MSC Seaside Cruise Review by Blueyonder99
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Aurea Balcony Stateroom
Firstly, there are some things about this ship that are amazing. The thermal spa area which, with the Aurea package, you have unlimited access to provides steam rooms, aromatherapy, sauna and jacuzzi. We weren’t brave enough to try the snow room ! But we utilised the spa area virtually every day and on some days as a tactic to escape the chaos on board. The staff are friendly, helpful and genuinely welcoming. Excellent!
The service and the jazz in the Seaview Lounge (deck 8) were excellent. Highly recommended! Similarly, the Sports bar (deck 8) turned out to be a find - the chicken wings are scrumptious (extra cost).
Also novel and useful were the interactive screens (mainly located near the lifts) that enable you to find out the day’s activities plus book online for shows and restaurant tables using your wrist band.
We also enjoyed the shows, live entertainment and ambience of the champagne bar.
Sadly, not everything about our cruise was a delight. The Aurea sundeck (deck 19) on the first sea day was unbearably overcrowded and the staff simply unable to cope (I queued for 30 mins to get a drink). It was also crowded with chain smokers who seemed to care little about staying in their designated area. The pool staff ultimately had to act as bouncers ensuring that only those who had paid the Aurea upgrade were let in. They were certainly kept busy! And there were fights for seats / sun beds. Hardly the tranquil experience as advertised!
There is a lot of commentary on this site about the food. And I concur. It was bland and, at times, inedible. How can an Italian cruise liner get risotto and osso bucco so wrong? The former was undercooked and inedible, and the latter seemed to have missed the gremolata entirely. Note - The elegant evening menu (ie. formal) does not include lobster unlike other cruise lines. And also as mentioned on this site, the Marketplace menu is the same each day. The freshly baked pizza is a safe and delicious option.
More worryingly from a health and hygiene perspective is that the hand sanitizers in the public areas and restaurants never seemed to be full (I ended up using my own) and the toilets in the public areas that are supposed to be auto-flush often didn’t seem to work.
Our cabin was okay but certainly smaller than other cruise ships and was already showing signs of wear and tear. The wardrobe / cupboard space was only just adequate for the two of us but again, much less generous than other cruise lines.
The worst aspect was that we had to query two transactions on our bill that were erroneously added. We, along with many others, seemed to spend quite a while queuing at customer services, One charge was for a bottle of wine we didn’t consume. The other charge was for photos we didn’t have taken. Note - check your online account carefully every few days and certainly before you disembark.
The back to back process was chaotic - no one seemed to know where we should go or the process (we felt like the lost tribe of B2Bs!). But, in the end, we were back on board and enjoying a well earned cocktail!
Overall, we won’t be sailing with MSC again. Other cruise liners offer better service, better quality dining options and better overall experience.
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Cupboard space is limited and much less than generous that on other cruise ships.
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