A New York City-Themed Mega Ship Is Now Caribbean Bound

MSC Seascape has officially entered service and will offer sailings to Eastern and Western Caribbean in her inaugural season.

Set amongst a sea of sequins and freshly pressed suits at the ship naming ceremony for MSC Seascape earlier this week, rumors swirled and gossip circulated so fast amongst the 80 or so invited members of the media it was enough to make your head spin.

"Did you hear Leo might be making a special appearance," one woman whispered as she took a sip of her aperol spritz. "No, but I did hear there's a Clinton somewhere onboard," another offered in exchange, although she couldn't seem to identify the Clinton in question. The ship's godmother, Sophia Loren, was slated to make an appearance alongside a buffet of other special appearances and musical guests. Part and parcel of the type of pomp and circumstance ship naming's tend to elicit, the official launch party for MSC Cruises 21st ship in the brand's burgeoning fleet was no exception. 

While the family-owned Geneva-based cruise operator spared no expense at the launch party for their fourth U.S. flagship at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New York City this week, I never did spot Leo, or any member of the Clinton family for that matter.

In a pre-gala ceremony in the ship's theater, Loren joined the festivities via telecast, as she gave her blessing of the new vessel, but not before Matteo Bocelli serenaded the crowd of more than 3,000 travel agents, global media, and VIPs with his rendition of John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)," a fitting tribute given the timing. Katherine Hepburn's granddaughter, Emma Kathleen Hepburn Ferrer, gave a teary-eyed speech about following in the famous actress's humanitarian footsteps through her work with UNICEF and their collaboration with MSC Foundation, the cruise line's environmental and humanitarian arm. The evening was then capped off with a short—and rather sweaty—performance by Ne-Yo (not to be confused with Le-o) in the top to bottom mirrored Atrium.

cruise pool
With six swimming pools, this ship will offer plenty of space for guests to spread out and relax between experiences and excursions. | MSC Cruises

With 2,270 cabins, 11 restaurants, 19 bars and lounges, six swimming pools (including a Pirates Cove Aqua Park), and an expansive waterfront promenade with its vertigo inducing glass skywalk called Bridge of Sighs on deck 16, I spent much of the day and night onboard the 5,179-passenger vessel delighting in getting completely lost. Unlike the ease of navigating Manhattan's grid-like streets, I'm certain you could spend a week onboard this floating mini-city and still not experience all it has to offer. With the promise of more than 98 hours of live entertainment per cruise, the sheer magnitude and attention to detail aboard Seascape is truly something to behold. 

The ship's overall design scheme blends European sophistication with a modern New York City themed aesthetic including a Broadway style theater, miniature Statue of Liberty, and a Times Square inspired shopping mall. Like most New Yorkers I know, I avoided those areas at all costs in search of some of the cooler, more subdued spots onboard. A chocolate themed gelato and coffee bar called Venchi on Deck 6 was a personal highlight, as was Kaito Sushi—a conveyor belt restaurant concept plucked straight out of Tokyo that delivers freshly sliced pieces of nigiri and sashimi right to your barstool. 

Located on the foredeck, the ship's signature Yacht Club is like the SoHo House of MSC Cruises. Featuring its own private sundeck, restaurant, and 24-hour butler service, this was the place for those who need a little reprieve from the hustle and bustle.

Robotron will require serious courage to ride, but it'll undoubtedly deliver thrills. | MSC Cruises

While there's no amount of money in the world that you could pay me to participate (okay, maybe $1 million) there was something delightful about watching the more intrepid humans on board willingly strap themselves into the Robotron "thrill ride" on the 19th deck. Not only is this the first robotic arm ride at sea, but 175-feet above sea level, it sends passengers hurtling through the air before suspending them over the edge of the ship. For now, I'll stick with The Formula Racer and VR Motorbike, thank you very much.

Now that Seascape has been property christened, the sister ship to MSC Seashore is now bound for her new homeport in Miami, where she'll begin sailing to the Caribbean and the Bahamas for her inaugural season. Offering two week-long itineraries to Eastern and Western Caribbean, both cruises include a stop in MSC privately owned island Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas.