Tuesday, September 11, 2018

2018 MSC Seaside

We were sailing on the MSC Seaside from 9/1 – 9/8. Our cabin number is 14219 and is a balcony room. This ship holds 5119 passengers! It is 153,516 GT, 323 m (1060 ft.) long, and has 18 decks. Our Captain was Francesco Di Palma and our cruise director was Gene. We sat at table 444 and our dining staff was Wilfredo and Neil.

Day 1 Embarkation:

We arrived at the port around 11:45, dropped our luggage off, parked our car and walked right into the security line. After security, they quickly checked us in and we got on the ship immediately. First, we went to Deck 8 for their buffet lunch and then we went to find our cabin. After dropping our stuff off, we walked around and explored the ship. Since drinks come with our package deal, we had some beer before the muster drill. After the muster drill, we unpacked Don’s suitcase and walked around a little more. Then we went back to the cabin and found out that I had to go to the “naughty” room to get my suitcase. They took away my power strip and will return it on the last day. At dinner (table 444), we met 2 other nice couples – Don and Anita from Kings Bay, GA and Pat and Doug from Charlotte, NC. After dinner, I went to unpack and then we went to the show featuring Frank Sinatra songs. After the show, we walked around some more, and Don had an evening snack of pizza. It was a lovely day.

Day 2 At Sea:

I got up early and hung out on Deck 8 until Don woke up. After breakfast, we walked around the back pool for an hour. I put my watch on “Outside Walk” and it picked up the movement of the ship on GPS, so it says I walked 20 miles in one hour! Then I went to arts and crafts called Iris Folding at 10. There were no irises and there was no folding! We made mosaic cards. Before lunch, we got a couple of  Bloody Mary’s. After lunch, we took a nap and watched A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger. At 4pm we went to the Improv comedy show which was okay, but we won’t go back. At 5:30, we went to dinner at the specialty restaurant – Butcher’s Cut. The food was good. There was some mix-up and we had 2 reservations there, so we canceled the second one for Monday. Then we went to the 8pm show – The Dream which we enjoyed.

Day 3 At Sea:

I went to Arts and Crafts today and made paper flowers. I didn’t do too well at this. After lunch, we relaxed on the balcony until dinner time. Don tried Moscow Mules and like them. They were vodka, ginger beer, and lemon or lime. I drank the bottle of Prosecco that the ship sent us. We had a nice dinner in the dining room and then went to the show – The Wizard which was really good. I love all the Cirque du Soleil acts they put in their shows.  

Day 4 St. Maarten:

We had a wonderful day on the beach at St. Maarten! We walked 1 ½ miles to the beach instead of going on the water taxi like we usually do. We got 2 chairs and an umbrella for $20. We were one of the first ones in the water at 9 am and stayed there until about 2 pm. Hubby got burnt because as usual, he refuses to wear the sunblock that I bring. We also bought a bucket of 5 beers for $10. We walked back to the ship in the afternoon and we were starving so immediately had lunch. Then we went back to the room to clean up and have a short nap before dinner. After dinner, we went to the show – My Life in Music which featured classic tunes from shows like Phantom of the Opera along with their special acts. One guy puts his arms or legs in a rope from the ceiling and then they pull him up as he does acrobatics from that rope. Then he put a metal thing on it and held on with his mouth as he spun round and round in the air! It was fabulous!

Day 5 San Juan:

We got off the ship around 8am and walked along the path going to the Old San Juan Gate. Then we walked up the stairs to walk to the fort and found this is the best way to the fort but we didn’t bring our park pass so we didn’t go in. We met up with Yolanda and Mike at 10 am at El Meson on Calle San Jose. We enjoyed visiting for a couple of hours there before the weather started looking rough. Then we walked them back to their car and returned to the ship for a late lunch. At 5pm we had the Black Card party and Don had a lot of wine. We were late for dinner but still enjoyed it. After dinner, we went to the show – Timeless. Don slept through the whole show and then we went back to our cabin. There was a late-night party and I couldn’t sleep because of the loud music but it ended around 11:30pm and I finally fell asleep.

Day 6 At Sea:

Relaxing day at sea. We went to see Madame Butterfly opera at 4. Then we saw the show Fly after dinner which was great. Of course, I love all the acts they incorporate with their music.

Day 7 Nassau:

We didn’t get off the ship and walked around the ship getting our exercise and steps. After lunch, we packed our suitcases which were pretty easy. Then we went to dinner and saw the show Peter Pan which I enjoyed. We went back to our cabin and put our suitcases in the hall and had an early night.

Day 8 Disembarkation:

Our tags were Lilac 4 and we met in the theater. Around 8:30 we called to get off the ship and it went very smoothly. We got our luggage and went through customs easily. By 8:45 we were on the road heading to Ft. Lauderdale.

Things I Learned:

1.     We really have enjoyed seeing how much MSC has improved as the cruise line grows.
2.     Embarkation went really smooth and that is a good way to start a cruise.
3.     Don’t advertise an arts & crafts lesson and then do a totally different thing.
4.     Don’t show an instructional video at arts & crafts that has nothing to do with what you are making.
5.     Cirque du Soleil acts really dress up shows with music.
6.     I need to take the stairs as much as possible instead of riding the elevator!
7.     It is interesting to learn about other cultures from the crew members.
8.     San Juan decorated a street covered with hanging umbrellas which is a permanent installation.
9.     St. Maarten – it is 1 ½ miles from the ship to the beach in front of Caribbean Blend.
10.  There is another spot on the beach in St. Maarten that advertised for $25 – 2 chairs, umbrella, 4 drinks, and shower/restrooms. We would like to try this sometime.

Original Photo by Pat Hensley

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