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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Cuba price reductions were very tempting as was “status match”. “Bella Class” reminded me of near-steerage at times, but cabin was close to elevator and main decks were very close. Staff was friendly, but every announcement was ... Read More
Cuba price reductions were very tempting as was “status match”. “Bella Class” reminded me of near-steerage at times, but cabin was close to elevator and main decks were very close. Staff was friendly, but every announcement was made in six additional languages, each longer than the last. Food at buffet was pretty much same as dining room except for appetizers and desserts, in neither case was the delay in eating really worth getting a miniature Baked Alaska or miniature Boston Cream Pie. Cocktails with the Captain (who was absent and ill) consisted of carbonated white wine or non -alcoholic fruit punch, with zero food products. Prizes for trivia etc. were basically less than nominal. “Maveric” was very pleasant. We were told to embark after 4 p.m., but embarked at 2, long after pretty much everyone else. Warning: cabin air conditioning appears erratic at best, off most of the time. Refrigerator in room had seeming the same concept. Whirlpools numbered two, for five persons each. When you wait for an hour for your turn, that does not help much. The Chef was very personable, but staff in the dining room was variable. If a good deal arose (apparently above “Bella” though I do not drink enough for a drink passage to make any sense) I might consider it again, but it is lowest of the four lines we have used at this point, alas. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My husband and I sailed on Seaside 8/3/19 for our 20 year anniversary.  It was our first time cruising so we weren't sure what to expect.  I scoured the message boards here to prepare myself the best I could prior to the cruise.  I ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Seaside 8/3/19 for our 20 year anniversary.  It was our first time cruising so we weren't sure what to expect.  I scoured the message boards here to prepare myself the best I could prior to the cruise.  I was able to get a lot of helpful hints that came in handy.   Our boarding time wasn't until 2 pm but after reading the boards, we decided to show up at 10;30 am and we were on the ship before noon.  We immediately went and got our wristbands, registered our credit card and found the maitre d' to request a table for 2 in the dining room (which was granted) to avoid the lines later.  We then went and had lunch at the buffet and then found a cozy spot in the Seaview lounge and had a drink.   I"m so glad I found those recommendations here because they really saved us time later.   One thing I have read on cc from many people is how rude the staff is.  That was not our experience at all.  We felt the staff went above and beyond for us.  We had the easy drink package and my favorite wine wasn't on it.  No biggie, I made due with what was available to me.  However, when we showed up for dinner on the night of our anniversary, a bottle of my favorite wine was chilling at the table and we weren't charged for it.  At the end of our meal, about 10 waiters showed up and they all sang "I swear" by All for one.  The entire song.  It was embarrassing and amazing at the same time.  lol   This is just one example and there are so many more.   We did encounter 2 staff members that were a little rude but we just avoided them after that.   We paid for the 1 day pass for the thermal spa and felt that it was really overrated.  We ended up spending 2 hours there before leaving. There just wasn't enough to do to spend the whole day there.  We each got a massage as well.  My husband said his was amazing while I felt mine was just ok.   Even before getting off the massage table my therapist was trying to sell me other services.  It was very annoying.  After telling her no about 5 times, she gave up.  There are staff walking around the ship trying to sell different services and dinner add-ons but saying no once does the trick.   We saw 3 shows while on board.  The Beer comedy one for families, Butterfly and the starwalker (the Michael Jackson one in case I didn't get the name correct).  The comedy was hilarious, the Michael Jackson one was phenomenal and Butterfly wasn't for us (just not opera fans I guess).  We had the Bella package and upgraded our stateroom to a balcony room.  The balcony really made the room in my opinion.  We enjoyed sitting out on it in the evening with a drink before bed.   We felt there were enough hangers for our clothes and enough space for all of our other items.   The pool areas were very loud and crowded.  People would sit around the edge of the pool making it very difficult to even get in.  It wasn't for us so we would find a lounge chair in another part of the ship and relax in peace .   We only scheduled one excursion with the ship and that was in St. Thomas. It was ok but not worth the money. All in all, we had a good time. The service was exceptional and if we were to ever sail with MSC again, that would be the reason. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
I’m a travel agent and this trip was a personal trip although used it to meet captain, cruise director crew, and experience the ship it first hand After reading & watching al sorts of pro & con reviews of this ship,I walked ... Read More
I’m a travel agent and this trip was a personal trip although used it to meet captain, cruise director crew, and experience the ship it first hand After reading & watching al sorts of pro & con reviews of this ship,I walked in with an open mind. I was truly impressed. The Haven Lounge nightly activities & music was the best! The family night delish spread of snacks & deserts. Main dining meals were a hit & miss - my waiter wasn’t as attentive as if he was bothered to serve us Room steward Christian was very courteous & attentive Need More varied teens activities Italian night after tasting food in the MD went to buffet better pasta & seafood ; noticed that people were eating more at the buffet Overall my son & I enjoyed ourselves ; I would recommend it to my clients & we would go again but we’ll wait for newer ships The cruise critic meet & mingle was super! viva Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We picked this cruise because the price is reasonable/cheaper than Carnival. 1. The embarkation and disembarkation were smoothly. 2. Ship is new and clean 3. Cabin is small just like any cruise ship cabin. The shower area seems ... Read More
We picked this cruise because the price is reasonable/cheaper than Carnival. 1. The embarkation and disembarkation were smoothly. 2. Ship is new and clean 3. Cabin is small just like any cruise ship cabin. The shower area seems small. 4. Breakfast/ lunch is good. Formal dining at night is good (way better than Chili’s, TGI Friday’s, Applebee’s . Comparable to Red Lobster but fewer selection. 5. Entertainment is great. Quality of shows is excellent. 5 stars to Steve Young (director of entertainment). All of the family shows are great, Peter Punk, Butterfly, Michael Jackson. But all adults shows perform by a group of 4 person is just ok. Would like to have few standup comedians shows. 6. Service is good. 7. Port and shore excursions have good timing. Except Saint Martin 7am to 2pm. We would like to go again. MSC going to have new ships in 2022, definitely looking forward to this one Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba. Through no fault of MSC, they could no longer go. I still decided to keep the cruise. I wished I had canceled. I have cruised about 10 time at this point, and expected the norm with this ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba. Through no fault of MSC, they could no longer go. I still decided to keep the cruise. I wished I had canceled. I have cruised about 10 time at this point, and expected the norm with this one. First thing, the ship is old, there were missing numbers off the elevator buttons. There were areas on the boat, that you could see the water in the carpet. My brother went to use the men's room on the 5th floor and all the urinals were taped off and could not be used. The thermostat in my cabin was hanging off a nail. The plastic holder for the remote was coming apart. The one in my daughter's room completely fell apart so there were screws and the small plastic parts that her 17 month old son could have easily swallow. The food was horrendous. I literal spat the piece of Salomon out of my mouth. We stopped eating in the dining room after the 3rd day. The café, while there was crappy food there as well, we were able to find something to hold us over till we got to land. The ship on two of the stops, only reached the island at 12 noon and we had to be back on the boat by 5pm. The last stop, they had ferries taking us to land, we did not get to the island till minutes to 2pm and had to be back by 5pm. I never saw the cruise director, the sail away party was some canned music. The highlight of the cruise was getting to the islands The staff was mostly Hispanic and would either did not understand when you asked a question, or acted as if they did not understand, they did not smile. I had one guy speak to a gentleman right in front of me, but then held his head down and walked past me. My sister was given a glass of champagne, it was never removed from the room, we left the ship and the glass was still in the bathroom Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first MSC cruise and we were certainly impressed with the beauty of this magnificent ship. Let's start at the beginning. The check-in process on embarkation day, though smooth, could have been quicker if there were more ... Read More
This was our first MSC cruise and we were certainly impressed with the beauty of this magnificent ship. Let's start at the beginning. The check-in process on embarkation day, though smooth, could have been quicker if there were more agents available. All went well but we were surprised to find out they didn't link your credit card to your cruise card at that point. Not a big deal, just a bit different. Anyway, we posed for the obligatory "boarding" photo then onto the ship we went. Wow! Was it ever beautiful. One of the prettiest we've seen. Since we checked in a little later in the afternoon we had to proceed directly to our muster station. I was expecting it to be a bit longer but thankfully it wasn't. We then went to our cabin. It was a nicely appointed Bella Balcony. Perfect size for us 2 and a nice balcony. as we were unpacking we noticed the safe was pretty small. Would've been nice to have one a bit bigger, especially since there was enough space on the shelf (width and height) to accommodate it. Not a big deal, just noticeable. We liked having sufficient space under the bed to store our luggage. 1 carry-on, 1 medium suitcase, and 1 suit bag. The closet was sufficient, although we did find that it was a bit of a challenge to get to the clothes hanging closer to the shelving. Again, not a big deal, just noticeable. The bed, though big enough, was very, very, uncomfortable. The mattress was hard. Not just a firm mattress, but a very tough one. The pillows were also very uncomfortable. After 2 nights of trying to deal with it my back and neck began to hurt. I asked our cabin attendant if anything could be done about the mattress and she put 2 additional comforters under the fitted sheet. This helped a bit but sleeping comfortably for the rest of the week was challenging. Daily activities and meals on board were very good and enjoyable. Some meals were really good, others just ok. The service in the specialty restaurants and main dining room was always courteous and kind. Some evenings service was kinda slow but overall pretty good. I took some time each day to check out the various areas of the ship and was impressed with all of it. But I did notice some areas were mostly closed, with nothing happening. For example, the Champagne Bar was mostly closed. The Sports Bar, very nicely appointed, was also mostly closed. The gelato bar by the pool was also mostly closed. I also noticed that the outdoor pool areas didn't have any umbrellas or shading from the sun. It would be nice to be able to lay out without full on sun exposure the entire time. I did meet people who said they were hoping for some overcast days so they could relax poolside. Now, the shows, wow! They had some fantastic productions in the theatre. No expense was spared on those costumes and backdrops. Very impressive. My favorite production was Peter Punk! We enjoyed every moment from start to finish. The Michael Jackson show was very good as was Fly. The Wizard was nice and Beerprov (the adult version) was very meh. I guess it may have had a bit to do with the audience members they bought on stage. Overall, this cruise was lovely and I would be happy to do it again, if I was assured the bed and pillows would be much better. Oh, how could I finish without mentioning Captain Marco Massa. What a lovely guy. So personable and steered us through the ocean perfectly. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I went on MSC Seaside thought I would give it a try. The ship is huge and a good ship for family's however, the pool areas did not have any towels. The cabin was fair and as expected the attendant Juan Tan was the best person on the ... Read More
I went on MSC Seaside thought I would give it a try. The ship is huge and a good ship for family's however, the pool areas did not have any towels. The cabin was fair and as expected the attendant Juan Tan was the best person on the trip. The dinning experience was terrible, if your going to offer juices, coffee, and water have someone going around and offer it to them. They barley had any cookies sometimes i just needed one and couldn't get it. The fridge or mini bar was locked couldn't put anything in it. They pushed there drink packages upon you, however they don't tell you that its per day or per person, the internet was way to expensive 43 bucks per day not for hour or whatever and they didn't even have any printers god forbid if i had to print anything. I never tried any of the entertainment or activities. The service was horrible they all speak different languages and you can't understand them. I had a hard time even putting a credit card on room because the company is from Paris and the cards say fraud even though you told the credit card company ahead of time. The port of calls, well first one was cancelled and they should of replaced it with another but instead out of a 7 day cruise 4 of them were spent at sea boring. I would never recommend this ship to anyone its way to expensive to do anything. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Very nice open ship. It has not stolen his name Seaside , you are very close to the water. Friendly staff. Very high end decoration Cabins have a very good size. The beds are top . Normal size bathroom with real door not a curtain ! ... Read More
Very nice open ship. It has not stolen his name Seaside , you are very close to the water. Friendly staff. Very high end decoration Cabins have a very good size. The beds are top . Normal size bathroom with real door not a curtain ! The closet could have been better placed a it was difficult to slide the doors ( have a look to aida prima , much better designed ) . Good size of balcony with sliding door. Very good dinning options . You can have free room service , which can be great if you take breakfast in your own cabin /balcony to enjoy a bit of tranquility. The food is really great . they should just leave more time between the dishes so you can have a more dinning experience. Free food tour in speciality restaurants was also great . Nice bars and atrium. Entertainment is nice altough it is always a singing performance but with variety , except for the comedy show. Duration perfect 40 min , not to short , not to long . Great slides and waterpark. 5D dinema for 10 dollars and 10 dollars for Zip line is a must do ! Nice Spa, but small ) although a prefer a open spa with a view on the sea (see adida prima ) . Good , but expensive massages. Service is good , bu they should clean up the aft decks close to buffert more often , as the birds are at ports always "attacking" the left overs. With the wind all food and others are on the decks , should be taken care off ! Also only 2 toilets for woman next to buffet could have been doubled . Time at ports can be very short , shore excursions are okay , but organisation is chaotic. Prices are rather expensive for what it is , sometimes we had even to buy on top our own lunch. Went also on Seaview is same ship Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
It's the culture on NO, of close, of it's too late, of I can't, of it's your problem. This european need to understand the American customer service, if not, then they need a crash course with Carnival, NCL, Royal ... Read More
It's the culture on NO, of close, of it's too late, of I can't, of it's your problem. This european need to understand the American customer service, if not, then they need a crash course with Carnival, NCL, Royal Carebean. They should go back to cargo. The cabin people has to ask for permission just to find a pillow to mattress to put the two single bed together. Two days to get the mattress. Cabin people don't pick up trash, used cups. All personell with bad faces all the time. As if they were doing a favor. The pictures were bad quality. The paper is better at my local pharnacy photo section. Fo not recomend this cruise. No ice cream cone at all times or soda, just a certain time of the day, and one person dispatching it, so long line of course, of course, the European way, just this is what it is. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was my first time on MSC we normally cruise Carnival. We booked this cruise with a group of people because their travel agent loved this ship. For our family we had issues from the start. Before the cruise calling into customer ... Read More
This was my first time on MSC we normally cruise Carnival. We booked this cruise with a group of people because their travel agent loved this ship. For our family we had issues from the start. Before the cruise calling into customer service you need to be prepared to have an hour because the hold times are crazy! Things I was told on the phone were never completed. I will say boarding the ship was effortless and ran very smoothly. But once on the ship we realized that the drink package that was included was only on 2 of our rooms not all 4. So we had to wait in a very long line for customer service. It appears that a lot of other people had issues as well. The drinks on us package is a bit confusing. They charge you a service charge every time. For example for a bottle of water is was a dollar for them to hand it to you.. (not really free) Now let’s talk Fun pass I had my 4 kiddos and after looking at the website of all the activities I bought 2 fun passes. ($200) that was disappointing. The zip line wasn’t open very much and the arcade well it has 3 games and 5 claw machines that are $3 each the claw machines aren’t included in the fun pass so my kids not taking time to read signs charged some to my card for that... My 2 youngest went to the kids club once and both said please don’t make me go back.. The shows were great! The entire family really enjoyed them! The cruise critic party was very nice and I really enjoyed meeting the officers there. The buffet was pretty good. The only thing is sometimes they would only have one open and it was be very crowded. When at port the pools were closed that was a bummer for people who didn’t want to get off the ship. There are plenty of places to just sit and enjoy yourself. They are trying to grow their North American fleet but my personal opinion is they are no where close to the service you get from Carnival. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Great cruise staff, worked hard but everything was just very below par Entertainment was same thing every night with different costume. No new acts no variety. Drinks were so inconsistent , the same drink was made differently every ... Read More
Great cruise staff, worked hard but everything was just very below par Entertainment was same thing every night with different costume. No new acts no variety. Drinks were so inconsistent , the same drink was made differently every time. The coffee shop was simply very poor. The view from the coffee shop windows was of ladders. The same coffee ordered by us was made differently by the same barista. Not surprising just inconsistent. Food was the standard of Denny's . It was ok , just not great. The Marco Polo dining hall was just a bright cafeteria. Portion sizes were ....inconsistent. The shop was tired looking, lots of loose railings held by duck tape. Shore excursions through ship was well organised , but started 90 minutes after we were allowed to leave and we only then had 4 hours in port. Would not book through ship again Cabin was a good size and had a lot of storage. Shower was very small even by cruise ship standard and had shower curtain Met nice people, was bummed about Cuba but no onbaord credit would make us use MSC again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Like everyone else we booked this cruise to visit Cuba. Despite our disappointment, we decided to make the best of it and found we enjoyed the ports and the ship itself. Embarkation could not have been easier. And going through customs in ... Read More
Like everyone else we booked this cruise to visit Cuba. Despite our disappointment, we decided to make the best of it and found we enjoyed the ports and the ship itself. Embarkation could not have been easier. And going through customs in Key West made disembarkation a breeze. The ship is in good condition for her age and the activities and food were on par with other cruise lines. Some food we liked, other things we didn’t. We particularly did not care for the desserts overall. We only saw two of the shows, but weren’t particularly impressed. It may just be there weren’t our thing because others seemed to enjoy them. The reviews about cabin bathrooms are spot on. The showers are tiny, but there is plenty of storage for your things. Overall I would sail MSC again, but would like to try one of their newer ships with more bells and whistles. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Here is the good and bad. Unfortunately more bad than good. As a note I am comparing this to numerous ships at similar price points such as Norweigan and Carnival. The good: - Beautiful on the inside. Atrium is amazing. New ship you ... Read More
Here is the good and bad. Unfortunately more bad than good. As a note I am comparing this to numerous ships at similar price points such as Norweigan and Carnival. The good: - Beautiful on the inside. Atrium is amazing. New ship you expect this. - Employees very friendly - Nice cabins. We had a balcony - Jacuzzis many available and nice - Gym is nice - Buffet food was good - Quickest embarking of any cruise ship. Nice and fast. The bad: - The pools were the worst we have seen. All adult pools 6 1/2 feet deep no shallow end. All very small and only 2 main ones plus salt water. Bottom line if you want nice pools this is not your ship - Constantly getting harassed to spend more money on special restaurants, internet packages and drink packages. I am here to relax not get hit on while I am on a deck chair or drinking. - Wi-Fi speed was shocking. You don't need to buy unlimited internet as it is impossible to consume more than the standard package - Entertainment was the worst we have seen. Just not many shows at all. Other cruises have non stop entertainment but you are left bored unless you want to drink - Only one restaurant you can eat for free outside the two buffets otherwise they want more money - Free room service difficult to get hold of. Tried for 30 minutes one night and gave up - Arcade nice but small. Bigger problem is that you have to book hours in advance to use popular activities like bowling and race car. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
BACKGROUND INFO: This was my 15th cruise. I usually cruise with just my sister or a group of no more than two couples. But this time, I traveled with a family group of 13 people – 7 adults and 5 children ranging from ages 2 to 12. ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFO: This was my 15th cruise. I usually cruise with just my sister or a group of no more than two couples. But this time, I traveled with a family group of 13 people – 7 adults and 5 children ranging from ages 2 to 12. We chose the MSC Seaside for the experience of cruising on a mega ship and because 3 of our party had previous cruised on the Divina and enjoyed it. We decided to fly to avoid the 12+ hour drive and the first challenge was packing light so that we could avoid waiting for (and worrying about) dealing with baggage. I was sharing a cabin with my 12-year-old grandson and we packed two small carry-on suitcases and two underseat bags (his backpack and my underseater). Our group likes to roll our own bags onto the ship (without use of porters), so this was another reason to pack light. HOTEL STAY: We flew from North Carolina to Miami the day before the cruise, staying at the airport LaQuinta which offered free breakfast and a free shuttle to the cruise port. LaQuinta did not disappoint with the rooms which were clean and comfortable. Breakfast was adequate. Unfortunately, there was an hour+ delay waiting for the shuttle. Turns out there was a mechanical issue with one of the vans. These things happen, and our group managed to shrug it off. EMBARKATION: Even with the delay, we still arrived earlier than our 2pm assigned time, but embarkation was fairly quick. My grandson and I both had passports and I had taken the precaution of bringing a limited power of attorney signed by his parents and notarized, permitting him to travel with me and for me to seek medical attention for him, if required. I am still not sure whether that was actually required. Noting the different surname, I was asked if I had permission to take a minor out of the country, and I whipped out that form, which was copied and attached to our other info, but then a minute later, the clerk said it was not required for this ship. I was glad I had it, though. It would have been an anxious moment otherwise. We trundled our luggage onto the ship, found our way to the buffet, parked the luggage, and enjoyed lunch while we waited for our rooms to be ready. I also registered my credit card in one of the kiosks while we waited, an easy task. Since I had to register a credit card ahead of time, I do not understand that, but it was painless. BELLA BALCONY CABIN 9115: The 13 members of our group were divided into four balcony “Bella” cabins, all fairly close together, midship, on the 9th floor (Lanakai deck). Our cabin was 9115. The cabin was functional and adequate, but as many have noted, the storage was skimpy and hard to access. It included one single column of shelves and two drawers, and one closet. One shelf is taken up with the safe, and the entire left side of the closet was hard to get to because of a sliding door which completely covered the shelf/drawer area when closed. My grandson and I had requested two single beds, but we ended up pushing them together so that we could get to the shelf and closet area. There were two small nightstands that offered a tiny bit of extra storage. The room was extremely narrow with just enough room to get by the end of the bed to the rest of the room. There was a nice sized desk/vanity area, but I found no drawers or other storage there. My sister told me later there is a single drawer with the hair dryer in it. Our sofa ended up being the repository for many things throughout the cruise as there was so little storage area. In rooms designed for 4, the sofa pops up making 2 bunk beds. So for those with 4 in their cabins, space was extremely tight and a bit claustrophobic. The balcony itself was adequate with 2 chairs and an ottoman (no reclining chair). Because this cruise was in July (a first for me), it was really too hot to spend much time out on the balcony except in the late evenings or just to take a look or snap some photos. The balcony was covered, which was nice, so even if it rains guests can still enjoy the balcony. We had nearly perfect weather so I only experienced this one night when a storm woke me and I stepped out onto the balcony to watch the lightning fireworks. The room did offer more opportunity for connectivity than any I have had before with double electric outlets and usb ports and another usb port by the bed. We had two phones, a tablet, my fitbit charger, and a couple of portable chargers to keep powered up and we had no trouble with that. ROOM STEWARD Our room steward, Felician from Madagascar, was the very best steward I have had in my fifteen cruises. Felician was in our room tidying up, replenishing ice, replacing wet towels, and so forth multiple times each day. I am sure that the stewards like the system on the Seaside which requires the card to be left in the slot at the door in order to turn on the lights. This notifies the stewards whether the cabin is occupied. THE YACHT CLUB We did not choose the expensive Yacht Club cabins, opting for Bella balcony cabins. We felt with so many ports of call, we would be spending limited time in our cabins. Ordinarily a balcony cabin is pretty exclusive all by itself. But I quickly found out that part of the reason our balcony cabin was so small and storage so measly was to accommodate the MSC Yacht Club, an uber-exclusive group of less than 500 people among the 5300 passenger max. On other cruiselines, there are perqs for frequent cruisers and, of course, choosing more expensive cabins is always an option. Some even have discreet extra special perqs. But the MSC Yacht Club was the most in-your-face example of exclusivity that I have ever endured on a cruiseline. High-frequency cruisers or those who opt for expensive cabins on other cruiselines might get a snack and priority boarding or first tender rides, but these perqs are set up discreetly, and generally these elect cruisers blend seamlessly into the cruise population for the balance of the cruise, their different-colored cards being the only clue that they are upper echelon cruisers. Not so on MSC. The Yacht Club had parts of two decks available only to them, their own exclusive dining area, their own elevator (especially annoying since there was always one elevator not working), their own pool, their own gangway into/off of the ship, a reserved section of the theatre, and other exclusive privileges. Did it make me want to be one of these few? HECK NO! I cringed at the pomposity and enforced segregation and doubt I will cruise on MSC again for very reason. Sure, spending extra has its privileges, but the indiscreet, restrictive, and prohibitive treatment for Yacht Clubbers smacked more of snobbery and posturing than classy perquisites. CARD AND WRISTBANDS: One note about the card. I like to hang my card on a lanyard when I cruise and have noticed that some cruiselines now punch a hole in the card for that very purpose. MSC did not, but part of my gear included a small one-hole-punch and I punched our cards. And then I found out I had ruined them. Ugh. I found out later that if you have a very bright light, you can see the antenna in the card, but I just chose a likely spot near one corner and messed up both cards. Guest services was very nice about it and replaced both cards quickly while I waited without fussing at me. I then put them into clear badge-holders for the lanyards. On the first day, we also purchased the wristbands that act as ship cards for everything but leaving the ship. I had not planned to buy one initially, as the reviews seemed to pan them, but it was only $5 and so I got one for myself and my grandson. They worked like a charm the entire cruise – we never had a single problem with them. And we found them to be very convenient. After the first day, we left our lanyards in the room and just relied on the wristbands which were small and fairly discreet. Take note, though, that if you lose one wristband, you will have to replace ALL the wristbands and cards in your cabin. This happened with one of our party and they had to spend an extra $20 to get new wristbands and new ship cards for all four in their cabin. We left our wristbands in our cabin whenever we left the ship as the cards were needed then. I understand that cards are available to show exactly where another passenger is at any time. No one in our group chose to purchase these. They were originally pitched to parents with children, but when we were there, there were promotions for them to be used to locate fellow adult passengers. SHIP INFORMATION and MSC App: The ship is very beautiful, kept sparkling clean. There are numerous small areas that can easily be commandeered by groups to sit and chat and enjoy time together. Unlike other ships, there was adequate shade and deck chairs near the pools. The beautiful atrium is a jaw-dropper and the Infinity Bridge and Bridge of Sighs are intriguing. The decorating style is elegant and continues throughout all areas of the ship. Some areas are understated (corridors to the staterooms, for example) and others are glamorous (the Swarovski staircases in the atrium), but all elements blend nicely. I believe I might have been perpetually confused about where I was on such a large ship except for the MSC App. It had an interactive ship map that directed you to anywhere you want to go, using, I assume, the GPS capability of the phone. Leaving your cabin (or from anywhere on the ship), you could get turn-by-turn directions to anywhere else. The app does not have chat for communicating with fellow passengers which I missed. Other cruiselines include this and it is very helpful. The app can also be used to make the required reservations for theater shows or extra services. It also allows guests to view their billing information, which is very useful. ACTIVITIES: Fun Pass – I purchased the $100 fun pass ahead of time. For $100, I got $180 worth of credit. I figured I would burn that up on the zipline, but…no. The advertising says that the fun pass is assigned to one guest, but it can be used for anyone in the cabin. As it turned out, I was permitted to use the credit for anyone, but I had to be there with my card or wristband to authorize the use. This was good because otherwise I would have wasted most of the credit. As it was, I left $14 unused (no refund, of course). Zip Line -- My grandson and I used the $11 per ride zip-line just one time because it was mostly closed throughout the cruise due to winds. It took probably twice as long to get strapped in as to ride, but I did appreciate the emphasis on safety. The ride was short and slow (not very zippy) with a neck-breaking jolt to slow the ride at the end. But it was indeed a zip line as advertised. We had planned to use credit for other kids in our group, but the zip line was never up when we were ready to use it. Water Slides – the water slides were also frequently closed due to winds. As we did not seem to experience extremely high winds, I wondered about this. Pools – there are several pools, but they are inadequate for the crowds. They were nearly always packed. Pools seemed to open late and close early, which also limited their use. The jungle area for the children had to be used for zipline or the waterslides and it was nearly always open. Arcade – we ended up using most of the fun pass credit for the Formula One racecar in the arcade and also for the VR games there. I noted that smaller games had a prominent sign that they were not included in the fun pass. I felt that was a poor decision, especially since the Zip Line was down so much of the time. Another poor decision was that racecar and VR games were closed from 5:30pm to 10pm each night. This made no sense to me at all since this was prime evening time for kids. My grandson enjoyed the race car several times and once we all got together at 10pm to fill the VR theatre-style game with family and enjoy a little competition. Everyone enjoyed this. I noted there was a bowling alley (two lanes) which we did not use. My grandson played a couple of games of air-hockey on the single table in the arcade. Theatre Shows – as we had cruised on MSC before, we knew a bit about what to expect. The shows are entertaining, but entirely random without much of a theme. So you might enjoy an opera song, followed by a magic trick, then maybe a spot by a contortionist, ending with a can-can song and dance. Very odd, but 40 minutes of entertainment. Reservations are required and a guest can only attend each show once (they are offered 3 times each evening). The final Michael Jackson show is especially well done. Photos – my sister purchased a package and was able to choose photos from among the whole group (even though the website said otherwise). I purchased 3 photos for $49. I really only wanted 2, but a single photo was $24.99, with 3 for $49. ::sigh:: The whole photo thing is such a ripoff on cruiselines. I usually purchase nothing, but as I was with my grandson, oh well. CRUISE CRITIC MEET and GREET This MSC Cruise Critic Meet & Greet was the best EVER. I've attended several Cruisse Critic meetups, but MSC really knows how to put on a party! It was scheduled for the afternoon on a sea day and included several prepared cocktails (apple martini, whiskey sour, wine, and another choice or two, along with sodas or juice). Each table had fancy appetizers, baskets of crackers and chips, and a big and delicious cake was also served. The Master of the vessel himself along with most of the senior crew turned out in their dress whites to give speeches and mingle and take photos with the guests. In fifteen cruises, I have never had my photo made with the Captain, so I was pleased. And he is Italian. And charming. And handsome. Be still my elderly heart. FOOD Buffet – the buffet was lovely. We ate breakfast here every morning and even at 6:30am, there were many choices available, and even more after 7am. We ate a couple of lunches in the buffet and I thought it was laid out well and offered plenty of variety. I hit the buffet late night twice and it was entirely adequate for a snack. As I am diabetic, I was disappointed in the self-serve soda machine. It only offered one diet soda – diet coke – and half a dozen regular sodas. As diabetes affects roughly one in three, I felt another diet soda (maybe sprite zero or another caffeine free choice) would have been welcome. Other choices were available at the bar, so it was annoying, but not a deal-breaker. Desserts were lovely – light, delicious, and small portions – exactly what I was looking for instead of heavy, high-calorie choices. Fruit was also always available. Dinner – I ate dinner every night in the dining room. I was a little disappointed in the dining room food. There were few choices and I felt the food was bland and odd combinations were offered. I expected hearty Italian offerings (as we had on the Divina) but not only where they MIA, I was surprised that neither steak nor lobster was offered during the seven night cruise, although both could be ordered at an extra cost. It also took quite a while to receive food. This led to nightly re-orders on the bread basket. But as we had a big group, we took the time to chat about activities of the day and those coming up. We were not able to sit at a single table, but our two tables were close together and we had a beautiful ocean view each evening. The dining room staff was pleasant and accommodating insofar as they could be. Easy Plan – when I booked my cruise, it included an easy plan for internet and beverages. The internet plan worked perfectly and was adequate for checking email or posting on social media. After a couple of days, I was offered a crazy-cheap upgrade ($4.81 for a single device for unlimited internet for the duration of the cruise) which I took advantage of. However, the drink package was disappointing. I am not a big drinker, but I like an occasional glass of wine with dinner. I had hoped to enjoy some sparkling asti that was listed on one of the lists of easy plan drinks, but by the time I cruised, that had been eliminated. So several times I ordered sprite and white wine and made spritzers at the table. Not very elegant. Once I ordered one of the half a dozen cocktails available but it was forgotten and did not arrive till the end of the meal, watery with melted ice. I usually do not pay for a beverage package, so that was sort of a bonus for me, but it turned out to be lackluster. As others have mentioned, it would probably be better to get your drink at the bar and bring it to dinner. However, it was fine for the kids, who often ordered sodas with their meals. Sodas were always served in cans. So, yes, you got the whole amount due, but those cans on the table did not look very elegant. Oh well. Gala Nights – Very few dressed for a black tie gala affair. Our group opted for fancy cocktail dresses for ladies and dress shirts and ties for the guys. That was much more than most other groups did. But we felt spiffy and had our photos made on the two elegant evenings. EXCURSIONS: I will include more info in the excursion section, but this ship had four ports of call (other than Miami). In Jamaica, we opted for Mystic Mountain, a budget-friendly excursion that we booked ourselves as it is only offered by the ship in combination with other destinations. In Grand Cayman, we spent our time at the Turtle Farm which offers snorkeling with colorful fish and hatchling turtles along with the biggest freshwater pool and waterslide on the island. We saved 20% booking this ourselves online in advance. In Cozumel, we visited PalMar private beach club on the Dzul Ha reef, which is the best bargain ever. In Nassau, we booked the Blue Lagoon Beach Day through the ship. This was a big disappointment. We were at Blue Lagoon this past January and knew what to expect. But the ship started the excursion too late and we had less than 3 hours on the island with an over-crowded tender. I am in my sixties and did not enjoy standing up for the entire ride over (about 30-35 minutes). DISEMBARKATION: We opted to roll our own bags out, and we were off the ship and in a taxi headed toward the airport by 7:30am. Very painless disembarkation procedure. I was surprised to find customs using face recognition software. We filled out no paperwork and did not even have to get out our passports. I noticed a few people taken aside, but not many. HOMEWARD BOUND We spent most of the day cooling our heels at Miami International Airport. As we were tired, that was not a big deal. We napped and ate and played card and phone games. Note that near Gate E5, there is a not-to-be-missed playground for kids and adults will enjoy it, too. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
MSC have beautiful ships, this was our second cruise with them and would not hesitate to book again. Check in was less that 15 minutes. MSC Seaside is huge, very modern, funky and stylish and like on any ship embarkation days and sea ... Read More
MSC have beautiful ships, this was our second cruise with them and would not hesitate to book again. Check in was less that 15 minutes. MSC Seaside is huge, very modern, funky and stylish and like on any ship embarkation days and sea days are generally busy around the pool and buffet area, this ship was no exception. However on port days things were more settled as passengers come and go at their leisure. There was 2 huge buffets, the main one on deck 8 went all the way around the ship and the food choice is just exceptional and to a very high standard. MDR food was very good, lots of different choices, something for everyone. Pools are deep and sea water but good to lounge in, not really made for swimming lengths in and they do get crowded. children’s / Teen facilities are out of this world. The children’s swimming area is fantastic, with slides and climbing areas, it was always busy with kids having fun. Staff were attentive and smiley. Room steward was amazing. Shows, we saw 3, All were very good. Skywalker being the best and got booked very quickly, so make sure you book up as soon as you get on. We didn’t do any ship excursions we booked independtly online before the cruise and they were all very good. Elegant night most people made an effort and dressed up at least smart, but no one was frowned upon if they chose not to. There are other nationalities on board so be prepared for announcements to be made in multi languages. Cannot fault anything about this ship, food, staff or MSC. I Wouldn’t hesitate to book MSC again and MSC Seaside is just a big floating beautiful baby. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This was a family cruise. Three generations. All of us loved it. We had great food, great service, great entertainment in the theater and lounges as well as on deck, terrific beverage choices and a fantastic crew. Couldn’t ask for more. ... Read More
This was a family cruise. Three generations. All of us loved it. We had great food, great service, great entertainment in the theater and lounges as well as on deck, terrific beverage choices and a fantastic crew. Couldn’t ask for more. We booked this cruise with the grandkids in mind. Two girls ages 12 and 13. To our amazement they never went to the pre- teen club that we thought they would love. Unfortunately the hours it was open didn’t work well with our schedule and other activities. They also never used the water slides. Truly a surprise as we would travel every year to the Wisconsin Dells specifically for the water slides. They were busy with exploring the ship, participating in crafts, swimming in the pools, using the zip line attending the movies by the pool, seeing the shows in the theater and attending some of the late night parties (like white night) with their parents when they weren’t wiped out from visiting the ports (their favorite part of the cruise). We booked a balcony cabin, Fantastica experience, and found it comfortable and with plenty of space for storage. We did not need all the magnetic hooks we brought or the extra storage shelves. Many people have expressed concern about the pools being 6 feet deep. Trust me it’s not a problem. I am 72 years old and do not swim. After my first entry into the pool, clinging to the edge, my husband convinced me that the salt water would keep me afloat just like the “noodle “ I use at home. He was correct and I enjoyed the pools without concern from then on. We went to several shows in the theater and enjoyed them as well as the lounge shows. There is various entertainment going in all over the ship every evening. We thought we would never stay up late enough to enjoy but we did. So worth it. I had a color, cut and style done at the salon and was very pleased. Also booked a massage and enjoyed that as well We thought our daughters and son-in-law would be using the gym but that never happened either. There just isn’t enough time to do all you want. Most mornings you get up and ready, have breakfast, head off to port, return in time for dinner, head to a show, enjoy some of the evening entertainment or activities and off to bed. Another day has disappeared. The ship is beautiful as everyone says. The food was better than we expected and service was very good . We found the staff and officers available, friendly and always willing to help. We enjoyed it so much that we booked two more MSC cruises for next year. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Sailed in July 2019. Our fifth time on the Seaside and our best to date. Embarkation was quick and painless and we were on board within 15-20 minutes. We were met by our butler in the Top Sail and he took our carry-on luggage ... Read More
Sailed in July 2019. Our fifth time on the Seaside and our best to date. Embarkation was quick and painless and we were on board within 15-20 minutes. We were met by our butler in the Top Sail and he took our carry-on luggage immediately to our stateroom so that we could relax. Booked spa and shows within 15 minutes, then went had a leisurely lunch up on the one pool deck. We then went to our room, where our checked luggage was already waiting for us. Muster drill was in the theater and everyone was actually quiet and listened. Many times that does not happen. We had a balcony cabin and it was very spacious for the two of us, with ample storage and a large shower in the bathroom. New things this cruise in the Yacht Club was the addition of a stir fry station at the pool on the first sea day, and a cooking demonstration and pasta station on the second sea day. Also added are two new signature dishes on elegant nights. They were delicious! A deck party in the evening has also been added on the one pool deck. For eastern itineraries, it is a dinner buffet and for western itineraries, it is a cocktail buffet with hor d'oeuvres. There is also live music and dancing. Service was outstanding both within and outside of the Yacht Club. We did see the shows and enjoyed them although we had seen some previously. We also enjoyed the Seaview lounge and the Piazza on deck 6, as well as the Venchi Chocolate Bar. Debarkation was very quick, due to the fact that they are using facial recognition. Fifteen minutes tops. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was the worse cruise I have ever been on. The food was horrible. The service is horrible. The housekeeping was mediocre. The only good part was the kids club. My son was treated well and he met so many other children from different ... Read More
This was the worse cruise I have ever been on. The food was horrible. The service is horrible. The housekeeping was mediocre. The only good part was the kids club. My son was treated well and he met so many other children from different countries. The cruise was just like it was not organized. Several people had things stolen out of their luggage and no one was responsible. Customer service was really nasty and demeaning. one couple paid for an excursion and they are not from the US. The customer service told them that they did not pay for it. After a few days after we left that island they found out that they did pay for it and they were not accommodating. They wanted to pay the couple in US dollars and they were from Britain.It was just ridiculous The ship shook like the engine was going out. I could feel the vibration of the engine. It sounded like the carburetor was going out. I will never ever use this cruise line and I am going to tell everyone else not to use it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Mixed review of the MSC Seaside. The Seaside is a beautiful ship overall. However it struggles with certain amenities and service levels. For example, their are Four Banks of Elevators that cannot adequately handle 5000 ... Read More
Mixed review of the MSC Seaside. The Seaside is a beautiful ship overall. However it struggles with certain amenities and service levels. For example, their are Four Banks of Elevators that cannot adequately handle 5000 passengers. Waits can be up to 10 - 15 minutes at peak times. Be aware that, if you get a room that has a door to an adjoining room, it is not "soundproof". They do leak sound and I would never take an adjoining room again. Rooms are small for a new ship especially the bathroom and shower. If you are tall with long legs, you will likely have to sit at an angle to avoid hitting your knee on the sink cabinetry. Shows are top rate BUT YOU HAVE TO BOOK in advance. Otherwise you see no show at all except for a recording of it on the tv. Food is consistently good but not great except for the pizza. The choices on the buffet are not as varied as Celebrity or NCL. They have vegetarian choices that are nicely labeled but they are very limited on vegetarian hot proteins. This is mainly because their Asian and Indian choices are limited due to the small numbers of people of those cultures who cruise with MSC. The food in the dining Room is also consistently good and occasionally very good. However, unlike Celebrity, NCL and RCL, there is no special night for lobster or steak. Both lobster and steak do appear on the menu every evening but for an additional price of up to $24. Some of the ports have strange arrival times. For example, the ship arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at 5 PM on a Monday when many stores are closed. This departed at 12:30 am. Forget about museums or Segway tours. The ship arrived in St Maarten at 7 am and passengers had to be back on-board at 1:30 PM. That leaves precious little time for the beach or touring the island. Staff tends to be disinterested and not nearly at the level of service as Celebrity, NCL or RCI. Dining room staff are overworked and about 1/3 of the staff you get on Celebtity. This causes long delays between courses, sometimes taking almost 2 hours for the meal. It is important to understand that dining Room seating is not separated into an early and late seating like most ships. Instead, there is a seating at 5:15 p.m, 7:15 p.m. and 9:15PM in one dining Room and 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in the 2nd dining Room. If you ask for early seating, be aware that you may have to enter the dining room at 5:15 PM and, possibly, not be seated after 5:30 PM. The shows start at 7:15 p.m. 8:15 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., also causing havoc when people cannot get to their dining appointments on time or it takes too long for them to finish their meals. Keep in mind that every evening show has to be booked in advance and seats do run out. The performers are amazing. They do the same show three times per night and they are action-packed, highly physical shows. The only really attentive staff we had was the cabin attendant. If you're looking for a romantic dinner table for two, be forewarned; there are very few of them that are truly away from other tables. Most tables for two are just a 3 table system separated by about 6 inches which is essentially the same as having no separate table for two. Finally, MSC has no concept of how to manage crowds. For example they had a tasting party for the Specialty Restaurants to promote their menus. It was attended by about 200 - 300 people squeezed into a small area. As a result it was nearly impossible to get close enough to sample any food in at least 2 of the restaurants. In addition, the layout of the ship on the 16th floor is not good. Only one set of elevators goes to the Specialty Restaurants. If you get on the wrong elevator you have to get off on the 15th floor and hike to the stairs or the second set of elevators. In addition to having over crowded elevators in general, 2 elevators in the front are designated for yacht club members which means that, when they use their card, they control the elevator. You have a lot of people pressing both up-and-down buttons when they want to go up hoping that they can travel down in an elevator so that they can actually find room going up again! Perhaps the worst elevator problem occurred on embarkation. There were literally hundreds of people waiting for elevators for 15 minutes to half an hour. Many people decided to walk up the steps carrying heavy luggage. Again, this was not a good system for controlling passenger embarkation. There did not seem to be any problem upon disembarkation for the ports, however. I think, overall, that MSC is good value for the money but it could do much better in service, food, and crowd control. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I embarked on a 7 night cruise on the MSC Seaside, leaving from Miami and going to San Juan, Charlote Amalie, Phillipsburg, and Nassau. While I have been on a few cruises before, this was a first cruise experience for my wife and I chose ... Read More
I embarked on a 7 night cruise on the MSC Seaside, leaving from Miami and going to San Juan, Charlote Amalie, Phillipsburg, and Nassau. While I have been on a few cruises before, this was a first cruise experience for my wife and I chose it because of the size of the ship and an expected smooth ride for my wife, as well as the ports and the appearance of the MSC Seaside. My impression with MSC began before I boarded while I was preparing for my cruise. I ran into issues with the MSC web site and customer service which have been discussed in this post, https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2674801-msc-website-bugs-and-support-experience/?tab=comments&source=122648#comment-57780603 . Now that I have cruised on the MSC Seaside, I'll share my onboard experience. The Embarkation and boarding experience started off excellent, it lost excellent status with baggage delivery and I'll come back to this. Have you ever gone into a super market, motor vehicle office, or other service area, looked at the long line and wondered why so many stations were unstaffed and things were't operating optimally? This was NOT the case with MSC embarkation. I was amazed to see every station was staffed, some with more than one person. We walked right up and found the staff knowledgeable, polite, and efficient. We did have priority boarding with the Aurea experience, but every station was staffed and they were prepared to operate at full efficiency. Bravo MSC, I could not imagine this process running any better. Since we got on so fast and early, our room wasn't ready but no complaints here as it wasn't supposed to be ready yet. We ate lunch, had a couple of drinks, and were then notified that our room was ready an hour before it was supposed to be. When we got to the room three out of our family's five bags were delivered. This was not an issue at first because bags were still being delivered. This became an issue several hours later, after dinner, when the two bags were still not delivered and the ship had left port. My wife was worried as one child had no clothes other than what she had carried on for that day and she didn't know if the bag made it on the ship. We returned to our room again about 8:00 pm and a note was on the door saying a bag needed further security scanning and we need to pick it up at the luggage center. Here's where MSC can use some help with communicating. We look in the MSC App which contains the ship map and you can find out how to get to things onboard and there's no "luggage center" found. We check the ship map by the elevator and there's no luggage center. A few other passengers show up with the same note and are having the same problem, nobody knows where the luggage center is. We go down to deck 5 which is where customer service is and of course the line is really long being the first day onboard. It looked like about an hour more wait by the number of people and the rate at which things were moving, but I will say every station was staffed again. A few of us wandered around looking for the luggage center and eventually came across a crew member in the hall, asked about it, and he took us to a room we would have never found on our own. Our largest bag was there but another was still unaccounted for. The bag was flagged by security for containing a surge protector. Security flagged it but the ship allows it onboard. I read on here to bring one but it was not necessary and ended up causing me some grief. Keep this in mind if you bring one. I now had to get this large fifty pound bag from the luggage center on deck 5 to my room at the front of the ship on deck 12 with ship activities in full swing and people everywhere finding their way around on the first day. Delivery luggage late at night through a crowds of people wasn't how I wanted to be spending my first night onboard. If they cleared the luggage, why couldn't the crew just deliver it. After all, we still had another bag that we were told was being delivered. That second bag showed up at about 10:00 pm and caused a bit of a panic. My advice is to just know that bags can come pretty late. Carry on what you need for the first day and just be patient. There's a lot going on. We had booked an Aurea Grand Suite (SE3) for the family and were expecting a separate bedroom for us parents, and a couch that converted into bunk beds for the kids, a table, and four chairs. This is how the room was laid out in pictures and seemed like a pretty nice cabin for a cruise. MSC does state that furniture may vary in rooms and it did. Instead of bunk beds we had a couch that folded out to a double bed, no table, and one chair. Furthermore the room had a techno gym attached to the wall in the living room. This may sound like a nice bonus to some but this thing was a monstrosity and room space is very valuable on cruises. We didn't want that, never saw anything saying it would be there, it was unappealing, and in the way. My wife waiting on the long customer service line to see what could be done about it and that didn't go well. I talked to our cabin steward (who was wonderful) and her boss. My wife was told someone would come by to fix it, the steward boss told me it couldn't be fixed. One look at it and I knew we'd be stuck with that we had there. There was much back and forth with several people and my wife was not having a good first cruise experience. We were told the room was a wellness suite and came with the gym. We didn't book a wellness suite, we booked an Aurea Grand Suite, and it was not feeling very grand. The steward boss called his boss at one point and had the call on speaker phone. The woman says "he has the big room with a gym, what else does he want?" Well, I didn't want a gym in my room, I wanted bunk beds for the kids, table, chairs, and staff that listens to the problem. The room was what it was and there was nothing that could be done about it. The kids had to share a bed and get on with our vacation. The other disappointment was that we were so far forward that our balcony had a steel wall instead of glass. When you sat down on the balcony, the water could not be seen and instead you look up at the sky or at the steel wall. It was nice though if you stood up. Pay close attention to where your room is on the ship and what your experience will be. On the 2nd day of the cruise we had a Cruise Critic meet and greet with senior officers of the ship. The cruise director, Gene Young, came by to chat with us and see how things were going. I shared my pre-boarding experience with the web site and my onboard experience so far. Gene seemed very sincere and listened to what we had to say. He was glad to hear that some things were going very well and that we loved the ship, he was sorry to hear some of the negative experiences. Gene told us that he would talk to the senior officers of various departments and he himself would give us a call back. Gene did in fact call us the next day. Of course he couldn't fix the furniture or get the monstrosity out of our room but Gene and staff did offer us a few things to help smooth things over and make up for the disappointment. Ideally the cabin experience should be very clear. The wellness suite experience with a techno-gym in the room is very different than what was expected. We're grateful that he listened and the staff did what they could. Cruises are known for eating and the food on board was very good, but I also expect it to be very good. Both the buffet and dining room met expectations and I was satisfied with all of my meals. Lots of people rave about the pizza onboard the MSC Seaside and being a native New Yorker, I'm a bit of a pizza snob. Us New Yorkers tend to think we're authorities on pizza and have our expectations. I'm enough of a pizza snob to know the best NY pizza is not in Manhattan but instead in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Now that I established myself as having strong opinions on pizza, I made it one of my first orders of business to go to the buffet and try this famous MSC Seaside pizza. I sampled the pepperoni pizza, some plain cheese, and a white pizza and the verdict is, thumbs up. I really didn't expect to like the pizza on the ship but it was genuinely good pizza, even by my tough standards. For those who like some simple grilled foods, you can always get a good burger at the buffet. Most of the carving stations were very good too, although I did find a pork loin to be a little bland. It was from a buffet though, so it is what it is. One more note on the buffets, the traffic flow is very chaotic. I'm not really sure how to solve this, but their must be someone on the MSC payroll who deals with these problems. It becomes a real challenge to get through there without getting a plate of food dumped on you or dumping yours on somebody else. There are lots of people going in every direction trying to load up as much as they can on their twelve inch plate. I don't know if I can fault MSC for this, but it would be nice if they can study it and find some way to improve the traffic flow. The dining room meals were excellent whether it was meat, pasta, or seafood. The famous Butcher's Cut steakhouse on board was a disappointment and I do not recommend it. I've been to some pretty nice steak houses in the same price range, and this one does not compare. I thought the NY Strip I got in the main dining room was better than the rib eye I had at Butcher's Cut and the Butcher's Cut steak was no better than any supermarket steak that I cook myself. The atmosphere didn't help either when one family was in there with their kids running around and screaming like they're in Chuckie Cheese. You can't always blame the restaurant for guests behavior, but the food just was't up to par either. We went to the theater four nights and were impressed with every show. The performers were very talented although you do see some of their acts get recycled and repackaged from show to show. Something that was oddly enjoyable was how they rebrand things and mix aspects and music from different shows together. After the first show we thought "that was good, but doesn't make any sense and we don't really know what they were trying to do". Things just don't seem to fit together. However, think of the movie "Moulin Rouge" and see if if you haven't before attending a show on a this cruise. Somehow that helped me to get it. They're reusing music, sometimes basing a character on another character, and creating their own show. It's not an attempt to perform a story you know, especially one with copyrights, they're instead creating their own show using some elements that you've seen and heard before. MSC has rolled out bracelets which can be used in place of a cruise card except for leaving and boarding the ship. Unfortunately, these bracelets which could be great are another negative story. The first problem you run into is just putting the bracelets on, which is really difficult without help from another person and this is unacceptable. Watches have been in use for a long time and we now have many successful wristband models from smart watches, and sport bands. There have been so many easy to use bands, that I don't know how MSC managed to roll out something so difficult to put on. Get one when you go on their cruise and you'll see what I mean, it's just absurd. The next problem, is they don't work everywhere onboard as they're supposed to. Most places no problem, every now and then you get a drink and you're told "I need your cruise card, I don't have a reader for the band", and they sometimes seem annoyed to have to tell you that. In MSC's propaganda and their app they mention how you can track every member of your party to know where each other are. This can be a great thing when you want to split up to do different things onboard and just find each other later. Nowhere does it tell you than this tracking doesn't work with the Aurea experience bands you get when you board. Instead you're given some instructions to setup people that can't be completed because the band doesn't have the QR code. I gave up on it thinking it was more trouble than it was worse but happened to ask someone at the game room when I saw they were selling another band for this purpose. We were told when we checked in that one daughter would get a kids band that is free and allows tracking, and the band would be in our room. The band was not in our room, my wife had to wait online in the kids center for over an hour to get it, the setup was confusing and cumbersome, and towards the end of the cruise a $15 charge showed up for it when we were told it was free. The kids band also stopped working one day. My wife went to customer service and was told to go do the kids center and they would need to set it up again. There were about twenty other people there with the same problem and more on the way. The poor guy working there was pulling his hair out and telling people it is a system wide problem, he couldn't do anything about it, and he doesn't know why people are being sent to him. This lack of communication between departments and passengers being sent from one place to another is a common theme onboard. The crew knows who has the kid bracelets and they know what room they're in. They also have daily announcements that come out every day from our good friend and cruise director, Gene Young. It seems they could've just came out and told people via an announcement or another letter left on the door that the kid bracelet tracking was offline. That would have saved passengers a lot of time from trying to get it resolved and saved a lot of crew member stress and time dealing with the issue. The bracelets are a great concept with some great features, but it wasn't a great experience. I'd like to know get back to some positives. The ship was immaculate. Every space was very clean and it seemed rather effortless for them to maintain it. With 5000 people onboard you expect things to get messed up but they didn't. Everywhere was clean and you rarely saw the staff cleaning it. They just popped out like little elves, took care of it and vanished. Whenever the ship was in port, there would always be people swinging into action to paint or clean things, but you really had to look for it to see it happen. Our room steward was excellent and one of the sweetest women we ever met. I often had to wait a while to get a drink, even at our exclusive Aurea deck bar, but the wait was not any different than I'd have anywhere else. If you go to a busy bar, or any pool bar at a hotel, you're not going to be the only one there and you'll often have to wait your turn to get a drink. The staff was always polite, friendly, and happy to help once they got to me. Early reports of the ship mentioned an odor that they encountered onboard. We did not experience any such odor. Disembarkation was orderly and impressive. They staged us in groups waiting to disembark. All of our luggage was waiting for us and easily found. I can not think of anyway they could have made this process go smoother. I'll likely travel with MSC again, but I don't know if my next cruise will be on an MSC ship. I think they're doing some really great things, but there needs to be more focus on the customer experience. This experience starts with the purchase, continues during the pre-cruise period, onboard, and leaving the ship. I think MSC will have a growing presence in the cruise industry and will be a major player, but customer experience needs to be emphasized in everything they do. Just accepting something as being what it is or expecting that customers will figure out that something isn't working or where some place is, is not good enough. Every experience needs to be stress free, pleasurable, intuitive, and impressive. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first cruise with MSC, having previously cruised with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. The Seaside is a beautiful ship and we had a great cruise, but MSC do fall short in some critical areas. Embarkation and disembarkation in ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC, having previously cruised with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. The Seaside is a beautiful ship and we had a great cruise, but MSC do fall short in some critical areas. Embarkation and disembarkation in Miami was fast and easy. Our bags were delivered on and off the ship very quickly - leave it to the porters. It’s baffling to me how many people drag huge luggage around with them on the first and last day. The Seaside is beautiful. The Bridge of Sighs is very popular on the first day, go up at sunset for some great photos whether you’re in port or not. We liked dropping into the Sports Bar (the most inviting of any we’ve found on a ship) before or after an evening meal. There’s also a nice spot to relax on Deck 8, outside between the Sports Bar and La Boheme bistro. You’ll also find yourself taking a lot of pictures of the Atrium. The balcony stateroom, 14240, was an alright fit for three people. The bathroom was a little small but the balcony was a good size. Dining - This was our first experience with having a formal dining time on a cruise and we were more okay with it than we thought we would be. 7:30pm meant we had enough time in the late afternoon by the pool but still time to catch an evening show afterwards. Yudi & Karen in the Seashore restaurant were fantastic throughout. The one night we got to try Ipanema (the other complimentary restaurant) we found it a much nicer room. We were seated with other diners (most people weren’t, it seems), but thankfully this was fine because, well, they were fine, however we would always prefer to dine by ourselves. The food every night was good, nothing particularly outstanding. If you normally order steak medium, get it medium-rare. They really push the speciality dining but none of it tempted us. Would be nice to see some clear allergen information at the buffet as there isn’t enough of it. Entertainment - MSC falls short here. We only really experienced the evening ‘showtime’ shows. You can skip most of these because the vast majority are near-identical shows every night. Traditional European/Italian variety shows - opening number, dance, circus acrobatics, maybe a magic trick or two and a big closing number. The shows are billed as being vastly different in their synopsis, they’re not. Timeless, The Wizard, The Dream, Fly… you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all with different costumes. A bit of research finds they are all productions by the same company. My advice would be to see The Wizard, Peter Punk (as it’s slightly different) and Starwalker, the Michael Jackson tribute, which is (thankfully) a different sort of show and the best of the lot. Starwalker is the only show which reaches the standard of entertainment we’ve come to expect from other cruises with NCL & RCI. The line-up of shows is disappointing and, quite honestly, lazy on the part of the entertainment commissioners. It contrasts their performers who clearly work hard every night. BeerProv and the opera didn’t tempt us. Would’ve been nice to see some stand-up. MasterChef at Sea was a fun way to kill an hour during a Sea Day. Ports of Call - We stopped at San Juan, Charlotte Amalie, Philipsburg, and Nassau. All of these are worth getting off for, however the time we were in all bar Charlotte Amalie felt way too short. It felt like the cruise should’ve been done in a different order (so we had longer in each port) as we were only in San Juan in the evening and had to leave Philipsburg at 2pm. My top recommendations are Magens Bay in Charlotte Amalie and Maho Beach in Philipsburg (you can either Google this beach or be surprised at its USP). Some miscellaneous notes - I’m not big on shopping but grab the port shopping maps for some free souvenir coupons (largely no purchase necessary). The MSC for Me app & wristband are really useful and worked with no issues. The ship map & ability to book shows through it are handy (on that note, book all your shows on the first day of the cruise). Bistro la Boheme is not really used for anything and the bar next to it didn’t seem to be open much, I expect it to be revamped come refit time. I do appreciate the number of tannoy announcements being small compared to other ships - not being bothered by the casino, excursions, shopping, future cruise team etc. We were surprised at the things that cost extra such as billiards and the zip wire, and how ludicrously expensive most of these extra activities were. The casino is also on the small side. A rather important note - of all the ships I’ve been on, this is the one I’ve felt the ship’s movement on the most by far. On all the others you’d feel it for a few seconds every once in a while, on this ship it’s frequent, more or less constant whilst sailing, and particularly noticeable when you’re lying in bed (on deck 14, at least). It doesn’t bother me so much but I know it has bothered other passengers, and it does put me off travelling on this ship again in case we face choppier waters. At one point during MasterChef at Sea, the host remarked “your spaghetti is vibrating”. Our coat hangers also crashed about in the night, and we’re fairly sure it’s not paranormal activity. Overall - our Eastern Caribbean cruise on the MSC Seaside was enjoyable. The ports of call were great but I wish we’d had more time in them. The ship is, again, beautiful but unfortunately MSC do lack in some areas - speciality dining didn’t appeal to us (but we have done this with other cruise lines), the cuisine and price weren’t attractive, and the entertainment needs dramatic improvement. We won’t be hurrying back to MSC, but if you want a change from the likes of NCL & RCI, certainly consider getting on board the Seaside (though maybe not if you get seasick). Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having read many reviews about this ship I felt I should also write a review. Embarkment quick however the safety drill chaotic notifications received advising we failed to attend plus reminders when we did undertake this briefing staff ... Read More
Having read many reviews about this ship I felt I should also write a review. Embarkment quick however the safety drill chaotic notifications received advising we failed to attend plus reminders when we did undertake this briefing staff just forgot to scan our cards. Food average buffets the same most days and evening dining plus getting a drink from your drinks package slow. No separate fast food areas besides going into main buffet areas. Entertainment in the day and evening great. Shows incredible, silent disco, white party, nightclub etc. We felt the ship catered for all ages including my 21 year old son and daughter of 19 years. Since we smoke decks 19, 7 and 8 catered for our needs and I thought the easy drinks package which we purchased was fantastic. Two drinks at a time, could then straight away reorder the staff were more than helpful and no big queues. Easy to get sunbeds , staff generally helpful, ship clean. I agree elevators a little slow but you could use the stairs. Room made up twice a day. On occasion, staff seemed overworked , were not overly enthusiastic except a guy called happy on 19th deck. We all thoroughly enjoyed the ports and the excursions I booked myself. Value for money and photography excellent. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I love MSC, I am number 1 fan of this cruise line. The crew members are adorable, friendly, professionals and very helpful. Embarkation and disembarkation are just perfect. The Seaside is a beautiful and elegant Ship. The Spa is so ... Read More
I love MSC, I am number 1 fan of this cruise line. The crew members are adorable, friendly, professionals and very helpful. Embarkation and disembarkation are just perfect. The Seaside is a beautiful and elegant Ship. The Spa is so amazing. They have to have more Latin Food, Caribbean Food, variety. The Casino spectacular and the Waiters at bars and restaurants excellent. I am not to happy with The ports of calls since they are the same since MSC Cruise came in 2014, so we are so tired of the same ones already. They are more ports like Puerto Plata, La Romana, Dominican Republic, More of Aruba, Curacao, etc. Also the entertainment actives are great. Thank God they are having more latin DJs. The most beatiful thing are the shoes, The Broadways styles shows, they are amazing. The Welcome back to the ship in some of the ports are so great! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
MSC Armonia had a very good itinerary in regards to Cuba, almost a 36 hour stop, unfortunately due to the US policy change, the itinerary was changed. The ship is showing its age, and it hasn't been kept as well as it should (see ... Read More
MSC Armonia had a very good itinerary in regards to Cuba, almost a 36 hour stop, unfortunately due to the US policy change, the itinerary was changed. The ship is showing its age, and it hasn't been kept as well as it should (see photos below). Food was better than average, ate at the dining room every night with the exception of one. The buffet is a bit limited. Enjoyed the minimal announcements (yes, they're repeated in four/five languages), but it's not as bad considering the minimal amount of announcements. Most of the public areas where clean (except the men's restroom at Bar del Duomo, it smelled like urine 24 hours a day!) Different show every night, and most were appealing, two of the shows needed a little help, they seemed like a high school version of a show. The ship didn't seem crowded, even though it was sold out. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze, and lines didn't feel congested. Read Less
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