MSC Cruises’ new Miami-based ship, MSC Seaside, debuted last week with a host of amenities and activities that are all new for the line. Sure, you might have heard about the outrageous Swarovski crystal stairs, the Formula 1 racing simulator, the bowling alley, the enclave-like yacht club, and the unforgettable Venchi gelato and chocolates before. But here are the new features you can only get on this vessel -- and they're pretty incredible:
1. Dine on cuisine by a Hawaiian celebrity chef.
Roy Yamaguchi, famous for his spectacular Hawaiian restaurants and cookbooks, launched his fist restaurant at sea on this ship. Called Asian Market Kitchen, it’s really a trio of spaces — a sushi bar, a teppanyaki grill, and Asian-fusion restaurant.
Verdict: This restaurant doesn’t launch until this week but we can say that it’s a gorgeously designed space and, while pricey at $35 per person, a rare opportunity for unforgettable sushi at sea.
2. Sail across the longest zip-line at sea.
While this isn’t the first zip-line at sea, it’s certainly the most formidable, stretching across the deck from the funnel to a dramatic finish at the aft. Royal Caribbean offers shorter zip-lines on several ships.
Verdict: The wait was long, but it helps for working up courage if you're afraid of heights. The best part: it’s free — and the photo op of the year.
3. Go slideboarding.
This ship has several water slides — including ones that let you race friends or family members — but the one with the longest line was the one with slideboards. This water slide corkscrews off the side of the deck, and you can play a video game as you whirl through the tubes in your raft. Be sure to check your score when you get to the bottom.
Verdict: This is another fabulous and free activity. We felt brave for trying it, and we’d do it again.
4. Stay in a beach condo.
Designed so that the back of the ship looks like a condo tower straight off of Miami Beach, these cabins have wraparound terraces with private views in two directions.
Verdict: The cabins stand out less on the inside than the outside, making the verandah the special part of this choice. That said, we can’t imagine a better place to watch a sail away -- with a glass of bubbly, of course.
5. Shoot zombies in a 5-D theater.
This is more of an immersive video game than a movie: You strap yourself into the seat, then prepare to shoot at zombies on a screen. The fee is $10 per person for adults and $8 for children.
Verdict: It’s a competition to see who can shoot the most zombies (or aliens or werewolves) and it’s actually very hard to do. (We came in dead last... no pun intended.) The game takes less than five minutes, but it’s a lot of fun, especially if you’re competing against friends and family. One word of advice: Don’t wear a skirt. The game features blowing wind and an outside monitor that lets passersby watch the action.
6. Dance at a silent disco.
You may have heard of this concept popping up in major cities around the world: You don headphones and then dance to the music of your choice. This will happen in the South Beach Bar once per cruise for adults and once for teens. U by Uniworld, the millennial-focused river cruise line launching in the spring, will also have a silent disco and Celebrity Cruises offers it on some ships, but this is MSC’s first.
Verdict: They don’t start hosting the event until this week, but we’re looking forward to being able to control not only the music selections but also the volume. Best of all, this too is free.