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MSC price trends and unlisted costs for a NCL cruiser

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Posted (edited)

Hi all,

Ive cruised several times, will be taking my 5th cruise next month but they all been with NCL.

So far I think I got them figured out, but im looking to do a MSC cruise this year too. Probably with the MSC SINFONIA on December 13th.


Plan is to do the cheapest option, an interior bella.


So heres my questions.

1. With NCL, price usually drops the closer the date to the sailing, ofc with the risk of the ship getting full. The same happens with MSC? when is the best time to buy?

2. What other costs are there? Apparently the "DINE & DRINK" package is included.

3. What should I expect with MSC being a NCL regular


Thanks all !

Edited by Comi.uy

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Posted (edited)

I've not sailed MSC in South America but can relate my recent US booking experiences.  A lot depends on whether you are willing to accept a guarantee cabin.  On MSC the cheapest cabins sell out fairly quickly, but are almost always available as guarantee.  Interestingly MSC really cannot sell the Fantastica and Aurea suites, nor the Aurea balconies, on their Lirica class ships (Sinfonia is one) but their prices will only drop a little a few weeks before sailing.  In the US MSC is relying on upgrade bids to hold these prices high.  Well before final payment lower experience Interior and balcony cabins will go into guarantee and only about 50% of the time will return the last month or two to where you can actually pick a stateroom.  These ships have lots of ocean view cabins that don't often sell out or go guarantee, but Bella seem to go first.  Prices for ensuring picking your cabin are best when the sailing is first listed and won't fluctuate much until after final payment.  After final payment, sometimes as late as a month before sailing,  there are usually a lot of unsold higher cabins and MSC will begin to fill the ship with significantly cheaper prices "overselling" the lower cabins as guarantees.  I'm not sure if upgrade bidding is available in your market, but here they will often rely on the bidding process to make some extra money moving people into the unsold higher cabins.  This is only my theory - On some sailings where there is not much active bidding due to the target market it seems MSC will give free upgrades to those that actually booked specific cabins earlier and the actual cabins seem to get the assigned to the guarantee people.  So if picking your actual cabin is not so important then last minute is by far the best price, particularly for lower cabins. 


MSC US offers several different promotional rates.  Currently there is the fictional Brochure rate that no one pays, a basic 2-for-1 rate that is the actual standard no real deal rate, the Escape to Sea no frills actual discount rate, the All-Inclusive rate that gets you a discount for bundling the very basic Easy drinks package internet and some OBC, and the Balcony for Interior rate that is MSC's go to fire sale to fill less than full ships with the bargain hunters.  The only rate that gets the drink package is the All-In rate and, depending on the ship, for the Bella and Fantastica experiences it is between $130pp and $300pp more than the Escape to Sea no frills rate.  Easy package is much less inclusive than NCL's basic beverage package, but does cover bottled water.  If these extras interest you the only rate that is a better deal than All In rate is the Balcony for Interior rate.  You don't get any perks but if a balcony interests you at all the rate price difference is usually enough to make going à la carte viable by just purchasing the Easy package at $35pp/day (I think it's less than that on South American sailings), but this rate is only used by MSC in somewhat dire, need to sell cabins right now circumstances, like currently on past final payment Caribbean sailings.  None of these rates include any specialty dining, also don't confuse the All In rate with some promotions that include alcoholic drinks in the dining room/buffet only during mealtime.  Different markets get different promotions and booking rates, I'm not sure what country you would be booking in.


MSC is much more international than NCL and English speakers are often in the minority even on US sailings.  On your South American sailing it will be highly Spanish & Portuguese speakers with a definite Latin vibe.

Edited by Até

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Dec 13th is a slow week. I would wait as long as I could. MSC drops prices alot to fill ships. I booked MSC Meraviglia 4 months out for a Feb 2 Western Caribbean, and got a Bella balcony for $625. Then I see 3 or 4 weeks out they offered balconies for $379. I will try to wait for the big drops in the future.

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Thanks for all the info, guess ill wait to book.

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