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Doing a Eastern Mediterranean Cruise

We will be in Europe for seven weeks. We found a cruise by the MSC Company for 7 days that fits into our itinerary. We will stop at several Greek Islands, Ephesus in Turkey and Haifa.

The ship is the Musica. We will welcome your comments.

Posted by
9955 posts

Did you have a question? You posted this under Trip Reports, used to report on a trip already taken.

Posted by
3861 posts

My suggestion would be General Europe since you are going to some European countries or parts that fall into Europe. I would copy and delete this thread but add a question to your new post.

Posted by
4429 posts

I would also suggest joining Cruise Critic, which is the cruising sister of TripAdvisor and full of cruising advise. They use 'boards' instead of forums, with loads of them sorted by cruise lines, specialty cruising (solo, senior, disabilities, for example). There will be plenty of MSC experiences and advice there.
I had a number of MSC cruises booked and cancelled due to covid, so no direct experience, however in that planning, it became clear they are a different experience in Europe than the big 5 cruise lines, or even MSC in the Caribbean. It draws European cruisers which means announcements in multiple languages (sometimes 7)....and English is rarely first; and they often cruise with children often have no bedtime hours. Expect to see kids everywhere at any time. Travel agents hate working with them and some won't book them at all.
All that being said, they have some great itineraries, different ports, glitzy ships and great prices. If you are prepared to go with the flow and keep an open mind, 7 days isn't too long too try a new cruising experience.

Posted by
4100 posts

Out of curiosity, I looked at their website. What's the catch with those ridiculously low prices?

Posted by
4429 posts

Cala, there doesn't seem to be a catch, but perhaps the difference is they are privately owned...As part of a large MSC shipping family. When I was more focused on cruising, I used and researched a number of cruise lines including MSC, and even their add-ons, like drinks packages or wifi were slightly cheaper than the Big 5. As a solo traveler, even with their 100% single supplement, their prices were cheaper for me. But some will never sail with them regardless of cost, as they don't rank high on the food scale, they have set meal times (rather than any time dining), later dinner costs, entertainment to suit a multi lingual audience, and often a non-North American demographic. As they have different websites for different countries, I suspect, like other cruise lines, pricing is also different. Maybe they are trying to entice the North American market by lower price....that is certainly how they infiltrated the Caribbean market...but there, the Americanized things to suit the new target market.

Posted by
7848 posts

I think breaking up a 7 week trip with a one week cruise sounds like a great idea. You won’t know if you like this cruise line without actually trying it. Feeling adventurous? Go for it.

Posted by
8 posts

MSC cruises are less expensive than other companies. However, many of the higher end amenities are other ships really don’t interest us. We like the notion that most folks sailing are from other countries. Additionally, this boat goes to places we could not in just 7 days.

Posted by
4429 posts

Sounds like a good fit then. I can understand looking at cruises during long trips away.
As a solo traveler, for me it is a nice change to having to organize and implement all the travel plans, meals, activities by myself.
Have a good time.

Posted by
6183 posts

I think it's a great idea, the proverbial "vacation from your vacation," a chance to see some places you'd have trouble reaching otherwise, and a chance to encounter Europeans on their own vacations instead of just the North Americans you find on most of the major cruise lines. Too bad about the children up late at night (not your problem) and announcements in multiple languages (a chance to learn some foreign phrases, though not always the most useful to you). ;-)

Cruise Critic will have a lot more info and better answers to whatever specific questions you might have. I think they also have "roll calls" where people on a particular cruise can connect ahead of time. Those connections can include prearranging tours in ports other than the overpriced ones the cruise lines sell. (Though I don't know whether MSC is guilty of that.)

Posted by
2087 posts

Tom, not sure where to start with comments. I will ask a few questions first, okay?

1) Will this be the first time for you to take a cruise?

2) Do you like a large, party-type ship or a quieter, more refined environment? Some people love the "vibe" of the large ships and would die of boredom on a quiet, small ship. Some people would be driven nuts with a Vegas-type environment and would prefer a more country-club type environment. And, of course, expedition type cruises typically attract active, nature lovers who are interested in an entirely different environment.

3) Do you like quick access on/off ship when in port? Do long lines drive you nuts, or are you okay with it and the resulting "waits"?

With the caveat that after taking cruises on two large ships decades ago when we were young,
we evolved rather quickly to being "small ship people." 100-300 guests is our preference, but we are okay with up to about 600.

I have never sailed with MSC, but I am almost positive we have passed a few MSC cruise ships at sea, one I recall with a HUGE (and I do mean HUGE) outside TV-type screen on the upper deck and loud blaring music. We found it obnoxious and we were merely passing it on what was otherwise a beautiful, quiet star-filled night at sea. I do not know how I might/might not endure something like that if on board. (I just Googled to refresh my memory, and yep, at least one of their ships has such a set-up and it apparently airs certain sporting events, too, on the HUGE screen.)

But, cruises can be a very efficient way to get from Point A to Point B to Point C without a lot of hassle of independently planning how to get from one island to the next. We visited the Greek Isles and Turkey via cruise ship. You can also sleep overnight while the ship makes its way from Greece to Turkey, etc. And, you definitely get the opportunity to interface with a lot of other travelers, and it is always fun to hear where someone calls home, where they have traveled and their experiences.

Please post a Trip Report when you return, so we can hear all about it.

Definitely visit the "Terrace Houses" in Ephesus, if that choice is available to you...very interesting. On our cruise (Silversea), after everyone returned from their shore excursions and enjoyed an early dinner, we had a special (included) evening with a private concert/champagne/nibbles, etc. in a small ancient outdoor theater in Ephesus...........beautiful sunset/full moon/perfect evening, and the ship put white cushions on the stone seats on which we sat.......very memorable experience.

As you compare cruise lines, if you are still pondering, definitely factor in what IS and is NOT included with your cruise fare. Some might include a choice of shore excursions at no extra cost, some include drinks, some include in-cabin dining as choice (nice to have breakfast delivered on in-port days so you can get out early for shore excursions), airfare savings, pre-post hotel inclusions or discounts, and various other specials. .............unless that is no longer the case with the pent-up demand for travel these days.......I have not booked a cruise in the last three years some I am a bit obsolete on cruise "deals."

Another poster mentioned That is a fabulous resource.

Posted by
7902 posts

MSC cruises in Europe are slanted toward Europeans. And they're cheap.

If you're going to take a cruise, go with Celebrity, Norwegian or Royal Caribbean. And if you'll go 11-12 days, you'll see so many great places (versus a 7 day cruise.)

We've taken 2 repositioning cruises to Europe. And we've done the Eastern Med twice and a Baltic cruise.

Our 6/2022 cruise was on Royal Caribbean out of Athens to 3 Greek islands, Montenegro and Croatia--ending in Ravenna, Italy. It was a great cruise for a great price.