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Reviews: MSC Seaside 

Opening MSC Seaside Review Statement:

This ship really connects you with the ocean.

About The Cruise Duo:

2nd time on MSC (Divina in 2013 in Europe where I swore I would NEVER EVER cruise MSC again). As one who considers himself an experienced cruiser on all lines, this is a review about my experiences on board the ship. Remember you make your vacation what you want it to be as there’s, in my opinion, no such thing as a “perfect” cruise. But the MSC Seaside fulfills the broad spectrum of cruisers who share one common goal: We all want a super-fun escape! We suggest you give it a go.

Ship: MSC Seaside
Date: 3-10 March 2018
Cabin: Inside 14103 (mid ship)
Category Package: Fantastica (see below) - for the ‘common' folks! Price was a bargain and excellent value for the money!

About MSC Cruise Line:

MSC Cruises is the first company to offer a customized experience. You choose your preferred stateroom type together with a unique’ Experience' you would like. Each experience comes with special perks and privileges. 
The entry price-point is Bella, which is essentially a ‘cruise-only’ package with no guaranteed dinner reservation until after you board the ship.

 

We chose Fantastica and included all of the benefits of Bella but with a better choice of cabin (mid ship), free delivery for room service and priority dining times (reserved prior to boarding) for the ship’s restaurants. Also included were 12 complimentary drink vouchers per person that can be used throughout the ship.
Then comes the Wellness Experience, Aurea and finally the luxury of the exclusive MSC Yacht Club an all-inclusive sanctuary.

 

Check out each category and experience for yourselves.

Comments in no particular order:

  • Life-boat drill was a ‘sham’. Was disorganized and noisy. Most participants - especially non English speaking spoke throughout drill. Registrations were few. There were 2 extra repeat drills in evening of departure (7.00pm) and morning of first sea day (9.00am) for those who either did not attend or did not register. Expect all announcements to be repeated in 5 or more languages - with English usually first.

  • Captain Massa. He is very friendly and approachable and is seen everywhere around the ship. I happened to have several opportunities to meet up with him and enjoyed his company. He speaks 5 languages fluently! He is the perfect host.

  • The ship design is simply ‘stunning’! The MSC Seaside is the first Seaside-class cruise ship built by Italian ship builder, Fincantieri, for MSC Cruises with both European and domestic flair. Its aft exterior is punctuated by the luxurious Miami style balconies. On top of those luxurious balcony cabins is a giant glass skywalk that gives you a jaw-dropping view of the sea from above known as the Bridge of Sighs (deck 16). There are a lot of polished upscale touches that make it an excellent ship experience. Many windows from floor to ceiling make you feel like you are on a ship (my/our favorite lounge was the Seaview Lounge on Deck 8) both during the day and at night). I loved it! This ship is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful ships we have ever been on in almost 200 cruises. The overall design and decor was fantastic. 

  • There are 2 buffets (deck 8 and 16). The splitting of the buffet is a brilliant design idea and allows a less crowded experience.

  • Most importantly, Seaside certainly succeeds in highlighting its surroundings with more al fresco surface area for sun-worshippers than on any other cruise ship.

  • Besides such creativity of layout, the ship displays a decor that carries over MSC's usual Italian elegance while adding some American touches. The atrium is still decked out in signature Swarovski crystal stairs and mirrored surfaces for a bright and varied effect.

  • Since MSC is unfamiliar to many Americans, it’s difficult to compare the ship and line to a more-familiar American cruise line. It’s European in many ways - even with 40% of the passengers on our cruise being non-English speaking. More generally, it's a European ship. We were far more likely to overhear conversations in French and German than in English. We had difficulty communicating in English with multiple staff members, including the agents at the Guest Services Desk causing confusion.

  • My short answer would be that MCS does things differently and not an exact copy of the other cruise lines. I guess if you are used to say Carnival or NCL and want no changes and expect everything to be exactly as on other ships, you will get disappointed. But if you are open to things being a bit more innovative and new you will feel this as a new experience - which I/we enjoyed.

  • The staterooms are a little smaller than other ships of this size and storage for clothes etc. is quite small in the cabin and bathroom. But for the cost and time spent in inside cabin, it’s quite satisfactory.

  • Some of the best entertainment nightly activities were with the mostly South African entertainment staff (all were fantastic) of any of the cruises I have been on. Their energy was contagious and like the ‘old’ days on Carnival. 

  • Most theatre productions were 30+ minute shows with recorded music and NO live orchestra. Pretty much the same performers in each show with singers, dancers, acrobats - similar acts used by Cirque Du SoleiI. Most of the shows were (in my view) very good (except the Frank Sinatra tribute) - and had many repetitive acts especially with the talented acrobats. We thought that the Michael Jackson show was simply the best. In respect to the productions, seven Broadway-style shows are available for up to three shows nightly (7.00pm, 8.15pm & 9.30pm), and improvisational sketch comedy (called BeerImprov) and musical concerts are additionally presented. Production shows like "The Dream" and "Timeless" are exceptional in scope, with a massive cast of 15 dancers and 5 very professional singers, plus grand stagecraft & digital screens. The operatic shows with vocals are beautiful but do not always translate seamlessly to mainstream Americans and were thus not well attended.

  • Enjoyed all of the theme nights - White Party, Country night, Gatsby night, 70's night, Silent Party at South Beach Pool. Went to the Haven lounge almost every night where a band (Caribbean Fusion) played.

  • The ship does not feel particularly crowded. There were some crowded moments in the buffet, but there always are, on every ship. The tables within the buffet all included Bar Service call buttons. These worked well. A waiter appeared usually in just a few seconds and drinks were delivered reasonably promptly. 

  • MSC Seaside comprises nine food outlets, five of which are select restaurants and four are themed restaurants, including a steak house, and fish, teppanyanki and fusion restaurants. The vessel also has 20 distinct bars where orders are taken by iPad. I can highly recommend the Pizza at the buffet - even the sweet breakfast one!  

  • Main Dining Room is overcrowded with tables close to each other, low ceilings that causes the room to be VERY noisy. Menu choices at dinner are few (4 appertizer, 4 main courses with another 4 as a regular ‘everyday’ choice). Would not rate this as a great culinary experience. Wait service was ok…..but was slow at times - with a start at 8.30pm (our late seating dinner time). Elegant Night was a joke with patrons wearing shorts, sandals etc. We were told that in the Yacht Club, there were similar experiences. Either drop the dress code or send people in shorts and T-shirts back to their room or to the MarketPlace buffet.The buffets (breakfast and lunch) had literally the same choices almost every day with minor changes. 

  • The pools were constantly busy (all regular pools are 6 ft deep).You better get to a chair by 6.00am, throw your towel over it and it’s yours for the day……as there is NO towel policy (like on other lines where your towel will be removed after a certain time). On several occasions, we witnessed towels on lounges and chairs being left for 6+ hours with no-one on them! 

  • Two additional glass-floored Infinity Bridges provide great vistas of their own along the promenade, and the quartet of pools are perfectly distributed here at the stern, below a retractable magrodome and exposed at the private Yacht Club or public Miami Beach Sun Deck.

  • In an attempt to gain market share in America, MSC has a status match program. If you have an elite status (as we have with several cruise lines including Carnival and Princess), MSC will make you a Black (top tier) member even if you have never sailed with them before. We utilized this and enjoyed a private cocktail party with Captain and Senior Officers, received other Black Card perks in cabin (champagne, chocolate ship, strawberries and a dinner for 2 in a ‘specialty’ restaurant - Butcher's Cut) and more.

  • When checking in to the ship you do not add a credit card to your cabin sail & sign cards. Once onboard you will find several small ATM machines where you add credit limit on your different cabin cards with a debit/credit card. This is a bit confusing but is flexible if you want control on the spending during the cruise. Note that when the final bill (last night) comes they don’t have your credit card details and you need to go to Guest Services or to the machines to pay the balance (if any) of your bill. If you don’t they will stop you when trying to get off the ship with a…..”Please pay your bill Sir”…..

  • There is no Black Card “priority” line at Guest Services and lines were always very long / busy throughout day. Best to go later at night if not urgent.

  • Internet worked well - bought package cost $80.00 with 3,000 Megabytes. Watch your downloads especially any software updates.

  • MSC Seaside is the 2nd ship for MSC to offer the MSC for Me app. This is the most incredible app I have ever seen for a cruise line. The MSC app gives you the ability to enjoy your cruise so much more with a Kids Locator, Navigation of Ship, Organizer, Concierge to book everything, Chat with family & friends and more. Download before you board ship.

  • We have never been on a ship where we did not constantly see staff cleaning the elevators, public areas, railings etc. until MSC Seaside. Perhaps all was done during the night? There is a large amount of chrome around ship - in elevators etc. and there were always finger prints everywhere. 

  • Lifts (elevators): there was always a long wait for them.

  • There is no publicly-accessible observation lounge (Yacht Club has one but not for us common cruisers).

  • There are so many areas that we did not experience including bowling, FI Racecar, slideboarding technology (which combines a unique waterslide and interactive video game).

  • Very few announcements ‘pushing sales’ (once a day Bingo and Art auction).

  • We missed Nassau due to weather (winds) and asked why we did not receive a refund of port charges etc. With 5,000 passengers on board, we were told by Guest Services that we were the only ones to request a refund - and to contact MSC Customer Services. It’s not the $’s but the principal that it should be returned. Wonder if MSC keeps it?

  • This is the ship for Americans to finally take notice of MSC Cruises. I/we had a great time and although there were some issues and concerns (as referred to above), we are still planning to return soon.
     

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