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MSC Seaside Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,109 Reviews

Worst Vacation of My Life

MSC Seaside Cruise Review by Christa1024

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2019
  • Destination: the Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Bella Inside Stateroom

“That was the s————- s—- show I ever saw…”

This is a quote I overheard from a fellow passenger on the MSC Seaside during our recent cruise vacation, and I couldn’t help but think… “That sums up this experience perfectly.”

I have to admit, I was going to use the famous quote from Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” but I didn’t want to be so dramatic.

Let’s get right down to it. I traveled with a group of people on the MSC Seaside from June 8th to June 15th 2019. This was my second cruise, but the first with MSC. Boy, was I disappointed in this company.

There was on SMALL thing that I liked about MSC. I will mention that before getting to the nitty gritty.

I have a gluten allergy, and I felt as if the staff in the dining room was amazing with that. Plus, I got a little gluten-free treat every day in my stateroom. HOWEVER, the buffets, were lacking. Nothing was labeled gluten-free, so it was impossible to tell what I could safely eat and what I couldn't.

So...that was it. The ports were nice, but MSC has nothing to do with the beauty of St. Thomas or the fun spirt in Nassau. That being said, if you are considering MSC, PLEASE, for the love of everything holy...keep reading. I would hate that someone else would fall victim to this horrendous company....

Booking -- How hard is it to book a cruise? We booked with a booking agent, and then we couldn't log into the website. MSC blamed it on website updates...for FIVE MONTHS???? Ridiculous. Once we finally figured out how to log into the most confusing website in the world, we noticed that our names were spelled incorrectly. "Okay, we will just call them..." Good luck with that! After several times of being put on hold for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and more with no pick up, I requested a call back via the MSC website. That was about six weeks ago, my cruise has come and gone, and I still haven't gotten a call.

Embarkation -- I don't have much bad to say about this. It was smooth...I would consider waiting in line for the next customer service representative one of the big highlights of my MSC Seaside experience...and no, I'm not being sarcastic. Nothing bad happened, so I'll count this as a win.

Ship -- The ship is beautiful...yes. It's big, it's spacious, and it was clean...if you don't count the consistent nostril burning sewage smell that lingers in certain areas. Once you look past the beauty and grandeur of the ship, however, there are MAJOR issues. For example, on Deck 8, if you walk around enough, you will find the chair graveyard. There were approximately 12 deck chairs that had broken...yes, broken with people actually sitting in them. We saw one, average sized man, fall right out of his chair during breakfast when the chair broke from underneath them. Obviously this is a problem on the Seaside because there were a lot of broken chairs and a lot of pissed off people.

Cabin -- Our cabin...9158...straight up...smelled like someone had peed all over the floor, let it soak into the carpet, and then placed the room in the hot, Caribbean sun for a week or so just to make sure that the odor would really stay in there. We DID complain about it, and our room steward sprayed something in there, but it only masked the smell for a short time.

Dining -- My gluten-free food was good. They did cater to my needs. The rest of our group, however, didn't have the best experience all of the time. For instance, my mother's salad was in a bowl, and at the bottom of the bowl was about a quarter inch of water. Gross.

Entertainment and Activities -- “That was the sh*ttiest sh*t show I ever saw…” I heard this as we left Country/Western night. It lasted a whole 15 minutes, and then it changed to latin night, with hours of latin dancing. The rest of the entertainment on the ship was poor, too. Nothing ever caught our eyes...or our ears, for that matter...and I was traveling with a group of about 25 people. I will give props to the Michael Jackson show...my second highlight of this cruise. It was pretty great.

Service -- Here's where MSC really fails, flunks, falters, etc. The customer service is almost non-existent. The company simply doesn't care. We literally had drinks shoved at us, we had bartenders rolling their eyes when ordering simple drinks like rum and coke, and you just have to wait until they feel like serving you...oh, and don't be surprised if people who come after you get served first. It happened to us time and time again. Rajbir in the Jungle Bar was a great example of this. He caught my eye several times, and passed me over not once, not twice, but SIX times for people who came up to the bar after me. I finally had to say "EXCUSE ME" and he STILL didn't come to me. Another bartender, Reinan, stepped up and apologized for my wait, and said if I need anything else to please come to him...which I did.

Some of these people really acted like it was a chore to serve. Well guess what? That is your JOB. If you don't want to be a bartender, then find another vocation. These bartenders also don't seem to know what they are serving. We got the MSC promotion "Drinks on Us." There are literally seven mixed drinks to choose from. it's not that difficult to get right. Vodka Lemon is one of the drinks. It's Bitter Lemon soda and vodka. Simple, delicious, refreshing. These people KNOW you have this drink package, and I can't even tell you all of the times that they messed that drink up by putting lemonade instead of Bitter Lemon, or Sprite instead of Bitter Lemon, or just plain club soda with a lemon...it was seriously mind-boggling. If you can't make the drink right, take it off the menu.

Ports and Shore Excursions -- The ports were all fabulous, and I am not giving MSC an ounce of praise for them. They just chose where to stop. That's it. Good job at picking ports that every other cruise line also goes to. Here's your gold star for the day, MSC!

Disembarkation --- This was the absolute WORST. After a week of misery and dealing with broken chairs, terrible customer service, and smell like pee and sewage, finally we could get off of this hell hole on water. The disembarkation is simple. You get a colored tag on your luggage, you go to that color area, and you get your suitcase. Easy peasy, right? Except when you have a red tag and your luggage is not in the red area. This is exactly what happened to me. We looked for about 15 minutes, and then asked someone. They didn't really care. The response was, "Well, sometimes the colors get mixed up. Look in similar colored areas." So, I did. We looked in fuchsia, brown, and purple...no luggage. I asked a second person. This person told me to "walk up and down all of the aisles to see if it's in another color." (Mind you, there are 5,000+ people on this ship, all with luggage...) No success there, so I asked a third person. He said the same thing...look in other areas. At this point, I started yelling to everyone, including my poor dad and some random people, about how much I hate MSC...and I meant it from the bottom of my heart. Yes, people stared, but I was done.

I then went to another customer service rep. She said that it's possible the luggage is in the next area, which wasn't open yet. I asked when it would open and she said "Well, one person has the key, so it will open when he is ready to open it." At this point, it had been well over an hour since we had stepped off of the ship. About 10 minutes later, even as I huffed and puffed over this insane lack of customer service, the door opened. I pushed my way through the scores of travelers waiting to get THEIR luggage, and I saw my suitcase as soon as I walked in. Why? Because a bright red tag really stands out when it's in the light pink color area.

I walked over and took my bag, and began to roll it out. My traveling companion was waiting for me, and as soon as she saw it, she gasped. I looked down and there was a HUGE dent in my BRAND NEW suitcase. If you thought I had lost my mind before, I hadn't...this was when I really lost my mind. I pushed my way back through and I was advised to go to this little desk where a woman was surrounded by people who had ALSO gotten their luggage damaged. I had to fill out a form, take photos, and she said, "Well, that luggage looks totaled." She gave me a card with some contact information on it, and said they would reimburse me for the damage, I just had to email them the information.

So, I did...and this is the response I got back --- We are so sorry to hear that your bag was damaged during disembarkation. We make every effort to handle our guests’ belongings carefully and to deliver everything safely, so it’s disappointing that things went awry this time. As stated in our ticket contract, MSC is not liable for any damage to guests’ luggage.

Now...here I am. Writing this review and trying to warn everyone out there about how terrible MSC was to us.

I will never, ever, not in a bazillion years, EVER go on another MSC vacation, and I urge you to try any other cruise line in the world but MSC. My mom has gone on 16 cruises, and she said this was the worst out of every cruise she has been on.

Christa1024's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Bella Inside Stateroom
Cabin I1 9158

The cabin smelled like RAW SEWAGE and PEE mixed together.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

San Juan

Weirdly, we went here at 5pm. Some things were closed by the time we got there. MSC gets ZERO praise from me here because I don't think it has anything to do with the ports of call except choosing them.

St. Thomas

I loved St. Thomas. We went to Magan's Bay, which is highly recommended. Just get a cab from the cruise port. It was $10 a piece. Don't give your cruise ship $50+ for the beach break. You get the same thing by taking a local taxi.

Catamaran Tour

We loved the catamaran. Highlight of the trip, but you don't get to see anything else...you are there just long enough to do the catamaran, and then have to get back to the ship.

View All 92 Catamaran Tour Reviews

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