The Food: Once again MSC shines here. We consistently ate in the dining room, and service was above average. The menu changed every night, with a side menu of familiar choices like Steak and soups. All of us were happy with most choices, unusual for a large group. We were seated together and folks who opted to eat on their own were welcomed to do so. The waiters were cheerful and shared family lives and values with us during the week. We were very happy there were no loud announcements or music played during the meal. And the wait staff entertained us 1 night with a very happy conga line. One couple had a 55 wedding anniversary, and the staff had a guitar player come serenade them. Birthdays were very happy events with the staff. At the buffet (there are 2, 1 on deck 8 and 1 on deck 16), food was well presented and tasty. In keeping with the international guests, there were many food choices. Pizza seemed to just appear every few minutes. During the entire cruise I only heard 3 complaints about the buffet food, centering around temperature of the food. Only 1 couple in our group used the specialty restaurants. 1 person was very pleased with the Meat Entre, while the spouse was disappointed by the Seafood Entree. Please note with only 1 couple going to 1 restaurant, this is not a very good evaluation of the specialty restaurants on board.
The ENTERTAINMENT: I would go again, just for the entertainment. Heads, Shoulders, and Torso above every other cruise line, this was “the bomb”. A different show EVERY NIGHT, from Broadway hits to memories. Dancing, singing, acrobatics, stage design, some magic and AN AFTERNOON AT THE OPERA. Okay, you got me. I LOVE MUSIC. To dare to perform Opera on a cruise ship, tantalized me so much I just had to see it. I was AMAZED. They did it with passion, flare, and great skill. I shouted “ Bravo” and “Brava” so loud I could not talk for an hour. IF there was any entertainment on board of any kind, we all said it was above average. The Casino is fairly large by cruse ship standards and everyone enjoyed it.
Value; I think MSC has missed the mark in pricing. Right now this is the best value out there in the “mass market” cruise field. Some of our group paid $1750, including a 10% military discount, for a balcony cabin. That is total price for 2 people, including taxes and fees. On top of that they all got either 12 free drinks of their choice, or an unlimited drinks package INCLUDED in the price. That is well below American Market Pricing, and I see it climbing in the future to reflect the value they bring.
In the latest edition of Cruise Critic, MSC Seaside is ranked 4.5 out of 5 stars. I concur. If you are even thinking of going, or taking your family, on a real value centered ship, call us now for pricing. MSC will bring 3 new ships to the American Market with the next 24 months.
Check back next week for our new series.