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I read all the reviews prior to booking, and I thought I would fit in with the "European culture" better than most Americans... Man was I wrong. What i found wrong with this boat is entirely in the service. Its TERRIBLE by American standards. We found that most of the Europeans were okay with the service and thought little about it. I'll get to the service mishaps later. Boat appearance - The boat was very nice. Ive been on three cruises, and the appearance was the best I have seen. It was clean, and it looked great. Layout - it was a little goofy, because the yacht club is like a giant barrier in the middle of the boat, but it was easy enough to get around. The elevators were slow, so you did wait and most times when it opened there was no room to get on anyway. I found that the elevators in the front of the ship were much less busy than the middle and rear elevators. Food - the dining room was better than my trip with Royal Caribbean but worse than Celebrity. The buffet was good for the first 3 days until about 14 of our group of 16 had to desperately find pepto bismal. It was definitely from the buffet food. I have never experienced anything like this. We all avoided the buffet after that and we got a little better. The problem is there really are no options for lunch outside of the buffet. They could use some more lunch restaurants. We did try the butchers cut and it was very good. Entertainment - it was actually really good. The only complaint I have is that I have kids and all the big events start at 10:45 or 11, so there was no way for us to take part in them. We called about babysitter service in room like we have had at 4 or 5 star resorts, and it was not available. There is a service where the kids watch movies late at night, but we werent going to let them stay up until midnight. We felt like we missed out on a lot, because of the hours. ( i do want to mention that this boat was not necessarily a party boat, but we wake up at 6am and the boat was almost empty until around 7:30 to 8am. Embarkation was wonderful. As smooth as I have ever seen. Disembarkation was terrible. My sister in law lost her bag. They had one of their bags, but the other one was not there. The ship was not helpful either. They just kept saying maybe someone took it. The Gym - We are big into cardio. Unfortunately, there were only about 12 treadmills and 3 or 4 were broken. There was a line of people waiting, and on multiple occasions every piece of cardio equipment was taken. (bikes, treads, and ellipticals) The gym was way way too small. This is what made the experience terrible - - Ocean Cay had shops, and we bought the kids toys at the shops. One was a toy sword and another was a slingshot. (among others that were ok) When we got on the boat security went nuts. They said they were confiscating the toys. We lost it, because we bought it at their shop on their island. I get that the slingshot probably shouldnt be allowed through security, but dont sell it on your own island if you cant bring it on the boat. Eventually they agreed to give them back to us in Miami, but it was a pain in the butt to find where to get them, and it took us an extra 20 minutes. The wristbands you can buy are a total waste of money. We got them for the aurea experience. No one wants to use them, and even when they can use them they will tell you that you have to have a card. Several times over the first two days we had to go back to our room to get our card. For example at the aurea bar they want your card to make sure you have access. Getting on and off the boat security wont accept them. Some waiters dont want to use them to pay. Etc. Its not worth it to pay for one, and if it comes with your package just pack it away. Rude employees - Not all were rude, but some were very rude. We had a bad experience at the Miami Bar where a bartender actually told us to hurry up and would serve two NON-alcoholic pina coladas, because i only had one card. These were for my two kids that were swimming. Then he hurried me along. It was terrible. We also were going through security with my dad, who had a hip replacement. He set off the metal detector and they treated him terribly in front of tons of people. He kept telling them its his hip, and the one security guy tried to argue with him. He didnt listen to a word he said. They finally realized it was his hip and let him go through after making a huge scene. Guest services got the nickname the 9th circle of hell. (it was in the bottom of the boat) There was ALWAYS a huge line. It was Horrible if you needed something. We had free room service, but we called in about 10 times to order room service and only 1 time did someone answer. (we were calling at normal hours) Our phone was broken for the first two days. We told our cleaning attendant, and he told us it doesnt work until we get to day 2. (total lazy answer) Well, when it didnt work on day 2 we told him, and eventually had to wait in line for guest services. We had asked to be seated with family at dinner, and when we called in we were told that we would be forfeiting anytime dining to do this, which we were fine with. However, when we got there it was a huge debacle. They ended up switching our entire groups tables, and the manager said it would be good. Well, for the first three nights we had to deal with explaining to them what happened, and they had to look into why we were sitting where we were. On a bright note... the bar waits werent as bad as I had read about. Finally, we got very frustrated with the lack of waiting in line by certain people. I hate to profile, but there were a ton of europeans (maybe 70%). If there was a line that was 15 minutes to wait in I saw atleast 15 people just ignore the line. MSC staff ignored the people cutting, and allowed it to happen. There were no manors. We would be walking and get cut off, and have people plow into us at times... One woman knocked my dad down when he was looking at an item in the sale line. (he is older and has hip issues) In my three cruises I have been on the people on this one were very different. (i dont even want to call them rude, because they just follow different cultural norms) At the end of the day... I think this is just probably not a great ship to meet American expectations. I hated our vacation, and regret going. I would never go on an MSC cruise again.

Americans most likely won't enjoy

MSC Seaside Cruise Review by adam9961

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Aurea Balcony Stateroom
I read all the reviews prior to booking, and I thought I would fit in with the "European culture" better than most Americans... Man was I wrong.

What i found wrong with this boat is entirely in the service. Its TERRIBLE by American standards. We found that most of the Europeans were okay with the service and thought little about it. I'll get to the service mishaps later.

Boat appearance - The boat was very nice. Ive been on three cruises, and the appearance was the best I have seen. It was clean, and it looked great.

Layout - it was a little goofy, because the yacht club is like a giant barrier in the middle of the boat, but it was easy enough to get around. The elevators were slow, so you did wait and most times when it opened there was no room to get on anyway. I found that the elevators in the front of the ship were much less busy than the middle and rear elevators.

Food - the dining room was better than my trip with Royal Caribbean but worse than Celebrity. The buffet was good for the first 3 days until about 14 of our group of 16 had to desperately find pepto bismal. It was definitely from the buffet food. I have never experienced anything like this. We all avoided the buffet after that and we got a little better. The problem is there really are no options for lunch outside of the buffet. They could use some more lunch restaurants. We did try the butchers cut and it was very good.

Entertainment - it was actually really good. The only complaint I have is that I have kids and all the big events start at 10:45 or 11, so there was no way for us to take part in them. We called about babysitter service in room like we have had at 4 or 5 star resorts, and it was not available. There is a service where the kids watch movies late at night, but we werent going to let them stay up until midnight. We felt like we missed out on a lot, because of the hours. ( i do want to mention that this boat was not necessarily a party boat, but we wake up at 6am and the boat was almost empty until around 7:30 to 8am.

Embarkation was wonderful. As smooth as I have ever seen. Disembarkation was terrible. My sister in law lost her bag. They had one of their bags, but the other one was not there. The ship was not helpful either. They just kept saying maybe someone took it.

The Gym - We are big into cardio. Unfortunately, there were only about 12 treadmills and 3 or 4 were broken. There was a line of people waiting, and on multiple occasions every piece of cardio equipment was taken. (bikes, treads, and ellipticals) The gym was way way too small.

This is what made the experience terrible -

- Ocean Cay had shops, and we bought the kids toys at the shops. One was a toy sword and another was a slingshot. (among others that were ok) When we got on the boat security went nuts. They said they were confiscating the toys. We lost it, because we bought it at their shop on their island. I get that the slingshot probably shouldnt be allowed through security, but dont sell it on your own island if you cant bring it on the boat. Eventually they agreed to give them back to us in Miami, but it was a pain in the butt to find where to get them, and it took us an extra 20 minutes.

The wristbands you can buy are a total waste of money. We got them for the aurea experience. No one wants to use them, and even when they can use them they will tell you that you have to have a card. Several times over the first two days we had to go back to our room to get our card. For example at the aurea bar they want your card to make sure you have access. Getting on and off the boat security wont accept them. Some waiters dont want to use them to pay. Etc. Its not worth it to pay for one, and if it comes with your package just pack it away.

Rude employees - Not all were rude, but some were very rude. We had a bad experience at the Miami Bar where a bartender actually told us to hurry up and would serve two NON-alcoholic pina coladas, because i only had one card. These were for my two kids that were swimming. Then he hurried me along. It was terrible. We also were going through security with my dad, who had a hip replacement. He set off the metal detector and they treated him terribly in front of tons of people. He kept telling them its his hip, and the one security guy tried to argue with him. He didnt listen to a word he said. They finally realized it was his hip and let him go through after making a huge scene.

Guest services got the nickname the 9th circle of hell. (it was in the bottom of the boat) There was ALWAYS a huge line. It was Horrible if you needed something.

We had free room service, but we called in about 10 times to order room service and only 1 time did someone answer. (we were calling at normal hours)

Our phone was broken for the first two days. We told our cleaning attendant, and he told us it doesnt work until we get to day 2. (total lazy answer) Well, when it didnt work on day 2 we told him, and eventually had to wait in line for guest services.

We had asked to be seated with family at dinner, and when we called in we were told that we would be forfeiting anytime dining to do this, which we were fine with. However, when we got there it was a huge debacle. They ended up switching our entire groups tables, and the manager said it would be good. Well, for the first three nights we had to deal with explaining to them what happened, and they had to look into why we were sitting where we were.

On a bright note... the bar waits werent as bad as I had read about.

Finally, we got very frustrated with the lack of waiting in line by certain people. I hate to profile, but there were a ton of europeans (maybe 70%). If there was a line that was 15 minutes to wait in I saw atleast 15 people just ignore the line. MSC staff ignored the people cutting, and allowed it to happen. There were no manors. We would be walking and get cut off, and have people plow into us at times... One woman knocked my dad down when he was looking at an item in the sale line. (he is older and has hip issues) In my three cruises I have been on the people on this one were very different. (i dont even want to call them rude, because they just follow different cultural norms)

At the end of the day... I think this is just probably not a great ship to meet American expectations. I hated our vacation, and regret going. I would never go on an MSC cruise again.
adam9961’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Aurea Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B3
The cabin was decent. We had a glass enclosure on our shower, and the pressure and heat was good. The bed stunk. It was two double beds pushed together, so there was a huge dip in the middle that was so uncomfortable. We had bunk beds for the kids. The storage room was small, but you could put suitcases under the bed.
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