The MSC Yacht Club is a quiet area on the 3,300-passenger MSC Splendida (double occupancy, 3,900 with all berths). Occupying over 43,000 square feet and open only to the 99 yacht club suites, the butler and concierge staff pamper and spoil the MSC Yacht Club guests with exceptional service and amenities normally seen only on smaller luxury ships.
MSC Yacht Club Embarkation
The special treatment starts at embarkation. MSC Yacht Club guests are met at the pier by a butler and have a special check-in area with no line. The butler escorts the guests directly to their suites and carries all the luggage along. No waiting for a couple of hours to get your luggage, and the butler will even unpack the suitcases if asked.
MSC Yacht Club Suites
MSC Yacht Club offers a choice of 64 Standard Deluxe YC1 Suites, 22 Family Deluxe YC2 Suites (sleeping 2 to 4 adults), 3 Executive YC2 suites, and 10 Royal YC3 Suites. Two of the Executive Suites are handicap-accessible.
MSC Yacht Club suites have complimentary mini-bars. Guests receive free laundry and dry cleaning and a daily newspaper such as the New York Times or USA Today. The suites within MSC Yacht Club have a full bath and shower with marble accents, interactive TV, WiFi, Nintento Wii, luxurious linens, and a choice of pillows. The Yacht Club even provides free WiFi-enabled notebook computers for guests to use from their cabins or the common areas of the club. Although the Standard and Family Suites have a separate sitting area, there is not a curtain dividing the two sections of the suite as on many ships.
MSC Yacht Club Concierge and Reception Area
The MSC Yacht Club has a large, open, 2-deck reception area with a concierge desk, sitting area, and small library. Its most striking feature is a marvelous Swarkovski stairway filled with sparkling golden crystals. The Concierge desk is open 24/7, and the multi-lingual concierge staff are available to answer questions and book reservations for shore excursions, dinner, or the spa. They will also arrange transfers from the ship to your airport or hotel at the end of the cruise.
MSC Yacht Club Top Sail Lounge
The Top Sail Lounge is one of the best amenities of the Yacht Club. This large panoramic lounge on deck 15 provides marvelous views forward. It also features plasma screens where guests can gather information about the weather and ship's course. The butlers and lounge staff serve complimentary drinks, pastries, and snacks throughout the day.
Since the Yacht Club does not have a galley, only a light breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served, but these small meals are certainly adequate for those who don't want to venture outside the Yacht Club area or order room service. In the afternoon, the butlers serve English high tea. My friend and I loved eating a light breakfast in the Top Sail Lounge, the afternoon tea, and before dinner drinks. The lounge is also perfect for reading a book and relaxing when the ship is at sea. You certainly will be the first to see any upcoming excitement like the volcanic island of Stromboli or your next port of call.
MSC Yacht Club Dining on the MSC Splendida
In addition to room service, high tea, and the drinks and small plates served in the Top Sail Lounge, guests staying in the 99 MSC Yacht Club suites also receive special treatment at other dining venues on the MSC Splendida. For example, Yacht Club guests can enjoy complimentary dining and drinks at L'Olivo, the marvelous Mediterranean specialty restaurant, or their table in Villa Verde, which is the Italian main restaurant. MSC Yacht Club guests have a special reserved area and tables in Villa Verde for all three meals.
Although the menu in the Yacht Club area of Villa Verde is the same as for the other passengers, those from the Yacht Club have complimentary drinks and the tables are set further apart in a prime location near the panoramic windows overlooking the stern.
MSC Yacht Club guests who drink or dine outside of the Yacht Club, Villa Verde, or L'Olivio will pay just like other MSC Splendida guests do.
MSC Yacht Club and the MSC Aurea Spa
The MSC Yacht Club has private elevator access to the MSC Aurea Spa, which is located directly below the Yacht Club on deck 14. Yacht Club guests can receive spa treatments in their suites or in one of the dedicated Yacht Club massage rooms in the spa.
MSC Splendida MSC Yacht Club - The One Pool
Anyone who enjoys a private, quiet outdoor area with pool, hot tubs, and bar will love The One Pool on the MSC Splendida. Located on the Sun Deck (deck 18) forward, The One Pool is a beautiful area, with comfortable lounge chairs, a swimming pool, two hot tubs, and a solarium. It's a great area for sitting outside and enjoying the sun and the sea air (or the shade and the sea air).
MSC Splendida Yacht Club Conclusion
The MSC Yacht Club of the MSC Splendida cruise ship greatly exceeded my expectations. MSC Cruises has certainly met their objective of designing a "ship within a ship". The service and amenities of the MSC Yacht Club are like those found on smaller luxury ships. The suites are comfortable, although not really "suites" since there is no curtain dividing the sleeping and sitting areas. Being able to have complimentary meals and drinks in Villa Verde and L'Olivio certainly made the dining experience more enjoyable.
I saw one small drawback to the Yacht Club concept, but it affects those of us who only speak English or on cruises with few English speakers on board. On our Mediterranean cruise, my friend and I were the only passengers staying in the MSC Yacht Club who spoke only English. Although we had each other for company, we missed dining and socializing with other passengers whose first language was English. We met some delightful English speakers on the ship, but it would have been more fun if they had also been staying in the Yacht Club.
For this reason, the MSC Yacht Club is perfect for families or groups of travelers with common interests who plan to do most of their socializing and drinking in the Yacht Club. On the other hand, romantic couples or those seeking solitude and quiet will love the privacy and comfort this wonderful area provides. I'd certainly love to go back with either my husband, a family group, or with a group of girlfriends -- but not all at the same time!
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.