Family Fun & Mediterranean Hospitality

MSC Seaside Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 5
Helpful Votes: 227

Overall rating:

4.3 out of 5
Verified Review
MSC Seaside

7 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: July 28, 2018

Ship: MSC Seaside

Cabin type: Balcony

Traveled as: Family (young children)

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

Our family of three (husband, myself, and 9 year old son) just returned from a July Western Caribbean sailing to Ocho Rios, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Nassau. This was our first experience onboard MSC, and while we had read many reviews, the cruise was somewhat last minute, so we approached the cruise with an open mind and excitement to try an entirely new cruise line. We’ve been on 30 cruises with all the major mass market lines, mostly in Alaska, Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada/New England. Our Cabin: We enjoyed balcony cabin 10245, a Deck 10 balcony, somewhat Aft. We learned mid way through the cruise that the aft elevator bank was uncrowded and optimal for moving around the ship, plus the views are incredible facing the wake and rising up to the Bridge of Sighs. The cabin was well appointed with ample charging ports, however closet and stateroom storage was limited. The bathroom shower was small and my 6ft husband felt cramped, however we did appreciate the glass shower door, and shampoo/shower gel dispensers. As someone who doesn’t love bar soap for hand washing, I also appreciated the liquid hand-soap dispenser near the sink. Bathroom storage was adequate, but a bit more space in the bathroom would be beneficial. The bed was very comfortable and the pillows were perfect for us, a rarity for a cruise. One of our favorite features of this room was the sofa that converted two a bed. The sofa portion rises up, creating a “bunk” for your third guest to watch TV or hang out on top, while the bottom was made into a bed. I imagine the top bunk can accommodate a 4th person as an alternative setup. This was a favorite spot for our son to watch Cartoon Network after a long day in port, and he loved climbing the little bunk-ladder to access the top area. The balcony was fully covered and generously sized, overlooking the Deck 8 seating area for the buffet. You could often hear guests in this area while they were eating, as well as some music/noise from the pool, but it was never loud or distracting. The Ship: The ship is gorgeous and the outdoor-focused design concept is something we appreciated on the ship. We prefer ships with a “connected to the sea” appear, versus a shopping mall/Las Vegas design. The Bridge of Sighs, Champagne Bar, Thermal Suite, Deck 8 wrap around and Aft pool were some of our favorite spots. We didn’t spend any time in the pools, except for the Forest Aquaventure Park, which our son loved. Wristbands are needed for the zip line and large waterslides, and you’ll want to get that out of the way early in the cruise. Food/Dining Rooms: We tried as many dining spots as we could, but in 7 days, we missed some of the Specialty options. Here’s what we experienced: • 3 nights in MDR- both formal- the main dining area on this ship is bustling, and tables are quite close together. For a more quiet experience, try Butcher’s Cut or Ocean Cay. Food in the MDR is pretty standard for a mass market line. The pasta/Italian options seemed better than some of the others. As with any other cruise, if you don’t like something, send it back. • Teppanyaki is excellent and you’ll be smiling through the entire 2 hour experience. Excellent for families. • Ocean Cay is excellent with a crab appetizer that could be a meal. The 3 course experience is expensive, but can be used as one of your dining package options, should you purchase one. We returned a second night as we enjoyed the food and service so much. • Butcher’s Cut serves brunch on sea days for very reasonable a la carte prices. Not many people seem to know about this, so it’s an uncrowded treat on the first sea day. • Lunches: We tried Room service, buffet, brunch in Steakhouse, and lots of lunches ashore. The buffet pizza is excellent if you like the more Italian style pizza (thinner crust, less cheese) and seemed to be always available. The Deck 8 buffet did get crowded at times, but the outdoor seating is a nice escape during good weather. • Food/Favorites: Gelato, Coffee, Pizza, Venchi – and we LOVED soda’s served in cans, versus “bar coke”. We hit the main Venchi location at least 4 times and fell in love with the coffee, hot cocoa and cocktails. Don’t miss it! Experiences onboard: The Thermal Suite is the best I’ve ever experienced at sea. With a snow room, and several sensory steam rooms, I could have visited every day. If you can, invest in the pass, or better yet, book the Aurea experience which includes the pass. On our sailing, pricing in USD was as follows: • $70 day pass/$105 couples • Cruise/week Pass: $200 pp $300 couple Entertainment: We attended 2 Shows, Peter Punk and “Fly”. Both were excellent and just the right length (under 45 min). The crowd LOVED them, and we appreciated that most nights they offered 2-3 seatings. It’s best to reserve through the MSC for me app or a kiosk. The open deck White Party was AMAZING and absolutely one of the highlights of this cruise. It was well attended and the staff taught a number of dances- including some international ones which you could tell the guests loved. Kid’s Center: We had an excellent experience with the kids center onboard, and our son loved the massive supply of legos in his age group. Internet packages: I had a 6gb package for up to 4 devices, but there are other choices, including an unlimited one for one device for $90 per cruise. I would recommend an unlimited package, if one is available to you. I got about 7 hours of use out of my 6gb and still had some remaining at the end of the cruise. Waterslides are fun and awesome for kids and adults alike on this ship. The only annoyance is you need a wristband to use them, and the lines can be long. Get the wristband/waiver out of the way on day 1 or 2 so it’s not a buzzkill. TIPS: • If you have loyalty with another line, be sure to research Status Match with MSC • Download the MSC for me app • Try the Aurea experience • Thermal pass is worth the $ • Look at the pricing and at least consider the yacht club- pricing is similar to premium experiences on other lines • Get wristbands early for zip line and waterslides • Keep an open mind re: dining and passengers: both are European, but we saw it as an adventure, something new, exciting and different • Book a room with a large bath/shower stall if shower space is an issue • Use the aft evelator Things we missed; • Laundry and irons • More storage in room • Bigger shower What we could live without: • Closures at buffet. Pizza and hamburgers only during some still busy times. • Tables are too cozy in the MDR. • Wristbands for waterslides is a buzzkill. Waiver should be signed at check in or allowed online. • Variety of drink packages for passengers in different “experiences” on the ship can be confusing. • Several pools have no shallow end, forcing swimmers to hang on the side or tread water. Things we liked: • Thermal Suite • Bridge of Sighs • Kids Center • Entertainment • White party • Aft pool • Coffee, Gelato and Pizza don’t disappoint. Visit Venchi! Best Features for Families: • Waterslides & Forest Aquaventure Park • Kids menus in specialty restaurants • Yacht Club is family Friendly


5 out of 5

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5


5 out of 5

Children's Programs

5 out of 5

Service and Staff

4 out of 5

Ship Quality

5 out of 5

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5

Ship tip

thermal Suite is worth the cost

Ports of call

Miami, Florida

4 out of 5

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

4 out of 5

George Town, Grand Cayman

4 out of 5

Cozumel, Mexico

4 out of 5

Nassau, Bahamas

4 out of 5


5 out of 5

Traveler Photos

Teppanyaki cocktail Dark Sensory Steam Room Ocean Cay Specialty Restaurant BEST White party on Deck. Don't miss! FI opening times Wristband- worth the $5 Mr. Sanchos, Cozumel Yacht Club Top Sail Lounge Yacht Club views
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