With a capacity of 5,300 passengers she is currently one of the biggest cruise ships afloat. And while being designed for the European mass cruise market, sailing onboard MSC Seaview proved to be quite a pleasant experience as we found out during our latest Mediterranean cruise in November 2018. Let me show you around …
She is huge. Over 323 meters long, 20 decks high and cost around 950 million US-Dollars. A ship that does not only overtop most other cruise liners when being docked in port, but which also counts literally as a floating village itself. 5,300 people on one ship? Is that something I would like?
I have to admit, since we had started cruising back in 2009, I personally have evolved to become a more classic cruiser with a preferred tendency to a ship size between 1,000 and 2,500 guests. This had proven to me to guarantee a personalized and luxurious cruise experience while still having enough freedom and space to escape the crowds without seldomly having to retreat to the own cabin.
Until MSC Seaview, the largest ship that I had been on so far was the Norwegian Epic a few years ago, which levels around 4,500 passengers. I am not so sure wherever I ever want to try out the Oasis Class vessels, even though we have mostly heard positive feedback.
To me, the cruise itself is still in the spotlight. I enjoy a ship to be state-of-the-art, but it is not my primary holiday destination. We focus on the places that we visit and enjoy getting there the most comfortable way possible. But for this November holiday, we were simply looking at a cruise that would fit perfectly into a week without having to travel around the globe to get to it. And, I did not mind it being a good deal.
And this is where MSC comes in. In my opinion, they offer the best price-value onboard their beautiful ships in direct comparison with the awful clientele and design of the hideous Costa brand. You get what you pay for, nothing more, nothing less. And being a Black Member of their bonus program, you can be sure to receive a few sweet extras that surely add to a pleasant experience, even onboard a ship of this size.
But enough said, let´s go on board, shall we?
Like on every ship from every cruise line, the main Atrium is the beating heart of the operation. The one on MSC Seaview reaches over four decks and is a popular social meeting place due to an array of bars, an elevated stage and is also used for a number of activities or shows, as well as MSC Voyager Club celebrations. Deck 5 also hosts Guest Services and the Future Cruise sales desk.
Off the Atrium, you will find Emotions – The Immersive Gallery and the Art Gallery towards the front of the ship.
The last public space on Deck 5 is the Golden Sand Restaurant, the first of the two main dining venues onboard.
Just one deck up, the second main dining room, Silver Dolphin, covers the same amount of space. Both restaurants offer sea views and daylight and an elegant dining experience.
Heading back to the atrium on Deck 6, the Shine Bar and MSC Excursions spread around it.
A bit further towards the front, the Piazza Grande closes up with a variety of shops and boutiques, as well as the Venchi 1878 chocolate factory where chocolate candies are handcrafted on a daily base.
And, at the very front of Deck 6, Odeon Theatre. I have to say, that shows and entertainment on MSC Seaview were both of great quality!
On Deck 7, you will find the modern and state-of-the-art Platinum Casino, as well as one of my favorite bars onboard: The Champagne Bar with wonderful views onto the sea or into the atrium.
The Haven Lounge is another public lounge with dance floor and bar which is was also used for the Black member gathering with free drinks and snacks. Behind, the Billiard Room and combined mini library.
On the port side, you may entertain yourself with bowling or the Formula 1-simulator (extra charge). Or dance the night away in the Garage Club.
All the way at the stern of Deck 7, the beautiful hideaway close to the ocean, Sunset Beach Pool. Even though you have the Sunset Beach Bar and the Ice Cream Shop here, this is the place you want to retreat to when looking for a bit of peace and quiet.
This is also the starting point for the famous Boardwalk Promenade that almost encloses the entire Deck 8 (apart from the bow section). It features bars, lots of seating and sun loungers as well as an outdoor area of the Marketplace Buffet for al fresco dining.
The Infinity Bridge is also a landmark on the Waterfront Boardwalk. The floor is see-through and a selfie hotspot.
Nestled at the rear of Deck 8 is the extra-large buffet restaurant Marketplace. Even though this space is designed to accommodate the most passengers, there is always a free seat as the extensive Waterfront Boardwalk and the terrace at the stern double the seating capacity.
MSC Cruises had always been a little far behind with the offering of speciality dining venues. The newest ships offer an array of options, such as the French inspired L´Atelier Bistro. I will feature a designated post about speciality dining onboard MSC Seaview at a different time, but this particular one will not be included as its walk-through layout was too appalling to us.
The Sports Bar and Seaside Lounge close up to the front before the forward section of Deck 8 is completely dedicated to the MSC Gym and the Aurea Spa and Thermal Suite with Sun Deck.
The MSC Gym is equipped with the latest TechnoGym equipment, truly set for a fantastic workout. It was a bit unusual to use the treadmill while watching people outside on the promenade, but then on the other hand, time passed much quicker as there was always something to look at :). And lots of daylight!
The Aurea Spa is one of the biggest wellness areas currently offered on the MSC fleet. A wide selection of treatment rooms are rounded up by a large Thermal Suite offering a wide array of relaxation options, including a Snow Room. Black members enjoy one hour of complimentary access once during the cruise. We took happily advantage while the ship was in port in Messina, Italy.
Decks 9 till 15 are allocated to staterooms only. Next I will give you an insight into a balcony cabin on Deck 12 forward where we stayed in.
Up on Deck 16, one of the ship´s most photographed places: The Bridge of Sighs. Truly spectacular!
The Panorama Pool does offer panoramic views all over, but is too crowded for my personal taste. This is where usually the families hang around, so try to avoid during sunny sea days.
Very close, the Biscayne Bay Buffet restaurant. This place is much smaller than the Marketplace down on Deck 8, but constantly overcrowded.
There is a secret way from the Biscayne Bay buffet to the speciality dining restaurants located ahead, but as this leads directly through Butcher´s Cut Steak House, those who open the door will immediately be sent back. So the easiest, if also a bit laborious way to get here is the mid staircase.
While having not been able to get a tour of the MSC Yacht Club (the all-suite private area reaching from Deck 16 to 19 forward), Deck 18 midships features the solarium pool called Jungle Pool Lounge. As this area lies closely connected to the Aquapark and water slides, this pool is loud and busy with families and children at any time while it is opened.
Right behind, the Forest Aquaventure Park with Zip Line, pools and slides.
Deck 19 forward holds the private MSC Yacht Club Sun Deck as well as a private sun deck reserved for passengers traveling in the Aurea category, called Top 19 Solarium. Day passes can be obtained from Guest Services at extra cost.
So, as you can see, MSC Seaview is quite an eye-catcher in terms of design and fittings. And after having sailed on her a week through the Western Mediterranean at full capacity, I was actually surprised on how well the crowds spread while the ship was at sea. Due to the intelligent layout of the vessel, the masses distributed evenly over the 20 decks. Just a little bit of planning during port days was necessary to not get stuck in the bubbles of people returning back from excursions. But being a Black member sometimes even helped with that.
All in all, a fantastic price performance in terms of quality offered. Just the right choice if you are looking for a contemporary and casual cruise in-between, without having to compromise on style and comfort on the ship. Well done, MSC!