If you are considering booking a cruise holiday then you will quickly realize that there are lots of different companies to choose from – but which one is best? Two of the most well known names on cruising are MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
We have created this list of areas where MSC excels over Royal Caribbean to help you decide who to book your next cruise holiday with. Keep reading to find out more.
There is so much research that comes with booking a cruise holiday. One of the things you need to look into is the price – which deals are on, how much is each package, what you can get on special offer – it can get very overwhelming.
Royal Caribbean offers a lot of flash sales which can be great for getting a good deal, but it can also cause a lot of stress.
What if you book your holiday, then the same package goes into a flash sale and you realize that you could have saved a lot of money?
Royal Caribbean allows customers to cancel and rebook excursions etc if they see them at a lower price, but this involves a lot of hassle.
It also means that you will be tempted to keep checking for sales even after you have booked your holiday, which takes time and effort.
MSC cruises have a more fixed price system – what you see is what you get and they don’t tend to offer flash sales etc.
You can get deals through third party travel agents, but booking directly with MSC is very straightforward and you know that you already have the best price available.
This takes the pressure off and allows you to relax and enjoy the build up to your holiday.
It is good to know that you are spending your money with a company that has a social conscience and makes good philanthropic efforts.
Both Royal Caribbean and MSC cruises make efforts to donate to charity and support various causes, but with MSC it is much easier to see where your money is going.
The MSC Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and supporting the resources of the planet.
There is plenty of accessible information available to guests who are interested to learn how MSC are working towards being more sustainable and improving their environmental practices.
There is a donation form in each cabin to make it easy to get involved, and merchandise is available in the gift shop with proceeds going towards the foundation.
Royal Caribbean have been involved in plenty of charity work etc including hurricane relief and grassroots campaigns, but it is harder to find information on this and to know how you can get involved.
MSC Cruises is now a Swiss company, but it was founded in Naples, Italy. The company is run by the Aponte family who have a maritime history that spans over several centuries.
The Italian flare and mediterranean influences are apparent on their ships and it gives your holiday a bit of extra class.
One of the biggest European influences you will notice is the food and drink.
The high quality coffee is served with steamed milk, the pastries and freshly baked goods are fantastic, the gelato is indulgent and the cuisine has a distinctive Mediterranean influence.
Whilst the buffet features lots of different types of food from various countries, if you are a fan of European food then you will certainly be impressed with what is on offer.
The range of deli meats and cheeses available on the continental breakfast buffet is enough to make your mouth water. Even the decor in some of the cafes and other areas of the ship makes you feel like you are at an authentic Italian cafe.
The food and drink available on a Royal Carribean cruise is still to an excellent standard, but the special Italian flare gives MSC an edge over their competitors.
Both Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises have their own private island. Either island is a wonderful place to spend the day, but we prefer the MSC private island.
The Royal Caribbean private island is called CocoCay and is located in the Bahamas. It is a giant waterpark with the most waterslides and the largest pools out of any water parks in the surrounding area.
There are freshwater pools, wave pools, and a water slide that is 450 feet high. It is a great location for families, but it doesn’t really feel like a unique experience as there are lots of other water parks in the area.
Ocean Cay Marine Reserve is MSC’s private island and it is also located in the Bahamas. It is a converted industrial site, and there is something very special about the transformation that has taken place on the island thanks to MSC.
There was a big focus on sustainability and the environment during the transformation of the island with the native flora and fauna being restored and a marine reserve of 64 square miles with various species.
You can go snorkeling if you want to see them!
Ocean Cay feels more like a paradise island and less like a commercial resort, giving you a more authentic experience. There are 8 beaches and various water activities.
All of the attractions are within a 20 minute walk of each other. There are no water slides, so this feels more like a relaxed haven with less chaos- ideal for winding down.
One of the things that puts a lot of people off the idea of cruising is the crowded spaces. On the days where you are at sea and all of the guests are on the ship, is there enough room for everyone or are you all on top of each other?
One thing that MSC does better than Royal Caribbean is provide plenty of deck space and areas for relaxation. Even on sea days, you will still be able to find a quiet corner.
With outdoor seating for some of the restaurants and cafes as well as plenty of decks with sun loungers or chairs and tables, you don’t need to get up early and claim your spot.
It is easy to get yourself a nice coffee or an ice cream and sit on a quiet table with a sea view, enjoying your surroundings without feeling overcrowded.
There are busier areas, of course, particularly around the pools, but you can also find the peaceful places on board. This is something that was lacking with Royal Caribbean.
MSC seems to be better at catering for lots of different needs when it comes to dining options.
You have the buffet restaurant which offers a wide selection of items at breakfast, lunch and dinner, with light options in between if you need a snack or you missed the meal slots.
There is a cafe for coffee and light bites including delicious cakes, you can get gelato from the ice cream stand or enjoy a quiet drink in the piano bar.
Enjoy some American style food and beer in the sports bar, or treat yourself to a meal in the steakhouse. Whatever kind of evening you are after, your needs will be catered for.
Royal Caribbean seems more focused on catering towards families, so if you are going on a cruise as a couple or with a group of friends you might not find a dining option that suits what you are looking for.
MSC has options that are ideal for families as well as other choices, making it a more inclusive experience.
Some people choose their cruise holiday based on the ship, and others based on the itinerary. You tend to make sacrifices in one area to meet your demands in the other. For those that are more interested in the ships, we think that MSC comes out on top.
Royal Caribbean is one of the leading cruise companies in the world with 60 ships in their fleet. This is very impressive, however it does mean that some of their ships are quite old.
Their oldest ship, Song Of Norway, was built in 1970 and went out of service in 2013. The Grandeur of the Seas is their oldest ship still in service, and it was built in 1996.
MSC has a total of 22 cruise ships. The oldest is the Armonia which came into service in 2001. The newest is the Seashore which debuted in 2021.
All of the MSC ships have a very modern yet classic feel, with sophisticated decor and a touch of elegance that is not always present on a Royal Caribbean ship. The ships are extremely well maintained and it really does feel like a luxury hotel on water.
Some people may feel that Royal Caribbean offers a better choice of itinerary based on their larger fleet – they travel to over 800 countries.
It is a very close call, as the Royal Caribbean do a great job of offering cruises around the Caribbean, Europe and Alaska.
However, MSC covers some areas which the Royal Caribbean doesn’t tend to offer. You can visit South America, The United Arab Emirates, Egypt and the Red Sea, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia.
These destinations might not appeal to all travelers, but if you want to go on a cruise that is different to classic bahamas or Mediterranean holidays then these destinations will certainly catch your attention.
These new and exciting destinations will cater to the next generation of clientele, and take cruising in a different direction.
MSC really seems to make the most of the different climates with their seasonal cruises, planning the destinations for their fleet carefully to create a fantastic itinerary.
Royal Caribbean and MSC cruises are both excellent companies that will surely deliver a fantastic holiday. However, MSC Cruises stands out from its competitors for several reasons.
They have more consistent pricing which takes the pressure off booking your holiday.
Their philanthropic efforts are easy to learn about and engage with. Their cruises have a Mediterranean style and excellent dining options and deck space. Overall, they can offer a better experience.
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