Review Of MSC Virtuosa Partial View Balcony Cabin 8242
Most of you will know that as a couple we are fairly “Loyal to Royal” and are diamond members with Royal Caribbean. However with the increasing cost of cruising and two kiddos to please we are constantly checking out the costs and new ships offered by other cruise lines. Which recently brought us to MSC Cruise lines and we were pleasantly surprised indeed. I will write a review of the cruise itself and food etc in another post. But for now I would like to share with you a review about cabin 8242 on Deck 8.
Now I’ve said this before many times but one of the things we hear constantly on Facebook groups and forums is “Oh what does it matter where your cabin is.. you only shower and change there” or “What does it matter how it looks as long as it is clean?” Well I beg to differ… as experienced and regular cruisers our cabin choice is extremely important. We personally always opt for a balcony cabin because we like to have our own private outside space. We spent one cruise in an interior room and I didn’t cope well with it at all. Everyone is different of course but I do suggest booking a balcony cabin if you can afford it.
Let’s start by talking about location.. it is very important.
We personally prefer to be closer to the elevator lobby/stairs, sadly this cabin was no where near it!
To save around £800 on our booking cost we opted for the guarantee option. This means we were guaranteed to be given a balcony cabin but MSC chose our cabin location. Of course we 100% knew we could be allocated one that required a longer walk or a restricted view. In this case both were true…
The cabin 8242 is located at the AFT (rear) of deck 8 and the cabin balcony is classed as having a partial view because of the lifeboats below it. Being on deck 8 caused no real issues for us and despite being above the casino we did not hear any noise from this. It was nice to walk down a few flights of stairs for the shops/theatre etc. We only needed the elevators for buffet/pools/kids club etc.
We were really impressed with the bathroom on the MSC Virtuosa. It is very modern with plenty of storage available. Don’t get me wrong, most cruise ship bathrooms are tiny and you can barely swing a towel but this one did feel slightly more spacious than some other previous ships.
In the bathroom you will find bath towels, hand towels and flannels which are changed as often as you need. Just leave them on the floor and they will be replaced with fresh clean towels by your room steward. They of course replace the toilet roll as needed too. There is a shower gel and shampoo dispenser in the shower and hand soap over the sink. But girls I highly recommend bringing your own hair products… this stuff is not kind to the hair.
The bathroom is modern and well maintained. It was also very clean with a really nice powerful shower. All in all I have no complaints about the bathroom other than sharing it with 4 of us can be a pain!
You will also find pool towels In your room, which was another pain! 4 towels to store somewhere, when storage is already lacking. Wet towels can be exchanged up on the pool deck.
Well I would love to praise the storage but honestly it was not great….the wardrobe itself is very small and definitely not big enough for a family of 4. There are some shelves in the wardrobe also which are useful for pants/socks etc. In the desk area there are some drawers which managed to store most of our kiddos clothes. The storage really needs some re thinking because we did really struggle.
Our cabin was laid out with the bed nearest to the door and the sofa by the balcony door. This works fine for us because I tend to get up a few times a night for the bathroom and it meant the kids were away from the bathroom area.
The bed itself is huge (after all it can be made into two single beds if necessary) so this means it is larger than a king. We found the bed to be very comfortable with soft pillows. We slept very well and you can make the cabin very dark with the black out curtains so we all got plenty of lay ins. Next to both sides of the bed is a small bedside table with two shelves in it and a USB for charging your phone etc. There is plenty of space underneath the bed to store two large suitcases which is necessary.. goodness knows where they would go otherwise.
As you can see from the image above we had the sofa made into bunk beds for our boys. This was already made up when we arrived and was never put down for the duration of the cruise. This has good and bad points…. It was great to have bunk beds because our boys actually slept and it gave us more space. In previous cabins the sofa bed become a double bed and they had to share (nightmare). But the negative was we didn’t have a sofa to sit on (throw clothes on etc). This is why the balcony is almost necessary for us because it gives us that extra place to sit and hang out. However the bunks were very comfortable and both boys enjoyed sleeping in them.
In the room you will also find your dressing table which is where you can get ready each day, make tea and coffee etc. There is a hair dryer in the room but it is absolutely useless so I would recommend bringing your own if you have the space. There is plenty of tea and coffee which is re stocked each day and a telephone to ring other cabins/reception etc.
On the desk you will find an Alexa type speaker who goes by the name of Zoe. She is pretty useless to be honest but we did manage to use her as a Bluetooth speaker and play some tunes from our phone.
The TV in the room has a number of English channels available, something to watch when you are relaxing before dinner. But all films must be purchased, there is nothing free to watch from the smart option. On the TV you can check your account, make reservations for shows etc.
In the room you will find a kettle, two mugs, two spoons and tea/coffee/milk/sugar/sweetener which is replenished twice a day if needed.
The mini bar fridge was very good at keeping things cold. We regularly got cans of drink from the bar with our drinks package and stocked up the fridge.
Just remember any cans/water etc in the room already is chargeable (there is a price list available in the room).
Now to the important part… the balcony!! I am going to be totally honest here (and yes this is just my opinion) but I hated it and barely used it!
The door that leads to the balcony is a push open, very heavy glass door which means you cannot leave it open for fresh air and and easy access without propping it open with a cliff! I hated the door because I was constantly worried my little one was going to get knocked out by it. Most cabins I have stayed in have had a sliding door which is much nicer. Basically once you were out on the balcony that was it.. no one else could talk to you without pushing the heavy door open.
On the balcony you will find two fairly comfortable chairs and one foot rest (to share). There is not a table which is really disappointing as we do like to enjoy a breakfast in the room.
Being on deck 8 means you get a larger balcony which has no benefits whatsoever, because you are not given an any extra furniture/sun loungers to fill this space. I would have preferred them to just make the cabin bigger. The worse bit about this cabin is you are overlooked by the whole ship above you unless you sit right back against the door. Also once a day a huge bucket load of water landed on our balcony which I can only assume was from a room steward cleaning some balconies above with no care for what was underneath. As you can see from the image below, this is what you can see when you look up from your balcony. There was literally no privacy and I did not enjoy sitting there, I was paranoid someone was going to drop something on me.
When we were allocated our cabin we were disappointed to find out the view was to be restricted (partial) but it wasn’t quite as bad as we expected. This cabin is quite lucky because it is located between two life boats so you can see through the gap.
For anyone who is asking the question “do I need a balcony?” or “is it worth the extra money?” Well in our opinion it is 100% worth it. For us we cannot cruise without a balcony as it makes the cruise feel extra special for. I enjoy being able to get natural fresh air whenever I need it especially at night because the air conditioning dries my throat.
Plus Points for cabin 8242
- Comfortable beds
- Modern bathroom
- Clean and tidy
- Sofa can become a bunk bed
Negative Points for cabin 8242
- Quite far from the elevators
- Lack of storage for a whole family
- Really poor balcony
Would I book this cabin?
Absolutely not and I will be honest I cannot understand why I anyone would book a balcony on Deck 8. We did not have a choice as it was allocated to us. But would I have paid another £800 to choose my own cabin? No… because that paid for our drinks package. I did not let the balcony ruin our cruise. We had a wonderful time and the MSC Virtuosa is a wonderful ship.