MSC Cruises 2Q – My girlfriend has invited me to join her on a cruise to the Caribbean aboard a line I never heard of, MSC. I Googled them but only got more confused. We are in our seventies and I have done eight previous cruises on Cunard Line, Princess, and, most recently, Crystal, which I liked best. My friend knows less than I do but someone she knows had been on this MSC and said they were really good. The cruise will not be until 2017 and I am also wondering if they will still be around if you know what I mean. Thanks so much.

A –  MSC is a viable and large cruise line with an increasing presence in the US market. Their calling card is a mega-ship design featuring contemporary European aesthetics with Italian touches. The company is owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company, a privately hold company rumored to have sales in the range of $27 billion last year. MSC is building its own island in the Caribbean and it recently announced plans for a new class of vessel it will call “World Class.” The line will be building four of these World Class ships which will each be 200,000 Gross Tons and carry 5,400 guests. This will put place them among the largest floating anythings at sea. They will be fueled by natural gas. The first in the series is due in 2022. With these newly announced vessels, MSC will have a dozen new ships under construction or under contract at an estimated value of $10 billion. They are financially solid.msc-cruises-ocean-cay-marine-reserve

Based on what you have told us, we would suggest that MSC might not be appropriate for you given your positive experiences aboard Crystal, a five-star line catering to a far different clientele than MSC. MSC is not an inclusive line and their ratings scores are not high enough to place them among the world’s Top Ten Cruise Lines – or even the top 15 cruise lines on LCR. They offer affordable cruising with a largely European group of guests and a nice spin on Italian flair. Some of their public rooms are absolutely gorgeous and we think they are an appropriate choice for those seeking a more Euro-version of Royal Caribbean or Norwegian.