Mediterranean Shipping Company has been in business since 1970. It started as a cargo shipping company and branched off into the world of passenger cruises in 1988 with its MSC Cruises division.
Today, MSC is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line — the fourth-largest overall — and is a leader in Europe, South America, and southern Africa cruises.
Even though it might not be the most well-known among cruise ship industry leaders like Royal Caribbean or Carnival, it has big plans for expansion — expect up to a dozen new ships over the next decade.
Name: MSC Cruises
Parent Company: Mediterranean Shipping Company
Number of Ships: 17 (2 more coming by 2021)
Loyalty Program: MSC Voyagers Club
Credit Card: None
MSC operates 17 ships with 2 more on the way. MSC Virtuosa will debut in November 2020 and MSC Seashore will debut in 2021.
- MSC Armonia
- MSC Bellissima
- MSC Divina
- MSC Fantasia
- MSC Grandiosa
- MSC Lirica
- MSC Magnifica
- MSC Meraviglia
- MSC Musica
- MSC Opera
- MSC Orchestra
- MSC Poesia
- MSC Preziosa
- MSC Seaside
- MSC Seaview
- MSC Sinfonia
- MSC Splendida
MSC Cruises sails to 69 countries across 6 continents from 52 departure ports.
|North America and the Caribbean|
|Forte-De-France, Martinique||Miami, FL||New York, NY||Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe|
|Ancona, Italy||Barcelona, Spain||Bari, Italy||Brindisi, Italy|
|Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy||Cannes, France||Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy||Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Funchal, Madeira, Portugal||Genoa, Italy||Hamburg, Germany||Istanbul, Turkey|
|Kiel, Germany||Le Havre (Paris), France||Lisbon, Portugal||Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy|
|Malaga, Spain||Marseille, France||Messina, Sicily, Italy||Naples, Italy|
|Palermo, Sicily, Italy||Palma de Mallorca, Spain||Piraeus (Athens), Greece||Rotterdam, Netherlands|
|Siracusa, Italy||South Hampton, United Kingdom||Trieste, Italy||Valencia, Spain|
|Valletta, Malta||Venice, Italy||Warnemunde, Germany|
|Middle East||Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates||Doha, Qatar||Dubai, United Arab Emirates||Haifa, Israel|
|Asia and the Pacific||Hong Kong, China||Shanghai, China||Singapore, Singapore||Yokohama, Japan|
|Buenos Aires, Argentina||Itajai, Brazil||Montevideo, Uruguay||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Salvador, Brazil||Santos (São Paulo), Brazil|
|Africa||Cape Town, South Africa||Durban, South Africa|
MSC’s private island, located in the Bahamas, is called Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. This private oasis has 8 beaches, a Bahamian shopping village, local cuisine, massage huts on the beach, and so much more.
Your day at Ocean Cay can include any of the following activities, some of which come with an additional fee:
- Aqua Zumba
- Beach picnics
- Beach soccer and volleyball
- Bocce ball
- Ceclo luxury electric pedalo
- Deep-sea fishing
- Disc golf
- Evening lighthouse show
- Latin dance classes
- Luna Libre Party
- Ocean Cay Olympic Games
- Scuba diving
- Stand up paddleboarding
- Stingray adventure
- Sunset Champagne cruise
There’s plenty to eat and drink at Ocean Cay, too. You can grab lunch at Seakers Foodcourt or one of the many food trucks located around the island.
These locations serve up traditional buffet food as well as Bahamian specialties. If you need a drink or a snack like ice cream, stop by Lighthouse Bar, Springer’s Bar, The Smiling Fish Bar, or one of the many beach bars.
Hot Tip: Curious about award travel on cruises? Check out our guide to booking cruises with points and miles.
There’s a lot to do onboard an MSC ship. In addition to cruise ship staples like pools, a casino, and Broadway-style shows, MSC offers plenty of other unique activities.
Here is some of what you’ll find to do on an MSC cruise (not all activities are available on every ship; extra charges may apply):
- 4D cinema
- Arts and crafts
- Carnival party
- Dance classes
- Dancing shoes dance contest
- F1 simulator
- Fitness classes
- Flower Glory Party
- Himalayan Bridge sky walk
- Hollywood Stars
- Kelly and Kloe Onboard
- Kid’s Clubs for all ages (babies to teens)
- King and Queen of the Sea
- LEGO Experience On Board
- MSC Factor talent contest
- MSC’s Little Italy
- Officers and Gentlemen dance
- Rock Star Tribute
- Sports tournaments (tennis, soccer, etc.)
- Stardust dance contest
- Virtual World
Casual wear is acceptable onboard an MSC cruise during the day. On Gala Nights, formal wear is required in restaurants — this means suits and ties for men and cocktail dresses for women.
You’ll want to leave some room in your suitcase to bring outfits for your ship’s theme parties. Bring your 60s and 70s floral gear for the Flower Glory Party, white clothing for the White Party, and red, white, and green to celebrate MSC’s Little Italy.
Hot Tip: If you need some help deciding what to pack, use our handy printable cruise packing list.
Dining and Beverages
Like most other cruise lines, MSC offers both complimentary dining as well as specialty restaurants that come with additional charges.
Complimentary dining onboard an MSC ship consists of main restaurants and an extensive buffet.
You’ll also find restaurants on MSC that come with an additional charge. However, you can save up to 40% if you book before your cruise.
- Asian Fusion Restaurant
- Butcher’s Cut
- Chef Yamaguchi’s Asian Market
- Cirque du Soliel at Sea
- Galaxy Kaito
- Hola Tapas Bar
- In-room pizza delivery
- La Piazzetta
- L’Atelier Bistrot
- Kaito Sushi Bar
- Kaito Teppanyaki
- Ocean Cay Seafood Restaurant
- Oriental Plaza
- Room service
- Sea Pavillion Hot Pot
- Surf & Turf
- Venchi Gelateria
Bars and Beverages
Look for these bars and lounges on your next MSC cruise (not all locations available on every ship):
- Alchemist Bar
- Cigar Room
- Coffee Bar
- Martini Bar
- Spa Bar
- Wine & Beer Bar
If you’d prefer to purchase your beverages ahead of time, you can opt for one of MSC’s beverage packages.
These packages are available at all onboard bars, the self-service buffet, and included restaurants.
Premium Plus Package: $79 per person per day
This package is for adults 21 and older and includes all drinks by the glass. It’s valid onboard including the specialty restaurants and at Ocean Cay.
This package includes drinks from the minibar and room service as well. You’ll also get a 30% discount on bottles of wine and Champagne.
- Cocktails, spirits, liquors, wine, and beer
- Soda, juice, bottled water, energy drinks
- Classic and premium hot beverages
Premium Package: $62 per person per day
This package is for adults 21 and older and includes drinks up to $12 each. It’s valid onboard including the specialty restaurants and at Ocean Cay.
- Cocktails, spirits, liquors
- Wines by the glass
- Draft and bottled beer
- Soda, juice, bottled water, energy drinks
- Classic and premium hot drinks
Easy Package: $35 per person per day
This package is for adults 21 and older and includes drinks up to $6 each. It’s valid onboard and at Ocean Cay.
- One brand of draft beer and/or bottled beer
- Selected spirits and cocktails, including non-alcoholic cocktails
- Classic hot drinks (espresso, cappuccino, latte, hot tea, hot chocolate)
Non-Alcoholic Package for Adults: $29 per person per day
This package is for adults and children ages 12 and up.
- Non-alcoholic cocktails
- Soda, energy drinks, juices
- Bottled and flavored water
- Premium coffee drinks, hot chocolate, tea
- Soft-serve ice cream
Non-Alcoholic Package for Children: $17 per person per day
This package is for children ages 3-11 and includes everything available in the Non-Alcoholic Package for Adults.
Drink packages must be purchased for the duration of your cruise. If 1 person buys a drink package, everyone else in that stateroom also needs to purchase a package.
If you purchase your package onboard, you’ll be charged a 15% service fee on top of the package price. To avoid this fee, purchase your beverage package ahead of time.
Bottom Line: The Premium Plus, Premium, and Easy beverage packages will transfer to Ocean Cay. Guests who purchase these packages will be able to use them on the island.
No matter what type of stateroom you choose on your MSC cruise, you’ll enjoy some standard amenities to make your voyage as comfortable as possible including a Dorelan mattress and pillows, widescreen TV, air conditioning, and a safe.
Here are some of the MSC stateroom highlights (not all stateroom types are available on every ship):
An Interior Studio is perfect for the solo traveler. Each small room has a single bed that can be converted into a sofa during the day.
If you’re traveling with a large group, check out the Family Stateroom options. This category of room consists of 2 or more adjoining staterooms and can sleep up to 10 people.
If you want a stateroom that doesn’t feel like a stateroom, try the Duplex Suite. This 2-level suite features a master bedroom on the second level along with an additional double bed on the first level.
There are 2 bathrooms, 2 walk-in closets, and a large balcony with a private whirlpool tub.
A Two-Bedroom Grand Suite can accommodate up to 5 people. These rooms have 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms plus a large balcony.
For a luxurious experience, try a Suite with Private Whirlpool. These suites come with a queen-size bed and a large balcony with a private whirlpool bath.
For the ultimate in luxury, choose an MSC Yacht Club Royal Suite. These luxurious rooms have a bedroom with a king-size bed, separate living room, bathroom with tub and shower, refrigerator, coffee machine, fully stocked mini-bar, and a large balcony with a whirlpool tub.
Plus this room comes with all MSC Yacht Club benefits.
MSC Inclusive Experience
By choosing your stateroom on an MSC cruise, you’re also choosing your personalized MSC experience. Each experience comes with a set of perks and bonuses.
Bella Experience: Comes with Balcony, Ocean View, Outside with Partial View, Interior, and Interior Studio rooms
- Your dining time will be assigned according to availability
- Access to the buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Use of ZOE on select ships (voice-enabled virtual cruise assistant)
- MSC for Me app
Fantastica Experience: Comes with Suite, Balcony, Ocean View, Interior, and Staterooms for Families
- All Bella Experience benefits
- Ideally located staterooms with better views
- Assigned dining times, but with priority over Bella Experience guests
- Free 24-hour room service
Aurea Experience: Comes with Suite, Duplex Suite, Grand Suite, and Suite with Whirlpool and Balcony
- All Fantastica Experience benefits
- Complimentary Easy Drink Package
- My Choice Dining so you can select your dinner times
- Spa package that includes 2 50-minute massages per stateroom
- Access to private sun deck (adults only)
- Priority embarkation
- MSC for Me Wristband: a waterproof wristband you can use to make purchases, book services, and unlock your stateroom
MSC Yacht Club Experience: Comes with MSC Yacht Club rooms
- Luxury suites located on the top decks
- Access to Top Sail Lounge
- Private sun deck with pool, whirlpool, solarium, and bar
- Private restaurant with a choice of dining times
- Priority check-in and check-out
- Dedicated concierge and 24-hour a day butler service
- Unlimited drinks in MSC Yacht Club areas
- Selected complimentary beverages in all onboard restaurants and bars
- Access to Thermal Suite
- Premium internet package
Hot Tip: Kids ages 11 and under travel free on most MSC cruises.
MSC Voyagers Club
MSC Voyagers Club is a loyalty club that you can join if you’ve sailed with MSC in the past or if you have an MSC cruise booked.
There are 5 levels of membership that offer perks based on points earned. You’ll earn points each time you cruise, book an onboard service, and make onboard purchases.
Here are just some of the benefits and perks you can earn as an MSC Voyagers Club member (benefits are cumulative):
|Membership Level||Number of Points Required||Highlights of Benefits|
|Welcome||1 confirmed booking||E-newsletter, onboard infopoint, member area online|
|Classic||1-2,199||5% discount on cruises, printable personalized luggage tags for embarkation, onboard welcome cocktail|
|Silver||2,200-4,299||Up to 15% discount and $50 onboard credit on select departures, milestone reward, fresh fruit basket in your stateroom|
|Gold||4,300-9,999||Complimentary 1 hour thermal area session, priority disembarkation at ports with tenders, free photo|
|Diamond||10,000+||Priority boarding on embarkation day|
MSC Voyagers Club membership is valid for 3 years. If it has been more than 3 years since your enrollment date or the day of disembarkation on your last cruise, your membership will expire and you’ll lose all Voyagers Club privileges.
Hot Tip: MSC offers a discount of up to 10% on select sailings to all current and retired U.S. or Canadian military personnel and their families as well as all current and retired government employees including teachers, police officers, and firefighters plus their families.
Martha Stewart Partnership
MSC Cruises has partnered with Martha Stewart to bring passengers special excursions and experiences. Whether you want to send a gift or try a new shore excursion, you can do with Martha Stewart style.
Plus, if you’re sailing on MSC during a holiday, you’ll get to experience a special Martha Stewart 3-course holiday meal. These are available during Easter, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
Martha Stewart Celebration Gifts
Send a special gift to someone on your MSC cruise that represents Martha Stewart’s values — good food, good company, and commemorating achievements and adventures. These are available on Caribbean sailings leaving from Miami and Tampa.
- Martha Stewart Delightful Surprise: $10
- Includes a personalized letter from Martha Stewart plus a special dessert and recipe card
- Martha Stewart Sweet Delight and Cheers: $30
- Includes a personalized letter from Martha Stewart, a special dessert, recipe card, and a bottle of wine
- Martha Stewart Sensational Celebration: $89
- Includes a personalized letter from Martha Stewart, a special dessert, recipe card, a bottle of wine, a free photograph taken by an MSC photographer, a 5×7 picture frame, and a canvas beach bag
Martha Stewart Excursions
On select cruises, you can experience a specialty excursion inspired by Martha Stewart. These activities celebrate each destination’s local flavors and traditions.
- Tastes of Belize — Street Food, Artisanal Cheese & Jungle Delights
- St. John Hike to Watermelon Cay & Snorkel Trip
- Bacalar Lagoon Kayaking & Pineapple Farm
- The Perfect Margarita Mixology Session
- Swimming Horses of Cayman Experience
- Historic Homes Walking Tour & Key Lime Pie
- Jamaican Flavors Tasting Tour & Craft Market
- Bush Medicine Gardens & Tea Tour
- Bahamian Cooking & Cocktail Class
- Konoko Falls & Murphy Hill Farm Tour
- Flavors of St. Maarten Culinary Course
- Exploring Roatan’s Fishing Villages
- Savor San Juan’s Culinary Delights
Hot Tip: Not sure where to get the best deal on your cruise? Dive into our guide on the best websites to book cruises at the cheapest prices.
MSC for Me App
The MSC for Me mobile app is available on select MSC smart ships including MSC Bellisima, MSC Grandiosa, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside, MSC Seaview, and MSC Splendida.
This mobile app is designed to help your onboard experience be fantastic. With the app, you’ll be able to save time, keep track of your onboard activities, and stay connected with options including:
- Mobile check-in
- Interactive map of the ship
- Displays of onboard events and activities
- MSC for Me Wristband
- MSC for Me Chat
- Family and Friends Locator (available for an extra charge)
- ZOE (virtual cruise assistant)
Hot Tip: Are you using the right credit card? Consult our guide to the best credit cards to book cruises to make sure you aren’t leaving any benefits on the table.
MSC Cruises might not be the most well-known brand in the industry, but it is still one of the biggest cruise lines, with plans to expand even more. Keep an eye out for plenty of new MSC ships over the next decade.
MSC will appeal to many different types of cruisers since it has lots of different types of activities onboard. If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll appreciate the pool, waterslides, and waterpark.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll enjoy the specialty restaurant options, and if you’re looking for luxury, you’ll adore the MSC Yacht Club Experience!
If you’re a frequent cruiser, you’ll love the MSC Voyager Club perks like cruise discounts and priority boarding.
Whether you’re looking for a laid back getaway to the Caribbean or an exotic voyage to South Africa, you’ll find it on MSC Cruises.