Life is full of options. Down at the supermarket, you’re presented with several brands for almost everything in store. On Netflix, you have literally thousands of titles to choose from. When hunting for your next new car, you could choose from hundreds of models from around 50 manufacturers.
In almost every aspect of life, there are many options you could go with and this fact is just as true when it comes to booking your cruise with MSC Cruises, and with 12 different ships comprising the current fleet (not to mention several in the pipeline), you’re spoilt for choice yet again.
But how does each ship differ? Here, we’ll delve into the details of every one, including a dash of useful history about them.
Part of the Lirica class, MSC Armonia was built in 2001 but it didn’t join the MSC Cruises fleet until May 2004. Nonetheless, this still makes her one of the longest-serving ships in the MSC Cruises fleet. With 783 staterooms, she can accommodate up to 2,065 guests and a crew of around 760.
MSC Armonia currently sails around the Mediterranean, dropping anchor in Dubrovnik, Corfu, Piraeus, Santorini, Argostoli, Ancona, Cagliari, Venice, Valletta, Kotor, Barcelona, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca and La Goulette. She has also covered South America and the Caribbean in recent years.
The ship underwent a refresh in 2014, which heralded the arrival of new features including a spray park, refurbished shops, new child and teen areas, an enhanced buffet, a new lounge and an extended restaurant.
This ship isn’t due to enter service until 2019 at the earliest. But, when MSC Bellissima does set sail, she will be the flagship in the MSC Cruises fleet with enough room to host more than 5,700 guests, which is 1,200 more than the current highest capacity on any other MSC Cruises ship.
MSC Bellissima will be the fourth new ship to enter service with MSC Cruises in the space of just two years, making the fleet one of the most modern at sea. Find out more things you need to know about MSC Bellissima or book your voyage with her here.
Originally named MSC Fantastica during construction, the ship was renamed MSC Divina before launch to honour the actress and Italian icon Sophia Loren, who inspired the ship during its build and christened her upon it entering service in May 2012.
Stylish, luxurious and elegant, MSC Divina - which has a maximum guest capacity of 4,345 - boasts a real stone piazza, Swarovski crystal-embedded staircases, an infinity pool, a Casino Veneziano and the Broadway-style Pantheon Theatre.
With such divine features, it’s easy to see why Ms Loren was such an influence on the ship.
This ship was the largest in the MSC Cruises fleet along with her sister ship MSC Splendida when she joined the fleet in 2008. However, that title was passed along to MSC Divina in 2012 but the Fantasia maintains a grand reputation, so much so that it is one of seven ships to offer access to the prestigious MSC Yacht Club.
If the name didn’t give it away, being aboard this ship means you can enjoy the seclusion and luxury of your own yacht with a round-the-clock butler and all-inclusive food and drinks. However, you have the option to venture out into a more expansive cruise ship and enjoy all the accompanying benefits and facilities.
At 333 metres long from bow to stern, there’s plenty of space to stretch your legs with a massive range of lounge bars, restaurants and sports facilities to exploit.
MSC Lirica was essentially MSC Cruises’ first-born, entering service as the company’s primary newbuild cruise ship in 2003.
She currently caters for longer cruises, setting out from Shanghai to destinations in the Far East, such as Tianjin, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Busan and Jeju.
A project to update elements of the ship in 2015 saw MSC Lirica gain a spray park, an enhanced buffet, a new lounge, an extended restaurant, as well as new shops and new child, and teen areas.
Before that she was almost identical to her sister ships in the Lirica class: MSC Opera, MSC Armonia and MSC Sinfonia.
As the name suggests, this is one magnificent vessel. Built in 2010 at a cost of $547 million, MSC Magnifica operates in the western Mediterranean and offers plenty over its 13 decks.
Spread across its 22,000 square metres of publicly accessible areas, you’ll find no fewer than 17 bars and lounges, two main restaurants, two speciality restaurants, a buffet, a gymnasium, spa and wellness centre, a 1,200-seat art deco-style theatre, a casino, a 4-D cinema, bowling alley and virtual games area and three swimming pools - including one that can used in all-weathers, thanks to its retractable roof.
This ship is currently the baby of the MSC Cruises fleet, having only come into service in May 2017. To look at her though, you wouldn’t call her a baby; she’s actually the biggest ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and the fourth largest ship in the world.
As the lead ship in MSC Cruises’ new Meraviglia generation vessels, she doesn’t hold back and packs all sorts of facilities and goodies into her 33,000m2 of public space. Things like a spacious atmosphere pool, an open-air horizon pool, state-of-the-art fitness centre and luxurious Aurea Spa, as well as ten restaurants and a water park with three waterslides, and a Himalayan rope course are what you can expect to find on this ship.
Sounds good, right? Well, when not at sea, MSC Meraviglia stops off in Malta, Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina, Civitavecchia and Palermo. This means you can check out some well-known and culture-packed destinations in between enjoying such brilliant facilities.
MSC Poesia was innovative in that she brought together elegant style with traditional craftsmanship and creative designs to form spectacular areas like the foyer waterfall, Zen Garden, authentic Japanese Sushi bar and opulent MSC Aurea Spa.
It features tons of facilities too, such as three swimming pools, four whirlpool baths and a humongous poolside cinema screen.
MSC Poesia launched as the MSC Cruises flagship before being displaced by MSC Fantasia in 2008. She is the sister ship to MSC Magnifica and was the first ship to be christened outside Italy, with the ceremony relocating to the Port of Dover. You’ll currently find her sailing around Northern Europe.
The next additions to the MSC Cruises fleet will be MSC Seaside. Steel was cut for the ship in June 2015 and it is due to enter service in 2018, which is when it will provide year-round cruises to the Caribbean from Miami and will visit Ocho Rios, George Town, Cozumel and Nassau.
After that, the MSC Seaview is on track to follow it in June 2018.
Of course, we should give a shout-out to the other ships that make up the remainder of the MSC Cruises fleet: MSC Opera and MSC Sinfonia from Lirica class, MSC Musica and MSC Orchestra from Musica class, and finally, Fantasia class’ MSC Preziosa and MSC Splendida. These ships bear huge similarities to the sister ships in their respective classes.