Food on MSC Seashore is good, although you'll notice some differences on this ship compared to other mainstream lines such as Royal Caribbean or Carnival. Those cruise ships tend to have lots of standalone fast food-style restaurants serving chicken sandwiches or burgers on their Lido , whereas MSC Seashore is more traditional. On MSC Seashore, there's a large buffet and four main dining rooms that are complimentary, and five specialty restaurants. Yacht Club guests have their own included restaurant and buffet.
5th Avenue Restaurant; Tribeca Restaurant; Central Park Restaurant and Manhattan Restaurant: This quartet of restaurants, spread out among decks 5, 6 and 7, make up the "main dining room" for MSC Seashore. Having smaller restaurants for the bulk of passenger meals (as opposed to the grand dining room you find on some cruise ships) makes your meal feel more intimate and gives you a better relationship with your server. All of the restaurants have the same menu. Manhattan is open just for Aurea experience guests.
We found the service in MSC Seashore's main dining room much better than we experienced on previous MSC cruise ships. Orders were taken quickly, dishes brought out promptly (and hot) and meals were wrapped up in just over an hour.
Where the MSC Seashore main dining room suffered was in a lack of consistency in the food. While we had a decent meal one night, the dinners served on an Elegant Night were an unusual consistency and flavor, with one dish being inedible. Main dining room food is one area where MSC Seashore needs improvement.
Marketplace Buffet: MSC's buffet on Deck 16 is expansive, and has a large array of choices, for all tastes. You can find American favorites, such as burgers and hot dogs, as well as more international flavors. Don't miss the pizza, which has a crisp crackly crust and an array of toppings (MSC has Italian roots so our pizza hopes were high).
One nice thing about the Marketplace on MSC Seashore is that unlike the other Seaside-class ships, buffet seating extends outside to the back of the ship for al fresco dining. The lovely Sky Bar is out here, as well as the Bridge of Sighs, a clear walkway where you can look all the way down to the Infinity Pool on Deck 8.
A downside of MSC Seashore -- we couldn't find any free ice cream options onboard. You can buy gelato (and it's good gelato) in multiple locations onboard. But soft serve lovers will be disappointed.
Room Service: Unlike other cruise lines, room service fees are determined by cabin category on MSC Seashore. Fantastica passengers will pay a fee for non-breakfast items, while room service is free for guests in Aurea or Yacht Club cabins. You can also get the Neapolitan pizza from the buffet delivered to your room for a fee. Room service is available 24/7.
Your Yacht Club cabin comes with its own restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a buffet and grill on the sundeck where something is always available until 6 p.m. The Top Sail lounge also has nibbles available all day and long into the evening. Tip: Don't miss the daily afternoon tea here.
Yacht Club Restaurant: The serenity of the Yacht Club restaurant at dinner is a stark contrast to the bustling feel that you experience in the MSC Seashore main dining rooms. The menu changes daily, and there are more upscale options that you find; that's on purpose, according to the Yacht Club manager. You're greeted by name here, and as the week goes on, the servers and sommeliers will definitely note your preferences and make the appropriate recommendations. Tip: At breakfast, Yacht Club regulars swear by the tiny donuts.
The One Pool Grill & Bar. Located within the Yacht Club sundeck, the buffet line can sometimes feel surprisingly small, particularly at the height of mealtime (the crowds we saw here during a Seafood Extravaganza lunch were the most we saw on the entire ship). Still, the buffet and grill get the job done. You could easily come up here at 10 a.m. and have your noshing needs met until sunset.
The specialty restaurants on MSC Seashore all delivered, and we had outstanding meals at each of them. They are on the pricy side compared to other mainstream cruise lines. Tip: You can save money by buying a specialty dining package, either before you board or once you're on. We highly recommend it, just to have more variety. Note that if you have a dining package, there are only certain menu items that are included; if you want something else, you'll pay 50% of the cost.
All of the specialty restaurants are clustered on Deck 8 in the Chefs' Court, a smart decision that also opened up some venues for open air dining. This area is also away from the main dining rooms and the buffet so it always seems relatively serene and "date night"-ish.
Kaito Teppanaki ($$$, kids menu available): This restaurant is one of the biggest Teppanaki restaurants we've ever seen at sea. The format is similar to what you find on land: diners sit around a large open air cook top, where the chef dazzles you with knife skills and corny jokes as he serves up your choice of set menu. Catch the egg for a round of applause.
Ocean Cay ($$$$): This seafood restaurant is the prettiest onboard and definitely gives off "romantic night out" vibes. It's the most expensive restaurant on MSC Seashore, particularly if you go for the extravagant seafood tower (we saw several tables diving in). The Experience menu gives you some nice options. Our pasta with clams came out perfectly al dente, with nary a closed shell in the mix. The crab cake app had very little filler and we wish that every tartare we ordered was as well balanced as the one we had here.
Butchers Cut ($$$; brunch, $$): Our colleague regards Butchers Cut the best mainstream cruise line steakhouse at sea, and we're hard pressed to argue. We were blown away by the appetizers, which included foie gras deviled eggs and a huge bone full of marrow -- this is not light eating. (You can also get a variety of salads, if you want to save the richness for the main course). The desserts here were the best on the ship. Tip: Book an outdoor table at sunset.
There's also an extensive and delicious-looking brunch menu that we didn't get to try on this trip.
Kaito Sushi (a la carte, $): The sushi conveyor belt at Kaito is a cute idea for a quick casual dinner; and it seemed particularly popular with the teens onboard. The idea is simple -- the chef puts out different items in small covered dishes on the conveyor belt. As the rolls and sashimi go by, you pick up what you want to eat and the server will count the dishes, which are color coded by price, for your final bill (there's a menu with a key to help decipher it all). You can also order soup and cooked items. Just keep your expectations in line. If you come from a coastal city with outstanding sushi, you might not love the quality. But it was as good as we get in our Philadelphia suburb.
Tip: If there's a roll you want and it's not coming by, just ask your server for it and the chef will make it for you.
Hola! Tacos & Cantina (a la carte, $): We're still thinking about the Mexican food at this casual restaurant. It's located away from the other specialty venues but still on Deck 8, close to the Atrium and has fun Day of the Dead decor. The tacos and other menu items here are influenced by Mexico City, not Tex-Mex, and so it's all more flavorful than what you find on other mainstream cruise lines. Standouts here include the guacamole -- you can either order it and have the chef make it or build your own; the variety of tacos and the make-your-own craft margarita menu (note: the margaritas here are not included in your drink package. But don't worry, they're worth it).
Venchi 1878 Chocolate Bar: This isn't really a restaurant, but people with a sweet tooth will want to seek out the chocolate counter here. Unlike on MSC Meraviglia, where Venchi is placed front and center, you have to work to find Venchi on MSC Seashore as it's hidden away on Deck 6 near the duty free shops. You can also buy gelato to eat as you watch a chocolate sculpture being created.
We tried and loved all of the specialty restaurants on MSC Seashore, but the one we're still talking about is Hola! Tacos & Cantina. While it's a la carte, the food is more authentically Mexican than you find on many mainstream cruise ships and the custom margarita menu allows you to select type of tequila or mezcal, salt or sugar and flavor. Don't miss, either for lunch or dinner. We'd choose either Butcher's Cut or Ocean Cay for a romantic night out -- honestly, with a specialty dining package, we'd probably do both.
MSC Seashore treats dietary restrictions seriously and has separate galleys for vegan and gluten-free travelers. Travelers with dietary restrictions are asked to mark that when they check in, and it's always a good idea to alert the maitre'd in the main dining room if you have an allergy. (In the Yacht Club, your butler will ask).
Vegetarian, vegan and lighter dishes are noted on the nightly menus in the main dining room, although not in the specialty dining venues. In all of the restaurants we visited, however, our server asked us if we had allergies or dining restrictions.