MSC allows kids under 18 to travel free. It also offers military discounts as well as other discounts, just ask. We were 3 people, me- the mom, one daughter in college, and one daughter in high school. We went in October when most schools are in session, and passengers their ages, especially the teenager, were few. Someone must have cancelled a vacation because we were able to pick up the cruise in Genoa, Italy with a very nice balcony room on the 9th floor. The balcony made the room feel more spacious. The 9th floor is a great location. 8th floor is decent as well. Lower floors may risk a view of the life boats, so ask before you book. We were a September booking and were thrilled to get any room!
Recommendations: Throw out expectations and be happily in the moment when you take this cruise. Also, if male, pack a nice jacket, collared shirt (possibly tie or bow tie),or formal wear; if female, pack a very nice dress, nice slacks or long skirt with a formal blouse, or formal wear for one or two dress-up evenings. Formal wear is not required but if one is more casually dressed, one might opt to have dinner in the cafeteria and try to avoid the busier lounges. No one will say anything if a passenger is not dressed up, but know ahead these evenings do take place, many people put effort into looking particularly nice. I was surprised at the level of formal dress.
Highlights - My daughters loved the Day at Sea and just enjoyed being on the Mediterranean, reading books on the balcony. I understood a birthday cake was ordered at the time of booking. I double checked the morning of my daughter's birthday and found the order had not been recorded. Yikes! I ordered a new cake, but alas, at dinner, a nice but different cake arrived. It was of lesser value, so the price was adjusted with apologies for their error. Trust, but verify any special arrangements. Frankly, I was disappointed the previous order was not recorded, glad I checked, and was surprised a same day order was even possible. Yay! Our table mates were wonderfully enthusiastic and cheered with great spirit! My daughter was delighted to have her birthday recognized!
Nicely appointed. We needed three single beds, so we separated the two that were together. When the sofa bed was in bed mode, there wasn't half an inch to spare. The beds were a bit firmer than I like, but I did not wake up with a bad back, so that was very nice.It is hard to get a bed firmness to meet everyone's desires. Both my daughter's thought their beds were fine. One day the water didn't work but it was something to do with the whole pipe line. It was quickly fixed. Another day, water dripped down from the ceiling onto my bed. We called, and maintenance came quickly and solved the problem. When I asked about possibly getting dry sheets, I was told housekeeping would be on the floor at 6:30, we could ask them at that time ( only we needed to be at dinner at that same time). We managed to catch housekeeping a bit early and all was well. It is a ship- space is at a premium. Mainly, we loved the balcony .