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Hi we have never been on an MSC cruise.  We usually said on NCL.  We have sailed on Royal and Carnival and have preferred NCL.  We are looking to try a MSC cruise.  What are the differences? Any help would be terrific.

Thank you in advance.

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The food is pretty equal, MSC ships are more Italian in decor (classy), the cabins are pretty equal, the shows on MSC were more professional - the singer's were mature and superb and the costumes and sets are stunning. 

That said, everything depends on the individual ship. You can't compare an old NCL ship to a brand new MSC ship. 

The biggest difference is that you will find more non English speaking people on MSC. We have been on two MSC cruises and many NCL and are NCL platinum and MSC diamond. It is nice to have their loyalty perks.

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With the exception of the buffet and main dining rooms, you will have to pay for any other food venue... definitely more of an international feel and to me more layed back as there will not be someone hawking drinks when out on the decks. We have sailed NCL a few times, but it has been years and now find the MSC is our go to cruise line.

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If you're used to alcohol packages on other cruise lines, be aware that MSC's basic, entry level package (called the Easy Package) is VERY limited and drastically inferior.  (Upgrading for an additional cost is available.)

 

Note also that the Easy Package is not accepted in any specialty restaurant.  If you want wine, you need to buy it from the available wine list (at 4x to 5x retail) or get up from your table, leave the restaurant, go to a bar, get your drink and carry it back to your table.

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6 hours ago, andychris said:

Hi we have never been on an MSC cruise.  We usually said on NCL.  We have sailed on Royal and Carnival and have preferred NCL.  We are looking to try a MSC cruise.  What are the differences? Any help would be terrific.

Thank you in advance.


What MSC experience are you thinking of???

 

 

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10 hours ago, andychris said:

Hi we have never been on an MSC cruise.  We usually said on NCL.  We have sailed on Royal and Carnival and have preferred NCL.  We are looking to try a MSC cruise.  What are the differences? Any help would be terrific.

Thank you in advance.

 

It's cheaper :).  Right? Much cheaper, right? Seriously, that's the only reason I book MSC in the Caribbean.  It is an excellent budget cruise line which offers exceptional value for the dollar. If dollars were equal (or close), we would be sailing on NCL, Rcl, etc...

 

I see you have only had NCL sailings in the last decade so I'll concentrate on some differences with NCL. We are willing to pay more for NCL because we enjoy diverse entertainment. The evening shows on MSC are all very similar with the same cast repeating each night. MSC shows are canned (not live). They are 30 minutes as opposed to NCL's broadway productions (think legally blonde or Burn the floor) which are well over an hour. But, MSC shows are entertaining imo; just shorter and less diverse.

 

You may miss the 24 hour dining. There isn't anything like O'Sheehans on MSC. No rock climbing walls. No water slides like the zero gravity drop slide. No ropes course. No Howl at the moon and the comedy show (if there is one) will not be on par with Comedy Central. We MUCH prefer the food on NCL but that is subjective. If you read 1000's of MSC reviews, you will find that the thing they get the most criticism for is poor quality food and bad service. MSC is an Italian line and I assure you, the customer is not always right :). Avoid guest services if possible.

 

The crowd will be much more diverse on MSC. We like that. Some get bothered by announcements in multiple languages. Other cultures have different ways of queuing in buffet lines and waiting for the elevators. North Americans tend to wait more patiently and our personal space is much more respected. There will likely be more smokers on MSC. Embrace the differences. I have appreciation for all cultures. 

 

With all that said, I'm about to embark on my third MSC cruise because it was 57% (yes, exactly 57%) less than NCL.. If MSC had been only 10-15% less, we'd probably be sailing NCL. Bottom line IMO,  If you are saving a serious chunk of change, and you can keep your expectations aligned with the price paid, MSC delivers a really nice vacation and the value is nearly impossible to beat.  

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5 hours ago, George C said:

We loved premium plus drink package which is includes everything no limits , rccl and celebrity do not offer anything like this.

 

True.  But compare MSC's Easy Package to Celebrity's Classic package.  MSC is measly,  pretty poor wine selections.  X has a very large list including some good wines.  It's good throughout the entire ship, includes frozen drinks without having to mix it yourself and is included as a perk VERY frequently. 

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55 minutes ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

With all that said, I'm about to embark on my third MSC cruise because it was 57% (yes, exactly 57%) less than NCL.. If MSC had been only 10-15% less, we'd probably be sailing NCL. Bottom line IMO,  If you are saving a serious chunk of change, and you can keep your expectations aligned with the price paid, MSC delivers a really nice vacation and the value is nearly impossible to beat.  

...True for the Caribbean sailings... Not so much here for the European market on the med sailings anymore these days!... And TBHH, I wouldn't pay equal EUR for MSC or the likes of RCI or NCL... At least for now I can find such a "specialty" Travel Agent (such a non profit organization whom works to facilitate travelling arrangements mostly to the very elderly and the disabled individuals) whom is a long time partner with them and whom indeed have some quite nice options at nearly the "good ole days" MSC prices!... And as long as I can snag such a good deal like those ones I will continue to cruise with them. They have a quite nice non pretentious service... But nothing more on top of it, apart perhaps the YC!...

 

Have a nice day!...

Edited by Nunagoras
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1 hour ago, jkgourmet said:

 

True.  But compare MSC's Easy Package to Celebrity's Classic package.  MSC is measly,  pretty poor wine selections.  X has a very large list including some good wines.  It's good throughout the entire ship, includes frozen drinks without having to mix it yourself and is included as a perk VERY frequently. 

I like Napa Cabernet and positive it’s not in celebrity classic . We just did the one msc cruise recently and know nothing but the premium plus which was a good deal for us since it was only 17 dollars a day extra since we were in YC 

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22 hours ago, George C said:

We loved premium plus drink package which is includes everything no limits , rccl and celebrity do not offer anything like this.

 

George, were you in YC and did you upgrade ahead online or once you were on board?

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11 minutes ago, jules815 said:

 

George, were you in YC and did you upgrade ahead online or once you were on board?

Our travel agent was not able to upgrade us beforehand. So we just had bartender in YC do it right after we boarded they can also answer and questions about it. 

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12 minutes ago, George C said:

Our travel agent was not able to upgrade us beforehand. So we just had bartender in YC do it right after we boarded they can also answer and questions about it. 

 

Great, thank you.  We're on Seaside in YC again in April, and can't wait.  I think we're going to treat ourselves to the upgrade.

 

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18 hours ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

It's cheaper :).  Right? Much cheaper, right? Seriously, that's the only reason I book MSC in the Caribbean.  It is an excellent budget cruise line which offers exceptional value for the dollar. If dollars were equal (or close), we would be sailing on NCL, Rcl, etc...

not always cheaper. Last April we sailed on the Allure of the Seas ($1,600 for the 3 of us, inside cabin, 7 days). This April we are sailing on MSC Mera ($1,600 for the 3 of us, inside cabin, 7 days). November of 2018 we sailed on NCL Jade ($2,000, OV, 3 of us, 10 days). And we can only sail during school breaks which makes it so much more expensive to cruise.

 

NCL's food was bad. Yes, bad. And we are bracing for the same on MSC, but we get to cruise and we don't starve, and we do want to try something new, and will love the entertainment.

 

I believe Meraviglia has both a ropes course and a water slide. And we couldn't even eat at O'Sheehans on NCL because of the heavy smoke smell permeating the entire deck.

18 hours ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

There isn't anything like O'Sheehans on MSC. No rock climbing walls. No water slides like the zero gravity drop slide. No ropes course.

Edited by Itchy&Scratchy
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57 minutes ago, Itchy&Scratchy said:

not always cheaper.

 

I believe Meraviglia has both a ropes course and a water slide. And we couldn't even eat at O'Sheehans on NCL because of the heavy smoke smell permeating the entire deck.

 

 I absolutely agreed that MSC is not always cheaper, and unless it's significantly cheaper, I will not select MSC. I should have worded that differently. 

 

Last year our girls getaway cruise elected to sail on Celebrity paying $150 more pp. DH and I paid about $200 more pp to sail on Allure. We were willing to pay slightly more for Celebrity and Allure knowing the product.  However; This year Celebrity and RCL are both over 50% more (about $600 more pp) than MSC, so our annual girls getaway is going to be on Seaside. In fact, several of us elected to get solo cabins on MSC and the price still came out less than the others for a spring break trip.  No-brainer, but our expectations will be aligned with price paid.

 

Again, my point was that in order for me to select MSC, it has to be significantly less expensive. Obviously, other people have different opinions and some love MSC regardless of price. But dollar for dollar, we prefer other lines. We are fortunate to have so many choices. 

 

I just took a peak at Meraviglia's ropes course (looks nice). But the water slide isn't even in the same game as the zero gravity free-fall on breakaway class. We rode that for hours. A true thrill ride.  Of course, water slides are a very small part of most decisions, but the OP has sailed on Breakaway so I wanted him/her to know that MSC waterslides are very tame in comparison. Just managing expectations.

 

This isn't my video but it brings back lots of fun memories :). 

 

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2 hours ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

I absolutely agreed that MSC is not always cheaper, and unless it's significantly cheaper, I will not select MSC. I should have worded that differently. 

I just took a peak at Meraviglia's ropes course (looks nice). But the water slide isn't even in the same game as the zero gravity free-fall on breakaway class. We rode that for hours. A true thrill ride. 

gotcha. Yes, I agree.

 

We (DH and I) are not the water slide kind of people, but our 7 yo truly enjoyed the ones on the Getaway, but he doesn't need the free fall kind. Nor can he safely ride one. I think the min weight limit was 100#. 🙂

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On 1/22/2020 at 5:10 PM, George C said:

We loved premium plus drink package which is includes everything no limits , rccl and celebrity do not offer anything like this.

That’s not exactly true.

What about the RCCL deluxe package.

It’s unlimited

Cocktails

Spirits 

Liqueurs

Beer

Bottled and still sparkling water

Wines by the glass

Freshly squeezed orange juice 

Non - alcoholic beverages

Souvenir cup

Milk shakes at Johnny Rockets

Premium Coffees and Teas

 

 

 

 

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51 minutes ago, Norwich Cruiser said:

That’s not exactly true.

What about the RCCL deluxe package.

It’s unlimited

Cocktails

Spirits 

Liqueurs

Beer

Bottled and still sparkling water

Wines by the glass

Freshly squeezed orange juice 

Non - alcoholic beverages

Souvenir cup

Milk shakes at Johnny Rockets

Premium Coffees and Teas

 

 

 

 

Try ordering a Johnny Walker blue it is about 13 dollars over limit which is 13 dollars , so you pay the 13 plus tip on the 13 , rccl has either a 12 or a 13 dollar limit depending on ship, you pay extra for anything above. I done this package 7 or 8 times , it’s not bad but doesn’t cover everything.

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Just got back from our first cruise on MSC. Started cruising about 25 years ago, taking at least one cruise a year, and some years two. We are not loyal to any one cruise line, but choose based cost and itinerary available for the dates we want to go. Have traveled ncl and HAL most often, but also Royal, Princess, Celebrity and Costa.

 

We were on the Armonia. Older, smaller ship, not one of the fancy ones. I already have a cruise booked following my nieces destination wedding in NOLA in late March. With winter starting early here, when black Friday/cyber Monday specials came out I thought I'd fit in a second cruise in January. I looked at all of the lines and could get the best deal on Armonia. I did my homework and looked at these boards ahead of booking so had a pretty good idea what I was getting into. I got a 7 day cruise, free gratuities, easy drink package, internet package in a balcony room, fantasia experience for $509 pp + taxes and port fees. I did the bid thing and upgraded to a suite for an additional $65 pp. Flew Spirit airlines for about $100 pp, so total for 2 was well under $1000 pp.

 

What we liked. I liked the diversity of the passengers - in both age and nationality. We enjoy traveling on the smaller ships and have done them a lot. The ship seemed in good repair, but was a little confusing to navigate. I liked the easy drink package. We are not big drinkers. Was happy to get bottled water and soft drinks, several specialty coffees, and an afternoon beer or glass of wine with dinner.

 

The food. The pizza, gelato, afternoon snacks/cookies and hamburger bar were very good. The buffet was very small and questionable at best. We had breakfast in the main dining room daily and it was good. Some of the nightly dining room food was good, some not good at all. Ask your waiter what they recommend. In our case they told us what not to order.

 

Entertainment was mixed for us. I like the song and dance shows and am not a fan of jugglers and comedians. Our particular shows had 2 male and 2 female singers. One of the females had a hard time staying on key and one of the males was not a native English speaker and it showed. The other two singers were very good. Dancers were fine and shows were short enough to hold attention.

 

Would we do MSC again. My husband says not. He didn't like the food, we missed one port due to weather, and had two mix-up charges on our final bill for drinks that should have been included in our package and/or that we didn't order. Customer service straightened out part of this, but not all and I wasn't going to get in the long line again to argue about a couple of dollars.

 

How does it compare to the other lines? I can't keep up with all of the changes on any of the lines. They are all cutting costs and trying to build bigger and grander than each other. My system of choosing seems to work for us.

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5 hours ago, George C said:

Try ordering a Johnny Walker blue it is about 13 dollars over limit which is 13 dollars , so you pay the 13 plus tip on the 13 , rccl has either a 12 or a 13 dollar limit depending on ship, you pay extra for anything above. I done this package 7 or 8 times , it’s not bad but doesn’t cover everything.

That’s correct it’s about $27 a go so you would pay a little extra I’ve absolutely no problems with that for something that’s sold in excess of about $170 a bottle in the USA.

So that’s one drink and they probably obviously have a few more most cruise lines do but from experience the bartenders do tend to pour you a double measure.

I actually think the RCCL drinks packages are pretty decent value for something that’s is unlimited not like a few other cruise lines and offers so many options.

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8 hours ago, Norwich Cruiser said:

That’s correct it’s about $27 a go so you would pay a little extra I’ve absolutely no problems with that for something that’s sold in excess of about $170 a bottle in the USA.

So that’s one drink and they probably obviously have a few more most cruise lines do but from experience the bartenders do tend to pour you a double measure.

I actually think the RCCL drinks packages are pretty decent value for something that’s is unlimited not like a few other cruise lines and offers so many options.

Totally agree rccl drink package is a good deal for those like me who have more than a few drinks a day, we always get it, just became diamond plus so we get 30 percent off package. But only one of my many cruises was I able to ask for a double, I agree some bartenders will give you better drinks, on msc I had no problem getting a double Johnny Walker blue. When we sail rccl we have dozens of charges for 2 or 3 dollars since wines we like are just a few dollars above limit.

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If you arder a drink that is priced above your package limit, Does RCCL only charge the difference (plus gratuity) in price or do they charge the full price?

 

Like this:  I buy a package that allows unlimited drinks up to $6.  I order a drink that is $10

 

On Celebrity, I pay the difference - $4 plus gratuity on the $4. 😀

On MSC, I pay the full price - $10 plus gratuity. 😡

 

Does RCCL or any other cruise line have Celebrity's policy?

 

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30 minutes ago, jkgourmet said:

If you arder a drink that is priced above your package limit, Does RCCL only charge the difference (plus gratuity) in price or do they charge the full price?

 

Like this:  I buy a package that allows unlimited drinks up to $6.  I order a drink that is $10

 

On Celebrity, I pay the difference - $4 plus gratuity on the $4. 😀

On MSC, I pay the full price - $10 plus gratuity. 😡

 

Does RCCL or any other cruise line have Celebrity's policy?

 

Yes rccl is same as celebrity you just pay the difference plus tip. And most drinks are totally covered. 

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2 hours ago, George C said:

Totally agree rccl drink package is a good deal for those like me who have more than a few drinks a day, we always get it, just became diamond plus so we get 30 percent off package. But only one of my many cruises was I able to ask for a double, I agree some bartenders will give you better drinks, on msc I had no problem getting a double Johnny Walker blue. When we sail rccl we have dozens of charges for 2 or 3 dollars since wines we like are just a few dollars above limit.

We are diamond plus also with RCCL the drinks are a great perk and in all honesty nowadays it definitely depends on the itinerary to weather or not we get the package.

We always seem to get good pours in the diamond lounge but again that differs ship to ship.

Luckily we nearly always stay below the extra charge limits.

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