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mjrtomsajunkie

MSC Seaside - only ever cruised NCL!

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Hello folks 🙂 Looking for some advice and help.

 

I’ve only ever cruised with NCL, four cruises and loved every minute, and I’ve always been very reluctant to try another line in case I don’t enjoy it as much. However, some family members are about to book a cruise on the MSC Seaside, 15 nights Caribbean, and NCL can’t even begin to compete with the price we’re getting (including the premium drinks package). The ship looks absolutely stunning. I’m really torn!

 

So can anyone tell me how you find MSC vs NCL if you have done both? The good, the bad, the ugly!

 

I’d also love to known how the premium drinks package is on MSC... on NCL the cocktails are fantastic and spirits are a good range of premium brands, how does MSC compare?

 

My biggest concern is dining. I love at NCL the flexibility of no formal dining times etc. I see MSC does an early and late sitting but also a mention of My Choice dining... can anyone break down how this works for me please?

 

Thanks in advance for any help,

 

Jen x

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Hi Jen,

 

NCL and MSC are our two favorite mega ship cruise lines but for very different reasons.  For us MSC is all about the Yacht Club.  Yacht club is sometimes half the price of the comparable Haven on NCL and for many a superior experience. In the Yacht Club, no crowds,no set dining times, a great drink package (except for wines) and very personal service. And still the opportunity to enjoy the rest of the ships ameneties. Booking outside the Yacht Club gets more complicated. In addition to selecting your cabin, you select an “experience level” each of which comes with different drink packages, dining time options and perks. Study each one carefully.

 

On NCL for us it’s albout about the breakaway class ships. Love the all fresco dining, the specialty restaurants, the entertainment and the Thermal Spa. Not as personal experience as MSC Yacht Club but we prefer it over the other “experiences” on MSC.

 

We are back on MSC in the Yacht Club in March and then probably on the Getaway later this year in a Spa mini suite. Note the Spa mini suite on NCL is about the same size as a deluxe suite on MSC Seaside Yacht Club except for the larger balcony on MSC.

 

 

 

 

 

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We love NCL but the prices have gotten ridiculous.  We ventured out and did the Divina last month for 32 days.  We fell in love with MSC.  We were not Yacht Club.  Bella to be exact and we agree that it is above NCL.  The service, the MDR food (specialty restaurants were lacking compared to NCL), happy staff, oh and the coffee was much better than any cruise line I have been on.

 

We have the Seaside booked for 21 days this year and I can't wait!!!!

 

Go and have fun!!!!

Edited by ready2cruzagain

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I've never been on NCL so can't comment.

 

Just want to explain about the dining situation.  As has been outlined, you choose a cabin, then you choose the 'Experience':

 

BELLA:  You choose your preferred dinnertime from Early Dining or Late Dining with a time range preference, subject to availability and confirmation on board.  Fantastica guests get priority over your choice here.

 

FANTASTICA:  More dining flexibility. You can switch your preferred dinnertime after booking or after boarding.

 

AUREA:  MyChoice ... Free choice of dining time with My Choice dining style

 

YACHT CLUB:   Free time dining at dedicated restaurant

 

 

 

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Hi Jen 

loving your CC name 🤣anyhow I have cruised mainly thomson (tui, marella) whatever they want to call themselves, went on MSC preziosa in 2014 it blew me away. ( can't remember what experience was done through Barrhead travel ( you will know who they are) got the drinks on us at the time. Don't think to much and go for it. I am booked on the Seaside in May in the Caribbean and can't wait. It is you that makes the experience and not the other way around. Enjoy it. 

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On ‎1‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 11:28 PM, rhentze said:

Hi Jen,

 

NCL and MSC are our two favorite mega ship cruise lines but for very different reasons.  For us MSC is all about the Yacht Club.  Yacht club is sometimes half the price of the comparable Haven on NCL and for many a superior experience. In the Yacht Club, no crowds,no set dining times, a great drink package (except for wines) and very personal service. And still the opportunity to enjoy the rest of the ships ameneties. Booking outside the Yacht Club gets more complicated. In addition to selecting your cabin, you select an “experience level” each of which comes with different drink packages, dining time options and perks. Study each one carefully.

 

On NCL for us it’s albout about the breakaway class ships. Love the all fresco dining, the specialty restaurants, the entertainment and the Thermal Spa. Not as personal experience as MSC Yacht Club but we prefer it over the other “experiences” on MSC.

 

We are back on MSC in the Yacht Club in March and then probably on the Getaway later this year in a Spa mini suite. Note the Spa mini suite on NCL is about the same size as a deluxe suite on MSC Seaside Yacht Club except for the larger balcony on MSC.

 

 

Thanks so much for your detailed answer. Good to hear that you love them both :) Interesting re Yacht Club. We haven't tried the Haven yet (currently saving for our wedding and new house so can't really justify it right now) but it's definitely on the hit list so I'll keep this in mind! We did the Escape late 2017 and I absolutely LOVED that ship.

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On ‎1‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 11:45 PM, ready2cruzagain said:

We love NCL but the prices have gotten ridiculous.  We ventured out and did the Divina last month for 32 days.  We fell in love with MSC.  We were not Yacht Club.  Bella to be exact and we agree that it is above NCL.  The service, the MDR food (specialty restaurants were lacking compared to NCL), happy staff, oh and the coffee was much better than any cruise line I have been on.

 

We have the Seaside booked for 21 days this year and I can't wait!!!!

 

Go and have fun!!!!

 

32 days?! Ohhhh the dream! Wish I could take that kind of time off work! Would be a bit sore getting back to reality after a full month of being pampered right enough!

Thanks so much for your response :)

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On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 12:23 AM, Beamafar said:

I've never been on NCL so can't comment.

 

Just want to explain about the dining situation.  As has been outlined, you choose a cabin, then you choose the 'Experience':

 

BELLA:  You choose your preferred dinnertime from Early Dining or Late Dining with a time range preference, subject to availability and confirmation on board.  Fantastica guests get priority over your choice here.

 

FANTASTICA:  More dining flexibility. You can switch your preferred dinnertime after booking or after boarding.

 

AUREA:  MyChoice ... Free choice of dining time with My Choice dining style

 

YACHT CLUB:   Free time dining at dedicated restaurant

 

 

This is so helpful, thank you very much. I think I'd definitely need to go with the Aurea package because I'm not a fan of being majorly structured when I'm on holiday personally.

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On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 12:24 AM, helen haywood said:

Read the sticky on the different “experiences” you can book with MSC.  There is one that allows you to do anytime dining.  

Will do, thanks so much :)

 

On ‎1‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 4:51 PM, Scot born said:

Hi Jen 

loving your CC name 🤣anyhow I have cruised mainly thomson (tui, marella) whatever they want to call themselves, went on MSC preziosa in 2014 it blew me away. ( can't remember what experience was done through Barrhead travel ( you will know who they are) got the drinks on us at the time. Don't think to much and go for it. I am booked on the Seaside in May in the Caribbean and can't wait. It is you that makes the experience and not the other way around. Enjoy it. 

 

Haha thank you! Hello fellow Scot! You're very very right about that, it's always what you make it I guess! I am getting more and more tempted!

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Our good friends Sean and Stef have a fantastic travel VLOG on YouTube featuring many ships and the MSC Seaside is one ship they recently sailed.  They VLOG each day so you get the full 7 day cruise with day 2 usually being the full ship tour.  They have about a dozen ships and I believe they are going to be sailing 8 to 10 more in 2019.   

 

 

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17 minutes ago, mjrtomsajunkie said:

 

This is so helpful, thank you very much. I think I'd definitely need to go with the Aurea package because I'm not a fan of being majorly structured when I'm on holiday personally.

 

There are other benefits that come with Aurea, too.  You get priority boarding,  the (new) Easy drinks package, access for the duration of the cruise to the Spa Thermal Suite and a massage, access to a private sundeck and a room diffuser is supplied for you, fully packaged so you can bring it home, if you wish.

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Hello

My cruise history is dominated by NCL ….or is very close to being so I would say.

Love(d)or(e) ….a man in turmoil as you can see, but yes I still love them & certainly their vessels from the Epic forwards.

MSC intrigued me & through doing hours of research & such things seduced me, I am now hooked & see NO reason why you wouldn't adjust, accept & enjoy the migration to them, either as a one-off or a more permanent patronage!

 

I hinted that the ship is crucial for me & it is plus I like BIG ships.

The Breakaway class with NCL is brilliant (as you will know), but as I've posted many times on these boards & other outlets the Seaside class with MSC is IN MY OPINION the sexiest class at sea currently, though quite a few pending launches attract me too.

Including Carnival's new ship just under construction & set for Port Canaveral as her base. A rollercoaster at sea! Well the good folk of Cunard & my initial experience with SS Norway would be amazed!

 

We are on Seaview soon & have Seaside booked now too for later.

 

There is nothing major I do not like about MSC, particularly if you take this to mean by my not including petty or minor things that all lines encounter in truth. Is there a perfect cruise, ship, itinerary or company?

I would go 50/50 now with NCL vs MSC so it is in reality a different, though seamless comparison to make & offer you.

If you pushed me I would say NCL just has the edge on food, though the Seaside class with MSC is now more than an attraction on the dining front.

 

Hope you book & sail the Seaside.

 

Edited by citizenfrank
additional text

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On 1/6/2019 at 10:56 PM, mjrtomsajunkie said:

Hello folks 🙂 Looking for some advice and help.

 

I’ve only ever cruised with NCL, four cruises and loved every minute, and I’ve always been very reluctant to try another line in case I don’t enjoy it as much. However, some family members are about to book a cruise on the MSC Seaside, 15 nights Caribbean, and NCL can’t even begin to compete with the price we’re getting (including the premium drinks package). The ship looks absolutely stunning. I’m really torn!

 

So can anyone tell me how you find MSC vs NCL if you have done both? The good, the bad, the ugly!

 

I’d also love to known how the premium drinks package is on MSC... on NCL the cocktails are fantastic and spirits are a good range of premium brands, how does MSC compare?

 

My biggest concern is dining. I love at NCL the flexibility of no formal dining times etc. I see MSC does an early and late sitting but also a mention of My Choice dining... can anyone break down how this works for me please?

 

Thanks in advance for any help,

 

Jen x

 

Some context, we are early 60's and have 43 cruises on 15 different cruiselines....7 on NCL, and 3 on MSC.

 

You will find the ship stunning, we had 19 days on Meraviglia recently and Seaside is the new class after Mera. The main theatre shows on MSC, whilst good, have little dialogue due to multi-language mix of passengers....no different from Buchanan Street or Princes Street, so not an issue for us Scots! There are no comedy shows, certainly not an issue for us, and the shows last only 40 minutes. You do not have the variety of the Breakaway/Escape class, for sure, but there is much dancing and music and a night club.

 

The premium drinks package is definitely comparable with the NCL package, the only difference being if you go for a drink above the price threshold you need to pay full whack for it plus 15% gratuity.

 

I note from other responses, you are now aware that 'my choice' dining is only available with the Aurea experience. IMHO it is not worth the premium cost, unless you are a Thermal Spa junkie. The saving in going for Bella would enable you to use specialty restaurants, although they are more expensive than NCL at about $40 a pop....you could mix that with buffet dining, which many report is better than the MDR. You can get a 3 specialty restaurant package for $100 or less so you could get 9 nights for $300 and do the other nights at buffet....that would cost MUCH less than going Aurea. We were Yacht Club, so cannot comment personally other than to say that on NCL in recent times we have always purchased a specialty dining package because we feel MDR quality and service has diminished recently and from what I read MSC is similar.

 

One final point, in Europe there are few English speaking nationalities on board, and the Italians particularly are pushy....that translates as they do not queue and push to the front for everything. Again, as Scots we know how to deal with that. In the Caribbean there will be mostly Americans, I guess, so not so much of an issue although they don't queue either....but they do stand in line!

 

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20 minutes ago, hamrag said:

 

Some context, we are early 60's and have 43 cruises on 15 different cruiselines....7 on NCL, and 3 on MSC.

 

You will find the ship stunning, we had 19 days on Meraviglia recently and Seaside is the new class after Mera. The main theatre shows on MSC, whilst good, have little dialogue due to multi-language mix of passengers....no different from Buchanan Street or Princes Street, so not an issue for us Scots! There are no comedy shows, certainly not an issue for us, and the shows last only 40 minutes. You do not have the variety of the Breakaway/Escape class, for sure, but there is much dancing and music and a night club.

 

The premium drinks package is definitely comparable with the NCL package, the only difference being if you go for a drink above the price threshold you need to pay full whack for it plus 15% gratuity.

 

I note from other responses, you are now aware that 'my choice' dining is only available with the Aurea experience. IMHO it is not worth the premium cost, unless you are a Thermal Spa junkie. The saving in going for Bella would enable you to use specialty restaurants, although they are more expensive than NCL at about $40 a pop....you could mix that with buffet dining, which many report is better than the MDR. You can get a 3 specialty restaurant package for $100 or less so you could get 9 nights for $300 and do the other nights at buffet....that would cost MUCH less than going Aurea. We were Yacht Club, so cannot comment personally other than to say that on NCL in recent times we have always purchased a specialty dining package because we feel MDR quality and service has diminished recently and from what I read MSC is similar.

 

One final point, in Europe there are few English speaking nationalities on board, and the Italians particularly are pushy....that translates as they do not queue and push to the front for everything. Again, as Scots we know how to deal with that. In the Caribbean there will be mostly Americans, I guess, so not so much of an issue although they don't queue either....but they do stand in line!

 

I concur with all this response.

Agree about Aurea ….Use it for the Spa but not for the other perks, money better spent in other areas of the sailing. Maybe Fantastica where once on board you can request your preference to which seating, for example late.

Regarding the clientele I think it as has been posted many times over ….You gain the cosmopolitan feel & all that goes with it, including the pushing, shoving & what I suggest is just a different culture.

That said & I am sincere when I say I enjoy that side of things despite the issues quoted....Give me a ship full of Americans, Scots & Irish any day!!

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3 hours ago, creativegenius said:

Our good friends Sean and Stef have a fantastic travel VLOG on YouTube featuring many ships and the MSC Seaside is one ship they recently sailed.  They VLOG each day so you get the full 7 day cruise with day 2 usually being the full ship tour.  They have about a dozen ships and I believe they are going to be sailing 8 to 10 more in 2019.   

 

 

Oooo this is excellent, I'm at work just now but I'll be checking all their Vlogs out when I get home, thanks so much!

 

3 hours ago, Beamafar said:

 

There are other benefits that come with Aurea, too.  You get priority boarding,  the (new) Easy drinks package, access for the duration of the cruise to the Spa Thermal Suite and a massage, access to a private sundeck and a room diffuser is supplied for you, fully packaged so you can bring it home, if you wish.

Ooo I do love the Spa! I'll need to ask my Mum to get me a price for Aurea! Thanks.

 

 

3 hours ago, citizenfrank said:

Hello

My cruise history is dominated by NCL ….or is very close to being so I would say.

Love(d)or(e) ….a man in turmoil as you can see, but yes I still love them & certainly their vessels from the Epic forwards.

MSC intrigued me & through doing hours of research & such things seduced me, I am now hooked & see NO reason why you wouldn't adjust, accept & enjoy the migration to them, either as a one-off or a more permanent patronage!

 

I hinted that the ship is crucial for me & it is plus I like BIG ships.

The Breakaway class with NCL is brilliant (as you will know), but as I've posted many times on these boards & other outlets the Seaside class with MSC is IN MY OPINION the sexiest class at sea currently, though quite a few pending launches attract me too.

Including Carnival's new ship just under construction & set for Port Canaveral as her base. A rollercoaster at sea! Well the good folk of Cunard & my initial experience with SS Norway would be amazed!

 

We are on Seaview soon & have Seaside booked now too for later.

 

There is nothing major I do not like about MSC, particularly if you take this to mean by my not including petty or minor things that all lines encounter in truth. Is there a perfect cruise, ship, itinerary or company?

I would go 50/50 now with NCL vs MSC so it is in reality a different, though seamless comparison to make & offer you.

If you pushed me I would say NCL just has the edge on food, though the Seaside class with MSC is now more than an attraction on the dining front.

 

Hope you book & sail the Seaside.

 

A rollercoaster at sea! I'd LOVE that! I maybe do need to broaden my horizons a little bit haha. You're quite right, no such thing as perfect and different things are more important to different people too so a comparison can be quite hard! Thanks for your helpful comment :)

 

1 hour ago, hamrag said:

 

Some context, we are early 60's and have 43 cruises on 15 different cruiselines....7 on NCL, and 3 on MSC.

 

You will find the ship stunning, we had 19 days on Meraviglia recently and Seaside is the new class after Mera. The main theatre shows on MSC, whilst good, have little dialogue due to multi-language mix of passengers....no different from Buchanan Street or Princes Street, so not an issue for us Scots! There are no comedy shows, certainly not an issue for us, and the shows last only 40 minutes. You do not have the variety of the Breakaway/Escape class, for sure, but there is much dancing and music and a night club.

 

The premium drinks package is definitely comparable with the NCL package, the only difference being if you go for a drink above the price threshold you need to pay full whack for it plus 15% gratuity.

 

I note from other responses, you are now aware that 'my choice' dining is only available with the Aurea experience. IMHO it is not worth the premium cost, unless you are a Thermal Spa junkie. The saving in going for Bella would enable you to use specialty restaurants, although they are more expensive than NCL at about $40 a pop....you could mix that with buffet dining, which many report is better than the MDR. You can get a 3 specialty restaurant package for $100 or less so you could get 9 nights for $300 and do the other nights at buffet....that would cost MUCH less than going Aurea. We were Yacht Club, so cannot comment personally other than to say that on NCL in recent times we have always purchased a specialty dining package because we feel MDR quality and service has diminished recently and from what I read MSC is similar.

 

One final point, in Europe there are few English speaking nationalities on board, and the Italians particularly are pushy....that translates as they do not queue and push to the front for everything. Again, as Scots we know how to deal with that. In the Caribbean there will be mostly Americans, I guess, so not so much of an issue although they don't queue either....but they do stand in line!

 

 

Hahaha yes definitely not an issue for us! Good to know re drinks package. And that's very very helpful re the Aurea. Last three NCL cruises I've always purchased the speciality dining, a big lover of Cagney's and Teppanyaki so I felt it was really good value for money. I'd LOVE to try Yacht Club or Haven but not going to happen til we have our wedding and new house out of the way! Urgh the lack of queuing is certainly irritating but as I spend my holiday the Scottish way taking full advantage of the all inclusive booze there isn't much that anyone could do to upset me haha.

 

48 minutes ago, citizenfrank said:

I concur with all this response.

Agree about Aurea ….Use it for the Spa but not for the other perks, money better spent in other areas of the sailing. Maybe Fantastica where once on board you can request your preference to which seating, for example late.

Regarding the clientele I think it as has been posted many times over ….You gain the cosmopolitan feel & all that goes with it, including the pushing, shoving & what I suggest is just a different culture.

That said & I am sincere when I say I enjoy that side of things despite the issues quoted....Give me a ship full of Americans, Scots & Irish any day!!

That's really helpful to know about the Aurea. Fantastica may indeed then be the way to go.

I agree - Americans, Scots and Irish with a dash of Welsh! Met some fantastic Kiwis on our last cruise who were really up for a laugh as well. One of my favourite things about cruising is definitely meeting so many cracking people!

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3 hours ago, mjrtomsajunkie said:

......Good to know re drinks package.....Urgh the lack of queuing is certainly irritating but as I spend my holiday the Scottish way taking full advantage of the all inclusive booze there isn't much that anyone could do to upset me haha.

 

 

You will certainly have bags of time to take full advantage, with 4 days at sea and 5 if you stay on board at the mid-cruise point in Miami......

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