MSC Melody cruise ship and local small craft as seen from Portuguese Island, Mozambique

MSC Melody Cruise Ship Features

The MSC Melody is a lovely ship, but it feels more like a hotel or amusement park than a vessel plying the high seas. Staffed by hundreds of Filipinos, Balinese, Peruvians, Russians, Ukranians, Italians, South Africans (and plenty of other nationalities), the Melody is a mini-United Nations. Bring an interpreter along! (kidding) (well, kind of)

The ship's lines are pretty enough, but it's not the most modern cruiser on the ocean today. The Melody's got some serious nautical mileage behind her screw. But MSC has kept it up-to-date by packing it full of entertaining amenities. There's no shortage of things to do. Or buy. (You never know when you might need that duty-free bottle of perfume to entice the sharks.)

The Shipboard Recreational Experience

The Melody offers an all-inclusive recreational experience. It does this by providing passengers with a variety of unique spaces for entertainment on the ship. The fact that it is surrounded by a beautiful ocean or that it anchors near interesting destinations is not enough. The shore excursions are temporary reprieves from shipboard life. This means that there's always something going on.

It also means that, even though everyone goes to enjoy themselves as couples or families, they must also interact with others. The facilities are designed for mass engagement so everyone is enjoined to act as amicable shipmates. Carjacking Jo'burgers must get along with the vleis-braaing Pretorians while Mountain-worshipping Capetonians must oblige the curry-infused Durbanites. For the most part, everyone gets along. (Unless there's a scramble for lifejackets as the ship goes down.)

On the Riviera Terrace, my wife and I enjoyed chatting together, reading, and sating our thirst. Lots of passengers hang out there, being served up by the crew of international waitrons. Marjorie and I felt grateful if these Third World laborers ever bothered to smile at us because we knew they worked long hours and served thousands of self-absorbed landlubbers like ourselves every season.

After they'd bring us our frothy cappuccinos and tropical fruit drinks, Marjorie and I would offer them sympathetic looks as we discussed their plight. Shame. But, if they ever stopped and catch their breath, we'd snap our fingers and demand them bring more drinks immediately. Or else! Meanwhile, a string-plucking Latin band sang sweet melodies in the background. (They sang in Spanish, but I swear they were singing "Arise ye brothers, let us drown all of these capitalist swine before they order more Castle Lagers." Either that, or they were either singing about how much they love their mothers and fathers. One of the two. But either way, very sinister.)

Every evening, we ate dinner in the Galaxy Restaurant. There's two sittings: usually the older folks and the kiddies eat during the first sitting, the middle-aged during the 2nd. The restaurant is an elegant mid-deck affair where they serve up tasty Italian dishes according to a set menu. I never had any complaints about the food (but then again, my taste buds haven't been functioning since I ate a Wimpy's cheeseburger two years ago.) We sat at a table with two youngish couples from Gauteng. The maitre d' assigned us these seats when we boarded the ship, assuming we'd get along better with people our own age.

Club Universe is the main public venue for announcements, raffles, karaoke sing-alongs, lectures, quiz competitions, comedy routines, magic demonstrations, and go-go dancer performances. We were always going in and out of the club. It's one of the main areas that passengers get to interact with each other and even make fools of themselves. I was dragged on stage to play a bit role in a comedy routine one time, while others staggered up to the karaoke microphone to sing a drunken version of a Spice Girls song. I also vaguely remember a "Miss Melody" or "Queen of the Seas" competition which was won by the fattest hairiest man on the ship. Cheesy fun.

When we wanted something more sophisticated, we went to the Jazz Club, an intimate space where a talented pianist and saxophone player played jazz favorites. Marjorie and I spent a few evenings hanging out there, chilling to the cool vibe. It was one of the few places on the ship that wasn't geared toward the masses, so we liked to duck in there whenever we needed to get away from the crowds.

We also danced at the Discotheque in the late evenings. There was a DJ who played some decent music, but the real surprise was a young Spanish duo who sang covers of contemporary pop hits. They were fantastic! In fact, considering their talent, most of us wondered what the heck they were doing on a cruise ship! Who knows? But they knew how to get a great groove going for everyone. The disco tended to be a favorite scene for younger folks or jazz-dancing couples.

Technical Specifications
  • Length: 204.7 mt
  • Width: 30.15 mt
  • Tonnages: 35,143 t
  • Cruise Speed: 18 knots
  • Passengers: 1,500 maximum
  • Crew Complement: 548 personnel
  • Ship's Registry: Panama


  • Passenger Accommodations: 532 cabins
  • 6 Suite
  • 72 Minisuite
  • 303 Outside Cabins (4 for disabled)
  • 151 Inside Cabins
  • All cabins have Air-Con, TV, Radio, Telephone

Passenger Amenities

  • Bars: 6
  • Swimming Pools: 2
  • Jacuzzi: 2
  • Lounges: Club Universe and Junkanoo Club
  • Dining Room: 2
  • Large Restaurant areas
  • Library
  • Card Room
  • Cinema
  • Fitness Gym
  • Discotheque
  • Casino
  • Jogging Track
  • Beauty Salon
  • Massage
  • Laundry Service
  • Children's Play Room
  • Duty Free Shopping Boutique
  • Conference Facilities
  • Hospital Medical Service

MSC Melody Deck Plan - Top to Bottom (click to enlarge)

MSC Melody Sun Deck MSC Melody Pool Deck MSC Melody Lounge Deck MSC Melody Premier Deck MSC Melody Continental Deck MSC Melody Oceanic Deck MSC Melody Restaurant Deck MSC Melody Bahamas Deck