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Help! Royal Empress, Royal symphony or msc Seaside


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Im planning a cruise with my cousin just the two of us. I need a trip that’s away without my family, this will be my first in my entire life.

We had arrived at the empress, cost and time were factors.

While waiting to get approved the time off I ran across MSC seaside having a sailing the same time.

I’ve only been on NCL getaway and breakaway.

We aren’t getting a drink pkg but I plan to drink more than my cousin so prices are less on msc.

I like shoes and she’s indifferent. Didn’t do one on her last cruise.

I have some room, I am paying most the cruise price, to maybe upgrade to symphony. It has perfect day and I really liked the msc marine reserve stop.

 

I like empresses stops best- outside of the private stops- as there is not one. TortoLa San Juan puerto play and charolette amalie

My cousin doesn’t like idea of msc but would if I insisted. Puerto plata, San Juan, charolette Amalie and their reserve.

Symphony only stops at 2 ports San Juan, charolette Amalie and perfect day.

 

Price of empress and msc are similar. Within $100 i say. I also come from Canada so exchange for items on ship does matter for me. But not at the expense of picking a wrong ship. She witnessed several years ago while on a different ship and in dock- msc full of some behaviour we wouldn’t want to be a part of but it sounds like this may be mostly over.

 

Opinions? Things to consider?

Thanks!

 

 

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I am confident the Empress would be the wrong ship. Small, not much going on. MSC Seaside is a nice ship, but MSC is quirky to say the least....whether it be food, entertainment or even pillows. Symphony is without a doubt is one of the best ships on the planet....this should be an easy decision for you. 

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I have heard some things about the seaside that people who have traveled on her just don’t like. OTOH, they all raves about most parts of Symphony. Since you listed ports though, it may not be the right choice as you get on her for the ship, not the destinations. What do you two both like to do together?

 

also, did you ask on the MSC board?

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Ships presented are a grape, an orange and a grapefruit.  They are all strikingly different.

 

Empress is a ship I happen to think very highly of but for reasons that probably won't resonate with some cruisers.  It is the smallest and oldest ship in the fleet.  It offers a cruise experience close to what you would have experienced when it launched in the early 90s.  She has been recently refreshed (2016) and is in great shape.  If you seek a classic cruise experience on a small ship she is perfect.   

 

MSC Seaside and Symphony are closer in comparison but still miles apart.  They are both newer ships and offer many of the most recent innovations that have come to cruising over the years.  They both have zip lines and water slides but different policies.  For example MSC charges for the zipline but it's longer than Symphony's.  

 

A benefit of small ships can be more interesting and harder to get to ports of call.  Small ships can go places big ships can't.  If the ports are a priority then you need to decide if being on an older ship without the latest innovations is going to work for you.  

 

I'm not sure what sort of behavior she witnessed, any ship can have one person or group of friends who behave badly.  Often alcohol is involved.  That could happen on any line but neither MSC nor Royal are known for it.  I suspect that was just bad luck. 

 

Some North American guests don't enjoy MSC because they offer a more European culture on board.  Some guests like that so that is a personal matter.  

 

For productions shows Symphony is the best.  The Broadway musical is Hairspray.  It has an Aqua Theater with a water show including high divers.  it also has an ice skating show and an original production show called Flight.  On top of that there are comedians and other entertainment shows.  At the moment it is the largest cruise ship in the world.  

 

Empress and Symphony are literally at opposite ends of the spectrum. You cannot find two ships more different.   Seaside is closer to Symphony merely for the fact that it is also a relatively new ship.  

 

Perfect Day at CocoCay is proving to be very successful.  Some guests are booking cruises just to go there and check it out.  

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Thanks everyone so far.
I know they are miles apart. :(

I prefer something like symphony for time on ship but do want ports and my cousin is a port is reason she cruises person. I feel very in between. One will be less for one of us.

Thanks again. It has helped. I think msc while I want to sail her, is better for a family trip.
It’s empress or symphony now.



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I can offer some trip reports of Symphony and Empress. I tend to include a lot of pictures so if nothing else maybe the photos can help you decide.

 

The Symphony transatlantic:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2598350-symphony-ots-live-transatlantic-oct-28-2018-coming-to-america/

 

A B2B on Empress this past summer:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2681739-empress-b2b-14-nights-on-the-biggest-little-ship/

 

Another Empress cruise a week later:

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2686747-empress-8-night-eastern-caribbean-🎵-oops-i-booked-it-again-🎵/

 

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I would consider myself a port person.  Seeing all the different islands is the entire reason I cruise.  But, after sailing on Liberty, Adventure, Majesty, and Freedom a few times, I decided I wanted to try Symphony.  My Symphony cruise included all ports that I had been to before so I wasn't sure how I would like the cruise.  But, let me just say BEST CRUISE EVER!  I know lots of things can make a cruise great, but I just really enjoyed the ship.  There is just so much to do.  And, the shows are just so good.  And, we didn't even have trouble finding a seat by the pool on a sea day.  And, I really enjoyed Wonderland (but Hooked was just okay to me).  We did the escape room and laser tag.  I can't wait to sail on Symphony again!

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I have heard some things about the seaside that people who have traveled on her just don’t like. OTOH, they all raves about most parts of Symphony. Since you listed ports though, it may not be the right choice as you get on her for the ship, not the destinations. What do you two both like to do together?
 
also, did you ask on the MSC board?


I didn’t ask on MSC. I think hers was really a one off which has turned her view.

We hang out mostly, it’s complicated by that I moved to Canada 8 years ago and see her less. I’d prob want to see most I can of ports with her- places I couldn’t get to on previous trips with my husband and kids. My husband was hurt on our first sailing -dislocated shoulder- and we stayed on ship most our second.

I share the want for ports_ but I also like to be entertained.


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1 hour ago, happymanitee said:

I would consider myself a port person.  Seeing all the different islands is the entire reason I cruise.  But, after sailing on Liberty, Adventure, Majesty, and Freedom a few times, I decided I wanted to try Symphony.  My Symphony cruise included all ports that I had been to before so I wasn't sure how I would like the cruise.  But, let me just say BEST CRUISE EVER!  I know lots of things can make a cruise great, but I just really enjoyed the ship.  There is just so much to do.  And, the shows are just so good.  And, we didn't even have trouble finding a seat by the pool on a sea day.  And, I really enjoyed Wonderland (but Hooked was just okay to me).  We did the escape room and laser tag.  I can't wait to sail on Symphony again!

Symphony is the destination, ports are secondary.  Symphony is 5 times larger than Empress, and has 10 times more to do.  Meant to post for the OP. 

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