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MSC Seashore

I took my first solo cruise on the MSC Seashore from December 7-10th, sailing from Port Canaveral to Nassau and Ocean Cay (MSC's private island). It was also my first time on MSC. There's a lot to unpack, but here are a few background notes. 


  • MSC is relatively new to the American cruise market, breaking onto the scene in 2013. They are an Italian-based line, and a quick Google search will show many mixed reviews.  


  • I booked this cruise with a travel agent rate and a Bella experience balcony cabin. Bella means the cruise line picks the cabin for you in your chosen category. My total cruise fare, with taxes and port fees, was $236. My husband couldn't come with me because of work, but I couldn't pass that rate. So, it was my first MSC and my first solo cruise. 


  • I did not purchase a beverage package. Typical cruise fare only includes nonbottled water, iced tea, lemonade, regular coffee, tea, and juice with breakfast. I usually get the beverage package, but I wanted to see if buying the drinks a la carte was cheaper. I typically drink bottled water, speciality coffee and a beer with dinner. The Easy Beverage Package is $46 per day - that would be a lot of water and coffee to make the cost worth it. 


  • I did purchase an internet package because I needed to be in touch with work. The price is $59.97 for browse and stream. 

  • MSC has "experiences" rather than cabin categories like most cruise lines do. Each experience includes different benefits. The experiences are Bella, Fantastica, Aurea and Yacht Club. I had a Bella, which is the least inclusive. 



Day One - Embarkation at Port Canaveral

My check-in time at the terminal was 2:00 pm, which was very late. With cruises, the higher the cabin category, the better the check-in time. Since I had a guaranteed cabin, I was at the bottom of the barrel, but there are usually two check-in lines—one for one time and one for out of time. I left my home at 9 am for the 2-hour drive to PC. I arrived around 11:30, dropped off my luggage and parked in the parking garage at Port Canaveral. The parking is $17 per day and you pay when you enter the lot. Each cruise line has its terminal, so your fee is automatically calculated when you check in to the parking garage. There are cheaper options, but they involve a shuttle. I like convenience. 


I was lucky and got a spot on the second floor. After a short walk to the terminal, I was through security in about 20 minutes and only waited in line for about 15 minutes. I was given my cruise card linked to my credit card and that would be how I pay for everything on the cruise, open the cabin door and power the cabin. I was onboard by 1 pm. I did drop off my luggage, but with cruises, your luggage can be delivered to your cabin anytime on the first day, so you should always bring a toiletry bag with an outfit for dinner. Rooms are typically ready around 1-2 pm, so you have to lug your toiletry bag around for a bit.


The first thing I always do is book specialty dining, shows and spa treatments. The cruise price includes the main dining room (MDR), but cruises also have specialty dining for a fee. You can purchase packages like beverage packages, but you can also do a la carte. Most cruise lines let you book the specialty dining before boarding, but MSC still needs to. I selected Hola Taco Bar and Butcher's Cut Steakhouse. I also made reservations for that evening's show. On MSC, you need reservations for shows and can only book them the day of. Then, I headed to my favorite spot – the spa. I am not a drinker but a spa'er (is that a word?). I did not book the spa treatments beforehand because they didn't have spa packages to choose from. Spa packages are always cheaper, so I booked three treatments and paid less than I would have for two treatments pre-cruise. 


I then headed to the Marketplace Buffet & Restaurant for lunch and it was packed, which was to be expected. It is the only restaurant open during embarkation. I headed to the back of the buffet to see if it was less crowded, and it was. I grabbed pasta and pizza. There are so many mixed reviews about the food on MSC, but everyone agrees on the pizza. And it was delicious. It was a thin, crispy crust, the sauce was not sweet, and the cheese was consistently right. 


After lunch, I headed to Venchi, the custom coffee bar, for a cappuccino and purchased two water bottles. The total was about $15 with a tip. It should be noted that an 18% gratuity is added to all beverage purchases. 


Once the room was ready, I headed to the elevator to deck 13. The elevators are interesting. You choose your floor and it tells you which elevator to use in the elevator bank. Once in the elevator, there are no buttons to push. So, if you have to go to deck 13 and are directed to get on elevator A, but you get on elevator B because it comes first, you are stuck going to the deck in elevator B. People did not understand this despite the many YouTube videos regarding MSC elevators, and it was funny! 


My room was the typical cabin, consisting of a queen bed, vanity, closet and bathroom. I was surprised at how small the bathroom was for a newer ship. The MSC Seashore was built in 2021. Cruise showers have been getting bigger, but this was tiny. I opened the balcony door, enjoyed the view, and read my cruise planner for the day. 


After a few relaxing moments, I returned to get familiar with the ship. There are many signs and interactive screens to help you navigate the ship. I found the casino, theater, sports bar, pool, and shops. I ate in the main dining room early at 5 pm, so I headed back to the room to change for dinner. My luggage still did not arrive, so I was glad I packed my extra outfit. 


MSC assigns you to an MDR based on your cabin location. This differs from cruises; you can usually choose from any MDRs. Tribeca was my MDR. I was seated at a table for one next to an older couple and a family of 8 that was from Spain. Since this was my first time cruising solo, I was still trying to figure out how solo dining would be. I was surprised they didn't seat me with other solo cruisers, which is what they do on other cruise lines. The food on MSC is a greatly divided topic. I ordered a tapas with chorizo, cheese olives and lasagna. It could have been better food, but it wasn't terrible either. The presentation was lacking too. After dinner, I headed to the show Divas, a tribute to the ladies of song. The show wasn't awful, but it wasn't fantastic either. After dinner, I headed to the sports bar to watch Monday Night Football, but it was packed, so I returned to the cabin. I sat on the balcony and read my book, listening to the sound of the ocean. It was perfect. 


Day Two - Nassau, Bahamas

After a peaceful night of being lulled to sleep by the ship's gentle rocking and the ocean's sound, I awoke to a knock at my door from room service. I put my room service menu on my door the night before and ordered coffee and a croissant. Room service is extra (included with higher cabin categories), but I always request room service on cruises. I love sitting on the balcony, sipping my coffee and enjoying the view. 


I wanted an early start to get a good spot on the pool deck. I was not getting off the ship at Nassau because I'd been to the port many times. When I went to shower, I discovered there were no bath towels, only two face towels. I called guest services and requested towels. Half an hour later, there were still no towels. I did a quick peek out the door to see if the cabin steward was around, but he was nowhere to be found. I called again. Half an hour later, there were still no towels. I gave up and took a shower with the hand towel but on my bathing suit, packed my sunscreen, towel, and book and headed out. As I was leaving, the towels finally arrived. No towel was a recurring theme on this cruise and very frustrating. 


I went to the adult-only infinity pool on Deck 8 but could not find a lounger, which was surprising because it was only 9:30 am and a port day. There was also a limited number of loungers at the pool. For some reason, the other loungers were still stacked and not out to enjoy. I then went to the Brooklyn pool on Deck 16. That was not my cup of tea as it was loud, crowded, and had too many kids. Back down to Deck 8, I found that all the loungers were out. I set myself up to enjoy an afternoon of reading. My spa appointment was at 1:30, so I had a quick lunch at the buffet, headed to the cabin to change, and went to the spa. I had an 80-minute salt scrub, which was lovely. This spa did not have a shower in the treatment room, so I had to put on my robe with all the salt and shower in the spa locker room.

I enjoyed an afternoon cappuccino and then headed to dinner at Hola Taco Bar. I was pleasantly surprised at the dinner. It was only $17.99 for all-you-could-eat, (not including the 18% standard gratuity that is automatically added) a very good price for a specialty restaurant. I had an enchilada, queso, chips, tres leches and a beer. Next up was the show, which was Nikki Carr, a comedian. I'm not a comedy show fan, but she was great. I then walked around a bit, tried my luck at the slots and headed back to the room. The evening consisted of reading on the balcony and I was passed out by 11 pm. A note that the towels need to be placed on the floor if you want new ones; however, my towels were picked up from the floor and hung up. My room also needed a daily planner that provided information about the next day's activities. Turn-down service and a daily planner are staples on the cruises, so not having the service was very disappointing. 


Day Three - Ocean Cay

Ocean Cay is MSC's private island. It's an artificial island formerly used to mine the fine aragonite sand, but it was abandoned in 2015. MSC purchased the island and invested over $200 million to make it a private island. It is one of the most beautiful private islands I've been to. 


I had my room service breakfast and headed off the ship around 8:30 am. I called again for fresh towels, which were not delivered after three calls. I finally stole six towels from the housekeeping cart on the other side of the ship. Also, I discovered the garbage in the room and the bathroom had yet to be emptied. The housekeeping could have been better.

There are several beaches, but I wanted to stay close to the ship. I initially rented an umbrella ($17 for the day), but I was disappointed that you had to carry the umbrella and stand with you. It was heavy, so I took my chances that there was a chair with an umbrella at Lighthouse Beach, the closest beach to the ship. Luckily, there was, and the chair was in between the food truck and the bathroom. I had found my perfect spot! I had a cheeseburger and fries for lunch and then returned to the ship for my 3 hours spa treatment of a hot stone massage and facial. Next was dinner at Butcher's Cut. The price was $64 for an appetizer, entree, side and dessert. Again, the price did not include the 18% standard gratuity, but it was a reasonable price. The steak was served with various sauces, the mac and cheese was creamy and cheesy, and the cheesecake was yummy. This was the best meal on the ship. The evening's show was a rock tribute and cheesy and funny – just what cruise shows should be! I returned to the room and ended the evening with a book on the balcony. Are you sensing a theme?  

The laser light show at the Lighthouse is cool too. The have the light show playing as you sail away. The best viewing for the show is the even cabins on the right (starboard) side of the ship. 


Day Four - Disembarkation at Port Canaveral

I've heard nightmare stories about disembarkation day on MSC, so I braced myself for a long wait. I was surprised that the wait was only about 45 minutes. The ship docked at 6 am, and I headed down shortly after docking. The daily planner (which I did get for the last day) stated that the disembarkation time was 7:30 am if you were a walk-off. A walk-off is someone who carries their luggage. If you aren't a walk-off, you are given a luggage tag with a number the night before. You need to put your luggage outside our door before 11 pm so the porters can take it to the terminal. You are also assigned a location and time for the morning of disembarkation. You go to your location and wait for your number to be called and then you can leave the ship. The walk-offs were allowed to leave the ship at 7:00 am as we cleared customs early. I walked off the ship by 7:11 am, got in my car, and exited the parking lot at 7:25 am. 


The experience was just ok. The ship and the food were beautiful, but the housekeeping could have been better. I was also disappointed in how dining was handled by solo cruiser. I wish I had been seated with other solo cruisers. The shows were mediocre. The spa was outstanding. The outside areas and pool were small.


Not including the spa total (which was not too bad), I spent an additional $250, which included water, room service, cappucinos, souvenirs, cabin steward gratuity and two specialty restaurants. My drinks were about $23 per day and included a daily purchase of four bottles of water and a cappuciono for a total of roughly $80 for the entire cruise which was less expensive than purchasing the beverage package. 


Would I do it again? Probably, because you can't beat the price, even without a travel agent discount.  

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