Jim Zim's MSC Seaside Review With 84 Photos & 8 Videos

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#41
North Carolina
116 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Thanks for the extended review Jim. What I really like is the huge amount of detail you put into explaining everything. Since you rarely gloss over anything, when you get to a topic that interest me I am sure to get the information that I am looking for. I do agree with the your analysis about the advertising leading up to the seaside. That said, I still would like to try it out. Just to see the ship and try something different. I am sure that in time, adjustments and training will lead to fixes to many of the issues that you ran into.


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#42
Florida
335 Posts
Joined May 2016
Apart from maybe a touch of ethnic stereotyping (and mind you, "Europeans" includes a wide variety of ethnic groups, same as "Americans"), a very thorough, informative, excellent review. I enjoyed reading very much.
The European/American issue was a bit bothersome to me, which is why I mention it.
Thanks for the wealth of information and the exorbitant amount of time you must have put into this review!
~ M
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#43
Grover Beach, California
1,462 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by thegraminator
In your opinion do you feel most of the "issues" you encountered can be worked out?
I think some of the logistical ones will be worked out. They'll figure out how to organize a meet-up for a shore excursion. The Cruise Director will figure out that he can't tell everybody they can all do "express walk-off" all at exactly the same time. The Captain will probably learn to be more careful about pushing the right button on the public address system so non-critical announcements don't go direct to the cabins.

But a whole lot of the situations we ran in to are likely to remain. I think MSC knows who their core customer base is (the Europeans) and they will never do anything on any ship that the Europeans wouldn't like, even a ship that the public relations team actively promotes as being for the North American market.

I also think some of the customer service issues reflect the culture of the company. If they fight tooth and nail to not have to refund a $59 beach excursion on a rainy day, that probably reflects the company's entire attitude towards passengers... and those things don't tend to change much over time unless somebody really high in the organization realizes there's a company-wide problem and decides to make a push to turn things around.
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My cruise history:
May 2018: Norwegian Bliss Panama Canal Cruise
January 2018: MSC Seaside - Suite With Private Whirlpool On Balcony
October 2017: Norwegian Sky to Havana in the Owner's Suite
September 2017 Carnival Vista, in a Havana Suite
April 2017 Harmony Of The Seas
January 2017 Norwegian Pearl Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite!
January 2017 Allure Of The Seas
October/November 2016 Viking Star
July 2016 Liberty Of The Seas
March/April 2016 Anthem Of The Seas
January 2016 Norwegian Escape - The Haven!
November 2015 Carnival Miracle - Mexican Riviera
September 2015 Carnival Breeze B2B
April 2015 Independence Of The Seas B2B
February 2015 Carnival Freedom 12-day repositioning cruise
November 2014 Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas
September 2014 Norwegian Getaway - Haven Spa Suite!
June 2014 Coral Princess Alaska cruisetour
April/May 2014 Carnival Glory aft wrap B2B
January 2014 Sapphire Princess 4-day
December 2013 Carnival Sunshine Captain's Suite
September 2013 Carnival Conquest aft-wrap
April 2013 Carnival Breeze B2B
October 2012 Carnival Inspiration
August 2012 Carnival Magic B2B
March 2012 Carnival Spirit
September 2011 Carnival Valor B2B
March/April 2011 Carnival Glory B2B
January 2011 Carnival Spirit
November 2010 Carnival Spirit
February 2010 Carnival Splendor
August 2009 Carnival Elation
April 2009 Carnival Paradise
January 2009 Carnival Spirit
April 2008 Norwegian Star
Jan 2008 Carnival Elation
June 1996 MS Holiday

Coming up:
2nd Qtr 2018: Norwegian Bliss - Panama Canal
#44
30 Posts
Joined Dec 2017
Originally posted by Spaniel Lover
I apologize. What I meant was that it simply did not exist in the Piazza. I should have been more clear about that. I never set foot on deck 5.
You were on deck 5. Seashore restaurant, guest services, atrium. Perhaps not the cabin area.

I was on the January 6th sailing. The ship was NOT engulfed in sewer odors then either. Only twice did I get a whiff of a septic smell. And I kept moving, didn’t dwell on it. Clouds of toxic cigarette smoke didn’t bother any of these sensitive noses?

Thanks for a marathon of a fantastic review. “Gold standard” is appropriate praise. You thoughtfully elaborate how food, service, and entertainment missed the mark for you. Breakfast pizza isn’t exotic. Just go to a gas station. And you carry around Lawry’s seasoning salt like a culinary gunslinger? But now I know how you arrived at your personal conclusions.
#45
Kennett Square, PA, USA
2,350 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Originally posted by n8botting
"

If MSC was really serious about trying to make MSC Seaside a ship that would appeal to Americans more, they'd hire an American cast of singers for their big production shows." - What kind of statement is this? How do you know they are not American?


I haven't been on near the amount of cruises you have but there have been language barriers on each one I have been on. This is not just an MSC problem.


Each of the ships that you are telling other people to go on instead of the Seaside had growing pains as well, While the NCL Escape was my favorite ship I have been on, it was also the worst in terms of service. In my opinion these are growing pains with new ships/crews.


I would rather go to guest services to ensure I received any money back if owed to me. I cancelled an NCL cruise almost two weeks ago, to book another cruise on the Seaside, and I'm still waiting for my deposit to be returned to me.

Like I have said before, I will take your review with a grain of salt, just as everyone should take my reviews/statements with a grain of salt. Everything in this world is subjective. What bothers you, may not bother me, and visa versa. Take your question about the pizza as an example...I would prefer the MSC pizza to the one from your home town...


Anyways thank you for taking the time to do this review.


If anyone reads this, for what its worth I recommend you DO go on the Seaside. Why not give it a chance, just because someone doesn't like it, doesn't mean you won't.
My goodness... You haven't even cruised on Seaside yet or even MSC (based on your list of cruises) and your so defensive in your comments??!! Suggest you reserve those comments until you can compare an actual MSC experience to other lines.
#46
Kennett Square, PA, USA
2,350 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Originally posted by mafig
I understand why there was a problem getting off the ship.
We always check our account on the next to last day.
We make sure we know what is refundable and non refundable OBC. One time on Norwegian we had non refundable that we thought could be used for the service charge and it seems that we were the first cruise where it was not an option. So off we went to spend it. Make sure you don't leave
$100s behind.

Our last few cruises on Celebrity we were able to get money the last day. However, the last cruise we checked and they said it would be refunded on our CC and it was within a few days.
I agree...But in Jim's case...based on what he spent in the review.. (Steakhouse over $100 and a few other purchases) I think he exceeded or was close to the $150 OBC .....so I still don't understand why MSC was so confused on this. Maybe Guest Services assumed the excursion credits were OBC only?? Thats all I can come up with???
#47
Kennett Square, PA, USA
2,350 Posts
Joined Dec 2000
Another fair and objective review Jim....Thanks!! One comment, at the beginning of your review you attached a link listing the perks/benefits of each experience. I think there was same major omissions on what the Yacht Club is entitled to.... Very few "check marks" shown under Yacht Club. Most that cruise Yacht Club know the enormous benefits/perks they get....but for the average Joe who isn't that knowledgeable about Yacht Club...could lead to some confusion. Thanks!!
#48
Central IL
6 Posts
Joined Mar 2016
Jim, I just spent the last hour and a half reading your review and watching some of your videos, and thank you for such a well-thought and thorough summary. We will be going on this same cruise in 5 days, and despite what sounds like a sub-par buffet, I'm looking forward to it very much. I had to put my foot down to get a balcony room (B2) instead of interior, but no jacuzzi :-) I just want to be able to read outside at night in my jammies, in private.

I'm curious, given that you seem to prefer to go to beaches as opposed to excursions or exploring the various port towns, why you prefer cruising rather than staying at a beach resort (Beaches, Sandals, etc.)?
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~Nichole
Cruise History:
  • RCI Adventure of the Seas, East Caribbean, Interior #9675, 2/27/16 - 3/5/16
Upcoming:
  • MSC Seaside, West Caribbean, B2 #11212, Feb. 2018
Food Places We Enjoyed:
  • St. Maarten: Big Wood Beach Bar
  • St. Kitts: Sweet Cane (in Basseterre)
  • San Juan, PR: Mallorca, Ropa Vieja Grill, Cafe Caride
#49
Ontario Canada
41 Posts
Joined Sep 2016
Originally posted by lcpagejr
My goodness... You haven't even cruised on Seaside yet or even MSC (based on your list of cruises) and your so defensive in your comments??!! Suggest you reserve those comments until you can compare an actual MSC experience to other lines.
Not defensive...just stating facts...
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March 2013 - Disney Magic - 3 nights Bahamas
August 2013 - Norwegian Getaway - 7 nights Eastern Caribbean
March 2014 - Norwegian Sky - 4 nights Bahamas
August 2015 - Norwegian Breakaway - 7 nights Bermuda
February 2016 - Norwegian Escape - 7 nights Eastern Caribbean
December 2016 - Norwegian Breakaway - 14 nights Eastern and Southern Caribbean
March 2018 - MSC Seaside - 7 nights Western Caribbean
February 2019 - Norwegian Getaway - 7 nights Western Caribbean
#51
Grover Beach, California
1,462 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by DreamsCaribbean
I'm curious, given that you seem to prefer to go to beaches as opposed to excursions or exploring the various port towns, why you prefer cruising rather than staying at a beach resort (Beaches, Sandals, etc.)?
Your comment is right on target, actually. We did do a land vacation in Maui last year, which I don't publicize, so nobody knows we did that. But more importantly, we are currently looking at adding some kind of Mexican all-inclusive land resort vacation to our 2018 lineup.


But the reason I think cruises are really a better fit for us is the entertainment in the evening, especially the comedy and music. I think I can generally get a lot more entertainment in the evening on a cruise than I could at a land resort.
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My cruise history:
May 2018: Norwegian Bliss Panama Canal Cruise
January 2018: MSC Seaside - Suite With Private Whirlpool On Balcony
October 2017: Norwegian Sky to Havana in the Owner's Suite
September 2017 Carnival Vista, in a Havana Suite
April 2017 Harmony Of The Seas
January 2017 Norwegian Pearl Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite!
January 2017 Allure Of The Seas
October/November 2016 Viking Star
July 2016 Liberty Of The Seas
March/April 2016 Anthem Of The Seas
January 2016 Norwegian Escape - The Haven!
November 2015 Carnival Miracle - Mexican Riviera
September 2015 Carnival Breeze B2B
April 2015 Independence Of The Seas B2B
February 2015 Carnival Freedom 12-day repositioning cruise
November 2014 Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas
September 2014 Norwegian Getaway - Haven Spa Suite!
June 2014 Coral Princess Alaska cruisetour
April/May 2014 Carnival Glory aft wrap B2B
January 2014 Sapphire Princess 4-day
December 2013 Carnival Sunshine Captain's Suite
September 2013 Carnival Conquest aft-wrap
April 2013 Carnival Breeze B2B
October 2012 Carnival Inspiration
August 2012 Carnival Magic B2B
March 2012 Carnival Spirit
September 2011 Carnival Valor B2B
March/April 2011 Carnival Glory B2B
January 2011 Carnival Spirit
November 2010 Carnival Spirit
February 2010 Carnival Splendor
August 2009 Carnival Elation
April 2009 Carnival Paradise
January 2009 Carnival Spirit
April 2008 Norwegian Star
Jan 2008 Carnival Elation
June 1996 MS Holiday

Coming up:
2nd Qtr 2018: Norwegian Bliss - Panama Canal
#53
22 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Thanks for the taking the time to make such a detailed review! We're cruising the Seaside in March and from what I see, it looks like we're pretty much the polar opposite to you: love long, 2 hour dinners every night, would rather spend our evenings reading on our deck than going to shows or seeing comedians, etc. So I'm definitely reading things from a different perspective. We've also cruised MSC twice in Europe so we're going in knowing what to expect and looking forward to comparing our experience to mainstream North American cruises. The main thing that worried me from the review is that crazy crowded dining room at breakfast! We love to relax with our breakfast in the late morning and that doesn't look at all relaxing.

By the way, were there any coffee making facilities in the Aurea suites? Having the Nespresso machines and enjoying an early morning cup of coffee on the deck was one of the highlights of our Haven experience on NCL. I know that room service is an option, but it seems like a lot of hassle to get my wake up jolt of caffeine in the morning.
#54
Grover Beach, California
1,462 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
There wasn't any kind of coffee maker in our Aurea suite. An excursion to the buffet is a good option, though. I bet in the Yacht Club there is a coffee maker in the suite, though... and certainly a butler to bring coffee, if you don't have a coffee maker.
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My cruise history:
May 2018: Norwegian Bliss Panama Canal Cruise
January 2018: MSC Seaside - Suite With Private Whirlpool On Balcony
October 2017: Norwegian Sky to Havana in the Owner's Suite
September 2017 Carnival Vista, in a Havana Suite
April 2017 Harmony Of The Seas
January 2017 Norwegian Pearl Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite!
January 2017 Allure Of The Seas
October/November 2016 Viking Star
July 2016 Liberty Of The Seas
March/April 2016 Anthem Of The Seas
January 2016 Norwegian Escape - The Haven!
November 2015 Carnival Miracle - Mexican Riviera
September 2015 Carnival Breeze B2B
April 2015 Independence Of The Seas B2B
February 2015 Carnival Freedom 12-day repositioning cruise
November 2014 Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas
September 2014 Norwegian Getaway - Haven Spa Suite!
June 2014 Coral Princess Alaska cruisetour
April/May 2014 Carnival Glory aft wrap B2B
January 2014 Sapphire Princess 4-day
December 2013 Carnival Sunshine Captain's Suite
September 2013 Carnival Conquest aft-wrap
April 2013 Carnival Breeze B2B
October 2012 Carnival Inspiration
August 2012 Carnival Magic B2B
March 2012 Carnival Spirit
September 2011 Carnival Valor B2B
March/April 2011 Carnival Glory B2B
January 2011 Carnival Spirit
November 2010 Carnival Spirit
February 2010 Carnival Splendor
August 2009 Carnival Elation
April 2009 Carnival Paradise
January 2009 Carnival Spirit
April 2008 Norwegian Star
Jan 2008 Carnival Elation
June 1996 MS Holiday

Coming up:
2nd Qtr 2018: Norwegian Bliss - Panama Canal
#55
Grover Beach, California
1,462 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Originally posted by windlicht
Do they have "American" shows at a Mexican beach resort?
Well, they sure as hell won't have opera in the evenings!
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My cruise history:
May 2018: Norwegian Bliss Panama Canal Cruise
January 2018: MSC Seaside - Suite With Private Whirlpool On Balcony
October 2017: Norwegian Sky to Havana in the Owner's Suite
September 2017 Carnival Vista, in a Havana Suite
April 2017 Harmony Of The Seas
January 2017 Norwegian Pearl Haven Deluxe Owner's Suite!
January 2017 Allure Of The Seas
October/November 2016 Viking Star
July 2016 Liberty Of The Seas
March/April 2016 Anthem Of The Seas
January 2016 Norwegian Escape - The Haven!
November 2015 Carnival Miracle - Mexican Riviera
September 2015 Carnival Breeze B2B
April 2015 Independence Of The Seas B2B
February 2015 Carnival Freedom 12-day repositioning cruise
November 2014 Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas
September 2014 Norwegian Getaway - Haven Spa Suite!
June 2014 Coral Princess Alaska cruisetour
April/May 2014 Carnival Glory aft wrap B2B
January 2014 Sapphire Princess 4-day
December 2013 Carnival Sunshine Captain's Suite
September 2013 Carnival Conquest aft-wrap
April 2013 Carnival Breeze B2B
October 2012 Carnival Inspiration
August 2012 Carnival Magic B2B
March 2012 Carnival Spirit
September 2011 Carnival Valor B2B
March/April 2011 Carnival Glory B2B
January 2011 Carnival Spirit
November 2010 Carnival Spirit
February 2010 Carnival Splendor
August 2009 Carnival Elation
April 2009 Carnival Paradise
January 2009 Carnival Spirit
April 2008 Norwegian Star
Jan 2008 Carnival Elation
June 1996 MS Holiday

Coming up:
2nd Qtr 2018: Norwegian Bliss - Panama Canal
#56
Alexandria, VA
484 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by deanimal
Thanks for the taking the time to make such a detailed review! We're cruising the Seaside in March and from what I see, it looks like we're pretty much the polar opposite to you: love long, 2 hour dinners every night, would rather spend our evenings reading on our deck than going to shows or seeing comedians, etc. So I'm definitely reading things from a different perspective. We've also cruised MSC twice in Europe so we're going in knowing what to expect and looking forward to comparing our experience to mainstream North American cruises. The main thing that worried me from the review is that crazy crowded dining room at breakfast! We love to relax with our breakfast in the late morning and that doesn't look at all relaxing.



By the way, were there any coffee making facilities in the Aurea suites? Having the Nespresso machines and enjoying an early morning cup of coffee on the deck was one of the highlights of our Haven experience on NCL. I know that room service is an option, but it seems like a lot of hassle to get my wake up jolt of caffeine in the morning.


I’m with you, I’m American but very much a Europhile and I’m looking forward to the Seaside’s European feel. I also enjoy lingering over dinner, cappuccinos every morning and Italian pizza and gelato. What I most appreciated about Spaniel Lover’s review, though, is that it’s very fair minded. He’s clear about what his priorities are, but unlike some reviews I’ve read of this ship, he is respectful of people with different opinions. He doesn’t expect everyone else to play cheerleader with him. I appreciate that.


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#57
Florida
335 Posts
Joined May 2016
Originally posted by Spaniel Lover
Well, they sure as hell won't have opera in the evenings!
Better check in advance. Unless, you know, Mexicans don't like opera.
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#58
823 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Thank you for the review. I have two friends that went on and pretty much stated what u said. I am not looking forward to my March cruise but I guess I will be eating in the dining room every meal. I don’t get how a ship can make it with very little food options. Only buffet or dining room. That sucks.


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#59
Florida
335 Posts
Joined May 2016
Originally posted by renza
Thank you for the review. I have two friends that went on and pretty much stated what u said. I am not looking forward to my March cruise but I guess I will be eating in the dining room every meal. I don’t get how a ship can make it with very little food options. Only buffet or dining room. That sucks.


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Having watched almost every YouTube video about the Seaside in existence, I can confidently say that there are plenty of food options available.
I'm confused about what you and others who have this concern find missing? Serious question not snotty remark.
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#60
2,302 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
I don't quite get all the bashing that is going on...it's his opinion...and this site is, after all, cruise CRITIC.

Jim I actually really like your reviews- how come you've never tried Celebrity? I think you'd like them; they especially do live music, dining, and buffets really well. Thanks for taking the time to do this- I was poking around MSC thinking of Seaside- but nah, i'll give that awhile for them to work the kinks out- and if they don't I'll stick to Celebrity and Royal!

Although we're dying to do Viking Ocean!