There is nothing like cruising through the Caribbean with your loved ones during the holiday season, and for my final trip of 2018 my family and I went on the MSC Seaside Cruise. I must say, I am VERY impressed by how incredible this cruise line is - this is the first cruise I have ever gone on from this line and the fifth cruise total from the others I've been on. This ship is the largest one built by the Italian company and one of the most high-tech ships in the world. MSC Seaside was fully equipped with just about everything you could think of, it had something for everyone!
The atrium of the ship is absolutely STUNNING! My jaw dropped the moment I first walked into the ship - it was four floors of glamour complete with sets of Swarovski stairs! You could see everyone rushing to take pictures with the stairs, but we saved the pictures in this place for the gala night... and waiting proved to be the best option to get the perfect shot!
Each floor from the atrium had different themed sides and they all provided a magnificent view of the sea. My favorite areas were the Parisian themed cafe (I just cannot seem to escape Paris... maybe I should go back), and the champagne bar. Both areas were perfect for the days at sea when I wanted to escape for a moment and dive into the book I am reading. If I was not tanning by one of the many pools, you could definitely find me in one of these places.
Two areas that you could always count on being packed were the Arcade, which had a bowling lane, and the Garage Lounge. These areas were mostly used by the teens onboard, especially the video game simulator which was a huge hit with all the passengers! The Garage Lounge was a teens club during the day, but at night it transformed itself into a club for adults.
One of my absolute favorite areas was the Heaven Lounge, this is where I spent most of my nights. Every time I was here, it was a fantastic time! Throughout the voyage this area had themed parties like Great Gatsby and Pirates Night. To break the ice and encourage people to dance, the crew - which I must say were the BEST crew I have ever seen, you could tell they love their jobs - would dance with passengers and even had choreography for all the songs that the DJ or the live band would play.
One of my favorite features of this ship was the water slides, it had a total of three slides - and they all guaranteed a rush of adrenaline! MSC Seaside also had a fully-equipped gym with a spin class room, treadmills, sauna, and much more. You would think that people on vacation would also give their bodies a rest... but the gym always had people in it! And finally, no cruise is complete without their very own casino. No matter the time of day, the casino always had people in it.
MSC Seaside also had its own theatre with a unique show every night, and being the theatre lover that I am... I went to every single one! Each performance had its own magic, but there were two particular shows that completely blew me away: Madame Butterfly and Starwalker. The first show was an adaptation of the famous opera by Giacomo Puccini and the second was a tribute to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. I got chills during both performances.
The first stop the cruise made was in Puerto Rico, we docked late in the afternoon but did not leave until midnight of that day. My sister and I met up with some friends that live here and they gave us the best tour of Old San Juan... the best bars! My favorite bar in this area is called La Factoria, this bar has a bar within the bar within the bar. We spent hours catching up with our friends and had the best coquito I have ever tried!
Our second stop of the trip was St. Thomas, where we took a tour bus around the island to see the most famous areas of the island. Make sure to go to the highest part of the island, the view is to die for! And, if you are into snorkeling you can go to designated beaches where you will see more fish than any of the other beaches on the island.
The third stop was one of my favorites, St. Maarten! I have been to many places in the Caribbean, but this has become one of my top places to visit. The entire island is absolutely gorgeous, and the beach is an absolute dream! Here, my sister and I thrived as you can tell from the pictures. We truly let our inner child run free. I recommend going very very early to guarantee a perfect spot on the beach.
The final stop on our trip was The Bahamas, and more specifically... the Atlantis! This is the third time I come to this incredible hotel and it never disappoints. You can purchase different types of day passes depending on how long you have to stay here. If you have the full day, I definitely recommend buying a full access pass - this allows you to go into the aquarium, beaches, and all the water rides. If you have a limited amount of time, the aquarium and beach pass should do. Since we had already been here, we decided to just do the aquarium (which is an absolute MUST) and the beaches. If you have never been to the Atlantis, I highly HIGHLY recommend you go. This is an experience that everyone should have at least once.
And just like that, it was time to dock back into reality. I have always loved going on cruises and will continue to explore different ones as long as I can. Think of cruises as a moving hotel, you do not have to worry about anything and you wake up in a new place every day. MSC Cruises has blown any other cruise I have gone on out of the water, the ship had it all. Thank you to my incredible mother for making this experience possible. I love you and cannot wait for our next adventure together!