By: Levon Smith, Travel Consultant
During the search for my family cruise I looked at the Carnival Vista every day. Then something spectacular came about with MSC, they had a new ship, the MSC Seaside being built that would challenge the Vista completely. I looked that ship up and immediately became attached. This is the most diverse cruise line and that I appreciated that the most. Not to mention the rates weren’t too bad either. Kids really sail FREE. That was amazing! Due to the Seaside’s large stature, there was limited movement and I didn’t hear not one guest complain about motion sickness.
The itinerary I chose was the Western Caribbean going to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Bahamas. Due to the weather, we were unable to disembark in the Cayman Islands.
We began our cruise from the Port of Miami. The ship sets sail at 7pm, which is the latest departure for any cruise line. I thought this may take away the beauty of the departure, but it didn’t; instead it allowed those who had flight delays to still make their sailing and also those who haven’t experienced Miami to see the sun set over the water. It was beautiful!
As we boarded the vessel, you could tell there isn’t one piece of the ship we left untouched. I couldn’t be more elated with the Swarovski Crystal Staircases in the Atrium, the pictures do no justice, this is a must see!
The first evening was fabulous. In this case we had 2 cabins: 1 ocean view for my aunts age (65 and 79) and Balcony Aurea for my Dad, son (7) and myself. The daily Gelato shakes made on the ship each morning was also included so why not have one a day!
The best package to get is the AUREA package. It includes the Classic unlimited beverage package, which is the most preferred package. There is unlimited visits to the Aurea spa, and a Massage Treatment for the first 2 passengers in the cabin. I watched many with Drinks on Us pay the $280 to get the classic package.
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The ‘Your Time’ dining option has the best flexibility. I am an ultimate foodie and all of their food was good to me. Our wait staff, Elden, allowed my dad to try everything on the menu nightly.
So there was not one meal untouched or untasted. Just know if you have a preferred choice of food, please open your mind and enjoy all restaurants they have on board, there will be something you will like.
The dining every night was themed and it was fun to dress up. Photos are always fun when taken professionally. If you purchase their photo package within the first 2 days of sailing, you get unlimited pictures.
The zip line was the best, along with the arcade game. I played all four of the 4D rides and had a blast. I went to the spa daily and kept up with my wellness with the fitness program onboard. The Kids Club is by far the best and most diverse. They even have cooking classes onboard for the children, and they teach the children different languages. Not to mention the best part of all is not only can the captain speak 7 languages! I got to meet him and he now knows who I am.
Each port we stopped at, my family and I decided to do a city tour. The tour guide for Jamaica was Jeffery, a widowed father of 4 who loves his country and works only 2 times a week since that is when they get ships. He took us to the local boutiques first where we tasted all Jamaican rums and punches.
The second island, Cozumel, Mexico, was gorgeous and with Eduardo as our guide, he added in a Tequila tour where we got the history of AGAVE and Tequila. This was the best part of the tour. He introduce us to his family at the best taco place in town.
The last island was Nassau, where I’ve been 3 times, but as an adult it was remarkable. Shabba our Bahamian local tour guide, was the best of all 3 guides. We were able to get entry into Atlantis, which we all know must be visited with an excursion or stay in the resort. We got swallowed by the Atlantis Chair. There was not one thing I had on my list that wasn’t done. The guides we had even took us to get our passports stamped.
There was not one aspect of this ship that was unfriendly. I recommend the MSC Seaside, Western Caribbean with MSC and all other MSC cruises.Levon Smith
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