What is Your Favorite Cruise Ship?

This is a tough one. We’re asked this question on a daily basis. The truth is that our favorite ships have changed over the years and keep changing as a result of cruise lines pushing the limits and ideas of what cruising is and can be.

So here are my top three ships and why I currently love them.

#1 My Current All Time Favorite Ship of 2018 – MSC Seaside

Yes. Without a doubt, 100% the ship to beat in 2018 is the MSC Seaside. I’ll have a full detailed review and daily cruise vlog soon. Let’s just say that 90% of the rumors about the MSC Seaside were wrong / non existent. I’m sure some of you will gawk at this. Come up with some silly concoction as to why I’m saying this. These are my words, I’m not being paid or sponsored in any way to say anything. I wouldn’t do that. Today this is my favorite ship. What will tomorrow bring? 🙂

Out of 19 cruises so far, my favorite ship is the MSC Seaside.

So let me say that prior to sailing on the MSC Seaside my favorite ship would be the Norwegian Epic (Ooh the haters on this ship!!), followed closely by the Norwegian Getaway and the Norwegian Escape. 

The MSC Seaside has a very familiar feeling to it. It felt comfortable. It felt as if I’d sailed with MSC for years. The crew was so incredibly kind and friendly. The officers were way more social than on any other line. We spent time with Captain Massa and Jordon the Hotel Director on multiple occasions during our cruise. Did you read that? Let me repeat, MULTIPLE OCCASIONS. So much so that Captain Massa is in our vlog! Yep! You’ll have to wait and see that episode…

Maybe it was all the hate that forced me to go in with zero expectations. Maybe it was the modern design aesthetic of the ship, maybe it was the Yacht Club feeling truly like a hotel in a hotel and not like an unused space on a ship, maybe it was the amazing crew, maybe it was the fantastic food (BEST PIZZA EVER) & drinks & GELATO, maybe it was a combination of many little things. All I know is that I’m ready to try any and all MSC ships as a result of our trip on the MSC Seaside. It should also be noted that I’d jump back on the Seaside tomorrow if I could.

The food. Oh the food. The best pizza I’ve had at sea or on land (NYC being the only exception, I’m not cray people). The best pasta I’ve ever had. The best gelato, oh the gelato. The best steakhouse at sea, rivals land restaurants like STK, Flamestone, Ruths Cris, etc.

The coffee. YES THE COFFEE!! I thought I knew coffee until I sailed on the MSC Seaside.

The spa. I really enjoyed the spa and the two outdoor decks and hot tubs. The multisensory showers are awesome. The geyser room is something that just has to be experienced.

The service. Absolutely top level service. You won’t find a nicer crew or better service on any ship at this level or price point, period. It cannot be matched.

The value. As of this posting the MSC Seaside is a great value even at the Yacht Club level. The Seaside prices are comparable and in many cases cheaper than it’s competitors. The level of service we experienced in the Yacht Club by far surpassed anything that we’ve experienced in our seven trips in the Haven.

Let me say this as well, if you’re an NCL fan you’ll feel right at home on the MSC Seaside. I’ve sailed fourteen times with Norwegian across three ships. I can honestly say that NCL fans won’t feel uncomfortable on a MSC ship. 

#2 The Most Fun Ship of 2018 – Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas

The most fun, most exciting, most non stop action ship of 2018 is without a doubt the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas. You can see Stef’s review of the Allure of the Seas here. I’ve said this a bunch and I stand by it. The Allure of the Seas is like a Vegas Casino and an Orlando Theme Park had a kid and that kid loves to swim.

It’s no joke that the Royal Caribbean marketing team says WOW in it’s messaging. That’s because Holy S%$T is a bit harsh for family friendly marketing, but def on the money. Maybe Holy Ship? Too bad that’s taken already. You get the point. This ship is all about excitement and the absolute best entertainment at sea. The entertainment, the singers, the performers, the musicians, the acrobats, the gymnasts, the divers all are as good or better than their Vegas counterparts. The musicians on this ship are unreal. The keyboard and sax players in Central Park, the UNBELIEVABLE house band at Dazzles, the crazy great musicians of Boleros, the chill remarkably skilled Jazz band at Jazz on 4 and the TRULY INCREDIBLE orchestra for the live performances are all unparalleled at sea. You have not seen great entertainment or live music at sea if you haven’t sailed with Royal Caribbean.

Let’s be honest, live entertainment on ships really isn’t that great. It’s usually reminiscent of performances at an airport lounge or something at a mall. It’s just not that great. Obviously Royal saw an opportunity and capitalized on it. They took the whole vibe of a Vegas casino, mashed it with all the fun to be had in a theme park and you have the Oasis class ships. I’m dying to try out a Quantum class ship next. I’d love to see how the entertainment holds up.

As far as I’m concerned, the ship to beat for all around entertainment and non stop fun is The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas.

You can see our Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Cruise Vlog here:

#3 The Ship That Will Always be My Ship – Norwegian Epic

The amount of hate that this ship takes on a daily basis is almost comical. Various tired review sites are full of the same whining and complaining about this ship. The Epic has been in service since 2010.If you know something about the ship that you don’t like prior to boarding are you sailing just to whine about things? Anyway. I LOVE this ship. I’ve sailed on the Epic six times for a total of forty-nine days. Why do I love this ship? Well I’ve talked quite a bit about why I love Norwegian here. To sum up, it’s 100% the crew. These are amazing hard working individuals that have truly become family to us.

We know so many crew that during a private tour with Nelson the Hotel Director we were stopped so many times that he said let’s get you a table here and you can hang out with all of your friends. We LOVE the amazing people of the Epic.

We love the ship too. Probably the best Haven, IMHO. I haven’t had the opportunity to stay in the Haven on the Bliss or Joy yet, but out of the rest my favorite Haven is on the Epic. I also really like Shanghai’s and Cirque Epicurean on the Epic. Of course my favorite little chill spot, Posh, is still the best place to hang out and watch the sail away party.

Truth be told I don’t hate any ships that we’ve sailed on. We’re still fairly young in our sailing career. The MSC Seaside was our 19th cruise. We have a long way to go compared to some. That’s why we are visiting as many ships on as many lines as we possibly can.

So far we’ve sailed on the

  • Holland America Oosterdam
  • Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas
  • Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas
  • Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas
  • Norwegian Getaway
  • Norwegian Epic
  • Celebrity Equinox
  • Norwegian Escape
  • MSC Seaside

And we have so many more planned including:

  • Carnival Horizon
  • Carnival Breeze
  • MSC Meraviglia

We think every ship and every line has their individual strengths and we love finding each and every one of them.

What is your favorite ship? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Sailing Everyone!

Sean Mullen is a Travel Filmmaker, Vlogger, VFX Artist, Brand Ambassador and the CEO & Lead Designer of Rampant Design, Inc. He is a 3 Time Emmy Award Winner and former Walt Disney World Monorail Pilot. Sean is married to the AMAZING Stef IRL.

One thought on “What is Your Favorite Cruise Ship?

  • Favorite Ship: MSC Seaside and I didn’t even sail on her yet!! Haha. Thanks Sean and Stef for the quick review here. It’s time to book our week on her.

    The Ship that will ALWAYS be ‘our ship’ for many reasons: NCL Breakaway. She’s truly a New Yorker at heart! Kevin Sheehan (his controversial departure and awful incident not-withstanding) truly designed a great ship and class of ship (BA and BA+ class) with the BA. Inspired by the Epic and improved upon in some respects (not the Haven, Epic has the best Haven at Sea IMHO from what I’ve seen- BA Class Haven and BA+ is smaller and has less to offer) Mr. Sheehan as a New Yorker himself put the heart of the Big Apple in the design. A lot of great memories on her and some good old friends (crew and officers) as well.

    Second and third favorite Closely follow BA: Escape and Getaway.

    Enchantment OTS is really a cozy ship that is right sized. Feels very comfortable, warm, inviting, and a great ship to spend a few days on.

    We do have a least favorite, but I’ll stick with positivity!!

    Epic out of Barcelona booked in late Fall of 2019 and can’t wait!

    Other ships sailed:
    RCCL Adventure OTS
    Indy OTS
    A Disney ship when I was 10- Not sure which one!
    Sovereign Of The Seas (also when I was really little)

    Other booked up and comers:

    NCL Sun
    NCL Sky
    NCL Gem (maybe-this may turn into an MSC)

    Bon Voyage all. Safe travels and keep the shiny side up out there!

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