May 07, 2024


Ep. 421 - Live Bonus Show - Carnival for Swanky People: MSC Cruise Lines v. Disney Cruise Lines with Seth Kubersky from the Unofficial Guides

Hosted by

Brian Sam
Ep. 421 - Live Bonus Show - Carnival for Swanky People: MSC Cruise Lines v. Disney Cruise Lines with Seth Kubersky from the Unofficial Guides
DCL Duo Podcast: A Disney Cruise Line Fan Podcast
Ep. 421 - Live Bonus Show - Carnival for Swanky People: MSC Cruise Lines v. Disney Cruise Lines with Seth Kubersky from the Unofficial Guides

May 07 2024 | 01:18:35


Show Notes

Seth Kubersky from the Unofficial Guides, joins us on this week's live episode as we compare MSC Cruise Line to Disney Cruise Line. Seth is an avid themepark and cruising fan and we couldn't wait to get his take on MSC. We've heard mixed reactions to MSC and were excited to hear Seth's first-hand experience, having sailed MSC multiple times, including in MSC's Yacht Club. How did MSC compare to DCL (and other lines like Royal) across decor, activities, shows, food and service - come hear's Seth's review to find out whether MSC might be a cruise line you want to try. We're also chatting the latest DCL news on Lighthouse Point, the Haunted Mansion Parlor and Halloween on the High Seas.

You can find and follow Seth on Twitter or at his website. Seth is also an arts and culture columnist for the Orlando Weekly, co-author for the Unofficial Guides to Universal Orlando, Disneyland, Las Vegas and Disney World, and a writer and podcast co-host for Attractions Magazine. Seth also written two articles on his MSC cruise experiences if you'd like to learn more - they are available at Attractions magazine here and here.

If you are looking to book your next Disney Cruise, then head over to My Path Unwinding Travel so Karen and her team of expert travel professionals can help you find the perfect vacation for you and your family.

If you use Sea Bands to prevent motion sickness, then you need to check out Blisslets (via our affiliate link), a stylish alternative to traditional sea sickness bands.

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The views in this podcast are our own, and are not those of the Walt Disney family of companies, Disney Cruise Line or the Walt Disney theme parks or resorts. 

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View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: We had a comment from Tracy. Brian, I think you should bring up that says, sounds like carnival for the swanky. And I was wondering, and I'm wondering what. [00:00:08] Speaker B: You know what? I think it a slightly bougier carnival, you know, in the same sort of way, like Walmart versus target. You know, they're selling the same thing, but they're just making you feel slightly more sophisticated. [00:00:36] Speaker C: Welcome back, everybody, to this week's episode of the DC El Duo podcast Live, brought to you by my path, unwinding travel. And Sam, we're going to do our first foray into MSc cruises with our fabulous guest, Seth. Welcome, Seth. [00:00:50] Speaker B: Hey, great to talk to you again. Also great to be talking about something other than theme parks. [00:00:55] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:00:55] Speaker C: Yes. [00:00:56] Speaker A: Yes. [00:00:56] Speaker C: We're finally getting to talk cruising with Seth, which I'm really excited about. [00:01:00] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:01:01] Speaker C: Well, before we dive into talking about MSC, we wanted to talk about some news out of Disney over the last week or so. It's been a while since we had a live. Not a while. It's been a couple weeks since we did a live show, I believe. Right, Tim? Two weeks. Yeah. [00:01:14] Speaker A: Yeah. Just actually, it was less than two weeks if you count us being on somebody else's show, but two weeks if you count only our show. [00:01:22] Speaker C: There you go. So some news out of Disney. We always love to cover the news up front with Disney. And so we're going to start off with a bunch of announcements out of lookout. Look out key at Lighthouse Point. And we have heard learn from Seth, who has a friend who attended a media briefing, that it is definitely not k when it comes to. [00:01:42] Speaker B: No, no. If you're a bahamian, you do not say perfect day at lookout K. And you also call it conch, not conch. [00:01:54] Speaker A: Right? [00:01:55] Speaker B: Yes, that makes sense. [00:01:57] Speaker A: Which is why we have the conch cooler on Castaway key. [00:02:02] Speaker C: Yes. [00:02:02] Speaker B: Say that five times. [00:02:04] Speaker A: Conc. Cooler, castaway key. [00:02:05] Speaker B: Conc. [00:02:05] Speaker A: Cooler, castaway key. [00:02:07] Speaker B: You only got the two. [00:02:08] Speaker A: I only got the two. Fair. [00:02:11] Speaker C: All right, well, they announced some new entertainment available, or that will be available, and we should say that we. Well, I am going on the media preview cruise now for Lighthouse Point. So we'll get a first look at that and be able to share that out with. With everyone. So if you're not subscribed to our Instagram, that is going to be a primary place where we start to share that information. Uh, and then Sam's going to join me, uh, a little bit later or after the cruise so we can do our actual cruises that we booked as our vacation or back to back and the podcast cruise. So we will be visiting Lighthouse .4 times over the course of two weeks or I will be. [00:02:44] Speaker A: You will be. I'll be there three times, but you'll be there four times. [00:02:47] Speaker C: So we'll be able to let you know everything that changed. [00:02:49] Speaker B: Uh, yeah, yeah, it will be. [00:02:52] Speaker A: And it'll be the same ship because Brian's going to be on the magic, um, which is the, the magic's the first ship to visit. Then the fantasy is going to visit next and then the magic's going to visit with, you know, several, several cruises following. [00:03:05] Speaker C: Well, with that, they've got some new entertainment offerings that they're, they're teasing at. Lighthouse .1 of them is called junk a new. Which. I wanted to read the blurb from Disney here. It's a, it is a local custom here and this webpage is not cooperating. There we go with the call of the conch shell, a local junk a new group will sweep you and your family up in a rush. A junk a new celebration at Disney Lookout Key, introducing you to the signature festival of the Bahamas filled with colorful parades of dancing and music. You'll have the chance to experience the joy of an authentic junkanoo rush out as performers. Parade to the Goomba Cultural Center. Goombe. Goomba Gumbay Cultural Center, I think. [00:03:49] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. [00:03:50] Speaker C: Where Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald and Daisy Duck will dance along, encouraging guests to join the vibrant celebration that brings the heartbeat of the Bahamas to life. So dance party on the island is what this sounds like to me. [00:04:02] Speaker A: Yeah, it actually sounds similar to like the ceremony we saw the first time the wish went to Nassau. There was a celebration with Junkanoo dancers there welcoming the ship for the first time to the island of Nassau. So I think it's like that, but it's going to be like a permanent thing, meaning it's going to happen every day that a ship is there at lookout key. [00:04:25] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:04:27] Speaker B: Not to hijack the conversation, but I actually, while I was on my last MSC trip in Nassau, I got to go to the Junkanoo museum. [00:04:36] Speaker A: Oh, cool. [00:04:38] Speaker B: Believe it or not, it looks very similar to carnival or Mardi Gras, but it's actually got a completely separate origin based in West Africa. And the really cool thing about it is the costumes traditionally are all handmade out of found objects like recycled newspaper or cardboard. So I'm curious if Disney is going to be that authentic. [00:05:00] Speaker A: That's awesome. I hope so. [00:05:03] Speaker B: MSD for a while, they had a daily Junkano parade on their private island, which was really a lot of fun and I was sorry to see it was not there the last time it was on. [00:05:14] Speaker C: Interesting. Well, the other thing that they announced is a Disney fun in the sun beach bash that will take place on Lighthouse Point, which says you'll have a ball at the play, play pavilion during the Disney fun in the Sun beach bash. A beach party full of games you can play with Disney friends. Show how low you can go in goofy's good day limbo. Test your skills at Pluto's pineapple ring toss and cool off with a splash at Chippendale's water brigade. Alter the sound of the all new bahamian renditions of Disney tunes. These games are sure to light the whole family with the spectacular shores of Eleuthera as your backdrop. So actually, I'm pretty excited to hear the bahamian versions of Disney, too. We get some of that on castaway key already, but excited to hear that. Yeah. So anyway, some new entertainment activities. [00:06:03] Speaker A: Think of Disney music crossed with Bob Marley. [00:06:06] Speaker B: I'm excited to hear that the play pavilion that was canceled at Epcot is now being moved to an island, right? [00:06:14] Speaker A: Yes, exactly. [00:06:14] Speaker B: A little downsized, though. [00:06:17] Speaker A: Downsized. And it looks like maybe the games are a little bit more low budget, let's put it that way. [00:06:24] Speaker C: Exactly. All right. Well, let's keep going here. They did put out a map of lookout key, which is nice to have. It starts to identify where some things are going to go. We noted of interest there's all of the, for those of you like cabanas, all the family beach cabanas are here, all the actions over here. [00:06:42] Speaker A: So we can't see where you're pointing, Brian. [00:06:45] Speaker C: Oh, I'm sorry. I can see my pointer and you can't. So if you look at the, if this map was oriented north at the top, south at the bottom, which it's not, but let's just pretend it is in the corner closest to the two ship where the pier is going to be. You'll see kind of a line there of colored buildings. Those are the cabanas. They're on the opposite side of the. [00:07:10] Speaker A: Island, the family beach cabanas, whereas the serenity bay and Serenity Bay cabanas are all the way at the top right hand corner of that picture. But the family beach is kind of on the whole length of the right hand side where you see beach. So there's also some kind of lookout like look point at the very bottom, bottom right hand corner as well. But, yeah, it also looks like it's a really long walk from it looks. [00:07:42] Speaker B: Like a hike from the mile. [00:07:45] Speaker C: It's about a mile. [00:07:46] Speaker B: Is there going to be a monorail or. [00:07:47] Speaker C: Once you get to the end of. Yeah, once you get to the end of the pier to the other side of the island is about a mile. And from what we're hearing, the pier itself is not short, but there's going. [00:07:56] Speaker A: To be a tram. I believe. I believe the map refers to those being tram stops. And so there will be a tram. I'm sure it'll be exactly like the one at castaway. That will take you from near the pier area to near the family beach area. It doesn't look like. [00:08:13] Speaker B: Looks like there's only one stop. [00:08:15] Speaker A: Yes, exactly. It looks like one stop. So you're going to either go straight or right to hit the family beach, or you're going to go left to hit the Serenity bay beach. Yeah, once you get off that stop. [00:08:26] Speaker C: Someone mentioned that there's some, like, hashed out area over by all the activity, and that that is apparently denoting the swim area. And they were saying there is no similarly hashed out area over by the cabanas. I'm just wondering if you're not allowed. [00:08:42] Speaker B: To swim, by the way. [00:08:43] Speaker C: Well, that would be. [00:08:44] Speaker B: It doesn't make any sense. [00:08:45] Speaker C: That'd be a huge mistake. I'm wondering if that other side of the island is more open ocean. And so they're saying there's a safe and a not safe area. I don't know, but I would be shocked if they didn't let you swim for cabanas. That would destroy the value of them, in my opinion. So, um. So, yeah, so, you know, look, uh, I think there's been some people who've been a little kind of, you know, troubled by the fact that the cabanas, the family cabanas, are so far away from all of the other activity, the kids clubs, the lunch spots, all that sort of stuff. Yeah, I I'm sure Disney will have a fix for this. I'm sure that they will have some way to get you from the cabanas over to lunch, uh, whether that's a tram or on castaway key. You can get a golf cart from your cabana, uh, over to cookies and cookies, too, if you want. Um, the other thing I'd say is, man, those are going to be nice and isolated and have a gorgeous view of the ship. So I'm not too bummed about that, because the ship is docked right outside. [00:09:36] Speaker B: Those cabanas, and it looks like that. [00:09:38] Speaker A: Distance gives plenty of room for a five k I'm just saying. [00:09:42] Speaker C: Oh, you got more? [00:09:43] Speaker B: That's what I was thinking. The trails look perfect for running races. [00:09:47] Speaker A: Yeah. So, I mean, they haven't announced it yet, so we can't say there's going to be a lookout key. Five k. But I would put money that there's going to be, if I were a betting woman, there's no starting line. [00:10:02] Speaker C: There's no starting line noted on the map yet, but that doesn't mean that one won't come. [00:10:06] Speaker A: That doesn't. I'm going to, like I said, I would put money on it. There's going to be a five k at lookout key. [00:10:12] Speaker C: I'm just going to quickly kind of roll through these photos to describe what they are for folks who are sort of watching. There is a nice photo here of the Serenity Bay cabanas that are on the far end of the main beach area. The non family cabana, that upper right. [00:10:26] Speaker A: Hand corner from the map. [00:10:27] Speaker C: Yeah. They're saying that some folks noted that these cabanas look like they're outside of the safe swim zone area. So we're kind of curious to see if you have to walk down to the beach or not. It does look like they've got kind of a rocky space in front of them, but there are some stairs and things over that. So I think you'll be able to access the beach pretty easily. These are some of the photos of the buildings. You can see they're very colorful and to evoke the sort of bahamian art. These are the kind of lunch pavilions which someone noted looks like these are pill bugs. Yeah, they look like from starship troopers, but they're meant to look like shells. [00:11:04] Speaker A: Yeah. I actually think they're kind of cool. [00:11:06] Speaker B: They're really cool, but. [00:11:07] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:11:07] Speaker C: Yeah. And then these are the fam Lake beach cabanas on the other side of the island. And then some interior shots of kind of those shelled, you know, these are going to be the places where you, I guarantee it's going to be probably. [00:11:23] Speaker A: The picnic tables, pavilions. Yeah, I bet it's going to be where the picnic tables are that you eat. I'm not sure that'll be where the food is actually served and prepared. [00:11:31] Speaker C: That's more shots of the islands. It's still under construction. They're still building stuff. So we're just hoping that it's all finished by the time we get there for our podcast cruise. Next up was just several announcements today from Disney. Because it is halfway to Halloween and so they love to push out all of their Halloween stuff and build some excitement. And so they revealed some more details about the haunted mansion parlor, specifically some new art. And so they are going to have a ghostly aquarium with ghost fish in it. [00:12:01] Speaker A: Right. [00:12:02] Speaker C: This was part of. [00:12:02] Speaker A: Which means there's no fish in it. [00:12:04] Speaker C: Well, no, there are. I think they're going to be like bone fish, like swimming around, you know, kind of thing. And so this was part of the original concept for the haunted mansion that roly Crump came up with. He had an idea for, like, it was like a festival of oddities or, I forget the exact something of weird. Yeah, yeah. And so he drew this art you can see on the right hand side. For those listening later, really head over to the YouTube and watch some of this because there's some great art here. Or you can, our Facebook group, we posted this as well, but they're going to have this. [00:12:33] Speaker A: Museum of the Weird was what it was. [00:12:35] Speaker C: Museum of the weird. That's what it was. Yeah. They posted some renderings of the portraits that will be on the wall, including one called the mariner that we're showing now, one called the captain. These are all supposed to be ghostly souls who are inhabiting the treasure. This is the bride, the captain's bride, a spooky mermaid looking. [00:12:57] Speaker B: I wonder if the riff on the werewolf girl at the very beginning of the haunted mansion ride. [00:13:04] Speaker A: I wonder if they're going to be those portraits where they look normal. And then you move over a little bit and then you see their skeleton version of them. [00:13:14] Speaker B: Some better have eyes that follow you. [00:13:16] Speaker A: Yeah, exactly. I would say it would be great if they have some effects going with these things. [00:13:22] Speaker C: Yes. These are renderings that we're showing now of some, I'm going to call them tiki mugs, for lack of a better word, haunted mansion tiki mugs that they're designing based on the portraits. So they released some renderings of the mariner and the bride mugs that you'll be able to get in the bar. Hopefully. These aren't like the nightingale glasses. They had the hand blown bird glasses that all disappeared. [00:13:46] Speaker A: I bet you'll be able to buy them. I bet these will be. [00:13:48] Speaker C: Oh, yeah. [00:13:49] Speaker A: These are for sale, right? Like the ones in hyperspace lounge. You could buy certain glasses with your drink. And so. Yeah, sure. [00:13:58] Speaker C: Last big thing for Halloween was new costumes for so. Well, one, they announced Halloween on the high season is returning. I'm not sure anyone's super surprised about that. But they did reveal some new scary. [00:14:10] Speaker A: Halloween party at the Walt Disney World. They announced the dates for. For those who are parks people is. [00:14:15] Speaker B: Now starting, what, in June? [00:14:17] Speaker A: Yeah, it's still starting in August, but it's starting, like, earlier. Earlier. It's like August 8 or August 12 or something. I mean, it's like really early August, for sure. Yeah. [00:14:27] Speaker C: You know, just hot enough for all the kids. So we got Mickey and Minnie in their dapper Halloween outfits and Donald in a dapper spider outfit. Yeah, I like it. So there you go. [00:14:41] Speaker A: It's super cute. [00:14:43] Speaker C: That is all the news out of Disney Cruise line this week. So there you go. All right. [00:14:49] Speaker A: We do have a comment that we need to bring up from Lauren saying Seth is back of the little thing segments. [00:14:55] Speaker B: Oh, great. Hey, Lauren, thanks for listening. [00:14:59] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:14:59] Speaker C: And I think CT wanted to know there are still no details on the final bar on board that has not been released. [00:15:06] Speaker A: Yeah, whatever the nightingale is going to be, we still don't know. Yeah. Yeah. [00:15:12] Speaker C: Unless it's just going to be Nightingales again, because they did say if we don't announce it, it's just going to be the same. So. [00:15:16] Speaker A: Yeah. And hi to everyone who said hi to us. We're not going to bring up all the comments tonight. We want to get right into it because there was a lot of news to cover, but we've got to introduce Seth. For those who don't know Seth well, I'm going to let him introduce himself because he does so many things in, like the Disney community, the unofficial guys, universal stuff like, Seth, why don't you tell people where they would know you from and all of the things that you're involved in? [00:15:47] Speaker B: Well, that might take up the rest of the show, but I'm probably best known as a co author for the unofficial guide series. I write the unofficial Guide to Disneyland, the unofficial guide to Universal Orlando, contributed to the guide to Las Vegas and Walt Disney World. I've been doing that for just about ten years now. My gosh. Maybe even longer. No, no longer than that. Boy, I'm getting old, as you can see, the gray hair. But in addition to the unofficial guides, you might know me from Attractions magazine. I host their weekly podcast and write for their website. In addition, Orlando Weekly, my column every week in the Orlando weekly. And as Lauren mentioned, you might hear my little things that are new around the universal Orlando resort every other week on the unofficial Universal Orlando podcast. Awesome. That sort of scratches the surface. [00:16:49] Speaker A: The surface. Yeah. You also are an avid cruiser. Obviously, you've sailed on Disney. [00:16:54] Speaker B: You know, I am. [00:16:55] Speaker A: Other lines. [00:16:56] Speaker B: I am not nearly as well traveled as the two of you. But I have done half a dozen trips on Disney. I done a few carnivals. I don't plan on doing many more. I've been on royal Caribbean. I have not done norwegian or virgin or celebrity or princess. But I'm going to be hopefully checking out the celebrity sun princess or the not celebrity the sun princess. [00:17:25] Speaker C: Oh, I'm not princess. [00:17:27] Speaker B: Yes. [00:17:27] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. [00:17:29] Speaker B: But lately I have done a bunch of MSc trips, and that started out during the pandemic. I honestly had no idea what MSc was other than seeing, like, shipping containers. That said MSc. [00:17:45] Speaker A: I see them, too. I didn't. That was the first thing I thought of when I first heard of MSC cruises. I'm like, aren't they a shipping. [00:17:50] Speaker C: You don't just board a container and a cot. [00:17:52] Speaker B: Yeah, exactly. But they reached out to me during the pandemic when all of cruising out of Florida had been shut down and it was just coming back. And that just happened to be around the time when they were really trying to break into the Florida market. So they invited a bunch of press out to take a look at the MSC Davina, and I did four nights on the Davina. And, you know, there were some issues, but I also really enjoyed a lot of my trip. And I started looking into pricing, and when the Meraviglia moved into Port Canaveral, it was just so ridiculously cheap. It was like, you know, it was less money to go and spend four days there than it was to stay in my own house for four days. [00:18:44] Speaker A: Wow. [00:18:44] Speaker B: You know, so I tried. I did a four day in their standard, their basically their absolute cheapest cabin that I could find and also did four days in their yacht club, both of which I paid for the first time I was a media invite. And then most recently, I went back on the seashore again. That was a media invite, and that was, again in the yacht club. So awesome. So you've got experience and seen both. Yeah, yeah. [00:19:14] Speaker A: So for folks who don't know what we're talking about, when Seth says yacht club, we're thinking, like, the ship within a ship concept. [00:19:23] Speaker B: Exactly. [00:19:24] Speaker C: Not the hotel resort at Disney World. [00:19:26] Speaker A: Right. Not the beach and yacht club. But what that means for, in Disney parlance is their version of concierge. Right. So we call it a ship within a ship concept because that's what a lot of the cruise lines refer to it as. It's called the Haven on Norwegian. It's called Royal on Royal. Right. So their version of concierge. But we're going to. So we're going to talk about both a little bit about yacht club on MSC but also regular sailing on MSC since Seth has experience in both. [00:19:56] Speaker C: So Seth, my sense is MSC is newer if not new to the America. They're an italian cruise line. They've been doing huge in Europe. [00:20:06] Speaker B: They are like by total capacity for their worldwide fleet, one of the biggest cruise lines in the world. But they're relatively unknown in the north american market, especially Florida. They've really just been trying to break into Florida in the last couple of years and being really aggressive about it by moving in new ships, constantly rotating those ships around to the different ports in Florida. And with their pricing, if you pull up pricing for them versus Disney versus Carnival, which are their, I guess two biggest competitors, I would say in the Florida market they're, they're sometimes half the price on a per person per day basis. And even if you go up to their yacht club, you're going to spend roughly the same for a yacht club room with MSC that you would spend on a standard room at Disney. And Disney is the most expensive, I think, of the kind of mass market cruise lines. But if you're an adult, especially an adult who likes to drink, then that could be a really good value. [00:21:21] Speaker C: So let me back up and ask which ports are they sailing out of? I think they've got a ship in. [00:21:25] Speaker B: Port Canaveral and they definitely are out of Port Canaveral. I think that they're also out of one of the Miami area ports. I think Fort Lauderdale, Port of Lauderdale. [00:21:35] Speaker A: Because I know they're building their, they're building their new terminal in Miami. [00:21:39] Speaker C: There'll be terminal double a. Yeah, right. [00:21:41] Speaker A: Because it's right next to the royal terminal that we are at but it's not built yet. [00:21:45] Speaker B: I think their next really big ship is going to be the world America because they've got the world Europa that's out there now. And I think that new big ship will be down in Miami. [00:22:00] Speaker A: That makes sense. [00:22:00] Speaker C: And when you say big ship, like what are we talking about in terms of capacity on these? [00:22:06] Speaker B: I don't have the numbers in front of me. What I can say is that the, let's say the seashore does not compare to, like I did, the Royal Caribbean wonder of the seas. I think the MSC world ships are almost on that scale. The seashore, I would compare it more to the scale of maybe a Disney dream, still a really, really big ship but not on the same level as these super mega ships that we have. [00:22:41] Speaker A: So maybe 4000 but not 6000. Now Anthony is saying that he saw an MSC ship in Miami when he was there less than a month ago. And I think we did, too. But they were somebody else's. They're using somebody else's. [00:22:54] Speaker C: They have to. [00:22:58] Speaker A: But they're building their own terminal, so they're obviously increasing their presence. [00:23:01] Speaker C: So we talked about. We talked about price a bit. Seth. [00:23:03] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:23:04] Speaker C: What about, like, route, like, rooms? Like, what are your. If I think about. Royal has a ton of options for different kinds of staterooms. [00:23:11] Speaker A: Disney. [00:23:12] Speaker C: A little bit more. It's inside Ocean View family. It's not a lot of options. Where does MSc fall in terms of the options they give you for a stateroom? [00:23:24] Speaker B: Basically, the first thing you got to pick is they've got three different classes where there's sort of like an entry level where basically we give you whatever room we got. There's like, if you pay a little bit extra, you get to put in a room request and you get a couple other perks. And then they've got a level that is, I think it's called Oria, where it's better rooms close to the spa, and you get spa access or access to this, like, sun deck. And then the fourth level up above that is yacht club. And yacht Club has their own complete different section with different room categories. But in terms of the non yacht club, I stayed at a standard balcony room, and it was fine. It was. I really missed, like, Disney has those split bathrooms. I think that's my favorite feature on any cruise ship and any. Any ship that doesn't have that. It was a little larger, I would say, than like, your standard room on carnival. It was perfectly functional. But there's. I honestly, I don't spend a whole lot of time in the room. Even. Even in yacht club, you know, we would order in room service once a day and have a glass of wine and some cheese, but other than that, we not spending a lot of time. I will say that the tv selection is pretty lame on Disney. I can always find a channel with cartoons or movies or something I can tune into and watch. [00:25:15] Speaker C: Well, you've got full on demand content, so. [00:25:18] Speaker B: Yeah, exactly. [00:25:19] Speaker A: You can always watch a Disney sports movie. [00:25:21] Speaker B: Exactly. Very limited selection. Both. You know, the tv is not great. The Wi Fi was just serviceable enough to get work done, but I would not count on watching any, you know, streaming anything on your iPad. So not. Not spending a whole lot of time in the rooms, personally. But they're, you know, they're. They're functional. They. The only thing I would say is they definitely are not, uh, up to modern standards. For, um, USB ports and, uh, power. Power adapter. You know, I always, uh, bring. Because they're. They're european lines, so they, uh, the root cabins seem to have more european power sockets than american power sockets, so bring a couple adapters. [00:26:12] Speaker C: Well, I was going to ask, because if you think about, you know, people compare, there's the hotels in America, and then you go to Europe, and everything's just, you know, it's a little smaller, a little more compact. You know, it's older buildings, and it's. It just. [00:26:23] Speaker B: It is what it is. [00:26:24] Speaker C: Right. [00:26:25] Speaker A: They're just less luxurious. [00:26:26] Speaker B: Generally speaking, room size is, I thought, was actually perfectly fine, especially considering that we're mostly doing four day trips. And in the yacht club area, the rooms are very generous. You get a couch. You have a separate little seating area and a good sized balcony with a couple chairs. So, yeah, not comparing to the top of the line suites on a Disney ship. But I think other than the bathrooms. Bathrooms on Disney always win. But other than that, the rooms were comparable. [00:27:11] Speaker C: Here's the big question, Seth. Was the bed comfortable? [00:27:13] Speaker A: Yeah, we always get asked questions about. [00:27:17] Speaker B: Yeah, the mattress was just fine. Not the best mattress I've ever been on, on a boat, but nothing that I would complain about. Uh, we've been on a bunch where, uh, you know, the. The beds are basically twin beds that they shove together. [00:27:32] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:27:33] Speaker B: And they always have a terrible gap in the middle, and, uh, didn't have that problem with this one. Uh, I will say, um, yacht club. Among. Among the many things that they offer you in yacht club is a pillow menu. You get ahead of time. [00:27:48] Speaker A: Same. [00:27:48] Speaker B: Yeah, you get. And I. I tell you, the, like, you know what? One, two, the three times that I've stayed in yacht club, I think I've gotten my requested pillow, like, once. Like, it's. I think it's one of those things that, like, yeah, we're supposed to offer this, but honestly, we. We don't really know where the pillows are. [00:28:09] Speaker C: Now. How's the. So, you know, the itineraries, I'm assuming we're talking mostly, like, caribbean standard itineraries, not going special. [00:28:17] Speaker B: When they go out of Port Canaveral, you're looking at Nassau, their private island, and maybe a day at sea, and that's pretty standard. [00:28:26] Speaker C: So they have their own private island. [00:28:28] Speaker B: Yeah, we can absolutely talk. I would say that, you know, the number one reason to go on MSC, whether or not you're in the yacht club, is to visit their private island. It is. I love castaway key, but I really think that this is my favorite private island in the Bahamas that I've been to. Wow. That's definitely. [00:28:53] Speaker A: I like it. [00:28:54] Speaker B: I like it way better than I did. Not have a good experience on what is the perfect day? I go on a cruise ship to get away from the theme parks and even Disney. The island has kind of built up and gotten a little theme parky. If you want a pristine natural wilderness, if you want to really feel like you are on a nature preserve, that you are on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, there are no water slides. There is a lighthouse that they do a light show on at night, which is actually really well done. And they do a bonfire and a DJ party on the beach. But they've done such a good job of restoring it and making it just pristine and soothing. It's like a place where you can genuinely, like, relax and unplug and it's. I just can't say enough good things about it. It's called Ocean Key. [00:30:02] Speaker A: Wow. [00:30:02] Speaker B: And there's. And if you're in yacht club, they have their own private, uh, area of it just for the yacht club people with their own restaurant and bar and own private beach. Uh, and it is truly heaven. [00:30:16] Speaker C: I'd heard. One of the nice things about it is that they stay there into the evening so you can get a ship and have, like, you know, you can have a party on the beach as opposed to, you know, cast away. Perfect day. You're out of there at 04:00, 05:00 530 at the latest. [00:30:29] Speaker B: Yeah, this was, this is one of my favorite things that they do. And specific itineraries out of Port Canaveral. You have to check the itineraries really carefully because they have a million different itineraries, but they have a bunch where the boat comes into their private island in the morning and stays there all day, stays there overnight, and then you can get off the boat again in the morning and have a few hours on the island until like noon before you head back. And that is just fantastic. I would rather have that than just a day at sea, for sure. [00:31:01] Speaker C: Is it a tender or is it a. [00:31:03] Speaker B: No? You can walk. They've got a doc and you can walk right off the. [00:31:06] Speaker A: Oh, that's nice. [00:31:07] Speaker C: Yeah. Let's talk about a few. Well, I have heard. Let's just. [00:31:12] Speaker B: I'm sure you've heard lots of things about MSc MNC. [00:31:16] Speaker C: I'm not going to get to the tough questions yet. Let's get everything out on the table. [00:31:20] Speaker B: I don't work for them. They invited me but they're not paying me. [00:31:24] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:31:24] Speaker C: How was the. So I've seen videos of the boarding process for yacht club, and it looks like you walk. It was like our experience with Royal. We walked in, got up an elevator, checked in, and they were like, there's the door to the ship. Have fun. Yeah. [00:31:37] Speaker B: I will say the one time that I did take a non yacht club trip, the process was fine, but that was during the pandemic. And this last time I saw the line of non yacht club people wrapped around the terminal. And it's a bad look. It's like a really terrible first impression. You're told show up at this time and, like, you know exactly how many people are coming at each time. So how can you not have it staffed and set up to and it is actually at the terminal? I believe once you get in, it's fine. It's the security, the security check that people go through after dropping off their baggage, but before actually getting to check in. I believe the security company is separate from MSC. I think they're maybe contracted by the terminal itself. Whatever it is, it's a complete mess. [00:32:35] Speaker A: It's a terrible line. [00:32:36] Speaker B: It is a horrible, horrible mess. And it is almost worth having yacht club just for the ease of getting on the ship and getting off the ship alone. Getting on the ship. We had a bad first impression because one of the parking people told us, oh, you have to get in that line before you can go to the yacht club desk. Oh, my God. My wife went and stood in the back of the line. I was like, I'm checking on this. I cut all the way up to the front, went to the occult desk, and I was saying, do I need to wait in that line? I was like, no, come up here. [00:33:10] Speaker A: And so that would drive me crazy. [00:33:12] Speaker B: From that instant, it was just like white glove treatment. It's like they whisk you past the security line, past the check in. They hand you a glass of champagne. Within a few minutes, you're on the boat and you're eating lunch or whatever you want to do, and it is just as valuable, or maybe even more so, every time you're getting off the boat, every time we were in port, when we were in Nassau, I actually, we had our butler walking us, you know, through to the exit, walking us past the security screening, you know, past everything. And we had one guy shout at us, say, hey, how'd they get a fast pass? [00:33:55] Speaker A: I paid for the lightning lane. That was right. [00:33:57] Speaker B: Exactly. I got up morning early this morning and bought Genie plus. No. And I will say that the just as bad as that line to get on the ship for the regular people on the first day, the lines snaking through the lobby that I saw that we were cut past to get off on disembarkation. Oh, my gosh. It did not look like fun and people did not look happy. They looked like they had been told to get out of their cabin at 07:00 a.m. And they were still standing in a line at like 11:00 a.m., meanwhile, with the yacht club, when it is your embarkation day, you just roll out of bed into the lounge and you have mimosas and coffee and pastries until you tell them that you're ready to get off the boat and they just walk you right off. So, I mean, for that kind of vip service on exit and entrance, worth the price of yacht club alone. [00:34:57] Speaker C: Nice. [00:34:57] Speaker A: Wow. [00:34:58] Speaker C: Let's talk about some things that are, like, common across here. We'll talk a little bit more about yacht club as we get toward the end here. But let's stepping on a royal ship, for instance, like the first impressions that I heard from people, it's like being in Vegas. It's like a shopping mall, you know, it's like a high end resort. Like, what is the experience like? What is the MSC like decor like? Is it lots of neon and flash? Like a royal ship, I'm assuming? [00:35:24] Speaker B: No, you're giving me, like, flashes of 1990s Eric Carnival. No. You know what? The operative word with MSC's design is kind of classy in a european way. Their signature design element that they have in every boat has a big atrium with the multilevel staircases, and they're made out of Swarovski crystals. So there's thousands and thousands of these diamond like crystals. And that's kind of like their signature design element. So it's not a lot of flashy colors. It's, you know, each of their ships has a kind of different theme. The one I was just on is got a New York theme, which is sort of like a more subtle version of the New York, New York casino. I'd say in Vegas, like, not flash, but, you know, you'd have, like, a video wall representing Times Square, where you have things named after different New York neighborhoods. The Meraviglia has their main thoroughfare, has a dome, a video screen dome over it that's very similar to Fremont street in Vegas again, but it's also got a little Epcot feel because you've got multilevel lined with stores that each has different themed facades. And so, yeah, it's, you know, every, every cruise ship these days is basically a mall on, on water. But I would say that they are less in your face. It's, it's, I hope that as they're building like this new ship, the, the America, that's, you know, intended for the american audience, that doesn't lose that european artsiness because I kind of, I kind of like that. Yeah, it's got, you know, nice color palettes, good design choices, a lot of artwork, a lot of sculpture, some weirdness, some funkiness that I kind of dig. [00:37:40] Speaker C: Hey, DCl duo fans, you know, we get the question all the time. Should I use a travel agent to book my next Disney Cruise or should I just book with Disney directly? And I'm going to tell you, if you have that question in the back of your mind right now, you should stop what you're doing and head over to dclduo. The folks over at mypath unwinding provide an amazing service. They are so knowledgeable and so friendly. We rely on them ourselves to book our family vacations and they provide an amazing service. And the best part is you don't pay anything extra for it. Disney, other tour providers and other cruise lines have built the cost of their commission into their pricing. So if you're booking directly, you are just paying that money back to the provider when you could be spending it on the kind of service you would get. From my path unwinding travel, you've heard from their agents on our show. They are so knowledgeable, so giving of their time. They know so much about Disney Cruise line, sailing, concierge, other cruise lines, other all inclusive vacations and adventures by Disney that if you have a vacation in mind, they are the ones to book it for you. So again, head over to dclduo so they know we sent you their way. Thanks. My path unwinding for sponsoring the show. And with that, back to our episode. [00:38:49] Speaker A: What about the demographics of MSc? So we talk obviously a lot about Disney and we've talked about royal. You know, we, we are mostly talking about the family market on our show, although we've talked about princess and celebrity that tend to skew older. Where does MSc fit in the market? Are they for adults? Are they for families? Are they trying to hit both? [00:39:12] Speaker B: Yeah, I personally think that they are not great for families. They do have a lot of family options. They have a kids club that is Lego branded and, and the ships all have decent arcades with VR or simulator rides, and they've got ropes courses, water park kind of things, but nothing on the scale, obviously, nothing with the level of branding or ip of a Disney ship. Nothing. There's no roller coaster. They've got one ship that had a robo coaster, like a robotic arm, like in the Harry Potter ride, but they put that on exactly one ship because I think that kind of hardware and saltwater air probably does not mix. Not mixed well, I know that that roller coaster that they put on the carnival ship, I got to do one lap on that. And I hear that that is closed more times than it's open because of wind and weather. But it's, you know, it's not really a family focused ship. It's got places where you can stash the kids, but I would definitely say. [00:40:24] Speaker A: Well, you can stash in the kids club. [00:40:28] Speaker B: You know, I would say in terms of looking at the entertainment, looking at the style, it's probably going more for my age group, the more Gen X or elder millennial audience. I'd say it's a relatively diverse clientele that I've seen in terms of race, culture, language. I hear a lot more diversity of language. Especially, you know, they're not an english first company, and it shows there is, if you want to have a fun game play, you know, spot the typos or grammatical errors in the daily program, because the daily program is obviously not written by someone whose English is their first or, you know, their primary language. Yeah. And, you know, a lot of time you'll get announcements in, like, two or three languages. Every cruise director I've had has been, you know, mostly on, like, a Disney ship. It's always an australian or a british cruise director if they're not american. And it's always on embassy, Italian or Spanish. Oh, interesting. And, you know, they're always fluent in a lot more languages, that I am sure. But, you know, the entertainment is definitely. There's basically no scripts. There's basically no dialogue. Everything is about music or dance or visuals because it is not focusing on a english first or american first audience. [00:42:04] Speaker A: Yeah, well, that makes sense, because if they're going to have the same show on a ship over in Europe as they're going to have a ship over in the US, it's going to. Yeah, I mean, they don't want to have to learn different scripts. Right. It's the same performance, but singing, dancing. [00:42:19] Speaker B: Now, it is obvious that some of the ship, some of the shows that they've got are obviously designed by non Americans trying to create a show that they think Americans would like. And it really says more about what Europeans think about than anything else. [00:42:35] Speaker A: You have given me an example. [00:42:36] Speaker C: What are some of the shows? [00:42:37] Speaker B: Yeah, well, they had one show that had some very impressive gymnasts. They were like sports gymnasts. They're doing things on trampolines. They're throwing balls. But, you know, it's like people in red, white and blue spangled sequined outfits bouncing through the air to living in America from one of the rocky movies, I think, and I will say entertainment. All of the entertainers, the performers were all top notch. They have really great live musicians. I love to see. They use live music in a lot of their shows. Great dancers, classically trained dancers. One of the ships that I was on, they did a full on opera. They did La Boheme. [00:43:25] Speaker C: Oh, wow. [00:43:26] Speaker B: You know, that would be amazing. They edited it down to under 2 hours. But still, I mean, they. [00:43:31] Speaker A: Yeah, that's amazing. [00:43:32] Speaker B: Amazing voices, amazing performers. But whoever is choosing the material and writing it, so they do. The first time I went on one of their ships, they did a Tina Turner tribute with a Tina Turner impersonator who was clearly caucasian. And I, you know, I kind of passed along, you know, that's terrible. Might get away with that in Europe, but in the United States, that's really not considered cool. And they said, okay, okay, hold my beer. And they did an entire show on this last ship. There was a whole tribute to divas. All like famous black singers. Aretha, Tina, Beyonce. There was one black person in the show, and it was a man. [00:44:23] Speaker A: Oh, gosh. My goodness. Yeah. Yeah. [00:44:27] Speaker B: So some questionable as Tim Gunn, questionable choice on Project Runway. I question your taste. [00:44:35] Speaker C: I just love that they're, like, skilled performers. [00:44:38] Speaker B: Just, you know, they're working with what they got. [00:44:40] Speaker C: I just love that they're like, we'll see your Broadway show and raise you an opera. That's like, next level. [00:44:46] Speaker B: Exactly. So, yeah, if you are going to Disney to see those main stage shows, which are basically like Broadway quality shows, you are not getting that here. You're getting to see some talented singers and dancers. Kind of like, you know, you feel. You feel for them? You feel for them. They had a magician on my last one that was like every trick that the masked magician spoiled back in the early two thousands, this guy's still doing. But they do have a cabaret that was really good. Just rotating acts, jugglers, aerialists. They had a violinist, all really talented and kind of thing that you can just drop in and out of without having to set showtime. [00:45:32] Speaker C: What about other kinds of activities on board? And let me throw in, like, activities. The pool deck. Like, what can you get up to on board? If I'm thinking, I'm comparing it to. [00:45:42] Speaker A: People who like to drink. [00:45:43] Speaker B: So we got a hero. That is a whole nother topic. [00:45:46] Speaker C: Yeah, we'll get to bars and food in a second. But, like, if I think about Royal, right, they're like, you got a flow rider. You got all this stuff going on. Like, in Disney. It's more like, hey, you got a pool and a funnel vision and you can hang out. Right? Like, where's MSc fall in terms of, like, activity? [00:45:59] Speaker B: And, you know, they're. They're kind of in the middle. They're trying. [00:46:02] Speaker C: Each. [00:46:03] Speaker B: Each ship has a signature thing that they try, but, like, okay, so on the seashore, they have an arcade that had a whitewater rafting VR simulator. You remember the old jungle cruise ride that was in Disneyquest? [00:46:20] Speaker A: Oh, yeah. [00:46:21] Speaker B: That was basically the exact same thing. I didn't see anyone ride at the whole week. They have a couple water slides that were pathway decent. On the previous ship, the meraviglia, they had a really good ropes climbing course, the kind that you have to harness into, you know, not quite up to this new one that they have on. On car. It's a carnival that. No, princess. [00:46:47] Speaker A: Sun princess. [00:46:48] Speaker B: I think Royal Caribbean. Maybe utopia has one that, like, drops or icon. Yeah, yeah. Not, you know, nothing. Nothing quite on that level. In terms of organized activities, I will say that has been a disappointment for me in general. On MSc, they have lots of dance classes. If you want to learn how to dance the meringue or the salsa or the cha cha, there is a million and one dance classes, and they've also got plenty of bingo opportunities. Neither of those interests me. I love. Okay. On the Disney cruise ships, I used to love doing cooking classes, cooking demonstrations. The closest thing they had, MSc. I don't even know if they still have the partnership. They had a MasterChef branded thing that I thought, okay, this is cool. I used to watch MasterChef, and it was literally watching people decorate pre made cakes with three tubes of colored icing. I was like, this is not MasterChef. Yeah, that's, you know, there's no napkin folding or towel animal classes. You know, I like little cheesy things. They do have at least one british style pub in each ship that does bar trivia, but not to the. It didn't get the kind of interest that I've seen on some other ships. The big activity is really music there are in pretty much every bar and then out in, like, the casino area and the lounge, the lobby area, there is almost always some kind of rotation of live music. So if you like live music in a wide variety of genres, that is a definite big activity. And they do have parties. They have a white party that they're known for where everyone dresses white. No one told me about this the first time I went, so I stuck out like a sore thumb. But people do get really into that. But there's nothing on the level of pirates in the Caribbean. There's no. No fireworks show. There is. There is a big screen out by the pool that they do show a movie on at least one night on it, but it doesn't have a dedicated movie theater like the Disney ships, so it's kind of a mixed bag, honestly. If you are the kind of person who needs a constant cycle of activities to keep you entertained, MSc might not be great for you. If you're more of like, I want to find my happy place and chill and just eat, sleep, repeat, relax, listen to some music. Yeah. [00:49:44] Speaker A: Dance. Dance. Maybe learn some dances. Dance. [00:49:48] Speaker C: So what about. You mentioned the drinking aspect. You mentioned music. I'm wondering, you know, bars and nightlife. Let's just be honest, anything's better than Disney in most cases. When it comes to bars and nightlife, no knock on Disney, there's. They've got stuff to do, but it's not the same as being on. [00:50:06] Speaker B: Well, you know, it's. Honestly, when I am on a Disney cruise, I will buy one or two cocktails. I might buy a bottle of wine at some point, but I don't miss it. When I'm on a Disney ship. For one, there's unlimited supply of soda, so I can just substitute caffeine. You know, I don't necessarily. I don't necessarily miss it when I'm on a Disney ship. When I am on MSc, I suddenly discover my inner frat boy and seem to need a drink in my hand. [00:50:40] Speaker C: Is it included? Is that what's going? Is it all included? [00:50:42] Speaker B: So every time that I have been on, it is possible to buy a basic fare where it is not included. However, pretty much every other week they are offering a sale where they are throwing in what they call their easy plus package. With regular cruise fare, they throw in the mid level drink package. They have three levels. There's easy, easy plus and then premium. I think for most people, the easy plus is going to be more than enough because it is truly. There might be a limit. Maybe there's after 14 or 15, they'll cut you off in a day. I haven't found that limit yet. Top shelf, but good quality brands of pretty much everything, including in the specialty restaurants. [00:51:33] Speaker A: Does it include your soda, beverages? [00:51:36] Speaker B: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Soda, coffees, juices, all that stuff. Their basic easy package is very limited. Like, the only beer you can get with the basic package is Heineken, I think. And you can only get single liquor, you know, well drinks kind of thing. [00:51:55] Speaker A: Right. [00:51:56] Speaker B: It's like the extra. I think it's like a ten buck difference to go from the bottom package to the middle package. Definitely worth that. But then if you're staying in yacht club, they basically, you know, throw the top shelf at you, and anytime you're in the yacht club area, you don't, you know, you don't even have to pull out a card. They're just like, you're in here. We'll just keep bringing you drinks. Like, they don't. Yeah, they, and they fantastic bartenders. They have generous pours, and if you look at the pricing, I don't think that any other cruise line has an unlimited drink package on a per, you know, person per day basis that's anywhere near that cheap. They're practically giving it away at that price. [00:52:44] Speaker C: How are the venues for, like, is it lots. [00:52:47] Speaker B: And I never had a problem, honestly, when I'm in yacht club, I'm staying in yacht club. It takes a lot to just get me to leave the yacht club area. We're just at that bar, but in the rest of the ship, for the normal people, there is definitely a much wider selection of bars than Disney. I would say not quite on the level as the big royal caribbean ships, but a wide variety of different bars, but not a huge variety in what they're serving. Each bar will have a very small kind of signature item list, but the british bar will have more draft beers than the rest of them. But there's kind of like a standard beer and wine list that is pretty much at every bar on the whole ship. [00:53:52] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:53:53] Speaker B: So it's not like there's nothing on the level of, like, a hyperspace lounge. There's nothing with that kind of theming or interactivity. But the bartenders were all really friendly and attentive, and I never had to wait too long for a drive. So that's the most important part. [00:54:14] Speaker A: We. We got to talk food because that's the most important thing and the most. [00:54:19] Speaker B: Thing that people complain about. That's the thing. The most common thing that I hear people say is that they did not like the food. [00:54:28] Speaker C: Italians could put together a good dinner. [00:54:32] Speaker A: Tell us what dining looks like. Is it like a main dining kind of a situation? And, yeah, what is the variation? [00:54:38] Speaker B: If you are not in yacht clubs, what is included is the main dining room, where you will have. You can either have a set dining time, or if you are in one of the higher classes, you can request anytime dining. But the main dining room is your standard cruise ship. It's basically, it's banquet food. It's like wedding banquet food. And it is not up to the standard of Disney. It is not up to the standard of royal. I would say that it was comparable to some of my least favorite carnival experiences. I would put it above the chain that is now margaritaville. But their main dining room food, it was not inedible, but it was not anything but not good special. It was. It was. It was actually faster service. That was the one thing I'll say. It was not. My. My experience in the main dining room was not slow. So that was good. It was, but it was just everything was kind of bland. They definitely seem to under season their food depend, you know, compared to what Americans are used to. [00:56:04] Speaker C: Is it italian food they cater to american? Yeah. Yeah. So. [00:56:08] Speaker B: So, um, I would say that if you stick to the italian food, you're actually pretty safe. Um, they make their own pasta on board, and the pasta is reliably, really good. Um, they make their own mozzarella on board. Uh, so anything time you see a caprese salad or whatever, go for that. Um, but it was the cooks on the proteins in the main dining room. Um, you know, uh, they. They could. They could guess. Definitely kill a piece of meat. [00:56:38] Speaker A: That makes me so sad. [00:56:39] Speaker B: Yeah. And the desserts in the main dining room were also. It's kind of thing where it looks nice and then just doesn't have any real flavor. So, main dining room, I was unimpressed with the buffet. Also not up to the standard of any of the other major cruise lines. If you stick with salads and pizza, you're okay. But I don't know anyone who can eat salad and pizza for the whole cruise. Two days. The. You know, if you. You stuck with simple things, the fresh things. But the more complicated it was or the more, like, if they have chinese food on their buffet, just don't keep moving. Like they're not. [00:57:23] Speaker C: Oh, Seth, we know. We know chinese food in Italy. Cause we had to have it one time, and it was not good. [00:57:29] Speaker A: It tasted like tomato sauce on the sweet and sour noodles. [00:57:33] Speaker B: Okay, so that would be you know, so, so the, the pizza salad, you can stick with that. Fine. Um, it would be okay if there was more options. [00:57:45] Speaker A: Yeah. Like, is there special? [00:57:47] Speaker B: They've got. They've got a little. Okay, so in terms of free dining, they, they. Sometimes there's like a place where you can get ice cream, like, soft serve ice cream. Certain hours, it's not twenty four seven. And also a spot by the pool deck where they have hot dogs in hand, hamburgers. But there's no, like, you know, when you go on Disney, you have a lot more free quick service dining options. Carnival especially has a ton of them. And it was basically like, if it wasn't buffet hours, unless you wanted to, like, pay for room service, there's just not a lot of. There's just not free options. Specialty dining for dinner. I would say if you are staying in yacht club. The yacht club. Let me just rewind a little. So Yacht Club has its own private restaurant, and if you are staying there, I don't think there's any reason why you have to eat anywhere else. Meals that we had in yacht club were all really, really solid. They had an italian night, which was excellent. They had a good variety every night. My wife eats vegan part time, and they took really good care of her. And they'll probably pretty much make you whatever you want. If you're in yacht club in a restaurant, and it's like you see something you don't want, you don't see something you want on the menu, they will come up with something for you. How specialty restaurants. If you are staying in non yacht club, I'd say doing at least one of them is probably a necessity. And they range from their seafood restaurant. Ocean key was a big disappointment. It was no better than the seafood that we had gotten up in the yacht club, and in a couple cases was just kind of off in terms of. Not that the seafood was spoiled, but there's, the seasoning choices were just not very palatable. I would definitely miss that. If you're a big steak fan, the butcher's cut is a perfectly decent cruise ship steak. It's like every cruise ship has a steakhouse. They're all pretty good. If, as long as you don't, like, think about how much you're paying for that steak on top of, like, what you've already paid for the cruise. It was a perfectly good steak, and it was fine. The one restaurant that I would go back to on my own dime is their teppanyaki restaurant. Oh, we have here in Orlando a place called Kobe that we go to, which is always a lot of fun. It's always entertaining, and I always get more food than I can finish this place. [01:00:41] Speaker A: And you get an onion volcano made in front of you. I mean, who doesn't love a volcano? [01:00:45] Speaker C: But they can't do that on the cruise ships. [01:00:47] Speaker B: They can't. They. Okay, so they did do some flame effects. Not the full on volcano, but these were. I've done it twice now and on two different ships. The most entertaining, energetic teppanyaki chef routine that I've seen. Really impressive knife juggling. And my favorite part is that they throw egg from across the room into the mouths of the guests. They definitely don't do that at Kobe. [01:01:19] Speaker A: They did that on royal, and then they ended up throwing, like, the entire thing of egg on Nathan, actually, because he couldn't catch what they. They threw one piece. He couldn't catch it. So then they threw, like, an entire handful at him, and he caught still none of it. It was a mess, but it was fun. [01:01:38] Speaker B: They start you out with a sushi appetizer. You get the typical soup and the salad and the rice and the noodles. And by the time we got to the end, I was just done. I could barely even touch the dessert. And it was a very reasonable price per person for a meal that took almost 2 hours. And we were laughing the whole time. They've also got one of those conveyor belt sushi bars we love where you can. And then it's. They're really neat ones. They're magnetic ones, so the bar, the belt doesn't actually move. They just look like they're floating along. [01:02:13] Speaker A: So fun. [01:02:14] Speaker B: And you can do it by the piece. Or they also do lunch, all you can eat specials, which is actually pretty reasonably priced. And I've done sushi on every cruise ship that I've been on. And I would say it is definitely in the top quarter of the sushis that I've had. There was some pretty decent sushi on Royal. Disney. I've never had great sushi on Disney. And Carnival had some things called sushi that should not have been called sushi. The entire nation of Japan would have the word to say with them. [01:02:52] Speaker C: Yeah, well, I've got. I've got. I've got three quick questions left here at the end of the show. Maybe not quick, but three questions here at the end of the show. So one is. So we've. We've heard a lot about yacht club, nicer room, butler, experience, lounge, what? And the drinks. Is there anything else that's included in yacht club that you want to highlight? [01:03:14] Speaker B: Yeah, I mean you have your, like I said, the level of service. Amazing. Down to little things. Like they did bring us a copy of the. They printed out a copy of the New York Times for us every day. Like the entire newspaper printed out. [01:03:28] Speaker A: Wow. [01:03:29] Speaker B: They give it to. So that was nice. And their own private. Yeah. Restaurant lounge, their private sun deck and pool and hot tubs. [01:03:36] Speaker A: Oh, wow. [01:03:37] Speaker B: All of the very front of the ship and like the very like, you know, top front of the ship, perfect view. Even when we were at, at Ocean Cay, the private island, you can see the lighthouse light show from the yacht clubs deck and you also get access to the thermal spa. I didn't mention that. The aurea spa, they have a thermal area similar to the rainforest room that they have at Disney. Way more extensive than any of the ones that I've been to on a Disney ship with salt rooms, like, like five or six different kinds of steam rooms. Some like hot and bright, some wet and cold. There was a snow room that you go into and it's snowing and there's like a park bench and a tree and you can sit in the snow. They have hot tubs that look out over the water. We spent at least an hour or so every day in the spa and it's the kind of thing that you can buy a pass. But when you start adding up all the things, the drinks, the spa, restaurant in what it's included in the yacht club, if you like, bought all those a la carte, it would end up costing way more than just going with the yacht club. [01:04:55] Speaker C: Yeah, I'm going to combine, actually, the last two questions that strikes me is they combine together, which is just, let's talk about service for a second. When we were talking off air, I told you I'd heard a few people comment about MSC. When things are good, they're really good. If things are bad, they're really bad. And so I'm curious about kind of your experience with the service both. It sounds like yacht club, the same experience we had on Royal, like Royal Disney. They're going to take care of you if you're in this high end stuff, but if you're the rest of us sort of sailing, you know, what should you expect from the service? [01:05:28] Speaker B: You should. If you are outside of the yacht club, if you are just one of the great unwashed masses, you should expect. You should expect, expect a service experience somewhat similar to what the third class passengers on the Titanic. [01:05:47] Speaker A: That's poor people. [01:05:49] Speaker B: Except there will be slightly less irish dancing. No, Leo. Yeah. Honestly, like the time that I did on the Meraviglia as non yacht club, it was still during the tail end of the pandemic. The ship was not at capacity. We were able to have a decent time because we knew we couldn't depend on anything for anyone, for anything else. And we knew that we just had to keep it. We kept our expectations very low. We knew that we were just getting a cheap four days away from the house and not expecting anything more than that. Exactly what we wanted. When you are on yacht club, you have that butler, you have kind of the frontline people to protect you. They are like Kevlar against the stupidity of MSc upper management because there is absolutely a literal and figurative ocean between the frontline people on the boat who are having to execute these policies and really trying their best. Amazingly, every cruise ship I've ever been on has had very friendly staff. But MSc, especially in the yacht club folks, really went above and beyond. Anytime that we just sort of expressed something we were interested in, they were like, oh, can we find a way to make that happen for you? But they. You can tell that they themselves are frustrated because they have this divide between them on the boats and whoever is setting the policies that they're supposed to be executing and who is back on shore collecting the money if there is. Especially. I can't. I overheard just walking past guest services so many times. They've got this weird system where you're supposed to, when you're on board the ship, log your credit card into these ATM machines that they have all over to establish your credit line. Like it's something that every other crew does when you're pre, you know, before you board as part of your registration process. And so they end up, I guess, with all these problems with people having payment issues. I had one time where I had a problem with a credit not showing up, up and trying to get any kind of quick communication because you literally have to wait for someone who's asleep in Italy to wake up the next morning before they'll answer their. Their email. And there's never any. No one is ever empowered to just make something happen. You know, they. They will always be very apologetic, they will always be very friendly and helpful and try to figure out a way around the problem, but it's like no one ever. And I think those kind of things, I sort of just. From observation, from seeing crowdflow, a little thing that's emblematic. They have these high tech, advanced elevators on their new ships, and I've had similar elevators on Royal Caribbean. [01:08:56] Speaker C: The ones where you hit where you have to. [01:08:58] Speaker B: Yeah. You have to say where you want to go, and then it routes to elevate Royal Caribbean. It's a little funky to get used to if you've never done one before. But it worked. It got you where you wanted to go on the seashore, even though we had these vip cards. When you're in yacht club, your room card, if you tap it to any elevator, it's supposed to give you priority access and make the elevator forget about everyone else who's ahead of you and just come. Right, and pick up more people. And I swear there was one time we stood for a full 20 minutes just waiting, seeing elevators come and go and come and go and never, ever arrive for us. And it was, you know, if you are someone with mobility issues, I wrote and I said in my article, if you're on the seashore, make sure you talk to your travel agent about getting a room that is on a floor and near a place that you. You can access, because you cannot depend on those elevators to get you anywhere fast. And it's the kind of thing where even the butlers knew about it. They knew, you know, oh, this just doesn't work. But it's like, no one is empowered to fix anything. No one. Yeah. Yeah. [01:10:11] Speaker C: I mean. I mean, to be fair, I actually mentioned this the other day. The. On Disney, they are. We put this. They are empowered. Guest services is empowered, but they're empowered within limits, and then they got to go up the chain, and then there's certain things that require shore side before anything can happen. And, like. And I always tell people, like, look, if. If something's really gone wrong on the cruise, like, make it known to guest services, they're probably not gonna be able to fix it for you themselves. They're gonna give you somebody to email at shore side or, you know, complaint line, and then you email them, and, you know, a week or so later, they'll get back to you and they'll figure it out. Right. You'll. You'll. You'll kind of be in the queue. But to not empower your guest service team at all, like some of these issues is. That's crazy to me. [01:10:52] Speaker B: Yeah. I I I just feel like there is a disconnect between the folks who are running that organization from a management, a shoreside point of view. I don't know if any of them ever spent time on the ship as a guest. I say this all the time. I think so many problems in the theme parks and cruise ships could be solved if the CEO or the executive president, whatever, had to book a trip as a guest. [01:11:23] Speaker A: As a guest. [01:11:24] Speaker B: Go on the ship as a, you know, not a yacht club, you know, not right. [01:11:29] Speaker A: Not in concierge. You got to be like in a regular stateroom with your kids. [01:11:33] Speaker B: With your kids and not have anyone know, and, you know, escort you pass anything. You know, I, you know, I want to see Bob Iger have to buy a ticket at the turn, you know, at the front gate and try to work, Jeannie. [01:11:44] Speaker A: Plus, I was going to say I. [01:11:45] Speaker B: Want to see him work Genie. Plus, I want to see that, you know, I think too many. [01:11:49] Speaker C: Book a $600 a night hotel and figure out whether that's really worth $600 a night. [01:11:53] Speaker A: Try to get tickets to a dessert party, Bob, come on. [01:11:57] Speaker C: Try to get a cabana. Yeah. [01:11:59] Speaker A: Try to make an advanced dining reservation 60 days out at 03:00 in the morning. [01:12:05] Speaker B: I have been lucky. I've had little things go wrong that because I was staying in yacht club, I was able to get them smoothed over. Nothing, show stopping. But I have heard horror stories. And I also don't think that MSc does the kind of follow up that, you know, Disney, if some Disney screws something up, you'll hear back from them by, you know, by the time you get home. Whereas MSc is kind of like we're done with. You're off our boat, we're on to the next. We're on to the next one. [01:12:39] Speaker A: Yeah. [01:12:40] Speaker B: So, yeah, you definitely have to keep your expectations in check, especially if you are not going for yacht club. You are getting a very good value, but you are also getting what you pay for. So you got to keep that in mind. [01:12:57] Speaker A: We had a comment from Tracy. Brian, I think you should bring up that says, sounds like carnival for the swanky. [01:13:03] Speaker B: And I was wondering what I think it a slightly bougier carnival. I can remember the first couple of times I went on Carnival and thinking like this. I can see why this is fun for some people, but, like, not necessarily my scene. Yeah. And yes, I think that that's pretty a good description that it is not in the same sort of way, like Walmart versus target. They're selling the same thing, but they're just making you feel slightly more sophisticated by, you know, that's such a great comparison. [01:13:55] Speaker A: Because I will tell you, Seth, I do shop at Target and I do not shop at Walmart. [01:13:59] Speaker B: Absolutely. But you're honestly, it's all coming from the same place. [01:14:04] Speaker C: There you go. Tracy, you have given us the title of the episode. It is going to be Carnival, but. [01:14:10] Speaker A: Bougie Carnival for the swanky. I love it. [01:14:15] Speaker B: Yeah. [01:14:16] Speaker C: Well, Seth, is, is there anything about MSc that we haven't talked about that you'd want to highlight for folks who are thinking about taking a cruise with them? [01:14:24] Speaker B: No. I mean, I think we pretty much covered everything. And I know I might have been a little salty on some topics. I really have enjoyed my trips with MSC. I would do it again as long as I'm in yacht club. I'll be perfectly honest, my wife would never go back if it wasn't in yacht club. If I, you know, if I had like a couple friends to go with and it, you know, we knew that it was just, it's going to be what it is, but we just wanted a cheap weekend away, I would consider it, but my wife would never set foot on it again without yacht club for sure. And she knows best, to be honest. [01:15:08] Speaker A: Yes. Yes. [01:15:08] Speaker C: Well, that is a good cap off to the show, I think. Seth, why don't you. I want to say Seth mentioned some articles he wrote. We're going to make sure get posted in the show notes for the, for the show, for everyone out there. If you want to go read a little bit more about Seth's experience. But Seth, why don't you remind folks where they can find you? I know we talked about the top of the show, but remind for. [01:15:25] Speaker B: Absolutely, yeah, you can find me and the unofficial guides on social media at Eskeburski and heunofficial guides. Or you can head on over to, pick up copies of my books and those articles we're going to link to are [email protected]. Dot and if you head to Attractions magazine's YouTube channel, we've got some YouTube videos that I shot on MSc ships to check out. [01:15:54] Speaker A: Awesome. [01:15:55] Speaker C: Well, Seth, as always, you're a fantastic guest. We love having you on. It was fun to actually talk cruising with you for once. Really appreciate you taking that time and thank you for sharing your experience. [01:16:06] Speaker B: Very jealous that you are getting to check out Lighthouse before the rest of us. So enjoy that trip. Can't wait to hear all about it. [01:16:14] Speaker C: Well, thank you for taking the time, Seth. We appreciate it. [01:16:16] Speaker B: Thank you. My pleasure. [01:16:22] Speaker C: Well, a big thank you to all of you out there for listening this week. We really, really appreciate it. Please be sure to subscribe to the podcast. You can keep getting great content from the DCL duo each week. We'd also love it if you'd head over to Apple podcasts and leave us a five star review. If you hit those five stars, that's great. If you leave us a written review along with a five star review, we will be sure to read it on the air at the end of one of our main episodes. 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