MSC Cruises

Best Budget-Friendly Family Cruise Line

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MSC Cruises
Why people love it
  • Kids sail free during promotional periods
  • More childcare options than other ships
  • Tons of dates and destinations available to fit your schedule

All ships offer pools, high-quality restaurants, and live shows. Affordable rates make it easy for nearly anyone to afford a family cruise.

Some reviewers complain that MSC Cruises lacksthe organization found on higher-priced cruises.


Entertainment: Kids love watching Kelly and Kloe Onboard, which features the adventures of two young girls whose father works on the boat. There are also arcade games, mini bowling, and an Aqua Park, as well as daily competitions for trivia, dance, and karaoke.

If you prefer to relax and unwind, you can enjoy spa services or snack on healthy fare like fresh fruit.

Dining: Dining options vary depending on which ship you choose, but most travelers we’ve talked to say they love the Mediterranean fare. You can also find buffet-style selections, baked goods, and classics like hamburgers and pizza. You don’t have to bring any formal attire for the restaurants, but you may want to pack some semi-nice clothes. Exposed midriffs generally aren’t allowed in the restaurants.

Amenities: Rooms with and without an ocean view are available, but you’ll pay more if you choose one with a window. Like the other cruise lines on our list, MSC Cruises offer private toilets and showers in each room. You can also expect to find a small TV.

Choose a Suite if you like your space. Suites include a large bed, couch, and private balcony.

Childcare: MSC Cruises offer multiple childcare options. You can request childcare day or night, even if you plan to leave the boat for an on-shore excursion. You can also drop off the kiddos during mealtimes. Many ships only offer childcare for kids over the age of 3, but MSC Cruises have Babycare for little ones age 1 to 3.

All kids receive security bracelets so you don’t have to worry about them leaving with someone else. You can also rent beepers and cell phones for added peace of mind.

Price/Value: We’ve seen prices less than $100 per night for MSC Cruises, although some trips cost a couple hundred bucks each day. Many of the trips we’ve found are $300 to $400 bucks for 6 nights and 5 days.

Kids sail free on many of the cruises, which means you can potentially take the entire family on a cruise for less than $1,000 bucks (well, assuming you already have passports and don’t have to pay flight fees). However, watch out for extra fees once you’re on board; not all of the activities are free.

This is one of the only cruise lines we’ve found that offers free video games. You’ll pay a premium for the 4D Cinema and some virtual reality games, but many video games are free. If you’re worried about incurring extra fees for gaming, spa services, or other luxuries, request one of MSC’s all-inclusive packages.

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