Skip to content

MSC's newest cruise ship is gorgeous, but is it ready for Americans? A first look at MSC Seashore

Dec. 10, 2021
27 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: MSC Cruises provided TPG complimentary access to MSC Seashore during a two-night, nonrevenue media preview event. The opinions expressed below are entirely from the author and weren’t subject to review by MSC Cruises or any external entity.


I've just sailed MSC Seashore, the first ship in MSC Cruises' new Seaside EVO Class — a variation of the line's original Seaside Class — which offers passengers affordable elegance and plenty of outdoor spaces to connect with the sea.

Following a two-night media preview voyage to Ocean Cay, MSC's private island, I've got some thoughts about the vessel. Here, I'll walk you through how it differs from fellow U.S.-focused ship MSC Seaside, what it does well, what needs some work and what you can expect if you sail.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter.

The backstory

MSC Seashore docked at private island Ocean Cay in the Bahamas. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Although it has been around since the late 1980s, the cruise arm of the behemoth Mediterranean Shipping Company has only been wooing the North American market for just shy of a decade. The company still remains an enigma to many travelers.

In 2013, the line "Americanized" its MSC Divina ship. It was built a year earlier for a European audience, but the line decided to make it fit the American market by adding a movie screen on the pool deck, cutting back on smoking areas, stocking more brands of beer and soda, and revamping some entertainment and menu items.

Since then, instead of retrofitting existing vessels for the U.S. and Canadian demographics, MSC Cruises has added new hardware purpose-built for Americans to the lineup of ships it has been constructing at a breakneck pace. (The line is currently the world's third-largest cruise brand, and with plans to launch more than 10 new ships in the next few years, it's poised to quickly move into second place.)

The first vessel built exclusively to cater to Americans was MSC Seaside, which began sailing in 2017 as the flagship of the line's Seaside Class. It tried hard but struggled with the little things that gave away its roots: Dinners took more than two hours, coffee was nonexistent after dinner for those who wanted a cup with dessert, announcements were made in multiple languages and service was of the more standoffish, less conversational variety that's common in Europe.

Fast forward four years, and MSC Seashore is the line's latest attempt to show U.S. cruisers what it can do. Has MSC finally been able to figure out the secret formula that will make Americans swoon?

Sign up for our daily newsletter

First impressions

MSC Seashore's Danza del Mare, a four-deck sculpture crafted by Italian glassmaker Venini. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

The ship is gorgeous. With interior design elements, such as upholstery and art, chosen by Rafaela Aponte — wife of MSC owner Gianluigi Aponte — elegance abounds. (Check out the Danza del Mare glass sculpture spanning decks 5 to 8, midship. It's a stunning piece of work by Italian glassmaker Venini.)

As with its Seaside-class counterparts, one of MSC Seashore's biggest highlights is its sweeping four-deck atrium, which serves as one of the ship's main hubs of activity. Chrome and colored lights give it a hip feel, but the vibe also oozes sophistication, courtesy of a transparent, backlit staircase inlaid with thousands of Swarovski crystals.

The four-deck atrium on MSC Seashore is a hub of social activity, featuring a bar and lounge, LED screens, performance spaces and staircases inlaid with Swarovski crystals. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

On paper, the vessel has 20 decks, but true to Italian custom, there is no Deck 17. (In Italy, it's 17, rather than 13, that brings bad luck.) This is one of several ways the ship acknowledges its heritage, despite its target demographic.

A Statue of Liberty installation in MSC Seashore's casino bar ties in the ship's New York City theme. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

In contrast, MSC Seashore employs a New York City theme that's equal parts cute and corny. Meant to appeal to American clientele, the dining rooms boast names like Manhattan, Central Park, Tribeca and 5th Avenue. You'll also find the Brooklyn Cafe, the Uptown Lounge and the Long Island Pool and Bar. In the Times Square area, faux skyscrapers and TVs posing as electronic billboards complement a twice-nightly New Year's Eve digital ball drop following each night's shows in the nearby Madison Theater. Overall, I found it endearing, familiar and, in some ways, even innovative.

MSC Seashore's tribute to Times Square features dueling pianos and twice-nightly digital ball drops just outside the ship's theater. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

However, there isn't a ton that differentiates Seashore from its smaller Seaside sister class. The main changes we noticed, in addition to the NYC theme, are the lack of top-deck ziplines, fewer waterslides and an expanded gaming and arcade area.

Designers revamped the layout for alternative eatery enclave Chef's Court and the accompanying bar. They replaced the French bistro with a Mexican restaurant and scrapped the second family-focused buffet found on Seaside vessels, opting instead to expand the standard buffet. Notable new additions to the deck plan include an aft-facing infinity pool; Le Cabaret Rouge, a secondary lounge that hosts nightly cabaret performances; and a couple of selfie spots that are intentionally Instagrammable.

Below, I'll outline the major highlights and share some of my favorite — and not-so-favorite — bits about the ship.

Dining and drinks

MSC Seashore's 5th Avenue Restaurant is one of four main dining rooms with an NYC-themed name. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Food

Housing 11 restaurants — including five for-fee options and four included main dining rooms — and 18 bars and lounges, MSC Seashore offers a ton of variety. My two-day preview voyage was sailing at limited capacity; due to time constraints and the small number of passengers onboard, I was able to have full dinners in one of the main dining rooms, lunch at the buffet and between-meal samples from each of the Chef's Court venues.

The four main dining rooms on the ship all feature the same menu, which changes nightly. The venues include 5th Avenue Restaurant, where midcentury modern meets The Jetsons; Tribeca Restaurant, which gives off penthouse vibes; Central Park Restaurant, showcasing green hues and accent plants; and Manhattan Restaurant, which reminded me of an upscale department store in terms of decor.

Dinners still take forever, but service throughout the ship has improved immensely, especially in the dining rooms. Perhaps the restaurant staff was working out new-ship hiccups, but it took so long for everyone at my table to receive their main courses on the last night of the voyage that passengers from other tables ate their dessert and left to see the show before we were served.

MSC Seashore's buffet is massive, featuring tons of variety. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

The Marketplace Buffet, which takes up about half of Deck 16, is notable for its sheer size and variety of food. Just about anything you could want is found there — meats and cheeses, sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts. The atmosphere is totally casual, making it the perfect place for a quick, free bite. If you love pizza as much as I do, don't miss MSC Seashore's take, which includes standard cheese and pepperoni selections, as well as more unusual choices like pies with black crust (thanks to activated charcoal).

One of four Chef's Court added-fee restaurants on MSC Seashore, Kaito Teppanyaki features cooking performances and delicious salmon and Wagyu beef. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Most of MSC Seashore's extra-cost dining venues are located in a central Deck 8 area called Chef's Court. Restaurant choices include Butcher's Cut, a steakhouse with superb meats, potatoes and desserts; Ocean Cay, serving up fish and seafood dishes in a nautical-themed outpost; and Kaito Sushi and Kaito Teppanyaki, the former offering conveyor belt sushi and the latter offering grill-side performances in one of the largest teppanyaki venues I've ever seen. (Try the salmon or Wagyu beef. You won't be disappointed.)

Hola! Tacos and Cantina on MSC Seashore takes the place of the French bistro found on Seaside-class vessels. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Hola! Tacos and Cantina is a new, centrally located restaurant. It's on Deck 8, just above the atrium area, and it takes the place of the French bistro on Seaside-class vessels. Festive colors point the way to ample seating, and the tacos, quesadillas, guacamole and flan are to die for. Looking to grab a drink with your meal? Try one of several margarita flavors, including original, strawberry, mango, pineapple and vanilla.

MSC Seashore boasts 18 bars and lounges with an astounding variety of drinks. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Drinks

Alcohol, soda, smoothies and specialty coffees and cocoas cost extra on MSC Cruises ships. You can pay per drink or invest in a drink package. However, MSC's packages come in five varieties, and what's covered isn't always clear. Prices vary by season and destination, but the most expensive one, which includes everything, is the Premium Extra package (formerly Premium Plus).

MSC Seashore's American Sports Bar offers an extensive beer list, extra-fee bar bites and semiprivate alcoves for watching sporting events with friends. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

American Sports Bar is a terrific spot if you're hoping to watch your team play while you're at sea. I could see myself spending quite a bit of time there, largely because of its fun sports memorabilia decor and private areas for viewing sporting events.

It also has an adjacent billiard room — a new feature for Seashore — plus added-fee nibbles and one of the most impressive beer lists I've seen on a ship (including one of my favorites, Yuengling Lager, which isn't found on vessels in most other fleets). The sports bar also has a small menu of bar bites, including what I'm told is the best burger on the ship. (Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to try it for myself.)

The Seashore Bar, named for the ship, is located at the base of a three-deck entertainment space that's adorned with chrome and colored lights and features a couple of small stages for performances. The bar offers up a standard menu of drinks, as well as excellent coffee and cocoa. Any of the nearby tables is perfect for sipping your beverage while people-watching.

The Chef's Court cocktail bar was reconfigured on MSC Seashore. The space is now cozier than on Seaside-class ships. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

The Chef's Court Cocktail Bar is ideal for a tipple before dining at Butcher's Cut, Ocean Cay or Kaito Sushi or Teppanyaki. The menu is fun, but the ambiance is even better, with plenty of rich colors and a laid-back but elegant vibe. Friends can gather in the plentiful seating alcoves.

Crew member Richard makes the best cappuccinos at Venchi on MSC Seashore. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

My absolute favorite place to grab a snack and a cappuccino is the Venchi 1878 Chocolate Bar. Located on Deck 6, near Times Square (which, unexpectedly, often afforded me a quiet place to work during the day), it offers tasty coffee beverages and chocolate-themed drinks (read: fancy Italian hot chocolate and chocolate cocktails), as well as chocolate candies, via a partnership with the famous Venchi Italian chocolatier.

The Brooklyn Cafe includes a bar and plenty of richly furnished space for lounging. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Another option if you're seeking respite from crowds and noise is the Brooklyn Cafe, a lounge area that evokes a hip travel writer's den. Decorated with globes, typewriters and plenty of cushy seating, it feels like a creative space fit for anyone seeking coffee or cognac.

With 18 bars and lounges onboard, I probably wouldn't have been able to try them all, even if I had done a weeklong sailing. Other notable watering holes include standard pool, casino and buffet bars, as well as the Shine Bar, which specializes in mixology, and the Wine and Champagne Bar, where you can snag some vino or bubbles.

Cabins

My balcony cabin on MSC Seashore. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

MSC Seashore offers a variety of standard cabin types, including insides, outsides with windows and balconies with verandas. They are outfitted with bedside closets that are sometimes difficult to access because of their proximity to the beds, as well as the sliding-door system that only allows one side of the closet to be accessed at a time. However, the accommodations are cozy and elegantly designed, and there's plenty of drawer and shelf space, as well as under-bed storage for suitcases.

All cabins are equipped with safes, hairdryers (which are surprisingly powerful compared with those found on other ships), bedside tables with reading lamps, vanity/desk areas with small stools, minifridges and house phones for calling the front desk, spa, alternative restaurants and other locations onboard, as well as other staterooms.

Each room also has at least one television that features live TV, onboard channels, movies and the ability for passengers to check their onboard bills. Sadly, my TV didn't work for most of the sailing. Some rooms also come with pull-down beds or pullout sofas that sleep additional passengers.

The bathroom in my balcony cabin on MSC Seashore. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Even in the most high-end accommodations, showers are tiny. On the plus side, shower doors mean you won't have to battle with clingy curtains, and shaving bars are a useful addition. Toiletries are MSC Cruises' special brand, but they seemed to be of higher quality than most of the free all-in-one shampoo and conditioner and shower gel found on other lines.

Other thoughtful touches include plenty of outlets and USB ports, although only one side of the bed allows for USB charging.

Rooms are also designed so you can't turn the lights on without inserting your keycard into a slot by the door. On other ships, you can game the system by inserting another card (credit card, membership card, driver's license), but, unfortunately, that trick doesn't work on MSC Seashore.

Forget about charging multiple devices when you leave your room because the electricity will be turned off. The only way to do it is to either use the built-in Hamlet wireless charger (if you have a compatible device), which takes forever, or have one member of your party leave their keycard behind while you explore the ship together. (Each person will need their card with them to go ashore, however.)

Yacht Club deluxe grand suite on MSC Seashore. (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

Where MSC Cruises' accommodations are particularly impressive is in its ships' Yacht Clubs. The Yacht Club is an exclusive onboard area of accommodations plus a restaurant, bar/lounge, pool and sun deck reserved for the Yacht Club guests. Occupants also have access to a slew of perks like concierge and butler service.

Yacht Club staterooms come in a variety of types, ranging from insides to cabins with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. They generally include more space than standard accommodations, and they offer upgraded amenities like walk-in closets, dual bathroom sinks, extended balconies, private hot tubs and bathtubs in addition to showers.

Yacht Club owner's suite private balcony and hot tub on MSC Seashore. (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

MSC Seashore was built with more than 70 wheelchair-accessible cabins that include wider doorways, grab bars and flat thresholds, among other assistive devices. They span all major categories, from inside to suite, including some in the Yacht Club.

There are no solo cabins on MSC Seashore, which seems like a huge oversight for such a modern ship.

Entertainment

Because MSC Cruises' fleet largely caters to an international audience, it's known for nonverbal entertainment, featuring magicians, acrobats, jugglers, aerialists and other intriguing performers. For years, the line's offerings have been, hands down, my favorite, so I was expecting something great. Unfortunately, what awaited me in the Madison Theatre during the preview sailing was cringeworthy, rather than jaw-dropping.

"Coast to Coast," a new show on MSC Seashore, tried a bit too hard to appeal to Americans. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Exclusive to Seashore, "Coast to Coast" featured a troupe of singers and dancers who performed what someone who likely isn't American decided Americans would appreciate — a disjointed, stereotypical mashup of songs about U.S. cities and states that felt like it was trying too hard. Costume styles ranged from burlesque to Vegas showgirl; the latter reminded me of something a cruiser might have seen on a Carnival ship in the 1980s.

It's possible the vessel's other theater shows are more in line with the caliber of entertainment the line normally presents, but none were scheduled during my brief time onboard.

Part of the lighthouse light show on MSC Cruises' private island, Ocean Cay, in the Bahamas. (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises)

MSC redeemed itself, however, with its shoreside beach party on private island Ocean Cay in the Bahamas. On my voyage, Seashore docked there until midnight, and the absolute standout in terms of entertainment was the spectacular light show, set to music, that took place after dark. I could have watched it 10 times over without tiring of it. It's a standard part of late-night calls on the island, found on all itineraries departing from the U.S.

Part of the "Women in Art" show in Le Cabaret Rouge onboard MSC Seashore. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

One other new highlight was Le Cabaret Rouge, which serves as a secondary performance space featuring a DJ and nightly shows that set the works of great artists to modern-day music. The lounge has a decidedly French vibe (lots of red velvet) and an interesting viewing setup with both floor seating and chairs set against a high-top bar that runs along a balcony overlooking the stage area.

For those into gaming, the ship houses a dedicated billiard room adjacent to the American Sports Bar. In addition to a pool table, passengers will find tabletop shuffleboard and a pinball machine. If video games are more what you seek, head to the Hall of Games. There, cruisers can pay to try their hand at the vessel's F1 racing simulator; check out the 4D cinema, which offers a selection of interactive games and experiences; or play some arcade basketball or Skee-Ball. All of these cost extra.

Public areas

In addition to the breathtaking atrium spaces and outdoor areas for which the Seaside and Seaside EVO Classes are known, several locations on MSC Seashore require shoutouts, simply for being fantastic.

The Venchi 1878 Chocolate Bar on MSC Seashore offers excellent coffee drinks and hot chocolate in a quiet space. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

My absolute favorite spots on the whole ship are the Venchi 1878 Chocolate Bar and the Central Park lounge area near it. Venchi is a chocolate lover's dream, but the real testament to just how delicious its offerings are is the fact that I'm not a huge chocolate fan, and I still found myself there frequently. The cappuccinos and hot chocolate are life-changing, and the gelato is a perfect post-dinner, late-night treat. Although the area is open to passing traffic, I found it a quiet place to work, read or meet up with friends for a chat.

The Aurea Spa on MSC Seashore is huge and features a thermal suite with several rooms, including this salt room. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

One area where MSC's newest vessels do exceptionally well is all things spa and fitness. Seashore's Aurea Spa and adjacent fitness center dedicate more than 25,000 square feet of onboard space to 21 treatment rooms, a barber shop, a hair and nail salon, a MediSpa, a thalassotherapy pool, changing rooms and an outdoor area with sun loungers and hot tubs. Also included in that space is a massive thermal suite with a staggering array of options like a salt room, saunas, heated tile loungers, a snow room and a sensory steam room.

The fitness center on MSC Seashore is spacious and well equipped with Technogym machines. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

The fitness center, which is one of the largest I've ever seen on a ship, is outfitted with Technogym equipment that includes weight machines, medicine balls, circuit training equipment and cardio machines.

The Long Island Pool on MSC Seashore, another nod to the ship's NYC theme, is the perfect place to work on your tan. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

In terms of pools, there are four onboard: the Deck 16 Jungle Pool area that's super family-friendly; the Deck 18 Long Island Pool, which is great for sunbathers; and the private Yacht Club Pool, which is found on Deck 20 and exclusive to Yacht Club passengers. The fourth, the aft-facing Infinity Pool on Deck 8, is one of the most impressive additions on MSC Seashore with its beautiful wake views.

The kids clubs on MSC Seashore offer fun spaces for children, as well as supervised activities. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

For cruisers with kids, MSC Seashore is a great fit, with 7,500 square feet of children's facilities split among five clubs that cater to different age groups. All have access to a variety of activities, games and toys, but tweens and teens have less structure and may come and go as they please.

Appearances from Doremi (pronounced "doh ray mee"), the line's mascot, are common for younger children, who can also enjoy building with blocks, playing games and conducting science experiments. Activities for older kids include foosball competitions and video games.

Kids will love MSC Seashore's Pirates Cove, where they can splash around and have watery fun. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

But youth entertainment isn't limited to the kids clubs. The ship also offers a plethora of outdoor fun for children and teens. Spanning decks 18 through 20, a twisting waterslide and the Pirates Cove splash area offer watery fun, including climbing structures, dump buckets and sprayers. On Deck 20, Adventure Trail is a top-of-the-ship bridge that winds its way above Pirates Cove, and a sports court is available for basketball and other active pursuits.

One of two dedicated selfie spots on MSC Seashore. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

I'm loath to include this, but the millennial in me is super excited about the ship's dedicated photo spots. On Deck 7, as you make your way from midship toward the restaurants and Le Cabaret Rouge, there's a passageway adorned with chrome, mirrors and color-changing lights that will make you feel like you're in a tunnel to another dimension. On the other side is a faux hot-air balloon backed by a huge LED screen with scenery that changes to include famous sites, such as (appropriately) Turkey's Cappadocia. Climb inside for a photo that gives the appearance you're actually there.

Technology

Historically, MSC Cruises has been an early adopter of onboard technology by introducing wearables, rolling out an app, adding in-cabin virtual assistants and employing digital signage. However, in certain instances, I felt like the line implemented technology for technology's sake, rather than to enhance the passenger experience.

I'll start with the elevators. What's notable about them on Seashore is that they're digital. Each elevator bay is outfitted with electronic keypads. After using the touch screen to select the number of the deck you want, you'll be assigned to a particular letter. When the car with that letter arrives, that's the one you'll board to get where you need to go.

The digital elevators on MSC Seashore are a great idea in theory but didn't always work in practice. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

It's a nice idea in theory, but several times my car never showed up, or it whizzed right by the deck I was on without stopping. Other times, I got a keypad error that said "Unable to allocate a lift," which left me taking the stairs. (Honestly, that's what I should have been doing anyway, but people using assistive devices might not have that option when the system doesn't work.)

There are no buttons to push once you're inside the elevators. That means you can't walk up to a bay and piggyback on someone else's ride unless you feel like a rousing game of deck roulette. If you walk into an open car before making a floor selection, you'll be at the mercy of wherever the car is headed next. It also means you can't change your mind about where you want to go after you've entered the car (unless someone else is already going there and selected that deck number before getting inside).

Digital deck plans are located near just about every set of elevators, but few of them offer access to the daily schedule of activities or wayfinders that will help you get to where you need to be. It seems like a missed opportunity to offer a useful passenger service.

I had trouble accessing the MSC for Me app pre-cruise and during my sailing. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Pre-cruise, I had problems using the line's MSC for Me app to check in, which led to a 40-minute wait to check in at the port on embarkation day — a significant amount of time, given the ship's reduced capacity. It's the only sailing of the nine that I've taken since June that required me to stop at a desk to manually check in.

Kiosks throughout MSC Seashore allow passengers to link credit cards to their onboard accounts without having to wait in line at the guest services desk. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Even then, they weren't able to link my credit card with my onboard account and told me I'd have to do it after I boarded. I headed to the front desk, only to be told that I needed to use one of several kiosks throughout the ship. I found one nearby and was able to link my card painlessly, but after running into so many other snags with the check-in process, it felt like one more hurdle to clear.

Speaking of apps, since the resumption of cruising after 2020's pandemic shutdown, most major cruise lines have transitioned to virtual muster drills that can be completed on your smartphone or on your in-room TV. Passengers normally have a sizable window of time (usually a couple of hours) to complete the mandatory safety briefing.

MSC doesn't offer that. Instead, all passengers must report back to their cabins at a precise time to watch the drill on TV. (It's not available on the app.) Following the drill, you must dial a number on your cabin phone to confirm you've watched the drill. After that, you have to report to your muster station, where a crew member will scan your cruise card.

Not only is the process cumbersome and, frankly, a little bizarre, but it was made more complicated because my TV didn't work. My room steward was finally able to turn it on, but I had to watch the drill in Spanish because the English drill had already concluded by the time we got it sorted out.

Passengers on MSC Seashore make their way to their muster stations after watching a safety briefing on their cabin TVs. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

The main purpose of making muster drills digital was to eliminate the need for large numbers of people to gather in proximity for the duration of the drill. By forcing all passengers to complete it at a precise time, it prompts them to head to their muster stations simultaneously, thereby causing the very scenario e-mustering was designed to prevent.

Hamlet, a feature built into the desk in each cabin on MSC Seashore, allows for wireless device charging, even when you're not in your room. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

As I mentioned before, the only way to charge devices in your cabin when you're not there (without leaving your keycard behind) is to use Hamlet — a wireless charger built into the desk in each stateroom. It's a thoughtful touch, but it took hours for my phone to charge that way. It also won't work for anyone who has an older device that doesn't support wireless charging. Further, when you're in the room and trying to charge multiple devices, some of the plugs are positioned in a way that makes it impossible to charge them side by side.

Bottom line

The key thing to know about MSC Cruises is that its affordable elegance often puts form over function. With MSC Seashore, the line has definitely made progress in terms of being more "American," but in some areas, the product hasn't evolved. It's a delicate balance between what Europeans think Americans want and what Americans actually want.

MSC Seashore docked at private island Ocean Cay in the Bahamas. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Some elements of the onboard experience have improved since the world welcomed MSC Seaside. On MSC Seashore, crew members are more outgoing, I was offered coffee after dinner, and announcements were all in English.

That said, some things have stayed the same: Dinners run long, standard cabins' showers are painfully small (although there are, thankfully, no curtains to wrangle) and bed-facing closets are difficult to access. In other areas, the cruise line made changes that didn't achieve the desired effect — including some of the entertainment choices and the focus on technology without ensuring it adds to passenger efficiency or enjoyment.

Despite these issues, American passengers can certainly have a fantastic time onboard as long as they know what to expect ahead of time: a reasonably priced vacation on an astoundingly elegant ship that might hold a few surprises.

Featured image by MSC Seashore docked at private island Ocean Cay in the Bahamas (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023