My family and I are just off the MSC Seaview, cruising the Med. This was our 8th cruise, all previous cruises having been with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian (and one with Mein Schiff). Since quite a few people ask about the differences ... Read More
My family and I are just off the MSC Seaview, cruising the Med. This was our 8th cruise, all previous cruises having been with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian (and one with Mein Schiff). Since quite a few people ask about the differences between RCCL, Norwegian and MSC, this review is a review of the Seaview and a comparison with RCCL and Norwegian.
This is a brand new ship – super condition, really fresh and clean. It’s simply massive – there is no way you can find someone unless they tell you where they’re going to be and at what time – you’ll find that it takes you 30 minutes to check the main common areas, and rather frustrating when you go back to your cabin and find them already there!
There are plenty of lifts, but still a lot of waiting time. This was rather annoying. The panoramic lifts at the back tended to be totally empty.
Given the immense number of passengers and crew on board, the ship never felt crowded except during breakfast. There is lots of outdoor space. For a quiet time in the sun, the deckchairs and armchairs along Deck 8 are a guarantee.
The cruise had the biggest variety in nationalities and age groups that we have seen in 9 years of cruising. I now understand what some cruisers mean when they say that it is “too European”. Being European myself, I found this to be absolutely normal, but it does mean that there are many less Americans on board than you’d find on the RCCL or Norwegian. It had a number of obnoxious people, but so do RCCL and Norwegian.
We found the staff to be genuinely friendly and enthusiastic to help. This being a new ship, we did get wrong directions a good number of times, but this goes with being on a new ship and didn’t bother us.
Our cabin was 15125. We are four family members – 2 adults and 2 girls aged 10 and 12. The cabin was crowded, and felt rather like a slum!
The wardrobe is tiny and very badly planned – the main side cannot be accessed except through a small space between the bed and the wardrobe.
The cabin is right under one of the dining rooms. This didn’t prove to be a particular problem – we did hear moving chairs, but it was in the afternoons rather than early morning or late night.
We had the Fantastica programme. The main advantage were the many many drink vouchers we received – we didn’t use them all! Incidentally, there seems to be some confusion on what the vouchers cover – some waiters accepted them for ice cream, and others did not. As for the wine and beer covered by the vouchers, we didn’t feel that they covered only the low-end choices at all.
The specialty food restaurants did not impress us at all, contrary to the ones on RCCL and Norwegian. One of the dishes in the seafood restaurant – the octopus one - I literally disliked – there was too much going on in one plate. On the last night we went to the main dining room and were pleasantly surprised. If I were to go on Seaview again I wouldn’t bother with the specialty restaurants at all. In the buffet restaurants, I thoroughly recommend the pizza slices.
We found some of the waiters to be somewhat inexperienced and a bit lost with the orders. For example we had one waiter serve us dessert wine in a liquor glass, and another waiter poured the beer like it was a soft drink – fast and without inclining the glass, meaning it frothed immensely.
Some other specific comments
The sports and gym activities are simply very poor – no real sports programme, no walking or running track.
The Seaview has some 20 bars. However we found that we missed the atmosphere in the intimate bars of some of the RCCL and Norwegian ships – there was no real atmosphere at all, since it felt like walking through a mall with different artists playing in different corners.
The information in the daily leaflet is rather poor. Same goes for the information about the locations: specifically for Malta for example, it highlighted the wonders of a trip to see the Azure Window… The Azure Window was totally destroyed by wind one year ago.
The activities for pre-teens were not clearly identified. This was the first cruise where my children simply did not make friends. Granted, this may have something to do with their age too.
Original embarkation and disembarkation was rather lengthy. We had a disembarkation time of 11am, however we had to clear the room by 8am. You’re not allowed to take your luggage yourself, which means you spend some 3 hrs wandering around the ship or in a corner somewhere.
The billing method is not fantastic. Our bill arrived at 8am of the final morning, meaning that if you had any claim you’d be stuck in the queues at reception. My cabin had onboard credit, but it was split between my husband and I. When the bill came we noticed that they debited me for all that we spent, but did not take into account the credit of my husband, so he was asked to go and claim it back reception.
The shows are good, particularly the costumes and the stage design. Incidentally there is no omnipresent and loud Cruise Director, which is quite an advantage to our minds!
The smoking policy is quite strict – smoking only allowed in some areas. It is not strictly implemented – we had to stop our cabin neighbours from smoking on the balcony. Read Less