I am in the Baltic's for work, and had a set time to take a vacation, so my choices were limited on where and when I could go. I have been on two cruises with RCCL, one in the Mediterranean and one Caribbean some years ago. Both were ... Read More
I am in the Baltic's for work, and had a set time to take a vacation, so my choices were limited on where and when I could go. I have been on two cruises with RCCL, one in the Mediterranean and one Caribbean some years ago. Both were really nice experiences. I was going to book on the Symphony of the Seas, but wow, they are getting very pricey. I stumbled online across the not yet finished MSC Seaside. I knew nothing about MSC Cruise lines so I did a lot of research and found many negative comments and some excellent ones. The dates worked out so I took the chance and booked my cruise on the Seaview, purchasing an interior cabin on the 10th deck. I purchased a welcome bottle of prosecco and the All inclusive drink package.
I found MSC's website a tad confusing and lacking on detailed information. After much reading on this site it made things somewhat more clear. I had even conflicting information when I called the company! I was nervous about going on a new ship (possible delays, mechanical issues etc) and on a new line for me. After reading so many posts about MSC and the Yacht Club, I upgraded to the Yacht Club Interior Accessible cabin, 18033. They cancelled and refunded my prosecco and drink package as YC comes with the All Inclusive Deluxe package (very confusing as MSC told me on the phone it was a different package).
My heart crashed when I read online that the ship delivery was being delayed, but thankfully for me it was only the first cruise that was effected. I was on the second. The big day arrived and I was so excited. I arrived in Messina from Catania by train and walked to the port, which was not far, but wow it was hot! I was so VERY disappointed that the port of Messina would not even allow us to go into the terminal to wait to board! There was everyone waiting to board sitting on their luggage on the sidewalk in the very hot sun, looking like a bunch of refugees! I had to wait for about 2 hours and it was getting so hot it was very uncomfortable. I went to the cafe immediately across the road, which was not yet open and thankfully there were some table and seats under the umbrellas. I knew the port terminal was not the biggest or fanciest but not to let people in was totally unacceptable. It was open for passengers disembarking or going of ship to sight see.
Once they finally decided to let the mass into the terminal, I saw a member of the Yacht Club with a sign. Once we met, I was embarked quite quickly. One note, I have to say that the MSC Seaside security team were the most professional I have seen! Great work and kudos to them for what they do to keep us safe!
The butler escorted me (the long way as he got slightly lost) to the YC concierge desk and they introduced themselves and explained how things work and what was available etc. First impressions after the terminal fiasco were amazing! Such a beautiful ship!
The cabin was beautiful and very well appointed. Many upgrades such as a welcome bottle of prosseco and fresh fruit waiting. The cabin for the most part was perfect. Only issues was the closet is tight for space, and the plugs, Euro 220v and North American 110v plugs, 2 of each are very close and if you use an adapter it blocks the 2nd plug. There are also USB plugs as well. The other tiny issues were the toilet was a bit picky to get to flush and the shower water temperature went up and down as you showered. I'm guessing new ship issues. The cabin was kept very well and the staff were very friendly and professional. The phones in YC cabins are amazing high quality phones that even have video chat available!
I ate breakfast and dinner in the YC Top Sail restaurant every day, except one night I ate in the Butchers Cut Steak restaurant. The service was excellent, and the food very good. No complaints, however I found that the YC kitchen didn't go quite as far for the above and beyond as i have heard from other reviews on this site, but it was still very good. The YC Lounge provided a very relaxing atmosphere with excellent live music and top notch service! Went to the buffets on decks 8 and 16 for a few snacks and the food was good but the areas can get VERY busy at times! The gelato was soo nice!
The bars were excellent and service as great. Sometimes the bartenders were slammed with orders but worked so well and as fast as they could. I hate to do this, as the service was excellent in all the bars I went to, but I have to say an extra thank you for the above and beyond service I received from Anna and the others in the Champagne bar! They went the extra mile and made for VERY memorable times!
The shows I thought were short but well done, but they do not use musicians, but recorded music and did recycle some acts and props between shows but they were still entertaining. Make sure to make a reservation! This is easily done using the cabin TV, the stations all over the ship or the MSC For Me app, which for the most part worked very well. Couple of times it got a little out of sorts, but not a big deal. As YC I had free access to the Thermal area of the spa! What a wonderful and very relaxing getaway! The only issues was an alarm kept going off, another tiny new ship issue which I hope they fix soon, and one thing that did annoy me a bit, is how loud some of the people in the spa were. Just a cultural thing, but perhaps they should put up a sign or something to remind them to just be more quiet. The pool and whirlpools in the YC were wonderful and quiet and the others were good but did get quite busy at times, which is to be expected on a ship this size. I was blown away on how well they engineered all the deck space outside which gave lots of room to lay outside or eat at the tables. One weird thing I did notice is there are no garbage receptacles to be found and sometimes you had to go the distance to get rid of garbage.
The zip line was fun but not something I would do too many times. The water slides were fun as well, and children seemed to enjoy the water park! I did love the Formula one simulator, but twice the experience was messed up when Captain Scala made one of his many multi language announcements. Normally i wouldn't mind, put when you are paying 10 Euro for 5 minutes, I expect the full experience uninterrupted. The bridge should let the arcade know when they are going to make an announcement so we can wait till after they are done to race! The bridge of Sighs is very nice and the aft elevators offer an amazing ocean view.
I booked my shore excursions before my cruise and there was some minor issues booking, and they cancelled my excursion in Barcelona at the last minute (well after supper the night before) due to not enough people. I was disappointed to say the least as it was the one I was looking forward to the most. These things happen but I wish I had more time as I would have found a way to go on my own. I also found that in the Yacht Club you don't know your meeting time till very late at night, and couple of times I had to go to the concierge desk to ask, so I wouldn't miss my timings. The excursions I did go on were well done and I was happy with them.
One funny thing, I read about on this site was how Yacht Club members can hijack the elevators, and all the issues that go with it. Well that didn't seem to be an issue at all on my cruise. MSC has signs on one fore elevator, port and starboard stating priority for YC members. People, including myself did use the service and there were no complaints. Some people thought this was funny and challenged us to elevator races!
The only thing that I think that could have been better is the mandatory safety briefings held in the muster assembly area. They seemed a tad disorganized and some people didn't pay attention at all. Some muster areas are in the arcade area and had people walking right trough and making noise during the briefing. Passengers and MSC should put more effort into safety as when(god forbid) things do go bad it's too late to try to learn!
All in all, I had a very positive first experience with MSC Cruises. The Seaview is an amazing beautiful and steady ship and her master, Captain Scala was very approachable and ran a very good ship. many of the employees were very happy to be on the Seaview and under his command. There were a few minor things, but nothing is perfect. I had an excellent vacation, which went far too quickly. I would have no issues recommending this cruise and would love to do it again if the chance were ever to arise again. I am very happy I paid the difference and upgraded to Yacht Club, as it is like a ship within a ship. When the masses got a bit much, I just went to the YC area and relaxed. Thanks to all who worked so hard to give me a great vacation! Read Less