Jump to content
mjrtomsajunkie

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

Recommended Posts

3 hours ago, RedwingHockeyFan said:

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.

 

Are you looking at MSC's "brochure" price or their "promo" price? The MSC (horrible) site will sometimes default to the much higher brochure rate.

 

Even with MSC's recent price hikes, they are still much less than NCL in nearly all cases. A Yacht Club for 4 can be done for a little over $5K (it used to be slightly under/over $4K). A NCL Haven for 4 is much more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we have only sailed MSC once and it was delightful.  

 

the only negative I would state is that MDR is slooooooooow.   we got used to it. 

 

PROS

*staff are very eager to please. and the Divina was immaculate. 

*passengers have more of an international feel, not just americans.  I liked that.  I didn't see any proverbial "ugly American *tourists" that we always see on NCL/Carnival.  might have been luck. 

*buffet pizza is best at sea. 

*the shows are different than NCL, it was explained to us that they were designed to appeal to everyone not just folks who spoke a particular language.  again, very cool. 

*not a lot of trivia, which I missed.

*MSC is less of a "party boat" than NCL/Carnival. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

great point, Wheels.... the MSC website is an abomination.  trying to do anything off mobile phone was nearly impossible. 

 

we had to call to book. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/8/2019 at 9:01 AM, ziggyuk said:

 

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.

Hilton Diamond still matches to Black.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sailed MSC 3 times and once on NCL Bliss. 

The food on MSC we found good but I Have to say it was better on Bliss.

The Divina is more elegant than Seaside and Bliss but the Seaside is also lovely. 

The atrium on the Bliss was a nightmare! Constant games and noise whenever you passed through and not at all as stunning as Both Seaside and Divina.

We preferred the bars on MSC they didn’t seem to blend into each other and the live entertainment in them was better than Bliss.

it is also nice to get dressed up in the evening which you didn’t see much on Bliss.

we did enjoy the Waterfront however also the Brewhouse and the Observation lounge.

We have 2 cruises on MSC this year, the Divina in Europe and Meraviglia out of New York, still my preferred cruise line - but we are still novices! 

Also we have Getaway out of New Orleans April 2020 and will probably book an Alaska also as we got an amazing deal on cruise next vouchers- $1000 worth for $500!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sailed MSC in April....was our 25th cruise. We cruise for itinerary and thus have sailed on NCL,Royal, Celebrity, Hal, Princess, and Carnival. Had a great time on every one.MSC is different in some ways. As stated there are some differences in entertainment, clientele and food is a drawback, particularly the buffet. 

Seaside is a fabulous ship. We had a great price for a fantastica balcony with mealtime drinks, and black status match......entertainment as stated was different, but very enjoyable. Missed having no comedian, also bed was hard as a rock....strangest experience was being charged for water in specialty restaurant. This was a common complaint, it was tap water too.

i say go for it....every cruise is great if you pack a good attitude.....we will sail MSC again if the right itinerary and price are available...😎😎

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/8/2019 at 2:01 AM, ziggyuk said:

 

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.

We're Platinum Plus and received gold status on MSC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, OceanDreaming2 said:

We're Platinum Plus and received gold status on MSC.

 

Oh wow, even worse than we thought, sorry to hear that.

I think is was more of an assumption Platinum Plus would be black as Platinum is matching gold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would double check on that status match. We had a problem with our status  after our first cruise. Once we spoke to customer relations it was fixed . They  can be very cut and dry at times , but push your concern.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 2:50 AM, TravelScholar said:

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

Thanks for this. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, that transparent floor is amazing! I think I could just about cope with a 7.30 sitting. No chance with any earlier!

 

On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 9:47 AM, tallnthensome said:

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.  

 

Oooo sounds excellent! I LOVED the Escape myself so if you preferred Seaside it must be good!!!

 

On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 11:45 AM, 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.

 

 

That's very interesting as I've never heard any complaints about MSC when I've spoken to people but I guess different strokes for different folks etc. 10 on Celebrity, they must be good!

 

On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 7:30 PM, Georgie562 said:

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.

Ach I know what you mean but I think if it came down to it I'd rather pay a bit more for a line I loved than save a bit of money but not have quite as good an experience. That said, maybe cruises are a bit like pizza... even "bad" ones tend to be quite good!

 

On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 9:15 PM, flumpa said:

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!!!  

Thanks so much for this very detailed review. You sound a lot like me... I'm a big lover of the trivia/deal or no deal type things, I do love to sunbathe but it's nice to have the break for a wee pub quiz! I also wouldn't be a huge fan of being seated with other people and at the same time going with a big group it's nice to get some time to yourself so we certainly wouldn't be having dinner as a big group every night. I'm also a fan of the relaxed vibe on Norwegian, I start off with good intentions of getting myself all glammed up for dinner every night but when you're relaxing on holiday I really can't be bothered spending ages getting ready! This is very helpful :)

 

On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 9:16 PM, Joken35 said:

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.

Thanks very much for this. 3 times in 12 months - living the dream!

 

On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 9:22 PM, 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

Great to know, thanks a lot!

 

On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 9:22 PM, Joken35 said:

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,

The ships certainly do look gorgeous, especially the Seaside!

 

On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 9:25 PM, tallnthensome said:

The Michael Jackson tribute show “Timeless” on the MSC Seaside is the best show we have ever seen at sea. 

Ooo I do love MJ and love a good show!

 

On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 10:54 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 so much for your detailed reply! I don't drink coffee but my fiancé loves it so that would be good! The ships do look absolutely gorgeous and a covered pool would be excellent. The fact you're repeating says a lot!

 

On ‎1‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 8:47 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/

 

Thanks so much, I'm just about to sit down and open this!

 

18 hours ago, Georgie562 said:

 

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

Really?! In what way? Other than the coffee thing (I don't drink coffee so doesn't bother me) I'd struggle to see how a drinks package could be better than NCL! I've always found the cocktails and the range of premium spirits available fantastic! RE price anytime I've booked the UBP has been included for free, I have seen people upgrade to it on ship and admittedly it seems pretty expensive but we definitely get our worth out of it haha!

 

17 hours ago, havanadaydreaming said:

we have only sailed MSC once and it was delightful.  

 

the only negative I would state is that MDR is slooooooooow.   we got used to it. 

 

PROS

*staff are very eager to please. and the Divina was immaculate. 

*passengers have more of an international feel, not just americans.  I liked that.  I didn't see any proverbial "ugly American *tourists" that we always see on NCL/Carnival.  might have been luck. 

*buffet pizza is best at sea. 

*the shows are different than NCL, it was explained to us that they were designed to appeal to everyone not just folks who spoke a particular language.  again, very cool. 

*not a lot of trivia, which I missed.

*MSC is less of a "party boat" than NCL/Carnival. 

 

I've heard this about the pizza and I'm intrigued! I do love my trivia though and definitely the "party" aspect of NCL!

 

16 hours ago, nikkiw60 said:

Sailed MSC 3 times and once on NCL Bliss. 

The food on MSC we found good but I Have to say it was better on Bliss.

The Divina is more elegant than Seaside and Bliss but the Seaside is also lovely. 

The atrium on the Bliss was a nightmare! Constant games and noise whenever you passed through and not at all as stunning as Both Seaside and Divina.

We preferred the bars on MSC they didn’t seem to blend into each other and the live entertainment in them was better than Bliss.

it is also nice to get dressed up in the evening which you didn’t see much on Bliss.

we did enjoy the Waterfront however also the Brewhouse and the Observation lounge.

We have 2 cruises on MSC this year, the Divina in Europe and Meraviglia out of New York, still my preferred cruise line - but we are still novices! 

Also we have Getaway out of New Orleans April 2020 and will probably book an Alaska also as we got an amazing deal on cruise next vouchers- $1000 worth for $500!

Thanks for this! Ooo really? I really fancy the Bliss as well, seen some fab itineraries for it. We have cruised the Escape and the Waterfront was fantastic, it does look like the Seaside has something comparable! Your trips sound amazing, that's a bargain with the vouchers and Alaska would be sooo good. Definitely on my list.

 

16 hours ago, bostonfred said:

Sailed MSC in April....was our 25th cruise. We cruise for itinerary and thus have sailed on NCL,Royal, Celebrity, Hal, Princess, and Carnival. Had a great time on every one.MSC is different in some ways. As stated there are some differences in entertainment, clientele and food is a drawback, particularly the buffet. 

Seaside is a fabulous ship. We had a great price for a fantastica balcony with mealtime drinks, and black status match......entertainment as stated was different, but very enjoyable. Missed having no comedian, also bed was hard as a rock....strangest experience was being charged for water in specialty restaurant. This was a common complaint, it was tap water too.

i say go for it....every cruise is great if you pack a good attitude.....we will sail MSC again if the right itinerary and price are available...😎😎

25 cruises is the dream! Good to know you've enjoyed them all, it does seem to be a struggle to get a "bad" cruise in fairness. Water thing does seem a bit strange but every has it's quirks!

 

 

 

Thanks so much to you all for all your replies, really appreciated, lots to think about :)

Share this post


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

Ooo I do love MJ and love a good show! 

 

I'm not a "show" person but the Michael Jackson show was very good. The dancer was clearly lip-syncing but the dancing by everyone was great.

 

Warning: little ones might get scared by the Thriller portion but mine loved it (they have the music video on their tablets).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, ziggyuk said:

 

Oh wow, even worse than we thought, sorry to hear that.

I think is was more of an assumption Platinum Plus would be black as Platinum is matching gold.

I just received my status -- also Gold.  And that's with 42 cruises on Norwegian.

 

Edited by OceanDreaming2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

've heard report that port times tend to be shorter than other lines-have you found to be true?

this was a comment from our private tour operator in Croatia that they struggle to fit in excursion times before guests need to be back on board 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MSC has "experience " pricing....Each experience has it's own items that are included.  This helps people to not have ot pau for a spa or room service that they never use.....

 

You must understand what is included and excluded in each experience.    Bella being the lowest, you  are traveling bare bones, and paying bare bones, too.  You will have a dining time assigned, like it or not.  If you do not show up for dinner within 10-15 minutes of your assigned time, they will lock you out and recommend the buffet.  I have seen so many people complain about things that they were not entitled to based on the experience they purchased.   Many say they did not know.   Be a educated consumer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As NCL adjusted what Platinum is, MSC also adjusted where it stands in their Voyager Class. Platinum used to be Black.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only way you can get my time dining is either in the Yacht Club or Aurea experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MSC has a four tier class system.  First class is the Yacht Club, second class is the Aurea experience, third class is the Fantastica experience and fourth class (or steerage down with Leo) is the Bella experience.

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
      • Q&A with Daniel Skjeldam, CEO Hurtigruten
      • Win a 7-Night Romantic Danube Luxury River Cruise with AmaWaterways
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • 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
×