Our author was lucky enough to attend the christening of MSC Cruise Ship Seashore. The ceremony was presided over by Sophia Loren.
In November, 2021, I was offered the cruising opportunity of a lifetime: Attend the christening of MSC’s newest ship, the Seashore. The ceremony would be presided over by the ship’s godmother, Sophia Loren. Furthermore, the ceremony wouldn’t be taking place at a port, but instead at Ocean Cay, MSC’s private island and marine reserve in the Bahamas, which would be christened simultaneously with the ship.
Before boarding the MSC Seashore in Miami, I had never stepped foot onto a cruise ship. I had no idea what to expect besides the preconceived notions I’ve seen in movies and on TV. I knew there would be a buffet and lots of food, but I also silently wondered how likely it is for a rogue wave to come and overturn the boat like in The Poseidon Adventure (from my research, I discovered not very likely).
However, safety is extremely important on cruise ships, so it’s beneficial for all first-timers to know that shortly after boarding there is a safety procedure that all guests were required to partake in. During the drill, we were all sent back to our cabins where we watched a safety video. Afterwards, we were instructed to check in at our designated emergency gathering space. In a real emergency, the crew would then lead each group from their sections toward the lifeboats. I fully understand that many people probably don’t want to hear about potential emergencies at the start of their vacations, but I actually found it reassuring to know that the ship had a plan and that I knew what that plan was.
Once the safety demonstration was over, it was time to relax and enjoy the trip. The onboard spa, Aurea, is a stunning and gorgeous space. I made my appointment for the start of the trip because I figured there’d be no better way to get in the vacation spirit than by starting with a rejuvenating massage. There are many spa treatments on offer, and I chose the 50-minute Balinese massage. Personally, I found it to be outstanding. I’ve only had about three massages in my life, and I hated all of them. I didn’t see the point or understand why people get them, they seemed to do nothing. It was like having someone press on you for an hour. But why? I always asked myself. At Aurea, I discovered why. It felt like my muscles were being stretched, massaged, relaxed, and made ready for the next two days of adventure. In traditional Balinese style, my massage was finished with a cup of tea.
Something else happened during the massage too. I felt the ship move. We had begun our sail. I couldn’t have imagined a more fitting and wonderful way to start my first cruise than by being massaged and pampered as the Seashore made its maiden departure towards the Bahamas. After the massage, I rushed out to the deck to watch the Miami skyline fade into the distance as we sailed out towards Ocean Cay.
I decided that before dinner I’d take a moment to go check out my cabin. I had been on the ship for a few hours and had hardly even looked around my room. It was a pretty good size and had a wonderful king-sized bed, a sofa, a closet, and a giant desk with a vanity. Underneath the desk was a stocked mini fridge filled with every kind of drink and snack you could possibly imagine. But best of all was the floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors and private balcony. Why do cruise ships even have curtains in the rooms? The ability to go to sleep and wake up with the ocean just a few feet from your bed is a privilege that few people get to experience. There was no way in hell I’d be sleeping with that covered up by curtains. I figured I might even leave my balcony door open to listen to the crashing waves.
By now it was dinnertime and my assigned dining room was the Tribeca Restaurant. The other main restaurants on board are named 5th Avenue and Central Park. Can you guess the ship’s theme? That’s right, the Seashore is themed around New York City. If you’re like me, you probably feel that theming a Bahamas-based cruise ship around New York is odd, and at first, it was, but I eventually came to really enjoy the odd dichotomy between the relaxed and beachy vibes outside, and the vibrant, neon-filled big city inside.
In traditional cruise style, the dining rooms consist of large tables with assigned dining times where you eat with strangers who quickly become good friends. For my first meal, I had an arugula and beet salad followed by roasted duck and finished with a white chocolate cheesecake. The duck was cooked perfectly and certainly challenged all my preconceived notions of what “cruise food” was.
After dinner, I needed to fully explore the ship. The entire first afternoon seemed so busy that I hadn’t even had time to see all the amenities and features that make the Seashore unique. I needed to map out everything there was to see and do. I had been massaged and fed and was now ready to go explore the 18-story floating city.
During my excursion around the ship, here’s what I found: A casino (complete with a bar featuring a giant Statue of Liberty at its center), eight hot tubs, three pools, one waterpark (that has five waterslides), an arcade, an outdoor basketball court, a buffet, numerous bars and specialty restaurants including a steakhouse and trendy conveyor belt sushi bar, a gelato stand, a chocolate bar, a gym, and even a billiards room that not only had pool, but also shuffleboard and a Led Zeppelin pinball machine.
Naturally, I went back and got myself some salted toffee gelato and then hit up the billiards room where I spent a good hour eating gelato and listening to “Kashmir” and “Good Times Bad Times” while playing pinball.
After my sugar high wore off, I decided to hop into bed. I wanted to be up early the next morning. I love being awake before the world gets too crowded, when it’s just me, a cup of tea, and the morning sunshine. As luck would have it, I didn’t even need the alarm I set because just after 6 A.M., as the sun was starting to rise, I was awoken by the ship. It started vibrating.
I had a moment of confusion and a little fear. Having never been on a cruise before, I didn’t know what to expect. I had been told that on most ships, you don’t even feel the ship moving, and especially not vibrating. I walked out to my balcony, wondering if my Poseidon Adventure fears were coming true, and noticed a lot of turbulence in the water coming from below the ship. I could tell what was happening, the ship was pushing itself sideways.