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algriff

MSC vs Other Cruise Lines

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We are thinking of a cruise on MSC but need some input from some seasoned travelers.  How does MSC compare with Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, etc.

The price on MSC seems too good to be true so is there something we are missing or is it just a good deal?  Let me know what you think of the food, cabins, entertainment, casino, and anything else.  Thank you for any info you may have.

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5 hours ago, algriff said:

We are thinking of a cruise on MSC but need some input from some seasoned travelers.  How does MSC compare with Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, etc.

The price on MSC seems too good to be true so is there something we are missing or is it just a good deal?  Let me know what you think of the food, cabins, entertainment, casino, and anything else.  Thank you for any info you may have.

GBR !!    We went on MSC (Mediterranean) this last winter.   Far more similarities to other cruise lines than differences.  I think most of these lines have settled into the recipe that works and they are almost the same.   So I would not hesitate to go on MSC.  A few differences, but really not that many, in my opinion.        

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MSC has the best entertainment of all the lines. IMO

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I agree that MSC is more similar than different to the other mainstream cruise lines. I didn't see any detail that was inferior.

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MSC Preziosa has good size cabins and is spotlessly clean. All staff are friendly.

This is a multinational ship. If you are looking for a British experience then not for you, but the relaxed atmosphere onboard and family focussed areas suit a wide range of travellers.

 

The main restaurant is silver service and offers a 3 course meal at  lunch and dinner. There is a buffet with a wide range of food  offering areas specific to Vegans, healthy eating, Mediterranean meats, hot and cold dishes, fruit and salad bars, pizza, burgers, cakes etc. Plus various speciality restaurants but these charge.

 

There are no guest speakers and the entertainment in their amazing Theatre is monotonous with the same people. On a two week cruise everything is repeated the second week, but I guess that keeps the cost down.

 

Port information is poor compared to Cunard and Princess which we have travelled on.  

 

Overall excellent value on a sparkling ship.

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I am booked on the Seaside May 18th for my first MSC cruise.  So far I can say that the customer service on other cruise lines is far superior to MSC.  Our price kept changing so I had to keep calling to get it adjusted.  Also we added and extra guest and it took almost a month for them to add the upgraded beverage package for that person.  I had to continue to call and follow up on the ticket because when I did not the ticket dropped off.  I have spent hours on the phone with them in order to get these issues sorted out.  I feel like with other lines once I have had an issues it was sorted out much faster.  We will see how the ship is, it looks awesome however I am leery after all of these issues.  

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41 minutes ago, Jaimerz428 said:

I am booked on the Seaside May 18th for my first MSC cruise.  So far I can say that the customer service on other cruise lines is far superior to MSC.  Our price kept changing so I had to keep calling to get it adjusted.  Also we added and extra guest and it took almost a month for them to add the upgraded beverage package for that person.  I had to continue to call and follow up on the ticket because when I did not the ticket dropped off.  I have spent hours on the phone with them in order to get these issues sorted out.  I feel like with other lines once I have had an issues it was sorted out much faster.  We will see how the ship is, it looks awesome however I am leery after all of these issues.  

 

You should think yourself lucky you can get the cruise price adjusted , we can't in the UK 

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On 3/16/2019 at 11:41 AM, algriff said:

We are thinking of a cruise on MSC but need some input from some seasoned travelers.  How does MSC compare with Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, etc.

The price on MSC seems too good to be true so is there something we are missing or is it just a good deal?  Let me know what you think of the food, cabins, entertainment, casino, and anything else.  Thank you for any info you may have.

Which ship are you considering? There are big differences in MSC's large fleet. I will guess and say the Seaside out of Miami? If so you will be fine. We were on the Seaside, our first MSC cruise, in December and had a great time. We did have a Yacht Club cabin, which was on par with any similarly sized suite on the lines you listed (we have been on all except HAL). Outside the cabin the YC experience was second to none; no comparison.

 

I also agree with "modes" the best shows at sea, at least in the main showroom. Cannot compare with other types of entertainment since we usually do not attend other shows.

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On 3/16/2019 at 12:41 PM, algriff said:

.......... How does MSC compare with Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, etc....

We have sailed MSC  in the Caribbean out of Florida numerous times, originally dating back to Poesia (Kids Sail Free), when the old world Italian flare was still there.  Sailed Divina several times, and after the first two (crowded jam packed) sailings on Divina, I said enough, and we then sailed Celebrity, HAL, Princess and RCI, having already sailed Carnival and Norwegian.  Recently we came back to MSC on Divina mainly for the itinerary to Cartagena, without major complaints, as we knew MSC had changed and was marketing Miami departures to the "American" crowd, which greatly included Central and South Americans and therefor offers a great dance venue. As for your question, MSC provides a great mass-market cruise value compared to the others, and the new "All In" drink packages are even more enticing.  After sailing on Celebrity Reflection, we were sold on the "upscale"  classy new ship and slightly better dressed crowd , but then sailed Celebrity Silhouette, and were disappointed, so we now have booked our next three cruises out of Miami on MSC, simply for the value, as all mass-market lines have their pros and cons, which in our experience vary from ship to ship.  Never chose to afford Yacht Club yet,  or the luxury lines, so can't comment there.

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My family was on the Seaside last November and are going back this November.  We loved the ship, the itinerary, the shows/entertainment, kids clubs, buffet restaurants.  One negative difference compared to other lines (been on Celebrity, RC, NCL, Princess) are dinners in MDRs.  Quality and selection wise, MSC is not, in my view, on par with other major cruise lines.

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We've been on 3 MSC cruises and 2 on the "Divina".  All were out of US ports.  As other posters have said, more similarities than differences. Our last Divina cruise was in Jan '19.  Seems they tweak more and more to be more comparable to other lines sailing out of Fla to the Caribbean.  The ship is beautiful, and as other posters have stated, the entertainment is the VERY good.  I'd say it's the best I've seen on any cruise ship.  I'd have to say they've upped thier game when it comes to dinning : selection, preparation, presentation was much better compared to prior years sailing with them ,both MDR and buffet.  And they do make the BEST pizza!  My only complaint would be that with the exception of YC,  only certain categories of bookings can you dine "anytime".  Staff was accommodating and friendly. Their M&G party, repeaters party and "black" party (that's their  highest level of  repeater status) were WAY nicer than any other line we've sailed on.  We will sail with them again.

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We’ve sailed on MSC both in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Our last MSC cruise was aboard the Meraviglia. It was a wonderful cruise aboard a huge, modern, and beautiful ship, with great entertainment, and excellent cuisine options. I place the experience at par with Royal Caribbean’s newer ships. 

 

The overall ambiance has an obvious European flair which, in my humble opinion, makes the experience much more enjoyable. But I know that it’s been a source of discontent among many American cruisers who prefer cruise lines that cater more to their likes. But if you don’t fall in that category, MSC may be for you.

 

The pricing is not a typo. MSC offers great promotions, some which seem too good to be true. But they are true! On our last cruise, we were able to sail in an Aurea Duplex Suite (similar to Royal’s Crown Loft Suites) for literally 1/4th what Royal charges for similar accommodations. Absolutely amazing. MSC ha spoiled us for life. 

 

Best way to know If MSC is for you is to give them a try.  

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MSC is very different to HAL, Princess, RCL and Celebrity.  You haven't mentioned whether you are a lone traveller, a couple, part of a family, young or old - it does make a difference, remember children travel free on MSC so normally there will be lots of children, that turns a lot of people off.  It is a mass market cruise and I would rank it at the bottom of the cruise lines you mentioned. Read the reviews, they are cheap and the saying " you get what you pay for" is very true.

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2 hours ago, mickey89 said:

MSC is very different to HAL, Princess, RCL and Celebrity.  You haven't mentioned whether you are a lone traveller, a couple, part of a family, young or old - it does make a difference, remember children travel free on MSC so normally there will be lots of children, that turns a lot of people off.  It is a mass market cruise and I would rank it at the bottom of the cruise lines you mentioned. Read the reviews, they are cheap and the saying " you get what you pay for" is very true.

 

When we  have sailed I cant say I ve encountered any more children with MSC than with any other cruise line . In my opinion MSC  for the cruises weve taken have been  great value and we feel weve always had "greater than weve paid for"  of all the cruises ive taken MSC has given the better value and the better experience.  We have found some amazingly good deals I must add, 

 

Its true MSC wont suit everyone which is why I always recommend doing lots of research on MSC as a line and the ship you are interested in  

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, glittergal1 said:

 

When we  have sailed I cant say I ve encountered any more children with MSC than with any other cruise line . In my opinion MSC  for the cruises weve taken have been  great value and we feel weve always had "greater than weve paid for"  of all the cruises ive taken MSC has given the better value and the better experience.  We have found some amazingly good deals I must add, 

 

Its true MSC wont suit everyone which is why I always recommend doing lots of research on MSC as a line and the ship you are interested in  

You have been lucky, MSC are renown for FREE children hence loads.....!  

Just advising the OP don't expect 5 star food and service when paying 2 star prices - as I said you get what you pay for, so don't complain afterwards, you've been warned.  Definitely once tried never forgotten - we'll give the main boat a big miss, even the Yacht Club has its shortcomings , we've tried it recently  :classic_ohmy:

Edited by mickey89

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1 hour ago, mickey89 said:

You have been lucky, MSC are renown for FREE children hence loads.....!  

Just advising the OP don't expect 5 star food and service when paying 2 star prices - as I said you get what you pay for, so don't complain afterwards, you've been warned.  Definitely once tried never forgotten - we'll give the main boat a big miss, even the Yacht Club has its shortcomings , we've tried it recently  :classic_ohmy:

 

I appreciate your view and Im giving the OP my experience too as ive said of all cruises Ive taken MSC have been the best for value and experience so maybe it was you who has been unlucky?

We have had great experiences so far with MSC and have 3 up coming cruises already booked with MSC, As ive said they might not suit everyone so those thinking of booking need to do their homework and put in a bit of effort to research the things that matter to them. 

And again on the children issue the cruises we took did not have a great deal of kids on them, Ive spent almost 20 years working with  young children (no longer do) and believe me when I say I like to avoid children when Im on holiday 

 

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One really cannot rely on a single post to decide if any cruiseline is "good" or "bad".  Similarly, for most of us, no single factor is the sole determinant of whether a cruise or cruiseline is "good" or "bad".  I do, however, understand that there are some people who place so much importance on a particular aspect that it makes or breaks a cruise.  In my opinion, you first must decide which factors on a cruise are most important to you, investigate each one, and then make your own decision.   If your standard is how one particular line does something and are disappointed if another cruiseline does it differently, then you likely could find MSC not to your suiting.   Although our experience with MSC is limited, it has been very positive when compared with the other lines on which we've sailed in our 25+ cruises.  MSC does some things a bit differently than other lines but those, at least to me, are relatively minor...they simply don't significantly affect my experience.  Hence, we are now looking at MSC over some other lines when considering cruises.

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2 hours ago, Bluewake said:

One really cannot rely on a single post to decide if any cruiseline is "good" or "bad".  Similarly, for most of us, no single factor is the sole determinant of whether a cruise or cruiseline is "good" or "bad"....

Very well stated.  Generally, our experiences on MSC  have been a good value, and unless you are extremely demanding, you will have a great time if you have a bit of equanimity.  

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Been on MSC twice. Once in the YC, the other in Aurea, and had a great time both times. The ship isn't 5 star, but i would rate it a 3 to 4 star, about the same as the other mass market lines.he only problem I have with MSC is that their announcements are in 5 languages, which I understand due to it's number of foreign passengers.

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I guess because of our more than 40 years of extensive cruising experience (with 15 cruise lines) we just laugh when some folks say that the cruise lines (mass market or otherwise) are all alike.  There are differences between each line and even between various ships of the same line.  We can only speak to MSC based on a single cruise on that line (21 days on the Divina) and we would say that MSC is quite unique within the cruise world....especially for those of us from North America.  

 

We think the major difference quickly noticed by many is that MSC is a Euro-centric cruise line.  This means that native English speaking passengers are going to be a minority….even when cruising in the Caribbean.  For some of us this is not an issue, but we heard plenty of Americans/Canadians expressing some unhappiness with this issue.   Our personal assessment after 21 days in the Divina's Yacht Club was to immediately book another Divina cruise in the same YC cabin :).  But both DW and I also agreed that we would not be happy cruising on the Divina outside of the YC.   Why?  Many reasons (which might not bother some other folks) but we thought that the overall product (outside the YC) was akin to a crowded Carnival ship...which is just not our style.   And therein lies a big issue regarding MSC.  Depending on the "experience" you book, much is different.  The YC is more akin to an upscale luxury line while outside the YC is more like a Carnival cruise.   MSC has obviously tried to develop a cruise line (and ships) which have a wide ranging appeal to many tastes with the cruiser having some control by choosing the "experience" that best fits their own preferences.  This is somewhat unique in the cruise world although one can find something similar on some NCL vessels.

 

As to comparing to HAL.....that is like comparing a motorcycle to a Mercedes car :).  In other words, there really is no comparison as they are two completely different products.  About the only thing they have in common is that they are both ships :).  Ironically, we ran into a Senior Officer on the Divina who we knew (well) from when he used to work in a similar job on HAL!  Go figure.  That being said we do have future cruises booked with both MSC and HAL (not to mention Seabourn and some others) but DW and I truly love variety.

 

Hank

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Hank you say "The YC is more akin to an upscale luxury line while outside the YC is more like a Carnival cruise"   No way is MSC like Carnival not by a long shot, weve just returned from our first and i will say last Carnival cruise never again, however we have 3 booked with MSC

Im presuming you didnt sail MSC in Europe? totally different experience again I would think

But please dont liken MSC to Carnival that really will put people off.

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Is the dress code strict?

 

i read no jeans after 6 pm

DH will not wear anything more fancy than dress jeans

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37 minutes ago, Caymus88 said:

Is the dress code strict?

 

i read no jeans after 6 pm

DH will not wear anything more fancy than dress jeans

I am interested to hear answers to this question. My partner also wears dress jeans when cruising on NCL. We are doing a European  cruise in September. Our first with MSC. Wont be our last if all goes well. Great prices and they matched our NCL status

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Nothing in the following says no jeans after 6pm;  the dress code is a suggested one and it's made clear what is not acceptable:

 

image.png.841909bb7edd7a2358085fa94aa2156c.png

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