To my shame, I have yet to experience an MSC cruise. I nearly made a ship visit this year on MSC Meraviglia but realised I will be in Florida – no hardship, but it would have been the spark that may have lit my MSC flame! So, in the absence of a ship visit, my friend Gavin from @holidaysatsea has kindly given my the low down and has sprinkled some of his cruise magic dust to help convince me to take the not literal plunge. Let’s see how he gets on with a stubborn goat like myself! All pictures are courtesy of @holidaysatsea with the exception of the featured image, owned by MSC Cruises.
Why we chose MSC for next year’s big cruise!
We’re still getting the hang of the booking in advance lark… but each year we do try to book one cruise, that will be our main cruise and then fit in others if we can. A few cruises were on our radar for 2019 but when MSC announced they were bringing MSC Bellissima to Southampton for her christening in March 2019 we pounced.
After a day or two of research, ringing around and badgering Richard Cross asking when they would go on sale, at 9pm on a Sunday night a lovely lady at Vision Cruise was on hand to answer all our remaining questions and get us booked! Then the excitement started!
Who are MSC Cruises?
The market leader in the Mediterranean, South America and South Africa; MSC is privately-owned and is the 4th largest cruise company in the world. Currently going through a 10-year expansion plan it has 13 ships planned for launch by 2026 – exciting times ahead and a cruise company you should keep on your radar.
MSC are completely different to the other cruise lines we have sailed with and may not be to everyone’s tastes if you are stuck in your ways – but for those who like to try different things, there are loads of reasons why you should take a look at them.
The first thing you will notice about MSC ships, especially the newer ones, is that they are beautifully decorated and designed. Walking up the Swarovski encrusted stair cases in the atrium you will be wowed by the Italian style of these ships. Full of crystals, chrome, cleaver lighting and great use of mirrors, these ships have to be some of the most stylish cruise ships at sea.
Value for money
MSC offer exceptional value for money on their cruises, especially ones from Southampton. We were able to pick up a 7-night balcony cabin for well under £500 each last year. But the value for money doesn’t end there. For us, we love to eat and drink and if you book in advance select dining and drinks packages are at bargain prices. We paid £20 a day for all-inclusive drinks which was a selection of beers, house spirits, wines and cocktails. This package also included unlimited coffees and bottles of water from the bar. If like us, you have a budget, this makes it easy for you to plan ahead and know once on board you won’t be spending too much.
Family is very important to MSC, they have lots of family entertainment on board and have teamed up with Lego. Our Preziosa cruise had a Water park for the little ones as well as a water slide if you are brave enough. There is plenty of indoor fun to be had too, including a 4D cinema, a F1 simulator and even a mini bowling alley. We spoke to some other guests on board who only sail with MSC as they have great facilities for their children.
This is a great reason to give MSC a try! Have you been cruising with your favourite cruise line for years and are currently at the top tier getting all the discounts/goodies because you are a loyal customer? That’s great…. Now usually you would have to start again if you went to another cruise line, wouldn’t you? Not with MSC! They will match your current level with another cruise company OR hotel chain. It’s called ‘MSC Status Match’ and even the lowest level gets you 5% off the price of your cruise. It’s a great perk and obviously part of MSC’s strategy to entice customers from other cruise lines. If you are thinking of booking an MSC cruise or want more information on status match, take a look at https://www.msccruises.co.uk/en-gb/MSCCruises-Status-Match.aspx
So, why are we looking forward to MSC Bellissima?
We have been watching videos on YouTube and reading blogs about MSC Meraviglia, which will be sister to MSC Bellissima – so we know what to expect and it looks amazing!
Due to be christened in Southampton on the 2nd of March 2019, we will be boarding her on the 4th for her first cruise down to Barcelona. We are so excited for MSC Bellissima, we are like kids waiting for Christmas – take a look at just a few of the reasons why.
Dining and Entertainment
With an indoor promenade featuring shops, bars and places to eat – as well as a spectacular 80-meter-long LED dome, the heart of MSC Bellissima promises to be amazing.
In total she will feature 20 bars, 10 restaurants and we really can’t wait to try these out. On our previous MSC cruise we had a package where we could try two select dining venues for a very reasonable price. The main dining room food was good, but the food in here was exceptional.
While talking about food – some say this is where MSC let themselves down. We personally found the food in the Main Dining Room good with some excellent meals. The buffet was the best we had seen at sea, lots of variety, fresh looking food, amazing pizza and lots of places to sit. The food is Mediterranean is style but and there is something to suit everyone.
Cirque du Soleil
MSC have an exclusive partnership with Cirque du Soleil and will have 2 shows a night, 6 nights a week in a special venue onboard that will not just offer you the show but also food to go with it!
We’ve seen snippets of Cirque du Soleil on videos so are really excited to see this – we will be booking the dine and show package as soon as it becomes available
You have heard of Siri and Alexa, but now you have Zoe. Zoe is MSC’s personal digital assistant that will be on hand in your room to answer all those questions you may have. MSC also have MSC for Me, this allows you to make reservations from your mobile phone and pick up useful information as well as allowing MSC and their staff to provide a better and more unique experience.
We find onboard tech really exciting. We know not every likes it but we think it’s important that cruise lines embrace it and cant wait to try it out on MSC Bellissima. “Zoe, please order me a G&T”.
Did we say how excited we were?
We really can’t wait until we join MSC Bellissima and the countdown is on.
Hopefully this article might convince you to consider MSC next time you are looking for a cruise and if you want to follow our adventures onboard – head over to www.holidaysatsea.co.uk where you can find all our details! Finally, thanks Jamie for asking us to write this, we know you are looking at trying more cruise lines, so why not give MSC a go too?
Thanks again to Gavin from Holidaysatsea. Plenty of food for thought and a very persuasive argument indeed! Hopefully the right dates and itinerary will come along soon enough so I can try MSC for myself. Readers, what are your experiences? Don’t forget to follow Gavin on various platforms – all accessed on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook and his website @holidaysatsea.