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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
First, we have been on three MSC cruises so far. This is the second time on Seaside. Originally tried MSC due to the price and have found that it offers most everything that lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer at a much better ... Read More
First, we have been on three MSC cruises so far. This is the second time on Seaside. Originally tried MSC due to the price and have found that it offers most everything that lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer at a much better price. Did Seaside for a second time as I felt that it would be a very good, fun cruise for my boys, 13 and 15, to do for there first cruise. It was. They loved it. Had a lot for them to do on board, they did go to the teen club a few times but found that the kids there had more interest in things that my boys were not interested in so that was not a big sell for them. But a lot of kids were there. The ship itself was full of kids of all ages. It is truely a family cruise. Food: Buffets: there are two and they do it a little different than other cruise lines. Though they are changing a little. They have a huge selection of food for you to choose from, from hamburgers and hotdogs to Mediterranean and Mexican. Also a great pizza station. But the selection does. It change much throughout the cruise. This did change a little between the first time we cruised and this time. Some stations changed things out. They put aditional sausages in the hamburger/hotdog area like Italian one day, kielbasa anothe ecf. The hand carved station had a different meat each day and I believe that the Mexican food also changed. As did the deserts. They even had a all cake day on the last day at sea. MDR: did not eat a lot here for dinner. Only twice this time. Did specialty restaurants mainly this trip. However at most meals at the MDR the first cruise. They have, generally 4 appetizers to choose from 3-4 main courses and 3-4 deserts. Similar to most other cruise lines. Food is good as is the service. Food is a little more Mediterranean than other lines and I liked that. Italian night rocked. You always have the option every night of salmon, NY strip and another main course if you do not like that nights selection of meals. Specialty restaurants: they were great. Tepenyaki was fantastic. The cooks were fun and made the meal what it was. It is nearly a two hour event so make sure you are aware of that. Pan Asian: of all the restaurants this was our least favorite. Though food was very good, just not as good as the rest. Boys were not impressed. Believe the food was a little out of there wheel house. Ocean Cay: seafood. Had a great sea bass. Boys had oysters and everyone enjoyed them selves. Would have gone back for another dinner in an instant Steak house: boys tried and loved the bone marrow. Must say, it was incredible. We went here twice and my oldest got it twice he liked it so much. The fillet minion was superb, one son had the NY Strip both nights as he liked it so much. Another had the lamb. I had a bite and it was excellent. Lava cake for desert was incredible. I know it is Carbivals signature dish. But this beats it hands down. Ship: the ship is in incredible. Extreamly clean, shines with all the crystal. Have to love things like the bridge of sighs and the staircases in the atrium. Just makes the ship a thing of elegance and splendor. Large but never felt like there were 5000 people on board. Pools are, like other ships, using water from the ocean and not heated. Fun in the summer but can be a little cold in winter. Also, be prepared for the pools to have an incredible number if people around them. They have three main pools for guests and a fourth for the YC guests. The three main pools were always full when at sea. Also the pools are all 5-6 feet deep. So just standing in the pools is not an option. Actually helps to get some people out of the pool after so many minutes. Like on there lines, people come down and place there towels on the chairs and leave. However, if you see this, tell a pool attendant. They will put on a note to the chair noting the time and if the note is still there 45 minutes later, they will remove it. Shows: enjoyed them immensely. They are about 30 minutes long and include singing, dancing, acrobatics and magic. A little for everyone. The Michael Jackson tribute is incredible. Best shows I have seen on the seas. Embarkation and debarkation. This is a new terminal and they did it right. Both getting on the ship, including security check and checkin was a breeze. And leaving the following week was the fastest I have done on any cruise line. Didn’t even have to have my passport as they are all set up to use facial recognition now and so you just walk up, stop and then proceed. People: the ship was nearly 1/2 from the USA. Another 20% from Canada and the rest from Europe and other countries. You will find that you will hear many different languages and deal with many different customs. Be prepared to accept that. This is part of this experience. If you want a cruise with mainly Americans and when you walk around you hear only English, this is. It the cruise for you. Also, I found that there is a lot more smoking on this ship than others. They have two main designated smoking areas. If you do not like smoking, make sure you do. It get a room on the left side of the ship when looking forward, and near the back. One of the largest smoking areas is on Deck 7 in the back on that side. Again, many people are not from the US and they are nit used to not being able to smoke indoors or anywhere they want. The first day or so we found some people smoking inside the ship and even going into the elevator smoking. This quickly was eliminated as the crew was quick to talk to those people and tell them they could not smoke but in designated places. We also had to call guest relations as people next to us on both sides were smoking. On all ships this is a big no. Both people never smoked on the balcony again the entire trip. Had the same thing happen on Carnival magic two years back. Those people refused to stop. Sorry but smoking is a big deal to me so it is something I pick up on quickly and have no issue telling someone to put out there cigarettes. Overall the Seaside is a great vessel. We would sail her again and are looking at booking another cruise on MSC soon as we very much like there cruise line, appreciate cruising with other from outside the US and really love the prices. There are good and bad things about every cruise, but MSC I find to be a little better than most. They are not as much a party ship as Carnival or as plastic as they appear. The ship is in the same class as some of the larger Royal Caribbean cruise ships but at a much lower price point. Went to four islands on the seven night cruise. Again, loved that it was not just a three island stop. That is why I go on a cruise, and yes I would and will cruise Seaside again Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I’m a travel agent and this trip was a personal trip although used it to meet captain, cruise director crew, and experience the ship it first hand After reading & watching al sorts of pro & con reviews of this ship,I walked ... Read More
I’m a travel agent and this trip was a personal trip although used it to meet captain, cruise director crew, and experience the ship it first hand After reading & watching al sorts of pro & con reviews of this ship,I walked in with an open mind. I was truly impressed. The Haven Lounge nightly activities & music was the best! The family night delish spread of snacks & deserts. Main dining meals were a hit & miss - my waiter wasn’t as attentive as if he was bothered to serve us Room steward Christian was very courteous & attentive Need More varied teens activities Italian night after tasting food in the MD went to buffet better pasta & seafood ; noticed that people were eating more at the buffet Overall my son & I enjoyed ourselves ; I would recommend it to my clients & we would go again but we’ll wait for newer ships The cruise critic meet & mingle was super! viva Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We are just back from 1 14 day back to back cruise on the MSC Seaside and wanted to share our thoughts. I am a very critical person when travelling. Firstly I am not going to compare the Seaside with any other cruises we have sailed on ... Read More
We are just back from 1 14 day back to back cruise on the MSC Seaside and wanted to share our thoughts. I am a very critical person when travelling. Firstly I am not going to compare the Seaside with any other cruises we have sailed on which include Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean as I believe all have their good points and not so good and it is unfair to compare. The Seaside is a lovely, clean and very impressive ship. There are not many times you feel like you are onboard with 5000 passengers let alone another 1500 crew. We experienced only a very positive interaction with crew members with many taking time out to say hello and a general friendly approach especially to our 2 grandchildren who got lots of attention and high 5's. Embarkation and debarkation was very smooth and quick . Cabins - we had a balcony cabin and whilst cosy for 2 adults and 2 children it was comfortable and clean. Space can be a little tight but we adapted with bringing over the door organisers. I cannot comment on the room steward who whilst wasn't very visible always kept the room clean. Kids Club - our 2 grandchildren loved it and although we wanted to spend some good quality time with our 2 grandchildren on board it was nice to get those couple of hours to ourselves once in a while. Shows - a little confusing at times and some acts repeat over other shows later in the week but they are very professional and enjoyable. The Starwalker Michael Jackson tribute and show end on the Friday is a must see. You get a bit of everything at the shows, singing, dancing and Cirque de Soleil type performers. The beer prov children rated comedy show was very funny and a good watch. Food - we ate in the buffets for breakfast and lunch and the main dining room for dinner. This was probably our biggest disappointment. The buffet is a little repeatative and sometimes a little lacking in choice but the pizza is great and the late night cookies at the snack station were wonderfully soft and delicious. we ate in Ipanema main dining room and the waiting staff were friendly including the maitre d's even dancing with our granddaughter and always asking if we were ok and had a good day. service was a little slow on occasions and the very odd dish was not great but we felt the food could have been better overall. Guests - it is a very multi cultural guest list is the most polite way of putting it but again with 5000 guests from 120 nations you are going to get some who do not share your manners, standards and etiquette. Don't be put off by the completely negative comments you read about the MSC Seaside, I am very critical and would describe our experience as positive overall and YES I would sail with MSC again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My husband and I sailed on Seaside 8/3/19 for our 20 year anniversary.  It was our first time cruising so we weren't sure what to expect.  I scoured the message boards here to prepare myself the best I could prior to the cruise.  I ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Seaside 8/3/19 for our 20 year anniversary.  It was our first time cruising so we weren't sure what to expect.  I scoured the message boards here to prepare myself the best I could prior to the cruise.  I was able to get a lot of helpful hints that came in handy.   Our boarding time wasn't until 2 pm but after reading the boards, we decided to show up at 10;30 am and we were on the ship before noon.  We immediately went and got our wristbands, registered our credit card and found the maitre d' to request a table for 2 in the dining room (which was granted) to avoid the lines later.  We then went and had lunch at the buffet and then found a cozy spot in the Seaview lounge and had a drink.   I"m so glad I found those recommendations here because they really saved us time later.   One thing I have read on cc from many people is how rude the staff is.  That was not our experience at all.  We felt the staff went above and beyond for us.  We had the easy drink package and my favorite wine wasn't on it.  No biggie, I made due with what was available to me.  However, when we showed up for dinner on the night of our anniversary, a bottle of my favorite wine was chilling at the table and we weren't charged for it.  At the end of our meal, about 10 waiters showed up and they all sang "I swear" by All for one.  The entire song.  It was embarrassing and amazing at the same time.  lol   This is just one example and there are so many more.   We did encounter 2 staff members that were a little rude but we just avoided them after that.   We paid for the 1 day pass for the thermal spa and felt that it was really overrated.  We ended up spending 2 hours there before leaving. There just wasn't enough to do to spend the whole day there.  We each got a massage as well.  My husband said his was amazing while I felt mine was just ok.   Even before getting off the massage table my therapist was trying to sell me other services.  It was very annoying.  After telling her no about 5 times, she gave up.  There are staff walking around the ship trying to sell different services and dinner add-ons but saying no once does the trick.   We saw 3 shows while on board.  The Beer comedy one for families, Butterfly and the starwalker (the Michael Jackson one in case I didn't get the name correct).  The comedy was hilarious, the Michael Jackson one was phenomenal and Butterfly wasn't for us (just not opera fans I guess).  We had the Bella package and upgraded our stateroom to a balcony room.  The balcony really made the room in my opinion.  We enjoyed sitting out on it in the evening with a drink before bed.   We felt there were enough hangers for our clothes and enough space for all of our other items.   The pool areas were very loud and crowded.  People would sit around the edge of the pool making it very difficult to even get in.  It wasn't for us so we would find a lounge chair in another part of the ship and relax in peace .   We only scheduled one excursion with the ship and that was in St. Thomas. It was ok but not worth the money. All in all, we had a good time. The service was exceptional and if we were to ever sail with MSC again, that would be the reason. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first MSC cruise and we were certainly impressed with the beauty of this magnificent ship. Let's start at the beginning. The check-in process on embarkation day, though smooth, could have been quicker if there were more ... Read More
This was our first MSC cruise and we were certainly impressed with the beauty of this magnificent ship. Let's start at the beginning. The check-in process on embarkation day, though smooth, could have been quicker if there were more agents available. All went well but we were surprised to find out they didn't link your credit card to your cruise card at that point. Not a big deal, just a bit different. Anyway, we posed for the obligatory "boarding" photo then onto the ship we went. Wow! Was it ever beautiful. One of the prettiest we've seen. Since we checked in a little later in the afternoon we had to proceed directly to our muster station. I was expecting it to be a bit longer but thankfully it wasn't. We then went to our cabin. It was a nicely appointed Bella Balcony. Perfect size for us 2 and a nice balcony. as we were unpacking we noticed the safe was pretty small. Would've been nice to have one a bit bigger, especially since there was enough space on the shelf (width and height) to accommodate it. Not a big deal, just noticeable. We liked having sufficient space under the bed to store our luggage. 1 carry-on, 1 medium suitcase, and 1 suit bag. The closet was sufficient, although we did find that it was a bit of a challenge to get to the clothes hanging closer to the shelving. Again, not a big deal, just noticeable. The bed, though big enough, was very, very, uncomfortable. The mattress was hard. Not just a firm mattress, but a very tough one. The pillows were also very uncomfortable. After 2 nights of trying to deal with it my back and neck began to hurt. I asked our cabin attendant if anything could be done about the mattress and she put 2 additional comforters under the fitted sheet. This helped a bit but sleeping comfortably for the rest of the week was challenging. Daily activities and meals on board were very good and enjoyable. Some meals were really good, others just ok. The service in the specialty restaurants and main dining room was always courteous and kind. Some evenings service was kinda slow but overall pretty good. I took some time each day to check out the various areas of the ship and was impressed with all of it. But I did notice some areas were mostly closed, with nothing happening. For example, the Champagne Bar was mostly closed. The Sports Bar, very nicely appointed, was also mostly closed. The gelato bar by the pool was also mostly closed. I also noticed that the outdoor pool areas didn't have any umbrellas or shading from the sun. It would be nice to be able to lay out without full on sun exposure the entire time. I did meet people who said they were hoping for some overcast days so they could relax poolside. Now, the shows, wow! They had some fantastic productions in the theatre. No expense was spared on those costumes and backdrops. Very impressive. My favorite production was Peter Punk! We enjoyed every moment from start to finish. The Michael Jackson show was very good as was Fly. The Wizard was nice and Beerprov (the adult version) was very meh. I guess it may have had a bit to do with the audience members they bought on stage. Overall, this cruise was lovely and I would be happy to do it again, if I was assured the bed and pillows would be much better. Oh, how could I finish without mentioning Captain Marco Massa. What a lovely guy. So personable and steered us through the ocean perfectly. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Very nice open ship. It has not stolen his name Seaside , you are very close to the water. Friendly staff. Very high end decoration Cabins have a very good size. The beds are top . Normal size bathroom with real door not a curtain ! ... Read More
Very nice open ship. It has not stolen his name Seaside , you are very close to the water. Friendly staff. Very high end decoration Cabins have a very good size. The beds are top . Normal size bathroom with real door not a curtain ! The closet could have been better placed a it was difficult to slide the doors ( have a look to aida prima , much better designed ) . Good size of balcony with sliding door. Very good dinning options . You can have free room service , which can be great if you take breakfast in your own cabin /balcony to enjoy a bit of tranquility. The food is really great . they should just leave more time between the dishes so you can have a more dinning experience. Free food tour in speciality restaurants was also great . Nice bars and atrium. Entertainment is nice altough it is always a singing performance but with variety , except for the comedy show. Duration perfect 40 min , not to short , not to long . Great slides and waterpark. 5D dinema for 10 dollars and 10 dollars for Zip line is a must do ! Nice Spa, but small ) although a prefer a open spa with a view on the sea (see adida prima ) . Good , but expensive massages. Service is good , bu they should clean up the aft decks close to buffert more often , as the birds are at ports always "attacking" the left overs. With the wind all food and others are on the decks , should be taken care off ! Also only 2 toilets for woman next to buffet could have been doubled . Time at ports can be very short , shore excursions are okay , but organisation is chaotic. Prices are rather expensive for what it is , sometimes we had even to buy on top our own lunch. Went also on Seaview is same ship Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
BACKGROUND INFO: This was my 15th cruise. I usually cruise with just my sister or a group of no more than two couples. But this time, I traveled with a family group of 13 people – 7 adults and 5 children ranging from ages 2 to 12. ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFO: This was my 15th cruise. I usually cruise with just my sister or a group of no more than two couples. But this time, I traveled with a family group of 13 people – 7 adults and 5 children ranging from ages 2 to 12. We chose the MSC Seaside for the experience of cruising on a mega ship and because 3 of our party had previous cruised on the Divina and enjoyed it. We decided to fly to avoid the 12+ hour drive and the first challenge was packing light so that we could avoid waiting for (and worrying about) dealing with baggage. I was sharing a cabin with my 12-year-old grandson and we packed two small carry-on suitcases and two underseat bags (his backpack and my underseater). Our group likes to roll our own bags onto the ship (without use of porters), so this was another reason to pack light. HOTEL STAY: We flew from North Carolina to Miami the day before the cruise, staying at the airport LaQuinta which offered free breakfast and a free shuttle to the cruise port. LaQuinta did not disappoint with the rooms which were clean and comfortable. Breakfast was adequate. Unfortunately, there was an hour+ delay waiting for the shuttle. Turns out there was a mechanical issue with one of the vans. These things happen, and our group managed to shrug it off. EMBARKATION: Even with the delay, we still arrived earlier than our 2pm assigned time, but embarkation was fairly quick. My grandson and I both had passports and I had taken the precaution of bringing a limited power of attorney signed by his parents and notarized, permitting him to travel with me and for me to seek medical attention for him, if required. I am still not sure whether that was actually required. Noting the different surname, I was asked if I had permission to take a minor out of the country, and I whipped out that form, which was copied and attached to our other info, but then a minute later, the clerk said it was not required for this ship. I was glad I had it, though. It would have been an anxious moment otherwise. We trundled our luggage onto the ship, found our way to the buffet, parked the luggage, and enjoyed lunch while we waited for our rooms to be ready. I also registered my credit card in one of the kiosks while we waited, an easy task. Since I had to register a credit card ahead of time, I do not understand that, but it was painless. BELLA BALCONY CABIN 9115: The 13 members of our group were divided into four balcony “Bella” cabins, all fairly close together, midship, on the 9th floor (Lanakai deck). Our cabin was 9115. The cabin was functional and adequate, but as many have noted, the storage was skimpy and hard to access. It included one single column of shelves and two drawers, and one closet. One shelf is taken up with the safe, and the entire left side of the closet was hard to get to because of a sliding door which completely covered the shelf/drawer area when closed. My grandson and I had requested two single beds, but we ended up pushing them together so that we could get to the shelf and closet area. There were two small nightstands that offered a tiny bit of extra storage. The room was extremely narrow with just enough room to get by the end of the bed to the rest of the room. There was a nice sized desk/vanity area, but I found no drawers or other storage there. My sister told me later there is a single drawer with the hair dryer in it. Our sofa ended up being the repository for many things throughout the cruise as there was so little storage area. In rooms designed for 4, the sofa pops up making 2 bunk beds. So for those with 4 in their cabins, space was extremely tight and a bit claustrophobic. The balcony itself was adequate with 2 chairs and an ottoman (no reclining chair). Because this cruise was in July (a first for me), it was really too hot to spend much time out on the balcony except in the late evenings or just to take a look or snap some photos. The balcony was covered, which was nice, so even if it rains guests can still enjoy the balcony. We had nearly perfect weather so I only experienced this one night when a storm woke me and I stepped out onto the balcony to watch the lightning fireworks. The room did offer more opportunity for connectivity than any I have had before with double electric outlets and usb ports and another usb port by the bed. We had two phones, a tablet, my fitbit charger, and a couple of portable chargers to keep powered up and we had no trouble with that. ROOM STEWARD Our room steward, Felician from Madagascar, was the very best steward I have had in my fifteen cruises. Felician was in our room tidying up, replenishing ice, replacing wet towels, and so forth multiple times each day. I am sure that the stewards like the system on the Seaside which requires the card to be left in the slot at the door in order to turn on the lights. This notifies the stewards whether the cabin is occupied. THE YACHT CLUB We did not choose the expensive Yacht Club cabins, opting for Bella balcony cabins. We felt with so many ports of call, we would be spending limited time in our cabins. Ordinarily a balcony cabin is pretty exclusive all by itself. But I quickly found out that part of the reason our balcony cabin was so small and storage so measly was to accommodate the MSC Yacht Club, an uber-exclusive group of less than 500 people among the 5300 passenger max. On other cruiselines, there are perqs for frequent cruisers and, of course, choosing more expensive cabins is always an option. Some even have discreet extra special perqs. But the MSC Yacht Club was the most in-your-face example of exclusivity that I have ever endured on a cruiseline. High-frequency cruisers or those who opt for expensive cabins on other cruiselines might get a snack and priority boarding or first tender rides, but these perqs are set up discreetly, and generally these elect cruisers blend seamlessly into the cruise population for the balance of the cruise, their different-colored cards being the only clue that they are upper echelon cruisers. Not so on MSC. The Yacht Club had parts of two decks available only to them, their own exclusive dining area, their own elevator (especially annoying since there was always one elevator not working), their own pool, their own gangway into/off of the ship, a reserved section of the theatre, and other exclusive privileges. Did it make me want to be one of these few? HECK NO! I cringed at the pomposity and enforced segregation and doubt I will cruise on MSC again for very reason. Sure, spending extra has its privileges, but the indiscreet, restrictive, and prohibitive treatment for Yacht Clubbers smacked more of snobbery and posturing than classy perquisites. CARD AND WRISTBANDS: One note about the card. I like to hang my card on a lanyard when I cruise and have noticed that some cruiselines now punch a hole in the card for that very purpose. MSC did not, but part of my gear included a small one-hole-punch and I punched our cards. And then I found out I had ruined them. Ugh. I found out later that if you have a very bright light, you can see the antenna in the card, but I just chose a likely spot near one corner and messed up both cards. Guest services was very nice about it and replaced both cards quickly while I waited without fussing at me. I then put them into clear badge-holders for the lanyards. On the first day, we also purchased the wristbands that act as ship cards for everything but leaving the ship. I had not planned to buy one initially, as the reviews seemed to pan them, but it was only $5 and so I got one for myself and my grandson. They worked like a charm the entire cruise – we never had a single problem with them. And we found them to be very convenient. After the first day, we left our lanyards in the room and just relied on the wristbands which were small and fairly discreet. Take note, though, that if you lose one wristband, you will have to replace ALL the wristbands and cards in your cabin. This happened with one of our party and they had to spend an extra $20 to get new wristbands and new ship cards for all four in their cabin. We left our wristbands in our cabin whenever we left the ship as the cards were needed then. I understand that cards are available to show exactly where another passenger is at any time. No one in our group chose to purchase these. They were originally pitched to parents with children, but when we were there, there were promotions for them to be used to locate fellow adult passengers. SHIP INFORMATION and MSC App: The ship is very beautiful, kept sparkling clean. There are numerous small areas that can easily be commandeered by groups to sit and chat and enjoy time together. Unlike other ships, there was adequate shade and deck chairs near the pools. The beautiful atrium is a jaw-dropper and the Infinity Bridge and Bridge of Sighs are intriguing. The decorating style is elegant and continues throughout all areas of the ship. Some areas are understated (corridors to the staterooms, for example) and others are glamorous (the Swarovski staircases in the atrium), but all elements blend nicely. I believe I might have been perpetually confused about where I was on such a large ship except for the MSC App. It had an interactive ship map that directed you to anywhere you want to go, using, I assume, the GPS capability of the phone. Leaving your cabin (or from anywhere on the ship), you could get turn-by-turn directions to anywhere else. The app does not have chat for communicating with fellow passengers which I missed. Other cruiselines include this and it is very helpful. The app can also be used to make the required reservations for theater shows or extra services. It also allows guests to view their billing information, which is very useful. ACTIVITIES: Fun Pass – I purchased the $100 fun pass ahead of time. For $100, I got $180 worth of credit. I figured I would burn that up on the zipline, but…no. The advertising says that the fun pass is assigned to one guest, but it can be used for anyone in the cabin. As it turned out, I was permitted to use the credit for anyone, but I had to be there with my card or wristband to authorize the use. This was good because otherwise I would have wasted most of the credit. As it was, I left $14 unused (no refund, of course). Zip Line -- My grandson and I used the $11 per ride zip-line just one time because it was mostly closed throughout the cruise due to winds. It took probably twice as long to get strapped in as to ride, but I did appreciate the emphasis on safety. The ride was short and slow (not very zippy) with a neck-breaking jolt to slow the ride at the end. But it was indeed a zip line as advertised. We had planned to use credit for other kids in our group, but the zip line was never up when we were ready to use it. Water Slides – the water slides were also frequently closed due to winds. As we did not seem to experience extremely high winds, I wondered about this. Pools – there are several pools, but they are inadequate for the crowds. They were nearly always packed. Pools seemed to open late and close early, which also limited their use. The jungle area for the children had to be used for zipline or the waterslides and it was nearly always open. Arcade – we ended up using most of the fun pass credit for the Formula One racecar in the arcade and also for the VR games there. I noted that smaller games had a prominent sign that they were not included in the fun pass. I felt that was a poor decision, especially since the Zip Line was down so much of the time. Another poor decision was that racecar and VR games were closed from 5:30pm to 10pm each night. This made no sense to me at all since this was prime evening time for kids. My grandson enjoyed the race car several times and once we all got together at 10pm to fill the VR theatre-style game with family and enjoy a little competition. Everyone enjoyed this. I noted there was a bowling alley (two lanes) which we did not use. My grandson played a couple of games of air-hockey on the single table in the arcade. Theatre Shows – as we had cruised on MSC before, we knew a bit about what to expect. The shows are entertaining, but entirely random without much of a theme. So you might enjoy an opera song, followed by a magic trick, then maybe a spot by a contortionist, ending with a can-can song and dance. Very odd, but 40 minutes of entertainment. Reservations are required and a guest can only attend each show once (they are offered 3 times each evening). The final Michael Jackson show is especially well done. Photos – my sister purchased a package and was able to choose photos from among the whole group (even though the website said otherwise). I purchased 3 photos for $49. I really only wanted 2, but a single photo was $24.99, with 3 for $49. ::sigh:: The whole photo thing is such a ripoff on cruiselines. I usually purchase nothing, but as I was with my grandson, oh well. CRUISE CRITIC MEET and GREET This MSC Cruise Critic Meet & Greet was the best EVER. I've attended several Cruisse Critic meetups, but MSC really knows how to put on a party! It was scheduled for the afternoon on a sea day and included several prepared cocktails (apple martini, whiskey sour, wine, and another choice or two, along with sodas or juice). Each table had fancy appetizers, baskets of crackers and chips, and a big and delicious cake was also served. The Master of the vessel himself along with most of the senior crew turned out in their dress whites to give speeches and mingle and take photos with the guests. In fifteen cruises, I have never had my photo made with the Captain, so I was pleased. And he is Italian. And charming. And handsome. Be still my elderly heart. FOOD Buffet – the buffet was lovely. We ate breakfast here every morning and even at 6:30am, there were many choices available, and even more after 7am. We ate a couple of lunches in the buffet and I thought it was laid out well and offered plenty of variety. I hit the buffet late night twice and it was entirely adequate for a snack. As I am diabetic, I was disappointed in the self-serve soda machine. It only offered one diet soda – diet coke – and half a dozen regular sodas. As diabetes affects roughly one in three, I felt another diet soda (maybe sprite zero or another caffeine free choice) would have been welcome. Other choices were available at the bar, so it was annoying, but not a deal-breaker. Desserts were lovely – light, delicious, and small portions – exactly what I was looking for instead of heavy, high-calorie choices. Fruit was also always available. Dinner – I ate dinner every night in the dining room. I was a little disappointed in the dining room food. There were few choices and I felt the food was bland and odd combinations were offered. I expected hearty Italian offerings (as we had on the Divina) but not only where they MIA, I was surprised that neither steak nor lobster was offered during the seven night cruise, although both could be ordered at an extra cost. It also took quite a while to receive food. This led to nightly re-orders on the bread basket. But as we had a big group, we took the time to chat about activities of the day and those coming up. We were not able to sit at a single table, but our two tables were close together and we had a beautiful ocean view each evening. The dining room staff was pleasant and accommodating insofar as they could be. Easy Plan – when I booked my cruise, it included an easy plan for internet and beverages. The internet plan worked perfectly and was adequate for checking email or posting on social media. After a couple of days, I was offered a crazy-cheap upgrade ($4.81 for a single device for unlimited internet for the duration of the cruise) which I took advantage of. However, the drink package was disappointing. I am not a big drinker, but I like an occasional glass of wine with dinner. I had hoped to enjoy some sparkling asti that was listed on one of the lists of easy plan drinks, but by the time I cruised, that had been eliminated. So several times I ordered sprite and white wine and made spritzers at the table. Not very elegant. Once I ordered one of the half a dozen cocktails available but it was forgotten and did not arrive till the end of the meal, watery with melted ice. I usually do not pay for a beverage package, so that was sort of a bonus for me, but it turned out to be lackluster. As others have mentioned, it would probably be better to get your drink at the bar and bring it to dinner. However, it was fine for the kids, who often ordered sodas with their meals. Sodas were always served in cans. So, yes, you got the whole amount due, but those cans on the table did not look very elegant. Oh well. Gala Nights – Very few dressed for a black tie gala affair. Our group opted for fancy cocktail dresses for ladies and dress shirts and ties for the guys. That was much more than most other groups did. But we felt spiffy and had our photos made on the two elegant evenings. EXCURSIONS: I will include more info in the excursion section, but this ship had four ports of call (other than Miami). In Jamaica, we opted for Mystic Mountain, a budget-friendly excursion that we booked ourselves as it is only offered by the ship in combination with other destinations. In Grand Cayman, we spent our time at the Turtle Farm which offers snorkeling with colorful fish and hatchling turtles along with the biggest freshwater pool and waterslide on the island. We saved 20% booking this ourselves online in advance. In Cozumel, we visited PalMar private beach club on the Dzul Ha reef, which is the best bargain ever. In Nassau, we booked the Blue Lagoon Beach Day through the ship. This was a big disappointment. We were at Blue Lagoon this past January and knew what to expect. But the ship started the excursion too late and we had less than 3 hours on the island with an over-crowded tender. I am in my sixties and did not enjoy standing up for the entire ride over (about 30-35 minutes). DISEMBARKATION: We opted to roll our own bags out, and we were off the ship and in a taxi headed toward the airport by 7:30am. Very painless disembarkation procedure. I was surprised to find customs using face recognition software. We filled out no paperwork and did not even have to get out our passports. I noticed a few people taken aside, but not many. HOMEWARD BOUND We spent most of the day cooling our heels at Miami International Airport. As we were tired, that was not a big deal. We napped and ate and played card and phone games. Note that near Gate E5, there is a not-to-be-missed playground for kids and adults will enjoy it, too. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having read many reviews about this ship I felt I should also write a review. Embarkment quick however the safety drill chaotic notifications received advising we failed to attend plus reminders when we did undertake this briefing staff ... Read More
Having read many reviews about this ship I felt I should also write a review. Embarkment quick however the safety drill chaotic notifications received advising we failed to attend plus reminders when we did undertake this briefing staff just forgot to scan our cards. Food average buffets the same most days and evening dining plus getting a drink from your drinks package slow. No separate fast food areas besides going into main buffet areas. Entertainment in the day and evening great. Shows incredible, silent disco, white party, nightclub etc. We felt the ship catered for all ages including my 21 year old son and daughter of 19 years. Since we smoke decks 19, 7 and 8 catered for our needs and I thought the easy drinks package which we purchased was fantastic. Two drinks at a time, could then straight away reorder the staff were more than helpful and no big queues. Easy to get sunbeds , staff generally helpful, ship clean. I agree elevators a little slow but you could use the stairs. Room made up twice a day. On occasion, staff seemed overworked , were not overly enthusiastic except a guy called happy on 19th deck. We all thoroughly enjoyed the ports and the excursions I booked myself. Value for money and photography excellent. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first cruise with MSC, having previously cruised with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. The Seaside is a beautiful ship and we had a great cruise, but MSC do fall short in some critical areas. Embarkation and disembarkation in ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC, having previously cruised with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. The Seaside is a beautiful ship and we had a great cruise, but MSC do fall short in some critical areas. Embarkation and disembarkation in Miami was fast and easy. Our bags were delivered on and off the ship very quickly - leave it to the porters. It’s baffling to me how many people drag huge luggage around with them on the first and last day. The Seaside is beautiful. The Bridge of Sighs is very popular on the first day, go up at sunset for some great photos whether you’re in port or not. We liked dropping into the Sports Bar (the most inviting of any we’ve found on a ship) before or after an evening meal. There’s also a nice spot to relax on Deck 8, outside between the Sports Bar and La Boheme bistro. You’ll also find yourself taking a lot of pictures of the Atrium. The balcony stateroom, 14240, was an alright fit for three people. The bathroom was a little small but the balcony was a good size. Dining - This was our first experience with having a formal dining time on a cruise and we were more okay with it than we thought we would be. 7:30pm meant we had enough time in the late afternoon by the pool but still time to catch an evening show afterwards. Yudi & Karen in the Seashore restaurant were fantastic throughout. The one night we got to try Ipanema (the other complimentary restaurant) we found it a much nicer room. We were seated with other diners (most people weren’t, it seems), but thankfully this was fine because, well, they were fine, however we would always prefer to dine by ourselves. The food every night was good, nothing particularly outstanding. If you normally order steak medium, get it medium-rare. They really push the speciality dining but none of it tempted us. Would be nice to see some clear allergen information at the buffet as there isn’t enough of it. Entertainment - MSC falls short here. We only really experienced the evening ‘showtime’ shows. You can skip most of these because the vast majority are near-identical shows every night. Traditional European/Italian variety shows - opening number, dance, circus acrobatics, maybe a magic trick or two and a big closing number. The shows are billed as being vastly different in their synopsis, they’re not. Timeless, The Wizard, The Dream, Fly… you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all with different costumes. A bit of research finds they are all productions by the same company. My advice would be to see The Wizard, Peter Punk (as it’s slightly different) and Starwalker, the Michael Jackson tribute, which is (thankfully) a different sort of show and the best of the lot. Starwalker is the only show which reaches the standard of entertainment we’ve come to expect from other cruises with NCL & RCI. The line-up of shows is disappointing and, quite honestly, lazy on the part of the entertainment commissioners. It contrasts their performers who clearly work hard every night. BeerProv and the opera didn’t tempt us. Would’ve been nice to see some stand-up. MasterChef at Sea was a fun way to kill an hour during a Sea Day. Ports of Call - We stopped at San Juan, Charlotte Amalie, Philipsburg, and Nassau. All of these are worth getting off for, however the time we were in all bar Charlotte Amalie felt way too short. It felt like the cruise should’ve been done in a different order (so we had longer in each port) as we were only in San Juan in the evening and had to leave Philipsburg at 2pm. My top recommendations are Magens Bay in Charlotte Amalie and Maho Beach in Philipsburg (you can either Google this beach or be surprised at its USP). Some miscellaneous notes - I’m not big on shopping but grab the port shopping maps for some free souvenir coupons (largely no purchase necessary). The MSC for Me app & wristband are really useful and worked with no issues. The ship map & ability to book shows through it are handy (on that note, book all your shows on the first day of the cruise). Bistro la Boheme is not really used for anything and the bar next to it didn’t seem to be open much, I expect it to be revamped come refit time. I do appreciate the number of tannoy announcements being small compared to other ships - not being bothered by the casino, excursions, shopping, future cruise team etc. We were surprised at the things that cost extra such as billiards and the zip wire, and how ludicrously expensive most of these extra activities were. The casino is also on the small side. A rather important note - of all the ships I’ve been on, this is the one I’ve felt the ship’s movement on the most by far. On all the others you’d feel it for a few seconds every once in a while, on this ship it’s frequent, more or less constant whilst sailing, and particularly noticeable when you’re lying in bed (on deck 14, at least). It doesn’t bother me so much but I know it has bothered other passengers, and it does put me off travelling on this ship again in case we face choppier waters. At one point during MasterChef at Sea, the host remarked “your spaghetti is vibrating”. Our coat hangers also crashed about in the night, and we’re fairly sure it’s not paranormal activity. Overall - our Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MSC Seaside was enjoyable. The ports of call were great but I wish we’d had more time in them. The ship is, again, beautiful but unfortunately MSC do lack in some areas - speciality dining didn’t appeal to us (but we have done this with other cruise lines), the cuisine and price weren’t attractive, and the entertainment needs dramatic improvement. We won’t be hurrying back to MSC, but if you want a change from the likes of NCL & RCI, certainly consider getting on board the Seaside (though maybe not if you get seasick). Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Got of the Seaside after doing back to back. The boarding process was so quick couldn't believe it once inside the ship we had to wait for our rooms to be ready. So in that time we filled in forms for the slides got a MSC bands and ... Read More
Got of the Seaside after doing back to back. The boarding process was so quick couldn't believe it once inside the ship we had to wait for our rooms to be ready. So in that time we filled in forms for the slides got a MSC bands and had a drink. We had an inside room for a family of 4 Fanstastica 14129 it would have to be the smallest room we have ever had but we made do and lucky we had packing cubes for our clothing. Buffett was the best we have ever had the dining was a bit bland. Never had a problem getting a drink anywhere and our ship full to the MAX. Only problem I had their wasn't enough shade outside and been fair I struggled to find a chair people putting towels down the night before to take those chairs. We did all our shore tours through the ship really enjoyed all of them did feel a bit ripped of by the stingray tour as there was 2 stingrays and we were rushed. My teen kids loved the teen club they had a lot of fun and met some great kids But overall we had a lovely trip but if we went again would do YC Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
went on this cruise as a family of 4 2 adults a 15year old and a 4 year old. Embarktion was quick and easy on within 20 minutes. Ship was stunning.Everything was new and sparkly, very modern. Our cabin was 10262 deck 10rightat the back ... Read More
went on this cruise as a family of 4 2 adults a 15year old and a 4 year old. Embarktion was quick and easy on within 20 minutes. Ship was stunning.Everything was new and sparkly, very modern. Our cabin was 10262 deck 10rightat the back with a metal railing. We found this location great very quiet and right next to the glas elevators which where always empty unlike elsewhere on the ship which could take a while. Dining was good buffet had great pizza and burgers aswell as the usual salads, breads, pasta. Think there could of been a bit better selection for people not wanting pasta and pizza every night maybe another meat dish. The main dining room was nice portions were quite small but service was quick although it seemed to be a problem if you wanted anything to drink other than beer or wine.They had to go to another bar for that and sometimes we had finished 2 courses before the drinks showed up.Food was nice enough but nothing particularly stood out as amazing. The only shows we seen were peter punk which was good my 4 year old really liked it because there was a dinosaur in it and michael jackson on the last evening which was amazing! All the staff we encountered over the week were lovely very friendly and helpful. We didnt find anyone rude or unhelful in the slightest. Our son only visited the kids club once which seemed ok the kids seemed to just play with the toys rather than have any activities arranged. Overall we had a fab time on this cruise and think for what we paid it was excellent value with good ports and we would definately sail with MSC again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
MSC offers a lot of value for a family cruise. We choose the Fantastica Experience. Our cabin was perfect, and our steward did an amazing job. MSC's main dining was not what we expected. Drinks were not served as expected; service was ... Read More
MSC offers a lot of value for a family cruise. We choose the Fantastica Experience. Our cabin was perfect, and our steward did an amazing job. MSC's main dining was not what we expected. Drinks were not served as expected; service was slow. The main waiter was quick to take our orders, but everyone's meal did not come out at the same time. We ordered coffee with desert and only received it on one of our nights. The game room had odd hours. The 5D theater did not open until 10:30 on most days. This was frustrating, and made it difficult to use our game pass. The daily activities were plentiful. We love doing trivia on our cruise, but unfortunately we could not understand the host. We did go to one "game show" , it was fun. Seating was limited. They had it backed up to another event, so if you did not go to the first event, your seating was limited to the following event. Beer Prov was funny, but they did not need repeats. Out of the evening shows, I really enjoyed the Michael Jackson show. The Michael Jackson show was fantastic. The evening shows were all similar. My one 15 year old son enjoyed the teen club. But if your child is not into video games or sports, bring something for them to do. MSC has a really nice outdoor screen. They only showed movies during dinner. It was under used. The coffee was amazing. The bar staff was pleasant, and would remember my son. We had a great time, it was a good experience. This was their first mega ship. It was beautiful, and had plenty of seating by the pools. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We choose this cruise because we were looking for a cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We got a great price on a Fantansica experience balcony deck 12. With the easy drink package. We stayed overnight in Miami at the Hampton ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we were looking for a cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We got a great price on a Fantansica experience balcony deck 12. With the easy drink package. We stayed overnight in Miami at the Hampton inn Blue Lagoon. Very nice and convenient hotel. We parked our car at an offsite parking lot called safe cruise Miami. Great price to park, dropped off and picked up quickly. Their shuttle is free so i can't complain about the ride. If you want to experience Miami I would stay at a downtown hotel or Port of Miami hotel it will cost more for that. Embarkation was amazing!! Fastest I've ever got on a ship. Disembarkation the same! Maybe because they have the face scanners I D going through customs! The seaside is a beautiful ship! our cabin was very nice. A little more storage space and a little bigger shower would have been perfect. The balcony was very large, so that made up for the smaller shower! Our room steward was amazing, Roxanne. She greeted us and asked us our names! Always made it a point to greet us using our names everyday. I found it interesting the room stewards were woman, I have never had a women room steward before. The dining room was ok. We have become use to anytime dining,so the first night everyone waiting for the dining room to open created a big line,and people going up and cutting in front of you. After the first night, we just arrived 10 minutes late and avoided the mad rush to your tables. Unfortunately we encountered a lot more people that would not be considerate of others. Alot of passengers from other countries is all we could figure. The food in the main dining room did not leave a lasting impression on any of us. We did enjoy the buffet. Again the food was more Mediterranean then American. The pizza was very good and the burgers were the best I had on a cruise. i ordered a pizza from room service one day, for a charge, it was well worth the price to have a fresh pizza, delicious! We were never hungry. We never had a problem finding a place to sit outside. Only by the main pool if you wanted to see an activity. We didn't find much to do for us in the daytime on a sea day. A lot of shopping events not enough entertainment events on the sea day afternoon. So I enjoyed relaxing outside with a coco loco with rum on the side. They really need to change up the drinks available, it was easier for the bartender to make a frozen drink with the alcohol then give a shot of alcohol on the side. The service on the ship was very good We didn't do any excursion with MSC we just explored on our own. The port times were not enough at some of the stops and too much time at other ports. The cruise critic meet & greet was very nice that MSC put together for the group. The captain expressed wanting to hear the American feedback since they are moving into the United States with more ships. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We just got off a week-long Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MSC Seaside. This was my third cruise (I’ve done Holland America and Disney previously) and my husband’s first. I’ll break my review into categories to make it easier to ... Read More
We just got off a week-long Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MSC Seaside. This was my third cruise (I’ve done Holland America and Disney previously) and my husband’s first. I’ll break my review into categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. THE SHIP The ship is absolutely immaculate. It is easy to navigate, super clean, and glamorous. There are TVs all over that have an interactive map, allow you to book shows, and show you daily activities. There are tons of lounge areas and bars, a little something for everyone. We never felt the boat rocking (our room was on the 14th floor). There are several pools. We actually had the best luck at the jungle pool. We also enjoyed the adults-only South Beach pool. The Miami Beach pool is packed most of the time. My husband and I both with there were more hot tubs, ESPECIALLY in the adults-only pool section. Hot tubs are typically overrun by kids. I also wish they stayed open past 9! FANTASTICA EXPERIENCE AND ROOM (14th FLOOR INTERIOR) With the loss of the 12 drink vouchers, Fantastica basically gives you the option of “better” rooms and dining time choice. However, our room location wasn’t anything special and we requested early dining and were assigned a 9:30pm dinner time. Yes, we could have changed that, but who wants to wait 45 minutes in the dining room to change their dinner time when you just arrived? Not us. Unless you REALLY care about your room location. Speaking of room, we were in interior room 14044. I thought our room was great. It was cleaned twice a day. We utilized some storage hacks (like the over the door hanger and pop-up laundry hanger) and I suggest doing the same. Water pressure was amazing. Splurge for a balcony if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t. Having an interior room makes you get out and explore the ship. FOOD As is pretty typical of cruises, the food was good, not great. I know a lot of people complain about the buffet options, but honestly there are TONS of options, they just don’t change very often. The pizza is AMAZING. I also loved the cinnamon rolls at breakfast. The Marketplace buffet (deck 8) is way bigger than Biscayne Bay (deck 16). Plenty of places to sit; we liked to sit outside and enjoy the view. I wish drink classes were bigger; the cups for water were practically shot glasses haha. I would suggest bringing your own bigger cup. We only ate in the MDR once. We dressed “smart,” but there was literally a guy in a tank top and hat…so clearly not strict on dress code. The food, again, was good, not great. The couple sat along with us at our table said they also had the fantastica package and requested the early dining time and were also assigned the latest time. DRINKS ON US We received this package as part of an Expedia promotion. Be aware: despite what you may have read in this group, this is NOT the “old version of the easy package.” It includes different things. The good part is it includes a wide range of beers (which Easy doesn’t.) My husband was happy about this. But it only includes basic mixed drinks made with well alcohol (vodka soda, rum and coke, etc.) and absolutely nothing blended. If you want blended drinks, you pay full price. You will pay a 15% tax on all drinks (even ones “included” on DOU.) MSC would be smart to just change over everyone’s DOU package to easy to avoid this continuous confusion. SERVICE We were blown away by the MSC staff. There are over 2000 staff on board and they all work VERY hard literally all the time. There is never an idle worker. There is a reason the ship is so immaculate. They will go out of their way to help you. One thing that bothered me is that on several occasions I saw the crew members dressed in the white official looking outfits (I have no idea what their title is) harshly reprimanding staff members for minuscule things. I saw one of them yelling at the poor kid who makes pizzas for 29384 hours a day because he had the tongs in the wrong spot and then at this super adorable, fun kitchen worker who was laughing (along with us) at the birds coming on the boat and trying to take the food. I understand that they are trying to make sure the boat is pristine, but I also don’t support that type of management of people who work incredibly hard, especially in front of guests. I will say that bar service is very slow. However, this is NOT because the servers/bartenders themselves are slow. They work their butts off! They just need WAY more people working behind the bar. Often times during prime pool hours there were only 1-2 bartenders responsible for all at-bar orders AND orders placed by bar maids. MSC needs to put more bartenders behind the bar. Good news is that their pours were VERY heavy  THERMAL AREA/SPA We booked the experience that included two 30-min massages and week-long passes to the Thermal Area. The massages were nice (my husband had never had one and was VERY skeptical, but he said he would do it again) but not the best I’ve ever had. We visited the Thermal Area 3 times. It was nice, but honestly I probably would have been fine with one day. It was nice to get away from crowds and relax. I loved the steam room with the cold showers. It felt SO refreshing, as did the showers with the “rain storm,” “cold mist,” etc. The snow room was unbearable to me, but neat. The Jacuzzi honestly wasn’t worth it because it was more warm than the hot Jacuzzi experience I was looking for. There is a private deck area with a small hot tub and some sun chairs that only Thermal Area-goers can use, which was really nice. We were always the only ones out there. However, again, for some reason the hot tub out there was also just slightly warm. ENTERTAINMENT I thought, overall, the entertainment was great. There were a couple bands and some solo singers that all sounded great. The only thing I’ll say is that it got kind of repetitive by the end. The entertainment staff who put on the parties and lead the dance classes were AWESOME. You MUST go to the White Party dance party at Miami Beach Pool. They put a cover on the pool and have an awesome party until 1am, and TONS of people go. This was the only theme we dressed up for, and trust me…you want to bring your white outfit! Everyone dressed up. As far as shows, we went to the R-Rated Beerprov show and Starwalker. We were DYING laughing at Beerprov. We wanted to go to the other shows they put on but it just didn’t work with our schedule. Starwalker was very good as well. I feel very conflicted because, well, I’m not about to be cheering for Michael Jackson after all that has come out, but I just decided to appreciate the music and dancing, which was awesome. The entertainment staff CLEARLY love their jobs and make sure everyone has a great time. PORTS OF CALL Puerto Rico – This is kind of an odd day because it is a basically a sea day combined with a port day. We got in at 5:00 and walked up to a nearby fort. However, all of the forts closed at 6:00, so if you want to see them you better hurry! We walked to dinner and had a pina colada (they were invented in PR, you have to have one!) and then strolled around. Although charming, this was probably our most boring stop. St. Thomas – We did the Sail and Snokel experience on Castaway Girl 3. We had a great time! We didn’t see many fish and not other aquatic life, but it was fun nonetheless. On the way back you are given rum punch and we leisurely return to the port, just enjoying the ride. After that we went to the Fat Turtle by the port and drank beers and chatted with locals. If you want a beach you will need to take a taxi. Sint Maarten – Ugh, such a gorgeous port. Leave the shopping area, take a left and keep walking until you reach the sign for the beach. About a 10-15 min walk. Beautiful beach, lots of shops and bars/restaurants. Find a deal for lawn chairs/umbrella. Most about $20 for 2 beach chairs, umbrella, 5 beers OR 2 frozen drinks, and wif. We got that deal sans the alcohol for $10 a ways down the beach. Do be prepared for lots of locals trying to sell hair braiding, massages, bags, etc. Just say no thank you and they will move on. This is a short port day (7am – 1:30pm) so I suggest just making it a beach day. Nassau – If you want to pick a day to spend on the boat while in port, this is that day. If not, I suggest finding an excursion or riding to another beach. We went to Junkanoo Beach, and….well, it has Junk in the name for a reason. It’s a very rocky beach with lots of glass, at the top of the beach there is lots of trash, and the drinks and food are crazy expensive. We stayed for a short while and just took a dip and then walked to the Twisted Lime for some delicious cold drinks and then went back to the boat and enjoyed some breathing room while others were in port. INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE As many have mentioned, this is a very diverse boat. Having lived abroad, I loved being immersed among all of the different language and cultures. The ONLY drawback is that many things we consider polite or appropriate behavior is not the case in other countries. Lots of cutting in line, lots of talking/talk-yelling in public areas, and just what seemed to be a general unawareness of anyone besides themselves. This, of course, is not the fault of MSC, but is just a reality to be aware of. BILLING I highly suggest hooking up a CREDIT card to your account. You can easily do this on a kiosk the first or second day there. If you use a credit card, you don’t have to settle your bill at guest services. I can’t even imagine waiting in that line to settle my bill! I know some people have had charges on their account that were wrong. We didn’t have that happen, BUT we did have on two occasions the bartender pass us their little machine to sign only to see that they were charging us for four drinks instead of two (remember, we had the DOU package so each drink had about a ~90cent service charge added.) When we refused to sign they took it off, but it was still sketchy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
For a full picture review and menus, see forum thread: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2667495-my-view-14-days-of-chasing-the-sun-on-seaside/ **Favorite Things: Wrist band: Absolutely worth the $5. We got addicted to it ... Read More
For a full picture review and menus, see forum thread: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2667495-my-view-14-days-of-chasing-the-sun-on-seaside/ **Favorite Things: Wrist band: Absolutely worth the $5. We got addicted to it very quickly. It got to the point that we locked two of our key cards in the safe, and just went everywhere with the wrist bands! Aurea Thermal Area: I ended up loving the Thermal Area. I was alone in that hot tub every time I went there (7 of 8 times - one late evening it was already closed for sanitation). The outside area can be VERY windy on sea days, so it is not an ideal area to relax while the ship is moving. However, it is not utilized a lot, so it is a good option to get away from the crowds. I am not sure that I would pay for the Thermal Area again, as we receive 1 hour per week for free for the Voyagers Club benefit. However, the $109 for the two weeks was an excellent deal! I am just a bit too frugal to splurge on the luxury for another cruise. Shows: The Three Stooges, Zimbabwe Style I absolutely loved the 3 acrobats from Zimbabwe. They were so entertaining! They were featured in most of the shows. Shows in General: I definitely found these shows to be my personal favorites of the 34 cruises we have now completed. However, I don’t think anyone can say these are “the best”, as you can simply not compare a full Broadway production or an ice show or an intimate dinner show with these shows. I would not be comparing apples to apples if I tried to make that judgement. I can say that on this cast, I have found the best singers. They blend beautifully a majority of the time, the solos are practically flawless, and the intonation close to perfect. All I can think about is, “How can I get my mom and dad on this ship?” I am working on it! My personal favorite shows were “Fly” and “My Life in Music” Food: Buffet: Best buffet of all cruise lines we have cruised (Royal, Carnival, Norwegian, Costa, Celebrity, MSC) However, I am starting to see why people think the buffet food is “always the same”. I would rather say that it is “always similar”. However, we never ran out of new dishes to try during our two weeks onboard. For example, they had regular salted fries, salt and garlic fries, maple flavored fries (my favorite!), sweet potato fries, etc. There was a different pasta dish every day, often with seafood (lobster, crab, shrimp, respectively). They had chicken legs and wings every day, but they were prepared differently throughout the week. It was the most tender, best tasting chicken! They had a very wide variety of food, and there is no way anyone can say they only found pizza, burgers and hot dogs (only true between 3 and 5:15 p.m. but you always have free room service options). Some of my favorites included the couscous salads, Mediterranean Jellies, Fresh bread, Chilled soups in buffet, breakfast pizza with fried eggs on top, all chicken dishes (they were all great!), most pasta dishes, daily stir fried veggies, mashed sweet potato and mashed butternut squash. Main Dining Room: They had a good variety of options in the Main Dining Room. The food was similar to other cruise lines, when it comes to the MDR. However, except for the cream of tomato soup, nothing stood out as a dish I just HAVE to order again when we cruise on MSC again. Of course, I have not tried all the dishes, so next year is another opportunity to find That One Dish you remember a cruise line by. That Bloated Feeling? I don’t know what it is about MSC! Our friends from CC mentioned it first, and I realized it is so true! Where is “that bloated feeling” we often get on a cruise? She thinks they use better quality ingredients - maybe more natural/pure products. I must agree that this has been a cruise where I felt healthy and never bloated. They do use very good quality milk (seen on the cartons), so maybe they use better products for the European market? Just a theory, but it certainly feels true. BTW, I only gained 2 pounds in 2 weeks. I usually gain 2-3 pounds per week of cruising. Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle: Best of all the ships we have been on. Dining and Bar Service: Our dining team in the main dining room was excellent (Edison and Mark from the Philippines) - two of the best waiters we ever had. In the buffet, the service was also very good. The waiters cleared tables in a timely manner, except during peak times (like right before docking in port when everyone tries to stampede for breakfast). However, they constantly moved about and worked as fast as they could to clear tables. Bar service was never a problem, but we did not have the drinks package and just bought one or two drinks per day. **Minor Issues: Cabin: Small, but good value for the money we paid. Very narrow by the closet. However, I loved the slightly deeper balcony. Service: I think the room stewards are assigned too many cabins, or not utilized with the best planning. Although our room steward did a VERY good job and never just stood around talking, it takes a long time to get through all the cabins. We calculated if he only spent 20 minutes per cabin assigned to him, it would add up to over 7 hours of work. He is supposed to work from 8-12 for morning service, but he was often there past 2 p.m. It may be better to assign 2 room stewards who share more cabins - one who specializes in bathroom cleaning and thus becomes more efficient in one area, and one who specializes in cleaning the room itself. **Two Main Gripes of the Cruise: Balcony: I really did not care for the location of the balcony, and consequently the layout of the ship. I will have to research for a better location on this ship, but with the 14 days we had very limited options for cabins. Although deck 8 is a nice outdoor area of a majority of passengers, it really interferes with the relaxing atmosphere I would like to enjoy on the balcony. We frequently heard chatter, yelling, and music from deck 8. To make it worse (and I know this can happen on any cruise), one of our neighbors smoked on their balcony the first week. The second week, somebody on deck 11 listened to their personal music loudly over a bluetooth speaker, with what sounded like a crowd of friends. The next day, our direct neighbor blasted their choice of music on a speaker. We ended up calling it in, because we could not even take a nap, it was so loud. What was most disappointing is that the manager said our neighbors are their guests, just like we are guests, and they need to respect them too. They can only kindly ask them to stop playing the music. Thankfully, the neighbors respected the request. The thing that really bothered me about our encounter with the manager is that he also said they can not even implement the no-smoking-on-balcony-rule. They can only ask the passenger not to smoke, but there are no consequences if they continue. This is very disappointing, and I hope it was NOT an accurate statement by the manager. MSC still needs some balance with customer service. If they say “the customer is always right”, which customer? The one who plays loud music from their balcony, or the one who does not want to hear the music? They need a little common sense in their rule implementation, and consequences if they are serious about rules. This was 1 of only 2 gripes we had during the two weeks, and it will not keep us from sailing MSC again. The other gripe was related to the double charge for a drink, which was corrected and actually completely removed, so we ended up with a free drink. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Specialty dining was excellent. The buffet was very good. The dining room was marginal at best. Interior Fantastica room was great. It was awesome to go into the casino and ALL table games were non-smoking. Even in the smoking half ... Read More
Specialty dining was excellent. The buffet was very good. The dining room was marginal at best. Interior Fantastica room was great. It was awesome to go into the casino and ALL table games were non-smoking. Even in the smoking half of the casino, you really couldn’t tell it. The ventilation was awesome. Make sure to see Deon the waiter, in the casino, and he will take care of you! Never got to zip line because it would never stay open long enough. Constantly had issues. MAKE SURE TO BOOK YOUR BOWLING WITHIN THE FIRST 48 HOURS OR YOU WILL NOT GET A BOWLING TIME! We didn’t! Spend the money on getting the spa! It is awesome! I went into the salt room twice and it was so relaxing, that I fell asleep both times. You can book your shows as soon as you get on the ship. I suggest you book the Michael Jackson show ASAP. It’s the best show I have ever seen. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We, as a family of five (three adults and two teens), decided to try a comparison cruise with MSC through the Caribbean, having had great past experiences with Holland America and Celebrity. As always, we went with a standard Veranda, but ... Read More
We, as a family of five (three adults and two teens), decided to try a comparison cruise with MSC through the Caribbean, having had great past experiences with Holland America and Celebrity. As always, we went with a standard Veranda, but enhanced it a bit with MSC’s “Aura Experience”. With one exception, I’ll explain later, it’s definitely worth every penny. Thanks to Aura’s priority embarkation we were aboard quickly—look for the PRIORITY sign off to the left as soon as you get inside the cruise port. We had intentionally arrived in early afternoon (for a 7pm sailing) and we’d barely gotten aboard (ducking the beverage card hawkers) when an announcement was made that our staterooms were ready. One of our family members required a wheelchair so I immediately made my way to the customer relations desk to arrange for one. I expected a long line, being departure day, and indeed it was fairly long, but I was in no hurry. It did surprise me that the desk wasn’t fully manned, I know this because I had to return the wheelchair on the final day and at that time the desk was full. Our steward did a wonderful job, replacing towels whether we’d left them on the floor or not, and other subtle touches. Sorry, for those who crave towel critters, there’s none of those here. Basic shampoo and soap were provided in the shower to wash the pool salt from one’s hair but, sorry, no conditioner. Stewards don’t have it nor do the stores… but then, we couldn’t find a store that sold any basic personal items like, say, hair conditioner or sun screen. But if you took the cruise to buy jewelry, you’re in luck. This was our first experience with a ship of this size and this many passengers, and there were some things that were somewhat frustrating. One has to believe that the ship’s architects must have considered traffic flow as one of their top priorities, and yet, all their effort goes for naught by the placement of two posts and a rope, or a locked glass pass-through. One such place is the large buffet where traffic is designed to flow around a large center island. All is well until a stretched horizontal ribbon sends the flow back on itself, and making those sitting a short distance beyond the no-man’s-land, to be detoured back through the whole circle. A smarter approach was sometimes used—simply stretching plastic across the offerings of a section that wasn’t ready. Another traffic oops was constantly taking place a few decks below our stateroom as we watched hapless passengers, like an ant colony, make their way along the deck to a locked glass door that wouldn’t allow them to go from aft to fore because, as near as we could figure, they’d be going past the windows of an exercise area. I could picture some poor architects pulling their hair out. But there was one traffic flow issue they did to themselves by the placement of the theater—nearer to mid-ship—forcing those who wanted to travel fore-to-aft to figure out the most efficient elevator rides up-and-over or down-and-under, over-stressing the elevators which are always unavoidable bottlenecks. The sole downside to the Aura experience (especially with a wheelchair) is that the staterooms are located forward, so we had a long trek to the main pool, buffets, dining room and everything else located aft. It probably wouldn’t have helped, but what I thought was a forward elevator when I booked our stateroom turned out to be a crew-only stairway—my bad. There was no far forward public elevator. Perhaps due to the size of the ship or the calm seas but throughout the entire cruise it barely felt like we were moving. If I hadn’t looked outside I’d not have known when we’d arrived or departed a port-of-call. The wristbands are not dead-on location-accurate but a definite step in the right direction. No need to take our cards when we went to the pool, the bar or wherever aboard ship—even unlocking our stateroom door. Very nice. Room food service was available but our wheelchair-bound person was disappointed in the selection. We assume that with so many to serve, unless we wanted to pay a pricey fee, the options were quite limited. Best was to inconvenience a family member to go to the buffet to make the self-delivery. If one leaves dirty dishes on the dresser the stewards will remove them—outside your room, they’re on their own but will eventually disappear in a day or two. The food options at the buffets were somewhat repetitive but, with minor exception, there were enough choices for our satisfaction. I found by the third day that the smaller buffet was the best-kept-secret way to do breakfast—especially on excursion days when the early crowds were heaviest. The smaller buffet had all the breakfast choices, but less crowed and therefore less competition for seating. By the last day people were catching on. I always find that chefs most always do an awesome job but, being chefs, they tend to make decadent desserts. I would prefer just a tasty slice of pie, a simple brownie, a dish of pudding or ice cream (there was none of the latter in either buffet). To their credit, attendants do try to serve the needs of those dining in wheelchairs, even running off to get food for them. The main dining room menu had multiple offerings for dinner. It’s a wonderful way to experience unfamiliar dishes. The service was friendly, fast and efficient. No complaints, here. There’s no way around it, the large pool is quite crowded on at-sea days. The main pool was 6.5 feet deep throughout but with it being a warm salt water pool it didn’t take much effort to stay afloat. And they did have a lifeguard keeping watch. I reminded myself that one does not walk on the wooden part of the deck near the pool in bare feet on a sunny day—ouch! But I did discover that I could grab a regular-size gelato on my beverage card at no charge. As usual, there were no lack of bars. If one was busy, it was never a long walk to another. Some cruise lines won’t allow ordering more than one drink at a time on a single card—not so with MSC. And, of course, if you replace anything drunk from the minibar there’s no fee. Excursions were excellent, most having various levels. Take the one that has the most entertainment value for your budget. Finally, de-embarkation was done quickly—using facial recognition at security greatly sped things along. Well, except for our 13-year-old whose picture looked nothing like it did in her 4.5 year old passport. Chuckles all around. Here, and throughout the trip we found the staff members we encountered were polite, respectful and willing to help. All said and done, after polling our family members, most would likely do MSC again, however some thought they’d opt for something smaller. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
MSC is building the most beautiful ships in the world right now and this may be the one. However. If you are used to the Carnival/Royal Caribbean style cruising and like it, think twice. This is a EUROPEAN ship run by people in ITALY, ... Read More
MSC is building the most beautiful ships in the world right now and this may be the one. However. If you are used to the Carnival/Royal Caribbean style cruising and like it, think twice. This is a EUROPEAN ship run by people in ITALY, not south Florida. You will only have a small percentage of people on these cruises who primarily speak English. MSC has a huge following around the world and their international customers come exclusively for the MSC experience they are used to in Europe and around the world. Announcements are in 5 - 7 languages one after another. People do have a few different ways of doing things. You will have 'other' kinds of music than the pop and Caribbean style music being played. Some of the food on buffets are a bit different than you are used to. No all night pizza and ice cream bar. As I said, if you want the Carnival experience and flavor, think twice. If you are open to a little different experience and want to do it on one of the most modern and beautiful ships in the world - here is your cruise! PS - BUY THE DRINK PACKAGE! You get what you pay for with the 'FREE' drink package. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose MSC Seaside Yacht Club (again) based on a pretty good experience last year - and a limited number of other luxury ship-within-a-ship opportunities - we looked at NCL Haven and Celebrity suite class. Based on availability and ... Read More
We chose MSC Seaside Yacht Club (again) based on a pretty good experience last year - and a limited number of other luxury ship-within-a-ship opportunities - we looked at NCL Haven and Celebrity suite class. Based on availability and price MSC won out. We selected and recommend a starboard-side room – the balcony is in the shade for almost the entire trip and it makes room service breakfast a wonderful experience (a real table on the balcony would help - there's only footrest). Our experience last year (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624033) wasn't perfect but it was pretty good - and with experience we felt we would enjoy YC even more, The really good news is service in the YC area is still exemplary - at the pool, on the sundeck, in the lounge and restaurant everyone is friendly, efficient and effective. We can't say enough good things. And the food in the YC restaurant is better than last year – always ask the server, they’ll know what’s good that night. We also thoroughly enjoyed our excursions booked through MSC: Jamaica - we did the Dunn's River Falls/Mystic Mountain Bob Sled combination. Not our first time to Dunn's River - but always quite an adventure climbing the falls. The Mystic Mountain Bobsled run was also a blast (don't use the brake - just push forward for a fast and smooth ride), and the sky-ride (chair lift) up the mountain gave some fantastic views (pic). Grand Cayman - Atlantis submarine (pic) - about an hour submerged going around the reef off Grand Cayman, down to 115 feet deep - lots of fish to see, even a turtle - quite a good time. Cozumel - MSC charters a ferry to take excursions to Playa Del Carmen - about 575 passengers so there's a bit of a wait for loading and unloading. We did the Chaak Tun cave (pic) "snorkeling" - snorkeling is in quotes because you don't need a mask or snorkel as you're in a life vest the entire time in the caves, and the water is so clear you don't need the mask. This is an absolutely wonderful experience and if you're up to it (there's a little climbing, and stooping low under rocks) we highly recommend it. There's about 90 minutes after the swim to shop or eat in Playa Del Carmen before you have to board the ferry - no way to go back early. Now the less than fantastic experiences - YC guests are supposed to have priority embarkation/debarkation. The YC butlers will escort you to the brow to checkout - here's where the problems have started - for some reason the polite security staff from our last trip are all gone - and their replacements didn't get etiquette lessons. While escorting a group of YC passengers to the brow one of the assistants shouted "I am in control here" and stopped the butler (we didn't see any reason - any reason to stop the group). The "priority" embarkation was being escorted to the same line everyone else waited in. And in all our interactions with security at the checkpoints, only once was there a polite greeting. Not at all like our experience last year. - YC Guests are supposed to have a priority system for the forward elevators. They system is still there, but it is not working. We discussed this with the YC Director, he seemed quite surprised, which seems strange since all the butlers knew the system did not work. - The spa. My wife went in to have a nail color change, waited for 2 ½ hours drying time - and the polish ran off in the shower! So she went back and got it fixed, waited over three hours, and it ran right off again. Don't know what they were using, but we contacted the spa manager and he personally scheduled an appointment for 7 pm to get it fixed again - and around 735 we got into the nail salon - but at least this time a sloppy French color job held when washed. For this, the elevator issue, and the security incidents, we were comp'ed a couples massage by the YC Director - scheduled with the spa - when we showed up the couples room was in use - "can you wait?" - we took separate massages. - Last year our Butler was simply fantastic - certainly one of the reasons we did enjoy YC - and in fact he was on-board again, but promoted to assistant chief butler, and the newly promoted butler assigned to our room just wasn't up to his standards - she's very nice, personable, but not up to our expectations, failing to re-stock the room/mini-bar on several occasions (until we discussed it with the YC Director), plus some other misses on services we had requested. - Service outside of YC on the ship was not up to the standards we experienced last year. Sat down at a couple of the lounges, waited 10 minutes - there were servers but they were apparently overworked. - We had dinner reservations at Butcher's Cut (premium dining) - we sat down, ordered, then left once we looked around as there was crumbs and other food residue on the table at the edges of the placemats, and enough dirt, food and dust on the window sill next to us to write "MSC" in the dirt and read it clearly (pic). If we were to speculate on the problems we saw this year - last year the Seaside was brand new – and perhaps MSC had all their best middle-managers onboard to give the ship a good start – but this year those managers are gone – and the current group is not paying as close attention to the details. We did have a discussion with the YC Director about our concerns, and he acknowledged problems and indicated they were getting a new chef in the YC restaurant, and updating their embarkation/debarkation polices to better serve YC guests – but improvements in the future don’t help current guests. We still recommend MSC YC and the Seaside – but with caveats - it's not as good as it could be. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We originally booked this cruise on black friday, as MSC was giving away the drinks on us promo, and a good price on a balcony room. I had done a bunch of research, watched a ton of youtube vids, and read a bunch of reviews. I have to ... Read More
We originally booked this cruise on black friday, as MSC was giving away the drinks on us promo, and a good price on a balcony room. I had done a bunch of research, watched a ton of youtube vids, and read a bunch of reviews. I have to say this helped out a lot, and prepared us for the week for the most part. Embarkation wasn't too bad..probably an hour from arriving to actual embarkation (we were there 2 hours before our assigned boarding time). The ship is absolutely stunning! From the infinity bridge and bridge of sighs, to the atrium and staircases, it's really a beautiful ship! We only ate in the main dining room (Ipanema) 3 of the 7 nights. The food was ok, but our server I think misunderstood us (and our table mates) on a couple of occasions. The food was hit and miss, with the breads, pastas, and seafood all pretty great. The prime rib was also very good, but the steak we ordered one night was a little too fatty for our taste. We did the Teppanyaki specialty restaurant the first night, since we sailed at 5pm, and our MDR time was 5:15. This way we could watch the sail away. I highly recommend the Teppanyaki!!! It was so good, we actually went again friday night with some friends we made the first night. As for the buffets....well, they were buffets. Just be prepared for it to be a total cluster, as everyone cuts in and out of line to get what they want/need. They will always have the standard pizza, hot dogs, burgers, salads, and breads, with occasional other fares. I was really looking forward to the pizza, as I know they make it from scratch...it is good, but was light on the cheese. I still ate it quite a bit, though. We spent most of the time at the Miami beach pool on deck 16. We avoided the South beach pool on deck 7, as all the smokers are there and we don't smoke. I thought the bar tenders were excellent! Only a few times (mostly on sea days) was it crowded and had to wait a while for a drink. The key for me was to tip a couple of the bartenders early on, so they remember you (Ruffy ALWAYS took care of me, called me by name, etc., while Happy, Nigel, and Leo all took care of me) The other key is to BE NICE to them! I know they can get a lot of pushy drinkers coming at them, so calling them out by name, saying hello, and generally being a good guest goes a long way to getting good service, IMHO. We don't have kids, but the kids pool area looked like a lot of fun for the kids that were there. I'm a big kid, so I can't count how many times I tried the waterslides! I also rode the zip line about 3 times, so I could get a good GoPro shot. Make sure when you get there, to sign the waiver for the waterpark and zip line early..especially before sea day when the lines are really long! Another tip: I registered my credit card to my shipboard card right after getting on the ship. There are several kiosks around that will let you so this, although you technically have 48 hours. You can also get a wristband that links to your shipboard account, which is $5. That way, you can tap your wristband to their point of sale tablets. Speaking of tech: The MSC for Me app is pretty good overall! It has an interactive ship map (although didn't always tell me the right floor I was on), and would give you access to your shipboard account summary...really useful to see how much you've spent on board! It would have been nice to have a chat feature build in, but that's why they push the internet packages so much I suppose. Speaking of which: we did NOT have the Wifi package, but we still kept getting regular app notifications on our phones, even though we were in airplane mode and mobile data turned off. To the best of my knowledge, we were not charged for that. We didn't do any of the shows, with the exception of Beer Prov (which I recommend...really funny!!). We heard from others that the shows were really good! I did go to karaoke out on the Miami Beach pool deck a couple of times, which I wish was longer (but that's just me). The white party is a lot of fun too, although we were pretty wiped from back-to-back shore days. So if you are of a certain age and want to go to things like the white party, take a nap! LOL. The entertainment in the atrium and various bars seemed to be the same musicians. I would have liked to see some different musicians play in the atrium, as it always seemed to be acoustic Chris (I wasn't a fan of some of his song renditions at times, but was ok). I heard they used to be mostly opera, so at least this is a little better. Speaking of shore days, the biggest beef I had was the itinerary. I knew what it was going in, and still booked it anyway. San Juan arrives at 5pm, and leaves at 1am, St. Thomas from 7am-7pm (was ok with this), and St. Maarten from 7am-2pm, which is WAY TOO SHORT!! MSC needs to extend this by a couple of hours at least. Nassau was 12-7pm. We walked around San Juan with some friends, and went to a place called Punto de Vista (which I had researched online before going, and highly recommend!). We booked the Panoramic shopping & Magen's bay tour through MSC, which was pretty good. For St. Maarten, we took a taxi to Maho beach. If you go: they have a large taxi stand just off the pier, where they have a a few taxi vans. I believe it was $16/pp, and they give you a colored wristband to show you have a pre-paid ride back to the cruise port (we were the only ship in port that day, BTW). I HIGHLY recommend going to Maho beach to watch the planes land low. Again, not enough time do this and see all the bigger jets land, so you have to leave around 12n to make it back on time. For Nassau, we didn't do any excursions, but just walked around town near the pier. I honestly could have done without Nassau, or would have preferred getting in early enough to try the Atlantis water park. Getting in that late in the day doesn't really make it worth the money IMHO, as it only works out to being a 1/2 day. Overall, my girlfriend and I had a wonderful time on this cruise! It definitely has a European flavor to it, as I heard a lot of German, French, and Italian cruisers around me. Again, be prepared for the buffet free-for-all, especially at the coffee stations in the morning! If you have anything above Bella experience, it might be worth going with room service for coffee, as we did for a couple of the days. Also, do your research on the drink packages before you buy one! We had the drinks on us, which honestly was just fine most of the time. We did pay for some of the frozen drinks at times, but stuck mostly to DOU. If you have the Easy package, again..know what's included and what isn't. Also, they will add the service charge (12.50/pp per day to your bill somewhere around the 4th day, so don't freak out when you see a large charge, they put it on your bill earlier, rather than at the end). Finally one other note: If you are staying towards the front of the ship, and want to go to Miami beach pool or the buffet, go to the midship or aft elevators. Otherwise, you end up a the specialty restaurants, and cannot go through unless you go up to 18 or down to 15 and cut across. Just remember...you are on vacation, so don't let little things (or people) ruin it for you!!! Enjoy yourselves!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We were on the Seaside with 4 other families. Prior to sailing, their website was difficult to navigate. Embarkation was fast and room was ready before 2pm. Food at the buffets and all specialty restaurants were really good. Specialty ... Read More
We were on the Seaside with 4 other families. Prior to sailing, their website was difficult to navigate. Embarkation was fast and room was ready before 2pm. Food at the buffets and all specialty restaurants were really good. Specialty restaurants have the best service. But the nightly complementary restaurant needs improvement. Food choices were similar to buffet items and kids menu was unappetizing. They also have a lot of staff just standing around while there is only one person that can handle your bar drinks and took our friend 3 times to get the staff over to order our drinks. The Spa staff are super friendly and the thermal spa was a cool experience. Our housekeeping guy Antonio was very attention to details and our rooms are always cleaned to perfection. It was difficult to get service at the bar when it’s busy. They tend to service the men and European guests first. Women do order drinks too you know. So after a couple tries, I decided to just not bother with the bars. The nightly show became repetitive after 2nd night as they were the same performers but staged differently. The same guy goes on doing the same trick every night. My kid was really excited about the LEGO club on the day we board. However, after 2 days of kids club, we realized the staff are fully Spanish and Italian speaking and tailored to the European kids mainly and neglected the English speaking kids. So after 2 days, none of the kids wanted to go back to the kids club anymore. Even during the family activities, the staff were playing games in Spanish. Having been on a few different cruise lines, I think MSC does have better food but their customer service needs improvement. I understand they are a European cruise line but if you are sailing from Miami, you are bound to have a lot more English speaking passengers. So it would make sense to have your staff pay some attention to your English speaking passengers. Throughout the trip, I’ve seen a lot of European manager positions staff talking to their European guests. But we’ve never had a manager spoke with us or asking how things are except one manager at the complementary restaurant who was from India. He noticed our daughter wasn’t enjoying her mini burger was it was really dry and brought her something else which was very sweet. In comparison, it was the lower ranking staff that are friendly with any guests from any country. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We were a bit unsure about this cruise it was our 2nd cruise and our 1st on sapphire princess had been amazing. The internary was great loved all the ports the excursions we booked through msc were very good well organised. We were ... Read More
We were a bit unsure about this cruise it was our 2nd cruise and our 1st on sapphire princess had been amazing. The internary was great loved all the ports the excursions we booked through msc were very good well organised. We were impressed with the organisation of the tender at grand Cayman. The ship has excellent facilities we particularly enjoyed the thermal spa and got a good deal pre cruise. However for us the ship was just too big it lost that personal touch. The queues at all the bars were ridiculous lots of complaints from fellow passengers. The service in the main dining room at night was not very good, no care taken. We felt rushed to be out for the next sitting. Personally we prefer anytime dinning. Breakfast in the main dining room was a much better standard. The food at the buffets was surprisingly good at times better than the main restaurants but it was just too busy. The shows were excellent especially the adult comedy shows. We enjoyed the cruise but we now know a smaller ship is more suited to us. Embarkation and disembarkation were extremely well organised very impressed very little queing although we did have to go hunting for a suitcase not sure why it wasn't delivered. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Chose the cruise mainly for price and itinerary. Ship is beautiful inside and out. Embarkation was a breeze, self embarkation was as easy as I have ever experienced. Bar service with the Premium Package was very good. Drink/liquor ... Read More
Chose the cruise mainly for price and itinerary. Ship is beautiful inside and out. Embarkation was a breeze, self embarkation was as easy as I have ever experienced. Bar service with the Premium Package was very good. Drink/liquor selection was excellent. Nighttime music around the ship left a lot to be desired, the dance classes in the evening at The Haven seemed to go on forever.....ate twice at the Sushi Bar without reservations in the evening....was very good. Had steak house reservations, dinner there was very good. Ate off the ship in Puerto Rico one evening...did not dine in the main dining room. Room service twice for breakfast was on point and on time. Balcony Cabin was as expected, bathroom was small compared to the Mini Suites on the NCL Away Class Ships..I missed that. Room steward was fine, always kept plenty of ice in the ice bucket, etc... Pool on the rear of the ship was nice, but the smoking area you had to walk through to get to the restroom was pretty thick.... All in all, I would rate it a step below NCL on entertainment, (the Bride and I missed the nightly outdoor parties on NCL), and a step above on drinks/bar service, especially considering the prices of the drink package. I was very pleased with this...cruise came with The Easy package, upgrade to Premium was $27 PP PD...very reasonable, IMHO. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our second voyage on the seaside within the last year. MSC Cruise lines was kind enough to give us discount credits since we were on the divina during hurricane Irma. I didn't care where the ship was going, I live in South ... Read More
This was our second voyage on the seaside within the last year. MSC Cruise lines was kind enough to give us discount credits since we were on the divina during hurricane Irma. I didn't care where the ship was going, I live in South Florida and Hawaii so I get my full share of palm trees! The seaside is an absolutely beautiful ship and very very well kept. The staff has come to understanding how to work on that ship and things flow very nicely. The drink packages and Internet packages that are offered by the cruise line are hard to beat. Even the easy drink package which doesn't give you top shelf liquor will do the job and get you all the soda, quality coffees, and sparkling water that you want. The best part of the cruise for my wife and I were at the dance classes and activities. Every morning on sea days there was an aerobics class and several dance classes available all the way into the evening hours. Also a highlight are the production shows. They are not your typical production show song and dance popular songs. They are elaborately costumed events involving singing dancing music and circus. I would say it is similar to a Cirque du Soleil with a different theme every night. And there is the Opera, it is shown in the afternoon during a sea day so if you're one of those that wants to oil yourself up and be shoulder-to-shoulder with a thousand other people on the pool deck you are more than welcome. However if you want something totally different that is extremely emotional and beautiful, go to see the Opera. The only thing that was disappointing throughout the entire cruise was the dining experience. The marketplace buffet is absolutely boring. It reminded me of my days in the Navy seeing hamburgers hot dogs and Pizza with overcooked meats every day over and over. There was always a mystery white fish available and some sort of sauce but it was always hard as a rock and tasting just like one also. The experience in the restaurants was a bit better. The foods were served up timely and presentation was very nice, however there was nothing ever really exciting about it. There was never that food item that said "I want to try that"! All in all it was adequate and it was put together pretty well, but it was not really a memorable experience. Overall for the price point it is very difficult to beat the MSC experience. I would only hope that they would liven up the food venues a little bit more so that it isn't so boring. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This cruise was so wonderfull. The first time I went in the carribeans. Stops were so fabulous. About the ship : I have already cruise on the seaview, and it's exactly the same ship. It was plenty but, because of his design, you ... Read More
This cruise was so wonderfull. The first time I went in the carribeans. Stops were so fabulous. About the ship : I have already cruise on the seaview, and it's exactly the same ship. It was plenty but, because of his design, you don't feel there are too much people. Just sometimes at the buffet or restaurant. Embarkation and disembarkation wasn't a problem, except at Grnad Cayman where we should take a boat to go to he port, and it was a bit longer but not too much. It was a little bit long to be serve at the bar, depend on the server. But this is the same problem on the other boat of MSC. I have the "My choice dining", so we went dining all days at 9h00, after the show (8h30). And it was allways simple to find a table, no waiting. We can ask for the same server all along the cruise. For the breakfast we went 4 times to the restaurant, and it was great. The others time to the self. Finally, I have no little children, so I can't critik the children installation. Read Less
MSC Seaside Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 3.9
Dining 4.5 3.4
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.5 3.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.5 3.4
Service 4.0 3.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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