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First of all let me start by saying that this was my 14th cruise and I've been on 7 different cruise lines. We choose this cruise strictly based on price. Overall, I guess we got what we paid for. The 'Easy Drink Package' & 3 GB of data were included in our package and we had the 'Fantastica' experience with a balcony. The drink package worked out ok for us as we are wine & rum drinkers. The thing that mystifies me about this package is that you are very limited on the mixed drinks that you can get but you can get various 'virgin' drinks included. While on the ship, I mostly drank mojitos in the afternoon but my package didn't include alcoholic mojitos but I could get a virgin mojito and a shot of rum on the side so I would just pour the run into the drink before I left the bar... that made absolutely no sense to me. (You can do the same with Pina Coladas and several other drinks!) Even the bar staff agreed that it made no sense!! We found the food to be good in both the buffet & the main dining room. The only complaint there was that we felt a bit rushed as we had the 7:15 seating and there was another seating at 9:15. The staff in the Ipanema restaurant were beyond fantastic. Our waiters were fabulous especially Kelvin A. Gurley who was always right there with our wine as soon as we were seated (and returned several times during dinner to refill our glasses). Pande Putra was our server and he was also great.. although he did forget a few minor things over the course of the week but he was so sweat, we forgave him for that. We had the absolute best head waiter (Maitre d') that I have ever had the pleasure to meet and his name was Organ! It's been my experience that you meet the Maitre d' on the first night and don't see him again until the last night. Organ came to our table several times every night to make sure everything was how it should be. I saw him cut the steak for a challenged guest one night... that goes above and beyond in my opinion! I would definitely give the wait staff 5 stars. We didn't try any of the Specialty Restaurants so I can't comment on them. Now let me get to the main issues I had with this cruise. I very much enjoy having my coffee delivered in the mornings and sitting on my balcony for an hour or so enjoying the scenery. I only drink decaf coffee as caffeine upsets my stomach. The first morning when it was delivered.. it was instant coffee!! I hate instant coffee!! I mentioned it to our Head Waiter Organ, and he said it would be fixed and I would definitely get my decaf coffee for the rest of the cruise. He had arranged for someone from Room Service to go to the buffet and get me a pot of decaf coffee every morning. Through no fault of Organs, I never did get my decaf coffee. There was always an excuse! I would have to get dressed every morning and go to the buffet to get my cup of coffee and bring it back to the room. By the time I got back it was always cold because the elevators are so slow! (Plus we were in a Forward cabin & the buffet was Aft.) I was told by Room Service that there wasn't enough requests for decaf to warrant them having it available although every time I went to the buffet, the decaf dispenser was always empty... Go figure!!! Another issue for me was there was no table on the balcony. So when sitting out there enjoying the scenery I had to put my drink on the floor! (Minor issue for some I know but still a pain & definitely an easy fix to make guest more comfortable). Another major issue for us was the nightly entertainment. The shows in the main theatre were great for the first couple of nights but after that it became very repetitive... same acts in different costumes! The Beer Prov (very funny) and the Michael Jackson show were the best. The entertainment in all of the lounges was always Spanish. There was a group of young men entertaining in the Haven Lounge every night that sang in English but they finished around 11 and the lady that replaced them every night only sang in Spanish! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of Salsa.. but not every night!!! Also, I want to mention the smoking issue on this ship. It appears that smoking is allowed everywhere in the outside areas on this ship and of course in the Casino!! Not a nice experience for non smokers. Other cruise lines have designated areas for smokers! Before I finish, I would also like to mention the timing at the Ports of Call. 5pm-1am in San Juan and 7am-2pm in St. Maarten is absolutely ridiculous! Arriving at 5pm in San Juan allows you absolutely no time to explore the island and having to be back on board at 1:30 in St. Maarten is just unacceptable. The next stop after St. Maarten was Nassau where we were docked from 12-7. I would prefer they shave some time off of that port and add it to St. Maarten which is a far nicer place to spend your day!! Now I'm going to touch on Disembarkation Day. We had to be out of our cabin by 8am (which is the norm for most cruise lines). After going to the buffet for breakfast I thought I'd make a quick stop at the Ladies before leaving the ship... WELL... There was a lineup at every ladies room on the several decks I tried. The reason for this was, the stalls had been cleaned in preparation for the new guests getting onboard and then the stalls were locked, leaving only one stall in every ladies room on multiple decks!! This gave me the feeling of.. 'We have your money so now you're not important to us.. get off the ship!!' I listened to many disgruntled guests in the lineups that morning!! Once off the ship, don't even think about stopping on the gangway or just outside the terminal. You will be shouted at by MSC staff to keep moving. I overheard one of the staff telling who I assume to be a new employee.. "Speak with Authority!!".. Really???? Mostly we enjoyed our cruise but the coffee issue and the lack of nightly entertainment would deter us from booking another MSC cruise. These things are an easy fix and I hope MSC makes an effort to fix them.

Not Bad, But Not Great Either!!

MSC Seaside Cruise Review by Miley08

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Fantastica Balcony Stateroom
First of all let me start by saying that this was my 14th cruise and I've been on 7 different cruise lines. We choose this cruise strictly based on price. Overall, I guess we got what we paid for. The 'Easy Drink Package' & 3 GB of data were included in our package and we had the 'Fantastica' experience with a balcony. The drink package worked out ok for us as we are wine & rum drinkers. The thing that mystifies me about this package is that you are very limited on the mixed drinks that you can get but you can get various 'virgin' drinks included. While on the ship, I mostly drank mojitos in the afternoon but my package didn't include alcoholic mojitos but I could get a virgin mojito and a shot of rum on the side so I would just pour the run into the drink before I left the bar... that made absolutely no sense to me. (You can do the same with Pina Coladas and several other drinks!) Even the bar staff agreed that it made no sense!!

We found the food to be good in both the buffet & the main dining room. The only complaint there was that we felt a bit rushed as we had the 7:15 seating and there was another seating at 9:15. The staff in the Ipanema restaurant were beyond fantastic. Our waiters were fabulous especially Kelvin A. Gurley who was always right there with our wine as soon as we were seated (and returned several times during dinner to refill our glasses). Pande Putra was our server and he was also great.. although he did forget a few minor things over the course of the week but he was so sweat, we forgave him for that. We had the absolute best head waiter (Maitre d') that I have ever had the pleasure to meet and his name was Organ! It's been my experience that you meet the Maitre d' on the first night and don't see him again until the last night. Organ came to our table several times every night to make sure everything was how it should be. I saw him cut the steak for a challenged guest one night... that goes above and beyond in my opinion! I would definitely give the wait staff 5 stars. We didn't try any of the Specialty Restaurants so I can't comment on them.

Now let me get to the main issues I had with this cruise. I very much enjoy having my coffee delivered in the mornings and sitting on my balcony for an hour or so enjoying the scenery. I only drink decaf coffee as caffeine upsets my stomach. The first morning when it was delivered.. it was instant coffee!! I hate instant coffee!! I mentioned it to our Head Waiter Organ, and he said it would be fixed and I would definitely get my decaf coffee for the rest of the cruise. He had arranged for someone from Room Service to go to the buffet and get me a pot of decaf coffee every morning. Through no fault of Organs, I never did get my decaf coffee. There was always an excuse! I would have to get dressed every morning and go to the buffet to get my cup of coffee and bring it back to the room. By the time I got back it was always cold because the elevators are so slow! (Plus we were in a Forward cabin & the buffet was Aft.) I was told by Room Service that there wasn't enough requests for decaf to warrant them having it available although every time I went to the buffet, the decaf dispenser was always empty... Go figure!!! Another issue for me was there was no table on the balcony. So when sitting out there enjoying the scenery I had to put my drink on the floor! (Minor issue for some I know but still a pain & definitely an easy fix to make guest more comfortable). Another major issue for us was the nightly entertainment. The shows in the main theatre were great for the first couple of nights but after that it became very repetitive... same acts in different costumes! The Beer Prov (very funny) and the Michael Jackson show were the best. The entertainment in all of the lounges was always Spanish. There was a group of young men entertaining in the Haven Lounge every night that sang in English but they finished around 11 and the lady that replaced them every night only sang in Spanish! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of Salsa.. but not every night!!!

Also, I want to mention the smoking issue on this ship. It appears that smoking is allowed everywhere in the outside areas on this ship and of course in the Casino!! Not a nice experience for non smokers. Other cruise lines have designated areas for smokers!

Before I finish, I would also like to mention the timing at the Ports of Call. 5pm-1am in San Juan and 7am-2pm in St. Maarten is absolutely ridiculous! Arriving at 5pm in San Juan allows you absolutely no time to explore the island and having to be back on board at 1:30 in St. Maarten is just unacceptable. The next stop after St. Maarten was Nassau where we were docked from 12-7. I would prefer they shave some time off of that port and add it to St. Maarten which is a far nicer place to spend your day!!

Now I'm going to touch on Disembarkation Day. We had to be out of our cabin by 8am (which is the norm for most cruise lines). After going to the buffet for breakfast I thought I'd make a quick stop at the Ladies before leaving the ship... WELL... There was a lineup at every ladies room on the several decks I tried. The reason for this was, the stalls had been cleaned in preparation for the new guests getting onboard and then the stalls were locked, leaving only one stall in every ladies room on multiple decks!! This gave me the feeling of.. 'We have your money so now you're not important to us.. get off the ship!!' I listened to many disgruntled guests in the lineups that morning!! Once off the ship, don't even think about stopping on the gangway or just outside the terminal. You will be shouted at by MSC staff to keep moving. I overheard one of the staff telling who I assume to be a new employee.. "Speak with Authority!!".. Really????

Mostly we enjoyed our cruise but the coffee issue and the lack of nightly entertainment would deter us from booking another MSC cruise. These things are an easy fix and I hope MSC makes an effort to fix them.
Miley08’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Fantastica Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B2 13079
The cabin was kept very clean but the cabin steward was non existant. I'm used to the cabin steward dropping by on the first day to introduce himself. I saw this cabin steward on what I think might have been the 3rd day. Very rarely saw him.. never any ice left in the ice bucket (which has been the norm on all other cruises I've been on) we had to go to the bar and get our own.
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