MSC Seaside is lively and fun, incorporating jaw-dropping entertainment, lots of outdoor spaces (it's a sun worshipper's paradise!) and family-friendly activities that include a 4D cinema, bowling, ziplines and a large water park.
But what really sets Seaside apart from other ships sailing in the Caribbean is its European flair and service and the international mix of cruisers onboard. The vessel's interior showcases glitzy Italian design, meals in the dining room are European-style (read slow, sometimes taking more than two hours) and service from waiters and bartenders usually comes minus the smile many North Americans expect. Don't get us wrong, most of the crew onboard are pleasant and generally helpful; just don't expect the over-the-top friendliness you often find on other cruise lines.
The one exception to this can be found in the ship's Yacht Club, a suites-only enclave for the ship's highest-paying passengers. Here, service is friendly, attentive and efficient, and many Yacht Club passengers spend the bulk of their time onboard within its confines, whether in the spacious lounge or on the exclusive Yacht Club sun deck with accompanying pool.
To cater to the ship's largely 40-something English- and Spanish-speaking passengers -- many of whom live within driving distance of Miami -- most announcements on Seaside are only made in English and Spanish. In the theater, however, you'll hear about five languages, and there's usually a large contingent of passengers from several European countries, including Italy and Germany. There are plenty of opportunities to make new friends from all over the world, with anywhere from 50 percent and up of your fellow passengers from outside of North America.
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One final note about MSC Seaside: Be prepared to pay extra for most of the onboard activities, including all of the oversized arcade-style attractions (4D cinema, Formula One racecar simulator, bowling, etc.) and outdoor activities like the zipline.
Daytime: Dress is casual, with people sporting everything from jeans and T-shirts to bathing suits and flip-flops.
Evening: In the evenings it's dressier, but more smart casual than formal, except for the two "elegant" (not formal) nights per cruise. Jackets for men (tie optional) and dresses or pantsuits for women are appropriate, but the code isn't enforced. Suits, tuxes and ball gowns are not necessary, but many passengers do wear them, particularly on "Meet the Captain" night.
Not permitted: T-shirts and shorts are not allowed in the ships' public areas in the evenings. No swimwear is allowed in main dining rooms. Jeans are not allowed in the dining room on elegant nights.
Read more about MSC Cruises dress code.
Back to cruising........to Nowhere with my teenagers and my parents