MSC Seaside: The Ship!

The Seaside is, in a word, beautiful. There’s no denying that. If you want to see for yourself, check out the videos we’ve been posting from on-board that include public area walk-throughs and cabin tours. We’ve got plenty more to come too, so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel! If you’d rather watch them on a dedicated VR platform, follow us on VeeR, as all of the 360 videos in question are posted there as well! In addition to all the video, throughout this post I’ll be including pictures we’ve posted on Instagram of the ship, and even including a slideshow of mostly interior shots at the end, including a bunch of shots from the various kids club areas, so read on!

I called this out in my “initial thoughts” post, but if you consider the traditional ship design, you generally an open open upper deck or two, and one lower deck that while providing a view of the ocean, also has a number of obstructions of that view, typically involving the ship’s lifeboats. The Seaside changes that by moving the upper decks inward, allowing them to create an open lower deck that gives you a much more immersive outside feel, almost like walking in a park, if that park was in the middle of the ocean. I’m once again going to be using one of MSC’s initial renderings to show what I mean:

The design definitely lives up to the goal of bringing you closer to the sun, and provides plenty of lounger space on those outer decks. There are multiple highlights of these new outdoor spaces, as well.

  • Infinity Bridge: On each side of the ship out on deck 8, there’s an Infinity Bridge with a clear glass floor that allows you to walk out over the ocean. 360 video of this is coming soon on our YouTube and VeeR channels!
  • Bridge of Sighs: At deck 16 aft they’ve placed another clear glass bridge that allows you to walk out over South Beach pool, which is 9 floors below. It’s an incredibly picturesque spot, definitely one to see during multiple times of the day. Don’t believe me? See for yourself with our 360 degree tour of it!
  • South Beach Pool: In the rendering above, this is the open aft section on deck 7 that contains a pool, loungers, and a bar / gelato station. When you’re hanging out back here on a sunny day, the look of it, with the condo-style balconies towering above you, really does give you that South Beach condo-scene feel.
  • Forest Aquaventure Park: A multi-story waterpark in the center of the ship that contains kids pools and 4 water slides. One kids slide, two high-speed racing slides, and one with Slide-boarding technology, combining an interactive game, lights, music and a 367-foot water slide. We rode the racing slides and the interactive slide, and personally, I prefer the racing slides, mainly because the whole points-based game on the other slide didn’t really appeal to me. The kids riding it really seemed to like that one, however, as there was usually a line at the bottom to get one of the slide boards you have to ride down on.
  • Zip Line: The Seaside boasts what MSC calls the longest zip line at sea. We took a run down this while docked in Nassau, and I have to say that it’s worth a ride, it’s definitely better than the zip line on the Oasis class, and gives you a great view of everything around you. The downside of the open design of it is that windy sea days might mean closure, as we encountered early in the cruise. On our sailing it was free, which meant really, really busy. I’d heard of people waiting ~45 minutes to ride, as they were only opening one side at a time. We got there about 30 minutes before it opened the second time in Nassau and were first in line for a 2pm run. We’ve heard that after our sailing they implemented a fee for the zipline, $10 per person or $50 per cabin. As mentioned, it’s a fun time offering a great view, easily worth a try!

Even though the decks above 8 appear to almost be squished inward to accommodate the open-air design, you don’t really lose anything in the way of public space. That mostly appears to be due (in my totally uneducated guesstimate) to the public areas like the atrium, shopping, and entertainment spaces existing on decks 5 – 8, where the ship is still the full width. Those interior public areas are just as beautiful as the outside area, too, with the Seaside’s atrium being the center piece of it all. In keeping with previous MSC designs, this 4 deck atrium houses the signature Swarovski crystal staircases, along with a bar on the bottom floor, and stages positioned on each of the three floors above it. I’ll have some pictures of it below, but if you want to take a virtual tour, check out my 360 degree walk-through!

Up next on page 2, interior entertainment venues!

MSC Divina: Day 6 Recap – Christmas Eve Edition!

In addition to being our last sea day, it was also Christmas eve. Having never spent Christmas on a ship, we weren’t sure what to expect, but MSC didn’t disappoint.

We spent most of the day bouncing back and forth between the various activities indoors, despite the excellent weather outside. We started the fun off with a Pictionary win, and followed that up by tying for the win in the first round of Christmas trivia! I said it yesterday, and I’ll say it again, the entertainment staff is outstanding. I really don’t know how Jaime is able to keep up with it all, but we’ve enjoyed every round of trivia we’ve participated in.

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Lunch found us back at the buffet, which we’ve been somewhat disappointed in over the course of the week. Breakfast seems to offer the most stations open, along with the largest selection of items. When we’ve eaten lunch in here, half the stations are generally empty. It’s definitely a change from other lines we’ve been on. The other buffet related item that’s somewhat annoying is that they only have lemonade at the beverage stations during lunch. At dinner, it’s just water and tea. My irritation with the lack of buffet selection was tempered by our view of the ocean as we ate, though :).

After lunch and a bit of time resting, we headed back down to play Scattergories. Fun, but there were a large number of teams, which made it run a bit long, causing Jaime to be late to the final round of Christmas trivia. We all knew this because the guy I mentioned in my day 3 recap that promised to correct Jaime at every turn walked in loudly and rudely reminding Jaime that he was late. Seriously, you’re on a cruise, relax and enjoy yourself. We did head in to that final Christmas trivia round when Scattergories was done, but lost that one by 3 points.

After trivia, we headed to the theater for a special event. MSC had secured a visit from Santa and Rudolph, and had them set up on stage taking pictures and giving out presents to every single child on the ship. You read that right. Every last one who came in and waited in line got a gift. It wasn’t just small MSC logo items either. The presents were things like small Lego sets for boys, art kits for girls, and a couple of other types of presents I never got a good look at. We were in there the entire time, and that line was really, really long at the start, snaking from the stage up to the back of the theater, and back around again. It took just over an hour, but they got through everyone and still had a pretty good pile of presents left. I have to say, we were very impressed, MSC obviously knows how to do Christmas at sea the right way!

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That took us in to dinner in the MDR, where we had a special 7 course Christmas eve meal. Things started off really slowly, as we only had the initial course before the first hour elapsed. They appeared to take notice of that, as things started coming out a lot faster, and all of the tables around us ended up losing out on one course, the pallet-cleansing sorbet set to arrive right before our entrees. While it would have been nice to have things a little more relaxed and in the proper order, we wanted to make it to the final bingo at 7:45, so we weren’t complaining. My dinner:

  • Beef Carpaccio
  • Festive Holiday Salad (no pic of that, however)
  • Chilled Three Melon Soup
  • Fresh Pasta
  • Honey-Baked Virginia Ham
  • Traditional Panettone Slice for dessert

All of it was pretty good, although the carpaccio was a little drier than it generally should be.

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We made it to bingo on time, and enjoyed one last performance by the Bingo Boys. Seriously, this is the best entertainment staff we’ve had on any cruise we’ve been on. If you’re sailing the Divina any time soon, don’t miss bingo, even if you don’t play.

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Since we’d been in the theater for bingo, we already had great seats for the show, and the special Christmas performance didn’t disappoint. It was a mix of singing, dancing, and some acrobatics. Great stuff!

We capped off our night by blowing some time (and a small amount of money) in the casino while waiting for the midnight buffet. I have to say, I love that the casino is smoke free.

It’s been a while since we’ve been on a line that still did a midnight buffet, and frankly I just assumed no one did it anymore. MSC proved me wrong, and in a big way. Every single station was open, with a mix of finger foods, bread, and a ton of yummy desserts. They also had a few carved watermelons, and different bread sculptures. We could see that a lot of time and effort went in to this, and were glad we stayed up for it. I swear there was more food in the midnight buffet than they actually have out on the lunch or dinner buffets. It was great stuff and worth the wait!

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That about covers day 6. Our final day here on the Divina will be in port in Nassau for Christmas day. We were here last month on the Escape as well, and we’re really hoping that we don’t get all the rain we did on that last visit!

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