- Tuesday 30 January 2024
Ever wondered what it is like to cruise at Christmas?
For Christmas 2023 we sailed from Miami onboard the spectacular MSC Seascape, one of the newest cruise ships to the market. It has over 20 decks and a capacity for up to 5600 guests.
Its overall design draws inspiration from New York, with a Times Square entertainment and retail area onboard. There is also a 3-metre-tall Statue of Liberty replica in the casino. Times Square consists of duelling pianos at night and a 4-deck LCD screen which shows the Manhattan skyline.
There are lots of eateries onboard, from an 1170-seater buffet restaurant to a dedicated restaurant for Aurea and Yacht Club guests. There are 5 speciality restaurants, including Mexican, Japanese, American plus much more.
This cruise ship even has its own rollercoaster called ROBOTRON. For children, and of course adults, there is an onboard aquapark called Pirates Cove, complete with slides for all ages. MSC Seascape also has a Formula One virtual simulator, 4D cinema plus arcade games. Teens have their own clubs, games room and disco. There's also an indoor pool area called the Jungle Pool, which has a sliding roof.
At night, the ship comes alive with entertainment for all tastes. There are plenty of bars onboard, you won’t be disappointed. My favourite is Le Cabaret Rouge lounge, which consists of 3 levels. Every night showcased multiple entertainers, from singers and comedians to acrobats, and probably the best violinist I have ever heard. Simply spectacular. There is of course also the main theatre- which has 2 shows every night. Plus, there is family entertainment and kids' karaoke among others.
We spent 3 days pre-cruise in Miami. Biscayne Bay is where we always stay pre-cruise as it has easy access to shopping & entertainment, and is also close to the cruise port. Bayside Marketplace in Biscayne Bay has an abundance of shops and restaurants, and you can book tours and hop on/off buses etc. There is a nice family atmosphere during the day, and it comes alive at night with a very Cuban Atmosphere.
As it was Christmas, the ship was decorated as one would expect. There were lots of Christmas trees and decorations. It was amazing and MSC did a great job to make sure everyone was having a great time. Our balcony cabin was part of the Aurea experience. Sometimes as little as an extra €10 per day, the Aurea experience has lots of great perks. Get free Prosecco in your cabin on arrival, plus chocolate. You'll have access to the thermal spa throughout your cruise and access to a dedicated pool/ bar area, available only to Aurea guests. Plus, there's also a dedicated restaurant where you can dine at a time which suits you.
On this cruise, we stopped at the following ports: Nassau in the Bahamas, San Juan in Puerto Rico, Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, plus Ocean Cay which is a private island owned by MSC. Nassau is a walkable port- if you don’t want to take an excursion, there is lots to see and do. The Bahamian Government has invested a lot of money in renovating the port and it shows. San Juan is an old favourite of mine. We had been before, so this time decided to take it easy. We stopped for a snack, which turned into brunch, which turned into evening time. You’re on holidays- enjoy it!
What really surprised me was the port in the Dominican Republic, Taino Bay. The Dominican Republic government has also invested a lot of money in this port, and it really shows. I have to say, it was probably one of the best cruise ports I have ever visited in my almost 30 years of cruising. The port has been renovated to look and feel like a 5* resort. There are swimming pools, lazy rivers, bars, restaurants, and shopping. And no hidden charges for sun loungers etc. It was a day well spent.
Our next and last stop was Ocean Cay which is the MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas. This isn’t like some of the other cruise lines islands with aquaparks, slides etc. I get why MSC didn’t build these on the Island... if your ship already has an aquapark, slides etc, then why bother?! Instead, this is a marine reserve which is mainly beach-oriented. It’s committed to the restoration of natural resources and the conservation of coral reefs and local marine life.
There are lots of bars and restaurants on the island too, and if you have a drinks package included, you can use it on Ocean Cay. There is also a lighthouse, which has a spectacular night show at night.
In Christmas 2022, I sailed on the MSC Seaview from Rio de Janeiro. We went to Sao Paulo, Uruguay, Argentina and back to Rio. Watch for a blog on this, coming soon.
If you would like to cruise at Christmas contact me on 021 427 7094 or 0818 300205, or by emailing email@example.com.