Find a Cruise on MSC Cruises
with a cruise advisor
On Board with MSC
Sailings throughout the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas cater mainly to European travelers, while Caribbean itineraries attract more American clientele (though you can still expect a healthy mix of Italian- and Spanish-speaking passengers). While MSC cruises are geared more toward retirees, you'll also encounter families during summer and holiday breaks. Couples – particularly honeymooners – also cruise with MSC to take advantage of activities and packages designed specifically for pairs.
MSC Cruises' 17 ships contain Interior and Ocean View staterooms, as well as Balcony and Suite category accommodations. Select ships (Fantasia, Divina, Preziosa, Meraviglia, Seaview, Seaside, Splendida, Bellissima and Grandiosa) also offer MSC Yacht Club rooms, and you'll find Interior Studio rooms on three of the line's newest ships. All rooms have air conditioning, closets, TVs, phones, minibars, safes and bathrooms with showers and/or tubs. Additional cabin amenities vary by ship, the most notable of which is ZOE – MSC's new virtual personal cruise assistant available in all cabins on the Bellissima and Grandiosa.
Solo travelers may want to consider Interior Studio rooms on the MSC Meraviglia, MSC Grandiosa and MSC Bellissima to get the most bang for their buck. Interior Studio cabins each include a large single bed (which, in some cases, can be converted into a sofa during the day to save space), bathrooms with showers and interactive TVs. Studio rooms measure between 128 and 130 square feet.
Occupying approximately 130 to 301 square feet (depending on the ship), Interior Staterooms come with a queen-sized bed that can be converted into two single beds upon request. While these rooms do not provide guests with ocean views, their location on the middle decks of the ship makes them ideal for passengers who tend to get seasick.
Although the exact size of these staterooms varies by ship, Ocean View Staterooms occupy roughly 120 to 312 square feet and can be found on the lower and middle decks of MSC's ships. Each Ocean View Stateroom features a queen-sized bed that can be converted into two single beds, plus a bathroom with a shower. All rooms have a window that offers views of the sea (or a slightly obstructed outside view, in the case of Ocean with Partial View rooms).
Slightly bigger than Ocean View Staterooms, Balcony Staterooms measure roughly 161 to 454 square feet (depending on the ship) and include a furnished balcony. Located on the middle and upper decks, these rooms come outfitted with a queen-sized bed (that can be converted into two single beds), as well as wood furnishings and sitting areas in some cases.
Consider a Stateroom for Families if you are traveling with a large group: These rooms can hold up to 10 people across two or more connecting cabins. Some of these setups come with ocean views or balconies, and each room has its own bathroom. Staterooms for Families are available on the Meraviglia, Seaview, Seaside, Preziosa, Divina, Opera, Grandiosa and Bellissima.
Suites vary by ship; they include Grand Suites, two-bedroom Grand Suites, Suites with Private Whirlpools and Duplex Suites. These cabins occupy approximately 183 to 635 square feet, depending on the ship. Some suites offer balconies, while others provide panoramic sealed windows. Bed setups vary, but most contain one queen-sized bed (which can be separated into two singles). These rooms tend to be situated on the middle decks of MSC's ships and come with sitting areas and relatively easy access to onboard dining and entertainment venues.
MSC Yacht Club cabins are located on the MSC Meraviglia, Seaside, Seaview, Fantasia, Splendida, Divina, Preziosa, Bellissima and Grandiosa. These roughly 172- to 700-square-foot rooms feature complimentary access to the Thermal Area of the Aurea Spa and come with balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, wood furnishings, beds with memory foam mattresses, Egyptian cotton sheets and pillow menus. Yacht Club rooms also feature walk-in closets, marble bathrooms, complimentary minibars and internet access (for a fee). If you choose to splurge on one of these suites, you will have access to 24-hour room and butler service, as well as access to private venues like the Top Sail Lounge, the One Pool Deck and an exclusive restaurant. Other perks include after-hours access to onboard boutiques and tailor-made excursion opportunities.
What's Included in the Price
All MSC ships offer a variety of activities for both adults and children, as well as plenty of nighttime pursuits.
On MSC's ships, you can take advantage of the outdoor pools and, in some cases, even waterslides. You can also sign up for a number of sports tournaments and a variety of complimentary classes, from aerobics and Pilates to dance lessons. The ships offer interactive activities, such as poolside games, male and female pageants, trivia competitions and arts and crafts, as well.
For a more relaxing experience, head to the Aurea Spa, which offers a wide range of massages and skin treatments. Just note that spa services are not included in the cost of your cruise.
The fleet offers a number of clubs for young sailors, including the Miniclub (for kids ages 3 to 6), the Juniors Club (for kids ages 7 to 11), the Young Club (for younger teens ages 12 to 14) and the Teens Club (for passengers ages 15 to 17). Kids programming includes supervised activities like arts and crafts, LEGO activities, dance classes and performances, miniature golf and live kid-friendly shows.
Meanwhile, the Teen Club provides a place for teenagers to meet and mingle over karaoke and dance classes, as well as sports tournaments and evening dance parties in the teen disco. MSC's ships also offer babysitting services for children ages 1 to 3 for an additional fee. These services are offered at select times and availability is limited. Parents of young tots will also appreciate the new baby laundry service offered for children up to 6 years old.
When the sun goes down, you can enjoy evening activities like gambling at the casino, listening to live bands and dancing at nightclubs. MSC ships also contain a theater that hosts nightly performances like variety shows and original musical productions. MSC Meraviglia, Grandiosa and Bellissima even offer exclusive acrobatic shows by Cirque du Soleil.
MSC Cruises offers an assortment of dining options: from scheduled meals in the main dining rooms to a variety of dishes at the buffets to gourmet fares in the specialty restaurants. Each of MSC's 17 ships features different restaurant venues; you can learn more about each ship's dining facilities by visiting MSC's website.
Most of MSC's ships feature two main restaurants with set dinner menus and two evening seating times based on the cruise's itinerary. You can request an early or late seating time when you make your cruise reservation. Breakfast and lunch are served in the main restaurants and at the buffets. Buffets are open 20 hours per day for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and late-night offerings; exact times can be found on your daily onboard program.
Meals in the main dining rooms and buffets are included in your fare, but beverages (including soft drinks) cost extra.
Specialty dining venues include Ocean Cay, a mouthwatering seafood restaurant on the Seaside and Meraviglia; a Mediterranean tapas bar by Michelin-starred chef Ramón Freixa on the Grandiosa, Bellissima and Meraviglia; a French bistro on the Grandiosa, Bellissima and Seaview and more. Several ships offer the Kaito Sushi Bar and the Butcher's Cut steakhouse, while you'll find one-off spots like the Oriental Plaza Asian restaurant and Surf & Turf steakhouse on specific ships.
Keep in mind that all additional dining expenses will be calculated at the end of the cruise. Set service charges will be added for each day you are on the ship, so MSC does not recommend tipping individual members of staff.
Sign up for one of MSC's beverage packages to have your choice of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks on board. Packages range from nonalcoholic drinks for children to unlimited premium alcoholic drinks for adults – and everything in between. You can expect to pay between $17 and $79 per person, per day, depending on the package you select. For more information, check out MSC's beverage packages here.
Guests should pack a variety of clothing options for their cruise, including casual resort wear for the daytime and informal evenings, as well as formal outfits (cocktail dresses for women, suits or jackets and ties for men) for Gala dinners. You can expect between one and four formal dinner nights, depending on the length of your cruise. After 6 p.m., T-shirts and shorts are not permitted in the ship's public areas. Jeans can be worn on casual resort wear nights (as long as they are not ripped), and the buffet welcomes casually dressed passengers on every night of the cruise. Travelers are also encouraged to bring outfits for the ship's many themed parties, which might include an all-white party or a '70s-inspired shindig.
Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship’s Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 22 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship’s Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.