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kazzam

From Royal C to MSC... should I?

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Big Royal Caribbean fan here....  desperately want to go on 7 day Caribbean cruise on Symphony in May/June but it is SO expensive at this late stage.  Can get a very similar cruise on MSC for about 40% less.
My question is, am I going to be disappointed or is MSC a great cruise line also?  I know nothing about MSC at all.
We are a couple (39 and 42) very sociable and love adventure.

Thanks for any advice.

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MSC have beautiful ships and great entertainment, though it is mostly musical because probably half or more of the guests will be from Europe.  Give them a try.  EM

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As we don't know anything about you, not sure how we would know how you will feel about MSC...

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Two very different cruise lines as MSC is Italian owned and crewed, typically with more European guests as EM suggests.  I would not go on MSC expecting them to be similar to RCI, and it seems as though their focus for their best experience is with their Yacht Club, which is their premium offering.  But that certainly won't be any bargain compared to Symphony pricing as you refer.  Also be prepared for repetitive multi-language announcements. 

 

There are those who (as with most cruise lines) are cheerleaders for MSC and love it, and others that have criticisms.  One thing that I am aware of that I believe is on point is their customer service is lacking - seems to be somewhat of a common comment.  But if the price is right and you're willing to try something different, then give it a shot.

 

Perhaps jump over to the MSC board and get feedback from experienced cruisers there.  Here is that link:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/49-msc-cruises/

Edited by leaveitallbehind

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Thank you so much, that is very helpful.  We don't have many MSC cruises available from Australia and I had never heard of them so I was not sure what to expect.  Ideally we would like to travel with other like people as we love meeting new people with similar interests, ages etc.
I know my question seems silly but other RCI fans who have travelled on both would know what I mean.  Maybe my question should have read "how different are the two and in what way?"

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The main difference is that royal is very American focused, while MSC is European focused.

 

I have travelled both, enjoyed both but I am European, so I find MSC to be refreshing 😊

 

You are not going to find staff asking if everything is OK every two seconds, if you want service you just signal a server who will then attend you. Also you won't find the servers over the top friendly, they will be European friendly.

 

Europeans often find American friendly service as artificial, I would say the way Americans do service is baffling to a good majority of Europeans.

 

Also on MSC you will have a lot of European wait staff who find it unnatural to pretend to be your best friend. But they will be polite and if you have actual real conversations with them then they'll become more friendly the longer you know them.

 

The food portions are a lot smaller than American food portions, but if you want more, there is no problem ordering more😊

 

Yes they do announcements in multiple languages depending on the mix of passengers. I am not sure why this is such a bother to some people 🤔

 

I really enjoy MSC and would cruise on her again.

 

My next cruise is on RCI.

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We are diamond plus on Rccl, did MSC a couple of months ago on Seaside and loved it but we did Yacht Club, YC is amazing it is a ship within a ship concept. Your own restaurants both inside and outside, great lounge with live music, butler, free drink package. We liked it so much we booked it again for end of the year.

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I understand that the Yacht club experience is quite nice but less than that may be disappointing from the reviews I have seen.

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6 hours ago, kerryincork said:

 

Yes they do announcements in multiple languages depending on the mix of passengers. I am not sure why this is such a bother to some people 🤔

 

 

I will answer this only from my perspective.  Ship announcements over the PA typically occur about two times a day.  In our experience, depending on itinerary, they typically are broadcast once only in English, and occasionally a second time, often in Spanish. They for the most part are informative and necessary. 

 

But they also typically tend to be 2-3 minutes+ long (and depending on cruise director or Captain, maybe longer).  They by necessity are relatively loud so as to be heard clearly anywhere on the ship.  (Although unless a mandatory notice, not always in the staterooms). If only one is occurring, then it really is no issue.  But to then repeat the same message 4 -5 times again in different languages now becomes 15 - 20 minutes of continuous loud PA announcements at each broadcast  That, to me, becomes annoying.

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1 hour ago, leaveitallbehind said:

 

I will answer this only from my perspective.  Ship announcements over the PA typically occur about two times a day.  In our experience, depending on itinerary, they typically are broadcast once only in English, and occasionally a second time, often in Spanish. They for the most part are informative and necessary. 

 

But they also typically tend to be 2-3 minutes+ long (and depending on cruise director or Captain, maybe longer).  They by necessity are relatively loud so as to be heard clearly anywhere on the ship.  (Although unless a mandatory notice, not always in the staterooms). If only one is occurring, then it really is no issue.  But to then repeat the same message 4 -5 times again in different languages now becomes 15 - 20 minutes of continuous loud PA announcements at each broadcast  That, to me, becomes annoying.

I have been on 6 MSC cruises and have never heard an announcement that lasted 15-20 min.

There has been typically, one announcement per day, the usual announcement from the bridge with location, depth of sea, weather, etc. and never more than a few (maybe 5 at most) minutes to do in several languages.

Full disclosure, I have not done any MSC sailing in the Caribbean so don't know if they do more that one per day.

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2 minutes ago, electro said:

I have been on 6 MSC cruises and have never heard an announcement that lasted 15-20 min.

There has been typically, one announcement per day, the usual announcement from the bridge with location, depth of sea, weather, etc. and never more than a few (maybe 5 at most) minutes to do in several languages.

Full disclosure, I have not done any MSC sailing in the Caribbean so don't know if they do more that one per day.

 

Appreciate the update and correction.  To be fair, I have never sailed on MSC and am only repeating what has been told to me by others who have.  I certainly have to take your word for this and want to be sure I am not providing incorrect information.

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5 hours ago, SbbquilterUT said:

I understand that the Yacht club experience is quite nice but less than that may be disappointing from the reviews I have seen.

I have sailed MSC four times, never wrote a review, but add comments now and then.  We like MSC.  Of course, we love the musical entertainment, the cabins...  Our only disappointment has been the main courses in the MDR (we can't afford Yacht Club) but we do like the soups, appetizers, etc.  We will book again when we see a bargain that appeals to us.  EM

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OP, can we assume you would be cruising in the Caribbean?

We, too, are longtime RC cruisers, as well as a number of other lines.  We did our first MSC cruise (apart from one in 2002) last month, on Seaside.  We loved it!  However, we had done a lot of reading here, so in many respects we knew what to expect.

English-speaking passengers were in the minority.  Many Europeans and South Americans.  Announcements were made in multiple languages; however, they were brief, and few.  

We thought the food was good to excellent.

Shows were less Rock/Broadway and more Cirque du Soleil, with lots of interesting music and performers with multiple talents.

We thought the service was excellent; we were truly treated like royalty!  And we were booked at the lowest level: Bella.  

Which leads me to:  There are four different levels of bookings available, each with its level of advantages.  We like a set dining time, and do not use room service, so Bella was good for us. If anytime dining is important to you, you would need to book Aurea or Yacht Club.  There is a chart near the top of the MSC page, which sets out all the levels.  

One of the best things about Seaside is the quantity of outdoor spaces, for sunning, walking, eating, relaxing.

If you have done a number of RC cruises, you might benefit from applying for a status match with MSC.  That could give you some additional advantages.

In summary, MSC is not the same as RC, but IMO, very worthy of consideration.  We liked Seaside so much we booked two more MSC cruises.

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I have 2 MSC cruises (Sinfonia, Opera) booked in Oct. in Europe. I booked an interior, Bella, because I’m all about the ports and nothing else. Unfortunately, I will sail to late to report back to you, but I agree that you need apply for a status match.

 

For me, personally, I like the diversity of cruising outside of the box, and experiencing something not so Americanized. 
 

I hope that you will try it. Having met people and becoming friends with a few Aussies, you guys can have fun in a closet. Go for it!

Edited by crzndeb

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Sounds like we would love everything.  The only small concern I have is the minority of English speaking guests, however there probably won't be much time for socialising anyway given that 4 out of 7 are port days! 🙂 

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16 minutes ago, kazzam said:

Sounds like we would love everything.  The only small concern I have is the minority of English speaking guests, however there probably won't be much time for socialising anyway given that 4 out of 7 are port days! 🙂 

In Caribbean overwhelmingly majority was English speaking . 

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I say go for it, on Seaside.

Re socializing, I figure if you try to chat with someone and they don't respond, you just move on.  However, we found that the Europeans spoke English quite well once we had a worthwhile reason for talking.

You might want to post your question on the MSC board, and maybe RC as well, to get further pros and cons.  IMO, all pros!

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You all do realise that saying something is european focused is a pretty broad church? There is nothing in this world that could be considered european that suits even 20% of europe.

 

Could someone explain what you mean by saying it is european focused?

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4 hours ago, That sinking feeling said:

You all do realise that saying something is european focused is a pretty broad church? There is nothing in this world that could be considered european that suits even 20% of europe.

 

Could someone explain what you mean by saying it is european focused?

A European company, such as MSC.

A large number of European passengers at any time.

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2 hours ago, shipgeeks said:

A European company, such as MSC.

A large number of European passengers at any time.

I like MSC and Costa for Caribbean, but would stick with rccl or another line for Europe 

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