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Seaside Yacht Club...Value Oriented Slice Of The Good LIfe?

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BACKGROUND

Read all about the Seaside back in late 2015 and what was being promoted seemed like it really had promise. I was familiar with the Haven on NCL and what they normally charged and the ship within a ship concept. I, on the other hand normally stay down in steerage with Leo and usually stay in an inside cabin. After Celebrity came out with their drinks package inclusions with OV and above, I was hooked on the package concept, but at a value price if at all possible. This was reinforced over three sailings that I had on the NCL Escape with their included drinks package, but being frugal, those sailings were done in insides twice and a solo cabin once. When I found out that the Seaside Yacht Club would have inside cabins as an option, I was hooked. I could get a slice of the good life similar to the Haven at a reduced price staying in an inside. We're more concerned about the ship and the amenities than relaxing on a balcony, so that is why we always look for value when choosing to cruise. After 27 sailings in the Caribbean since 1986 the ship is more of the destination for us instead of the ports and we usually like to sail on the larger, newer ships. That's why our next three sailings are on the Horizon out of NYC and Miami as well as the NCL Bliss.

Bookings had opened up in December of 2015 and in January of 2016 we pulled the trigger and booked the 1/13/18 sailing on the Seaside. Even with bookings only being opened for a month, the few inside cabins on deck 18 had already been taken, so we had a cabin selected down on 16. Because of mobility issues with my fiance and the ease of just walking down the hallway to the dining room, I had wanted a cabin on deck 18. When a YIN on deck 18 opened up in March of 2016 for the 1/27/18 sailing, I switched to that sailing. We had gotten a reduced price from our TA as well as 400 in OBC from MSC, so we were very happy with our choice. We were excited to try a new line, visit a new port (Ocean Cay), and experience a slice of the good life similar to the Haven at a value price that we could afford.

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EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION

We flew into FLL on Friday afternoon on Southwest and stayed at the Hyatt House in Dania Beach. Saturday morning we got a Lyft and 28.00 later, we were pulling up to the tent at the far end of the brand new Terminal F. Tipped the porter and we were greeted by the butlers who checked us off of their list of YC attendees and after waiting for another couple to initially check-in, we were escorted upstairs to go through security and do our official check-in in the YC lounge. After getting our cards and pictures taken, we were offered a cold beverage choice of either champagne, juice, still or sparkling water. At this time it was about 10:30 and within the hour many more people began to arrive. About 11:30 or so we all lined up and were allowed to enter the ship. We went to our cabin to drop off our carry on bags and then our adventure officially began.

 

CABIN

The cabin itself was OK, it had a very comfortable bed, two padded arm chairs and a glass topped table in between. The closet had about 3 1/2 feet of hanging space, two drawers and 3 1/2 shelves, with the 1/2 shelf being occupied by the safe. Plenty of space under the bed for our two suitcases and the carry on bags fit nicely between the desk and the closet and the other one fit next to the trash can under the desk. There were small end tables on each side of the bed, which fit our CPAP machines with no problem. A 15 ft extension cord allowed me to plug in the two machines to one of the outlets on the desk with no problem. The TV in the cabin swiveled so that you could watch it in bed, but it was right next to the mirror, so you got a reverse image of what was on the screen as well reflecting off the mirror.

The only concern I had about our cabin was the bathroom. It was mentioned on the MSC website that upgraded materials would be used in the YC bathrooms such as marble. This is what I had read was in all of the YC cabins on the Meraviglia and after seeing a video on YouTube taken on the Seaside inaugural from Europe, the HC YIN did indeed have marble vanities and floors. Unfortunately, our bathroom did not have these promised upgrades and in fact was the smallest bathroom and shower that I have had in 31 cruises. This included my first cruise in 1986 on the 40K ton Carnival Jubilee as well as the solo cabin on the NCL Escape. As others had mentioned in other threads, you had to sit on the toilet at an angle to do your business.

 

FOOD

We then decided to go out and enjoy our embarkation lunch on the One Pool Deck at the YC grill. We were disappointed that they were closed, so we went up to deck 18 and enjoyed our first meal with Arthur. Arthur was the best thing that happened to us all week. His service was impeccable, his recommendations were spot on and he was a joy to see each evening. Once he knew that I liked to end my dinner with a double espresso with my dessert, it was there each evening with a shot of Bailey's to add a smidgen of and then pour the rest over my coffee or vanilla ice cream. Over the course of the week, we had dinner by ourselves 3 times, dinner with another couple we met Joe & Sherry 3 times and on our last evening the four of us were joined by Tom & Geri. Dinner with just the two of us would take about 130-140 and about 2 hours with the 4-6 of us.

Breakfast at the YC MDR was just OK, with nothing really special and on our last morning I made the mistake of ordering waffles that were obviously not made to order since they were ice cold. Our lunches in the YC MDR were very nice and I was happy to see that the menu changed daily which is a departure from some other cruise lines. The grill at the YC on the other hand was a major disappointment. Tried the grilled giant prawns and they were way overcooked. We had grilled lobster tails on Friday afternoon, which had followed up the 7 oz cold water tails the previous evening in the MDR. The 7 oz version was very nice and the smaller lunchtime option was hit or miss as some were OK and others were overcooked. The beef and lamb dishes at the carving station were all medium and above and you would have needed a magnifying glass to see a hint of pink. The same was true with the lamb chops or mini steaks. I prefer my beef and lamb rare to medium rare and I was a bit upset that this option was not available. It continued in the evening the one night that prime rib was on the menu. Arthur said he would get me a medium piece and I ended up choking it down. Many of the beef items came with a gravy, which I got on the side. I have to assume that this was to moisten it since most of the natural juices were cooked away since the color pink was absent. I was able to get beef tornadoes done rare/medium rare for lunch on day one and it was one of my favorites throughout the week.

Overall the food in the MDR was not up to the high standard that I expected going in. I was expecting specialty restaurant quality since upgraded food is what we were supposedly paying for. In the end it just did not reach the bar that I had expected. No flavored butters and the breads that were offered were similar to the offerings at the regular MDR's on the previous US based main stream cruise lines that I had been on for 30 cruises. The one dessert that was outstanding was the made to order crepe suzette, which I believe was on the second formal night on Thursday, which capped off the 7 oz cold water lobster tail meal.

 

DRINKS

This was one area where the Seaside shined. There were many different bars around the ship that each had their own type of ambiance and many had their own grouping of drinks. The sports bar had about 10 different beers on tap as well as another 15 or so in bottles, making it the largest variety that I had seen at sea besides the District Brew House on the NCL Escape and the Gastropub on some of the Celebrity ships. One of my go to drinks for the week was the Shanghai Margarita, which was 9.25, but covered with our deluxe package. It consisted of Patron Silver Tequila, agave syrup, fresh lime juice and fresh chopped ginger.

 

SPA/PHOTOS

Went to the Aurea spa twice during the week since it was included in our package. The first time was while in port in Jamaica and we had the entire place to ourselves. There was a large rectangular hot tub, unlike a Thalassotherapy pool which we had enjoyed on the Celebrity Summit. There was a light and a dark steam room, a salt room, a snow room, and a room that I equated to a full body cold water bidet. :confused: There was a door that led to a portion of the pool deck that could only be gotten to through the spa, which had an outdoor hot tub as well as 10 chaise lounges. Inside the spa, there were about 20 loungers made of woven bamboo and only 3 heated tile loungers adjacent to the inside large hot tub.

Did not have too much interaction with the photo area except I was interested to see what the cost was going to be for an 8 x 10 photo. Had seen that gold card members got a 30% discount, but after inquiring about it, was told that the discount is only good for embarkation photos. I haven't gotten them taken in about 25 years. The 8 x 10 photo was 25.00.

 

POOL AREA

The YC pool area was nice, with comfortable padded loungers, two hot tubs at the front of the ship and the YC pool in the rear section with the bar/grill area in the middle. No umbrellas for shade is a major problem, IMHO especially in the middle of the summer. There was shade at the tables you could eat at and of course at the stools at the bar area. Shade over the loungers only occurred during certain times of the day depending upon the position of the sun. The depth of the pool was mistakenly listed as has been already mentioned in other threads. The regular loungers in other areas of the ship were very nice, since they had their own built in pillows, which was a first that I had seen.

 

ENTERTAINMENT

We were able to see the comedy improvisational group BeerProv on 3 of the six evenings that they performed. Each show was in the main showroom at 11:15 PM and Friday night was their night off. It consisted of two guys and a gal who generated suggestions from the audience to perform their skits. One of the skits each evening required a volunteer from the audience. Overall, it was OK, but we do prefer regular stand up comedians that perform various times over the course of the week in both family and R rated versions. We were also disappointed that there was no piano bar on board. It's a mainstay on Carnival and Howl at the Moon, which consists of two dueling pianos on the NCL Escape is the best of the genre afloat, in our opinion.

The main shows were performed at 7:00, 8:15 and 9:15 each evening. We saw 5 out of the 7, seeing Peter Punk, Timeless, Fly, Frank Sinatra tribute and the Wizard. Each show lasted from 30-40 minutes in length. Peter Punk was our favorite of the bunch and the 12 minutes of Michael Jackson impersonation during the Timeless show was good. The Star Spangled Banner was sung at the end of that show and about 40% of the audience stood up, so that gave us an indication as to the percentage of Americans in attendance for that showing. In general, these shows reinforced why we don't usually go to them on other lines, we prefer to go to a piano bar or see a comedy show. We were disappointed that the comedy show showroom renderings that were on the MSC website ended up not coming to fruition. Don't know why since Carnival and NCL do comedy shows in small venues on their ships with no problem.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

There were many more negatives than pluses to our week, but since we reserved two years in advance, we had gotten a great rate and 400 in OBC from MSC to boot. Would we sail on MSC again....don't know the answer to that one. If Ocean Cay ever opens up and if one of the Meraviglia-Plus ships home ports in NYC or Miami and the price is right, then we could possibly be back. Another option would be one of the World Class ships after she has been afloat for a year, so that'll be 2023 at the earliest. I don't like to say never, but in the meantime, we have reservations on the NCL Bliss as well as the Carnival Horizon out of NYC and Miami already booked. The Carnival LNG ships, the Leonardo Project by NCL, the Celebrity Edge ships and the adults only Virgin ships are all other options for us to choose from.

 

It's great not to be myopic and only have blinders on for one particular cruise line. Variety is truly the spice of life and there will be many great options at sea over the next 10 years. In the end, those that choose to open up their horizons to the various state of the art offerings by the different cruise lines will be the true winners when it comes to enjoying their leisure time with their significant others

 

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We got off the Feb 2nd-10th sailing and I couldn't agree with you more. We booked our yacht club room 2 years ago as well and it was at a nice price point. I also booked Seaside for June of this year and we are debating on cancelling. It was just different for us from the other lines.....not necessarily bad...just different. We sail for the ship as well......so we might just go to hang by the pool.

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Thanks for the review. We don't sail until May so very appreciative of all the feedback from the current cruisers!

 

We also have the $400 onboard credit directly from MSC on our room. Were you able to use this to apply to the daily service charge? Some say you can, others indicate they needed to go to the casino to cash out their onboard credit since it couldn't be applied directly for the service charge.

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EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION

We were pulling up to the tent at the far end of the brand new Terminal F.

When you say the far end of Terminal F, do you mean the west end (City of Miami) or east (toward Fisher Island/Miami Beach) end?

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Thanks for the review. We don't sail until May so very appreciative of all the feedback from the current cruisers!

 

We also have the $400 onboard credit directly from MSC on our room. Were you able to use this to apply to the daily service charge? Some say you can, others indicate they needed to go to the casino to cash out their onboard credit since it couldn't be applied directly for the service charge.

 

The OBC can be used to cover the service charge; it shows on the credit side of your account and the daily charge is applied to the debit side. At the end of the cruise, one side is subtracted from the other, leaving either a credit or a debit balance. MSC doesn't separate out OBC from any other payments made toward the account.

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EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION

We were pulling up to the tent at the far end of the brand new Terminal F.

When you say the far end of Terminal F, do you mean the west end (City of Miami) or east (toward Fisher Island/Miami Beach) end?

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Thanks for the review. I’m sorry the meat was over cooked. That would definitely detract from the experience for me, as well. Also sorry that the bathroom was too small. Hopefully the next ship will be more to your liking.

 

 

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Thanks for the review. We don't sail until May so very appreciative of all the feedback from the current cruisers!

 

We also have the $400 onboard credit directly from MSC on our room. Were you able to use this to apply to the daily service charge? Some say you can, others indicate they needed to go to the casino to cash out their onboard credit since it couldn't be applied directly for the service charge.

I ended up cashing 300 at the casino and used the extra 100 towards our final tally. Like Bea had said, it's a strict debit/credit situation with MSC. The only funky thing is that they require you to set up your credit card at a kiosk instead of having it done as you check in and get your pictures taken like all of the US based cruise lines. Make sure that your credit card does not incur foreign transaction fees. And we did not need a pin like as been mentioned in other threads.

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Thanks for the review. I’m sorry the meat was over cooked. That would definitely detract from the experience for me, as well. Also sorry that the bathroom was too small. Hopefully the next ship will be more to your liking.

 

 

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You're welcome. Our next 3 sailings are on the Bliss and the Horizon twice, so I know what to expect when it comes to food, drink, entertainment, cabin, etc having sailed 20 times on those two lines. Trying something new like the Seaside is nice to broaden your horizons and become educated to the European way of cruising, but it's nice to be able to get on lines we're more familiar with and accustomed to so we know what to expect.

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When you say the far end of Terminal F, do you mean the west end (City of Miami) or east (toward Fisher Island/Miami Beach) end?

It was the west end, which was the far left hand side of the terminal as we approached.

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We got off the Feb 2nd-10th sailing and I couldn't agree with you more. We booked our yacht club room 2 years ago as well and it was at a nice price point. I also booked Seaside for June of this year and we are debating on cancelling. It was just different for us from the other lines.....not necessarily bad...just different. We sail for the ship as well......so we might just go to hang by the pool.
I have to assume that you're tentatively booked back in the YC for your June trip. Over the summer, with all of the kids and the madhouse that would ensue elsewhere on the ship, the YC would be an Oasis to escape the maddening crowd, but of course it would still be umbrella-less.

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You're welcome. Our next 3 sailings are on the Bliss and the Horizon twice, so I know what to expect when it comes to food, drink, entertainment, cabin, etc having sailed 20 times on those two lines. Trying something new like the Seaside is nice to broaden your horizons and become educated to the European way of cruising, but it's nice to be able to get on lines we're more familiar with and accustomed to so we know what to expect.

 

 

 

 

Sounds great! I’d love to read your reviews of the Bliss and Horizon. I’m thinking about booking something with Royal next year, myself. Agree with you on broadening your horizons and trying new stuff. Thanks.

 

 

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Thanks for the review. Our experience was similar to yours except for the fact that I like my food well done (It's the way Mom cooked everything). My wife did manage to get some things that were medium-rare and she was happy. We also had Arthur as our waiter and he was a highlight of the cruise. We enjoyed our week and will sail with MSC again. Too bad that Ocean Cay has been delayed again until the Fall of 2019. Bob

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Sounds great! I’d love to read your reviews of the Bliss and Horizon. I’m thinking about booking something with Royal next year, myself. Agree with you on broadening your horizons and trying new stuff. Thanks.

 

 

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We're booked on the Horizon for Labor day out of NYC for 8 days and again in August of 19 out of Miami for 8 doing the Southern Caribbean. After doing the Caribbean 27 times, we'll be hitting 3 new ports for us between those two cruises. Amber Cove, Curacao and La Romana. Both times we'll be in an inside cabin in the Havana area, which is kid free until 7:00 PM with it's own bar, pool and two hot tubs. And, unlike the YC....umbrellas. :D Here is a link to a YouTube video in case you're not familiar with those cabins.

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Thanks for the review. Our experience was similar to yours except for the fact that I like my food well done (It's the way Mom cooked everything). My wife did manage to get some things that were medium-rare and she was happy. We also had Arthur as our waiter and he was a highlight of the cruise. We enjoyed our week and will sail with MSC again. Too bad that Ocean Cay has been delayed again until the Fall of 2019. Bob
Thanks Bob, your website was helpful before the cruise educating us on some of the aspects of the ship and what to expect, especially the snippets regarding the shows. Happy sailing.

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We're booked on the Horizon for Labor day out of NYC for 8 days and again in August of 19 out of Miami for 8 doing the Southern Caribbean. After doing the Caribbean 27 times, we'll be hitting 3 new ports for us between those two cruises. Amber Cove, Curacao and La Romana. Both times we'll be in an inside cabin in the Havana area, which is kid free until 7:00 PM with it's own bar, pool and two hot tubs. And, unlike the YC....umbrellas. :D Here is a link to a YouTube video in case you're not familiar with those cabins.

 

 

 

Can you clarify "kid free"? If you have children, are you not able to book these rooms?

 

 

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Can you clarify "kid free"? If you have children, are you not able to book these rooms?

 

 

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The area is for those 12+ only, no younger kids allowed. Cabins can only be booked by occupants that are 12+. However, the area opens up at 7:00 PM to anyone of any age, prior to that you need a specific pass to get into the area. By 7:00, we are done with our lounging and swimming so the fact that the area is then open will not bother us at all. This area has been very successful on the Vista, will be on the Horizon and is speculated to be on the Panorama.

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Thanks for leading me to your review SNJCruisers. We decided to go another route. We may try MSC on our own, but I didn't feel comfortable recommending it to my cruise group at this time.

Jim

 

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