Getting to Port Miami from Fort Lauderdale
After a solid 6 hours of sleep, we woke up ready to plant our feet on that cruise ship! While the hotel offered a paid breakfast buffet, my cheap self opted to eat a protein bar that I had packed in my carry on. Jordan wasn’t feeling the greatest so he skipped breakfast altogether. Before checking out, we decided to head outside and take a look at the pool area. It was much smaller than I had envisioned but lovely nonetheless! I dipped my feet into the pool while Jordan called home to check on our fur-baby.
We decided to try Uber for the first time to take us from Fort Lauderdale to the cruise port in Miami. It was super easy to use and only cost $33 US which is quite affordable, given the distance. We felt completely safe and we were able to tip and rate our driver through the app after he dropped us off (use code “janineb3397ui” for a discount on your first ride!).
We arrived at the Port of Miami around 11am and there was a decent line forming at security. Thankfully it was quite fast-moving despite the constant alarms and yelling from security personnel. Once we passed through security, we were able to immediately check in with MSC and head straight for the ship! On our other cruise experiences, we’ve been given a group number and have had to wait until our number was called. On MSC, we were able to walk right on. It was the smoothest and easiest embarkation process and we are onboard by 11:30am.
Lunch With a View
Walking into the main atrium on the ship was immediately mesmerizing. People were buzzing about everywhere and we needed to step away from the atrium and get our bearings. We decided to head to the buffet on deck 8 for lunch, then explore the ship. Normally we never eat at the buffet on cruise ships but as it was embarkation day, the buffet was the only option open for lunch. We picked up pizza (the first of many slices), ceasar salad, and I also had chips and guacamole, pasta, and one lone Brussel sprout. It took us a couple minutes to figure out the self-serve drink station (you need to swipe your card, then use the dispenser within the allotted time period) but it was smooth sailing after that (pun intended!). Immediately, we were impressed with the food! We had a lovely meal with the skyline of Miami in the background.
Our Room on the MSC Seaside
After lunch, we explored the ship to pass time until our room was ready. We took a tour of the spa, which we highly recommend doing! It’s a great way to see in person what the spa has to offer. After the tour, we decided that we wanted to go there for a day!
Around 2pm, they made the announcement that rooms were ready and we headed to ours on the 10th floor. The room was comparable to other balcony rooms that we’ve had, though storage was limited. We will write a separate post on our room with more detail, including how we utilized our space!
Around 4pm, our suitcases arrived outside our door. We unpacked and proceeded to get ready for supper. As “Bella” guests, we had to choose between early dining (5:30pm-7:30pm) or late dining (7:30pm-9:30pm). We chose early and were given a dining time of 5:30pm. In hindsight, I wish we had chosen the later option, however, I didn’t want to be stuck dining at 9:30pm either. I think 7pm is the ideal dining time on cruises and we always felt a bit rushed with the 5:30pm time.
We were assigned to the Seashore dining room on the 5th deck. There are two dining rooms – Seashore on the 5th and Ipanema on deck 6. While they were using the buffet for Bella guests earlier this year, they no longer do that and instead, offer three seatings for each meal now (5:15/5:30, 7:15/7:30, and 9:15/9:30).
Seashore Dining Room
The dining room was tasteful with a grey and burgundy color scheme. We were pleased to discover that we had been assigned a table to ourselves, however, there was approximately 2 inches between our table and the tables on either side of ours. That being said, you could easily talk amongst yourselves without overhearing your companions due to general chatter in the dining room. We had heard others complain of the noise level in the dining room due to the low ceilings, but we did not notice it to be any louder than normal.
We had a lovely German couple sitting on one side of us whom we became acquainted with over the 7 day cruise. The table on the other side of us was empty every night.
We were also introduced to our wait staff that night. Agus was our main server and Delilah took our drink orders. While I cannot remember the names of the head waiter and the assistant server, they were lovely as well.
We both ordered the spring rolls with dipping sauce to start, followed by the NY strip steak. The spring rolls were tasty and the steak was delicious! Lots of flavour and good quality, tender meat. Our steaks were also cooked as ordered. Jordan ordered the apple crumble for dessert, which he thought was okay, and I ordered the passion fruit cheesecake which was delicious.
The MSC Seaside is different from most cruises in that it doesn’t leave port until 7pm. This allows plenty of time for its European passengers to fly in that morning (which we don’t recommend!). As such, we ended up watching the ship sailaway from our balcony after supper as opposed to joining the party up on deck.
Registering Credit Card
Generally when you check in with a cruise line during embarkation, you provide your credit card information. With MSC, you have to register your credit card after you board the ship. They give you 48 hours to do so and have a few self-serve machines on the 5th and 6th decks. It was an easy process and took us only a couple of minutes to complete. We each registered a credit card to our own name, as opposed to just one for the room.
Venchi and Movie at Sea
After supper we headed to the chocolate bar, Venchi, for hot chocolate. Their hot chocolate is delicious but very rich! Jordan wasn’t a huge fan of his as it did have a dark chocolate undertone.
We then headed up to the Miami Pool on the 16th floor for an outdoor movie showing. That night they were playing Beauty and the Beast so we settled in on lounge chairs and watched it. The only thing missing was popcorn!