The MSC Seaside is a Resort at Sea

The MSC Seaside resort experience begins when you board the ship. It continues as you explore and enjoy the beautiful environment that is yours during your cruise.

Recently,  I took a seven day cruise on the MSC Seaside from the port of Miami.

No blog post can do justice to the variety of features, amenities, activities, entertainment options, and dining venues offered on the Seaside. What follows is a virtual tour of the MSC Seaside. Its unique exterior design and creative use of inside space have to be seen to be appreciated.

 

The MSC Seaside is a Mega Ship

Now in its first year of service, the MSC Seaside was built for a North American market. Europeans, interested in a cruise vacation to the Caribbean, also make the trip to Miami to sail on the Seaside.

The Seaside has 2,067 staterooms (cabins), including Inside, Oceanview, Balcony and Suite.The ship is fully accessible for persons with special needs. There are 53 accessible cabins for persons with mobility impairments, and/or those with hearing and sight impairments.

The Yacht Club, is “A Ship within a Ship.” A private, luxury sanctuary, it occupies upper decks in the front of the ship. The Yacht Club provides guests with the comfort and services of an exclusive club. The Yacht Club has 86 suites, of various sizes, as well as a lounge, dining room, pool, and a deck and grill area. There is concierge service, and 24 hour butler service. While private, and with key only access, it’s just an elevator ride from activities throughout the rest of the ship.

The third post in this series, publishing on July 24th, will feature the full experience of cruising in the Yacht Club.

A Ship  for All Ages

Activities, entertainment, and dining options reflect the interests and needs of the youngest guests to the most senior guests. Couples, families, single parents with children, solo travelers, seniors and persons with special needs can all find things to enjoy.

During my cruise, there were over 700 children aboard, many of whom participated in the complimentary youth programs, held each day. The second post of this 3-post series, publishing July 17th, details these youth programs, and their indoor and outdoor facilities.

Seaside Dining

There are two complimentary full service dining rooms. The variety of choices, the quality of the food, and its preparation make dining a pleasure. The two complimentary buffets, most ships have only 1 buffet, offer a selection of American and International foods. The pizza is the best I ever had on any cruise ship!

There are four specialty restaurants: Butcher Cut, Asian Market Kitchen, Ocean Cay, and Bistrot La Boheme.  Reservation are required, and prices vary from restaurant to restaurant. Guests who select a dining package, when they book their cruise, can choose from a prefixed menu for each restaurant.

Wherever you choose to eat, leave room for dessert. All are delicious, especially my favorite, Chocolate Gelato, the deepest flavored, creamiest Gelato I have ever eaten! If you don’t have it with your meal, you will find it in Venchi 1878 Gelato & Crêperie on the 7th deck.

Image of Bistrot la Boheme on MSC Seaside

Activities and Entertainment

Activities are held all over the ship, and in its many outdoor spaces. Organized activities are scheduled throughout the day, beginning in the early AM, and going to the late evening. If you prefer to make your own fun, the features and facilities of the ship are open to you. Each evening, a Daily Planner will be left in your room with information about the following day’s activities and entertainment.

The Seaside offers quality entertainment. Shows in the Metropolitan Theatre are Broadway style and quality, and have an international appeal. The costumes, music, scenery, and the singers and dancers remind me of Broadway musicals. In addition, there are comedy performances, and magicians, as well as game shows. Throughout the ship, including poolside, there are live music venues including: Latin, country, jazz, classical, and folk.

Service on the MSC Seaside

Service begins in the MSC Seaside terminal on the day you begin your cruise. Staff are there to guide you through the process of going through security, and getting on to the ship. Once on-board, staff are are available and ready to help when you need assistance.

I found the service staff and other members of the crew to be friendly and helpful. Wait staff made a point of asking about food allergies and food preferences. It was especially nice to see and be greeted by the Captain (Ship’s Master) as he walked around the ship.

Ship technologies also provide a service. For example, the MSC and Me Touchpoints, which are throughout  the ship, enable guests to navigate the ship with ease.  It can also be used to make reservations for meals, the spa, and excursions.

Special Features of the MSC Seaside

  • An Interactive Aqua Park gives guests the experience of a water slide and interactive video game all-in one.
  • Outdoor Catwalks, with glass floors that extend beyond the edge of the ship, give the illusion of walking on water.
  • The Largest Balinese Spa at Sea offers massages, treatments, a state-of the-art-gym, personal trainers and Yoga instructors.
  • The MSC Seaside’s Two Longest Cruise Zip Lines (345 ft.) soar 50 ft. above the ship and travel at a speed of 18 mph.
  • A Full size two-lane bowling alley
  • A Formula One Car Simulator
  • A 5D Cinema gives users the opportunity to feel that they are in the games they are playing
  • Complimentary MSC for Me Wristbands make access to cabins easier than using a key card and allow for hands-free purchasing in shops, and other areas on-board.
  • MSC for Me App enables parents to keep track of their child’s  location when he or she is wearing the wristband. Children’s wristbands are color coded according to their level in the kids club.
  • On-board Packaged WIFI uses bandwidth rather than minutes for pricing. During the seven days I was on-board, I paid significantly less for Internet access and speed was faster.

If you are thinking about a Caribbean cruise, think MSC Seaside!

I can help you plan and book a cruise on the MSC Seaside. Just call me at 800-388-8781. My services are complimentary.

The MSC Seaside series continues on July 17th with Youth Programs and Facilities

Best,

Jean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specialty Cabins: Family, Accessible, Luxury

There are four main types of cruise cabins: Inside, Oceanview, Balcony, and Suite. There are specialty cabins available within these types that meet the needs and interests of certain cruisers. Specialty cabins are available on many of the larger ships. Specialty cabin categories include: Family, Accessible, Luxury, Spa and Single Travel Cabins.

Family Specialty Cabins

Newer ships come with family cabins designed to accommodate parents and children. Often these cabins are suites that give parents and children separate sleep rooms, and have more than one bathroom.

image of family specialty cabins with bunk beds

Courtesy of MSC Inside cabin with bunk beds

Standard Inside, Oceanview, and Balcony type cabins with sleep sofas, or bunk beds, that pull down, are another option. These cabins have one bathroom. When packing, it is important to consider that storage space, and clothing closets have limited space.

Accessible Cabins

Accessible cabins are double occupancy cabins that are designed primarily for persons having:

  • Mobility issues and require the use of a wheelchair, scooter or other mobility devices. Cabins are larger than the standard cabins. They have wider doors than the standard cabins, large bathrooms with  roll-in showers, grab bars, and turning space.
  • Hear impairments and requiring portable ADA kits and closed-captioned televisions.
  • Sight impairments and need access to Braille signage.

Luxury Cabins

Luxury cabins enhance the experience of being in a resort at sea. They are referred to as suites, and come in different sizes and layouts. They are larger in size than other specialty cabins. Cabin amenities may include brand name toiletries, complimentary specialty dining, discounted laundry packages, and on board credits. Suite passengers have priority when boarding and leaving the ship.

One of Queen's Grill Specialty Cabins on Cunard

Courtesy of Queens Grill on the Queen Mary 2

Some of the Mega cruise lines offer suites in key access communities above the rest of the ship. These communities offer private dining, lounge, pool and deck area. Their amenities includes 24 hour concierge  service, butler services, and preferred seating in the theater in the main ship. Passengers have the opportunity to enjoy the comforts of a small luxury cruise while having access to the activities of a mega ship.

Spa Cabins

Spa cabins are usually a few steps away from the spa. A spa cabin can be an Inside, Oceanview, Balcony or a Suite. However, spa cabins come with more amenities and cost more.

Spa cabins differ when it comes to amenities from cruise line to cruise line. The best spa cabin amenities are high-end  bath products, personal toiletries, and aromatherapy. Free time in the spa facilities such as the relaxation room, or complimentary participation in a few classes are also attractive amenities.

Single ( Solo Traveler) Cabins

One of the rarer specialty cabins is the single cabin. Most cabins are double occupancy. In most instances, a cruiser traveling alone must pay his or her individual rate plus a single supplement for a double occupancy cabin.

The Norwegian Epic features 100 sq ft studio cabins and a private lounge for solo travelers. The studio cabins have a full-size bed and a separate bath area  There is no single supplement for this cabin.

one of studio specialty cabins on NCL ship

Courtesy of NCL Escape

If you are thinking about taking a cruise, and want to know more about specialty cabins, please give me a call at 800-388-8781.

 

 

 

 

Cruise Cabin Choices to Consider

Choosing a cruise cabin is not just about staying within your budget. It is about choosing one that meets your needs for space and comfort during your cruise. You need to know what kind of cabins are available, and where on the ship they are located. Some other questions you need answered are:

  • Do kids sail free?
  • What amenities, on board services, and perks come with each type of cabin?
image of a Cunard inside cruise cabin

View of a inside cabin courtesy of Cunard

While a cruise cabin may come in several shapes and sizes, there are usually four types available on cruise ships. As a veteran of 40+ cruises, I have experienced  each of these cruise cabins on several occasions:

  • An Inside Cabin is the smallest of the four types of cruise cabins, and the least expensive. It doesn’t have a window or other access to the outside. It can sleep up to four persons. If you enjoy a dark room for sleeping, this cabin is ideal. If you are claustrophobic, this may not be the best choice for you. Depending on the cruise line, an inside cabin can have as little as 140 sq. feet to as much as 190 sq. feet.
  • An Outside Cabin usually called an Oceanview, has either a window or porthole that allows you to see the outside. It may be the same size as an inside cabin or a bit larger. Because you can view what is going on outside the ship, there is a feeling of more openness. On the down side, some may have views that are blocked by parts of the ship.
  • A Balcony Cabin offers a balcony where you can sit out and enjoy the view. It is larger than an inside  cruise cabin. A balcony gives the impression of more space, even though it is outdoors and not living space. Balconies can have views obstructed by lifeboats.
  • A Suite may come in different sizes and layouts. The larger suites can comfortably sleep several members of the same family. Some suites have living space as well as separate sleeping areas. While the most expensive of the four types of  cruise cabins, suites can be a value added way of cruising since they can be a more cost effective way for a number of family members to cruise together.

 Cruise Cabin Features and Perks

Every passenger cabin comes with cabin steward services that include daily cabin cleaning, and bed making. Bathrooms include shower stall, sink and mirror, and  are stocked with soap and shampoo. An ice bucket, coffee set up and hair dryer are also available.

Most cabins come with small refrigerators, stocked with beverages available for purchase.

Some cabins come with additional services that enhance the cruise experience.  Priority boarding, laundry service discounts, complimentary dining in specialty restaurants are just a few perks available with certain types of cabins.

In addition to all the amenities and perks already listed. Suites have even more to offer.  Many have  separate living and sleeping areas. Larger suites are suitable for families with several members. Suite passengers often have access to private dining and pool facilities, as well as butler services.

As a Cruise Travel Specialist, I can take the guesswork out of choosing a cruise cabin that best meets your needs. In addition to what is shared in this post, I will share information about choosing a cabin location that is best if you are concerned about sea sickness, have difficulty walking distances, or are sensitive to noise.

If you are thinking about taking a cruise, and have questions, please call me at 800-388-8781. My services are complimentary.

The July 2nd post will also introduces specialty cabins, such as accessible cabins for persons with special needs, spa cabins, and luxury sanctuary suites.

To Be Continued…July 2nd.

Cruises are Luxury Vacations at Sea

Welcome to “Can Do” Street Family Friendly Cruises, your website portal for planning and enjoying luxury vacations at sea. Our site content can help you decide whether a cruise vacation is a fit for you. Current  information on individual cruises, destinations and accommodations will take the guess work out of choosing a cruise.

“Can Do” Street Family Friendly Cruises is my way of sharing the travel ease, fun, and affordability of cruise vacations. To make this possible, I became a Cruise Planners Franchisee. Cruise Planners is an American Express Travel Representative. When planning a cruise, I draw on my personal cruise experiences and 35 years as an educator and recreation therapist.

Cruising is my favorite means of travel. Over the past 25 years, I’ve  taken 40+ cruises, including transatlantic and river cruises. As a result, I can share what makes cruises ideal for young children and  teens, as well as solo cruisers, couples, and seniors. Because I am Certified Accessible Travel Advocate,  I can help children and adults with special needs to cruise in comfort.

Together we will find cruises that meet your destination interests and travel needs, while staying within your budget. I provide planning assistance at no cost.

 Why a “Can Do” Street Cruises Site?

picture of multi-generational family on one of MSC cruises

“Can Do” Street is a family site and cruises are great environments for family-friendly vacations. Cruises give individuals and families access to luxury vacations that are convenient, comfortable, exciting, and fun. Cruises pamper by providing fine dining and excellent service. Most activities are complementary, beginning early in the AM, and going late into the evening. Professional entertainment, which is offered nightly, is Broadway quality. In addition, live music is provided throughout the ship, during the day and evening.

Cruise ships anticipate the needs of families traveling with children as a standard practice. High chairs and cribs are available. The ship’s store carries diapers and other child care necessities. Dining rooms have a supply of coloring materials on hand. Children can order from a kids menu. Most staterooms have a refrigerator that can store baby bottles as well as healthy snacks.

Today’s cruises open the world of cruise travel for children and adults with special needs. In addition to accessible cabin accommodations, there are hearing and sight assistance devices on-board. Wheelchair, scooter, and walker rentals enable children and adults with motor disabilities to get around the ship and in ports. Oxygen, hospital beds, recliner chairs, and other special needs rentals make travel possible for those with medical conditions. As a Certified Accessible Travel Advocate, I can assist with planning and making arrangements for the rental of equipment. My service is offered at no charge to the those booking a cruise through “Can Do” Street Family Friendly Cruises.

image of MSC youth program site

What Makes Cruises Luxury Vacations at Sea?

  • Cruising is a cost-effective vacation: A cruise is often more cost-effective than a land resort vacation.  Most cruise costs are included in the per person rate for the cruise.
  • Packing/Unpacking: You pack and unpack once. Your luggage is picked up from you at the ship terminal. It is delivered to your stateroom. Luggage is picked up from outside your stateroom on the last evening of your cruise. You pick up your luggage in the terminal after leaving the ship.
  • Sea activities: All activities during the day and in the evening are free, throughout the trip, with the exception of the game arcade, casino, and spa services.
  • Youth programs: Most cruise ships offer complimentary youth programs during the day and evening hours. Children are grouped by age. Staff are professionals experienced in providing recreational activities and supervising children and teens.
  • Family activities: There are complimentary activities that families can enjoy together, throughout the day, and evening.
  • Laundry: Cruise ships either have self-service laundries on most floors, or they offer discounts for laundry services.
  • Medical Care: Cruise ships have on board medical services. Medical services are covered by the  cruise insurance plan purchased when you book your cruise.

Complimentary Dining on Cruises:

image of MSC Kids Buffet on one of MSC ship's cruises

Courtesy of MSC Cruises

  • Meals Traditional dining rooms with waiter service offer complimentary dining. Buffet dining is also complimentary, as are eateries featuring pub foods or desserts. They also offer specialty restaurants which carry a charge. However, most of charges are less than similar restaurants in any city.
  • Snacks:  Burgers, fries and hot dogs are available on the pool decks at no additional cost.  Unlimited coffee, tea, juices, milk, and soft serve ice cream are also free throughout the trip. Soda and alcoholic beverages cost less if purchased through a beverage package.

Find What You Need to Know about Cruises: 

  • The major cruise ships sailing from ports world-wide to destinations all over the world and river cruises
  • New ships coming on line
  • Weekly cruise value packages that are an affordable vacation for families
  • Value packages allowing kids to sail free or at a reduced rate
  • Group rates with additional amenities for family members and friends sailing together
  • Information about youth programs, meals, laundry, priority boarding, insurance, medical care, accessibility, and other special needs accommodations on shipboard, and in ports
  • On-board cruise life, and ports of call
  • Ships with accessible, on-board accommodations, and activities for children and adults with special needs
  •  Destinations with accessible ports and excursions.

In my next post, I will share the pros and cons of stateroom accommodations available on a cruise. In the meantime, if you are thinking about a cruise vacation and have questions, you can reach me at 800-388-8781.

Thanks for visiting!

Jean