Your complete guide to MSC cruise ships: MSC Cruises classes explained
By Claire Benktander | 18 Jan 2022
Discover more about MSC Cruises’ 19 cruise ships and the variety of MSC cruise classes, including a brand-new luxury class for 2023.
MSC Cruises is known for its excellent-value voyages across the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Europe and beyond on board one of their 19 vessels.
With two more MSC cruise ships being launched this year, bringing the fleet to 21, it can be tricky to know which MSC cruise ship to choose and what the different classes mean. Here’s your complete guide to MSC cruise ships and MSC cruise classes.
Guide to MSC cruise ships & MSC cruise classes
How big are MSC cruise ships?
MSC Cruises’ ships can accommodate between 2,520 and 6,334 passengers over 13 to 20 decks, with no small ships in the current fleet.
Next year, though, MSC’s new cruise line, named Explora Journeys, will bring to its repertoire a fleet of small, luxury ships, aimed at guests who are part of the MSC Yacht Club and are after a premium experience.
Which MSC cruise ship is the biggest?
As the combined ninth biggest cruise ships in the world, MSC Grandiosa – the flagship of MSC Cruises – and MSC Virtuosa each have 19 decks and capacity for over 6,000 passengers and are over 300m long.
MSC cruise classes explained
How many MSC cruise classes are there?
There are currently eight MSC cruise ship classes, with the most recent being the Seaside EVO class. Later this year, however, the new World Class will add a ninth – and in 2023, a tenth – class to MSC cruise ships’ classes, the latter to be part of a new, smaller, ultra-luxury fleet.
MSC World Class is a new fleet of ships that will be LNG-propelled and feature a new generation wastewater treatment system, as well other environmental technology in what is a key step for MSC Cruises and their goal to keep making their vessels even more eco-friendly.
The first ship, MSC World Europa, is currently under construction for MSC Cruises at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, and will sail her inaugural journey in December 2022.
Meraviglia Plus Class
Experience Meraviglia Plus Class on board MSC Virtuosa – MSC’s most environmentally-advanced ship to date, delivered in February 2021 – and MSC Grandiosa, the latter of which is MSC Cruises’ largest ever ship, coming in at 181,000 tonnes and able to welcome 6,334 guests.
These ships also feature hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, Mediterranean-style promenades and Zoe, the industry’s first digital cruise personal assistant, as well as Cirque du Soleil theatre shows and onboard art museums.
Very similar to Meraviglia Plus Class, Meraviglia Class offers smaller versions of the above ships and is found on board MSC Bellissima and MSC Meraviglia, with space for between 4,000 and 6,000 passengers.
The Meraviglia Class ships also feature industry-first digital assistant Zoe and the Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows as well as an indoor promenade, 14 gourmet restaurants and the biggest MSC Yacht Club.
Seaside EVO Class
In 2021 MSC Cruises released a new class of ship, the Seaside EVO-class, that began with the launch of MSC Seashore in August 2021 followed by MSC Seascape, set to embark on its first voyage in November 2022 and both offering space for between 5,000 and 6,000 passengers.
Slightly larger than the Seaside Class ships (over 50 feet longer to be exact), the Seaside EVO class ships feature aqua parks, show lounges and additional luxury suites alongside MSC’s signature environmentally-friendly technology.
MSC Seaview and MSC Seaside are part of MSC Cruises’ Seaside Class, with capacity for over 5,000 passengers and a 2.9 staff to guest ratio.
MSC Cruises describe the ships as ‘following the sun’. Accordingly so, MSC’s Seaside Class ships are all about the outdoors, with superb views from two glass-floored catwalks and panoramic elevators alongside outdoor-focussed areas like the wraparound walkway, bars, shops and restaurants – of which there are nine.
MSC Preziosa, MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia and MSC Divina are all part of MSC Cruises’ Fantasia Class, with MSC Divina the most advanced of the class; all offer space for around 4,000 passengers.
The MSC Fantasia Class ships’ passenger decks are named after ancient Greek gods, alongside restaurants, a multitude of bars and lounges, several swimming pools, a bowling alley, the famed MSC Aurea Spa and even theatres and sports arenas.
The MSC Musica Class ships all offer space for between 2,000 and 3,000 passengers and are designed to sail mainly in the Mediterranean on MSC Magnifica, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra and MSC Musica.
The ships offer a distinct Italian atmosphere showcased in their interiors and dining venues, with 80% outdoor cabins to really make the most of the outdoors alongside waterfalls, dazzling lounges and theatres.
Lirica Class was the first of MSC Cruises ship classes, offering some of the smaller ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet. It features on board MSC Opera, MSC Lirica, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Armonia, each of which accommodate nearly 2,000 passengers.
Expect classic, elegant designs and a feeling of tradition on board Lirica Class ships, with vessels featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, MSC’s original Broadway Theatre and ultra-spacious cabins as they sail the Med.