Cruising the Mediterranean is a thrilling experience; for many people, the only way to see the Mediterranean is from the deck of an MSC cruise ship. Indeed, MSC Cruises has carved out a very respectable niche for itself, and has come a very long way from its early shipping days. When the Mediterranean Shipping Company first launched MSC Cruises back in 1987, the original plan was for it to cater almost exclusively to Europeans. That modus operandi remained in place for some time, until overseas travelers caught wind of the exceptional, traditional services and amenities that the Naples and Sorrento-based cruise line had to offer. Reasonable, competitive fares and the ability to accommodate guests of several different languages have transformed MSC Cruises into a real force to be reckoned with in the world of cruising.

What’s New

As the fastest-growing cruise line in the world, MSC Cruises is always unveiling new and exciting features, ships and itineraries. The MSC Splendida debuted to much fanfare in July of 2009; the MSC Magnifica is slated to hit the water in March of 2010. Although the Mediterranean will always be MSC Cruises’ primary locale, it is expanding into new and exciting territories – including Canada and New England – in September of 2010. MSC Cruises also recently paired up with UNICEF as a part of a three-year, million-dollar mission to fund a community project in Brazil.

Known For

For many cruisers, MSC Cruises brings freshness and modernity immediately to mind. In addition to that, it is best known for:

Kids Sail Free

In an effort to lure in as many families as possible, MSC Cruises has been offering its Kids Sail Free program for several years. Children aged 17 and under can accompany their parents on MSC Cruises free of charge. For families on tight budgets, this perk helps make cruising affordable and reasonable – and has earned MSC Cruises many lifelong fans.

Refined Ships

When you’re onboard an MSC Cruise ship, you’re not going to be inundated with several loud announcements and messages during your vacation. The cruise line makes a concerted effort to provide a tranquil, laid back atmosphere in order to facilitate a true vacation-like ambiance to those on board. The absence of pushy attendants and endless streams of ear-piercing announcements is definitely a highlight of traveling with MSC Cruises.

Modern Fleet

The vast majority of the MSC Cruises’ fleet is made up of completely modern, eco-friendly ships. Indeed, one classic ship and ten brand new, wonderfully young ones are available. Throw in the fact that MSC boasts the world’s second-largest class of ships, and it’s easy to see why it’s been blowing away the competition.

Italian Charm

You haven’t enjoyed real hospitality until you’ve experienced it the Italian way. MSC Cruises is an Italy-based company, and its ships are designed with Mediterranean and European décor. The line’s long-running godmother is Sophia Loren, and the officers and staff on board these ships employ the most impeccable Italian manners and sophistication.

Top Itineraries

The Caribbean

With stops in ports like Martinique, St. Kitts and Tortola, MSC Cruises offers many topnotch Caribbean itineraries. Although not traditionally associated with the Caribbean, they are an exceptional choice.

The Mediterranean

Mediterranean cruises are one of MSC Cruises’ specialties. From Naples to Athens, ships regularly stop in at some of the most diverse and stunning ports in the region.

Canada and New England

From far-flung spots in Newfoundland to Prince Edward Island, MSC Cruises lets you experience Canada like you never have before. The New England leg of many itineraries includes stops in places like Bar Harbor, Maine and even New York City.

South America

Enticing ports of call are par for the course on any MSC Cruises’ South American itinerary. From Rio to Buenos Aires, guests can enjoy a plethora of exciting South American sights.

The Fleet

MSC Splendida

With its 3,300-passenger capacity, the MSC Splendida is as massive as it is impressive. The charming Piazza San Marco is one of the highlights of the ship, and is a wonderful place for people to gather. Eighty percent of the cabins have private balconies, making the MSC Splendida a truly first-class choice.

MSC Fantasia

The MSC Fantasia is truly bursting at its seams with innovative features and amenities. A domed-in swimming area allows guests to splash and play, even during winter Mediterranean cruises. A massive spa complex is the perfect touch for passengers who want to be pampered. Without a doubt, the MSC Fantasia is an ambitious and thoroughly modern ship.

MSC Poesia

Elegant touches like an extensive wine list and a hearty array of exotic meats and cheeses make the MSC Poesia a delightful choice for travelers on a budget. Despite its very competitive rates, the ship delivers a truly first-class cruising experience. Delectable Italian pastries and desserts entice guests on a daily basis, and private gaming rooms allow guests to get a taste of Las Vegas on the otherwise thoroughly European ship. A refined and understated décor puts the icing on the cake on this first-rate ship.

MSC Musica

A massive, poolside movie screen is just one of the unusual – and very welcome – perks that guests on board the MSC Musica can enjoy. Eclectic dining choices abound, including a first-rate sushi bar, the Kaito Sushi Bar. For the price, you won’t find more unique features on virtually any other cruise ship on the water today.