Monday, October 8, 2012

The MSC Musica


The Musica is a very large cruise ship. It is over three football fields long. Official capacity is about 2500 people, but this assumes two people per cabin, and most of the cabins can accommodate up to four people.

There are advantages to a large ship. Usually a large ship is more stable in rough seas. On large ships, there are dining options. For example, on the Musica, there is a dining room dedicated to sushi.

The entertainment on the Musica was similar to the cabaret shows in Las Vegas, but with a European flair. The week's highlight was a concert featuring Enrico Scotto, an upcoming young Italian tenor. There was also a pair of acrobats who did several acts which were very similar to Cirque du Soleil.

The food in the main dining room was very good, and compares well to the food found on Royal Caribbean or Princess Cruises. The Italian influence was obvious in that each meal was offered with a pasta and cheese course.

The back section of the ship's common area was strangely underutilized. A disco on the ship's top deck had great views, in what could have been a major ship feature. Perhaps the night owls found the facility useful, but it was deserted almost all of the time. If you are looking for a good vantage point for port departures, go to the ship's back corners.

An American may note a difference is service, not only in cruise ship service, but in restaurant service in general throughout Europe. The European custom is for wait staff to be paid a salary in lieu of tips. Most Americans find that this practice results in a less motivated service. After becoming used to the European style of service, American waiters can now sometimes seem like an over-affectionate puppy.

The passenger dress standard was uneven. The women tended to dress well, the men, not so much. On many evenings, one was reminded of the Junior League, Take your Gardener to Dinner Night.

The main disadvantage of a large ship is simply the number of passengers. It takes some time to do anything with 3000 passengers, and some of the stops, especially the Greek islands, are not well prepared to accomodate several thousand tourists arriving together. But this is a problem of the cruise industry success. More than 14 million tourists want to cruise every year, so the ship gets bigger and there are more of them.

If we had a "do-over", a similar itinerary was available on the MSC Armonia, a ship about half the size of the Musica.

But overall, we give the Musica a very positive review. Professional staff, nice ship, interesting itinerary, and excellent food, made for a wonderful vacation.

Sunset from Lido Deck on Friday, photo by Ruth


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