Every time we turn around, it seems like there’s a new MSC cruise ship to write about and explore. It’s no surprise, then, that MSC Cruises is the world’s fastest growing cruise line. 11 new MSC cruise ships have launched in the last ten years alone.
As a result of its massive growth, MSC Cruises is now the world’s third largest cruise brand by fleet passenger capacity, trailing just behind Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International. To give you a better idea of the ship classes and individual vessels within the cruise brand, we’ve put together this helpful guide to MSC Cruise ships.
Guide to MSC Cruise Ships: Newest to Oldest
How many MSC Cruises ships are there?
There are currently 22 ships in operation under the MSC Cruises brand. The line also has three additional ships on order including the second World class vessel MSC World America, set to debut in 2025.
Since MSC Cruises is a European brand, the majority of its ships sail in Europe. However, the line does have some vessels in North and South America.
Which MSC ships currently sail from the U.S.? For the winter 2023-2024 season, five vessels from the line will be sailing from the United States: MSC Seascape, Divina, and Magnifica from Miami; MSC Meraviglia from Brooklyn; and MSC Seashore from Port Canaveral.
What are the sizes of MSC Cruises’ ships?
MSC Cruises’ ships vary wildly in size, ranging from 58,174 gross tons to 215,863 gross tons. The MSC ship that’s the smallest is also the oldest in its current fleet, MSC Armonia. The largest MSC Cruises ship is the first member of its new World class — MSC World Europa.
Most MSC cruise ships range from around 130,000 to 180,000 gross tons, carrying around 3,000 to 4,500 guests each (based on double occupancy).
MSC Cruise Ship Classes
MSC Cruises has six cruise ship classes in its current fleet, plus two sub-classes. Here’s a brief overview of each.
The Lirica class (or Mistral class) is the current oldest and smallest class in the MSC Cruises fleet. The two oldest ships in the class, MSC Armonia and MSC Sinfonia, were originally built and sailed for Festival Cruises before the company went bankrupt.
After purchasing the two ships, MSC Cruises added two additional vessels to its newly-created Lirica class: MSC Lirica (the line’s first newbuild) and MSC Opera.
The Musica class came shortly after the final ship in the Lirica class, kicking off with MSC Musica in 2006. MSC Orchestra followed in 2007, followed by MSC Poesia and MSC Magnifica. The vessels are 25 to 30 thousand gross tons larger than those in the Lirica class, but are still quite small compared to MSC’s newer cruise ships.
MSC Fantasia debuted in 2008 as the lead ship in MSC Cruises’ Fantasia class. Less than a year later, MSC Splendida followed. The class was rounded out with MSC Divina and MSC Preziosa.
The Fantasia class is where MSC’s ships really started to get large. They feature more amenities than previous vessels like waterslides, sports courts, and more swimming pools and dining options.
After four years with no new MSC cruise ships, MSC Meraviglia splashed onto the scene in 2017 as the first vessel in her namesake Meraviglia class. At just over 171,000 gross tons, Meraviglia is over 30,000 gross tons larger than MSC Divina and Preziosa. In fact, she was the sixth largest cruise ship in the world at the time of her debut.
A second Meraviglia ship, MSC Bellissima, debuted in 2019. The vessels each feature a large water park, over ten dining venues, large swimming pools, and a long indoor promenade with an LED “sky.”
Meraviglia Plus Class
The Meraviglia Plus class is a subclass and evolution of the Meraviglia class. It includes three vessels that are about 10,000 gross tons larger than the Meraviglia ships — starting with MSC Grandiosa which launched in 2019.
The other two ships, MSC Virtuosa and MSC Euribia, debuted in 2021 and 2023, respectively. They feature large water parks, racecar and flight simulators, massive pool decks, and an abundance of specialty restaurants.
Alongside the Meraviglia class, the Seaside class launched in 2017 with the debut of MSC Seaside. Like its name would suggest, the purpose of the Seaside class is to bring guests outdoors and as close to the ocean in as many ways as possible.
A second Seaside class ship, MSC Seaview, debuted in 2018. The Seaside class’ iconic feature is its Miami-inspired aft, which includes cabins with large balconies, glass-walled elevators, and a pool area with a suspended glass-floored bridge above it.
Seaside EVO Class
The Seaside EVO class is a subclass and evolution of the Seaside class. It includes two ships (MSC Seashore and MSC Seascape) that are about 17,000 gross tons larger than the original Seaside class ships (which are 153,516 gross tons each).
The Seaside EVO ships feature an expanded aft pool deck, larger kids’ spaces, an expanded MSC Yacht Club, and some layout changes.
The World class is MSC’s answer to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class. While a bit smaller than the Oasis ships at around 215 thousand gross tons (compared to Royal’s 226-236 thousand gross tons), it’s obvious that the World class takes some cues from the massive Oasis class with features like an 11-story dry slide and an open-air interior space similar to Royal Caribbean’s Boardwalk neighborhood.
The first World class ship, MSC World Europa, debuted in 2022. The second, MSC World America, is scheduled to launch in 2025. Two additional World class ships are currently on order.
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List of MSC Cruises Ships From Newest to Oldest
MSC Euribia is the newest cruise ship in the MSC fleet, and the third in the line’s Meraviglia Plus class. The 181,541 gross ton vessel began sailing in June 2023 and can carry 4,810 at double occupancy. Unlike the other MSC ships, Euribia features colorful hull art. The under the sea-themed display is a nod towards MSC’s commitment to protect marine life and underwater ecosystems.
MSC World Europa
MSC Cruises’ largest ship to date at a massive 215,863 gross tons, MSC World Europa is the first in the line’s new World class. The ship debuted in December 2022 and can hold 5,240 guests at double occupancy. It features the tallest dry slide on a cruise ship (11 decks high), the first at-sea hydroponic garden, and an onboard brewery.
The 169,400 gross-ton MSC Seascape began sailing in November 2022 as part of MSC Cruises’ Seaside EVO class. The ship has a double guest occupancy of 5,632 and includes a first-of-its-kind top-deck attraction for MSC called the ROBOTRON. It also features a large aft pool area and a suspended glass bridge called the Bridge of Sighs; a moniker that comes from a bridge of the same name in Venice, Italy.
The 170,412 gross ton MSC Seashore is the first in MSC’s Seaside EVO class, and the third in the Seaside class overall. The ship, which began sailing in August 2021, has a double guest capacity of 4,540. The vessel features an abundance of outdoor spaces, including the glass-floored Bridge of Sighs at the Miami-inspired aft area.
MSC Virtuosa debuted in May 2021 as the second ship in MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia Plus class. The 181,541 gross ton ship can hold 4,842 guests at double occupancy. It features a bar with the first humanoid robot at sea as well as acrobatic shows in an in-the-round theater.
The first in the Meraviglia Plus class and the third in the Meraviglia class overall, MSC Grandiosa comes in at 181,541 gross tons with a double occupancy guest capacity of 4,842. The ship debuted in November 2019 and includes a jungle-themed aquapark and an indoor promenade with a massive LED “sky.”
MSC Bellissima debuted in March 2019 and is the second vessel in MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia class following the class’ namesake MSC Meraviglia. The ship has a capacity of 4,500 guests based on double occupancy and is 171,598 gross tons. Bellissima was the first MSC Cruises ship to feature a virtual assistant in each cabin.
The 153,516 gross ton MSC Seaview is the second ship in the Seaside class. It debuted in June 2018 and can hold 4,132 guests based on double occupancy. As part of the class that aims to bring passengers closer to the water, Seaview features an abundance of outdoor areas including the glass-bottomed Bridge of Sighs at the aft.
MSC Seaside debuted in December 2017 and is the first in MSC Cruises’ Seaside class, marking a brand-new design for the cruise line that aimed to encourage guests to spend as much time outdoors as possible. The ship comes in at 153,516 gross tons and holds 4,132 at double occupancy, just like MSC Seaview. Seaside was christened at PortMiami, making it the first MSC Cruises ship to be christened in North America.
MSC Meraviglia is the first in her namesake Meraviglia class, coming in at 171,598 gross tons and having the capacity to carry 4,428 guests at double occupancy. At the time of her debut in June 2017, Meraviglia was the largest ship in the MSC Cruises fleet. The vessel features a large indoor promenade with an LED “sky” and a circular lounge offering acrobatic shows.
MSC Preziosa debuted in March 2013 as the fourth and final ship in the Fantasia class. The vessel is 139,072 gross tons with a double occupancy guest capacity of 3,959. It features a high-speed water slide called Vertigo and a sports bar with its own two-lane bowling alley.
The 139,072 gross ton MSC Divina is third in the Fantasia class and identical architecturally to MSC Preziosa. The ship debuted in May 2012 and has a guest capacity of 3,959 based on double occupancy. In 2013, MSC Divina set sail from PortMiami for the first time, becoming the first MSC Cruises vessel to operate from North America year-round.
MSC Magnifica debuted in March 2010 and is the fourth and final ship in MSC’s Musica class, coming in at just 95,128 gross tons. The vessel can hold 2,550 guests based on double occupancy. In January 2019, MSC Magnifica set sail on a months-long world cruise, which was MSC Cruises’ first world voyage ever.
The 3,274-guest MSC Splendida debuted in July 2009 as the second in MSC Cruises’ Fantasia class. The 137,936 gross ton ship has an electric horn system that can play multiple songs, including “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You” by Queen and “Happy Birthday.”
MSC Fantasia debuted in December 2008 as the first vessel in MSC Cruises’ Fantasia class. The vessel holds 3,274 guests based on double occupancy and is 137,936 gross tons. The launch of Fantasia ushered in a new generation of larger cruise ships for MSC, becoming the line’s largest cruise vessel when she was delivered. Additionally, MSC Fantasia was the first ship to feature the MSC Yacht Club, an exclusive ship-within-a-ship complex with higher-end accommodations and its own restaurant and pool area.
The 92,627 gross ton MSC Poesia is the third vessel in MSC’s Musica class. It debuted in April 2008 and can hold 2,550 guests at double occupancy. MSC Poesia was officially named and christened during a ceremony at the Port of Dover in England, marking the first time MSC Cruises had christened a ship outside Italy.
Fittingly named, MSC Orchestra is the second in MSC Cruises’ Musica class. The vessel debuted in May 2007, holds 2,550 guests at double occupancy, and is 92,409 gross tons. Orchestra features five pools, a spa with thermal suite, and the leopard-themed Savannah Bar.
MSC Musica launched in July 2006 as the first ship in MSC’s Musica class. Like MSC Orchestra, the ship holds 2,550 guests and comes in at 92,409 gross tons. Musica features a three-story waterfall and a see-through piano, plus a pool just for kids.
MSC Opera is part of MSC Cruises’ current smallest class of ships, the Lirica class, coming in at just 65,591 gross tons. Opera debuted in June 2004 and is the fourth and final ship in that class. She holds 2,150 guests at double occupancy and features a spa with a thermal suite and a spray park for little kids.
Named for the class that she’s the third member of, MSC Lirica launched in March 2003. After an extensive renovation that included lengthening of the ship, Lirica comes in at 65,591 gross tons and can hold 1,984 guests at double occupancy. The vessel was MSC Cruises’ first newbuild, as previous ships had been purchased from other companies.
MSC Sinfonia entered service with MSC Cruises in March 2005; she originally debuted in 2002 as MS European Stars for the now-defunct line Festival Cruises. The vessel holds 2,087 guests based on double occupancy and comes in at 65,542 gross tons after an extensive renovation — including lengthening — in 2015. Sinfonia was the last ship built for Festival Cruises before it went bankrupt in 2004.
MSC Armonia is the oldest ship in the current MSC Cruises fleet with a guest capacity of 2,087 and a size of 58,174 gross tons. The ship was originally built in 2001 for Festival Cruises as MS European Vision, but was sold to MSC and began sailing with the line in 2004.
MSC’s Newest Venture, Explora Journeys
In addition to MSC Cruises, MSC Group launched a second passenger cruise line in 2021 called Explora Journeys. The cruise line says that it “represents the ambition and long-held dream of the MSC Group and the Aponte family to create a transformative luxury ocean travel experience and brand that redefines the luxury cruise category.”
Explora Journeys offers a more intimate and laid-back cruise experience. The line’s first ship, Explora I, comes in at just 63,900 gross tons with a capacity for 922 guests.
Explora I set sail on her maiden voyage in August 2023. A second ship, Explora II, is currently under construction. Further, four additional Explora Journeys ships are on order.
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