Launched in 2008 as the first of four ships in its class, 3,274-passenger MSC Fantasia features four pools (including one that can be covered in inclement weather with a giant glass and steel dome), multiple fountains, acres of sun loungers, and a soaring showpiece atrium with a Swarovski crystal-studded staircase. It is currently sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf.
What We Love
MSC Yacht Club: This premium ship-within-a-ship enclave sits atop the forward half of MSC Fantasia and features a separate observation lounge and pool area, as well as the ship's most deluxe cabins and suites.
Italian Coffees, Gelato, and Pastries: Aromatic espresso drinks are available for purchase in the stylish Il Cappuccino Bar overlooking the atrium — guests can add a scoop of Italian-style gelato or a pastry if they're feeling indulgent.
MSC Aurea Spa: One of the most lavish spas at sea, this natural stone, wood, and tile haven inspired by the spas of Bali offers 20 types of massages, 19 body treatments, and 19 facials, plus a Turkish Bath, sauna, relaxation area, fitness center, and juice bar.
Best Known For
Genuine Italian Cuisine: The main restaurants — Il Cherchio d'Oro and La Cantina Toscana — serve, as one would expect on an Italian ship, great pastas and other regional specialties from around the country.
Big Entertainment: The main shows in the two-deck Teatro l'Avanguardia theater are known for their epic production values. Given the ship’s multilingual clientele, offerings veer away from typical Broadway fare in favor of acrobatic and musical performances featuring vibrant costumes and lavish sets.
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Who It's Best For
Europhiles and Mega Ship Fans: This is a perfect ship for anyone seeking a European-style cruise experience on a big, splashy ship with a wide variety of entertainment and dining options.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's Multilingual: MSC Fantasia isn't right for those who prefer a typical American-style cruise experience — a large percentage of passengers are from Europe and announcements are made in multiple languages. It's also a high-density ship, so crowds and lines are common.
Peter Knego is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.
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MSC Fantasia at a Glance
- Line: MSC Cruises
- Class: Fantasia
- Number of Passengers: 3274
- Ship Size: Mega
- Launch Date: 2008