MSC Cruises ships by size, age and class

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MSC Cruises has 17 ships currently in service, with two more being launched in 2021 which will bring the total number of ships in the fleet to 19.

With so many ships, it can be tricky to know which one to choose. When you see a particular cruise advertised, it’s good to know if it’s on one of the newer, bigger ships or an older, smaller one. This can help you to work out if the cruise you want to book is good value for money.

MSC Virtuosa
MSC Virtuosa
Photo credit: MSC Cruises

Even regular cruisers can get mixed up about which ship is which, so I’ve created this handy guide to MSC Cruises ships, with tables to order the MSC ships by size, year and class.

MSC ships by size

The following table shows MSC Cruises ships ordered by size…

ShipGross TonnagePassengersLength (Metres)DecksGuest Decks
MSC Virtuosa181,5416,3343311915
MSC Grandiosa181,5416,3343311915
MSC Bellissima171,5985,6863161915
MSC Meraviglia171,5985,6553161915
MSC Seashore169,4005,632339TBCTBC
MSC Seaside153,5165,3363232015
MSC Seaview153,5165,1193232015
MSC Preziosa139,0724,3453331814
MSC Divina139,0724,3453331814
MSC Splendida137,9364,3633331814
MSC Fantasia137,9364,3633331814
MSC Magnifica95,1283,0132941613
MSC Poesia92,6273,0132941613
MSC Orchestra92,4093,0132941613
MSC Musica92,4093,0132941613
MSC Opera65,5912,579275139
MSC Lirica65,5912,548275139
MSC Sinfonia65,5422,546248139
MSC Armonia65,5422,520275139

I used to think that gross tonnage (GT) was a measurement of weight, but it’s not. Gross tonnage is a measurement of the overall internal volume of a ship. It’s one of the best ways to measure the size of a cruise ship.

The passenger number is based on how many passengers each cruise ship can accommodate at maximum occupancy. That would mean that all the extra beds are in use. In reality, ships don’t cruise as maximum occupancy because sometimes you will have just two people in a cabin and so they won’t use the sofa bed or Pullman beds.

In 2021, MSC Cruises ships are sailing at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing between people on board.

How big are MSC cruise ships?

MSC Cruises’ ships range in size from 248 metres long to 331 metres long. Each ship can accommodate between 2,520 and 6,334 passengers over 13 to 20 decks.

Compared to other mainstream cruise lines, MSC Cruises’ ships are quite average in size, with some mega ships, some large ships and a few medium-sized ships. MSC Cruises has no small ships.

Which MSC Cruises ship is the biggest?

MSC Cruises’ largest ships are MSC Grandiosa and MSC Virtuosa. These virtually-identical sister-ships are 331 metres long and can accommodate up to 6,334 passengers. They each have 19 decks, 15 of which are accessible to passengers.

MSC Grandiosa and MSC Virtuosa are the joint ninth biggest cruise ships in the world, behind Royal Caribbean’s four Oasis-class ships, and four other ships that were all made to a similar design – Costa Smeralda, P&O Cruises’ Iona, AIDAnova and Carnival Mardi Gras.

Galleria Grandiosa
MSC Grandiosa has a 96-metre promenade with an LED ceiling
Photo credit: MSC Cruises

Are bigger cruise ships better?

Which size of ship is the best is a matter of personal preference and each has its advantages. For some people, bigger is always better, whereas other people will only choose to cruise on small or medium-sized ships.

Bigger ships tend to be newer and have more features and attractions on-board, this can also mean that cruise tickets cost more. Smaller ships have their advantages in that they tend to offer more port-intensive itineraries as they can access some ports which larger ships cannot.

MSC ships by year

The following table shows MSC Cruises ships from newest to oldest…

ShipYear Built
MSC Seascape (coming soon)2023
MSC World Europa (coming soon)2022
MSC Seashore (coming soon)2021
MSC Virtuosa2021
MSC Grandiosa2019
MSC Bellissima2019
MSC Seaview2018
MSC Seaside2017
MSC Meraviglia2017
MSC Preziosa2013
MSC Divina2012
MSC Magnifica2010
MSC Splendida2009
MSC Fantasia2008
MSC Poesia2008
MSC Orchestra2007
MSC Musica2006
MSC Opera2004
MSC Lirica2003
MSC Sinfonia2002
MSC Armonia2001

Which is the newest MSC Cruises ship?

The newest MSC Cruises ship currently in service is MSC Virtuosa. This ship was delivered in February 2021 and she will make her maiden voyage in May 2021.

MSC Virtuosa was originally scheduled to be delivered in October 2020 and make her maiden voyage in November 2020 but this was delayed due to the global pause.

Future MSC Cruises ships

MSC Seashore is due to commence operations with MSC Cruises in August 2021 when she will become the newest ship in the fleet. Several more new ships are currently being built, including MSC World Europa which will launch in 2022 and MSC Seascape for 2023.

MSC ships by class

In the MSC Cruises fleet, the ships are grouped into classes. Each ship in a class will be very similar, with a few small differences on-board.

The following table shows MSC Cruises ships grouped by class…

ShipClass
MSC VirtuosaMeraviglia Plus class
MSC GrandiosaMeraviglia Plus class
MSC BellissimaMeraviglia class
MSC MeravigliaMeraviglia class
MSC SeashoreSeaside class
MSC SeaviewSeaside class
MSC SeasideSeaside class
MSC PreziosaFantasia class
MSC DivinaFantasia class
MSC SplendidaFantasia class
MSC FantasiaFantasia class
MSC MagnificaMusica class
MSC PoesiaMusica class
MSC OrchestraMusica class
MSC MusicaMusica class
MSC OperaLirica class
MSC LiricaLirica class
MSC SinfoniaLirica class
MSC ArmoniaLirica class

Seaside EVO class

MSC Cruises will have a new class of ship for 2021, the Seaside EVO-class. Beginning with the launch of MSC Seashore in August 2021, Seaside EVO- class ships will be slightly larger than Seaside class ships.

Ultra Luxury class

In 2023, MSC will launch the first of a new class of small, ultra-luxury cruise ships. These four new ships, built over four years, will be the smallest in the fleet at around a third the size of MSC Grandiosa.

MSC’s Ultra Luxury Class ships will be aimed at guests who enjoy the MSC Yacht Club, offering a premium experience for wealthy guests who want the best of the best.

On which ships is MSC for Me available?

MSC for Me is a digital technology that enables guests to interact with their cruise ship and its crew via touch screens around the ship, an in-cabin smart TV and a mobile phone app. Some ships will also have a virtual cruise assistant by the name of Zoe.

MSC for Me is available on the following ships:

  • MSC Seashore
  • MSC Virtuosa
  • MSC Bellissima
  • MSC Grandiosa
  • MSC Meraviglia
  • MSC Seaside
  • MSC Seaview
  • MSC Splendida
  • MSC Magnifica

On MSC Splendid and MSC Magnifica, the MSC for Me programme has reduced features.

MSC Zoe is available on the following ships:

  • MSC Grandiosa
  • MSC Bellissima
MSC for Me
Photo credit: MSC Cruises

Get the best price on your MSC Cruises booking

The price you pay for your cruise will be different depending on who you book it with, even though what you get will be exactly the same.

It’s generally always cheaper to use a specialist cruise travel agent that can access discounted rates.

Click here to see who’s offering discounted rates on MSC Cruises.

Of course, not all travel agents are equal in terms of the service that they provide. If you’d like to get a quote from a trusted travel agent that I’ve used to book multiple cruises myself, click here to get a quote.

To conclude

MSC Cruises has ships of various sizes, with the largest ships being almost three times the size of the smallest ones in terms of volume (gross tonnage). As with all cruise lines, ships have got bigger over the years and the newest ship, MSC Virtuosa, is also the largest.

If you prefer smaller, more intimate ships, then look out for MSC Cruises’ new ultra-luxury ships. The first one will launch in 2023, offering a boutique, small ship experience for discerning cruisers.

To learn more about each of the ships in the MSC Cruises fleet, choose a ship below…

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