Sleet pinged off my car window. Snow edged the highway where plows had shoveled it aside. My heater was going full blast but I could still feel the wintry wind buffeting my small car. Hoosier winters can be tough.
But I’m on my way to the Indy airport for a flight to Miami to board the beautiful new MSC Seascape for a weeklong Caribbean cruise. Wonderful time to escape an Indiana winter and learn more about the stunning new Seascape.
My flight was on time. Upon arrival in Miami, I took a cab from the airport to the Hilton Miami Downtown where I was booked for one night. Just following my own advice to cruisers – plan to arrive at least one day early for a cruise.
Flights can be delayed or cancelled. A ship will wait for no one. Plus, it is so nice to get a good night’s sleep before boarding a cruise ship.
My hotel room was quiet and comfortable. No unpacking. I’m just here for the night. After a leisurely hotel breakfast the next morning, I caught a cab to the Port of Miami to board MSC Seascape. I figured I might have to wait a bit but so what? The sun was shining. The temperature was balmy. Folks were friendly. After all, we were getting ready to cruise for a wonderful week.
My cruise will include stops at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, Nassau, San Juan, Puerto Plata and two days at sea.
Meeting My Yacht Club Butler
But I had no wait. I had done most of the necessary embarkation paperwork on my computer at home. And I was in for a great pampering surprise. I was booked in Stateroom 18049 on Deck 18 in the Yacht Club. When a crew member saw that Yacht Club designation, she directed me to a special waiting area in the boarding facility where guests were being served snacks and champagne. There I met my Yacht Club butler Mary Sanz.
Clad in a black tuxedo, white shirt, grey vest and grey striped tie and wearing white gloves, Mary greeted me before I even sat down in the waiting area. She insisted on toting my backpack and pulling my carry-on suitcase to lead me to my cabin. I’m sure I would have waited in line and wandered around a bit but Mary knew the shortcuts.
In no time, Mary had me in my beautiful cabin where she set up my laptop computer and cellphone for free WiFi access. She also explained various aspects of my cabin, the ship and the Yacht Club experience. She asked what newspaper I preferred each day so it could be delivered to me.
Seeing that I had no more questions, Mary said she would be back to accompany me to dinner after I had unpacked and gotten settled in my lovely new home. In fact, Mary even offered to unpack for me. Talk about being pampered. I unpacked myself but this was just the beginning of a heavenly week aboard the Seascape.
Large Comfy Cabin
Looking around, my cabin is quite large with a balcony with two chairs and a table. I’m sure I will spend much time out there watching the ocean roll. Room-darkening drapes can be drawn if necessary but I like the morning sunlight. The queen-size bed is quite comfy with a large padded seat at the end of the bed. Handy place to put on my shoes.
Cabin décor is pleasant shades of green and grey. Across from the bed is a mirror-filled wall and big flat screen HD interactive TV on the wall. A sofa, coffee table and chair are in the seating area separated from the bed by a three-shelf bookcase with several cruise-related art pieces on it.
The cabin has plenty of storage space and lots of electric outlets and USB ports. The closet and dresser drawers are far more than this solitary traveler will need. A safe is available as is a soft robe and house slippers. Good to have because I pack light with only a backpack and carry-on suitcase.
A mini-fridge actually keeps drinks cold and is already filled with complimentary soft drinks, juice, water, beer and wine. Complimentary snacks wait on the counter. A coffee maker with plenty of coffee pods also sits on the long desktop counter.
The bathroom has a huge glass-doored shower with built-in shampoo and conditioner dispensers. The shower has a handy seat and grab bars plus an overhead rain shower.
MED by MSC Toiletries
On a shelf in the bathroom are four tubes of MSC’s special toiletry – MED by MSC. The tubes of body lotion, conditioner, body wash and shampoo are scented with delicate flora notes of bergamot and jasmine along with some other nice fruit and floral smells.
Implemented across the fleet, MED by MSC is so named because of the cruise company’s relationship with the Mediterranean, Mary says. The name hints at the perfumed lavender fields of Provence, the fruit of fig trees warmed by the summer sun, fresh herbs and citrus flavors and the enchanting scent of floral jasmine caught on an ocean breeze.
The delightful scent seems to delicately enhance the ship. I have only just arrived and already I recognize slight hints of the scent in the elevators and hallways. I usually don’t like perfumes and steer clear of perfumed laundry detergents, shampoos and lotions. But this is different. Not intrusive, just offering a welcoming and inviting ambiance, sort of like the wisps that float in the air from my lilac bushes in the summer.
Whatever of these MED toiletries that I don’t use on my cruise will definitely find a way home with me. I imagine that I will have pleasant memories of my cruise when I stand in my home shower using these products.
A handy device near the door is another item I already like on the Seascape. The device takes the place of those “Do Not Disturb” signs that can be hung outside the cabin door. Instead, this push button instrument lets me push a button that powers a “Do Not Disturb” alert. The other button creates a “Make Up Room” signal for the cabin attendant. So simple and easy to use.
Now I’m off to explore this beautiful Seascape. I’ll be writing more about dining, entertainment, shore excursions and other treats as the week progresses. Hope you will come along to see what we discover.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch
Cover photo courtesy of MSC Cruises
See sailings here: All MSC Cruises (cruisecompete.com)