KEEP YOUR SUNGLASSES ON when you step on board MSC Cruises’ new Seashore because the magnificent atrium gleams with six staircases whose steps are filled with glittering Swarovski crystals. While these features are the jewels in Seashore’s crown, the entire design and décor of the ship is stunning.
The luxe look includes marble floors, crystal chandeliers, luxurious leather and suede furnishings, silver hardware and abstract modern art that makes you stop and take a second look. If a ship could be a runway fashion model, Seashore would be the “It Girl” as she’s camera-ready inside and out.
It’s fitting that her godmother is movie star Sophia Loren since glitz and glam is Seashore’s game; however, the ship has also adopted a strong New York theme for its venues to reinforce that she is even better tailored to North Americans than her two sisters Seaside and Seaview.
Seashore carries 5,877 guests, has six pools,18 bars and lounges, five specialty restaurants and three dining rooms. She has 20 decks but, interestingly, there’s no deck 17, since that number is generally considered unlucky for this Italian cruise line.
Outside, Seashore is curvy in all the right places. The design of the aft is a true head-turner with mirrored windows and a stunning infinity pool. Sleek in-pool loungers give the space a hip, modern vibe and relaxing on Deck 8 is especially enjoyable since the area is for adults only. Seeing it from Deck 15, as you gaze down through the curved, glass-floored walkway called the Bridge of Sighs, will make you swoon.
In the mornings, I would venture to the Long Island main pool and hot tub area hoping to secure a large sunbed beside the pool. I soon learned you have to be a very early bird to land that prime real estate. The loungers are plentiful, however, and it’s fun to watch the goings-on from any angle – live entertainment, line dancing and deck games. The buzz heightens throughout the day, so you’ll need to be in the mood for a party rather than peace.
Families with young children gravitate to the Jungle Pool with its lush faux plants and sliding roof for those rainy moments. Padded teak loungers are extra comfortable for keeping watch on all the deck activities.
You can hear loud squeals of delight from children at the Pirate’s Cove aquapark, designed by a Canadian firm based in B.C. to be reminiscent of a pirate ship. There’s a wading pool, rope bridges, drenching buckets, jets and two waterslides that hang over the side of the ship for extra teen-tempting thrills.
All this outdoor activity creates big appetites and the 1,100-seat buffet called the Marketplace is popular for casual, self-serve meals. Signs posted suggest one side for families with children and the other side for adults – a brilliant idea I’d not seen before.
For breakfast, the options are hot, the sides are plentiful and the offerings such as waffles, French toast and croissants are fresh. Because everything on this ship from food to furnishings has a designer flair, fruit is served in attractive flower-pot style bowls.
MSC Cruises has not always received great reviews for their meals in the main dining rooms. But if you don’t like what you ordered, just let the waiter know and he or she will be friendly, apologetic, and quick to bring you another choice. One of my tablemates thought her fish was bland so she switched it for more flavourful beef.
For the best dining, book a specialty restaurant as the choices are all delicious. Many staff walk around carrying dining information and will book reservations for you on the spot – a convenient service. Choose from Ocean Cay, Kaito Teppanyaki, Kaito Sushi, Butcher’s Cut and Hola! Tacos and Cantina. Some offer lovely outdoor dining so be sure to ask.
Whether or not you drink alcohol, the bars on Seashore are ideal for meeting or simply people watching. The Uptown piano bar is a favourite for the duelling pianists, often playing Elton John and Billy Joel tunes. You won’t miss a sports event at the American Sports Bar and quiet reading and conversations are best enjoyed at the Brooklyn Café where the decor has a den-like theme. For an upscale experience, the Champagne Bar and Shine Bar offer silvery, glittery vibe, but if it’s the outdoors you prefer, the rooftop Sky Bar has panoramic views.
MSC is noted for its exceptional entertainment and this ship doesn’t disappoint! Shows in the Madison Theatre are impressive because acrobats, gymnasts, jugglers and contortionists complement the singers, dancers and musicians. Shows such as ‘Gravity’, ‘Paris!’ and ‘Mystic Forest’ were so good that the audience applauded the amazing feats throughout the shows and then jumped to their feet for final standing ovations. For a touch of drama, be sure to visit the La Cabaret Rouge lounge with its 1920s theme, brazen red decor and live entertainment. Your approach includes walking through a tunnel of colourful lights that’s Instagram-worthy.
There are about a dozen different types of staterooms and the private MSC Yacht Club is an area of about 130 upscale suites – the largest of the fleet. The entrance is breathtaking with a three-storey onyx wall and sparkling Swarovski staircase.
MSC Yacht Club
The staff and crew, from stewards and waiters to managers were unfailingly friendly and conversational and exuded a genuine joy. Simply having them on hand enhances your cruise experience immensely. Seashore aims to charm you, by offering a variety of interesting itineraries, and enticing you to take the time to enjoy her extraordinary beauty and features.
Written by Diane Tierney for Cruise & Travel Lifestyles. All photos courtesy of MSC Cruises.