Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
trump

Royal or give MSC a try ?

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone.  I have been on 5 RCI cruises and 2 NCL cruises.  I am interested in booking a 7 night cruise from Venice, Italy to Greece/Croatia in May 2020 for 3 people.  I immediately started my research by looking at RCI.  The RCI (Rhapsody) price for 3 people in a balcony stateroom is $6,000.  This is more than I wanted to spend, so I started looking at other lines.  I can get a very similar itinerary with MSC (Magnifica) for 3 people in a balcony stateroom for $3,000.  I was shocked that RCI was double the price of MSC !  I've read many reviews on MSC and think I have a handle on the most significant differences between Royal and MSC.  Leaning towards trying MSC and saving $3,000 !  Welcoming any opinions, especially if you have sailed both lines.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, trump said:

Hi everyone.  I have been on 5 RCI cruises and 2 NCL cruises.  I am interested in booking a 7 night cruise from Venice, Italy to Greece/Croatia in May 2020 for 3 people.  I immediately started my research by looking at RCI.  The RCI (Rhapsody) price for 3 people in a balcony stateroom is $6,000.  This is more than I wanted to spend, so I started looking at other lines.  I can get a very similar itinerary with MSC (Magnifica) for 3 people in a balcony stateroom for $3,000.  I was shocked that RCI was double the price of MSC !  I've read many reviews on MSC and think I have a handle on the most significant differences between Royal and MSC.  Leaning towards trying MSC and saving $3,000 !  Welcoming any opinions, especially if you have sailed both lines.    

If it’s port intensive (Europe) & you don’t plan on using pools or don’t mind crowds in public areas you should be find with MSC. We did 2 Caribbean cruises on MSC Seaside & stayed in a yacht club balcony & it was the best decision. When we ventured out of our area it was a total zoo. I believe on MSC kids are free. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are also trying msc in 2 weeks for Caribbean, I do not think line or ship matters as much in Europe since there are very few sea days and long days in port , try msc, if you want to splurge go for there yacht club. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We tried MSC Seaside after being on seven Royal Caribbean cruises. Was not for us. We did not enjoy the entertainment. We did not enjoy the food. And to say it was crowded was an understatement. We tried it for the price and since it was being marketed as their new " for the American market"  ship we thought we would like it. It was not geared for Americans as far was we were concerned. The food and entertainment was European based. And I realise it is just the was that other countries are but everyone reached over people , stood right on your heels and pushed their way on and out of the elevators. The pools were extremely crowded and no one gave anyone an inch when standing in lines. You may enjoy it but we wouldn't do it again if they gave us a cruise for free. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not all sailings are Kids Sail Free on MSC.

 

We have been on MSC in the Yacht Club twice and will happily go again (probably on Meraviglia))

We did find the ship crowded whenever we ventured outside of the YC, but we also find Oasis-class ships crowded too.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a lot of money...try MSC and please come back and tell us if it was a good or bad decisiom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say go for it, you'll never know if you don't.

 

We've sailed MSC in Europe including Magnifica last year from Southampton and really enjoyed it. It's a lovely traditional ship, I loved the indoor pool area (we did a Northern Europe cooler weather cruise) and to me it never felt too crowded. Not sure if the outdoor pool area may get crowded on a warm weather cruise. I'm assuming you are from the US so you need to be prepared to embrace lots of different nationalities and languages but if you do you should enjoy the differences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, mafig said:

Not all sailings are Kids Sail Free on MSC.

 

We have been on MSC in the Yacht Club twice and will happily go again (probably on Meraviglia))

We did find the ship crowded whenever we ventured outside of the YC, but we also find Oasis-class ships crowded too.

 

Glad to hear that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have 2 cruises booked next year in the Med, on the Sinfonia and Opera. MSC will match status with other cruise lines. After just returning from a B2B on Voyager (3/4 day) from Singapore, I went totally prepared and accepting of different cultures. I think MSC will be an easy transition for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I am msc highest level because of matching my rccl, I also got a ten percent discount for being a veteran on msc, rccl gives me nothing for that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure that MSC has different embarkation and disembarkation ports in Europe; people are always coming and going with luggage constantly in the halls and announcements for muster.  At least that's what I've heard.  I wouldn't like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mafig said:

I wouldn't like that.

Then don't take O class in the Med - RCI also does interporting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, trump said:

  I've read many reviews on MSC and think I have a handle on the most significant differences between Royal and MSC. 

Can you summarize what they are for someone who has used mostly Royal and never MSC? Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, esseff35 said:

Can you summarize what they are for someone who has used mostly Royal and never MSC? Thanks.

I did a review called Diamond plus tries turning black on MSc.... for my first experience on MSc...you can google to find it. I believe the European experience is still very different to their American experience. 

 

My summary:
Ships are spotless.
I like Interporting.

Great pizza and mozzarella. 

Cheapest drinks package afloat. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is nothing wrong with MSC. 

 

Just the RC loyalist don't like it because it is not RC..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless you cruise in MSC yacht club we would definitely cruise RCCL all the time.

Royal only inter ports on Oasis class in Barcelona and Rome which we found ok.
The constant inter porting on MSC not for us more like a ferry and weren’t particularly impressed with the pizza but then we don’t really choose a cruise line for its pizza.

Constant announcements in about five languages and also before all shows we found a real pain plus the shows only last about thirty minutes or so. 

Decent ships but not in the same class as Oasis.

Some people think the Windjammer which we enjoy is a zoo the buffet on MSC we found far worse.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did Oasis this September in the Med, and now decided for 2020 we would do a family cruise with my sister, her husband and 5 kids. For 2 cabins on any European itinerary I looked at for RCI it just always came out that MSC seemed much better value. Then when my sister said she preferred the idea of a Northern Europe, the option of Anthem was too expensive, and the option of Jewel was not appealing.

 

So we have all booked onto Meraviglia, I don't think this will be the start of a life long relationship. I have read and watched lots on Meraviglia and am aware of the flaws, (languages, food, jostling at the buffet etc...) but she does look fabulous!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We tried MSC seaside. Beautiful ship, but would never return. They do not care about service. They are rude, food and entertainment was not good. Definitely would be disappointed after royal. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, matj2000 said:

There is nothing wrong with MSC. 

 

Just the RC loyalist don't like it because it is not RC..

I will never cruise MSC.  The Armonia cost me a port day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Junkhouse said:

I will never cruise MSC.  The Armonia cost me a port day.

 

I missed a port day on RC 2 years ago.

 

Do I need to boycott them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, mafig said:

I'm pretty sure that MSC has different embarkation and disembarkation ports in Europe; people are always coming and going with luggage constantly in the halls and announcements for muster.  At least that's what I've heard.  I wouldn't like that.

That was actually one of the things that we thoroughly enjoyed about sailing on MSC in the Mediterranean. 
 

Smaller groups embark and disembark at each port of call. The organized chaos normally associated with only one port of embarkation where thousands of passengers are all embarking and disembarking at the same time is non existent on MSC. And activities around the ship don’t come to a screeching halt during muster drill. For passengers who are not beginning or ending their cruise, things proceed normally and unaffected by the new batch of passengers joining the cruise.

 

We boarded in Civitavecchia, and it was an absolute breeze. After boarding, we proceeded to the buffet for lunch which was blissfully empty since most in-transit passengers were ashore exploring Rome. When the time came for the muster drill, embarking passengers proceeded to the main theater for a quick presentation. We had plenty of space. The theater was maybe 1/3 full. 
 

At subsequent ports, newly embarking or disembarking passengers didn’t disrupt the activities throughout the ship. They were almost invisible. And when it was time for us to disembark at the end of the cruise, things couldn’t have been smoother. We did self assist debarkation since we had a fairly early flight back to Atlanta. Contrary to what we’d experience on other cruises, with hordes of people doing self assist, there were maybe a total of 20 people total lined up, mostly Americans also with early flights back to the USA. And since all ports of call on this itinerary were in the Schengen Area, there were no customs/immigration. We got off the ship and proceeded straight to our awaiting car to take us to the airport. 


In a nutshell, MSC does a fantastic job with embarkation/debarkation on these Mediterranean itineraries. They have it down to a science. Better than anything we’ve ever experienced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, trump said:

I can get a very similar itinerary with MSC (Magnifica) for 3 people in a balcony stateroom for $3,000.  I was shocked that RCI was double the price of MSC ! 

That’s exactly how I initially chose to sail on MSC in the Mediterranean. I wasn’t even looking at sailing in that region (I was just looking at Caribbean cruises for Thanksgiving break), but when this itinerary popped up on my search, and I saw the prices, I made the decision to give MSC a try and head to the Mediterranean.

 

Fares were so ridiculously cheap, that I decided to see what would be the highest category that I would be willing to pay for without breaking the bank. We booked an Aurea Duplex Suite (MSC’s version of Royal’s Crown Loft Suite). The total price for a family of 4 was $4,000. For comparison purposes, I priced out a Crown Loft Suite on Royal in the Mediterranean and it would’ve cost $16,000! And our suite on MSC included priority embarkation, complimentary drink package, 2 complimentary massages, unlimited access to the thermal suite at the Aurea Spa, access to a reserved section in the MDR with open seating for Aurea passengers, and access to a private solarium deck. Our suite also came with our own private hot tub in a forward facing balcony. The decision was very easy to make. 
 

This cruise was on the MSC Meraviglia exactly one year ago. It was an absolutely fantastic cruise. Easily one of the best cruises I’ve ever taken in my 38+ years of cruising.

 

The Meraviglia was an amazing ship. Not quite like an Oasis class ship, but with a wow factor that I have only experienced when I sailed on the Allure of the Seas during her inaugural season. She’s an enormous, beautiful, technological marvel.

 

Yes, MSC caters heavily to Europeans but that was something that actually made our experience much more enjoyable. We loved, LOVED the multicultural and multilingual composition of our fellow passengers. We are glad that we didn’t travel 5,000 miles to experience an Americanized version of the Mediterranean. During the entire week, we only met two other American families. The only other Americans we saw were during debarkation on the last day. We sailed during Thanksgiving week (in the USA), and this holiday wasn’t even mentioned! We tremendously enjoyed trying new dishes, new forms of entertainment, new ways of doing things, and interacting with people from all over the world. 
 

Stage entertainment was good, but it’s not remotely as good as what we’ve experienced on Royal. Shows at the main theater are handled by reservation like on Royal’s Oasis ships, and you can make reservation either using the interactive TV system, on the MSC for Me app on your phone, or by tapping your MSC bracelet at one of the electronic boards throughout the ship. The Meraviglia did offer Cirque du Soleil at Sea performances in a dedicated theater, and they were fantastic. More comparable to Oasis type of entertainment. BUT they do come with a 15 euro price tag. Still, we considered it money well spent. The shows were bonafide Cirque du Soleil shows, and comprable to the ones on land, but at a fraction of the price. 
 

After this cruise, I now rank MSC as one of my absolute favorite cruise lines. The ship was stunning, the food was very enjoyable, we loved the European style of service, our stateroom was amazing, and we thoroughly  enjoyed the immersive experience that this cruise line provided. I wouldn’t hesitate to sail on MSC again! 

A453CFA5-779D-4E88-9938-6E100978E727.jpeg

3CA70B46-D0B4-4AF3-8382-89747FCD52F5.jpeg

133BDBD8-5256-47DB-9CE4-E512FD2220A8.jpeg

ADC4520C-0B0E-41D8-938A-8724683D9E68.jpeg

7DE280DF-93FE-4058-8221-728C592B1A69.jpeg

1C1B4AEE-7492-4A5C-A56C-EE3E91C1ACFF.jpeg

0DC02A9B-C6B4-4A1C-BCC4-462D14CE6AAD.jpeg

Edited by Tapi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple years ago we had a similar experience as the OP. We wanted to make a New Years Caribbean sailing and tried with RCI. A balcony cabin was right at double the price on the Navigator as the new (at the time) MSC Divina.

 

We went on the Divina and enjoyed it very much. In fact, we got off the Divina(Miami) grabbed our luggage and walked next door and boarded the Navigator for their next sailing. It was a good way to compare.

 

Had aft balconies on both, 10254 on the Divina and 7388 on Navigator.

 

Bottom line....I would not hesitate to book the MSC sailing for that amount of savings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, mafig said:

I'm pretty sure that MSC has different embarkation and disembarkation ports in Europe; people are always coming and going with luggage constantly in the halls and announcements for muster.  At least that's what I've heard.  I wouldn't like that.


This is true. People getting off and on at every port. This meant long queues trying to get off and often delayed us leaving for our day in port.  People everywhere with luggage. Constant announcements in various languages. On an evening when trying to have a quiet drink there were people all over the place in life jackets as they had to do a muster drill for new arrivals. That is just one of the reasons we will never go on MSC again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...