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MSC Seaside 7/13/19 Fantastica Review


nycfa
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Port:  Grand Cayman

 

Grand Cayman is a tender port.   The night before you will find the information listed for getting tender tickets.  I had read on here several times 7:30 am however they stated 6:45 am so we went with that.

 

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My husband went to get in line around  6:15 am while I got the kids up and down to the buffet for breakfast where met us after getting the tickets.

 

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Soon announcements were made about boarding the tenders but it was confusing as the deck numbers to proceed to where to board the tenders were different depending on the language spoken?    English, German and Spanish all said different decks?    I had to ask someone where to go.....ended up going to the Haven Lounge were we waited for a few minutes before they had everyone proceed downstairs to the tender.   For the record NO ONE asked to see our tender ticket.   My husband was annoyed....LOL He got up early and meanwhile tender tickets for number 1 and several numbers much higher were all being allowed to board at the same time.   

 

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  The tenders are two levels and I believe hold over 200 pax per tender   We boarded and were quickly on our way to the pier

 

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Carnival Miracle was also in port

 

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I had booked an independent tour with Stingray Sailings.    We need to be on the pier to met by 8:30 am (hence our concern for getting tender tickets).    We were at the port by 8:20 and heading to the van with some other pax from the Carnival Ship.    We made a couple stops at hotels along the way to pick up additional pax then made our way to the Catamaran.

 

Our tour included two stops:

 

Stingray City and a Snorkeling Stop not too far from SRC.    The Catamaran is very spacious and Captain Chip and his first mate Matt were an excellent crew.    They provide snorkeling gear for you or feel free to bring your own.   Bottle water is provided and soda and beer for purchase.    

 

Soon we were on our way out to Stingray City hoping to beat the crowds from the cruise ship. 🙂
 

 

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Boats at Stingray City

 

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See the ship directly towards the back in the middle.....all the pax wrapped in blue towels?  THAT is a cruise ship tour.  Packed full.   

 

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The back of the Catamaran you exit into the water using the stairs

 

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The stingrays are wild but obviously show up for the food.  A lot of them have names and have been showing up for years

 

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Amazing creatures

 

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Edited by nycfa
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We left Stingray City and made a snorkel stop then made our way back to the docks.  Chip put up the sail for a bit but the wind was not in our favor today.   

 

Note:  Chip is the gentleman to the left with the bread.   Captain and Owner.  Really awesome person!

 

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As we neared the docks Chip took care of getting everyones payment and soon we were in the van on our way back to the cruise port after dropping off some of the hotel guests.   We were back getting on the tenders around 12:30 pm.

 

Since it was still a bit early the tenders were not full and no line to board them.   The tender ride is a great time to get some ship shots!

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Pulling up to the boarding area on the ship

 

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Edited by nycfa
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On 7/21/2019 at 9:52 PM, nycfa said:

Muster Drill was held at appx 4 pm.

 

You reported to your muster station which was inside and listened to the presentation on how to use your life vest.  It was repeated in several languages and no one was listening to any of it and people talked thru the whole presentation.   

 

Seriously people......it's a few minutes of your day pay attention!

 

I just told my kids if at any time they heard the emergency signal to report to the muster station right away and to listen to the crews instructions.  Do not delay.  Do not look for us.   We will come directly there as well and find them.   If for any reason it was time to get on a life boat do so and again do not wait for us.  Follow the crews instructions.  

 

FYI:  When you enter the muster area the scan your card/wristband to show you attended but sometimes that doesn't exactly work cause I got this letter in my cabin later.  😞

 

 

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I was displeased cause we were there and we one of the few who even bothered to listen....so I marched down to guest services ready for a fight but she just took the letter and said no problem.   That was that. LOL  Never heard anything more about it. 

Wonderful review, congrats!... 🙂

 

In some ways I strongly appreciate those photo reviews! And yours is not an exception. Nice work!... Those reviews tend to be the most balanced both in the positives and the negatives, documenting that the writer was effectively on the ship! I can see myself on that cruise with all the positives... And the negatives, including that muster drill thing that I own experienced back in the day!... Sometimes it just need to be one of the cards bad swiped... And here it is the letter from the Captain!... Generally they solve it with no problem, but it isn't great!...

 

And from someone whom has worked for quite a while with the volunteer first aid team on my office building let me just to give a strong congratulation for your extremely right attitude on this subject! Muster drill is NOT another entertainment event like we see it on other cruise and air lines!... Muster drill IS for the passengers well being!... 🙂 But there are always those ones whom will never understand!... 🙂

 

Have a nice day!... 🙂

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So let's talk about dining on the Seaside:

 

My husband and I ate in the MDR one night.  All the other meals were in the buffet.   We did not purchase any specialty dining.  

 

We are NOT Foodies.   As long as I didn't have to buy it, prepare it, clean it up...it's all good. LOL

 

We did the MDR for years but honestly I prefer the buffet regardless of what line we are on now.     I like to have a little of this and a little of that and I want to eat and go on with my day.   I do not enjoy the long multi course meal.  If you enjoy that.....great!   But one thing I love about cruising is having the choice. 

 

We ate at the Buffet on Deck 8 which is the larger buffet with longer hours.    Yes, it gets busy but we found if we went to the aft of the buffet we were always able to find a table.    One of us would sit and wait while the others got their food then head out to get their own once someone came back to the table.

 

I have read here about the food being the same on the Buffet......my thoughts it's "somewhat" true but we always found stuff to eat and there was new stuff.......I guess the difference is other cruise lines tend to do "theme" nights in the buffet....one night was BBQ, one was Seafood, one was Italian.....etc.....MSC does not do that.     

 

The front of the buffet was the standard burgers, fries pizza....but head towards the back for more options.  Loved their salad bar and often found something new to try in the ethnic section.     

 

Three of us are vegetarian.    Both Vegetarian and Vegan items were marked as such.    Probably the biggest selection of Vegan items I have ever seen on a buffet.   Thought we found the lunch had more to offer then dinner.    Again still plenty to eat

 

Breakfast is the usual food you'd find on any cruise ship with the best cinnamon rolls EVER.  Seriously I ate soooo many.  LOL

 

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Just a couple meals from the buffet:

 

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We also found the  buffet has the best desserts off any buffet we have been on before.  We often find the mass market desserts on cruise line buffets a bit blah.....not so here!

 

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Oh and their buffet coffee was the BEST I have ever had on a cruise ship.   

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Port Day: Cozumel

 

If you have been to Cozumel in the past please note that MSC does NOT dock at the same spot as Carnival, NCL, Celebrity......

 

You can see them from where we dock but you would need a taxi to get to that area.

 

Not to worry still plenty of shops and taxis available here as well.    This is the name of the pier MSC docks at...

 

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Once you exit the ship you take the walk way OVER the road to the shops area.   Downstairs you will find plenty of taxis available to anywhere you need to go as well as vendors for tours etc.

 

We had made reservations for Mr. Sanchos when we booked our cruise.   $5 pp deposit.   We did the all inclusive side of the resort.   We grabbed a cab at the port and it was a $18 ride for the four of us.  About a 20 min drive.  

 

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On busy port days Mr. Sanchos DOES fill up hence the reason we booked a head of time (4 ships in port that day and we didn't arrive till 10 am).

 

We checked in and paid our balance then the waiter took us to a table that was our home for the day.   We got started with some drinks and ordered food from the menu.   There is also a buffet as well

 

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Beach was very nice and not crowded.  For additional fees you could rent jet skis or go snorkeling.

 

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Also loungers for use as well but we prefer the shade so we stayed at our table area

 

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Menu:

 

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I highly recommend the Miami Vice!  LOL

 

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We had a lovely day there.   The food was good (Get the fried shrimp my husband says).   The water was nice and it wasn't crowded.    Staff was very friendly.

 

We would definitely go back again.

 

 

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When we were in Cozumel in Feb, we were supposed to port at Punta Langosta (downtown) but instead went to Puerta Maya.  there were already two ships downtown.  So you can't necessarily count on being at Punta Langosts, especially in the winter when more ships are in the Caribbean.  EM

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Sea Day

 

Today was a sea day and we spent the day wandering around and relaxing.


My husband and I attended the Capt and Officers Q&A.   The turn out was small but it was interesting and everyone was able to ask questions

 

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Later on a tried some Gelato.   Salted Toffee  OMG delicious!  

 

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Price Menu (Mine above was the regular cup size)

 

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Few shots around the Ship:   

 

South Beach Pool (age 16 and up)

 

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Jungle Pool by Day

 

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Jungle Pool at Night (when my teens like to go.....not crowded and no sunscreen needed LOL)

 

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Even the Hot Tub wasn't crowded.....oh and it was actually HOT!!

 

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View of the Full Moon from our balcony

 

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On 7/22/2019 at 7:25 AM, JAGR said:

So nice to see Captain Massa back on Seaside.  He was on her on our cruise in February, 2018.  Nicest man, and he is everywhere.  Also nice to see the Canadian Hotel Director on board again as well!  Thanks for your review!

 

I remember Captain Massa from our May 2018 cruise, he was super nice.  Would be nice for him to be onboard when we sail again next year.  

 

Loving the photos, I have to say the Seaside is the most spectacular cruise ship I have ever sailed on.  She is just one beautiful ship.  Can't wait until we sail again next year.  Though we have the Meraviglia in September, so I am hoping the ship is just as beautiful.  

 

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Thanks for the great review!  Just curious if you or anyone else on here knows the ins and outs of the photo packages.  My partner and I and our kids have a cruise coming up on the Seaside.  We have 2 seperate cabins to fit our family.  I purchased the $150 digital package.  I realize it covers my cabin.  However, how does it work when we have all of in the photo (six people)?  Will this be a problem?  Do I just give the photographer my MSC card.  I don't want to waste $150 if I can't get my entire family in the picture.

 

Thanks for your time!

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Port Nassau 

 

Honestly I'm not a hug fan of Nassau.   I find the vendors extremely aggressive and you can't two steps without someone wanting to sell you something.

 

I would have loved to do Atlantis for the day but for the four of us it was a lot of $$ so we decided to just get off for a bit in town then come back and enjoy the ship for the day.

 

Pulling into port...Disney Ship was already there. 

 

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Rainbow

 

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Us and the Disney Dream   We big. LOL

 

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After a bit of walking for about a hour we headed back on board.....where we found one of the hidden ducks from another pax.  

 

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My daughter was trilled!

 

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My husband decided to do the Zip Line.  No one else was interested but we were going to watch him from the deck.    While we waited my youngest hit the play area about the water park

 

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Our Final Evening but time for one last trip to the Jungle Pool

 

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Last bit of reading for me....

 

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Got in some water park time too

 

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Then it was time to head back to the room finish packing and put out our bags by 11 pm.  😞

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All too soon it was morning and we had docked back in Miami...

 

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We were booked for a 3:30 pm flight out of FLL so we wanted to stay on board as long as possible before heading to FLL.    We were the Orange group to depart which was scheduled to be called at 10:10 am which was great for our plan.   

 

You had to out of your cabin by 8 am so we headed to the buffet then for breakfast and to wait.    While I never felt the crowds on the ship all week and often commented where are the 5,000 pax?    Apparently they all came for breakfast at the buffet at 8 am.  LOL    It was busy.   We had to eat outside since there was no space inside.  Definitely more lines to get food but no worries I still managed to get plenty to eat and downed as many of my precious cinnamon rolls as possible. :0 

 

Teenagers back to unlimited internet....LOL

 

 

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After eating we made our way into the Artium area to wait to be called.....FYI the screens had constant information on which colors had been called and what was currently being called.   When they called orange...

 

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Getting off is way less fun then getting on....LOL

 

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Customs at Terminal F is extremely efficient as they use facial recognition.    One scan and we were welcomed back the US.   We made our way thru the terminal, found our luggage and went outside.   The outside is busy and kinda crazy.   We called an Uber to pick us up which is the right as you exit where pre arranged services picks up.   Help your Uber driver by looking up and see what number you are standing under (the signs are above your head).   I think he was there is less then 2 minutes.  It was fast.    We climbed in and were off to the FLL Airport.

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Just a heads up as you head to FLL and MIA for your flights home.......MULTIPLE ships dock in on Saturdays.   Make sure you pack your patience.    Both airports/airlines has policies and how soon you can check your luggage in and when you can pass thru security.    The cruise industry has boomed and the airports just can't handle it.    It's busy and crowded and it all just takes time.     Baggage check in line at FLL....

 

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Once we got past security the gate areas are super busy and no seats so we found a spot in a corner to sit and wait...

 

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As flights departed the crowds cleared up and soon it was time for us to board and we were on our home.  😞

 

 

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Final Thoughts:

 

Internet:   I pre purchased the unlimited internet package one device at a time thru the website (discounted if you pre purchase).   We found over all it worked well.    We would trade off between everyone in the family at time and once you figured out how to switch devices it was very easy to switch.  In addition we found that I Message on our I phones worked even when NOT logged in to the wifi....we would be connected for the app and it would still work but you couldn't send photos but it allowed us to communicate with each other while on board.    I had read here about this being possible and we found it to be true. 

 

MSC App:   Worked well for checking your balance.    It would update fairly quickly after a purchase.   I had also read here about some pax getting billed for stuff they did not purchase so I was checking often but had no such issue during our cruise.

 

Shows:   We didn't attend any.   It's not our thing so I can't comment on that.

 

Bar Service:   Eh sometimes it would be good and sometimes we left with out getting served.   We didn't have drink package so we would be like well I guess we saved some $$ but I can see if being frustrating if you had the drink package and couldn't get drinks.   It was interesting that sometimes we couldn't get served and it wasn't even that busy?   Honestly I get when its busy but sometimes....eh I guess we just spent less that way.  LOL  

 

Staff:  Everyone seemed friendly in particular in the buffet we had quite a few conversations with the staff who bussed tables.   The only grumpy employee I encounters was a guest services and honestly can't exactly blame them.    They just get guest complaints all day long. LOL

 

Ship:  Gorgeous.   Seriously I think it's my favorite ship   So much space.  Never felt crowded. Well laid out.   

 

Thermal Spa:   My DH had the thermal spa pass for the week and went almost every evening.   He enjoyed it and everything seem to be in working order (seriously this is important on the Anthem of Sea he got the pass and a lot of stuff was broke/out of service which is annoying when you pay for something like that).   He didn't find it crowded in the evenings anyway.   He would recommend it. 

 

Overall: 

 

Having experienced MSC for the first time I would definitely not hesitate to book with them again.   We were overall very happy with our experience.   Any issues were small and honestly could and have happened on other lines.      I was a bit nervous reading a lot of reviews here and it seemed like everything was YC to be happy with this line but we found this not to be true in our case.   We were "regular" pax and still had an excellent time.    Please don't not book MSC Seaside based on reviews.  Giver her a try and decide for yourself  

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Great review.  I enjoyed reading it and it brought back the memories.  We cruised on the Seaside in March 2018.  We have been on 18 (?) cruises and we found the Seaside to be one of the most beautiful of all.  We enjoyed our cruise on her as well and are booked on the Meraviglia in March 2020.  I hope Ocean Cay is open by then!

 

Thanks again for posting the review.

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Thank you so much for the honest review. My family of four, with a 13 and 15 year old, leave on the Seaside THIS Saturday.  I actually learned a few things that o didn’t know like about the South Pool and that I’ll need a lanyard WIth a plastic sleeve. 

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