Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 403 out of 500
Accommodation: 155 out of 200
Food: 242 out of 400
Service: 298 out of 400
Entertainment: 62 out of 100
Cruise: 289 out of 400
Overall Score: 1449 out of 2000
MSC Musica Statistics
Size: Large Resort Ship
Cruise Line: MSC Cruises
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9320087
Builder: Aker Yards (France)
Original Cost: $360 million
Entered Service: Jul 2006
Length (ft/m): 963.9/293.8
Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2
Draft (ft/m): 25.2/7.7
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (31,680kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 13
Total Crew: 987
Passengers (lower beds): 2,550
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 36.2
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.6
Cabins (total): 1,275
Size Range (sq ft/m): 150.6-301.3/14.0-28.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 827
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 17
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2
Hot Tubs (on deck): 4
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: Euros
Lively Italian decor and good style for family cruising
Overview. MSC Musica suits young adult couples, singles, and families with tots, children, and teens who enjoy big-ship surroundings and a noisy, big-city lifestyle, with different nationalities and languages, mostly European. The ship is designed to accommodate families with children, who have their own play center, video games room, youth counselors, and activity programs.
The Ship. MSC Musica is an extension and evolution of the slightly smaller (and earlier) MSC Lirica and MSC Opera. The ship’s deep blue funnel is sleek, and features a swept-back design that carries the MSC logo in gold lettering. The overall profile is quite well balanced. The hull has large circular porthole-style windows instead of square or rectangular windows. From a technical viewpoint, the ship is powered by diesel motors driving electric generators that provide power to two conventional propellers.
Real wood and marble have been used extensively in the ship’s interiors, and the high quality reflects the commitment that MSC Cruises has in the cruise industry.
The interior focal point is a main three-deck-high lobby, with a water-feature backdrop and a crystal (glass) piano on a small stage that appears to float on a pond. Other principal facilities include a large main show lounge, a nightclub, discotheque, numerous lounges and bars (including a wine bar), library, card room, an Internet center, virtual reality center, children’s club, and cigar lounge with specialized smoke extraction and a selection of Cuban, Dominican, and Italian (Toscana) smokes.
A shopping gallery has an integrated bar and entertainment area that flows through the main lobby so that shopping becomes a city-like environment where you can shop, drink, and be entertained all in one convenient area. The expansive San Remo Casino has blackjack, poker, and roulette games, and an array of slot machines for entertainment.
Drinking places include a pub-like venue as well as several comfortable lounges with live music. A gratuity of 15 percent is added to all drinks/beverage orders. Some of the artwork is whimsical, but fishermen will appreciate the stuffed head from a blue marlin caught by Pierfrancesco Vago, president of MSC Cruises in 2004; it weighs 588lbs (267kg) and stands at the Blue Marlin Bar on the pool deck. And do check out the ‘restroom with a view’ - the toilets have a great ocean view if you leave the door open.
Although access throughout most of the interior of the ship is very good, anyone who is wheelchair-bound should note that the passenger hallways are a narrow on some decks. There is no walk-around open promenade deck.
Although the interior layout and passenger flow is good, a congestion point occurs when first seating passengers exit the two main dining rooms and passengers on the second seating are waiting to enter.
Accommodation. There are several price levels, depending on grade and location. There are suites with private balcony, mini-suites, outside-view cabins, and interior (no-view) cabins. Contrary to nautical convention, the cabin numbering system has even-numbered cabins on the starboard side, and odd-numbered cabins on the port side.
All cabins have a minibar and personal safe, satellite flat-screen TV with audio channels, and 24-hour room service. Continental breakfast is complimentary from 7.30 to 10am, but room service snacks cost extra at any other time.
Accommodation designated as ‘suites’ - they are not true suites, as there is no separate bedroom and lounge - also has more room, although they are small compared to suites on some on other cruise lines. They have a larger lounge area, walk-in closet, vanity desk with drawer-mounted hairdryer, and a bathroom with combination tub and shower. There is a semi-private balcony with light, but the partitions between each balcony are of the partial, not full, type. The suite bathrooms are plain, with white plastic washbasins and white walls, and mirrors that steam up.
Many cabins on Forte Deck have views obstructed by lifeboats. Cabins on the uppermost accommodation deck (Cantata Deck) may be subject to the noise of sunloungers being dragged across the deck above when it is set up or cleaned early in the morning. Some of the most popular cabins are those at the aft end of the ship, with views over the ship’s stern from the balcony cabins (on Virtuoso, Adagio, Intermezzo, and Forte decks). The 17 cabins for the disabled are spacious and well-equipped.
Dining. There are two main dining rooms, L’Oleandro and Le Maxim’s, both located aft, with large ocean-view picture windows. There are two seatings for meals, and tables are for two, four, six, or eight. Seating is both banquette-style and in individual chairs; the chairs, however, are slim and lack armrests. All dining venues are managed by Italians.
Passengers occupying accommodation designated as suites and deluxe grades are typically assigned the best tables in the quietest sections of Le Maxim’s restaurant, which is quieter than L’Oleandro, the main dining room.
Other dining options. The Gli Archi Cafeteria (a section of which forms the reservations-only Il Giardino) is the place for casual, self-serve buffets for breakfast and lunch and for sit-down, served, but casual, dinners each evening - it’s actually open for 20 hours daily - so there’s always something available. There’s also an outside fast-food eatery on the pool deck for burgers and other grilled food items. Several bars adjacent to the midships atrium lobby, serve extra-cost Segafredo Italian coffees, or tea, and pastries.
Il Giardino is an à-la-carte dining spot that costs extra and requires reservations.
Kaito is a Japanese sushi bar with counter and table seating and a menu that has a fine array of extra-cost à-la-carte sashimi pieces, nigiri and temaki sushi and maki rolls, tempura and teriyaki items, and a choice of several types of cold or hot sake, and Japanese beer. Reservations are needed and à-la-carte pricing is in effect.
Enoteca Wine Bar, a very creative wine bar, provides a selection of famous regional Italian cheeses, hams, honey, and wines in a relaxing and entertaining bistro-style setting.
Silver trays full of late-night snacks are taken throughout the ship by waiters, and on some days, special late-night desserts, such as flambé items, are showcased in various lounges like the Il Tucana Lounge. The ship makes ice cream freshly on board.
Entertainment. The Teatro La Scala, the large, principal showlounge, is in the ship’s forward section. It has tiered seating on two levels, and the sight lines are good from most of the plush, comfortable seats. The room can also serve as a venue for large groups or social functions.
High-quality entertainment has not, to date, been a priority for MSC Cruises. Production shows and the variety acts could be better. However, due to the multi-national passenger mix, almost all entertainment needs to be visual rather than vocal. There is no space for a showband in the showlounge, and so all shows are performed to pre-recorded tracks.
The Il Tucano Lounge, aft of the showlounge, is the place for social dancing and functions such as cooking demonstrations, with live music provided by a band. Another nightclub, the Crystal Lounge, provides music for social dancing. The young and lively crowd have the ear-melting G32 discotheque; with its floor-to-ceiling windows, it is a quiet, pleasant place to relax and read by day.
Big-screen movies are shown on a large screen above the forward pool, just behind the ship’s mast.
Spa/Fitness. The Aloha Beauty Farm is located one deck above the navigation bridge at the forward end of the ship. The complex has a beauty salon, several treatment rooms offering massage and other body-pampering treatments, and a gymnasium with forward ocean views and an array of high-tech, muscle-toning and strengthening equipment. There’s also a Middle East-themed thermal suite, containing steam rooms and saunas with aromatherapy infusions, and a relaxation/hot tub room; it costs extra to use these facilities.
The spa is run as a concession by Steiner Leisure, with European hairstylists and massage/body treatment staff. Gratuities to spa staff are at your discretion.
Sports facilities include table tennis, a tennis court, mini-golf course, golf practice net, two shuffleboard courts, and a walking/ jogging track.