For your cruise clients who adore glamourous surroundings, suggest a voyage on MSC Cruises’ Seashore.
They will be dazzled by the atrium’s six iconic Swarovski crystal staircases – and the décor wow-factor continues throughout the ship, as we discovered on a recent Caribbean cruise from Dec. 18-23, 2021.
However, Seashore isn’t all about style. She also has substance as the dining, entertainment and service is tailored to North American expectations.
Seashore is lined with marble floors, crystal chandeliers, suede and leather furnishings, gleaming silver hardware and modern artwork. The decor is elegant with shades of dark plum, olive green, delicious cream and espresso black – with the occasional red and yellow for drama. Furnishings are streamlined to showcase the beautiful fabrics and materials that are tempting to caress.
Your clients will also appreciate that Seashore has more than just mesmerizing movie-star good looks befitting of godmother Sophia Loren. The ship has been given a New York-themed role and this Uptown Girl can sing, dance and cook.
Seashore’s Cruise Director is the first American CD hired by MSC and all announcements are in English.
The average guest age on my mid-December voyage was 39, and of the approximately 3,300 passengers, about 300 were children, so it wasn’t crowded.
MSC Seashore, the latest flagship of MSC Cruises, sailed her inaugural voyage in the western Mediterranean in August 2021, with visits to Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Valletta.
Here are Seashore’s specs:
- 4,540 passengers (double occupancy); 5,877 (full capacity) and 1,413 crew
- 20 decks (although there’s no deck 17 since the number is considered unlucky for this Swiss-Italian cruise line)
- 335 m long and 41 m wide (longest in this class)
- 170,412 GRT
- Six pools (including a water park with two water slides that hang over the side of the ship)
- 13,000 m2 of outdoor space
- 18 bars and lounges (12 indoors and six outdoors)
- Five specialty restaurants and three dining rooms
Pools, hot tubs & water parks
Seashore’s exterior design includes a lot of outdoor space for relaxing and dining.
The Long Island pool and hot tub area is where the action is. The deck features daybeds, loungers and there’s a stage for entertainment and a jumbo TV.
Deck 8 is the site of the stunning infinity pool at the aft that’s quieter since it’s for adults only. Its sleek in-pool loungers make it both popular and photogenic.
One of the most Instagrammed outdoor shots is of this aft pool from deck 15, shot through the fabulous Bridge of Sighs, a glass-floored walkway that’s cantilevered over the aft.
On each side of the ship there are 10-seat infinity glass wall whirlpools – also with a curved infinity bridge and glass floor.
For kids, the Jungle Pool is lush thanks to simulated plants and has a sliding roof for fresh air. Parents will appreciate the padded, teak loungers and cushy patio furniture. It’s a space to enjoy even if you don’t have kids.
Pirate’s Cove aquapark has drenching buckets, jets and two waterslides that hang over the side of the ship. This area is loud with water action and children’s squeals of delight.
A Canadian company, called WhiteWater West, based in British Columbia, actually built all of the ship's waterpark components.
The private MSC Yacht Club provides guests with their own serene pool, hot tub, cabanas and lush patio seating at the bow of the ship (as well as premium bars and restaurants).
Restaurants & service
The 1,100-seat buffet called the Marketplace is popular for casual meals.
Guests appreciated getting a tray that makes carrying food much easier, with less traffic, since you get everything you need in one trip and it keeps tables especially clean.
The restaurant also posted signs to encourage one side for families and the other side for adults only. While not enforced, it worked quite well.
For breakfast, egg options were hot, sides are plentiful and pastries such as croissants, as well as waffles and French toast were fresh. Items like fruit were served in attractive bowls – since everything on this ship from the food to the furnishings has designer flair. Beverages such as tea, coffee, juices – including orange juice – are dispensed by crew.
Lunch options were plentiful from sliced beef and sandwiches to pasta and excellent pizza that has generous toppings. However, the pre-made burgers and hot dogs were often skipped. Desserts such as cakes were delicious and since the portions are small, many guests selected a few.
MSC Cruises has not always received great reviews for their meals in the main dining rooms. Dining times are 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and show times range from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
One of my table mates was unhappy with her tilapia and rice dinner saying it was bland. Our waiter and manager were quick to apologize and replaced it with something else.
She ordered beef that arrived within 15 minutes. My California roll, roasted tomato soup, chicken breast with gravy and apple crumble with ice cream were good, and service was also quick enough to have extra time before the show.
However, if your clients are particular about their meals and dining times, suggest a specialty restaurant package, such as four restaurants for $155 U.S.
Many crew walk around the Marketplace carrying the information and book reservations for you. This promotion also made for great crew service since you could ask them any questions and they were well informed.
Chef’s Court is the location of the five specialty restaurants and the food and service are excellent. I ate at Ocean Cay (cod), Kaito Teppanyaki (salmon) and Hola! Tacos and Cantina and all meals were beautifully presented and every morsel delicious.
The waiters checked periodically with all guests to ensure satisfaction. Other specialty restaurants included Butcher’s Cut and Kaito Sushi, which featured a fun conveyor belt of covered items.
Alcohol, soda and specialty coffees cost extra so also suggest your clients purchase one of the many drinks packages to save money.
Bars & lounges
New bars on Seashore are the Wine Cellar, Chef’s Court Cocktail Bar and the popular Uptown piano bar.
Other options are the rooftop Sky Bar for panoramic views, Horizon Bar, American Sports Bar with a billiard room and Brooklyn Cafe.
Existing favourites include the Champagne Bar, Shine Bar and Seashore Bar in the atrium and the Venchi Chocolate and Coffee Bar nearby. MSC Yacht Club guests have private bars.
Shows in the Madison Theatre are impressive because incredible acrobats, gymnasts, jugglers and contortionists are added to the productions of singers, dancers and musicians.
Shows “Gravity,” “Paris!” and “Mystic Forest” were so good that the audience clapped during the show for the amazing feats, as well as gave standing ovations.
Standout performers were two jugglers who tossed batons at each other while getting undressed and dressed from their three-piece suits; unicyclists who balanced another acrobat between them; contortionists who seemed to defy what looked physically impossible; and a performer who danced inside a constantly spinning hula hoop.
La Cabaret Rouge is a new aft theatre with a 1920s theme and features live entertainment. The entryway is a lighted tunnel for another Instagram moment.
There’s also a 5D cinema and arcade with a F1 race car simulator and virtual reality rafting experience and maze.
The spa and fitness centre encompass 2,322 square metres, including 21 treatment rooms, salons, thermal suite, snow room, salt room and more.
For kids there is 697 square metres of space for five clubs and about 98 hours of live entertainment per week.
There are 2,270 staterooms including 11 different types such as 50 terraced suites with balconies offering up to 15 square metres of space and 32 suites with outdoor whirlpools.
Some features not commonly found in a standard balcony cabin include a magnifying mirror in the bathroom, good toiletries, three wall hooks behind the door, a wireless phone charging pad and a garbage bin divided by recycling type.
Seashore has the largest MSC Yacht Club area of this class – about 130 private suites, a pool, hot tubs, cabana, bars, restaurant and butler service (about one butler for nine cabins). The enhanced pool area offers 2,000 square metres of space.
TVs only have a few on-demand movies for $10 and even fewer station channels. If clients plan on watching TV, they will likely be disappointed.
All crew, from cabin stewards and waiters to managers, were extra friendly and conversational. They always said good morning/evening, asked if you needed anything, and if you were enjoying your cruise.
Check-in & check-out tips
Pre-cruise registration on the MSC app was easy and having a barcode for check-in at 10:30 a.m. made for a 10-minute process. The app also worked perfectly throughout the voyage for booking shows and information.
If your clients don’t get the show time they prefer, suggest they go anyway since many people book, change their minds, but don’t cancel on the app.
Also remind your clients that they must re-register their credit card at a kiosk on board even if they’ve already used it pre-cruise to pay for items. There are signs, but many guests think it’s unnecessary since they’ve already purchased their cruise with their card. This is not the case and it must be done again on board.
Wi-Fi was a bit slow at sea and fine on port days. Encourage your clients to do their mandatory ArriveCAN registration on Wi-Fi on a port day to avoid problems. MSC also does PCR tests for $80 USD and clients need to book ahead of time.
While I waited by the pool catching my last rays of sunshine before disembarking, one of the cleaning crew was working nearby – and dancing with his mop to the music.
Happy crew, happy cruisers. And this was certainly what I saw every day, all week.
Diane Tierney is former cruise columnist for the Toronto Star. She has been on 75 cruises to 45 countries and has 19,300+ followers on Instagram at @Cruiseguru. You can also follow her travels on her blog.