Fast-growing MSC Cruises has been delivering new ships to the oceans at a rapid clip over the past few years. While doing so, the line with a long-entrenched heritage in Europe has offered more and more sailings from U.S. ports and included features on these shiny new ships designed to attract families.
MSC Cruises has been working hard to appeal to U.S. travelers, and we've discovered a variety of reasons why a voyage on an MSC ship can be the perfect choice for your family cruise. Check out all the interesting things you can try while sailing with your friends, family members and the kiddos.
Cirque du Soleil at Sea
MSC Cruises' industry-first entertainment partnership with Cirque du Soleil brings avant garde performances to the sea exclusively for MSC Cruises. Shows are available on MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima, and they also are coming to the new MSC Grandiosa (launching in November 2019).
Cruisers can experience two original and exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows per ship. The partnership offers eight different shows in total, with two original performances on each ship in the line's Meraviglia class.
The Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows come stateside for the first time when MSC Meraviglia arrives to North America for the first time and sails two cruises (October 8 and October 18) from New York on itineraries to Canada and New England just as the fall leaves are changing.
From there, MSC Meraviglia sets off for a voyage to the Caribbean and Miami, where the ship will homeport for its Caribbean sailings.
On MSC Seaside, you can soar high above the ship and race nearly 345 feet across the lido deck while reaching speeds of nearly 35 mph. Two ziplines (fee) cross the ship and offer incredible birds-eye views of the surrounding sea.
Onboard MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima, passengers can visit the decadent Jean-Philippe Maury Chocolat and Cafe to sample the acclaimed pastry chef's decadent creations.
Want an even sweeter experience? Cruisers can actually design their own chocolate bars to take home. Visit the iPad stations in the cafe and select the type of chocolate, mix-ins (like almonds) and top the chocolate bar with everything from marshmallows to sea salt and caramel. You can personalize the bar with your name -- and even stamp an image of the ship right on the bar.
Once you finish your design, chocolatiers at the shop create the bar, which you can pick up when it's ready.
MSC Cruises features Formula 1 virtual-reality race car simulators (fee), which are found on MSC Bellissima, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside, MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida, MSC Divina and MSC Preziosa.
On these ships, passengers climb into a nearly full-size Formula 1 race car with surrounding screens displaying the race course. You can immerse yourself into the racing experience as you put your driving skills to the test and burn (virtual) rubber. The car vibrates and moves as you zoom around the track.
Onboard MSC Meraviglia, the winter-themed Polar Aqua Park includes an exciting ropes course perched high above the aqua park below. The thrilling climb takes you through the park's Himalayan Bridge, nearly 200 feet above the sea.
MSC Cruises offers interactive cinemas on a number of ships, and these facilities offer immersive shows complete with moving seats, wind, mist and more. On MSC Seaside, you can experience the XD cinema with even more interactive elements to make you feel like you're a part of the film's fantasy world.
A Wine Bath
Vinotherapy has become a hot spa trend. MSC Cruises has a partnership with Andrea Bocelli Wines and spa products company LAJATICA to curate vinotherapy treatments in the MSC Aurea Spa onboard MSC Seaside and MSC Meraviglia.
Strengthened by the anti-aging and firming properties found in grapes, these luxurious facial and body treatments are made with natural extracts from the Bocelli family vineyards and blended with Tuscan plants and essential oils. Known as "nature's antioxidants," grapes contain powerful compounds called polyphenols, which fight free radicals and stimulate the renewal of cells and collagen.
Grapes also contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B1, C, E and K; in addition to magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.
Content Creation for Your Cruise
MSC Cruises has partnered with vlogger Luciano Spinelli to create a content master class to teach families how to capture their best vacation photos and videos. Participants learn the best ways to tell the stories of their cruises via social media. The class also teaches you how to capture the best memories so that you can relive and share your experience forever.
Also, check out these Kids Programs coming to the new MSC Grandiosa. These activities will keep the youngsters busy and happy while you head to the spa or slip into your wine bath.
Taking place in MSC Grandiosa's Sportsplex venue, this high-tech and high-energy drone relay race comes to life at night with the glowing drones. Teens are trained to learn drone piloting skills before competing as teams to race through the 4,200-square-foot arena navigating 15 obstacles in the quickest time.
Young audiences play a central role in this roaming spy experience, a first for MSC Cruises. Blending the lines between reality and fiction, participants are led through a number of different scenarios, taking place throughout the ship to unravel unique storylines. You follow clues to solve the mystery to win a range of prizes.
MSC Dance Crew
Developed in partnership with Fremantle, the production company behind the globally successful TV talent shows including "Idols," "The X Factor" and the "Got Talent" series, this dance competition puts together teams of 12- to 17-year-old cruisers. The dancers then battle it out to win the title of top dance crew.
Thanks for reading and happy family cruising!