NEW SHIP REVIEW: The 4,540-passenger MSC Seascape “is a stunner”
MSC Seascape's eye-popping Atrium

NEW SHIP REVIEW: The 4,540-passenger MSC Seascape “is a stunner”

ONBOARD MSC SEASCAPE — When I sailed on MSC Divina during her 2015 stint in Miami, MSC Cruises’ seasonal deployment of one mid-sized vessel hardly caused a ripple in the massive Caribbean cruise market.

And when company execs on that sailing assured me that MSC would become a major U.S. player, I was skeptical. I shouldn’t have been.

Eight years later, what is now the industry’s fastest-growing brand will homeport five ships in U.S. ports by late 2023.

And the line’s newest vessel to reach North America, MSC Seascape – the fourth and final ship in the Seaside class – is a stunner.

Stepping aboard Seascape on her inaugural Miami voyage in mid-December, it was clearer than ever to me that MSC was serious about competing for market share in North America.

Seascape sports plenty of flash, not least from six, glittering Swarovski crystal-inlaid staircases in the 4-deck-high, central atrium. And MSC’s value-driven pricing – which often undercuts fares on peer brands – is serving to lure new-to-cruise and veteran cruisers onto its increasingly North-American focused, modern ships.

Decor throughout the 4,540-passenger (double occupancy) vessel is handsome and tasteful, with rich, suede fabrics covering furniture in public areas, polished marble floors and chrome accents. Sleek, contemporary design throughout the ship lends an air of sophistication. Bar stools in each of the 19 bars aboard are unique, fashionable and comfortable, and the four-deck- high central atrium, ringed with the aforementioned Swarovski crystal-inlaid staircases, sparkles. Undulating, curving design patterns that mimic the sea permeate the ship, from floors to wall treatments to ceilings and lighting fixtures – even to artwork.

And although the company initially experienced a learning curve in tailoring its European-oriented onboard product for the North American market, the experience has now settled into what I would consider to be the perfect balance of just enough European influence to differentiate it from the mass-market competition, while still holding enough familiar appeal to satisfy U.S. and Canadian guests.

In fact, although the company is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the onboard product shows a distinctly Italian influence in design and cuisine.

NEW SHIP REVIEW: The 4,540-passenger MSC Seascape “is a stunner”

MSC Seascape’s Robotron


Even on this shakedown voyage, culinary quality was impressive in most venues (including the buffet and main dining rooms), treating guests to what is arguably the best cuisine in the line’s competitive set.

Menus straddle the Mediterranean and the Midwest, with ample choices available to satisfy most palates. The standouts, however, are the homemade pastas, made onboard and available in multiple, interesting variations daily.

The ship’s Marketplace Buffet is massive, but still often felt crowded on my voyage, which sailed with about 5,200 guests, including 1,200 kids.

And while culinary quality is generally good there, guest favorites are the three pastas that rotate daily, along with what I would consider to be the best free pizza-by-the-slice at sea.


Since MSC has always catered to a varied international guest demographic, the company has excelled at featuring non-language-dependent production shows that entertain on a visceral and sensual level, while exhibiting beautiful artistry and music.

That ethic continues on Seascape, where I witnessed four new, unique shows (Imaginocean, Dreamscape, Premiere and Love Blooms) in the Chora Theater that featured quality production values, typically combining music, acrobatics and other innovative elements. Vocals, however, didn’t match up to the superior show production values. But it was the nightly lineup in Le Cabaret Rouge that truly shone with a mix of torch singers, jugglers, acrobats and other acts rotating in an intimate, cabaret-style venue with a level of artistry and creativity – and edginess – not typically seen at sea.

Meanwhile, lively themed parties in the atrium occurred almost nightly, let by the seemingly tireless activities staff.

NEW SHIP REVIEW: The 4,540-passenger MSC Seascape “is a stunner”

MSC Seascape Yacht Club’s Top Sail Lounge


MSC Seascape also features the company’s largest-yet MSC Yacht Club, a luxurious ship-within-a-ship enclave with 131 suites – all generously sized with the perfect mix of drop-dead gorgeous design/decor and functional practicality.

The deluxe balcony suite (the lead-in balcony accommodation for Yacht Club) is 270-square feet of luxurious interior space with a generously sized 68-square foot balcony and large bathroom.

Yacht Club public areas, including the Top Sail Lounge and Yacht Club restaurant and concierge entryway, feature prodigious use of marble and chrome in serene, hushed environs that exude luxury.

Aside from the luxe surroundings, which include a dedicated pool, sundeck, restaurant and lounge behind keycard-accessed doors, the intangible value provided by the Yacht Club butlers is a key sales point. Butlers escort their guests on and off the ship in port, to dinner venues outside of the enclave, and to reserved seating areas in the showroom. These escorts, provided on demand, are a time-saver and a welcome perk for guests when navigating the logistics of a modern megaship.

Standard balcony cabins, which make up the majority of accommodation types on the rest of the ship, are average size for the contemporary segment that MSC largely competes in. Bathrooms – many containing shower/bath combos – are otherwise architected as expected.  The bathtubs, however, do supplant some already-scarce bathroom counter space, so clients should be made aware of this when choosing a cabin.


Families are well-served on the 170,000-ton megaship, with the DoReMi Cub offering daily programs for a wide range of ages, plus three new, concept spaces for teens.

Meanwhile, the jungle pool, game area, nearby Pirates Cove Aquapark, three waterslides and adventure ropes course beckoned kids of all ages.

And the top-deck Robotron, an amusement park-style thrill ride that is a first–at-sea attraction, twists and gyrates its riders in a series of loops and turns – from slow to speedy – that remind me of a benevolent Transformer.  And for those with a need for speed, the Formula Racer virtual simulator gets the adrenaline going.

NEW SHIP REVIEW: The 4,540-passenger MSC Seascape “is a stunner”

Deluxe Balcony Suite accommodation in MSC Seascape’s Yacht Club


The Aurea Spa and associated fitness centre, located together on deck 8 forward, are handsome but slightly undersized for a ship of this size.  For instance, there were only three heated loungers in the relaxation room, and not enough treadmills and stationary bikes in the gym to accommodate the ship at capacity. The addition of a Himalayan salt room and a snow room, however, were novel touches.

The twin, adults-only infinity pools located aft on deck 8 made up my favourite outdoor relaxation space, enhanced with comfortable loungers resting partly-submerged in the terraced pools and a nearby gelato bar.

Our day at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the private Bahamian island that the company spent years developing, was unseasonably cold and windy on our visit, but we appreciated the multiple beaches, snack shacks and attractive landscaping that typify a tropical paradise on most other days here.

Aside from its handsome looks, quality cuisine and good value, Seascape’s biggest appeal may be its international flavour, where Europeans and South Americans join with North Americans to create a congenial melting pot of cultures, all in this small city of a ship. And as for those pastas, well, I’d call them a value-added incentive.

MSC Seascape will be sailing alternating 7-day, Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from PortMiami, which can be combined into 14-day voyages 

NEW SHIP REVIEW: The 4,540-passenger MSC Seascape “is a stunner”

The Aurea Spa’s Snow Room

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