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mjrtomsajunkie

Only ever cruised NCL... considering MSC Seaside... help!

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Hello folks 🙂 Looking for some advice and help.

 

I’ve only ever cruised with NCL, four cruises and loved every minute, and I’ve always been very reluctant to try another line in case I don’t enjoy it as much. (NCL loyal!) However, some family members are about to book a cruise on the MSC Seaside, 15 nights Caribbean, and NCL can’t even begin to compete with the price we’re getting (including the premium drinks package). The ship looks absolutely stunning. I’m really torn!

 

So can anyone tell me how you find MSC vs NCL if you have done both? The good, the bad, the ugly!

 

I’d also love to known how the premium drinks package is on MSC... on NCL the cocktails are fantastic and spirits are a good range of premium brands, how does MSC compare?

 

My biggest concern is dining. I love at NCL the flexibility of no formal dining times etc. I see MSC does an early and late sitting but also a mention of My Choice dining... can anyone break down how this works for me please?

 

Thanks in advance for any help,

 

Jen x

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I sailed on the Seaside last summer, and I really enjoyed both the ship and MSC. It was different in a lot of ways, but of the lines I've tried, I thought the aesthetic was most like NCL.

 

I can't comment on the drink packages, as I don't drink alcohol, with very rare exceptions.

 

You need to have the "Aurea" experience or higher to get their anytime dining. I was booked in Bella, so we had the middle assigned time (19:30, I think). I did miss having anytime dining, as I prefer it, but we also did a lot of speciality dining, so we didn't miss it too much.

 

Let me know if you have any other questions. Here are some photos I took on my cruise:

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/r2WB7p7cX5TW4jb36

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We sailed the Escape and we sail the Bliss here in March. We sailed the MSC Seaside as a family this past April. I don't have much time here but I will tell you that the Seaside was simply fantastic. I had it booked way back in 2016 for 2018. The food in the buffet and MDR was very good. The ship and service were excellent. The pools were great ...... The shore excursions went smoothly. We had MSC's top drink package and it was the best we've had of any drink package on any cruise line. It included the mini fridge in the room, premium everything, gelato, sundaes ......... The price for that cruise blew anything NCL had out of the water. I'd sail her again in a heartbeat.  

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We have done 7 NCL cruises, 10 on Celebrity and 1 on Royal.  We have not cruised MSC and don't plan to do so.

 

On cruises, we compare notes on our cruises with our cc roll call friends.   We have heard more complaints about MSC than any other cruise line.  Still, some people have had good cruises with them.  I think MSC is Italian.  Remember the Captain that wanted to sail closer to land for his mistress and wound up sinking the ship.

 

 

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1 hour ago, 4774Papa said:

We have done 7 NCL cruises, 10 on Celebrity and 1 on Royal.  We have not cruised MSC and don't plan to do so.

 

On cruises, we compare notes on our cruises with our cc roll call friends.   We have heard more complaints about MSC than any other cruise line.  Still, some people have had good cruises with them.  I think MSC is Italian.  Remember the Captain that wanted to sail closer to land for his mistress and wound up sinking the ship.

 

 

What does that have to do with anything?

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11 minutes ago, jpcdds6 said:

What does that have to do with anything?

If I wasted your time, then why did you waste more time with your comment?

 

The poster was seeking information about MSC, I responded.  

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14 minutes ago, 4774Papa said:

If I wasted your time, then why did you waste more time with your comment?

 

The poster was seeking information about MSC, I responded.  

You responded with a comment about a Costa ship sailing too close to the coastline.

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2 hours ago, 4774Papa said:

We have done 7 NCL cruises, 10 on Celebrity and 1 on Royal.  We have not cruised MSC and don't plan to do so.

 

On cruises, we compare notes on our cruises with our cc roll call friends.   We have heard more complaints about MSC than any other cruise line.  Still, some people have had good cruises with them.  I think MSC is Italian.  Remember the Captain that wanted to sail closer to land for his mistress and wound up sinking the ship.

 

 

Sorry Papa, but the original posting was asking who has sailed both not who doesn’t plan to. Like said, that was the Costa Concordia that sank. MSC Seaside provided a wonderful  cruising experience for our family last year. We have sailed Carnival, Royal, MSC, NCL, Holland America, and Princess so we had plenty to base that opinion of MSC off of. 

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Go for it. I honestly don't understand the need to just stick to one cruise line. Find a better deal? then book it and go.

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I have always sailed with NCL and just got off MSC Divina for a christmas cruise.  We decided to try MSC because it had a longer itinerary (10 days vs 7 days on NCL) and the price was right.  There are many mixed reviews and we decided to keep an open mind but after day 3, we realized this ship was not for us.  I like my style dining and not being forced to eat dinner at a certain time with strangers.  If you are traveling with a big group, you will probably have a table for yourselves - so that shouldn't be a problem.  Aside from little issues with MSC, our biggest concern was lack of entertainment through out the day (bingo, deal or no deal, interactive guest shows, trivia, etc.)  Since everything seems to revolve around the main dining room times of 6 and 8 pm on MSC, there was very little to do from the hours of 4:30 - 10:30 pm with the exception of the shows at 7 or 9 pm (which we stopped going to  because they were not very entertaining).  On NCL, we love sea days and have always found something to do - not the case with MSC.  We live in the sun year round and don't need to sit poolside (although it would be hard to find a lounge chair but that goes for any cruise line).  My husband thought the food was better on MSC but I did not think so.  The staff were lovely and very accommodating as best as they could.  We booked a balcony fantastica experience and upgraded to the Deluxe drinks package (before all the package changes) and never had a problem getting premium drinks the entire trip so it was comparable to the UBP on NCL.  

 

We learned a big lesson and that is you get what you pay for!  We felt that the MSC Divina was just a vessel to get you from Point A to Point B with nothing in between. I think NCL is a 'fun" ship compared to the Divina although I have heard good things about Seaside.  If we had a back to back cruise, we would have not gone on the second leg because we just didn't enjoy it and were extremely disappointed in our trip.    I would rather pay more for NCL to be relaxed (no elegant nights), eat dinner when I want, and have better entertainment options. 

 

I think reviews are suggestive based on your experience and expectations but our experience with MSC missed the mark and we will always sail NCL moving forward.  

 

Hope this helps!!!  

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I am a loyal NCL customer and stockholder. with that said we have sailed 3 times on

MSC in the past 12 months. Love the ships and the food. I would say that the shows on NCL are by far better. Can't  beat the price on  MSC, which  was our orginal feel about NCL until they began offering all the "free at sea offers" and raised the prices.

MSC is trying to make a mark in the U. S. Market so enjoy the low prices and perks while they last.

We will be back on NCL in December so we haven't  totally " jumped ship" . WE sail for the itinerary.

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A bit off topic, but why am I now hearing so much reference to MSC line especially on NCL board. had not even heard or thought about them until about 2 months ago??

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They are trying to break into the U. S. Market and are in Miami . The ships are beautiful and pricing for similar itineraries is much lower,

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NCL and MSC seem to be our current go to lines. We've sailed both on a couple different ships each and have more scheduled.  Each is terrific, though they each have a different feel. MSC is Italian and generally has a mix of US and European passengers. Some complain about announcements in multiple languages, but that to us is trivial; there are a few other quirks but MSC has evened many of those out to appeal to US passengers when sailing out of the US. Even with a language barrier we've met lovely people that have added to our enjoyment of the cruise so the international aspect of MSC appeals to us. 

 

The Seaside is an amazing ship! Stunning, decorated with mirrors and lots of glam such as crystal imbedded staircases. It also has all the bells and whistles one finds on the new large ships. Lots of activies including water slides, zip line, bowling etc. Great selection of pools and water parks, including a covered pool that NCL lacks. 

 

The high end drink package outshines NCL making it a valuable perk. Great, high end alcoholic drinks, but also coffees and water. They serve the larger bottled water with meals in the European style of sparkling or still. What a treat having cappuccinos with breakfast and after dinner! The high end package also has included the mini bar and gelato, though a reshuffling has made some changes that are still being sorted out. Either way, MSC excels with the more inclusive nature of their packages. 

 

Dinner, as stated above, is more traditional for the Bella or Fantastic experiences. The Aurea experience (and Yacht Club) does include a my time type of dining option. There are a nice variety of speciality restaurants that do add some dining flexibility. Personally, I wouldn't let the set dining times prevent me from trying MSC. The shows are high energy, with lots of acrobatics integrated. They are shorter in duration which makes them less of a time commitment. 

 

We're sailing on the Seaside again in March. This is the first time we've ever repeated a ship, which indicates how much we enjoyed it. 7 nights felt too short to get a feel for the ship so another trip is needed. 15 nights sounds absolutely perfect!! 

 

Let me know of any specific questions you may have.

 

Carrie

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1 hour ago, Visigoth said:

One benefit is that MSC has a loyalty match program that will give you benefits for your latitude status.  If you are Platinum on NCL you will receive MSC's highest level (Black).

 

Check it out at:   https://www.msccruisesusa.com/en-us/MSC-Voyagers-Club/Loyalty-Match-Program.aspx

 

This is a nice perk too. I got matched from Carnival Platinum to MSC Gold.

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11 hours ago, bones774 said:

A bit off topic, but why am I now hearing so much reference to MSC line especially on NCL board. had not even heard or thought about them until about 2 months ago??

Because of the price gouging by NCL with the Haven cabins, many are jumping ship over to MSC to check out their Yacht Club. 

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On 1/6/2019 at 5:58 PM, mjrtomsajunkie said:

Hello folks 🙂 Looking for some advice and help.

 

I’ve only ever cruised with NCL, four cruises and loved every minute, and I’ve always been very reluctant to try another line in case I don’t enjoy it as much. (NCL loyal!) However, some family members are about to book a cruise on the MSC Seaside, 15 nights Caribbean, and NCL can’t even begin to compete with the price we’re getting (including the premium drinks package). The ship looks absolutely stunning. I’m really torn!

 

So can anyone tell me how you find MSC vs NCL if you have done both? The good, the bad, the ugly!

 

I’d also love to known how the premium drinks package is on MSC... on NCL the cocktails are fantastic and spirits are a good range of premium brands, how does MSC compare?

 

My biggest concern is dining. I love at NCL the flexibility of no formal dining times etc. I see MSC does an early and late sitting but also a mention of My Choice dining... can anyone break down how this works for me please?

 

Thanks in advance for any help,

 

Jen x

Here is a link to my review of the MSC Seaside from a year ago when we stayed in the Yacht Club in an inside cabin.  If you're looking for anytime dining, you need to book the Aurea experience or the Yacht Club.  The premium drinks package on MSC is far superior to the one on NCL, which I have had on 3 cruises on the Escape.  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2506451-seaside-yacht-clubvalue-oriented-slice-of-the-good-life/

 

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11 hours ago, Visigoth said:

One benefit is that MSC has a loyalty match program that will give you benefits for your latitude status.  If you are Platinum on NCL you will receive MSC's highest level (Black).

 

Check it out at:   https://www.msccruisesusa.com/en-us/MSC-Voyagers-Club/Loyalty-Match-Program.aspx

 

Unfortunately, since October they have reduced the status match levels and Platinum now matches to gold, it now takes Platinum+ to match black.

Equally RCL Diamond used to match black but now only matches gold.

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I was wondering how long it would take to change the matching. As a Black card  holder, I have seen the reduction of some perks . I guess the match program brought in many people who were given the benefits

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On 1/7/2019 at 5:54 PM, CarrieAP said:

NCL and MSC seem to be our current go to lines. We've sailed both on a couple different ships each and have more scheduled.  Each is terrific, though they each have a different feel. MSC is Italian and generally has a mix of US and European passengers. Some complain about announcements in multiple languages, but that to us is trivial; there are a few other quirks but MSC has evened many of those out to appeal to US passengers when sailing out of the US. Even with a language barrier we've met lovely people that have added to our enjoyment of the cruise so the international aspect of MSC appeals to us. 

 

The Seaside is an amazing ship! Stunning, decorated with mirrors and lots of glam such as crystal imbedded staircases. It also has all the bells and whistles one finds on the new large ships. Lots of activies including water slides, zip line, bowling etc. Great selection of pools and water parks, including a covered pool that NCL lacks. 

 

The high end drink package outshines NCL making it a valuable perk. Great, high end alcoholic drinks, but also coffees and water. They serve the larger bottled water with meals in the European style of sparkling or still. What a treat having cappuccinos with breakfast and after dinner! The high end package also has included the mini bar and gelato, though a reshuffling has made some changes that are still being sorted out. Either way, MSC excels with the more inclusive nature of their packages. 

 

Dinner, as stated above, is more traditional for the Bella or Fantastic experiences. The Aurea experience (and Yacht Club) does include a my time type of dining option. There are a nice variety of speciality restaurants that do add some dining flexibility. Personally, I wouldn't let the set dining times prevent me from trying MSC. The shows are high energy, with lots of acrobatics integrated. They are shorter in duration which makes them less of a time commitment. 

 

We're sailing on the Seaside again in March. This is the first time we've ever repeated a ship, which indicates how much we enjoyed it. 7 nights felt too short to get a feel for the ship so another trip is needed. 15 nights sounds absolutely perfect!! 

 

Let me know of any specific questions you may have.

 

Carrie

Thanks for that info.   I took advantage of the 'status match' last year, and booked my first MSC cruise for the Meraviglia, 10 day round trip from New York to Quebec on October 8, 2019.   

What I am curious about, is how MSC treats solo traveler's....NCL in my book, sets the standard for that...not only for the Studio cabins, but more so for the nightly hosted get together's, and group activities...

Hopefully, MSC has something in line with that to offer....we'll see...

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I spent all day yesterday looking into it after reading this topic.  I cannot find the huge savings everyone is talking about.  When choosing the all inclusive Bella option, the price was about $600 less but the rooms were not in an equivalent area, mid-ship balcony vs. regular balcony and lower floor.  Plus the Easy beverage package is not equivalent to the UBP.  You can upgrade to the premium package for $29 pp/pd which offsets most of the savings. Where I did find savings was on a single adult cruiser.  you can get a balcony on MSC for around the same price as a studio on NCL.

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On 1/8/2019 at 12:47 AM, SNJCruisers said:

Here is a link to my review of the MSC Seaside from a year ago when we stayed in the Yacht Club in an inside cabin.  If you're looking for anytime dining, you need to book the Aurea experience or the Yacht Club.  The premium drinks package on MSC is far superior to the one on NCL, which I have had on 3 cruises on the Escape.  https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2506451-seaside-yacht-clubvalue-oriented-slice-of-the-good-life/

 

 

ANY cruise line drink package is far superior to Norwegian's. LOL and cheaper too :classic_biggrin:

Edited by Georgie562

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