We were also on this sailing and went through the same things you mentioned above. I felt so sorry for many of the passengers who had no idea what to do about travel arrangements at the last moment (as you said, a couple of hours notice), and had also obviously never dealt with a hurricane situation (evacuation, etc). I have posted here part of the information you mentioned that we all received late Thursday night, so all can see that one choice was that we had to get off the Seaside on Friday morning because the “ship will depart Miami tomorrow”.
In our case, we were originally due to board the NCL Sky right after disembarking the Seaside on Saturday morn.
On Friday morning, my husband and I were trying to wait as long as possible to debark because we were waiting to hear if our NCL Sky Cruise on Saturday would be cancelled or not (if it was, then we would have stayed aboard the Seaside). But you are right, CruiseLand, there was a big push to get us off the ship. And of course, that was understandable if, due to weather conditions, and the port closing on Friday, they needed to do this. But when we asked for any kind of details, such as what time the Seaside would be departing, the only response we got, and in a very rude manner, was “are you debarking?”, then “you need to get off the ship”.
We finally disembarked around 11:30am Friday morning when the announcement was made “if you are disembarking, it is imperative that you immediately make your way to the gangway”. They had also made it clear that they were closing the doors, so if you did not debark, you would have to stay on the ship; also once you did debark, you would not be allowed back on the ship.
Around 3pm we were happy to find out that the Sky would be sailing on Saturday. 👏🏼 Since we were at the airport (in case we needed to rent a car to drive home to Myrtle Beach), and exhausted, we just decided to stay here until time to make our way to the port again this (Saturday) morning.
And now as I sit here, I stumble upon Nymich’s post with a picture of MSC’s “Official Update” dated the evening of August 29, which clearly states that for those booked on the 8/31 sailing of the Seaside, there would be an update for that sailing at noon on Friday. I also now see that while at the same time MSC was telling us that the Seaside “will depart tomorrow” (Friday), and we needed to get off the ship if we didn’t want to sail with them to a safe area, they were also telling the 8/31 (Saturday) passengers that there was a possibility they would sail. 🤔
Even worse, I also learn now that the Seaside did NOT depart yesterday, yet we (and many others), as CruiseLand said, were not allowed to spend the night in our paid cabins and debark, as planned, this morning.
This extremely frustrating and exhausting end to this cruise infuriates me because it seems totally unnecessary of MSC to knowingly put these uncomfortable and costly changes on it’s passengers. Obviously the information related to us was not the whole truth, and my husband and I just keep asking “WHY would they do this ???”.
Even though I had read some bad reviews, I really wanted to give MSC a chance, but unfortunately I found, at least in our case, that, with the exception of three staff members, most we came in contact with was very rude (throughout the cruise, particularly in Guest Services, as well as in the Dining Room). And the best I can describe the way we were treated concerning the last hours on the ship was in a condescending manner, and certainly not as a guest that you would apologize to. We finally did ask, before we debarked, if we would be given any compensation, but were told they don’t know because those decisions are made at the corporate offices (I wonder, will MSC give me a friendly phone call, or do I need to contact them?).
One more side note ... The Sky came back to Miami on Friday, also a day early. But it’s passengers were allowed to spend Friday night on the ship, as well as they already know they will be receiving a refund of a portion of their cruise fare.
Yes I know, every cruise line does have it’s faults, but MSC is not one I would choose to sail with again. We are only happy that we will have a chance to forget this experience as we sail with NCL today.