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blueslily

MSC Meraviglia versus Seaside for Feb in the Caribbean

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Hello all,

 

I am considering a Caribbean cruise the first week of February. There are two options, Feb 1 or Feb 2, both out of Florida. Price is within range of one another. The ships are the Seaside or the Meraviglia. I am ok with either itinerary, but would lean slightly more to the Meraviglia itinerary.

 

I will be sailing solo. Sailing MSC for the first time. I want to have a mix of relaxing and adventure. I do not drink, so bar variety does not matter to me. I want to be able to access quiet spaces at times and be part of the fun at other times.

 

My question is for people who have sailed on both ships. Which ship did you like better and why? I have watched many videos on YouTube. I seem to like the Meraviglia more, but the reviews state that the Seaside it's much better for Caribbean itineraries due to more openness to the outside. To me, the Seaside seems darker inside than the Meraviglia, but maybe thats just due to video quality.  This will be the first week of February so I want to take weather into consideration. But the itinerary is for the Caribbean so weather should still be nice for enjoying the outdoors.

 

I know that this has to be my decision, but any insights you share from comparing the two ships will be helpful.

 

Thanks so much!

 

 

Thanks

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I've sailed on both, and I've enjoyed both.  Overall I think SEASIDE is the better design for a Caribbean cruise just because of the open deck space, but there were many things I preferred on MERAVIGLIA.  I think the fitness center and main pools are superior on MERAVIGLIA.  Also there is only one buffet instead of two so it's less confusing.  The layout is also more straight forward on MERAVIGLIA than SEASIDE and MERAVIGLIA has the interior promenade with the virtual ceiling and that is kind of cool.  It's kind of the central hub of the ship.  SEASIDE has the more impressive atrium which is sort of like a central hub, but it's not quite the same as the interior promenade on MERAVIGLIA.   

 

Lastly MERAVIGLIA has one major thing that SEASIDE doesn't.  A wonderful cocktail lounge, high up with great views of the ocean and pool decks.  The Sky Lounge.  If you enjoy relaxing and just people watching and looking at the ocean, then this lounge is the place for you.  SEASIDE has nothing like it.  Unfortunately neither ship has any forward facing observation lounges/deck space unless you're in the Yacht Club ... so the Sky Lounge on MERAVIGLIA is the next best thing.  

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Having now sailed on both including twice on Seaside my preference would be Seaside, I found Meraviglia too disjointed, no show lounge large enough for big crowds to see the stage, the Meraviglia lounge is so small that people have to stand in the promenade to watch once the seats are full. If you are in Aurea there is only a pop up bar on the Top 19 Sun deck which only had drinks for the Easy drink package, for those with Premium, Premium plus or the Old Deluxe package as we did then you have to go down to the pool deck to get your own drinks or all the way to the back of the ship on Deck 18, the sundeck overlooks the main pool with booming music almost all day long to the point of distortion, Seaside Top 19 is away from the main pool area and has a great bar and more shaded cover than Meraviglia and is much quieter and far superior to the one on Meraviglia. Like Eroller says the outside space on Seaside is great both up top and on Deck 8 with outside seating for the buffet on both sides of the ship. The fact that Seaside has a buffet on 8 and a smaller one on 16 means that not everyone is crowded into the lower one and is close to the water slides which is great for those with kids. The speciality restaurants on Meraviglia form part of the upper walkway of the promenade with people wandering past as you eat, not good if someone is coughing or sneezing as they go by! Meraviglia will be one and done I think for us along with some others we sailed with over Xmas.

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Thanks eroller and sidari. Hmmm, still a tough decision. Seems like both ships have some pluses to them. I think what will put one over the top from the other is more options for outdoor dining and more outdoor quieter spaces for relaxing and/or people watching, lol. I don't need loud pool music all day. I will not be in YC, so I will need these outdoor options available for us common folks, hahaha. 

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8 hours ago, blueslily said:

the reviews state that the Seaside it's much better for Caribbean itineraries due to more openness to the outside.

It's simple.

If you want a hotel you go with the Meraviglia.

If you want a cruise ship you go with the Seaside.

 

Happy cruising!

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You want to go for the water park and the slides? Then go for Seaside. If you are not interested in this, I would recommend the Meravigia. But at the end you don´t make any mistake with one of this ships. 

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Posted (edited)

Oh my, now the chice becomes more complicated. When I called a TA to discuss booking, she informed me of a third option, a sailing on the Divinia. Initially I ruled out the Divinia sailing, since the other two ships are newer. Its my first MSC cruise, so I wanted a newer ship. But, the sailing on the Divinia comes with a less expensive cost for a solo cruiser. MSC pricing is higher for the sailing. The TA can offer it for literally hundreds less. Im a bit nervous about that, but its worth looking into. So, now I am considering the Divinia. Watching videos on YouTube to check out the ship.

 

 

Edited by blueslily

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I can’t help you with Divina, but I am definitely more of a Seaside fan.  Your comment about Seaside looking darker in the videos is actually an illusion.  Meraviglia seemed darker to me because the atrium is small and seems crammed.  Although the Galleria is impressive, we liked the atmosphere, open spaces, and shows much better on Seaside.  The two buffets were a plus for us, especially since they had soft serve ice cream on Seaside, which was not available on Meraviglia.

 

Seaside has Venchi, which had better coffee and chocolate drinks than Jean Philippe (although Jean Philippe is great too).  

 

In February, it should not be much of a problem to find a quiet space on either ship, but Seaside has an adult only pool, which Meraviglia does not have.  We were on Meraviglia for Christmas with 1300 kids, so it was pretty crazy. There was never a quiet spot on sea days, except on our balcony.

 

Hope this helps some. 🙂  Whichever you choose, we had a great time on both ships.  We just love Seaside!

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We've sailed on all 3 and I'd be very happy to sail on any of them again. 

 

I'd agree that Seaside is darker in some areas inside but they really maximize the outdoor space. 

We did love walking through the Galleria on Meraviglia. We weren't in a warm weather climate so didn't seek outside area but there were plenty. 

We've mainly sailed on Fantasia class ships so are more familiar with the layout of Divina, lots of inside and outside space.

 

We like a quiet place to sit and enjoy the sun or a drink, both in the day and evening and haven't had issues on any of the ships.

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We've sailed on all three and all are good but Seaside and Meraviglia are in a different league. Seaside gets my vote for the Caribbean based on more outside space at the buffet, the second buffet and the Haven lounge which is the equivalent of the Meraviglia lounge. On Meraviglia, this lounge is right outside the MDR and very close to the theatre. This means it gets full very early on. The Haven lounge, being at the back of the ship, does not have this problem and the bands were great. The Meraviglia promenade is technologically amazing but a bit of a one day wonder. Seaside is actually very shiny with a lot of reflective surfaces but the atrium is kind of Sark but has great screens. I agree with comments regarding the location of the speciality restaurants on Meraviglia. On Seaside, they feel more special. Ken

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Thanks so much everyone!

 

Quick follow up question that might also me decide. Do all three have outdoor adult only areas? I am traveling solo and an adult-only pool or place to relax would be nice.

 

Also, I have looked at videos to try to see if all three ship options have thermal suites in the spa areas. I like the thermal suite on NCL Epic and bought a week pass for my last cruise on that ship. I totally understand that MSC is not NCL and all ships are different. This is a feature I enjoyed so I am just checking to see if it is available on any of these three ships and which ship has the better, bigger one. I saw spa pics, but have not seen info about passes and features.

 

Thanks so much! 😁

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20 minutes ago, blueslily said:

Thanks so much everyone!

 

Quick follow up question that might also me decide. Do all three have outdoor adult only areas? I am traveling solo and an adult-only pool or place to relax would be nice.

 

Also, I have looked at videos to try to see if all three ship options have thermal suites in the spa areas. I like the thermal suite on NCL Epic and bought a week pass for my last cruise on that ship. I totally understand that MSC is not NCL and all ships are different. This is a feature I enjoyed so I am just checking to see if it is available on any of these three ships and which ship has the better, bigger one. I saw spa pics, but have not seen info about passes and features.

 

Thanks so much! 😁

 

I also sailed on DIVINA (as well as MERAVIGLIA & SEASIDE).  SEASIDE for sure has the adult pool, but I don't think the other two do.  DIVINA is doing longer cruises so I don't think kids will be a problem (unless it's a holiday sailing).  

 

All three ships have the thermal suite and you can pre-purchase a pass online before your cruise.  I think SEASIDE has the nicest spa of the three ships.  It has some really cool features like the snow room and a nice Thermal Pool.  There is even a private outside deck with hot tub connected to the thermal suite.  The one on MERAVIGLIA looked a little cheesy with a fake rock motif.  Just not my cup of tea.   The spa on DIVINA is high up and with windows, so that is a plus for that ship.  

 

I've also sailed on EPIC and that ship has an extremely nice spa and thermal suite.  Probably one of the best I've ever experienced.  Saunas with big windows and the aft-facing balcony right off the spa.  I'm not sure I would classify any of the MSC spas as nice as EPIC, but the SEASIDE comes close.  

 

Speaking of DIVINA I really really liked the ship.  Not as many bells and whistles as the two newer ships, but an exceptional ship in her own right.  

 

I have fairly extensive photo logs of all three ships.  Here are the links.  They may help you decide.  

 

DIVINA

https://www.flickr.com/photos/eroller/albums/72157643234679793

 

MERAVIGLIA

https://www.flickr.com/photos/eroller/albums/72157712405145446

 

SEASIDE

https://www.flickr.com/photos/eroller/albums/72157669253429949

 

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Eroller - Wow, your pictures are stunning! Thank you so much for sharing. 

 

And, the Seaside thermal suite looks good.

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Oh, the sailing on the Meraviglia departs Sunday, Feb 2nd. Thats Super Bowl Sunday in Miami where the game will be played. Wooo! I posted a question on the Roll Call about suggestions for how to get to the Miami terminal given the traffic. Staying in a hotel in Miami is out of the question for the night before. I can drive into Miami early Sunday morning from spending the night in Orlando or maybe on hour closer. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. I'm sure traffic will be bad all weekend for the Friday and Saturday sailings on the Divinia and Seaside. But, Im guessing that Sunday will be really rough. 

 

Maybe I should post this question separately.

 

Thanks!

 

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As stated, Seaside has a great thermal area, but it also has an outdoor lounger area for spa pass holders, which is an additional adult only area.  I will try to link that post from my review,

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7 hours ago, blueslily said:

Oh, the sailing on the Meraviglia departs Sunday, Feb 2nd. Thats Super Bowl Sunday in Miami where the game will be played. Wooo! I posted a question on the Roll Call about suggestions for how to get to the Miami terminal given the traffic. Staying in a hotel in Miami is out of the question for the night before. I can drive into Miami early Sunday morning from spending the night in Orlando or maybe on hour closer. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. I'm sure traffic will be bad all weekend for the Friday and Saturday sailings on the Divinia and Seaside. But, Im guessing that Sunday will be really rough. 

 

Maybe I should post this question separately.

 

Thanks!

 

How about staying near ft lauderdale and using Brightline to get to Miami?

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3 hours ago, jkgourmet said:

How about staying near ft lauderdale and using Brightline to get to Miami?

Agreed!  This is probably the best idea for Superbowl weekend.  Or maybe even West Palm Beach for Brightline from there. 

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21 minutes ago, APDMOM said:

Agreed!  This is probably the best idea for Superbowl weekend.  Or maybe even West Palm Beach for Brightline from there. 

 

4 hours ago, jkgourmet said:

How about staying near ft lauderdale and using Brightline to get to Miami?

 

Ok. Looking into options for where I could park my car in Ft. Lauderdale or West Palm beach for a week if I used this option. Plus, Im guessing taxi to and from cruise port from Brightline before and after the cruise. 

 

I have some other logistical questions so I will start a separate thread.

 

Thanks

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57 minutes ago, blueslily said:

 

 

Ok. Looking into options for where I could park my car in Ft. Lauderdale or West Palm beach for a week if I used this option. Plus, Im guessing taxi to and from cruise port from Brightline before and after the cruise. 

 

I have some other logistical questions so I will start a separate thread.

 

Thanks

 

Brightline includes the cost of an Uber to and from the port after you deal with the train if you book a train to port package, as well as some other benefits.   I think you will also find it's appreciably cheaper to start at FLL.  I am still looking at it myself, but if you go here, click on the far right tab.  Apparently, pricing varies between dates, and I'm not sure it's worth the savings over paying to park at POM (unless maybe I find a promo code).  But it is a very viable option.

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Divina aft pool is adults only, at least when we sailed 2017.  Prior to our sailing we had reports of open to all but it supposedly changed to adults only.  Note port side of that area is smoking.

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1 hour ago, dexddd said:

Divina aft pool is adults only, at least when we sailed 2017.  Prior to our sailing we had reports of open to all but it supposedly changed to adults only.  Note port side of that area is smoking.

 

 

Glad to hear that.  It was loaded with kids when I sailed in 2014.  

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We stay overnight in Fort Pierce when we sail out of Miami. It has some decent chain hotels (I Priceline for best price) and same with food. Easy drive into Miami and to the port. We do early port arrivals so traffic is never an issue. No idea how Super Bowl would affect that. 

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Thanks everyone! 

 

Given the significant price difference for a solo traveler on the three options I listed, I selected the Feb 2 sailing on the Meraviglia. I'm very excited.

 

I will be staying in Orlando earlier during the weekend as planned. Sun, Feb 2nd I will be up super early and driving to Miami the morning of the sailing. So far, the plan is to drive down 95 until I can get on 1, and then take A1A down the coast. I hope that is an ok plan. I looked into the train and flying. Driving is the plan. 

 

Let me know if anyone suggests a better route for driving. Plus, I need to look up info about tolls. I heard Florida has a lot of tolls.

 

Thanks everyone!

 

 

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