Chris and I were both invited to attend the christening of the MSC Seascape in New York City. I have watched some online and was really excited to attend one in person. We took the train from Wilmington the evening before and spent one night at Fairfield Inn Central Park. It was not great as only one very slow elevator was working. I decided to walk up 18 flights to get to our room. Chris waited for an elevator a few flights up and I did beat him to the room so it was a really slow elevator.
The next morning, the elevator was still not working. It took almost 20 minutes to reach the floor with complementary breakfast. A woman on the elevator said it has been like this for three days. Breakfast was being cleaned up when we arrived since it took so long and it was over at nine. So many people were packed in the narrow hallway for the elevator, we walked up to the lobby and Chris went from there to get our luggage. It took 27 minutes for him to go up to the room and back! It was such a mess. People were coming down the stairs with huge bags and I heard lots of complaints. I am not sure I would recommend this hotel for a pre-cruise stay. It was clean but also very small and with thin walls.
We decided to walk to the pier since it was not raining or very cold. It was a pretty easy walk even with bags. Check-in was very quick for our one night stay since everything on board would be complimentary, no credit cards were needed, just a quick scan of the ticket and identification check. We were given a bracelet to identify us as travel advisors, a lanyard and a key for our cabin. After that, it was straight onto the ship.
Our cabins were ready so that was our first stop. We were on deck 15 in a balcony cabin, 15203. The cabin was a very nice size with lots of storage. I liked the ample amount of shelves and drawers. The couch is very long and quite comfortable. I thought the decor and color scheme was very nice. The balcony was a nice size as well but there is an overhang from deck 16. If you like shade, this could be a plus but it does impede the view and would make getting a good picture from the balcony tough. The bathroom is a typical size for a cruise and the shower did not have the best water pressure.
The first thing on our agenda was to tour the staterooms available for viewing. We started on deck 11 to see a Deluxe Balcony which was similar to our cabin except the balcony was smaller but there was no overhang to impede the view. Next up, was deck 9 and a Premium Aurea Suite with Whirlpool. This was a very large cabin with a large angled balcony with whirlpool tub. It was not the most private of spots since deck eight below juts out and has lounge chairs and also because of the angle other balconies can see the tub as well. There is a very nice walk in closet for storage. The bathroom has a tub/shower combination. A Deluxe Aurea Balcony was also open which had a nice angled balcony. We also toured a ADA room which had great features including the automatic ramp to balcony. Two Deluxe Inside cabins were open, one ADA which was very roomy and we both thought the regular inside was a great size as well. The last room we viewed was on deck 5 which was an ocean view cabin. They had the bunks set up for sleeping extra guests and it was interesting to see how the couch goes up to create a bunk rather than coming down from the ceiling.
The public spaces were next to explore. We started on deck 8 where you can look down on Times Square. There is a small pool room with one table, shuffleboard and one pinball game. The pinball was free so I did play a bit before moving on to Loft Cafe. This is a very comfy spot for a cocktail or a coffee. There is a stage in there as well so it seems like maybe a spot for karaoke in the evenings. Outdoor seating is also available which will be great in the Caribbean. The Sports Bar is also on deck 8 which is one of the best I have seen on a ship. It has lots of different sized seating areas each with their own televisions. It is decorated with sporting goods and seems like a fun place to enjoy watching the game. Also on deck 8 is Uptown Lounge which is a venue for live music and dancing. On the aft of deck 8, is a stunning infinity pool which is adults only.
We ventured one deck down to explore. First up was the Champagne and Wine bar. This is a nice spot for a cocktail where you can hear the music from the Atrium. There is also oysters and other seafood available for purchase. The casino was next which I thought was decorated nicely and had a large bar in the middle. The Chora Theater is also on this deck as well where the large production shows occur.
Deck six has Times Square which you can see from the casino one deck above. It also has the Venchi 1878 Chocolate Bar. There is chocolates, gelato and specialty drinks available for purchase. It was a very popular spot. The Shine Bar is also on this deck which is the lowest level of the Atrium.
We decided we were ready for some lunch so we headed up to deck 16 to sample the buffet. On the way, we explored the Jungle Pool and Beach Bar. This is a two level indoor pool area with hot tubs as well. Lunch would have to wait those as we learned we could be escorted on a tour of the Yacht Club which is right next door.
The Yacht Club is an exclusive area which is only available to certain category cabins. There is a 24 hour concierge available at the entrance. Guests can enjoy the private Top Sail lounge and Yacht Club Restaurant. The final area is the sundeck which is very spacious. It has a large pool and hot tub with amazing views from the front of the ship. There is also plenty of padded loungers and seats along with a bar and buffet. We were only permitted to take pictures on the outside deck for the protection of the celebrity clients staying there. This tour made us very excited to return to the Yacht Club for our next MSC cruise.
On the way to the buffet, we toured Doremiland on Deck 18. This is the kid’s area with services for all ages of children. First, we saw the theater which is used for movies and for shows the kids do for the parents. The Baby Club was for those under 3. We learned parents are given phones while their child is there and they can enjoy a few hours to have dinner. There is also family play time in this area. Mini Club is for ages 3 to 6 and Junior Club is 7 to 11. Both areas had very nice facilities with lots of legos and video games. Young Club is for 12 to 14 year olds which had ping pong, foosball and of course lots of video games. Lastly, was the teen club for ages 15 to 17 which had areas for games, movies and hanging out. Conveniently located to the kid’s area is the arcade that has Formula One simulators, XD Cinema, flight simulators and VR motorbikes in addition to other games.
We were definitely ready for lunch now after all the touring. Since the specialty restaurants were offering small tasting bites, we chose to just sample a little at the buffet. The buffet is very nicely decorated compared to most I have seen. There are lots of options including salads, pizza, burgers, carving stations, pasta, Asian, Indian and of course tons of desserts. We had to get some pizza since we enjoyed it on our last MSC cruise. I also tried some nachos and spring rolls. Chris had a pulled pork sandwich. Everything was very tasty and I liked that many items were already portioned out to eliminate the use of serving utensils. At the back of the buffet is a door leading to the Sky Bar and the Bridge of Sighs which is a glass walkway connecting both sides of the ship. It is over the infinity pool on deck eight. This might make some people nervous but it did give a view which I am sure would be even more spectacular at sea.
The specialty restaurants are on deck 8 and we visited each to try a sample of their menus. First stop, Hola! Tacos which is a more casual venue. We tried some guacamole and tortilla soup which had a bit of a kick. Margaritas were also sampled here as well. Butcher’s Cut is the upscale steak house where we tried the tomato soup, oysters, wagyu sliders, beets with cheese, filet and chocolate chip cookies. We really enjoyed all the samples here. Teppanyaki was up next where we were given a plate containing a taste of salmon, steak and pineapple. The pineapple was shockingly delicious and the star of the sample here for me. The sushi bar was next and was so much fun to watch the plates go by and grab the ones you wanted to try. We tried cucumber roll and tuna which were good. The last restaurant was Ocean Cay which is a beautiful room. We sampled tuna tartare, black cod, gnocchi and tiramisu. This is the most elegant of the venues and I cannot wait to try a meal here. In addition the restaurants, there is a Cocktail bar and a Wine Cellar to enjoy a drink before your meal.
To continue our tour, we explored deck 18 where the Marina Pool and Bar is location. This is the main pool area with jumbo screen. There is also a gelato bar here as well and today it was complimentary so we both tried the pistachio since it was similar in color to the amazing pistachio gelato in Venice. The gelato was very creamy and super flavorful. Overlooking the pool from Deck 20, is Robotron. This thrill ride is a robotic arm that gives a fairly long ride set to music. We watched people ride it and decided to skip riding this time since there was a line of riders and we had full stomachs. The Pirates Cove Aquapark is also on this deck. It looks like such a fun area for kids and kids at heart. There are two large water slides that I will definitely try when I am a passenger. One deck up is Top 19 Exclusive Solarium which is only available to those who book Aurea cabins. There is lots of seating, bar and whirlpools for those guests. To end our explorations, we looked at the three main dining areas and Le Cabaret Rouge which is a theater as well as a late night venue.
We grabbed a cocktail to take to our cabin to enjoy on our balcony. It was nice to relax for a few minutes before having to dress for the evening. We had to be at the naming ceremony in the theater by 5:15 according to the invitation in our cabin.
The Naming Ceremony was scheduled for 6pm but did start a bit later than that. It was a long ceremony especially with being in our seats since 5:30pm. Lots of executives for MSC spoke and we watched many videos about the company. We learned about their partnership with UNICEF from Emma Kathleen Ferrer who is the granddaughter of Audrey Hepburn. The cast of A Chorus Line performed a number that was outstanding. Matteo Bocelli, son of Andrea Bocelli sang two songs for us. Members of Phantom of the Opera sang Time to Say Goodbye while the officers of the MSC Seascape made their way to the stage. Finally, it was time for the christening. Sophia Loren is the godmother to all of the MSC cruise ships but due to covid concerns, she sent a video. She announced Alexa Aponte, daughter of the executive chairman would perform the cutting of the ribbon for her. We watched the countdown to the ribbon cutting and saw the champagne crash against the ship on video. The MSC Seascape was officially named and it was time to celebrate.
The Green Wave was our assigned dining room for the Gala Dinner. We both started with the Crispy Kataifi Tiger Shrimp for our starter. These shrimp were excellent, much better than those I had in October on Grandiosa. For our entree, we both chose the Maine Lobster that was also great. The only option for dessert was Big Apple Cheesescape which was artfully presented with the Statue of Liberty and skyline in chocolate.
After dinner, we headed to the Atrium for some drinks and entertainment. Singer and songwriter, Ne-Yo was scheduled to perform. We found a great spot to view the festivities with some of our table mates from dinner. Ne-Yo did about three songs but had some issues with the sound. After restarting the last song, he abruptly left the stage and was done. The DJ played songs and we hung out for awhile soaking up the party atmosphere. We went back to the cabin fairly late considering we had to be up early to catch our train home.
We slept great on the comfortable beds and could have slept longer when the alarm woke us up. After dressing and packing up, we went to the buffet for a quick breakfast. They had a great variety of items to choose from and we really liked our breakfast. We made our way off the ship and walked to Penn Station to get our train back to Delaware. It was a fantastic way to spend a day and I am so excited to return on vacation to the MSC Seascape in 2024. If you would like to book a trip on this beauty, we are available to help you craft the vacation of your dreams. Stay tuned for our next adventure in February on the NCL Encore to the Caribbean. We hope everyone has a wonderful, healthy New Year filled with lots of adventure and travel!
It was a nice bonus getting the extra hour from the end of daylight savings but it also messed up our alarms so we did oversleep. We did not have much to do so we still had plenty of time to meet my parents for breakfast. My dad decided that the continental breakfast was plenty so he did not join us. Both dining rooms were very busy around 7:45am and only had shared tables. Not wanting to go to the buffet, we chose the shared table. Breakfast was pretty typical for a last morning. I have found the service and quality definitely drops off for this final meal on most cruises.
We returned to our cabins and it was time for priority disembarkation due to our status with NCL. It was not a very long line at all and we were quickly off the ship. There were quite a few suitcases in the priority area as it seems many were still on board. Customs was a breeze with a simple scan of the face and then it was just a short walk to our car. The drive home was uneventful which is good since it was also the New York City Marathon.
Our next blog will be in December. I was invited to attend the naming ceremony in New York for the MSC Seascape. It will be one night only but I am very excited to be a guest. I will do a report here as well as posts and some live streams on Facebook and Instagram.
We love to travel and experience new places and cultures.