This month we’ve met up with Matteo Mancini, Youth Entertainment Manager here at MSC Cruises to give you the low-down on cruising with families this summer!


How many kids come onboard since MSC Grandiosa started cruising again last summer?

Over 5,000! An extraordinary number! This year MSC Cruises has led the way not only in the international cruise industry but in the entertainment business as a whole. During the first lockdown, we entertained thousands of children with original content posted on the official YouTube MSC Cruises channel and from August 2020, while all theatres and most schools around the world were closed, we reopened the Kids’ Clubs on board in complete safety thanks to our industry leading health and safety measures.


Tell us a bit about the health and safety measures?

We follow a strict protocol ensuring all children and teenagers on a cruise to play and have fun in complete safety. You’ll find a checkpoint on entering kids’ areas where we give masks to those over 6 years old, check everyone’s temperature and disinfect of hand and shoes. The number of children entering the youth areas has naturally been reduced to ensure social distancing between everyone.


What activities are available and how have they been adapted?

The great news is that our award-winning kids’ program has been reduced in no way and we continue to offer everything that our young guests love the most. Before the pandemic, our cooking competition "MasterChef At Sea Juniors" could welcome up to 40 children on stage at the same time. Today we don't exceed 10 children at a time to guarantee social distancing. In sports, we’ve replaced contact sports with individual challenges like penalties shots and basketball challenges.


What’s your favourite kids’ activity available onboard right now?

Personally, I'm a fan of variety: if every 30-40 minutes you change activities and focus from dancing, to sports, to cooking, to technology, all kids on board will surely have fun. Even if one of the lessons that our CEO Gianni Onorato has told us, and that we always keep in mind in the company, is that we have to put our personal and private taste aside when making choices. My mission is to entertain kids from 0 to 17 years old. So first of all, I listen to them, I ask them what they like, what they are looking for and then with the team we build according to their desires.


Does every ship offer the same activities?

The product offered is the same on all ships. Our most successful activities such as MSC Dance Crew, MasterChef At Sea Juniors, Cabin 12006 "The experience", Lego Experience on board, are available on the entire fleet. The spaces dedicated to children may vary from ship to ship and there are some small exceptions, but no matter which ship parents will choose, fun for their children is guaranteed.


How has feedback from guests been?

We’ve received extremely positive feedback from our guests.  During lockdown, parents had the opportunity to spend more time with their children at home than ever before and are keener than ever to see them spend time with other children onboard. And I have to say that they are just as keen themselves! You can see it in the numbers too: participation has risen from 60% to 82% of children onboard. talking