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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This cruise was so wonderfull. The first time I went in the carribeans. Stops were so fabulous. About the ship : I have already cruise on the seaview, and it's exactly the same ship. It was plenty but, because of his design, you ... Read More
This cruise was so wonderfull. The first time I went in the carribeans. Stops were so fabulous. About the ship : I have already cruise on the seaview, and it's exactly the same ship. It was plenty but, because of his design, you don't feel there are too much people. Just sometimes at the buffet or restaurant. Embarkation and disembarkation wasn't a problem, except at Grnad Cayman where we should take a boat to go to he port, and it was a bit longer but not too much. It was a little bit long to be serve at the bar, depend on the server. But this is the same problem on the other boat of MSC. I have the "My choice dining", so we went dining all days at 9h00, after the show (8h30). And it was allways simple to find a table, no waiting. We can ask for the same server all along the cruise. For the breakfast we went 4 times to the restaurant, and it was great. The others time to the self. Finally, I have no little children, so I can't critik the children installation. Read Less
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I don't normally complain. We love cruising and being on the ocean. There was nothing absolutely horrible. Nothing great either. Service is slow and poor. Had to wait forever to be served at the bar, or flag down bar service who ... Read More
I don't normally complain. We love cruising and being on the ocean. There was nothing absolutely horrible. Nothing great either. Service is slow and poor. Had to wait forever to be served at the bar, or flag down bar service who always seemed irritated to be asked. The main dining service was awesome. We had wonderful servers and was the highlight of each day. Julius in the seaside lounge bar was the only great, kind, friendly bartender. None of the shows were good, except the Michael Jackson show. Comedy was all vulgar improv. The food was fine, but the salad bar was literally lettuce and shredded carrots. We saw our cabin steward once. He never cleaned our shower or bathroom floor. It was nasty by day 7. This was our second msc cruise. Both have had a theme of poor service. Hoping they can use these reviews to improve in the future, as their ships are beautiful. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
To start I am no expert for traveling, and before travel i usually do so much research. When doing my research for this trip I literally spent HOURS searching through cruise critic page after cruise critic page to find all the ... Read More
To start I am no expert for traveling, and before travel i usually do so much research. When doing my research for this trip I literally spent HOURS searching through cruise critic page after cruise critic page to find all the information i needed. I will start from the beginning of my trip. ___________________________________________________ PACKING: I research "Marie Kondo" packing method, she has a youtube video showing how she packs her suitcase. Using her method helped keep things organized while living out of the suitcase. Traveling with children it is hard to figure out what you will need and what wont even get used. Here are a few things I packed: KIDS - 4 swim suits 2 rash guards 2 swimwear covers (girls) 2 Sunglasses 2 Sandals ( 1 pair of flip flops for the pool, 1 fashionable pair for dinner) Water shoes (so they can run around but wont fall with wet floors) 5 pair of shorts (the kids are mostly in their bathing suits) SPF rated Sun Hats (we use spf 50) 10 Shirts Life vest for swimming in deep pools (helped out because it isn't provided) 1 pair of sneakers GIRLS: Bring a dress for each night of the cruise, 2 camisole sweaters, cute bows and head bands BOYS: 4-6 Pair of pants (depending on the number of nights for your cruise) a button down or collar shirt for each night, a pair a dress shoes, 1 suit jacket for elegant night. Baseball cap for dry day activities. Things I packed and never used: Dramamine for kids Sickness Sea bands Toys MEN: 2 Pair of shorts (you probably wont event use these) 4-5 Bathing suit trunks 7 Tank Tops/Mussel shirts 3 t-shirts 1 Suit Jacket 7 going out shirts(dress collar shirts or t-shirts) (1 for each night) 4 pair of pants (for dinner) 1 pair of jeans 1 pair of dress shoes 1 Pair of sneakers 1 pair of flip flops 1 pair of fashion sandals (birkenstock) WOMEN: 1 pair of flip flops 1 pair of heels 1 pair of sneakers 2 pair of fashion Sandals 7 Dresses or Rompers (a mix of midi dresses and Rompers for dinner) 1 camisole 6 shorts 6 shirts (sporty/loose fitted) ______________________________________________________ Pre-purchased Add-ons: 1.Trio dining package -if you purchase on the boat, their current promo offered 4 dining reservations rather than the trio -If you don't like any of the cuisines you are allowed to double up on a restaurant -Our favorite was the Asian Market restaurant & Butcher Cut **Dining review that helped me: https://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=994&pgtype=dining 2.We choose to book our excursions separate from MSC which was fine but I wish we did it with MSC for our Bahamas stop, so we can use the Atlantis shuttle rather than paying for a cab. ________________________________________________ A few days before embarking, everyone must have paper print outs of your itinerary. On your itinerary you will find a your cruise info, embarking time (it is not a mandatory time, you can arrive as early as you want), pre-purchased packages, & bag tags hat must be placed on any checked bags. ___________________________________________________ EMBARKING DAY: We arrived to the port in Miami at 3:30/4pm. You drop off your bags with the port crew members curb side (which can make you feel uneasy) and proceed to security. Security requires the same as in the airport, Passport and boarding pass ( located on itinerary printed). Once you get through security you will go up the escalator or elevator to the MSC customer service window. The MSC customer service member will take your passport information, they take a current photo & provide you with your key card. This key card is used to open your cabin door but also will be used at the bar each time you order a drink. Once you receive your key card you may enter the ship, the security will scan each key one by one and ask that the person he is scanning pass him. When traveling with kids its best to divide and concur. So I took my son through security and my husband took our daughter. __________________________________________________ ARRIVING TO OUR ROOM: Upon arrival our beds weren't set up the way we needed it. No biggie we just pushed the two twin beds to make 1 bed. We hung up our sweaters and dropped off our bags and we immediately left our room to begin exploring the ship. Stop #1: Guest Services There is always a long lone no matter what time you go. (I would suggest to go around 7pm it seemed to be the best time) At customer Service you are allowed to deposit cash but upon checking out you either have a bill waiting for you or they have to refund you. If you use a debit card you have to swipe the card again on the day of disembarkment. MSC crew members suggest adding a credit card on file as it is literally the easiest way to pay any tab you might have because you no longer have to go back to customer service.(unless you have a question in regards to a charge) **But one thing that they don't mention is YOU DO NOT have to stand in line to add a credit or debit card, there are 2 credit card machines in the customer service area to add your card. Stop #2: The Seaside Bar The Bartenders on level 5 is great, everyone is super nice and make great drinks. We had the "Drink on Us" promo package. This package had a few hidden fees and limitations, which wasn't a complete surprise. (considering nothing is free) The hidden fee was a service fee per drink order. (usually $1-3) So we upgraded to the premium package which is $530 for two adult, we didn't have to upgrade the kids because they had a drink package as well. The premium package is WORTH IT! priced at $33 per person/per day which is on average about the cost of 3 premium drinks and if you are out in the sun you can easily drink 3-4 Miami Vices (slushy mixed drink). Mimosas, slushy or mixed cocktails with good liquor and the best cappuccinos arent included in the drinks on us package. Stop #3: Dinner at the Seashore Restaurant - Level 5 The staff is amazing, so sweet and since it was the first night they allowed us to be in our shorts for dinner. The steak had a gravy that i wasn't a big fan of and the food was just okay. Stop #4: 8th floor deck to watch the sun set as well sailed away from the Miami port. We continued to explore the ship and found ourselves checking out the kids pool area on level 18, we found a great spot to watch the sun set and continue to watch our sail away from Miami on deck 19 (which is walking access only.) _____________________________________ As we continued to explore the ship we found the casino which is small but nice. We found the arcade (with 4 games total) & the 2 bowling lanes. _________________________________________ On day 3, we received a service charge and upon arriving to customer service they informed us that is the gratuity charge ($12.50 per adult/per day & 1/2 the price for small children/per day.) _____________________________________________ ENTERTAINMENT Staff: The entertainment staff was great, they definitely knew how to keep the party going. The all white party was on deck 16 and the 70's party was near the seaside bar and could be viewed from deck 5-8. ______________________________________________ Jamaica - Try your best to book an excursion or something to do. We went to Margaritaville where people asked if we wanted to smoke weed 1000x. Also try your best to avoid talking to anyone outside of the port, they all want to call you boss lady and take your money, even if they suggest it is only based on whatever you want to give them. Grand Cayman - This port is on the ocean, so there is a ferry boat to take you to and from the dock. You must pick up a ticket from level 8 first thing in the morning and they begin calling numbers by 8am (1-50). Once your number is called then you may enter the Haven night club, only to be let out of the night club to go down to deck 4 to disembark (which took a total of 2 hrs for us). The return ferry was much easier. we arrived to the docks around 2:30pm and were on one of the first two ferrys back. Cozumel - We scheduled snorkeling for this stop which was totally worth it!!! I highly recommend using: http://cozumelcruiseexcursions.net/snorkel-in-cozumel.html the photos on the website does it NO JUSTICE! we used biodegradable sunscreen SPF 50 and still got a little burned, dont forget to keep applying sunscreen the sun is strong. Bahamas- We booked Atlantis directly from its website, we took a $4 per person cab and had a wack driver. (i would recommend using MSC excursion for this one) When the ship docks at a port it usually empty's out, if you return back at a good time there are no lines for any of the slides or bars and the pools are empty. _________________________________________________ DISEMBARKING DAY: On the day we returned to Miami we had breakfast at the buffet and made our way to desk 7, which is where were allowed to leave from. We were told that we had to wait for your color to be called for people who checked bags but after arriving to to deck 7 we were told that all bags were already out and we could leave when ever. I would suggest bringing only carry on items as this might make leaving easier. _________________________________ Each day you will receive an itinerary of what the following day has to offer and on each of these brochures your will find the dress code. But just to get an idea this is what our cruise had. Dress code optional per nights: Night #1 - Smart Casual Night #2 - Elegant optional // Smart Casual Night #3 - Smart Casual Night #4 - All White optional // Smart Casual Night #5 - 70's Theme Party optional// Smart Casual Night #6 - Smart Casual Night #7 - Elegant optional // Smart Casual 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
First off, the boat was beautiful. We had no problems with the cleanliness of our room and our cleaning lady was great except for the few times she didn’t give us face towels. When we boarded the ship there were staff from the few ... Read More
First off, the boat was beautiful. We had no problems with the cleanliness of our room and our cleaning lady was great except for the few times she didn’t give us face towels. When we boarded the ship there were staff from the few restaurants offering us a “deal” for dinner. So my boyfriend and I said sure why not. Later that night we decided we were tired and decided not to go. When I called to cancel, the man told us that it would be a $10 fee to cancel the reservation because we didn’t cancel 24hrs before our reservation time. How can I cancel 24hrs before if I have only been on the cruise for 3 hours?? That was the first annoying thing. The second thing was registering your MSC Cruise Card. You HAD to put money on it starting from $100 and up. We had no idea because that wasn’t in our paperwork and it was our frist cruise so we didn’t know if that was the norm. So he put $100 and that money went fast!! When we booked the trip we booked the Fantastica package which said it came with 12 free drinks pp but we never got those. We had to pay for allllll the drinks we got even soda. So we decided to just drink water. Then my boyfriend and I decided to treat ourselves and get a drink at the main bar. My boyfriend gave the bartender a $5 tip and we left. Then later that night we checked our bill on the TV and saw that we had already been charged a 15% gratuity on our drinks already. We had no idea that they did that otherwise my boyfriend wouldn’t have given him the $5. Then as we looked at our bill we say that there was a $25 dollar charge on his account. We couldn’t figure out what that was as we hadn’t bought anything but those two drinks. The charge was labeled “service charge”. So my boyfriend called the reception desk and they said that each person is charged a $12.50 service charge for “tips for all the crew members, cleaning staff, and dining staff.” We were extremely upset because were young and we were on a budget and we had worked so many hours to save up the money to go on this cruise just to find out that we had to pay an extra $200 between the two of us to tip people who had never even waited on us. How is that fair? I’d rather tip people who directly served us or cleaned our room. I think that was ridiculous. Then on like day 6 of the cruise, our toilet like stopped working. It took them like an hour to come and fix it and then the next morning we woke up to a loud noise and realized that our toilet had no water. They finally got it fixed but it was really annoying at the time. Lastly, disembarkation was a MESS. We woke up early to make any last payments on our accounts and packed up our stuff to leave. We got to level 6 and the line was SOOOOOOO long. We waited an hour in line to get off. When we got to the part where they scanned our cards to disembark, the man said he couldn’t let my boyfriend and I off the ship cause we still had payments to make. It’s a good thing I kept the receipts from the transactions because they were giving us a hard time about paying these fees. Overall, the cruise ship itself was nice, clean and most of the crew was pretty friendly. But the hidden fees and the unorganization on the ship was enough for my boyfriend and I to say were never going back on a MSC Cruise again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I've just got back from cruising with MSC Seaside. It was a terrible time to cruise with MSC. I had nothing to do on the ship. There was not much of entertainment. Maketplace Food buffet had not many varieties of food to offer. ... Read More
I've just got back from cruising with MSC Seaside. It was a terrible time to cruise with MSC. I had nothing to do on the ship. There was not much of entertainment. Maketplace Food buffet had not many varieties of food to offer. They had pizza, hamburgers, and hotdogs for the main food for you every single meal of the day: breakfast, lunch, after lunch snack, dinner, and midnight snack for 7 days straight that we were on the cruise. They would close the buffet on the dot, put all the food away, and only one or two counters left the serve the food. In my opinion, they were trying to upselling their dinner and drink package by forcing people not to have much choice for food on the buffet. Moreover; one time, I saw they were putting back fruits they put away from previous meal for you to eat. You know how the fruits that are not fresh cut and been refrigerated. Also, it's very annoying when they tried to sell you all those dinner and drink packages. This is definitely overrated. I didn't bother to go see the show of them. I'd walked around and saw people playing cards; even young kids, they played UNO. They must be very bored and had nothing better to do. There are not many shopping shops on the Seaside, so nothing much to check out. There is a screen TV at the aft of the ship. Unfortunately the choice of their movie on the night that I went to give a try was very boring "Spiderman Home coming." The cabin was so so, nothing fancy. The sheet, comforter, towels, and stuff were old, had a lot of lints It's very irritated to my skin. Towels were smells and ripped. One of the destinations was Puerto Rico, arrived at 5pm. What they want us to do at 5pm and we had to be on board by 1am. or 1.30pm, and there were nothing much to walk around and see either. It's not very impressive for the first time with MSC. I wanted to go home on the second day that I was on the cruise!!! Oh..there a good thing about MSC. Their desserts are pretty good. They are not extremely sweet like desserts on the main land in the US. They are good at creativity and recycling as well.They would use leftover fruits and nuts to make cakes and other desserts, very delicious indeed. I've heard pizza are very good too, but I'm not a huge fan of pizza. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I ended up on this cruise to celebrate my sister's 70th birthday. Young at heart, we wanted a cruise that suited our personalities. So with 25 adventurers ranging in age from 13 and up, MSC Seaside seemed perfect. Embarkation - ... Read More
I ended up on this cruise to celebrate my sister's 70th birthday. Young at heart, we wanted a cruise that suited our personalities. So with 25 adventurers ranging in age from 13 and up, MSC Seaside seemed perfect. Embarkation - It's a zoo. Imagine 5,000+ people trying to check-in. Our saving grace was the Aurea package (an upgrade). Trying to figure out where our check-in area was located was challenging. Once in line, a very nice young woman provided assistance. We returned to check-in three (3) times because our card didn't work. A non-walker's nightmare. Dining - The buffet, as one of our friends, said, "By the time you make it around the buffet to find what you want and get to your seat, your food is cold." Day 1: Try to get a soda from the pay as you go machine, good luck. Ridiculous. Sell drink cards like other ships. Organization of buffet, where is the jam? It's on the Wellness Bar. Where is the bread? It's next to desserts or sodas (depends). The staff working in the buffet area just stood around - no assistance unless you flagged someone. The staff in white uniforms - no purpose. The soda machine process, go figure. Evening dining -The dining room staff are unorganized. Try finding a waiter to take cocktail orders. The dining room show, yes we clapped for the staff but our waiters were working. Friendliness - No introductions, good morning, smile. What gives? I am a frequent cruiser, Princess, Viking, Royal Caribbean. This experience pales by comparison. The music, theatre shows, Aurea spa, and ship decor saved the day. Read Less
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I've seen mixed reviews on the MSC Seaside while doing lots of research. Having been on Princess, Celebrity, and Royal, this was my favorite. It's a gorgeous ship. The staff are comparable to other lines. But you get so much ... Read More
I've seen mixed reviews on the MSC Seaside while doing lots of research. Having been on Princess, Celebrity, and Royal, this was my favorite. It's a gorgeous ship. The staff are comparable to other lines. But you get so much for your money. That opinion might related to having the Aurea experience. But we felt this cabin and the deluxe drink package (obsolete after 11/19 bookings) were the best deal we've seen in quality and price. Even with the new drink package structure, we'll book this ship again. The best description I can make is this is a great combination of the refinement of Celebrity and the fun of Royal. The room - Most of the research I was able to do on this room, 12001, was watching the YouTube videos as I didn't see many of reviews of the cabin. That was motivation for this review. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a huge closet, a living room, and a forward-facing balcony. Here's the stuff you can't get from watching the video: - One bathroom is better for showering (the one with the bathtub) and one is better for everything else. We started with a kids' bathroom and an adults' bathroom and ended up using whatever we wanted by the end. - The main closet is large enough that you can get dressed in it, easier than getting dressed in the bathroom. That really helped when we were rushing to dinner. - There's plenty of storage in the 2nd bedroom as well so my daughter kept her stuff in there. - We loved this balcony. This was our first fully forward balcony, but we'd gladly do it again. It was wonderful coming into port (San Juan was incredible) and leaving. It was great for star-gazing at night. It was protected enough that it gave shade on hot days but still had a great breeze. We enjoyed napping on it. The breeze at sea was great for drying stuff from the day, which has been an issue on prior cruises. - The living room is larger and more functional than it looks in the video. We stuck the large suitcases in the corner and didn't notice there were there. When we weren't sleeping, we spent our time in the room in the living room. - The kids alternated between hanging out on the sofa and the balcony. Gluten-free experience - I received 2 pre-packaged treats in the room each day. I was able to take them off the ship for excursions. This was a really nice touch since I expected to be very limited in what I could take with me. - Pasta and risotto make me one happy camper. So I was happy all week! - For the most part, I did ok in the buffet. The staff would tell me how something was cooked if I asked. I stuck mainly with the items in the rotisserie section and had some great fish, rice, and vegetables. I ate the meringue cookies as my dessert with each meal. One day had chocolate mousse and it was incredible. After too many meals watching the family ooh and aah over the pizza, I hit a week spot after a day of heavy drinking and pulled the topping off of some slices. Was it worth the risk? Probably not. But I'll blame it on the mojitos and ciders. And I don't regret any of the mojitos I drank! - I received my own menu whenever I ate in the dining room. My food came separate from the others since it comes from a separate kitchen. For the most part, my food came within minutes of the others' dishes. I was served warm GF bread with every meal which - I devoured within minutes of it hitting the table. It's been a long time since I've had fresh bread! - I chose "Dessert of the Day" for each dinner. There were items on the regular menu that would have been GF (ice cream, flan, and others), but it just got to be routine to order it. A couple of times were an ice cream cake and a couple were ice cream. I wasn't overly impressed with the desserts, but then again the desserts weren't the star of the meal for me since I knew I could hit Venchi afterwards. - Interesting thing is that MSC is very cautious about labeling anything GF unless it comes out of that special kitchen. So there is plenty to eat that is GF but not certified, like the gelato. Other miscellaneous - The public areas are gorgeous, but the purple and grey in the cabin was not a color scheme I enjoyed. It eventually grew on me, but it took some time. - We were grandfathered into the deluxe package. Nothing we drank ever hit our bill. If MSC had kept that, we'd book MSC for life. I know they're in line with other companies now, but it's disappointing to know that you can't ever do that again. - On the 2nd sea day, make sure you get pictures taken on bridge of sighs. They're stunning. They are included in the digital photo package. - The free drink options in the buffet were surprisingly good. The lemonade had pulp in it, so they're actually using lemon juice to make it instead of a powder. The kids loved the grapefruit juice. My husband enjoyed all of the choices. - In the thermal area, people dropped their towels down on the heated loungers like they were reserving chairs. On the last day, we moved one lady's towels. She was miffed when she came back. We'd been in the area for 45 minutes before using the loungers and her towels had been there the whole time. She thought she could reserve 2 of the 3 heated loungers that long? Um, no. That was the only case of chair hogging that bothered me. - Aurea Bar was a fun respite. We'd go at the end of day and hang out. Service - I'd read so many complaints about the service when researching: service is not like xxx line, servers don't care, servers are overloaded, etc. We didn't find service to be different than other lines. We were greeted with smiles and hellos everywhere. For every crowded bar, we were able to find to another, less crowded bar (same thing when we had a drink package on Celebrity) with bartenders who entertained us. We had some stellar service: - Alora & Donald were the wife/husband team in Seashore who personalized our dinners and had perfect timing in serving us. - Fred (John Wilfred Lao) in photography took stunning photos. My kids sought him out every night. You should, too. - Roxane was our room steward. She made butterflies with the kids' pajamas. The kids joked that I was imagining her because I would see her but they never would. That meant that she struck the perfect timing of being there when we needed her but was never obtrusive. - Deion and Ashish Finu in the Aurea bar. I'm sure I'm forgetting people because so many went into making this an incredible cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our 9th cruise and we chose Seaside because of its design. We wanted as much outdoor space as possible. Tired of the old "Food Court" atrium designs. The outdoor seating for food and drink was beautiful. There was so ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise and we chose Seaside because of its design. We wanted as much outdoor space as possible. Tired of the old "Food Court" atrium designs. The outdoor seating for food and drink was beautiful. There was so much outdoor space the ship holds true to its motto, "Follows the Sun"! At times, we had difficulty finding shade, but no big deal. We upgraded to a larger cabin 14003 way up front on deck 14. Space was nice, balcony was disappointing. It was a full size balcony but only half available to look out due to the steel support wall for the corner of the ship. We were directly under the bridge so it was nice not having sunlight glaring in our eyes or camera lens for photos. My wife loved the complete privacy of it so I guess it has its pluses and minuses. The Mirror and chrome design was stunning. Absolutely gorgeous, especially the crystal stairs. People couldn't take enough pictures of them. However, due to all the mirrors, there is a place on deck 6 were we almost walk into them several times. The signage is very limited. When elevator doors open, its hard to see what deck you on on. We found out, after a couple of days, that the deck number is on the left post of each elevator door frame. But, because of the chrome, its hard to see. There are large deck numbers on the wall opposite elevators, but not always visible when doors open, and again in bright chrome. Yes, there is always the digital read out and voice in the elevator! The App is the true shinning star on this ship. Very well done. You have access to daily activities, you own personal list of things you checked and, easy show reservation as well as checking you account balance any time. Food was very good, especially in MDR. Appetizers and soups were hit or miss but main course was awesome every night. Contrary to what we have read, the buffet had many changes daily, pre-made sandwiches were different everyday and the carving station in the back was awesome. They were carving roast beef, lamb, pork, turkey, ham, etc.Yes, they had pizza and burgers everyday but what buffet doesn't? Broadway style shows were unbelievable, the best we have ever seen. Outsourcing to a theater company is definitive the way to go. The ships activities crew was top notch, they were everywhere and easily accessible. A really great bunch of kids. Service is probably the only place this ship falls flat. After being in the US for 15 months, you would think the service crew would have the understanding of "Where is the soda machine, toilet, towel exchange or can you make me this drink??" Boy, they do have a lot of teaching to do, not just because of the language barrier, which we were stunned as to how you do not understand simple words such as Coke or Ginger Ale or Sprite, but overall how many of the staff did not know where things were. Training, training, training is what is seriously lacking in this area. Our MDR waiter was difficult to communicate with the first few days, but by the end of the week, they knew exactly what we were looking for, this should have been the case by day 2. I had a bartender give me Scotch because he could not find the Seagram's 7, and he thought I would not notice. I have been drinking 7&7s ever since Tony got me started on "Saturday Nigh Fever". We did notified the Bar Manager and he assured me they would look into it. (not the movie, the problem). Management was always willing to listen and correct the situation, if possible. We wound up receiving Champagne and Chocolate covered strawberries (which we gave both to our neighbors) for one problem, and a tray of pastries for the bar debacle (also gave to the neighbors). Stop trying to put out fires guys and train your staff! We did manage to find an awesome bartender, Julius, at the Miami beach bar. He made the best Mudslides with ice cream, yes, they have a Gellato bar right in the middle of the pool bar. We also found Ron down on deck 5 at the Seaside bar. This is their flagship bar in the atrium. This is the place to go see and be seen. Ron was such a talented mixologist and always smiling. He was so willing to please and always went above and beyond. His section of the bar always had a crowd, I'm surprised the ship did not tilt in that direction. My wife was not feeling well and he made her the most fantastic hot chocolate ever! She kept going back for more. The Thermal Spa was, how does Scar in "Lion King" put it..."To Die For"! I'm sorry we did not opt for the weekly pass, instead we purchased a day pass with massages. This place is awesome, Jun the manager was the best. Jamaica was sad, Grand Cayman was beautiful and Cozumel, well, it's Cozumel. We spent the day in the spa while in port at Nassau. Would we sail MSC again? Probably, but not in the near future. I would prefer an Eastern Itinerary and lets see how well Management does their training. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked and saved for this cruise for over a year. This was first time cruising with MSC. From A-Z was bad. Room was never cleaned properly even upon arrival. Drawers had sand, etc in them, comforter had hole in it, closet door handle ... Read More
We booked and saved for this cruise for over a year. This was first time cruising with MSC. From A-Z was bad. Room was never cleaned properly even upon arrival. Drawers had sand, etc in them, comforter had hole in it, closet door handle was broken off and under bed, the couch/bunk was never down in couch position, floors never looked vacuumed, I had to call numerous times for toilet paper because room attendant would "tidy" up but never refill paper or empty garbage cans. This is first cruise my family went on and actually lost weight. The food was horrible be it dining room or buffet. The show(S), was the same show with same performers every night. Just wearing different outfits and music. We booked 2 excursions through MSC. Both were a disaster. Manager at excursion desk and others were horribly rude to us and none of it was our fault! First excursion issue was Jeep tour did not take us to any of places listed, nor did we do off road as stated. Second excursion did not provide enough fairies for customers to get to destination. My family of 4 stood in direct sun on dock for 1 1/2 hrs then ended up on random small boat which took another 30 mins to get us to intended destination. Little/nothing to do for kids. They state arcade room, there are 6 games.....Both my children were bored. Kids clubs (when open), did not have much of anything going on. We spent so much money on this and are extremely disappointed. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My family and I, including grandparents, recently cruised on the MSC Seaside last week. My kids are 16, 15, 13. We had a fantastic time on board and would definitely do this cruise again. In fact it may be hard to go back to other cruise ... Read More
My family and I, including grandparents, recently cruised on the MSC Seaside last week. My kids are 16, 15, 13. We had a fantastic time on board and would definitely do this cruise again. In fact it may be hard to go back to other cruise lines as this ship has set the bar high. Our itinerary included, Ochos Rios, Grand Caymen, Costa Maya, Cozumel. Here's my thoughts on the ship/ itinerary. The ship is gorgeous! You feel like a million bucks just walking through it! There is not one area that is not beautiful in design. Even though it is a big ship, we never felt crowded. Tip: Like most ships, on sea days book your deck chairs early. The food was outstanding! Tons to choose from and it was all excellent! Unlike Carnival which make you wait for individual pizza, MSC has pizza all the time and its good! I read that the sit down dinners were too long but that was hardly the case...they were quick and prompt- usually 1 hour. We had the "Drinks on Us" package and really liked it. There was a very international feel to the ship with many European, South American and other Canadians like myself on board. I always enjoy meeting and speaking to other people from abroad on cruises. The entertainment on board was a highlight for us. Each nightly show averaged 25 people on stage. They were like cirque de soleil shows with many specialized talents highlighted each night. As a professional musician myself I was really impressed. The staff were all friendly and worked hard daily. My only suggestion would be to have more staff at the poolside bars. Tip: Lines didn't seem to work- you have to find a spot at the counter or you will be waiting. There was no walking or running track on board like other ships but the gym had many state of the art treadmills which made do. Ports: Ochos Rios: We passed on the falls as we prefer beach time. We decided to walk to the public beach from the ship. $3 per person to enter public beach and $5 for a chair. We had a great time on this beach and would do it again. We left the gated beach to walk around and shop but we did not feel safe and turned around very quickly! We were approached by too many shady characters. Grand Caymen: Great place to walk around and shop. Very safe and clean. Costa Maya: First time here and loved it! We took a taxi out of the main area to the town, Mahaual. Very traditional Mexican feel there and not too crowded. Most restaurants there have beach access. We made a reservation at El Tropicante ahead of time by email and our beach chairs were waiting for us. Food and drink is cheap! The beach was awesome- with a gradual slope. Cozumel: We did the Fury catamaran snorkel / sail and beach time excursion again. We love this tour esp the beach time with all the inflatable slides and obstacle stuff that the kids always enjoy. Free drinks on board and on the beach too. Of course tips appreciated. That's my review! Hope it helps. Happy sailing everyone! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose this ship because it was new. Was absolutely the worst cruise line we have ever been on, and we will never again go on an MSC Ship. They "upcharge" you for everything. Every time you step into the dining room, whether it ... Read More
Chose this ship because it was new. Was absolutely the worst cruise line we have ever been on, and we will never again go on an MSC Ship. They "upcharge" you for everything. Every time you step into the dining room, whether it be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, they automatically charge you $12.50 pp. The dining rooms are too small for the number of people on the ship, and having to go to dinner at 5:30 and not being able to get it switched was awful. They have to have 3 seatings because the dining rooms only hold 900 people each, on a ship of 5300 people. We had a drink package - which turned out to be awful and included only the cheapest liquors and wines that you can imagine - and again, charged a service charge every time we got a drink, even if it was water or a soda. The crew had no idea where anything on the ship was. And if you asked, instead of saying "I don't know," they responded by sending you on a wild goose chase all over the whole ship. Americans were a minority and the Europeans on the ship were extremely rude. The elevators were the worst - slow, too many people on them, etc. - an example is we walked a minimum of 10,000 steps a day on the ship because the elevators were horrible.... The door to our room was broken and it took us a whole day before anyone ever came to fix it - and the customer service staff were no help and also rude - and when we asked for a manager, we were told we were not allowed to talk to one. The whole experience was horrible.... The shows were horrible... there was one good show(a Beatles cover band) - that was it.... On New Year's Eve, they didn't even offer everyone a glass of champagne - you had to buy a bottle at the party or you didn't get a drink....And, the food in the dining room was awful. Worst meals we ever had on a ship, except for the Steak specialty restaurant - even the Asian specialty restaurant was horrible.....Also, when we got on the ship, we asked for an extra blanket for the room, and we were told no.....In addition, if you wanted to order an "American" breakfast for room service, it was $8.95 and the meal was so bad, that we called to complain about it and they took it off the bill.....Need I go on? Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We recently went on an MSC cruise to St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas; This was the first time we had done an MSC cruise and we as well as many other passengers on the cruise were very disappointed -- we spoke to nearly 20 people ... Read More
We recently went on an MSC cruise to St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas; This was the first time we had done an MSC cruise and we as well as many other passengers on the cruise were very disappointed -- we spoke to nearly 20 people on the ship and they all felt the same as we did. The food was very average (except the Chefs Table dinner which was exceptional), everywhere we went someone was trying to sell or up sell some type of service, and we didn't feel like most of the staff was welcoming and helpful. In some cases they were extremely rude -- something we have never experienced on other cruise lines. I have attempted to contact MSC THREE times about the very disappointing photo package we prepaid $150 for -- still no response. There were very few photos taken, some of the evening dinner photos that were taken weren't even available, and then when we went to download our photos, it said we had to pay for all of the photos except for the 20 staged photos they included. I am frustrated because I have no idea what the $150 was for! I am disappointed because we had hoped to have lots of photos so didn't take our own -- and even more frustrated at the lack of response from MSC. We have been on several other cruises and never had an issue with other cruise lines. Unfortunately, this will be our only cruise on MSC Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise based on the availability of balcony rooms for our family and we likes all of the stops. It was also more affordable (on the surface) than other cruises at this time. If MSC doesn’t make some major changes to their ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the availability of balcony rooms for our family and we likes all of the stops. It was also more affordable (on the surface) than other cruises at this time. If MSC doesn’t make some major changes to their processes - they will not make it in America. First - dining. They tell you that you have the time for dinning when you book 7:15 until you get there and your card says 5:15. What a joke. There were lines of angry passengers with the same issue. We were moved to a 9:30 seating. Way too late to eat. We never would have chosen to go on this cruise if we had known 5:15 or 9:30 were our only options. With excursions and family activities. This is a big deal. Food wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great. BEWARE - they take your picture when you board the ship. Deliver it to your room the next day. And CHARGE you for it 5 days later. What a SCAM. More lines of very angry passengers. It was apparent. If you were from the US. You were treated like a second class citizen. They didn’t have the drink vouchers we were promised. ( because we paid More to upgrade!). The billing system is awefull. If I wasn’t watching it. I would have been billed for other passenger charges. They sell you a wrist band but you need your cruise card for many things. I will neve Sail MSC again. It’s that simple. I want to know what I’m going to pay and they nickel and dime you all the way. I don’t want to see a fee on the main dining room menu. I want coffee served with my dessert. NEVER happened. 3 dining times. 5:15. 7:15 and 9:15. Everyone promised 7:15. Only the Europeans got the 7:15. Don’t tell me there’s room service when nobody answers the phone. Ship never arrived on time at stops or left on time. The only thing I was impressed with were the shows. We loved all of them. Not enough to go back. For a new ship. It was worn and dirty. They had a balcony washing day. The same filth was there after the cleaning day. Find another cruise line unless you like clandestine charges. Being lied to about dining times. Average food with understaffed conditions. Half way done bedding and a less than relaxing vacation. Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Due to all of the negative reviews that I’ve consistently read since booking the MSC Seaside back in January 2018, my expectations were very low coming into this Memorial Day week 2018 cruise… But I figured, “how bad could it be?” ... Read More
Due to all of the negative reviews that I’ve consistently read since booking the MSC Seaside back in January 2018, my expectations were very low coming into this Memorial Day week 2018 cruise… But I figured, “how bad could it be?” I’ve taken 15!cruises over the past 6 years. And no cruise out of those now 16 had been more critically slammed than the MSC Seaside. So naturally, like others, I was tremendously apprehensive. Never have my expectations been so low heading into a cruise, only to be so surprisingly surprised with the vacation that I had the privilege to take on this ship! I was sailing with my 75-year-old father who has some health issues and although he can still walk, mostly uses a power chair to get around. The staff aboard the ship couldn’t have been nicer, nor more willing to help whenever he needed it. I first sailed on MSC in 2009 on the Poesia, and again in 2016 on the Divinia. I said it in 2016 when I sailed the Divinia, that I thought the cruise line had come a long way since 2009 in catering to American audiences, and I’ll say that the line has come EVEN FURTHER with this incredible ship that they created late last year. ***Honestly, I spent numerous times throughout the course of the cruise racking my brain as to why this ship has been so negatively reviewed by so many people when I couldn’t have had a better experience!!! Below is a long detailed review of my entire cruise... Enjoy!: OVERVIEW: The ship itself: First of all, i didn’t realize that the ship was as big as it was until we actually arrived on the day of embarkation. The ship can hold slightly under 4500 passengers. As mentioned before, I’ve been on 15 previous cruises prior to this....And although I give Celebrity and Norwegian incredibly high marks for their newer ships, and how beautiful and modern that both of those cruise lines’ new ships are, The MSC Seaside is incredible(in terms of aesthetics and pure beauty). I’m young, and like glitzy/glammy modern ships. And this ship has beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the entire ship. Particularly, the main promenade, or “rotunda” as I called it, to where most of the interior action and meeting points take place on the ship is nothing short of stunning. —It’s essentially 4 floors of mirrored bars/hangout spaces/ information desks(such as guest relations, photo areas, and the excursions desk). Lots of live music, and beautiful HD digital screens of designs, artwork, etc... Very Miami Art Deco looking. — obviously that’s the theme that they were going for. You can see what’s happening on all 4 floors no matter which floor you are on. Think of it, like the main “connecting point” of the interior part of the ship. I’ve never seen a ship that had so much available outdoor spaces on various levels all throughout the ship. Unlike many newer modern cruise ships that only have significant outdoor spaces on the top several decks, Seaside’s design is very different and unique. You can be on decks 7 and 8, and have just as much outdoor space as you can on decks 16 through 19. It seems like a goal of this ship’s design was to maintain outdoor spaces no matter where you are on the ship. —I know that this may not seem like a big deal, but it really makes the ship not seem quite as crammed or crowded as some of the other ships that only have outdoor spaces near the top. The outdoor spaces are numerous, and abundant. Not only do you have the main pool deck on floor 16, but you have available sunning areas on decks 17 & 18....If you are looking for a little bit of a quieter(more adult) area to relax with a pool, the Miami Beach Bar totally at the back of the ship on deck 7 is the place to be. Smaller pool with tons of space for lounge chairs. I am a member of MSC’s “yacht club” due to their “status matching” with my Celebrity status... So I was also able to go to the yacht club pool area as well. And although this was pretty, and small, and relaxing, I actually enjoyed the main pool on deck 16 the most. BUTTT, no matter which pool you choose, there are at least 4 or 5 pool areas for you to choose from to enjoy. —So my suggestion would be to go try them all, and decide which one you like the best. One very small criticism of Seaside’s design is a problem that MSC seems to have on all of their ships(although it’s not quite as bad or prevalent on Seaside as it was on the Divinia, or certainly the Poesia...) When you are heading somewhere on the ship, there might be certain times that you cannot walk completely through that floor to get to a particular location elsewhere on that floor (such as a specialty restaurant, or shop, or things like that.) And what I mean by that, is that you might have to go up/down a floor to go around a service area or something like that, and then go back up/down to the floor that you were just on to arrive at your destination. —This Is not that big of a deal to me, as I’m a pretty quick learner and usually have the vast majority of the ship learned by the second or certainly third day of the cruise... But I can see that it would be a little frustrating or confusing for an elderly person or kid. Once again, this is a very minor criticism that really didn’t bother me all that much. But I heard a few others on the ship complain about this. Bottom line to wrap up the review of the design of this ship, I would love to have a debate with someone on any of the newer megaships on whether or not it could beat the Seaside. Because I’m pretty critical when it comes to cruising, and I simply cannot think of a ship in terms of pure aesthetics and beauty that can beat this ship from that standpoint. Stateroom: This will be short and sweet… Like pretty much all cruise ship cabins, it was small and served it’s purpose. I am a 31 year old bachelor... and although I always get a balcony room on any ship that I sail on, I can’t tell you that I ever spend much time in my state room other than to sleep and get dressed. But, for what it’s worth, the state room was very nice, and modern. The balcony was a very decent size and I enjoyed having a bloody mary or coffee on it in the mornings. You are on a cruise ship to have a good time, and be around other people, and get some sun. —You can’t do any of those things by staying in your room. I was on deck 14(mid ship)Good location and easy to everywhere. My room stewardess was Leddy from Columbia... She was awesome. Always was there when I needed something. The Bars: Bars on Bars on Bars on Bars If you don’t take anything else away from my review, take this: You will not have any trouble whatsoever finding a drink. Rather than to take it bar by bar... I will say that my favorite bar was the “Haven Lounge”...which had good live music, karaoke, and a great atmosphere. Honorable mention goes to the “Miami Beach” bar(this is right by the lower pool deck on deck 7). Good atmosphere, and is one of the few night time outdoor bars that you’ll find on a cruise ship… It is lit up in neon lights like South Beach. All of the bartenders and cocktail waitresses are great! The best cocktail waitress on the ship is from Brazil, and her name is Cláudia Spicciati. She typically works in the promenade/main interior decks at the “Shine Bar”. She is incredibly sweet, and would always remember what I wanted, and would mostly bring it to me without me ever having to ask for it after day 1....As a matter of fact, I made it a point to write her name down so that I could include her in this review.(That’s how much I thought of her). Specialty Restaurants/Main Dinning Room/Buffet My father and I ate at 3 of the 4 specialty restaurants on board. By far, the best specialty restaurant on Seaside is “Butchers Cut”. I know that a lot of people may roll their eyes at fancy steakhouses now a days considering that they seem to be on every corner in our country. BUT Trust me, you want to go and try this restaurant… My father who has been on 10+ cruises as well, and I both agreed that this was one of the best meals that we’ve ever had at sea. Ask for “Rowena Sebastian” to be your waitress… I thought so much of her, that I also made it a point to write down her name. —Our second favorite specialty restaurant was “Asian fusion by Roy Yamaguchi”... Very very good… If you've ever had “Silk Harvest” on the Celebrity Equinox, it is very similar to this. Lots of great appetizers, and spring rolls, and dumplings, noodle bowls, etc... —The third specialty restaurant that we ate at was “Ocean Cay”. And Although the seafood was pretty good, and the atmosphere is very nice like all of their specialty restaurants, i’m from Louisiana… So it’s hard for me to get any better seafood than what I eat at home. I would probably not choose this restaurant again if I ever go back on Seaside, but it wasn’t bad. Like I said, I’m pretty critical of seafood given where I’m from. Dining room Given that we were in the MSC yacht club, and had the aurea package, we had “any time” dining in the nights that we ate in the main dining room which was the “seashore dinning room”. The food was much improved from our previous MSC experiences… Particularly, Italian night was very delicious. They have a team waiting staff, so you get three or four waiters with various functions… And all of them performed very well and catered to our wants and needs. Buffet: The buffets on Seaside are pretty standard for what you’d expect for a buffet for all cruise ships. There is 1 unique difference on this ship with the fact that there are 2 buffets. The buffet on the 8th deck is much larger, and is your standard size buffet for a mega ship. We ate breakfast every day in this buffet. —Contrary to what some people have written about the buffet, I found the variety to be pretty good. They had all of the American favorites such as burgers, hotdogs, and pizza. Plus, they had salad bars, pasta bars with assorted pastas and lasagna and ravioli etc... Plus they had a grilled section to where they would change it up from day to day with meatloaf one day, pot roast, roasted chicken on other days ETC... There is a smaller buffet about half of the size on Deck 16 right near the main pool area. This buffet seemed to be more of a “quick grab buffet” with things such as salad’s, pizza, and burgers and sandwiches. We used this buffet more for two or three lunches on the ship. Overall score for food when you add everything together would be a solid A- or B+ (I’m from Louisiana... Trust me, if it was bad or unseasoned, I would tell you) THE SERVICE IN GENERAL: I’ve read hundreds of reviews of this ship coming into this cruise of people criticizing the staff over troubles with service. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that I didn’t experience this. —If I’m at my most critical, I would give the service a B+ or A-. If we ever needed something, it was taken care of in a timely fashion. The Rare time that something was wrong, it was fixed in a timely fashion. Now, I have no idea of whether or not this is true, as I’m going off of complete secondhand information… But, I befriended a woman on the pool deck one day during the cruise. And she said that she was a travel agent. I asked her how her experience was with the staff. She proceeded to tell me that it was great, in fact was some of the best service that she had ever had on close to 10 cruises. So I then asked her why she thought the service was so negatively reviewed. She told me that one of the waitresses told her that about a month ago due to all of the negative reviews on service, MSC pulled about 300-400 experienced crew members from other ships in their fleet and sent them over to Seaside. And in turn, removed 300-400 less experienced staff off, and disbursed them into other parts of their fleet. Like I said, I have no idea whether or not this was true, but it would make sense as the service reviews seemed to have gotten better within the last month. Like I said, the service was impeccable in my opinion… There is a little bit of a language barrier. But the vast majority of the staff at least knows a little bit of English. If you find yourself in a rare situation to where someone cannot answer a question, simply ask one of the numerous abundant crew staff members who will be near to the person that can answer your question. ENTERTAINMENT ON BOARD As usual, this in my opinion is MSC’s strongest area. Even going back to a very lackluster cruise on the MSC Poesia in 2009, the entertainment back then was good. Those Italians can put on a show! The entertainment on this cruise was excellent. The shows from night-to-night are nothing short of sensational. Even the few people who seemed to not enjoy this cruise remarked how good the entertainment was. Rather than to take it show by show, I can tell you that you will see a lot of Broadway variety type of dancing, singing, and incredible acrobatics. The best show by far was the Michael Jackson show... I forgot the exact name of it, but it was probably the best show that I’ve ever seen at sea. The only thing negative that I have to take away from the entertainment is the theater on the ship. It fills up incredibly quickly, so make sure to get to your designated show early. If I have one knock on the entire ship on aesthetics, it’s like they skimped on the theatre. Too small for a 4500 passenger ship. There’s three shows a night, and I would recommend that you book your time for the shows very early in the cruise… Maybe even right when you get on board. I overheard several people complaining that they did not get the designated time for the show that they wanted each evening because they didn’t reserve on the first day. —I was prepared for this from reading other reviews, and went ahead and reserved the 9:15 PM show for every single night of the cruise. I did this on the day of embarkation. The other highlights from the entertainment are the cruise entertainment staff...These are about 10 young people that sortve act as assistant cruise director’s and handle the smaller entertainment in the lounges and pool decks. They are all very very nice, and all speak perfect English. You’ll see them constantly throughout the cruise, and they will always ask if they can help you with anything, and make sure that you are having a good time. The Casino: The casino was very nice, and had some cool features to it. But I’m not going to be the best person to review this area as I’m not much of a gambler, and I’m allergic to cigarette smoke, and this was one of the few areas on the interior part of the ship that people are allowed to smoke. That being said, it looked really cool, and people seemed to be having a good time there. THE PEOPLE: My father and I estimated that there were about 50 to 55% Americans on the ship. The vast majority of the rest were western European, such as German, Italian, British and then Latin American...There were a small number of Asian and other. Many of the Western Europeans and Latin American passengers spoke English. And although it was a diverse crowd, I thought it was the perfect balance between American people and people from other parts of the world. As I’ve mentioned several times, I’m young, and I am a bachelor. I found that there was a good number of millennial singles on the ship, as well as married couples, and others. I also though that it was pretty diverse with different ages on the ship as well… Supposedly there were around 300 kids on the ship. —Credit to MSC for having kids/teens clubs... Because, if there were that many on the ship, I didn’t notice it.... IN CLOSING: As mentioned in my opening, MSC has come a hell of a long way since I first sailed them in 2009. And this cruise was legitimately consistently good across the board. The food was very good, the service was very good, the drinks were very good, and the ship was spectacular. I will say it again that I DO NOT understand why so many people have had issues with this cruise. If you are looking for a Carnival Walmart cruise, to where everyone weighs 400 lbs, and has 13 kids, then book Carnival. This cruise line does not try to be that. Bottom line, if you are thinking about booking this cruise, or have already booked it, and are apprehensive like I was because of some of the negative reviews, DONT BE! Keep an open mind! A cruise is WHAT YOU MAKE IT. I have yet to find the perfect cruise, and the MSC Seaside is no exception. But I can tell you, that I had (C-)expectations, and had an (A+) time. MSC has clearly gotten the message of some of the earlier negative reviews from this ship's first several months of existence from November into the early spring of this year. Whatever was wrong in the past has mostly been fixed by the time I took this cruise on memorial day week of 2018. -Matthew Dunn New Orleans, LA. USA Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We really enjoyed the cruise. Staff was always friendly. We can not find ourselves in the nagative reviews. Can not name improvement points. The food was very good both in the buffet restaurants and the a la carte restaurant. And certainly ... Read More
We really enjoyed the cruise. Staff was always friendly. We can not find ourselves in the nagative reviews. Can not name improvement points. The food was very good both in the buffet restaurants and the a la carte restaurant. And certainly not every day the same as people write.The shows were great. There were always sunbeds at the pools free also at sea days. I only bothered to the people who brag all kinds of food and then leave full plates and drinks around the pool where few sips have been taken and then let stand,You do not do that at home either We had an Aurea balcony room, incl. Spa and massage, was lovely. Embarcation and disembarking was also great, at most half an hour, well organized. Do not really understand the negativity of some people. We have had a great time and definitely go again with the Seaside. Book your cruise with the Seaside and enjoy. We also booked the excursions via msc and were also well organized. Bamboo rafting on the Martha Brae river was very nice and Stingray City on the Cayman Islands also great. From Cozumel we have been to Tulum also highly recommended. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We've been on 15 cruises this by far was one of the best. I was concerned about all the negative reviews I was reading about on line and went with low expectations. Getting on the ship was a breeze and we were on the ship earlier ... Read More
We've been on 15 cruises this by far was one of the best. I was concerned about all the negative reviews I was reading about on line and went with low expectations. Getting on the ship was a breeze and we were on the ship earlier than any boat I've ever been on. We were on the boat when 5,000 people were aboard, a school vacation week. It never felt crowded, food was excellent and the shows were outstanding! Ship was clean and we traveled with no children but kids loved the tubes, water park and you could get a board, slide down and shoot for points in the dark as you go down. The ship is set up for sun lovers and I need shade there were a small amount of deck chairs in the Jungle Pool that gave shade so I had to get out early to get a chair in the shade. We went on an excursion to El Yunque Rain forest in San Juan and it was run efficiently. We stayed on board for the other stops since we had been to these sites multiple times. The food was excellent your usuals: prime rib, fish selections, pasta etc. My husband had multiple meals some nights and out of everything there was only one meal he didn't like the pesto gnocchi. We were an inside cabin and were on a budget an extra vacation we snuck in because the price was so low on this ship we'd thought we'd give it a try we were on the MSC Davina and did not like that ship all that much. My only issue was not the ships fault but twice we had an experience that a group of people brought there "boom Box speakers" and in one instance placed it on the bar and played cuban music so loud it was disruptive and the same experience after dinner and show having a cup of coffee same thing different people. When complaining was told MSC didn't have a policy on this ridiculous they need to add a policy since there are such rude people out there! I would not hesitate going on this ship and I have never written a review before but I feel the Seaside is getting unnecessary negative reviews. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I’ve been on two cruises before. I’ve read many reviews about MSC before I booked the 7-day west Caribbean cruise. Overall, the cruise meets my expectation. It is a great new ship for kids. Everything is new, nice and clean. The water ... Read More
I’ve been on two cruises before. I’ve read many reviews about MSC before I booked the 7-day west Caribbean cruise. Overall, the cruise meets my expectation. It is a great new ship for kids. Everything is new, nice and clean. The water park is a favorite place for the kids, which is bigger than other ships. Kids love it. I pay 5 bucks for a zip line experience which requires a minimum height of 140cm. I usually send kids to the LEGO kids club if I and my wife go to one of specialty restaurants. My 9-year-old elder son loves it since they will play video games but my 6-year-old thinks it’s boring since he is in the 3-6 group and they only play with LEGOs and not much video games. The highlight is the show. The ship has amazing performers and I almost go to watch the show every night. The show is mostly 40 minutes but is very intense. It is much better than those on other ships. The only thing I don’t like is food, which is pretty bad as I expected after reading many reviews. The buffet only has American(burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets) and Italian(pizza and pasta) food. There is basically no sea food in buffet. The dinner menu is only slightly better and you can expect seafood one or two nights. We also try the Asian restaurant package that costs $80 plus 15% service fee. I think it is just about average. The cabin is nice and clean. Overall, it will be a great experience if you travel with kids and spend most of your time on shore. The food is not good but everything else is awesome. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We choose msc because it was a new ship plus we never did the Caribbean It was great value for money and we got the Aurea package with whirlpool bath on balcony Room was big enough for five of us.The ship was massive and beautiful Food ... Read More
We choose msc because it was a new ship plus we never did the Caribbean It was great value for money and we got the Aurea package with whirlpool bath on balcony Room was big enough for five of us.The ship was massive and beautiful Food lovely but the highlight was the entertainment Shows followed by a theme night with the brilliant entertainment staff and sometimes the nightclub This holiday appeals to all age groups and we laughed from the minute we arrived until we left.I have no hesitation in recommending it.It was fantastic The Aurea package includes a massage Private solarium anytime dining and unlimited drinks package It was very handy.Staff were friendly and attentive The app was great Book everything as soon as you arrive and don’t miss Timeless the Michael Jackson show.White night and the gatsby party were great.My personal favourite was 70’s night.It’s great to dress up Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
The Seaside is a beautiful ship and I was really excited about this trip and the opportunity to be on a new, larger ship. I enjoy European travel and was undeterred by the past cruisers’ complaints about the food (though I now understand ... Read More
The Seaside is a beautiful ship and I was really excited about this trip and the opportunity to be on a new, larger ship. I enjoy European travel and was undeterred by the past cruisers’ complaints about the food (though I now understand the concerns). The Seaside just seems completely unprepared for the number of people they sold to...the staff is not empowered or engaged with seeing all patrons have a good time, and unwilling to address matters that could easily be resolved. The level of rudeness combined with constant miscommunication and poor safety, hygiene, and customer service made this the worst cruise I have ever been on in 20 years of cruising. — POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE: I cruised as part of a group of 40. Most of us had at least two (most of us many more) poor interactions with staff. Collectively, we have been cruising for more than 20 years and have more than 75 cruises between us. We all agreed it was the rudest we have ever been treated. The staff was dismissive, indifferent, and in many cases downright surly. They went above and beyond for Yacht Club members and treated everyone else like steerage. Specifically, our treatment for our planned group events by Irina was disrespectful and indifferent. As a professional events coordinator, I have never experienced a staff person so unwilling to create a positive experience for her customers. — SAFETY ISSUES: Despite being advised, a person with nut allergies was served nuts in the Main Dining Room. When it was pointed out, the server and manager continued to dispute us on the matter. Only when the nuts were picked out and presented to them on a plate did they acknowledge the error. However, no efforts were taken to address it for other guests (it’s not listed on menus and no announcements were made) and no attempts to apologize were made during our future visits to the dining room. No one even checked to make sure the person was okay. Several of our cabin doors required being slammed shut to engage the locks. When we pointed this out to stewards, no attempts were taken to address (maintenance never came). We even mentioned it at guest services. — KIDS CLUB, LACK OF STAFF: The kids club was total bedlam on all the occasions we visited. It’s simply too small for a fully booked boat with more than 1000 kids on board. They don’t have enough staff and the staff they have are not trained. We were charged extra for the child tracker/GPS bracelets which didn’t work. We changed the trackers and they still didn’t work. What’s the point of having trackers if they don’t track? The staff also seemed confused about the software for setting them up. Then, they made us turn them in prior to the end of the cruise, taking the trackers from some of the children in our group without notifying their parents. Other cruise lines build the cost of tracking into kids club participation and the children KEEP the bracelets. My daughter was injured, suffering from a severe fall in the Jungle Pool area; no incident report or notification was filed. The other children with her - some in our group, some not - said staff gathered around her because she was hurt but then sent her away. No care, no visit to the nurse, no notification to me. The water in that area was a hazard the whole trip, with kids and adults alike slipping as they walked from the deck toward the pool/slide area. One worker was out there with a broom one day trying to sweep the water away, but the area is poorly designed with the water from the pool, slide and fountain unable to disperse when it hits the deck. When I contacted both the kids club and guest services, my complaints were ignored or dismissed. At one point, the guest services person suggested my daughter must have been doing something wrong (running or horseplay) to get hurt. She didn’t even ask if my daughter was okay. The kids in our group largely declined to go, stating there were no organized activities like on other cruises they have taken and older kids (within their assigned grouping) made it difficult for younger kids to play. While we recognize there will be hours the club needs to close for cleaning and staffing breaks, shutting down on for hours for what you describe as family time is contrary and counter to what parents need. Also, doing this on a sea day is insane. As a widow, the kids club helps me get some down time while my daughter plays with other children. Your schedule basically demanded when and how I could exercise the service - and frankly, often was quite excessive compared to ships of similar size and capacity. Lastly, sanitation practices were not exercised. Children should have to sanitize or clean their hands upon entry and exit. No one ever enforced this. — UNSANITARY CONDITIONS: On more than one occasion, we encountered unhygienic and unsanitary conditions in our rooms, or were served spoiled or moldy food, in one instance at one of their specialty dining establishments. (We have pictures as evidence). While we were told we would credited for the tainted items, we were not. When this was mentioned at guest services (during what became a daily trip to deal with billing discrepancies), they said they would need to verify with the beverage manager and food managers, who never called back. At the buffets, people didn’t wash or sanitize their hands but to be fair, there was no staff person posted with a sanitizer bottle and the sanitizer machines in place and soap bottles at the sinks were often empty. People (men) using the buffet topless was also just gross. On two occasions, we showed staff the bad food. We were given fresh food on a separate plate but the rotted/spoiled food was left out. Linen was stored under the bed on the floor, unbagged... would you want to sleep on sheets that had been stored on the floor? Dishes full of leftover food left in the hallway by guests often sat there for 12-16 hours. This was not random and in many cases made the hallways stink. — EXCURSIONS/ACTIVITIES/SHOWS: Excursions were poorly staffed or misrepresented what would be included. One excursion had people with wheelchairs and disabilities unable to participate but this was not advertised at all. Another left nearly a hour late and didn’t provide the tour as stated. The onboard activities were short (less than an hour) and often had rules that seemed arbitrary. For one arts activity which was just cutting paper to make mosaics, only 20 people were allowed to participate and people under 18 were not allowed...For paper, glue sticks and scissors? The staff seemed unprepared for people to actually participate in activities on sea days, often turning people away. Participating in activities like karaoke and bingo, staff expressed shock so many were/wanted to participate, and actually abruptly stopped the events while people were having fun. The show bookings were a new feature and if they had worked would have been awesome. People were actually denied seating when we all booked together on the first day. — SPA SERVICES/GYM/CLASSES: The spa area was overbooked and small, with no chairs available except for a port day. Similar to the pool decks, people reserve chairs for hours and staff does nothing to curtail or address the practice. Two of us were charged for products recommended during facials even though we didn’t agree to purchase them or sign any paperwork. The gym was nicely outfitted but always crowded. There were only two classes a day but there was no variety with the same three offerings for the whole cruise. They had a lovely cycling room for those interested in that but the only other (free) offerings were on deck at either the crack of dawn or with people smoking nearby. The evening class (at 5:00) was in direct opposition with the first dining time. When asked if a class could be done in the afternoon if enough people signed up, they looked at us like we were crazy. — PASSES/ARCADE: You simply oversold the passes and arcade experiences. You should not sell to people knowing you have limited hours for them to participate. We were never able to use our relaxing wave and the arcade passes went underutilized because it shut down for 6 hours a day. — BILLING ISSUES, CUSTOMER SERVICE: Several of us encountered billing discrepancies (being charged for things you didn’t purchase, double charged for items, not receiving credits promised at Guest Services or by restaurants) and visited guest services nearly daily. In addition, I connected my credit card to my account using a kiosk as directed and was charged for possible incidentals. Yet I was charged again on the first night — for a total of $556 — again for incidentals. Since I prepaid for gratuities and spa treatments, being charged this much was excessive. While I understood it will “fall off” my credit card, it is not your place to decide whether I am comfortable with you charging me and impacting my spending. Most importantly, being double charged (especially when the staff at guest services acknowledged it) is inappropriate. This is not a need for the customer to always be right. I prepaid my gratuities and was then charged again on the ship. When I presented my receipt/email printout and showed the credit card charge on my phone, I STILL didn’t get credited. No apologies, no resolutions, just a shoulder shrug. The bracelets for charging things to your room and opening doors seem to only work intermittently- had to change mine twice. On more than one occasion, the guest services counter shut down while we were in line waiting. On other ships, you typically can address all matters with customer service. We would wait online to address issues only to be told “I can deal with this but you’ll need to go to that line to deal with that.” We spent two hours visiting 6 different areas our first day on the ship setting things up. Other cruise lines handle most of this at CHECK IN. — YACHT CLUB V. EVERYONE ELSE: I booked Fantastica because the Aurea and Yacht Club balconies were sold out by the time I booked it. In hindsight, I wouldn’t recommend anyone sail with MSC if they are not in Yacht Club. We were treated disrespectfully the entire voyage. After following the disembarkation procedure, we were lead out into a queue for exiting the boat and going through customs. Our line was held for nearly 45 minutes while MSC staff escorted Yacht Club members past our line. When a staff member was approached, she lied and said customs had asked that they hold passengers. This wasn’t the truth - we were texting with friends who were already off the ship and waiting for us who watched the Yacht Club members leave in steady succession. This was exemplary of our treatment the whole time. I stayed in the Fantástica balcony with beverage vouchers (which many of your staff refused to accept), purchased spa services, a trio dinner package, a fun and zip line pass, and additional specialty meals and beverage (water) plans. We also as a group engaged with the staff using the business center for meetings and the Garage nightclub for group gatherings (3 each). This is my 14th Cruise and I travel quite a bit outside of that as well. This is the worse trip I have ever taken. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Short and Sweet: If you're looking for the 'short and sweet' review, I'll give that here. Otherwise, much more detail in the sections below. This was my 7th cruise overall and it tops them all. The ship is ... Read More
Short and Sweet: If you're looking for the 'short and sweet' review, I'll give that here. Otherwise, much more detail in the sections below. This was my 7th cruise overall and it tops them all. The ship is unbelievable...awesome is the only word to describe it. Common areas are beautifully designed and maintained. The ship is very clean (to be expected with a new ship.) Getting on and off was good, not great, but not the worst. Cabins were very nice and roomy...though still only had one outlet. Food depended on where you went. Specialty dining was 5*. The dining room was great. The buffet was good. Both dining and cabin service was great...though I think some are still struggling with their English. Technology on the ship has potential but admittedly had a few bugs. Entertainment I thought was amazing though theatre seating was limited for such a large ship and I missed a couple shows. Excursions were good once everyone was gathered, but a bit chaotic. The kids club was okay, though I think they need more training with American parenting expectations. Overall, I'd give this 4 out of 5 stars, but very easily could get to 5 if they focus on the common 'complaints'. Embarkation: Embarkation process in Miami was good. We got there kind of early so the lines weren't too long. But the staff was just fine and getting on board was fine. If anything, the registration for the kids' club immediately after getting on the boat was a bit chaotic. Pro tip: keep moving down...there are more people registering kids. Rooms were ready by 2 pm for us. Bags were there by 5 pm. Public Areas: The common areas were beautiful, clean, luxurious, and well-staffed, both indoors and out. Absolutely no complaints there. The pool decks were definitely crowded though...and people were putting out towels to 'save their spot' by 7 am. Not sure what MSC can do about that...except maybe use more of deck 19 (see below). Also, I read several reviews of a 'sewer smell'...they clearly fixed that problem because I didn't smell anything anywhere the entire time. In fact, the perfume they used throughout the ship was amazing and I wanna find a bottle of it to spray in my house! Technology: So I am an I.T. Professional, so I have somewhat high standards here. But it should also be said, this was my first cruise in 7 years, so this was the first one where internet and RFID is a thing on a cruise ship. So like I said in my 'short and sweet' section, there's a LOT of potential here, but the systems are a bit buggy. The MSC For Me app did work, but I had to restart the app every other time I used it. The other big thing was how the internet actually worked. We had an internet package that came with our room. To get the internet working, you had to connect to the ship's wifi, go to a URL, and "press" the start button. And by all means, make sure you come back to this same page and press the STOP button after your browsing/Facebook/email/etc. session. I chewed up my entire 2G plan in one night because I didn't understand the system and never turned it off. If you get the ship's wifi, before anything, make sure you turn off any and all streaming and automatic processes (podcasts, iCloud, location, etc.). Lastly, the RFID system was impressive. We had the kid locator service ($18 to track your kid real-time). It knew where she was within feet. Very impressive. The chip in her band did disconnect twice, which is not good I admit. I don't know what the issue was there. But this potential is amazing. I really wish it included wife and grandma locator as well...that would have been nice. Food: Dining on the ship was very good. I'll even say excellent for the specialty dining. We tried all 3 specialty restaurants and came away very impressed. The other nights we used the standard dining rooms and they were very good as well. Our servers were really attentive and quick. I'm not a food critic exactly, but I thought the meals were excellent, quite varied, and creative. My parents, who have been on 30+ cruises, traveled with us and said the desserts were by far the best in their "cruise-career". Buffett was good and on-par with what I would expect. Similar foods every day, so you know what you were going to get. And with 5000 people on board, you can imagine it got very crowded at peak times. Beverages: MSC does hit you pretty hard on the wallet when it comes to beverages. No packages get you water, concentrated juices, and coffee. Soda plan is $12/day/pp. I didn't get anything beyond that because I didn't think I could justify the cost. Kids Club: Move on if you don't have kids; but if you do, we were happy with the cruise's 'kids club'. My daughter raved about how fun it was. They broke it up into age groups ( Read Less
MSC Seaside Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 3.9
Dining 4.5 3.4
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 4.5 3.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 3.5 3.4
Service 4.0 3.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.7

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