Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

MSC Cruises
Cruise StylePremium
Ship SizeSmall

First in MSC Cruises’ Musica-class of ships, MSC Musica entered service in 2006. A second-generation class of ships for the line, it builds upon the success of MSC Opera and MSC Lirica—similar in ambience, but larger. Interior décor in the art nouveau style is reminiscent of 1930s European design.Read More

MSC Cruises took a giant leap into mainstream cruising with the introduction of this large and entirely new ship class. Highlights of the Musica-class design are a three-deck central foyer, where a piano is suspended on a transparent floor, à la carte restaurants, large-screen outdoor cinemas, and, on MSC Magnifica, a covered outdoor pool with retractable roof.

Italian culture prevails throughout, and serves as an important part of the entire cruise experience. Interiors are a blend of art deco and art nouveau themes as well as the authentic Italian designs for which other MSC Cruises ships are known. The extensive use of various colored marbles adds a luxurious quality to public spaces. In addition to its soothing Zen garden and Oriental music, the sushi bar is a bonus to the dining experience.

More widely known as one of the world’s largest cargo shipping companies, MSC has operated cruises with an eclectic fleet since the late 1980s. When the line introduced two graceful, medium-size ships in 2003 and 2004, it ushered in an era of new shipbuilding that has seen the fleet grow faster than any other European cruise line. This line is growing into a major player in both Europe and the Caribbean.

MSC blankets the Mediterranean nearly year-round with a dizzying selection of cruise itineraries that allow a lot of time in ports of call and include few if any sea days. In summer months, several ships sail off to northern Europe to ply the Baltic. Itineraries planned for repositioning sailings visit some intriguing, off-the-beaten-track ports of call that other cruise lines bypass.

No glitz, no clutter—just elegant simplicity—is the standard of MSC’s seaworthy interior decor. Extensive use of marble, brass, and wood reflects the best of Italian styling and design; clean lines and bold colors set their modern sophisticated tone.

MSC adopts some activities that appeal to American passengers without abandoning those preferred by Europeans; however, regardless of the itinerary, be prepared for an Italian-influenced experience. Also expect to hear announcements in several languages.

  • 12 passenger decks
  • Specialty restaurant
  • 2 dining rooms
  • 2 buffets
  • ice cream parlor
  • pizzeria
  • Internet
  • Wi-Fi
  • safe
  • refrigerator
  • 2 pools
  • children’s pool
  • Fitness classes
  • gym
  • hot tubs
  • sauna
  • spa
  • steam room
  • 9 bars
  • casino
  • dance club
  • library
  • show room
  • video game room
  • Children’s programs
  • Laundry service
  • Internet terminal
  • No-smoking cabins

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
There’s a walking track high atop the ship as well as a covered promenade
Private gaming rooms for serious gamblers add a Las Vegas vibe to the casinos
Smoking is limited to one lounge and outside deck spaces
Announcements are made in several languages
Boat drill instructions, also given in several languages, can seem endless
Some in-cabin TV programming might be considered too “adult” for family viewing

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Cabins
Suites
Amenities
Accessibility

A whopping 80% of staterooms have an ocean view, and 65% have balconies. Superior balcony staterooms are considerably roomier than standard staterooms with a balcony. Beautifully decorated in jewel-tone colors, all are comfortable yet somewhat smaller than the average cabins found on the new ships of other cruise lines. All cabins are furnished with two twin beds that can be combined to create a king, a vanity-desk, TV, adequate closet and storage space, small refrigerator, hair dryer, and have a broadband connection for a laptop.

Suites, which compare to minisuites on most cruise ships, feature a combination tub-shower in the bathroom, a walk-in closet, plenty of storage, and a sitting area.

Bathrooms are supplied with MSC Cruises’ own brand of shampoo, bath gel, and soaps, plus a handy sewing repair kit.

Seventeen cabins that measure 226 square feet are wheelchair accessible.

Food & Drink

Food

Two formal restaurants serve Mediterranean- and Italian-accented cuisine in traditional early and late assigned seatings; one restaurant also offers sit-down breakfast and lunch in open seating. Two adjoining buffet restaurants, which during the day seem like a single dining area with long serving counters, are casual dining options for breakfast and lunch. At night, the aft buffet restaurant is reserved for seated dining with a steak-house menu and tables set with linens for an extra charge; the forward buffet restaurant serves pizza. The à la carte Asian and sushi specialty restaurants require reservations and also carry an additional charge. Room service is limited to a menu that includes a Continental breakfast and cold sandwiches. Midnight buffets vary nightly, ranging from themed snack-type offerings to a traditional shipboard gala affair.

Entertainment

After dinner the coffee bars are the main social gathering spots. Elaborate evening entertainment in the show lounges is designed for multilingual European audiences and relies on sight and familiarity with musical selections rather than language. Bars and lounges range from spots to enjoy jazz or a cigar to high-energy nightclubs, where the entertainment staff is on hand to encourage participation. More sedate bars are ideal for a quiet nightcap.

Spa & Fitness

The Zen-like Aurea Spa with its Asian accents offers a full menu of treatments, some of them Asian-inspired as well. The large therapy pool and thermal suite, which has both a Turkish bath and sauna, are available to all for a daily fee.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2006
Number of Cabins
1,275
Passenger Capacity
2,550
Crew Members
987
Passengers to Crew Ratio
2.58
Gross Tons
92400
Width
106 feet
Length
964 feet
CRUISE LINE INFO
800/666–9333

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