Until I headed from Venice to Greece aboard the MSC Musica, I didn’t see myself as a cruise type person. Traveling from town to town in three different countries: Italy, Greece and Croatia, without having to pack and unpack at each stop, gave me a clue that perhaps I am–just a bit.
The Musica, a 2,550 passenger ship, with its fountains and gold details, is glamy enough to satisfy those who like to dress up for dinner, but there’s enough of a family-friendly, non-fussy vibe for those comfortable with casual. I found much to like.
Because MSC is an Italian cruise line, the majority of passengers are European with folks from Asia and the U.S. mixed into the easy-going atmosphere. I didn’t find pressure to buy anything.
Except for the water and soda package I purchased the day we embarked, a glass of wine each night with dinner, two special ice-cream desserts and photo of us taken by a professional photographer, I didn’t add any more to our bill except for our shore excursions.
The three of us went off the ship at each port on an organized tour. These were worth every penny for the peace of mind that we’d end up back on the ship on time. Tour guides were knowledgeable, fluent in the languages needed for each tour, and a great way to get a cultural crash course at each stop. I let my kids pick what they wanted to do which turned into a blend of historical sites, beach time and adventure.
The food suited us fine. Breakfast and lunches were an abundant mix of hot and cold food items served in a buffet-style that catered to the European palate with a nod to Italian tastes. Dinner was an order-off-the-menu, sit down to be served affair. Every night a new menu that ranged from fish, seafood, chicken, beef and pasta dishes satisfied what we were in the mood to eat. Service was brisk enough to get everyone served, but there was time to linger. My son was much more interested in the adult menu than the kid’s menu which was perfectly fine with our waiter who served us each evening.
Dinner guests are paired with other guests to fill a table at one of two seating times. Our dining companions were two young women from the U.S. who were living in Europe.
After dinner, we headed to the 1240 seat theater every night for the show of live entertainment of singing, dancing and acrobatics led by an MC who pulled the audience in. This wasn’t high brow culture exactly, but shows were entertaining and fun with enough action to keep kids engaged. Like dinner seating, there were two show times.
When we weren’t dining or on a tour, whether I was at one of the Musica’s free morning yoga classes, taking part in an arts and crafts activity, or checking out nightlife, I felt perfectly comfortable being on my own when my kids ditched me. My daughter lounged by the pool or hung out in our room while my son had a blast at Kids Club. Although he was the only child from the U.S., and mostly the only one who spoke English except for the adults who ran the activities, he didn’t feel left out at all, but made a new friend each day.
There were activities geared for teens, but my daughter wasn’t interested. I met a few who were, however, and, like my son, they were enjoying the diversity of getting to know others from around the world. My daughter and son did play miniature golf a few times, another ship offering. The pools were another hit, although the sea water took a bit getting used to.
As for our room, we had an Ocean View Balcony stateroom with a couch that folded into a bed for my son. We had plenty of room for spreading out during the day. The beds were comfortable, and the bathroom large enough.
As for the towels. They were folded into swans the first night.
Other ship features include a full-service spa, a disco, an arcade, a casino, and 16 themed bars.
*The MSC Cruise line is a fleet of 12 ships that travel to: Dubai, The Emirates and Oman, the Caribbean & Antilles, Mediterranean, Canary Islands and Morocco, Northern Europe, South Ameria and South Africa.
Book from the MSC website. Our cruise was $1,550 a piece for my daughter and me. My son, except for the shore excursions, was free. Children 11 and under travel free. Children ages 12-17 travel at a disount. One adult per kid. Prices fluctuate so keep an eye on promotional deals.
Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein