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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
First, we have been on three MSC cruises so far. This is the second time on Seaside. Originally tried MSC due to the price and have found that it offers most everything that lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer at a much better ... Read More
First, we have been on three MSC cruises so far. This is the second time on Seaside. Originally tried MSC due to the price and have found that it offers most everything that lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer at a much better price. Did Seaside for a second time as I felt that it would be a very good, fun cruise for my boys, 13 and 15, to do for there first cruise. It was. They loved it. Had a lot for them to do on board, they did go to the teen club a few times but found that the kids there had more interest in things that my boys were not interested in so that was not a big sell for them. But a lot of kids were there. The ship itself was full of kids of all ages. It is truely a family cruise. Food: Buffets: there are two and they do it a little different than other cruise lines. Though they are changing a little. They have a huge selection of food for you to choose from, from hamburgers and hotdogs to Mediterranean and Mexican. Also a great pizza station. But the selection does. It change much throughout the cruise. This did change a little between the first time we cruised and this time. Some stations changed things out. They put aditional sausages in the hamburger/hotdog area like Italian one day, kielbasa anothe ecf. The hand carved station had a different meat each day and I believe that the Mexican food also changed. As did the deserts. They even had a all cake day on the last day at sea. MDR: did not eat a lot here for dinner. Only twice this time. Did specialty restaurants mainly this trip. However at most meals at the MDR the first cruise. They have, generally 4 appetizers to choose from 3-4 main courses and 3-4 deserts. Similar to most other cruise lines. Food is good as is the service. Food is a little more Mediterranean than other lines and I liked that. Italian night rocked. You always have the option every night of salmon, NY strip and another main course if you do not like that nights selection of meals. Specialty restaurants: they were great. Tepenyaki was fantastic. The cooks were fun and made the meal what it was. It is nearly a two hour event so make sure you are aware of that. Pan Asian: of all the restaurants this was our least favorite. Though food was very good, just not as good as the rest. Boys were not impressed. Believe the food was a little out of there wheel house. Ocean Cay: seafood. Had a great sea bass. Boys had oysters and everyone enjoyed them selves. Would have gone back for another dinner in an instant Steak house: boys tried and loved the bone marrow. Must say, it was incredible. We went here twice and my oldest got it twice he liked it so much. The fillet minion was superb, one son had the NY Strip both nights as he liked it so much. Another had the lamb. I had a bite and it was excellent. Lava cake for desert was incredible. I know it is Carbivals signature dish. But this beats it hands down. Ship: the ship is in incredible. Extreamly clean, shines with all the crystal. Have to love things like the bridge of sighs and the staircases in the atrium. Just makes the ship a thing of elegance and splendor. Large but never felt like there were 5000 people on board. Pools are, like other ships, using water from the ocean and not heated. Fun in the summer but can be a little cold in winter. Also, be prepared for the pools to have an incredible number if people around them. They have three main pools for guests and a fourth for the YC guests. The three main pools were always full when at sea. Also the pools are all 5-6 feet deep. So just standing in the pools is not an option. Actually helps to get some people out of the pool after so many minutes. Like on there lines, people come down and place there towels on the chairs and leave. However, if you see this, tell a pool attendant. They will put on a note to the chair noting the time and if the note is still there 45 minutes later, they will remove it. Shows: enjoyed them immensely. They are about 30 minutes long and include singing, dancing, acrobatics and magic. A little for everyone. The Michael Jackson tribute is incredible. Best shows I have seen on the seas. Embarkation and debarkation. This is a new terminal and they did it right. Both getting on the ship, including security check and checkin was a breeze. And leaving the following week was the fastest I have done on any cruise line. Didn’t even have to have my passport as they are all set up to use facial recognition now and so you just walk up, stop and then proceed. People: the ship was nearly 1/2 from the USA. Another 20% from Canada and the rest from Europe and other countries. You will find that you will hear many different languages and deal with many different customs. Be prepared to accept that. This is part of this experience. If you want a cruise with mainly Americans and when you walk around you hear only English, this is. It the cruise for you. Also, I found that there is a lot more smoking on this ship than others. They have two main designated smoking areas. If you do not like smoking, make sure you do. It get a room on the left side of the ship when looking forward, and near the back. One of the largest smoking areas is on Deck 7 in the back on that side. Again, many people are not from the US and they are nit used to not being able to smoke indoors or anywhere they want. The first day or so we found some people smoking inside the ship and even going into the elevator smoking. This quickly was eliminated as the crew was quick to talk to those people and tell them they could not smoke but in designated places. We also had to call guest relations as people next to us on both sides were smoking. On all ships this is a big no. Both people never smoked on the balcony again the entire trip. Had the same thing happen on Carnival magic two years back. Those people refused to stop. Sorry but smoking is a big deal to me so it is something I pick up on quickly and have no issue telling someone to put out there cigarettes. Overall the Seaside is a great vessel. We would sail her again and are looking at booking another cruise on MSC soon as we very much like there cruise line, appreciate cruising with other from outside the US and really love the prices. There are good and bad things about every cruise, but MSC I find to be a little better than most. They are not as much a party ship as Carnival or as plastic as they appear. The ship is in the same class as some of the larger Royal Caribbean cruise ships but at a much lower price point. Went to four islands on the seven night cruise. Again, loved that it was not just a three island stop. That is why I go on a cruise, and yes I would and will cruise Seaside again Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My husband and I sailed on Seaside 8/3/19 for our 20 year anniversary.  It was our first time cruising so we weren't sure what to expect.  I scoured the message boards here to prepare myself the best I could prior to the cruise.  I ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Seaside 8/3/19 for our 20 year anniversary.  It was our first time cruising so we weren't sure what to expect.  I scoured the message boards here to prepare myself the best I could prior to the cruise.  I was able to get a lot of helpful hints that came in handy.   Our boarding time wasn't until 2 pm but after reading the boards, we decided to show up at 10;30 am and we were on the ship before noon.  We immediately went and got our wristbands, registered our credit card and found the maitre d' to request a table for 2 in the dining room (which was granted) to avoid the lines later.  We then went and had lunch at the buffet and then found a cozy spot in the Seaview lounge and had a drink.   I"m so glad I found those recommendations here because they really saved us time later.   One thing I have read on cc from many people is how rude the staff is.  That was not our experience at all.  We felt the staff went above and beyond for us.  We had the easy drink package and my favorite wine wasn't on it.  No biggie, I made due with what was available to me.  However, when we showed up for dinner on the night of our anniversary, a bottle of my favorite wine was chilling at the table and we weren't charged for it.  At the end of our meal, about 10 waiters showed up and they all sang "I swear" by All for one.  The entire song.  It was embarrassing and amazing at the same time.  lol   This is just one example and there are so many more.   We did encounter 2 staff members that were a little rude but we just avoided them after that.   We paid for the 1 day pass for the thermal spa and felt that it was really overrated.  We ended up spending 2 hours there before leaving. There just wasn't enough to do to spend the whole day there.  We each got a massage as well.  My husband said his was amazing while I felt mine was just ok.   Even before getting off the massage table my therapist was trying to sell me other services.  It was very annoying.  After telling her no about 5 times, she gave up.  There are staff walking around the ship trying to sell different services and dinner add-ons but saying no once does the trick.   We saw 3 shows while on board.  The Beer comedy one for families, Butterfly and the starwalker (the Michael Jackson one in case I didn't get the name correct).  The comedy was hilarious, the Michael Jackson one was phenomenal and Butterfly wasn't for us (just not opera fans I guess).  We had the Bella package and upgraded our stateroom to a balcony room.  The balcony really made the room in my opinion.  We enjoyed sitting out on it in the evening with a drink before bed.   We felt there were enough hangers for our clothes and enough space for all of our other items.   The pool areas were very loud and crowded.  People would sit around the edge of the pool making it very difficult to even get in.  It wasn't for us so we would find a lounge chair in another part of the ship and relax in peace .   We only scheduled one excursion with the ship and that was in St. Thomas. It was ok but not worth the money. All in all, we had a good time. The service was exceptional and if we were to ever sail with MSC again, that would be the reason. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I’m a travel agent and this trip was a personal trip although used it to meet captain, cruise director crew, and experience the ship it first hand After reading & watching al sorts of pro & con reviews of this ship,I walked ... Read More
I’m a travel agent and this trip was a personal trip although used it to meet captain, cruise director crew, and experience the ship it first hand After reading & watching al sorts of pro & con reviews of this ship,I walked in with an open mind. I was truly impressed. The Haven Lounge nightly activities & music was the best! The family night delish spread of snacks & deserts. Main dining meals were a hit & miss - my waiter wasn’t as attentive as if he was bothered to serve us Room steward Christian was very courteous & attentive Need More varied teens activities Italian night after tasting food in the MD went to buffet better pasta & seafood ; noticed that people were eating more at the buffet Overall my son & I enjoyed ourselves ; I would recommend it to my clients & we would go again but we’ll wait for newer ships The cruise critic meet & mingle was super! viva Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We are just back from 1 14 day back to back cruise on the MSC Seaside and wanted to share our thoughts. I am a very critical person when travelling. Firstly I am not going to compare the Seaside with any other cruises we have sailed on ... Read More
We are just back from 1 14 day back to back cruise on the MSC Seaside and wanted to share our thoughts. I am a very critical person when travelling. Firstly I am not going to compare the Seaside with any other cruises we have sailed on which include Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean as I believe all have their good points and not so good and it is unfair to compare. The Seaside is a lovely, clean and very impressive ship. There are not many times you feel like you are onboard with 5000 passengers let alone another 1500 crew. We experienced only a very positive interaction with crew members with many taking time out to say hello and a general friendly approach especially to our 2 grandchildren who got lots of attention and high 5's. Embarkation and debarkation was very smooth and quick . Cabins - we had a balcony cabin and whilst cosy for 2 adults and 2 children it was comfortable and clean. Space can be a little tight but we adapted with bringing over the door organisers. I cannot comment on the room steward who whilst wasn't very visible always kept the room clean. Kids Club - our 2 grandchildren loved it and although we wanted to spend some good quality time with our 2 grandchildren on board it was nice to get those couple of hours to ourselves once in a while. Shows - a little confusing at times and some acts repeat over other shows later in the week but they are very professional and enjoyable. The Starwalker Michael Jackson tribute and show end on the Friday is a must see. You get a bit of everything at the shows, singing, dancing and Cirque de Soleil type performers. The beer prov children rated comedy show was very funny and a good watch. Food - we ate in the buffets for breakfast and lunch and the main dining room for dinner. This was probably our biggest disappointment. The buffet is a little repeatative and sometimes a little lacking in choice but the pizza is great and the late night cookies at the snack station were wonderfully soft and delicious. we ate in Ipanema main dining room and the waiting staff were friendly including the maitre d's even dancing with our granddaughter and always asking if we were ok and had a good day. service was a little slow on occasions and the very odd dish was not great but we felt the food could have been better overall. Guests - it is a very multi cultural guest list is the most polite way of putting it but again with 5000 guests from 120 nations you are going to get some who do not share your manners, standards and etiquette. Don't be put off by the completely negative comments you read about the MSC Seaside, I am very critical and would describe our experience as positive overall and YES I would sail with MSC again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: 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
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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We, as a family of five (three adults and two teens), decided to try a comparison cruise with MSC through the Caribbean, having had great past experiences with Holland America and Celebrity. As always, we went with a standard Veranda, but ... Read More
We, as a family of five (three adults and two teens), decided to try a comparison cruise with MSC through the Caribbean, having had great past experiences with Holland America and Celebrity. As always, we went with a standard Veranda, but enhanced it a bit with MSC’s “Aura Experience”. With one exception, I’ll explain later, it’s definitely worth every penny. Thanks to Aura’s priority embarkation we were aboard quickly—look for the PRIORITY sign off to the left as soon as you get inside the cruise port. We had intentionally arrived in early afternoon (for a 7pm sailing) and we’d barely gotten aboard (ducking the beverage card hawkers) when an announcement was made that our staterooms were ready. One of our family members required a wheelchair so I immediately made my way to the customer relations desk to arrange for one. I expected a long line, being departure day, and indeed it was fairly long, but I was in no hurry. It did surprise me that the desk wasn’t fully manned, I know this because I had to return the wheelchair on the final day and at that time the desk was full. Our steward did a wonderful job, replacing towels whether we’d left them on the floor or not, and other subtle touches. Sorry, for those who crave towel critters, there’s none of those here. Basic shampoo and soap were provided in the shower to wash the pool salt from one’s hair but, sorry, no conditioner. Stewards don’t have it nor do the stores… but then, we couldn’t find a store that sold any basic personal items like, say, hair conditioner or sun screen. But if you took the cruise to buy jewelry, you’re in luck. This was our first experience with a ship of this size and this many passengers, and there were some things that were somewhat frustrating. One has to believe that the ship’s architects must have considered traffic flow as one of their top priorities, and yet, all their effort goes for naught by the placement of two posts and a rope, or a locked glass pass-through. One such place is the large buffet where traffic is designed to flow around a large center island. All is well until a stretched horizontal ribbon sends the flow back on itself, and making those sitting a short distance beyond the no-man’s-land, to be detoured back through the whole circle. A smarter approach was sometimes used—simply stretching plastic across the offerings of a section that wasn’t ready. Another traffic oops was constantly taking place a few decks below our stateroom as we watched hapless passengers, like an ant colony, make their way along the deck to a locked glass door that wouldn’t allow them to go from aft to fore because, as near as we could figure, they’d be going past the windows of an exercise area. I could picture some poor architects pulling their hair out. But there was one traffic flow issue they did to themselves by the placement of the theater—nearer to mid-ship—forcing those who wanted to travel fore-to-aft to figure out the most efficient elevator rides up-and-over or down-and-under, over-stressing the elevators which are always unavoidable bottlenecks. The sole downside to the Aura experience (especially with a wheelchair) is that the staterooms are located forward, so we had a long trek to the main pool, buffets, dining room and everything else located aft. It probably wouldn’t have helped, but what I thought was a forward elevator when I booked our stateroom turned out to be a crew-only stairway—my bad. There was no far forward public elevator. Perhaps due to the size of the ship or the calm seas but throughout the entire cruise it barely felt like we were moving. If I hadn’t looked outside I’d not have known when we’d arrived or departed a port-of-call. The wristbands are not dead-on location-accurate but a definite step in the right direction. No need to take our cards when we went to the pool, the bar or wherever aboard ship—even unlocking our stateroom door. Very nice. Room food service was available but our wheelchair-bound person was disappointed in the selection. We assume that with so many to serve, unless we wanted to pay a pricey fee, the options were quite limited. Best was to inconvenience a family member to go to the buffet to make the self-delivery. If one leaves dirty dishes on the dresser the stewards will remove them—outside your room, they’re on their own but will eventually disappear in a day or two. The food options at the buffets were somewhat repetitive but, with minor exception, there were enough choices for our satisfaction. I found by the third day that the smaller buffet was the best-kept-secret way to do breakfast—especially on excursion days when the early crowds were heaviest. The smaller buffet had all the breakfast choices, but less crowed and therefore less competition for seating. By the last day people were catching on. I always find that chefs most always do an awesome job but, being chefs, they tend to make decadent desserts. I would prefer just a tasty slice of pie, a simple brownie, a dish of pudding or ice cream (there was none of the latter in either buffet). To their credit, attendants do try to serve the needs of those dining in wheelchairs, even running off to get food for them. The main dining room menu had multiple offerings for dinner. It’s a wonderful way to experience unfamiliar dishes. The service was friendly, fast and efficient. No complaints, here. There’s no way around it, the large pool is quite crowded on at-sea days. The main pool was 6.5 feet deep throughout but with it being a warm salt water pool it didn’t take much effort to stay afloat. And they did have a lifeguard keeping watch. I reminded myself that one does not walk on the wooden part of the deck near the pool in bare feet on a sunny day—ouch! But I did discover that I could grab a regular-size gelato on my beverage card at no charge. As usual, there were no lack of bars. If one was busy, it was never a long walk to another. Some cruise lines won’t allow ordering more than one drink at a time on a single card—not so with MSC. And, of course, if you replace anything drunk from the minibar there’s no fee. Excursions were excellent, most having various levels. Take the one that has the most entertainment value for your budget. Finally, de-embarkation was done quickly—using facial recognition at security greatly sped things along. Well, except for our 13-year-old whose picture looked nothing like it did in her 4.5 year old passport. Chuckles all around. Here, and throughout the trip we found the staff members we encountered were polite, respectful and willing to help. All said and done, after polling our family members, most would likely do MSC again, however some thought they’d opt for something smaller. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We were on the Seaside with 4 other families. Prior to sailing, their website was difficult to navigate. Embarkation was fast and room was ready before 2pm. Food at the buffets and all specialty restaurants were really good. Specialty ... Read More
We were on the Seaside with 4 other families. Prior to sailing, their website was difficult to navigate. Embarkation was fast and room was ready before 2pm. Food at the buffets and all specialty restaurants were really good. Specialty restaurants have the best service. But the nightly complementary restaurant needs improvement. Food choices were similar to buffet items and kids menu was unappetizing. They also have a lot of staff just standing around while there is only one person that can handle your bar drinks and took our friend 3 times to get the staff over to order our drinks. The Spa staff are super friendly and the thermal spa was a cool experience. Our housekeeping guy Antonio was very attention to details and our rooms are always cleaned to perfection. It was difficult to get service at the bar when it’s busy. They tend to service the men and European guests first. Women do order drinks too you know. So after a couple tries, I decided to just not bother with the bars. The nightly show became repetitive after 2nd night as they were the same performers but staged differently. The same guy goes on doing the same trick every night. My kid was really excited about the LEGO club on the day we board. However, after 2 days of kids club, we realized the staff are fully Spanish and Italian speaking and tailored to the European kids mainly and neglected the English speaking kids. So after 2 days, none of the kids wanted to go back to the kids club anymore. Even during the family activities, the staff were playing games in Spanish. Having been on a few different cruise lines, I think MSC does have better food but their customer service needs improvement. I understand they are a European cruise line but if you are sailing from Miami, you are bound to have a lot more English speaking passengers. So it would make sense to have your staff pay some attention to your English speaking passengers. Throughout the trip, I’ve seen a lot of European manager positions staff talking to their European guests. But we’ve never had a manager spoke with us or asking how things are except one manager at the complementary restaurant who was from India. He noticed our daughter wasn’t enjoying her mini burger was it was really dry and brought her something else which was very sweet. In comparison, it was the lower ranking staff that are friendly with any guests from any country. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We originally booked this cruise on black friday, as MSC was giving away the drinks on us promo, and a good price on a balcony room. I had done a bunch of research, watched a ton of youtube vids, and read a bunch of reviews. I have to ... Read More
We originally booked this cruise on black friday, as MSC was giving away the drinks on us promo, and a good price on a balcony room. I had done a bunch of research, watched a ton of youtube vids, and read a bunch of reviews. I have to say this helped out a lot, and prepared us for the week for the most part. Embarkation wasn't too bad..probably an hour from arriving to actual embarkation (we were there 2 hours before our assigned boarding time). The ship is absolutely stunning! From the infinity bridge and bridge of sighs, to the atrium and staircases, it's really a beautiful ship! We only ate in the main dining room (Ipanema) 3 of the 7 nights. The food was ok, but our server I think misunderstood us (and our table mates) on a couple of occasions. The food was hit and miss, with the breads, pastas, and seafood all pretty great. The prime rib was also very good, but the steak we ordered one night was a little too fatty for our taste. We did the Teppanyaki specialty restaurant the first night, since we sailed at 5pm, and our MDR time was 5:15. This way we could watch the sail away. I highly recommend the Teppanyaki!!! It was so good, we actually went again friday night with some friends we made the first night. As for the buffets....well, they were buffets. Just be prepared for it to be a total cluster, as everyone cuts in and out of line to get what they want/need. They will always have the standard pizza, hot dogs, burgers, salads, and breads, with occasional other fares. I was really looking forward to the pizza, as I know they make it from scratch...it is good, but was light on the cheese. I still ate it quite a bit, though. We spent most of the time at the Miami beach pool on deck 16. We avoided the South beach pool on deck 7, as all the smokers are there and we don't smoke. I thought the bar tenders were excellent! Only a few times (mostly on sea days) was it crowded and had to wait a while for a drink. The key for me was to tip a couple of the bartenders early on, so they remember you (Ruffy ALWAYS took care of me, called me by name, etc., while Happy, Nigel, and Leo all took care of me) The other key is to BE NICE to them! I know they can get a lot of pushy drinkers coming at them, so calling them out by name, saying hello, and generally being a good guest goes a long way to getting good service, IMHO. We don't have kids, but the kids pool area looked like a lot of fun for the kids that were there. I'm a big kid, so I can't count how many times I tried the waterslides! I also rode the zip line about 3 times, so I could get a good GoPro shot. Make sure when you get there, to sign the waiver for the waterpark and zip line early..especially before sea day when the lines are really long! Another tip: I registered my credit card to my shipboard card right after getting on the ship. There are several kiosks around that will let you so this, although you technically have 48 hours. You can also get a wristband that links to your shipboard account, which is $5. That way, you can tap your wristband to their point of sale tablets. Speaking of tech: The MSC for Me app is pretty good overall! It has an interactive ship map (although didn't always tell me the right floor I was on), and would give you access to your shipboard account summary...really useful to see how much you've spent on board! It would have been nice to have a chat feature build in, but that's why they push the internet packages so much I suppose. Speaking of which: we did NOT have the Wifi package, but we still kept getting regular app notifications on our phones, even though we were in airplane mode and mobile data turned off. To the best of my knowledge, we were not charged for that. We didn't do any of the shows, with the exception of Beer Prov (which I recommend...really funny!!). We heard from others that the shows were really good! I did go to karaoke out on the Miami Beach pool deck a couple of times, which I wish was longer (but that's just me). The white party is a lot of fun too, although we were pretty wiped from back-to-back shore days. So if you are of a certain age and want to go to things like the white party, take a nap! LOL. The entertainment in the atrium and various bars seemed to be the same musicians. I would have liked to see some different musicians play in the atrium, as it always seemed to be acoustic Chris (I wasn't a fan of some of his song renditions at times, but was ok). I heard they used to be mostly opera, so at least this is a little better. Speaking of shore days, the biggest beef I had was the itinerary. I knew what it was going in, and still booked it anyway. San Juan arrives at 5pm, and leaves at 1am, St. Thomas from 7am-7pm (was ok with this), and St. Maarten from 7am-2pm, which is WAY TOO SHORT!! MSC needs to extend this by a couple of hours at least. Nassau was 12-7pm. We walked around San Juan with some friends, and went to a place called Punto de Vista (which I had researched online before going, and highly recommend!). We booked the Panoramic shopping & Magen's bay tour through MSC, which was pretty good. For St. Maarten, we took a taxi to Maho beach. If you go: they have a large taxi stand just off the pier, where they have a a few taxi vans. I believe it was $16/pp, and they give you a colored wristband to show you have a pre-paid ride back to the cruise port (we were the only ship in port that day, BTW). I HIGHLY recommend going to Maho beach to watch the planes land low. Again, not enough time do this and see all the bigger jets land, so you have to leave around 12n to make it back on time. For Nassau, we didn't do any excursions, but just walked around town near the pier. I honestly could have done without Nassau, or would have preferred getting in early enough to try the Atlantis water park. Getting in that late in the day doesn't really make it worth the money IMHO, as it only works out to being a 1/2 day. Overall, my girlfriend and I had a wonderful time on this cruise! It definitely has a European flavor to it, as I heard a lot of German, French, and Italian cruisers around me. Again, be prepared for the buffet free-for-all, especially at the coffee stations in the morning! If you have anything above Bella experience, it might be worth going with room service for coffee, as we did for a couple of the days. Also, do your research on the drink packages before you buy one! We had the drinks on us, which honestly was just fine most of the time. We did pay for some of the frozen drinks at times, but stuck mostly to DOU. If you have the Easy package, again..know what's included and what isn't. Also, they will add the service charge (12.50/pp per day to your bill somewhere around the 4th day, so don't freak out when you see a large charge, they put it on your bill earlier, rather than at the end). Finally one other note: If you are staying towards the front of the ship, and want to go to Miami beach pool or the buffet, go to the midship or aft elevators. Otherwise, you end up a the specialty restaurants, and cannot go through unless you go up to 18 or down to 15 and cut across. Just remember...you are on vacation, so don't let little things (or people) ruin it for you!!! Enjoy yourselves!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our second voyage on the seaside within the last year. MSC Cruise lines was kind enough to give us discount credits since we were on the divina during hurricane Irma. I didn't care where the ship was going, I live in South ... Read More
This was our second voyage on the seaside within the last year. MSC Cruise lines was kind enough to give us discount credits since we were on the divina during hurricane Irma. I didn't care where the ship was going, I live in South Florida and Hawaii so I get my full share of palm trees! The seaside is an absolutely beautiful ship and very very well kept. The staff has come to understanding how to work on that ship and things flow very nicely. The drink packages and Internet packages that are offered by the cruise line are hard to beat. Even the easy drink package which doesn't give you top shelf liquor will do the job and get you all the soda, quality coffees, and sparkling water that you want. The best part of the cruise for my wife and I were at the dance classes and activities. Every morning on sea days there was an aerobics class and several dance classes available all the way into the evening hours. Also a highlight are the production shows. They are not your typical production show song and dance popular songs. They are elaborately costumed events involving singing dancing music and circus. I would say it is similar to a Cirque du Soleil with a different theme every night. And there is the Opera, it is shown in the afternoon during a sea day so if you're one of those that wants to oil yourself up and be shoulder-to-shoulder with a thousand other people on the pool deck you are more than welcome. However if you want something totally different that is extremely emotional and beautiful, go to see the Opera. The only thing that was disappointing throughout the entire cruise was the dining experience. The marketplace buffet is absolutely boring. It reminded me of my days in the Navy seeing hamburgers hot dogs and Pizza with overcooked meats every day over and over. There was always a mystery white fish available and some sort of sauce but it was always hard as a rock and tasting just like one also. The experience in the restaurants was a bit better. The foods were served up timely and presentation was very nice, however there was nothing ever really exciting about it. There was never that food item that said "I want to try that"! All in all it was adequate and it was put together pretty well, but it was not really a memorable experience. Overall for the price point it is very difficult to beat the MSC experience. I would only hope that they would liven up the food venues a little bit more so that it isn't so boring. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Chose the cruise mainly for price and itinerary. Ship is beautiful inside and out. Embarkation was a breeze, self embarkation was as easy as I have ever experienced. Bar service with the Premium Package was very good. Drink/liquor ... Read More
Chose the cruise mainly for price and itinerary. Ship is beautiful inside and out. Embarkation was a breeze, self embarkation was as easy as I have ever experienced. Bar service with the Premium Package was very good. Drink/liquor selection was excellent. Nighttime music around the ship left a lot to be desired, the dance classes in the evening at The Haven seemed to go on forever.....ate twice at the Sushi Bar without reservations in the evening....was very good. Had steak house reservations, dinner there was very good. Ate off the ship in Puerto Rico one evening...did not dine in the main dining room. Room service twice for breakfast was on point and on time. Balcony Cabin was as expected, bathroom was small compared to the Mini Suites on the NCL Away Class Ships..I missed that. Room steward was fine, always kept plenty of ice in the ice bucket, etc... Pool on the rear of the ship was nice, but the smoking area you had to walk through to get to the restroom was pretty thick.... All in all, I would rate it a step below NCL on entertainment, (the Bride and I missed the nightly outdoor parties on NCL), and a step above on drinks/bar service, especially considering the prices of the drink package. I was very pleased with this...cruise came with The Easy package, upgrade to Premium was $27 PP PD...very reasonable, IMHO. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Ship is beautiful and clean. Communication is what was lacking. Some spoke english well others did not. When asked questions 95% of the time we were given wrong info as I feel they didn’t understand and they wanted to fudge an answer so ... Read More
Ship is beautiful and clean. Communication is what was lacking. Some spoke english well others did not. When asked questions 95% of the time we were given wrong info as I feel they didn’t understand and they wanted to fudge an answer so we would move on. The aurea experience is over rated. The spa is nice but was promised a 60 min massage for free was told no it’s up to 60 minutes and had a 30 min massage. The aurea deck is to be kid free had 3 kids in the hot tub with my husband and I with goggles and snorkels ..... Free gelato was advertised as part of the package but had a 12 charge when got it because apparently it’s only free in certain areas on the ship. Again lack of communication. Upgraded to the premium package as the free drink package given was super limited on drinks. Was told a certain price for the both of us to upgrade but then to find out it was the price for both of us individually not told for each of you but both of us I believe it was a lack of them knowing how to explain. All to a tune of $400 plus dollars that was unexpected. The entertainment was superb. Many was complaining as it was the same people always musicals etc but it’s a class that is welcomed here and it was refreshing. Special dining was expensive but was a nice change as the buffet was the same thing every lunch and dinner. Yes a variety but the same thing for 7 days twice a day meals. Would be nice to of had a taco bar for a variety. Part of our package was special coffees again it’s only at one place in the sky view lounge which was closed most of the time due to special events. It indicates special coffees are not covered in the “ special restaurants” but it doesn’t say not at the chocolate bar which is the only other place they have them. We weren’t given robes and slippers at first had to ask for them as it was part of our package. Once we got them they were for a small teenager or large child. We aren’t large people but didn’t want the hassle of getting different ones. I suggest for everyone to leave $ for the clean crew in your room every day. You do tip as part of your fee but if you plan on even $5 a day left in your room for them it will make your trip 100 times better. Not because they will give you better service but because they deserve it and you’ll feel good about doing it. I would suggest to book the excursions on the ship or with MSC prior. They take you right to the excursions such an excellent service. MSC has wash cloths to wipe your face and cool drinks waiting for you when you get back to the ship. They really do take care of you and it’s an excellent cruise line. The communication is what is hard to get through. If you don’t double check and double check you’ll be getting things charged and wrong. Second time on the ship will be better. Skyview lounge waiters when you can get in there are amazing as well as the bar outside the buffet. Had a great time just saying it how it is. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Pre-Cruise in Miami We flew in a day before the cruise, as we had never been to Miami before. For our June cruise, we are actually flying in 2 days before and flying out 3 days after the cruise so that we can explore Southern Florida a ... Read More
Pre-Cruise in Miami We flew in a day before the cruise, as we had never been to Miami before. For our June cruise, we are actually flying in 2 days before and flying out 3 days after the cruise so that we can explore Southern Florida a little more. We flew Southwest from RDU into Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International and got a rental car to drive down to Miami. This was cheaper than flying into Miami. We had a short layover in Tampa, but that didn’t bother us as Cigar City Brewing (one of our favorites) has a taproom in that airport. We spent the day doing what we love to do when we travel – brewery hop. We hit up as many as we could, but two of our favorites were M.I.A. Brewing and J.Wakefield Brewing. We also hit up the Taco Stand for some great food (great Elote and Carne Asada fries!) We also hit up Growler USA-Wynwood. While this is a chain, we knew we could get some local beers on draft that we wouldn’t be able to reach in our short time there. Great service, and even better brews! We stayed in Doral, which was about 15 miles from the port. Friday, it took us about 45 minutes to get from Doral to close to the port due to regular traffic. Saturday morning when we woke up for embarkation, it only took us about 15-20 minutes. Crazy how that works! If you pick Enterprise and drop off at the Doubletree Grand, it can be a bit confusing. You have to park where the Ubers/Lyfts pick up, go inside to the hotel shopping area, and then find Enterprise. Woof. I’d recommend having Miami International Airport be your dropoff location and use their shuttle service. Embarkation MSC Seaside goes in and out of Terminal F at the Port of Miami. Traffic here is…terrible at best, especially when there are 6 ships in port. This isn’t necessarily MSC’s fault, but more the POM and the crew that controls traffic there. Once we were able to drop everything off, the Embarkation process was rather easy compared so some ports that we’ve been to. We arrived around 11am and were able to get through security in less than 5 minutes. The line for check-in was a little longer, but since we had the Aurea package (more on that later), we were able to skip most of the line. We proceeded to the waiting area, where they had water, orange juice, and pineapple juice available. We had to wait about an hour for clearance, and then we were able to get on the ship. Entering the ship Oh wow, is this ship gorgeous?! Guests enter into the atrium, which has 3 open levels surrounded by staircases filled with crystals. It’s rumored that each step is work $2,000. The atrium features a decent sized bar. It also is home to a screen that’s split up into three sections that rise the entire height of the atrium. They had fun backgrounds here, including waterfalls and even “fireworks” shows at night. Also surrounding the lobby is plenty of windows that provide spectacular views all cruise long. Bars MSC Seaside is home to many spots to get your favorite drinks. They vary in their efficiency however. At times, we had GREAT service. Others, they seemed to be overwhelmed. The Seaside bar in the atrium on Deck 6 forward is decent, but the highlight of Deck 6 is the Venchi Chocolate Bar. We tried one of each of the cocktails and liked most of them. They feature two different chocolate martinis (both of which were delicious), and a drink called “Bubbles and Chocolate.” This features champagne with Chocaviar floating in it. It’s quite fun! Other bars on the ship include the Casino bar on deck 7 (slow service at times despite the size of the bar), the Champagne bar on deck 7, the Garage Club on deck 7 (which didn’t open until later at night), the South Beach Bar on deck 7 aft, the Seaview Lounge on Deck 8 midship (smaller, more quaint bar), the Sports Bar across from Seaview on Deck 8 (a wide variety of beers and really good chicken wings for purchase – although the speed of service varied from really quick to dead slow), Bistrot la Boheme on Deck 8 midship (home to one of my favorite beers of all time – Desperados!), Marketplace Bar inside of the Marketplace buffet (usually filled in the morning with folks trying to get espresso – this bar continues outside as well!), Wine and Cocktails on Deck 16 (never actually found this one…), the Miami Beach Bar on deck 16 (always busy given that it’s on the pool deck), the Jungle bar on Deck 18 (a hidden gem in my opinion), the Miramar Bar on on deck 19 (usually a little less busy than Miami Beach), and finally the Aurea Bar on deck 19 forward (more on this later as well). The bar process is interesting in that you just simply give them your card or have them scan your wristband. If you have a drinks package, you rarely have to sign for it. Depending on the bar, they may have some service attendants that will take your order and scan your card, limiting what the bartender has to do. This SHOULD speed things up, but usually there was only 1 bartender at some of the bars and they were really overwhelmed. They still had good service, but just slower than normal. A note on drinks packages – make sure you know what you’re getting. From what I can tell, it’s best to upgrade before you go. The packages are actually different on board. Even if you bought a sailing that included “drinks on us,” know that it’s VERY limited. We called MSC directly before sailing and upgraded for about $180 per person for the whole week and got pretty much everything except cocktails over $13 and the super high-end liquors. Use this pdf to help you decide what package is best for you! Pools and Public Areas The Miami Beach Pool on Deck 18 is the main pool. It is home to the stage where activities go on all day. Finding a chair isn’t really that difficult, but finding one that has everything that you’d want (close to the pool, ability to see the stage, and not “cramped”) is hard to find. The pools are 6ft deep, which is different from most ships. Miami Beach features a large “beach” area where you can lay in the water without being in the actual pool itself. Connected to this is a little “waterfall” feature that’s nice. South Beach Pool on Deck 7 aft is the adults only section. It is overlooked by the Bridge of Sighs, which is not for the faint of heart. This pool DECK was usually pretty busy, but the pool itself wasn’t very crowded. If you can get there early enough, you can get a chair that overlooks the aft of the boat to get that view that you can only get on a cruise ship, the wake. The Jungle Pool is located on deck 18 midship. It’s usually filled with families as it’s closest to the water park. The water park has 2 racing slides that go over the starboard side of the ship (decently fast!), a tube slide that goes over the edge of the port side of the ship and has a nice drop at the end (you can ride doubles or singles), and a decent slide that is in the center of the ship. The splash area looked quite fun for the kiddos! The Casino was a little on the smaller side for what we’re used to when it comes to ship casinos. To me, the casino wasn’t pushed very much. There are probably around 50-75 machines and 10-15 tables for card games and roulette. As far as I can remember, there was not a craps table. Passengers are allowed to smoke in the Casino if they are currently playing games. It’s the least smoky of the casinos that we’ve been in, so that was a nice surprise. When we boarded, we thought the casino was smoke free because of how clean it smelled. There is a channel on your cabin/stateroom TV that is dedicated to the Casino where you can even play roulette (paying, of course). There were a few sessions of Bingo, but we never attended these. They didn’t offer my favorite Crazy Money machines, so we didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the casino. The Cabin Our view of our cabin will be a bit biased for this trip. We were in room 10003, which is quite large for an interior. It’s pretty much your standard cruise room outside of that. We didn’t spend a lot of time in the room, but it’s where we have our most gripes. The bathroom on cruise ships are tiny. This shower takes the cake. Seaside uses glass doors on their showers as opposed to curtains. While curtains fly away and can be messy, they at least have some give. We felt cramped all week in that tiny thing! It hosts a clothesline, which I used to dry our bathing suits and to hang my shirt to steam/dewrinkle after I was done showering. The closet had two shelves and a safe. It also had two drawers. The space for hanging clothes was decent. This, however, was the only storage that we had in this room. On our next trip, we’re going to bring an over the door organizer to put some of our clothes in. The bed was on the more “hard” side for our liking. Obviously, this is a personal choice. I tend to like my mattress a little on the soft side, so having this hard mattress wasn’t the greatest for me. The TV was a decent size and featured some “Smart” capabilities. You could check out the daily program from your TV (including signing up for shows) and even order movies on demand (a note on this: this includes adult entertainment – some of the “posters” for these videos are explicit and therefore should be monitored!) The Entertainment The MSC Brand is obviously centered around the Mediterranean/European clientele. Therefore, their shows are quite different from what you’d see on Royal or Carnival Ships. That’s not to say that they aren’t good, they’re just…different. Each of the shows featured acrobats, a juggler, champion dancers, and some singing. To me, there wasn’t really a storyline that these shows followed, but they had their own themes. The best show by far was the one that featured Michael Jackson impersonator at the end of the week. You can sign up for the shows as soon as you get on board (I recommend this…) We usually did the 8:30 show, as we had 5:30 dining. The shows only last about 30-40 minutes each. Outside of these shows, they featured Beerprov comedy. We’re used to going to see comedians when we cruise. We see as many as we can, so not having any on board was different for us. Beerprov is a troupe of comedians that mixes Beer and Improv. We went to all three 10:45 adult R-rated shows during the week. They were outstanding! We didn’t get a chance to make it to their 2:00pm Family Friendly show, but I have no doubt that it was great too. Gene Young was our cruise director, and while he was quite funny, he was probably the least visible of any CD that we’ve ever had. We saw him at the beginning of shows and a few other times throughout the week, but we never saw him out and about the ship. Anytime the Entertainment Staff was doing a dance lesson or amping up the crowd, we never saw him. We like our CD’s to be more visible, but some people don’t mind it! The rest of the entertainment staff was decent. He was a part of the Liar’s Club game show which featured Beerprov giving different definitions of words. We had to guess which definition was right. While this wasn’t advertised as R-rated, it would definitely say it was PG-13! The Quest Game show was pretty tame for shows that we’ve been to. One interesting thing to note is that for many of the announcements made during shows and on board, they’ll do the same announcement in about 6-7 languages. If you’re around to hear the Captain speak, he’s fluent in 5-6 languages himself. While I understand that need for this given the fact that over 100 nationalities were on board, it got to be a bit much at times. Also, it’s important to note that there is NOT a bar in the theatre. In fact, they have a sign outside that says “NO DRINKS,” but we were able to bring our drinks in as long as we were careful. They prefer that it not be in glass, so if you can get plasticware or be drinking from an aluminum can, they’ll be more lenient. CLOSEST place to get a drink would be the Casino bar, but it’s usually slow so make sure you build in time to get a drink before your shows! We would stop by any other bar that we could as to avoid the wait at the casino bar. Dining I’ll preface this by saying that we didn’t do any specialty restaurants, but we did hear from multiple guests that the Asian Fusion restaurant was outstanding. We’ll probably try that out in June when we sail on Seaside again. There are two buffets on board. The first is Biscayne Bay on Deck 16. This one consists of only one line that spans the width of the ship. It is BUSY because it’s the closest to the pool. Kids were constantly cutting me off, and people couldn’t get the concept of a line… The second, more vast buffet is the Marketplace Buffet on Deck 8 midship. This buffet was much more spread out and featured two pretty much identical sides. It has more of a variety than that of the Biscayne Bay buffet. It is also home to self-serve soda, Heineken, and wine dispensers. Simply tap your card or wristband and serve! The food at the buffets varied little throughout the week, but it was all pretty decent. We had My Time dining and chose to go at 5:30 every day as this worked for our schedule. The host offered us the option to do this and we’d get the same table every day. We got seated at a 2-top right by the window! Great views every single night. Our 7 night cruise offered two elegant nights (one of which included Prime Rib), an Italian night, and a Mediterranean night. The My Time dining was never full and offered quick service (we had a few appetizers, main course, and dessert within an hour each night). The food was pretty decent throughout the week, but nothing I’d say was outstanding. The only odd thing about the dining room was that we couldn’t really order alcoholic drinks outside of beer and wine. If we wanted liquor, they’d have to bring in a separate attendant to do this. Weird. We just stopped at a bar before dinner if we wanted anything for the rest of the week. They also poured fresh water from 1L water bottles – included in our drinks package. The Aurea Experience We decided to splurge this trip and went for the Aurea package. This meant that we got priority boarding, My Time dining, a free wristband that could be used as your cruise card to get into your room and make purchases (you needed your card to get on and off the ship and to get access to the Aurea bar) a 50 minute massage each, access to the Aurea only bar and area on deck 19, and access to the thermal area all cruise long. We aren’t usually into these kind of things, but loved every minute we spent in the spa. There were two dry saunas, a bright steam bath, a dark steam bath, a salt room, a snow room (oddly refreshing), an odd geyser room where cold water shot out from the floor, a decent sized hot tub, and plenty of seating to just relax. There were multiple showers that had overhead faucets that were extremely relaxing. The locker rooms had lockers that you used your wristband or card to lock and unlock (a plus to the wristband). The Aurea Bar was a great place to go and hang out. It had comfy chairs that were shaded near the bar, plus plenty of sun loungers and two hot tubs. It was right outside of the Yacht Club, which made us a little jealous. We never got to check out the YC, but maybe on a future cruise? The Aurea bar was a great place to go and hang out after we were done in the sun. It offered great views off the stern of the ship! Ports of Call This itinerary included a night stop in San Juan (5pm-1AM), plus stops in Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas USVI, St. Maarten, and Nassau. It was very different being in port in San Juan at night. We were able to get off and head to the home of the “original” Pina Colada – Barrachina. After this, we wandered around Old San Juan before deciding to take an Uber to a local brewery – Ocean Lab. If you like venturing to breweries when you travel, this is a good spot. It’s connected to a beach club, which was closed for the night. The beer was decent, and for $10 each way in an Uber, it gave us something to do. I’d like to see it during the day, as it looks awesome at night! Unfortunately, the brewery’s shop was closed, so we didn’t get to get any merch. We did a Catamaran Snorkel excursion in St. Thomas. The crew of the Castaway Girl was outstanding. The snorkeling wasn’t the best that I’ve experienced, but it was a pretty lengthy snorkel and a beautiful ride back. Rum Punch, Rum and Coke, water, and juices were provided on the way back for free. They sold t-shirts, of which I got one of the blue longsleeve dryfits that features SPF protection. Really nice shirt! The even took Venmo for it! Joleen, Marshall, and Patrick were all great! Once back in port, we went to Tap and Still and had lunch. They were delicious! The fries were fresh cut and the cheese dog was delicious (it came on a hamburger bun which threw us off, but it was great!). They’re connected with Rock City Brewing. We were able to get a beer there, PLUS their taproom and shop was right across the street. We asked about another brewery on the island and were told that some of their beers were featured at a restaurant right at the port. We stopped by the Smoking Rooster and tried out some Frenchtown Brewing. They were decent, but not as good as RCB. St. Maarten has always been a favorite stop for us. We paid $7 per person round trip to ride the water taxi across to town. You can walk around to get to town, but we weren’t feeling that. It was worth it. St. Maarten is home to Guavaberry Rum, which is a great souvenir. Lots of vendors have chairs and umbrellas for rent along the beach. We got two chairs, slow wifi, an umbrella, and 5 drinks for $20. This is a pretty standard deal all along the beach. Just pick one that looks good to you and go with it. This was a quick port, as we docked at 8am and left at 2pm. Nassau is good for one thing for us: Pirate’s Republic Brewing. They have a taproom that is right one of the main strips in town near the Straw Market. We stopped by in December and knew we had to come back. Their main bartender is the “Bahamian Tracy Morgan” and is a trip. They beer is really delicious and they have food, but we’ve never tried it…They had a deal for two beers and a shirt for $28, which we took. We also went to Twisted Lime, which was kind of hidden down an alley. This is a definite must as well. We got the Jerk Chicken Mac and Cheese. MAN was it hot! But it was that kind of spicy that you just can’t stop eating! Delicious! It was a huge portion for the price we paid. Their pizza looked outstanding, so when we’re back in July, we’ll definitely be stopping to try that! Disembarkation The most bittersweet part of any trip is the day that you leave. MSC follows the standard disembarkation procedure of luggage tags, which were placed in our stateroom. We opted to place our bag outside of our rooms by 11pm and lazily waited until we were ready to get up and disembark. There are assigned times to get off of the ship, but nobody follows or regulates them. We had Aurea, which was the earliest to leave, but left around 9am. This was the EASIEST I’ve ever seen a disembark go. We did a “passport” check when we got off the ship, got our luggage, and left. We didn’t have to wait in line for customs! It’s something new that they’re trying I guess. So nice! Traffic was just as awful getting off of the ship as it was getting on. Most of the rental car agencies have free shuttles to MIA airport. Check those out before committing to another company. There are plenty of shuttles available without having to reserve anything, however, for $10 per person to the airport. Conclusion While the MSC Seaside does have its faults, we absolutely loved our time on board. We are already booked for another sailing at the end of June, and even went ahead and booked a sailing for next spring break in our same Aurea stateroom. We’ll be in the Fantastica level for our June cruise, so I’m interested to see how things differ. We plan to purchase a cruise-long spa pass, however! It’s worth the $260 per couple before boarding! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We selected this cruise line mainly because of the cost, value and rooms (balcony and interior) that we could get for the price. This was a Spring Break 2019 trip and the first time my family had cruised with all three children (two ... Read More
We selected this cruise line mainly because of the cost, value and rooms (balcony and interior) that we could get for the price. This was a Spring Break 2019 trip and the first time my family had cruised with all three children (two 15's and one 9 year old). We found the boat to be amazing (only second to the Oasis of the Seas from Royal Caribbean and that is only because of certain things we liked about that boat). The cabins were very nice, modern for a cruise line and worked for all parties. The weight room had everything you would need and the crowd faded as the week progressed, but I am typically a morning exercise person. The buffet on Deck 8 was the best cruise buffet that we have had on any cruise (this was our 6th). You do really need to walk the entire buffet before choosing though. We read this before and it holds true. The dining hall (formal dinners) were not overly impressive. My wife was not pleased at all and would rate it worse than I would, but I can always find something to eat. I got the sense that they were pushing people towards the extra dining packages, which I really think is a major focus on many of the cruise lines now. The pools were different than Carnival and Royal with the depth being something that we enjoyed. You are not allowed to bring drinks to the pool, which meant that you didn't have the standing adults in the pool with drinks, which is something I appreciated but may not be something for everyone. The boats layout was a major plus. We stayed mainly in the rain forest area, which was as nice as any area on any cruise boat we have ever found. It had a less crowded feel with sunshine, shade, comfort and access to the waterpark to keep track of the children. The slides were legitimate and crowded at times and not crowded at others. We didn't do many excursions, so we really focused on the boat, which was a highlight of the trip. We loved the Michael Jackson show and family improv comedy show (wish we would have stayed up for the adult version but we go to bed too late). The jazz in the Seaside lounge was wonderful and this was a regular night time area. This was the first time I have bought the upgraded drink package and I would certainly recommend it. The basic drinking package charges you a "tip" each time, which is not bad, but the premium does not plus you get almost every liquor you could want (lots of rum & bourbon on this trip for me). All in all, we had a great time and would suggest it if you don't mind foreign speaking guests (didn't bother us at all). The bars seemed understaffed at crowded times, but I have never really needed them before so I can not say if that is similar to other cruises. I did find the bartenders to be friendly and helpful, especially if you return to a couple throughout the trip (Ashton in the Rain Forest and Raul in Seasview Lounge were particularly awesome). One of the major differences is the service with your cabin. I am not a huge fan of people taking care of me, so it didn't bother me that my steward was not as visible as the other cruise lines. They cleaned your room when asked and needed, but don't expect the towels in shapes of animals, etc. Just a difference in lines. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My family of 4 (ages 12 and 13) took a Spring Break cruise with a few other families and would definitely recommend the Seaside from MSC. The embarkation was a breeze and despite being told the check in time was 1:30pm, they allowed us in ... Read More
My family of 4 (ages 12 and 13) took a Spring Break cruise with a few other families and would definitely recommend the Seaside from MSC. The embarkation was a breeze and despite being told the check in time was 1:30pm, they allowed us in the terminal right when the doors opened at 10:30am. We checked in immediately, but when we sat down, I didn’t know we needed a Boarding Card. Luckily I made friends with someone who had a “4” card and he got an upgrade to a “1” card and gave me his “4” card. It only took about 10 minutes to be called to board the ship. As all the reviews have stated, the ship is absolutely beautiful. The Atrium was gorgeous and turned out to be a popular hangout for many of us. I am very glad we checked the best cruise hacks to be prepared with thebitems to bring aboard like the magnets, towel clips, over the door shoe rack, magnet night light, and shower curtain. The room was great for a family of 4 as the couch turned into a bunk bed. ***A word of caution. The top bunk has a metal piece that covers the light and could easily cause a nasty cut if you say up in the middle of the night and hit your head*** The food: we had the early seating (5:15pm) and it was a bit early, especially with some excursions, but the staff was great, the food was good (not a WOW, but good.). We did the 3 specialty restaurants (Ocean Cay for lunch and Asian Fusion and Butcher’s Cut for 2 dinners). They were very good, but thought it was weird we couldn’t get a glass of wine, but could only get a bottle and had to pay regardless of having the premium package. I would get this again as the main dining room’s food, as I said, was just “good” and have a little differentiation. The lunch was very repetitive and is my only negative comment for the entire cruise. Breakfast was good as they always had fresh fruits, veggies and pastries. We ate at the sit down (Seaside restaurant) restaurant a few times as they had “fresher” foods and different items than at the buffets. Onboard Activities: we hung out on deck 16 as much as we could, our son hung out at the sports bar and the arcade and our daughter explored all aspects of the ship without reservations. The slides were awesome, the zip line was fun (not worth doing more than 2x though) and the shows were fun. Definitely do the comedy shows (Beer Improv and the kids version) as they were awesome. The casino was fun, but very smoky, so if you are allergic to smoke or it bothers you in the slightest, it will definitely be a problem for you. There was always enough to do on the ship, but I wish there was better communication prior to boarding regarding when the formal night was going to be, when the white Party was, and what other specialty events (20’s party etc.) Ports of call: St Maarten and St Thomas were awesome. The excursions we took (Magen’s Bay swim and tour of the island) and (Golden eagle Catamaran) were tremendous. The catamaran trip was our second best excursion of all time, second only to a wall dive in Hawaii for our honeymoon. We docked into Puerto Rico at 5pm so only had an opportunity to have dinner and explore the night life a bit. You couldn’t see the Fort if you wanted to so don’t be too disappointed, but luckily we’ve already seen it so it wasn’t a big deal for us. For Nassau, we took a Jitney (line 10) to Cable Beach for $1.25 per person each way and spent the day at the beach for $200 less than we would have paid on an excursion. The beers and hot dogs were also half the price. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose this cruise as it was a fantastic deal - drinks on us, balcony for 1 week for 4 folks for $2300. Awesome: Cruise Critic Party - it was my best one to date- the passed hor d'oerves /drinks/ships crew, etc. They know how to ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it was a fantastic deal - drinks on us, balcony for 1 week for 4 folks for $2300. Awesome: Cruise Critic Party - it was my best one to date- the passed hor d'oerves /drinks/ships crew, etc. They know how to do it; special order Indian food - fantastic every night. Ship - just beautiful.... Room steward - she was amazing and did really hard work. Great: staff personality - casino, room steward, dining staff, entertainment staff; Also behind the scenes walkthru of the fancy restaurants - they were soo warm/friendly. Michael Jackson show was amazing; so was BeerProv - saw them 4x, got to meet the owner Jim at breakfast 1 morn; Alcohol pricing - 20% off of 2 bottles was better than I can get from Total Wine in GA; Lounge music in Haven was really really awesome every night; and bar service was great. Good: Timeless show; Entertainment staff - especially Gene (Cruise Director), Monica (Adult Ent. Director), and Tristan from South Africa. Bad: Entertainment: Evening shows were very very well constumed, but there was no storyline in the show or a discernable theme. Dining: every sitdown dining was 1.5 to 2 hrs long - its not like the wait staff wasn't working hard - poor Joli - but things just took forever. Food was average at best; only great dish I recall was the Prime Rib. No lobster tails (without upcharge) this cruise - guess I was used to getting them on Formal night at Carnival. Embarkaration at 2pm - 1.5 hrs - miserable... Itinerary - Celebrity was on same route as us, same week - they got into San Juan at 3:30pm; getting in at 5pm til 1am just isnt useful - you're onsore for a few hrs before heading back to ship. St. Maarten - 7a-2p - also terrible not enough time. Embarkation that day was really long. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Let me start by saying I had a wonderful cruise. I had read everything about this ship and MSC beforehand. I read so many mixed reviews so I was nervous. But I went in with an open mind. That being said I enjoyed almost everything. ... Read More
Let me start by saying I had a wonderful cruise. I had read everything about this ship and MSC beforehand. I read so many mixed reviews so I was nervous. But I went in with an open mind. That being said I enjoyed almost everything. Embarkation took a lot longer than I expected. Probably an hour start to finish. I’m not sure if it was MSC...a little in their processing I’m sure and the fact that it was spring break. Once I was on, the ship itself is gorgeous and very technologically advanced. Just walking around and looking at everything is special. The room was as expected. I had balcony room and it met cruise ship expectations. Could they use more closet space-yes. But plenty of outlets and enough room. Bags took a little longer to get there but was still ok. Dining onboard was good. Was it the best food ever-no, but it was still good. Ate in main dining room almost every night. Waiters were great but they are busy. Different items every day to choose from or the usual stand bys. The buffet was on floor 8 was where we had most breakfast and lunch. The one thing I loved when going into buffet was a station TO WASH YOUR HANDS. I loved this idea. But they also had hand sanitizer stand if you wanted to use that. Very surprised by how many people walked by both. Food did not change too much throughout the week...but there were so many options that you didn’t have to eat the same thing every day. We could always find a place to sit. Pizza and pasta was great. But again it’s an Italian cruise line so I was hoping as much. There were options for just about everyone regardless of your nationality. I especially enjoyed staff walking around with cart for mimosas or sangria or coffee options. I enjoyed all at some point. Entertainment was fine but limited for me. I went to nightly shows and they were good. Some acts within the show were repetitive on nights but overall they were good. Try not to miss the last night-Michael Jackson tribute. That was the best. Went to casino..seemed a bit small but loved the set up how main walk way of ship went through it. Didn’t do too much more with entertainment. Service on the ship was good, I thought. Did I have to wait st times -yes but there were 4,500 people on board. But I will say almost EVERY server I came in contact with was smiling and eager to help me. I enjoyed that. Disembarkation also took longer than expected. It was an hour waiting in line. We did easy walk off with our bags because we had early flight. But we made it. Overall would I go again -absolutely. Beautiful ship decent food great experience. Well worth the money. Give it a shot. A cruise is what you make of it. I could go on about other areas of cruise but I think I’ve said a lot. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
(Review started while on board) As I sit here outside on an empty Deck 19 of the MSC Seaside, watching the sun come up, soft music playing, a nice cool breeze, making our way back to Nassau and Miami….I figure no better time than the ... Read More
(Review started while on board) As I sit here outside on an empty Deck 19 of the MSC Seaside, watching the sun come up, soft music playing, a nice cool breeze, making our way back to Nassau and Miami….I figure no better time than the present to recap my week. Let me start by saying I’ve cruised Disney, RCCL, Carnival, Celebrity, NCL and some long gone cruise lines. I think each cruise line has its own thing to offer, it’s own niche. There is no PERFECT cruise line, only what works for you and your needs and wants. This is my first time sailing MSC and I’m not really sure what I expected. My family and I (Late 40/Early 50ish couple with 12 and 14 year old boys) chose to cruise with the Yacht club cabin/experience. Not only because it was recommended to me, but I got an incredible deal on it (especially for spring break). I’m not going to go into WHAT the Yacht club is….you can search that up, but I’ll detail some things with critiques. We arrived in Miami the night before and stayed at the Intercontinental Doral. Great hotel. Perfect for 1 night. Worked too bc we left our car there (no charge) and took an UberXL to the port. (about $41/half for Uber X). Easy easy! We went around 11am – ish to the port, so it was busy coming in, but I’m sure if you waited until around 1p, there’d be little traffic. With the Yacht club, exclusivity has it’s privileges. There’s a tent set up curbside that says “Yacht club” when you arrive. We walked up, they took our name and paperwork. A porter took our luggage and we were escorted past the masses of people, thru security and into a private waiting area with small sandwiches, drinks and champagne, etc until our name was called to process us in (ship cards etc). From there, had a brief wait and when they allowed boarding, escorted us directly onto the ship with an escort to the Yacht club area on Deck 16. A butler took both of our Roll bags and carried them up for us to the area. Now the Yacht Club area is the 3 floors, exclusive area in the front 1/3 of the ship. Deck 16 was some cabins, concierge, and the Top Side Lounge (think Living Room!). Very comfy, very cozy with 180 degree view out the front of the ship with a bar. You could sit inside or outside. Just above you in this area was the Yacht Club Restaurant which sits on deck 18 (there is no deck 17 on this ship). The restaurant overlooks the Top Side Lounge along with this 180-degree view. Absolutely awesome. There were some cabins on this level also. Then Deck 19 is your own private pool with a bar, small buffet with 2 hot tubs in the forward part of the ship and sun area. All with this 180-degree view. Come to find out, there are only about 85 cabins in the whole Yacht club area. OK, so back to our start….we briefly sat in the lounge and had a drink and a small snack and then our butler and junior butler (essentially took care of Stateroom) introduced themselves to us. They saw we had the boys and the bags so they called to see if our stateroom was ready, which it was, walked us there and kind of briefed us on things. Super easy on, very attentive. Loved it. Now, throughout the cruise, essentially any need you had, you could put thru your butler/junior butler. If they couldn’t address it, they would tell you where you could. Concierge could assist too, but we generally went to our butler/junior butler all of whom were usually around. Primas and Olena were our Butler/Junior Butler and they were fantastic!!! We will miss them dearly. (Just good people!!) Before moving from embarkation, let me note that there was no hounding to buy anything. There was a spa associate in the lounge to take bookings, but that was about it. There was no embarkation photo. No photographers in the lounge, etc. Very chill and low key. In fact, came to learn photographers were not allowed in the Yacht club area unless there was a special event. You had to go to the main ship/central atrium for pictures if you wanted them. Moving on to the Food. I very much consider myself a foodie/food snob, but try and take everything in perspective. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have been cruising since I was 8 years old, so I’ve seen the industry evolve. I read a lot of reviews (good and bad) prior to sailing MSC Seaside. I think the easiest way to say this is….you’re not going to starve. Having been on several other lines, I don’t think MSC is any better or worse than anyone else. There are a few differences. They are not as expansive, as say RCCL, but it is a European line. Is this bad? Well, if that’s what you expect, yes. If you go with it…you’ll be fine. Our food the first night for dinner was great, 2nd and 3rd night, not so much. You have the option to eat by the pool for lunch (Again, talking Yacht club) with some decent choices (Lamb chops on embarkation day were PHENOMINAL!!). Mind you we didn’t scour the ship for food, but when we did, we were not able to find a dinner buffet anywhere. There were “snacks” etc scattered around (even deck 19 in Yacht club), but not a full buffet with entrée choices (talking dinner). That’s not to say there may not be one, we were just not able to find one when we wanted. Deck 8 did have a nice area with Pizza, Salads, Sandwiches, fruit, desserts, but I did not see any hot entrees. We did not venture into any of the specialty venues on this ship. I thought the food we were getting was fine and saw no reason to drop $100-$200 on meal. Normally I would, but I found it a little overpriced for what they were offering. As far as food prep…some meals were good and some were not. Being a foodie (and teaching my boys to taste anything), we experimented with a lot of items on the menu at dinners. The majority of dishes were good, but they killed their Prawn dish one night (horrible taste), and another fish dish. I generally love Escargot, but didn’t care for the prep on this ship. Their clam and mussel pot was aweful (super salty). Salmon dishes were generally good. Tonite (at sea heading back) is lobster/prime rib, so….I’ll keep you posted. I don’t want to dabble too much on taste as everyone’s tastes are different and that’s really a person to person thing. Service overall…….whew…where do I start. Butlers and Junior butlers (at least ours….A++). Waiters in the Top Sail lounge, every one of them were amazing (we really enjoyed Vishnu who was super personable, attentive, and pleasant every day)!! Waiters in the restaurant… hit or miss! (MOSTLTY MISS!). We tried our initial waiter given for 2 nights. He was short and seemed liked he was trying to be nice to us. We swapped on 3 occasions to 3 different areas and all those waiters were excellent, pleasant and attentive. (Emmanuelle and Ted (from S. Africa) were 2 waiters who really stood out and provided good service and pleasant). I don’t know if our first waiter had a beef with us specifically or not, but…generally all the others we used were good. Food service overall was Slllooowww!! I don’t know if this was the waiter’s fault or the kitchen. As much as these guys were moving (and the Yacht club restaurant is not big), I would have to say the kitchen was slow. To give you an idea, the kids gave us “date night” last night and it was the two of us. We sat down a little after 7:30pm. We got served dinner at 8:45-8:50p. So….not sure what’s going on there, but…a little adjustment needs to be made. The Matre’d was pleasant and around, but generally did very little (in my opinion). My one son had asked for Crème Brulee, which is not served on any of the general menus, only in the specialty restaurant. He got it for him 1 night, but it kind of seemed a bother. As a Matre’d, for 1 kid, why not have it every night (or at least offer it). Never offered any specialty dishes or anything. So…not much to say other than kitchen was slow (so that’s kind of on the Matre’d) and didn’t do much else for us. On a side note, the hostess in the Yacht Club Restaurant (Yulia) was absolutely fabulous! She seemed to run that place (more so than the Matre’d) and really went above and beyond, not just socially but from a work standpoint. Very spunky and upbeat. In my opinion, the restaurant is a key part of the cruising experience and MSC mauled it! From Etiquette (not taking order/serving the lady first – Multiple waiters), to not explaining/recommending dishes, to failing to check the table periodically, to not making sure order is correct, to forgetting to bring things out…this was consistently poor in the Yacht Club restaurant – across several waiters. It takes a lot for me to put down a food service, but I can honestly say aside from the restaurant hostess (who not only sat people and greeted everyone but also cleaned and re-set tables and assisted waiters and assistant waiters), I’ve had better service at my local Chili’s /restaurant chain. The staff didn’t seem trained and was very inconsistent….all the way around (and we were waited on by 4 or 5 different wait staff). Now some of you may comment, why didn’t I say something to the Matre’d and my response to that is…this is not something that is going to get corrected in 1 day or even 1 cruise. An overall re-evaluation of this needs to be done. I was not able to get any assessment of how it was in the main dining of the ship, but I would assume better as they had 3 dinner services to tend to and were on a time limit. Perhaps it’s time to go back to gratuities for work done and not “well I’m getting it either way so why does it matter?” I’m all about tipping for service and will (and did) tip to anyone who went above and beyond. Enough about that!! Ports – The ports are the ports. Not going to say much there (We did Eastern Caribbean). Having cruised so much, we didn’t book any cruise excursions. Only things to note here…when it’s time to get off (in the Yacht club), you go to the lounge and are escorted off (and back on when you return). Nice little touch. You’re given waters and rain poncho (if needed). Rest of the ship… All the main ship pool areas were nice/crowded. We generally stayed in the Yacht club area. Our kids did the slides on occasion. Kind a of a pain in the neck as you have to sign a waiver and get a wrist band (kids/adults) in order to ride any of the slides. The waiver included the zip line too, though. Lines were long first 2 days. It would be nice if MSC had waivers available with the Yacht Club concierge and be able to turn them in there instead of mass chaos that is was to get it done. That or include it in your cruise documents and have it ready to go when you get on board (only 1 more piece of paper to print, why not!). Arcade….well…(sigh)….another gripe of the trip. We purchased 2 “fun passes” for our kids prior to sailing. When we did it online, it did not give us the option to put it on their ship card, so the “Fun Pass” was on my card and my wife’s card. We TRIED to get them to transfer it to the kids, but they could/would not. Hence, I had to give my card to my kids every time they wanted to use the arcade. The fun pass included a Formula 1 Simulator (not a Flight simulator as advertised), a 5D theatre which was open here and there and meh, bowling that was a pain in the neck to get a “reservation” for (again, would be nice if you could reserve from Yacht Club Concierge), an Air Hockey Game, and 2 video games. Air hockey was pretty much open and our go to game. My advice is save your money on the fun passes. Don’t pre-buy the $100 (with $180 worth of credit). NOT WORTH THE $. (MSC did refund us for the 1 pass we didn’t use, so that was a plus!!) Had I known there were 2 video games and all the trouble to use everything else, I would have never bought!! To add insult to injury here, there were 2 gentleman who ran this area and they were rude and short with us and many other passengers. My guess is because they were always overwhelmed. MSC needs to do a little re-evaluation of this area too and make some changes (IMO) Kids loved the crepes/Gelato on the back of the ship (Deck 7). This is included with Yacht Club. Spa on Deck 8 was nice. Both the wife and I had massages. Meh. Not bad, not great. We both used the Thermal Area the last day fo the cruise and the area was nice. Entertainment...we went to the show the first night (Timeless). Nothing great. We chose not to partake in any more entertainment options as we didn't find it to our liking. Deck 6 was the shopping area. Typical cruise shopping area. Do your homework and know what you want. Looked at an “older” watch for my son and they sell for the retail price with a “discount”. Checked online and could get the watch for over $100+ less than what they were offering on the ship. So…not that they are ripping you off, just…do your homework if you’re looking for jewelry. That’s all I’ll say. Chocolate bar in the middle of the ship looked great. Can’t really give a review as we didn’t eat or drink anything from there. Casino was ok. Quite small for ship this size. There is no Craps. There is no poker table. The ventilation is poor in the area and tends to be very smokey. Didn’t really venture in here much. They have newer slots with lots of buttons. (Whatever happened to put your token in and pull?!?). lol Things overall on the ship ran as scheduled. If it opened at 8a, 8a it was, not 7:55a, not 7:59a. This is not a bad thing, but in the customer service industry, sometimes you need to be a little flexible. Example, walking back onto the ship from one of the ports, they have a station for a cold face towel. I asked for one and was told they don’t start until Noon (it was 11:56-57am). Little things like that can be a put-off. The ship itself was beautiful/modern. Outside of the yacht club area, I think the ship lacked flow. (ie you couldn’t walk straight thru to things or easily get to things). It was a bit difficult to navigate at times. My wife and I saw an infinity bridge (bridge with glass on it) but couldn’t figure out how to get there. Eventually, after making our way out there, there were some other doors leading out we found, but not well marked. OK. Sun is up and beaming and family awake. Stay tuned…! Driving home from Miami now…and continuing on…. Prime Rib and Lobster dinner (Sea day) was good. Presentation was AWEFUL. Prime rib was slathered in a brown gravy (not necessarily bad, just not how I prefer) and lobster was plopped in this gravy as well (See Pic…I moved lobster to the side of the plate). Plate was not clean presentation at all!! Lobster was NOT served with drawn butter. We asked the waiter if this was how it was to be served and he said told us “yes”. Eventually, they brought drawn butter out, but it took almost 10 minutes and my lobster was cold by then. Still tasted good cold. Last night in the dining room, they had rack of lamb. Luckily, I had an ordered a truffle risotto (which was very good, but undercooked) and my sons were served the lamb while I ate the risotto. Again, the lamb was slathered in a thick brown gravy with cooked cherries. (sorry, this one was aweful). Luckily, I was able to head my waiter off at the pass and had the sauce put on the side. Lamb was herb crusted and absolutely delicious. One of the best meat dishes of the cruise. Not sure what’s up with the sauces, but….perhaps if the waiter took the time to explain the menu and make recommendations, the food review would be a little better. With MSC being a European line, I said things were different, however (IMO) if you’re going to operate in an American Market, I think they need to take note of some differences and make accommodations. My final observation of the whole Yacht club experience sort of has to do with the rest of the ship. My general feeling was….once you were out of the Yacht club, you were just another bean. Nothing exclusive or priority. My wife purchased a massage and our butler walked her down to the spa. After the butler left, the spa attendant asked my wife, “who is he?” We also had a little issue with the photo shop as we pre-bought a photo package before sailing. The product was listed as “10 prints and 10 digital photos”. It did not specify if they were the same or not. Having cruised before and inconsistences, I called MSC prior to sailing to clarify the package before purchasing. It was explained to me that it was indeed 20 different photos. My wife and I went to the photo area Thurs night to pick out our photos and get it out of the way before the masses hit Friday night. The attendant (who I learned was new) told me it was only 10 photos. I explained to her otherwise that’s not what corporate explained. After a slight back and forth, she advised she’d get with her superior and get back with me Fri morning. I never received any follow-up and went back down late Friday morning of which I was told I was correct and it was 20 different photos. Now they couldn’t find the 20 photos I had given them the night before and couldn’t reach the young lady we were dealing with. I was told to return around 4p which I did. They confirmed everything, gave me my 10 prints and now told me to come back between 10-10:30p for the disk with the other 10 prints. When I arrived back (around 10:15p) it was mass chaos in the photo area. The disk was not ready and I was told 10 minutes. I left the photo area at 10:55p. Just watching the chaos of 4-6 people just standing there doing very little (bc they were awaiting photos/disks to made) was comical. I had to take a video of it bc it just showed how disorganized this was. Disembarkation – 1 word…SUPURB!! Best disembarkation I’ve EVER had. I stood outside my stateroom door at 8:45p. My wife accidently lost her key card, so our junior Butler got us a new one, walked us down to Deck 6 where we were greeted by our butler. Both took our rollaway bags (2) and walked us past everyone to the ship exit. We said our goodbyes/took photos and walked off the ship. We weedled around the port of Miami…went thru immigrations which is a facial recognition camera, and continued on to our luggage area (weedling a little more). Yacht club bags were at the very end. Got our bags, walked out the door and grabbed an UberXL back to the hotel. Stateroom door to packed car ready to go….(with the drive) – 1 hr. BOOM. Couldn’t ask for anything better!! In summary, overall, we had a great cruise. We’ve had good and bad cruises and take things in stride. I’m a little more old school having experienced “cruising of the past”, so my expectations are probably a little higher. Sad to say, the industry has changed. You have to pay for experiences (like the Yacht club) in order to get that old school treatment (most of the time). Sadly, MSC has some work to do in several areas to improve this. This was one of the most “relaxed” cruises we’ve done and really enjoyed that aspect. The Yacht club experience without all the “cruise fluff” thrown at you is a great option. Even with the things that need correcting, MSC has a pretty good product and I think just needs to hone some in an American market. I would definitely sail MSC again and would choose no other option than the Yacht club for this line. I think it was worth what I paid for my family and I. If you have super active children who need to be stimulated all the time, not sure this would be the line for you. Our kids are older and a little more low key and they enjoyed it as well. I would definitely entertain this line for an Alaska cruise. The Yacht club experience in the Alaskan market would be plus. Sorry this is such long review, but I hope it gives you an idea of the experience onboard, at least from a Yacht club perspective. Feel free to shoot over any questions! Bon Voyage!! PS – Quick about internet. Fam of 4 periodically checking the net….6gb package was fine/more than enough for the week. Purchase before getting on board for the discount. Oh...and I kids didn't step foot in the kids club, so can't really comment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because friends had said it was good. It was overall a good experience. We didn't like some of the check-in procedures. With other cruises once you check in, they hook up your sail and sign card. This isn't ... Read More
We chose this cruise because friends had said it was good. It was overall a good experience. We didn't like some of the check-in procedures. With other cruises once you check in, they hook up your sail and sign card. This isn't so with MSC. You have 48 hours to go to a kiosk on the ship and swipe your credit card and link it. It was a pain in the neck especially traveling with a baby. The lines were extremely long for customer service every single time. We also had an issue getting our military discount, which still hasn't been rectified. Truthfully, I've just given up because trying to get someone for that has been impossible. Another downfall was the layout of the ship. It was a bit difficult to navigate and not many floors went directly across. Positives: The itinerary was great! We loved every port of call. The food was pretty good at the buffets. The steak house was amazing! The one show we did attend was great! Peter Punk....very good. The coffee/chocolate shop was amazing! The coffees were to die for and the staff even took time to make a steamed bottle every single night for my baby! The service in the stores, coffee shop, and kid care was great! The baby center was bright, clean, and perfect! The girl in charge there was also great! I would recommend the baby care. I didn't find many reviews, if any at all for it, but it was good and definitely well worth the time away from my little guy. The ship was spotless. I had seen reviews saying it was dirty, NO WAY! This ship was clean and I always saw personnel cleaning. The ship is also beautifully decorated and built. The tile floors are gorgeous as well as hallways. Negatives: The cabin was a little small for us and the baby. We could have probably used a bigger once since his crib took up most of the common area and we couldn't remove the couch. The crowds at the buffet were a lot. Also, if you don't like rude foreigners, this isn't the ship for you. The percentage of Americans on the ship was very small. All announcements are in five different languages making them lengthy. Our coffee and walking tour in San Juan wasn't what we expected. It was a coffee tasting, but we only stopped at one actual coffee shop, the other was a yogurt store. It was rather expensive for just a walking tour. The staff at the port prior to check in wasn't very friendly. Some of the staff in the buffet area weren't very friendly either. Bar staff wasn't the best. They all seemed annoyed and cranky. I asked for a coke with a cup of ice for lunch a few times from the same bartender and it was met with major attitude. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
To begin, the embarkation process was the best we have experienced. I have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess and Norwegian and this process was so easy. Nice comfortable seated waiting in air conditioning. The ... Read More
To begin, the embarkation process was the best we have experienced. I have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess and Norwegian and this process was so easy. Nice comfortable seated waiting in air conditioning. The ship is absolutely beautiful. Very colorful and with tons of outdoor space and views of the ocean. We had great service from our cabin steward, the bartenders, the restaurant staff and everyone aboard. The cabin are average size, however, the shower has an actual door which keeps the bathroom much drier. The dinning room food was good. Nothing spectacular but there are plenty of options to chose from. We didn't do the specialty restaurants so I can't speak to those. They are expensive unless you book them ahead. We upgraded our drink package and found that to have everything we wanted. The buffet food in the Marketplace was above and beyond the quality of most ships. There is so much to choose from, fresh salads, fruits, excellent pizza, burgers and hot dogs, carved meats, cheeses and the best bread! Did I say I loved the bread?! We only had one problem, we were charged 39.00 from the photoshop that turned up on our bill on Wednesday. When we checked at the front desk, they told us it was for embarkation photos. We didn't receive or purchase any photos. We were told that gets added to everyone's bill. They removed the charge. There was a huge line at the desk so I assume that is what everyone was there for. The staff on ship are delightful and spoke very good English. The other passengers were mostly from Europe which have a bit different culture, but we didn't mind and enjoyed the different experiences. The debarkation process was smooth as silk. We were off the ship, had our luggage and in a taxi within 10 minutes! No long lines, no waiting and the luggage was clearly marked and easy to locate. Overall, I rate this cruise Very Good and the ship being Excellent. I would not hesitate to cruise with MSC again! If you are looking for a unique ship, unique experience and smooth processes, I highly recommend it. We chose the Fantastica experience. For most travelers, I believe that would be a great fit! Thank you MSC for a wonderful cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We choose this cruise as we wanted to visit the Caribbean and the price of a balcony room and the new Seaside ship was appealing. We have cruised before with RC and Princess and must admit to being nervous due to some of the negative ... Read More
We choose this cruise as we wanted to visit the Caribbean and the price of a balcony room and the new Seaside ship was appealing. We have cruised before with RC and Princess and must admit to being nervous due to some of the negative reviews we had read however we went with an open mind and had a fantastic holiday. We booked the Aurea package which included spa access and access to quieter areas of the ship to sunbathe which we liked. I had also noticed in previous reviews that deck 9 has extended balconies which was great. We loved the food both in the buffet and main Seashore restaurant ( I am vegetarian but found plenty of choice). The entertainment shows were much better than on our previous cruises and overall we had a great time, if I had one complaint it would be the short port stops with this cruise which meant we couldn't really go far but we did enjoy our kayak and snorkelling trip. Overall we had a great time and we will cruise with MSC again. Read Less
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