMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Tracy! Thank you for stopping by. I always thought it wasn’t for me and overall, it isn’t. I thought this little yacht club thing may have opened a door or three for me – and I would seriously consider doing it again. But not for a week!

  11. Preston brookes

    August 16, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Hi, I loved reading about your cruise and the yacht club. We have been in the royal suite a few times and really love it. All the food and free drinks yum. We was invited to the christening of the msc divina, a real treat. Followed by 2 weeks of cruising. Magical. We always dress for dinner. Take care. Preston

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 16, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Preston, I would expect nothing less from you. But you know when I mean when I refer to the “other part of the cruise”, right?

  12. Tawny- Captain and Clark

    August 15, 2012 at 1:48 am

    If we were to go on a big cruise, I think the Yacht Club would be the way to go. I really appreciate the honest review of your experience. It sounded (and looked) like you enjoyed yourself. What a great experience!
    Tawny- Captain and Clark recently posted..N Seoul Tower is Quite the Trip. [video]My Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 15, 2012 at 10:56 am

      My pleasure – it was fun indeed 😉

  13. John

    August 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Glad you enjoyed the cruising experience. I feel like there is probably some kind of cruise for anyone, it just takes a little searching around to find the right one for you.
    John recently posted..Travel Rinse Repeat Roundup August 14th, 2012My Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      I think that you have exactly nailed it!

  14. Fiona

    August 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Nice to read a really honest review Ana. Looks like you were truly able to make the experience your own too! Very impressed with the spa – must have been heavenly.
    Fiona recently posted..The Photo Edit: Lake Como, ItalyMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      It was amazing the spa 🙂 and the whole experience. Was very interesting and different – and actually fun!

  15. Bex

    August 14, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Interesting trip – sounds fab. Like you, I am not a fan at all of big crowds, so I opted to take a ‘cruise’ on a Container ship instead, crossing the Atlantic with 5 other passengers, and a LOT of Eastern European merchant seamen! Lucky me!
    http://thisnthat-everydaylifeobservations.blogspot.com/2012/05/across-atlantic.html
    Plan to travel to Hong Kong next year from Athens by Container ship too.

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 14, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Well, that is an interesting and alternative way of travelling! Tell us more!

      • Bex

        August 14, 2012 at 10:32 am

        I wrote about it on my blog, together with pictures. The link is on my first comment. Take a look!
        They had a pool, but not as glamorous as the one you had. And also a sauna, but not for me, sharing with a bunch of sweaty Russian men!
        Still, I enjoyed playing cards with them in the evenings, spending time on the Bridge with the Captain (much more informal when there’re only 6 passengers), a tour of the ship by the Chief Officer and generally getting to know these gentle people who spend their lives at sea.

  16. Wends of Journeys and Travels

    August 14, 2012 at 2:20 am

    OMG, I just love this cruising lifestyle. I never have tried one but this one inspired me to try it. I love the thought that you are all well-attended to here and the a personal butler, that is awesome!
    Wends of Journeys and Travels recently posted..Buying Silver in Phnom PenhMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 14, 2012 at 8:10 am

      Wendy hi! Thank you for your kind comments. This special cruise was just the ticket, and I am glad I had the opportunity to try 🙂

  17. Simon O'Reilly

    August 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Great post Mrs O! Very honest review. The Yacht Club concept or BA Lounge equivalent is the only way to do cruises. Comfortable, quiet and what one needs when you travel away from home. The disappointment is having to go through the other areas of the ship to get to the restaurant for dinner. However that experience was worth it as the food and service was excellent! The spa was a special experience weird to be on a moving ship whilst being massaged. But very good at that. The trips were good especially going to Portofino. Doing these with friends for a long weekend would be different and one would see different cities, sleep overnight and the next day be in a different one. Fun! Then if you like where you have been you can always go back. So thanks to MSC for opening up future travel opportunities and to introducing us to a luxury concept of travel.

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 13, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Like the idea of going again for a long weekend. Was thinking Dubrovnik 😉

  18. Leah Travels

    August 13, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    This is the post I’ve been waiting for. Finally, the verdict. I think I’d even go on a cruise like this one…as long as I didn’t pay for it and had unlimited vacation days. I’m glad you gave it a shot and that it was much nicer than my cruising experiences. I don’t think you’re being snobby at all. The uncouthness is just one of the things I hate about cruising. I’m glad to see it’s just not isolated to the USA.
    Leah Travels recently posted..The Weird and Wonderful in TokyoMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm

      Oh God no, it is everywhere – I think to be honest it is directly related to the price one pays.. isn’t it the same with hotels? I think you would have enjoyed this – under the same circumstances as moi 😉

  19. Pola (@jettingaround)

    August 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I appreciate your honest opinion, Ana and I completely agree about the dress code. If I were to do a cruise again, it would either be something like the Yacht Club or a small ship. Nice video! 🙂
    Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..The Green Mill – Chicago’s landmark jazz clubMy Profile

    • Nathan

      August 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Have any of you looked at river cruises. Small ships and dock right in the center of city. Excursions are included in the price.

      • mrsoaroundtheworld

        August 13, 2012 at 8:54 pm

        hum… never crossed my mind 😉

      • Pola (@jettingaround)

        August 14, 2012 at 8:16 am

        I’ve done a couple like that in Chicago – it was quite fun! Do you have a city cruise you’d recommend, Nathan?
        Pola (@jettingaround) recently posted..The Green Mill – Chicago’s landmark jazz clubMy Profile

        • mrsoaroundtheworld

          August 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

          But did you stay? I did one in Chicago too, I always try to when cities offer this opportunity. Will never forget my San Diego one!

        • Nathan

          August 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

          I don’t really have a city cruise to recommend. I was talking about European River cruising like down the Rhine or Danube rivers. Most of these are like 6+ day cruises with only around 150 passengers on board. You can read more here.

          http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/myagent/Cardinaltravel/ Go ahead and look around on it. You may just help me win a cruise! 😉

  20. the lazy travelers

    August 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    it sounds like your cruise was pretty much the only way we would be interested in experiencing one, for all the same reasons you listed. mostly the butler. i’ve always wanted a butler. i’d call him jeeves, even if that wasn’t his name. that’s probably allowed at the yacht club, right?
    the lazy travelers recently posted..laws to travel by – #22My Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      ours was José and he was lovely 🙂 but surely it can be organised 😉

  21. Waegook Tom

    August 13, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Great post, Mrs O! The Yacht Club sounds amazing and that view from the spa room is to die for – it looks like total bliss! I think I’d be pissed off about the regular part of the cruise though, and I would definitely dress up for dinner. I mean, it’s a cruise! Keep it classy, people!

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Thank you, Tom! I know my comments won’t please everyone, but I am sticking to them. One should dress up for dinner 😉

  22. Nathan

    August 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Great post Ana! I have enjoyed reading about your first cruising experience. I am glad you enjoyed it!
    Now for a little self promotion :D! The key to enjoying your cruise is to be on the right cruise in the first place. With so many cruise lines, each catering to a different clientel; I believe there is a cruise for everyone. That is where a GOOD travel advisor (travel agent) comes into play. One who takes the time to talk to you, get to know you, to make sure you are getting the right cruise for you. What good is booking a cruise on price if your on the wrong ship and hate it? How good of value would that be? A good travel advisor knows the cruise lines and can recomend one that fits you.

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      You are totally right and to be fair, your advice has been unvaluable. We have been speaking about this cruise for months and when I told you about MSC and the Yacht Club, you always said it would be a great fit (never forgot those words). So I was a lot less nervous in the run up to the trip. So, very very grateful 🙂

      • Nathan

        August 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

        And when I say everyone, I include “Miss I hate cruises Leah”. From her blog post I was able to determine exactly what cruise line she was on and knowing her I would have never recomened that one.

  23. Richy

    August 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Great blog post Ana, glad to hear you enjoyed your cruise. I’ve really enjoyed your blog posts and videos from your cruise on board MSC Splendida! You never know, we might just bump into each other on a cruise someday 😉

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 13, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      Thanks, Richy! It was a very different experience, and I am glad I wasn’t 100% in my assumptions. I did like what we had at the Yacht Club, and obviously understand that it may be slightly different than what is generally available for everyone. What was your best cruising experience?

      • Richy

        August 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm

        No problem! Yes, I guess it’s hard to know what to expect on a cruise especially with there being such a variety of cruises available. Yes of course but it was great that you got to experience that level of luxury.

        Hmm, this will probably surprise and/or shock you but I’ve never actually cruised before. I have however toured Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth last June (2012). I hope to set sail on my 1st official cruise in the next few months or years.

        • mrsoaroundtheworld

          August 13, 2012 at 4:21 pm

          Oh you know who to ask for newbie advice 😉 how were the ships? fab?

          • Richy

            August 13, 2012 at 5:04 pm

            Haha I do indeed 😉 Oh they were stunning, Queen Mary 2 was so big and spacious but Queen Elizabeth was smaller but still quite big. I had lunch on board Queen Elizabeth as well that day, the food was really nice!

  24. Benedict

    August 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    A very honest opinion you have given, of which I do agree with partly. Cruising is like marmite, it is one of those types of holiday which is either for you, or it is not. The yacht club sounds very interesting and I have considered it in the past, however I think it depends on the cruise line and weighing up the value for money against service received. I am so glad you got to experience a cruise though!

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Totally with you, Ben! Marmite – love it or hate it. What I am curious is how each cruise line differs from the other? You also had a butler in your most recent one, didn’t you?

      • Benedict

        August 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm

        Indeed I did. I was in an S1 Category “Sky Suite” on the Celebrity Solstice. I’ll be writing an article soon.

  25. D.J. - The World of Deej

    August 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Great honest review of your experience. I have been on about 8 cruises, and over time my tastes for them have changed dramatically. When I was younger, I enjoyed being out amongst the crowd having a good time. Now, I spend almost the entire duration of my time on the ship in solitude on my balcony. Or in the casino, OK I do spend a lot of time in the casino, but that’s it. I have wanted to take one of these cruises with the private “club” for a long time, and it’s good to know they’re worth the premium…
    D.J. – The World of Deej recently posted..Point Lobos – Mother Nature’s MasterpieceMy Profile

    • mrsoaroundtheworld

      August 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Thank you DJ. Very interesting – our balconies were very small and I would have loved one with enough space for a sunlounger.. that would be perfect. Casino, I am very lucky in love.. always lots money (all the $20s I spent mostly in your country) 😉

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