We decided to take advantage of cruise credits and some other vacation plan changes and take a cruise on the MSC Seaside. We took this cruise during the COIVD pandemic so we were managing expectations around that. All in all we had a fine cruise but not one that makes me think MSC will be our choice cruise line of the future. Embarkation was definitely the worst part of our cruise experience, the line was long and we spent a few hours creeping through a hot warehouse, these things are generally expected but still not a great way to start a vacation. There had been some lack of communication between MSC and the Port authority in Marseille and after waiting in line we were initially told we wouldn't be allowed to board the ship as we are American citizens. After getting more employees involved and some frantic text messages we were finally told we would be able to board, besides the obvious shock and disappointment of first being told we wouldn't be going on our vacation it was especially frustrating that MSC hadn't communicated this beforehand. We were then tested for COVID and finally got to the check-in counter were they had somehow lost our check-in information. I had made sure to get us long before leaving for our trip so this was another annoyance as we were stuck waiting around again for something that shouldn't have been a problem in the first place. 5 or so hours after arriving at the port we were finally getting on the ship. We were greeted by employees taking pictures and trying to sell us drink and dining packages and after getting through that we were able to begin exploring the ship. It is a lovely ship with lots of cool areas that have different vibes to each, I would say there really is something for everybody. As we were trying to get settled in we ran into more problems. As should have been apparent from our check-in troubles there was an issue with our onboard accounts and we had to spend quite a bit of time on the first two days getting our dining time, our internet package and our shore excursions set-up, all things I had done beforehand in the hopes I wouldn't have to do them onboard. Again it was frustrating that I had to spend my vacation time running errands that I had done beforehand at the request of MSC. There should really be some more time and money invested into making sure their onboard systems function properly. The onboard app was helpful and I appreciated the booking system used for the theater shows but it never seemed to contain all of our information. After running errands for the first couple days we were able to settle in and enjoy the ship, the pools are small but good for a quick cool off while up on the sun deck, the waiters and staff were responsive and helpful without being too in your face and the entertainment crew were a ton of fun it was a nice environment. Our cabin was an interior cabin in the Aurea level, it was a good size and worked well for two people, it felt well appointed and was easily on par with other cruise lines. The food was hit and miss and often needed a bit of salt, most beef dishes were just a mystery cut with the same brown gravy night after night but the seafood options were all pretty good. After the first night in the main dining room we decided to get the specialty dining package for the Asian Market and Teppanyaki restaurants. This may have been the best decision we made all week, the food was fantastic at all three and well worth the price. Excursions were good and having ship excursions as our only option didn't end up being as disappointing as I thought it would be. It was fun to be around so many people from different cultures than our own and we enjoyed interacting with people from all over Europe. We did enjoy our cruise and had it not been for the trouble we experienced at the onset it would've been a great trip but it was hard to come back from such a rough start. I would go on MSC again because the price is hard to resist but I have had better experiences on the lines that dominate the space in the U.S. market. As a final note the COVID precautions (masks indoors, "bubble" excursions, limited seating in common spaces and the theater) didn't bother us much and didn't take away from the experience in a tangible way.
We had an interior cabin. The décor felt new and clean and it seemed to be pretty standard in size. It worked well for two people, anymore and it certainly would've felt very small. No complaints about the cabin our room stewards.