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Everything you need to know about MSC

Posted: 3/24/2024

Author: Amelie de Moreau

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You've just gone through our article outlining the history of the Aponte family and the financial structure of the MSC Group, or you've read our detailed article about the different MSC ships, and now you're tempted to go on a cruise with MSC, but you're not sure what's included, which beverage package to choose, or what type of cabin to book.

Let us guide you through it all! We'll start with the types of cabins, the different atmospheres, the Yacht Club, beverage packages, onboard internet, and finish with other available packages.

1. The cabins

Each cabin is equipped with a private bathroom (mostly with a shower, some suites or Yacht Club cabins have a bathtub), a hairdryer, shower gel and shampoo, a safe, a minibar (consumptions are chargeable except for the Yacht Club), a TV, and a telephone.

On all ships, you can find interior cabins (without a window and located in the center of the ship), cabins with a view (featuring a window or porthole, located on the lower decks of the ship), cabins with a balcony (located on the upper decks), and suites (often situated at the front or rear of the ship on the upper decks). Finally, the newer classes of ships offer Yacht Club cabins (located at the front on the upper decks). You will find an explanation of the Yacht Club in my next article.

The majority of cabins are available in three versions: Junior (smaller, accommodating 2 people), Deluxe (larger, accommodating up to 4 people with an additional sofa bed or Pullman bed), and Premium (even larger, with a sofa bed, accommodating up to 5 people). Additionally, the double bed can always be converted into two single beds upon request at the time of booking.

Furthermore, MSC ships also offer Studio cabins designed to accommodate a single person, thus avoiding solo travelers having to pay a single supplement.

The Inside Cabins


These cabins do not have a window or balcony. They occupy central locations on the ship and can be found on the upper, lower, or middle decks of the ship. They are the least expensive cabins.

Junior versions have an area of less than 14m2 and accommodate a maximum of 2 people. Deluxe versions measure between 14m2 and 17m2 depending on the ship, and can accommodate up to 4 people. Finally, Premium versions feature a space with a sofa bed, measuring approximately 28m2 and can accommodate up to 5 people.

For solo travelers, interior cabins are also available in Studio versions (12m2). These cabins are smaller but spacious enough for a single traveler and help avoid paying the single supplement.

Ocean View Cabins


These cabins offer a porthole or window with an ocean view. They are often located on the lower decks, below the cabins with a balcony, and the view may be obstructed. This means there may be a lifeboat in front of the window, a promenade deck, or even a part of the ship's structure. It's important to note that cabins with obstructed views are typically cheaper at the time of booking, but it can be quite frustrating to have a window but only partially see the ocean. It's important that this is clearly specified at the time of your reservation. However, depending on what obstructs the view, it can represent a real financial saving while still allowing you to avoid the feeling of confinement often associated with interior cabins.

Cabins with a view are available in Junior versions, measuring less than 14m2 and accommodating 2 people. Deluxe versions measure between 16m2and 17m2, have a living area with a convertible sofa, and can accommodate up to 4 people. Finally, Premium versions measure between 20m2 and 25m2, have a living area with a convertible sofa, and can accommodate between 4 and 6 people.

Balcony Cabins

These cabins always feature a balcony and are often located on the highest decks of the ship. The higher the deck, the more expensive the cabin may be, but the view will be more stunning! However, it's also possible that the view may be partially obstructed, meaning your balcony view could be obstructed by a lifeboat or another element of the ship.

They are available in Studio versions for solo travelers. These studios measure 12m2 with a balcony of 4m2. Junior versions are larger (13m2-14m2) and can accommodate up to 3 people. Deluxe versions feature a living area with a convertible sofa and can accommodate up to 4 people with a maximum area of 18m2 and a balcony of 4-6m2.

The Suites

Suites are available in Junior, Premium, and Grand versions. They are always situated on the upper decks to offer stunning views, and they are larger with more storage space, a seating area, and a larger balcony. Junior suites measure 17m2, have a 16m2 balcony, and can accommodate up to 4 people. As for Premium suites, they are available with a balcony, a terrace, or a terrace with a jacuzzi. They measure between 25m2 and 27m2 and can accommodate up to 6 people.

Finally, on the Fantasia, Seaside, Meraviglia, and World classes ships, there are Yacht Club cabins. The Yacht Club offers the experience of "a ship within the ship." We will discuss this further in another article.

2. The Experiences

At the time of booking, you can choose from three different experiences: Bella, Fantastica, and Aurea.

Bella experience is available with interior, ocean view, and balcony cabins. It is the least expensive option and is selected by default when booking. With Bella, MSC assigns you a cabin a few days before departure, which may result in an obstructed view or a balcony with a metal railing rather than glass. This ambiance provides very few benefits, and if you wish to modify your cruise, additional fees of 50€ per person will be charged.

Fantastica experience is available with interior, ocean view, and balcony cabins. Slightly more expensive than Bella, it allows you to choose the location of your cabin at the time of booking, which can be advantageous for selecting a cabin with a sofa bed for children (instead of Pullman beds), being close to your family, having a better situated balcony, or being near or far from the elevators. In summary, here are the advantages:

  • Choose your cabin location

  • Discount on drink packages (20%)*

  • Discount on Speciality restaurant packages (20%)

  • No delivery fees for room service

*Not applicable on cruises in South Africa&South America

  • Breakfast in the cabin included

  • Choice of dinner time

  • Free cabin change (1X)

  • Free cruise change

  • If MSC changes your cabin, they must then necessarily upgrade you to a higher category.

The following image illustrates one of the differences between the Bella and Fantastica experiences on the MSC Euribia. With the Bella experience, your balcony will have an aluminum railing, making it impossible to enjoy the view while sitting in the balcony chair or lying in bed. In contrast, the Fantastica experience offers a fully glazed balcony.

The Aurea experience is available for balcony cabins and suites. In addition to the benefits offered by the Fantastica experience, the Aurea experience offers several additional advantages, such as the choice of a cabin in a better location on the ship (often cabins will be close to the Aurea Spa) or a balcony with a better view.

  • The Fantastica Benefits

  • Choice of cabin with better location

  • Choice of pillows

  • Flexible dinner time

  • Welcome pack in the cabin (Proseco and chocolates)

  • Bathrobes and slippers in the cabin

  • Unlimited access to the Thermal Area

  • Unlimited access to the Top Exclusive Solarium

  • 10% discount on spa treatments

  • Priority boarding with luggage drop-off

The cruise change?

The change of cruise with MSC is a convenient and flexible option:

  • For the Fantastica and Aurea experiences, the change of cruise is free, while it costs 50€ per person for the Bella experience.

  • You can modify your departure date and/or itinerary up to 30 days before your departure, but the chosen ship cannot be changed. For example, if you have booked a cruise on the MSC Seaside departing from Miami, you can choose another departure date as long as the new cruise departs within 90 days after the initial departure date. You can also choose a new itinerary, but your cruise must still be on the same ship. For instance, you could depart from Marseille within 90 days after the set departure date, but it must still be on the MSC Seaside.

  • If the new chosen cruise is more expensive than the initial one, you will have to pay the price difference. No refund will be provided if the price difference is negative.

  • If you have booked your flights with MSC, note that the airline may apply additional fees for changes. In summary, the change of cruise with MSC offers a certain flexibility in bookings.

3. The Drink Packages

Before we proceed, it's crucial to understand what is included in the base price of your cruise (without a drink package):

  • Coffee, tea, milk, fruit juices (only at breakfast), and water are included.

  • Please note that water is available for free from the water stations in the buffet restaurants, but it's treated water from the ship. If you prefer bottled water or if you wish to dine at the restaurant in the evening with table service, it is recommended to opt for a beverage package as drinks served by the waiter will be charged separately.

  • MSC offers 5 different beverage packages, with prices varying based on the itinerary and duration. However, I advise you to purchase them before your cruise as they will be 15% cheaper than purchasing them onboard.

  • The price of the package includes tips, and children under 3 years old do not need to purchase a package.

  • It's important to know that the same package must be purchased for all members of the same cabin (except minors), as well as for individuals sharing the same table during meals (minors must then have the minor package). If you are a couple or solo traveler and have opted for a communal table in the evening, the individuals at your table will have the same package as you. The same applies if you are with family or a group; if you wish to dine at the restaurant in the evening, you must all have the same beverage package.

The following table summarizes the 3 different beverage packages:

Easy Package

Easy Plus Package

Premium Package

  • Bottled mineral water

  • Energy drinks

  • Soft drinks

  • Classic hot drinks

  • Non-alcoholic cocktails

  • Bottled mineral water

  • Energy drinks

  • Soft drinks

  • Classic hot drinks

  • Non-alcoholic cocktails

  • Fresh fruits cocktails

  • Bottled mineral water

  • Energy drinks

  • Soft drinks

  • Classic hot drinks

  • Non-alcoholic cocktails

  • Fresh fruits cocktails

All beverages priced at a maximum of €6 or $7

All beverages priced at a maximum of €9 or $10

All beverages priced at a maximum of €14 or $16

  • Selection of cocktails

  • Spirits (whisky, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, brandy- one brand per type)

  • House wines by the glass

  • Draft or bottled beer (Heineken)

  • Selection of cocktails

  • Spirits, liquors and cordials

  • Selection of wines by the glass

  • Variety of draught or bottled beers (Heineken)

  • Frozen cocktails

  • Wide selection of Premium cocktails

  • Premium brand spirits, liquors and cordials

  • Wide selection of fine wines by the glass

  • Wide variety of draught or bottled beers (Heineken)

  • Frozen cocktails

  • Champagne by glass

10% discount on purchased of bottle wine and champagne

25% discount on purchased of bottle wine and champagne

Consumption in the main restaurants and on Ocean Cay island.

Therefore, it is not possible to use the package in specialty restaurants.

Consumption in the main restaurants, on Ocean Cay island and in speciality restaurants. (not in signature restaurant).

Consumption in the main restaurants, on Ocean Cay island and in speciality restaurants ((not in signature restaurant).

Finally, it's important to know that if you want to treat yourself and enjoy a cocktail or spirit that is not included in your package, you only need to pay the price difference and not the total price. The following photo was taken during my last cruise and gives you an idea of the menu:

Alcohol-free and minor packages: these two packages include a wide selection of non-alcoholic cocktails, unlimited sodas, and energy drinks. Bottled water, fruit juices, and hot drinks are also included. Additionally, you can enjoy unlimited self-service ice cream. These two packages can be consumed in the main restaurants and on Ocean Cay island. Unfortunately, they cannot be used in specialty or signature restaurants. However, the child packages can be used in specialty restaurants if parents have the Easy+ or Premium package.

4. Internet & Wi-Fi Packages

MSC For Me: This application is available on ships of the Fantasia class (except for the MSC Preziosa), Seaside, Meraviglia, and World. Only the MSC Magnifica, which belongs to the Musica class, also offers this availability.

This application allows you to check the schedules of all activities available on the ship, port times, and monitor your budget by viewing your expenses in real-time, etc. It also allows you to chat with people on the ship via an instant messaging system (MSC For Me Chat). This is very convenient as it allows you to organize with your group without having to purchase the internet package.

However, if you wish to stay connected with people on land, two packages are available to you:

Browse Package

Browse & Stream Package

  • 1 to 4 devices

  • Browse the web

  • Send and receive emails & images

  • Using social media

  • Chat on messenger app (WhatsApp, Messenger, etc)

  • 1 to 4 devices

  • Browse the web

  • Send and receive emails & images

  • Using social media

  • Chat on messenger app (WhatsApp, Messenger, etc)

  • Video chat

  • Stream music and videos

  • Post and live stream on social media

Up to 20% vs onboard pricing

Up to 20% vs onboard pricing

5. The other packages

MSC offers many advantageous packages that are best purchased before embarkation as they are generally much cheaper.

The excursion package (20% discount if purchased before the cruise), which offers peace of mind as seats are guaranteed and also saves you from queuing for excursions on embarkation day. Its price varies depending on the destinations and excursions chosen.

The spa package (up to 43% discount compared to onboard prices) allows you to choose from the treatments offered onboard and enjoy your cruise in complete serenity.

The Fun Pass package (up to 80% discount compared to onboard prices in the form of additional credit) is often used by teenagers but can be used by all individuals in the same cabin. It allows participation in paid activities such as certain arcade games (e.g., the Formula 1 simulator), bowling, the zip line, interactive cinema, etc.

The specialty restaurants package (up to 40% discount compared to onboard prices) includes either 3 or 4 restaurants. With these packages, you can enjoy the 3-course service in specialty restaurants available on the ship and make significant savings compared to the à la carte menu.

The photo package (which offers up to 80% discount compared to onboard prices) allows you to capture precious moments with numerous photographers equipped with state-of-the-art cameras onboard. There are 3 different package types based on desired photo format and quantity.

The laundry package (with a 20% discount compared to onboard prices) ensures you return home with clean and ironed clothes. It is also available for baby clothes (0 to 6 years old) where a specific detergent is used to protect delicate children's skin.

You are now ready to choose your MSC cruise. However, nothing beats the advice of a professional. Not only have they sailed on numerous MSC ships, but they also have access to a wealth of information. And all this, without costing you a penny more than if you booked online directly. So why miss out on such a service?

Contact us as soon as possible: theteam@ifyoucruise.com , or via the following form or by phone at 020 4576 2795 .

Article Tags: Msc Cruises,

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