Swiss-registered, with Italian heritage reflected in the names of each vessel, MSC is a pan-European line with an atmosphere that's perfect for those who love the elegance and culture of the Continent. The Mediterranean influence is strong in the food, decor and passenger base - and that gorgeous part of the world is home base for this line whose name stands for "Mediterranean Shipping Company." Read more
For those used to the North American style of cruising,or the Aussie vibe felt on lines like P&O Cruises, an MSC cruise has something a little different to offer. Besides a very varied passenger base and multilingual onboard communications, the food and vibe are a fantastic new experience for any cruise lover.
Fantasia, Sinfonia and beyond: MSC's fleet
The Italian names of the MSC ships mean your holiday sounds romantic before you even start. Many have musical monikers, others sport lovely Italian adjectives like "Splendida" or "Preziosa", and all make your cruise sound like a dream. There are a dozen currently in the MSC fleet, with plenty more planned and on the way - here's a quick rundown of the different classes.
Lirica Class: This includes the MSC Lirica, MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Opera. These four ships are some of the oldest in the fleet, and have undergone a stretching procedure to increase their capacities. They have a classic MSC feel to them!
Musica Class: This includes the MSC Musica, MSC Orchestra, MSC Poesia and MSC Magnifica. They are the second generation for MSC, slightly larger than their Lirica predecessors and with stylish art nouveau interiors. A favourite feature are the large-screen outdoor cinemas.
Fantasia Class: This includes the MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida, MSC Divina and MSC Preziosa. With even more amenities than earlier MSC ships, these are the bee's knees. They feature the MSC Yacht Club for those passengers seeking a luxury experience.
Sailing away from the dock on an MSC cruise ship is always the start of a good time! There are a few quirks to keep in mind, so be open to these and you'll enjoy a holiday to remember.
Announcements, signs and menus will be in more than one language, to cater to the multinational passenger base. The line is also a little more traditional in its practices, currently using set dining times and seatmates with less variety of eateries beyond the main dining room and buffet.
The simplicity and European style might throw off some cruisers used to North American glitz and extravagance, but it can also be a pleasant change. The decor reflects Italian design, and will make you feel like a real jetsetter!
Dinner aboard an MSC ship is quite an event, in true European style. Italian and other Mediterranean fare is the focus of the menu, but don't worry about being served endless pizza and pasta - this is the real deal, with a huge variety of delicious dishes. Of course, the pizza served in the buffet is some of the best you'll find on any line. Room service is free, and there is at least one specialty venue on each ship.
Entertainment and activities
During the day, there is plenty of scope to be busy or lazy on an MSC cruise. Fitness classes, cookery challenges, various sports and tournaments, quizzes, arts and crafts, a talent competition and more are a great complement to poolside relaxation.
In the evenings, the shows range widely to cover the many tastes you'll find amongst the passengers - flamenco, aerobatics, classical concerts and more. The nightlife is always good, and also comprises DJs, live music and dancing.
Unfortunately for Antipodean cruisers, MSC does not yet offer cruises from Australia - so an MSC cruise makes a great options to include in a European holiday! However, as well as cruises in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, their ships sail to the Middle East, South Africa, the Caribbean and South America.
Find your MSC cruise deal
You can get onboard and experience the MSC flair for yourself with our great cruise deals. Browse the itineraries on this page and soon you could be sailing away on your dream European-influenced getaway.
To get a better idea of what an MSC cruise is like, have a look at the ships review pages: