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About dznymom

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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  • Interests
    Travel, especially cruising and destination casinos
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Love them all
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    absolutely anywhere

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  1. There are many cruise ship activities that I am not interested in. That doesn't make them any less viable and I never begrudge anyone that participates and enjoys those activities. Seems to me that hiding and searching for ducks is pretty harmless, and might be lots of fun for some folks. There sure are a lot of curmudgeons on this forum lately. Hide your ducks, folks and have fun!
  2. No, we did a traditional one with Captain Marvin. It was perfect for us, but pretty tame if you are the wave runner type :)
  3. I guess I am a senior citizen, although I neither feel nor act like one. I just did a review of my Seaside cruise this month. You can get lots of my opinions in there, but this is how I felt about the things you mentioned. There were plenty of kids on board, but I found them to be the same as kids on any cruise, some extremely well behaved and a few knuckleheads. They never interfered with our enjoyment at all. The demographic on the ship was different, which I enjoyed for the most part. We met lots of fun folks from Europe and other parts of the world. Wherever you went you could hear many different languages which I thought was pretty cool. There were some guests with a different sense of personal space and less patience than I would prefer, but it wasn't really a problem. I did meet some people onboard that felt that a larger than usual number of rude cruisers were onboard. The staff was wonderful, and seemed much more sincere than many I have dealt with on other cruise lines. I was very pleased with them. There is plenty of entertainment, but we spent most of our pool time at the South Beach pool which did not have live entertainment most of the time. The Miami Beach pool area on deck 16 was a different story. Much too crowded and active for our taste, so we just didn't go there. We didn't miss it. There was entertainment in the Atrium most evenings, but this is true of most cruise lines these days. The shows in the main theater are excellent, but more of a spectacle than most other cruise lines. I think it really depends on you. We also cruise on Holland America and Princess, and this was more more lively than either of those. In my opinion, I would put it in the NCL category, but with a more diverse group of people onboard. I haven't done Carnival or Royal Caribbean for years, but I imagine they are similar in the activity and crowd level. The staff on the Seaside was as good or better than any of those.
  4. We were right downtown. I was surprised when I saw that in the itinerary, and half expected to be at the far end, but we did indeed dock at Punta Langosta. It is so much nicer than the ones in the south end if you just plan to wander around downtown!
  5. Because we got the Easy Drink package it does not include the frozen alcoholic drinks. However, we are entitled to any of the mocktails which includes the frozen virgin drinks, and we are also entitled to the house liquors. So, it's a way to work around the restrictions of the Easy Drink package. Since each person in the room has to get the same package, and my roommate doesn't drink much alcohol at all, it would not have been worth it to her to pay for the better package. Because the Easy Drinks are only a few dollars more than the non-alcohol package, she didn't mind paying for Easy Drinks even though she mostly drank water, sparkling water, soda and coffee drinks. SO this is a way to work around the restrictions. If you google your cruise girl msc easy drink you will find a great explanation of the package.
  6. I almost always have a very good cruise! I am there to enjoy myself, and that is what I do!! We were in 9044. I really liked the location due to proximity to the spa and it was a reasonable distance from the stairs/elevators. Plus we had a really good room steward. Actually, that picture was from the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. They had one of those on each table plus some chips and other munchies. They brought around trays of drinks which were much more interesting than I have encountered on other ships, but you could also order anything you like. The prosecco bucket was from Black card along with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries & a chocolate ship which appeared in our stateroom on the Jamaica day. We had our best luck at the South Beach Bar for speed of service, ability to improvise and overall friendliness. They also had a cappuccino machine there, so we were able to get those in the morning and later in the day with a coffee drinks with a shot of fun. I think it was the Shine bar in the Atrium that was good too, but we didn't spend much time there. We were creatures of habit from the moment we stepped onboard it seems!
  7. I just want to add that you don't need to book the Yacht Club to have a wonderful cruise on MSC. At no time did I feel like I was missing anything, and we were all amazed by how fabulous the crew was in every situation. I didn't mention the ports as we only got off twice because we loved having a nearly empty ship to ourselves. We did an independent Sting ray City & Snorkeling excursion in Grand cayman and it was excellent. In Cozumel, we just got off and went to Pancho's Backyard, my very favorite restaurant, and then did a bit of drunk shopping before getting back onboard before most everyone else.
  8. I haven't done an actual review for awhile, but I thought I would give it a whirl this time. This was my second cruise on the Seaside but I have over 50 cruises on most of the mainstream lines, so I think I have a pretty good point of reference. This was an excellent cruise with many, many positives and only a couple of little negatives. I will definitely sail again with MSC Embarkation could not have been better. We left the Intercontinental a few minutes after 11 and we were onboard sipping our first cocktail (after purchasing our beverage packages) at 12:07. Staterooms were ready a bit before 2, I think. I booked a Bella Outside guarantee but a couple days before the cruise we got assigned to a Balcony with an oversized balcony (I think it was classified as Aurea?) right over the Spa area. Our friends booked a Bella Balcony guarantee and were upgraded to a little suite with a whirlpool on the balcony. We were all thrilled with the upgrades, and it started things off on a high note. I found the storage in the balcony was adequate for 2 women with lots of stuff, although I was glad I brought the over the door shoe holder for lots of our odds and ends. We all got the easy drink package. It was a non-issue ordering pina coladas, frozen margaritas and other frozen concoctions. After specifying once that we would have the non-alcoholic version with the booze on the side, they just mixed them for us. It was delightful! I think that package is a great value for most people. My only complaint is that I love decent wine and I could not abide either of the reds, and the whites were barely palatable. But I suffered through. The prosecco was okay, especially with a splash or cranberry or OJ. And we drank tons of water and sparkling water, so we definitely got our money's worth. We are smokers and spent lots and lots of time in the smoking area on Deck 7 at the South Beach Pool Bar. The bartenders and servers were exceptional and kept us fully hydrated all week. It's a pleasant enough area and is covered, so works well when the weather isn't great. We ate most breakfasts and lunches at the buffet. I think it compares favorably to most of the cruise buffets I have encountered, although there are some that are a step or 2 above in variety. The food was fresh and good and we sure didn't go hungry. The carving station was usually very good, and varied between roast pork, roast turkey, beef, fish and chicken from day to day. I loved the mediterranean station, and the grill and pizza were very good. Desserts were hit or miss, but that's the case on every cruise I think. Breakfast was the usual. There were ample omelet stations and I never had more than 2 people in front of me, although I avoided the buffet on port mornings during "rush hour". One afternoon after it rained in port, I made the mistake of hitting the buffet with every other person on the ship, and it was a mob scene. This was the one place I encountered rude people from time to time, but I kept reminding myself that I was on vacation and to shrug it off. We had early dining in the Ipanema dining room. We had a terrific serving team, and enjoyed all of our dinners. After the first night they brought us 2 bread baskets every night because my buddies were decimating it! For entrees rack of lamb, duck, chicken parmesan and prime rib particularly stood out. There were some fabulous appetizers - Crispy pancetta with asparagus and hollandaise, mushroom and leek quiche, a mushroom tarte, and a lovely charcuterie plate were my favorites. I never had to resort to the everyday menu as something else always appealed to me. Desserts were good but not exceptional, but we were usually stuffed by then. We got our drinks quickly and I had refills of wine most evenings. The only thing that took some time was cappuccino, but I think our guy must have had to go somewhere else to get it. All in all, the MDR food was very good. Butcher's Cut was exceptional. We had a wonderful server and our steaks and sides were all cooked perfectly. Desserts were also fabulous. We were able to use our drink package there, although I thought I had read that you couldn't. I splurged for a beautiful pinot noir though, and it was worth it. Sadly, I forgot my camera this night as the food was beautiful and the sunset was spectacular. I had a spa pass and throughly enjoyed my time there. It was never crowded and I used it most days. I love the heated loungers, the salt room and the therapy pool, but my favorite is the hot tub on deck. I only shared it once, so it was heavenly out there. My roommate showered there everyday instead of in the room, since it was so convenient to our room, so that was nice for both of us. We were booked on a casino offer, so we spent too much time in there. Truthfully, the casino is far too small with too little variety for such a large ship. But the drink service in there is crazy good, and having the casino drinks as part of our deal, I was able to get some better wines and liquors in there which was nice. Bernie was one of the best servers I have encountered anywhere! We won't talk about the payouts (or lack thereof) haha. I actually went to 2 shows which is rare for me, but I enjoyed them both. Peter Punk was pretty bizarre (must have been a stoner that put that one together!) but quite an enjoyable spectacle. Moonwalker, the Michael Jackson tribute, was one of the best shows I have ever seen at sea. Really, really good. We didn't do any other activities, but there seemed to be plenty to do. We loved that the pools were so deep as we were actually comfortable getting in them and swimming a bit, as opposed to the Human Stew pools on other cruises where people stand in them shoulder to shoulder drinking all day (yuck). We loved the South beach pool as it didn't seem nearly as crowded as the Miami Beach pool on 16. We walked through the Jungle Pool area one port day and there were only a handful of people in there, and it is a really cute area. We had good intentions of doing the waterslides, but we were always too lazy. They seemed to be very popular though. Gelato was amazing. The kiddie portion at $3.50 is plenty because it is so rich, so well worth it for such deliciousness. My favorite was a hazelnut swirl with chocolate topping - Oh my heaven! I forgot to mention that I got all of my Black Card benefits. Also, we really enjoyed the Cruise Critic eat and Greet. Disembarkation was so simple it was crazy. Never have I experienced one that ran as smoothly as this one. I have to say, this was another great cruise and I think MSC offers a product that works very well for me and my friends.
  9. We planned on taking Uber last weekend, but when we walked out of the terminal there was a stand there so we inquired. They said it was $25pp, but 2nd person was free. So, for the 4 of us it was $50 total. We did have to wait for the bus to fill up, but it left when they told us it would, and it was a nice comfortable bus with cute movies playing. Traffic was horrendous though, and I was very happy we didn't book earlier flights.
  10. Your pictures are phenomenal! I just got off a fabulous cruise on the Seaside last Saturday, and you made me homesick with your beautiful photography. Thank you for sharing!
  11. Thank you. I will give them a shout.
  12. There are 4 of us flying into FLL going to the Intercontinental in Miami. We prefer a car service as opposed to Uber or a taxi. Several years ago I used Larry's Limos but I can't find them mentioned recently. (Might be because the search feature here is so bad.) Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has used them recently or if there is a service you can recommend. Thank you!
  13. In my opinion AFT is the way to go. Wind can be factor in the front, and there may be restrictions about keeping your curtains closed after dark. There is nothing better than sitting on your aft balcony with a drink in hand being mesmerized by the wake. I always choose Aft when it falls in my price range.
  14. I rebooked because I truly enjoyed my cruise on the Seaside. I cruise most of the mainstream lines and really enjoy Princess, Holland America and NCL. I found that the Seaside compared favorably in almost every way. She is a beautiful and immaculate ship. Food - I thought there was plenty of choice on the buffet, and some items were excellent. The quality of their cold cuts and cheese was really, really good (compared to Celebrity which was horrendous). There were delicious chicken dishes every day along with the usual. The pizza was very good (unlike the cardboard served on NCL). The food in the MDR was to my liking (not overly sauced and spiced) and the choices were good. Butcher's Cut far exceeded steak restaurants on other cruise lines. I only splurged for gelato once but oh my Lord, it was divine! I absolutely loved the Thermal Spa. The different rooms (snow, rain, Himalayan Salt, etc) were wonderful, and since we had an ocean view stateroom the dedicated outdoor space with hot tub really enhanced our experience. I got a quality pedicure and my first ever massage. It was wonderful. Service was very good although it was within a few months of the inaugural and there was definitely a learning curve for some of the staff. But every single staff member I dealt with was polite and did their best to help. I never felt that I got the runaround. Our room steward was very stealthy, but got the job done with no intrusion. Our dining team was superb and I am hoping they are still onboard for our upcoming cruise. The Cruise Critic Party was done very well, and we had good attendance by staff. They made us feel very special and welcome. I enjoyed the casino, although the staff there was not as warm and fuzzy as on NCL. But they were prompt and efficient. I found the game selection was adequate and far better than either Princess or HAL. Geez, I guess that was more than asked for and I didn't even mention entertainment, bars, outdoor spaces and other activities which I had no complaints with. I also enjoyed the diversity of the cruisers onboard, unlike HAL. There were just too many positives not to put MSC in the mix for us.
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