MSC Cruises is a rapidly growing cruise line based in Geneva, Switzerland, offering cruises in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Northern Europe, and other destinations. Here are 10 of the most frequently asked questions about MSC Cruises.

  1. Is MSC Cruises a good value for the price?

    MSC tends to have low prices — but is it worth it? Jenny says yes, but she likes an easy cruise that goes to a beautiful beach, which is exactly what MSC cruises in the Caribbean are. Many cruise itineraries stop at the cruise line’s private island Ocean Cay, a marine reserve, for two days and one night. MSC entertainment tends to be dance “lessons” and silly games on the pool deck, and the food is good but not fantastic. There aren’t as many kids on the ship as on more “fun” cruise lines, which adults might find a plus. In all, MSC offers a nice getaway at a great price.

    This is a top concern for many potential cruisers, comparing costs with other lines and the experience offered. Cruisers should take their priorities into mind when choosing to book on MSC. 

  2. What are the best MSC ships for families?

    Families have specific needs like childcare, pools, and entertainment, so knowing which ships cater best is crucial.  In our honest opinion, MSC is not the top cruise line for families with kids. In contrast with Royal Caribbean and Carnival, MSC only offers a sliver of the entertainment options children will find fun. That said, MSC ships have childcare for young children and events for parents and children, as well as fun areas for older kids and teens.

    Newer ships like the MSC Seashore and the MSC Seaside have more options for kids and families, like tube slides and waterparks with splash pads. The Divina has a tube slide, but it is a classier ship geared more for adults. One MSC ship parents might want to avoid is the MSC Magnifica. We found this ship to be on the dull side, with not much in terms of entertainment.

    Kids will find foods they enjoy in the buffet. There are many options to choose from, and the buffet has a section dedicated to foods kids enjoy most. 

    Ultimately, the best choice for your family depends on your priorities. If you value non-stop excitement and futuristic thrills, the Seashore might be your perfect fit. For a slightly more mellow vibe with an emphasis on water activities and classic family fun, the Seaside shines. Whichever you choose, both ships guarantee an unforgettable family vacation on the open seas.

  3. Are there any COVID-19 restrictions on MSC cruises?

    No. As of December 2023, MSC does not have any restrictions or mandates related to covid-19. While cruisers in the early 2020s needed to provide proof of vaccination, test negative on a special proctored covid test soon before boarding, and wear masks on the ship in indoor spaces, cruises now do not need to do anything special to cruise.

    Even though these restrictions have been lifted, MSC has hand sanitizer stations at the entrances of the buffet area and around the ship. However, on a cruise in December 2023, we noticed that many of these stations were empty and there was no way to sanitize your hands. This was a concern because there are other communicable illnesses on cruise ships, and washing your hands frequently can avoid passengers and crew from spreading illnesses like norovirus.

  4. What are the tipping policies on MSC Cruises?

    Tipping can be confusing, so understanding the expected gratuity amounts and procedures simplifies onboard budgeting. While on the cruise you will be charged a gratuity, unless you have booked a room in a higher level “experience.” Currently, MSC charged $16 per day for adults and $8 for children. (See MSC’s website for more details.) 

    Cruisers will see this charge appear on their bill during their cruise, on the app. If you’re unsure about your bill, you can always go to the Guest Relations counter onboard and ask for more details.

    On a recent cruise, Jenny bought a lobster roll and shrimp salad while on Ocean Cay at 4:00 p.m., and when she looked at her bill on the app that night, she saw a charge at 4:00 p.m. for $64. She thought that she was overcharged for her meal, but it ends up that charge was for gratuities! The gentleman at Guest Relations was able to quickly assure her that the charges were correct! Easy-peasy! 

    Now, you’re always welcome to tip the crew who have provided excellent service extra. Jenny tends to leave her steward about $10 a day, and she’ll give a tip to her waiter and assistant waiter if she’s eaten at the main dining room a lot. Tipping is absolutely not a requirement and should be determined based on your personal experience, so you can tip (or not tip) accordingly.

  5. Is the food on MSC Cruises good?

    This is a tricky question to answer, because everyone has their own preferences. Many people are quick to say the food on MSC cruises in the Caribbean is not good, but Jenny has had pretty decent experiences. MSC does not offer the best dining around, but the cruisers will find a good variety of dishes in the buffet and tasty options in the main dining room. Overall, the food seems to be cooked with less oil and salt, and desserts are not overwhelmingly sweet. MSC is a European cruise line, and cruisers in the Caribbean will find a range of meats, cheeses, fruits, jams, and sauces that Americans might not be used to.

    As of December 2023, MSC is charging $5 for additional entrees, so if you’re hungry you might want to stop by the buffet for more to eat.

    MSC is known for its Italian pizza, and it’s a fan favorite from lunch to late night. It’s light and floppy (as Jenny calls it), and the guys in the pizza area keep the pies a’coming. There’s usually always cheese (margherita), white (alfredo), and pepperoni, and sometimes a pie with hot dog sausages and/or other meats and veggies. Sweet dessert pizzas topped with chocolate or fruit spreads are also on the buffet during the day and evening. Complimentary pizza can be found in the buffet, and some ships have a specialty dining area for more upscale pizza and Italian dishes.

    Dining options and quality are a big part of the cruise experience, so knowing what to expect from buffets, specialty restaurants, and dietary restrictions is helpful. The quality of the food can vary depending on the ship and the restaurant, but overall, it is considered to be good value for the price.

  6. What are the best shore excursions offered by MSC Cruises?

    Exploring destinations is a highlight, so comparing the excursions offered and their appeal is key. It’s also hard to say which is “best,” so cruisers should look online for reviews of popular excursions available at their port destinations.

    It’s pretty safe to say, though, that any excursions in the Caribbean that are promoted by MSC are going to be fun and safe. Cruise lines like MSC review travel providers and excursions closely, and “bad” excursions are changed out if too many cruisers say they are disappointed. 

  7. Is the MSC Voyagers Club worth joining?

    Absolutely, yes! It’s free, so why not!? Loyalty programs offer perks and discounts, like free meals and access to the thermal spa onboard. Sign up and watch your points add up.

  8. What are the dress codes on MSC Cruises?

    Packing for formal nights and casual days requires knowing the expected attire to avoid packing mishaps. Most MSC cruises in the Bahamas have the same events: Flower Night (70s themed party), White Night (white clothing), and a possible Gala Night (formal dress). 

    While anyone can dance and drink the night away for Flower Night and the White Party, the dining halls generally only allow cruisers in semi-formal and formal wear. This means no jeans, shorts, or beach attire. 

  9. Is the Wi-Fi on MSC Cruises good enough for work or social media?

    Honestly, Jenny has only used the wi-fi on an MSC cruise for a few days while the ship was out longer than usual to avoid a hurricane. MSC allowed all cruisers access so they could figure out their post-cruse plans. The internet was strong enough to message friends using Facebook Messenger, post on social media, and watch YouTube videos.

  10. Is MSC Cruises good for solo travelers?

    Yes, absolutely. MSC has gotten better at addressing the needs of solo cruisers — from an American standpoint. American solo cruisers have gotten used to having hosted meetups, being sat together in the dining hall, and having other events specifically for solo cruisers. Back in 2021, an MSC maître di told solo cruisers that it would be impossible to put solo cruisers together at a table, but on a recent cruise in December 2023, Jenny was sat alongside other solo travelers. Also, back in 2021, a fellow solo cruiser had to ask the entertainment director to plan a meetup for solo cruisers, which he did — now in 2023, meetups for solo travelers are listed in the daily planner! 

    Currently, MSC ships cruising in the Caribbean do not have any solo cabins like you’d see on Norwegian Cruise Line and Virgin Voyages. However, MSC tends to have a very low solo supplement. While Royal Caribbean and others charge single travelers up to double the rate, MSC’s solo supplement is only a small percentage.  

    Also, MSC offers twice the points for its Voyagers Club to solo travelers. So, if you were to earn 200 points for a 4-day cruise, solo travelers would actually earn 400 points for their trip.

There are lots of other questions we haven’t answered yet! You may be curious about things like alternative dining options, spa and fitness facilities, entertainment offerings, accessibility features, and the overall atmosphere on MSC cruises. We’ll be posting more articles on these and other topics in the near future!