As a seasoned cruiser, I’ve always been intrigued by MSC Cruises, a Swiss-based line that has carved a niche in European itineraries and is now turning heads in America. Known for their low prices, beautifully designed ships, and awe-inspiring itineraries.

So, naturally, when I got the chance to hop on an MSC cruise, I was all aboard with curiosity and a pinch of excitement. Choosing my first MSC cruise and buying a cruise ticket was a total leap into the unknown. The internet is a treasure trove of information, yet the reviews I stumbled upon were a mixed bag – many were lukewarm, with just a handful praising the line for its value.

These varied reviews were a bit unnerving, but hey, isn’t life all about taking chances? Today, I’m here to unravel the mysteries of MSC Cruises. I’ll layer in my personal experiences, and tackle the burning question: Is MSC truly a good cruise line?

MSC Cruises Overview

Going on an MSC Cruise was like having all the cruising norms redefined, offering a distinctive experience that caters to a diverse range of preferences. From the moment I stepped aboard, I was struck by the refined ambiance and an array of facilities that seemed to cater to every imaginable taste.

MSC Europa cruise ship
Image Source: Pinterest

Speaking of the fleet, MSC’s impressive lineup of 22 ships, with another marvel under development, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Each vessel caters to an array of destinations – from the sun-kissed Mediterranean to the vibrant Caribbean, the quaint charm of Canada and New England, the serene beauty of Bermuda, the rhythms of South America, and the rugged allure of Northern Europe.

The duration of these journeys varies widely, ranging from a quick 2-night getaway to an epic 120-night adventure on their annual World Cruises. The ships themselves are a marvel, with passenger capacities stretching from a cozy 2,620 on the Armonia to a bustling 6,762 on the World Europa, each at full capacity. This variation allows for a range of experiences, from intimate to grand-scale.

The crew ratio, approximately one crew member to every three passengers, ensures attentive and personalized service that makes every guest feel special.

Now, let’s talk about the cruise packages. MSC offers three distinct experiences: Bella, Fantastica, and Aurea. Each package shapes the cruise fare and the inclusions, providing options for every budget and preference.

The Bella experience, while being the most economical, covers all the essentials – meals in the main restaurants, dining room, buffets, and a selection of onboard activities. The food across the ship’s specialty restaurants is a culinary journey in itself, with globally inspired cuisines that tantalize the taste buds and offer a glimpse into the world’s flavors.

Things I Liked Aboard MSC Cruises

One standout feature of MSC is its affordable fares. Compared to other cruise lines, MSC offers significantly lower rates, making it an attractive option for various budgets. This affordability extends to their special cabins as well.

The Yacht Club suites, for instance, offer a taste of luxury at a fraction of the cost you might find on other lines. It’s the kind of deal that makes you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a hidden gem.

For families, MSC shines brightly, its pricing strategy is great for multigenerational groups. Children under 18 can sail free in the same cabin as their parents, only covering port and other taxes. This policy is a huge solace for families, making a cruise vacation more accessible than ever.

The ship’s environment can cater to a wide range of ages and preferences, making it a perfect choice for family-oriented activities.

msc cruise line

The fleet itself merits praise. Most of MSC’s ships are quite new, boasting modern amenities and facilities. The regular opening of new ships keeps the fleet refreshed and inviting.

Stepping aboard, one is greeted by a unique European-inspired décor, notably different from the American style seen on most cruise lines. The Swarovski Crystal staircases are an exquisite touch, infusing the ship with a sense of elegance and wonder.

When the sun sets, MSC’s vibrant nightlife springs to life. Themed parties transform the ship into a lively epicenter of entertainment. The bars, discos, and casinos are always bustling, offering plenty of options for adults to enjoy a night out on the sea.

For the kids and the young at heart, there’s no shortage of fun. The ship boasts extensive kids’ clubs, along with amenities like amusement arcades, sports courts, and water parks. There are plenty of daytime activities and late-night choices to keep the younger passengers thoroughly entertained.

Beautiful MSC World Europa balcony cabin
Image Source: Pinterest

Localizing efforts are a significant part of the MSC experience. During my journey, I noticed how the cruise line adapts to the primary language of passengers. Key announcements are made in select languages, ensuring that everyone feels included and notified. This attention to detail extends to staffing as well. The senior crew and guest entertainers often hail from the region of sailing.

The Status Matching program by MSC is another feature that caught my eye. It’s a unique policy where MSC recognizes and matches your loyalty status from other cruise lines. This means you can enjoy equivalent perks aboard MSC. These benefits can range from priority boarding to certain events, dining discounts, and more. It’s a savvy way of saying, “We value your experience with us and elsewhere.”

Finally, the Yacht Club deserves special recognition. This exclusive ‘ship-within-a-ship’ concept offers a separate, more peaceful area, complete with amenities like lounges, pools, and dining options. What stood out to me was the less crowded atmosphere and the more personalized service experience.

Areas That Can be Improved on MSC Cruises

Even the most splendid cruise experiences have their hiccups, and my time with MSC was no exception. While there were many highlights, there were also aspects that could be improved to enhance the overall experience.

One of the first hurdles I encountered was the need to print out embarkation documents. In an age where digital check-ins are the norm, this requirement felt archaic and inconvenient. For travelers without easy access to a printer, this was an excessive source of stress. Moving to a digital system would streamline the process and align MSC with contemporary travel practices.

MSC World Europa
Image Source: Pinterest

Regardless of the available private spaces, overcrowding issues can be a significant concern on MSC Cruises. The ship often sails at full capacity, leading to crowding in shared areas like the buffet or pool decks. This heightened passenger-to-space ratio sometimes affects comfort and accessibility which makes it challenging to find a quiet spot or even a seat during peak periods.

Regarding Dining Constraints, while the food aboard MSC Cruises is generally good, there are constraints. The main dining room operates on fixed dining times with little flexibility, which can be restrictive for some guests.

Also, specialty restaurants tend to become fully booked quite fast, needing guests to plan way ahead to reserve a table. This lack of spontaneity in dining choices could be a drawback for people who prefer to decide in the heat of the moment.

The area of Entertainment and Activities also has space for improvement. The shows and activities rely on a more classic style, lacking the scale and spectacle of larger productions found on lines like Royal Caribbean. Even though the daily program includes traditional offerings like trivia, dance classes, and live music, they don’t quite match the technological splendor and scale of entertainment offered by some other cruise lines.

In terms of service and culture, the approach is mostly efficiency over personalization. The service often feels transactional, focusing more on task completion rather than creating guest connections. It contrasts with the outgoing, friendly service culture prevalent in many U.S.-based cruise lines.

Budget Constraints are prominent in the entertainment quality. The shows, although enjoyable like the ABBA show or opera performances, are generally no-frills in production and less technologically developed compared to other lavish cruise ships.

Although it might seem like a nitpick at this point, the Itineraries can be rather restricting due to the large size of the ships. The MSC Seashore while a beautiful ship, is bound to dock at larger ports capable of handling high passenger volumes. It impacts the experience and limits the possibility of exploring smaller, lesser-known ports.

A noteworthy con of MSC cruises for me personally was the lack of a calmer experience since the ship’s predominantly family-centric atmosphere wasn’t always ideal. Limited adult-only areas mean that pools and lounges are often crowded with families. However, none of these issues were so bad that I wanted to cancel my trip.

Comprehensive Verdict: Is MSC a Good Cruise Line?

I noted discrepancies between online reviews and my actual onboard experience. Although my cruise with MSC was far from perfect, I felt like the reviews were a bit exaggerated. The price for things onboard was reasonable and while many reviewers claimed that the crew members on board didn’t provide good service, I would disagree according to my personal experience.

msc cruise setting sail in sea
Image Source: MSC Cruises

The guest services were honestly good enough and on par with other big ships and cruise lines. Of course, there is the occasional feeling you get when you have experienced bigger, and better ships, but those ships also charge way more than MSC cruises.

I’ll suggest potential cruisers not rely solely on negative feedback they read online. While reviews are helpful, they can sometimes paint an incomplete picture of what to expect.

I can confidently say that I would sail again on another MSC Cruise Ship in the future, considering that the price is honestly a steal in 2024.


Is MSC a high-end cruise line?

MSC Cruises strikes a balance between offering value and luxury. While not positioned as the most luxurious in the market, it provides a unique experience, especially for Yacht Club guests.

In the Yacht Club, travelers can indulge in high-end luxury options, including exclusive services, private areas, and premium accommodations. This blend of affordability and luxury makes MSC an appealing choice for a wide range of travelers.

What are MSC Cruises known for?

MSC Cruises is renowned for its international dining, world-class entertainment, and award-winning family programs, complemented by the latest user-friendly technology onboard. They’re particularly celebrated for their low prices, beautifully designed ships, and awe-inspiring itineraries.

These features collectively contribute to a unique cruising experience that blends cultural diversity, entertainment excellence, and technological innovation, all wrapped up in an affordable package.

Why choose MSC Cruise?

Choosing MSC Cruises offers an exclusive experience, highlighted by their authentic Balinese spas onboard. These spas provide a wide range of wellness and beauty treatments, from traditional massages to innovative therapies.

MSC’s focus on international dining, diverse entertainment, and family-friendly programs enhances the cruise experience. Their commitment to combining relaxation, entertainment, and family fun makes them a standout choice in the cruise industry.

What can I expect on an MSC cruise?

On an MSC cruise, expect a blend of elegance, diversity, and personalization. The ships boast stunning designs with ample ocean views, vibrant promenades, and exclusive areas like the Lanai and secret speakeasy bars. Culinary delights include authentic Italian cuisine, while entertainment ranges from acrobatic shows to live music. Efficient services like destination elevators enhance the experience, although some areas like internet access and buffet management could improve.