Hi everyone! I am a cruiser that does painstaking research before booking, so I am going to try to provide honest, detailed, and straightforward feedback about this cruise and cruise ship for anyone who also likes to make sure they know exactly what they are paying for. Happy cruising to all!
I will separate my review by category and give you the PRO's and CON's of each. I will try to give you as many details as possible.
First off, we enjoyed this cruise as a getaway from winter weather. We've been to the eastern Caribbean before and knew what to expect and were really excited to be on the brand new MSC Seaside! We are an American married couple without kids; I am 30, my husband is 45, just to give you an idea of the perspective of this review. Please let me know if you have any questions!
Summary of PROs: Hallways are wider, cleaner, and more contemporary than other cruises I've been on. The room is tech savvy - very Euro - you put your card in a reader while in the room to access any electricity and remove your card when you leave your room. There are buttons just inside the door that turn on lights outside signaling if you want your room cleaned/made up, "do not disturb", and the lights will indicate to your attendant if you are in or out of the room. The room itself is beautiful and bigger than any room we've had on a cruise ship. The bed is big without the obvious gap of two twins pushed together. This room also came with a full sized couch, decent sized vanity area, a very logically organized closet, two nightstands with storage, and two big mirrors. The bathroom is also the biggest we've had on any cruise ship with a decently large shower, lots of storage, two walls of mirrors, and you don't have to sit at a weird angle on the toilet! The porthole is huge! We spent a lot of time sitting up in the porthole ledge and shutting the curtains to make a little hidey hole! haha! (It helps to bring champagne up there too)
Summary of CONs: (These CONs are not nitpicky, they come from a culmination of experiences from all the cruises we've been on) No kidding, this room was extremely loud. We couldn't figure out where the noises were coming from. There was a chocolate shop above us and nothing below us and we were not directly near stairs or elevators. This is the best way I can explain the noises... there was a sound that was like a huge metal cart being slammed down metal stairs and crashing SO LOUD at the bottom that you almost have a heart attack at the jolt of how LOUD it was. In the middle of the night it happened multiple times. There was also a constant metal ratcheting/hoisting and grinding tool sound that would not stop, and it was LOUD. The sounds were similar to construction noises, which didn't make sense because major construction would not be done in the middle of the night/early morning, right? These noises were so loud and constant that we barely got any sleep. Between trying to nap during the day (and not being able to because of the sounds) and not being able to sleep at night (even with earplugs), we were exhausted the whole trip. Imagine being jolted awake by what sounds like a car crashing through your ceiling right on top of you.... that is what room 5128 will deliver to you. We complained A LOT about it... not one person came to investigate or explain what it was.
Also, service was terrible. There is no direct way to contact your room attendant. We saw our attendant 2 times, when we initially got into the room and down the hall during disembarkation. No idea what his name was. We did not get pool towels daily, we got the daily planner at late hours of the night, our dishes/glasses were never cleaned out of our room, and our tv/remote broke twice. We had to leave him notes on the bed to get anything done. (When talking to other passengers, we were not the only ones surprised by the lack of service, some instances were exactly like ours described above, especially the notes) When we did need something, like towels, we had to call the general guest help desk..... we called 5 times in one day, they had to 'notify the supervisor' that our requests weren't being met... towels came 12 hours later.
Also, I paid for an embarkation day package.... it was a bottle of champagne and nice french style snacks and breads that were supposed to be set up in the room before we got there. It was a surprise for my husband. Needless to say, it wasn't there. The room attendant had no idea and I had to call room service to figure it out.. So much for a surprise. It finally was delivered about 4 hours later. By then, we had already gone out to a champagne bar to get our 'happy cruise day' fix.
Great port. We did an AirBNB instead of a hotel and it worked out perfectly. We went to several breweries and ended up having dinner at Casablanca on the Bay, which I totally recommend. Took an UBER to the cruise pier which was incredibly easy.
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico - We really enjoyed this port even though we didn't get there until 5pm. This cut out almost all possibility of doing excursions, so we just made our own day of it. We walked along the sea wall to a fort and then meandered into the 'city'. Old San Juan is very easy to navigate, we did it without a map. We stumbled upon a rustic pizza place which rocked and a beer tap house. We were very happy with our day in San Juan. You'll notice there are so many stray cats. Some areas smell like cat litter because the locals try to take care of the cats. This was a fun port.