Providing diverse entertainment for everyone

Steve Leatham shares how MSC Cruises develops activities to ensure it can delight all guests

Providing diverse entertainment for everyone
Highly skilled musicians give live performances in venues across MSC Cruises’ ships

By Rebecca Gibson |

MSC Cruises offers one of the most diverse entertainment programmes in the cruise industry, according to the brand’s global head of entertainment Steve Leatham.  

“We offer an enviable choice of cultural and magical experiences for our guests,” he says. “We have a modern fleet of ships sailing incredible itineraries to various destinations worldwide and we welcome guests of up to 190 different nationalities in multiple age groups, so we have to curate an extensive entertainment product that suits all audiences. We aim to ensure that everyone can find the perfect moment of entertainment at any time of the day or night onboard every ship in our fleet.”  

MSC Cruises has carefully curated its onboard entertainment offerings to ensure it can cater for both guests who want to relax and those who want to get a taste of adventure. Depending on the ship, options include everything from cultural enrichment activities to grand-scale theatre productions, interactive 4D cinema experiences, MSC Formula Racer simulator races, video games, immersive virtual reality experiences, water parks, ropes courses, zip lines, bowling alleys, the opportunity to participate in interactive competitions such as MSC Factor and MSC MasterChef, and much more. Meanwhile, younger guests benefit from dedicated Kids Clubs and activity programmes, which include sports tournaments, quizzes, family discos, a one-day LEGO experience, and more. However, the enduringly popular entertainment option onboard every ship is live music. 

“Now that most of our daily lives take place in the digital environment, consumers are seeking something more tangible and genuine when it comes to entertainment,” says Leatham. “If you look at both the huge resurgence in sales of vinyl records and how the number of music and art festivals around the world has grown compared to 30 years ago, it’s clear that people want authentic experiences they can see, hear and feel for themselves. We are always evolving our live entertainment programme, but live music remains a timeless attraction for our guests, and they continue to revel in the choice we offer onboard our fleet of ships.” 

Leatham explains that MSC Cruises’ entertainment programme is filled with an eclectic mix of live bands and musicians that populate both indoor and outdoor spaces. “We offer guests the opportunity to sit, watch and listen to a wide range of fantastic classical, jazz and contemporary artists on all our ships,” says Leatham. “In a ship with a pub, for example, guests will find an earthy live musician playing modern and classic covers. Meanwhile, we often have pianists playing soothing and emotive classical music in our larger lounges, with the sounds drifting into the nearby restaurants to enhance the dining experience. The pianists are regularly joined by other musicians and artists to deliver performances that engender emotional connections with our guests. 

“We’re really proud that our artists don’t treat it as just another gig; they perform as if it is the most special moment of the year for our guests and produce the most beautiful voices and music. Together, they create a soundtrack for guests’ holidays at sea.” 

MSC Cruises continually evolves its entertainment offerings to ensure they remain innovative and appealing to guests. To celebrate the entire MSC Cruises fleet being back in operation by the end of summer 2022 and welcome the arrival of two newbuilds – MSC World Europa and MSC Seascape – later this year, the brand has developed several new surprises for guests.  

“This will be a very busy year,” says Leatham. “Across the fleet we have more than 20 new shows in production, as well as fresh activities, augmented and virtual reality digital content, and a range of new shows and events designed specifically for our younger guests. 

One of the highlights for 2022 is an original theatrical production named Strings, which will debut on MSC Grandiosa. “It features an international cast of acrobats, singers, dancers and musicians in a high-flying spectacular performed in one of the most stunning arenas at sea, the ship’s Carousel Lounge,” says Leatham. “It looks and sounds incredible. In addition, both MSC World Europa and MSC Seascape will boast unique attractions, new venues and styles of entertainment, as well as full-scale production theatre shows that will be exciting and immersive. 

“We’re always mindful that we must create a balance between using innovative technologies so we stay at the forefront of the industry and respecting the traditions and legacy that are part of MSC Cruises’ DNA. Striking the right balance provides our guests with the best entertainment for their holidays at sea.”

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

Contact author


Subscribe to the Cruise & Ferry newsletter

  • ©2024 Tudor Rose. All Rights Reserved. Cruise & Ferry is published by Tudor Rose.