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A multigenerational cruise was an early surprise Christmas gift for my 88-year-old mother. After booking a direct flight from Virginia to Florida’s Orlando Sanford International Airport, she arrived two days prior to the cruise departure. Her early arrival allowed us to explore some things to do in and around Port Canaveral.
This cruise was my husband’s and my second cruise on the MSC cruise line; after a Bahamas cruise on the Seashore’s sister ship, the MSC Seaside, in April, we were anxious to sail on the Seashore. Both ships are in MSC’s Seaside class. The Seaside class is designed to cruise in warmer climates, including the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
When planning our multigenerational MSC Seashore cruise, we chose a 4-day, 3-night Bahamas cruise itinerary with stops in Nassau, Bahamas, and Ocean Cay Marine Reserve, the cruise line’s private island. This cruise leaves from Port Canaveral, Florida.
MSC Seashore by the Numbers
The Seashore is a gorgeous ship and is part of the Seaside class of ships. She joins sister ships the Seaside, Seaview, and Seascape. Though MSC is a relative newcomer to the North American market, the line offers a good value for the price.
Launched into service in 2021, she is an impressive ship, with a length of 1,112 feet and weighing 169,400 gross tons.
The Seashore boasts
- 20 decks
- 1,112 feet long
- Weight of 169,400 Gross Tons
- 2,270 staterooms
- 11 dining venues
- Capacity for 5,179 passengers
- 2-, 3-, and 4-night Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral
- 7-, 10-, and 11-night Western Caribbean voyages from Port Canaveral
- 7- and 14-night Bahamas and Caribbean trips from Port Canaveral
The Seashore is a massive ship, and with 5,000+ passengers, it can get crowded, especially during peak times such as dinner. However, the deckplan on the Seashore is designed in such a way to use the multiple pools and restaurants to break up the crowds. I also loved that even though this is a huge cruise ship, the spaces were designed to feel intimate.
Although MSC is a relative newcomer to the North American market, the line offers a good value for the price, which is one of the top reasons families of all sizes are flocking to this newcomer to the North American cruise market.
What Families Will Love on MSC Seashore
The decor of the Seashore is a tribute to New York City and represents the heart of MSC – to foster the spirit of discovery and embrace the cultural experiences you’ll find on their ships.
The resiliency of the city inspires all of the venue names, public areas, and design features. You’ll find a 9 ½’ replica of the Statue of Liberty by the casino. The retail and entertainment area is “Times Square” in honor of the iconic NYC Times Square.
In Times Square, you’ll find a 27.5’ LED wall spanning four decks. The wall features a projection of one of the most recognized skylines in the world – Manhattan. But taking that a step further, the skyline changes from morning to night. I cannot tell you how many times we walked past this LED wall, and there were kids just mesmerized by this amazing technology!
Speaking of kids, MSC really puts families at the forefront when designing their ships, and they are an ideal choice for a multigenerational cruise. On the Seashore, more than 7,500 square feet of space is dedicated to kids.
There are five different “clubs” onboard so that kids of all ages can participate, and Mom and Dad can feel safe and secure that their kids are being taken care of and can slip away for some adult fun of their own.
The kids’ club area is colorful, and there are themed spaces. There are clubs for Babies (0-3 years), Minis (3-6 years), Juniors (7-11 years), Youngs (12-14 years), and Teens (15-17 years).
Jump In and Take a Dip
There are over 3 acres of outdoor space for you to explore on the Seashore. Some of the outdoor amenities you’ll find on the Seashore include their “Bridge of Sighs,” a dedicated outdoor spa area where you can soak up the sun in a quiet space, relax on a lounge chair, outdoor dining, outdoor lounges, and of course, water fun.
The Seashore has five pools and various whirlpools. The Aft Infinity Pool is often crowded, but it offers some great views of the aft of the ship and its wake.
The Long Island Pool is on deck 18 and offers a 360-degree water fountain island and the Pirates Cove waterpark with a waterslide and adventure trail. Young children to teens will love this cool waterpark.
The Jungle Pool has a bar area close to the Marketplace Buffet area. There is a balcony-type deck in the Jungle pool area that overlooks the pool and is excellent for an afternoon libation as you can keep an eye on the kids in the pool. We enjoyed spending time as a family sitting in this area, relaxing, chatting, sipping our drinks, and just people-watching.
More Fun At Sea
On MSC’s Seashore, the fun goes from morning to night. From cavorting in the pool during the day to trying your hand at Formula One racing, river rafting in virtual reality, or an immersive cinema experience, there is something for every age on the MSC Seashore.
The Aurea Spa onboard is spectacular! Our stateroom class, Aurea, gave us access to the thermal area, which offers a salt room, hydrotherapy pool, steam room, sauna, and snow room. In addition, there are five heated ceramic loungers in the hydrotherapy pool area.
Needless to say, my mom and I spent a significant amount of time in the spa area! She loved the hydrotherapy pool, and I loved the salt room, sauna, and heated ceramic beds.
The only downside is that the thermal area did not have any windows so it can feel claustrophobic.
I’ll admit that I’m a bit skeptical when it comes to spa treatments at sea. However, on our MSC cruises, I opted for a spa treatment and was pleasantly surprised! On board the Seashore, I chose a one-hour hot stone massage. My therapist was polite and exceptionally well-trained in a variety of massage techniques. I left my massage feeling totally relaxed and rested. Jim had a deep tissue massage, and he was also pleased.
The gym space on the Seashore is adjacent to the spa, which is fantastic. You can opt to take classes, work on their machines, power walk the outdoor track, and more.
Staterooms Aboard MSC’s Seashore
When you book your stateroom with MSC you are given options along your booking journey. If there are any special promotions, you will be prompted to choose between the basic cruise-only fare, or the available promotion (this may be a drink package or drink package + wifi; the options will vary).
Once you’ve decided, you will select your stateroom category. You can choose interior, oceanview, balcony, or suite. For our recent cruise, we chose a balcony and a suite. We also had a choice of experience – Fantastica or Aurea.
The Suite Life
We chose Aurea for both our staterooms. Jim and I chose a Grand Suite in the bow of the ship and a midship balcony suite for my mother. One perk of cruising with MSC as a solo traveler is instead of paying the total rate of the stateroom, a solo traveler pays half the cost + 20%, saving 80% of the double occupancy rate.
The experience levels that MSC offers:
- Bella, which is a no-frills level with a guaranteed stateroom, MSC will assign your stateroom within four days of sailing; you cannot choose the stateroom number. You will also be levied a fee for any changes to your cruise
- Fantasica allows you to select your stateroom from the best available selection. Other benefits include a free daily in-stateroom breakfast, 24-hour room service (there is a small charge for this), and you are offered a discount on specialty dining several days before sailing. You can also make up to one cruise change without a fee.
- Aurea was our personal experience level. With Aurea, you get all the benefits of Fantastica, and a welcome aboard gift of Prosecco and chocolate, anytime dining (which we love!), exclusive pre-cruise Balinese massage at a discounted price point, 10% off all spa products and bookings, free access to the spa’s thermal area, and priority boarding.
The Ultimate? Yacht Club Experience
Yacht Club Experience is MSC cruise line’s ultimate all-inclusive at sea. This experience is designed to make guests feel like VIPs, beginning with embarkation, where Yacht Club guests are welcomed aboard with their own check-in. Yacht Club guests also receive priority disembarkation.Yacht Club Highlights
With the Yacht Club experience, you have 24-hour butler services, and a dedicated concierge is available to help organize private shore excursions, make spa reservations, and deliver a daily newspaper to your stateroom.
The Yacht Club area is located in the front of the ship, offering spectacular ocean views from the Top Sail Lounge, which offers live music and gourmet canapés (available all day through the evening), and a private fine dining restaurant offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner and an extensive wine list.
There is also a private sundeck and pool area for Yacht Club guests. In this area, you’ll find cabanas, hot tubs, and a bar and grill.
The Yacht Club area on the Seashore encompasses four decks with approximately 32,000 square feet of space. The Seashore offers 131 upscale luxury suites, which include interior suites, deluxe suites, royal suites, grand suites, and two Owner’s suites (these are the largest suites on the ship at 1,054 square feet of space, outdoor space with a private hot tub, and separate living and dining spaces.
SheBuysTravel Tip: When you book your MSC cruise, be on the lookout for several emails offering the chance to get an upgrade, including an upgrade to Yacht Club for an additional fee.
Included in your cruise cost is dining. The Marketplace Buffet offers casual dining choices, making it a good choice for families. The Marketplace seats 1100, so there is plenty of room.
I was impressed by the pizza offerings – so many times, the pizza served onboard cruise ships is just run of the mill. Not on MSC! The pizza offerings are quite good, and we found ourselves in the Marketplace for lunch several times. My mom thoroughly enjoyed the offerings at the Marketplace because of all the choices. Another pro of the Marketplace Buffet is the close proximity to the Jungle Bar.
Main Dining Rooms and Anytime Time Dining
Four main dining rooms are onboard the Seashore – Manhattan, Tribeca, 5th Avenue, and Central Park. Central Park and 5th Avenue are the traditional main dining rooms that most ships offer. You eat at an assigned time, at an assigned table.
On the flip side, those with “Anytime Dining” will be assigned to one of the smaller main dining rooms, Manhattan or Tribeca.
The food overall was quite good. There were dishes that we felt could have been improved, but overall, we would rate the food on the MSC Seashore at 4.85 out of 5.0, leaving room for improvement.
One of the top things we appreciate when cruising on MSC are the smaller portions, which are indicative of Italian and Mediterranean dining. You can always order additional dishes to satisfy your hunger.
The dining staff, from the dining room manager to the host to the wait staff, were friendly and helpful and did not rush us to finish our meals. It was so nice to linger over dinner and finish with dessert and coffee or an aperitif.
Speciality Dining Venues
The Seashore offers five specialty restaurants in the Chef’s Court on deck 8 of the ship.
We were intrigued by some of the technology that MSC has embraced, including the new sushi conveyor belt at Kaito Sushi. The sushi conveyor belt allows guests to select dishes ranging from freshly prepared sushi to sashimi, tempura, and other options.
MSC’s signature American Steakhouse, Butcher’s Cut, has gotten an upgrade on the Seashore, offering al fresco dining – nothing beats dining outside with magnificent ocean views! The steakhouse features Linz heritage beef in a range of cuts. The Linz Heritage Beef can also be ordered in all the main restaurants however there is an upcharge. Butcher’s Cut also offers an excellent, well-rounded selection of wines.
HOLA! Tacos & Cantina features some delightful Latin American and Mexican dishes – ideal for family-style dining. This is just a fun dining venue for the entire family! HOLA! also offers an extensive list of tequilas and mescals.
SheBuysTravel Tip: When you book your MSC cruise, you will receive several emails promoting the spa packages, upgrade options, and specialty dining packages. If you are interested in specialty dining, purchase the specialty dining before sailing or embarkation day, so you will receive a small discount.
Bars and Lounges
Wow! There are 14 different bars and lounges aboard the Seashore, making it hard to decide where to go – especially on a short getaway cruise!
Everyone will have their favorite bar/lounge, however, on the Seashore, we found that all three of us loved the Brooklyn Cafe for an after-dinner cocktail and conversation. This venue, located on deck 8, was a bit smaller and significantly quieter than some of the other bar and lounge areas. It offers a view of the multi-deck “Times Square” LED wall and the Statue of Liberty.
The Champagne and Wine bar was also a hit for Jim & me; we enjoyed sitting at the bar, sipping a glass or two of wine before and after dinner, and people-watching. The Champagne and Wine Bar is located on deck 7, and easy to get to from the Manhattan dining venue. However, after dinner, this area can get quite loud and boisterous; for us, that was part of the fun, however, it was a bit loud for my mom.
During the day, we found the Aurea bar on deck 19 ideal for relaxing, catching some rays, and reading.
Entertainment and Shows on the Seaside
In general terms of entertainment, we have found that MSC does a fabulous job with its nightly entertainment. The shows are family-friendly and spectacular productions. We thoroughly enjoyed the high caliber of their “Divas of Rock and Roll” show. The acoustics of the Madison Theatre are incredible, and the singers and dancers are amazing! Truly, one of the best features of any MSC cruise is the caliber of entertainment they offer onboard.
All three shows we saw on the Seashore were music-themed. This stood in stark comparison to our experience on the MSC Seaside, where all the shows were more like shortened Broadway shows that included a storyline, and multiple types of talent – singers, dancers, acrobats, and gymnasts.
A Day at Ocean Cay
Jim and I are huge fans of the Bahamas, so we take it whenever we can to stick our toes into that soft, turquoise water. Ocean Cay is the cruise line’s private island off the coast of Bimini in the Bahamas. It is a man-made island and marine sanctuary. The island offers dining venues, including food trucks, a buffet, and a bar. You’ll find several shops as well to pick up some souvenirs of your time in the Bahamas.
How Does MSC Stack Up Against Other Cruise Lines
Prior to discovering MSC, my husband, Jim, and I almost exclusively cruised on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. However, when considering the value received to the cost of the cruise, MSC wins hands down when considering everything. If you find a sale on MSC that includes their drink package, the savings are $49 a day (for cruises six days or less) or $61 for cruises 7+ days. We typically do a pre-paid drink package upgrade, so our savings are slightly less.
I have found the balcony stateroom pricing to be a bit less than what we paid for Celebrity or Royal Caribbean, especially when you add in the Aurea experience perks, compared to the Aqua Class category on Celebrity.
Shore Excursion Options for the Bahamas
Two popular excursions on MSC’s Bahamas cruises are the Blue Lagoon Island Experience and Atlantis Resort.
Blue Lagoon Island is private, with a gorgeous secluded beach. For the Balmoral Island experience, choose the VIP Beach cabana …. trust me, you cannot go wrong with either choice! Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island is perfect for those who want a full day of non-stop fun! You’ll have access to Aquaventure, a 141-acre waterpark, The Dig, an archaeological site designed to replicate the ruins of the ancient city of Atlantis, and the Predator Lagoon, which is home to lots of sea creatures – sharks, rays, barracudas, and sawfish.
2024 Itineraries for the Seashore
The itineraries for the Seashore in 2024 include Nassau & Ocean Cay, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Costa Maya & Cozumel, Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Honduras, and Belize.
Where Does MSC Cruise?
MSC offers over 250 cruise destinations across the globe. You can choose from destinations ranging from close to home, Bahamas, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Canada, and New England to stunning European destinations, including Northern Europe – the UK, Norway, France, Germany, and Iceland; to the Mediterranean – Greece, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Turkey; to more exotic destinations like Dubai, Middle East, South America, South Africa and Asia.
In the US, for their Caribbean and Bahamas cruises, MSC sails out of New York City, Port Canaveral, and Miami.
All in all, MSC Cruise Line delivers a lovely cruise, with good food and comfortable accommodations, for a good value, and we’ll be cruising with them again.