I am sailing on the maiden voyage of the MSC SEASIDE from Trieste, Italy to Miami, Florida. Overall the ship is well designed.
I purchased the Thermal Spa Package, which gives unlimited access to the dry sauna, Jacuzzi, steam rooms, Himalayan Salt Room, hot beds and relax rooms. There are several issues that need to be worked out, which I believe MSC has been aware of for some time now. It appears that MSC has chosen fashion over function on several of the items I will list.
Currently there is no easy access to water to rehydrate in between the various therapies. There is a table designed into the facility that would work perfectly for some sort of water vessel and cups, but the argument I’ve received is that the company hasn’t decided on how to move forward here. The only way to get water is to go into the main greeting area and ask for a glass of water, of which you can bring into the thermal area. Bringing glass into the area is a recipe for disaster, with the potential of the glass breaking on the stone floors. I had suggested paper cups or plastic cups, but that appeared to be beneath the style of the area. An example of fashion over function. There’s been no movement on this and we’ve been at sea for a week now.
There are no hooks for towels anywhere in the facility, so used towels are strewn all about, and there’s been very little in the way of staff picking up the area. Another example of fashion over function.
The dry sauna facilities are great, but the water buckets supplied to heat the stones are always void of water, so I take it upon myself to fill the buckets so I can warm up the sauna. I would again blame this on very minimal staff of managing the area.
The Jacuzzi is perpetually tepid in temperature at best. The staff has indicated that the engine room below controls the temperature of the water, and the maximum it can be at is 33 degrees Celsius. When I complained about this and asked for a temperature read, the engine room indicated the temperature was at 27 degrees. I would think this should be an engine room function to check on this on a half hour basis to ensure consistent warm water.
Robes are only supplied for specific cabin types, so you're left running around and relaxing only with your towel, which is awkward at best.
Lastly with regard to the thermal area, the brochure indicated that the facility was for adults only, not allowing anyone under 18 to use the facility. That was not the case yesterday, and can only hope that this isn’t a precedent.
Moving on to the theatre, the theatre is intimate, but there are a couple of design flaws that I find very distracting. Most glaring are LED strip lights that are imbedded into the ceiling and the walls on the sides. The lights are not recessed and prior to a show starting, the lights are turned on to a bright white light that is blinding. The lights turn various colors during the various shows, which as lover of theatre, is an over design and not necessary. The only other oversight in my mind in the theatre are the location of the manually pointed spot lights. They’re located right next to the upper seating in the theatre, making it difficult to access those seats, and then anyone walking in front of the spots either has to duck when passing the light, or simply block the light as they pass. Overall the shows have been good but I’m not sure how they’ll translate in a primarily American market in the Caribbean who are I suspect looking for more fun and glitz versus opera. I’m also surprised that MSC is not trying to maximize on revenue by offering drinks in the theatre as pretty much every other cruise company in the world does.
Overall the cruise has been pleasant. It admittedly has taken the first week to get used to the difference in operations from the other lines, but once you accept the standard, the experience is decent. That may present a challenge for guests who are only sailing for 7 days.
My name was not on the passenger manifest at the security gate and had to wait in the freezing cold for easily over an hour as it was sorted out by my colleague. Had he not been there, there's a chance I would have been denied boarding. There was very little communication between the terminal authority and the ship staff to deal with issues like mine.