How did the MSC Yacht Club come about?
We knew that there was a potential market of cruise customers who would truly value exclusivity and a far more personalised service on board our ships and were looking for a more premium experience. However, they still wanted the benefits that a larger ship can offer in terms of the wide choice of amenities. Clearly this would require a dedicated space onboard our ships to house a more exclusive and luxurious area. Every MSC Cruise holiday is distinguished by the quality of the hospitality and the attention to the little details that truly make the difference. We wanted to take these distinguishing features to unprecedented levels and we envisioned to create a magical experience everyday on board any given cruise. The end result, the MSC Yacht Club, turned out to be an extraordinary product.
Can you describe what was the planning and conceptualization process like ?
We first introduced our MSC Yacht Club product on board our Fantasia class of ship, MSC Fantasia in 2008 and this was something that the industry had really not seen before.
The planning phase to introduce this indutry-first of a ‘ship within a ship’ concept presented two basic premises.
Firstly, and obviously, the hardware. To create a greater a part of the ship that was private and dedicated only to our MSC Yacht Club guests. We wanted to create a sense of space, so we designed an indoor and outdoor facilities, this included a panoramic lounge as the central point of the area with a private restaurant and then a private pool deck with whirlpools. Then of course there are the suites, which needed to be even more spacious, stylish and comfortable than the rest of the ship, with different categories.
Perhaps the bigger challenge was the customer service that we needed to provide for the discerning guest. This had to be spot-on from day one and right from the outset we believed that the personality of the butler on board would be the key to success. They would have to take care of the needs of every guest in the MSC Yacht Club, ensuring they feel pampered and relaxed. Our butlers would need to have a sense of purpose and service as well as represent the element of the offering, 24 hours a day. Our butlers, both male and female, have a strong background in not just hospitality but also experience with luxury products.
How does the MSC Yacht Club experience set itself apart? How does it stand out among other luxury cruise ship experiences?
The MSC Yacht Club, offers the exclusivity of a private club, whilst providing our guests the recreation and entertainment possibilities that the rest of the ship has to offer.
With its all-inclusive features, the MSC Yacht Club offering provides an array of privileges from the moment guests step on board to personal touches carefully thought to complement the guest experience that every guest can expect from an MSC Cruises holidays.
All MSC Yacht Club guests enjoy their own priority embarkation and disembarkation points of the ship.
Guests benefit from butler service and 24-hour concierge, which we believe makes the cruising experience truly personal and tailored to each individual guest’s needs. Precise knowledge of every guest’s habits and preferences, empathy, personalised attention and great savoir-faire will help our guests make the most of their holidays onboard.
We also designed additional privileges specially created to ensure extra serenity for our guests:
- Unlimited drinks and dining within the Yacht Club, plus inclusion of the WIFI package
- Complimentary access to the Thermal Suite in the MSC Aurea Spa
- Tailormade experiences from shopping to excursions
- Room service available to offer breakfast in bed
- Other personal attentions such as a luggage unpacking and packing service, newspaper delivered to the cabin each day and something different delivered at turn down each night
Additionally, the capacity is carefully managed to ensure privacy and the real feeling of being part of an exclusive club.
How do you envision the MSC Yacht Club offering for your newbuilds - any changes or expansions?
For our two upcoming new ships MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore, we further extended the offering of our MSC Yacht Club.
MSC Seashore will feature the grandest and most luxurious MSC Yacht Club in the fleet, with almost 3,000 sqm of private place, offering more outdoor space as well as new exclusive and luxurious suites. The MSC Yacht Club will be spread over four decks and provide superb sea views. For MSC Virtuosa, as with sister ship MSC Grandiosa, the MSC Yacht Club is expanded and enhanced and features an expansive pool deck with 1,225 sqm of outdoor space as well as new Duplex Suites spanning two decks with a large private balcony with its own whirlpool bath.
Has their been a change in demand for the MSC Yacht Club as a result of the pandemic?
We have seen a rise in demand for the MSC Yacht Club as the pandemic evolved ashore with some guests telling us that not only did they want a safe and relaxing cruise holiday but one that gave them more personal space, such as the suite size and a dedicated area segregated from the rest of the ship with its own pool and restaurant, as well as priority embarkation and disembarkation, which is appealing to guests at this time.