Today is our first day at sea, as we leave the Bahamas and head southwest towards Mexico and our next port of call in Cozumel.
A day at sea is the perfect time to leisurely explore the ship and make the most of the sunny weather we have enjoyed so far.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my cruise on MSC Seashore so far and look forward to trying new spots on board, as well as relaxing.
Here’s how I spent my day.
Thought I might try the main dining room for breakfast; however, the captain announced that the clocks were going back an hour as we traveled west, so I was way too early for that option. I visited the Marketplace Buffet and tried delicious blueberry pancakes.
Afterwards I wandered around a bit, noticing the calm waters as we passed Cuba, close enough to see buildings and later mountainous areas. The weather was fantastic with clear blue skies and quite warm even in the morning.
I also took advantage of this time to book a shore excursion for our port call in Roatan. The rep mentioned that MSC Seashore doesn’t usually stop there, so she wasn’t very familiar with the details of the tour. I can’t imagine the planning and logistics involved in changing a cruise itinerary on a day’s notice. So many people had to make changes, and I could tell it was a tough time for the staff.
Luckily my previously booked excursions have already been refunded to my account and everything was in good order for my next few days.
Lunch / afternoon
Being a day at sea, the ship is naturally more crowded. The MSC Seashore does not have a large open pool deck, but is rather sectioned off in places. The main pool area on Deck 18 was very crowded, with little wiggle room in some areas; and not a single chair to spare. The Jungle Lounge and pool are part of an open-air space and have a much cooler vibe, with mostly adults relaxing in the leafy tropical surroundings.
A good thing about the design of the ship is that many restaurants and bars have outdoor seating, so if you don’t need to be by the pool there are plenty of chairs and chairs. tables available outside. The sports bar was fairly quiet when I visited.
I didn’t want a heavy lunch so opted for a salad and a hot dog from the buffet. There were a lot of people, but it’s a very big room. So expensive, in fact, that I hadn’t even noticed until today that there are at least two bar stations where you can get an alcoholic drink with your lunch (for an extra charge).
You don’t have the option to add a tip to your bar bill, so I made a habit of carrying small bills for the staff. I wish MSC made it easier to tip their hard working staff. They deserve it.
Another thing I noticed while walking around is all the unique decor and themes on board. Separate from the art gallery, there is an immense variety of artwork. Adorning part of the atrium is a replica of the Statue of Liberty, appropriate as this ship has a New York theme.
Taking advantage of our first day at sea with the shops open, I took the time to window shop at the many stores that sell everything from fine jewelry and watches to fun souvenirs.
MSC has tried many technologies, one of the most important being its elevator system. You need to select your floor before entering the elevator, and the screen tells you which specific elevator to go to (options ranging from AD). Once inside, there are no buttons, so you can’t change your mind. I keep looking for pimples every time I enter, though.
Just before lunch, I was walking past the sushi bar and noticed an electronic treadmill circling the seats. I have never seen anything like this before on a cruise ship.
So far my cabin has worked well. I brought a fan; however, the temperature controls are excellent, and I can make it as cold as I want, and the ventilation is good.
Thought I’d be smart, bring a previous cruise card to put in the key fob to keep current when I left the cabin; however, the system knows the difference. The cabin also has do-not-disturb and make-up buttons, so your attendant doesn’t need to disturb you unnecessarily. Mine has been very nice so far, ensuring I have everything I need.
MSC offers a selection of minimalist products with just gel and shampoo. No body lotion, conditioner, or Kleenex, so be sure to bring whatever you need. The bathroom is compact, but there is plenty of storage for products. The toilets are surprisingly noisy when flushed; I can even hear my neighbor’s toilet flush.
There is a fully stocked mini bar with Italian water, soft drinks, spirits, beer and snacks. Beer is $7.50 and soft drinks $3.25. You have the option of washing with laundry packages at $45 for 20 items or $64 for 40 items with 48-hour service.
Before dinner, I took a few minutes to enjoy the majestic view and sail towards the sun. MSC Seashore is designed to soak up the sun, and it certainly does so from many vantage points.
In the atrium we were treated to relaxing jazz music, a great way to start the evening. For tonight’s meal, I have booked another specialty restaurant as part of my meal package. Ocean Cay (also the name of the island we visited yesterday) is a seafood-focused place.
I started with a delicious crab cake, followed by seared tuna with asparagus and beets. Another wonderful meal with attentive and friendly servers. For dessert I had chocolate ice cream and lemon sorbet. It is said that Marco Polo brought ice cream back to Italy from his trips to China. If so, I’m very glad he did, because Italians are serious about good ice cream, and MSC is no exception.
Tomorrow we venture to Cozumel for a port day and I can’t wait to see all it has to offer.