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MSC Cruises

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Best for:

Budget-conscious couples and families with children (kids under 17 sharing a cabin with two adults sail free on all MSC sailings, travelers who desire a traditional cruise experience on a large resort-style ship with an Italian flair.

MSC Cruises also offers an upscale experience called the MSC Yacht Club:

MSC Yacht Club was created as a "ship within a ship," with Italian designer suites with private balconies or panoramic windows arrayed around their own separate Concierge reception. Guests enjoy a private swimming pool, lounge and other amenities, with 24-hour butler service.

The result is a private club ambience that also offers privileged access to the variety of sports and entertainment facilities, bars, lounges and restaurants. MSC Yacht Club guests also get priority booking in many of these venues, as well as private elevator access to MSC spas.

Amenities offered:
Marble spa bathrooms
Egyptian cotton bed linens
Pillow menu
Complimentary mini-bar with premium beverages
Interactive, wide-screen TV
Internet access
Butler service

Atmosphere and experience onboard:

The ships of MSC Cruises are modern and sophisticated. The newer ones are glitzy and quite glamorous; all have a distinctly Italian ambience. The ships cruise the Mediterranean in both winter and summer, attracting an international clientele, mostly European; however, the line is committed to expanding its passenger base to include English speakers. One of the newer ships, the MSC Divina, sails full time from Miami.

The newer ships have appealing new facilities: a children's aqua park, a big shopping mall, the longest single-rider waterslide at sea and an Eataly restaurant.

Though life onboard generally follows traditional cruise ship schedules, with fixed mealtimes and fixed table-mates, the atmosphere is relaxed. For the two formal nights each week, men are encouraged to wear tuxedos or suits and ties while women are expected to choose either evening wear or cocktail dresses. Informal evenings call for jackets and trousers for men and casual dresses or pants outfits for women. For casual nights, just about anything goes - except shorts, which are never allowed in the dining room at dinner time. Tank tops, bathing suits, bathrobes, etc. are not allowed in indoor restaurants.

Announcements are generally made in Italian, French, Spanish, German and English. During sailings in Europe, the onboard currency is the Euro.

Entertainment is fairly traditional, with music ranging from classical to jazz, as well as Vegas-style revues and Cirque du Soleil extravaganzas.

While MSC ticket prices are often at bargain levels, passengers may be disconcerted by the number of "extras" that carry a price tag - for example, shuttles from port into town and room service other than for breakfast.


Mostly couples and families; in Europe the ships attract European passengers. Caribbean sailings are geared to North American travelers. The "kids sail free" deals attracts lots of families with youngsters during school holidays. The longer cruises that sail more exotic itineraries appeal to more mature travelers.

Policies regarding children onboard:
There are no formal programs for children under 3. All cruises offer two clubs for children (Mini Club 3 to 6 years; Junior's Club 7 to 11) offering age-focused kids' activities from arts and crafts to swimming, sports tournaments, treasure hunts, parties, live shows, talent contests and onboard adventures.

For kids 13 to 17, the Teen Club offers parties and planned activities, from sports and games, tournaments to MTV-style dance classes or the Virtual World Arcade.

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