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MSC Seaside first piqued my interest because: - it sails out of Miami (this port should be on everyone’s bucket list) - it stops in Jamaica (Ocho Rios to be more exact) - it’s a brand new ship - the pricing is exciting I sailed the week of March 24, 2018, having booked 2 years in advance. I'm 48, and have previously sailed one night on Holland America (very good) and 3 nights on Princess Cruises (okay). Though the early reviews of MSC Seaside appeared bothersome, this ship did not disappoint me. On the contrary, I was delighted for many reasons. The top 2 reasons go to speedy embarkation and outstanding shows. 1. EMBARKATION A quick 20 minutes. Smooth. Our embarkation time was 2:15, but we boarded early at noon with no troubles. No long line-ups anywhere. 2. SHOWS The theatre shows are truly phenomenal!!! A different show every night, 3 X per night. Many standing ovations. Large, superbly talented cast, equal to and even better than Las Vegas. Fantastic costumes. My companion who has worked on 7 cruise lines as a dancer/singer was wowed and said he’d never seen anything like this on board a ship. Cirque du Soleil themed with acrobats, contortionists, roller skaters, magicians. I found the Latin dance pair stunning, and the Michael Jackson impersonator brilliant. I went to see that MJ “Timeless” show a 2nd time that night as I couldn’t get enough of it. Shows need to be booked in advance. If you do not book, they will let you in 5 minutes prior if there is space. Shows were 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9:15 p.m. CABIN: I made sure to choose one where no one could look in on us; the privacy felt special and relaxing. I really liked that the shower was hand-held. One irk was that the closet was difficult to use as it was way too close to the bed. I wish there had been more drawers. Also, there was no sheet to cover yourself; just the comforter. In the cabin hallways they had nice mellow music playing. Was wonderful to hear. Also, the cabin hallways showcase gorgeous posters. Just walking to and from my cabin was a treat because of the pics and music. SHIP ITSELF: clean, gorgeous, StarTrek design elements, did not feel crowded, lots of outdoor dining and lots of lounge chairs. Busiest places were the kids pools, deck 16 Miami Beach pool. However, if you take the time to walk around, there are quieter areas. If you have a spa pass, there is a large dedicated deck area that is not busy. SLIDES: I was pleasantly surprised that the water in the slides was warm. The slides with the board had lineups. The slides without boards had no lineups or you were next or third in line. I was a bit disappointed that I could not see outside the slide (would have been cool to see myself hanging off the ship). Good fun. I went down several times and the 6 year old in front of me was not scared at all. MAIN DINING ROOM: We had first seating at 5:30 p.m. Quick, efficient service. I liked all the food and presentation was lovely. The waiters hope you’ll be finished by 7:15 so they can set up for the next group. WARNING: One night I was half an hour late, and was denied entry. They will grant a 15 minutes grace period, and that’s it! Even though my party of 6 was already in the MDR, I could not sit and eat with them. I was perturbed! I suppose they have rules to keep the schedule going smoothly, but I sure wish I had been aware ahead of time of this strict guideline so I could be in obedience. Saving grace was in being forced to then head to the buffet restaurant and dining outdoors, we ended up with an awesome warm breeze and a terrific sunset. BUFFET: There are two (deck 8 and deck 16). Deck 8 has a few more food items. Busy place but did not seem too crowded and one could always find a table indoors or outdoors. I found the deck 16 buffet to be open till midnight and the deck 8 one until 7:30 p.m. SPECIALTY DINING: I pre-paid specialty dining ($69 pp for Asian Market, Ocean Cay, Butcher’s Cut).  One needs to book the specialty restaurants once you get on board.  We waited too long and did not get the times we wanted.  So, my advice is to book all three ASAP once you are onboard. Note: twice they messed up our reservations (wrong date, wrong time).  A couple who entered the restaurant ahead of us had a mix-up too.  So.... do check your MSC app right away after booking to double-check that the dates and time are correct.  It shows up pretty much right away onto the MSC app.  So don't walk away from the person doing the booking for you until you see it correct on your app. BTW:  I really enjoyed the specialty dining.  Nice change, all 3 felt upscale, and all 3 times we happened to be seated next to a window. Gorgeous sunsets showcasing an orange ball of fire. SPA: I got what I think is a phenomenally low price by booking prior to the cruise. $300 for the Platinum Relax package for TWO PEOPLE!!! Bali massage 45 minutes, facial 55 minutes, 2 entrances thermal spa for duration of the cruise. I made sure to book my spa treatments ASAP while on board the first day (but it was pretty full even then). There were many staff to greet you and make you feel welcome and calm. No one asked for a tip. However, while on the massage table, they show you products. I ended up buying something in lieu of a tip (a great Italian after-sun lotion for $42). We ended up using the spa only once (we got busy doing other things, but kept saying we should go!). A piece of good news is that those with a spa pass can use their designated outdoor deck that has lots of lounge chairs and is a very quiet spot looking out to the ocean. TO ADDRESS SOME PRIOR CONCERNS FROM OTHER REVIEWERS! Butter: yes there was butter (readily available in mini packages) Smell: I smelled nothing bad at any time Elevators: I found them surprisingly quick. Average wait time 30 seconds. A couple of times faulty but no big deal. Longest wait was 2 minutes, but this occurred only once for me. I really liked the look of the elevators with all the mirrors. Customer Service: Yes, there were lineups (maybe 20 minutes long). I went one morning at 9:30 a.m. and there was no line. On the first day a piece of luggage had not shown up in my room; I suspected because of my steam travel iron, so I went to customer service. I was very pleasant and the fellow gave me superb customer service. He even went so far as to leave the customer service desk to show me where the luggage area was across the way. Moreover, he found my suitcase and even lifted it up onto a platform for me. I took a picture of his badge so I could remember to commend him: (Rodrigo Goelzer, Shift Leader, Brazil). He was very professional and spoke very well in English and Spanish. Service: I liked all the service people. I especially liked that each of their badges said where they were from (a great conversation starter). Disembarkation: My scheduled time was 10:15 a.m. based on my cabin #. I wanted to leave an hour prior to catch a shuttle bus to FLL. I thought getting off would be unpleasant with long waits for the elevator, but it wasn’t so. Needless to say, there was a mishap. I was denied disembarkation when they scanned my cruise card. I was told it was because of the bill and was sent to a desk a few feet away. Sadly, there were a few people ahead of me and only one agent (terrible!). Anyways, my turn came in 10 minutes. Turns out that the ship owed me $55, and they wanted to pay me in cash. My strong opinion is that they should have stated this on the paper bill delivered to me the night before that I need to see an agent in person to settle the bill for a cash refund or I would be denied disembarkation. They owed me money because I had cancelled an excursion, but at the time was told I would see the refund on my credit card. Overall, it looked like people were able to get off quickly and their luggage waiting and ready in the terminal. IN CONCLUSION, an amazing experience. I didn’t want to leave and wish I had another week.

I wish I was still there!

MSC Seaside Cruise Review by joanneTravels

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2018
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Fantastica Outside Stateroom
MSC Seaside first piqued my interest because:

- it sails out of Miami (this port should be on everyone’s bucket list)

- it stops in Jamaica (Ocho Rios to be more exact)

- it’s a brand new ship

- the pricing is exciting

I sailed the week of March 24, 2018, having booked 2 years in advance. I'm 48, and have previously sailed one night on Holland America (very good) and 3 nights on Princess Cruises (okay). Though the early reviews of MSC Seaside appeared bothersome, this ship did not disappoint me. On the contrary, I was delighted for many reasons. The top 2 reasons go to speedy embarkation and outstanding shows.

1. EMBARKATION

A quick 20 minutes. Smooth. Our embarkation time was 2:15, but we boarded early at noon with no troubles. No long line-ups anywhere.

2. SHOWS

The theatre shows are truly phenomenal!!! A different show every night, 3 X per night. Many standing ovations. Large, superbly talented cast, equal to and even better than Las Vegas. Fantastic costumes. My companion who has worked on 7 cruise lines as a dancer/singer was wowed and said he’d never seen anything like this on board a ship. Cirque du Soleil themed with acrobats, contortionists, roller skaters, magicians. I found the Latin dance pair stunning, and the Michael Jackson impersonator brilliant. I went to see that MJ “Timeless” show a 2nd time that night as I couldn’t get enough of it.

Shows need to be booked in advance. If you do not book, they will let you in 5 minutes prior if there is space.

Shows were 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9:15 p.m.

CABIN: I made sure to choose one where no one could look in on us; the privacy felt special and relaxing. I really liked that the shower was hand-held. One irk was that the closet was difficult to use as it was way too close to the bed. I wish there had been more drawers. Also, there was no sheet to cover yourself; just the comforter. In the cabin hallways they had nice mellow music playing. Was wonderful to hear. Also, the cabin hallways showcase gorgeous posters. Just walking to and from my cabin was a treat because of the pics and music.

SHIP ITSELF: clean, gorgeous, StarTrek design elements, did not feel crowded, lots of outdoor dining and lots of lounge chairs. Busiest places were the kids pools, deck 16 Miami Beach pool. However, if you take the time to walk around, there are quieter areas. If you have a spa pass, there is a large dedicated deck area that is not busy.

SLIDES: I was pleasantly surprised that the water in the slides was warm. The slides with the board had lineups. The slides without boards had no lineups or you were next or third in line. I was a bit disappointed that I could not see outside the slide (would have been cool to see myself hanging off the ship). Good fun. I went down several times and the 6 year old in front of me was not scared at all.

MAIN DINING ROOM: We had first seating at 5:30 p.m. Quick, efficient service. I liked all the food and presentation was lovely. The waiters hope you’ll be finished by 7:15 so they can set up for the next group. WARNING: One night I was half an hour late, and was denied entry. They will grant a 15 minutes grace period, and that’s it! Even though my party of 6 was already in the MDR, I could not sit and eat with them. I was perturbed! I suppose they have rules to keep the schedule going smoothly, but I sure wish I had been aware ahead of time of this strict guideline so I could be in obedience. Saving grace was in being forced to then head to the buffet restaurant and dining outdoors, we ended up with an awesome warm breeze and a terrific sunset.

BUFFET: There are two (deck 8 and deck 16). Deck 8 has a few more food items. Busy place but did not seem too crowded and one could always find a table indoors or outdoors. I found the deck 16 buffet to be open till midnight and the deck 8 one until 7:30 p.m.

SPECIALTY DINING: I pre-paid specialty dining ($69 pp for Asian Market, Ocean Cay, Butcher’s Cut).  One needs to book the specialty restaurants once you get on board.  We waited too long and did not get the times we wanted.  So, my advice is to book all three ASAP once you are onboard. Note: twice they messed up our reservations (wrong date, wrong time).  A couple who entered the restaurant ahead of us had a mix-up too.  So.... do check your MSC app right away after booking to double-check that the dates and time are correct.  It shows up pretty much right away onto the MSC app.  So don't walk away from the person doing the booking for you until you see it correct on your app.

BTW:  I really enjoyed the specialty dining.  Nice change, all 3 felt upscale, and all 3 times we happened to be seated next to a window. Gorgeous sunsets showcasing an orange ball of fire.

SPA: I got what I think is a phenomenally low price by booking prior to the cruise. $300 for the Platinum Relax package for TWO PEOPLE!!! Bali massage 45 minutes, facial 55 minutes, 2 entrances thermal spa for duration of the cruise. I made sure to book my spa treatments ASAP while on board the first day (but it was pretty full even then). There were many staff to greet you and make you feel welcome and calm. No one asked for a tip. However, while on the massage table, they show you products. I ended up buying something in lieu of a tip (a great Italian after-sun lotion for $42). We ended up using the spa only once (we got busy doing other things, but kept saying we should go!). A piece of good news is that those with a spa pass can use their designated outdoor deck that has lots of lounge chairs and is a very quiet spot looking out to the ocean.

TO ADDRESS SOME PRIOR CONCERNS FROM OTHER REVIEWERS!

Butter: yes there was butter (readily available in mini packages)

Smell: I smelled nothing bad at any time

Elevators: I found them surprisingly quick. Average wait time 30 seconds. A couple of times faulty but no big deal. Longest wait was 2 minutes, but this occurred only once for me. I really liked the look of the elevators with all the mirrors.

Customer Service: Yes, there were lineups (maybe 20 minutes long). I went one morning at 9:30 a.m. and there was no line. On the first day a piece of luggage had not shown up in my room; I suspected because of my steam travel iron, so I went to customer service. I was very pleasant and the fellow gave me superb customer service. He even went so far as to leave the customer service desk to show me where the luggage area was across the way. Moreover, he found my suitcase and even lifted it up onto a platform for me. I took a picture of his badge so I could remember to commend him: (Rodrigo Goelzer, Shift Leader, Brazil). He was very professional and spoke very well in English and Spanish.

Service: I liked all the service people. I especially liked that each of their badges said where they were from (a great conversation starter).

Disembarkation: My scheduled time was 10:15 a.m. based on my cabin #. I wanted to leave an hour prior to catch a shuttle bus to FLL. I thought getting off would be unpleasant with long waits for the elevator, but it wasn’t so. Needless to say, there was a mishap. I was denied disembarkation when they scanned my cruise card. I was told it was because of the bill and was sent to a desk a few feet away. Sadly, there were a few people ahead of me and only one agent (terrible!). Anyways, my turn came in 10 minutes. Turns out that the ship owed me $55, and they wanted to pay me in cash. My strong opinion is that they should have stated this on the paper bill delivered to me the night before that I need to see an agent in person to settle the bill for a cash refund or I would be denied disembarkation. They owed me money because I had cancelled an excursion, but at the time was told I would see the refund on my credit card.

Overall, it looked like people were able to get off quickly and their luggage waiting and ready in the terminal.

IN CONCLUSION, an amazing experience. I didn’t want to leave and wish I had another week.
joanneTravels’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Fantastica Outside Stateroom
Cabin O2 13071
CABIN: I made sure to choose one where no one could look in on us; the privacy felt special and relaxing. I really liked that the shower was hand-held. One irk was that the closet was difficult to use as it was way too close to the bed. I wish there had been more drawers. Also, there was no sheet to cover yourself; just the comforter. In the cabin hallways they had nice mellow music playing. Was wonderful to hear. Also, the cabin hallways showcase gorgeous posters. Just walking to and from my cabin was a treat because of the pics and music.
Cape Cod Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Beach
    Started with public beach up north called Calico. Took the bus. Didn't like this beach as it was packed like sardines. We decided to walk southwards and it began to thin out and be more elegant. I highly recommend beach day at Royal Palms Beach Club. Hemingway is 5 minutes from Royal and nice too, but not as many lounge chairs and they want a minimum spend of $25 per person. Royal Palms Beach Club has a $2 entry, $12 lounge chair, $15 umbrella.

    7 Mile Beach had clear, warmish water. Nice sand.

    My companion got badly sunburned without even realizing it at the time. Wear lots of sunscreen and reapply.
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    Swimming with the stingray tours got cancelled due to high winds (police will shut down the boats so no tourists will drown). So, instead we went to 7 Mile Beach for the day. I had reserved with Moby Dick Tours because they use your camera to take pictures of you without extra charge. And they won't take you out into stormy waters just to make a buck. I was told the tour happened the day before, and would likely not resume for 2 or 3 days due to the weather forecast.
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  • Miami
    I had booked an Airbnb overlooking the cruise port. 51st floor. Was amazing!
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  • Dunn's River Falls
    Super gorgeous falls and surrounding vegetation!!! Climb with or without a guide. Guide is included in $20 entry fee. Must wear water shoes. Went March 26th in the a.m. and water was refreshing (I did not find it cold and I get cold easily). A must do!!! A videographer accompanies your group and an optional $40 DVD is for sale afterwards. Quality is low. I highly recommend you put your cellphone camera into one of those plastic waterproof cases (I bought mine on Amazon for $12.99 Mpow Waterproof Case x 2). Not one drop of water leaked in and to my amazement the photos all came out crystal clear (like no plastic or water was anywhere near it). A six year old and 8 year old boy climbed with us. The 8 year old thought it was great, but the 6 year old had to be carried the 2nd half and he said he was cold. I luv luv luv Dunn's River Falls. So beautiful and with the sound of rushing water. Tons of spots to take a stupendous photo.
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