Trust and Verify, because what you're told is not necessarily true. Our family was disappointed with this cruise simply because we expected something different. We were told that this ship was only staffed with an Italian crew (it wasn't), that the dining was exceptional (it wasn't), that the Aurea Experience was far and away the best option for booking on this ship (not necessarily), and that the port stops and excursions were A++ (again, not true). We will not cruise with MSC again.
All of that being said, the sailing was uneventful (always a good thing), the crew/staff of the MSC Seaside were extremely personable, helpful and great to deal with, the ship really is a floating city, and we learned - again - that it's people who make the experien
5 out of 5
Embarkation was great! Organized well for boarding the ship in an orderly time frame.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
TRUST THEN VERIFY. There are 3 restaurant alternatives included in your passage - the main dining room, the Ipanema dining room, and the buffets. I wish that I had thought to verify the menu choices when I booked this cruise.
Regardless of whether you choose the main dining room or the Ipanema, there is no difference in the daily menu. The food choices are identical instead of offering different cuisines in each. We've never been on a cruise where the menus in all the dining rooms - in this case two - are identical.
There are two buffets, both serving the same daily choices and both laid out the same way. While there are some interesting stations on the buffet - the Mediterranean stations comes to mind - the food is laid out in self-serve chafing dishes and labeled with a "generic" name. There is no indication of the ingredients, which is a dangerous thing for anyone with food allergies. Seasonings blend in when cooked, but for someone like me who is allergic to turmeric, it's not worth taking the chance on eating foods that may be a threat to my health. Seating can be a treacherous endeavor, as everyone is looking for a table the same way you are.
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Recognizing that there are passengers from all over the world, there is a definite language barrier to consider when it comes to entertainment. The stage shows are presented by movement and music. The costuming was impressive, and sometimes extravagant, and the performers were very, very good. The shows brought Cirque du Soleil to mind (on a very small scale). I noticed that there were many people who watched the shows with their mouths open (literally). The one opera performance offered at 4:00 in the afternoon was outstanding. The synchronization of the performers in these stage shows is truly mind boggling.
The DJs in the lounges and in the main bar area were also good, but the volume was much too loud for us to stay for any length of time.
We didn't have children with us
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
We were absolutely BLESSED to have Ervina as our room steward - it was like having a magic wand. Somehow she was able to provide anything we requested within the hour - outstanding!
Nana, one of the Guest Services staff, had answers to any questions I asked. She was very quick, very professional, and very willing to simplify directions. It was Nana who explained that ONLY ONE CREDIT CARD CAN BE USED FOR YOUR CABIN (regardless of how many people are in the cabin). We've never been on a cruise where this was the case and it would have been very helpful if this information were posted on the kiosks.
The wait staff, as well as the hosts/hostesses in the different areas of the ship were very pleasant, very efficient and very personable. The Fine Jewelry and Fashion Jewelry shops were particularly charming and helpful.
When I made this booking I was told that all the crew were from Italy (since MSC is an Italian cruise line). This is definitely NOT the case. I was surprised with the international diversity of the crew. Since this cruise was a birthday gift for my granddaughter who has taken 4 years of Italian, this was a BIG disappointment.
3 out of 5
The layout of this ship wasn't conducive to blending activities. While the shops and Piazza area were centrally located, the pools were all over the ship and the adult pool on the 18th floor wasn't listed. There weren't enough centrally located lifts, which made every time you left the cabin an unnecessary trek. The corridors were slightly narrow, preventing people going in different direction from passing one another without one of the parties stepping aside. The corridors on board this ship reminded me of a child's maze with many cut-off corridors and few directional signs. While I'm not particularly a fan of mirrors and chrome, I think the ship's decor is open and pleasant to see.
This is a large ship, but it is PERFECTLY maintained. There were no areas that were less than perfect, including the rest rooms and buffets. Since I can't get this much done in my own home, I would love to have just one of the maintenance staff come and visit.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
The cabin was great. Very comfortable, exceptionally clean (kudos to our room steward, Elvina!), and the overall size was fine for 3 adults.
TRUST AND VERIFY the things that are important to you.
We booked an excursion called Sightseeing, Shopping & Beach. What a waste of time. Sightseeing wasn't narrated, so we had no idea what we were looking at as we drove along. Shopping was limited to a half circle of vendors all selling the same thing. And the "beach" was actually a stop at a beach bar that had available space for changing clothes. (We liked the beach bar a lot!)
It disappoints every time when things are changed without reason.
The Straw Market, which once upon a time was just as you exited the ship, has been moved to an unattractive brown building without air conditioning, and has virtually no space between the aisles of vendors (all selling the same thing). The charm is gone, the vendors are extremely competitive, and we couldn't wait to get out of there.
We found the shopping in Nassau to be pleasant enough, but nothing to write home about. We chose not to visit Atlantis, which obviously has taken over the tourist trade.
5 out of 5
Like embarkation, disembarkation was great! We moved along
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