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1 Helpful Vote
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
Sail Date: August 2019
We picked this cruise because the price is reasonable/cheaper than Carnival. 1. The embarkation and disembarkation were smoothly. 2. Ship is new and clean 3. Cabin is small just like any cruise ship cabin. The shower area seems ... Read More
We picked this cruise because the price is reasonable/cheaper than Carnival. 1. The embarkation and disembarkation were smoothly. 2. Ship is new and clean 3. Cabin is small just like any cruise ship cabin. The shower area seems small. 4. Breakfast/ lunch is good. Formal dining at night is good (way better than Chili’s, TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s . Comparable to Red Lobster but fewer selection. 5. Entertainment is great. Quality of shows is excellent. 5 stars to Steve Young (director of entertainment). All of the family shows are great, Peter Punk, Butterfly, Michael Jackson. But all adults shows perform by a group of 4 person is just ok. Would like to have few standup comedians shows. 6. Service is good. 7. Port and shore excursions have good timing. Except Saint Martin 7am to 2pm. We would like to go again. MSC going to have new ships in 2022, definitely looking forward to this one Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
It's the culture on NO, of close, of it's too late, of I can't, of it's your problem. This european need to understand the American customer service, if not, then they need a crash course with Carnival, NCL, Royal ... Read More
It's the culture on NO, of close, of it's too late, of I can't, of it's your problem. This european need to understand the American customer service, if not, then they need a crash course with Carnival, NCL, Royal Carebean. They should go back to cargo. The cabin people has to ask for permission just to find a pillow to mattress to put the two single bed together. Two days to get the mattress. Cabin people don't pick up trash, used cups. All personell with bad faces all the time. As if they were doing a favor. The pictures were bad quality. The paper is better at my local pharnacy photo section. Fo not recomend this cruise. No ice cream cone at all times or soda, just a certain time of the day, and one person dispatching it, so long line of course, of course, the European way, just this is what it is. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was my first time on MSC we normally cruise Carnival. We booked this cruise with a group of people because their travel agent loved this ship. For our family we had issues from the start. Before the cruise calling into customer ... Read More
This was my first time on MSC we normally cruise Carnival. We booked this cruise with a group of people because their travel agent loved this ship. For our family we had issues from the start. Before the cruise calling into customer service you need to be prepared to have an hour because the hold times are crazy! Things I was told on the phone were never completed. I will say boarding the ship was effortless and ran very smoothly. But once on the ship we realized that the drink package that was included was only on 2 of our rooms not all 4. So we had to wait in a very long line for customer service. It appears that a lot of other people had issues as well. The drinks on us package is a bit confusing. They charge you a service charge every time. For example for a bottle of water is was a dollar for them to hand it to you.. (not really free) Now let’s talk Fun pass I had my 4 kiddos and after looking at the website of all the activities I bought 2 fun passes. ($200) that was disappointing. The zip line wasn’t open very much and the arcade well it has 3 games and 5 claw machines that are $3 each the claw machines aren’t included in the fun pass so my kids not taking time to read signs charged some to my card for that... My 2 youngest went to the kids club once and both said please don’t make me go back.. The shows were great! The entire family really enjoyed them! The cruise critic party was very nice and I really enjoyed meeting the officers there. The buffet was pretty good. The only thing is sometimes they would only have one open and it was be very crowded. When at port the pools were closed that was a bummer for people who didn’t want to get off the ship. There are plenty of places to just sit and enjoy yourself. They are trying to grow their North American fleet but my personal opinion is they are no where close to the service you get from Carnival. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Mixed review of the MSC Seaside. The Seaside is a beautiful ship overall. However it struggles with certain amenities and service levels. For example, their are Four Banks of Elevators that cannot adequately handle 5000 ... Read More
Mixed review of the MSC Seaside. The Seaside is a beautiful ship overall. However it struggles with certain amenities and service levels. For example, their are Four Banks of Elevators that cannot adequately handle 5000 passengers. Waits can be up to 10 - 15 minutes at peak times. Be aware that, if you get a room that has a door to an adjoining room, it is not "soundproof". They do leak sound and I would never take an adjoining room again. Rooms are small for a new ship especially the bathroom and shower. If you are tall with long legs, you will likely have to sit at an angle to avoid hitting your knee on the sink cabinetry. Shows are top rate BUT YOU HAVE TO BOOK in advance. Otherwise you see no show at all except for a recording of it on the tv. Food is consistently good but not great except for the pizza. The choices on the buffet are not as varied as Celebrity or NCL. They have vegetarian choices that are nicely labeled but they are very limited on vegetarian hot proteins. This is mainly because their Asian and Indian choices are limited due to the small numbers of people of those cultures who cruise with MSC. The food in the dining Room is also consistently good and occasionally very good. However, unlike Celebrity, NCL and RCL, there is no special night for lobster or steak. Both lobster and steak do appear on the menu every evening but for an additional price of up to $24. Some of the ports have strange arrival times. For example, the ship arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at 5 PM on a Monday when many stores are closed. This departed at 12:30 am. Forget about museums or Segway tours. The ship arrived in St Maarten at 7 am and passengers had to be back on-board at 1:30 PM. That leaves precious little time for the beach or touring the island. Staff tends to be disinterested and not nearly at the level of service as Celebrity, NCL or RCI. Dining room staff are overworked and about 1/3 of the staff you get on Celebtity. This causes long delays between courses, sometimes taking almost 2 hours for the meal. It is important to understand that dining Room seating is not separated into an early and late seating like most ships. Instead, there is a seating at 5:15 p.m, 7:15 p.m. and 9:15PM in one dining Room and 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in the 2nd dining Room. If you ask for early seating, be aware that you may have to enter the dining room at 5:15 PM and, possibly, not be seated after 5:30 PM. The shows start at 7:15 p.m. 8:15 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., also causing havoc when people cannot get to their dining appointments on time or it takes too long for them to finish their meals. Keep in mind that every evening show has to be booked in advance and seats do run out. The performers are amazing. They do the same show three times per night and they are action-packed, highly physical shows. The only really attentive staff we had was the cabin attendant. If you're looking for a romantic dinner table for two, be forewarned; there are very few of them that are truly away from other tables. Most tables for two are just a 3 table system separated by about 6 inches which is essentially the same as having no separate table for two. Finally, MSC has no concept of how to manage crowds. For example they had a tasting party for the Specialty Restaurants to promote their menus. It was attended by about 200 - 300 people squeezed into a small area. As a result it was nearly impossible to get close enough to sample any food in at least 2 of the restaurants. In addition, the layout of the ship on the 16th floor is not good. Only one set of elevators goes to the Specialty Restaurants. If you get on the wrong elevator you have to get off on the 15th floor and hike to the stairs or the second set of elevators. In addition to having over crowded elevators in general, 2 elevators in the front are designated for yacht club members which means that, when they use their card, they control the elevator. You have a lot of people pressing both up-and-down buttons when they want to go up hoping that they can travel down in an elevator so that they can actually find room going up again! Perhaps the worst elevator problem occurred on embarkation. There were literally hundreds of people waiting for elevators for 15 minutes to half an hour. Many people decided to walk up the steps carrying heavy luggage. Again, this was not a good system for controlling passenger embarkation. There did not seem to be any problem upon disembarkation for the ports, however. I think, overall, that MSC is good value for the money but it could do much better in service, food, and crowd control. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I embarked on a 7 night cruise on the MSC Seaside, leaving from Miami and going to San Juan, Charlote Amalie, Phillipsburg, and Nassau. While I have been on a few cruises before, this was a first cruise experience for my wife and I chose ... Read More
I embarked on a 7 night cruise on the MSC Seaside, leaving from Miami and going to San Juan, Charlote Amalie, Phillipsburg, and Nassau. While I have been on a few cruises before, this was a first cruise experience for my wife and I chose it because of the size of the ship and an expected smooth ride for my wife, as well as the ports and the appearance of the MSC Seaside. My impression with MSC began before I boarded while I was preparing for my cruise. I ran into issues with the MSC web site and customer service which have been discussed in this post, https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2674801-msc-website-bugs-and-support-experience/?tab=comments&source=122648#comment-57780603 . Now that I have cruised on the MSC Seaside, I'll share my onboard experience. The Embarkation and boarding experience started off excellent, it lost excellent status with baggage delivery and I'll come back to this. Have you ever gone into a super market, motor vehicle office, or other service area, looked at the long line and wondered why so many stations were unstaffed and things were't operating optimally? This was NOT the case with MSC embarkation. I was amazed to see every station was staffed, some with more than one person. We walked right up and found the staff knowledgeable, polite, and efficient. We did have priority boarding with the Aurea experience, but every station was staffed and they were prepared to operate at full efficiency. Bravo MSC, I could not imagine this process running any better. Since we got on so fast and early, our room wasn't ready but no complaints here as it wasn't supposed to be ready yet. We ate lunch, had a couple of drinks, and were then notified that our room was ready an hour before it was supposed to be. When we got to the room three out of our family's five bags were delivered. This was not an issue at first because bags were still being delivered. This became an issue several hours later, after dinner, when the two bags were still not delivered and the ship had left port. My wife was worried as one child had no clothes other than what she had carried on for that day and she didn't know if the bag made it on the ship. We returned to our room again about 8:00 pm and a note was on the door saying a bag needed further security scanning and we need to pick it up at the luggage center. Here's where MSC can use some help with communicating. We look in the MSC App which contains the ship map and you can find out how to get to things onboard and there's no "luggage center" found. We check the ship map by the elevator and there's no luggage center. A few other passengers show up with the same note and are having the same problem, nobody knows where the luggage center is. We go down to deck 5 which is where customer service is and of course the line is really long being the first day onboard. It looked like about an hour more wait by the number of people and the rate at which things were moving, but I will say every station was staffed again. A few of us wandered around looking for the luggage center and eventually came across a crew member in the hall, asked about it, and he took us to a room we would have never found on our own. Our largest bag was there but another was still unaccounted for. The bag was flagged by security for containing a surge protector. Security flagged it but the ship allows it onboard. I read on here to bring one but it was not necessary and ended up causing me some grief. Keep this in mind if you bring one. I now had to get this large fifty pound bag from the luggage center on deck 5 to my room at the front of the ship on deck 12 with ship activities in full swing and people everywhere finding their way around on the first day. Delivery luggage late at night through a crowds of people wasn't how I wanted to be spending my first night onboard. If they cleared the luggage, why couldn't the crew just deliver it. After all, we still had another bag that we were told was being delivered. That second bag showed up at about 10:00 pm and caused a bit of a panic. My advice is to just know that bags can come pretty late. Carry on what you need for the first day and just be patient. There's a lot going on. We had booked an Aurea Grand Suite (SE3) for the family and were expecting a separate bedroom for us parents, and a couch that converted into bunk beds for the kids, a table, and four chairs. This is how the room was laid out in pictures and seemed like a pretty nice cabin for a cruise. MSC does state that furniture may vary in rooms and it did. Instead of bunk beds we had a couch that folded out to a double bed, no table, and one chair. Furthermore the room had a techno gym attached to the wall in the living room. This may sound like a nice bonus to some but this thing was a monstrosity and room space is very valuable on cruises. We didn't want that, never saw anything saying it would be there, it was unappealing, and in the way. My wife waiting on the long customer service line to see what could be done about it and that didn't go well. I talked to our cabin steward (who was wonderful) and her boss. My wife was told someone would come by to fix it, the steward boss told me it couldn't be fixed. One look at it and I knew we'd be stuck with that we had there. There was much back and forth with several people and my wife was not having a good first cruise experience. We were told the room was a wellness suite and came with the gym. We didn't book a wellness suite, we booked an Aurea Grand Suite, and it was not feeling very grand. The steward boss called his boss at one point and had the call on speaker phone. The woman says "he has the big room with a gym, what else does he want?" Well, I didn't want a gym in my room, I wanted bunk beds for the kids, table, chairs, and staff that listens to the problem. The room was what it was and there was nothing that could be done about it. The kids had to share a bed and get on with our vacation. The other disappointment was that we were so far forward that our balcony had a steel wall instead of glass. When you sat down on the balcony, the water could not be seen and instead you look up at the sky or at the steel wall. It was nice though if you stood up. Pay close attention to where your room is on the ship and what your experience will be. On the 2nd day of the cruise we had a Cruise Critic meet and greet with senior officers of the ship. The cruise director, Gene Young, came by to chat with us and see how things were going. I shared my pre-boarding experience with the web site and my onboard experience so far. Gene seemed very sincere and listened to what we had to say. He was glad to hear that some things were going very well and that we loved the ship, he was sorry to hear some of the negative experiences. Gene told us that he would talk to the senior officers of various departments and he himself would give us a call back. Gene did in fact call us the next day. Of course he couldn't fix the furniture or get the monstrosity out of our room but Gene and staff did offer us a few things to help smooth things over and make up for the disappointment. Ideally the cabin experience should be very clear. The wellness suite experience with a techno-gym in the room is very different than what was expected. We're grateful that he listened and the staff did what they could. Cruises are known for eating and the food on board was very good, but I also expect it to be very good. Both the buffet and dining room met expectations and I was satisfied with all of my meals. Lots of people rave about the pizza onboard the MSC Seaside and being a native New Yorker, I'm a bit of a pizza snob. Us New Yorkers tend to think we're authorities on pizza and have our expectations. I'm enough of a pizza snob to know the best NY pizza is not in Manhattan but instead in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Now that I established myself as having strong opinions on pizza, I made it one of my first orders of business to go to the buffet and try this famous MSC Seaside pizza. I sampled the pepperoni pizza, some plain cheese, and a white pizza and the verdict is, thumbs up. I really didn't expect to like the pizza on the ship but it was genuinely good pizza, even by my tough standards. For those who like some simple grilled foods, you can always get a good burger at the buffet. Most of the carving stations were very good too, although I did find a pork loin to be a little bland. It was from a buffet though, so it is what it is. One more note on the buffets, the traffic flow is very chaotic. I'm not really sure how to solve this, but their must be someone on the MSC payroll who deals with these problems. It becomes a real challenge to get through there without getting a plate of food dumped on you or dumping yours on somebody else. There are lots of people going in every direction trying to load up as much as they can on their twelve inch plate. I don't know if I can fault MSC for this, but it would be nice if they can study it and find some way to improve the traffic flow. The dining room meals were excellent whether it was meat, pasta, or seafood. The famous Butcher's Cut steakhouse on board was a disappointment and I do not recommend it. I've been to some pretty nice steak houses in the same price range, and this one does not compare. I thought the NY Strip I got in the main dining room was better than the rib eye I had at Butcher's Cut and the Butcher's Cut steak was no better than any supermarket steak that I cook myself. The atmosphere didn't help either when one family was in there with their kids running around and screaming like they're in Chuckie Cheese. You can't always blame the restaurant for guests behavior, but the food just was't up to par either. We went to the theater four nights and were impressed with every show. The performers were very talented although you do see some of their acts get recycled and repackaged from show to show. Something that was oddly enjoyable was how they rebrand things and mix aspects and music from different shows together. After the first show we thought "that was good, but doesn't make any sense and we don't really know what they were trying to do". Things just don't seem to fit together. However, think of the movie "Moulin Rouge" and see if if you haven't before attending a show on a this cruise. Somehow that helped me to get it. They're reusing music, sometimes basing a character on another character, and creating their own show. It's not an attempt to perform a story you know, especially one with copyrights, they're instead creating their own show using some elements that you've seen and heard before. MSC has rolled out bracelets which can be used in place of a cruise card except for leaving and boarding the ship. Unfortunately, these bracelets which could be great are another negative story. The first problem you run into is just putting the bracelets on, which is really difficult without help from another person and this is unacceptable. Watches have been in use for a long time and we now have many successful wristband models from smart watches, and sport bands. There have been so many easy to use bands, that I don't know how MSC managed to roll out something so difficult to put on. Get one when you go on their cruise and you'll see what I mean, it's just absurd. The next problem, is they don't work everywhere onboard as they're supposed to. Most places no problem, every now and then you get a drink and you're told "I need your cruise card, I don't have a reader for the band", and they sometimes seem annoyed to have to tell you that. In MSC's propaganda and their app they mention how you can track every member of your party to know where each other are. This can be a great thing when you want to split up to do different things onboard and just find each other later. Nowhere does it tell you than this tracking doesn't work with the Aurea experience bands you get when you board. Instead you're given some instructions to setup people that can't be completed because the band doesn't have the QR code. I gave up on it thinking it was more trouble than it was worse but happened to ask someone at the game room when I saw they were selling another band for this purpose. We were told when we checked in that one daughter would get a kids band that is free and allows tracking, and the band would be in our room. The band was not in our room, my wife had to wait online in the kids center for over an hour to get it, the setup was confusing and cumbersome, and towards the end of the cruise a $15 charge showed up for it when we were told it was free. The kids band also stopped working one day. My wife went to customer service and was told to go do the kids center and they would need to set it up again. There were about twenty other people there with the same problem and more on the way. The poor guy working there was pulling his hair out and telling people it is a system wide problem, he couldn't do anything about it, and he doesn't know why people are being sent to him. This lack of communication between departments and passengers being sent from one place to another is a common theme onboard. The crew knows who has the kid bracelets and they know what room they're in. They also have daily announcements that come out every day from our good friend and cruise director, Gene Young. It seems they could've just came out and told people via an announcement or another letter left on the door that the kid bracelet tracking was offline. That would have saved passengers a lot of time from trying to get it resolved and saved a lot of crew member stress and time dealing with the issue. The bracelets are a great concept with some great features, but it wasn't a great experience. I'd like to know get back to some positives. The ship was immaculate. Every space was very clean and it seemed rather effortless for them to maintain it. With 5000 people onboard you expect things to get messed up but they didn't. Everywhere was clean and you rarely saw the staff cleaning it. They just popped out like little elves, took care of it and vanished. Whenever the ship was in port, there would always be people swinging into action to paint or clean things, but you really had to look for it to see it happen. Our room steward was excellent and one of the sweetest women we ever met. I often had to wait a while to get a drink, even at our exclusive Aurea deck bar, but the wait was not any different than I'd have anywhere else. If you go to a busy bar, or any pool bar at a hotel, you're not going to be the only one there and you'll often have to wait your turn to get a drink. The staff was always polite, friendly, and happy to help once they got to me. Early reports of the ship mentioned an odor that they encountered onboard. We did not experience any such odor. Disembarkation was orderly and impressive. They staged us in groups waiting to disembark. All of our luggage was waiting for us and easily found. I can not think of anyway they could have made this process go smoother. I'll likely travel with MSC again, but I don't know if my next cruise will be on an MSC ship. I think they're doing some really great things, but there needs to be more focus on the customer experience. This experience starts with the purchase, continues during the pre-cruise period, onboard, and leaving the ship. I think MSC will have a growing presence in the cruise industry and will be a major player, but customer experience needs to be emphasized in everything they do. Just accepting something as being what it is or expecting that customers will figure out that something isn't working or where some place is, is not good enough. Every experience needs to be stress free, pleasurable, intuitive, and impressive. Read Less
5 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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I love MSC, I am number 1 fan of this cruise line. The crew members are adorable, friendly, professionals and very helpful. Embarkation and disembarkation are just perfect. The Seaside is a beautiful and elegant Ship. The Spa is so ... Read More
I love MSC, I am number 1 fan of this cruise line. The crew members are adorable, friendly, professionals and very helpful. Embarkation and disembarkation are just perfect. The Seaside is a beautiful and elegant Ship. The Spa is so amazing. They have to have more Latin Food, Caribbean Food, variety. The Casino spectacular and the Waiters at bars and restaurants excellent. I am not to happy with The ports of calls since they are the same since MSC Cruise came in 2014, so we are so tired of the same ones already. They are more ports like Puerto Plata, La Romana, Dominican Republic, More of Aruba, Curacao, etc. Also the entertainment actives are great. Thank God they are having more latin DJs. The most beatiful thing are the shoes, The Broadways styles shows, they are amazing. The Welcome back to the ship in some of the ports are so great! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
With all the negative reviews we were scared, but did it anyway. The ship is amazing and beautiful. We saw so many reviews of the staff being horrible, but they were amazing. We never had a problem getting a drink at any of the bars. ... Read More
With all the negative reviews we were scared, but did it anyway. The ship is amazing and beautiful. We saw so many reviews of the staff being horrible, but they were amazing. We never had a problem getting a drink at any of the bars. My favorite was the Venchi bar. The drinks are amazing and so tasty. Our room was a typical balcony ship room. The bathroom is tight and 6 more inches would have done wonders, but very workable. We had 3 large suitcases that after being unpacked fit perfectly under the bed. No storage issues at all. Our waiter in the MDR, Melvin, was wonderful. He made wonderful suggestions and the one time that I did not like the dish, he got me a new meal very quickly. He was very attentive. The show's are amazing with the acrobats and singers. Just amazing. I love that they are short so that it keeps the attention of my little one. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This is my ninth cruise and this was the worst one I have been on. The good parts of it was loading and unloading passengers it was quick and easy. However, Lets start with the ship, when the ship started moving there was no party like ... Read More
This is my ninth cruise and this was the worst one I have been on. The good parts of it was loading and unloading passengers it was quick and easy. However, Lets start with the ship, when the ship started moving there was no party like there was on the other ones. The pools closed as early as 10 o clock. There were not as many parties and the music for them was really bad. The parties also ended at 2 o clock so afterwards there was nothing to do after and everything is about money. My daughter had a fun pass that I purchased and when I went to the deck to get her the bracelet the guy was trying to charge me twice for it. The site did not specify that the fun pass had credit and was not unlimited either. We also purchased an internet package which was 3 GB's for two devices. They charged me 300 dollars when I had bought 100 dollar package. When I went to guest services I had to argue with them and they only took off 100 dollars but gave me 5.5 GB's. We were charged an extra service fee of 87.50 per person as the tip for the people working and we were not informed that it was not included in the booking they put it on afterwards. For the photos they were very disorganized and when I asked for help the person working told me to "calm down" so my daughter yelled at him. It was very rude. During dinner the same waiter kept taking my daughter to dance to the music they had in the restaurant but would not keep it professional and asked for instagram and he continuously kept messaging her. The guy cleaning the rooms did a horrible job cleaning the room and the room always smelled strange he never took out the trash and on the last day my daughter forgot her license in the room so she went back to go get it and she found the guy who was cleaning our room smoking a cigarette on the balcony of our room. In a non smoking room. The cabin is extemely small compared to the ones on the other cruise ships I have been on. The timing of the ports was also horrible. We arrived at Puerto Rico at 5 PM on the third day and left at midnight which there was not much to see cause it was night time. On the fourth night we arrived at Virgin Islands at 7 AM and left at 6 which was good timing. On the fifth night though we arrived at St Maartin and didn't have time to do anything because we arrived from 6 AM to 1 PM. On the sixth night we were still at sea. Then the seventh night we arrived at the Bahamas from 7 AM to 6 PM and it was a disaster since it was the day before we left so we had to leave the island early to get our photos and pack our luggage up, every other cruise I have been on we would be at sea on the day before leaving the ship. The food was the same in the buffet we did not get any changes and it was awful. Me and my friend ordered the same food in the restaurant and got food poisoning from it. The only thing there was to do on the ship was swim during the day and drink at night. The only night club there was, was filled with younger people as young as 18, there were not multiple clubs like there was on the other ships. I would never sail with MSC again and it was triple the price of Carnival which is the best ship line I have sailed with. Also I called 4 times for more hangers and I did not get them till I told one of the people working outside I needed them. I came on this ship to relax but this was anything but relaxing. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The ship is pretty, the food is good, the crew is pleasant. BUT There is constant pressure to buy "Specialty Dining" packages at inflated prices, excursions at inflated prices, jewelry, perfume, art and spa treatments. Very ... Read More
The ship is pretty, the food is good, the crew is pleasant. BUT There is constant pressure to buy "Specialty Dining" packages at inflated prices, excursions at inflated prices, jewelry, perfume, art and spa treatments. Very insistent pressure. If you cruise at the "Bella" experience (cheapest "level"), there are parts of the ship you cannot access and the bar staff will be much less interested in serving you if you have a drink package. Your table in the dining room will be by the aisle and traffic flow, and they won't be happy about changing it. It will be difficult to get an elevator to ro from your deck. The free drink package we had made no sense, with some items not included that cost less than included items. There is a 15% service charge for every item you get, so it's really not free. This is in addition to the 12% pp per day service charge. The room stewards are incredibly good and efficient. Service desk helpful. Dining room waitstaff top notch. Dining room menus offered great selection and almost everything tasted good. Buffet had a wide selection of interesting items, but had the same items every day. Drink station not well organized, with cups and glasses hard to get to and no traffic flow marked. Entertainment was below average. Nightly shows, while flashy, make no sense and all the music is canned, most vocalists lip-synching. Why is there a juggler and aerialist in every theater show? Lounge entertainers were awful and used karaoke type backing tracks all the time. The only actual "band" was not well rehearsed, and had to play country one night, islands music another, 70s stuff another. Waterslides were fun but always had long lines during limited open hours. Pools closed nightly at 7 or so. No night time swims or hot tubbing. Would we go again? Not at the Bella level, and not with the Drinks on Us package. Higher levels pricing negates using this cruise line, so probably not. 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
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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have sailed on Holland, Disney, Carnival, Norwegian and Royal. MSC by far out performs and outshines all of the previous cruises we have taken. We we nervous taking this trip after reading so many negative reviews online. After ... Read More
We have sailed on Holland, Disney, Carnival, Norwegian and Royal. MSC by far out performs and outshines all of the previous cruises we have taken. We we nervous taking this trip after reading so many negative reviews online. After sailing on the MSC Seaside, I don’t know what cruise the negative reviewers were on but they obviously weren’t on the same ship we were on. No cruise line is perfect so let’s start with the negatives: 1) The elevators- There isn’t enough of them, they are small and slow. You have to pack your patience pants and just wait for them. 2) The hot tubs aren’t very hot and they close when the pools close around 10. 3) The buffet on 16 is only open for breakfast and lunch. 4) The time in some of the ports is too short. We were in St. Martin for 5 short hours and we were the only ship in port. We should have stayed for at least 7 hours. 5) The in-cabin television choices weren’t the best. No movies on a loop like other lines. That’s it for the negatives. On to the positive 1) The ship is beautiful and clean. 2) MSC has the highest safety rating in the Caribbean. 3) Our room was taken care of twice a day by a fabulous room steward. 4) Marco is the guy in charge of the special events and drawings for the shops. He’s a great guy both fun and funny. 5) The MDR staff was fantastic. Two members of our party of four have pretty severe food allergies, one to coconut and one to tree nuts. We had a cross contamination coconut scare one night. He was fine but we kind of scared our head waiter. After that she personally checked with the chef to make sure our main dish and dessert choices were safe for us. Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty! She made sure that no one at the table had tree nuts or coconut on our dessert plates to keep us safe. 6) Bar Service: Yes, the bars are busy with 5,000 people on board expect to wait a bit. We had the easy drink package and the bartenders were VERY generous with their pours. The only bar that was stingy with their pours was the main bar on 5. The bartenders will let you know if what you ordered is or is not in your drink package. 7) The casino was small but very nice. The machines payed well and were awarded a free cruise based on the points accumulated. On other lines you have to pay port fees and taxes if you win a free cruise. Not on MSC, free means free. We were also invited to sail on the Meraviglia’s first cruises in the Caribbean as a casino VIP without cost to us. 8) We bought the 10 photo package before we left and that was worth the money. We were confused when we found our embarkation photos in the room and didn’t see the letter that told us we would be charged if we didn’t return them by Tuesday evening. We easily had those charges reversed. 9) It was so nice to see the rules for adult only areas being enforced. The pool on deck 7 is for 16 and up only. On several occasions the lifeguard told younger children to get out of the pool, much to the irritation of their parents. In the casino there was a family that allowed their 4 or 5 year old to play on a machine and the casino host quickly put the entire family out of the casino. Who lets their 5 year old to gamble in the casino? 10) Embarkation and Debarkation were the smoothest and easiest we have ever had. We were able to get our room keys and security photos taken quickly and onto the ship in a flash. I highly recommend traveling with a passport because they use facial recognition technology for going through customs. We carried off our luggage and were through customs and in our car in record time. We had a fantastic time and will definitely be back on a MSC ship in the future. Quick tip, if you have to sign for something you are being charged for it. While in St. Martin, go to the Lazy Lizard for drinks and lunch! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We have sailed on more than 40 cruises over the past 20 years. Carnival, NCL, Royal Caribbean and MSC. MSC has become our favorite. We are lucky and have stayed in the MSC Yacht club and NCL Haven. I have to say comparing NCL Haven and ... Read More
We have sailed on more than 40 cruises over the past 20 years. Carnival, NCL, Royal Caribbean and MSC. MSC has become our favorite. We are lucky and have stayed in the MSC Yacht club and NCL Haven. I have to say comparing NCL Haven and MSC Seaside Yacht club there is no comparison. MSC is head and shoulders above NCL. This cruise was possibility the best yet. Food amazing, service amazing, staff amazing. Everyday the executive staff greeted us. Met the Captain 4 times by the end of the cruise he knew our names. Restaurant staff top shelf made us feel like they were waiting for us to arrive every night. Butler and butler assistant were the best. We were fortunate enough to have the same butler and assistant as we had the last cruise. Another great experience. Can’t say enough about MSC they are our go to luxury vacation Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
“That was the s————- s—- show I ever saw…” This is a quote I overheard from a fellow passenger on the MSC Seaside during our recent cruise vacation, and I couldn’t help but think… “That sums up this experience ... Read More
“That was the s————- s—- show I ever saw…” This is a quote I overheard from a fellow passenger on the MSC Seaside during our recent cruise vacation, and I couldn’t help but think… “That sums up this experience perfectly.” I have to admit, I was going to use the famous quote from Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” but I didn’t want to be so dramatic. Let’s get right down to it. I traveled with a group of people on the MSC Seaside from June 8th to June 15th 2019. This was my second cruise, but the first with MSC. Boy, was I disappointed in this company. There was on SMALL thing that I liked about MSC. I will mention that before getting to the nitty gritty. I have a gluten allergy, and I felt as if the staff in the dining room was amazing with that. Plus, I got a little gluten-free treat every day in my stateroom. HOWEVER, the buffets, were lacking. Nothing was labeled gluten-free, so it was impossible to tell what I could safely eat and what I couldn't. So...that was it. The ports were nice, but MSC has nothing to do with the beauty of St. Thomas or the fun spirt in Nassau. That being said, if you are considering MSC, PLEASE, for the love of everything holy...keep reading. I would hate that someone else would fall victim to this horrendous company.... Booking -- How hard is it to book a cruise? We booked with a booking agent, and then we couldn't log into the website. MSC blamed it on website updates...for FIVE MONTHS???? Ridiculous. Once we finally figured out how to log into the most confusing website in the world, we noticed that our names were spelled incorrectly. "Okay, we will just call them..." Good luck with that! After several times of being put on hold for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and more with no pick up, I requested a call back via the MSC website. That was about six weeks ago, my cruise has come and gone, and I still haven't gotten a call. Embarkation -- I don't have much bad to say about this. It was smooth...I would consider waiting in line for the next customer service representative one of the big highlights of my MSC Seaside experience...and no, I'm not being sarcastic. Nothing bad happened, so I'll count this as a win. Ship -- The ship is beautiful...yes. It's big, it's spacious, and it was clean...if you don't count the consistent nostril burning sewage smell that lingers in certain areas. Once you look past the beauty and grandeur of the ship, however, there are MAJOR issues. For example, on Deck 8, if you walk around enough, you will find the chair graveyard. There were approximately 12 deck chairs that had broken...yes, broken with people actually sitting in them. We saw one, average sized man, fall right out of his chair during breakfast when the chair broke from underneath them. Obviously this is a problem on the Seaside because there were a lot of broken chairs and a lot of pissed off people. Cabin -- Our cabin...9158...straight up...smelled like someone had peed all over the floor, let it soak into the carpet, and then placed the room in the hot, Caribbean sun for a week or so just to make sure that the odor would really stay in there. We DID complain about it, and our room steward sprayed something in there, but it only masked the smell for a short time. Dining -- My gluten-free food was good. They did cater to my needs. The rest of our group, however, didn't have the best experience all of the time. For instance, my mother's salad was in a bowl, and at the bottom of the bowl was about a quarter inch of water. Gross. Entertainment and Activities -- “That was the sh*ttiest sh*t show I ever saw…” I heard this as we left Country/Western night. It lasted a whole 15 minutes, and then it changed to latin night, with hours of latin dancing. The rest of the entertainment on the ship was poor, too. Nothing ever caught our eyes...or our ears, for that matter...and I was traveling with a group of about 25 people. I will give props to the Michael Jackson show...my second highlight of this cruise. It was pretty great. Service -- Here's where MSC really fails, flunks, falters, etc. The customer service is almost non-existent. The company simply doesn't care. We literally had drinks shoved at us, we had bartenders rolling their eyes when ordering simple drinks like rum and coke, and you just have to wait until they feel like serving you...oh, and don't be surprised if people who come after you get served first. It happened to us time and time again. Rajbir in the Jungle Bar was a great example of this. He caught my eye several times, and passed me over not once, not twice, but SIX times for people who came up to the bar after me. I finally had to say "EXCUSE ME" and he STILL didn't come to me. Another bartender, Reinan, stepped up and apologized for my wait, and said if I need anything else to please come to him...which I did. Some of these people really acted like it was a chore to serve. Well guess what? That is your JOB. If you don't want to be a bartender, then find another vocation. These bartenders also don't seem to know what they are serving. We got the MSC promotion "Drinks on Us." There are literally seven mixed drinks to choose from. it's not that difficult to get right. Vodka Lemon is one of the drinks. It's Bitter Lemon soda and vodka. Simple, delicious, refreshing. These people KNOW you have this drink package, and I can't even tell you all of the times that they messed that drink up by putting lemonade instead of Bitter Lemon, or Sprite instead of Bitter Lemon, or just plain club soda with a lemon...it was seriously mind-boggling. If you can't make the drink right, take it off the menu. Ports and Shore Excursions -- The ports were all fabulous, and I am not giving MSC an ounce of praise for them. They just chose where to stop. That's it. Good job at picking ports that every other cruise line also goes to. Here's your gold star for the day, MSC! Disembarkation --- This was the absolute WORST. After a week of misery and dealing with broken chairs, terrible customer service, and smell like pee and sewage, finally we could get off of this hell hole on water. The disembarkation is simple. You get a colored tag on your luggage, you go to that color area, and you get your suitcase. Easy peasy, right? Except when you have a red tag and your luggage is not in the red area. This is exactly what happened to me. We looked for about 15 minutes, and then asked someone. They didn't really care. The response was, "Well, sometimes the colors get mixed up. Look in similar colored areas." So, I did. We looked in fuchsia, brown, and purple...no luggage. I asked a second person. This person told me to "walk up and down all of the aisles to see if it's in another color." (Mind you, there are 5,000+ people on this ship, all with luggage...) No success there, so I asked a third person. He said the same thing...look in other areas. At this point, I started yelling to everyone, including my poor dad and some random people, about how much I hate MSC...and I meant it from the bottom of my heart. Yes, people stared, but I was done. I then went to another customer service rep. She said that it's possible the luggage is in the next area, which wasn't open yet. I asked when it would open and she said "Well, one person has the key, so it will open when he is ready to open it." At this point, it had been well over an hour since we had stepped off of the ship. About 10 minutes later, even as I huffed and puffed over this insane lack of customer service, the door opened. I pushed my way through the scores of travelers waiting to get THEIR luggage, and I saw my suitcase as soon as I walked in. Why? Because a bright red tag really stands out when it's in the light pink color area. I walked over and took my bag, and began to roll it out. My traveling companion was waiting for me, and as soon as she saw it, she gasped. I looked down and there was a HUGE dent in my BRAND NEW suitcase. If you thought I had lost my mind before, I hadn't...this was when I really lost my mind. I pushed my way back through and I was advised to go to this little desk where a woman was surrounded by people who had ALSO gotten their luggage damaged. I had to fill out a form, take photos, and she said, "Well, that luggage looks totaled." She gave me a card with some contact information on it, and said they would reimburse me for the damage, I just had to email them the information. So, I did...and this is the response I got back --- We are so sorry to hear that your bag was damaged during disembarkation. We make every effort to handle our guests’ belongings carefully and to deliver everything safely, so it’s disappointing that things went awry this time. As stated in our ticket contract, MSC is not liable for any damage to guests’ luggage. Now...here I am. Writing this review and trying to warn everyone out there about how terrible MSC was to us. I will never, ever, not in a bazillion years, EVER go on another MSC vacation, and I urge you to try any other cruise line in the world but MSC. My mom has gone on 16 cruises, and she said this was the worst out of every cruise she has been on. 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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
My family traveled on the Divina 5 years ago and enjoyed it immensely. We cruise a lot and wanted to try a different line so we chose MSC. This time we took 20 guests for our 60th wedding anniversary, 12 of them I paid for myself. We ... Read More
My family traveled on the Divina 5 years ago and enjoyed it immensely. We cruise a lot and wanted to try a different line so we chose MSC. This time we took 20 guests for our 60th wedding anniversary, 12 of them I paid for myself. We liked the new ship, free drink package, price was good as I booked early. Embarkation was very smooth. disembarkation was a chaos because of waiting on transportation but not the ship's fault. The ship is just beautiful and so many areas to choose from. Entertainment was awesome with aerialists, particularly the Michael Jackson show. Super! Food wasn't the best we have had on ships and varieties were limited and somewhat bland but we aren't ones to complain about things like that. Cheesecake and a nice fish would have been nice each night. The children's areas are fabulous and our two little ones loved it all, particularly Kids Club. We loved everything about the Seaside except the ship did not recognize our 60th anniversary and 20 people in any way.That disappointed me since we were returning guests from 5 years ago. We liked the bars to get your own drinks and not wait on a waiter. No tissues are in the rooms now, had to ask for them. Only 2 washcloths but we had a wonderful room steward. The best part was Melvin, Head Waiter, from Hungary? He was wonderful, funny and danced with me two nights. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We were in the Mac hatch club, so this experience is very different if you were not in the hatch club. It was a nice, quiet, and fun experience. We had a deluxe sweet on the 18 floor. It was good size and sleeps 5. The yatch club gets ... Read More
We were in the Mac hatch club, so this experience is very different if you were not in the hatch club. It was a nice, quiet, and fun experience. We had a deluxe sweet on the 18 floor. It was good size and sleeps 5. The yatch club gets butlers, unlimited food, and drink, and gets escorted to shows, dinner, and off the ship. You have a private deck, pool, lounge, restaurant, and bars. Only around 150 other people so it is nice and not crowded. You get a priority elevator which skips all other floors. Also you get priority boarding at each port. Our butler helped so much. And I would recommend getting a cabana on the top deck for 100$. It comes with a cooler filled with any drink, food delivered the whole day, and a nice shaded and private area. The shows are great. (Michael Jackson show is a must, tickets sell fast). For shows the hatch club has private seating in the theater and don’t need to book tickets. But tickets if you are not in yatch club sell fast. Awesome cruise and only way to cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We went with family/friends. The ship is beautiful but is run very poorly. My room was dirty and I always bring Lysol wipes with me so I cleaned it myself. We saw the guy maybe 4 times and he was nice but not very thorough when ... Read More
We went with family/friends. The ship is beautiful but is run very poorly. My room was dirty and I always bring Lysol wipes with me so I cleaned it myself. We saw the guy maybe 4 times and he was nice but not very thorough when cleaning. (He left a plate with food on it for two days on the dresser). We were told out room was to have a see through balcony with glass and it had metal on the bottom so we couldn't see out unless we stood up. Very few people to help you navigate the ship and the signage is almost non existent. The maîtred in the ship restaruant was very good as was the mgr of the ship's buffet. The food was just okay; sometimes good and sometimes not so good. The ship has many drink packages and they screwed up most of them. The people on the ship including the employees complained where ever we went. More complaints than compliments. No need to get a drink package unless you plan to spend more than what you pay in drinks. Both with and without alcohol. The non alcohol package came with soft ice cream which they gave to anyone and it was rarely available but when the machines where working, it was very good. This package was supposed to come with flavored water etc... and they had no idea what this is. In other words we got screwed royally. The entertainment was good but very repetitive; acts were repeated each night to a different stage ie... lights, costumes etc... Some of them were very good and some seemed to need more practice as they were out of sync a lot when dancing. The stingray excursion in the Cayman's was excellent and I highly recommend it but it is less expensive going on your own than booking through the ship. The last day in the Bahamas was terrible as the ship failed to tell us that it was their labor day and most everything was closed so after walking around in the heat we went back to the ship's swimming pool. The pools are not big enough to accommodate the amount of people on the ship and not enough pool seating. The casino was just okay and I never saw all the games up and running at one time. Few personnel to take drink orders and fix machines when necessary. Not enough slot machines overall compared to other cruise lines. The bars were so understaffed that you had to wait and wait to just get a bottle of water. The people working there tried their best but they are so understaffed I can't express this enough. You wait forever to get someone to answer the phone when calling down to the desk. This ship is not ready for the American market. They cater to the European market. Americans expect to see people smiling and being nice, cleaning all the time and making sure you keep the germs to a minimum. This is not expected the European market I was told. I spoke with many people on this ship and only one person had all nice things to say. I am being very sincere and not exaggerating. I love to cruise but this is my first and last cruise on this cruise line. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I decided to try out msc after reading decent reviews about them online. This was my 10th cruise (past 9 on RCCL) and first one on msc. When we booked our trip in January of 2019 we paid extra for the fantastica experience ... Read More
My wife and I decided to try out msc after reading decent reviews about them online. This was my 10th cruise (past 9 on RCCL) and first one on msc. When we booked our trip in January of 2019 we paid extra for the fantastica experience since it offered 12 drink vouchers which we thought was a great idea! Well we sure were wrong! When we arrived on the ship we entered the room and didn't see any vouchers. So later in the evening proceeded to guest services to see if they could resolve. We got told that "msc discontinued the vouchers" and that "if we received them it would say on our cruise ticket packet." If it doesn't there's nothing they can do. So, the following morning we spoke with the bar manager at the cruise critic meet and greet and he gave us positive news stating that if we paid for them, we will receive them and he said it was wrong of guest services to deny them. Well of course there was a catch and when we visited guest services later in the day to find out what was going on, no surprise the bar manager changed his tune and re worded what he said earlier in the day. The main dining room service was miserable for us on the first night. We were seated promptly and waited well over 20 minutes to receive menus, water, and a bread basket. All of the large tables around us had prompt service, and had their entrees before we even placed our order, and those tables had 8+ people sitting at them while it was just me and my wife. Oddly I looked around and the section the rest of the groups were sitting in had the same server named on their tables as we did, except we never got served by those servers! After asking for the head waiter to explain what was going on, a server ran and found a random server to take our order in which he never introduced himself, never asked if we had any allergies, and never asked if we wanted to order from the bar. Overall the ship is clean, it's different, it has a nice layout, the sports bar is beautiful, rooms are clean and a nice size, bed is comfy. But the rest of the experience has ruined my views of MSC and I will never recommend them to anyone. Also the muster drill was comical, absolute chaos and people were so loud and so over packed into one area it was nearly impossible to hear what was being said or see the demonstration. For me I don't personally care since I've seen plenty, but for someone new to cruising they would've left there clueless as to what to do in an emergency. MSC also doesn't seem to care nearly as much as Royal Caribbean does about washing your hands and staying clean. The hand sanitizer stations are sparse around the ship and NOBODY uses the hand washing stations (we were even getting weird looks when we used them) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Friends had went on this cruise a year ago. We needed a vacation and thought let's give it a try! First time cruisers, so we have nothing to compare it to. Beautiful ship, and scenery. Clean also. Unfortunately a lot of rude ... Read More
Friends had went on this cruise a year ago. We needed a vacation and thought let's give it a try! First time cruisers, so we have nothing to compare it to. Beautiful ship, and scenery. Clean also. Unfortunately a lot of rude guests. People can really be inconsiderate aholes. The staff we encountered, were all pretty friendly and helpful. Food was good but not fantastic. A lot repeated dishes. Expensive up charges for specialty restaurants. We had a drink package that didn't include much, so basically worthless and to upgrade was astronomical. Elevators, they should have built more into the ship. You would wait forever at peak times and even slow times. Excursions were fun. Unfortunately MSC found a way to screw the guest and make some money on our SXM atv tour. We booked single riders and when our tickets came in, they marked everyone as double riders. So the poor atv tour owner got an earfull but it wasn't his fault, it was MSC BEING GREEDY. The tour was so fun and awesome but was somewhat ruined by that situation. We are doing a beach day today in Nassau, hopefully they can't screw that up. Spa package was nice. Massages were amazing. Thermal area was busy and hard to enjoy, especially with the inconsiderate guests. Cabins were clean and kept clean daily. Bed was horribly firm and uncomfortable. We woke up everyday sore. I truly hope the yacht club people didn't have those beds. Over $4,000 a person with that bed, oh hell no! All in all, an ok experience for us. Not sure if we will do again. Pretty sure not on MSC. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Newer Ship caught my eye as well as price and itinerary. The bathroom is quite small and you can not sit on the toilet without your knee hitting the sink. The shower stall is hard to stand in if you're a little large. My GF baggage ... Read More
Newer Ship caught my eye as well as price and itinerary. The bathroom is quite small and you can not sit on the toilet without your knee hitting the sink. The shower stall is hard to stand in if you're a little large. My GF baggage was a little delayed eventhough we put our items together on the check in area. The dining room food was average at best and we ate most of our meals in the fee paying restaurants. I recommend the Surf and Turf roll in the asian market...delish. The on board shows were very nice and there were plenty of seating in the theatre. The ports were very nice but I do not recommend the Quad tour in St Martin unless you request a single rider vehicle. We books on the MSC website and it specifically says single rider and we were forced to take a double. Of course the business said blame MSC and MSC says blame the business. The Casino is below par...NO CRAP TABLES OR CASH POKER (only Beat the dealer poker) I would go on the ship again but at a better and lower price. 3 stars at best Read Less
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