I recently returned from a cruise on the MSC Seaside. MSC makes my third cruise line overall and while there are a lot of similarities, there are differences that can make MSC your go-to cruise line.
Because Murphy's Law has been known to go into effect without good and proper notice, I absolutely always recommend traveling to your departure port the day before embarkation. I know, I know – millions of cruisers travel the day of and never have a problem. But when I am headed towards my embarkation port the day before, there are always folks on my flight cruising the same day, nervious about whether or not they're going to make it in time. That's not vacation to me. My vacation starts as soon as I log off of my 9 to 5, not when I board the ship.
Me at the end of my last day of work before vacation.
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TIP: You can schedule your uber to the airport up to 30 days in advance in select cities. Look for the clock icon next to the “Where to?” bar to select a date and time.
I always schedule Uber Black – Mom and I are low key bougie on a budget ?. Add to that, our TSA Precheck status and we're talikin' a really smooth experience getting to the airport and gate for our flight to Miami.
We stayed at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay which is right on the Biscayne Bay waterfront with views of the Port of Miami. We booked the Pre Cruise package which includes breakfast for 2 adults daily, 2 cocktails upon arrival and 1 way transfer to the Port of Miami (sweet!). It was a beautiful conference hotel with great customer service. They were hosting a family reunion with upwards of 600 people! It's large enough to host events of that size and still quiet enough that if we hadn't run into members of the family, we wouldn't have know they were there.
We were there on Friday for a Saturday embarkation. Ships were still in port when we checked in on Friday and we got to see them leave. It's a really beautiful sight.
The hotel also had a really good restaurant called the Catch Grill. We had dinner there on Friday and the breakfast buffet on Saturday before heading to the ship. Both meals were delicious!
It's Cruise Day!
I woke up on Saturday (cruise day!) to this beautiful sight!
View from my bay view room on cruise day. The MSC Seaside is third from the left!
Getting to the port after breakfast was a breeze. Just go down to the front desk and give them your voucher. They'll call an uber that will take you straight to the Port of Miami. It's a quick 10-minute ride.
I don't have a lot to write here. Why? Because checking in to the MSC Seaside was super quick and efficient. We got there at 11am. It was completely empty. There was no one in line. It was so empty that the guards were laughing with us as we traversed the maze setup for long lines. We showed our passports and boarding documents and went on to have our bags scanned.
We put our luggage up to be scanned and skipped right on through. Next up was getting your keys. There were lines here, but we waited no longer than 5 minutes to get to a very nice lady who told us we knew how to travel in style because we booked the Aurea Experience.
The Aurea Experience comes with wristbands that act as your sail & sign card. As long as you have that on your wrist, you can access your cabin and make purchases on the ship. The only thing it doesn't do for you is allow you to get on and off the ship – you still need your card for that. But the freedom of the wristband is awesome. If you don't book an experience that includes the wristbands, you can purchase them for just $5 each. They are totally worth the price!
And just like that, we're checked-in and ready to cruise! In the waiting area, there were complimentary beverages and helpers directing everyone to the appropriate area. Now we wait.
I was seated and waiting to board by 11:15am. Amazing! We waited about 45 minutes to board. They boarded in the following order: Back-to-Back cruisers, priority (Yacht Club, Black Card and Aurea – that's me!). Then everyone else according to the boarding number you were given when you checked in.
Onboard the MSC Seaside
First, let me say the ship is absolutely beautiful!
The rooms were not going to be ready until the posted time of 1:30pm. In the atrium area they had a bag check where you could leave your carryon luggage and go get something to eat unemcumbered. This was something I only experienced at hotels. It was a nice touch!
The MSC Seaside has two buffet areas – a full buffet on deck 8 and a smaller buffet on deck 16. With a ship large enough to hold 7,000 passengers, I guess you need two buffets. We sat on deck and had a slice of pizza while we waited. By the time we were done eating, rooms were ready.
Since we are part of the #NoCheckedBags crew, we didn't have to wait for luggage in order to get unpacked and settled in. Sail away is at 7pm, so plenty of time to relax before dinner at Buther's Cut, MSC's steakhouse.
We purchased the Trio Dining package. It's always been our cruising tradition to dine at the steakhouse on the first night. This cruise was no exception. Butcher's Cut had good ambiance and good food.
We sailed away at dinner. Sure wish I was back there…
Stay tuned for:
- Our new cruise ritual – the SPA!!
- Formula 1 Racing Simulator
- 5D Cinema
- The Easy Drink Package Update
- The Photo Package
Have you cruised MSC? Tell me about what you liked below. Have questions about the MSC experience so far? Ask them below.