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MSC Seaside 7/13/19 Fantastica Review

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Just got home last night from our 7 day cruise on the MSC Seaside........If you don't want to read the whole review I will sum it up here.....we had a wonderful time.   We would use MSC again.   Could some stuff be better...sure but that is true of every cruise line....in addition what is important to us might mean nothing to you.   The following is just my opinion based on our experience and what matters to us....your mileage may vary!  LOL

 

Us:   Husband & Wife 49 & 50   Teenage Daughters 17 & 14

 

Experienced Cruisers as this is cruise 13 (Previous lines Carnival, Royal, NCL and Holland America)

 

Cabin 14184   Fantastica Experience Category B2 - Balcony Stateroom

 

NO drink package

 

Itinerary:  Miami, Sea Day, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Sea Day, Nassau, Miami

 

July 13-20, 2019

 

 

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This was our first cruise on MSC and to be honest I had never end heard of them until last summer when I was looking at Baltic Cruises and they would pop up in my searches.    I went with NCL for the Baltic in order to stay with a product I was familiar with for that cruise. 

 

A friend mentioned earlier this year they had booked on the MSC Seaside out of Miami which made me take a look at the ship and the great prices they had in order to attract more of the US market.    We decided to roll the dice and give Seaside a try!

 

We are from the NYC area about a hour from JFK airport.   We flew into FLL and stayed at an airport hotel in FLL since it was MUCH cheaper vs. Miami.     

 

We flew down Wednesday afternoon on July 10 arriving into FLL around 7 pm.   We rented a car from Avis for two days.

 

We are Hilton Honors Members and Booked the Home2Suites in FLL

 

The hotel was about a 10 min drive from the airport (they also have a shuttle to and from the airport).

 

The hotel was nice and clean and offered a free breakfast in the morning.   The room also had a full size refrigerator and a microwave.   Two nights we hit the local Publix and made dinner in our room saving some $$ and calories

 

The room is very long and has a sofa bed and two queen beds.    Plenty of room for us

 

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Kids eating dinner in the room   

 

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Thursday:   Everglades

 

Today we drove out to the Everglades Safari Park for an Airboat Ride

 

On the drive down a storm started to roll thru the area

 

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When we reached the park it was a downpour with thunder and lighting.   But we waited it out and soon it passed and we were able to head out on the airboat.  Bonus the temps had dropped post storm so it wasn't quite as hot and steamy

 

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So because it's summer time the water is high and the warm temps keep the gators down deep in the water so we didn't see any but it was still a fun ride

 

 

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Friday:    Miami Zoo

 

Today we drove down to the Miami Zoo

 

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The zoo is quite large and with the high temps we didn't manage to see everything but it's very nice and would like to go back at some point.    Great exhibits and some cool places you could feed the animals for an extra charge

 

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FYI my oldest doesn't like to smile but she had a great time LOL

 

 

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Friday night we returned the rental car to the FLL airport and called for the hotel shuttle to pick us up.     We decided to do that and call for an Uber in the morning to take us to the port vs. dealing with driving down to the port, dropping off the rental, getting a shuttle to the ship.....yes it can be done but we wanted to keep it simple!

 

Saturday:

 

Woke up and opened up the MSC for Me app....

 

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We went down for the free breakfast then packed up and called for an Uber XL to take us to the Port of Miami.

 

Uber is VERY big and easy in the FLL/MIA area.    One arrived in less then 5 minutes.  

 

We were on our way at 9:30 am and by 10:20 we could see the ship....

 

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Our driver dropped us off at Terminal F and we left our bags with the Porter and made our way to the security line which hadn't opened yet.   Soon they started letting people thru and it moved every quickly and made our way to the check in counter then to the waiting area.

 

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 All very quick and efficient.....soon boarding started and by 11:35 our number was called and we were making our way to the ship.

 

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11:45 we were in the Atrium

 

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First thing we did was hit the kiosk to connect our credit  card to our account then went to hit the buffet on Deck 8 before it got too crazy.  🙂

 

Let me say the buffet coffee on the ship was the best I have ever had on a cruise before.   So good! 

 

 

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After lunch we made our way around the ship to take care of some stuff before it all got too busy:

 

First we got wrist bands for all of us.  $5 each and they worked great.  You can NOT punch a hole in the MSC sail and sign cards since they use wireless technology.    The wrist bands could be used to open your door and to pay for things.  You can wear them swimming.    You only needed your S&S Card to get on and off the ship.    We found them quite convenient and they worked very well 

 

Then we went to Deck 18 by the Jungle Pool to sign waivers for the slides and to get a wrist band.  No line on Day 1.  I heard the line gets long on the first sea day so try and do it as soon as you get on that first day.

 

Around 2 pm the rooms were ready and they made an announcement so we made our way to deck 14

 

Cabin 14184

 

Location was great!   Quiet (cabins above and below)

 

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Thoughts on the Cabin:

 

Size:  It was tight but doable.  Storage Space was pretty much limited to the cubbies and closet area.  Only one drawer at the desk.   We have done 7 cruises as a family of 4 in one room so I have the organization down to a science.  LOL  Also we don't dress up so we don't bring a lot of clothes.    The kids and I each had our own chubbie and my husband took one drawer and the closet hanging space.  Dirty clothes go in the suitcases which are under the bed.

 

Bathroom:   Small.   The shower......neither my husband or oldest could bend over at all in there (5'10" and 5'11").   LOL  But again whatever....everyone managed to get clean.   There are also larger showers at the gym you could use (just need to sign up for the gym which is free). but we never needed to do that.

 

Balcony:   The largest standard balcony I have had in awhile.   Lots of room out there.   A few previous cruises your knees touched the glass while you sat out there!   Not here.  Both of us could sit in a chair and stretch our legs out with plenty of room

 

Room Attendant:  Kenneth was wonderful!  Introduced himself the first day and never saw him again but cleaned out room like a ninja whenever we were out.   We asked him to lock the mini bar for us and split the double bed into two beds which he did that evening for us.  We were very pleased with his service.  

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After exploring the cabin and putting away some stuff from the 3 bags that had arrived (4th bag came a bit later but all bags had arrived before sail away) we set out to look around the ship:

 

Bridge of Sighs

 

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Miami Beach Pool Area

 

This pool area tended to be the busiest 

 

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South Beach Pool    Ages 16 and up.  Basically the Adult Pool Area

 

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Muster Drill was held at appx 4 pm.

 

You reported to your muster station which was inside and listened to the presentation on how to use your life vest.  It was repeated in several languages and no one was listening to any of it and people talked thru the whole presentation.   

 

Seriously people......it's a few minutes of your day pay attention!

 

I just told my kids if at any time they heard the emergency signal to report to the muster station right away and to listen to the crews instructions.  Do not delay.  Do not look for us.   We will come directly there as well and find them.   If for any reason it was time to get on a life boat do so and again do not wait for us.  Follow the crews instructions.  

 

FYI:  When you enter the muster area the scan your card/wristband to show you attended but sometimes that doesn't exactly work cause I got this letter in my cabin later.  😞

 

 

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I was displeased cause we were there and we one of the few who even bothered to listen....so I marched down to guest services ready for a fight but she just took the letter and said no problem.   That was that. LOL  Never heard anything more about it.  

 

 

 

 

 

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At 7:00 pm we set sail....

 

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DH & Myself....:) 

 

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As I stated before I asked for the beds to be split which Kenneth took care of during our evening turn down:

 

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To be continued......

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Great review! We are considering a cruise on MSC and especially Seaside, so I’m soaking in all the info. 

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Thank you for the review.  Trying to decide between Seaside and Armonia for our next cruise.  

 

You are helping....

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Sea Day 

 

How I love to start the mornings on a cruise ship:

 

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Last night they did have us set our clocks BACK one hour so we would be the same time as our first 3 port stops.

 

Last night it rained and the decks were a bit wet as I walked around enjoying a quiet ship before everyone woke up

 

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After I got the family up for breakfast we explored the ship a bit .

 

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Before our cruise we had signed up for the Meet and Greet for Cruise Critic on this website.    MSC did one of the nicest M&G I have been to....snacks, cake and a section of free drinks.      We had a decent turn out and I got to meet quite a few people I had been chatting with online for the last several months.    The Captain as well as several officers came and the cruise director.   

 

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Captain Massa was very warm and friendly and stayed till the very end chatting with everyone

 

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Cruise Director introducing all the officers

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Group Photo

 

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We had a very nice time and were quite impressed with the Seaside's Officers and Staff

 

 

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So nice to see Captain Massa back on Seaside.  He was on her on our cruise in February, 2018.  Nicest man, and he is everywhere.  Also nice to see the Canadian Hotel Director on board again as well!  Thanks for your review!

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A few photos around the ship....

 

This water park is amazing!!!  

 

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Miami Pool on a Sea Day afternoon

 

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Bridge of Sighs

 

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We found the Glass Elevator in the Aft of the Ship the least crowded and often used it to get from our deck 14 to the Buffet on Deck 8   Plus its a cool view!

 

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Demonstrating my comfortable balcony!  LOL

 

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The best sunsets are in the aft of the ship.  🙂

 

 

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Evening Exploring

 

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Atrium Performance

 

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Up Next Ocho Rios Jamaica.......

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, nycfa said:

 

 

 

Demonstrating my comfortable balcony!  LOL

 

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I can't wait to be on my comfy balcony!!

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Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to reading the rest, I love picture reviews!! We are looking at going on the Seaside in May but some of the reviews are scary!

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8 hours ago, rdh rules said:

Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to reading the rest, I love picture reviews!! We are looking at going on the Seaside in May but some of the reviews are scary!

 

 

We saw all the scary reviews......some stuff people complained about we agree with but at the same time people complain about stuff on ALL the cruise lines.   Nothing happened that would make me say never again or it was awful.   Not even close!

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Port Stop:   Ocho Rios, Jamaica

 

Good Morning Jamaica!

 

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Here we really wanted to go see The Blue Hole.    We booked private transportation for us the 4 of us thru Courtney Taylor to take us to the Blue Hole and back to the ship.    The tour would have included things like shopping lunch stop etc.....but we didn't want to do all that.   I emailed them they were like no problem!  We can do whatever you want. 🙂

 

We were off the ship and waiting on the dock around 9 am.     It's super busy and congested there while we wanted for them to arrive with the van.   They were stuck in traffic a bit.  

 

 

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Van was very roomy and clean. Samantha our guide told us some information about the island.  It was the first very for the kids but DH & I had been years ago back in the early 90's.    It's changed a lot.  I'm pretty sure Samantha hadn't been born yet.  LOL

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After about a 30 min drive we were at Blue Hole.    Our guide Robert met us at the van when we arrived.  He has use sign in and took us to the lady to pay ($15 pp).   Soon we were on our way and it is a beautiful place

 

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We were also there early so not many people yet.  The crowds picked up as it went on

 

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Robert took great care of us especially my oldest who has some knee issues.   He made sure we stayed safe and looked out for us.   He also took my water camera and took most of the photos and videos for us.   

 

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There are several spots you can jump from into the water which is very deep.     Note you do NOT have to jump to see everything.  My DH & Youngest DD did most of the jumps.  My oldest and I did NOT until almost the end and did some 'chicken" jumps Robert called it.  LOL

 

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Getting busier now

 

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If the oldest had smiled (rarely does LOL) this would be the prefect Xmas card photo   LOL

 

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Rope Swing  Robert helping my youngest (honestly he just threw her as she held on LOL)

 

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It was a wonderful experience and Robert was a great guide.   Courtney Taylor tours provided great transportation

 

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We were back to the ship by 12 so we got on changed and had some lunch.    We got back off and shopped a bit in the port area then took some ship photos before heading back on board for the day.

 

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Never seen this before MSC had ramps and stairs to board the ship:

 

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