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

Nickled and dimed

MSC Seaside Cruise Review by Cruznlegend

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2019
  • Destination: the Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Bella Balcony Stateroom

We chose this cruise because it fit our schedule, was cheap, and was about a month since their private island, Ocean Cay, was opened. But we never got to see it.

The onboard activities were plentiful, but virtually everything was charged for, including such simple things as a glass of apple juice! Coffee, tea, and a few other (terrible!) juices were free, but anything else goes on your onboard account unless you buy one of the upscale packages. We chose the cheapest "Bella" cruise package, BIG MISTAKE!! We went to the Thermal Spa for one day and it was $112 for each of us, whereas the "Aurea" package gives you most beverages except hard liquor (the Easy Drink Package), unlimited use of the Thermal Spa, two free massages, and priority restaurant access over Bella and Fantastica packages for about $400 more per person. And then even if you buy one of the upscale packages if you want to so much as play a game of pool on their billiards table you have to rent it! It felt like an amusement park that charges you a hundred bucks to get in and then charges for every ride anyway!

While the buffet was typically cruise ship mediocre, I will say that the main dining room was excellent: steaks tender and cooked to perfection, salmon juicy and melt-in-your-mouth, the soups were marvelous and the service top-tier -- even the coffee was better than the buffet. But to highlight the difference, except for the pizza they'd close the entire buffet during transition from one meal to the next rather than closing one side and then the other, so there were a couple of hours mid-day when you couldn't get anything but pizza. ????

And not only did two of our three pre-paid excursions get cancelled (one due to weather, one because of a lack of participation), but no compensatory discount for rescheduling another excursion was offered to those who prepaid but were cancelled. And even though the weather wasn't very bad they never even stopped at Ocean Cay, citing "possible danger to passengers from severe weather". Methinks there was some other problem on the island that they didn't want to talk about because there were just some sprinkles and a few whitecaps, not much wind at all. So we just sailed circles around the island for the entire day.

The "bottom line" for us was that where the service by the cabin staff and main dining room staff were excellent, the service in other parts of the ship was mediocre and occasionally downright rude. All in all it just seemed like they didn't quite have their act together, the result being less than a satisfying cruise. Which is a shame, because other than not being able to access the front of the ship where the upscale "Yacht Club" dominates, the ship itself is outstanding. Would we sail MSC again? As tempting as the prices are, probably not.

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

Bella Balcony Stateroom

Our balcony cabin was nice with very comfortable beds, and the excellent steward catered to our every need. However, the window and/or door frame out to the balcony creaked incessantly and the door would occassionally jam to where it would take both of us to get it open again. There were also no electrical outlets near the bed so we had to get extension cords and stretch them across the room to run our CPAP machines, using up the outlets we otherwise would have charged our phones with (had to use outlets in the bathroom). And as others have noted, the TV channels were pretty lean as were the available movies-on-demand.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

St. Thomas

Took a boat to St. John, then a bus to Trunk Bay. Most beautiful beach I've ever seen, the water was almost as clear as Lake Tahoe, the sand extended way out past standing depth, and the snorkeling was very good.

Island Tour

Went to Atlantis, then several historic stops around the island. Our tour guide, Captain Rico Suavee was a comedy act all on his own! We also spent several hours shopping, which was excellent.

View All 351 Island Tour Reviews

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