Life is full of surprises. Some are pleasant, like winning the lottery or more likely, finding a tenner in the back pocket of an old pair of jeans. Some less so; for instance, discovering a mouldy bit of cheese in your bed.
One thing you can count on though is that any surprises on an MSC Cruises ship are sure to be the positive kind. To prove it, we’ve picked out five things you probably wouldn’t expect to find on an MSC Cruises ship.
Cirque du Soleil at Sea
Circuses tend to appear in large open spaces and almost certainly on dry land, but hundreds of kilometres out at sea? Why not?
When MSC Cruises launched its Meraviglia ship in June 2017, it did so with two all-new shows on board, created exclusively for MSC by Cirque du Soleil at Sea.
Named ‘Sonor’ and ‘Viaggio’, they are two very different shows, each with their own concept, ambiance, storyline, costumes and make-up.
The former takes the audience into a world of unique sensations, astonishing sounds, bold music and immersive projections with dancers, acrobats and characters, culminating in a blistering grand finale.
‘Viaggio’, meanwhile, tells the story of a passionate and eccentric artist who is beckoned by a mysterious and seductive Faceless Muse into his own vivid unbridled imagination to complete his masterpiece. Expect electrifying colours and majestic acts as the masterpiece comes to life and the theatre is transformed into a living canvas.
Both shows are staged twice a night for six nights, allowing guests plenty of opportunity to enjoy each magical entertainment experience. Each show is complemented by its own unique cocktail and dinner experience too, which starts an hour before the show performance with surprise animation from performers, live music, stylish table settings, and of course, a table d'hôte three-course menu of eclectic creative dishes.
The shows are performed in the Carousel Lounge high-tech theatre, which was designed by MSC Cruises with architect Marco De Jorio to meet the technical demands of staging Cirque du Soleil at Sea.
Despite costing €20 million, the 413-seat Carousel Lounge is one of the smallest venues for any Cirque du Soleil production - the world’s largest theatrical producer - making the connection between the guests and performers even more intimate.
MasterChef At Sea
Each MSC Cruises ship features several high quality restaurants, covering a wide range of cuisine, but if you relish expressing yourself in the kitchen then the MasterChef At Sea Experience will make sure those culinary skills won’t get rusty during your voyage. Even if you don’t, this is a chance to bring out your inner chef.
Any guests who win the MasterChef At Sea Quiz proceed to take part in the mystery box cooking challenge. Using only a select few ingredients, guests will have to come up with the tastiest, best looking and most original recipe possible.
Impress the panel of MSC judges enough and you will be involved in the final lucky draw to win one of two exclusive prizes. The top prize is a dinner at the winner’s house with one of the MasterChef stars as a personal chef. They also get the MasterChef book containing 50 exclusive recipes, as well as the chance to enter the casting process for the MasterChef TV show.
The runner-up receives the MasterChef Challenge Access and the chance to be a part of a MasterChef episode, dining in a restaurant where real contestants prepare dishes as part of a televised challenge outside of the studio.
Spa and fitness facilities
Any guests with an active lifestyle may assume that a cruise means their fitness routine will be forced to take a backseat. However, with a well-equipped gym and relaxing spa on board every MSC Cruises ship, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
There’s a wide choice of sports facilities to hand and a state-of-the art gym, fitted with leading-edge gym equipment from Technogym, and complemented by fabulous panoramic sea views to relish as you burn off the calories and keep in shape.
A busy schedule of classes means you can also participate in aerobics, pilates, step training, stretching, spinning and hydro-spinning. There’s even a qualified personal trainer on hand too.
Facilities vary from ship to ship but every MSC Cruises ship offers most if not all of these: basketball, football, jogging track, mini bowling, mini golf, power walking track shuffleboard, squash, table football, table tennis, standard tennis and volleyball.
Do you ever have trouble deciding between going out and staying in? Pizza or curry? Black or white?
Well, with the MSC Yacht Club, you can enjoy the luxurious exclusivity of your own yacht within the confines of a full-size cruise ship, allowing guests to enjoy all the benefits of a private yacht whilst being able to take advantage of everything that comes with a big ship.
Opting for the MSC Yacht Club means you’ll have access to lavishly appointed suites, the One Sun Deck with its panoramic views and Top Sail Lounge with its private swimming pool, whirlpool baths, sun deck and bar. Meanwhile, a round-the-clock butler service and dedicated concierge will be on hand at all hours to meet your every whim.
All-inclusive à la carte meals are served at a time of your choosing in the private restaurant and you’ll be able to enjoy unlimited drinks in all MSC Yacht Club areas or from the mini-bar.
You won’t be stuck for things to do either with full access to open-air sports facilities, MSC Aurea Spa, a well-equipped gym and a varied programme of Broadway-style theatre shows and entertainment activities.
You can bask in the luxury of MSC Yacht Club on board MSC Preziosa, MSC Divina, MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview.
‘MSC For Me’
Guests don’t have to wait until they arrive on their cruise ship to plan how they’ll spend their time away. Even then it isn’t a case of scribbling down times and ideas of things to do on a napkin.
That’s because the free ‘MSC for Me’ smartphone app lets them search for activities, events and offers of interest, then manage them all with their personal agenda. There’s even the option to check-in, save your embarkation form, make reservations for shows and restaurants or simply navigate the ship.
Info entered into the app is used to create a profile where you can access all your cruise details, including dining preferences, onboard purchases, and make life on board easier.
Hopefully, most if not all of those were news to you. Find out what other surprises await you.