We were sad to say goodbye to the MSC Seaside today. We ported in Miami this morning and left behind our grand adventure.
I’m very excited to share a full review soon, some very cool videos and photos, but in the meantime, here are a few tips as you prepare to travel or book a cruise on the MSC Seaside.
1. Forget the negative reviews, the MSC Seaside was a great experience. Your attitude is everything. Before our trip, and even during it, we read so many negative reviews. Like any experience, your attitude means everything. Sure, there were a few minor bumps here and there, but this would be true with any ship, trip or hotel. Keep an open mind, follow the Golden Rule, and just appreciate the small things.
The ship is beautiful, the cultures represented diverse, the staff insanely helpful, and the overall experience unforgettable. Go for it!
2. Book the Aurea experience, it rocks! Two words sum up this experience, convenient and fast. For Americans or those unfamiliar with MSC, it is pronounced just like “aura,” the same word used to talk about the color of your spiritual state, chakra and such.
Yoga aside, we had such a great experience, but especially when it came to embarking and disembarking. In both experiences, we were on or off the ship in 30 minutes or less. Meals were made easy, making it closest to freestyle cruising, we never had to wait for a table and food was abundant.
Also, the Bali massage, which is complementary, was the best. You also have full access to the thermal spa, which was beautiful. I’ll share more on this later.
3. Print, cut and tape or protect your luggage tags before you leave. One surprise for us with MSC was related to the luggage tags. They send you a packet to print before your trip. Make sure you protect them with tape or a clear tag and have some way to secure them on your luggage before you hit the port. This was different than what we were used to and I made an emergency stop at CVS for the packing tape in Miami- which did the trick.
4. Do purchase the laundry package on the MSC website before your trip. Don’t expect any special deals as from MSC when it comes to promos around laundry mid way through your trip. The packages stay the same and if you purchase in advance, you’ll avoid a hefty service fee.
5. Set-up WiFi yourself. If you purchase a WiFi package, no need to visit the WiFi area when you check-in. It is very easy to set-up on your mobile without MSC help. Simply connect to the MSC WiFi connection once on board and open your browser to login.mscwifi.com and follow instructions.
6. Don’t pay for lattes, specialty drinks or bottles of water. If you book Aurea, your package includes bottle water, fun espresso drinks (like lattes and americanos) and plenty of other beverages. This makes it easy to hydrate and caffeinate daily. The package we went with via Aurea is definitely worth it.
7. Don’t pay for the zipline unlimited package unless your cabin is full. You can pay to zipline the entire cruise unlimited for $50. This is for your whole cabin rather you are a couple or a family. We paid for it, but only ended up doing it twice each, which wasn’t worth the money. It benefits a full cabin or family for sure.
8. Select a room that is close to your most traveled stops. The MSC Seaside is a very large ship. We booked our room on the 9th level, closest to the spa, but on the other side of the ship, so when it came to where we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner (mostly the buffets located on level 8 and level 16), we had a pretty long walk. We don’t mind walking or exercise, but things would have been much easier if we were on the other side of level 9.
9. Don’t worry too much about transportation to the airport when your trip ends. Disembarkation was so easy as well as finding our luggage before we hit customs. The best surprise was how easy it was to grab a shuttle to the airport. We walked out, a MSC rep asked if we needed transport to the Miami Airport or the Fort Lauderdale Airport. We said yes, and for $25 for two, we were on a bus to FLL in no time flat.
These are just a few things to consider. I’ll follow up soon with another blog with videos and photos on the many other experiences we had on the MSC Seaside. Enjoy!