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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this Cruise because we saw the ship coming off of our 12th Anniversary to Jamaica and we decided then and there, we wanted to do this ship for our 13th Anniversary. The price we paid for our Cruise was great. The food on the ship ... Read More
We chose this Cruise because we saw the ship coming off of our 12th Anniversary to Jamaica and we decided then and there, we wanted to do this ship for our 13th Anniversary. The price we paid for our Cruise was great. The food on the ship was good but it can be better. When we bought our Cruise last year, the tourist who helped us said it was a different experience and it was. Just like she said, MSC caters to the Europeans! It's like nobody else matters but our money spends the same. The staff, mainly the ones dressed in white are stuck up with nasty attitudes! Never saw the Captain not one day! The only entertainment we enjoyed was the Michael Jackson show. That was the worse KARAOKE I've ever seen on a Cruise and it was just one night! MSC Seaside never starts any shows, bands, games, etc. on time. It's like they wait til the last minute to show up and set up. The music groups are amazing. Seaside has some Awesome singers but they only cater to certain people with their music and that's not right! When you advertise R&B SOUL, then that's what you need to be performing is R&B SOUL!! When you advertise Old School Jams, then perform Old School Jams! Their entertainment can use a lot of adjustment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
The ship was beautiful but the food was just ok. You cruise for the food & for an Italian line the food was very disappointing. I was also amazed how small the pools were, you couldn’t even get in due to overcrowding. This is my ... Read More
The ship was beautiful but the food was just ok. You cruise for the food & for an Italian line the food was very disappointing. I was also amazed how small the pools were, you couldn’t even get in due to overcrowding. This is my first & last time with MSC. The crew were not very friendly and definitely not over accommodating. Even our cabin guy was not personable. I had premium package & still had to pay for gelato, everything seemed to be extra. Getting our pictures was a major ordeal. We ordered & was told to return in 8 hours (10:30pm). Was told to come back in an hour. I really wanted to give MSC a chance but unfortunately it’s my first and last time. I received a good deal but when on the ship I had to upgrade because I didn’t receive what I expected. Royal Caribbean I’ll be back! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Pros: Crew members - always friendly and helpful. Our room steward, Christian, went beyond normal. Some crew members gave us free drinks or moved us to the front of the line without us requesting the favors. Cleanliness of ship ... Read More
Pros: Crew members - always friendly and helpful. Our room steward, Christian, went beyond normal. Some crew members gave us free drinks or moved us to the front of the line without us requesting the favors. Cleanliness of ship (with the exception of plates in the hallway for over a day) Cabin Entertainment (except as noted below) We met some very nice people (expecially at the Meet & Greet) Cruise Critic Meet & Greet was our first and an unexpected joy Balcony experience Things not outstanding: Food (both MDR and buffet) 360 degree tour of St. Maarten (about half of it was disappointing) Cons: Does not really cater to the American market Embarkation was my worst ever Disembarkation (self-disembarkation) was my worst ever Comedy improv show stunk; almost just left Some overseas passengers think nothing of cutting in front of you Some overseas passengers think nothing of bumping you around 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
7 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: 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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My spouse and I along with 14 other friends and couples went on this Cruise last week. It was my first crusing experience but everyone else in the group has been on several cruises in the past. Ship overall was very clean. First 3 nights ... Read More
My spouse and I along with 14 other friends and couples went on this Cruise last week. It was my first crusing experience but everyone else in the group has been on several cruises in the past. Ship overall was very clean. First 3 nights of formal dining are table was the last to be served. We sat down at table before many other tables that were served before us. There were times when we were just getting our food and other tables were finishing up their dessert. The buffet had just about same food at each sitting the entire cruise. Food definitely needs Improvement. I had my clothes dry cleaned and laundered but did not get them back until a day and a half later than I was told I would receive them. I missed one formal dinner due to lack of communication and services. Each time I go down to customer service I would be greeted by an employee who did not speak clear English and feel that many employees do not know the meaning of many important words in English to adequately help assist you. My internet was turned off and when I spoke to agent at desk she told me that it's totally my responsibility to know that MSC charges based on Gigabytes. I am old school and had no clue what Gigabytes meant. The young lady said that MSC cruise is not responsible for my internet service being interrupted and that I "should educate myself more before using the internet" I stayed calm and did not yell or shout at any employer on cruise ship. Went to purchase picture package and one gentleman working behind desk was rude and not willing to help or assist us. Thankfully, we found the young Asian man who took our photos and he was very kind, patient, and professional. Due to this man's demeanor we bought couple hundred dollars worth of photos instead of walking away after first experience with other worker. The shows are good but very repetitive. The comedy improv show was my favorite while on this cruise. The 4 comedians were very Funny and professional. I give the improv comedians a 5 star rating. Overall, was fun time but lack of communication and food choices really need to be improved. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
First of all let me start by saying that this was my 14th cruise and I've been on 7 different cruise lines. We choose this cruise strictly based on price. Overall, I guess we got what we paid for. The 'Easy Drink Package' ... Read More
First of all let me start by saying that this was my 14th cruise and I've been on 7 different cruise lines. We choose this cruise strictly based on price. Overall, I guess we got what we paid for. The 'Easy Drink Package' & 3 GB of data were included in our package and we had the 'Fantastica' experience with a balcony. The drink package worked out ok for us as we are wine & rum drinkers. The thing that mystifies me about this package is that you are very limited on the mixed drinks that you can get but you can get various 'virgin' drinks included. While on the ship, I mostly drank mojitos in the afternoon but my package didn't include alcoholic mojitos but I could get a virgin mojito and a shot of rum on the side so I would just pour the run into the drink before I left the bar... that made absolutely no sense to me. (You can do the same with Pina Coladas and several other drinks!) Even the bar staff agreed that it made no sense!! We found the food to be good in both the buffet & the main dining room. The only complaint there was that we felt a bit rushed as we had the 7:15 seating and there was another seating at 9:15. The staff in the Ipanema restaurant were beyond fantastic. Our waiters were fabulous especially Kelvin A. Gurley who was always right there with our wine as soon as we were seated (and returned several times during dinner to refill our glasses). Pande Putra was our server and he was also great.. although he did forget a few minor things over the course of the week but he was so sweat, we forgave him for that. We had the absolute best head waiter (Maitre d') that I have ever had the pleasure to meet and his name was Organ! It's been my experience that you meet the Maitre d' on the first night and don't see him again until the last night. Organ came to our table several times every night to make sure everything was how it should be. I saw him cut the steak for a challenged guest one night... that goes above and beyond in my opinion! I would definitely give the wait staff 5 stars. We didn't try any of the Specialty Restaurants so I can't comment on them. Now let me get to the main issues I had with this cruise. I very much enjoy having my coffee delivered in the mornings and sitting on my balcony for an hour or so enjoying the scenery. I only drink decaf coffee as caffeine upsets my stomach. The first morning when it was delivered.. it was instant coffee!! I hate instant coffee!! I mentioned it to our Head Waiter Organ, and he said it would be fixed and I would definitely get my decaf coffee for the rest of the cruise. He had arranged for someone from Room Service to go to the buffet and get me a pot of decaf coffee every morning. Through no fault of Organs, I never did get my decaf coffee. There was always an excuse! I would have to get dressed every morning and go to the buffet to get my cup of coffee and bring it back to the room. By the time I got back it was always cold because the elevators are so slow! (Plus we were in a Forward cabin & the buffet was Aft.) I was told by Room Service that there wasn't enough requests for decaf to warrant them having it available although every time I went to the buffet, the decaf dispenser was always empty... Go figure!!! Another issue for me was there was no table on the balcony. So when sitting out there enjoying the scenery I had to put my drink on the floor! (Minor issue for some I know but still a pain & definitely an easy fix to make guest more comfortable). Another major issue for us was the nightly entertainment. The shows in the main theatre were great for the first couple of nights but after that it became very repetitive... same acts in different costumes! The Beer Prov (very funny) and the Michael Jackson show were the best. The entertainment in all of the lounges was always Spanish. There was a group of young men entertaining in the Haven Lounge every night that sang in English but they finished around 11 and the lady that replaced them every night only sang in Spanish! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of Salsa.. but not every night!!! Also, I want to mention the smoking issue on this ship. It appears that smoking is allowed everywhere in the outside areas on this ship and of course in the Casino!! Not a nice experience for non smokers. Other cruise lines have designated areas for smokers! Before I finish, I would also like to mention the timing at the Ports of Call. 5pm-1am in San Juan and 7am-2pm in St. Maarten is absolutely ridiculous! Arriving at 5pm in San Juan allows you absolutely no time to explore the island and having to be back on board at 1:30 in St. Maarten is just unacceptable. The next stop after St. Maarten was Nassau where we were docked from 12-7. I would prefer they shave some time off of that port and add it to St. Maarten which is a far nicer place to spend your day!! Now I'm going to touch on Disembarkation Day. We had to be out of our cabin by 8am (which is the norm for most cruise lines). After going to the buffet for breakfast I thought I'd make a quick stop at the Ladies before leaving the ship... WELL... There was a lineup at every ladies room on the several decks I tried. The reason for this was, the stalls had been cleaned in preparation for the new guests getting onboard and then the stalls were locked, leaving only one stall in every ladies room on multiple decks!! This gave me the feeling of.. 'We have your money so now you're not important to us.. get off the ship!!' I listened to many disgruntled guests in the lineups that morning!! Once off the ship, don't even think about stopping on the gangway or just outside the terminal. You will be shouted at by MSC staff to keep moving. I overheard one of the staff telling who I assume to be a new employee.. "Speak with Authority!!".. Really???? Mostly we enjoyed our cruise but the coffee issue and the lack of nightly entertainment would deter us from booking another MSC cruise. These things are an easy fix and I hope MSC makes an effort to fix them. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I have very mixed feelings about my 4/27 cruise aboard the MSC Seaside (my first MSC cruise). I had great service and I had substandard service. I was impressed by the appearance of the ship and disappointed by inconsistent policies and ... Read More
I have very mixed feelings about my 4/27 cruise aboard the MSC Seaside (my first MSC cruise). I had great service and I had substandard service. I was impressed by the appearance of the ship and disappointed by inconsistent policies and procedures. Let's get the bad out of the way first. Food quality and selection. I am in no way what I would call a foodie, but I was highly disappointed in the quality of the food in the main dining room (I ate in the Ipanema dining room each night with friends so I can't speak to the pay dining venues). I have no argument with the quantity as some have complained about and I'm sure I came back heavier than when I embarked. There were 13 of us in my group and most were dissatisfied with their meals. Many were sent back and other selections ordered. Now the wait staff was outstanding. They were engaging, informative, and very accommodating to our many requests. Even the Maitre D' made it a point to have a good Greek salad prepared daily for one in my group after she complained about the first one she was brought. I had read reviews from other Seaside cruisers who complained about the lack of variety of the breakfast buffets so I wasn't surprised. There were salads and bread aplenty, but I would have appreciated some change in the menu. Some good Canadian bacon, or even English bacon would have been a nice addition. Other lines are able to provide a variety in the buffets. A minor nit for me involved the Customer Service desk. This being an Italian line, I figured I could easily exchange some left over Euros I had from a Mediterranean cruise I had taken. The desk rep had to call someone else and then told me I had to take a penalty to exchange the money. I declined, went to the Casino and had it exchanged in less than a minute with the exchange rate in my favor. With all the Europeans on board this must have come up before. The desk was going to give me $10 U.S. for my 15 Euros! The only other complaint, and it was minor, involved extremely slow service in the Sports bar. I, and others, were surprised at the lack of attention. I'm not normally invisible, but I was beginning to think so, especially when other customers who came later were served first. I surmised these workers were exhausted. I watched other cruisers walk out when they weren't served in a reasonable period. Now for the good. Unlike the Sports bar, the service in the Champagne Bar was excellent. So good, in fact, I stopped there daily even though champagne is not my normal drink of choice. They took the time to educate me on different varieties and make recommendations. More importantly, two workers engaged me lengthy conversation daily regarding my home, sailing experience, thoughts on the ship, and telling me about themselves. One of my best interactions in more than 20 cruises. What can I say about the Creperie and the Gelateria. The gelato was excellent. I wish I had discovered those locations earlier in the cruise. It helped that I had the Premium All Inclusive package. The Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle was also another plus. We didn't get some minor officers stuck with the job, we got the Captain himself and he took the time to tell us how important we were to the cruise line. He might not think so after reading the first half of this missive. Plenty of drinks and hors d'oeuvres were available. I thought this was one of the better events even though there wasn't a lot of roll call participation, or programs scheduled. Every roll call is different. Finally, the entertainment. I took in all but one of the shows in the main theater. Yes, we saw the same acts in each of the shows, but for the most part they were excellent. As advertised, the Michael Jackson finale was worth waiting for. I didn't see the opera some folks complained about. Kudos to those who informed me about the status match program (Gold), and about upgrading to the Premium All Inclusive program before the packages changed last year. I had a much better enjoyment factor than some of my friends who complained about paying for everything. LOL I upgraded in early December when I learned the program was changing. I had to personally call the customer service line to get the upgrade from DOU. It took two calls, but I got it done and got the old Deluxe All Inclusive package. No questions on board regarding gelato, crepes, minibar, or any other drinks. Bottom line, would I sail MSC again? I think so if the price was right. While I was disappointed in some aspects, I would try it again with lowered expectations. I may give the Meraviglia a try when it arrives knowing that some things would be different from what I'm used too. I would have to try the Specialty Dining package and buy the Premium Plus plan. Not so my friends. We talked at length about sailing the line again, but they were turned off by the food and lack of variety of the entertainment. I expect MSC to keep tweaking its programs as it tries to increase its presence in the North American market to better suit these customers. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We cruised on MSC Divina in the past and loved it, even recommending to friends for the value and more upscale experience than we’ve had on other lines. This 7-day cruise to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau was not the ... Read More
We cruised on MSC Divina in the past and loved it, even recommending to friends for the value and more upscale experience than we’ve had on other lines. This 7-day cruise to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau was not the same. The good - salt water pool (although tiny), fine dining and buffet, and the family offerings seemed good - a jungle pool, slides, race car simulator, and bowling alley. The bad - room plumbing problems and smell issues the entire cruise, stained shower curtain, worn bedding (both of which they fixed when requested), and very slow embark and disembarking. Also, one excursion was spent mostly in lines rather than at the beach. Regarding excursions, There are two for Maho Beach. One is just scenic, and then other includes beach time. I’m so glad we didn’t do the latter. The beach was small and flooded with people. They were packed on the beach like sardines. We got to see an airplane pass right over our bus though, so I was happy about that! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
MSC Seaside Review March 30 – Eastern Caribbean Miami – San Juan – St. Thomas – St. Marteen – Nassau – Miami Cabin: Inside Deck 12 - #12121 (I always try to get rooms with easy to remember numbers) The following is ... Read More
MSC Seaside Review March 30 – Eastern Caribbean Miami – San Juan – St. Thomas – St. Marteen – Nassau – Miami Cabin: Inside Deck 12 - #12121 (I always try to get rooms with easy to remember numbers) The following is my review of the MSC Seaside. This was my 132 cruise and although I’m high level on Celebrity, NCL, RCCL, HAL and Carnival, I’ve been intrigued by the Seaside’s design and was curious about the MSC line. MSC matched my loyalty level on NCL and gave me GOLD status (see their website for the loyalty match program) as an enticement for me to try the product. The reviews for this ship and the line have been iffy so I thought I’d take a chance as I’m a strong believer in the saying “there is no such thing as a bad cruise”. So off I went… EMARKATION I arrived at Terminal F Saturday morning at about 1:15 pm via UBER only to find the line to get into the terminal from the door of the terminal to the Celebrity terminal. I’ve never seen a line that long. At one point I considered taking a quick three-day cruise and I’d still have time to get on the Seaside, however, the line did move quickly, and we were inside the terminal in less than 30 minutes. Once inside there was a line for security where I was “psst’d” by a man in the jacket asking, “hey buddy, want to get in the quick line” and then asking me for money for allowing me that honor. UGH. Looking back, the regular line was just as quick. A quick trip upstairs to the check in area where, although a bit confusing, the lines went quick with many open reception desks. I got my room card, picture taken and boarding group number (14). From there a walk to the boarding area where we were met with another long line. I thought MSC meant “Me Standing Constantly” but again the line moved quickly. The speaker system shorts out in the boarding area near the photographers, so you need to move away from that area to hear everything. Within thirty minutes group 14 was called and I went on board. Overall a little more than an hour to get on board which is a decent time especially given the long lines experienced. The first thing I learned about this ship is that they know what they are doing even though it might not appear so .. just trust them. FIRST STEPS ON SEASIDE WOW. What a beautiful ship. The Atrium area is several stories and features a multi-level video screen. Each level has distinct bars. The ship has several elevators and except for embarkation, there was never really a long wait. I went to my room right away and dropped off my travel bag and then went off to explore some more. NCL’s oceanside concept is something I really enjoy (being so close to the water while having dinner or drinks). MSC has taken that experience to the next level. There is more deck space on this ship than I’ve seen on any ship next to an aircraft carrier. Each lounge chair had a built-in pillow as well. Of course, people hog the chairs close to the pools, but if you just wander a few steps around deck 6 you’ll find an open chair. The technology on this ship was tremendous. (I just got off Bliss in December, another new ship, and found Seaside to be like a Star Trek vessel). STAFF The crew takes great care of “their” ship. From the room steward to the performers to the bar staff .. everyone was polite and seemed to like their jobs. I did not speak to one crew member on the staff who said they would not return after their contract was up. That’s unheard of. They ALL keep asking what they can go to make things better. What made me sad was learning the servers make, in some cases, about $800 a month. That’s another topic but I do my best to help with tipping above and beyond as they really work hard for many hours each day. My room steward was Maria. She did a fine job, but she was invisible most of the trip. I guess that’s good. There are no towel animals on Seaside (at least not in my cabin) but I did not miss them. FOOD The first stop, as always, is the buffet. The Seaside buffet is in the back of the ship and is the same design as most new ships with a flow on both sides, front and back. I found the buffet on this ship to be very limited and quality issues were apparent. Somethings were cold that were supposed to be hot and other things vice versa. Nothing will make you want to skip the MDR for buffet on this ship. It served its purpose but barely. Since I was traveling solo on this trip, and thanks to NCL, I like only to dine at my own leisure, I only ate at the specialty restaurants. There are five on board on level 16. The Pan Asian restaurant also features a sushi bar and a Japanese Hibachi. On the other side of the ship there is Butcher’s Cut and Ocean Cay. The Seaside also offers a Chef’s Table, but I did not try it. I purchased two of the three meal specialty restaurant experiences. I highly recommend the Pan Asian restaurant and Teppanyaki. I ate at both twice. The meal at Butcher’s Cut was very basic – not bad, but not great. The worst meal was at Ocean Cay. If I’m going to pay money for a specialty restaurant, I’d better get something I can’t get at the buffet. At Ocean Cay the entrée was a filet of sea bass and mashed potatoes. The menu is going to change to include shrimp, crab and other seafood dishes. Also, at Ocean Cay only about half the menu was available without a surcharge. Again, a work in progress. The ship has a incredible coffee/ice cream bar. Worth stopping for a treat once a day (or more). If you like your coffee, try getting a cappuccino or latte each morning at one of the bars. The coffee at the buffet was horrible. I asked several passengers about the MDR and didn’t hear many complaints other than some nights the dinner took over two hours. Same complaints from other ships. CASINO I played slots mostly this cruise and found the machines to be the same as most lines. As is with most casinos, you earn points with each pull of the slot machine. The prizes however are horrible. I ended up with over 2000 points and I was offered four Styrofoam key chains for 400 points each. Think $400 worth of slot pulls. HORRIBLE. The casino is much smaller than any other ship I’ve been on so far. Many of the slot machines feature multiple games. There are no Texas Hold’em table games. EXTRAS Easy Drink Package (NAY) The EASY drink package was advertised as non-alcoholic beverages (soda, blended drinks, bottled water), coffee delights, hot chocolate delights, ice cream drinks and select spirits and wine. This package confused everyone. Some nights things were included and others the same drinks were an extra charge (which I refused). The coffee, chocolate and ice cream options were also mixed in availability. When I did get a drink from the Easy Package Drink menu it was very basic and weak. Check how many drinks you get with your package (my cruise came with 12 drinks) to see if you really need the drink package. Remember, you don’t get drinks at the restaurants other than tap water. The self-serve soda, wine and beer machines at the buffet were accessible with this package but only worked half time. Another work in progress. Thermal SPA Pass (NAY) The SPA is WOW at first. From the sensory steam (light and dark) to the wind effect showers and snow room, when you first enter you don’t think you’re on a cruise ship. Another reason you don’t feel you are on a cruise ship is that there are NO WINDOWS. It’s so dark, you can’t read a book or enjoy a magazine. Half the reason I go to the spa area is to find a quiet place to read. This SPA is good for one visit, but not the whole cruise. Internet Pass (YAY) I opted for the unlimited internet and I think I used it to the max. Part of me really hates having access to the internet while I’m on vacation but I found that I relax more having the access as I can take care of things that come up with work immediately. The package disclaimers say it’s not fast enough to stream video, but I was able to watch any shows that I tried. I would get the internet package again. CONS The bathroom in my cabin was almost unusable. How the toilet is placed makes it impossible to move your legs if you have long legs. Let’s just say if I had to so more than pee, I had to go elsewhere. After three days of just not making it a big deal, I finally visited the guest services desk to say something. I had thirty-minute conversation with three different people and got the generic, we are sorry about your experience, however all the staterooms in the Fantastica category are like that. Many have complained about it. I could see this being a HUGE problem with anyone with mobility issues. I made the most of it but it’s a major design flaw that needs to be addressed on new builds. The solution is simple carpentry to fix the problem on Seaside (cutting out space underneath the sink). I had a pass to the spa so I really just timed my bathroom breaks to avoid being in my cabin when the time arouse. The major issue I had with the entire situation was the lack of follow up. Those damn tablets the bar/restaurant servers used. Either the staff needs more training or whatever app they are using doesn’t work. I realize the need for efficiency, but order placing shouldn’t take so much time and show so much frustration on the part of the staff. The tablets need to be tossed into the dumpsters at the next port. The cause nothing but problems. PROS The Wine and Cocktail bar on deck 16 (in the specialty restaurant area) was the best bar on the ship. The two main bartenders, KiKi and Alex (both from South Africa) were AMAZING! (Yes, capital letters, as they made my evening and we’d set up camp at the bar there for several hours). Gene the cruise director, former HAL czar of Cruise Directors, was very personable and professional. He was fun to talk to and always seemed to have time to speak with you without it feeling rushed. Captain LaPalma was also the consummate gentleman. Besides speaking every language on earth, at least it seemed so, he was also very interested in how the cruise was going what MSC needed to do to improve the experience. The entertainment was better than expected, but not awesome. Five of the nights the onboard ensemble would perform a 45 minutes show twice. Each show features vocals, dancing, aerobatics, comedy, juggling and other circus type acts. The costumes, performers and sets were all very good. I made it a point to see all the shows and each time the shows ended with standing ovations. Again, they made the most of the limited time they were given, but not equal to the Broadway style shows on other lines. Water Slides were free and fun! DISEMBARKATION I chose the Express option and carried by own bags. On most other cruises I as in the minority choosing this option given it’s 7AM time. Not on Seaside. Seems most of the passengers wanted to get off as soon as possible. Those lines that were present at embarkation resurfaced again but, as was the pattern, the lines moved quickly. I was off the ship by 7:45 and in the UBER heading to a great hotel “The Gabriel” just across the bridge in downtown Miami. OVERALL On my scale of champagne glasses (1 to 5), I’ll give this cruise three glasses of bubbly. I loved the ship. The deck space, design, cleanliness and operations are a 5. Everything else is a work in progress. With more new ships on order than any other cruise line, MSC is investing heavy in the US market and they know they need to change their product in order to draw and keep US customers. Let’s check back in a year and see what’s been changed. If the service and food could match the ship, the product would be one of the best in the industry. That’s a big IF though! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I ended up on this cruise to celebrate my sister's 70th birthday. Young at heart, we wanted a cruise that suited our personalities. So with 25 adventurers ranging in age from 13 and up, MSC Seaside seemed perfect. Embarkation - ... Read More
I ended up on this cruise to celebrate my sister's 70th birthday. Young at heart, we wanted a cruise that suited our personalities. So with 25 adventurers ranging in age from 13 and up, MSC Seaside seemed perfect. Embarkation - It's a zoo. Imagine 5,000+ people trying to check-in. Our saving grace was the Aurea package (an upgrade). Trying to figure out where our check-in area was located was challenging. Once in line, a very nice young woman provided assistance. We returned to check-in three (3) times because our card didn't work. A non-walker's nightmare. Dining - The buffet, as one of our friends, said, "By the time you make it around the buffet to find what you want and get to your seat, your food is cold." Day 1: Try to get a soda from the pay as you go machine, good luck. Ridiculous. Sell drink cards like other ships. Organization of buffet, where is the jam? It's on the Wellness Bar. Where is the bread? It's next to desserts or sodas (depends). The staff working in the buffet area just stood around - no assistance unless you flagged someone. The staff in white uniforms - no purpose. The soda machine process, go figure. Evening dining -The dining room staff are unorganized. Try finding a waiter to take cocktail orders. The dining room show, yes we clapped for the staff but our waiters were working. Friendliness - No introductions, good morning, smile. What gives? I am a frequent cruiser, Princess, Viking, Royal Caribbean. This experience pales by comparison. The music, theatre shows, Aurea spa, and ship decor saved the day. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a free cruise for me so I took my grand daughter and her best friend, This is just my opinion, everyone has there own. MSC does not do designated times check in so you have the zig zag line to wait in a couple of times. ... Read More
This was a free cruise for me so I took my grand daughter and her best friend, This is just my opinion, everyone has there own. MSC does not do designated times check in so you have the zig zag line to wait in a couple of times. Took us a little over an hour to get all checked in and onboard. Did not want our picture taken before boarding but they would not allow us to just walk around it and made us do the picture. Later they sent them to our room with a folder that if you didn't want them you had to check the NO box and give back to room steward or they would charge you for them. We did check the NO box and gave back to our steward almost immediately but they still charged us. In order to put cash on your account you must visit the customer service desk, of course that line the first day and a half was much to long so I waited till later the first full day and it wasn't so bad. The room was ok, just as I expected as per other cruise lines however I think the bathroom was smaller and could have a better layout for more space. The lights only work with your card in the slot by the door, tried other kinds of cards and they would not work. No wash cloths so you will have to ask for them. No bar soap in the bathroom either just liquid soap. Using the liquid soap with washcloth doesn't really work very well so I bought a luffa at port. We ate at the MDR each night. I thought the food was very good but the presentation could have been better. Selections were good but I prefer having at least one new exotic thing to try each night which I did not see on the menu. The first night you had to find your table so the line was a little long but every night after you just walked to your table and sat down. I do not remember any sail away party, maybe I just missed it. I had to make about 7 trips to the customer service to get things straight. Linking your credit card was very easy at the kiosk. Now on to the casino. The casino was smaller that I am used to. I don't play table games but did notice that there is no craps table and not a whole lot of other table games. I am a smoker when gambling. The smoking section is back side of the slot area, there is a sign designating this. Also, you are not allowed to smoke anywhere in the casino when the ship is in port. Ashtrays are very hard to find when you can smoke. A good deal of the machines you are able to change the denomination to whatever you like. There were alot of hand pays won for the size of this casino. I won a major worth $910.00. Another passenger won $11,500.00, another $4.500.00 and a lot of hand pays that were above $1,000.00. The casino closes every night at 2:00am. The drink servers were very good and quick. Of course on sea days the casino was very crowded so it was a little slower at this time. All of the casino staff was wonderful, I can't praise them enough. 9,999 points gets you a free inside for two, upgrade to OV was like $359 but since I didn't qualify for this I don't know the other amounts for sure. I think the fee to upgrade to balcony was over $1,100.00 We went to two different shows, the most popular was Starwalker (Michael Jackson), we reserved on our first night and ended up standing the whole show because they don't check when you enter whether or not you have reserved so the seating was not sufficient. Get there early to get your seat even if you reserved. We got there just before the show started. I purchased the fun pass before hand for $100 and received $160 credit. Zip line was $10 each, 5D was $10 each, F! simulator was $10 each which seemed to be very popular most of the week. Air hockey and both racing games were $1.50 each. Any game that you could win a prize was not included in the fun pass so beware. There were 2 bowling lanes which we did not try. I was not very pleased with the customer service area, they kept messing up our accounts and I had to make to many trips there to straighten things out. Most of them were nice but there were a few that need to be taught customer service skills again. Having to go the customer service to close out your cash account on the last day was not very pleasing because the lines were very long. If there is any balance on your account at debarkation you will not be allowed to debark and have to go to customer service to take care of. We were charged for something in one of the stores that we never received. They were supposed to have credited it back but never did so we were denied debarking. If there is anything you would like to know just ask and I will try to answer. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
The 1st Thing I must say is that it was a beautiful boat and the staff that was there were very hard workers. Another pro was that they were many activities all different ages. Unfortunately there were too many negatives for me to ... Read More
The 1st Thing I must say is that it was a beautiful boat and the staff that was there were very hard workers. Another pro was that they were many activities all different ages. Unfortunately there were too many negatives for me to ever go back on and MSC line. The company has to invest in 2 very important things much more staff since this since ship is very very big And the food in the main dining Room was tasteless and staff unorganized since the matre'd himself was unorganized. The food in the specialized dining was very good and that's how all the food should be. The butchers cut and asian fusion were excellent. Seafood ok. The noise from the habatchi was very annoying to many in the dining area of the Asian dining area. Also with only 2 photograpers we had NO photos taken except for the ones we posed for. I guess you get what you pay for. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I chose this cruise for many reasons: dates, ports, ship offerings and price. There were 4 in our party (2 adults, 2 kids ages 13 & 10). We stayed in a Balcony cabin on Deck 14 mid-ship. The ship is beautiful and there are lots of ... Read More
I chose this cruise for many reasons: dates, ports, ship offerings and price. There were 4 in our party (2 adults, 2 kids ages 13 & 10). We stayed in a Balcony cabin on Deck 14 mid-ship. The ship is beautiful and there are lots of things to do on it. Nobody should have had a reason to be bored on this cruise. The website photos and video are a true representation of what we saw and experienced on our trip. We are pretty easy travelers. We like clean, comfortable sleeping quarters, good food, and drinks in our hands. We also like there to be answers to our questions should we have some. MSC did a great job with the clean, comfortable sleeping quarters and good food. Where they lacked was bar service and communication. We rarely had a drink in our hands. The bars were greatly understaffed for the number of guests on board and the size of the drink menu. Also, if you dine in the main dining rooms, prepare yourself for water and wine. There were a few evenings we placed orders for soda, beer and mixed drinks but they never arrived. Many bartenders could not understand a drink as simple as a 7 and 7, a screwdriver, etc. A couple of times we tried to explain what was in it and they brought us only what they understood. Pool towels are provided in your cabin. There is 1 towel exchange and it is on Deck 16. It closes at 5:00 each day. The last pool closes at 10:00pm. Our cabin did not have pool towels and the towel exchange attendant couldn't understand that we had no towels to exchange because we had no towels to begin with. This went on for 2 days. On Day 2 I finally got firm and used as few words as possible to express that we have no towels. He handed me 2 towels, wrote my cabin number down and told me to have them back by 5:00 or we would be charged $20/towel. On Sea days we never found an available pool chair prior to 6:00pm. There were many chairs without people in them but people were saving them in case they came back later. Jungle Pool was open until 10:00pm but the bar alongside it closed at 6:00pm. To get drinks of any kind after that, you had to go to another deck and wait. Guest Services was not easy to communicate with as English was not the first or a fluent language for many of them. We were told 4 different ways by 4 different reps how to place an external phone call to the US. We finally had them dial for us. I had 2 other questions and they responded by handing me instruction sheets to answer my questions. We enjoyed our excursions. We felt the port stops were too short with the exception of St. Thomas. That was a full day stop. There were few Americans on this cruise. It was difficult to meet and visit with people because of that, especially for the kids. We finally stopped trying to initiate conversation and only initiated conversation if we could hear them speak English. We spoke to some English-speaking Amercian and Canadian guests we met along the way. We all shared the same opinion: beautiful ship and good food but the bar service and communication barrier prevented it from being a really great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I traveled with the Centennial College Alumni Association from Toronto Canada. I have been a Director on the Alumni Board now for over 10 years. We organize trips for our Alumni every year. This year we decided to cruise with MSC on the ... Read More
I traveled with the Centennial College Alumni Association from Toronto Canada. I have been a Director on the Alumni Board now for over 10 years. We organize trips for our Alumni every year. This year we decided to cruise with MSC on the Seaside. There was a whopping 63 of us. Im sure some of the other cruisers recognized us in our bright orange alumni shirts we were all wearing. We purchased the Fantastica package. The following are my views only and do not represent the views of the other individuals that traveled with the Centennial College Alumni Association. THE ROOM - I was on the 15th floor, very clean, super tiny, the beds were good, the bathroom was a tight squeeze. THE FOOD - A lot of the same stuff everyday/every night. Designated dinner reservations were a little unorganized, but we made it work. The food for reservation dinner was not that good. The ice cream was the best part of each day. THE DRINKS - I do not drink anything carbonated so Im not sure about the soda drinks from the fountain dispenser. Alcoholic beverages were watered down and the bar service is slow everywhere. THE STAFF - Very pleasant and helpful. THE ENTERTAINMENT - A little too much opera singing, but overall was good. Comedy shows were good. THE SHIP - Overall the Seaside is beautiful. I unfortunately did not get to explore the entire ship from the 4th floor up. Its just way too big! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The cruise started on a bad note because too many of the staff seemed tired and annoyed at serving the incoming guests. As a first impression this is not great. Then there are countless hidden costs, even when you purchase packages that ... Read More
The cruise started on a bad note because too many of the staff seemed tired and annoyed at serving the incoming guests. As a first impression this is not great. Then there are countless hidden costs, even when you purchase packages that are merchandised as all inclusive. Even the gym had many additional costs which was a shame. The spa was nice but they did some hard selling even somewhat pushing services that aren’t needed. Also some costs are sneakily added, like water in the cabin even when you have a drinks package. The food is average and doesn’t reflect the tasty videos on display in their promo pieces. The deck is also very cluttered where finding a place to enjoy the sun can be challenging. As the cruise went on things improved (the final show was really impressive) but it was a shame that what was marketed and what was experienced did not match. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Overall, we have had a good cruise. Many minor things were not quite there to make it a great cruise. Food: Restaurant - “Black Crab” food quality got better as the cruise went along, though it was somewhat inconsistent. Our ... Read More
Overall, we have had a good cruise. Many minor things were not quite there to make it a great cruise. Food: Restaurant - “Black Crab” food quality got better as the cruise went along, though it was somewhat inconsistent. Our waiter was exceptionally polite and attentive. Buffet – Food was ok, good selection, the pizza was very good. In the “rush hour”, drink service at the buffet was slow. Coffee stations are too few for the size of the buffet. Dinner and lunch buffet selections are very similar. Sports Bar – Food was ok, chicken wings are great. If you are sitting at the bar, make sure you do not sit on the rightmost chair as it is next to the bar station (the waiter keeps bumping into you). Bar service is a bit slow. Bars around the pool are the busiest and the slowest. Bar service can be from ok to rude. Bars in the core of the ship do offer much better service and are typically fast and exceptionally courteous. Bars receipts are terribly inconsistent, some bars ask to sign a receipt, some bars just give you a receipt, and some do not give you a receipt at all. Facilities: Pantheon Theater – a large theater facility great overall, comparable to most other cruise ships of the same size. It would be nice to be able to watch movies Pools – the layout is similar to any typical cruise ship, one covered pool, two open-air pools. The size of the pools is overall adequate though they were busy on days at sea. Pool decks are a good size also, though on days at sea it is hard to find an unoccupied chair after 10 am (towels are not being removed from unoccupied chairs). Atrium of the vessel is gorgeous and is exceptionally appointed. Public washrooms on the ship are scarce and men’s washrooms have no urinals creating lines ups. Entertainment was mostly a combination of musical and acrobatics act. There was no comedy show as such (it would be difficult considering the linguistic composition of the passengers). It was good, but it was not outstanding. Opera at sea (a compressed to 50 min version of Verdi’s La Traviata) was different certainly. Twice a day room service is nice, room stewards are polite and attentive, the room is vacuumed but there always seem to be some sand around (I presume vacuum cleaner without an agitator brush head have a hard time picking up the sand from the carpet). LGBT events seemed to be an afterthought, though MSC did host multiple events, unlike some other cruise lines we have taken. Embarkation was delayed by few hours (apparently due to a drug bust), which was somewhat unpleasant, and the terminal crowd was quite large (we took a trolley to Miami downtown and walked there for 2 hours). Disembarkation was typical lineup and wait for the line to move, took us roughly 30 min to get off the vessel, plus another 15-20 min to get our luggage. I hope with the construction of the MSC terminal in the port of Miami next year, things will run a bit more smoothly. We will be cruising with MSC again, though it takes a bit of time to warm up to MSC. Multicultural/Multilingual experience was overall great. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
After 10+ cruises we wanted to try MSC for the 1st time. The ship was configured differently than others we sailed on. Walking space was generally narrow, but there were nice cozy areas to sit. Cabins are like European hotel rooms - TINY ... Read More
After 10+ cruises we wanted to try MSC for the 1st time. The ship was configured differently than others we sailed on. Walking space was generally narrow, but there were nice cozy areas to sit. Cabins are like European hotel rooms - TINY ! Furthermore drawer and closet space was insufficient for our 2 average suitcases. Dining was mediocre, on every front. Uninspired bland lukewarm dishes and little variety on a 10 day cruise. We walked away from the dining and went to the buffet 5 - 6 nights to enjoy better variety, especially for salads and appetizers. Staff was courteous but appeared to be poorly trained at dinner. Buffet area staff was also courteous but would pull our plates before we even finished. The shows were repetitive - musicals and there was no variety nor comedy. Little side cafes and bars did have good music duos at times. This sounds petty but we participated in contests and we got NOTHING for winning (twice at trivia) despite the organizer promising a nice little gift. She gave us a story that the prizes were somewhere else on the ship... We don't watch TV but the 13 inch 13 year old one was miserable. The interactive connection never worked so we could not check our account nor could we book an excursion. Also, public washrooms are as elusive as the one eyed yellow striped toad. The buffet floor had a SINGLE washroom which had a line-up worthy of a night at the Roxbury. In conclusion, we understand why MSC is priced lower than RCI, Princess and Celebrity. MSC is OK if you want a cheap affordable cruise and want something different than Carnival. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was a highly anticipated cruise for us.....after 50 cruises, we decided to begin experiencing other lines. The Seaside is beautiful, shows are amazing! We did experience several negative things....."Drinks on Us" really ... Read More
This was a highly anticipated cruise for us.....after 50 cruises, we decided to begin experiencing other lines. The Seaside is beautiful, shows are amazing! We did experience several negative things....."Drinks on Us" really meant, limited choices plus 15% added for each drink.....some wines NOT available on the 4th night for the remainder of the cruise.....in order to be served in most lounges, you either had to sit at the bar or stand and wait to order......The Trio Dining Package consisted of only 3 items from a preselected menu...disappointing for price of $138 per person.......There was also NO walking/jogging track....staff was not very friendly, even though the cruise director kept saying they were just like a family.......We were amazed how early people got up to mark chairs on Sea Days......The Cruise Critic reception was amazing....hosted by the Captain and his Sr Officers, drinks, appetizers, cake, etc. Not sure about our GOLD status match program....most things offered still required some cost! We will have to think hard about another trip with MSC...... Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Let me first start by saying we would cruise MSC again its beautiful ship. After booking this cruise I called to upgrade our drink package. The PVP was so very confused. One even was going to charge me for a drink package upgrade that ... Read More
Let me first start by saying we would cruise MSC again its beautiful ship. After booking this cruise I called to upgrade our drink package. The PVP was so very confused. One even was going to charge me for a drink package upgrade that hadn't even been established yet and was not an option for our sailing at 3x the correct price. This lead to a large confusion and I almost ended up canceling over it. Fast forward to the sailing. Embarkation was very smooth and easy. Our rooms were ready at about 230pm. We did walk on about 1130 and tables were not clean from the prior sailing yet. Bar staff around the Miami beach pool seemed stressed and very busy even with minimal cruisers on board at that time. However, did take our drink orders, it was that we waited quite some time. They do not move very fast at all and are very busy. I just couldn't figure this out. Drinks were not made the same each time. VERY NICE Cruise Critic meet and greet!! Hands down first class! Our room was very spacious for the Bella experience, very nicely decorated. However it had an odor that we couldn't get rid of. The toilet offered very little leg room for a larger person. Shower followed the same limited elbow room for a larger person. Otherwise the room was nice. We found the closet ample and drawer space acceptable for a 8 day cruise.We didn't take kiddos with us, didn't use any specialty restaurants or spa services. We did attend the shows and they had wonderful talented performers. My only complaint is that the shows are the same feel/genre. They even used the same make up styles and it felt like a continuation of the night before. Overall we were impressed tho. The main dining room was beautiful. Menu was ample yet seemed simplistic in options. For example New York strip steak being served with french fries instead of baked potato. Mashed potatoes were termed as potato puree?!? Taste was to our liking for the most part. I had a dedicated waiter as I have food allergies and Mr. Ricky would bring me all sorts of things to try that fit in my restrictions. There was quite a bit of waiting between courses tho. Didn't seen to flow very well. Not awful just made a mental note. Our excursions were another thing NOT IMPRESSED AT ALL. First excursion was to St. John's bay beach. This was operated by a company that in my opinion should be put out of business! They had boats and trucks that were in need of some repair and TLC. Secondly, they did nothing but herd us like cattle on to the boat and truck. No explanation or anything. Most importantly, the boat QUIT on us leaving us miles from shore!! The staff several times refused to hand out life jackets and had another boat come try to pull us in. They didn't inform us of what was going on during this and people were getting sick over the sides. They never informed MSC of the issues while happening per MSC staff. MSC did refund us some of our excursion with a written appology. I know they do not own those companies but I do believe they should have some idea where they are directing people and quality of life recommendations. Second excursion was great except for having to walk over a mile to get to it. Maybe they should have arranged a shuttle. My hubby's knees were spent before we'r got to the excursion. Miami pool area could have used larger restrooms as this is used by pool and buffet guests. Staff was friendly and willing to help. Very clean. Overall it was a good value for the price. Would sail again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We drove to Miami from Northeast Florida, parked in a downtown lot for less than half the price of the Port parking facility, shuttled to the port and were onboard within 15 minutes of arrival. Disembarkation was a breeze as well! WOW ... Read More
We drove to Miami from Northeast Florida, parked in a downtown lot for less than half the price of the Port parking facility, shuttled to the port and were onboard within 15 minutes of arrival. Disembarkation was a breeze as well! WOW best describes our reaction when we boarded Seaside which is definitely a beautiful, modern ship with plenty of outdoor areas to enjoy the salt air and breezes while having a bite. And, the vistas from the wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows through which to take in the water views are awesome! Our cabin was an aft stateroom with balcony. The room was clean and kept that way all week by Jerome who was friendly, quick-to-respond to any requests or questions we had and, it seemed, always working hard. (Thank you so much, Jerome!) Dining was interesting! The repetitive menus in Marketplace Buffet, Biscayne Bay Buffet & Pizza were outright boring and bland, and food which one would expect to be hot barely met warm. On the upside, Seaside offers THE best French toast I've ever tasted, and the Muesli isn't bad either! Other than our waiter Manoj's attentiveness and pleasantness, our dining room experience was so-so. The food was okay and our table mates were very pleasant and engaging. The big thumbs-down in the Seashore Restaurant was the unpleasant manner in which the head waiter urged us every evening to leave the dining room so that the staff could set up for the next seating. We were not given time to enjoy our dessert and coffee. Maybe MSC should consider reducing the number of seatings to the two per evening that every cruise we've ever taken offered???? A highlight of our cruise was our complimentary visit to Butcher's Cut where our excellent waiter, William Zamora, presented my husband and me with filets mignon which were cooked to perfection (my husband's 'rare' and mine 'medium'), and mouth-watering delicious! The accompanying mashed potatoes were at the other end of the spectrum, however - they were lumpy and flavorless. The jury is still out on whether or not we would be willing to pay an additional $39 each for the meal. An area of concern was bar service. Too many guests - not enough staff, and preferential treatment by bar tenders to those who greased their palms in addition to the tips automatically applied. It was very obvious that this practice was in place, as those of us who stood waiting in line were ignored by the waiters in order for them to serve guests who strolled up to the bar to have their orders taken immediately. Another issue with bar service was that the waiters were confused about which drinks were/were not covered by the All-In drink package and the vouchers. Lack of info on the drink menus didn't help the situation. As for entertainment, I left the theatre shortly after the show began on the first evening and never returned thereafter because the sound volume was amped up so high, I my head started to ache. I had read about this problem when checking reviews prior to our sailing, but 'hearing' it was definitely 'believing' it! It was not music to my ears, that's for sure! There were a couple of performers in the atrium area that were enjoyable at first, but got old after a few days. The 'country' evening in the Haven Bar was fun. We couldn't believe that the Daytona 500 race wasn't available in the Sports Bar. Definitely a disappointment for us! I must say, the Casino was a pleasant surprise in that while the selection of slot machines was somewhat limited compared to some of those on other cruise ships, I felt that the Casino was fair in its win/loss ratios (no, I didn't come away with their money, but I was able to keep a fair share of the budgeted amount I had brought with me which was a rather pleasant surprise!) Not only that, but I found the Casino staff (some bar staff excepted) to be courteous and friendly. The slowness of the elevators was the most extreme I've experienced on any cruise. Unfortunately, our room was located too high up to take the stairs often which meant standing there and twiddling our thumbs while waiting and waiting. Considering the Seaside is a nearly-new ship, having come into service in 2018, I was surprised to see several incidents of door and wall hardware dislodged already. A bit odd that these 'little' things wouldn't be taken care of, me thinks. Lastly, I'm trying to figure out: What is the point of visiting San Juan from 5:00 p.m. through 1:00 a.m.?????? While my comments might sound very negative, generally speaking - we did enjoy our cruise. Given all the little annoying things, though, I think it will be some time before we set sail with MSC on a third cruise with the line. Read Less
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