Ahoy there, back from cruising and I have to fess up, my first cruise on MSC was amazing, We sailed on the MSC Divina Feb 12-24, 2023 and I am going to tell you, YES I would sail them again. Were there a few glitches, yep, but overall great staff, beautiful ship and what a price. Today I thought I would break it down for you and provide a “real” comparison.
How to Chose a Cruise Line?
There have been a lot of comparison posts and comments on the internet. Browse through google or YouTube or even Pinterest and you will find many an opinion. Each of them I believe are completely honest but maybe slightly slanted depending on their current and past experience. For myself, I may be doing a Carnival comparison but I want to be open, I last cruised Carnival in 2020, I think most cruise lines have taken a “covid” hit on staffing and we need to be slightly kinder.
I am curious as to how Carnival is today, so great excuse for another cruise I think.
So, how to chose a cruise line? First of all be honest, what is your price point and what do you really need. The best advice I have ever seen on youtube:
- if price is not an option at all go high ( or higher)
- If this will be your only cruise, don’t skimp out
- If you love cruising and want to go on more cruises, shop around, price does matter
I did a lot of research and price shopping and I can tell you no-one could come close to MSC Cruise pricing. It was by far the most economical. When price comparing please don’t forget to add in drink packages, gratuity policies, internet and where it sails from.
MSC lately has been offering their Drink package and internet for one to two devices depending on the current promotion.
For me, drinks matter. We like to indulge on vacation ( and even at home lol) so having the package was important. If I had gone with another cruise line I may have faced an additional 1000.00 per person (cdn). The internet also would have been an added cost because this gal needs to stream and browse.
So how do you really choose, look at price, look at ports and look at the itinerary and duration. I wanted 10-14 days in February but I did not care about the where. MSC offered everything I wanted at literally half the cost of Carnival and NCL.
5 Things I missed on my MSC Cruise
There were a few things I really missed from my Carnival experiences but were they worth the price? That was something we have discussed as a family. So what does Carnival have that MSC Cruise ( or at least MSC Divina) doesn’t have.
- Guy Fieri Burgers on the pool deck- anyone who has sailed Carnival will tell you the burgers are “da bomb” there is literally nothing more satisfying than a burger mid way through the day. Funny story, in one port there was a Carnival Ship and Kent wanted to ask a passenger to please go get him a burger. BUT, MSC has burgers in the buffet and they are OK, so this would not be worth the additional fare.
- Taco’s and Taco Bar- again the taco bar on the pool deck is amazing on Carnival and another tasty snack we missed. Plus they offer breakfast burritos for a fun change in the morning. Missed it but again we could always find something to snack on during our MSC Voyage.
- The Chef’s Table– this is an add on experience with Carnival but one I always recommend. MSC offered nothing comparable and I miss that experience.
- Comedy Show- now don’t get me wrong MSC has some great shows (so I was told) but we are not “show” people. We never o to the big productions but we adore a good comedy show. Carnival has a nightly show, MSC only had one comedian in the 12 days we were on board. it was a great show but we do like a nightly dose of laughter
- Piano Bar- Carnival has a great piano bar with nightly sing along but MSC does not. Now truth be told MSC Cruise has several amazing clubs and they are all hopping every night so it almost made up for that experience
5 Things I loved
Now lets talk about what i absolutely loved about my MSC experience because there was a lot. We sailed under the aurora so my experience maybe slightly different than Bella and Fantastica.
- The Aurura experience- not something Carnival offers but this experience was well worth the added cost. Bathrobes and slippers aside the daily use of the Thermal spa was amazing and then there was also the Top 18, an exclusive sunbathing area for Aurora and MSC.
- The Garden Pool and Bar- this adult only area was perfect. For those of us traveling without children it is great to have a place to get away.
- The nightclubs- yes I know that all cruise ships have night clubs but MSC does an amazing job at ensuring there is quality entertainment available everywhere. And MSC guests seem to enjoy getting out,
- The Easy Premium package- the drink package that was included in the price of our cruise and not an add on expense was well worth booking on this cruise line. No drink limit ( although sometimes getting a no is ok). Easy premium included all drinks up to 9.00 and was perfect for us. Great wines, spirits and beers all included.
- Ocean Cay- MSC’s private Island is probably the best. It is not commercialized and will never be but it is a spectacular place. Private beaches and so much space, one could easily find a spot where you felt tht you were on a private Island. ( be mindful though the bars and food so shut down a wee bit too early and they could use a lesson in bar management)
Would I cruise Again
Basically when asked the question would I chose MSC again, truthfully I answered yes I would. The staff experience, beauty of the ship and price point make it so attractive.
Digging deeper, If all cruise lines included drinks and the prices were the same what would I chose? Honestly I enjoyed MSC and if they were going where I wanted, when I wanted I would for sure pick them.
Plus I really want to get back and get more pictures on the Swarovski crystal staircase.
On the down side though, if I could take the bar service staff from Carnival and have them train the amazing bar staff on MSC I think we would have an even better experience. I summed my experience up recognizing there was a lot of staff turnover this year and I think MSC hires great people but are sadly lacking in their “on the job training”.
Overall though we loved the cruise and are looking at booking again.
Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom says
That is so cool about the drinks! We cruised with RC twice AGES ago (before I had kids!) and all our drinks were extra fees and it added up. Lol! The adult only area and private island sounds nice too.