MSC Cruises is a division of the Mediterranean Shipping Group, one of the world’s largest container operators. Its head office is in Naples and the company was started in 1987, and up until 2000 it operated only a few small second hand ships. The company boasts that it has the most modern fleet in the world (fleets of four ships or more). The company has only one of its classic ships left operating, the 35,000 ton MSC Melody.
Mistral Class now called The Lirica Class
In 2003 the Mistral Class was introduced to MSC (the class name coming from Festival Cruises first ship of that type see below) with the launch of MSC Lirica, MSC Opera followed shortly afterwards.
The company greatly benefited from Festival Cruises demise in 2004, acquiring by auction two more readymade new modern ships in the Mistral Class, which were only a couple of years old. Festivals European Stars renamed MSC Sinfonia, and European Vision renamed MSC Armonia, were both totally restyled in MSC fashion. MSC own four of this class, the original Mistral sold elsewhere. The four ships are all about 59,000 tons carrying around 1600 guests and 750 crew.
MSC Cruises are stretching the 4 ships in this class during 2015 – work will be carried out on Armonia, Lirica, Sinfonia and Opera to add more shops, nearly 200 cabins and a new spray park area. Capacity will be expanded to now carry 2680 passengers.
The Musica Class of four ships was born in 2006; all around 90,000 tons with 2500 guests carrying nearly 1000 crew. MSC Musica was introduced in 2006, Orchestra and Poesia followed in 2007 and 2008, and finally the MSC Magnifica in 2010. Most of the staterooms have balcony, there is lots of deck space, and various boutiques and entertainment venues. There are two dining rooms, a buffet restaurant and a la carte restaurant, and sushi bar. Numerous bars and lounges including a wine bar.
The Fantasia Class of 2 large ships, The MSC Fantasia and Splendida, 138,000 tons and each carrying nearly 4000 guests, were introduced in 2008 and 2009. The third ship in this class MSC Divina (named after MSC’s ‘godmother’ Sophia Loren) was introduced in May 2012 which includes a new infinity pool in the aft of the ship with a ‘beach zone’ adjoining a glass balustrade offering uninterrupted views. As well as the numerous facilities you would expect onboard these vessels, the company introduced an exclusive MSC Yacht Club onboard these three flagships. MSC Divina has extended Yacht Club which includes the Top Sail Lounge.
MSC Yacht Club
An extensive private area located on the most desirable foredecks, the area includes 99 luxurious suites with 24 hour butler service, separate concierge desk and various restaurants, bars, music and dance venues and more.
The main dining in an evening is split into two sittings, and on most ships there is an alternative Mexican or French a la carte option with a cover charge. Children and families are catered for with their own club which is normally divided into three age groups. It is the distinct Italian style which sets the MSC Cruises fleet apart. The decor, the design, the hospitality, the cuisine.
MSC have offered a further 2 ships for delivery in November 2017 and May 2018 and will accommodate 5,300 passengers (2070 guest cabins) and 1413 crew.
Contact Simon at Designer Travel Tailor-made Holidays & Cruises
All details quoted are thought to be correct at time of posting but are always subject to confirmation at time of booking
Photo: MSC Poesia at Venice (MSC) 77