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Sail Date: January 2018
This was my 9th cruise, and the third for my wife. We wanted to try MSC as we had never sailed with them before, plus we wanted to try a brand new ship and the price was pretty good. Embarkation was fairly good. We got to the port ... Read More
This was my 9th cruise, and the third for my wife. We wanted to try MSC as we had never sailed with them before, plus we wanted to try a brand new ship and the price was pretty good. Embarkation was fairly good. We got to the port around 10:15, had to wait in line for about 30 minutes before security opened up. From there, didn't take more than 25 minutes before we were onboard. Take note, you will have to tie your credit card to your ship card while onboard, not at check-in. We did this as soon as we found an empty station on board. The ship was gorgeous. They say it was designed for guests to feel closer to the sea, and you kinda do. On a negative side, I saw several areas of damage already. 2 cracked windows, the fabric by the big screen outside tore, and some covering on a railing near our cabin was peeling. Also I found some chairs with gashes in them already. They have an app to use for various things, such as booking a reservation for the show (yes, you will need to book one,) booking specialty restaurants, etc. We couldn't get the app to work right, so we used the touch screens all over the ship. With our booking, we got a complimentary Trio Dining Package. The package says you can only use the options for dinner, and only 3 of the restaurants to choose from. This is not accurate. We did lunch in those restaurants twice (you will have to make the reservation in person instead of using the app or the touchscreens for lunch though.) And you can chose from all the restaurants. I loved Ocean Cay, my wife liked the french bistro. Drinks were ok. Better than Royal Caribbean, but not as good as Carnival. On the plus side, I don't think I was ever charged a gratuity...maybe it was charged on the final bill, but I don't think so. This made the prices pretty good for a cruise. I should also mention that the sports bar has beer specials; buy one get one, buy one get 2, for select draft beers. Elevators were terrible. So slow, and several not not working, especially towards the back of the ship. One night coming down, the elevator was packed, still stopping at every deck and people wishing they could fit in. One of the decks, an Italian guy (by his accent,) literally shouldered his way on, looked at the rest of us and said "21 person capacity." There is a sewage smell in various areas of the ship. Also, I think there was a large clothes washer near our room, I could hear all kinds of swishing noises coming from behind our (interior) room. Also could hear various loud crashing noises some nights coming from the same space. Then we had a problem with our closet. One of the doors became stiff to move, and started shredding small pieces of wood from itself, and the bottom drawer began hitting the lip of the guiding track for the closet door. On that note, there is very little organized storage space in the rooms. Plus, the safe is small, and tucked way back in the closet. Service varied, but more often than not was terrible. Dinners could take over 1 1/2 hours, waiting 30 minutes just for the appetizer. Other nights they were about an hour (which is what I prefer.) One night, I asked for coffee. 20 minutes later with no coffee I asked again. The asst. waiter then asked for my card. I knew right away I was about to be charged and declined. She then indicated she would bring me "American coffee." This cheap sales trick really irked me. 10 minutes later, I was finally served a cup of coffee that was 1/3 full. This is a good example of what the service was like. Entertainment was quite good. Shows were short (generally 30 minutes,) but my wife and I were ok with that. There were a lot of preformers, I counted at least 25 one night. Nice change of pace compared to other cruise lines where there are only 6 performers. We got quite upset with our excursion in Jamaica, by how it was handled. We booked Dunn River Falls Express. The description was a bus ride to and from the falls, taking roughly 3 hours. From the time we were told to be at the meeting point on board, to the time the excursion finally ended over 5 hours had passed. Don't get me wrong, climbing the falls themselves was excellent, the rest was terrible. It took 2 hours before our feet even hit the water that day. Then, instead of taking us back to the ship, the bus took us to a souvenir shop on the other side of town. On the actual trip back to the ship, we hit terrible traffic, and at this point I was getting upset. I had wanted to do some specific things in port, which was a reason we booked a 3 hour excursion. For example, I wanted to get authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken. I wonder if the bus driver and tour guide made extra money on the side by doing this, as it was not in the tour description. (And on a side note, the bus driver was quite grumpy to the point of being rude.) Suffice it to say, there was not enough time left. We were able to check out a couple of shops before we had to get back onboard. Be warned, the locals are pushy, wanting to shake your hand and then they try to see you marijuana. If you like that, great, otherwise be warned. Its all over the place. We had issues with our excursion in Grand Cayman. The original one we booked was cancelled the day prior. We booked a different one and that was cancelled when we got into port. Due to the confusing nature of the onboard bill, we never could figure out if we actually had been refunded or not, although guest services assured us we had. Regarding Grand Cayman, we made the best of the day. Took my wife to a ocean side restaurant and she had the best fish meal of her life, grilled Wahoo with Cayman Style sauce. Food on board was ok. Shrimp was way overcooked and cool to the touch. No lobster night either, unless you booked one of the more expensive "experiences." I'm going to make an inaccurate comparison, but at times if you didn't book one of those experiences, you felt like you were being treated like steerage. You can't get to the front of the ship unless you had one of those rooms, no lobster unless you had one of those rooms, those rooms have their own private restaurant, etc. There were some other notable things. Alcohol we bought in port was not confiscated. I don't know if this was an MSC thing, or they are focusing on other issues with the Seaside first, but it was a nice change of pace. Debarkation starts early, they want you out of the rooms by 7am. This is a bit too early by my book. It made the elevator situation worse, especially if you were high up in the ship and needed to go down. Then the line to get off the ship was at least 200 feet long. We liked that we weren't constantly barraged by photographers wanting to take your picture. I've said a lot of negative things here, but there were some positives. Even though this was the worst cruise we've been one, both my wife and I would have gotten right back on board. We will give MSC one more chance to get things right, otherwise we are done with that line. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Pro’s: 1. Beautiful ship, sleek lines and contemporary. 2. Comfortable and attractive furnishings. 3. Solarium is wonderful. 4. Premium restaurants beautifully designed and again, great furniture. 5. Spa has a lot to ... Read More
Pro’s: 1. Beautiful ship, sleek lines and contemporary. 2. Comfortable and attractive furnishings. 3. Solarium is wonderful. 4. Premium restaurants beautifully designed and again, great furniture. 5. Spa has a lot to offer, worth the price. 6. FI simulated race car was fun. 10. Venchi chocolate - excellent. Con’s: 1. The entire ship smelled like sewage. 2. The shows were poor compared to other ships. 3. The food at the buffets, and complimentary dining... subpar. 4. Generally speaking, staff had bad attitudes. 5. Premiums restaurants were expensive, and again, the food was subpar. 6. Really slow elevators. 7. Toilets worked... sometimes. 8. The entertainment in the atrium every night was poor. 9. Staff let children in the adult hot tubs. 10. Overall... this ship and the staff isn’t ready for the U.S. markets. The shame is, MCS built a beautiful ship, but, completely failed on plumbing, staff, food and entertainment. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I was on the Seaside Jan 13th to the 20th 2018. Excellent service, crew were great...we did have a little issue with the toilet system as many people have written complaints here in cruise critic BUT we must remember that this is a brand ... Read More
I was on the Seaside Jan 13th to the 20th 2018. Excellent service, crew were great...we did have a little issue with the toilet system as many people have written complaints here in cruise critic BUT we must remember that this is a brand new ship... I am an experience cruiser... it is totally normal to have issues on a new ship... overall MSC Cruises puts to shame other cruise lines... their shows are outstanding something I've never seen on a cruise ship. We liked it so much that we are already booked once again in September and October.... we are Diamond Plus and Elite Plus in Royal Caribbean and Celebrity so that can give you an idea how much experience we have.... we are very impressed with MSC... I must admit .. there are a lot of room for improvements but they are working on it.... this is a family owned Cruise Line not a Corporation like the other companies who only care about MONEY... MSC is very generous and flexible with perks and much more... cant say enough in this review... hope you have a wonderful time in MSC once you try it... remember this is an European Rich Cultured cruise line and is very proud of it. I cant wait to go back. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
My family and I decided to do this trip as I have been on a previous cruise alone. I always knew my husband and kids will enjoy themselves. I was quite impressed with the Sinfonia as I have been on the Opera before. The splash park was ... Read More
My family and I decided to do this trip as I have been on a previous cruise alone. I always knew my husband and kids will enjoy themselves. I was quite impressed with the Sinfonia as I have been on the Opera before. The splash park was very exciting, especially for me.The only downside was the long wait for embarkation at the Cape Town terminal. We waited in the queue for almost 3 hours in the heat of Cape Town with no shady area. The security checks was also too long. Secondly waiting for our food at the restaurant was long too and the food was not as delicious as the food offered elsewhere. We enjoyed the shows, even thought the kids shows that was too short. The kids loved the clubs had friendly staff and activities they did. Our family had an amazing time. We will do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
I booked the cruise in celebration of my hubby's 40th surprise birthday. Our group consist of 14 adults and 7 kids, we were 21 in total. Wow, what an magnificent experience , something unforgettable, we had the best time of our lives, ... Read More
I booked the cruise in celebration of my hubby's 40th surprise birthday. Our group consist of 14 adults and 7 kids, we were 21 in total. Wow, what an magnificent experience , something unforgettable, we had the best time of our lives, a real blast! There are plenty activities all around the ship to keep all ages entertained, so no time of getting bored . The food, was amazing and you could never get hungry as there were food galore. The life entertainers were terrific, you could never just sit down. The clubs were always packed and the bar staff was on top of their game I must say, they were always more than happy to assist. Money well spend, will definitely recommend at any time.. Over all the best experience, entertainment I had over the years. One critique, the check in time process need urgent attention, we are waiting way to long 2-3 hours max in the queues to get on board. It's really frustrating and tiring:( Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Great Restaurants, good food, lots of entertainments friendly staff and very clean. Every staff was willing to help and assist. The food both at restaurants and buffet was very delicious and well prepared. The programs was well set and ... Read More
Great Restaurants, good food, lots of entertainments friendly staff and very clean. Every staff was willing to help and assist. The food both at restaurants and buffet was very delicious and well prepared. The programs was well set and entertaining. I have been on the cruise for the third time now. Every time I get in the ship I feel like it is for the first time. Friendly staff, good food and cleanliness is everywhere. I convinced a number of people to join me on the cruise, They were all happy, they had good time. We danced, we chatted and we were clubbing together. It was such nice experience never to forget. The bedding was changed everyday, Everywhere you go in the ship was clean. The staff all looked happy and looked enjoying what they are doing. This time I am planing a longer nigh cruise and bring more friends so that they can also experience the best that MSC is offering. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
My wife and I needed a decent holiday somewere were it is warm. A cruise seemed to be ideal since we had a good experience with a cruise in 2011. MSC cruises seemed a decent provider (boy were we wrong there). We did not wanted to book ... Read More
My wife and I needed a decent holiday somewere were it is warm. A cruise seemed to be ideal since we had a good experience with a cruise in 2011. MSC cruises seemed a decent provider (boy were we wrong there). We did not wanted to book COSTA due to the reviews saying that the language used on board was Italian. The same counts for at least the MSC Armonia, the whole entertainment crew (most of the time the contacts are between entertainment crew and guests) speaks 1st of all Italian, than Spanish, then Portugese, then German after al these laguages something that supposes to be English, but hardly recocnisable as such, comes to surface. The food in the restaurants was advocated to be made by a 2 star michelin chef, however the chef was not on board personally. The chef that was tasked to reproduce the 2 star chefs menu was far from par. example: beef carpachio consisting of a big portion Iceberg lettuce instead of rucola, boiled 1,5mm thick sandwich topping beef instead of untra thin sliced raw beef. The excursions advocated different experiences than the reality gave the participants, for example: an off road experience that does not go off road, a luxury beach trip were participants are left behind on a cold beach that was closed for swimming due to bad wheather (trip did not got cancelled and the participants payed +-€92,- each for basicly nothing. The crew that joins an excursion is only self experiencing rather than taking care of their guests. The MSC Armonia is like COSTA cruises equal to being little Italy including mobster way of treading their non Italian guest and fixing prize winning events such as what they called "the bet" My wife and I will never book MSC cruises again for the reason that we did not enjoy a cruise, or enjoyed the food, let alone the price/quality was out of balance. Be advised by our experiences in your decisions for this cruise ship. If you still decide to book this ship I hope your experience is better then ours was. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We were considering taking a cruise - with my parents, and then these spots opened up. We have spent much time preparing, and getting ready. It was a great relief to see that the cape town terminal has been upgraded and that ... Read More
We were considering taking a cruise - with my parents, and then these spots opened up. We have spent much time preparing, and getting ready. It was a great relief to see that the cape town terminal has been upgraded and that boarding has been improved significantly. We are considering taking another cruise towards the end of this year, maybe even the next. I was surprised to find the amount of activities catering for Children of all ages - this would make this option available to friends with small Kids as well. The balcony Cabin we booked was a huge surprise - it was a lot more spacious than we thought, and it was a real treat to simply just fall asleep with a open balcony door - knowing that everything is safe, and we have our own private nook of the world. I recommend this to all our friends - definitely Read Less
42 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My boyfriend and I had never been on a cruise so didn't know where to start when booking. After some research we came across the MSC Seaside and were mostly attracted to the ship as it was brand new. For a couple who have never been on a ... Read More
My boyfriend and I had never been on a cruise so didn't know where to start when booking. After some research we came across the MSC Seaside and were mostly attracted to the ship as it was brand new. For a couple who have never been on a cruise and were slightly wary of cruising the idea of an old weathered ship smelling of stale cigarettes was not what we wanted. So the fact this was the ships third voyage sealed the deal for us. We went with the Aurea package with the whirlpool suite and unlimited drinks. Any couples traveling I would highly recommend this room and package. We were unsure when we booked as it seemed a little extravagant to pay the extra money for a hot tub. BUT, I would say it was the best decision we made, we used it every morning and evening at sunset, it worked with no problems, had underwater lighting, 2 types of pressure and perfect temperature. The hot tub is also situated in a way that gave us the most relaxing view of sunset and the ocean as the ship sailed away. Some nights we spent 2 hours in there! The hot tubs around the ship are usually full of 8-10 people to so to have your own private one really made a difference. Other perks of the package were the unlimited drinks and use of spa. There were no loop wholes with the drinks package as I thought there might be. it literally was unlimited any drink at any bar and restaurant through out the whole ship (except room service for alcoholic drinks) Food - we found the food to be very good, I over heard a lot of Americans complaining about the food (I am an American) I think this is because it is an Italian cruise line so the options were more Euro style which is my opinion is a lot more of a broader selection. No there were not options of endless fried and junk food but instead fresh cheese, ham, fruit pastries as well as all the usual cooked breakfast options, eggs, bacon, pancakes etc etc... Basically if you are looking to gorge of junk food for a week this is not the cruise line for you. The options were endless and certainly enough to please everyone, the quality in my opinion was great, nothing ever ran out, as soon as certain foods were running low a fresh batch would appear. I have read reviews from the first cruise from italy and how bad the food was, I think this must have been resolved before we cruised as there was no way the food could have been described as in anyway bad unless you are reviewing for the New York Times ;) The Korean BBQ restaurant was our favorite, and the Butchers cut. I did not enjoy the seafood restaurant because of course being on a cruise the shell fish has to be frozen, so the crab i ordered had been de-frosted and was soggy. The fish was good but I would always avoid any shell fish on a cruise. Spa was brilliant, 8 different rooms, snow room was spectacular. We had a couples massage booked in with our package which was very good. Didnt use the swimming pools much as they were too cold, the adult only pool is a nice touch as the other pools were over run by children. Gym was very well equiped had more than my gym at home, and not too crowded. My boyfriend got a very good hair cut in the barbers for a good price. Arcade was fun but you have to pay additional which I dont think is correct, this should be included in the package, it doesnt cost the ship any extra to operate a bowling alley or 5D cinema so no reason to charge more, its just a money making scheme which seems harsh considering the amount cruisers have already paid. Seaview lounge was our favorite bar to have afternoon drinks, not too crowded always served quickly and good views of the oceans. Bar and food wise there are more than enough options and neither one was ever too busy even at the peak time we sailed. Staff we all very pleasant and quick with service, especially our dining staff. The only bad service we encountered was the MSC representative at Fort Lauderdale airport, she was actually very rude to us, would not help us we actually ended up getting the address for the port from a Royal Carribean worker, so that was not a great intro to our trip. There also seemed to be a lot of staff lingering around who couldnt actually answer questions, it was a lot of 'you need to go there' or you need to ask this person. The feeling of being passed on to someone else with no resolution seemed too frequent. Room service was very bad too, phones rarely were answered and when they were things either didnt arrive or came 1hr plus late. One evening we wanted to stay in the room and order room service for dinner, after trying to call for over an hour with no response we gave up and went to a buffet. Once someone did answer I asked why it took me 10 attempts to get though and they said it was very busy and they only had 4 phones. Not really a good enough excuse for a boat that holds 4000+ passengers, solution - get more phones - have lingering staff to answer them. Cleaning of the room was very good, always done on time and cleaned twice a day. Entertainment wasn't a big concern for us as we arent big show watchers, The 2 shows we did see were good. only 30 minutes which is the perfect amount of time, some of the dancers were of a very high standard, females I thought a lot stronger than males. Bingo was a lot of fun we played 3 times, I think they should have done more bingo as it seemed to be a big hit. There were always enough parties and things going on in the evening for a young couple no problems there. We stopped in Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Bahamas. We only booked one tour which was the Bob Marley tour in Jamaica, well worth it if you are a Bob Marley fan. Cozumel was the least favorite of our stops, Bahamas was beautiful. Weather wasnt great that week but if it is and you dont want to do an excusion just google the nearest best beach and jump in a taxi from the port. Its worth getting out for a couple of hours. Except Cozumel, unless you have booked an excusion you're best staying on the boat as there is nothing to see there. We got a taxi to a beach and it was full with other cruisers, over prices bad food and drink. Your better to stay on the boat and save the money, there is nothing to experice there. In summary, going into this experience somewhat wary of what a cruise entails we were pleasantly surprised. The mix of nationalities on the boat for us was a real plus, it showed people had flew in from all around the world for this ship. The ship was by far the most impressive we saw on all of our port stops and was very much in envy of the passengers travelling with other cruise lines! If you unsure of weather to book this from previous bad reviews, from what I saw any initial faults were fixed and we had a perfect sailing with very minimal problems, I would definitely sail on the seaside again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Precautious as first-time MSC cruisers, our 3-days prior-to-departure purchase paid off wonderfully! Other cruise lines going to our chosen Southern Caribbean ports on 11-night itineraries or less in early January were elevating their ... Read More
Precautious as first-time MSC cruisers, our 3-days prior-to-departure purchase paid off wonderfully! Other cruise lines going to our chosen Southern Caribbean ports on 11-night itineraries or less in early January were elevating their Interior fares to equal the $699 we paid for an Aft Balcony. Fares aboard this MSC Divina cruise were dropping at the end. Blog videos, pix, and reviews made the ship sound crowded, but since the balcony provided "private real estate" with a wonderful glass wall and wake view, we went for it and were so pleased! Deck chairs WERE rail-to-rail on sea days, but we chose to stroll decks in the mornings and evenings, timing some of our buffet visits to periods when it was almost empty. The terrific 3-story water slide was NEVER crowded the whole cruise! Embarkation-Disembarkation was efficient and pleasant taking about 30 minutes both times. My last-minute purchase gave the seller no time to send documents, but that presented MSC registrars no problems, smoothly processing us like others. MSC's European (Italian) culinary and entertainment style was just right for us. There were many healthful menu and buffet choices with always-wonderful breads of all varieties. From gymnasts to operatic vocalists, the tasteful theater shows charmed and thrilled, sometimes to tears. The cabin carpet was "tired," and corridors seemed to always have room service trays in them. Unlike other cruise lines, there were no super-soft beds with fine linens. Our Deck 13 Aft cabin transmitted vibrations and creaking sounds in the night. But, we enjoyed the view more than enough to compensate. High-deck Aft balconies are extremely shallow, but we adjusted the love seat to face the balcony and treated it like a very large picture window. We almost never buy ship excursions, opting for independent excursion operators available outside port terminals on-shore. In Aruba, "Full-Throttle" provided a 90-minute snorkling trip to reef and ship wreck for only $40! The whole trip was grand! Read Less
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