Italian high style and the best military discount and benefits program around has come to the Caribbean on MSC cruise ships.
DID YOU KNOW….A few years ago MSC came to us, Military Cruise Deals, to ask us for assistance with creating their policies for U.S. Military personnel and Veterans.
AS A RESULT… MSC’s military discount policy is more extensive and inclusive than any other cruise line’s, in the U.S. or Europe.
ONLY ON MSC:
- MSC’s military discount (up to 10% off!) can be applied to every cabin in a military members group, including parents, in-laws, children, spouses,
- Members of the military get a special, private cancellation policy giving them future cruise credit if they have to cancel anytime up to 15 days before cruise due to redeployment or revocation of leave.
Keep reading! We’ve laid it out for you below…
(Contact Us to get an additional discount applied if you want to book a balcony cabin or better on
Never heard of MSC?
We think MSC is the best-kept secret in cruising today!
This luxury Italian cruise line is 100 years
MSC stands for Mediterranean Shipping Company.
Look at all the ways MSC is BETTER FOR OUR MILITARY FAMILIES than all other cruise lines!
- kids 11 and under sail FREE as the 3rd and 4th in cabin on select sailings (ask us if your sailing applies!)
- big military discount off every single cabin and sail date
- this military discount can be applied to every cabin in military members group, including cabin of parents, in-laws, children, spouses and dependents
- future cruise credit if military member has to cancel anytime up to 15 days before cruise due to redeployment!
- free unlimited drink package in B3 balcony or better!
- There are wonderful free kids clubs for your kids to enjoy!
WHO QUALIFIES for the MSC military discount?
All active, retired and veterans of U.S. and Canadian military members, DOD and civil service employees and their spouses, dependents, parents and in-laws.
This is super impressive – MSC has the most inclusive military discount policy in the entire cruise industry.
All other cruise lines only give their military discount to one cabin with the military member in it and that member has to be active or retired.
Just like us, MSC gives its military discounts and benefits to Veterans of all stripes!
ALL ABOUT MSC’s AMAZING, LUXURIOUS SHIPS!
We’ve seen A LOT of cruise ships, but the MSC Divina may be the most beautiful we’ve ever seen.
Every step of the stairs in the main atrium is made with $40,000 worth of Swarovski crystals.
This is NOT your average cruise ship folks. It’s NOTHING like an older Carnival ship. These are brand new ships, and it shows. Everything is shiny, chic and deluxe.
All rooms contain a king bed which is convertible to two single beds. Inside and oceanview rooms are 139 to 169 sq feet.
Balconies are 148 to 200 sq ft, plus 34-124 sq ft. balcony.
Cabins 13222, 13223, 13224, 13225, 13226, 13227, 13228, 13229, 13230 have Juliet balcony Cabins 8134, 8136, 8137, 8138, 8139, 8140, 8141, 8143 have partially restricted views.
Aurea suites are 220-314 sq ft. No balcony. Walk-in closet, the bathroom has a tub and shower.
The Yacht Club experience – a ship within a ship
What is the Yacht Club? It’s a private area on the MSC Divina for those of you who want a big cruise ship experience, but with more privacy and luxury.
Yacht Club suites are the largest and most luxurious suites on the ship. They are all located in one area of the ship that can only be accessed by passengers booked in a Yacht Club suite.
Your Yacht Club suite comes with 24-hour-a-day butler service, pillow menu, free beverages in all Yacht Club venus includes beer, wine, spirits, private open-seating dining in a restaurant only for Yacht Club guests, shaded swimming pool, spa baths, solarium and bar and grill.
Complimentary drinks, gourmet delicacies, and desserts available throughout the day – so you never need to wade your way through the crowded buffet for any meals!
The exclusive Yacht Club area of the ship has a private pool, buffet, library, lounge and dining room! So, you never need to leave! But of course you can, to enjoy all the other fabulous other amenities these large ships have.
In short, Yacht Club suites are bastions of high Italian fashion and luxury.
Call for a special discount on Yacht Club rooms. 866-964-5482.
The MSC Seaside is the most exciting thing off land!
It has an interactive water-park with slide boards, making slides into a game! It has an ocean level promenade so you can gaze at the sea while shopping, and glass elevators so you can enjoy the view while moving from place to place! These ships are THE way to enjoy the Caribbean sun!
Like the Divina, the Seaside has regular inside cabins (129 sq ft), ocean view (172 sq ft), suites (302 sq ft), yacht club (226-614 sq ft), and balcony staterooms (150 sq ft). In fact, the Seaside’s cabins are made up of 70% balconies so even more people can enjoy a private balcony for breakfast, reading, and relaxation!
The Seaside also has NEW stateroom types focused on larger families! There are Grand Suites that accommodate up to 5 people, Super Family connecting cabins that accommodate up to 6 people, and Super Family PLUS connecting cabins that accommodate up to 10 people! This is EXCELLENT news for our larger military families!
There are three category SE3 Aurea Grand Suites with 2 bedrooms: cabins 11001, 12001 and 14001. All other Aurea Grand Suites have a single bedroom.
Bella, Fantastica, Aurea and Yacht Club
Bella is the least expensive cabin category – these cabins are inside I1, ocean view O1, and balcony B1.
Fantastica I2 inside, O2 ocean view, and B2 balcony includes:
- Cabins on the upper decks and in the most convenient positions on the ship
- Freedom to change booking details
- Priority in choice of dinner sitting
- Cabin service 24 hours a day
- Connecting SuperFamily Cabins, if available
- Educational and recreational activities dedicated to our youngest travelers
- Master Chef cookery courses for kids, with MSC Cruises staff
Aurea B3 balconies and S3 suites include:
- Prestigious cabins with a view, in the bow on the higher decks
- 24-hour unlimited drinks*
- Spa package with a spa welcome cocktail, one massage of your choice from the spa menu, tanning shower, private wellness consultation and free access to the Thermal Area throughout the cruise (available only for adults)
- Complimentary set of wellbeing products
- Exclusive access to the private solarium, in a reserved area
- Dinner in a reserved area of the restaurant with “My Choice Dining” flexible times
- Priority boarding
- MSC Club points to earn discounts and other benefits on subsequent cruises
- * The drink package refers to Allegrissimo in the Med or More For Less in the Caribbean. Both mean ‘all-inclusive’ but not the top-shelf premium beverages.
Yacht Club suites include:
- Luxurious suites with memory foam mattresses, Egyptian cotton sheets, pillow menu, marble bathroom, plasma TV and minibar
- All-inclusive MSC Yacht Club restaurant with open dining times
- Soft drinks, cocktails, beer, wine and spirits included at all MSC Yacht Club venues and from the minibar in every suite
- Access to the Top Sail Lounge and The One Sun Deck private complex, equipped with swimming pool, whirlpool baths, solarium and bar
- Private lift to the MSC Aurea Spa
- Top Sail Lounge with a selection of drinks, delicious finger food and desserts, afternoon tea time and midnight sweets for a late-night treat included
- MSC Club points to earn discounts and other benefits on subsequent cruises.
CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO SEE all cruises and prices.
The prices shown online do not include the maximum possible discount for balcony and suite cabins.
So be sure to Contact Us to get an additional discount if you want to book a balcony or suite.
The prices shown here for all inside and oceanview cabins DO show the maximum military discount.
So you can book online to get the best possible deal on those cabin types, but feel free to call for assistance.
Can you get a military discount on group cruises on MSC?
Military and Veterans who book a MSC group cruise with Military Cruise Deals will still get our military discount, and most possible perks on ALL cabins booked in their group. However, the normal MSC discount will unfortunately not apply. It is not combinable with groups. Keep this in mind if you want a group on MSC.
PLUS- Payment in full is then due 90 days before sailing. If your group space isn’t used 180, and 150 days before sailing MSC reserves the right to take back the space! This is important. IF you want a group you have to already know who’s planning on sailing and that you can definitely fill it, or MSC will take back the space.
If you’d like to book a group cruise with MSC you will need to contact us to set it up. We can be reached at [email protected] or by calling (866) 964-5482.
What is the minimum number of cabins and people required to make a group?
8 cabins with a minimum of 16 passengers.
What is the deposit schedule for groups: when is money due and how much?
$199 per adult is due within 7-days of putting a name on the reservation. Payment in full is then due 90 days before sailing. If your group space isn’t used 180, and 150 days before sailing MSC reserves the right to take back the space.
What are the benefits offered to military and veterans’ groups on MSC?
A. Amenity points
B. Tour conductor credit(s)
C. Our Military Discount
A. All About Amenity Points for Groups on MSC
The benefits or perks offered with MSC group cruises are allocated based on MSC ‘group amenity points’.
The amount of ‘amenity points’ that your group cabins are entitled to depends on the cruise selected.
Once you have selected a specific sailing, and know what type of cabins your group wants, and how many in your group – we’ll call MSC and see how many amenity points are assigned to that sailing.
These amenity points can be used to get onboard credit for each cabin in the group or various other gifts*.
Using the amenity points, your group may then choose ONE option:
a. either the onboard credit amount that applies for your sailing,
b. one of the other gift choices, *
Whatever you select then applies to all cabins in the group.
Here’s is a table from MSC, which show what your amenity points can get for you, and how many points each gift costs.
B. Tour Conductor Credit(s)applied to MSC Group Cruises
Each group will get one tour conductor credit per 8 cabins with 16 people.
This tour conductor credit can be used to give 1 passenger a FREE cruise fare!
This credit begins applying once all 8 cabins are booked and the amount of the tour conductor credit is the average for the group based on double occupancy.
This means, if most of the cabins booked are inside cabins, the amount of the tour conductor credit will be one inside cruise fare.
The person with the free fare will still have to pay taxes and port charges though.
C. Our military discount
Any groups booked with Military Cruise Deals will receive our Military discount off the cruise fare. Thus, everyone in your group will PAY LESS.
Read Travel Agent, Rebecca Forte’s, article about her Divina cruise! (And check out the pictures!!)
Military Spouse reviews of MSC cruise line
Denis Q. – “My wife and I have travelled with MSC on many cruises. We’ve been on the Fantasia, Splendida, Musica, Poesia, Preziosa, and have just over a month ago come off the Divina after a 20 night cruise starting from Miami and finishing up in Rome.
We have enjoyed every cruise that we have taken with MSC. The quality of the furnishings is second to none, the decor has been tastefully selected and the staterooms are far superior to other cruise lines that we have travelled on.
We were very happy with the quality of food at the buffet and in the dinning rooms and also the selection of drink packages.
In a nutshell, MSC offers great value for your money, a great selection of cruises around the world, and beautiful Ships.”
Stephanie F. – military spouse in Germany – “We’ve been on five cruises with MSC and they are by far the best! We did 2 in the Mediterranean, one to Greece and one to Istanbul. We absolutely love this cruise line.”
Krista L. – military spouse in Europe – “We have cruised twice on MSC….the Fantasia was amazing.”
Paul W. – from Baltimore – “It was funny, once the staff heard you were American, they treated you different than the Europeans. They were outgoing and jovial. Many staff members approached me to ask if everything was ok, and if I needed anything. They made me feel very special.”
Heather B. – from Virginia – “I’ve been on many cruise ships, but the Divina is the most chic and beautiful. Even the other cruisers were a beautiful crowd. Be sure to find the ethnic section of the buffet. It was my favorite place for lunch. When I cruise MSC again, I’ve got to do the Yacht Club.”
Full review of MSC Splendida
By Kacie Rosario- military spouse (MSC Splendida and Divina are sister ships)
The MSC Splendida was our first cruise! We had read some negative reviews about MSC, and it almost changed my mind, but we decided to test it out ourselves.
We could not have asked for a better experience! From the staff, the food, the amenities, and the ports of call – it was our best vacation yet.
What were some of your favorite parts about cruising?
We just really enjoyed the ease of cruising and the relaxed atmosphere of the ship. There was always something to do, but if you just wanted to relax – there are plenty of places for that too!
Everything was well organized and ran smoothly – the embarkation, the excursions, dining services, and disembarkation. We never felt like we were rushed, crowded, or pressured. When we did have questions the concierge was always helpful.
It was also nice that everything was taken care of, by Mitch, before we cruised. He had our crib booked in our room, our tickets e-mailed to us, and even signed us up for the excursions that I wanted to do. I was a nervous first time cruiser and Mitch was great about promptly answering my dozens of emails.
We also enjoyed the dining experience onboard. Every night you have the option to enjoy a seven-course meal, and it does not disappoint. I consider myself a picky eater, and there was always something I enjoyed.
The wait staff also goes above and beyond to make you feel welcome. We have a two-year-old and I was really nervous about bringing him into the dining room and getting those annoyed stares, but the staff was so accommodating and understanding – as were our fellow diners.
We also decided to go with the Cheers package which allowed us unlimited drinks (beer, wine, soda, and water) during dining hours – which was a great purchase for us, and we certainly got our money’s worth!
The buffet was also great for breakfast and lunch. They had a wide variety of options and the service, again, was phenomenal.
Did you think the ship and your room were nice enough? Did they exceed your expectations?
Our room was fantastic, and far exceeded our expectations. From the reviews I was expecting a tin shoebox, but our room was large enough for two adults to relax, and a toddler to run around.
We had a great view from our balcony, and it was nice to sit outside while we were arriving and leaving a port. The room service visited twice a day and was always quick to offer assistance.
Although your son is only two years old, if you had time to look around at the kids clubs and activities on the ship, did it seem to you that it was a ‘good cruise for kids’?
We did look around the kids area, and we would have taken advantage if our son was older. The groups would come into the buffet at times, and always seemed like they were having so much fun. It looked like they had costume days, and plenty of arts and craft activities.
Even though we didn’t specifically use the kids club – the ship itself was very kid friendly. There are plenty of wide open spaces where we could ‘run off’ steam, or enjoy the views.
For more information and and cruise pictures, click here to see Kacie’s awesome blog.
Read a recent review of the MSC Seaside
Mr. Northhouse of the Air Force Reserves cruised on the Seaside in
We have booked multiple cruises with MilitaryCruiseDeals.com and have found them extremely helpful and professional with a user-friendly website.
Note: If the price of the cruise is offered at lower rate after booking/deposit, Mitchell will meet or beat that new price – up until the day it is required to be paid in full (I would recommend not paying in full prior to the mandatory payment date as it may be difficult to negotiate or receive a refund of the difference with the cruise line after payment).
Offers prior to sailing: Most new cruisers do not realize that there are offers prior to sailing that would make their experience less stressful and lighter on the wallet:
-Drink packages; for this cruise, MSC offered a “Drinks on Us” package for free which included limited brands of beer and wine and basic mixed drinks – no frozen drinks.
Additionally, a 15% gratuity charge on each drink, i.e. if a drink ordered was $5.00 (free for you) a $.75 gratuity is charged to your cabin bill. On the plus side, a Classic/Deluxe package was offered for an additional $18/$26 a day (gratuities are included). See comparison chart offered by MSC of items included with each package.
Just as a reminder, with the Classic/Deluxe drink packages; bottled water, sodas, specialty coffees, Gelato, smoothies and milk shakes are included. Figuring if you drink two mixed drinks, two coffee drinks, and a milk shake for ~$5 each, that would be $25 a day plus adding a 15% gratuity charge to the orders ($3.75) would exceed the pre-paid daily charge of the Deluxe package.
So, I would recommend the pre-paid drink package prior to sailing, especially if you enjoy having a few Margaritas or Pina Coladas! Note: once on board, the per day price is full price, i.e. $47 and $55/day!
Spa, excursions, photo packages, specialty restaurants etc.; sign up with the cruise line’s membership (always free) and periodically visit ‘your’ log on area of their website for special offers.
Some special offers are only advertised for a short period of time, so visit often and take advantage of these before they are gone. For example, a 30-minute Bali message for $49 is offered but once on board that same message is $90 plus a 15% gratuity added (all pre-paid items include gratuities and all service items purchased once on board there is an additional gratuity charge added).
I would recommend at least purchasing one if not two messages for the week prior to sailing and using one of the messages upon arrival to the ship (you can board as soon as 12noon on departure day with some cruise lines) to relax after a stressful morning of traveling to meet the ship.
Be aware that purchasing excursions through the cruise line, though may be a little more expensive than finding a local offer, if there is a change in the itinerary, or bad weather, a refund at the service desk on board is an easy affair.
Also, if booked through the cruise line, if your excursion is delayed getting back to the ship, the ship will wait for you. If you booked an excursion yourself locally, no such guarantee (nothing more depressing or panicking than seeing your cruise ship sail away without you).
Photo and Specialty Restaurants packages are offered at a discount before sailing too. Just remember if you wait to purchase on board, the prices are much higher.
Embarkment. We arrived at the airport (Miami airport for two of us and Fort Lauderdale airport for another) and used Uber/Lyft to reach the cruise port as it was less expensive than a shuttle or taxi from the airport to the cruise port and was available within minutes from using their app.
We arrived around 11:30 am at the cruise port, dropped off our luggage at the curb with the cruise porter (make sure you print your luggage tags prior to leaving your home and attached them to your luggage at the cruise port (and have your cruise line paperwork or ticket to get on the ship) and walked into the cruise terminal to register at the desk.
This took only about 30 minutes waiting in line to register at the multiple representatives for check-in. Once checked in, we boarded the ship without any other delays.
MSC Seaside. As you board the ship and enter the Atrium, MSC requires that you find a kiosk or charge card machine in this area and assign your payment information to your cruise card (there are multiple machines scattered around this area, find the one furthest away, as most people line up at the first one they see upon entry to the Atrium. There is one near the elevators behind the bar area and one to the left of the bar, as you face it, under the staircase.)
This is the first cruise line, that I have cruised with, that have you perform this action yourself instead of the representative providing this service at check in. Really bizarre. If you need assistance, there is the service desk in this area.
The Atrium is impressive; with it being open to three decks, crystal staircases on each side, large screens on each level and a bar at its center. This area is in the middle part of the ship and it seems that you will ‘visit’ this area multiple of times throughout your cruise while circumnavigating the many places and decks on the ship.
We liked the ‘flow’ of the ship with its many locations to relax, multiple bars with their own special menus for drinks and the numerous areas to lounge on deck. With the multiple areas located throughout the ship, all look outward to the sea (unlike some cruise ships that look inward towards their stores and venues to entice cruisers to spend their money.).
Dining. There are two main dining rooms; one for Aurea guest only (Ipanema on deck 6) and another (Seashore on deck 5) with set dinner times. The menus for both dining rooms are the same and you are seated at the same table each night. Also, if you are a party of two (or whatever), you can have your own table together without being seated with a group of people or strangers, your choice.
The meals in the main dining room were excellent with a different menu each day. Remember, meals are included (some items; surf and turf have an upcharge) with your fare, as is the buffets. Also, if you see two items on the menu that you like, i.e. shrimp cocktail and French onion soup, order both!
If you do not like an entrée, just let your waiter know and they will get you something else. Remember there is a dress code in the main dining rooms; no shorts, open toed shoes (thongs) and t-shirts or collarless shirts (no dress code for the buffet). See your daily bulletin for theme nights; casual to elegant.
Buffets. The choices in the buffets are plentiful and freshly made from fresh fruit and vegetables, different cuisines from around the world, vegan and vegetarian choices to pizza made from scratch (it is an Italian ship!).
I recommend taking a tour around the buffet before diving in as there are choices in the back of the buffet, i.e. carving station, and along both sides. People tend to dive into the first place they see up front and lines tend to form, transverse around and most of the areas further in have no lines!
Note: There are specialty restaurants that have an upcharge per person. Each ship is different. We found that there are plenty of choices in the main dining rooms and buffets to not go hungry.
Cabins. As we booked three different cabin types; standard balcony, interior and interior handicapped we found that they are comparable to other cruise lines in size and set up (except for Royal Caribbean which has its sink in the main cabin area and split the shower and toilet to each side of the entry door?!).
The handicapped cabin had all the necessities; very large bathroom with handrails throughout, emergency pull cords, wheelchair accessible shower (entire bathroom floor is open and flat with no raised edges on the floor) with a shower seat and accessible fixtures. These rooms tend to be almost double in size to accommodate all the needs for the occupants.
Reminder: as there are less desirable room locations; near elevators, steward work areas, night club located directly above the room, noise can be a factor and usually is (ear plugs?). The theater was on the deck above 5048 and the music was noticeable late at night/early morning.
Entertainment. There were nightly shows in the theatre with multiple times. Arrive early as reservations did not really work for ideal seating. Yacht Club members had reserved seating but were the last two rows in the back. Also, check out the different bars as they have individual entertainment throughout the evenings.
Theme Nights. All ships have theme nights, some there are few and some have many.
Elegant Night. Dressing up for dinner and seeing a show is fun. Most people do dress up a little bit and others go all out with tuxedos and gowns. Don’t feel you should miss out if not wearing a tuxedo or gown on elegant night for dinner as these nights tend to have a special meal. Good taste in attire on these nights is acceptable so don’t worry. There were two elegant nights on this cruise, but most cruises only have one elegant night per weeklong cruise.
White Night. Wear all white. A late-night dance party or white party on deck with the big screen is put on by the crew with music and fun. This cruise, the party started at 10:30 pm with crew dancers and music and a well staffed bar. It lasted until about midnight.
Pirate Night. Dress as a pirate. As with the White Night, a themed party inside with crew dancers was hosted.
20’s Gala. Dress as it was the 1920’s. This was hosted as well.
*** For some reason the cruise lines do not notify or publicize their themed events. Mainly we had to search the reviews to find out what theme nights were offered. White Night is the most popular as all cruise lines tend to have this theme night.
Bars. There area multiple bars throughout the ship from a sports bar to a pool deck bar. What I like about MSC is that all the different bars had their own drink menus, so it was fun seeking out the different bars onboard and sampling their different drinks (drink package a must!). Some cruise lines have the same drink menu at all the bars which limits the choices and the bar staff tend to only know how to make those drinks only.
Family Fun. There are many things for family members to do together and in appropriate age groups – Baby, Junior, Young and Teen Clubs/areas. There is a kid friendly Jungle Pool and Lounge area, Forest Adventure Park and several water slides and a zip line. Also, there is an Adventure trail above the pool area that is fun. A sports court on deck 20, a bowling alley and Arcade and F1 Simulator. Also, day care services are available to give the parents some relax time.
Like chocolate? Do miss the chocolate bar with a menu of chocolate drinks and a wall covering chocolate fountain! Mmmm chocolate!
Wi-Fi and business center is available for those who can’t unplug. (additional charge)
There is a casino and duty-free shops onboard. I recommend checking out the stores onboard the first day and then go shopping at your port calls. Whatever you don’t find on land, the ship will have it for you to buy later.
Don’t be afraid to ask the shop keepers on land if that is their best price, most will give you a good deal if you ask. Have fun shopping and don’t feel pressured into buying, a “No Thank you” is acceptable.
Dis-embarkment. If you choose to have your luggage picked up, you will have to leave it outside your cabin door the night before leaving. Your luggage will be picked up and taken to a staging area (color coded by luggage tags left for you in your cabin) where you will need to find it located near the exit at customs.
Each cabin has a color code assigned on the day that you leave. Each color group will be called, at a specific time, to leave the ship. Be aware that your color might leave the ship early or later in the morning. If you do not wish to leave your luggage outside of your cabin door the night before and be assigned a color group, you can self-carry your luggage and leave the next morning at your choosing. This is great for those who have early flights out.
MSC’s policy is that everyone must vacate their cabin by 7:45 am (buffet is open until 9:00 am). With this process, there were virtually no lines at customs. We chose to self-carry our luggage and found a table near the buffet, had a leisurely breakfast and left the ship at 10:30 am. There were no people in line when we left.
Our Uber/Lyft was waiting (called 30 min before leaving ship – texted same driver who brought us) and there were no crowds outside the terminal seeking transportation. We had a 4:00 pm flight and therefore had plenty of time.
Some cruise terminals are nightmares with the lack of transportation and delays in leaving the cruise port for the airports. Give yourself plenty of time for the unexpected. Also, do not forget to ‘check-in’ to your outgoing flight, apps work great for this and there is no need to print an airline boarding pass.
Look into obtaining a TSA pre-check for expediting yourself through airport security. This must be done prior to leaving for your trip. Allow several months before you leave on your trip to obtain this service. A fee is charged, and it expires after five years.
Additionally, if you are using your U.S. passport, make sure that it does not expire before you return home, most countries will not let you in without at least six months remaining on your passport.
The most important thing to remember is that you are on vacation to relax and enjoy yourself. A positive attitude and going ‘with the flow’ is ideal. Just let the other people be upset about whatever upsets them and everything will be just fine. You’re on vacation!