MSC Seaside Cruise Review by dennis m
- Sail Date: May 2019
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Fantastica Inside Stateroom
The Seaside is both stunning inside and out. You really don’t see how big it is until the first port at the dock. It seems like the terminal at Miami hides it a little. The inside is a bit overwhelming at first, but once you explore a little you see it’s true beauty and everything she has to offer. There are mirrors, chrome, glass, and marble everywhere.
We arrived at the terminal at noon. I found the outside to be very busy, remember there are at least 5 other ships there at the same time. Once exiting the Uber in front of terminal F, people were there to take our luggage. We entered the terminal, went through security, and proceeded upstairs to check in. Check in was a breeze, there were at least 80 to 100 people behind the counter checking people in. From there we went up to a waiting area with a number. They were calling numbers every few minutes and taking a group onto the ship. We did not wait long at all. From arrival to our first steps onto the ship was exactly a half hour. That was impressive considering the cruise was sold out.
Upon entering on floor number 6 there were people everywhere, it felt like everyone took 6 steps onboard and just stopped. We pressed through and went to find a kiosk to register the credit card. There was a long line at customer service, but there was staff working their way through the line to see if they could help faster, and this was the case for us, she came up to us, we asked where the kiosks were and she took us right to one. From there we went up to deck 18 to get away from the crowd. It looked like most people went right to the buffet on deck 8. We ate before we got on so we were able to explore. Don’t plan on getting on an elevator quickly on the first few hours, but we found elevators towards the front ( right off the casino) that were not too busy. State rooms are not ready until 2pm, so find a place to hang out and relax or explore during that time, I would avoid the atrium during that time. Once rooms are announced as ready it tends to calm down and doesn’t feel like there is 5000 other people around.
We had an interior state room on deck 14. Again, ive read reviews where people complained that the state rooms were too small. Well they aren’t large but they are fine for the purpose. Your in your state room to sleep, shower or get dressed. They are the same on all cruise lines. Your not on a ship or on vacation to sit in your room all day. We met our room attendant Colette the next morning. She always smiled and greeted us anytime we saw her. Rooms were cleaned every morning, and our bed was turned down every night. She replaced our towels every time also. All in all no complaints whatsoever on the room.
Our dining time was wrong on the first night, we had requested 7:30, but they had us at 5:30. No big deal, we ate at 5:30 and saw the maitre’d on the way out. The next day we had a letter on our door and he was able to accommodate us and got us the 7:30 dining time. We were put at a table with 3 other couples, not a big deal and actually I was very glad to meet all of them.
The food was not bad at all on both the Dining room. They allow you to order whatever you want and any amount on the menu. There is a different theme every night. Other reviews complained the portions were too small, they aren’t huge but there was an appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert. I was always full after leaving the dining room. The buffets were great, a lot of selection. Other reviews complained the selection was the same every day. To a point that is true, the staple foods were the same. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, salad, French fries, etc. Everything else changed up daily. There is also a meat carving station towards the back of the buffet, there were different carvings daily. We went every morning to the buffet on deck 8 for breakfast and ate outside on the deck. Hint, the pizza on deck 8 was thin crust, but the pizza on deck 18 was thick crust.
Miami Beach pool was where we were the whole time. Yes people reserved chairs early, however there were enough of them and there was never any issues up there. South beach pool was the adult only pool and we did hear of some issues with chairs down there. We would eat breakfast no later than 8am and then go up to Miami Beach and there was always chairs. After lunch chairs would clear out, and more would be available. The entertainment staff kept it alive with activities every day, especially on sea day. I don’t care how old you are, hit the water slides at least once. Hint, if your racing someone, the slide on the right is faster when your facing them. We are 42 and 43 and it got quite competitive.
Yes bars can get busy, I never found them understaffed at all, did it take a few minutes? Yes, sometimes. There are also plenty of waiters and waitresses around the pool deck on sea days. Flag one of them down and they will check in on you all day. Our favorite was Miramar bar on deck 19. We went there every night, there are comfortable chairs and always a nice breeze, never crowded either. Be sure to go there and meet Sergio the bartender, he keeps it fun and has an array of his own concoctions he makes.
The Crew and Staff
Everyone was always kind, gave you a smile and greeted you depending on the time of day. We went to the cruise critic meet and mingle. Captain DiPalma asked for reviews both good and where they can improve. He personally made his way around to greet everyone, and claimed he baked the cake. Every staff member was helpful, some made recommendations, especially at the chocolate bar.
For having 5000 people on a ship it hardly ever felt like it. There is so much outdoor deck space or somewhere else to go relax. Our toilet did break one afternoon, it was fixed within 2 hours. The shows were of perfect length (40 minutes) they have some excellent talent in that group. We went every night except on Thursday.
Two small issues I noticed. The restrooms are hard to find, they are there tucked away, but the signage could be a bit better. There are also aren’t a lot of waste cans, there’s a few recycle cans, but given I don’t leave my bottles and stuff lay around, I found this to be difficult. There are guests from all over the world on this cruise, remember it is very popular in Europe, in fact I think this particular cruise was about 40% American. Very diverse, many were fun and great to talk to, some were kind of pushy, not rude, but they would get in front of you to get what they wanted first. Kids had their own areas and activities. Many people dressed up for formal nights. The photographers on board are top notch, we purchased a package to bring home and the prices really weren’t bad at all.
Our friends and family were waiting on our opinion and experience. I can tell you this; we have found our cruise line! We booked our next cruise on board on Wednesday night.As of right now we reserved 3 rooms for next June.
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