In this MSC Seaside review, we’ll explore the ship, explain its most important features, and help you decide if it’s the right cruise for you. Enjoy!
If you follow this website or keep track of us on social media, you probably know that we are MSC Cruises enthusiasts. We’ve sailed the MSC Divina twice in the Caribbean, and we have another MSC Divina cruise planned out of Italy in October. We have also cruised on the MSC Poesia out of Venice, Italy, and I was one of the first people to cruise the brand new MSC Bellissima. (Check out my MSC Bellissima Review here.) We even have a Norwegian Fjords cruise planned on the MSC Meraviglia in the next few weeks, and I can’t wait!
On top of all that, we recently cruised the MSC Seaside for our last Spring Break – which was AMAZING! Although we have loved all of our cruises with MSC, my husband and I agreed our latest cruise on the MSC Seaside was our favorite.
This MSC Seaside review explains some of the things I loved most about the ship and why I think it’s perfect for families. Enjoy!
Since we are Black Card members with MSC Cruises, our cruise started off extremely well. It took us less than a minute to get through security, and there wasn’t a single soul in the Black Card line when we went to get our cruise cards. It was wonderful!
From the time we got to the cruise port, we were on the ship in less than 20-30 minutes. And really, it only took that long because we needed a bathroom break and there is quite a bit of walking to do.
If you’re interested in becoming a Black Card member or earning another status with MSC Cruises, keep in mind that you don’t have to cruise a bunch of times to make it happen. MSC Cruises offers a status matching program you can use to move your status over from another cruise line or hotel loyalty program. For example, I was able to match to Black status due to my Diamond status with Hilton Honors.
If you do match to Black status, you get a bunch of perks like priority boarding on embarkation day, a free dinner in a specialty restaurant for two, champagne and strawberries in your room, and more. In my opinion, it’s totally worth the minimal effort.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget, some of the best travel rewards credit cards can help you earn status at your favorite hotels. Follow the link above to start searching!
Our Cabin on the MSC Seaside
I have to tell you, I absolutely LOVED our cruise cabin on the MSC Seaside. We chose a balcony room for our family of four, and I’m so glad we did!
One thing I really like about the MSC Seaside is that many of their balcony cabins for families have a couch that turns into a bunk bed. This arrangement saved a ton of floor space compared to rooms with a fold-out couch, and I liked it better than the beds that pull down from the wall.
The bathroom was fairly spacious, and our balcony had plenty of room for the four of us to enjoy the beautiful views.
I loved our room, and it’s a big reason I would cruise the MSC Seaside again.
Pools on the MSC Seaside
Like other MSC ships, the MSC Seaside has a ton of pools and hot tubs to choose from. There was an adults-only pool at the back of the ship that we never quite made it to, but there was also a large outdoor pool area that we spent a lot of time in.
The MSC Seaside also had a “jungle pool” that was next to the onboard water park. That was where we spent most of our time since my kids liked to go back and forth between the pool and the waterslides.
The pools were never overly busy, and on port days you could ride the waterslides all day without any lines. In fact, we chose to stay onboard during our stop in Nassau, and we had the pools almost all to ourselves!
Dining on the MSC Seaside
One thing I really liked about the MSC Seaside is the fact that there were actually two large buffets on board. While both buffets weren’t always open at the same time, having two flexible dining areas helped passengers spread out around the ship.
The MSC Seaside also had two main dining rooms for passengers to dine in every night. We opted to dine in the main restaurant a few times, but we mostly went to the buffet and to the specialty restaurants.
Speaking of specialty restaurants, we had the opportunity to try two of them! First, we ate at the Butcher’s Cut. I am a pescatarian, so I had salmon. It was okay, but my parents really seemed to love the steak dinners they ordered for their wedding anniversary.
My favorite restaurant on the ship was the Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi! We had some really good crab cakes and noodle bowls for dinner. They were divine. I would eat here again 10/10, it was that good.
Oh…and the pizza! Like other MSC ships, the Seaside features a delicious selection of pizzas. These pies come straight from the pizza oven and can help combat your munchies almost any time of the day.
The MSC Seaside also has a ton of bars — they were everywhere! My favorites were probably the bar in the center of the ship and the rock & roll bar which featured live music every night. The main corridor of the MSC Seaside is also pretty awesome because it features a multi-level stage, so you can watch what is going on from several decks.
The MSC Seaside also has:
- a champagne bar
- a coffee and chocolate bar
- a sports bar
- a seaview lounge
In total, the ship has 20 bars, and most them have live entertainment for at least part of the day.
Kid’s Club on the MSC Seaside
Like usual, my children loved the kid’s club on the MSC Seaside.
The ship’s supervised kid’s club is open most of the day (and all day on port days), making it easy for parents to get a break. My kids love heading to the club to make new friends, participate in organized activities like crafts and contests, and have some free time. Kids are separated into different rooms by age groups, so they participate in age-appropriate activities and meet friends who are on their level.
While I don’t like to dump my kids off all day, I tend to use the kid’s club to get a small break here and there. My husband and I also work a little on vacation since we’re self-employed, so it’s nice to have childcare for 2-3 hours at a time. Plus, it’s free!
The bottom line: We always give the MSC Cruises kid’s club a big thumbs up. Their clubs are fun for the kids and provide a great perk for parents as well!
Service on the MSC Seaside
If you read cruise reviews, you’ve probably noticed some really negative reviews about the MSC Seaside. Like always, I suggest you take them all with a grain of salt.
The service on the MSC Seaside was wonderful. Sure, there are times when the bars are slow because they get overwhelmed, but it was not that big of a deal.
The people who work on the ship put in long hours and spend months away from their families. It always amazes me how friendly they are in spite of their difficult jobs that never seem to end.
I have never had bad service on any MSC ship, and I think a lot of it has to do with my attitude. When you treat people well, smile, and don’t sweat the small stuff, everyone is better off. Trust me, the workers on this ship are happy to take care of you, and they want you to have a good time!
Bonus: Awesome Cruise Stop Suggestion
When we cruised the MSC Seaside, our itinerary included stops in Ocho Rios, Nassau, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. I have to tell you about this cruise stop we made in Ocho Rios because it was absolutely perfect for families!
A gentleman named Lyndon McFarlane of Purpose Driven Tours picked us up at the cruise port and escorted us around for the day. Lyndon has become a personal friend of ours and has taken us on 4 or 5 different rides around Jamaica over the years.
Since he knew we had the kids with us and that we wanted to have a fun beach day, Lyndon took us to a beach park called Puerto Seco. This park had one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen – with calm and clear water that was perfect for kids. The park also had a giant floating waterpark that our kids played on for just $10 each.
Renting a chair was only a few bucks, and the giant cabanas were included. I was also glad to find that Puerto Seco had a ton of food and drink options. We ordered food, ate on the beach, and we also got a bucket of beer.
If you want to book this excursion, or any other excursion in Jamaica, I would contact Lyndon McFarlane from Purpose Driven Tours. (He can even handle large groups, so split it with a few families if you’d like.) Tell him “Holly the blogger” sent you. He’ll know exactly who you’re talking about because he gets referrals from articles I’ve written all the time. And no, I don’t make anything for it – our family just loves using his services! I highly recommend him.
Keep in mind that your ship will also offer an excursion to Puerto Seco, but it’s cheaper to go on your own. You even get to stay a few hours longer if you take a private trip. We got there an hour before the MSC group and were able to stay almost two hours longer than they did!
The Bottom Line
If you’re thinking of booking the MSC Seaside, I would absolutely do it and don’t delay. MSC Cruises book up quickly because the prices are so reasonable. It also doesn’t hurt that children 11 and under cruise free on many of their itineraries!
To get the best deal, head over to MSC Cruises and sign up to receive offers and deals via email. This way, you’ll hear about all their deals as they come out, including free drink packages, free wifi, and more.
Feel free to post any questions about the cruise in the comments and I’ll try to answer. Thanks for reading and happy travels!
Have you ever cruised with MSC Cruises? Why or why not?