Plan Your MSC Cruises Vacation
More widely known as one of the world's largest cargo shipping companies, MSC has operated cruises with an eclectic fleet since the late 1980s. When the line introduced two graceful, medium-size ships in 2003 and 2004, it ushered in an era of new shipbuilding that has
seen the fleet grow faster than any other European cruise line. This line is growing into a major player in both Europe and the Caribbean.
MSC blankets the Mediterranean nearly year-round with a dizzying selection of cruise itineraries that allow a lot of time in ports of call and include few if any sea days. In summer months, several ships sail off to northern Europe to ply the Baltic. Itineraries planned for repositioning sailings visit some intriguing, off-the-beaten-track ports of call that other cruise lines bypass.
No glitz, no clutter—just elegant simplicity—is the standard of MSC's seaworthy interior decor. Extensive use of marble, brass, and wood reflects the best of Italian styling and design; clean lines and bold colors set their modern sophisticated tone.
MSC adopts some activities that appeal to American passengers without abandoning those preferred by Europeans; however, regardless of the itinerary, be prepared for an Italian-influenced experience. Also expect to hear announcements in several languages.
Key MSC Cruises Tips
Are you a first-time cruiser? View our helpful hints and tips on Your Shipmates, Dress Code, Junior Cruisers, and much more! See Tips
Top Reasons To Cruise
- Italian Heritage MSC embraces its Italian heritage and style—not to flaunt it, but to share it.
- Sophia Loren An Italian treasure, the iconic movie actress serves as godmother to MSC’s ships.
- Affordability MSC affords a contemporary cruise experience at favorable price points.
- Family-friendliness With a kids-sail-free policy, MSC Cruises’ ships are ideally suited for family cruise vacations.
Is This Line Right For You?
Choose This Line If
- You appreciate authentic Italian cooking. This is the real thing, not an Olive Garden clone.
- You want your ship to look like a ship. MSC's vessels are very nautical in appearance.
- You want the Continental flair of a premium cruise at a fair price.
Don't Choose This Line If
- Announcements in more than one language get on your nerves.
- You aren't able to accept things that are not always done the American way.
- You prefer myriad dining choices and casual attire. MSC cruises have assigned seating and observe a dress code.
What To Expect On Board
Dinner on MSC ships is a traditional multiple-course event centered on authentic Italian fare. Menus list Mediterranean regional specialties and classic favorites prepared from scratch. Some favorites include lamb-and-mushroom quiche (a Tuscan dish) and veal scaloppini with
tomatoes and mozzarella (a recipe from Sorrento in Campania). Although food is still prepared the Italian way, in a nod to American tastes broiled chicken breast, grilled salmon, and Caesar salad are additions to the dinner menu that are always available. Healthy Choice and vegetarian items are offered as well as tempting sugar-free desserts. A highlight is the bread, freshly baked on board daily. Pizza served in the buffet is some of the best at sea. The nightly midnight buffet is a retro food feast missing from most of today's cruises. Room service is always available, though the options are somewhat limited.
In addition to the guest lecturers, computer classes, and cooking lessons featured in the enrichment programs, Italian-language classes are a popular option. Nightly shows accentuate the cruise line's Mediterranean heritage; there might be a flamenco show in the main
show room and live music for listening and dancing in the smaller lounges, although the disco is a happening late-night spot.
MSC entertainment staff members shine offstage as well as in front of the spotlight. They seek out passengers traveling solo, who might be looking for activity or dance partners, so that they feel fully included in the cruise.
Fitness and Recreation
Up-to-date exercise equipment, a jogging track, and basic fitness classes for all levels are available in the fitness centers.
Spa treatments include a variety of massages, body wraps, and facials that can be scheduled à la carte or combined in packages to encompass
an afternoon or the entire cruise. The hottest hair-styling techniques and nail services are offered in the salons. Unlike most cruise lines, MSC Cruises operates its own spas.