"Aurea Suite With Whirlpool Bath" - The Things That Surprised Me

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#21
Pennsylvania
443 Posts
Joined Feb 2017
I am loving your review so far . We always enjoy your videos on YouTube . I must confess I was disappointed to hear that you and your wife didn't love your time on the Seaside . I had hoped for some glowing review .

However , that being said , I appreciate the time you put into your sharing your experience and I know that what you share comes with a fair and balanced perspective . You don't share reviews simply to bash a cruise line and I appreciate that .

I am sincerely anxious to hear and see the rest of your review .
#22
Nottingham, England
2,220 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
I have to say that your Aurea suite with whirlpool bath looked to be designed better and actually looked nicer than the one we had on the Meraviglia. Only we had a shower and not a bath but yeah having a shower in the bath with only a qtr door is a bit crazy!
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#23
86 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
I think the the half door on the shower is a European thing. I think I encountered this at some hotels in the UK. Someone on one of these threads or youtube told me, 'it was no big deal, water stayed in shower', but my findings were like those of Jimzim--water went all over the place, and it was annoying.

Incidentally, the Seaside causes me to have a lot of mixed feelings. That whirlpool room looks incredible--but I think having a really good dinner buffet is important when mdr dinner takes 1.5-2 hours.

We just did Hal Koningsdam over new year's and thought it was great. There were lots of kids and families, so I wonder if things are a tad 'livelier' over school breaks? The service was excellent, food at the lido was excellent (took a bit of getting used to since they serve it), and the entertainment was similar to other cruises we've done (although no gymnasts/aerialists like some cruiselines use). Wife and daughter went to a couple cooking demonstrations. It didn't seem like a 'cruise for 80 year olds'.

CtBob--did you do Koningsdam over a school break? Just curious what you found boring relative to other cruises. The main pool area was definitely quieter and calmer than other cruises we've done. For some that'd be boring, we kind of liked it though.
#24
Coastal NC
3,307 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Originally posted by jimbob22
CtBob--did you do Koningsdam over a school break? Just curious what you found boring relative to other cruises. The main pool area was definitely quieter and calmer than other cruises we've done. For some that'd be boring, we kind of liked it though.
Not over a school break and that would have helped. The Cruise Director and his assistant was the entire entertainment staff. Therefore they had very few activities during the day. The Cruise Director didn't even show up for most of the theater events. We just heard a recorded voice announce the show. And the best act was a comic and I don't usually like comics. The singers and dancers were good but there were not very many of them and they were only used once on our cruise. And as the ship was new, they didn't use their new hi-tech theater to their advantage. I thought the atrium was a terrible design and wasted space. All in all I enjoyed my cruise there, I just like the MSC product better. We are retired and relax at home, when I go on a cruise I want to be entertained. Bob
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B2B Caribbean on MSC Seaside 1/6/2018 - B2B Caribbean on Holland America Koningsdam 1/8/2017 - Paris to Prague on Viking Odin 8/4/2016 - Caribbean on Celebrity Eclipse 1/24/2016 - Bermuda on Norwegian Breakaway 7/26/2015 - B2B Caribbean on MSC Divina 11/29/2014 - Alaska on Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas 5/31/2014 - Bermuda on Celebrity Summit 5/19/2013 - The Baltic on Holland America Eurodam 5/21/2012 - Western Caribbean on Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam 12/12/2010 - Mediterranean on Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas 4/27/2010 - Panama Canal on Holland America Zuiderdam 2/27/2009 - Southern Caribbean on Holland America Noordam 12/1/2007 - Southern Caribbean on Norwegian Dawn 12/7/2006 - Western Caribbean on Costa Atlantica 2004 - Eastern Caribbean on Celebrity Century 2000 - Eastern Caribbean on Royal Caribbean Nordic Empress 1996
#25
86 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Originally posted by CTBob
Not over a school break and that would have helped. The Cruise Director and his assistant was the entire entertainment staff. Therefore they had very few activities during the day. The Cruise Director didn't even show up for most of the theater events. We just heard a recorded voice announce the show. And the best act was a comic and I don't usually like comics. The singers and dancers were good but there were not very many of them and they were only used once on our cruise. And as the ship was new, they didn't use their new hi-tech theater to their advantage. I thought the atrium was a terrible design and wasted space. All in all I enjoyed my cruise there, I just like the MSC product better. We are retired and relax at home, when I go on a cruise I want to be entertained. Bob
Interesting. It was very different over New Years. The CD was Christina Purcell, and she and her assistant were all over the ship, at numerous shows/events/trivia. They had probably a normal amount of day activities (one was even a kitchen tour, free of charge!, but it was like 200 people so they could really only let us sort of parade through the kitchen and look at things). They did have a couple of theater shows that used all the light-up walls. Sounds like it's definitely more lively now than when you took it. It's possible that it goes back into slumber when kids are in school, but seems more likely that our weekly schedule is what it does week in-week out now.
#26
Ireland
1,207 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
Hi Jim Zim: I have been waiting impatiently for your review of the SJ3 suite which I have booked for Feb 19. The whirlpool is a surprise for my wife who has always wanted to holiday with a private hot tub(and me!). Your review is very informative and I am relieved the tub is big enough for two. However, I think there is a lot of wasted space in that suite but maybe if you have 5 folks in it, it makes sense.

We have cruised 5 times with MSC in Europe and I get what you mean. We have enjoyed all of our cruises but there are always some compromises with MSC. We have sailed with RCCL and NCL too (they're not perfect either) and it is only price/value that brings us back to MSC time after time as we get a 5% discount as members of the Voyagers Club(past cruisers).

Really looking forward to the review, warts and all! Cheers, Ken.
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MSC Splendida, 11/6/2017..Western Mediterranean
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MSC Preziosa, 20/9/2014..Eastern Mediterranean
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#27
6,550 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by CruiseIreland
The whirlpool is a surprise for my wife who has always wanted to holiday with a private hot tub(and me!)
Ken - how lovely. I hope you manage to keep it a surprise. It'll be a terrific belated Valentine's Day "gift".
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Bea
'Would I could set sail upon the water'.

PREVIOUSLY ON:


MSC Splendida Mar/April 2018 (YC/Repo)
MSC Orchestra Dec 2017 (Christmas)
MSC Magnifica Sept/Oct 2017

MSC Meraviglia June 2017 (YC)
MSC Fantasia Feb 2017
MSC Sinfonia Nov 2016 (b2b)
MSC Sinfonia Oct 2016 (TA)
MSC Sinfonia Aug 2016
MSC Magnifica April 2016
Celebrity Millennium Jan 2016 (Sky Suite)
MSC Divina Oct 2015 (TA)
MSC Divina Sep 2015 (YC)
MSC Preziosa Mar 2015 (TA)
MSC Fantasia Dec 2014
MSC Preziosa Aug 2014 (YC)
MSC Preziosa May 2014
MSC Splendida Feb 2014
MSC Splendida Feb 2013
MSC Splendida Feb 2012 (YC)
MSC Fantasia Nov 2011
Carnival Sensation Sept 2000
#28
251 Posts
Joined Sep 2014
Originally posted by CruiseIreland
Hi Jim Zim: I have been waiting impatiently for your review of the SJ3 suite which I have booked for Feb 19. The whirlpool is a surprise for my wife who has always wanted to holiday with a private hot tub(and me!). Your review is very informative and I am relieved the tub is big enough for two. However, I think there is a lot of wasted space in that suite but maybe if you have 5 folks in it, it makes sense.

We have cruised 5 times with MSC in Europe and I get what you mean. We have enjoyed all of our cruises but there are always some compromises with MSC. We have sailed with RCCL and NCL too (they're not perfect either) and it is only price/value that brings us back to MSC time after time as we get a 5% discount as members of the Voyagers Club(past cruisers).

Really looking forward to the review, warts and all! Cheers, Ken.
I have to agree with this, and the comments earlier in the thread about cost vs experience given. It all depends on your priorities. I know when I book MSC for 30% less than the same NCL cruise, I won't enjoy the food as much, and the standard drinks package is more limiting. I also know that the shipboard experience isn't always why I book a particular cruise. For example, I am cruising Orchestra at the end of February - not my first choice of cruise line or ship, but I really like the itinerary and I'm looking forward to some winter sun. I've sailed MSC before, and I know its shortcomings.


I appreciate if something has been advertised to you and really built up as being fantastic and unbeatable, and the reality doesn't match up to that, you're going to be disappointed. BUT it's sometimes a struggle to find better value for the same time/itinerary etc. than an MSC cruise. I book all my MSC cruises know with expectations firmly set, and emphasis on why I'm going (like in this case it's for the destinations). I imagine a number of people who say they won't sail MSC after their first experience may reconsider if they see it at a far superior price to their 'usual' line - I have no problem in saying I've done that on a few occasions.


Sometimes it's worth paying the extra to get what you really want, and sometimes it's not - although that is easier to say as a regular cruiser than someone going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
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#30
California, USA
2,251 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Thanks for posting those great pictures, JimZim! I look forward to the rest of your review. in particular, I am interested in hearing what about the ship/experience was 'European' rather than 'American' and how you felt that your 'American expectations' were not met. I've heard this comment before with very little in the way of specifics (other than the suggestions that Europeans prefer later dining times, slower dining and smaller portions as compared to Americans).

Regardless, your cabin and whirlpool and the gelato all look amazing! I am looking forward to those things on our upcoming Seaside cruise in June.
#31
Accrington, Lancashire, UK
9,402 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Europeans do not prefer smaller food portions! MSC reduced the sizes after complaints that they were to big. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
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#32
Norway
55 Posts
Joined Sep 2016
Great review! This suite is so far, the only reason i even consider MSC, and maybe a little because of the ship design

I am also very interested in what "European cruising experience" means?
#33
California, USA
2,251 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Originally posted by sidari
Europeans do not prefer smaller food portions! MSC reduced the sizes after complaints that they were to big. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Good to hear!

I diet like crazy when I am not vacationing/on holiday and when I get onboard I am not ashamed to say that I enjoy my food... and a LOT of food. I am not ashamed to ask for multiple entrees, so smaller portions doesn't bother me so much.
#34
Ireland
1,207 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
Originally posted by Beamafar
Ken - how lovely. I hope you manage to keep it a surprise. It'll be a terrific belated Valentine's Day "gift".
Cheers Bea! It'll be a special retirement trip for us both too! She won't know about the whirlpool until we enter the suite!! Romantic or wha!!
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Review of July 2015 Med cruise on MSC Divina: https://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/sh....php?t=2251092

Upcoming Cruises:




MSC Seaside: Western Caribbean: February 9, 2019.

Completed cruises
MSC Splendida, 11/6/2017..Western Mediterranean
MSC Fantasia, 11/3/2017..UAE & Oman
MSC Sinfonia, 24/9/2016..Eastern Mediterranean
MSC Divina, 4/7/2015..Western Mediterranean
MSC Preziosa, 20/9/2014..Eastern Mediterranean
Norwegian Epic, 29/9/2013..Western Mediterranean
Splendour of the Seas, 12/5/2012..Eastern Mediterranean
Adventure of the Seas, 3/10/2010..Western Mediterranean
#35
36 Posts
Joined Jun 2017
Excellent posts Jim Zim, and I look forward to watching your Youtube videos as well.

I think the biggest mess up MSC has done has been to exclaim they are going for the American cruise market when they aren't. People keep seeming to be upset that Americans are expecting a specific type of experience when it was MSC that set the expectation. We have a cruise booked for December and I am almost to the point where we just might have to ditch it and try something else. This will be cruise number 21 for me and I was hoping my "worst" experiences were well behind me.

Thanks for the head's up.
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#36
Accrington, Lancashire, UK
9,402 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
DAjedu ... The problem is very many of you do not do your homework on MSC and cry foul when it turns out that their product is not the same as the US owned cruise lines, there is a reason that MSC are way cheaper than the rest and it is not MSC who gave people the expectation that they would get the same product for a lower price, that is reserved for the people expecting it to be.
If MSC sold at the same price point as the others then I could understand the genuine complaints but the truth is that there are many people who are incapable of change and cannot adapt, why do they find it so difficult to sit down and have a meal take 1.5 to 2 hours? what is the rush do you have somewhere to be, do you have a meeting scheduled? you are on holiday for goodness sake, do what the rest of us do and relax ...
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Small things Amuse Small Minds while Bigger Fools Look on.

Relax Unwind Be Yourself! =Ruby Princess.

YOU CAN`T APPRECIATE THE RAINBOW WITHOUT THE RAIN.
[email protected]

MSC Meraviglia December 2019
Ruby Princess September 2019 Alaska
MSC Divina December 2018
Voyager of the Seas September 2018 Singapore/Malaysia/Thailand
MSC Seaside April 2018 Caribbean
MSC Seaside December 2017 Caribbean
MSC Preziosa September 2017 Northern Europe.
Majestic Princess April 2017 Inaugural med cruise.
MSC Orchestra November 2014 Venice to Dubai
MSC Divina November 2013 T.A. Venice to Miami
MSC Opera June 2013 Southampton to Norway
MSC Poesia November 2012 T.A Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale
NCL Jade April/May 2012 B2B Venice to Greek Islands
NCL Jade February 2012 Barcelona to Canary Islands
Costa Deliziosa December 2011 Savona to Savona
Mariner of the Seas May 2011Rome to Rome
Oasis of the Seas October 2010 Caribbean
Queen Victoria May 2010 Southampton to Southampton
Ruby Princess November 2009.... Caribbean
Vision of the Seas September 2009 Denmark to Norway
Brilliance of the Seas June 2009 Barcelona to Barcelona.
Ruby Princess November 2008 .... Caribbean.

#38
36 Posts
Joined Jun 2017
Originally posted by sidari
DAjedu ... The problem is very many of you do not do your homework on MSC and cry foul when it turns out that their product is not the same as the US owned cruise lines, there is a reason that MSC are way cheaper than the rest and it is not MSC who gave people the expectation that they would get the same product for a lower price, that is reserved for the people expecting it to be.
If MSC sold at the same price point as the others then I could understand the genuine complaints but the truth is that there are many people who are incapable of change and cannot adapt, why do they find it so difficult to sit down and have a meal take 1.5 to 2 hours? what is the rush do you have somewhere to be, do you have a meeting scheduled? you are on holiday for goodness sake, do what the rest of us do and relax ...
Actually, isn't that the point of this board - doing homework? A big problem is that there isn't a lot of information coming from MSC and what comes forth is inconsistent. Zipline is free, then there is a charge. Still don't know if there is a charge for the board slide. Inconsistent information on whether or not there is an all inclusive charge for entertainment as is done on other ships. Still can't figure out exactly how much various things actually cost. I have been researching like crazy - and the answer is different depending on who you talk to, even when talking with MSC customer service.

So, it is kind of frustrating when not even the company's own customer service can answer what to me appears to be simple questions.
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#39
Western, NY
1,002 Posts
Joined Apr 2014
Originally posted by DAJedu
Actually, isn't that the point of this board - doing homework? A big problem is that there isn't a lot of information coming from MSC and what comes forth is inconsistent. Zipline is free, then there is a charge. Still don't know if there is a charge for the board slide. Inconsistent information on whether or not there is an all inclusive charge for entertainment as is done on other ships. Still can't figure out exactly how much various things actually cost. I have been researching like crazy - and the answer is different depending on who you talk to, even when talking with MSC customer service.



So, it is kind of frustrating when not even the company's own customer service can answer what to me appears to be simple questions.


Amen.
I’ve learned my lesson well.


<><
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#40
Grover Beach, California
1,463 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by tjlj
Jim, were u ever on the divina?
No. I read a lot of CruiseCritic reviews of the Divina, and they scared me off.
Seaside was my first experience with MSC, and after our week onboard my wife made me promise that it would be our last. We've been happy with Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and even Viking Ocean Cruises. We'll stick with them until Virgin Voyages comes out, and then we'll probably want to see what Richard Branson's version of cruising is like.
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My cruise history:
May 2018: Norwegian Bliss Panama Canal Cruise
January 2018: MSC Seaside - Suite With Private Whirlpool On Balcony
October 2017: Norwegian Sky to Havana in the Owner's Suite
September 2017 Carnival Vista, in a Havana Suite
April 2017 Harmony Of The Seas
January 2017 Norwegian Pearl Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite!
January 2017 Allure Of The Seas
October/November 2016 Viking Star
July 2016 Liberty Of The Seas
March/April 2016 Anthem Of The Seas
January 2016 Norwegian Escape - The Haven!
November 2015 Carnival Miracle - Mexican Riviera
September 2015 Carnival Breeze B2B
April 2015 Independence Of The Seas B2B
February 2015 Carnival Freedom 12-day repositioning cruise
November 2014 Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas
September 2014 Norwegian Getaway - Haven Spa Suite!
June 2014 Coral Princess Alaska cruisetour
April/May 2014 Carnival Glory aft wrap B2B
January 2014 Sapphire Princess 4-day
December 2013 Carnival Sunshine Captain's Suite
September 2013 Carnival Conquest aft-wrap
April 2013 Carnival Breeze B2B
October 2012 Carnival Inspiration
August 2012 Carnival Magic B2B
March 2012 Carnival Spirit
September 2011 Carnival Valor B2B
March/April 2011 Carnival Glory B2B
January 2011 Carnival Spirit
November 2010 Carnival Spirit
February 2010 Carnival Splendor
August 2009 Carnival Elation
April 2009 Carnival Paradise
January 2009 Carnival Spirit
April 2008 Norwegian Star
Jan 2008 Carnival Elation
June 1996 MS Holiday

Coming up:
2nd Qtr 2018: Norwegian Bliss - Panama Canal