MSC Seashore and cruise line, MSC Cruises, might not be household names in all of the ports where the ship sails. Huge in Europe and other parts of the world, MSC Cruises is still gaining ground in North America and in Miami, where MSC Seashore is based.
And that's too bad, because as the line's first Seaside EVO-class cruise ship, the 4,540-passenger MSC Seashore deserves attention.
The design of the ship is contemporary, with a splashy New York theme, a flashy (literally, lights go on all the time) Atrium and MSC's signature Swarovski crystal stairs. The family-friendly quotient is high, with MSC's largest Doremi kids club, and a pirate-themed waterpark. And the Yacht Club on MSC Seashore is the line's largest so far, for those who want an upscale experience on a vessel with megaship amenities.
On MSC Seashore, gone are some issues that plagued other MSC ships in their early days of U.S. operation. On our sailing, there were no more lengthy waits in the dining rooms. The staff onboard couldn't be more cheerful, friendly or accommodating. The ship's activities were accessible for Americans, while still appealing to MSC's international passenger base (even in the U.S., you'll find multiple languages spoken onboard).
And if you don't want to do anything and just relax, MSC Seashore has plenty of opportunities for that too, with a huge thermal suite and that European vibe that encourages you to relax -- you're on vacation.
One thing that works about MSC Seashore's deck plan is that the spaces onboard feel intimate -- a feat on such a large ship. MSC Seashore has four smaller main dining rooms as opposed to one large one, similar to what you'd find on Celebrity's Edge-class ships. The effect is that you feel more like you're in a land restaurant, than a large dining hall.
Another thing that works on MSC Seashore, as opposed to other Seaside-class ships: the specialty restaurants are all grouped together in one space on Deck 8, instead of close to the buffet. This gives this area of the ship a more adult "date night" feel (although teens seemed to gravitate to the Kaito sushi, with its conveyor belt).
The pools, too, are smaller, but there are more of them, spread out around the ship. We're not going to lie; this layout could make the main Long Island pool feel crowded at higher capacity, as there is simply not enough room for everyone in one place.
But this pool is honestly the least interesting onboard; particularly if you don't have kids, you'll have a calmer and better sun day if you're down on Deck 8 at the fabulous Infinity Pool at the back of the ship or in the lush Jungle Pool (the latter also has a retractable roof, so you can enjoy the tropical vibe even on a rainy day). There are even two 20-person infinity hot tubs on the side of the ship
Speaking of being outdoors: One quirk of MSC Seashore's deck plan is that the ship is purpose-built for warm weather sailings. The ship has 140,000 square feet of public outdoor space and restaurants such as Butcher's Cut now have outdoor seating. While the concept is great during warm and sunny days, you can't help wondering how crowded the ship will seem during a tropical downpour.
You're spoiled for choice, in terms of room types on MSC Seashore. The cabins have a smart layout, making it easy for more than one passenger to move around the room. In-room sofas easily convert into extra beds -- a boon for families. MSC Seashore has also paid attention to accessibility issues, and there are 66 dedicated rooms that have many thoughtful touches for those in wheelchairs.
If you book yourself into the MSC Yacht Club, the line's ship-within-a-ship suite experience, you're really in for a treat. MSC shines in the Yacht Club, and MSC Seashore has the largest suite facilities yet, with a complex that includes its own lounge, restaurant and exclusive sun deck with a pool and whirlpool.
When you're in the Yacht Club, you legitimately don't have to leave, except to use your drink package and spa thermal suite -- both included in your fare. When you do leave the Yacht Club enclave, your butler will almost insist on escorting you. It's worth it to spend more to book an interior cabin here for the perks, as opposed to a nicer cabin elsewhere on the ship. (Read more about the Yacht Club perks).
While you won't go hungry if you stick to the complimentary food options on MSC Seashore -- the buffet and main dining room -- you will be missing out. The service has improved in the main dining rooms, in terms of wait times and overall attentiveness. And the buffets have also expanded to include more dishes aimed at American palates. But the main dining room menus were inconsistent in both choice and tastiness.
Where the food on MSC Seashore excels is in its outstanding specialty restaurants. There are five on the ship, and we enjoyed each of them; a dining package gives you a discount and you'll save even more if you book before you board. Don't skip on Hola! Tacos & Cantina, in particular. Although it's a la carte pricing and the craft margaritas here aren't included in your drink package, the flavors are outstanding and the salsas are bought in Mexico City.
The food in the Yacht Club also wins praise, as it should; this is the main dining room for the suite guests. The ship spends more per passenger on these meals and also has higher quality ingredients. You can also literally snack in the Yacht Club Top Sail Lounge at all hours, and if you like afternoon tea, an excellent one is served daily, complete with tiny sandwiches, scones and clotted cream.
MSC Seashore is not only larger with the biggest Yacht Club of MSC cruise ships in the U.S., it's the only Seaside EVO class ship out there. Other Seaside-class ships, such as MSC Seaview, have many of the same features and a distinctive "Miami condo" look to them on the back of the ship, just smaller.
The Meraviglia-class ships have an entirely different layout -- one that has a wide Grand Atrium with shops along an open boulevard and much more emphasis on indoor activities as opposed to outside recreation (read more on how MSC Meraviglia-class ships differ from MSC Seaside-class ships).
MSC Divina is a Fantasia-class ship, and while it carries fewer passengers than MSC Seashore, with 4,345 guests, the layout can make it feel a little more cramped. Still, it's a more intimate feeling ship, and because it's older, prices will generally be lower.
For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard MSC Seashore, please refer to MSC Cruises health and safety protocols. You can also refer to Cruise Critic's guide to masking requirements on the world's major cruise lines.
* All meals in the four main dining rooms and Marketplace Buffet
Water, tea, coffee and milk; juice available at breakfast only
Use of the water park, sports areas and mini-golf
Use of the fitness center, excluding classes or training sessions
Most daily activities onboard, including trivia games, live music, and classes and workshops
Use of the kids', tween and teen clubs
Access to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, including buffet lunch and use of sun loungers on the beach
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks with the exception of water, tea and coffee
Room service (included for higher-tier cruise packages only)
Some evening shows
Meals in specialty restaurants
Wi-Fi (except for Yacht Club passengers)
Spa treatments, fitness classes and training sessions
Purchases from onboard shops
Bowling, F1 simulator and arcade games
MSC Seashore is a ship that while based in Miami, still attracts an international audience; about half of its guests are non-American, coming from Europe, South and Central America and the Caribbean. You'll hear multiple languages as you walk through the hallway, and signage is available in Spanish, English, German, French, Portuguese, and Italian.
MSC Seashore has daily meet and greets for LGBTQIAP+ passengers, as well as meet ups for sober cruisers. The ship is also well thought out for passengers with accessibility needs, particularly in the ADA cabins which have automatic ramps leading to the balconies, wheelchair and scooter-accessible doors and bathrooms, closets that have a pulldown rack for wheelchair height and covered pipes in the bathroom to prevent interference.