First of all, we had an absolutely fabulous cruise! It was impressive enough that my husband and I are seriously considering doing a back-to-back next year. I can honestly say it was one of the most enjoyable cruises I've sailed.
Our upgrade bid was accepted and we were assigned Suite 16051. - MSC Seaside February 29, 2020 - 7 night sailing.
There were a few issues/concerns, 2 of which were very annoying, unfortunately there is nothing that can be done. there are also a couple of others that do need to be mentioned. I'm listing these first, then will get to everything else that was excellent/impressive.
1. Some of the other "guests" were beyond rude; racist, nasty in their comments, and physically pushy. I heard more than one crewmember being verbally abused; this is unprofessional and unacceptable.
2. At one of the ports, the Disney vessel as docked right across pier. It was so close, I could have sailed a paper airplane over to it. Unfortunately, their speaker system was so loud that we not only heard their announcements in out suite (yes, the door was closed), my husband and I had to shout to hear each other. This was not just when they had announcements, it continued during their deck music, entertainment, movies, etc. We definitely could not enjoy being in the suite and certainly not our balcony when they were in port.
3 (and this is the one that needs the most attention!) There are issues with the Photo Department. On several of ports, there was no photo staff there when we disembarked; no, we were neither the first not the last ones off. So, no pictures there. Several of the photo kiosks did not work, or were very inconsistent. Lastly, while most of the staff were friendly, some photographers seemed very impatient and not open to different style poses. We are just not into the staged stock type photos. On the last night, we went to purchase photos and could not find them all. We tried the kiosk, however it was not working. I asked for assistance from one of the "gentlemen". He responded with a loud exasperated sigh and an actual eye roll! He pushed me aside and did something with the kiosk, some of the photos came up; but not all. I asked him about the ones were were missing and he told me, "you'll just have to figure it out". I was shocked at how rude he was. We left without purchasing any photos at all.
4. On Ocean Cay, the beach in the Yacht Club area needs serious attention. It is way too rocky and has way too many sharp broken shells to be able to walk without hard soled shoes. I ended up having to wear my sandals just to get to/from the water. Even with the sandals, I ended up with a cut foot. (Not too bad, just needed a few Band-Aids and was irksome.)
And that's IT for the "not-so-great" comments! Very short list and I realize that no vacation will be perfect!
On to the positives! The crew is exceptional!
Embarkation: Quick, personable, and professional. The Yacht Club Lounge was a treat while we were waiting to embark. Being the first people met, they all certainly started the cruise in a very positive manner.
Dining room - Huge kudos to the entire staff from the Chef, to the Maitre D', Bartenders, and Serving staff.
The food was extremely high quality and presented beautifully.
Great beverages, it did not take the bartenders long to remember our preferred drinks.
Serving Staff - After the 1st night, we requested Yoven Nunnen's and Zishan Mansoory's section. They were THAT good. Very friendly, and professional. They knew how to pace the meal, kept the water glasses and bread plates full, and had wonderful food and beverage suggestions. They were around when we wanted them, however were never intrusive.
In the Yacht Club Lounge, Doris Songa, Chandy Nixon, and Ronald Marqueza were delightful; always around to make sure our drinks were cold, correct, and not needing to be refilled. They all were very enjoyable conversationalists.
Also in the YC Lounge, the Elegant Duo (2 ladies, pianist and violinist) were a true treat. We made sure to be in the lounge to hear them nightly.
Butlers: We were very pleased with the team of Mungroo Rakesh and Nilesh Kashyap. They both went above and beyond to make sure everything as perfect and were very proactive. The suite was kept very clean, any requests were handled correctly and promptly, and they made sure we were escorted to the shows, for disembarkation at the ports and in Miami, etc. They also made excellent suggestions for activities. No matter how busy they were, they took the time to have a nice conversation and make sure we were happy. Rakesh also took great care of us on Ocean Cay!
Concierge Desk. Perfect team, very quick, knowledgeable, and patient. Always smiling and friendly.
Shows: All were very high quality and entertaining. My Life In Music was my personal favorite. We're very happy we also saw Butterflies, Peter Punk, and Starwalker. These were quite different that the other cruise lines shows. The preshow entertainers were absolutely hysterical!
Ocean Cay: By far, this was the port highlight of the entire cruise! We had pre-purchased an Ocean Front Cabana in the Yacht Club area (#4) and it ended up being a great shore excursion. The cart transfer from/to the front was definitely pleasant and handy. Rakesh once again took exceptional care of us; always making sure we were well fed and watered. Champagne is always a nice way to start the day! The food, especially the Lobster Roll, was as excellent as found anywhere. Drinks were cold and refreshing. The beach mats and snorkel equipment were quite handy.
I highly recommend this cruise and look forward to returning.
The suite and balcony were both large and kept very clean. Very convenient location on deck 16, forward; close to the Top Sail Lounge and Yacht Club restaurant. Ample storage and sitting areas.
Wonderful private island, although water shoes are necessary. Very clean, great food and drinks.