Seaside review

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ddemarco731 posted this 11 September 2018

Here is my assessment of the MSC Seaside. 

 

Let me break this down and be as fair as possible. I booked the MSC Seaside on a casino offer as a Bella package. It was a very strong offer and I am very grateful to my host at URComped as well as the host from MSC. Both of the hosts are amazing at what they do and did a fantastic job for us.

 

That said, let’s dive-in to what MSC Seaside offers to give you my cruise experience, I have been a devoted Carnivallian (Carnival Cruiser) since 2005. That said, I have taken enough of cruises with that line to utilize them as a benchmark for my experience/assessment.  In the following I will share my opinions and observations.

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ddemarco731 posted this 11 September 2018

Things not covered below:

·       2 Lane Full Size Bowling Alley (Deck 7) $$ -

o   Not well maintained – No oil on lanes do not make you wear proper footwear – Awesome for Kids – not for serious avid bowlers. (I get it, they are catering to fun)

§  Expensive @ $25 ½ hour.

·       Zip Line (Deck 19) $$

o   It’s ok

§  Expensive @ 9 Dollars per ride

·       Billard’s Table (Deck 6)

o   Cool place to hang – hard to get a game at times

·       Casino (Deck 7)

·       Pools (South Beach Deck 6, Jungle Pool Deck 10)

o   South Beach pool closes @ 8pm

o   Jungle open til 10pm – LOTS of Children!

ddemarco731 posted this 11 September 2018

 

Entertainment –

This is the strongest area for MSC. They definitely invested a lot of time, energy, and money into their Stage Shows. All show’s on the boat run (approx. 30 minutes) and feature exceptional singing, dancing, acting, and acrobatics from a multi-national gifted case. The theater itself is quite small considering the boat can carry 5k passengers. This can make getting seats down right tricky if not impossible. Although, with its smaller size it can be a very interactive experience for its audience. Each night of the cruise the shows run 3 times a night. This allows as many guests as possible to experience it. Keep in mind you MUST, MUST, MUST make reservations. Should you not, it’s very likely you will be turned away or left to SRO (standing room only – top of theatre). The best way to make your reservation is to utilize the MSC for ME app. If you do not wish to use your smart phone the ship has GIANT directory screens around the ship which you can also book showtimes or review your itinerary.  Reservations are held until 10 minutes before the start of each show.

 

Watching the shows on the cruise, MSC has common acts in each of their shows, but the rich  acoustics, energetic cast, and fun themes made watching each show somewhat enjoyable. I will say that each of the shows start out good and then get “weird”, not bad weird however you typically leave the show thinking – “what the hell did I just watch” although again, it’s incredibly entertaining… As well, BeerProv is pretty good it’s like “Who’s Line Is It Anyways” live. You can even volunteer to be in the show!

 

If I had to rank the stage shows in order of enjoyability:

·       Peter Punk

·       Fly

·       Dream

·       The Wizard

·       Butterflies

·       Timeless

·       Forever Frank (Sinatra Show)

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ddemarco731 posted this 11 September 2018

 Buffets

2 Buffets on the boat - Marketplace Buffet on Deck 8 has a lot of options which are close to Carnival fare however, the food is a better quality. The pizza is to DIE for. I didn’t think it would be possible to get a nice New York Style Pizza on a boat but, they did it! This buffet gets SUPER busy in the mornings but there is usually plenty of places to sit. The good news is that there is a TON of outdoor seating. There are self-serve, beer, wine and soft drink machines at the back of the buffet. If you have one of the unlimited beverage packages, you can also use these machines without any extra cost which is a nice perk.

There is a smaller buffet on Deck 16 Biscayne Bay Buffet, it’s really small and does not have a big selection of food options honestly, skip it.. Unless it’s the morning… As do have the made to order omelets and eggs in the morning and it’s usually slower but, it’s a craps-shoot….

Service at the buffet has some opportunities – told staff on 2 different occasions they were out of something (milk & creamer) rather than get it for me – they told me go to another area.  Oh and guess what.. Those locations didn’t have what I was looking for either. Oh well, que sera sera!

ddemarco731 posted this 11 September 2018

Main Dining Room

The Main Dining Room is a bone of contention for me. We had dinner in the Ipanema Restaurant at 9:15 pm… WAY too late and WAY too slow. The overall food quality and presentation was good. Speed and attentiveness of the wait staff in Main Dining is terribly lacking. Ate in the dining room twice due to speed and GAVE UP! Dinner took over 1 ½ hours each night and trying to get someone to fill your water glass was near impossible.  They do 1 waiter per every 4 tables or so and do not exercise a Team Waitstaff environment this is a major wrinkle in my opinion. No one to take care of you because they are too busy going to get 4 tables worth of food. This is an area of opportunity

 

Specialty Dining (Trio Package)

The package will let you choose 3 restaurants and 3 menu items from a Prix Fixe menu (Appetizer, Entrée, and Dessert). The Trio Dining Experience will set you back $120 per person (On the boat) and has a rather small repetitive menu at each of the restaurants we frequented (Butcher’s Cut, Ocean Cay, and Pan-Asian). You can order something from the regular menu rather then the Prix Fixe however, it will only make the item ½ price. That said, the specialty restaurants on MSC Seaside are quite expensive ($50) as compared to Carnival ($15) and you do not get full selection from the menu unless you order a la carte and pay the difference.

We purchased the TRIO package for our dining experiences and I can say this juice is NOT worth the squeeze.  The Prix Fixe menu is the equivalent of an everyday menu you can get in the normal dining room although, The Butcher’s Cut was the exception.  If I had to place in order of value

·       Butcher’s Cut

·       Pan-Asian (NO SUSHI on Prix Fixe which equates to no value)

·       Ocean Cay (SKIP! No value)

ddemarco731 posted this 11 September 2018

Thermal Spa Area – (9am – 9pm)

Purchased the Thermal Spa Area on the boat and it is pretty great! On both the port and starboard sides of the ship, you’ll find a private deck area for spa guests with padded lounge chairs. Staff is pretty friendly and helpful. The actual thermal spa has a 12 person whirlpool, light and dark sensory steam rooms, two saunas (Finish and Soft), snow room (Brrrrrrr), salt room and about 6 showers with aroma therapy. In addition, there is a shower path to use as well (pretty different)… We purchased the Thermal access prior to the cruise for around $280 for a couple. I would recommend booking it early if you are a Bella cruiser as space is limited. 

Casino

Did a lot of day gaming on this trip unfortunately, the casino was rather smoky at night and unfortunately, there was not a Non-Smoking area. Drink service worked a little wonky. If you could find a drink runner they needed to pull your card out of the machine and take it with them to the bar to get your drink… Found out the hard way that when they pull the card out, you’re not getting rated… BEWARE of this especially if you are pulling big!  The nice thing is that if your drinks are comped, you can walk up to the bar and order at no charge. This is a perk although, drink service in the casino is slow – This place is hopping and the bar staff can’t keep up at times.

Cool thing that the casino does is on Sea Days they offer reduced minimum’s in the morning’s so 3 dollar minimum instead of normal $10.  Roulette minimum of .50 cents that’s pretty progressive and awesome!

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ddemarco731 posted this 11 September 2018

Embark/Debark

Embark and Disembark was by far one of the most efficient processes. We got onto the boat within 15 minutes upon arriving at the port this was great as we loaded onto the boat by 1pm and were free to enjoy all amenities and familiarize ourselves with the ship.


Debark was easy as well as we did walk-off  you can choose to do this starting @ 7am. I would highly recommend this as it took us less than 15 mins to get through customs.

 

Staterooms

We had an inside cabin on the 10th floor which was centrally located room #10185 2 floors above buffet by glass elevators mid-ship. This room was fairly standard however, I would have sacrificed some space to make up for the bathroom. That puppy was TIIIIIIIIIIIGHHHHHT! Granted I am a larger guy but if you are over 5’8 there is no way you can sit on the toilet comfortably without your knees in the sink counter. In addition, if you weigh over 220lbs you’re likely going to have a hard time taking a shower without having to keep door open.

Carnival has larger showers and toilet areas in staterooms…

Pro Tip: Use the restrooms on the 6th deck at back of pool and shower in the Gym you will likely have a better experience.

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ddemarco731 posted this 11 September 2018

 Buffets

2 Buffets on the boat - Marketplace Buffet on Deck 8 has a lot of options which are close to Carnival fare however, the food is a better quality. The pizza is to DIE for. I didn’t think it would be possible to get a nice New York Style Pizza on a boat but, they did it! This buffet gets SUPER busy in the mornings but there is usually plenty of places to sit. The good news is that there is a TON of outdoor seating. There are self-serve, beer, wine and soft drink machines at the back of the buffet. If you have one of the unlimited beverage packages, you can also use these machines without any extra cost which is a nice perk.

There is a smaller buffet on Deck 16 Biscayne Bay Buffet, it’s really small and does not have a big selection of food options honestly, skip it.. Unless it’s the morning… As do have the made to order omelets and eggs in the morning and it’s usually slower but, it’s a craps-shoot….

Service at the buffet has some opportunities – told staff on 2 different occasions they were out of something (milk & creamer) rather than get it for me – they told me go to another area.  Oh and guess what.. Those locations didn’t have what I was looking for either. Oh well, que sera sera!


-- ddemarco731

FireEMT978 posted this 30 October 2018

Good review. Almost a mirror of my review on Facebook.

Tlk9557 posted this 04 November 2018

Thanks!  Very good info.

gkbii posted this 4 weeks ago

The Casino was by far the smokiest I have been in, it was too much for me and limited my play to two machines, outside main casino.

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Curineia posted this 2 weeks ago

 Great review! THANK YOU! 

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