MSC Cruises (MSC stands for Mediterranean Shipping Company) isn’t a household name for all American travelers. But it is a cruise line with an undeniably strong global presence. In fact, they are the fourth largest cruise line in the world, just behind massive companies like Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. While they have a distinctly Italian reputation, there are plenty of reasons why a traveler from anywhere on the planet might be interested in hopping on a cruise with MSC.
MSC currently has a pretty extensive fleet of 17 ships, and it is only set to grow in the next few years. If you want a smaller ship, go for the Lirica class, which has the following ships that clock in at 65,000 tons: MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Lirica, and MSC Opera. The next biggest class is Musica at about 92,000 tons, with the MSC Musica, MSC Orchestra, MSC Poesia, and MSC Magnifica. The Fantasia class is made up of MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida, MSC Divina, and MSC Preziosa, all of which are either 137,936 or 139,400 tons. The next biggest is the Seaside class, which has the MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, both of which are 153,516 tons. The Meraviglia class has two ships that are 171,598 tons: MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima. Their biggest ship, MSC Grandiosa, is in a class of its own (literally): the Meraviglia Plus class. It checks in at 181,541 tons.
Because MSC is such a large company, they have an incredibly wide array of different itineraries. This means that their prices can vary quite a bit. Still, many of their cruises go for under $1000 per person. You can easily find a week-long Caribbean itinerary for just a few hundred dollars. They also often have very fine deals on their website, so savvy shoppers can bide their time to really shave off some of the cost. With that being said, you shouldn’t expect your ticket to pay for everything on the trip. They have many different packages to choose from, and the cheapest ones (the Bella packages) won’t get you much aside from the ticket itself and meals at a few of the restaurants.
MSC Cruises is a company that tries to cater to all markets, meaning that there will be a staggering amount of activities to choose from on all of their ships. High-adrenaline attractions like contests, nightclubs, and arcades are all over the place. People looking for a calmer time can also expect the usual selections of spas and pools. The dining on MSC ships follows a similar trend. You can typically find any kind of food you’re craving on their ships, but the Mediterranean cuisine is the highlight.
While MSC is generally associated with the Italian market, their ships are actually quite diverse in terms of guests. There will be many Spanish and Italian speaking individuals, but it won’t be a majority. Despite this, a few non-Italian travelers have said that they felt alienated. Their ships are generally thought of as having a party environment. Some people love it, some people find it to be too much.
As long as they know that they’re getting into a Mediterranean-style party experience and are prepared for it, guests usually love MSC. It’s not for everyone, but most people can have a good time onboard. The main draw here are the amazing prices and deals. If you are looking for a very refined and luxurious experience, however, you may want to look elsewhere.