Review of the MSC Musica: An Ageing Ship with Cheaper Sailing, but Still Doing the Job

MSC Musica

I’ve reviewed several of the newest MSC ships in the past, such as the MSC Seaview, the MSC Seaside and the MSC Meraviglia, and following my experience on these newer “state of the art” overcrowded ships, I had agreed that I preferred the older ships such as the MSC Divina, which on both occasion I have sailed her, always provided a great cruising experience! This time around, I was again pleasantly surprised by the older MSC Musica, a ship that is a few years short of its 20 years of sailing. Sure, signs of wear can be found here and there, but overall, counting as one of MSC’s older and smallest ships of the fleet with about 92000 gross tonnage, it still has great potential! So what exactly does the MSC Musica provide for your next cruise experience?

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  • Check-in / Check-out: 7/10
  • Entertainment onboard: 5/10
  • Theater Shows: 8/10
  • Ship Common Areas 5/10
  • Ship Comfort: 6/10
  • Room Comfort: 7/10
  • Service Quality: 7/10
  • Food: 7/10
  • Cleanliness: 5/10
  • Quality/Price: 8/10
  • Overall satisfaction: 7/10

In a Nutshell…

  1. Ship Overview:

    • Operated by MSC Cruises.
    • Launched in mid-2006.
    • Known for stylish cabins, a super-size movie screen, and excellent entertainment.
    • Sophia Loren christened the ship.
  2. Passenger Demographics:

    • Diverse group of passengers.
    • Mediterranean cruises attract passengers from various nationalities.
    • English is the official language, but announcements are made in five languages.
    • Buffet labels are in English and Italian.
  3. Cultural Experience:

    • Multi-lingual environment adds a unique dimension.
    • Passengers represent more than a dozen countries.
    • Communication challenges due to language diversity.
  4. Find special deals and reserve today on the MSC Musica by clicking here.

The Musica, with little music…

Boarding the MSC Musica, I expected to have the music theme showcased all over the place. I expected more bands and musicians than the average ship. But surprisingly not… Instead, I was greeted with the usual ship from the 1990s, aging but well-maintained through the years. A little bit like old planes of the 90s had big sofas for their passengers instead of the new modern cramped seats of Ryanair, the Musica feels comfortable, Specially compared with their newer fleet such as the Magnifica, which felt like a cardboard construction to me. The ship feels well-built and still feels clean after all those years. So I was excited to see what the experience would provide on my 7 days cruise around the Adriatic sea, leaving from Venice and visiting several ports in Greece on the way.

Entertainment onboard “Fun Factor”

The entertainment onboard wasn’t bad but was on the weaker side. There was a big team of entertainers but somehow it felt a little bit unmotivated. What disappointed me was the musicians. A part from a few musicians which I really enjoyed, such as the guitarist in the main lobby who had a wow factor with his great voice, most of them didn’t provide anything special. It felt as if they would play the same 8 songs over and over again every night. The pianist in the main lobby was used more in a “background music” mode, than a show of his own. I noticed him playing the same song 3 nights in a row, sometimes he played it twice on the same night. Still a great musician, but I would have enjoyed seeing him play in one of the specialized rooms and with more emphasis on this music than just in front of the reception with very little space to sit.

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Being on a ship named “Music” I would have expected some classical music, some concertos like on Holland America, etc… Instead, I felt there was much less quality music than on any other cruise ship I have taken in the past. Definitely a weak point here, but some could argue it wrong. There is still good entertainment onboard, just not to the quality of other MSC ships or other companies.

  1. Teatro La Scala Theatre:

    • The Teatro La Scala hosts two shows each night at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
    • Enjoy captivating performances like “Celtic Spirit,” “Le Cirque Immaginnaire,” “Classical Concert with Angels Quartet,” and “A Night in Paris.”
  2. Los Paraguayos and Angels Quartet:

    • Los Paraguayos, a mariachi band, and the all-female Angels Quartet provide live music.
    • The quartet plays classical and romantic standards.
  3. Daytime Activities:

    • Participate in various activities during the day:
      • Jewelry-making classes
      • Tango, Samba, and Merengue lessons
      • Cooking demonstrations
      • Italian language lessons
      • Bingo
      • Trivia contests
      • Art auctions
      • Exercise classes (stretching, aerobics, jogging)
      • Wine tastings
  4. Other Entertainment Venues:

    • Card Room: Gather friends for poker, gin rummy, or spades.
    • Library: Relax with a great book.
    • Solarium: A serene spot to catch some rays.
    • Art Gallery: Explore inspiring and thought-provoking art.

Entertainment onboard: 5/10

Theater Shows

Just wow! Really, most people in the industry know that this is the category that MSC Dominates! And just as in any other MSC Ships, the dancers and singers did not disappoint. Every single night, we were treated to a new interesting show, without exception! Some companies provide only 2 or 3 nights out of a weekly cruise, to their singers and dancers, filling the gap with boring comedians, etc… MSC Understood very well the recipe of the “broadway style” shows, with a great squad! I was even more impressed at the team since usually, MSC moves its best dancers and singers to the newer ships! And since there are now several newer ships that have just set sail, I was expected to receive MSC’s worst-performing artist. But that was not the case! The singers had amazing voices! Very impressive, specially WADE the American singer, and the two female singers. The dancers were also showing a lot of interest in their act, and really seemed to enjoy what they were doing! Which reflected in an amazingly interesting show!

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Even the trio of African acrobats that have become a staple in cruise ship shows were some of the best I’ve seen. And this is a high note, especially at MSC which seems to provide one team of these acrobats on each ship. Their act was impressive, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they get promoted on newer ships very soon.

Overall, I want to send Congratulations to the production team behind the scene, which must keep the pressure high to provide quality shows like these!

Result Theater Shows: 8/10

Room Comfort

The rooms felt good for the most part and provided with a great experience. The Balconies were large to sit two people, which was a plus on these greek sunny days with great views of Santorini! On the downside, they might start to feel a little old in some parts. Some leak of water started pouring down from the roof in the hallway… There were also strange smells, especially with the blankets, which could enjoy a little refit. My only other complaint was the thin walls which would make us hear anything the neighbors would say, especially when a party would go on during the night, enough to keep us awake.

  1. Interior Staterooms:

    • These cozy cabins are perfect for travelers seeking a comfortable place to rest.
    • Features include twin beds (convertible to a queen), air conditioning, a private bathroom with a shower, a hairdryer, and a spacious wardrobe.
    • Cabin Size: Approximately 150 square feet (14 square meters).
    • Location: Found on various decks, including 5 (Grazioso), 8 (Forte), 9 (Intermezzo), 10 (Minuetto), 11 (Adagio), 12 (Virtuoso – Spa), 14 (Capriccio), and 15 (Cantata).
    • Categories: Includes options like GuaranteedJunior Suite InteriorDeluxe Interior, and Wellness Spa.
  2. Oceanview Staterooms:

    • These cabins offer views of the ocean through large windows.
    • Amenities include twin beds (convertible to a queen), air conditioning, a private bathroom, a safe, and more.
    • Cabin Size: Ranges from 150 to 180 square feet (14 to 17 square meters).
    • Location: Primarily forward on Deck 5 (Grazioso – Spa) and midship on Deck 8 (Forte).
    • Categories: Options include Deluxe Ocean ViewJunior Ocean View Obstructed, and Wellness Spa.
  3. Balcony Staterooms:

    • These staterooms come with private balconies, allowing you to enjoy fresh sea breezes and scenic views.
    • Features include twin beds (convertible to a queen), air conditioning, a private bathroom, a mini-bar, and more.
    • Cabin Size: Varies from 130 to 190 square feet (13 to 18 square meters).
    • Location: Available on Decks 8 (Forte), 9 (Intermezzo), 10 (Minuetto), 11 (Adagio), 12 (Virtuoso – Spa), 14 (Capriccio), and 15 (Cantata).
    • Categories: Choose from Junior Suite BalconyPremium BalconyDeluxe Balcony, and Deluxe Balcony with Partial View.
  4. Suite Staterooms:

    • For a touch of elegance, consider the suite options.
    • Premium Suite Aurea: Spacious suite with a private balcony, accommodating up to 4 passengers. Cabin size is approximately 270 square feet (25 square meters) with a 50-square-foot (5-square-meter) balcony.
    • Other Suites: There are additional suite categories, including Deluxe Balcony AureaPremium Balcony with Ocean View, and Deluxe Ocean View.

Result Room Comfort: 7/10

Service Quality

I was surprised by the quality of the service on the ship. Definitely, the large staff coming from the Philippines helped in this matter, since they always, without fault, provide the best service with their impeccable manners. I have had really bad experiences with the service on MSC usually, which has always been a weaker part of the cruise line. This might be an improvement that is across the board, or maybe it is only on the MSC Musica. Anyhow, the ship deserves its points in this category, as I have had a great experience overall. The staff was always smiling and acknowledging passengers’ presence for the most part, compared with the Seaview and the Magnifica where arrogance and disinterest of the staff could be felt everywhere and all the time.

Result Service Quality: 7/10


At the time of boarding, MSC had just eliminated the requirements of testing for covId before boarding. And since Italy was experiencing a little wave while I was there, I would have expected special measures to be taken to keep viruses from spreading around the ship. Cruise ships are prone to have viruses spread, and in times of pandemIc, it would have been wise to still be careful. On the contrary, I have noted absolutely no effort to keep surface areas clean and disinfected, especially in the main buffet. The only measure that could be seen was the gel dispensers, but there was actually no more than the usual pre-pandemIc times. Actually, it was worse than before, as I have routinely found that, many times, the gel dispensers were empty.

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One could hear the crowd coughing all the time, and nothing was done, except for a questionnaire at check-in, asking if anybody has “symptoms” like coughing. This was obviously only “blabla”, as they obviously didn’t care… It really felt like 10% of the passengers were coughing all over the place, without any sort of caring for other passengers and covering up, let alone, wearing a mask. I think MSC could have helped avoid the spread of disease by mandating people with a persistent cough, to use a mask, at the very least. They only mandated their own staff to use a mask, even the healthy ones… This didn’t make sense to me.

Result Cleanliness: 5/10


Surprisingly, I was happy with the food! The buffet had a nice selection of meals in general and seemed to me much better than on the other MSC cruises. The evening menu was always very tasty and diverse as well. The chef definitely knew what he was doing, and I was gladly satisfied. There wasn’t any incredible surprise or any special food like Lobster nights like on most higher quality cruises. But apart from that, nothing to complain about, especially considering it is a lower-priced cruise. Definitely high quality/price value! Find special deals and reserve today on the MSC Musica by clicking here.

  1. Formal Dining Rooms:

    • L’Oleandro: One of the formal dining rooms with early and late dinner seatings.
    • Le Maxim’s: Another formal dining room where lunch is also served.
    • Impressively, there are plenty of two- and three-tops, creating a cozy atmosphere.
    • The food on Musica can be uneven, but they are actively working to improve it.
    • The menus are robust, featuring appetizers, salads, soups, pasta, risotto, main courses, vegetables, bread, and desserts.
    • Each dinner menu includes an international specialty, vegetarian options, low-calorie alternatives, and offerings from different regions of Italy.
    • The “Always Available” menu offers staples like spaghetti, grilled chicken, beefsteak, and salmon.
    • The wine list is impressive, with nearly 100 bottles available.
    • Note: Musica offers an “MSC Wine Package” starting at 75 euros (about $100) that includes various combinations of wine and bottled water.
    • Alternative RestaurantKaito Sushi Bar operates from noon to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight. It’s priced according to the items on the menu, and reservations are recommended.
  2. Buffet Dining:

    • Gli Archi Cafeteria: Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style here.
    • For breakfast, you can get eggs cooked to order.
    • The cafeteria offers a fruit bar, yogurt and cereal station, cheeses, cold cuts, and a variety of bread.
    • Lunch features a hamburger and hot dog grill, a pizzeria, a salad and fruit bar, and hot menu items like roast veal, beef stroganoff, stuffed pork, meatballs, fried fish, Portuguese green beans, potatoes, and zucchini.
    • Sticking to salads and fruit ensures a satisfying meal.
  3. Specialty Dining:

    • Kaito Sushi Bar: This Japanese restaurant offers a consistent menu for both lunch and dinner. Prices vary by item.
    • Our lunch for two at Kaito included seafood and vegetable tempura, chicken teriyaki, and two glasses of wine for 30 euros (about $39).

Result Food: 7/10

Fellow Passengers On-Board

The passengers on board this cruise, leaving from Monfalcone port in eastern Italy, were mostly Italians and Slovenians. Probably 75%. This was an interesting and unusual crowd compared to the most American crowds I am used to seeing on most ships. Most of the time, there was not even an English speaker when the animation team questioned the crowd. Only big cheers from the Italians and Slovenians crowd. The crowd was mostly families as well, large Italian familes with 10 or even 20 members, that could make it quite noisy at times. So not the typical romantic cruise for couples. The MSC Musica sails almost yearly to Brazil and was set to leave a few weeks after my week onboard. So the crowd will shift to a more Latin style when it sails around Brazil.


I had previously named MSC the Ryanair of cruise ships in some of my reviews back in 2019. While the company has had a few years of pause due to the pandemic, I still think it is accurate to quality MSC as the Ryanair of cruiseships, with attractive prices but omnipresent methods to add additional fees to one’s bill. However, this time around, I have found a new name for MSC: the Xiaomi of cruise ships! And this is a positive attribute.

My comparison comes to the fact that, a few years ago, MSC jumped into the growing cruise market by copying the most successful cruise companies, such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Just like a Chinese Phone, MSC was mostly copying the recipe to success that those more well-known companies had formed. This started very chaotically, and since my first cruise with MSC about 8 years ago, it always felt like a lower-quality product. MSC has had a few more years to improve and is now showing signs that it no longer simply plays “catch up” but might soon be a contender at the very top, the same as Xiaomi has done with their latest phones, now considered some of the best in the business!

MSC Musica might be one of the older ships in their fleet, but definitely still deserves a try considering its attractive quality/price ratio! Would I sail again on the Musica? If the destinations were attractive and the price was still “right”, I would definitely give it another go, as I enjoyed my trip on her! Overall, I believe the MSC Musica has a great team, providing quality service, great shows, and a very nice menu.

Do I recommend it? Sure! Can they improve? Yes, but overall, considering the quality-price factor, they provide a perfect escape for the markets it aims at.

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Overall satisfaction: 7/10

In Pictures

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