Big ships can be intimidating for passengers like me who enjoy quiet time watching the sea, and a smaller, more intimate and less crowded experience. However, you may be surprised to learn that big ships, such as MSC Seascape DO offer an array of opportunities for intimate cruising or a romantic getaway. You can get that “small ship feeling” aboard a big ship!
On December 7th, MSC held its first cruise ship naming ceremony at New York City’s Pier 88. I was invited aboard MSC Seascape for a ship tour, gala dinner, and an overnight port stay.
I had never sailed with MSC Cruises previously, as I am typically drawn to much smaller ships with fewer than 300 passengers. However, I am always open for something new! As I approached the port under cloudy skies, there she was, the largest cruise ship ever to dock in Manhattan at an awe inspiring 170,000 gross tons and with a capacity of nearly 6,000 guests.
The ship was gorgeous! But…what really caught my attention was the MSC Yacht Club, an intimate and luxurious private “ship within a ship”, where you can experience the best of big ship cruising and small ship intimacy.
Photo1 Ship Night View – Photo Judi Cohen
The glamourous four-deck atrium contains sparkling chrome fixtures and a magnificent Swarovski Crystal inlaid staircase – which I was later told holds 52,000 crystals. Music was pumping from a shiny stage which featured a live band and massive LED screen spanning several decks with changing images of the New York City skyline. The new MSC Seascape impressed me with its state-of-the-art technology, sophisticated design, chic style, over-the-top swimming pools, bars, restaurants, shows, lounges and a casino. I couldn’t wait to get settled in my cabin and explore the ship before the Gala ceremony.
Photo 2: Atrium Photo Judi Cohen
Swarovski Crystal Staircase – Photo Judi Cohen
Multi-deck chandelier -Photo Judi Cohen
Welcome Aboard – Christmas Martini
A range of cabins and suites
My balcony cabin on Deck 15 (Cabin 15138) was very comfortable with a king bed, a pull-out sofa and a small desk area. A small closet and a few drawers were more than adequate for my needs. A coffee maker, safety deposit box, and a small fridge along with a hairdryer were provided in the cabin. I enjoyed having serious room-darkening curtains in my cabin so that I wasn’t awakened by the early morning light.
My balcony cabin – Photo Judi Cohen
There are 2,270 cabins, featuring 12 different kinds of suites and staterooms with and without balconies. There were options to meet everyone’s needs.
Pools and Entertainment
There are six pools, including an infinity pool, a spacious spa, an indoor/outdoor jungle pool and bar, area, two 20-person infinity hot tubs, and the Bridge of Sighs, a glass-bottom walkway. A large outdoor adventure park, the new Robotron ride and other Virtual Reality experiences are also available onboard.
Nearly every genre and style of popular live music can be found at the 19 bars and lounges onboard. The most popular bars before and after the naming ceremony were the Champagne Bar serving caviar and chilled seafood, and the bar inside the Casino. I was surprised to find that coffee and espresso were available at every bar, an ode to MSC’s Italian roots!
Jungle pool – Photo Judi Cohen
Champagne Bar – Photo Judi Cohen
Food Glorious Food
Trying all 11 restaurants on the MSC Seascape could be an activity unto itself.
Complimentary Mediterranean and international fare are available in the main restaurants, and there are oodles of choices at the Buffet. To dine in the specialty restaurants including Butcher’s Cut Steak House, Ocean Cay Seafood restaurant, Kaito Japanese Teppanyaki and Sushi Bar, and Hola! Tacos and Cantina, a fee would apply and reservations are required.
If the lobster tails, Caesar salad, and dessert I enjoyed at the Gala Dinner are indicative of the quality of the food and excellent service on the ship at all times, MSC Seascape will not disappoint. The New York Cheesecake in the shape of a big apple with a chocolate Statue of Liberty was the perfect way to end our gala dinner.
Dessert with Statue of Liberty
The Yacht Club – a ship within a ship
It took many hours to tour the ship moving from deck to deck, forward to aft to see the entire MSC Seascape. I loved every inch of the ship; It was a floating city, an entertainment center, a foodie’s paradise and so much more all on one vessel, however when I entered the Yacht Club with private suites on four decks (Decks 16,17, 18 and 19) I truly found my happy place.
I was wowed by the elegance of the Yacht Club suites, many of which have extra-large balconies and their own outdoor hot tubs. A special priority key card for the elevators takes you directly to your deck without stopping on any other floors. A dazzling Swarovski crystal staircase connected the decks within the Yacht club.
After seeing the indoor and outdoor spaces in the Yacht Club, it felt like the kind of small ship experience I typically look for. The advantage of the Yacht Club is that you get all the perks of being on a “big ship”, like shows, bars, amusements, pools and multiple food options, but you can retreat to your quiet Yacht Club oasis at your leisure.
Additional reasons to book in the Yacht Club are priority embarkation and disembarkation, unlimited in-cabin mini-bar drinks, free alcohol in the Topsail Lounge, reserved seating in the theater, a personal butler, concierge service, and an exclusive restaurant and lounge, pool, hot tubs and a sun deck!
MSC Yacht Club Towels
Entrance to MSC Yacht Club
Bar in MSC Yacht Club
Swimming Pool MSC Yacht Club
Deluxe Sunbathing Beds- MSC Yacht Club
Spa Tub MSC Yacht Club
Suite MSC Yacht Club
If you’re interested in experiencing the “best of both worlds” – the amenities and entertainment of a big ship but also the ability to enjoy a more intimate experience, MSC Seascapes provides the perfect opportunity to do both.
To be honest, I have avoided big ship cruising up until now, however seeing the MSC Seascape Yacht Club has completely changed my mind.
Thank you to MSC Cruises and All Things Cruise.
Cover photo: Spa Tub MSC Yacht Club
For information on upcoming cruises see MSC Cruises (cruisecompete.com)
About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises is the world’s third largest cruise brand as well as the leader in Europe, South America, the Gulf region and Southern Africa, with more market share in addition to deployed capacity than any other player. It is also the fastest growing global cruise brand with a strong presence in the Caribbean, North America and the Far East markets.
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC Cruises is one of the two brands that sit within the Cruise Division of MSC Group, the leading privately held Swiss-based shipping and logistics conglomerate with over 300 years of maritime heritage. MSC Cruises – the contemporary brand – has a modern fleet of 21 vessels combined with a sizeable future global investment portfolio of new vessels. The fleet is projected to grow to 23 cruise ships by 2025, with options for six more vessel orders in place through 2030.
MSC Cruises offers its guests an enriching, immersive and safe cruise experience inspired by the Company’s European heritage, where they can enjoy international dining, world-class entertainment, award-winning family programs, and the very latest user-friendly technology on board.
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