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MSC Cruises’ 4,138-passenger MSC Seaside, the line’s first ship designed for the North American market, is quite literally a work of art.
Although one of the cruise line’s great strengths has always been its entertainment, Seaside also incorporates flair into its ship design. As I looked around the vessel’s interior public spaces, they reminded me of an enchanted suburb of Alice’s Wonderland, with unexpected twists, turns and mirrored corridors awaiting me at every bend.
The multideck atrium features MSC’s signature glittering Swarovski crystal-inlaid staircases, and giant LED screens display the natural world behind balconies where performers play music and engage in aerial acrobatics.
Seaside’s enchantment extends to its food, too; guests follow their noses to a flowing chocolate wall in Venchi 1878 Chocolate Bar, where rich hot chocolate, gelato and incredibly delicious varieties of dark, milk and white chocolates are offered through a partnership with Eataly. (Another partnership with celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi produces the ship’s three-part Asian Market Kitchen and its sushi, teppanyaki and pan-Asian dining experiences.)
Asian food is also offered in Seaside’s lavish indoor-outdoor buffet on Deck 8, and The Biscayne Bay Buffet & Pizzeria on Deck 16 is perfect for family lunches and dinners. More conventional dining is centered on two attractive dining rooms — Seashore and Ipamena — with designated seating times and myChoice Dining offered between 6:30 and 10 p.m. in Seashore.
Additionally, the new Ocean Cay seafood specialty restaurant is outstanding, and Butcher’s Cut steakhouse is clearly a bow to classic American fare. The quiches and soups in Bistrot La Boheme also attracted a following and, for the first time, MSC Yacht Club has its own restaurant, complete with gorgeous views at the bow.
Onboard accommodations are varied, but 73 percent of staterooms feature a balcony. Seaside’s enhanced Yacht Club features a “ship-within-a-ship concept” and includes 86 suites. It’s elegant, spacious and exclusive.
Meanwhile, staterooms at the ship’s aft resemble a Miami Beach condo tower, and connecting cabins sleep up to 10 people in two or three staterooms linked together. Be sure to let families know that kids sail for free if they share a stateroom with two adults.
Seaside also offers families their own dedicated lounge, a kids-only restaurant and “Happy Dinners,” where children get their full meals during parents’ first course and then are whisked away to the expanded kids’ clubs.
A lot of the onboard entertainment also works well for families. They can also bowl together, try out the soaring zipline or hit the interactive 5D Cinema.
And with a name like Seaside, it’s no surprise that the ship features its own aqua park with an adventure course and twisty slides. Six onboard pools run the gamut, from the relaxing South Beach Pool to the 27,500-square-foot main pool.
Seaside is MSC’s second newbuild launch in six months. It sails year-round from Miami on alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.