First Time Family Cruisers with... MSC
Sometimes, you just can’t make your mind up – we live in a world where there can be too much information, making it hard to find the true inspiration for your next family holiday. Veronica and her family came to us only a few weeks before the Summer Holidays were upon us and desperately needed some help finding their perfect adventure. Not long after speaking with our travel experts, their trip was booked – flights to Miami, a stay at a 5* hotel in bustling Miami Beach followed by their first ever cruise.
You can see more details in our Q&A further down this page, but considering a cruise was a fairly new idea for this family but the previous year, they’d seen some friends of theirs (also clients of ours who’s adventure we’d arranged!) enjoying sailing the crystal-clear Caribbean waters. Seeing the family have such a great time, enjoying the beautiful weather and everything the cruise had to offer was the catalyst… they couldn’t shake the idea after that, so it was about time for them to try their own family holiday at sea.
I really do consider this to be a bit of ‘lucky booking’ – as the pandemic (in some ways) becomes a distant memory, more & more travellers want to make up for lost time; they’re booking holidays further, wider and far in advance. So putting the building blocks of this trip together less than 3 weeks before the departure, I was amazed when everything fell into place nicely… flights with great connections, a fantastic beachfront resort and an itinerary on a new ship, in the perfect stateroom (or Suite, as we’ll go on to explain).
Whilst Orlando naturally attracts a popular crowd annually from across the UK (and is therefore served by multiple flights from London & Manchester), Miami is a little more awkward, only served with direct flights from London. No problem for our travel experts as we can provide a range of regional connections. As for Miami, it’s a destination I’ve spent considerable time. Whilst it totally depends on your preference, I prefer to stay on the coast – waking up the ocean views provided by Miami Beach & South Beach just feels good, not to mention their vibrant areas, full of life, fun & delicious food. Fontainebleau Miami Beach was a perfect choice for this family; great 5* property in a great location at a great price.
When it comes to delivering a great value cruise experience, MSC have it down to a fine art. With one of their newest ships sailing out of Miami to the Caribbean, it was an obvious choice for these first time cruisers – all-inclusive option with lots of dining venues to choose from, good-sized ship with plenty of occupy their son and ports & islands they’d never visited before – the MSC Seascape was a great choice for them. With ports of call including San Juan, Nassau & their private island in the Bahamas, the itinerary provided a great range of choice between enjoying excursions as well as time to simply sit back and enjoy.
What really made this cruise special is that the family decided to opt for a Yacht Club Deluxe Suite, which delivers a whole range of additional benefits, access to exclusive areas and more. Given the size of the ship – and the fact it’s during the school holidays – it was sailing fairly full; your Yacht Club perks really helps here, with priority boarding, priority reservations and events onboard and the help of your Butler, who can escort you to the front of lines, skipping the queues! Private restaurants, lounges, sundecks, pools & more are all yours, as well as spa access, WiFi included along with the all-inclusive fare as standard.
The MSC Seascape® provides an immersive experience truly connecting you to the sea, whilst paying tribute to the beauty of the ocean with a whole host of innovative design features with impressive outdoor & indoor spaces designed for relaxation, dining & entertainment. Coveted pools, panoramic lifts and the breath-taking glass skywalk Bridge of Sighs, make this ship iconic & unique.
ROBOTRON offers the breath-taking thrill of a rollercoaster at sea combined with a personalised DJ music experience. It’s a state-of-the-art robotic arm with an attached gondola that seats three guests, flying 53 metres above the sea. With 11 eateries – including complimentary & specialty dining – and 20 themed bars for all occasions from day to night, and plenty of entertainment options for your voyage (including kids clubs for various ages), this ship is a fantastic choice for a family adventure. Upgrading your sailing to Yacht Club really does add a touch (a large touch!) of luxury, too.
Our travel experts know the ins and outs of this brand and many others – we are cruise experts after all – but what better way to get true insights than from the unbiased view of Veronica and her family’s first cruise, ever! We asked them a few questions about their cruise on the MSC Seascape®, so that they can inspire others who may be wanting to embark upon their first adventure at sea. It’s never too early, or too late to try a cruise and our travel experts are here to find the perfect option(s) for you.
This was your 1st cruise! Have you always wanted to try one?
No. Up until two years ago, a cruise wasn’t on my radar at all. I had always thought it was not for me. It was only when a friend went and I saw their pictures and heard all about it that I found myself looking at cruises.
What did you love about sailing with MSC Cruises?
The cleanliness of the ship. The whole ship was kept impeccably clean at all times. The friendly staff. The facilities. All the entertainment – so much variety. The choice of food on offer.
Your itinerary was fantastic; sailing out of Miami and calling at ports in the Bahamas & Caribbean. Did you have a favourite port?
The itinerary was really good. I thought we’d find sea days boring but far from it. They were fantastic. Really relaxed. San Juan was a picturesque approach into the port. Well worth a walk around the old town. Nassau was probably our favourite port overall. We went on an excursion and sailed far from the port. There was a lot to see and it was a beautiful place.
For your first ever cruise, you sailed on one of MSC’s newest ships, the MSC Seascape®. What were your favourite parts of the ship?
The infinity pool and Bridge of Sighs for the wow factor. Robotron was a lot of fun when travelling with children. Most of all, the Yacht Club pool and deck. Also the Top Sail lounge.
You opted for a Yacht Club Deluxe Suite. What were your thoughts?
I travelled with my partner and our 11 year old son. The Yacht Club made all the difference. We didn’t queue to get on / off the ship. Sometimes it looked quite busy but we were escorted through any queue by our butler, which was a real plus. The restaurant was relaxed and quiet. The food there was to a really high standard with so much variety. From truffle risotto, to surf and turf to lobster. Seafood evenings, Italian evenings. All excellent. Throughout the day, there was a constant supply of canapés. Right around the clock. You can request almost anything you fancy and have it delivered to your room 24 hours a day. All included in the Yacht Club package. Champagne and cocktails were included without extra charge. The evening turn-down service was a nice touch too. The butler left treats each evening, usually chocolates from the onboard chocolatier. We also returned to full sized bottles of spirits and freshly baked cookies.
A daily newspaper arrived each morning. The butlers couldn’t do enough for you and they were full of useful information on ports, entertainment suggestions, everything! Anything you aren’t sure of, they can help. I would say that for the extra cost, it is totally worth it. It really is value for money.
The Yacht Club experience is very all-inclusive. What did you think of it?
It really is all-inclusive. No charge for champagne, cocktails etc. It works out much cheaper than paying as you go and having a bill to settle at the end of the cruise.
What did you think about the size of the ship? Did it feel big? Was there enough going on?
The ship did feel big. In a good way. Sea days were good for exploring all that the ship had to offer. There was something for everyone. Children were spoilt for choice. Our son took himself off to the arcades and waterpark quite happily and we knew he was safe. There was the spa and adult areas for a bit of time-out.
The daily entertainment program was endless. Quizzes, sports activities, music and shows. Also, a great gym which we used often. Very well equipped. It did get busy, so it was best to get in there early in the day.
You’re already considering booking another cruise. Are there any itineraries that you have in mind?
I believe that in 2025, MSC will be adding Aruba to their Caribbean itineraries. I have always wanted to go to Aruba so that is a cruise which I will definitely be booking.
Do you have any top tips for other first time cruisers out there?
- Yes. Speak to the experts at Travlux! They can answer all of your questions – even questions that you hadn’t thought to ask.
- Speak to friends who have been on cruise holidays. There is so much useful information out there and pack mindfully. It is worth taking a couple of dressy outfits.
- Have a day free of excursions where you are able to just explore in your own time. We did this is San Juan.
- Know what your ship has to offer before you go. Watch YouTube videos to get an idea of what you would like to see and do on the ship and get an idea of where everything is.
- Be stairs ready! The lifts can be really busy; mainly when guests return from excursion or at meal times*. We were on deck 18 but we chose to take the stairs often because you could be waiting for quite a while for a lift. Or just head down early if you don’t fancy the stairs. (*This is where Yacht Club pays off. The butlers take you through queues and get you on / off the ship quickly. They will even escort you to dinner, again, avoiding any queues)
- If you are travelling some distance to catch your cruise, allow yourself a couple of days to settle before you sail. We had three nights in Miami before sailing. We were able to get used to the different time zone and relax.
- Definitely try at least one of the specialist restaurants because the food on the ship really is suberb.
- Finally, for anyone who isn’t sure if a cruise is for them, I’d say go ahead and book it. You won’t be disappointed.
Book with us today
Now is always the best time to book your next holiday and we’re here to take all of your stress away. Simply get in touch with our travel experts for an initial consultation and whether you need a little inspiration or know exactly what you want – with a little help from us – you’ll soon be jetting off to your next destination.