4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
Switzerland-based MSC Cruises operates a fleet of large cruise ships throughout the world and is known for its Mediterranean-inspired style of cruising that includes freshly made Italian food, relaxed service and a late-night party atmosphere onboard.
MSC Cruises is one of the most diverse cruise lines you can sail on with a multicultural mix of Italians, Brits, Spanish, Germans and French in the Mediterranean, with more North Americans in the Caribbean (but still lots of Italians and Spanish-speaking passengers), and a big local market in South Africa and South America.
You'll also come across all ages. The lively night scene means these ships work well for teens and younger cruisers, while the decent kids' clubs (particularly on the newer ships) and the clever arrangements of clustered family cabins mean a lot of families travel during school holidays.
Yes, a little. The usual dress code is informal during the day and smart-casual at night -- think nice trousers and shirt for men and nice pants/skirts with blouse or cocktail dress for women. There's usually one gala night per cruise, when black tie or dark suit and tie are encouraged for men, as is a formal dress for women. This is not enforced, but people do make an effort.
The action onboard an MSC ship is nonstop, with cruisers flocking to participate in pool games, sports contests, shopping promotions, trivia, karaoke and filling the nightclubs until late. On newer ships, high-tech arcade games are all the rage, including a 4D cinema, laser maze, F1 simulator and bowling.
Many MSC cruisers are also just as happy to park themselves by a pool and stay there all day, and when the ship is in port, you'll find the vast majority of cruisers off the ship on ship-sponsored or independent tours.
No, unless you're in one of the Yacht Club suites, and even then, not everything is included. MSC sells its cruises through a somewhat bewildering array of packages: Bella, Fantastica, Aurea and Yacht Club. All include your accommodation, meals in specified restaurants and big-stage entertainment, along with basic coffee and tea, and select juices at breakfast and lunch.
Beyond that, perks and inclusions vary by which package you've purchased, with Bella having no additional inclusions and Aurea featuring unlimited beverages. The Yacht Club has the most inclusions, with extra dining venues for eating, spa thermal suite passes and most beverages (plus access to a personal butler and a dedicated Yacht Club lounge and pool).
Regardless of what package you buy, tips, gratuities, spa treatments, Wi-Fi, specialty dining and select onboard activities (such as the laser maze, F1 simulator, 4D cinema, zipline and Cirque du Soleil shows) cost extra.