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This is a review of MSC Seaside from my January 6th 2018 cruise. I was traveling with my wife and our 23 year old daughter, and these are my views of the ship, its crew and the route. If my wife or daughter would write a review, they would most likely have another experience than I did. And most likely, so would also any other passenger that where on the same cruise as I. Enough said about that. My previous cruise experience includes 2 cruises to the Bahamas with Norwegian Sky. Let me start by saying that I had a great time on board MSC Seaside. We had the Fantastica experience which included 12 drink vouchers per person in our cabin, and a 50 USD cabin credit. On our cruise there were approximately 4.200 passengers according to crew. Its a very beautiful ship inside as well as outside. I especially loved all open space on deck. I have had no bad experience onboard and I can absolutely recommend a cruise with her. Boarding and disembarking Boarding was very smooth. I would say that the boarding process took about 30 minutes. We arrived at pier F in the port of Miami around 12. I unloaded our car, then parked it in the garage by pier G. Cost was 22 USD per day. Around 12.30 we entered the terminal and about 30 minutes later we were having lunch in the buffet. Note that my ticket stated my boarding time as 3.30 pm. At 2.00 pm all rooms were available. The last night all passengers had the option of leaving the luggage outside the stateroom before 11.00 pm. If we did, the crew arranged for all luggage to be taken off the ship in the morning. We could also choose to keep the luggage and bring it ourselves in the morning for express disembarkation. We decided to pack our suitcases and to let the crew handle them. That worked very smooth for us. The ship arrived in Miami at 6.00 am and all passengers had to leave their rooms by 7.15 am at the latest. Breakfast was served from 6.am. Disembarking was organized by cabin number. The higher number, the later disembarking slot was given. Around 09.45 the speakers onboard announced that disembarking was open for all, so we left even though our original time stated 10.30 am. There where no lineups. This was much smoother than any of my previous cruises. Our stateroom We had stateroom 15023, an inside room. No problems for us, as we want to spend as little time as possible in the room. There is a twin sized bed or two singles in this cabin. There is also two extra beds that are lowered down from the ceiling in the cabin. Out daughter used one of these and she seemed to be happy with this solution. Electricity: There was two European and two US as well as two USB outlets in our cabin. A hair dryer is provided in the drawer. In our cabin there were 11 hangers, so we felt lucky to have brought some extra with us. We had one shelf each for clothes. It’s a little bit low on storage space for three people so my daughter used her suitcase for her stuff and put it under the bed. Our empty suitcases did also fit under the bed. Breakfast options We had most of our breakfasts in the buffet, and we only tried breakfast in MDR once. Both had excellent options, but for me it was quicker to eat in the buffet. MDR is of course an excellent option and sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and be served. MDR also had some other items on the breakfast menu, such as egg Benedict’s. Note that the buffet on level 16 is much more limited than the buffet on level 8. I found the design of the food stations very practical. It was almost never a lineup and if it was, you could easily skip to another station. On deck 8 they had two omelett stations, and it was never more than 2-3 persons waiting for it, even though the guy operating it, seemed to have his hands full all the time. Lunch options When we didn’t have lunch in a port, we had lunch in the buffet on level 8 or 16. When on sundeck level 16 is a very nice option for a quick lunch, and the pizza is excellent. There is also the option of lunching in the MDR but we never tried it. Dining options We dinned in MDR all nights and the food was good, in some cases excellent. My impression is that some nights where better than others. When going on my next cruise I will buy a special dining package to test it and to compare with the complementary option in MDR. We had initially requested a late seating, but tried to change for an early seating when boarded. This did not work out as it seems like most people actually prefers early hours in MDR. For my next cruise I will remember to request an early seating already when making the reservation. For me, the best solution would have been to have an open dining, so that I could go to the MDR when it suited me depending on my daily schedule. As I understand, this is available to all passengers that chose the Aurea experience. Drink packages We had the Fantastica experience which included 12 drink coupons per person. As my daughter didn’t really use any, me and my wife ended up with 18 coupons each. We used these for drinks to dinner and other drinks in different bars. The coupons lasted for all days on our cruise. When getting a coke or a beer we paid cash and saved the coupons for the more expensive drinks. Coke was 2,60 per can and the beer 5,50 for a Coors light 16 oz ( 1 pint). Wine and drinks about 7,50-8,00 USD. Then I also bought coupons for special coffees, which I found to be a good deal. Cost per cup ended up to 2 ,00. If paid in the bar or coffee shop it would have been 4-8 dollar per cup depending on your order. After the cruise I have calculated the cost of our drinks to see if we would benefit from buying an all inclusive drink package. In our case, we didn’t drink enough to make the drink package a good deal. Even if we did not have the drink coupons, we would have had to order twice as much in order to make the all inclusive package a good deal. On the other hand, if we would have had the package, we would probably ordered a lot more drinks. So in the end, hard to tell if it’s worth it or not. Ports and Excursions First port was Nassau, Bahamas. Since this was our third stop here we felt quite at home and knew exactly what we wanted to do. We just took a taxi to Cabbage beach not far from Atlantis. It’s a nice public beach and the taxi fare is 4 dollar per person each way. We spent about three hours on the beach before returning to the port to do some shopping and then returning to the ship. Second port was Ocho Rios on Jamaica. As it was our first visit we decided to take an excursion tour Bamboo beach break OCH44. Cost including transport and entry fee was 25 dollar. It was acceptable considering the low price, but not as good as our regular Florida beaches. Third port was Georgetown in Grand Cayman. Easy choice, a cab to the 7 mile beach. 5 dollar per person each way. A nice beach. We had a great day, and it just got better when the clouds scattered. A bit windy though on our visit. Fourth and last port was Costa May. We decided to go to another beach club (All inclusive beach break CMY42) at a cost of 69 dollar. This included the entry fee, lunch and open bar. The place was not OK. The beach and water was not that nice. Don’t expect a turquoise beach with clear water. It was kind of muddy and the ocean bottom was very uneven. The club itself was understaffed as there was a long lineup for the bar all the time. The weather was nice and we spent 4 hours in our sun chairs before going back to the ship. Going through the small port of Costa Maya ( not the city itself) we realized that we would have been better off if we would have stayed there by the pool and bar. Somewhat later we also spoke to some other passengers who had taken a cab to the local public beach. They had a great time and they loved it. Clear water and a nice sandy beach. So if we get back to Costa Maya in the future, we know where to go. The entertainment Each nights there is a variety of shows. In the main theater there is a 30-40 minutes show each night. There are 3 different showtimes each night so you will be able to catch a show independently of when you dine. The entertainment group is really good, but after seeing three shows in three nights I realize it’s basically the same set up. 3 singers, some acrobats and plenty of dancers. Each night have a different theme, which is good, but the main set up is similar which makes it a little bit boring in my humble opinion. Almost all nights there is a late show with opera, which also was really good. Last performance at night was a improvisation group doing some really good and fun sketches with the help of the audience. Bars There is plenty of bars all over the ship, all with different themes. All of them had different entertainment, ranging from a DJ to live music. There is also a sports bar showing showing satellite sports channels. What I am missing in terms of bars, is a quiet bar where you just can sit down and chat. Everywhere there is always some music, it’s almost like MSC is afraid that people would be bored if left by themselves for a bit. There is also the Venchi Chocolates bar and shop. It’s excellent, and has very good chocolate. This is a must! My favorite bar ended up being the newsroom, Seaview Lounge, across that ail from the sports bar. Here they had some live jazz at night which I enjoyed. A general reflection is that it is quicker to wait at the table for a waiter than trying to order from the bar, as the bartenders are busy with the waiters orders most of the time. And all orders are charged with a mandatory 15% service charge, no additional tipping necessary. Pools and spas There are many pools onboard the ship. We where spending most time by the two aft pools on deck 7 and 16. For families with kids there is a great water play area, and some fun game rooms. We didn’t use the spa nor the gym. The gym was very nice, but pretty busy most of the time so we didn’t manage to squeeze it into our schedule. Shops There is a few shops aboard. One duty free store, some jewelers, a clothing store and an MSC souvenirs shop. I didn’t end up using any of them, and they seemed to be pretty empty all the time. Internet We bought the streamer package that included 6,5 gb data and 4 devices for 79 USD. Good value for money. However, my daughter used the most data for Instagram and Facebook. Summary That’s pretty much all. As said in the beginning I had a great time and would definitely like to sail with MSC Seaside again. I would not choose the same excursions again. I would also buy the special dining package to get some more variations in my dining experience. I would not go for the all included drink package, as I don’t drink enough to make it a good deal for me. My next cruise will not be with MSC since I want to try some other cruise liners as well. However I am very satisfied with my experience, I had a great time and I can recommend MSC and the Seaside.

Seaside cruise January 6th 2018

MSC Seaside Cruise Review by johangente

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2018
  • Destination: Caribbean
This is a review of MSC Seaside from my January 6th 2018 cruise.

I was traveling with my wife and our 23 year old daughter, and these are my views of the ship, its crew and the route. If my wife or daughter would write a review, they would most likely have another experience than I did. And most likely, so would also any other passenger that where on the same cruise as I. Enough said about that. My previous cruise experience includes 2 cruises to the Bahamas with Norwegian Sky.

Let me start by saying that I had a great time on board MSC Seaside. We had the Fantastica experience which included 12 drink vouchers per person in our cabin, and a 50 USD cabin credit. On our cruise there were approximately 4.200 passengers according to crew. Its a very beautiful ship inside as well as outside. I especially loved all open space on deck. I have had no bad experience onboard and I can absolutely recommend a cruise with her.

Boarding and disembarking

Boarding was very smooth. I would say that the boarding process took about 30 minutes. We arrived at pier F in the port of Miami around 12. I unloaded our car, then parked it in the garage by pier G. Cost was 22 USD per day. Around 12.30 we entered the terminal and about 30 minutes later we were having lunch in the buffet. Note that my ticket stated my boarding time as 3.30 pm. At 2.00 pm all rooms were available.

The last night all passengers had the option of leaving the luggage outside the stateroom before 11.00 pm. If we did, the crew arranged for all luggage to be taken off the ship in the morning. We could also choose to keep the luggage and bring it ourselves in the morning for express disembarkation. We decided to pack our suitcases and to let the crew handle them. That worked very smooth for us.

The ship arrived in Miami at 6.00 am and all passengers had to leave their rooms by 7.15 am at the latest. Breakfast was served from 6.am. Disembarking was organized by cabin number. The higher number, the later disembarking slot was given. Around 09.45 the speakers onboard announced that disembarking was open for all, so we left even though our original time stated 10.30 am. There where no lineups. This was much smoother than any of my previous cruises.

Our stateroom

We had stateroom 15023, an inside room. No problems for us, as we want to spend as little time as possible in the room. There is a twin sized bed or two singles in this cabin. There is also two extra beds that are lowered down from the ceiling in the cabin. Out daughter used one of these and she seemed to be happy with this solution.

Electricity: There was two European and two US as well as two USB outlets in our cabin. A hair dryer is provided in the drawer.

In our cabin there were 11 hangers, so we felt lucky to have brought some extra with us. We had one shelf each for clothes. It’s a little bit low on storage space for three people so my daughter used her suitcase for her stuff and put it under the bed. Our empty suitcases did also fit under the bed.

Breakfast options

We had most of our breakfasts in the buffet, and we only tried breakfast in MDR once. Both had excellent options, but for me it was quicker to eat in the buffet. MDR is of course an excellent option and sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and be served. MDR also had some other items on the breakfast menu, such as egg Benedict’s. Note that the buffet on level 16 is much more limited than the buffet on level 8. I found the design of the food stations very practical. It was almost never a lineup and if it was, you could easily skip to another station. On deck 8 they had two omelett stations, and it was never more than 2-3 persons waiting for it, even though the guy operating it, seemed to have his hands full all the time.

Lunch options

When we didn’t have lunch in a port, we had lunch in the buffet on level 8 or 16. When on sundeck level 16 is a very nice option for a quick lunch, and the pizza is excellent. There is also the option of lunching in the MDR but we never tried it.

Dining options

We dinned in MDR all nights and the food was good, in some cases excellent. My impression is that some nights where better than others. When going on my next cruise I will buy a special dining package to test it and to compare with the complementary option in MDR.

We had initially requested a late seating, but tried to change for an early seating when boarded. This did not work out as it seems like most people actually prefers early hours in MDR. For my next cruise I will remember to request an early seating already when making the reservation. For me, the best solution would have been to have an open dining, so that I could go to the MDR when it suited me depending on my daily schedule. As I understand, this is available to all passengers that chose the Aurea experience.

Drink packages

We had the Fantastica experience which included 12 drink coupons per person. As my daughter didn’t really use any, me and my wife ended up with 18 coupons each. We used these for drinks to dinner and other drinks in different bars. The coupons lasted for all days on our cruise. When getting a coke or a beer we paid cash and saved the coupons for the more expensive drinks. Coke was 2,60 per can and the beer 5,50 for a Coors light 16 oz ( 1 pint). Wine and drinks about 7,50-8,00 USD.

Then I also bought coupons for special coffees, which I found to be a good deal. Cost per cup ended up to 2 ,00. If paid in the bar or coffee shop it would have been 4-8 dollar per cup depending on your order.

After the cruise I have calculated the cost of our drinks to see if we would benefit from buying an all inclusive drink package. In our case, we didn’t drink enough to make the drink package a good deal. Even if we did not have the drink coupons, we would have had to order twice as much in order to make the all inclusive package a good deal. On the other hand, if we would have had the package, we would probably ordered a lot more drinks. So in the end, hard to tell if it’s worth it or not.

Ports and Excursions

First port was Nassau, Bahamas. Since this was our third stop here we felt quite at home and knew exactly what we wanted to do. We just took a taxi to Cabbage beach not far from Atlantis. It’s a nice public beach and the taxi fare is 4 dollar per person each way. We spent about three hours on the beach before returning to the port to do some shopping and then returning to the ship.

Second port was Ocho Rios on Jamaica. As it was our first visit we decided to take an excursion tour Bamboo beach break OCH44. Cost including transport and entry fee was 25 dollar. It was acceptable considering the low price, but not as good as our regular Florida beaches.

Third port was Georgetown in Grand Cayman. Easy choice, a cab to the 7 mile beach. 5 dollar per person each way. A nice beach. We had a great day, and it just got better when the clouds scattered. A bit windy though on our visit.

Fourth and last port was Costa May. We decided to go to another beach club (All inclusive beach break CMY42) at a cost of 69 dollar. This included the entry fee, lunch and open bar. The place was not OK. The beach and water was not that nice. Don’t expect a turquoise beach with clear water. It was kind of muddy and the ocean bottom was very uneven. The club itself was understaffed as there was a long lineup for the bar all the time. The weather was nice and we spent 4 hours in our sun chairs before going back to the ship.

Going through the small port of Costa Maya ( not the city itself) we realized that we would have been better off if we would have stayed there by the pool and bar. Somewhat later we also spoke to some other passengers who had taken a cab to the local public beach. They had a great time and they loved it. Clear water and a nice sandy beach. So if we get back to Costa Maya in the future, we know where to go.

The entertainment

Each nights there is a variety of shows. In the main theater there is a 30-40 minutes show each night. There are 3 different showtimes each night so you will be able to catch a show independently of when you dine. The entertainment group is really good, but after seeing three shows in three nights I realize it’s basically the same set up. 3 singers, some acrobats and plenty of dancers. Each night have a different theme, which is good, but the main set up is similar which makes it a little bit boring in my humble opinion.

Almost all nights there is a late show with opera, which also was really good.

Last performance at night was a improvisation group doing some really good and fun sketches with the help of the audience.

Bars

There is plenty of bars all over the ship, all with different themes. All of them had different entertainment, ranging from a DJ to live music. There is also a sports bar showing showing satellite sports channels.

What I am missing in terms of bars, is a quiet bar where you just can sit down and chat. Everywhere there is always some music, it’s almost like MSC is afraid that people would be bored if left by themselves for a bit.

There is also the Venchi Chocolates bar and shop. It’s excellent, and has very good chocolate. This is a must!

My favorite bar ended up being the newsroom, Seaview Lounge, across that ail from the sports bar. Here they had some live jazz at night which I enjoyed.

A general reflection is that it is quicker to wait at the table for a waiter than trying to order from the bar, as the bartenders are busy with the waiters orders most of the time.

And all orders are charged with a mandatory 15% service charge, no additional tipping necessary.

Pools and spas

There are many pools onboard the ship. We where spending most time by the two aft pools on deck 7 and 16. For families with kids there is a great water play area, and some fun game rooms.

We didn’t use the spa nor the gym. The gym was very nice, but pretty busy most of the time so we didn’t manage to squeeze it into our schedule.

Shops

There is a few shops aboard. One duty free store, some jewelers, a clothing store and an MSC souvenirs shop. I didn’t end up using any of them, and they seemed to be pretty empty all the time.

Internet

We bought the streamer package that included 6,5 gb data and 4 devices for 79 USD. Good value for money. However, my daughter used the most data for Instagram and Facebook.

Summary

That’s pretty much all. As said in the beginning I had a great time and would definitely like to sail with MSC Seaside again. I would not choose the same excursions again. I would also buy the special dining package to get some more variations in my dining experience. I would not go for the all included drink package, as I don’t drink enough to make it a good deal for me.

My next cruise will not be with MSC since I want to try some other cruise liners as well. However I am very satisfied with my experience, I had a great time and I can recommend MSC and the Seaside.
johangente’s Full Rating Summary
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Embarkation
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Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Cabin 15023
We had stateroom 15023, an inside room. No problems for us, as we want to spend as little time as possible in the room. There is a twin sized bed or two singles in this cabin. There is also two extra beds that are lowered down from the ceiling in the cabin. Out daughter used one of these and she seemed to be happy with this solution.

Electricity: There was two European and two US as well as two USB outlets in our cabin. A hair dryer is provided in the drawer.

In our cabin there were 11 hangers, so we felt lucky to have brought some extra with us. We had one shelf each for clothes. It’s a little bit low on storage space for three people so my daughter used her suitcase for her stuff and put it under the bed. Our empty suitcases did also fit under the bed.
  MSC Seaside Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Beach
    Fourth and last port was Costa May. We decided to go to another beach club (All inclusive beach break CMY42) at a cost of 69 dollar. This included the entry fee, lunch and open bar. The place was not OK. The beach and water was not that nice. Don’t expect a turquoise beach with clear water. It was kind of muddy and the ocean bottom was very uneven. The club itself was understaffed as there was a long lineup for the bar all the time. The weather was nice and we spent 4 hours in our sun chairs before going back to the ship.
    Going through the small port of Costa Maya ( not the city itself) we realized that we would have been better off if we would have stayed there by the pool and bar. Somewhat later we also spoke to some other passengers who had taken a cab to the local public beach. They had a great time and they loved it. Clear water and a nice sandy beach. So if we get back to Costa Maya in the future, we know where to go.
    View All 339 Beach Reviews
  • Grand Cayman (Georgetown)
    Third port was Georgetown in Grand Cayman. Easy choice, a cab to the 7 mile beach. 5 dollar per person each way. A nice beach. We had a great day, and it just got better when the clouds scattered. A bit windy though on our visit.
    View All 3,411 Grand Cayman (Georgetown) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Grand Cayman (Georgetown) Cruise Port Review
  • Nassau
    First port was Nassau, Bahamas. Since this was our third stop here we felt quite at home and knew exactly what we wanted to do. We just took a taxi to Cabbage beach not far from Atlantis. It’s a nice public beach and the taxi fare is 4 dollar per person each way. We spent about three hours on the beach before returning to the port to do some shopping and then returning to the ship.
    View All 5,914 Nassau Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Nassau Cruise Port Review
  • Beach
    Second port was Ocho Rios on Jamaica. As it was our first visit we decided to take an excursion tour Bamboo beach break OCH44. Cost including transport and entry fee was 25 dollar. It was acceptable considering the low price, but not as good as our regular Florida beaches.
    View All 81 Beach Reviews