Matt Dunn provides us an MSC Seaview evaluation on this Cruise Radio broadcast hosted by Doug Parker. He discusses his honeymoon cruise from Barcelona, Spain, in July 2023. This transcript has been edited for readability.
You’ll be able to listen to the entire episode here.
MSC Seaview Overview
Query: Give us some pre-cruise ideas. What made you need to leap throughout the ditch for a seven-night honeymoon cruise?
Matt: We wished a conventional week-long cruise that began on both a Saturday or Sunday for journey functions once more, to not stretch right into a second week of lacking work. After which quantity two, a balcony cabin with a drink package deal, specialty eating, and Wi-Fi for underneath three days. In order that was form of what we have been searching for.
Matt: So simply to form of provide you with some background right here, Doug, if I can,
My father and I cruised the Med on the Norwegian Epic in late June or early July of 2019, and we have been in a position to fly from Miami to the embarkation port metropolis of Barcelona on Trans Air, Portugal, with a cease in Lisbon on the time for like $900 for a spherical journey for each of us.
Effectively, my spouse and I had much more hassle discovering reasonably priced flights this time round that we wanted than my father and I did 4 years earlier. So as soon as we selected the cruise we’d take, we underestimated the challenges of discovering flights that match our wallets and the instances we have been searching for.
So we selected this French-Canadian service referred to as Air Transat, which included a cease in Montreal, Canada, earlier than persevering with to Barcelona. So Doug, my spouse, and I stay in Tampa, so we needed to fly to Miami after which wait in Miami to catch the flight to Montreal, Canada, simply to get to Barcelona.
Matt: That was definitely, I suppose, a stretch that I feel we want we may have again. So we left with the time change. We left on Might 25 and arrived in Barcelona on Friday, Might 26, in the future earlier than our cruise departure on Saturday, Might 27. So, like I mentioned, the journey originated in Miami with a scheduled three-hour layover in Montreal.
Nevertheless, we have been 2.5 hours delayed leaving Miami resulting from plane upkeep points, which made our connection paper-thin in Montreal. So we politely talked about this concern about making the subsequent flight, together with our luggage being transferred to the flight from Montreal to Barcelona, to the flight attendant, who, in fact, informed us to not fear, as 27 others have been making the identical connection, lots of which come to search out out what be on the identical cruise that we have been.
So as soon as we landed in Montreal, a gate agent was ready for us and the 27 others above to catch the flight to Barcelona.
Matt: And it seems we needed to run again to the, I suppose, the spot the place customs is completed, proper? While you checked in to Trudeau Airport in Montreal, we have been 27 Individuals sprinting by way of the Trudeau Airport with some laughable French feedback from lots of the employees there at Trudeau Airport.
So once more, we made the flight, fortunately, however we requested the flight attendant once more about our luggage, and he or she mentioned, oh, sure, the captain is seeing to it that every one the bags on the subsequent flight goes to be placed on this, you understand, out of your earlier flight. It’s going to be placed on this flight. However as soon as we arrived in Barcelona, we found that no one of many 27 connecting passengers had their baggage. In order that. It was form of the best way that our honeymoon cruise started.
Doug: Do you utilize any air tags or something in your baggage?
Matt: So I can hear my spouse form of laughing in my head about this.
Matt: She had it on hers. I didn’t have it in mine. However clearly, we figured that, you understand, that our luggage have been collectively and we simply, you understand, by the point there wasn’t ample to my recollection, there wasn’t ample Wi-Fi on the Air Transat flight.
Or perhaps we simply didn’t pay for it, I can’t bear in mind. And so we didn’t actually get it collectively that our luggage have been nonetheless once more in Canada till we acquired to Barcelona. So we may see clearly that they weren’t in Barcelona.
Doug: So, how far does your cruise depart the subsequent day? When did your luggage arrive?
Matt: Effectively, I’ve that as part of the later story. However I’ll let you know, it was not till the fourth day of the cruise that we lastly acquired our baggage. And once more, my spouse, um, God bless her, who’s eight and a half years youthful than me, was a lot better ready as a result of she had packed a number of issues in her carry-on bag.
Matt: I simply did my carry-on bag like sneakers and belts and issues of that nature. So, Doug, I’m not a small man. I’m six 5, 250 kilos. So I don’t know for those who knew this or perhaps your listeners know this. There’s not a complete lot of double xls in Europe, proper? You form of go searching slightly bit to search out stuff. So we lucked out slightly bit.
The lodge we have been staying at in Barcelona the night time earlier than the cruise was the Hampton by Hilton Grand Fria, which is a couple of seven-minute Uber from the cruise port there in Barcelona. The concierge there was actually useful. And there was a shopping center, a form of conventional fashion mall in Barcelona that was a couple of ten-minute stroll.
And I used to be in a position to get a number of issues there and to get me by. And the opposite luck we had was that there was just one themed night time on the cruise together with the Captain’s Membership, you understand, extra formal night time.
Matt: And each of them have been backloaded. So, fortunately, we do have an excellent form of ending to the misplaced baggage story. With that, we did get them again in time to at the least have the theme get together and the formal night time coated. In order that was good, at the least good.
Doug: Gosh. So that you make your manner on board the ship with some new garments. How was your embarkation course of there in Barcelona, and the way lengthy did it take you from the pier to the ship?
Matt: Doug, thanks, by the best way. And embarkation was very straightforward, particularly with little or no baggage, by the best way. Yeah, we had a I don’t know if individuals are accustomed to this. I’m certain they’re if they’ve taken a Mediterranean cruise. However Barcelona is just about like Miami or Lauderdale of the Med. I perceive it’s not as massive by way of what number of cruises go out and in, but it surely’s solely a couple of, like I mentioned, 5 to 7-minute Uber.
Matt: Uber is form of bizarre in Spain. It doesn’t take you proper to Uber. It takes you to one of many cab companies, but it surely’s nonetheless the identical. Um, once you get to the Barcelona airport, and it appeared like there have been about, pardon me, the Barcelona cruise port, it appeared like there have been 5 different ships, together with ours, that have been in port, and all of them have their very own terminals.
So everybody in our terminal, for example, was getting on the ocean view that day. So there’s, so long as you’re headed to the correct terminal, it’s very straightforward to navigate. And more often than not, your Uber driver is aware of precisely the place to take you.
We arrived barely early, and so they weren’t letting individuals board but. After about half-hour, we boarded with the primary wave of individuals, given our MSC black card standing. And so all in all, curb the ship was about 40 minutes, once more, had we proven upright, you understand, proper on the proper time as an alternative of early? Doug, It may need been quarter-hour.
Doug: So that you make your manner on board. Seaview. What have been your first impressions of the ship?
Matt: It’s attractive. The ship was completely lovely. And I bear in mind taking its sister ship, the Seaside, which is in the identical classification.
I like this class of ship, primarily as a result of there are such a lot of out of doors areas. I like the way you’ve acquired a number of pool decks, whether or not it’s the principle pool deck up on the highest or the sundown pool behind the ship. I imagine it was on deck seven. I additionally love how a nightclub spills out into the again pool deck when it will get darkish. It’s form of like a cool neon-lit get together at night time whereas seeing the ocean proper behind you. So it’s a pleasant contact on this class of ship.
Additionally, with any newer MSC ship, you’ll discover the ship’s glitzy glam decor and interiors. The famed crystal staircases all through the middle decks of the promenade spotlight this.
Matt: She’s only a attractive girl. MSC, Doug, as we all know, definitely has its faults, however I don’t suppose you could query how good their newer ships are. My spouse and I don’t spend a variety of time in our cabin apart from to sleep, you understand, alone time or to dress. So we simply, you understand, went in your normal balcony cabin, which was on deck ten. It was nice.
No complaints and it suited our wants. Plus, having the balcony provides you these nice Mediterranean views within the mornings, which have been good to get up to. And I used to be tempted. I’m form of rewinding right here for a second. Provided that this was our honeymoon, I used to be tempted to go for a collection or junior suite, however we simply determined that we have been good with the common balcony.
Doug: Now, you mentioned you may have the black card with MSC. So let me ask you this. I need to take a few steps again right here. So once you have been pricing, you had that $3,000 funds.
Doug: Have been you different cruise strains, or have been you want, you understand what, we’ve the black card with MSC. We’re going to sail with them.
Matt: So I’ll provide you with a loaded reply to your query, Doug. We have been open to doing different cruise strains. My spouse occurs to be an enormous fan. Simply to form of provide you with some cruise background with us. I’ve been on 27 cruises, and I’m 35 and didn’t begin until I used to be 19. And so, as you’ll be able to inform, with lacking two years, clearly from the Covid shutdown, um, basically, I’ve taken, you understand, 4 to five a yr.
I feel 5 is my max. And more often than not, it’s been three, you understand, since I used to be 19. And I additionally love celebrities. I simply suppose it’s form of probably the most fashionable form of bang in your buck that you just’re getting, regardless that it’s thought-about, you understand, air quotes, a premium cruise line. My spouse is an enormous fan of Royal, and he or she’s been on eight calls earlier than this, and 6 of the eight have been royal.
Matt: And so we have been open to different strains. I steered us in direction of MSC primarily as a result of we have been attempting to stay with that funds. And for those who guide instantly with the cruise line and are a MSC Cruises black card holder, I imagine you get 25% off. And in order that’s form of the promoting level.
After which, on high of that, as I discussed, MSC has its faults once more, and I’ll get into that slightly bit later. Nevertheless, I had heard that they do Mediterranean cruising nearly pretty much as good or higher than anybody. So I wished to say I had sailed them quite a few instances within the Caribbean however wished to provide them a shot over on their dwelling turf.
Doug: Yeah, it’s additionally so much to love with Costa. Costa has a crap product within the U.S. once they sail from right here, however over in Italy, I’ve sailed them 3 times in Italy, and it’s spot on. It’s top-of-the-line cruise strains I put up in opposition to Carnival Royal in Norwegian in Holland, America, who’ve all sailed within the Med.
Doug: Has it performed MSC but? However one thing have to be mentioned about crusing a cruise line on their dwelling turf.
Matt: Precisely. And so they appear to be? How would I say that is barely extra well-respected in Europe? Once more, as I maintain going again, they’ve acquired their faults or points within the US. They’re form of what Carnival or Royal Caribbean is within the US.
That’s what they’re in Europe. So they have a tendency to get an excellent port placement at numerous European ports, etcetera. So once more, form of one of many issues that was a kind of many components as to why we went with them.
Doug: So that you loved your room. So, let’s discuss in regards to the eating on this ship. So, did you do any specialty eating places? However first off, let me simply ask you, let’s discuss the principle buffet, the Lido buffet, as we name it, again right here within the US. How was that have, and doesn’t this class of ship have two ranges of buffets?
Matt: Yeah, the buffet was advantageous. We often go there as a result of we’ve solely been on two different cruises collectively as a result of, once more, we met on a cruise in early 2020, about 4 weeks earlier than the industry-wide shutdown. After which we had gone on a brief cruise out of Port Canaveral, about six months sooner than this, about 5 or 6 months earlier than our wedding ceremony.
Um, and so we often, after we cruise collectively, we solely do the buffet for breakfast. And it was good, an excellent selection for those who’ve sailed this class of ship earlier than; as you talked about, Doug, they do have two buffets. The bigger one is on deck eight, and the smaller one is especially with sandwiches, burgers, sizzling canine, and go gadgets close to the pool deck on deck 14. And so the buffet was advantageous. I didn’t have an issue with it. Good selection, etcetera.
Doug: How does MSC do the principle eating room on this class of ship? Are you assigned one eating room and one eating time, or is it like at any time kind eating?
Matt: Given our black card standing, you’re assigned a fundamental eating room.
Matt: We did have any time eating, which we love, particularly once you’re doing the Mediterranean, and it’s so port intensive, and also you’re getting again to the ship, particularly for those who take an tour, you’re getting again to the ship form of in any respect numerous instances of the day. And so it’s good to have any time eating if I can, or are we good to enter the principle eating room as a result of for.
Doug: Certain, launch into it.
Matt: You bought some. All proper. I’m about to launch into MSC for this one. Okay. Anyway, um, one of the crucial talked about topics, Doug, as I’ve hinted earlier on this episode, one of the crucial talked about issues with MSC and their controversies is their meals. If there’s something extra controversial and main cruising than MSC meals, I’d love to listen to it. And this cruise form of lived as much as that repute. On the primary night time of the cruise, we ate in the principle eating room, the black sand eating room.
Matt: And the meals was atrocious. And the service was additionally equally as horrific. Now, we’re not the Karen complaining varieties. It’s simply it’s simply not our character to bash hard-working crew employees. However this was simply terrible. I don’t have another option to say it.
My spouse’s fish was undercooked and poorly plated. I had it with little or no seasoning. My beef bourguignon was overcooked, dry, and nearly unpalatable. Even the appetizers have been marginal at greatest.
As well as, my spouse, Michaela needed to ask for butter for her bread 3 times earlier than they lastly introduced it out in direction of the top of our entrees after serving the bread that was served proper after we sat down. It was simply an unlucky expertise.
And proper up there with one of many worst fundamental eating room experiences I’ve ever had, they only can’t appear to get it collectively, Doug, relating to their fundamental eating rooms. And that’s fleet-wide. And I first sailed MSC as a 21-year-old faculty pupil in 2009.
Matt: They will’t appear to get it collectively of their fundamental eating halls. And once more, that is my eighth MSC cruise. So we tried it once more on the third night time of the cruise simply to provide them the last word advantage of the doubt. And it was barely higher, however simply marginal at greatest.
We determined at that time that it will be our final night time in the principle eating room. And I don’t know, Doug, I’ve heard this rumor and take a look at to not snigger too arduous, but it surely made me suppose that they honestly try to tank their fundamental eating halls to ship individuals to specialty eating places as a result of it labored for us.
Doug: Yeah, it’s only a share, although. I imply, I suppose. I suppose it’s form of a silly transfer in the event that they have been attempting to do this as a result of a share, you understand, skews to enter the principle eating room. So I don’t know, like I’ve heard of cruise strains doing that earlier than, but it surely looks as if a silly enterprise transfer as a result of meals is without doubt one of the causes you cruise, proper?
Matt: Sure. And once more, we have been hoping, going again to why we selected to do a line on their dwelling turf, we have been hoping that the meals could be higher in Europe, provided that, once more, perhaps the suppliers that don’t know, regardless of the case is and you understand, I grew up in Louisiana, so I simply love meals. We’re foodies, each my spouse and I are. And so it was simply unlucky.
However you requested about specialty eating, and we entered the cruise, planning on doing two specialty eating eating places. We had a 3rd specialty eating possibility, which included a free tasting menu at a restaurant of our alternative, which, once more, you get along with your black card standing with MSC.
So, given what I simply mentioned about the principle eating room, we ended up doing 5 nights of specialty eating. The primary night time that we did specialty Eating was night time two of the cruise, and we utilized our free tasting menu possibility for this one on the Asian market, which is their Asian fusion restaurant.
Matt: Now, this isn’t the hibachi grill. That’s additionally two eating places inside one. That is form of their, um, number of Chinese language, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese delicacies that they do. And the meals was superior. Every little thing we tried on this tasting menu was nice. It was filling. We each cherished it. The drinks have been nice. It was a good time.
It is vitally nicely introduced and only a lovely space of the ship. And for those who’re serious about doing a tasting menu or have that possibility along with your black card standing, benefit from it on the Asian market as a result of they’ll provide you with a variety of selection on nights.
For 4 of the cruises, we did Ocean Cay Seafood once more, which is, in fact, their seafood restaurant. And once more, Doug, regardless that I stay in Tampa, I’m from Louisiana, so often, I’m not the world’s largest fan of seafood exterior of the Gulf South as a result of I grew up with what I feel is the most effective Creole and Cajun cooking round.
Matt: However we had arguably our greatest cruise meal that night time at this restaurant. My spouse had the clams that I had, the snapper, and we additionally had a wide range of nice seafood appetizers, and the service was phenomenal. So once more, you’ll be able to form of see the pattern right here. The specialty eating places to this point have been unimaginable on night time quantity 5 of our cruise.
We had gotten again fairly late from Rome that day and stuffed ourselves with some Neapolitan-style pizza on land. So we didn’t eat. However on night time six, um, we ate on the Hibachi restaurant by Roy Gucci, once more part of that Asian fusion market.
However once more, it’s separated from the opposite a part of the restaurant. It’s form of a strict, you understand, hibachi space. So, simply to provide you a heads up, although, due to the restricted house, they’re very strict on seating instances and don’t wait till the cruise to guide a bucket except you need to eat it at 10 p.m. The meals was superior.
Matt: The chef was entertaining and made us snigger so much. He was very humorous and even acquired lots of the season-to-bocce lovers who had heard the identical jokes from the cooks on totally different cruises to snigger. Once more, it was a terrific expertise, and I want I may bear in mind the chef’s identify, however the meals was about pretty much as good as his act. It was wonderful. After which, on the final night time of the cruise, we ate at Butcher’s Minimize Steakhouse.
This was form of our final, you understand, form of honeymoon celebration dinner. The meals was good, however not nice of their protection. I really feel prefer it’s arduous for cruises to supply that unimaginable steakhouse expertise anymore as a result of steakhouses are a dime dozen now.
And also you’ve acquired them on each nook and each main metropolis throughout the US. So once more, it was good, not nice. I had a rib eye, and my spouse had a filet. They overcooked mine and undercooked hers, however they tried to make it proper, and we didn’t make an enormous deal out of it.
Matt: So once more, it’s nonetheless good. It was not nice, for 4 of our 5 specialty eating places have been sensational.
Doug: You recognize, I’m so glad you mentioned that in regards to the steakhouse as a result of, like, I used to be on Norwegian Prima a few weeks in the past, and yeah, I like Cagney’s Steakhouse. It’s good, but it surely’s not like a high tier for me as a result of, like, in my studio proper now, I’m additionally Ruth’s Chris throughout the river in Morton’s proper right here. So you will get a terrific steak on land for about the identical worth you’d pay on the Norwegian ship.
Matt: You actually can. And I bear in mind, and naturally, you’ve been on many extra cruises than me, however I bear in mind, you understand, circa late 2000 after I started cruising by way of 2018 earlier than the pandemic. I bear in mind the steak homes was once one thing particular.
And once more, I’m undecided if it provides, if it’s simply that there are such a lot of specialty eating places now, or if it’s simply that, once more, we’ve so many steakhouses within the US everywhere that it simply doesn’t really feel form of as particular because it was once if that makes any sense.
Doug: No, it does, as a result of it used to have the supper club-type theme, proper? Prefer it was, it was an occasion. You’d simply gown up. You wouldn’t roll in there with denims and a T-shirt on. You’d be despatched away.
Matt: No, no, I utterly agree. 100%. Yeah.
Doug: Now I really feel like I’m previous and like these children which are altering issues.
Matt: Yeah. My spouse is simply 26 and mentioned I’m 35, so I really feel you. We’re form of on the alternative ends of the millennium’s, you understand, millennial spectrum. I’m an older millennial. She’s a youthful millennial. So anyway, I really feel yeah.
Doug: So how in regards to the leisure on board for these seven nights? I do know that, like with Europe, it’s extra of a port-intensive itinerary, in order that they don’t have a tendency to supply a ton of leisure or in the event that they do, it’s simply very restricted. So, what was the expertise at MSC? Seaview for the Seven Nights?
Matt: Yeah, I do give MSC credit score. They did have a full slate of manufacturing reveals.
Matt: And you understand, your Broadway-style reveals and the issues that MSC is understood for. I will probably be sincere that we solely did three nights of the reveals as a result of that’s all we may make. Um, you form of hit it proper on the top. Um, we acquired again slightly late.
I feel I need to say three nights of the cruise. We acquired again slightly late, and I acquired, you understand, form of needed to dress actual fast for dinner, or we simply wished to, you understand, hit the nightclubs or regardless of the case was. And so we missed it.
The reveals that we did see, we noticed a Broadway manufacturing, after which we noticed an opera present and form of only a dance and singing present. All of them have been advantageous. I received’t fake that Michaela or I that’s essentially our factor. However the reveals have been good. The theater is sweet if that’s your factor. I feel this cruise, you’ll get pleasure from this.
Doug: And the way have been the ocean days concerning crowds and congestion? And in addition, how was the smoke scenario in and across the on line casino?
Matt: The times have been advantageous. We solely had in the future, as I’m certain many individuals have cruised the Med, for those who’re doing a week-long cruise like this, we solely had in the future, and that was on day six, I imagine. Which day? 5 or 6, no matter. It’s the second to final day. That day, after we have been leaving Rome and our Qhubeka, I may by no means pronounce it proper and heading over to Majorca.
And in order that was the one day that we had. We did rise up comparatively early, you understand, in preparation, that we’d have slightly extra hassle securing a spot. However we have been capable of finding one thing proper by the principle pool deck. Certain. Doug, you understand, you’re going to have your, you understand, towel clips and magazines that maintain chairs for hours and so forth.
Matt: Like most cruise strains, MSC’s pool attendants strive their greatest to discourage this. But it surely was, you understand, nonetheless primarily fairly full. However they do have that again pool, which actually form of, I feel, relieves among the stress on the principle pool deck. So I didn’t discover it overly crowded in any respect. I believed it was advantageous, and the ship was full. I requested.
Doug: The 2 swimming pools at the moment are arrange like a standard midship pool after which a again pool with the amphitheater kind seating.
Matt: Sure, appropriate. They don’t have an amphitheater again there. I do know. Type of like, for example, the Norwegian epic involves thoughts with their, you understand, again pool deck. They’ve acquired form of the theater arrange again there, too. And clearly, they’ve acquired their Grand Water Theater factor again on the royal mega-ships. That is simply the again pool on deck seven, and it’s a a lot smaller pool, but it surely’s form of a sundown pool factor they’ve acquired occurring.
Matt: And what’s cool about it, once more, you’ve acquired a nightclub proper there that opens up and form of spills again into the pool space, and so they form of begin the music there form of within the late afternoon, simply form of prepping for the night time, if you’ll. So it’s a little bit, I’d say, extra of an grownup crowd again there. We totally loved each swimming pools, although.
So, sure, to reply your query, it was your conventional high deck, you understand, mid-range pool or mid-deck, I ought to say midship pool. After which down on deck seven, they’ve acquired the again deck, you understand, pool. Plus, in fact, they do have a full solarium with one other pool. So, three swimming pools on a ship of this dimension. Fairly good.
Doug: Any luck within the on line casino?
Matt: Neither my spouse nor I are gamblers. Folks in your present go into the casinos and win these free cruises.
Matt: I must discover ways to do exactly that. And perhaps I’d be extra into it. I do wish to. I just like the sports activities bets right here and there, however apart from that, I can’t let you know how a lot of a card participant or just like the slots or something like that. And the identical factor occurred to my spouse. You requested us in regards to the smoking scenario. Let me let you know that I give a complete lot of credit score to by some means making it look like there’s not a variety of cigarette smoke as a result of the Europeans are nice.
They’ve the most effective meals on the earth. There are among the nicest individuals on the earth, however they’re one vice. They smoke like chimneys. And by some means, someway, nowhere on the ship appeared like there was a variety of cigarette smoke. In order that was slightly little bit of a reduction. I did get pleasure from a cigar on the ship, however apart from that, no issues with smoking.
Doug: Okay. It is a heavy and port-intensive itinerary, as you talked about.
Doug: So we’ll discuss in regards to the ports of name right here. And we’ll give us a port name, give us your spotlight, after which simply transfer to the subsequent one.
Matt: Completely. So, our first port of name after leaving Barcelona we went to Cannes. I do know many individuals pronounce it just like the French pronounce it Con, so we went to Cannes on the French Riviera. My spouse and I didn’t have an tour deliberate for Cannes, primarily as a result of I do know town nicely. As a junior at LSU in faculty, I did a semester overseas in Canne, so I lived there for about six months.
So I wished to indicate my spouse, you understand, the place I lived and present her a number of of my favourite locations within the metropolis. And given the luggage scenario, we form of diverted and did a number of extra, you understand, buying issues right here and there to only form of give us slightly extra clothes.
Matt: And till our luggage, we’re supposed to indicate up. Plus we had an exquisite lunch close to the water, close to the Movie Pageant Museum. After all, it’s recognized for the Cannes Movie Pageant. We additionally spent the top of the day on the seaside close to the port, which was very good. And the individuals on the French Riviera, Doug, form of would remind you of individuals within the southern United States.
It’s versus, say, the reputations of Parisians. While you’re visiting Paris, it’s nonetheless one among my favourite locations on Earth. I simply love this little metropolis on the French Riviera. Our subsequent port, which was the very subsequent day, day three of the cruise, was Genoa.
As an alternative of taking our trip to Portofino or attempting to catch a ferry there, we had some mates who advisable it. I hope I’m saying this proper, boy, which is one other seaside metropolis or seaside commune that appears just like Portofino.
Matt: However right here’s the factor. Portofino is about an hour from Genoa, is 20 minutes exterior of Genoa, and has about half the vacationers. So we cherished it. You must stroll down this type of cliff space between these colourful buildings that appear like they’re out of an Italian postcard. We simply laid on the seaside and loved Italian cocktails; the seaside was utterly free. And you might arrange towels anyplace you wished to.
And there have been lovely little outlets and eating places alongside the wall and close to the seaside. We simply cherished it. Very Mediterranean-looking. It’s only a cool place. We spent many of the day there earlier than heading again to the ship.
Our subsequent cruise, Port de 4, was to Livorno. This was our first tour on the cruise. Livorno is the port. We booked it upfront if you wish to go to Florence or Pisa. We did the Florence and Pisa tour that included each cities. We booked this by way of MSC.
Matt: It was a constitution bus with a tour information to, once more, each Florence and Pisa. You do board very first thing within the morning, and simply the heads up. It’s a lengthy day for those who’re doing the sort of tour. I had performed this tour once more with my father in 2019, and it was the identical manner.
You begin within the morning, and it takes about 45 minutes to get to Pisa from Livorno; on the best way, the tour information explains every thing about Pisa and provides you some perception into much more than simply in regards to the tower. I want I may bear in mind her identify. She was nice, however Pisa was cool.
Particularly, you understand, how the entire city is dedicated to the leaning tower and the buildings and the school that surrounded my spouse loved seeing the leaning tower and loved the outlets and the encircling, you understand, the partitions there and the world. The one disadvantage to doing this tour is that you just solely get about an hour and a half in Pisa earlier than it’s time to board the bus to move to Florence.
Matt: However it’s nicely price it. It takes about an hour and a half from Pisa to get to Florence after you end once more at Pisa. After which the bus enables you to off with the tour information proper close to the guts of town.
With the entire points of interest, you’re in all probability about 4 to five blocks from the Duomo, which is, in fact, the well-known dome in Florence that everybody listening has in all probability, for those who haven’t seen it in individual, seen on postcards or on Italian motion pictures or regardless of the case is.
Doug Florence is simply lovely, a kind of nice cities on the earth. If ever there have been a spot that summed up Italian artwork and meals, it will be Florence. We cherished it. The climate was nice, and we stuffed our faces with Italian meals in the principle sq.. You’re in Florence for about 4 hours, and the tour information spends the primary hour with you, and then you definitely get three hours to do your personal factor earlier than having to get again to the assembly level to stroll again to the bus.
Matt: It takes about an hour and a half to return to the port. So once more, it’s an extended day. Doug, You’re about 12 hours once you do all of it on the identical day, but it surely was nicely price it. Our subsequent port Day 5 of the cruise was then once more, I by no means can pronounce this port metropolis, however. Vecchio, if I say it proper.
Doug: You recognize what? We’ll roll with it.
Matt: There are a variety of vowels within the identify. That is the Port of Rome. As most individuals know, it’s about 45 minutes to an hour’s drive from the port to Rome. So simply maintain that in thoughts for those who don’t guide an tour by way of the cruise line. We did guide one other tour by way of MSC referred to as Rome on Your Personal. So basically, you’re simply paying for a constitution bus from the port to Rome, and to get you again to the ship on time, we additionally bought the purple bus ticket.
Matt: We did that on our personal. And that’s basically a hop-on, hop-off double-decker bus with tons of buses all through town that cease nearest all of the sights. I feel it was $25 per individual. Effectively price it. It lets you do the sights you need to see and form of skip those you don’t.
Rome is just too massive to stroll alone, even for those who’re match. Some issues are just a bit too far, for my part. It was my second time in Rome and my spouse’s first, so we have been attempting to do all of it.
The Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain. We noticed these three issues, together with doing a little buying and consuming as nicely. Rome could not have been in-built a day, however we tried to see it collectively. So anyway, once more, you’re gone just about many of the day there. And then you definitely get again to the port metropolis, like I mentioned, shortly earlier than the ship leaves.
Matt: Then we had a sea day once more, our lone day of the cruise, day six once more, had fun on the ship, actually did a variety of exploring on the ship, a variety of day consuming and partying on the ship and actually loved a while within the solar and eventually on day seven was Majorca. We ran right into a little bit of hassle on this cruise cease, Doug.
We have been booked on a Catamaran to get pleasure from a enjoyable day within the solar off the coast of Majorca. Once more, this was booked by way of the cruise line; proper after we acquired right down to the assembly level listed on our tour tickets, we have been knowledgeable that the tour had been canceled as a result of climate forecast within the space.
So that they gave us a alternative truly to both go on one other tour that was nonetheless obtainable, comparable to a Pearl tour, I feel, or there was a bus tour of the island or one thing that was nonetheless obtainable, or we may get a cruise onboard credit score or a straight refund for what we had paid for the Catamaran tour.
Matt: We opted for the onboard credit score and utilized that to the steakhouse that later night time. So it form of all labored out in Majorca. We nonetheless acquired off the ship. Given this replace, we determined to enter town heart and simply form of hang around and window store and stroll round and see that grand cathedral that’s proper there on the water. What was humorous about this, Doug was that it was sunny and delightful for the primary two hours after we left the ship.
So we have been like, Man, we acquired screwed out of this Catamaran tour. However then the clouds rolled in, and it began pouring for a number of hours, sending us again to the ship slightly sooner than we had anticipated. So, whoever determined to cancel the Catamaran tour was proper. We have been mistaken. This was the one unhealthy climate day we had on your entire cruise. So, each different day was excellent. So, there’s not an excessive amount of to complain about.
Doug: Superior. While you have been in Florence, did you take a look at Gosh, I can’t bear in mind the identify of it, and I’ll in all probability butcher it. Nonetheless, it was prefer it was a bridge over the water, had a bunch of retailers on it, the Ponte Vecchio or one thing like that, the place there was this killer bakery on the very finish of the bridge.
Doug: But it surely was a bridge with a ton of prefer it was nearly like an outside flea market going over the bridge, the waterway, and Florence. Did you stroll to that?
Matt: Doug, I don’t suppose we did. I may have seen it and simply not put it collectively for what you’re speaking about. However that’s what’s nice about Florence. And once more, it’s nearly unlucky once you do a Mediterranean cruise.
I like it since you’re attending to see so many issues shortly. However I additionally don’t prefer it since you see it in a condensed model. I want I may do precisely what you’re speaking about. And belief me, one among today we’re going to return and simply do, you understand, 3 or 4 days in Florence, 3 or 4 days in Rome. However no, sadly, I didn’t see that.
Doug: So, let’s discuss darkish. You make your manner again to Barcelona. How was that course of?
Matt: Very straightforward once more. MSC appears to have a advantageous placement with no matter their terminal is.
Matt: It’s very, very straightforward. It’s proper subsequent to the superstar’s terminal proper there. Once more, Barcelona appears form of like a Miami or a Lauderdale or Canaveral of Europe. They’ve designed it so nicely that visitors flows nearly completely out and in of there. It was very, very straightforward. We used one. I can’t bear in mind precisely which app it was, however we used one of many daytime lodge varieties simply because we didn’t fly out of Barcelona till late that night time and needed to be off the ship, I feel, by 10 a.m.
And so we explored Barcelona, which gave us an opportunity to deal with Barcelona like one other port cease. And so, in fact, we went to the Gaudi, the Gothic church and noticed many sights in Barcelona. After which we nonetheless had about 3 to 4 hours to kill, even after that, earlier than it was time to go to the airport for a red-eye flight. And that’s after we determined to do a kind of daytime like I mentioned, lodges and form of catch a two-hour nap earlier than it was time to move again to the States.
Doug: Yeah, two ones I get pleasure from utilizing. The 2 lodge apps I like to make use of are lodges by day and day use. Each of these are wonderful and have tons of choices.
Matt: I feel we used day use. Yeah, that appears to be in my head someplace, and definitely, I may pull it up. However sure, that’s all we use, and that’s a terrific factor. I bear in mind, as I’m certain you do. I bear in mind, you understand, getting off a cruise, particularly earlier than I lived in Florida, getting off of a cruise in Miami and, you understand, having seven hours to kill or one thing like that earlier than it was time to catch a flight again to New Orleans. And I can let you know, I want these would have existed about ten years in the past.
Doug: Effectively, as we stroll this interview down, any first-time tricks to provide?
Matt: You recognize if you’re on the East Coast of the US, and once more, my spouse and I stay in Tampa, for those who’re on the East Coast, you may have many various choices to get to Europe for a Mediterranean cruise.
Matt: I nonetheless suppose it’s in all probability one of the simplest ways for the worth and the time that you just’re going to must see Western Europe and the Mediterranean area and guess Central Europe at that, to see that area, it’s so price it. Perceive the convenience of taking a Caribbean cruise. I get it.
Particularly, once more, for those who’re within the Southeast or stay on the East Coast, simply hop a fast flight right down to someplace in Florida and go to the Caribbean. Effectively, the cool factor about taking a Mediterranean cruise, definitely for those who’re watching your funds and so forth, is that it just about excuses me and prices the very same to take a Mediterranean cruise.
The distinction is attempting to recover from there, which could be very aggressive. I’d watch out about selecting who you fly with and the place you’re the place you might find yourself as a cease with going there. However apart from that, it’s nicely price it to do it.
Doug: Yeah, I’ve performed some loopy ass routing myself relating to saving $1000 or $2000 on airfare, like getting back from the Philippines.
Doug: It was rattling close to $4,000 for a one-way ticket again to New York from Manila. However I managed to do it in underneath a thousand, going from Manila to a day in Dubai after which Dubai 15 hours to New York Metropolis. I did it in, like, I feel, like $888 as an alternative of near 4000 US.
Matt: If we had the chance, we’d do some loopy routes. On the best way again, we have been wanting, I feel, at Amarok Royal Air Maroc and doing like a day in Casablanca, you understand, heading again from Barcelona to there after which on to Miami.
We determined to spend some more money, flew again to New York, and hopped on that very straightforward JetBlue flight from New York to Tampa. Nonetheless, there are some loopy routes they may ship you to different components of the world. Yeah. Earlier than you make it over there. So select properly, as somebody very a lot smarter than me would say.
Doug: Precisely. So, wanting again, what was the largest spotlight of this cruise for you all?
Matt: It was simply spending time collectively. To not sound like a hopeless romantic, however we met on the MSC Meraviglia in January of 2020 and commenced a long-distance relationship that went proper right into a pandemic into which we flew 42 instances backwards and forwards from Tampa to New Orleans and again to see one another when nobody else was flying, together with, you understand, taking a flight. I bear in mind taking a flight in April of 2020 the place the flight attendants outnumbered common individuals.
And we had so many odds in opposition to us. And there was at all times that love of cruising and the way we met and form of the best way that spawned this concept that the one logical alternative for a honeymoon was to cruise collectively. So I admire the work that you just do.
Cruising remains to be the world’s greatest trip, for my part. It’s nonetheless the most effective worth trip, and it’s individuals such as you and the romanticism that even exists these days that, look, I’m solely 35 if I don’t bear in mind the times of the love boats or what cruising was once, I solely understand it right here within the 20 teenagers and now.
Matt: However I can let you know that younger individuals suppose it’s the best trip ever, similar to some older of us do. And in order that’s all I acquired, buddy.
Doug: In closing right here, we’ll wrap this factor up and put slightly bow tie on it by asking you, what are your last ideas of MSC Seaview?
Matt: The ship is nice. It nonetheless is one among my favourite courses of ship with what number of out of doors areas there are. I like, apart from, you understand, the nightclubs and issues of that nature. I do love how MSC nonetheless has a conventional formal night time.
I suppose I’m old-fashioned in how I gown up each now and get these cool footage and photographs. MSC Doug nonetheless has some work to do. I hope ultimately, they get their act collectively to the place we are able to persistently place them with the royals, the Norwegians, and so forth, and be a kind of crew gamers till they repair a few of their points.
Matt: They’re at all times going to be proper there, form of. However don’t remorse this cruise in any respect. I don’t suppose my spouse does both. It was a magical time celebrating our honeymoon.
Doug: Excellent. And congrats once more, Matt. We’ve been speaking with Matt about his seven-night cruise on MSC Seaview out of Barcelona. Matt, thanks once more for approaching the present. My buddy, it was nice talking to you.
Matt: My pleasure, Doug. Take care.
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