Sunday, February 4, 2024

MSC Seashore Cruise Review - February 4, 2024

 

MSC Seashore Cruise Review - February 4, 2024
 
Just the Facts:
Ship: MSC Seashore - 2020 - Weight: 169,400t - Capacity: 4,540 passengers
Captain:  Stefano Aiello (Italy)   Cruise Director:  Endrigo Martin (Brazil)
Ports: Port Canaveral, USA - Ocean Cay, Bahamas (overnight) - Cozumel, Mexico - Costa Maya, Mexico

I’m cruising as a solo on this 7-day cruise, basically a repeat of the same cruise last month. This is my second cruise on the Seashore, my 21st cruise on MSC, and my 206th cruise overall.  I do have Diamond status, the highest of the MSC Loyalty Club levels. The decorating theme of the Seashore is New York City.

Sunday, February 4 / Port Canaveral / Embarkation / Day 1 

I have an early boarding time, last month worked so well I am driving late. I left the Florida Villa at about 11:15 a.m. for the drive to Port Canaveral. I arrived at Park-N-Cruise at about 1:30 pm., a very efficient parking company I have used for years now and soon I was on my way to the port terminal. I arrived at Pier number 10 at about 1:50 pm grabbed my bags and went up to the escalator, no line whatsoever. I went up one level to port security and through quickly. They had a Diamond card line and I went directly to a check-in counter. Very smooth process when arriving later and I was able to go straight to my cabin arriving on Deck 12 at about 2:15 p.m. I have a balcony cabin located all the way forward, actually the second cabin so a long walk to the closest (forward) elevator/stairwell. The cabin is very comfortable, especially for a solo. The cabin has a Queen bed, Wardrobe, Large screen Television, a Counter/dressing table with mirror, a Small stocked refrigerator, Shelving, and drawers inside the wardrobe, a Couch, and a small but adequate bathroom with a solid glass door shower. It’s a bit different from last month with the couch on the balcony side. After I unpacked and set up my cabin I went to the Brooklyn Bar and a Bar Server came to me straightaway and asked if I wanted a Cosmopolitan. I think that even without the drink package this will be a fine cruise as far as cocktails are concerned. Muster Drill began at about 3:45 pm. I positioned myself so that I got my card scanned at my Muster Station C (upper Theater) very early and avoided the crowding. I preordered the premium WiFi package and the reception in my cabin was good. They are strict about one device…and you can not change from a Laptop to an iPhone. I have a 5:00 pm dinner assignment in the 5th Avenue Dining room (MDR), located on deck 6 aft…it’s going to be a long walk, but probably needed. I’m assigned a 9-top solo table, but only two showed tonight, it is a very early dining time. Personally I was ready as I did not visit the Buffet today as I had lunch before leaving this morning. Dinner and service was good. For dinner, I ordered the Tomato Basil Soup, a very nice Scallop Ceviche, and the Roast Beef entree…it was all very good. For dessert two wonderful Crema Catalonia. After dinner, I did a walkabout (photo) then retired to the cabin early. I updated this blog, then it was into bed and some TV after a busy day.

 

Monday, February 5th / Ocean Cay Marine Reserve / Day 2 

Smooth seas overnight just enough movement for a very enjoyable night's sleep. The bed is very comfortable with good pillows. We were docked at about 7:00 am and it is an overcast day…the Captain has already announced that we will not overnight here as worse weather is forecast for tomorrow, but I am very skeptical about that. I believe that they will use any pretense to cancel as it means less fuel and an extra casino night. I went to the MDR for breakfast at about 8:00 am and had a shared table. I ordered a Fruit Plate, Danish, Eggs Benedict with a side of Bacon, and hash brown potatoes. I was served Hot Milk which is not always easy to get on other cruise lines but very common on MSC. One advantage of this far-forward cabin is that the lighthouse is right off of my balcony…so I have a great view of the entire island. I did my usual Monday morning business activities and enjoyed cabin time. There was a big Thunderstorm mid-morning and they requested guests to return to the ship due to the lightening. We temporarily lost WiFi so I watched the movie The Yellow Rolls Royce on TCM. It was very good. I went up to deck 16 just to get a good view of the island. Guests returned as the weather cleared. The water here is beautiful and the Palm trees look better with every visit. This stop will only improve over time. I had a slice of Pizza while on deck 16. MSC is well known for its excellent pizza and this slice was excellent. I took ice and a Coke Zero back to the cabin. I watched the movie Libel this afternoon. I considered going to the beach as we had sun by 3:30 pm, but with the cool air and early dining decided to stay on board. An advantage of having cruised so many times is that I can do whatever I wish on a cruise...not feeling as if I 'have' to follow a cruise schedule. I went to dinner at 5:00 pm and there was a retired couple from Florida so they busted the solo table, still set for 9 though. Our wait team was good and had my water and my bread straightaway. It was Caribbean Night, but I stayed away from those choices, I ordered: two Shrimp Cocktails, the BBQ Pork Ribs entree, and Key Lime Pie & Arroz con Leche for dessert. It was a very good meal. Afterward, I did a long walkabout stopping at several venues, the production show was a Magician, but I don’t do magicians. They did an abbreviated light show from the island and lighthouse before sailing away. It was a different kind of day at Ocean Cay.

Tuesday, February 6th / Ocean Cay now Sea Day / Day 3 

Rolling seas overnight and I slept well, waking in the night to update this blog. At about 9:00 am I was up and about and prepared for the Diamond Party @ 10:00 am. It was held in the Brooklyn Cafe and they offered the usual MSC complimentary cocktails and some hors d'oeuvres. Nice entertainment by a Jazz group with a female singing Torch Music, my personal favorite. A full room but fewer guests than last month. Hosted by the Cruise Director Endrigo Martin with some senior officers attending. It was a nice event and I scored two Diet Cokes to take back to the cabin. When I arrived back Adam (from the Grenadines), my Cabin Steward, had just started my cabin so I was going to wait on the balcony, but I told him the MSC story about the cabin steward locking us out on the balcony under a similar circumstance. Well, we ended up swapping tales for 15 minutes. I observed him work and I must say he is most efficient. Guests that have him are very lucky. At noon I went to the Central Park MDR for lunch. I ordered the Tex-Mex Chicken Salad, a very nice Veal Scaloppini Piccata, and Pistachio ice creme for dessert. It was nice with tablecloths and proper table service…something that some cruise lines no longer have. High seas and I’m having Cabin time this afternoon. It is an especially nice option with a balcony. I got very busy booking cruises…five deposited and two held for the inaugural MSC cruise out of Galveston, Texas in 2025. I had reservations at Ocean Cay the premium seafood restaurant at 6:30 pm. I’m using my Diamond benefit here for a complimentary meal. I ordered: the Nicoise Salad, Carpaccio of Red Prawn (interesting), and the Black Cod entree. It was very good and served with Breads and a small piece of Birthday Cake…worked well as I had traded my dessert for a second Appetizer. Following dinner, I went to the Brooklyn Cafe for a couple of Cosmopolitans and listened to the Jazz Trio for an hour. I do love Torch Music...I skipped my reservation for Encore in the theater as I saw it last month. A busy sea day for me and I retired to the cabin that had been turned down for me by Adam. I’ll enjoy the rolling seas tonight.
 
Wednesday, February 7th / Day at Sea / Day 4 
Smoother seas today and I slept very well. At about 8:00 am I went to the Central Park MDR for breakfast ordering my usual. I had a nice 6-top table with a porthole view and very nice guests. I did a short walkabout afterward when it was not busy noticing the beauty of most of the public spaces. MSC has always done very well in unique decors. This ship should sail from New York as the NYC theme is so well done. Adam had changed my linens and tidied up the cabin by the time I returned.   I had cabin time most of the day and watched a movie on TCM.  Also booked more cruises for clients.  Guests are on outer decks today as we had a beautiful day and I’ve enjoyed the balcony.  At about 3:15 pm I went to the Brooklyn Cafe for cocktails, then to the 4:00 pm Gold card party in the Le Cabaret Rouge (photo).  It was interesting and fun.  I then went next door to the 5th Avenue MDR for dinner, we had six at our table this evening…we are growing.   I ordered three Shrimp Cocktails, the Coq au vin Chicken entree, and Apple Strudel for dessert.  It was good.  Then it was time for the 7:30 production show Divas in the Madison Theater.  It was colorful and entertaining featuring the Seashore Singers and Dancers.  It was a busy afternoon/evening so I retired by 9:00 ish.  A very nice sea day on the Seashore.
 

Thursday, February 8th / Costa Maya, Mexico / Day 5 

Calmer seas overnight and I slept very well. We arrived several hours early by 7:00 am as I was up using the WiFi. I slept a bit longer and then checked the beautiful weather we have today. At about 9:30 am, I went up to the buffet for some Eggs, Potatoes, and Bacon. I left the ship after breakfast and made my way to the taxi stand for a shared taxi ($4 pp) to the old village of Mahahual. There are three ships docked today and a lot of people at the port area. We arrived in Mahahual and I made my way to El Faro. That was our favorite hangout before Hurricane Dean wiped out everything in 2007 and where I hung out last month. They have now built permanent Palapas and the new Palm trees now cover shade on the beach. It wasn’t as busy today and I did get a shady table with great sea breezes. My server was the nephew of my server from 18 years ago so he called me Tio and I called him Sobrino. I had two nice MX Coca-Colas and later two large Mango Margaritas (photo). No food during this visit. The water was excellent and the beach was nice. From the water you can see the huge Cruise Ships in the distance, Pelicans and Albatrosses flying about, and the abundant beach activities. I got a shared taxi back to the port at about 3:00 pm and soon back on the Seashore. Rested and enjoyed the view from the balcony until time for dinner. Tonight I ordered the Asparagus Soup and three Shrimp Cocktails as starters both very good. Then the featured Steak Diana entree, with the Coconut Tapioca for dessert. It was a very nice dinner. tonight was my favorite Production Show: The Journey. It featured the Singers and Dancers doing a set of classic songs set in various European Countries. Unique costumes and a talented group. My favorites were France with Le Vie en Rose & The Can Can dance routine and Italy with O Sole Mio, the Godfather theme (dance), and the classic Con te partirĂ². BTW Con te partirĂ² has been the theme song for MSC since it was written in 1995. It was a very busy, tiring, and fun day in port and on the Seashore.

Friday,  February 9th   /  Cozumel  /  Day 6 
Smooth seas overnight, just enough rocking for a good night's sleep. I woke at about 6:00 a.m. and we were about to dock at Puerto Langosta. At about 9:30 am I was off and walking into town, I love docking at this pier, so much easier for the things I usually do when in Cozumel. My first stop was at Woody’s Bar & Grill as they are now open for breakfast. I did order the Migas. I made it to Antonio’s Barber Shoppe for a haircut by 10:40 a.m. ... another very good haircut too. No ZensiSpa this trip. The fast WiFi, Live Entertainment by Michael (photo), great Mexican Coca-Cola, and good Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and Bohemia beer were very great on this nice and cooler day at Woody's. I did have a nice visit with Nelly too. I casually began walking back to the ship at about 3:15 earlier than usual and I made it back on board before 4:00 pm. I refreshed and relaxed before my 5:00 pm dinner in the MDR. Tonight I ordered the Penne all Amatriciana pasta as my starter, the Honey BBQ Meatloaf entree, and a Butter Pecan Ice Creme for dessert. After dinner, I did a walkabout the ship and then retired to the cabin. I had three new cruise bookings to do and I watched the movie The Sting on TCM. Long day so sleep time was welcomed. It was another great port day in Cozumel. 
 

Saturday, February 10th / Day at Sea / Day 7 

Some rolling seas overnight, just enough rocking for a good sleep. I had a relaxing morning the went up to the Buffet at about 10:00 am. The timing was good as I waited in the buffet line for Bacon to be replenished they also brought out fresh eggs. Nice. I do wish that Cruise lines would learn that if sailing from the USA (and especially Texas) you must have Catsup and Ranch Dressing. Beautiful weather today for sitting outside in the aft, but as we sailed north the wind and weather became more harsh. I had some work today as the MSC representative told me how to link all the recent bookings I did on the Texas inaugural. Tedious but a good day to do it. I did a walkabout in the afternoon: I registered a credit card that I failed to do earlier, made reservations for Hola!, and visited the Brooklyn Cafe. I went to Hola! at 6:30 for a great meal, I saved the best for last. I ordered three different Street Tacos (photo), the Chili con carne hard Taco, Guacamole plus a refill later, a nice Queso Fundito, and two Enchilada entrees: Pork with Mole sauce and Chicken with Verde Salsa. For dessert a very nice Flan. It was all very good with excellent service. After dinner, I had cabin time and also began packing. It was a nice final sea day on the MSC Seashore.


Sunday, February 10th / Port Canaveral / Debarkation

Fair seas overnight and I slept well although up well before my 6:00 am alarm. We arrived on time and were docked just after 6:00 am. I finished packing and was at the self-debark location at about 6:35 a.m. We began leaving early at about 6:45 a.m. and thanks to facial recognition we were soon on the street. I was on the parking shuttle bus by 7:18 and on the road by 7:30 a.m. Stopped for groceries, washed the car, and was home at about 10:00 a.m. Easy Peasy.



Ship

Maiden Voyage: 2017 I Gross Tonnage: 153,500 tons

Passenger Capacity: 5179 | Crew: 1413 I Length: 323 meters/1060 ft

Max Cruising Speed: 22 knots I Avg Speed 21 knots

Installed power: Diesel (40,000kW) I Propulsion: Twin propellers

17 passenger decks Builder: Fincantieri

Godmother: Sophia Loren


Cabin

I had cabin 12006 a starboard side balcony located on deck as far forward as you can go with a long walk to the forward elevators. Storage is fine if solo. The toilet seems smaller perhaps because the glass shower doors restrict movement. The cabin has a push-button safe, twin/king beds, a large padded headboard, two small nightstands, wall-mounted wall lights, a large mirror, a small refrigerator, a small table/bench (unusual), and a nice TV with interactive features. My cabin steward Andy was very good.



Dining / Food 

The dinners in the MDR are very good, service and settings were wonderful. I love the tablecloths. Our wait staff were excellent, very pleased with the service. The buffet food was good to very good. Not as many selections as in the past, but the food variety was fine. Favorites: all the Pizza, all the Pasta, Guacamole, Hamburgers, and Salad Bar. I only did one specialty restaurant: The Butcher’s Cut and it was very good. I may say the Seaside food seems better than the Seashore.


Comments - MSC Cruise Line

MSC is very different than the usual American cruise lines and if you're looking for the same experience it will be much different. You may like the differences or you may be very unhappy with the differences. As an experienced cruiser, I love different. If you don’t like change or are not flexible you will probably NOT like sailing a European cruise line. Following are my personal observations on sailing MSC:  


MSC Pluses

Beautiful Public Rooms, Good MSC Production Shows and entertainment, Quality and Beautiful Themed Bars, Nice Cabins, Hot Milk readily available on buffet and MDR, Attentive bar servers, and Good MDR Breakfasts. Tablecloths.


Changes since Covid

Announcements are now only in English

Fewer children since they changed the ‘Children sail free’ promotion.

Many more American guests result in more: Scooters, Wheelchairs, and complainers.

 
Highlights of the Cruise
Hola! Tacos and Cantina
Port Days in Cozumel and Costa Maya
Service in Brooklyn Cafe
Jazz Trio
Ocean Cay Seafood Restaurant