Monday, October 7, 2019

MSC Seaside 2019

We are back on the MSC Seaside again. We left Miami on 9/28 and returned on 10/5. Our cost included the beverage package and 3G of wifi. Our cabin number is 10184 and our cabin Steward is Raysen.  We had dinner in the Seashore dining room at table 474 which is a table for 2 and our waitstaff is Norwin and Daniel. This ship holds 5119 passengers! It is 153, 516 GT, 323 m (1060 ft.) long, and has 18 decks. Our captain is Francesco di Palma, Chief Engineer is Neven Krivic, hotel director is Andrea de Vincentiis, Cruise Director is Arturo G. Melo, and Guest Relations Manager is Natan Freitas. We also saw Rowena who works in the specialty restaurant (we met her on the Divina) and Mandy-Leigh Castle, the Yacht Club Director, who we also met on the Divina/

Saturday 9/28 Embarkation

We arrived at the port at 11:30 and our ship was at Terminal F. But the parking garage is labeled Parking Garage G and it cost $22 per day. Going through security was smooth and I didn’t even have to take my computer out of my backpack. We were checked in and sent immediately on the ship. After going to the kiosk to register our credit card, we dropped some stuff off at the cabin. We ate lunch at the Biscayne Bay Buffet on Deck 16 which was very small. We realized later that the last time we were on the ship we did not ever eat at this buffet. The main buffet is on Deck 8 (Marketplace Buffet). We found the Sports Bar and had a few beers. The bartenders Leo and Avel were excellent! We didn’t wait long and got another drink whenever we needed one. At 4pm we had the muster drill and we were sent into a bar area on deck 6. I couldn’t hear or understand anything, so I knit, and Don napped. When it was over, we went back to the Sports Bar for a beer and then decided to go to the dining room for dinner. Sometime during the day, we saw Roxy and Vince, who we met on the Seaside last September. At first, we hadn’t planned on eating in the dining room but this time we decided we would and the service and food were very good. After dinner, we changed and then went to the Metropolitan theater to get a seat for the 8:30 show called Timeless. Then we went to bed.

Sunday 9/29/19 At Sea

We had a pleasant day at sea. After breakfast, we did our exercise walk on the deck with the basketball court. At 10am we went to the Cruise Critic meetup which was a huge event. They had cocktails and cake and appetizers including a martini glass full of chocolate strawberries! We met a nice couple, Jason and Amber from Ontario. I also met another officer who was on the Divina with us. After that, we walked around until lunchtime. In the afternoon, we went to the Beer Improve (for families). I was going to do the arts and crafts but it was the same as the last time, so I decided to skip it. By then we had to get ready for dinner which was Elegant night. Dinner was enjoyable and after dinner, we went to the show Wizard, which I really enjoyed.

Monday 9/30/19 San Juan

In the morning we did our exercise walk. Before lunch, we sat on the back deck and visited with this nice couple, Miles and Angie, from Port St. Lucie. After lunch, we went back to the cabin and relaxed. Around 3:30 we went to the Sports Bar to watch the ship come into San Juan. We were off the ship around 4:30 and walked around town. We stopped to have a Mallorca at El Meson. Then we found the street with the cats so I can take a picture of the street name for Dyanna. Next, we found the street with umbrellas. There were new umbrellas there and the street was closed off to cars and pedestrians. Next, we walked around until it got dark. I bought two small leather bracelets to use with my shawls (2/$5). We got back on the ship around 7pm and had dinner at the buffet.

Tuesday 10/1/19 St. Thomas

We were going to go snorkeling at Secret Harbor, but it would cost $25 for the cab ride there and another $25 to get back to the ship. We decided to skip snorkeling and just walk around town. We got off the ship around 8:30. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the farthest end of town and it was hot outside. It was about a 2-mile walk to the far end of town. We walked around for about 2 hours before taking a cab back to the ship for $4 per person. We spent the day relaxing on the ship. After dinner, we went to the show and saw The Dream.

Wednesday 10/2/19 St. Maarten

We were one of the first ones off the ship at 7am and walked to the beach (about a 30-minute walk – 1 mile) and we were swimming by 7:30. I’m glad we didn’t wait for the water taxi because we didn’t see the first water taxi until around 8:30. We got to the beach so early that all the vendors hadn’t even finished setting up their chairs. We found a spot and dropped our stuff there, but we didn’t rent chairs or umbrellas. We swam in the ocean for about 3 hours. Before going back to the ship, we stopped by to see Suzette and she seemed happy to see us. After lunch, we relaxed until we went to the Black Card Party at 5pm. We enjoyed seeing Mandy-Leigh Castle (over the Yacht Club) again. We had met her on the MSC Divina, and she remembered us. We also saw Roxy and Vince from Kansas again. We met Paul and Sue from Port St. Lucie and found out that Paul was a semi-retired real estate attorney in Florida. He didn’t seem to mind when we talked shop and was extremely helpful. After dinner, we went to the show, Fly, which was very good.

Thursday 10/3/19 At Sea

We had a sea day and just relaxed. After breakfast, we did our exercise walk. Then we went to the theater to hear the Captain’s Question and Answer session. Don had a hard time understanding the Captain. We stayed for the Master Chef show but left in the middle of it to go eat lunch. After lunch, we went back to the cabin to relax until it was time for dinner. After dinner, we were invited to the Welcome Back Party, but we skipped it to go to the show, Peter Punk. We enjoyed the show.

Friday 10/4/19 Nassau

After breakfast, we did our exercise walk and then packed our suitcases. We arrived in Nassau at noon, but we didn’t get off the ship. At 2pm we had a private tour of the Yacht Club (thanks to Mandy-Leigh Castle, Yacht Club Director). Then at 5:30, we ate dinner in the Butcher’s Cut. We didn’t get out of dinner in time to go to the show so we walked around and then went back to our cabin so we could put our suitcases in the hall.

Saturday 10/5/19 Debarkation

Debarkation was total chaos! We were told to be in the Metropolitan Theater by 7:40 and we should have been the third group off as Black Card Members (after Self Assist and Aurea Experience). They said they would call our color tag (we were lilac0 and to wait in the theater until we were called. Then the crew member announced that we had parked the ship in a “different direction” so there was only one exit off the ship (for 5000 people!). It was worrisome when I started thinking about our safety if there was an emergency! There was no order or organization. Apparently, they were making announcements around the ship but none in the theater! We waited until 9:30 and finally just joined the chaotic line to get off the ship. People were just jumping in the line and others were going in the opposite direction dragging their luggage. No one knew what was going on (crew or passengers). While we were in line, we heard the announcement that there were newly added security measures and that is the reason for the delay. Either the guy in the theater lied or the one making the announcement lied but someone was lying! Once we were off the ship, we had to get in another line for some kind of face recognition. Then we got our luggage in the warehouse area and never went through a customs check. We were finally on the road by 10:30. This chaos had us rethinking of taking another MSC cruise because this is not the first time they have had total chaos getting off the ship.

Things I Learned:

1.     Inside cabins on MSC are very small!
2.     The bathroom was smaller than the ones on Carnival.
3.     This is the same captain we had last September.
4.     The shows are in Steampunk style.
5.     I like strawberries dipped in chocolate.
6.     We don’t care for the Beer Improv show.
7.     The walk into St. Thomas took about 45 minutes and was good exercise.
8.     The walk to the St. Maarten beach was not long and if we had waited for the water taxi, we would have wasted an hour.
9.     We didn’t have to rent chairs and umbrellas since we were only there for 3 hours but we found a spot that no chairs were set so we could watch our stuff.
10.  The beverage package that came with our cruise has been well worth the money.
11.  We like the individual acts within the shows.
12.  Debarkation on MSC ships is a disaster!

Original photo by Pat Hensley

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