We have had the privilege of experiencing sailing with MSCs several times on the Armonia, Meraviglia, Seascape, and Seaside in the pre and post-COVID era.
Each ship in the MSC fleet offered different touches that made for a unique travel experience. From exceptional dining to captivating entertainment!

MSC Cruise Line’s Background

As an Italian-Swiss cruise line, MSC Cruises began its journey in the late 1980s as part of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), one of the world’s largest container shipping enterprises. Embracing the values of a family-run business, it focuses on creating memories of a lifetime with exceptional guest services and immersive voyages. MSC Cruises is recognized globally for its commitment to environmental sustainability and showcases a fleet of modern ships known for their innovative design and wide array of entertainment and amenities. Although they have been sailing in Europe, they have only been sailing out of the US since 2013. They are currently expanding the number of ships in US ports.

MSC Meraviglia main shopping area
MSC Cruise pool area with large movie screen
View of the ocean off the back of a MSC cruise ship

The MSC Cruise Experience

MSC’s culinary offerings have transformed over the years. Initially tailored to cater to a European audience, their menus have adapted to offer selections that cater to American tastes on US-based ships. The quality rarely fluctuates, and the dishes are delicious. Like other lines, some items are better than others. The pizza is probably the best at sea. My other favorite is the green beans; they are cooked to perfection (slightly crisp but not mushy). As the buffet gets busy, we eat as many meals as possible in the main dining room.

Jim in Main Dining room on a MSC Cruise
Chocolate sculpture on a MSC Cruise
Lounge area on a MSC cruise ship

Amenities

When it comes to amenities, MSC is similar to other US cruise lines. Everything, from the cabins to the swimming pools, is clean and well-maintained.

Inside cabin on MSC Cruise
Bathroom in a MSC cruise cabin
Interior cabin dresser area on MSC Cruise ship

Cabins

They offer a variety of cabin classes for you to choose from, including a luxury Yacht Club level. Unfortunately, we have yet to experience the Yacht Club, perhaps on a future sailing. We generally book a balcony but have also sailed in an interior cabin. Like other lines, the interior cabins are the most economical. We found the room size adequate and the bathroom the same size as our balcony rooms. For cruises in a colder climate (like New England in the fall), a room with a window but no balcony was a happy medium. It was cold and rainy, and we couldn’t spend comfortable time on the balcony anyway.

Entertainment

One area where MSC truly stands apart is entertainment. While other lines have notably reduced their Broadway-style shows, MSC continues to entertain us with spectacular performances. We have seen some excellent shows on their ships.

Theater on a MSC Cruise ship
Video games on a MSC Cruise ship
Excursion on MSC Cruise

Excursions

MSC’s excursions offer a diverse range of well-curated and reasonably priced adventures at every stop along the voyage. We’ve been pleasantly surprised with the selection and quality of their excursions.

Connectivity at Sea

With MSC, staying connected on our ocean journey has never been an issue. Our experience with their Wi-Fi has been consistently smooth. However, they are upgrading many of their ships to star-link; not all have it yet. One thing different from other lines is that the Wi-Fi is per device. You can’t log off one device (say, your phone) and then log on to another device (like your laptop). It only works on the one device you set it up on. We usually set it up on our phone and then use the tether function to use Wi-Fi on our computer.

The Crew

The international crew, pervasive in most cruise lines, has been showing marked improvement over the years. They’re adapting and learning, offering their American passengers an increasingly welcoming and friendly demeanor. Although you’ll notice multiple languages spoken, announcements are made in English and then in other languages when sailing from the US.

Check-in and Checking out

Every step of our journey, from embarkations to disembarkations, was organized well and efficiently by the MSC team.

As with all cruise lines, hiccups happen. We have been on cruises where the weather had forced port cancelations, and enhanced health protocols were put in place on one cruise when several guests had gastrointestinal issues. It’s essential to maintain enhanced hygiene when on any cruise ship. Wash your hands often and stay in your room if you aren’t feeling well. The key to any happy cruise is flexibility!

MSC cruise ship in the distance
MSC sign on smoke stack on the ship
MSC Ocean Cay welcome sign

Global Itineraries

When it comes to variety in voyages, MSC Cruises truly spans the globe. Their strategically designed itineraries offer inspiring trips stemming from numerous ports worldwide.

MSC conducts regular cruises out of Florida and New York ports in the United States. They offer itineraries along the sunny eastern and western Caribbean, Bermuda, and New England, Canada.

MSC’s European offerings stand out with their extensive coverage of this culturally rich continent. They cruise to destinations from the lush vineyards and timeless relics of Italy to the icy fjords of Norway and from the sun-bathed islands of Greece to the ancient cities of Spain.

MSC sails to ports in the Middle East, offering opportunities to immerse oneself in the region’s historical riches, vibrant markets, and architectural marvels.

South American voyages combine Latin American cultures, majestic landscapes, lively carnivals, and samba rhythms!

Their South African cruises offer the chance to experience thrilling wildlife encounters, diverse flora & fauna, and fascinating tribal cultures.

MSC also sails Asian waters, where cultural richness, yummy street food, reflective temples, vibrant nightlife, and bustling markets in ports around the continent.

Our personal experiences with MSC Cruises have so far departed from the US, but we’re thrilled to have recently booked our first world cruise with MSC, starting in Barcelona! We are excited to be able to make this voyage.

MSC Coffee cup
Tug boat guiding ship to the dock
Jim in front of rowboat on Ocean Cay

A Few Personal Observations

We like medium-sized ships; our favorite so far has been the Meraviglia. It’s the perfect size for us, and we enjoyed the layout; it was easy to navigate without breadcrumbs.

The Seaside and Seashore are similar, but we prefer the Seashore. We took our entire family on a cruise before the holidays, and our grandson loved the age-appropriate splash area and the kids’ club. They have many family activities available also.

We found it odd that on one ship, a variety of coffee creamers were available, whereas on another, they only had half and half, which ran out midway through the cruise. Perhaps there are still supply chain issues?

The pizza was consistent across all the ships.

Each ship had a chocolate shop where you could watch them make chocolates and sculptures. You can even have them make a unique chocolate bar just for you. There is a fee for items in the chocolate shop.

All of the ships had a giant outdoor screen where they showed movies.

For many cruises from the US, they stop at their private island, Ocean Cay. It’s a beautiful place with all kinds of activities. Out of all the cruise line private islands we have visited, we like this one the best!

We really like MSC and look forward to our next cruise with them.