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14 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Miami

14 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Miami

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MSC Seaside (Photo: MSC Cruises)
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Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Miami
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    San Juan
  • Day 4
    San Juan
  • Day 4
    St. Thomas
  • Day 5
    St. Maarten
  • Day 6
    Cruising
  • Day 7
    Nassau
  • Day 8
    Miami
  • Day 9
    Cruising
  • Day 10
    Ocho Rios
  • Day 11
    Grand Cayman
  • Day 12
    Cozumel
  • Day 13
    Cruising
  • Day 14
    Nassau
  • Day 15
    Miami

MSC Seaside

MSC Seaside - MSC Cruises

You'll love MSC Seaside if you enjoy large ships with a European flair, jaw-dropping nightly entertainment, lots of outdoor activities and an international passenger base.

MSC Seaside is not for you if you want a fully American-style cruise experience with announcements only made in English, and service that is fast and friendly.


Cruise Reviews

3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I don't normally complain. We love cruising and being on the ocean. There was nothing absolutely horrible. Nothing great either. Service is slow and poor. Had to wait forever to be served at the bar, or flag down bar service who ... Read More
I don't normally complain. We love cruising and being on the ocean. There was nothing absolutely horrible. Nothing great either. Service is slow and poor. Had to wait forever to be served at the bar, or flag down bar service who always seemed irritated to be asked. The main dining service was awesome. We had wonderful servers and was the highlight of each day. Julius in the seaside lounge bar was the only great, kind, friendly bartender. None of the shows were good, except the Michael Jackson show. Comedy was all vulgar improv. The food was fine, but the salad bar was literally lettuce and shredded carrots. We saw our cabin steward once. He never cleaned our shower or bathroom floor. It was nasty by day 7. This was our second msc cruise. Both have had a theme of poor service. Hoping they can use these reviews to improve in the future, as their ships are beautiful. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Thoroughly enjoyed the ship. Lots of passengers. 5000 to be exact. We were in a balcony cabin on deck 9 which was just above all of the restaurants, shops, bars, casinos, etc. It was a great location. As I said in my title, overall, ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed the ship. Lots of passengers. 5000 to be exact. We were in a balcony cabin on deck 9 which was just above all of the restaurants, shops, bars, casinos, etc. It was a great location. As I said in my title, overall, this was a very nice experience with MSC and the Seaside however, since this is my 15th cruise, I did have a few complaints. As an avid walker for exercise, we couldn't find one deck on the ship that went 360° around the ship. That has always been one of my favorite things to do during cruises. We ended up spending four of seven days in the gym and that worked out well. The main buffet on the eighth level, overall, was very good. The food was average but what do you expect on a buffet. Everything was divided into categories so it made it very easy for you to find what you wanted. The dinners in the main dining room were good. Not great but, once again, what can you expect when they're serving 1000 people at once. We did have dinner one night at their steak specialty restaurant and that was very good. The overall service on the ship was also very good. The woman who took care of our cabin was great. The woman who took care of our wine and drink orders during dinner was fabulous. Our waiter was average at best. Purchasing the drink package was one of the smartest things we could of done. There's nothing nicer than enjoying your favorite alcoholic beverage and only being charged a 15% service fee. We drank the whole week and probably spent less than $60. The embarkation process was okay but took a long time. From the time we arrived at the port to the time we got on the ship was about 90 minutes. The disembarkation was amazing. From the time we left our room to the time we got in a cab was barely 20 minutes. Such a breeze. Shore excursions were pretty typical. We took a very nice walking tour through San Juan Puerto Rico. We did a sailing/snorkeling trip in St. Thomas. We did a city tour by bus in Nassau. If you are planning on snorkeling in any of the locations on this cruise, be forewarned that there is very little coral left. Everything was gray and ashen. Lots of damage was done due to the most recent hurricane and the change in water temperature is killing coral all over the world. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
MSC Seaside Review March 30 – Eastern Caribbean Miami – San Juan – St. Thomas – St. Marteen – Nassau – Miami Cabin: Inside Deck 12 - #12121 (I always try to get rooms with easy to remember numbers) The following is ... Read More
MSC Seaside Review March 30 – Eastern Caribbean Miami – San Juan – St. Thomas – St. Marteen – Nassau – Miami Cabin: Inside Deck 12 - #12121 (I always try to get rooms with easy to remember numbers) The following is my review of the MSC Seaside. This was my 132 cruise and although I’m high level on Celebrity, NCL, RCCL, HAL and Carnival, I’ve been intrigued by the Seaside’s design and was curious about the MSC line. MSC matched my loyalty level on NCL and gave me GOLD status (see their website for the loyalty match program) as an enticement for me to try the product. The reviews for this ship and the line have been iffy so I thought I’d take a chance as I’m a strong believer in the saying “there is no such thing as a bad cruise”. So off I went… EMARKATION I arrived at Terminal F Saturday morning at about 1:15 pm via UBER only to find the line to get into the terminal from the door of the terminal to the Celebrity terminal. I’ve never seen a line that long. At one point I considered taking a quick three-day cruise and I’d still have time to get on the Seaside, however, the line did move quickly, and we were inside the terminal in less than 30 minutes. Once inside there was a line for security where I was “psst’d” by a man in the jacket asking, “hey buddy, want to get in the quick line” and then asking me for money for allowing me that honor. UGH. Looking back, the regular line was just as quick. A quick trip upstairs to the check in area where, although a bit confusing, the lines went quick with many open reception desks. I got my room card, picture taken and boarding group number (14). From there a walk to the boarding area where we were met with another long line. I thought MSC meant “Me Standing Constantly” but again the line moved quickly. The speaker system shorts out in the boarding area near the photographers, so you need to move away from that area to hear everything. Within thirty minutes group 14 was called and I went on board. Overall a little more than an hour to get on board which is a decent time especially given the long lines experienced. The first thing I learned about this ship is that they know what they are doing even though it might not appear so .. just trust them. FIRST STEPS ON SEASIDE WOW. What a beautiful ship. The Atrium area is several stories and features a multi-level video screen. Each level has distinct bars. The ship has several elevators and except for embarkation, there was never really a long wait. I went to my room right away and dropped off my travel bag and then went off to explore some more. NCL’s oceanside concept is something I really enjoy (being so close to the water while having dinner or drinks). MSC has taken that experience to the next level. There is more deck space on this ship than I’ve seen on any ship next to an aircraft carrier. Each lounge chair had a built-in pillow as well. Of course, people hog the chairs close to the pools, but if you just wander a few steps around deck 6 you’ll find an open chair. The technology on this ship was tremendous. (I just got off Bliss in December, another new ship, and found Seaside to be like a Star Trek vessel). STAFF The crew takes great care of “their” ship. From the room steward to the performers to the bar staff .. everyone was polite and seemed to like their jobs. I did not speak to one crew member on the staff who said they would not return after their contract was up. That’s unheard of. They ALL keep asking what they can go to make things better. What made me sad was learning the servers make, in some cases, about $800 a month. That’s another topic but I do my best to help with tipping above and beyond as they really work hard for many hours each day. My room steward was Maria. She did a fine job, but she was invisible most of the trip. I guess that’s good. There are no towel animals on Seaside (at least not in my cabin) but I did not miss them. FOOD The first stop, as always, is the buffet. The Seaside buffet is in the back of the ship and is the same design as most new ships with a flow on both sides, front and back. I found the buffet on this ship to be very limited and quality issues were apparent. Somethings were cold that were supposed to be hot and other things vice versa. Nothing will make you want to skip the MDR for buffet on this ship. It served its purpose but barely. Since I was traveling solo on this trip, and thanks to NCL, I like only to dine at my own leisure, I only ate at the specialty restaurants. There are five on board on level 16. The Pan Asian restaurant also features a sushi bar and a Japanese Hibachi. On the other side of the ship there is Butcher’s Cut and Ocean Cay. The Seaside also offers a Chef’s Table, but I did not try it. I purchased two of the three meal specialty restaurant experiences. I highly recommend the Pan Asian restaurant and Teppanyaki. I ate at both twice. The meal at Butcher’s Cut was very basic – not bad, but not great. The worst meal was at Ocean Cay. If I’m going to pay money for a specialty restaurant, I’d better get something I can’t get at the buffet. At Ocean Cay the entrée was a filet of sea bass and mashed potatoes. The menu is going to change to include shrimp, crab and other seafood dishes. Also, at Ocean Cay only about half the menu was available without a surcharge. Again, a work in progress. The ship has a incredible coffee/ice cream bar. Worth stopping for a treat once a day (or more). If you like your coffee, try getting a cappuccino or latte each morning at one of the bars. The coffee at the buffet was horrible. I asked several passengers about the MDR and didn’t hear many complaints other than some nights the dinner took over two hours. Same complaints from other ships. CASINO I played slots mostly this cruise and found the machines to be the same as most lines. As is with most casinos, you earn points with each pull of the slot machine. The prizes however are horrible. I ended up with over 2000 points and I was offered four Styrofoam key chains for 400 points each. Think $400 worth of slot pulls. HORRIBLE. The casino is much smaller than any other ship I’ve been on so far. Many of the slot machines feature multiple games. There are no Texas Hold’em table games. EXTRAS Easy Drink Package (NAY) The EASY drink package was advertised as non-alcoholic beverages (soda, blended drinks, bottled water), coffee delights, hot chocolate delights, ice cream drinks and select spirits and wine. This package confused everyone. Some nights things were included and others the same drinks were an extra charge (which I refused). The coffee, chocolate and ice cream options were also mixed in availability. When I did get a drink from the Easy Package Drink menu it was very basic and weak. Check how many drinks you get with your package (my cruise came with 12 drinks) to see if you really need the drink package. Remember, you don’t get drinks at the restaurants other than tap water. The self-serve soda, wine and beer machines at the buffet were accessible with this package but only worked half time. Another work in progress. Thermal SPA Pass (NAY) The SPA is WOW at first. From the sensory steam (light and dark) to the wind effect showers and snow room, when you first enter you don’t think you’re on a cruise ship. Another reason you don’t feel you are on a cruise ship is that there are NO WINDOWS. It’s so dark, you can’t read a book or enjoy a magazine. Half the reason I go to the spa area is to find a quiet place to read. This SPA is good for one visit, but not the whole cruise. Internet Pass (YAY) I opted for the unlimited internet and I think I used it to the max. Part of me really hates having access to the internet while I’m on vacation but I found that I relax more having the access as I can take care of things that come up with work immediately. The package disclaimers say it’s not fast enough to stream video, but I was able to watch any shows that I tried. I would get the internet package again. CONS The bathroom in my cabin was almost unusable. How the toilet is placed makes it impossible to move your legs if you have long legs. Let’s just say if I had to so more than pee, I had to go elsewhere. After three days of just not making it a big deal, I finally visited the guest services desk to say something. I had thirty-minute conversation with three different people and got the generic, we are sorry about your experience, however all the staterooms in the Fantastica category are like that. Many have complained about it. I could see this being a HUGE problem with anyone with mobility issues. I made the most of it but it’s a major design flaw that needs to be addressed on new builds. The solution is simple carpentry to fix the problem on Seaside (cutting out space underneath the sink). I had a pass to the spa so I really just timed my bathroom breaks to avoid being in my cabin when the time arouse. The major issue I had with the entire situation was the lack of follow up. Those damn tablets the bar/restaurant servers used. Either the staff needs more training or whatever app they are using doesn’t work. I realize the need for efficiency, but order placing shouldn’t take so much time and show so much frustration on the part of the staff. The tablets need to be tossed into the dumpsters at the next port. The cause nothing but problems. PROS The Wine and Cocktail bar on deck 16 (in the specialty restaurant area) was the best bar on the ship. The two main bartenders, KiKi and Alex (both from South Africa) were AMAZING! (Yes, capital letters, as they made my evening and we’d set up camp at the bar there for several hours). Gene the cruise director, former HAL czar of Cruise Directors, was very personable and professional. He was fun to talk to and always seemed to have time to speak with you without it feeling rushed. Captain LaPalma was also the consummate gentleman. Besides speaking every language on earth, at least it seemed so, he was also very interested in how the cruise was going what MSC needed to do to improve the experience. The entertainment was better than expected, but not awesome. Five of the nights the onboard ensemble would perform a 45 minutes show twice. Each show features vocals, dancing, aerobatics, comedy, juggling and other circus type acts. The costumes, performers and sets were all very good. I made it a point to see all the shows and each time the shows ended with standing ovations. Again, they made the most of the limited time they were given, but not equal to the Broadway style shows on other lines. Water Slides were free and fun! DISEMBARKATION I chose the Express option and carried by own bags. On most other cruises I as in the minority choosing this option given it’s 7AM time. Not on Seaside. Seems most of the passengers wanted to get off as soon as possible. Those lines that were present at embarkation resurfaced again but, as was the pattern, the lines moved quickly. I was off the ship by 7:45 and in the UBER heading to a great hotel “The Gabriel” just across the bridge in downtown Miami. OVERALL On my scale of champagne glasses (1 to 5), I’ll give this cruise three glasses of bubbly. I loved the ship. The deck space, design, cleanliness and operations are a 5. Everything else is a work in progress. With more new ships on order than any other cruise line, MSC is investing heavy in the US market and they know they need to change their product in order to draw and keep US customers. Let’s check back in a year and see what’s been changed. If the service and food could match the ship, the product would be one of the best in the industry. That’s a big IF though! Read Less
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