Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Please look for and post on existing COVID-19 threads before posting a new one.
Saltlick

First Ever Cruise - MSC Seaside Questions...

Recommended Posts

We've booked our first ever cruise on the recommendation of friends, and we've chosen the MSC Seaside on the E.Carribean trip in October. We're two adults and two kids (11 and 8). 

 

I've done plenty of research but I still have some questions about the cruise and how it works. Apologies if some of these seem obvious but as I say - we've never done a cruise before. 


We've booked an Aurea suite (13001) to give ourselves a bit more space, and I have managed to match my hotel status to MSC Diamond. 

 

So... firstly do people think the premium plus package is worth doing over the premium one? From what I can see it just allows you to get slightly better wine by the glass and any champagne served by the glass; though this appears to be solely Nicholas Fueillate from menus I've found? 

The free mini bar seems like a decent perk if we want to sit on the balcony after the kids go to bed - and the 30% off all bottles might be enough to convince me to pick up a bottle of Dom or something one evening (from the price list I saw that's about $260 with the 15% charge included, so with 30% off it's $180 - which is pretty much retail price). But I'm wondering if I'm overlooking any benefit or non-benefit that may swing this decision one way or another. Either way we'll definitely be upgrading from the Easy package on Aurea as my wife will want the frozen cocktails, etc. and I'm not drinking thimbles of Heineken all week. 

 

When we get to ports, I've read that having a diamond card allows easier disembarkation? How does that work? Do we just pitch up whenever we like, rather than having to book a time to get off? Do we also get back on with some kind of priority? Curious how that all works. We likely won't be doing many excursions but would like to get off and potter around for a couple of hours; but not if it's queuing for an hour to get off and on again. 

 

Speaking of excursions, I've seen one in Charlotte that I like the look of. The 'Kayak, Hike and Snorkel of Cas Cay' caught my eye. Has anyone done this? Good for the kids? We're all in reasonably good shape and all are good swimmers if that makes a difference. It was either this or the catamaran and shipwreck snorkel; but the kayaking just sounded like something a bit different. 

 

Kids - is there any way to keep track of them? Like do those cruise wristbands have trackers on them? They're pretty independent so I'd have no issue with them going off on their own at times (in fact I'm keen on it as with an enclosed environment it gives them a great chance to gain more independence), but I'd like to know where they are at the same time. Also, can kids get served at bars, etc. (not for beer, obviously) on their own or does an adult always have to be with them? What about ordering snacks and stuff - no issues with them eating at snack bars on their own?

 

The Aurea package gets priority embarkation and disembarkation from what I can see. If we get an Uber to the port in Miami, do we just bowl straight to the front or how does that work? Same with getting off, do we just choose when we get off? Can we stay on the boat until 11am-ish when we get back?

 

Again, with the Aurea package, we get "any time" dining. What does that mean, exactly? If you're not on the Aurea package you have to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner when they tell you to? So can we just turn up any time to the buffet and main dining restaurants?

 

Are there any other benefits I should be aware of which aren't necessarily made obvious with the diamond status, suite or the Aurea package?

 

Appreicate your time reading - I understand these are likely very 'newbie' questions but I'm a complete novice at this!

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome!

Dining is the only question I can answer.  Yes, you can show up for dining room meals when you choose, within the hours listed.  There will be an area of one of the restaurants for you.

The buffet is open for several hours of each mealtime; you can just walk in.

All of the hours of operation will be listed in the daily planner put in your cabin each evening.  Those will list all the shows, activities, etc. as well.  We always read it before bed, and mark things we might want to do.

Good move getting your diamond card!  It will give you some nice benefits!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Premium Plus gets you all champagne offered by the glass at the champagne bar

066AF6DC-0C25-4E73-A022-6CC57BA9DADE.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah ok - thanks. I hadn't seen that menu before. That makes things more interesting, and likely to swing us in that direciton. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are upgrading to P+ mostly for the champagne bar, and because drinks at the specialty restaurants are included. We had the previous version of the highest tier drink package on our last cruise and it was a great experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Saltlick said:

We've booked our first ever cruise on the recommendation of friends, and we've chosen the MSC Seaside on the E.Carribean trip in October. We're two adults and two kids (11 and 8). 

 

I've done plenty of research but I still have some questions about the cruise and how it works. Apologies if some of these seem obvious but as I say - we've never done a cruise before. 


We've booked an Aurea suite (13001) to give ourselves a bit more space, and I have managed to match my hotel status to MSC Diamond. 

 

So... firstly do people think the premium plus package is worth doing over the premium one? From what I can see it just allows you to get slightly better wine by the glass and any champagne served by the glass; though this appears to be solely Nicholas Fueillate from menus I've found?  There's more options for champagne by the glass beyond Nicolas Feuillate.. Moet, Veuve, etc.

Whether going for Premium Plus I worth it or not is entirely down to you. If you'll be drinking loads of champagne by the glass, if the minibar being included (and restocked ) is important to you, etc - then go for it.  For us, Premium is more than enough. YMMV

The free mini bar seems like a decent perk if we want to sit on the balcony after the kids go to bed - and the 30% off all bottles might be enough to convince me to pick up a bottle of Dom or something one evening (from the price list I saw that's about $260 with the 15% charge included, so with 30% off it's $180 - which is pretty much retail price). But I'm wondering if I'm overlooking any benefit or non-benefit that may swing this decision one way or another. Either way we'll definitely be upgrading from the Easy package on Aurea as my wife will want the frozen cocktails, etc. and I'm not drinking thimbles of Heineken all week. 

 

When we get to ports, I've read that having a diamond card allows easier disembarkation? How does that work? Do we just pitch up whenever we like, rather than having to book a time to get off? Do we also get back on with some kind of priority? Curious how that all works. We likely won't be doing many excursions but would like to get off and potter around for a couple of hours; but not if it's queuing for an hour to get off and on again.  Wait about a half hour after docking and ship is cleared and there is zero like getting off the ship. Just walk off whenever you want, explore at will, etc 

Diamond guests do have priority when getting back on the ship, go to the line that has the red carpet, butler, etc - and you basically have the shortest line/front of line, along with Yacht Club guests..  there's usually not much of a line unless you come back within an hour of all-aboard.. All-aboard is usually 30 minutes prior to sailaway.

 

Speaking of excursions, I've seen one in Charlotte that I like the look of. The 'Kayak, Hike and Snorkel of Cas Cay' caught my eye. Has anyone done this? Good for the kids? We're all in reasonably good shape and all are good swimmers if that makes a difference. It was either this or the catamaran and shipwreck snorkel; but the kayaking just sounded like something a bit different. 

 

Kids - is there any way to keep track of them? Like do those cruise wristbands have trackers on them? They're pretty independent so I'd have no issue with them going off on their own at times (in fact I'm keen on it as with an enclosed environment it gives them a great chance to gain more independence), but I'd like to know where they are at the same time. Also, can kids get served at bars, etc. (not for beer, obviously) on their own or does an adult always have to be with them? What about ordering snacks and stuff - no issues with them eating at snack bars on their own?   Kids can get all the drinks they want at any bar, their cruise car or wristband is scanned - and away they go.. they'll both have the Non-alcoholic package, so sodas, mocktails, etc all covered, as much as they like.

You can set a daily amount they're allowed to charge, or not enable their cards to have any charges at all. Your choice.  They can go get food at either buffet whenever they want, they don't need to be escorted/accompanied by you, if you don't want to go with them.

 

 

The Aurea package gets priority embarkation and disembarkation from what I can see. If we get an Uber to the port in Miami, do we just bowl straight to the front or how does that work? Same with getting off, do we just choose when we get off? Can we stay on the boat until 11am-ish when we get back?

Everyone is off the ship by 10/10:30am .and through immigration and customs, and in your way.  No, the priority doesn't mean you bowl your way to the front of the line for disembarkation. It just means you have priority of choice of time to disembark. You'll have to be out of your cabin by 8, breakfast ends at 9, there's nothing open or reason to stay aboard much longer beyond that. There's a waiting area for Uber, make your way there upon clearing immigration and customs..

Again, with the Aurea package, we get "any time" dining. What does that mean, exactly? If you're not on the Aurea package you have to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner when they tell you to? So can we just turn up any time to the buffet and main dining restaurants?   Breakfast is served daily in the Main dining room, anyone can go and enjoy, at any time during open hours  lunch I served in the main dining room on sea days, again open to anyone, open seating, first come first seeved.

Anytime Dining refers to dinner times. With Anytime, you can go to dinner in the dining room at any time you like during the open hours, just like a restaurant at home. No reservations, no set time, and first come first serve. There may be a short wait if you go at peak time (7-8:15 or so) or there may not be a wait. You'll be seated at first available table..  this is different from the set dining times for the other Experiences. They have a specific time and table, the same every night, for dinner whereas you have the freedom to go when you want during open hours. Times posted in the daily newsletter. (5:30-9:30 usually).  Buffet  on deck 8 is open 20 hours a day,  go whenever you want and have something to eat.  Buffet on 16 I open 6am - 4pm, again, go whenever and get a bite. 

 

Are there any other benefits I should be aware of which aren't necessarily made obvious with the diamond status, suite or the Aurea package? Tip: go book your massages ASAP upon boarding - good times book up fast.  

You can go to the Yacht Club tent on arrival at port to drop luggage, etc. It's for YC and Diamond. White tent near curb. For your Diamond Specialty dinner (2 adults, any restaurant except the Teppanyaki), book with any of the restaurant staff in the atrium, or go to the specialty Restaurant court on 16 and book there.  

 

Appreicate your time reading - I understand these are likely very 'newbie' questions but I'm a complete novice at this!

 

 

 

 

Answered what I could... Happy sails, have a great time!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Becks28 said:

We are upgrading to P+ mostly for the champagne bar, and because drinks at the specialty restaurants are included. We had the previous version of the highest tier drink package on our last cruise and it was a great experience.

FWIW - Premium also covers drinks at the Specialty Restaurants.   It's just Easy that doesn't.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, MSC is great with kids. On Seaside, you can get tracker bands for kids (I believe for an extra fee). You have to get just about every drink from a bar, including sodas, and we’ve found them to be great at serving kids. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, reedprincess said:

Answered what I could... Happy sails, have a great time!!

 

That's incredibly helpful - Thanks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/30/2020 at 6:41 AM, Saltlick said:

We've booked our first ever cruise on the recommendation of friends, and we've chosen the MSC Seaside on the E.Carribean trip in October. We're two adults and two kids (11 and 8). 

 

I've done plenty of research but I still have some questions about the cruise and how it works. Apologies if some of these seem obvious but as I say - we've never done a cruise before. 


We've booked an Aurea suite (13001) to give ourselves a bit more space, and I have managed to match my hotel status to MSC Diamond. 

 

So... firstly do people think the premium plus package is worth doing over the premium one? From what I can see it just allows you to get slightly better wine by the glass and any champagne served by the glass; though this appears to be solely Nicholas Fueillate from menus I've found? 

The free mini bar seems like a decent perk if we want to sit on the balcony after the kids go to bed - and the 30% off all bottles might be enough to convince me to pick up a bottle of Dom or something one evening (from the price list I saw that's about $260 with the 15% charge included, so with 30% off it's $180 - which is pretty much retail price). But I'm wondering if I'm overlooking any benefit or non-benefit that may swing this decision one way or another. Either way we'll definitely be upgrading from the Easy package on Aurea as my wife will want the frozen cocktails, etc. and I'm not drinking thimbles of Heineken all week. 

 

When we get to ports, I've read that having a diamond card allows easier disembarkation? How does that work? Do we just pitch up whenever we like, rather than having to book a time to get off? Do we also get back on with some kind of priority? Curious how that all works. We likely won't be doing many excursions but would like to get off and potter around for a couple of hours; but not if it's queuing for an hour to get off and on again. 

 

Speaking of excursions, I've seen one in Charlotte that I like the look of. The 'Kayak, Hike and Snorkel of Cas Cay' caught my eye. Has anyone done this? Good for the kids? We're all in reasonably good shape and all are good swimmers if that makes a difference. It was either this or the catamaran and shipwreck snorkel; but the kayaking just sounded like something a bit different. 

 

Kids - is there any way to keep track of them? Like do those cruise wristbands have trackers on them? They're pretty independent so I'd have no issue with them going off on their own at times (in fact I'm keen on it as with an enclosed environment it gives them a great chance to gain more independence), but I'd like to know where they are at the same time. Also, can kids get served at bars, etc. (not for beer, obviously) on their own or does an adult always have to be with them? What about ordering snacks and stuff - no issues with them eating at snack bars on their own?

 

The Aurea package gets priority embarkation and disembarkation from what I can see. If we get an Uber to the port in Miami, do we just bowl straight to the front or how does that work? Same with getting off, do we just choose when we get off? Can we stay on the boat until 11am-ish when we get back?

 

Again, with the Aurea package, we get "any time" dining. What does that mean, exactly? If you're not on the Aurea package you have to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner when they tell you to? So can we just turn up any time to the buffet and main dining restaurants?

 

Are there any other benefits I should be aware of which aren't necessarily made obvious with the diamond status, suite or the Aurea package?

 

Appreicate your time reading - I understand these are likely very 'newbie' questions but I'm a complete novice at this

22 hours ago, reedprincess said:

Answered what I could... Happy sails, have a great time!!

 

Edited by rojoand8
Wrong format. Will redo it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

We were on the kayak excursion a couple of years ago when my husband and I were 69. It was a lot of fun and quite appropriate for your kids. All I have to say is make sure your kayaks are in complete working order.  My husband sat behind me and his seat back was broken. Therefore he was practically laying down when we kayaked. Very uncomfortable.  It was a mile kayak trip to the hike. Hike was easy.  After the hike they snorkeled. I was pooped and chose to just sit on the beach because I knew we had another 1-mile kayaking trip back. Just make sure the kayak is in good working order. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is anyone celebrating a birthday or anniversary?  They offer a really great Italian cream cake for free if you are!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The priority disembarkation for Diamond is for tendering. You do not need to get a ticket to get off. You just go and show your diamond card and you get on the next tender. If its not a tender port, you wait on line to get off the ship as everyone else does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Markanddonna said:

Is anyone celebrating a birthday or anniversary?  They offer a really great Italian cream cake for free if you are!

 

Is that only for Diamond? I heard they charge for occasion cakes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jembeccatoo said:

Is that only for Diamond? I heard they charge for occasion cakes.

I think it is only for Diamond. The OP said they were Diamond on their first cruise which was our situation last Feb!  It can happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all - There's no birthdays or occasions but we're not big cake eaters anyway. 

 

Looking forward to it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoy the Seaside! She is a beautiful ship. Love all of the outdoor spaces.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...