The various event venues on the Seaside are some nice spaces, offering up contemporary decor along the lines of what you see on other MSC ships. Each one is different, yet not overdone or gaudy, like the decor on other ships can be. On the Divina, one of the spaces I like the most is the theater. Beautiful, roomy, and hardly any seating with serious view obstructions. The latter is a rarity in my experience, on some ships there are a bunch of posts scattered around the room, or seating that’s not elevated enough above the row in front of it, for example.
The Seaside continues this unobstructed design, with no real view blockers that I found, outside of maybe those 3 rows on either side of the control room way at the back. The one big change from the Divina, however, is that on the Seaside, the theater is one floor, as there is no balcony level here. That does mean it’s smaller, but MSC has changed things up to deal with that. I’ll talk about how a bit more in my upcoming entertainment post, but the gist is that there are more than 2 shows a night in most cases, and to attend a show, you need to book it in advance, similar to how show seating on one of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships works. You can get a feel for the size of the theater in my walking tour here:
Moving on, let’s talk about the smaller activity venues:
- The Haven: This area doubles as a lounge/bar at night and activity venue during the day. We attended a number of events in here, including most of the evening parties (Gatsby party, Thriller night, etc) and a few daytime events. They actually held the Cruise Critic meet and greet in there, and it was the perfect space for it.
- Sports Bar: I don’t tend to hang out in the sports bar when we’re on a ship, as I’d rather be out and about vs sitting watching sports, but in this case, we spent a bit of time in this one due to most trivia sessions being hosted in here. It’s a cool venue that contains a ton of awesome memorabilia, along with some little round booths where people could gather to watch sports (see the pictures of these at the end of the post). On the not so positive side, this was one spot where the bar service was slow. Additionally, at one point, a passenger asked if the bartender could change the channel on one of the booth TVs to the FSU game, or even one of the main bar TVs, and was told they (the bartenders) don’t have control of the channels on the TVs in there, which seemed really odd. Regardless, it’s a cool venue. The Instagram post below has multiple pictures of the memorabilia, so be sure to scroll through:
- Seaview Lounge: This is referred to as ‘News Cafe’ on MSC’s deck plan. This is sort of like a coffee stand/bar with a lecture-style stage and seating area on one end. We were only in here a couple of times for trivia, but bar service was always pretty quick, and it’s a nice cozy spot to hang out.
Spaces like The Haven and Seaview Lounge really seem to be designed to host events like trivia, offering plenty of seating that gave you direct line of sight to the host, but for some reason were rarely used for that stuff. Most of our trivia events were held in the Sports Bar, which it’s not set up for at all. Unless you’re seated right in front of the stage, it’s difficult to see what’s going on, and if there’s a game on, can be difficult to hear the questions. I can’t really say why the other venues weren’t used for these activities, but hopefully it’s something that changes going forward.
Seaside’s casino is a slight change from the Divina. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, on the Divina, there’s no smoking at all in the casino. On the Seaside, they appear to allow smoking in at least half the casino. The room is divided into two sides, with one being solely slot machines, where we saw people smoking. The other side is where all the table games, speed roulette, and a few more slot machines sat. On that side I never saw anyone smoking, so it’s possible it’s restricted to the slots-only side. I’ll give them credit, however, the slot side didn’t reek of smoke like some other ship casinos do, so whatever they’re doing to filter it out seems to be working.
The casino itself is nice. It felt a little smaller than the Divina’s, and as far as slots, still only contains penny slots. There are a small number of video poker machines, so the girls had something to play, as none of us really like the newer multi-line penny machines. In the center of the space is the casino bar, where service really seemed hit or miss. The busier it was at the slots, the slower the service up at the bar seemed to be. It’s one of those things that can be fixed pretty easily with one dedicated bartender for those seated up there, but in the end, not a big deal to me. I’ve got a video walk-through of the casino coming, so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Veer so you don’t miss it!
Moving on, let’s talk about the spa. We had spa benefits as part of the Aurea package, and those benefits included one massage for each of us, unlimited access to the thermal area, and time in the tanning booth. We didn’t make use of the latter, but did enjoy the rest! For massages under the Aurea plan, they suggest you make your reservation no later than the end of the first sea day, which seemed to be more about ensuring you could be fit in to the schedule, as it seemed to be filling up fast on our sailing. We set ours up for the day we were in St Thomas, since we didn’t get off the ship. The 55 minute massages were a nice way to relax half way through the cruise. Afterwards we all spent some time in the thermal area, enjoying a few of the options it holds. Most are fairly common, things like steam rooms, rain rooms, and thermal loungers. Then there’s the snow room. The really, really cold snow room. We did pop in there, but for only a minute, maybe less. It’s really, really cold, but kinda cool to be in a snow room on a cruise ship in the Caribbean in the middle of winter :). Flip through the pictures in the Instagram post below to get an idea of what these thermal areas look like, and be sure to check out the spa pics at the end of the post:
Closing things out on page 3; bowling, F1, shopping, and cabins!