First off, we are tough critics so keep that in mind while reading our review.
We chose MSC Seaside for a few reasons. The biggest is that last year we cruised the MSC Divina for the first time last year and absolutely loved it. Our party has 3 generations (teenagers, middle-aged/50, and in-laws in their 80s) traveling and without fail all thought the Divina, and its staff, were the best we ever had. This lead us to try the Seaside.
This was somewhat of a last-minute trip so we did not have many options room wise. We ended up booking the lowest option (guaranteed cabin x3) at the Bella experience. The Unlimited Drinks special was going on. We ended up getting assigned balconies (woohooo) for staterooms on the 12th floor. Great way to start.
Our thoughts are as follows:
– MSC Website is the worst I have ever used. It baffles me as to why they have not fixed it. We struggled with it last year and this year. They almost lost the sale due to it. If you can’t get a website right, how can we trust you to sail a ship?
-Timing/logistics seem to need a review or overhaul. For instance, the cruise critic party was at 10:00 AM. We got notice on our door at 9:00 AM. The White Night Party was on an evening before a port, however Italian night was the night before at sea. We were all dragging in port wondering why the 10:30 PM party was held the night before an 8:00 AM port. The Black Party was held at 5:00. Our dinner was 5:15. Just odd timing on things.
-Quiet space on the ship is hard to come by. The ship is amazingly beautiful but the thump thump thump music coming from the main lobby permeates most areas that are meant for congregation. This made it tough for us to find space with all three generations to relax and talk. I was somewhat surprised by the music choices on elegant nights as well. I expected something a little more elegant but that did not happen.
-Drink package is odd. No real place to find out what is included and most wait staff tell you something different each time. The drinks you are entitled to are free however there is a service charge (tip) for each drink. No one could explain to us what it was (we were told it was tax). HOT TIP – go to the self-service drink station on deck 8 buffet. You card will dispense beer and wine that are included in your package. It is completely at your leisure and no tip is added,
-The gym is too small
-I only saw the zip line operate once. Not sure why it was closed most of the trip
-It can get pretty crowded in the food areas
-The “library” is odd. I have never seen a library that has a pool table, checker boards and is a main walkway. I think it was more of an afterthought.
-Got zinged by the minibar again. We were charged for something we did not take. HOT TIP-when you check in have the steward inventory the minibar in front of you then ask them to lock it for the duration of the cruise (we forgot this go around)
-You can keep Nassua
-Staff was great. Still love Rom (waiter in the for-fee dining area)
-Lots to do. There was always something going on. We took many dance lessons and the instructors were fun and patient
-Little kiddos seemed to LOVE that water park which was fun to see
-Food was good and plentiful. Not “amazing” but good and reasonable.
-Rooms were nice. Love the couch. Storage is tight as is the toilet area but something must give.
-Getting on and off the ship was the best we have ever experienced.
-The ship truly is amazing. You must ride the elevator at the back of the ship while at sea. The views are amazing
-The bridge of sighs and infinity bridges were super cool
-I was easily able to find deck chairs on the sides of the ship when I wanted a little sun nap. I am not a big at sea pool guy so this option was perfect for me
- I thought the MSC for Me app was helpful. If they would add person to person “texting” or adult tracking it would be amazing. The onboard touchscreens throughout the ship are super handy too
-The evening shows were really good. We don’t usually go to many shows but found ourselves going to most and were not disappointed. HOT TIP – If you are going to a show use the MSC app or a touch screen to reserve a seat. We were in the 5:15 dining rotation and could make the 6:45 show if we were there promptly at 5:15. The 8:00 show is usually booked solid so book early if you want that time.
-I rode the slides with the kids and made the Mrs. try it once too. Lots of fun (I got dizzier on the brown kids slide than the adult blue slides)
-Elegant night and Voyagers party served drinks and snacks. The elegant night “Happy Hour” started at about 4:45 but was not very well advertised but is a great way to start out the night
-The way they do pictures is great. There are viewing stations where you scan your card and can bring up digitals of all your pix. Much easier than playing where’s waldo and looking at a wall full of other people while looking for yours
Overall, we enjoyed the trip and would do it again.
Cabin was clean and organzied. Storage is tight as is the toilet but I am fine with that since it had a couch. The curtains did a fantastic job darkening the room. Balcony was great. Bed was slightly firm which half of our party liked and half did not ;).
Nice port. Fun to walk the streets then hang at the beach.
Enjoyed walking to the forts and seeing history.
Enjoyed the "vibe" and bought lots of coffee to take home. Stop at the supermax grocery store. It is a cool way to see the locals and get real pricing.