Day @ Sea: MSC Seashore

MSC Seashore may be the newest addition to MSC Cruises’ fleet, but the ship’s story actually began in 2013 when Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri presented a concept design called Project Mille. The prototype featured a narrow superstructure balanced uniformly across its length, including a more centrally located engine room and exhaust stack. By redistributing heavier items such as spas and pools to lower decks, the upper levels could reach greater heights (and thus additional decks) without minimizing overall stability — itself quite an innovation.

The following year, MSC placed an order with Fincantieri to build the Seaside-class — starting with the eponymous MSC Seaside — seemingly based on Mille, at least unofficially. (Gearheads keeping track might also recognize that Norwegian Cruise Line’s upcoming Norwegian Prima and Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady and their respective sister ships appear to share a similar tall, narrow platform, albeit with several architectural differences.)

Then in 2017, after being built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Seaside launched with its promised bold profile and unique layout. Purposefully reminiscent of one of Miami’s contemporary condominium towers, the line’s first vessel dedicated to the North American market was a standout when docked at its initial Floridian homeport.

“The Ship That Follows the Sun”

Seaside was touted by MSC as an outward-facing ship focused on ocean views and saturated with deck space for sunbathing. But that wasn’t the only new element.

One of the main pools was relocated, as Mille prescribed, from its traditional high perch to the lower promenade deck. A divided buffet evenly distributed crowds — The Marketplace Buffet, uniquely situated on Deck 8, drew attention to the Waterfront Boardwalk, while a secondary Biscayne Bay Restaurant & Buffet resided on Deck 16.

The boardwalk was terraced at the stern, with the aft South Beach Pool down a level and the ship’s arcade, virtual reality simulators (formula one and interactive XD cinema), bowling alley, and billiards installed just inside.

The room freed up back on Deck 16 was then reserved for Seaside’s specialty restaurants. Butcher’s Cut, Ocean Cay Restaurant, and the freshly revealed Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi (consisting of sushi, teppanyaki, and fusion elements) were nestled between the public upper buffet and private MSC Yacht Club. While promenade venues and other decks successfully emphasized flow, the placement of divided eateries up top resulted in an uncharacteristic cul-de-sac of food with little means to easily pass through.

The Emergence of EVO

Of course, as each new ship joins a class, changes are likely — but when sister ship MSC Seaview came online a year later in 2018, the two shared identical deck plans. It wasn’t until the Seaside-class transformed into the Seaside EVO-class — the first of which is the 2021-launched MSC Seashore — that significant additions, omissions, and reconfigurations were made. The newest of MSC’s “Sea” ships greatly expands and improves the original design.

Specification-wise, EVO is larger in length and capacity, increasing from 153,516 gross tons and 5,079 guests to 169,400 tons and 5,632 passengers.

She Sells “Sea” Ships by the Seashore

Unlike Seaside and Seaview, racing zip lines aren’t featured on Seashore, but a sports court, trio of waterslides, Adventure Trail ropes course, and aqua park still crown this latest ship. Adjacent to the waterpark are the extensive kids, tweens, and teens clubs of Doremiland, now placed towards the front. The Hall of Games (arcade and simulators) has relocated to its side, minus the bowling this time around.

The result is a perfectly contiguous arrangement of youth (and young-at-heart) activities that stretches to the forward, now double-decker Jungle Pool Lounge — shifted down a level — and aft Long Island Pool — which has been pushed up a deck to accommodate the consolidated Marketplace Buffet & Restaurant below. This single self-service dining room has been enlarged and placed on the same level as

the Bridge of Sighs glass-floored catwalk for cantilevered views over the stern — conveniently lubricated, as it were, by the nearby Sky Bar.

A Ship Within a Ship

Meanwhile, Seashore’s MSC Yacht Club is mostly unaltered since Seaside. The exclusive observation lounge and restaurant remain stacked on top of each other at the scenic front of the ship. But, the elongated private pool deck and outdoor bar and grill have been moved up a level to add more high-end suites in between.

Down on Deck 8 (and again enhancing passenger flow), the Waterfront Promenade and inviting Infinity Pool are now on the same level without interruption. What’s missing is a second buffet, in favor of the Chef’s Court collection of specialty dining. The line’s signature steakhouse and seafood restaurant have been repeated, but celebrity chef Yamaguchi’s eateries have been replaced with Kaito Teppanyaki and Kaito Sushi Bar, complete with a cool, meandering dish conveyor. The court’s attached bar has been expanded into two venues, one each for cocktails and wine, and the streamlined layout eliminates any previous roadblocks.

Just in front, flanking the atrium and its Swarovski crystal-adorned stairs, Bistro La Boheme has been swapped out for HOLA! Tacos & Cantina. Farther forward, a pool room has been tacked on to the Sports Bar to reintroduce billiards. The presence of Uptown Lounge behind the specialty restaurants partially makes up for the loss of the previous Haven Lounge on Deck 7, as does the floor’s newly unveiled Le Cabaret Rouge. The two-level entertainment venue also acts as an aft-facing observation lounge and a welcome public equivalent to the MSC Yacht Club’s private lounge.

Time to Say Goodbye

Entirely gone on Seashore, however, is the fun automotive-themed Garage Club and adjacent bowling alley. In their place are the additional 5th Avenue Restaurant (main dining) and Manhattan Restaurant (exclusive to Aurea guests). Thankfully also along for the ride are Venchi 1878’s tempting chocolate and gelato bars.

Finally, ship nerds who make a hobby of thoroughly comparing deck plans and scouring their every detail will note the photo gallery on Deck 5 is punctuated with a new kiosk highlighting the line’s philanthropic MSC Foundation. A final note, that is, other than the relocation of the business center from Deck 6 to Deck 8.

Through all these changes, big and small, MSC Seashore quite simply shows an exemplary evolution from MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview before her. She currently serves as a fine flagship for MSC Cruises’ U.S.-based fleet, currently departing from Miami.


This is an excerpt from the latest issue of Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine. To continue reading, click above for a digital or print subscription.

Jason Leppert is the founder and editor of Popular Cruising. The native of San Diego is a regular contributor to Porthole Cruise Magazine and has been aboard hundreds of cruise ships throughout his life.