HUFFINGTON POST
09/21/2011 04:12 pm ET | Updated Nov 20, 2011

The MSC Melody: A Huffington Post Cruise Ship Guide

The MSC Melody is a popular floating resort. The waters are crowded with sea-worthy vessels, so to make planning easier, we've done all the prep work for a cruise vacation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on cruise ships, here is a tip sheet offering all the key information one could ever need to know about The MSC Melody.

Destination

The MSC Melody usually sails to destinations throughout the Mediterranean region. Occasionally, it also sails to South Africa and Madagascar.

Small Passenger Ship

The Melody is the smallest ship in the MSC fleet, with 532 cabins that can accommodate 1,492 guests. The Melody prides itself on offering a relaxed and informal cruise experience.

Special Features

The ship's see-through, retractable Magrodome allows guests to enjoy the Calypso swimming pool rain or shine. High ceilings throughout the public areas help to create an airy, relaxed atmosphere.

Accommodations

Interior staterooms start at around 114 square feet, with suites up to 462 square feet. Each stateroom includes a minibar, a small sofa, safe and an interactive TV that can also be used to track onboard spending.

Cost

A two-night cruise from Cape Town, South Africa, starts at $298 per person for an inside stateroom and $522 per person for a suite. An 18-night cruise from Genoa, Italy, down the west coast of Africa can cost as much as $2,232 per person for an interior stateroom and $4,161 per person for a suite. Prices will vary as the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and African Rand fluctuates.

Excursions

A passenger recommended the city tour of Palma de Mallorca, a port city on the island of Majorca off the coast of Spain. The passenger praised the ship's ability to handle last-minute requests, since he requested joining the scheduled excursion the morning the ship landed in the city. The tour included Bellver Castle, the Royal Summer Palace and an old bullfighting ring. The tour ended in the evening with flamenco dancers.

Dining Experience

The Melody's main restaurant is the Galaxy, which serves primarily Italian and Mediterranean fare. It has open seating for breakfast and lunch and two assigned seatings for dinner. The ship's bakery produces fresh breads daily. The Riviera Terrace is an open-air restaurant that offers casual meals and snacks.

Maiden Voyage

The Melody began its service in 1982 with a company called Home Lines. In 1989 Starship Atlantic renovated the ship and christened it the Big Red Boat. In 1997, MSC purchased the boat for $70 million and remodeled the ship again. The Melody made its first trip for MSC on May 1, 1997.

In The News

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that pirates attacked the ship in 2009. While many of the ship's passengers were enjoying a concert, a passenger leaned over the deck rail to look at the sea around 11 p.m. and screamed when she saw a small boat approaching. Other passengers noticed that a man was already climbing a rope ladder attached to the side of the ship. Passengers started throwing deck chairs, tables and other items to stop the pirate. Armed security officials arrived and fired into the water. The pirates shot back, shattering windows before leaving the area. According to Der Spiegel, the captain was in the bar, explaining to a passenger that the ship was too far away from the Somali coast to be attacked, when he was advised of the situation. No one was hurt during the confrontation.

WATCH

Highlights of a passenger's trip on the Melody

What's your favorite cruise memory?

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