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I had heard about MSC from a rep that came to my work office and she was thrilled with the MSC line having gone on 4 cruises with them. I thought it was worth a shot. First off, I will say that ANY day on vacation, and especially being rocked to bed at night like a little baby just to wake up somewhere new you can explore is a reason to keep working and continuing to do this once a year! We love our cruise vacations. The not so good: Embarkation: it took a whole hour! The building did not have any AC in the hot Miami sun. It was 81 outside and we were cooking in line. There was one fan at the end of a row. It didn't come close to cooling off our side. The fan was blowing from the AC and it was dropping dust bunnies, but not circulating any air. Very few English speakers. If I had to guess, I would say there were likely 20% of people that were from US or Canada. That meant listening to announcements in multiple languages, which took forever and that's the last thing you want to listen to on a cruise. No Ice water in the dining room. It is bottled mineral water that you share with the table. Dining room was very snug. Not much space at all to get to your table. Food choices in dining room were uninspired. There was no surf and turf, or lobster tail, for formal night (surf and turf on the menu every night for $24), or escargot. No molten chocolate cake or cheesecake on dessert menu. The food is decent, so I will rate it is as "average". That being said, I am a great cook, but still like to enjoy rich flavorful food on vacation. Ice cream cones and chocolate chip cookies were available for two hours a day only, from like 4-6 PM. Ice cream was odd texture, and vanilla did not have good flavor. The good: Beautiful ship! I can't gush enough about the layout and decor of this ship. It feels very classy. Amazing wait staff, at least for us. We had Badri and Jacinto in the Ipanema Dining room and they took good care of us all week. Very much appreciated Badri and he was always trying to bring us more food. He said that many people complain the portion sizes are too small. He only spoke his native tongue and English, so it is likely Americans complaining. I thought they were good size, but I do order an appetizer. They're also on the small side. Shrimp cocktail only consisted of 3 shrimp. Good selection of bars and good service at the bars. This cruise has a lot of Europeans, so tipping goes a long way. We gave a $1 a drink. Staff is very engaging. They include people in the crowd in all areas of the ship. It is nice to see this. They come out on the stairs during shows. They get people in the bars to come dance. It was a very fun group of people doing the entertainment! They put on an awesome Cruise Critic reception with mimosas, bloody mary, or juice. They had a cake. They served chocolate covered strawberries, chips and a nut mix. They introduced some key staff, who then came around to say hello. I was very appreciative of the effort they put into this. Shows were fantastic. We went to all but one. Timeless was my favorite, which they sang songs from The Greatest Showman. They had some good acrobatic features that showed some great talent. Excursions: Did a shore excursion in Jamaica hosted by the ship. Took 70 minutes of waiting in lines for around 45 minutes waiting in lines to walk 5 minutes to the catamaran. It took about 20 minutes for us to read and then sign consents to do the catamaran with snorkeling and beach break. Have used Chukka on other cruises and they did great. This was the first one that was not the best. Grand Cayman is the only port we had to tender in. After getting a tender ticket and not being called for over 45 minutes, we took to the top deck to relax in the very empty hot tub. After a bit, we settled into chairs to get some sun. Around 1, we took our tender to shore and it took under 10 minutes. We walked the island to get some fresh air for about an hour before getting back on a tender to return to the ship. Cozumel we walked and shopped a bit. You're offered something to do in every port by locals with signs, so we picked Ocean Cay Beach club. It was very packed when we got there. They have a pay as you go bar with food services. We got the Miami Vice, our favorite in Cozumel. This is a frozen drink with strawberry daiquiri and pina colada. It was a $16 taxi ride each way, and $20 admission at the place. Did get under an umbrella and 2 chairs together. Last stop was supposed to be Ocean Cay, their private beach in the Bahamas. We had 20-30 MPH wind and rough seas so they took us to Nassau. It is an easy town to walk. We went to two forts that were used to protect the island. It was $7 and change at one, and $13 and change at the other. Nice to read about their history, and learn about who overtook the island and when. Disembarkation was a breeze once we cleared customs. It did take a little longer, but is not up to the cruise line. I was glad we were in line early enough to do the easy express walk off, which you can do with your own luggage. Did not use the gym though it looked to be decent size with good equipment. Don't do first thing in the morning if you expect to get your pick.

Relaxing 7 night western Caribbean cruise with diversity

MSC Seaside Cruise Review by jolyn_in_Nebraska

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2020
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Fantastica Balcony Stateroom
I had heard about MSC from a rep that came to my work office and she was thrilled with the MSC line having gone on 4 cruises with them. I thought it was worth a shot.

First off, I will say that ANY day on vacation, and especially being rocked to bed at night like a little baby just to wake up somewhere new you can explore is a reason to keep working and continuing to do this once a year! We love our cruise vacations.

The not so good:

Embarkation: it took a whole hour! The building did not have any AC in the hot Miami sun. It was 81 outside and we were cooking in line. There was one fan at the end of a row. It didn't come close to cooling off our side. The fan was blowing from the AC and it was dropping dust bunnies, but not circulating any air.

Very few English speakers. If I had to guess, I would say there were likely 20% of people that were from US or Canada. That meant listening to announcements in multiple languages, which took forever and that's the last thing you want to listen to on a cruise.

No Ice water in the dining room. It is bottled mineral water that you share with the table.

Dining room was very snug. Not much space at all to get to your table.

Food choices in dining room were uninspired. There was no surf and turf, or lobster tail, for formal night (surf and turf on the menu every night for $24), or escargot. No molten chocolate cake or cheesecake on dessert menu. The food is decent, so I will rate it is as "average". That being said, I am a great cook, but still like to enjoy rich flavorful food on vacation.

Ice cream cones and chocolate chip cookies were available for two hours a day only, from like 4-6 PM. Ice cream was odd texture, and vanilla did not have good flavor.

The good:

Beautiful ship! I can't gush enough about the layout and decor of this ship. It feels very classy.

Amazing wait staff, at least for us. We had Badri and Jacinto in the Ipanema Dining room and they took good care of us all week. Very much appreciated Badri and he was always trying to bring us more food. He said that many people complain the portion sizes are too small. He only spoke his native tongue and English, so it is likely Americans complaining. I thought they were good size, but I do order an appetizer. They're also on the small side. Shrimp cocktail only consisted of 3 shrimp.

Good selection of bars and good service at the bars. This cruise has a lot of Europeans, so tipping goes a long way. We gave a $1 a drink.

Staff is very engaging. They include people in the crowd in all areas of the ship. It is nice to see this. They come out on the stairs during shows. They get people in the bars to come dance. It was a very fun group of people doing the entertainment!

They put on an awesome Cruise Critic reception with mimosas, bloody mary, or juice. They had a cake. They served chocolate covered strawberries, chips and a nut mix. They introduced some key staff, who then came around to say hello. I was very appreciative of the effort they put into this.

Shows were fantastic. We went to all but one. Timeless was my favorite, which they sang songs from The Greatest Showman. They had some good acrobatic features that showed some great talent.

Excursions:

Did a shore excursion in Jamaica hosted by the ship. Took 70 minutes of waiting in lines for around 45 minutes waiting in lines to walk 5 minutes to the catamaran. It took about 20 minutes for us to read and then sign consents to do the catamaran with snorkeling and beach break. Have used Chukka on other cruises and they did great. This was the first one that was not the best.

Grand Cayman is the only port we had to tender in. After getting a tender ticket and not being called for over 45 minutes, we took to the top deck to relax in the very empty hot tub. After a bit, we settled into chairs to get some sun. Around 1, we took our tender to shore and it took under 10 minutes. We walked the island to get some fresh air for about an hour before getting back on a tender to return to the ship.

Cozumel we walked and shopped a bit. You're offered something to do in every port by locals with signs, so we picked Ocean Cay Beach club. It was very packed when we got there. They have a pay as you go bar with food services. We got the Miami Vice, our favorite in Cozumel. This is a frozen drink with strawberry daiquiri and pina colada. It was a $16 taxi ride each way, and $20 admission at the place. Did get under an umbrella and 2 chairs together.

Last stop was supposed to be Ocean Cay, their private beach in the Bahamas. We had 20-30 MPH wind and rough seas so they took us to Nassau. It is an easy town to walk. We went to two forts that were used to protect the island. It was $7 and change at one, and $13 and change at the other. Nice to read about their history, and learn about who overtook the island and when.

Disembarkation was a breeze once we cleared customs. It did take a little longer, but is not up to the cruise line. I was glad we were in line early enough to do the easy express walk off, which you can do with your own luggage.

Did not use the gym though it looked to be decent size with good equipment. Don't do first thing in the morning if you expect to get your pick.
jolyn_in_Nebraska’s Full Rating Summary
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Dining
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Cabin Review

Fantastica Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B2
The room layout in a fantastica room is WONDERFUL! We had reserved a Bella class guaranteed. They upgraded us when assigning rooms, probably because booked about 3 mo prior. There is a couch, a TV that swivels out, a full tub in the bathroom, and the balcony is decent size. Also had a desk area to sit in front of the mirror and do hair/makeup or make notes. Had a great room steward, Gabriel, who kept our room pretty spotless.

Beds firm, and can feel prominent seam when pushed together. Bed linens were not changed midweek. Closet door didn't slide right. Caulk in tub needed replacing. Shower is odd with about a 1/3 of it blocked so water can't get out. Shampoo/body wash not a good scent. Did not lather well.
Venice Beach Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cozumel
    My favorite island to go to. Walk the ocean side if you're not looking to do tours and buy stuff. Punta Sur is a great location on the south side of the ocean. I suggest getting a car or jeep to explore the island. You can circle the whole island easily, and the side that the cruise ships don't go to is so beautiful!
    View All 6,829 Cozumel Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Cozumel Cruise Port Review
  • Grand Cayman (Georgetown)
    Very beautiful and safe island. We just walked around the island for an hour off the main road. Very much encourage going to the turtle farm, which we've been to twice and it's awesome. Go on your own. You can also snorkel here for a small portion more. Get full access to this.
    View All 3,487 Grand Cayman (Georgetown) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Grand Cayman (Georgetown) Cruise Port Review
  • Miami
    Good access to get on cruise. Did park downtown and used shuttle to save money. Miami was more expensive to fly into and stay in a hotel than other places we've used. Ended up flying from Omaha to Orlando. A hotel in Orlando was less than 1/2 the price in Miami. Our flights were also very affordable!
    View All 2,459 Miami Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Miami Cruise Port Review
  • Catamaran Tour
    It was way too much waiting in the theater, just to go to another meet building. We were then given wrist bands, another time consuming process with 2 people tagging about 70-80 people. After 70 minutes (5 minute walk from our meet location in the building), we finally boarded the catamaran. The seas were rough. They did not take supplies around to get people snorkels and fins. Only opened back area on catamaran for people to jump off of and not the front two sections as well. Could not do the beach break that was "included" due to rough seas. Lots of people sea sick. Free rum punch, beer, and water. Staff tried to engage the people on the catamaran, but many of the Europeans did not want to engage.

    We have used this company at the other site on Jamaica and it was a different crew and a MUCH different experience.
    View All 20 Catamaran Tour Reviews