So I’ve only just realized that my Day 1 recap was December 26th! #bloggerfail! We’ve been enjoying the final few days of Christmas Break. Grammy left early yesterday morning and we rounded out the night with a double sleepover.
Non-verbal quote of the week:
Me: “DH, twelve years ago did you think you’d be shopping for sleepover snacks and planning activities to keep the kids busy?”
Exploring South Beach
With a 12noon check-in time on board the MSC Seaside, the DH and I were up early to explore more of South Beach. We strolled along Collins Avenue and wound up at Collins Park, home to The Bass Museum of Art and the Rotunda.
After leaving South Alabama’s icky weather, the weather was simply too pretty to spend time indoors. So we bookmarked it for later and moved on. Further down, we came across a slaughter of iguanas that were dining on bread and veggies left by a homeless lady. I was humbly reminded of the adage sometimes those who have less give more.
We walked a little further, had a video call with the kids to show them the sights, and realized we were nearing 11am. We took the free trolley back to the hotel, more for the experience than anything, grabbed our bags, and took a Lyft to the Port of Miami.
Twenty minutes later, this came into view:
Side note…MSC is an acronym for Mediterranean Shipping Company. (This explains the branding on the cargo vessel docked alongside the MSC Seaside.) MSC is owned by the Aponte Family, whose seafaring vocation has been recorded since 1675! It is a widely recognized brand in Europe and South America. With MSC Divina, MSC Seaside, and 12 new ships on the way, MSC is hoping to establish itself in the North American market.
Exploring the MSC Seaside
We arrived at the port around 11:30am. It was evident we weren’t the only two hoping to arrive early to beat the long lines. After what felt like the longest check-in process ever, we finally boarded around 2pm.
We checked out our Fantasy Balcony Stateroom on Deck 11 for a few minutes, then headed straight for the buffet. We filled up at Biscayne Bay on Deck 16, as well as the Marketplace Buffet on Deck 8. It was standard American fare and was absolutely delicious!
I didn’t get a whole lot of photos because by this point I was starving! But I did want to show the handwashing stations in the buffet areas above. I thought this was a luxurious touch since not everyone favors hand sanitizer.
Afterward, we began exploring the ship. The MSC Seaside is beautifully designed and well appointed. The exterior is inspired by Miami architecture and boasts the highest ratio of outdoor space per passenger than any other cruise ship. Hence the tagline, The Ship That Follows the Sun. Seaside’s purpose is to provide the best possible guest experience in warm and sunny weather conditions.
I thought these features were very cool! Just don’t look down.
Forest Aquaventure Park looked like tons of fun! I know Stinky and Blinky would enjoy it!
We retired to our cabin for a little rest and relaxation before the Naming Ceremony that evening on the pier. Our host for the evening was the dreamy Mario Lopez. We were introduced to the MSC executives who reinforced MSC’s goals for the North American market. Dan Marino made an appearance, then we were entertained by Andrea Bocelli accompanied by Voices of Haiti, and Ricky Martin. So freakin’ awesome!! Finally, Sophia Loren, godmother of all of MSC’s ships, cut the ribbon which broke the champagne bottle. Cue the fireworks!
The ceremony was stunning! Afterward, we dined at Ipanema then caught the late entertainment show – Timeless.
The show is a little… erm, eccentric. It was a fusion of Christmas melodies, a weird goat lady, acrobatics and Michael Jackson. The actor who played Michael was superb! I especially enjoyed the zombies from Thriller crawling up the stairs to get to the audience.
And so ended Day 2. If you’ve made it this far, thank you. Stay tuned for my Day 3 recap, which I promise won’t be as long.
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