logo

MSC Seaview Review and Pro Tips

image

MSC Mediterranean Cruise My First Cruise since 2019

This will be my first cruise since the MSC Bellissima in 2019 in Dubai. I was a bit hesitant to booking another MSC cruise, but they had the best itinerary for the Mediterranean during April, and at a affordable price. Plus they had good departure ports (since I was in Switzerland and had to figure out how to get down to departure ports in Italy). I ended up booking through Expedia for ease of purchase, but the checkin was a real hassle. The MSC ships are beautiful, but there is just something really off about the hotel management side of the ships. I'm not sure if it's the Italian way, or they are just not trained right, but it doesn't work really well (mirrors most things in Italy). Efficiency is not key, nor is strategy, like on Princess Cruises. I will say they are much better at hygene on the ships, and most doors (and elevators) are touch free or minimal contact. Most of the alcohol and soap dispensers actually had liquid, unlike my last cruise.

The people on board were mostly European (trending towards Italian).

The most annoying part was the smoking on decks and in the casino. For some reason, they are still hanging on to smokers lots of leeway on the cruises.

The food and steward staff is really nice (most being from the Phillipines, Sri Lanka or Indonesia). The hotel and ship staff (officers) are Italy and Europe.

Masks were required in public spaces on this cruise. While it definitely detracted from the cruise, it was good to be on the water, so not a major item.

Overall, MSC could really have a top notch cruise line if they just focus on not being Italian, and become more efficient for a better cruiser experience. This means dumping their lousy POS (point of sale system) with Oracle and try something new.

Overall the food was ok, but outstanding in the specialty restaurants. We ended up there for most of the cruise. Believe it or not, the specialty restaurants were almost empty and had the best view of sunsets. Of course the pizza was excellent.

The follow review gives you a good idea of what to expect on board a MSC cruise, as well as pre and post cruise.


block-image
Book at least three days prior cruise, otherwise may not be able to purchase.

Book at least three days prior cruise, otherwise may not be able to purchase.

Booking the Cruise

1. Booking: Relatively straight forward. Recommend only getting Yacht Club, otherwise the rest of the ship is a low experience Carnival Cruise type event. I booked using Expedia, since the MSC website was a disaster. Book three days in advance. Because of Covid, I'll book last minute since getting refunds is ridiculous from MSC. It's the MSC Italian way providing a poor experience and lots of hassles. MSC please learn from Princess Cruise lines or others whom have perfected the booking and check-in process.


block-image
Good luck with web check in if you're trying within two days of the cruise.

Good luck with web check in if you're trying within two days of the cruise.

Online Pre Cruise Check In for Cruise Tickets

2. Pre Check In Online To Get Cruise Ticket and Baggage Tags: An utter disaster. I booked the cruise three days prior, and then tried to register and check-in online two days prior, and spend hours (an entire Saturday afternoon) of frustration without any results. On the website is states up to 24 hours (day before cruise departure), but in actual experience, when trying two days prior, got zero results. Finally got Expedia to help and they sent me a check-in the day after departure (thank you Expedia). I was finally able to complete the online check in the day prior on my iPhone, where previous web based attempts on my MacBook Pro were unsuccessful. Overall a lousy process and experience. The iPhone Safari web checkin did not have field title available, so had to guess what information they wanted.


block-image
Embarkation at the Port of Naples. One person doing security for hundreds of people trying to get in.

Embarkation at the Port of Naples. One person doing security for hundreds of people trying to get in.

Embarkation Port and Transportation from Airport to Port

3. Naples: Getting through port security has one (1) person doing the checkin for hundreds or more people. Really slow. Process took more than an hour just to get into the port. Poor coordination and communication.

Airport to Port: There are hourly Alibus shuttles between the airport (and train station) and port for 5 Euro with about four departures per hour. Expect at least an hour transit time when there is traffic.

Taxi: Don't get ripped off. We paid 55 Euro when the actual flat rate was 19 Euro. Always ask the taxi rate (price) and agree prior to getting into the taxi.

Alibus from Naples Italy Airport to the Cruise Port 5 Euro

Tax rates from Naples Italy Airport to Port of Naples


block-image
Naples embarkation hall is huge and lots of room for pre-cruise mandatory Covid test.

Naples embarkation hall is huge and lots of room for pre-cruise mandatory Covid test.

Port Embarkation Check In Experience

4. Check-in In Person: Provided all hard documents including Covid checks, Proof of Covid Insurance, Vaccination, Cruise Ticket, etc. Process slow, but proceeded smoothly. Final Covid test prior boarding went fine (sit time 15 minutes for rapid test). Masks required on board at time of cruise. Cruise room and charge card provided at this time.

(a) Port Security Document Check (to get into port).

(b) Proceed with Luggage to Check In area.

(c) Check in area with all documents and luggage. Big luggage is tagged and taken to be delivered to your cabin at this stage. Photos are taken using a iPad or similar handheld device.

(d) Covid Rapid Test. Swab and wait 15 minutes. At this point you get your cruise cards which are awaiting you on the table (see photo to the left).

(e) Security Check. Final security check with Xray scan of any personal items and hand carried luggage.

(f) Cleared to board ship. They scan your cruise card and compare photo of you on card to that in database. Worked well and efficiently.

(g) Once getting on board ship, you may have your photo taken, and then you are approached by a bar staff to get you to purchase a drink plan.


block-image
Port of Naples MSC checkin area after port security.

Port of Naples MSC checkin area after port security.

Drink package 70 Euro plus tips automatically added.

Drink package 70 Euro plus tips automatically added.

Drink Packages

5. Purchase of Drink Package: For some reason, the occupants had not checked out of our cabin when we boarded, so was not able to register our drink package, so we were given a written receipt. 70 Euro per person plus 15 percent tip. We go the non-alcoholic drink package which was great. This includes coffee, tea, canned sodas, bottled water, bar specialty non-alcohol drinks, and juices. Was it a value ? My guess is yes. If you drink more than 3-4 beverages a day, it's worth it.


block-image
image

Yacht Club Experience

6. Attempt to Upgrade to Yacht Club: Poor process. Even though there was room available, the director decided not to allow us to upgrade. The previous Easter week cruise was fully booked. The Yacht Club is a completely different experience on the same ship. It's a good attempt at offering a different class for more money. Since I've never experienced the Yacht Club, I cannot comment on it much, other than wanting to try it.


block-image
MSC Oracle and Panasonic POS junk system. Staff reverts to manually written receipts.

MSC Oracle and Panasonic POS junk system. Staff reverts to manually written receipts.

Point of Sale System Failure

7. POS Point of Sale System: The Panasonic handheld POS device and Oracle system only worked sometimes. Just awful. Even the staff hates it. Recommend doing what Princess Cruises does for their Medallion System. That system works flawlessly. I believe this is the same system they were trying to use a few years ago, which also did not work well.


block-image
Product shorting. Notice the lack of towels. No lotion products. No facial tissues.

Product shorting. Notice the lack of towels. No lotion products. No facial tissues.

Cabin Preview and Product Shorting

8. Product Shorting: This was not discount cruise, but we were provided a cabin with low to no amenities. The beverage refrigerator was locked. There were not bathroom amentities like bottled lotions, soaps, etc. There were no facial tissues, which means that the cruiser has to use the toilet paper. The facial tissue receptical was blocked off with a metal barrier. Minimal towels were provided. Clearly MSC wants to save money by not providing enough towels or bathroom products. There was no coffee or tea in the room like on other cruise lines. If you want room service, it is charged even if you have it included (we had Aurea level).


block-image
Product shorting. There were only two towels on another rack on opposite wall.

Product shorting. There were only two towels on another rack on opposite wall.

Smokers Annoying

9. Smoking: The smokers were awful in the casino and on decks. Yes, Italians love to smoke. Suggest limited smoking areas. This is particularly bad for transmitting Covid since the smokers pull smoke into lungs where Covid is present, and then expels to the air for other passengers to breathe. Was a constant annoyance. It's 2022. Time to make your ships smoke free.


block-image
MSC Seaview salad bar buffet.

MSC Seaview salad bar buffet.

Buffet and Food Selection

10. Buffet: Most food was bland. Pizza was amazing. Fruit choices minimal. Need more food options (especially vegan like lentils which I only saw a few times). On the plus side, getting drinks typically were within a minute of sitting down in the buffet, lots of clean plates and eating utensils. Since we had the non-alcoholic drinks package, we typically got coffee, tea, soda, bottled water, or juices. Food buffet area was always clean (staff did a great job).


block-image
Specialty Restaurants Were Amazing. This Waygu filet was incredible.

Specialty Restaurants Were Amazing. This Waygu filet was incredible.

Specialty Restaurants Amazing

11. Specialty Restaurants: Favorite part of the ship. Food was amazingly good. Tried the Sushi Bar and the Butcher's Cut. Really good sushi (including made-to-order vegan) and probably the best cut of beef I've ever had from Butcher's Cut. Be sure to try the Weygan filet at the Sushi Bar. Bonus: Best dinner view of sunset anywhere on the ship. During our cruise a week after Easter in April 2022, the specialty restaurants were virtually empty.

MSC Seaview Specialty Restaurants

image

Cruise Staff

12: Staff: All were wonderful and happy to help out. I tipped our cabin steward twice, since his service was great.

image

Overall Experience

Overall: Cruising on a MSC ship is like a low class Carnival ship, except more expensive and lots of product shorting. The only exception to this if you are lucky enough to get a Yacht Club cabin and experience. Compared to the MSC Bellissima in 2019, this ship was a vast improvement with sanitary conditions.

image

Room Delivery

Confirm you have free room delivery prior to ordering anything, or beware of 7-20 Euro delivery charge.

image

Room Occupancy Indicator

Inside: Of the upper left side of the door, there is a indicator and select panel (push in) for privacy and room makeup.

Outside: As show to the left, there is a occupancy indicator on the outside of the door to show the room steward status.

Pre Tip Steward for More Towels

Pre Tip Steward for More Towels

Cruise Tipping

Because of product shorting of towels, instead of asking every day for more towels, I gave our room steward a pre-tip so that we had more towels and fresh ice every day. He really appreciated it and we got great service.

image

Check Your Bill and Room Charges Every Day

Check your bill every day. You can easily do this on the MSC app.

I was charged 70 Euro for some service charge (unknown) and multiple room deliveries (supposed to be free).

If you see a charge, just go to the customer service desk to resolve.

What I've seen over the past two years during the pandemic is a epidemic of overbilling and erroneous charges. Always be vigilant.

CONTACT TEL: 608-238-6001 Email: greg@cruisingreview.com | RSS | AMP | PDF | IG | TWITTER