We cruised a translatlantic cruise with MSC over Christmas in 2008. We had our two daughters at the time, one was 9 the other 17. We had a really good time, I have a few posts somewhere on here that gave a brief overview of our experience. We are Canadian so can't really comment on if MSC is good for Americans but I can say that enjoyed our experience and our children have very good memories of all the places that they had been on a truly beautiful ship. I love Carnival, but the Orchestra is without a doubt the most beautiful, ornate ship I can ever imagine sailing. It felt more like a luxury cruise than what Carnival feels. If you have more specific questions I can try to answer them based on our experiences. Good Luck!