This trip was booked in November as a quick girl's trip. We had never tried MSC before and they were offering great prices as they were new to the US market.
With COVID 19 just starting to hit headlines we weren't sure what to expect since other cruises were started to show cases and quarantines, but we decided to make a go of it anyway!
We flew in the morning of the cruise and arrived in Miami without any issues.We got to the port around 9:30. Check-in was a breeze, even with all the extra precautionary steps - such as them checking every single page in our passports to make sure we hadn't traveled to a banned country, and doing thermal scans of every passenger. I'd say check-in maybe took 30 minutes total. They never gave us a total headcount for passengers but I would say it only appeared to be about 50% capacity.
We boarded the ship around 11:30 and went straight to the buffet lunch. We had no issue finding seating and had plenty of decent options to choose from.
We had mandatory safety/mustering drill around 3:30 and were late setting sail - I think we were supposed to leave at 6pm and it was more like 8pm.
We didn't have to wait at all to get our first drink at the pool bar, but I will say that we had the basic drink package and it is very limited on what you can get for $6 USD. Mostly mixed drinks (like screwdrivers or Rum & Coke) and Moscow Mules. Nothing fun like pina coladas or margaritas are included in basic package.
We decided to skip the main dining room the first two nights of our three night cruise and opted instead for buffet. Again, seating was plentiful and it was easy to find food we liked. We went to the show the first night "Autumn in Paris." It was just okay. We've been on 8 other cruises (Royal, Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian) and it just wasn't up to the same level of entertainment. This line is all about the cruise experience and less about the endless things to do on theirs ships. No trivia, no art auctions, no surfing, no rock walls - but we were 100% fine with that because we didn't want to feel like we had to be somewhere doing something at all times. We also did not use the Casino, though in passing through it, it was very small.
I would say the shopping is about average for what you normally find on cruise ships. I picked up a few things for my kids, but I wouldn't say there was anything amazing.
There were plenty of pools and hot tubs and it was easy to find empty hot tubs because of how few people were on the cruise.
Our first stop was MSC's private island Ocean Cay. It was a beautiful island. It had everything you could want - plenty of beaches (8 to choose from) a handful of no pressure shops and bars and food trucks. We were hoping we could stay here the whole time and be stranded there!
Our second stop was Nassau. We opted to go on a local bus (jitney) to a beach and spend the day relaxing and doing nothing on our own time. We did local shopping near the port on our way back to the ship.
We ate in the Main Dining Room for our last night. The food was good - not great, and we had one other couple at our table. We ate all of our breakfasts in the buffet, and they were fine.
Our room was upgraded from interior to balcony and it was just the right amount of space for two people. There was plenty of closet and drawer space. The bathroom was average size and had shampoo/body wash dispenser. We did have to ask our steward for hand soap, as it was empty when we arrived and we were missing our pool towels. You have to use the same pool towels the whole time (even at the beach) and it was hard to track our steward down to swap them out for clean/dry ones.
Overall, I would say these were unusual circumstances so hard to judge a trip - but I would like to try MSC again!
Good size for 2 people. Enjoyed having our own balcony. Plenty of closet and drawer space. Beds were not super comfortable. Shower was definitely on smaller side. Toilet was the loudest sound ever!