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MSC Seaside Family Cruise: Day 1 – Embarkation Day

We have been planning for our MSC Seaside Family Cruise for many months now, so this day is exciting for us all. The only thing I’m worried about it the amount of bags my wife has packed. We will drive to Port Miami from our home on the West coast of Florida. Our GPS tells us this will take us around 3 hrs and 36 mins. If you have ever driven in the Miami area, you know that these times are merely estimates. I’m hoping the coffee I have taken will provide a little boost in our drive time.

Clean-Up On Aisle Two

During our drive to Miami, we stop off in Naples for a quick break and gas fill-up. The convenience store had been sited by the health department. It was a scene out of a movie with yellow tape wrapped around the aisles of junk food. Luckily, the bathrooms worked, and we exited quickly.

Back On The Road

Back on the road, we paid the toll and entered the famed Alligator Alley that crosses the Southern portion of Florida. This would be our path towards MSC Seaside. Before long we followed the exits to Miami and followed signs for Port Miami. I pulled up to the cruise terminal, and the Porter’s were unloading our bags and bringing them to the ship. I dropped off the girls and our bags here and then drove directly to our off-site parking lot not far away.

Off-Site Port Miami Cruise Parking

Leading up to departing for our cruise, we had considered staying the night before our cruise and possibly getting a park and stay package from a nearby hotel. However, our schedule wouldn’t allow that. In all of my past Port Miami cruises I have always used the cruise terminal parking. A friend suggested I use Global Airport Parking. The site was easy to use, and it promised a secure and covered parking garage a short distance from the ship. A shuttle to and from the parking garage is available before and after your cruise. The rate was only $5.99 a day instead of the Port’s $22 a day parking rate. You can even find some coupon codes that may offer an even better rate.

So as I drove away from the terminal the parking garage was only 1.6 miles away. I pulled in and drove to an upper level designated as cruise parking. Premier Cruise Parking met me there, and they gave me further directions on where to park.  I soon parked my car and walked back to where shuttles were loading to take me back to the terminal. Before long I was being driven back to Terminal F and met back up with my family.

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Getting Onboard

When we arrived boarding had begun and after a quick check-in, we were on board by 1 pm. Once onboard we learned some different aspects of cruising aboard MSC. They have several drinks packages, specialty dinner packages, and even a Fun Pass to use for bowling, zip lines and more. However, First, we needed to try out our drink package and sample a Mojito! We are going to the Caribbean. The drink was amazing and finally being aboard this ship was exciting. While having our drink we showed a specialty restaurant discount package. If we booked tonight, we could save 20% off! We had planned to visit the Teppanyaki Grill in Roy Yamaguchi’s, Asian Market Kitchen. So we made reservations for this tonight’s Dinner. My family loves this cooking style and the entertainment that goes along with it. So we are looking forward to this treat.

MSC Seaside Is Beautiful

MSC Seaside Atrium
The MSC Seaside Atrium is striking with its beauty and many details.

Our first impression’s of the ship is it is beautiful. With chrome accents and rich colors, it is both elegant and modern. Walking around the ship for the first time the interior design flows from area to area. The Atrium’s three-deck-high LED screen just Wow’s you. You also realize something else. This ship is huge. At 166K GRT’s this is one of the largest cruise ships in the World. So you can easily miss parts of this ship. You will need your map and may need to plan to visit parts of the ship you might otherwise miss. Seriously.

Our cabin is on Deck Ten (10239), and it is a great location near the rear of the ship. It was a short walk to the elevators and stairs. We unpacked and getting settled in for our cruise. Since there were four of us in one cabin, space management was a priority. This was a challenge on this cruise since they didn’t have as much shelf or drawer space as we’d hoped for a family of four. However, the cabin itself was wonderful.

By popular demand from the girls, we all changed into our bathing suits and went up to the pool, and our girls repeatedly went down the slide. We found two chairs in the shade, and it would be our go-to place for the rest of the cruise.

Sail Away

We did the mandatory Muster Drill before we sailed-away. For our cabin, they held this in our assigned dining room. We enjoyed that MSC holds these inside instead of on the outer decks like some cruise lines. Everything went smooth and before we knew it, our ship was sailing away. Here is what it looked like from our cabin’s balcony as we got ready for dinner:

Dinner Time!

We scheduled our Dinner for 7:30 pm so during sail-away we rushed to get ready for our special night out at Teppanyaki by Roy Yamaguchi. This is part of his Asian Market Kitchen and features Sushi, Asian Fusion and Teppanyaki. We made our way up to Deck 16 and found this space beautifully decorated. It seemed like people don’t book these the first night onboard, because we had a whole hibachi table to ourselves. So this was a real treat. The service and attention to detail were incredible.

Teppanyaki by Roy Yamaguchi

We chose the SENCHO option for $30 per person. It features a wonderful Miso Soup, Salad, Filet Mignon, Salmon, Tiger Prawns, Garlic Fried Rice, and a Sushi & Sashimi Starter. It was a lot of food. We asked to substitute extra prawns instead of Salmon for my daughter and they allowed this. The food and entertainment were incredible. The filet mignon and salmon were wonderful. A true foodie moment was how great the Miso Soup and Garlic Fried Rice was. You just wanted to keep eating more.

Photo’s from our Dinner:

 

Our Night Of Fun & Entertainment

We looked at our entertainment options via the MSC for Me App and made reservations for the night’s production show in the Metropolitan Theatre (Fwd Deck 6-7). We also took this time to book the rest of the week’s show times we were interested in. My family really enjoy’s the production shows, so we talked about the options and made reservations for the late show almost every evening. We then did more exploring and made our way to the Metropolitan Theatre.

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Amazing Entertainment

The show started with a punch and never seemed to stop for the entire 45 mins. This show seemed to be a preview of what would be in store for us the rest of the week. We noticed so many things like the amazing sound, lighting, costume design and specialty acts. I have never seen that many people on a cruise ship stage.

Incredible Entertainment aboard MSC Seaside
Incredible Entertainment aboard MSC Seaside

They seemed to come out and wowed us at every turn. Let me also not forget the great singers and dancers. This was the first time in a while where we all turned to each other after the show and said, “That was amazing”. We were now looking forward to the rest of the week’s shows. This entertainment was like nothing I had seen before on a ship.

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Tomorrow will be a Sea Day and we are looking forward to a nice day relaxing and getting to know this ship better. Today was a travel day with the long drive and orientation. We had to learn what our drink package allowed, what and how much we could order at one time and so forth. As we made our way throughout our day we learned. We tried to sample as much as we could today.

This was a wonderful day though, we enjoyed getting onboard the ship. The ship itself is so spacious we haven’t had to stand in any big lines at all. The MSC experience is a little different. Some food choices have a European feel to it. This was nice because the food quality in Europe is wonderful. I was in Europe in May and today I felt like I was back there again. Something else we noticed was that half the passengers are not from the United States. Yes, They make announcements in several languages but,  eloquently. It was never a bother.

Stay tuned as we share each day of our cruise with you. Follow the links below to previous coverage:

Read our previous family cruise reports below:


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