The Seaview, One of MSC’s latest ship which was baptised in 2018 was built out of its sister ship, the MSC Seaside. Having sailed on the seaside before, I was curious to see if the same quality reserved for the North
American stationed ship would be maintained to accommodate its South American route. Unfortunately, no… But at the expense of providing a South American experience, with mostly Brazilian staff, making it a major plus in the service quality over other ships. Having sailed on MSc’s lastest three biggest ships, I start to see some patterns in how the company operates. And in this article I will focus on how the Seaview compares to the other two, the Seaside and the Meraviliga, but also against the other older ships in its fleet.
Entertainment on-board: 9/10
Theater Shows: 6/10
Ship Common Areas 6/10
Room Comfort: 6/10
Service Quality: 7/10
Check-in / Check-out: 5/10
Overall satisfaction: 6/10
A Show from the Theater
A Beautiful ship, made of cardboard…
The Seaview is definitely a beautiful ship. Built out of the latest trends and in an Italian way, it is completely identical to the Seaside which, I had compared to a decoration style that can be designed after a Zara store. A lot of White, Lights, mirrors, and very few decorations creating a clean effect. But once you look into the details and corners of the ship, it truly feels like it is made of paper and cardboard. In the yacht industry, I would compare it to a mass-produced fibreglass 40 feet Beneteau or Bavaria, compared to a tougher and strong blue water long keelboat from the 80s, which were made to last over 40 years and can still be seen sailing around marinas nowadays, compared to the Beneteau which struggle to sail over 10 years… After not even a few months of sailing, the MSC Seaview is already starting to wear off. It feels like it was built quick and fast, on a mass scale to mass produce ships for MSC, which might be a reason how they manage to launch a ship or two per year lately!
This cruise was a little different than usual, as it was a transatlantic crossing from Brazil to Spain. This meant that, because of Brazilian law, most staff had to be Brazilian. Having 90% Brazilian passengers on board, the Seaview had prepared a big animation team which went out of their way every day to entertain the mostly extraverted crowd asking to dance and party. So contrary to the usually poor animation team offered by MSC, this one was exceptionally active and great, thanks to their Brazilian “joie de vivre” staff. If MSC is reading this, I would highly recommend equipping each and every one of their ships with such a team, to increase the potential of the animation team across the board.
Rating Entertainment on-board: 9/10
The Animation Team on the Seaview
The Shows of the Seaview were in general of average quality, which was sad considering the Seaview had one of the best shows of any ship I have sailed on and ranked an impressive 10/10 in my past review
. This was to be predicted since the Miami route is much more important and competitive, and this has pushed MSC to relegate a less than impressive theatrical team for the Seaview. First, the shows were the shortest I have experienced out of any ship! less than 30 minutes sometimes, which is unheard of in the industry. This is due to MSC having a tiny theater for the number of passengers it packs, having to present the shows 3 times every night, so less time per each show. The theater is as much as two times smaller than their other ships, like the Divina! This is part of their new recipe of providing bigger ship, more rooms, less common space, worst experience for the price, maximizing their profits.
Rating Theater Shows: 7/10
The Singers and Dancers of the Seaview
Ship Common Areas
The common areas are not that bad on the Seaview, considering the ships is a few months old. The problem is that it is way overcrowded. With over 5000 passengers on board, it is suffocating to be around the boat. Their main lounge where most of the events are held, the Heaven lounge, can seat no more than 200 people, yet this is where people would pack, shoulder to shoulder to see the programmed events in the evening. A less than enjoyable experience… There are other interesting places to hang out, especially the Sports bar and the Seaview lounge where I enjoyed relaxing as it seemed it was less crowded.
One thing that I criticised MSC in the past was to hold private events in some lounges. This would be ok if they would hold them on non-busy times. but on my cruise, I counted at least 2 weddings that were held on Sea days, for the whole day! This is the worst possible time to restrict other passengers from the already few common spaces available! As is was too cold to use outdoor common areas, and with the whole ship trying to find a little corner to sit, this is unacceptable, considering this is prime space that other passengers are paying for, and MSC is cramping passengers on top of each other on an already overcrowded boat. If MSC wants to allow private events to be held in public areas available to all, they should permit this during Docked days, where most people are out and the boat is empty. This is unacceptable… a style of operating which demonstrates MSC’s lack of understanding in the cruise world. This type of action would never happen on other cruise ships.
Rating Ship Common Areas 6/10
Inside the Seaview
The rooms are clean, but really feel like they are cheaply made. The walls are so thin, they feel like cardboard. You can easily hear neighbours talk at a normal voice and even snoring… This to me is another proof of the lower quality ship I described before.
Rating Room Comfort: 6/10
Reading reviews of ships on Forums like Cruisecritic, you will quickly see that the service is the main area of discontent on most MSC ships. I have discussed this in more details in past MSC articles, but this time around, I have to give it to the Seaview, that the service felt much improved compared to all other MSC ships I have taken. I don’t know for what reason exactly if it is because the crew was mostly Brazilian and less European, but it felt to me much better. If it is a change in policy to improve service, then well done. Hopefully, they improve the service on their other ships as well.
It is important to note that the South East Asian staff are always good and provide incredible service, as usual.
Rating Service Quality: 7/10
The MSC Seaview at Port in Tenerife, Canary Islands
Bad… Really bad, like always on MSC, but even worst here. The two buffets provide the same things every morning, lunch and dinner, providing a real lack of variety and originality. Each day the same food was provided with very little variations, even worse than on other MSC ships. The usual pasta area, rice and beans, a very poor salad bar was the standard.
In the main dining room, meals again were poor. The meat cuts that were provided were always of poor quality (lamb chops with 60% fat, anyone?)… The choices on the main menu were always very similar, with a pasta meal, a risotto, a meat meal, and a vegetarian meal.
The main problem for the food on MSC is not the lack of ingredients. Its the lack of originality and experience of the cooking staff. MSC needs to hire a qualified Chef that is well paid and cares for its reputation. It really feels like MSC is providing a plain and boring experience in the restaurants that are included, to get passengers to pay for a meal in their really overpriced premium restaurants.
To summarize, most first time cruisers won’t see much of a problem with the food, but once someone has sailed out of the other excellent cruise lines available with impeccable dining, they will tend to criticise the food on MSC.
Rating Food: 5/10
Main Buffet on the 8th floor
In general, the ship was clean, providing enough hand sanitizers to industry standards, unlike I have reported on the MSC Meraviglia
sailing out of Europe. But the main problem of MSC is the overcrowded areas, where keeping clean is almost impossible with so many people at once. There was such a lack to tables in the buffets that as soon as a table got freed, people jump on top of dirty tables and eating along with the past guest’s trash as there is just not enough staff to clean after. Another proof that MSC has a much bigger ship that it is able to handle…
But As I have reported before, MSC is definitely not rigorous towards cleanliness as other companies are. And Unsurprisingly, we had an epidemy of Measles on the ship, where the vaccinated voluntarily passengers at the port of embarkation. We also had 3 helicopter evacuations… Weird…
Rating Cleanliness: 6.5/10
Check-in / Check-out
A horrible experience at the Santos Terminal in Sao Paulo Brazil, where it took no less than 4 hours to get through the over 7 lineups to get to the ship. This kind of experience is not how anybody would want to start a holiday, especially under the hot sun of Santos. Again, thanks to an overcrowded ship, and the onorganized team…
Rating Check-in / Check-out: 5/10
Many people chose MSC because they position their cruises about 10 to 20$ less daily. This is the strategy of MSC, to gather the most people at a lower cost, and finally make them pay when they are onboard. Yes, it is cheaper, but the quality compared to other lines is 2 to 3 times less. So the Quality/price factor goes down substantially.
Rating Quality/Price: 5/10
The Seaview anchored at Sea
As I have described in past articles about MSC, its new adventures in building some of the biggest ships in the world is not at their level of experience in the cruising industry, and this reflects, once again, in a less than average cruising experience compared to the better companies such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian. It is not clear what MSC is trying to achieve with their overcrowded ships. To compare it a little better, think of what airplanes used to look like in the 70s, each seats being big leather sofas with big armrests, declining all the way to a semi-bed, with amazing meals served at no extra cost and all you can drink alcohol. Nowadays lowcost companies have found ways to cramp the double of passengers in airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet, sitting in tiny plastic seats with enough leg room to fit one leg… The Business model of the Seaview is exactly like that, cramping the most passengers with less common areas and fewer lounges compared to older ships, for an experience that feels of a much worst quality. However, their cost has not decreased to the standards of low-cost airlines.
I personally understood and recommend that taking the newest monster cruise ships is a trap! It is much wiser to enjoy the quality of cruising on older ships around 10 to 15 years old, those that are cheaper and provide better quality cruising. That said, I won’t be taking many more MSC cruises in the future, especially when they are offering the worst possible Frequent Sailor program, called “Voyagers Club”. Thanks, but no thanks.
Rating Overall satisfaction: 6/10
The MSC Seaview In Pictures
The Seaview seen from a Beach in Buzios, Brazil
The Main Pool
Great Glass Bridge over the Pool, on the 16th floor
Dining Room of the Seaview
The Second Pool
The Artist finishing their Show
The Jazz Band in the Seaview Lounge
The Atrium during a showcased Party
Me, In the famous Shiny Stairs
Invited Singers making up for a cross atlantic night
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