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13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports and to try a new line. MSC has the status match program which also helped. This cruise was from Genoa, Italy to Kiel, Germany with stops at Marseille, Barcelona, Cadiz, Lisbon, Vigo, and Southampton. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports and to try a new line. MSC has the status match program which also helped. This cruise was from Genoa, Italy to Kiel, Germany with stops at Marseille, Barcelona, Cadiz, Lisbon, Vigo, and Southampton. Embarkation: This was a disaster. I am not sure if Genoa was not equipped to handle this many passengers, or if they were just not prepared to turn over the whole ship as MSC frequently interports in Europe. Whatever the reason, we arrived at the port at noon and eventually made it onboard around 4pm. Ship: The Meraviglia is a beautiful ship. Every area has something unique and stylish about it. That being said, many areas seemed choppy and without a good flow to them which created bottlenecks at certain areas. Cabin: We had a Fantastica Ocean View (O2) and while the cabin was spacious enough and well appointed, the storage space was nearly non-existent. Especially for a twelve day cruise. We were on Deck 5, just down from guest services and the Atrium bar and I thought the location was good. easy to get everywhere. Dining: This started out poorly, but eventually ended up fine. We had no dining time assigned, we just kept being told that we would get our time once on board...that never really worked out, mainly because we boarded so late, the dining table had closed. Finally we were assigned a table/time and that is where we sat the rest of the cruise. Food in the MDR was fair to good; In the buffet was mostly fair with some good, and at our one specialty dining experience, The Chef's Table, was spectacular. Entertainment: MSC really shines in this area. Shows were good to great and Cirque at Sea was amazing. Service: Across the board service was friendly and professional. Never had an issue there. Ports & Shore Excursions: All were booked through MSC and all were either good or great. Arles and Vigo were the standouts. We did not do an excursion in Barcelona. Disembarkation: Another disaster. I had priority debarkation and while I was off the ship in a reasonable amount of time, I then stood around for over an hour waiting for my luggage to make it off. Overall, the ship was beautiful, but I don't think I would use MSC in Europe again. I haven't written them off completely so I may sail them again in the US, but I will choose other lines when sailing in Europe. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise a year in advance with an inside guarantee quad cabin. We were given a free upgrade to an outside cabin with a porthole #5078. Room was well laid out, enough room for us and 2 teenagers. The couch lifted to form a ... Read More
We booked this cruise a year in advance with an inside guarantee quad cabin. We were given a free upgrade to an outside cabin with a porthole #5078. Room was well laid out, enough room for us and 2 teenagers. The couch lifted to form a bunk bed. Shower was larger then other cruises. We had mid dining 730 and ate every night in the dining room. Because we are from the states, msc included free bottled water while in dining room during lunch and dinner. We did late shows every night and loved all the singers and dancers. The pools and water slides were nice. Had fun doing the bridges. The shops on board offer designer labels and prices! They really push drink packages. We opted to save money and just go with what is included. Odd- no coffee in dining room with desert during dinner time. Buffet was good selection. They automatically add a donation to UNICEF on your account everyday that will be removed if you call down and ask for it to be. We pre purchased internet package 4gb for 4 devices that worked for our family for the week. Signal was good enough for chatting with clients and checking emails - not enough to stream. Food in dining was good - no lobster (available as an upcharge.) No menu posted for dining room as with other ships but we asked each night to see the next night menu so we could decide buffet or dining room. We ended up eating every night in the dining room. For such a large ship, tons of elevators and never had to wait long. People embark and disembark at each port of call. Smooth process both times. FYI- need to be out of room the day you leave by 8am. We planned a later flight thinking it would take longer. We were off the ship with luggage in hand by 930am. All and all I would do it again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Overall, this was an enjoyable cruise and I would sail on MSC again. My husband and I sailed with our 13 mo daughter and both sets of grandparents (in their 70s). We have all cruised several times on a variety of cruise lines. This was ... Read More
Overall, this was an enjoyable cruise and I would sail on MSC again. My husband and I sailed with our 13 mo daughter and both sets of grandparents (in their 70s). We have all cruised several times on a variety of cruise lines. This was our first time on MSC. EMBARKATION: We spent a week traveling around Italy prior to making our way to Genoa, where we embarked. We found the locals in Genoa to be the least friendly (and some even hostile) to tourists, compared to the rest of Italy. We were glad we were only spending one night there. The port itself was quite confusing. We took the metro to the stop close to the port. Once we arrived, there were very few signs. We followed what signs there were, which sent us upstairs, only to have to go back downstairs to drop our luggage off. Luggage drop off was not labeled. We ended up at a tent that looked like the right place, only to be told (after waiting a few minutes) that we were in the Yacht Club drop off. Steerage passengers needed to just leave their luggage in the road. It was a little odd. But we eventually got it to the right place and got ourselves on the ship. Our luggage arrived without issue, despite our misgivings. Once embarked, there was definitely a push for up-selling drinks and dining packages, but the staff members left us alone when we declined. We were able to immediately drop off our hand luggage in our rooms and head up to the buffet for lunch. All in all, it took us about an hour to get from the port entrance to lunch at the buffet. So despite the lack of signage and the confusion about luggage drop-off, it was a relatively quick and easy process. SHIP: The ship was stunning and always clean. There are multiple dome shows daily and it's worth catching at least one. The area that felt the most crowded was the Bamboo Pool area and the buffet (partially because they would block off parts of the buffet seating at various times). DINING: BUFFET: There was always seating at the very back of the buffet--even during peak times. The lines there seemed to be the shortest, as well. The stations repeat themselves a handful of times throughout the buffet, so there's no need to stand in a long line at the beginning of the buffet. Staff members from the pay-for-restaurants would walk around asking if we wanted to make reservations for dinner that night. Again, they left us alone when we declined. We found breakfast at the buffet to be one of the best meals of the day. There was a good variety of food, although it did not vary from day to day. There was an omelette station, a ham carving station, eggs, bacon/sausage, yogurt, fruit, cereals, muesli, Asian rice and noodles or dumplings, pancakes, waffles, sticky buns, etc. Lunch at the buffet was also pretty good. The pizza, pasta, and fresh mozzarella were always delicious. A few members of our group had pizza that had been sitting out for awhile and it wasn't as good as the fresh slices. There was also a salad station, bread, carving station, and a variety of dishes of the day, some of which were good, some not. The mass-produced desserts were similar to other cruise lines--usually not delicious, but ok. There were a few that were really enjoyable. MDR: We ate dinner in the MDR each night. Our waiters were very friendly, but hadn't been trained as well as on other cruise lines. They weren't trained to pay attention to details or anticipate needs. Some nights there would be butter for the bread, but no butter knife. Other nights there were small dishes for olive oil and vinegar, but no olive oil and vinegar. Some nights there would be a place setting for the baby, other nights there wasn't (there was always a high chair). The staff were always responsive when asked to do something, but failed to anticipate needs. Not a deal breaker, but something the training could improve upon. The food quality was inconsistent. Some nights the food was really good (ie the mushroom risotto), others it was quite bland or even not good (ie the prawns). CABIN: We had an inside cabin that was relatively spacious. Obviously smaller than ocean view or balcony rooms, but larger than the one other inside cabin we've had on another cruise line. The bathroom was small, but well designed. Our cabin steward was very attentive and always called our baby by her name when he saw her. THEATER SHOWS: There was a really great variety of shows ranging from rock to opera to flamenco. The dancers and singers were more talented than I've seen on other cruise lines. The singers did sing in English with an accent, but overall put on excellent performances. The one miss was when they had the opera tenor sing Frank Sinatra's "My Way" during a tribute show. Opera just isn't the right style for Sinatra. On the sea day, there was an opera, which was really well done in less than an hour. They had some subtitles, but they were intermittent. Unclear why they didn't provide full subtitles, which would have made it even better. GYM: The gym was small and crowded no matter when we went (early morning, mid-day, or evening). There's a waiver that has to be signed to use the gym, but they didn't ask us to sign it until our last day. ROPES COURSE/WATER SLIDES: There's also a waiver that has to be signed to participate in the ropes course and water slides. There are no signs to advertise this, so you could end up waiting in line for some time, only to find out that you had to go two decks down (to the Sportsplex) to sign the waiver and get your wristband before being allowed to participate. Once the wristband was obtained, both the ropes course and water slides were fun. The waits were never very long. POOLS: The outdoor pool didn't get much use given highs in the mid 50s to low 60s for most of the cruise. The indoor Bamboo Pool was almost always packed when we saw it. At one point on the sea day, there was a 15 person line for one of the hot tubs in the Bamboo room. This is likely less of an issue in the summer/warmer climate as passengers are more willing to use both the indoor and outdoor pools. GUEST SERVICES: I'd read several very negative reviews about Guest Services, but had no issues with their services. I went to Guest Services twice. Once was to have the UNICEF donation removed. The line was short and they were quick to comply. The second time was the last night of the cruise at 22:00. We found the embarkation pictures in our room, but left them there based on what other reviewers have said. The last night, we read the fine print that we were to return them to our cabin steward 48 hrs before the end of the cruise or we'd be charged. As we were packing up the last night, we saw this and I thought we'd have to eat the $E30 since we hadn't returned them, but thought I'd give Guest Services a try. I got in a line of about 10 people, but there was a guest services team member going through the line asking people what their issues where. He redirected me to the Photo Shop. I figured I was really out of luck at that point given the late hour, but they were still open and quick to take back my photos and refund the money. PORTS: As others have said, the published port hours are different than what actually happens--by up to an hour on both sides. For example, we were to arrive in Barcelona at 7:00 a.m. and leave at 6:00 p.m., but we arrived at 8:00 a.m. and left at 5:30 p.m. This is important to keep in mind if buying timed tickets for something in port. Civitavecchia: There's a free port shuttle from the port to the city. There are many taxistas waiting where the shuttle drops passengers off ready to take passengers to Rome and show them the sites. They were quite persistent despite declining their offers, then offended when they finally realized we weren't interested. We walked the mile or so to the train station and took the train into Rome for the day. Round trip it was Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Summary: Good vs. Bad These are just things to be aware of - some of them aren‘t easily changeable, some are management issues. Good Food quality in the buffet restaurant. Really quite new and showing it. Cirque du Soleil ... Read More
Summary: Good vs. Bad These are just things to be aware of - some of them aren‘t easily changeable, some are management issues. Good Food quality in the buffet restaurant. Really quite new and showing it. Cirque du Soleil on board. Bad Ship design and construction: There are many issues with the way the ship was designed and built that I found to be quite negative as compared to other ships I‘ve been on. Customer-facing personnel: Unfortunately, the few black sheep amongst the crew really pull the average down, though the people we dealt with generally seemed subdued. Ship interior is quite drab. My Take: There are other ships and other companies out there... The Ship The Meraviglia is huge - at the time of our cruise, I believe it was the second biggest cruise ship in the world, taking on up to 5.714 passengers at fully booked (which likely rarely happens, as this means 4 to a cabin for many cabins on the ship). We had a good size comparison to an older MSC ship in La Valletta (the „Sinfonia“) and the difference is just stupendous. With its Christening in June, 2017, it had just over a year and a half of service under its belt when we were on it. The condition of the ship is in line with its age. Our cruise was in the 3rd week of February in the Mediterranean, so likely the ship was not near booked solid. We didn’t get stats like „passengers on board“, unfortunately, and interestingly, people got on and off at nearly every port we stopped at. There are several aspects to this ship that make me subjectively think they have to do with the French manufacturer. I‘m not a great fan of French technology products and this ship makes this feeling all the more assertive. The creaking in the cabin (remember, it‘s a pretty new ship) and the odd, intermittent shuddering or continuous vibration despite absolutely reasonable wave levels gives me the impression that the engineering that went into the ship isn‘t on par with other builders. In fact, it brought back a memory from high school Physics class, where we watched a video of the Tacoma Narrows bridge getting driven into its resonance frequency by a storm and then basically „exploding“. Not a nice thought and certainly not a noise to make you sleep well without ear plugs. While then central Promenade with a projection ceiling is a nice touch, reminding me of some casinos or even the downtown area in Las Vegas. The possibilities of such a projection screen are not utilized fully, in my opinion. Think of the Venetian, where a complete day/night cycle is gone through every half hour or so, it would have been simple and a real added value to make more of this feature here on board. The rest of the ship is rather drab. The staircases (which we used frequently - who needs a stairmaster?) have identical pictures all the way from the bottom to the top and the carpeting is held in the same rust color. I‘m not a fan of overly colorful interiors, but this is boring even for me. You have the occasional piece of art (mostly around the reception area) and one or two other highlights, but really, the ship is poorly decorated. The same goes for many of the bars. A real downer is the „Studio Bar“ - seldom have I seen a place so lacking in luster. On the other side of the promenade, the "pub" tries to add some flair and comes fairly close to looking like a British pub, though it looks like one that was just built and never used before. This is a shame - a touch of relicing would really have gone a long way here. Another negative aspect to the ship‘s construction is the way the movement of groups is restricted. As an example: all the ships we were on before (Celebrity, Norwegian and Costa) have had multiple entrances into resp. out of the main theater. This ship only has a single way out. If you‘re not sitting at the top, don‘t bother getting up until the masses have pushed their way through the catheract of an exit. It really isn‘t a pleasant experience. Lets hope there is never a mass panic in this theater or there will likely be people trampled to death. The same goes for the Carousel Lounge, where they have Cirque du Soleil performances 6 nights a week. The only entrance to the theater is through the casino. This is annyoing for two reasons: for one, the casino is a smoking zone, and while the air is obviously vigurously exchanged you still smell it quite clearly. It is also annoying if you‘re with kids, because you will be told quite rudely that you can‘t be standing near any of the gambling machines even if you‘re behind the cordon that at least optically separates the entrance to the theater from the casino floor. The impression that employees of MSC are less happy about their jobs comes across too often. From people that deal with customers being rude or just unfriendly to being told that „this is the first time working for MSC and hopefully the last“, one gets the impression that MSC is not a company with the best people management, nor one that educates customer-facing employees on the proper way to deal with those that, at the end of the day, pay their wages. The Cabin The cabin (we were in 10212) is modern and - at first glance - spacious for this category. However, that spaciousness comes at a cost: there is very little room to put stuff, especially when the couch is converted to bunk beds. Essentially, you have a double sliding door closet with hangers and a few shelves. The only drawer is in the desk, and a good quarter of it is taken up by the hair dryer. Other ships we‘ve been on provided a whole series of drawers next to the desk and cubbyholes around the TV. The bunk beds that are made out of the two-seater couch are fullsize single beds, the best I‘ve seen in a standard cabin. These come at a price, however - the unneeded upholstery from the couch goes under the bed, which leaves less space for your luggage. In fact, we weren‘t even able to fit two medium-size, upright suitcases under the bed without one of them sticking out about 10cm. Luckily, our kids had cabin-size suitcases with them, otherwise we would have been stumped at a place to put them. The bathroom is the most modern I‘ve seen (then again, the ship is quite new) and quite spacious. The shower is great, with a glass door and large enough to not feel cramped. Two drawbacks: the air is - as is the case in every cruise ship I‘ve been on - sucked out of the cabin here (which makes sense), but apparently the opening is so small that the sucking noise is very loud. It is so loud that inside you can‘t hear that people are conversing in the cabin, much less what they are saying. The other drawback is that there is no built-in nightlight, something we‘ve had in older ships. I can‘t think of any reason not to put a nightlight into a modern bathroom, but it fits with my general opinion of the ship‘s planning and construction. Because we‘ve had ships before without a nightlight in the bathroom (mind you: older ones), I had brought one with me. Unfortunately, the same „reasoning“ used throughout the ship’s design has been applied to the receptacle in the bathroom as to many other aspects of the ship: when you turn the lights off in the bathroom, the power is turned off here, too. How annoying is that? So: no nightlight. Nor can you charge your shaver overnight. Oddly enough, the TV works even without a keycard in the central power switch... There are two European (Schuko) outlets, a USB charging outlet and two US-style outlets at the desk - and the shaver outlet (110/220V) in the bathroom that turns off with the light switch. That‘s it. The cabin door provided absolutely zero sound proofing towards the hallway, which is unfortunate when you have neighbors that find it adequate to have a conversation right in front of your door at nearly midnight. Actually, you get a lot of audio from everywhere around you - subjectively a lot more than on other (older!) ships. Put that on the „bad design“ list. What also surprised me in a negative way is the poor air circulation. When you have a small cabin with four people sleeping in it, continuously getting fresh air into the cabin is absolutely imperative. In spite of the very loud suction noise in the bathroom, either the air fed into the cabin wasn‘t fresh or there simply wasn‘t enough of it, as the air quality in the morning was attrocious. This is an issue I‘ve had on no other cruise ship, not even ones as old as the Norwegian Jade! Poor ship design, once again. Food - Marketplace Buffet As our kids are not old enough to enjoy a sit-down dinner, we mostly ate at the buffet restaurant. While the food quality is really very good (better,subjectively, than on the Costa ships we were on), it is very limited in variability, all stations basically seem to have 90% identical food every day - for both, lunch and dinner - with variance only in things like the rotissary meat or salads. It is perhaps an unfair comparison to make, but if you consider the unbelievable choice in food we found on the Celebrity Constellation, this ship’s buffet restaurant comes across like a food court at a shopping mall. Unfortunately, it is way too busy for making for a pleasant meal: as with many other cruise ship buffet restaurants, the „Marketplace Buffet“ on the Meraviglia is often packed to the hilt. Sometimes, we weren’t even able to find seating anywhere. Especially beverage stations can be annoying, not only because there are obviously too few of them, but also because especially coffee seems to run out frequently. When the coffee isn‘t out, the coffee cups are. One morning, the cups were out at every station I squeezed my way to! Picking up used plates and silverware - or wiping down a table - is also something that can be improved on. It sometimes seems that there are more people walking idly around to provide (paid) bar service than people to do basic restaurant service. Unfortunately, this was also the case when the buffet wasn‘t as busy, which is disappointing. Food - L‘Olivio d‘Oro Restaurant We only visited the assigned restaurant once, without our kids. As we later found it, it was a specialty evening and the food was quite good, albeit not extraordinary. The table we were at was oddly US football-shaped and the two of us found sitting in this configuration to be a strange experience. Unfortunately, the noise level in the restaurant is so high, that aside from the friendly personnel serving your dinner at our table, we didn‘t see much of an advantage over the buffet restaurant, especially since there apparently isn‘t a kids menu (this we heard from other people). The Shows We visited both Cirque du Soleil shows: Viaggio and Sonor in the „Cocktail & Show“ variant. Without knowing the menu, we were glad not to have booked the dinner & show version, as you simply sit at tables around the circular stage and listen to guitar music while eating. Unfortunately, here too we found employees dealing with customers that would better be placed in the kitchen or in the engine room. You are led to your table by a waiter. The table number is on the paper tickets you get the night before in your cabin, and you pass by a table that holds various drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, which are the cocktails for the evening. An older gentleman in group before us was yelled at by the waiter „one drink per person, one drink per person!“ when he picked up the drink for his wife with his other hand (she was right next to him, not carrying a glass). Not a good impression. Both shows were a flurry of impressions and really quite good, though both were completely different. For small children, Viaggio is your better choice - at least our kids liked it better than Sonor (and I did, too), but both are impressive. Beside Cirque du Soleil, we also took in a very good live music and dance show and a magician. Pools + Other Entertainment There are various pools on the 15th and 16th decks, as well as several hot tubs. One pool and one hot tub are in an enclosed area (with a roof that can slide to the side). Due to the air temperature, we really only used the indoor pool, though this only made sense at offpeak times. With just one pool indoors, you can imagine how crowded it got at other times. The ship also has what they call the „Himalayan Bridge“ (a rope walking parcours) and a cool-looking waterslide that takes you over the side of the ship for part of the „ride“. The rope walking parcours is pretty cool - I did it with both kids, though you really have to hang on to your camera up there when the wind blows (and anything else that isn't attached to you)! Unfortunately, it was only available while docked. Read Less
38 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I have taken more than 50 cruises on nine different cruise lines, but this was my first cruise with MSC, and the new Meraviglia was a very pleasant surprise. It is an absolutely gorgeous ship with a very polite and helpful crew. I had ... Read More
I have taken more than 50 cruises on nine different cruise lines, but this was my first cruise with MSC, and the new Meraviglia was a very pleasant surprise. It is an absolutely gorgeous ship with a very polite and helpful crew. I had seen all the western Mediterranean ports on our itinerary before, but they are some of my favorites. I will give you ideas on what to expect on your cruise and how to enjoy each port on your own, at minimal expense. Because this review is so long, I will divide it into sections so you can skip to the parts that interest you. THE SHIP: The MSC Meraviglia is enormous, one of the largest cruise ships in the world at 171k tons, with more than 4,500 passengers and 1,500 crew. The interiors are stunning, mostly white and shades of gray in the public areas and muted colors in the cabins, with none of the cheesy decor that one often sees on low priced cruise ships. There is a good online video from MSC that will give you a look at the Meraviglia's elegant (contemporary Italian design) interiors. The deck plans are standard for the industry, with a few exceptions. Long hallways are zig-zagged into shorter segments, and the two elevator silos (forward and midship) are in alcoves, which can be confusing as one exits them. The open deck was too cold and windy to be enjoyed midwinter, so I cannot comment on how well the pools, sundecks, and jogging track might function in a tropical environment. The spa and gym are separated, and the gym is relatively small for such a large ship. As a result, the usual complimentary stretch and exercise programs had to be given among the chairs in the public lounges since there is no aerobics area in the gym. There is a large indoor basketball/soccer court separate from the gym, a court that was rarely used on this cruise but is probably busy during school vacations. I did not use the spa so I cannot comment on its services or prices. As on other ships, most dining, entertainment, bars, and lounges are clustered on decks 6 and 7. The central promenade between these two decks is open and its ceiling is covered with an enormous LCD screen that provides glamour in the daytime and entertaining sound and light shows each evening. The best place to view these LCD shows is from the balcony on deck 7 at either end of the promenade. MSC uses similar large LCD screens instead of the usual stage scenery in its main theater and circus lounge, and also next to its open-deck pool. This is ingenious and entertaining, and is one of the highlights on this ship. Kids of all ages will love the effect. The atrium spans decks 5 though 7 and sparkles with millions of glass crystals embedded in its spiral staircases. Similar sparkle is present in the walls shelving wine bottles outside some of the dining rooms. Reception and cruise services are clustered on deck 5. I found the personnel there were very helpful and efficient. Waiting lines for these services are common on a ship this size, but the lines moved quickly on the Meraviglia. As an aside, we experienced two nights with hurricane force winds (72 knots actual, 83 knots perceived, Beaufort scale 12) and the ship handled them with ease. There was minimal list in spite of the ship's enormous wind profile, and I felt minimal rocking and no pitching in my upper deck cabin, which was far above the ship's center of gravity. There was the usual thud of the hull against waves that one hears in severe weather, but no noise from structural flexing. I felt very safe and would trust this ship to be comfortable even on a transatlantic itinerary. FELLOW PASSENGERS: On this western Mediterranean itinerary the passengers were an enjoyable mix of nationalities -- something I enjoy when I travel in Europe. Based on overheard languages, I estimate that about 20% were native English speakers, 20% Chinese or Japanese, 5% Russian or South Asian, and 55% an equal mix of European languages (Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and French). Announcements are multilingual but reasonably infrequent. Ironically, the Japanese and Chinese announcements were the easiest to understand because they were done by native speakers. The European languages were sometimes less clear because they were often rushed and given by non-native speakers. In this age of smartphone apps and smart TVs (each cabin has a smart TV), MSC would be wise to give all (except its safety and emergency) announcements via smartphone or TV. The ship already has a TV channel in each language where announcements and updates could be posted. Overhead announcements could be limited to one sentence in each language, giving the topic and referring passengers to their smart devices for further info. Also, most announcements are standard in content and could be pre-recorded at reasonable speed by native speakers. In any case, the variety of nationalities and languages is one of the pleasures of traveling abroad. If you want a Disney version of the world, then stay home. CHILDREN: I am not fond of children running loose on cruise ships, which is one of the reasons I chose a midwinter departure. Another bonus is that we were the only cruise ship docked in each port, and each port was relatively free of tourist crowds during the off-season. Our cruise had about one or two hundred children at most, preschool age or Australians on school summer holidays. The children were easily accommodated by the extensive play areas and children's programs on this ship. The school holiday calendar and a ship's quota on younger passengers is something to consider whenever booking cruise. CREW: All crew members I met were very polite and did their jobs very well. Even though this is an Italian cruise line, the crew were of diverse nationalities and usually used English as their common language. A special effort is made to provide some crew members for each language group, although passengers and crew were not always matched in this regard in the dining rooms or cabins. The ship is new, and it is maintained spotlessly clean by an excellent housekeeping staff. The officers are not as visible as on some other cruise lines, although opportunities are made to introduce high ranking officers to passengers. This is a non-issue for me as long as the junior officers maintain the safety standards of the ship so that fires and evacuations can be handled well in an emergency. CABINS: MSC is unusual in that it has relatively uniform cabins over four cabin grades called "experiences" -- Bella, Fantastica, Wellness, and Aurea-- based on what amenities are included at each price level. In addition, there are are the Yacht Club cabins, which I believe are not that much nicer than standard cabins but are isolated in a locked area of the ship with special dining, decks, and lounges (corresponding with the old first class). You can read further about this system on the MSC website. I was fortunate in that I applied to MSC and was ultimately given reciprocity (MSC gold status) to correspond with my elite status on some other cruise lines. In addition, I booked this cruise relatively late before departure when the price was so low that I thought it must be an error, but fortunately was real. It was by far the most "bang for the buck" that I have had on any cruise. I also got the 12 free drink vouchers with my Fantastica level cabin, a bonus that will be discontinued in late March 2019. My upper deck mid-ship Fantastica grade balcony cabin was absolutely beautiful. It was a little larger than the standard for the industry. Most of the extra space was devoted to a long (2m) sofa that could be converted to a queen size bed for two more adults. The cabin came with all the usual amenities, but no robes and no body lotion, so bring your own if needed. The bathroom was compact but had a shower large enough for almost anyone. The balcony was large enough for two standard chairs and one ottoman/table. The glass wall of the cabin and glass railing of the balcony offered beautiful views. Given the choice, I think that a starboard cabin provides nicer views in most ports on this itinerary. I did not realize how enjoyable a balcony view can be, even in winter, in this part of the world. For those with an inside cabin, there are two TV channels showing the view to the port and the starboard sides of the ship, which is an improvement over the usual single forward-facing bridge-cam channel. My cabin was especially well-maintained by my cabin steward. After a severe wind storm that coated my balcony with sea salt, the huge glass windows were immaculate the very next day. I did not go on a cabin crawl on this ship, so I cannot comment on the inside cabins or the suites. My cabin was a wonderful respite in the evenings, when the public areas and the entertainment venues tended to get too loud for my taste, as is too common on cruise ships. I do not understand why louder entertainment is considered better. To me, louder entertainment just sounds more amateur. DINING: The food on the Meraviglia is usually good to excellent, with only a few disappointments. For me the buffet breakfasts were by far the best meal of the day, equal to or better than that of any other cruise ship. The light and flaky croissants are some of the best I have ever had. The meats, fruits, cereals, and eggs at breakfast are all very good. The waffles (tough and soggy) and the orange drink (real orange juice is available at a surcharge) were breakfast disappointments on this cruise. I cannot comment on the coffee and tea, since I tried neither. There is only one sea day on this itinerary, so I tried the buffet lunch once and the dining room lunch once (I skipped Rome because of heavy rain and the usual transportation hassle of going from Civitavecchia port to Rome and back). The dining room lunch menu is limited but good, and the buffet lunch on the Rome day featured the best beef (rare filet mignon) of the cruise. The afternoon buffet snacks are also good, although the pizzas are surprisingly soggy rather than crisp. No free ice cream is available in the buffet (it is a favorite of mine on other ships), but very good ice cream at dinner in the main dining rooms is free. The food and service in the main dining rooms (based on my limited experience) is not up to the level of that on other cruise ships. The menu tends to be limited compared with other cruise lines (one appetizer, one soup, one salad). Upscale choices (lamb, beefsteak, lobster, salmon, etc.) are absent, although some of them can be purchased with a surcharge of about 15-20 euros. The fish is invariably the best main course on the menu, in small portions but perfectly prepared. The beef at dinner was often a disappointment on this cruise. The "chef's special" prime rib, for example, was a thin slice of lean, over-cooked beef that was as tough as leather. My waiter offered to bring me another item from the menu, but I was already running late for a show I had reserved. Similarly disappointing, the veal shank was a large cross-section of bone with a scant rim of meat along one edge. The dining room service is also not on par with other cruise lines for several reasons, and not the waiters' fault. There are fixed dining times -- early or late. Only the most expensive cabins have the freedom of flexible dining times. Diners are supposed to arrive within 15 minutes of their designated time, but they tended to wander in gradually. With flexible dining, a table fills quickly and the service begins promptly. With a fixed dining time, I usually spent the first 20 minutes eating bread until there were enough diners at his station for the waiter to start service. There are no sommeliers in the dining rooms, but if you enjoy wine and know your labels, you will do fine. There are multiple choices of wine by the glass in each major category (red, white, rose, sparkling). Unfortunately, the waiters are delayed in starting service in part because they show newly embarked diners to their assigned tables. Also, table assignments did not make sense on my cruise. Waiters' native language often did not match that of their diners. Worst of all, my waiter and his assistant were at a work station up one level and around the corner from my table even though my table was just a few feet away from another waiter's work station. My waiter had no way to anticipate my needs or see any of my requests. Finally, all waiters are burdened with bulky touch screen tablets the size of a library book. Most restaurant waiters make written notes at table and then enter them into a computer at their work stations. Entering each order in the computer as it is given slows down the entire process. If MSC spent just a little more on ingredients (especially the beef), trained and assigned waiters in a logical way, and allowed dinner service to start promptly and progress efficiently, dining on the Meraviglia could be second to none. The one thing that disappointed me the most in the main dining room was the absence of free drinking water. If one wants to drink water at dinner, one must pay for it -- a new bottle of water with each dinner. If only half of the 4,500 passengers have water with dinner, that generates more than 800,000 bottles of plastic waste every year, not to mention the fossil fuel wasted in shipping bottled water to various ports. Since water is free in the buffet area, making bottled water a requirement in the dining rooms is hypocrisy for a cruise line that claims to be environmentally sensitive. Bottled water should be available for purchase in all venues for those who need it, but it should not be the only source of water in any venue. DRESS: The Meraviglia passengers were well-dressed (no ball caps, rare slashed jeans) but were still casual during the day. There were two formal nights when about a third of men wore a suit and tie, a third wore a sport jacket, and a third wore a good shirt with no jacket. Women dressed correspondingly. SANITATION: Hand washing is much more effective than alcohol gels at killing bacteria and viruses. The good news is that MSC wisely installed multiple hand wash stations at the entry to the buffet and in restrooms near the main dining rooms. The bad news is that almost no one used them. There is no one to remind passengers to wash hands, and unfortunately the automatic sinks in the restrooms rarely functioned properly -- the spigots and sensors are hidden by a shelf, and it takes multiple attempts to get any water. Those sinks would never pass a health inspection. Not once did I see a man successfully use the sink in the restroom. To protect my own health I not only washed my hands before each meal, I washed my hands again after touching any buffet tongs, which hundreds of passengers had already touched. Then again, I am aware of infection risks because my former profession involved infection control in hospitals. ENTERTAINMENT: The Meraviglia has very talented singers and dancers on the main stage, and talented musicians in the lounges and atrium. Because of the multiple languages represented, almost all entertainment is musical -- no lectures or enrichment activities. Most of the music is popular and familiar to Americans, but there is one abbreviated opera performance (La Boheme) by two well-trained opera singers. The opera used ballet dancers onstage to interpret the music, which added interest for those not used to opera performances. As I mentioned, the scenery relies on huge LCD screen backdrops, which worked very well and added interest (and sometimes humor) to each performance. In addition, Cirque du Soleil presents two different shows (Viaggio and Sonor) on various nights during the cruise. These can be reserved online prior to the cruise, but schedules usually change, so check soon after embarkation to verify your reservations or to add new ones. The Cirque desk is adjacent to the reception desk. Of the two, Viaggio is probably better for kids since it involves a little more clowning around. Both programs are surcharged via a drink or a dinner package. Ironically, the less expensive drink package offers the better seating. The problem with all of the entertainment on the Meraviglia is the decibel level. Singers are over-amplified to the point of distortion -- one can feel the sub-woofer bass in one's gut. I tried the stage shows each evening (wearing ear plugs) but gave up after a few days and instead just relaxed in my cabin in the evening. This problem is not unique to MSC -- it occurs on most cruise ships. Only the luxury cruise lines seem to keep the amplification at a reasonable decibel level. Parents taking their kids to the Cirque performances should definitely consider ear protection for the younger ones. EMBARKATION AND DISEMBARKATION: This cruise was unique in my experience because passengers embarked and disembarked at every port. This made embarkation much easier -- just 1,000 new passengers daily instead of 4,500 on a single day. I am not certain, but I believe that demand and pricing varies by embarkation port, so check this if you want the best price for your cruise. This system also makes disembarkation easier at the end of the cruise -- far less baggage to offload and claim each disembarkation day. It does add a bit of a disturbance each afternoon as the newly arrived passengers are summoned to their mandatory safety drill, but this is a minor inconvenience. If you are just spending the day ashore and then returning to the ship, check the daily program since the arrival and departure times for several of the ports were changed from the original cruise schedule. SUMMARY: The Meraviglia is a beautiful ship, the crew is wonderful, and the western Mediterranean ports are enjoyable. At the right price, you will enjoy this cruise very much. WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN PORTS ON YOUR OWN AT MINIMAL EXPENSE: GENOA: I love Genoa because it seems so completely Italian, especially in the historic center, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Our ship docked in the main harbor in the middle of the city's waterfront -- an easy walk to almost any attraction and just a few minutes from the main (Principe) train station. Genoa is built on a hillside, so there is some climbing, but the waterfront alone has enough attractions to fill a half day for those with mobility issues. Pick up a map in the cruise terminal and exit right (east) along the waterfront until you reach the Galata Museum del Mar (Museum of the Sea). This is a large, modern, very enjoyable museum that is worth at least an hour or two when you are returning to the ship. See their website for hours and current prices. From the museum, cross the street and head uphill through the narrow lanes (gritty but safe) to the main street (Via Balbi). From there continue east to the Palazzo Real. There are five major palaces remaining from the days of Genoa's peak power and wealth. The Palazzo Real is the most interesting, but combination tickets are available, and it is fun to see more than one. From the Palazzo Real walk farther east to Via Garibaldi, where there are beautiful historic buildings and three more palazzi -- together called the Palazzi dei Rolli on the Strade Nuove, designated a UNESCO world heritage site. Combo tickets for the palaces are available at the nearby bookshop. The fifth palace, and the one with the most art is the National Gallery of Palazzo Spinola, on Piazza Pelliceria nearby. From there walk downhill to the cathedral and nearby fountain on Piazza de Ferrari, where you will find the Genova sign/sculpture for a photo op. The view down the historic Via XX Settembre is grand. It is an easy walk back west to the waterfront for either (or both) the maritime museum or the modern aquarium. Even if you do not enter the aquarium, there is a cute floating park at the end of its pier, with good views of the ship and the city. From the aquarium and maritime museum it is an easy walk back to the ship. ROME: I usually skip Rome when it is just a single day visit from Civitavecchia. The shuttle/walk/train/metro each way takes more than an hour (about the same as a rental car). If you decide to go into the city, I recommend getting a BIRG ticket, which covers the regional train and all transport in Rome. Rick Steves guides have excellent info on what to see and do in Rome, with self-guided walking tours. His Mediterranean Ports of Call guide includes detailed info on how to get from the port to the city. Highly recommended guides. PALERMO: Palermo has a gritty beauty and vitality that I always enjoy. Some of its main streets have been blocked off and are now pedestrian friendly. The ship docks at the maritime station near the ferry terminals. As you exit the port, pick up a city map at the TI in the small wood cabin near the gate. From there it is about 15 minutes to the Teatro Massimo, another 10 minutes to the Quattro Canti intersection, and another 15 minutes along Via V. Emanuele to Piazza Independenza where you will find the bus #389 to the fabulous Cattedrale Monreale. The best place to get on the bus is at its rest stop on the far (inland) side of the plaza across from the row of small gas stations. You are more likely to get a seat from there because when the bus starts up, it swings past the wall of the Palatine Chapel and quickly fills with tourists. Check the schedule on the internet -- I believe there is a convenient departure at 10 am and about every 30 minutes thereafter. The trip into the hills takes about 30 minutes and costs 1.80 euros each way, ticket purchased from the driver. The cathedral is near the end of the bus line and there is a gorgeous view of the entire Palermo city and harbor from the walk between the bus stop and the cathedral. Inside the cathedral are the most extensive and beautiful byzantine mosaics in the western Mediterranean. It is absolutely breathtaking. For a restroom there is a friendly cafe across the plaza, and there is a small park ideal for picnics if you pass the front of the cathedral on your left, and walk under two arches past the mini-post office. The return bus leaves from exactly the same spot where it dropped you off. Back in Palermo, the new tourist entrance to the Palatine Chapel is on Piazza del Parlamento, on the opposite side of the palace from Piazza Independenza and the former tourist entrance. If you are there Fri-Mon when parliament is not in session, you can see the royal palace at the same time that you see the chapel. The chapel is a mini-version of the Cattedrale Monreale, and just as breathtaking. The chapel can be a mob scene in high season, so go early or during the lunchtime lull. From there it is a leisurely walk back to the ship. A detour through the Palermo Cattedrale and the Ballaro street market is worthwhile. On your way back, near the Quattro Canti, is the too-sexy-for-prudes Pretoria Fountain. Near the fountain are some old Norman churches, useful because all the Norman sites have free wi-fi access. VALLETTA: Almost the entire walled town of Valletta on the island of Malta is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The ship docks on the waterfront below the city walls. The easiest way to enter the city is by the new elevators which are an easy 10 minute walk to the right (northeast) as you exit the port (the TI has free maps of the city as you disembark). The elevator costs just 1 euro to go up and is free to go down. Best of all, the elevator leaves you in the upper Barrakka gardens, which have a fine view over the harbor. From the garden make your way to the Triton fountain, which is at the new gate to the city and is the terminus of bus lines that cover the island (in case you want to take a bus to one of the beach towns or to the historic town of Mdina. Bus fares are cheap and many towns are within 30 minutes by bus. From the Triton fountain walk down the main street (Republikka) to visit the spectacular St. John's (co-) Cathedral, the impressive Grand Master's Palace, and (least interesting) the archeology museum. In high season the cathedral can be a mob scene, so best to go when it first opens before the tour groups arrive. In the afternoon you can take a bus to picturesque Mdina (again, heavily touristed) or to a beach town. The only annoying thing about Valletta is that the return to the ship zig-zags through a gift shop with no apparent exits. BARCELONA: Barcelona is so heavily touristed (and so filled with scams and pickpockets) that I tend to avoid the crowds and spend my time on the periphery. The Gaudi sites, Ramblas, Picasso museum, and Gotic old town area are all worthwhile, but not fun in crowds. From the cruise ship I like to walk over the bridge (30 minutes) to the Drassanes metro station near the Columbus monument at the base of the Ramblas. Most ships offer a pricey shuttle, and later in the day the city offers the T3 shuttle bus for about 4 euros round trip. I buy a T10 packet of metro tickets (about 1 euro each, can be shared) and am on my way. I take the metro to Paral-lel for the funicular up Monjuic or to Placa Espana when the funicular is closed (it is under repair as I write this in early 2019). Bus #150 goes up the mountain from Placa Espana, with spectacular views over the cruise ships from the fort at the top (terminus of the bus). Along the way I always stop at the Catalan National Museum. The view over the city from its entrance is worth the trip, but the museum is also one of my favorite museums in all the world -- I usually spend 2 hours there every time I visit Barcelona (seniors are free -- a bonus for the elderly). The museum has Catalan art from the Romanesque through the 20th century, an amazing collection in a beautifully modernized building. I also check the Caixa Forum near Placa Espana to see what special exhibits they have. In the afternoon I usually visit some of the other tourist sites or simply amble through the old town. There are nice bike tours, walking tours, and many other things to do. The Rick Steves guide to Barcelona has great suggestions. Be aware that the current price to enter Gaudi's Sagrada Familia is now 33 euros! TOULON (and La Seyne-Sur-Mer): If you are on a large ship, you will probably dock across the bay from Toulon at La Seyne-Sur-Mer. From that dock you exit the port and turn right (west) to get to the ferry (#8M) dock about 10 minutes away. It helps if you view the port area from the upper deck of the ship first, so that you can see where the ferry stops -- it is at Espace Marine in a somewhat bleak industrial area. Any local can show you the way. The ferry costs 2 euros each way, but is included in the day pass available at the Toulon tourist information office. If you are on a smaller ship, you may dock southeast of Toulon's center, just a 10 minutes walk away from the tourist information office. Whichever dock, I suggest that you first go to the Toulon tourist information office at Place Louis Blanc. They have all the information and maps that you will need to enjoy your day. They also sell the 4 euro transit pass, which is good for all buses and ferries in the area. Just outside the office is an enjoyable street market that extends for several hundred meters up the hill. There is a pleasant walking tour of Toulon on the tourist map, or you can hop on a bus #3 or #23 to go to the attractive beaches and parks of the Mourillon district southeast of town. Alternately, you can enjoy the beach and park at Sablettes, south of La Seyne-Sur-Mer. From Toulon ferry # 18M (or less enjoyable bus #18) goes there. Bus #18 passes a few blocks west of the La Seyne-Sur-Mer cruise dock on its way north to Toulon or south to Sablettes. For those who want to see Marseille rather than Toulon, bus #23 and bus #3 go from near the waterfront area up the hill to the train station (Gare Toulon) for the ride to Marseille's St. Charles train station. Check the internet for prices and schedules. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have been on 17 MSC cruises now and wouldn't consider any other cruise line. We tend to pick cruises based on dates rather than itinerary as we just go to relax. This time was a bit different for us as it was the first time we ... Read More
We have been on 17 MSC cruises now and wouldn't consider any other cruise line. We tend to pick cruises based on dates rather than itinerary as we just go to relax. This time was a bit different for us as it was the first time we had been away for New Year, and the first time cruising in winter. This was also the first time being on such a large ship so we were a bit apprehensive especially with all the negative reviews, but as a seasoned MSC cruiser, I know to ignore most of the bad reviews on here as they are mostly unfounded. Our overall experience was very good and I would travel on the Meraviglia again if that ship was the only one available at my chosen dates, but if given the choice I would pick a smaller ship or try to get a much bigger cabin. We travelled with our 6 year old son, another couple with a 5 year old and a childless couple. We arrived at Genova by train and walked the short distance to the port arriving around 11.30. We all had Aurea cabins so had priority boarding and had no waiting around we got straight on, however even the other queue was not very long. I think later on in the day, queues can get to be quite long when the transfer buses arrive but if you get there early enough you won’t wait very long. Our cabins weren’t supposed to be ready until 14.00 but we went straight there to drop off our bags and they were ready. One negative point was to register the credit cards, the machines on the Meraviglia are slightly different to other ships and there was a bit of confusion as it was not clear which part was to pay in cash and which was for credit cards but we got there eventually. We all had Aurea balcony cabins, but we were very disappointed with these as they were tiny. It’s amazing how the biggest cabins we’ve had were actually on the smallest ships, I get the impression that they just try to squeeze in as many cabins as they can to make more money. The wardrobe was much too small for 3 people, although we did manage to squeeze all our clothes in there and stored our empty luggage under the bed as usual. The bathroom was small but well designed with a proper glass shower door and very powerful hot shower. Disappointing that we didn’t have a bath as we usually do with Aurea cabins. Some of the Aurea/black member perks were missing at first but as soon as housekeeping/reception were informed they appeared. So make sure you know what you should expect. The ship is very beautiful and plenty to do, so much that we didn’t get to do everything. The extras were quite expensive (bowling, 4d cinema etc) – even more expensive than on other MSC ships, but you can buy Fun Passes on board which are quite good value. Little tip, don’t expect to just turn up and do bowling, especially on the day at sea as there are only 2 lanes and you need to book in advance. We did it at 14.30 on the Marseille port day and were on our own. If you have small children ask the to put the gutter barriers up, I didn’t realise this was possible at first and it was only after a few loud tantrums from my 6 year old when he kept going in the gutter, that the staff member told us about this. It was a much more enjoyable game after that and my son ended up winning! I would also not recommend the flight simulator for young children, my son was tall enough to go on, but we didn’t realise that it actually went upside down and was very scary for him and even me as we were unable to control it, I laugh about it now as we were completely safe but wouldn’t take him on again until he was much older. The promenade was a great atmosphere for parties, but not well designed for parties due to the lack of bars. There is one bar at the far end then it is all shops, so we tended to go thirsty and dance rather than wait ages to get a drink. What is missing on this ship is little bars with music to have a drink and a dance, I think they could have created more of these rather than have so many specialty restaurants. The New Year’s party was amazing and best New Years Eve I have ever had. There was also the flower power party, white party, fluo party which were all amazing, great atmosphere and great music. This was a winter cruise so we didn’t use the outside pools at all (although some crazy people did) and only used the inside pool once. They seemed to be quite spacious but I can imagine how busy they would be on a sea day. We had a massage each included in our Aurea package, and I also had an eyebrow wax at the spa. The spa therapists are all very professional and the massages are excellent. They are quite expensive though, but I think you can get some good packages, I go on a cruise for family time though so didn’t look into this. It was quite hard to get an appointment for the wax as they only have one beautician that does this, but I suppose most people do their waxing before going on holiday. The theatre shows were quite disappointing, still high quality but not as varied as on the other ships we’ve been on. I think with them having the Cirque du Soleil, they don’t want to have any acrobatics in the ‘free’ theatre any more. It was mainly singing and dancing, which was quite boring for the children. There should have been a magic/puppet show on our first night but the magician missed the boat so this show was replaced by a classical concert. Cirque du Soleil was excellent but a little short, I would’ve been prepared to pay a little extra to see a longer show. We just got the show & cocktail tickets which I would highly recommend, when you already have dinner included in your cruise I don’t see the point in reserving a dinner with the show. The dinner started an hour before the show so you didn’t get to eat while you watched the show and the drinks only seats were much better – although the Carousel lounge is so small there are no ‘bad’ seats. Be aware that these shows can be cancelled in bad weather. Foodwise I am always amazed at how people can criticise the food on MSC as for us it is always amazing and one of the main reasons we like MSC cruises. I think there is something for everyone. I am a vegetarian and I never have to eat the same dish twice – unless I want to. The food is high quality, and if you think the portions are small in the restaurant, just order double! We rarely went to breakfast as we like to take it easy in the mornings on holiday. On the days that we did get up in time we just went to the buffet, there was plenty of choice, and we especially liked the made to order omelettes that you don’t usually get on MSC. We also went to the buffet most days for lunch as we find that there is more choice for everyone here at lunchtimes and more relaxed. The buffet can get very loud and crazy, but for the whole week we always found a table easily even when we were a group of 8. The trick is to have one person reserve a table while the others get their food, to avoid your food getting cold while you search for a table. It is also easier to find a table near the back end of the buffet. On the day at sea we preferred to go to the Panorama restaurant, although there is not as much choice here and not as well organised at lunchtimes as it is in the evenings. Dinner was in the Panorama restaurant. We had My Choice but it wasn’t as flexible as usual as we were a party of 8 so not as easy to get a table with the same waiter whenever we wanted. We ate at 19.15/19.30 every night apart from new year’s eve when we were able to get a table at 21.15. Our waiter Ashveen was excellent and we were very disappointed to hear that 2 days before the end of our cruise he had to return home due to personal problems, he was very professional and gave 120% to make sure that everything was perfect for us and we were able to have a laugh with him. One thing to note during winter cruises is the risk of bad weather. We were generally very lucky with the weather apart from the sea day. During the trip from Malta to Barcelona we encountered gale force 9 winds which made it very bumpy. A few of our party felt ill during the afternoon, and 2 had to leave the restaurant early in the evening. In all my 17 cruises I’ve never experienced seas that rough before, it was so bad during the night that it felt as though we were going to tip over. I always thought that the bigger the ship the less you felt the sea, but I’ve now realised that the bigger ships get knocked around more in high winds. A note on the photos, the MSC photographers are always excellent and the photos are always perfect but I always feel I am conned on these as they are always so expensive. On the other cruises we have managed to negotiate a price on board for all the photos usually €150-200, but this just means I have hundreds of photos hanging around at home that I never look at anymore. This time I decided to book in advance a 10 photo package (any size) for €80, still pretty expensive but limited photos. As soon as we got on the ship our friends were able to book packages for all photos – digital and small printed copies for €130. I wasn’t able to change my package but I was able to add all the digital photos for €60, so not as good a deal as my friends got but I much prefer to have the digital copies than the printed ones. I am also always surprised that people on here criticise the MSC staff, I find the staff to be highly professional and pleasant. I always get a smile and a hello out of anyone I pass in the corridors and always try to have a chat with staff I see regularly. Our group was a mix of 4 nationalities – English, Italian, French and Cuban with all of us speaking at least 2 different languages and none of us had any communication issues. All staff are required to speak English so I don’t understand how any English speaking passengers have communication issues. Passengers are a mix of all nationalities and personalities which I always find really interesting. If you want to be surrounded by English-speakers then please stay away from MSC and stick to the hundreds of English speaking cruises and leave the multinational cruises to us multinationals. We never choose our cruises for the destinations and do tend to repeat ports often. My main reasons for cruising are to relax and spend time with my family, this time especially as I was recovering from a foot operation and was not planning on doing too much walking. Civitavecchia – I had planned on going to see the nativity scenes at the nearby fort, but as the weather wasn’t great when we first got up we decided to stay on the boat instead. Palermo – we took a taxi tour with our friends €120 for 6 adults and 2 children. Saw most of the sights over 2 hours and had a wander round the food market. Malta – new years day so wanted to take it easy, took a horse and carriage ride around the city for €40 (or €50 can’t remember but was negotiated €10 cheaper than the ‘official’ price) 2 adults one child, then a wander around the shops near the port. Barcelona – a city I never tire of and so easy to get around on your own. We got the port cruise (blue) bus from right outside the terminal for €4 return each which leaves you near Plaza Colombo (as does the MSC shuttle which you have to pay €8/9). We then got the Metro from Drassanes to the Sagrada Famiglia (changing at Passeig Gracia) we got a 10 trip ticket for €10.20 as we were 8. Wandered round the outside of the Sagrada Famiglia, then got the metro back to Plaza Catalunya (changing again at Passeig Gracia), and walked back down the Ramblas stopping at the food market near the middle. Marseille – stayed on ship, had a lazy morning then took advantage of the quiet ship to do bowling and 4d cinema) Overall I’ve given the Meraviglia 5/5 as I feel that MSC needs a little boost and none of the negative points I’ve mentioned ruined my holiday in any way, I am already planning 2 cruises with MSC for 2019. I would recommend to anyone taking a cruise, no matter which company, to do your research on what to expect, to avoid disappointment. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this particular trip because of a few reasons: 1. We sailed this same ship and route last year and had such a great time we could not wait to go again. 2. The price was just right to try the Yacht Club experience 3. We ... Read More
We chose this particular trip because of a few reasons: 1. We sailed this same ship and route last year and had such a great time we could not wait to go again. 2. The price was just right to try the Yacht Club experience 3. We had friends who wanted to try cruising, and figured this was the best option for them, and we could show them the ropes on cruising. So below are our thoughts on various aspects on this trip. Embarkation: We boarded in Genoa, Italy. We arrived at the terminal around 11 am. We dropped our luggage off at the main luggage point on the ground floor behind the ship. We did not see the Yacht Club check in point near there like it had been the year prior. Entering the terminal, we had a hard time finding where to go for Yacht Club check-in, until we were brought to the desk on the upper level. Here we finished our check-in, then waited for a couple of other groups to finish as well. In the meantime we were given a welcome glass of champagne. Shortly afterwards, a butler came down and escorted us and three other groups on board. Upon arrival into the Yacht Club, we were escorted down to our cabin, 15029, only to find it wasn’t quite ready for us yet. We were then seated in the Top Sail Lounge, and where they offered us a drink, which we gladly accepted. A short time later, the Head Butler came in, saying our cabin was now ready, and took us back to the room. Once again it wasn’t quite ready, so we went to the restaurant for our first lunch. After lunch we were brought to the room a third time, and this time it was all set and ready. We met our Butler, Jacques, grabbed our room keys then went off to the ship. We received our luggage in our room sometime between one and four. While we went through the Yacht Club check-in process, we had friends who are a family of four who went through the normal process. Like us, they dropped their large bags at the main drop-off point, then went into the normal check-in line. Because they were travelling with two small children, they were given priority boarding. Breezing through the check-in desk, security and gangway, they were on board before we even left the Yacht Club lounge. By noon their room was ready. By 1230 or so, their luggage was awaiting them outside their door. Ship: The Meraviglia was outstanding. She is well kept, easy to navigate, and has plenty to do on board. Many bars and lounges were open often with many different activities going on. Dancing lessons happen mostly at Meraviglia Bar, which is conveniently located right on the Galleria. Above that is the TV Bar and Studio which is the place to listen and participate in some fantastic karaoke! Although, the place to be no matter what time is the Sky Lounge on deck 18! They have unique cocktails and a pianist with vocalist there every night providing soft, jazz like music. The theater, while small, we found to have ample space for each show while keeping it more intimate instead of crazy packed. Shows: We saw three shows in main theater, a guest performer who did sleight of hand and the best hand puppet show I think we have ever seen. We watched Virtual, a show about a man who has a dream of being stuck in his phone, which was very entertaining. We also Born to Rock, which was a collection of classic rock from the Beatles to Pink Floyd. All three shows were very good. Our friends saw Viaggio, which they said was very good, but not as complex as some of the land based shows. Unfortunately three shows were cancelled due to a technical issue, so we could not see Sonor. Yacht Club: Yacht Club was everything we had heard it was and hoped it would be. The attentive service, the wonderful lounge, excellent restaurant, and private pool deck was all that we could want. They truly seem to have the best staff on board working the Yacht Club. That said, we would absolutely sail in Yacht Club again, as long as we are either sailing by ourselves or with a group all in Yacht Club. We felt as if we missed a lot of the offerings and amenities by not spending as much time within the complex as we could have, while still enjoying the rest of the ship. But for the price, it surely is the best deal on the market for everything that you get included. We will sail in the Yacht Club any chance we can, but if we can’t, it wouldn’t be a make or break in cruising MSC for us. Cabin: We had a Yacht Club Interior suite, room 15029. Overall the room was very nice, comfortable bed, and well appointed toiletries in the bathroom. The room did feel smaller than our Fantastica interior room the year prior, but not by much. There was a chair in the room which felt completely out of place, as it was a plastic wicker chair, which felt like it was brought down from the pool areas. We used it primarily as a place to put our backpack. Food: Overall food exceeded our expectations. The Yacht Club restaurant had very good selection of meals each night, always hot, and there was nothing that we ordered that we disliked. Breakfast in the restaurant was always a solid choice, with fresh breads, pastries, and fruit available as well as eggs cooked to order. Breakfast at the poolside buffet was a better choice for us when the weather was nice. You could get eggs made to order, fresh waffles, a selection of fresh fruits, pastries, and always a good selection of hot foods. While the standard coffee in the restaurant was good drip coffee, the bartender up in the buffet made the best cafe lattes and macchiatos. The lunch buffet on deck was different every day, featuring a pasta of the day and a grilled item of the day. The main buffet carried standard fare, with the Ethnic corner always being the busiest and best part of the buffet. Pizza was always fresh and hot, but otherwise pretty standard. One lunch down in the Waves restaurant was a huge disappointment. The menu was small, with only three options. The lamb of the day was okay, a little overcooked. Service was awful, very slow, and poor communication from server to guests in the area where we ate at. Crew: The crew aboard is quite multicultural, which is really nice. It provides every guest on board with someone who speaks their language, thus breaking the language barriers that happen on many US based cruise lines. Also, while many state the crew is stone faced and not kind, we have never found that to be an issue. Greet anyone with a smile and they are always quick to smile back and help in anyway possible. A good chunk of the crew speak English, which is helpful for us, but most of them speak anywhere from 2-8 languages. We did have some standout waitresses, Maria in the Sky Lounge and Smita in the Brass Anchor Pub. Quick to greet us anytime they saw us, and quickly learned our favorites, and in the case of Maria, would bring us new ones. Our Butler, Jacques and his assistant Nilheesh, were fantastic. The crew that were in charge of the Yacht Club buffet and bar were a great team, and even on the days where the weather wasn't the best, they had great attitude and were fun to learn a little about crew life from. I really wish I remembered all their names to give them the proper recognition. Ports: The itinerary for this run was Genoa, Civitavecchia (Rome), Palermo, Malta, Day at Sea, Barcelona, Marseille, and back to Genoa. In itself, this itinerary is awesome! It provides just enough variation of countries and ports that you can see so many different things. Civitavecchia, we did not get off. We’ve been to Rome before and did not see reason to get off and go again, so this port provided a great Ship day for us. Palermo was great. Even with having been before, we still got off an enjoyed the Hop-On Hop-Off bus to take in the various sights, architecture, markets, and gardens. They are always a wonder to see. We did the exact cruise itinerary last year and missed Malta, so our fingers were crossed we would make it to Malta this go around. Alas, Mother Nature was not on our side and we missed Malta once again. Maybe we are the bad luck? Who knows. The bridge and captain decided to make the day another cruise day, giving us 2 days at sea. Therefore, we made the Ship our destination for those two days. Barcelona is a city we love in Europe! It’s classic and modern all mushed together. We took a stroll up to the Saint Joseph Boqueria, the market right off La Rambla. We actually got a chance to walk around and take in all the market had to offer for tourists like ourselves. Then we opted to take a Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour as we wanted to make our way towards Tibidabo. Unfortunately for us, once we got to the Tibidabo stop and hopped off, we found that the Funicular railway was closed for winter except for the weekends, which put a wrench in our plans. Back to the Hop-On Hop-Off bus we went and made our way back towards the starting point. We made our way back to the market to grab lunch then back to the boat we went. The last port for us was the one we least looked forward to, the port of Marseille. It’s not that we don’t like Marseille, this was the first time we actually got off at the port. France just isn’t on our to-do list of places to visit. We got off and caught a taxi from the port to the city center where we found a lovely Christmas Market that we walked around and bought some soaps. After exploring a few avenues, most of the group we were with was ready to head back. We did notice there was some broken windows and other damage from recent protests, but nothing too bad. Back in Genoa we took some time to stroll around the streets closest to the train station before grabbing a quick meal and taking off on the train back home. Other thoughts: At the start of our cruise, there was an elevator bank that had a new express system installed. Express is a loose term in our opinion, but the whole system reverted back to a standard elevator bank by the time we left Palermo. No notice or anything, and in the end, only one elevator was left on deck 4 with an out of service message. On the subject of elevators, the Priority Service feature for Yacht Club members was hit or miss on when it would work. It was also easy for anyone on board the elevator who was paying attention to hijack the elevator that a Yacht Club guest tried to hijack themselves. Interesting perk, but one that wasn’t well explained nor one that works consistently. Even when you get the system to recognize a priority call, more often than not, another elevator in the bank will call on your floor in the direction you wish to go before your priority elevator. Admittedly, if you do overtake an elevator successfully, it is kind of fun to see the confusion on the other guest faces. There is a stone lounger in the spa that never seems to be on, whether this is intentional or not I am not sure. I asked about it once, but I don’t remember the answer. Seems that most of the growing pains of a new ship were worked out otherwise, crew seemed a lot more confident of where things were, and the technology was working with no major hiccups. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Without doubt the very worst holiday (let alone cruise) we have ever been on. Please, please, please do not ignore the negative MSC reviews and part with your hard earned cash or 'Take a punt' like we did. Where to start. ... Read More
Without doubt the very worst holiday (let alone cruise) we have ever been on. Please, please, please do not ignore the negative MSC reviews and part with your hard earned cash or 'Take a punt' like we did. Where to start. 1 - Ship - Lovely modern and clean. They've put a lot of thought in to it. 2 - Customer service - non-existent. Most staff are rude at best, hostile or aggressive at worst. Several times staff members barged their way past either myself or my partner through doorways or corridors. Staff in general looked depressed or bored and seemed to resent passengers. Would desperately love to say there were 1 or 2 notable exceptions however sadly there weren't. 3 - Food - The very worst we've been served anywhere on any holiday. Hard to believe that an Italian company can ruin pasta! Food in general was bland, lukewarm, recycled from one meal to the next and made from very, very cheap ingredients.As one of our fellow English speaking passengers put it 'I wouldn't feed it to my dog'. The buffet was nothing short of an absolute farce. The pizza was popular so if you fancy a slice be prepared to fight for it. I jest not. The only tip we picked up and would recommend is that if you are stupid enough to book a cruise on the Meraviglia and find yourself in the buffet head directly to the back. Do not pass 'Go', become one of them and barge your way straight to the back. End of. 4 - Fellow passengers - The vast majority of our fellow passengers were Italian. Which sort of makes sense considering it was an Italian ship on a Med cruise. However just making a point of saying what follows isn't based on 100% of Italian people, just 100% of the Italian people on our cruise. Now that's that out the way. The behaviour and general conduct of our Italian shipmates was nothing short of utterly disgraceful by anybody's standards. Rude, obnoxious, inconsiderate and loud, boy were they loud. With absolutely no exaggeration whatsoever we were unable to hold a conversation in either of the restaurants were ate in or any of the communal or public areas we were physically co-located with Italian passengers. Physically aggressive barging and hostile to anything resembling a queue whether that be for food, waiting to pay, boarding the ship or a bus/coach or to pass through a doorway. And they make no distinction for male or female, young or old you WILL be pushed and/or elbowed out the way. Sounds like a cliche however the only way to survive is to adopt the 'When in Rome....' approach (scuse the pun). It will inevitably lead to drama however although by that stage you just think 'Bring it on'. Now I have lived and worked abroad all my life so am happy with 'Cultural differences' and can put up with a fair deal without grinding my gears. However, being trapped with no escape from several thousand people who were put on this earth to make me hate them turned my hols in to an utter nightmare. 5 - Cabin - Clean, fresh and presentable however the storage space was minimal so we found ourselves more or less living out of our suitcases. Ultimately speaking though not the end of the world. What was particular horrific however was our cabin experience, which is really our private and intimate space, being utterly ruined by fellow passengers in surrounding cabins out on their balcony's seemingly chain smoking which wafted straight in to our cabin. So we either had to sit out and put up with a face full of smoke or stay inside our cabin with the door shut. The on board briefings clearly state that smoking on cabin balcony's is strictly forbidden and there are clear notices to that effect on the inside of balcony doors but this is simply ignored. My partner made a point of politely asking our neighbours if they'd please not smoke on the balcony however the chap just smiled, shrugged his shoulders and sparked up. Had I been there he'd have been 'Sparked' alright (see what I did there). Took x3 attempts reporting them to reception before MSC did anything about it. We had to physically tell a receptionist to smell a t-shirt I'd put out a dry on the balcony however so they lost any credit for that. It absolutely pinged of stale smoke. Sadly it was just our direct neighbours who were spoken to and not those above and below us so it made very little difference and any further complaints simply fell on deaf ears. I'm more than happy if somebody wants to crack on and have a fag however our cabin absolutely stank and to sit out on the balcony meant passively sharing their woodbines with them. Maybe we were just unlucky, who knows. Take the risk if you like but you have been warned. 6 - Excursions - Having read previous reviews we'd done our homework in advance and planned our own trips ashore at a fraction of the price. It's a good job we did because passengers we spoke to said what MSC had tried to cram in to the short times ashore was ridiculous. They were either rushed to/from/between each thing with little or no time to enjoy or experience anything or excursions were cut short with no refund or recompense of any kind. Expectations may vary however so not necessarily marking MSC down for that, you'll need to make your own mind up. 7 - Entertainment - The entertainment we saw seemed dated and pretty social club in quality (i.e. a tad naff) although some classical performers we saw in open or public areas were brilliant. Some fellow Brits paid for the Cirque du Soleil dining experience which they said was naturally superb however it was marred slightly by the dining part which they said was extremely poor. 8 - Embarkation/Disembarkation - Because passengers join and leave the ship on each stop there was no sense of occasion and one felt very. very much like a passenger as opposed to a guest. It did however make life easier not having to fight an entire ship's worth of people to get on/off. Once we'd boarded and run the carefully choreographed gauntlet of hard sell people it we were just left to crack on and find our cabin before setting sale with absolutely no fanfare. In summary - Should have been significantly more pleasant than it was given the ship however it was simply ruined by the dire service and appalling conduct of our Italian shipmates. One positive I would give MSC above the likes of Royal Caribbean is that whilst you still have the hard up sell, such as drinks packages/Premium dining/Spa treatments etc, they are no where near as persistent and in your face. In every other aspect however Royal Caribbean rather embarrasses MSC without even breaking a sweat. What else would I summarise or flag up from the usual topics or points? Probably that in tune with most airlines nowadays MSC gear 100% of their customer service on the premium 'Yacht Club' (First/Business class) passengers and everybody else down the back end are just the plebs making up the numbers and not worth making the effort on. I personally expect more from a cruise. Would I choose MSC again? Not if you paid me Would I recommend MSC to anybody else? Not a chance in hell Would my MSC experience put me off cruising? Probably not however I will pay more attention to the reviews in future. May give P&O a shot next. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
So this was my third cruise, our first with MSC which we embarked in Genoa for our honeymoon around the Mediterranean. Firstly the ship is amazing and our room was lovely, we had everything we needed but unfortunately there were not many ... Read More
So this was my third cruise, our first with MSC which we embarked in Genoa for our honeymoon around the Mediterranean. Firstly the ship is amazing and our room was lovely, we had everything we needed but unfortunately there were not many other positives things we encounted on our cruise. The majority of the staff were unpleasant, shuffling around, generally miserable and you felt as if you asked for anything it was really putting them out. Whether it’s a lack of training in the customer service department or they are generally overworked and tired I am not sure. For anyone on holiday a cheery atmosphere where you feel special and nothing is too much trouble is what can make the experience a pleasant one, this was not the case here. The food was average, nothing to rave about but was very reasonable. For the size of the ship however pretty much everyone would go to the buffet for lunch as it was the only real food restaurant open so it was chaotic with some very rude people. The level of information was poor, we came to port and there was nothing mentioned about getting off the ship, where to go or the procedure. As I have mentioned we have done it before so knew the score but we spoke to some first time cruisers who were very confused. When you book a cruise with various ports you expect to be taken there. MSC don’t tell you that on some occasions they need to port 20 mins drive from the city. This is fine I understand it’s necessary due to the ships size etc but to then expect the guests to pay €13 each to get on the shuttle bus they provide I believe is wrong. This seriously adds up and I have never been expected to pay that with other companies just to get to the port the cruise said it was going to take me to anyway. One morning we decided to have a lie in, only to be awoke at 8 am by an almighty screeching noise. We thought the ship was scraping along the seabed as we were coming in to port. We phoned the steward who told us it was balcony cleaning. Before we knew it someone was on our balcony whilst we were still in bed, no warning. I had to leave the room after an hour as the noise was so irritating. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to wait a little so those who don’t rise early or maybe had a late night aren’t disturbed. Having a romantic meal was not possible. You are put on a table with a group of random strangers. Luckily they were nice people but we were with 6 others which made having a nice meal together in the restaurant for our honeymoon not something we could do. And lastly I would describe them as a low cost or no frills kind of cruise. You get your bed and food and that’s it. Ice cream, room service even the circus show that was advertised you have to pay for, all things that have been included with other cruise companies. The ship is stunning it’s just got a long way to go in the customer service department and to make guests feel special. Others have described it as feeling like cattle and I think that’s pretty accurate. Will be looking for another company next year. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
What an experience! First ever cruise and what better way to experience cruising than with MSC Meraviglia. This is a trip I will not be forgetting! I want this to be an honest review, so below I’ve listed the positives along with the ... Read More
What an experience! First ever cruise and what better way to experience cruising than with MSC Meraviglia. This is a trip I will not be forgetting! I want this to be an honest review, so below I’ve listed the positives along with the negatives and also given (I hope) some sound advice if you are thinking of sailing on MSC Meraviglia. The positives:- - The staff! They couldn’t do enough for us. So friendly and approachable. A special thank you to Halik (Waves Restaurant) you were amazing and so attentive. He quickly mastered what our favourite drink was and ensured our glasses were always full! Also to the guys who looked after and cleaned our room and changed the beds everyday. Amazing job! Thank you so much for everything! The standard was impeccable and they work so damn hard. You are all a credit to MSC! - This ship is spotless! Absolutely emaculate. Granted the ship is just over 1 years old but taking into account the shear size of her as well as the amount of passengers on board the ship is ridiculously clean! - The food/drink - Such a vast variety of food and drink on offer. In the evening we ate at our dedicated restaurant (Waves) where we were served a 3 course meal every evening with the night’s menu offering a range of dishes to choose from. Meanwhile, The Market Buffet which serves food (I believe) until 2am always had fresh, delicious food with a big range to choose from. At peak times it gets very busy yet the food just keeps coming out fresh! - You will never get bored whilst on board there is so much to do and places to explore! Now for the negatives (or things to look out for!) - I’m not saying us Brits are perfect, but goodness me some of our European neighbours were incredibly rude! We witnessed people clicking their fingers at staff and speaking to waiters/waitresses in the most patronising of ways. Never saying please or thank you. Absolutely horrific to see! Also, it would appear that certain nationalities do not know basic manners such as knowing how to queue and not push in (so frustrating!!) people would literally push you out of the way, tread on your feet to get to where they want (this 99% of the time happened in The Market Place Buffet where food is available (almost) 24/7. We even witnessed one family take two trays of burgers/hot dogs, leaving none left for anyone else queuing. Disgusting. Learn some damn manners. Excursions: What a rip off. Save your money!! I believe at least 5/7 places we visited during our 7 day cruise had shuttle buses on from the port at the cost of €12.99. They do not tell you this in advance! Allowing passengers to pay €50+ for excursions so they can access / get to the city centre which is completely unnecessary when the shuttle bus serves the exact same purpose! This being said there were of course some excursions which were more than just a coach trip to get you from A to B. But if you are booking trips through MSC just so you can get to the city centre etc do not bother. You’ll get a shuttle bus ticket on your door the night before you arrive at your next destination. (You are welcome!) Embarkation: What a long, long drawn out process. Be prepared for a very long wait!! We flew to Genoa, Italy. I do wonder if other destinations experienced as long a wait. Definitely would recommend avoiding Genoa if and when possible! After a short 1hr 30min flight we were taken straight to the port. The process up until this point was so smooth & fast! We arrive at the port in Genoa and there we waited for HOURS. The process wasn’t explained to us upon our arrival, we literally had to figure it out for ourselves. We were given a number, we soon figured we had to wait for our number to come up on a board. After waiting 2+ hours our number was finally called!! Up the escalator we went only to be met by another queue!!! This came with another 1 hour wait to get checked in. We then had to queue again to go through security when we were finally let on board. A very long process but totally worth it once you are on board the ship. Thankfully disembarkation is a lot quicker! Word of warning: You have to leave your suitcases outside your room the night before you leave. MSC did an amazing job ensuring our luggage was looked after and got to where it needed to be, we experienced no issues. But please know, you will need another form of bag for anything you need that night / the following morning before you fly home. We thankfully had a small case we used as hand luggage which were managed to throw everything into, avoiding any dramas. Additional/hidden charges: Check your bill before you leave!! We experienced double charges (which were later removed) and also a friend was charged €30.00 for a photo he never received! The queues to settle your bill at reception get exceptionally long! So word of warning, allow yourself plenty of time and check your invoice before you leave otherwise you may be in for a shock! There is a daily charity charge of €1 which goes to UNICEF (I believe) which we didn’t mind. However we did mind the daily €10 (per person!) service charge which gets added to your account automatically. (That’s €210 in service charge for us for the week) We decided to have this charge removed and paid out tips to our waiter/room attendants the night before we left, that way we know they’ve got the money. €10 a day per person soon adds up as you can imagine and not know where or who that money goes to concerned us. Other points to mention: Do not pack a hairdryer. It’ll be confiscated / kept away for safe keeping. A hair dryer is provided in the room & works absolutely fine and did the job. No tea/coffee facilities in the room which was a shame, but we understand why. If you buy a drinks package like we did you cannot use it on your day of departure! Also we couldn’t use ours on the day we arrived as it hadn’t been uploaded onto our access cards. All in all, we really enjoyed cruising with MSC. The ship is stunning, the staff are wonderful the inside of the ship is beautifully kept and so spacious. What a beautiful way to see Europe! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was our 14th cruise and our first on MSC. As we got closer to our sail date, (April 1), started to get nervous about the poor reviews. Well, those worries left us when we boarded in Genoa. we had a large suite and were in the ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise and our first on MSC. As we got closer to our sail date, (April 1), started to get nervous about the poor reviews. Well, those worries left us when we boarded in Genoa. we had a large suite and were in the Yacht Club, so the service is unbelievable. Food, drink, butler service was out of this world. Yes, we were in the Yacht Club, had our own bar, restaurant and pool area, so this review is skewed as we were on a ship within a ship. That being said, we thought the entire ship was beautiful. Ate at Butchers Cut and the Japanese restaurant and were thoroughly impressed. All staff were courteous and the shows were very good. Now, I can see where some people had issues with this cruise. A few times walking around the ship, I was amazed by the amount of people that we saw. Pools, promenade, Jacuzzis seemed to be packed. others that we would have a drink with stated the same observation. Also, be prepared to hear announcements in numerous languages. It will start to wear on you. Excursions: Had a great time on all. The one to Rome was LONG. I think everyone on bus slept on the way back! Others in all ports were good. Best was a private tour out of Genoa to Portofino. BEAUTIFUL Also, the butler takes you on and off the ship at all ports. You by-pass all lines. This includes lines for all shows. This is a great perk of the Yacht Club. Just be prepared for people staring and mumbling under their breath!!) Overall, we loved MSC and in huge part to the yacht club. we will definitely cruise with them again Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I was looking forward for this experience with MSC having travelled with other companies in the past. first the sweet: The ship is new and looks very well kept, the cabin was really nice, the staff is trying to help whenever you ... Read More
I was looking forward for this experience with MSC having travelled with other companies in the past. first the sweet: The ship is new and looks very well kept, the cabin was really nice, the staff is trying to help whenever you need any help, the entertainment shows were excellent. Bitter: when you board, the staff is telling you that drinks are not included on board (not true there are dispensers) and if you want to drink you need to buy a package. the packages are not cheap but worse than that we bought an "all inclusive" pack (dont do it!) only to find out that all inclusive means a selection of drinks (not all) was very disappointed. you need to check your daily charges on the app, every evening, new charges appeared even if we didnt order anything, service charge (10 euro per person per day for "tips"), unicef donations, charges for pictures we never bought and so forth. you need to be very careful with this issue. every promotion we had on board had terms and conditions that would negate it... the photo package included photos taken at specific places, the free gifts were out of stock and so forth. the food is a bit above average at best. during the cruise it felt we had to be on the lookout for additional charges rather than just sit back and enjoy... I dont think I will use MSC again and its sad because the ship is really nice. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Returned from an MSC Meraviglia cruise yesterday (April Fool’s day, funnily enough) - very disappointed with our trip. If you’re thinking about booking with MSC, and trying to ignore the bad press they get in feedback comments, then ... Read More
Returned from an MSC Meraviglia cruise yesterday (April Fool’s day, funnily enough) - very disappointed with our trip. If you’re thinking about booking with MSC, and trying to ignore the bad press they get in feedback comments, then don’t. They are realistic, warranted and true. Don’t do it – find another cruise line and save yourself a lot of money, grief and stress. MSC seem to be interested only in extracting more and more money from you, at every turn – the profits of the company seem to be far more important to them than the customer experience. After an endless embarkation process (being herded like sheep or goats to the slaughter) we finally made it onto the ship, and we were bombarded with endless staff trying to get us to purchase a drinks, food, beverage, photos or whatever package. Strange that we couldn’t move a step without tripping over one of them when we first embarked, but later when we wanted to ask a question at reception, we had to wait in a queue for almost an hour to get any attention. (More of this later.) Even during meals the poor overworked waiters would shove a notice under our noses, trying to get us to pay an extra 20 euros for a steak, or whatever they were selling that night. Atrocious. On the plus side, we found the food good quality, varied and hot, and the waiters were courteous and attentive. The downside was that despite advertising a dozen restaurants, we were allocated ONE when we got there, at a sitting of 6 people (despite asking for a table for 2) and were expected to sit there every single evening. The only choice we had was to pay extra to upgrade to another one (of 3) restaurants. Other than that, it was the bun-fight in the Market (buffet) area or a burger sitting round the pool. (The Market buffet was extremely varied and quite good quality but the behaviour of the clients – and more particularly their unattended offspring – left a great deal to be desired. More reminiscent of a chimps tea party than a meal, but I digress.) The other problem we had with the ‘fixed’ sitting meant it clashed with the shows, so we were faced with a choice of either gulping down our food to get to the shows on time, or leaving without finishing our meals. On reflection this wasn’t much of a problem because the shows weren’t of a very high quality – either in content or variety, so we didn’t miss much (according to our fellow inmates). Having said that, the Cirque du Soleil show was extremely good, but of course, we had to pay an extra 15 euros for that (that included a cocktail – choice of 2 types) and a chocolate macaroon. Woopee! And woe betide you if you stopped for a chat after your meal – the manager would trot along and throw us out – he was far more interested in getting the tables re-laid for the next sitting to let us stay past our allotted time of an hour and a half for all 3 courses… They had 3 sittings to fit in! Our cabin had a large comfy bed and small but adequate shower room. The balcony, however, came with the added benefits of being covered in crumbs, a toe (or finger?) nail clipping, and filthy windows that you could hardly see through. The cabin attendant was polite and friendly but just managed the basics. No towel animals, chocolates on the pillows or any frills. And despite requesting breakfast in the cabin every morning (except one) they managed to miss us out 2 of the mornings (including disembarkation morning) so we had the added stress of attending the bun-fight on deck 15 and fighting through the marauding chimps to get a coffee and a table. Not a great finale. On 3 occasions we queued at the ‘reception’ area – mostly needing help with our bill, and on each occasion we were queuing for almost an hour. When we finally reached the front of the queue, there was no apology for the wait, contrition from the staff, or even a smile or an acknowledgement that we’d managed to reach the front without expiring from boredom – just a stony stare, a grunt and seemingly incredulity that we should bother them with such trivial matters. Their indifference to our plight (in each case) was spectacular. I wonder if they’re trained to become so obnoxious, or if comes naturally to them? A special breed, perhaps? They offer an alternative method of paying your final bill if you don’t use a credit card (which we didn’t) – a machine. But the machine tries to take another 100 euros credit every time you go near it, is incapable of telling you your final bill amount, or printing you a hand-out of your itemised bill. So you have no choice but to attend the charming staff on the reception desk. (We were told that ONE of the machines will give you a final bill, if not an itemised list, but they don’t tell you which one it is, or where it is, until you visit them behind the desk. Marvellous system, I’m sure you’ll agree…) The kids are very well catered for. Entire floors have been created for them, but unfortunately they seeped into all the other areas too, and the noise level (from shrieking babies to obnoxious teenagers tearing around) was often cacophonous. Add to that the scooters they went around on, buggies they were pushed around in and general level of single minded selfishness they exhibited (around food and drink mostly) I can’t say they added to the experience. The lifts were always full to the brim, often stopping at every single stop on their way up and down (often in the opposite direction to that which we wanted to go in) and took ages to arrive. MSC have invented a clever little app that you can download to your phone to ‘add to your experience’. However, mine didn’t work very well, and didn’t show me my account, or how much I’d spent (although fellow travellers seemed to have got that bit). Waste of time downloading it in the first place. As already mentioned, MSC only seemed to be interested in extracting every last cent from us (as a captured audience). Nothing was free, including water or coffee with meals, ice-cream or anything at all really. They would charge 18 euros for a shuttle bus to get from the ship to the local town, but if you knew what you were doing, you could just walk a few yards and catch the local bus free. At another port they charged us 9 euros for a shuttle bus, but the local one was provided for 4 euros (return). They relied on ignorance and panic which they received in droves. There are far too many passengers (being Easter the boat was at full capacity with over 5,700 guests) but only (up to) 1500 crew – the lowest ratio I’ve ever encountered on a cruise. The public areas (bars, pools, eateries) were way too crowded and it was difficult to find a seat/table – probably because the space they could have allocated to make the passenger experience more pleasurable has been taken up with shops to extract money from them for watches, perfume, chocolates and other stuff that funnily enough seemed empty for the vast majority of the time. Finally, this cruise (that wasn’t cheap) was to celebrate my 60th birthday. A celebration. Sadly it was far from that. And despite MSN being fully aware it was my birthday (the travel agents made it known to them before we departed and one of the bar staff sang a few bars, single-handed, of Happy Birthday to me) they made no effort to make my stay special in any way. No upgrade, no chocolates, no fruit, no bottle of bubbly, nothing! I wrote to them before we left, asking if there was anything they could do to make it more of an occasion. They wrote back and basically said ‘no’. It would be down to the management of the individual ship to do whatever they felt appropriate. Well it appears that apart from leaving a towel rabbit on the bed with a nasty cheap card, nothing else, in their opinion, was appropriate at all. We saw countless other people getting the ‘drum banging procession of half a dozen staff singing and dancing, followed by a birthday cake with a candle’ at different venues (restaurants and theatres) but nothing came my way at all. Not even a muffin and a pair of maracas. So thanks, MSC – you really pulled out all the stops to make my ‘special’ birthday celebration one to remember. But sadly, for all the wrong reasons. I’m sure this ship is ideal if you’ve got kids, like a lot of noise, huge crowds, queuing, and bun-fights and don’t want any courteous treatment from staff (I say this with the exception of our waiter) but for us, it felt like a money grabbing sausage factory where the staff are over-worked, probably under-paid, and frankly don’t give a ****. In a sentence: All glitz but no glamour. Or… all fur coat, and no knickers. We won’t be using MSC again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Overall we were disappointed with this cruise. A beautiful ship with lots of high value shops. Food in the buffet left a lot to be desired in flavour and quality and also was barely warm. Elegant dining was allocated and we were billed ... Read More
Overall we were disappointed with this cruise. A beautiful ship with lots of high value shops. Food in the buffet left a lot to be desired in flavour and quality and also was barely warm. Elegant dining was allocated and we were billed for it, a big surprise. We were not informed that dining anywhere but the buffet cost extra. We would not have minded but the main meal at the dining room was way below par. Training of the staff at the dining room was lacking. The ship treated all passengers like milk cows, money for ice cream and everything else. This company needs to look at other cruise lines and see the difference. The help desk was always queued up as this ship was acting like a ferry rather than a cruise ship. People getting on and off at every port and spent time querying their bills this caused a lot of frustration. Internet was expensive on board and was unavailable for 70/80 % of the time. Staff told us it was to be updated but on a new ship? as well as being told that the problem was the way we signed on and other excuses. To cap it all my wife was abused by one of the senior staff, Natalia, while we were waiting to disembark The entertainment was first class. Would not recommend this cruise line to anybody. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Initially I was concerned with some of the reviews that we had read. We decided to continue with the cruise and this was the best decision we could have done. Yes the cruise was different than the US based cruise lines but if you are ... Read More
Initially I was concerned with some of the reviews that we had read. We decided to continue with the cruise and this was the best decision we could have done. Yes the cruise was different than the US based cruise lines but if you are going to sail with a Eupoean ship, keep an open mind...be willing to experience other types of cruises. The ship was clean and the staff was wonderful. We booked the angled balcony suite with the external jacuzzi. This cabin included the Aurea experience which allowed us to do priority boarding, free choice of dining time, unlimited drinks and two massages (one per two adults). There was so much to do on the ship, so even if you with to skip a port of call, you will not regret it. We really could not understand how some passengers had negative experiences. My suggestion to anyone that chooses to read this review is to understand that everyone is different and therefore expectations are also different. For us, we chose to create our own wonderful memories upon this beautiful vessel! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
MSC is one of my favourite cruises lines and I love their ships, particularly the Poesia, Divina, Magnifica and Preziosa. There seems to be a lot of negative comments on many of the reviews of MSC, mostly to do with food, staff and other ... Read More
MSC is one of my favourite cruises lines and I love their ships, particularly the Poesia, Divina, Magnifica and Preziosa. There seems to be a lot of negative comments on many of the reviews of MSC, mostly to do with food, staff and other guests and the different languages - well in all the 25 cruises I have been on (11 of which on MSC) I have always found the MSC food to be good and varied, the staff to be among the best, and enjoyed the company of different nationalities. Furthermore, MSC ships offer the best nightlife and great casinos run by excellent friendly staff! So, we chose this cruise on the Meraviglia because of past experience and it was a new ship which looked awesome in the pictures! Well on that note the ship certainly did deliver. It is indeed a magnificent vessel - it looks awesome and beautiful from land, and on board everything is sparkling, new and spacious. Embarkation was a breeze, and first impressions were good - the ship is without doubt stunning. The main swimming pool (actually 2 connected) looks beautiful - very well designed with fountains and poolside beds. All the public areas seemed spacious, and décor was glitzy but tasteful. We got into our cabin and again all very smart with plenty of space - although storage space for clothes was tight for a 1 week cruise, I would imagine difficult for a 2 week one! The cabin attendant was friendly and kept our room clean and tidy at all times. All good so far! Food in the buffet was plentiful and a there was an adequate choice - the new plates better than we've had on other MSC ships. Found a table without any problem - the ship was full and we never had a problem finding a table - pressed the call button and within minutes waiter was there to take our drinks order. The MSC drinks package is the best value package at sea and includes most cocktails, wine, beer, speciality coffees and still or sparkling water. For the whole trip service was excellent and the servers were all friendly. Breakfasts were great - we especially enjoyed the bacon and the "egg man" always cooked me two perfect over-medium fried eggs! Hand wash basins are present as you go into the buffet, but it seemed we were the only ones using them! MSC need to enforce their use more as it seems most passengers are oblivious to the risks of norovirus and similar bugs on cruise ships! We also enjoyed our experiences in the evening in the Panorama restaurant, one of the main dining rooms. Our waiter, Gede Sujina, was brilliant - a credit to MSC! Food was generally very good. We tried the Butcher's Cut one night and the steak there was excellent! We were realistic about the weather - March in the Mediterranean is often little better than it is in the UK. However we had sunshine in Civitavecchia (apparently it poured with rain in Rome), Malta and Barcelona. We stayed on the ship those days because we wanted to use the pools and benefit from a quiet ship. We enjoyed the sunshine even though it was only 11 -15c and the water temperature was perfect - between 23 and 28c! The casino was awesome - our favourite bar on the ship! Spacious imposing entrance, large circular bar with slots one side and mainly tables the other. Well designed and not smoky! All the staff at the bar and at the tables were brilliant - engaging, friendly yet professional and hard working at all times. We really enjoyed our time at the casino. We were disappointed however with the nightlife - high on our list when cruising and one of the reasons we love MSC so much. The attic disco is way too small for a ship of this size, and is split in 2 with 2 tiny dance areas and lacks any atmosphere! The Carousel lounge would make a fantastic nightclub, but the Cirque du Soleil shows take place there and although they had a few parties there after the shows were finished, the parties were largely the entertainment team dancing whilst facing the passengers and the passengers facing them with a kind of formation / line dance routine. Great to get people moving but not so good for atmosphere or interaction! As I have already mentioned, our favourite bar was the casino bar. I guess I don't enjoy shopping and the central area of the ship resembles a mall (other ships have done this and I just don't get this street / mall concept). Everyone seems to be just milling around, none of the bars had any ambience - other MSC ships have much better bars, lounge areas and nightclubs / discos! The sky lounge was an impressive area with great views but it didn't work for us - again little atmosphere or ambience. I guess though people who just want to enjoy a quiet drink together would love it. We also enjoy eating outside and the Meraviglia only offers an area at the back of the buffet under a rather oppressive canopy. Bye breakfasts and lunches in the sunshine! The gym was excellent and I enjoyed my times in there - good equipment! However in common with a lot of the newer ships in many cruise lines there are no changing or shower facilities so when finished you have to walk through a beautiful ship dripping in sweat! Even the spa is on a different level. First impressions of the spa were good, however we went on a sea day and it is far too small for a ship of this size. There were used towels hanging everywhere and the experience was far from relaxing! When finished, I couldn't even get to my locker because too many people trying to change, and had to wait for a shower cubicle because there were only 2 in the changing room! Poor design. So overall I have rated my cruise experience as very good (4 stars). There is no question that this is a beautiful ship but for me the layout doesn't work. Were it not for the staff, who were amazing and a real credit to MSC, and the casino, I would have only rated it average (3 star). I can understand why some people would love the Meraviglia, however the ship just didn't work for me. MSC is still one of my favourite cruise lines and I look forward to booking more trips with them, just not on the Meraviglia. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We were on the Meraviglia March 11-18. We booked the cruise about 5 weeks before departure because we had the opportunity to travel to Europe for work during March. With the tight timeline and last minute wedding items to attend to (our ... Read More
We were on the Meraviglia March 11-18. We booked the cruise about 5 weeks before departure because we had the opportunity to travel to Europe for work during March. With the tight timeline and last minute wedding items to attend to (our wedding was March 3) we thought a cruise would be a great option. We were not able to relax during our honeymoon because of serval inaccuracies between the American booking site and the Italian services offered on board. We spent a week arguing with your staff about packages and experiences we had prepaid! Upon talking with other couples from the US and Europe we found they all had similar issues. Drink Package Upon arriving at dining we were told that we could choose from house wines only. The American site clearly listed several wines to pick from (I believe they are the ones listed "by the glass" on the dining room menu) including sweet wines. We were not in the mood to argue with our waiter so went to guest services after dinner. We were told the American site is wrong, that they could not give us a refund and they offered us a draft beer package. Why weren't they able to at least give us an onboard credit? We made due with these tickets, but on top of the 24 other drink tickets we had with our cruise package we were not able to use all of them. Every time we tried to use the water bottle coupons from the beer package the waiters questioned us, told us the coupons were old and asked if we got them from another ship. It is a horrible feeling to be accused of stealing for a $2.75 bottle of water! Our last issue came the last night of the cruise. We used several drink tickets at the bar on the 6th floor. The bar charged us for 2 bottles of wine (we ordered wine by the glass) and several other drinks, instead of applying our drink tickets. This caused us to have to go to guest services once again and wait in the never ending line. Cirque show We prepaid for both shows, one for dinner and one for drinks. It is truly ridiculous that you can not pick your show day and time online when you prepay for this experience. We went to the lounge to book and were helped by an employee. We were told to come back the next day at 5 pm to pick up the tickets. When we arrived the next day, our reservation had not been made and we did not have seats for the show that night. After a stern conversation, the manager was able to rearrange and get us in to that showing. An experience we were most looking forward to, overshadowed by the lack of attention to detail and customer service. Excursions One of the main reasons we choose the cruise as our honeymoon was because of the excursions offered. The following pre-booked excursions were canceled during our trip: Cycling in Palermo and Surrounds Flavors of Barcelona Marseille e-bike discovery tour We did not enjoy our replacement excursions in Palermo and Marseille. Upon speaking with the excursion manager, we learned that the bike rides in Palermo and Marseille aren't offered on the ship because the ship does not have bikes to loan out. Why then, was I able to book and prepay for these excursions? We also learned, several of the tours never happen, for example the jogging tour. One of the other issues we experienced was the excursions sale staff. We were told a minimum number of people were required for a tour to take place, but the sales staff was not allowing people to sign up for them. How can you ever meet your minimum capacity if your staff is steering people in the opposite direction? After talking to the manager for several minutes we asked for confirmation that the Barcelona e-bike tour could depart the next day (this tour was not listed online but was in the printed excursion information). She made it work, and it was our favorite day on the cruise. Departure off ship/ tour groups Our final frustration happened when we were trying to get off the boat one final time. The disembarking was 2.5 hours behind, and the first time they made an announcement about the delay was at the 2 hour mark. All the people who were following instructions about their colors were on deck 5,6,7 with no where to move. The large tour groups were huddled together taking up so much space. At one point we asked employees to help control the crowd because the tour groups were blocking the front desk as we were standing in line to get the alcohol charges removed. Tour groups really should have a private meeting space and be escorted by cruise staff when there are hundreds of them gathering at once. On a positive note, the Meraviglia was a beautiful ship our room was spacious for an inside cabin. Our room steward took excellent care of us while we were onboard. We also had a wonderful last night onboard at the hibachi restaurant. This however, does not make up for all the problems we experienced. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
39 years of cruising, 30th cruise just completed. This is the 1st time I have ever uttered the words "I can't wait to get off this ship!" Website: Pros: There aren't any. Cons: Buyer Beware. See for ... Read More
39 years of cruising, 30th cruise just completed. This is the 1st time I have ever uttered the words "I can't wait to get off this ship!" Website: Pros: There aren't any. Cons: Buyer Beware. See for yourself, the website is just shades of things to come. Try to navigate the counter-intuitive pages. Good luck getting assistance when you call due to the frustrating website. And once you're locked into the cruise (less than 3 months before sail date), you can't get anything resolved. Pay attention to your invoice, our invoice had to be corrected twice, the price kept increasing. Wanted to bail out at this point, but it was too late. Ship: Pros: Beautiful, brand new ship. Cons: Absolutely no sound-proofing, anywhere. From hearing the shows/disco from 2 floors beneath us, pounding music so loud that you have to leave the cabin, till 23:30-1:30 each and every night .. to hearing the next door cabin's conversations. Many complaints of noise from guests at different parts of the ship. Reception: Pros: We had to go up the chain of command to get any type of empathy or possible solution. Not really a "pro" but at least we got an appointment "4 days later" to discuss problems. Cons: Staff clearly don't understand the words "Reception" or "Guest Services". Not a smile amongst the entire group. We had to spend time in the ever-long line of Reception every single day. Anything that had to do with Reception had to be done twice, no follow-through, and don't expect any apologies from anyone. To quote the Reception Manager, "We have a lot of problems with this ship." Housekeeping: Pros: Well done, exceptionally clean cabins and ship. Cons: None Dining: Pros: Staff Cons: Food is borderline airplane food; served cold, or at best lukewarm. Very limited menu. Waiters are forced to "sell" at your table for better food and wine. Buffet: Pros: Available 20 hours a day. Cons: Everything is cold. Staff unable to replenish choices in a timely manner. Entertainment: Pros: The "only" entertainment that "might be" free on this ship, are some of the shows. Cons: High school talent show at best. Disappointing. Every single entertainment option available on this ship comes at a cost. And since there's nothing free to do, EVERYONE is stuck in the narrow promenade just to "do" something. MSC obviously wants you spending money, not relaxing and enjoying your time on-board. Spa: Pros: You can get a massage. Cons: It's sandwiched in the middle of the ship, not a window in sight. Cramped little areas. Didn't get much use of it since it was so small and always full of guests. Nothing beautiful or relaxing about this spa. Excursions: Pros: The best thing because you can get off this ship. Cons: None. Staff: Pros: There are a few smiling faces. Cons: You get the feeling they're not happy and it filters through to the guests. It seems they are more interested in what's easiest for them .. not you, their guests. Overall: 3 months of "conversations" prior to cruise, correcting errors, struggling with website. 7 nights without sleep once on-board. 7 days of constant aggravation from the staff forced to "sell" you more. At least in Jamaica you can walk away. It seems that MSC has forgotten how to treat their guests. It also seems that they are simply trying to recoup the price of their new ship. It's an experience we will never forget and will never recommend MSC on their new greed driven venture. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I signed up before I had read the reviews. If you want a great itinerary on for a cheap price MSC Meraviglia is a good deal. However, expect to get nickel and dimed to death. They even make you pay for water in the dining room. In your ... Read More
I signed up before I had read the reviews. If you want a great itinerary on for a cheap price MSC Meraviglia is a good deal. However, expect to get nickel and dimed to death. They even make you pay for water in the dining room. In your room the only TV channels are news or ship information and sales. Movies on the TV cost 8 euros. There is nothing to do on the ship that doesn't cost. But when you figure the same cruise on Royal Caribbean is $1000 more I suppose it all evens out. The staff was great, the food was okay and the ship was nice. The itinerary was great but don't buy excursions from the ship, at every port we found great vans (there were eight of us) that would take us for a lot less than the crowded ship busses. The entertainment was okay but it would be difficult to do better when you have so many languages you are trying to speak to.(English was a minority) They do have the Cirque Solie thing and we went to both shows it was much better than the regular show but not worth 15 euro. The cabins were Okay but the storage was small. I have been on Royal Caribbean, Disney, NCL, Princess and Holland this ship was a step below all of them in the food and entertainment but about the same in service. If you have never cruised before you will love it. If you have cruised before you will be disappointed, but remember the price, even after you pay for all of the other stuff you still come out ahead. The best part was they take you to some wonderful places. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise for a family Christmas holiday and prior to leaving I became very anxious after reading all the negative reviews. We had an amazing week on board a beautiful ship and not one of our group of seven had any ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a family Christmas holiday and prior to leaving I became very anxious after reading all the negative reviews. We had an amazing week on board a beautiful ship and not one of our group of seven had any complaints. Embarkation was the quickest and most efficient I have experienced. It was as quick as boarding as a Yacht Club passenger which we have done in the past. Disembarkation was as good and undoubtedly the best I have had in my over 10 cruises. Personnel were amazingly friendly and good at their tasks, from waiters to cabin staff. Even those working the administration side were helpful. We only had reason to use them twice and never waited more than 7 minutes each time. Considering there are so many passengers I find this exceptional. Food was good and varied and came to the table quickly and hot. We had breakfast in both the restaurant and the buffet. Divine eggs Benedictine. I found the portions sufficient but if you have a healthy appetite there is absolutely no problem on taking everything on the menu. It is served with a smile. I highly recommend the drinks package. We also ate at Eataly and the Teppinyaki. Both were excellent. The shows we saw were enjoyable. Cirque de Soleil was cancelled the night we had reserved for but this was due to bad weather. Understandable considering the nature of the show We were fully reimbursed. The balcony cabins we occupied were comfortable with excellent beds and the storage space is sufficient for a week. The bathroom with shower was perfect for a cruise ship. All was spotless and remained that way for the duration. The attention given to kiddies is amazing. Our 6 year grandson did not want the cruise to end. The staff are to be highly commended. We never used any of the tours offered so I am not in a position to comment. The gym has modern equipment and the spa is fabulous. So, for all those people out there who have done nothing but complain, perhaps they should start questioning themselves. Are they generally complainers and always dissatisfied? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Embarkation was very smooth. We did have the Aurea Package which meant we basically just walked right on. We waited till noon to get to the port and we were on the ship within 30 mins of being dropped off by the taxi. Our cabin was ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth. We did have the Aurea Package which meant we basically just walked right on. We waited till noon to get to the port and we were on the ship within 30 mins of being dropped off by the taxi. Our cabin was amazing we had the duxplex suite. The layout was great. We were upstairs so my husband and I had privacy but we were never more than an earshot from our young children. Two bathrooms was wonderful and we all enjoyed the hot tub :) Again I am not sure why there are so many complaints about the dinning. We had no issues. Each night we would find something to eat in the MDR that was really good. We also ate at Butcher's Cut, Kaito Teppanyaki and Eataly-Food Market. All were excellent. A must try is Butcher's Cut it was AMAZING!! We did go to most of the shows and enjoyed some of them. This would be the only area that could be improved on but I think this is due to the amounts of different languages spoken onboard. While we did go see both Cirque shows they were good but in our opinion they were not "must sees". We found the service to be very good to excellent in most cases.....but it was European service. Which for us is not a problem since we live in europe :) and are use to the not "in your face service". Service is very different in Europe than in American and since this ship is European it was what to be expected. We had one issue with a Bartender that was immediately taken care of. The Ports were good. We loved Malta the most...what an amazing place!! We did have to skip Rome due to bad weather. We did not use any MSC excursions. All the ports on our route are very doable by yourself. The kids had a great time! They enjoyed the kids clubs but there was a little bit of a language barrier. We would suggest MSC to others with the understanding that you get what you pay for (book a higher package if you want more perks) and that it is a European ship. For the money it was an amazing vacation and we are headed back to sea this May on the MSC Divina (We booked onboard and got an amazing deal for the Yacht Club :) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
I wanted to try MSC but had not read many reviews. This was a new ship (sailed Nov 2017), and the itenirary was right. We booked a balcony aurea. Room was tipical of cruise ships, shower was better due to glass door. Closet space was ... Read More
I wanted to try MSC but had not read many reviews. This was a new ship (sailed Nov 2017), and the itenirary was right. We booked a balcony aurea. Room was tipical of cruise ships, shower was better due to glass door. Closet space was the smallest we have encountered. We dont stay in cabin to much so it was OK. Food was ok but not excellent, except sweets which we thought were the best part of the cruise. Breakfast was ok but the herds of italian families was a minus. I do not think they believe in orderly waiting for service, pushing and shoving was the norm at the buffet. The kids were out of control and not once did I see a parent admonish a kid (I actually think they encouraged the kids to cut in line and push their way to the front. The main promenade was awesome and we did enjoy the LED display. Having the aurea experience, we enjoyed our included massage and access to the thermal area. The thermal area was great but lacked a thalasso pool. Enbarkation and disembarkation in Marseilles was eficient. In Naples, however, returning to the ship was the stupidest experience you can imagine. Two screening gates for 3000 cruisers-if you thought the buffet was a circus, this was Ringling Bros. It took more than 2 hours to get us in because of the rudeness and animalistic behaviour of the cruisers(mainly). But if the crowd can not be controlled by a particular terminal, shouldn't MSC be concerned with the safety of their costumers? I did not come in thinking anything bad of italians, and I still do not think, or hope anyway, that this was the tipical behaviour of the whole country, BUT, It was abismal. One last point, I do not think we arrived nor departed on time more than once or twice during the week. I told myself we would not use MSC again. Unfortunately, we planned a may cruise from Miami in May with extended family with only the week of May 26th available to them, plus a tight budget...Booked Seaside. 2 days after the final payment our relative had a change of plans and cancel, SO we are stuck with the cruise or loose 500$. Some of the waiters in our cruise told us the experience was better in the caribbean, I hope they are right. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We did a review of our September cruise on MSC Preziosa where we concluded that the cruise and the on board experience was much better than we feared… that cruise was a planned dry run for Meraviglia which had been booked for a year and ... Read More
We did a review of our September cruise on MSC Preziosa where we concluded that the cruise and the on board experience was much better than we feared… that cruise was a planned dry run for Meraviglia which had been booked for a year and was to include 2 mid 70 year olds with us… We diligently followed all the reviews of Meraviglia since her launch and frankly we were pretty concerned (understatement) by the reviews we read. We were within inches of cancelling before the final balance was due because all aspects seemed to be so truly awful… thanks goodness we didn’t as it would have been a horrible mistake. Our biggest reflections before some of the specific details would be: 1. What one cruiser may intensely dislike may not feel as bad, or even might be good for another - everyone’s experiences and preferences are different and it’s important to remember and respect that. Generalising is difficult and maybe misleading – comments like ‘everyone I spoke to…’ can be misleading as there are 5,000 cruisers on board so it’s likely a tiny sample and behaviourally human beings rarely openly disagree with those they are chatting with.. particularly brits tend to avoid the conflict of open disagreement with those who have strong opinions… its easier to agree whether true or not…. 2. You have to respect in an open minded manner that reviews when published are well considered, balanced and well thought through and not overly influenced by specific personal ‘one-off’ experiences. There is a real responsibility on reviewers to be authentic in their views but objective and factual rather than scare mongering and advising others not to cruise with MSC because it is so bad is probably not helpful. 3. Things change with ships, particularly new launch ones, and the experiences in the first few months may not be the same as those once the ship and crew bed into their roles, surroundings and on board processes. So our overall experience – we had a great time…. Superb value and we would do the same ship again without hesitation…….. Not ‘perfect’, but then we always manage to find something ‘not perfect’ with just about all of the 30 cruises we’ve done on RCL, Celebrity and Azamara!!!! And we found a lot more wrong with our experience of P&O (which again is quite different to many others and we respect that). Dealing with some specifics which we noted and were concerned about when we read reviews (am sure I’ve not got them all, so please treat this as just some we could quickly remember without doing tons of research!). Also please treat my observations as our reflections of OUR experience – am sure there were some of the same cruise who had very different views (indeed we could hear some on the coach to the airport…) and their views are clearly as valid as ours. They just experienced something different and saw the world differently. General Admin Check-in at airport – brilliant at Gatwick with BA – we were able to get checked in the night before so just went straight to security and breakfast! We had some frustration in the run up to the cruise as MSC will not allow anyone to access their flight booking as they treat their guests as a group booking as a result we couldn’t buy extra legroom seats or do any form of online check-in in advance. That said being able to check in the night before at the airport was great. Flight/ seating – the flight was very full and is frankly a bit of a flying bus service, but it was fine. Transfer at airport – we were met straight away once we were through immigration and customs with a bit of a wait until all passengers from other flights were through and ticked off. The representative lady did a nice thing for everyone as it was pouring with rain and she asked the driver to bring the bus to the front of the terminal so we could load up under cover… I understand that normally you have to walk to the bus (true or not I don’t know but if it is she was kind to us all!). Check in at port – at the port bags were transported for us directly off the coach to the ship without us seeing them and the check in process was very quick and clean (again whilst Genoa is one of the bigger embarkation/ disembarkation days for the cruise, for us, it was better that there wasn’t a full 5,000 person turnaround day and its phased over the course of the 7 days). We like this aspect and don’t see it as a negative at all. Disembarking – jumping to the end of the cruise! Disembarking, getting cases and boarding the bus to the airport was excellent. We’ve never experienced it being so easy to get off and get to the airport on any previous cruise! General On Board Experience/ Admin Ship – the ship is beautiful, spotlessly clean and very modern. It reminded us a lot of Anthem of the Seas. We liked how open plan it was with plenty of walking space so rarely did it feel very crowded except when there was maybe a sale on with the fragrance or watches or a specific event over-spilling out of a bar. We found the layout easy to navigate and never had a problem re waiting for lifts etc. All in all it was very much in line with the ‘big ships’ lines we’d sailed on before. Language – it felt like English was the primary language and whilst it did take a while to get through the announcements given the number of languages to be covered it didn’t inconvenience. Technology/ booking – we’d read a lot about things not working and maybe things have now been upgraded as everything worked well for us. The ‘MSC for Me’ app worked with the free on board wifi really well and the touch screens were great for menus or booking shows initially. We were able to link on board accounts for 2 rooms to one room, sort credit cards out easily. It was good for us but we saw lots of people having difficulties although most seemed to be more a case of needing help to do basic and simple things rather than actual problems. (Some people from certain countries just couldn’t be bothered to read or do anything for themselves so went to guest services to be spoon fed some of the most basic aspects). Guest Services – they have had some real hammer in reviews but I have to say we visited them 3 times during the cruise for little bits of things and we had a good experience. We never had to wait more than 20 mins and in each case the person helping us really wanted to just do their best and solve the issue. There was no ignorance, no bad behaviour, no nasty edge – we felt they were pretty good. I’m sure they get frustrated with some of the queries and some guests wanting to ask them everything under the sun as the queues get bigger and bigger but they try hard not to show it! Charges – there is a daily ‘service charge’ of 10 euros a day per person which gets added to the cabin account each evening. These are not gratuities in the old manner they are charges for services and facilities (as the name suggests) similar to many hotels do now. If you experience poor service, don’t agree with the auto approach to service charges and want to hand over cash to those who provide you great service, or are too tight to pay them(!) they can be removed via going to guest services we understand. Midway through the cruise there is a 1 euro per person donation to UNICEF also added to the account. We had no issues at all with any random charges coming onto our bills from other cabins, or unexpected charges as it was all clear upfront re what would be auto charged to our rooms. We saw a lot of people at guest services querying accounts/ charges but overhearing most seemed to be surprise at the daily service charges or the UNICEF one – maybe they didn’t know about them or read the docs? Drinks package – As per our review of Preziosa we cannot recommend this more highly. Having the ability to order pretty much anything you want and for the bill once processed to be zero to the on board account is excellent value for money. We checked with a very helpful guy as soon as we got on the ship whether all 4 of us had the right all-inclusive code and he checked his iPad and confirmed that to be the case – all good and away we went to the bar! If in doubt re any drink that might/ might not be included just ask a waiter/ bar tender they will happily tell you if it is or not (it does clearly say on each drinks menu that if there is an asterisk next to a particular drink its not included though). But the ‘Bar and Restaurant all inclusive’ package covers pretty much everything you need (including waters, teas, coffees, juices, soft drinks etc.) . The deluxe package, for us, was unnecessary to be an upgrade. With the on board account we never had a charge made to us for any drinks we ordered or wanted to order. Included versus extra charge aspects – we’d read some pretty scary stuff that what you received included in the cruise price was very little and everything was an upsell. That was not our experience – yes we paid for the all-inclusive drinks package but we’d have had to pay that spend multiple times over if we had bought drinks at the bar by the drink… food and entertainment is included, except for cirque de soleil as a premium show and the speciality restaurants (just as all other cruise lines). It’s a choice to spend more to experience more and the basic cost plus drinks package worked really well for all of us. Photo before boarding – the only naughty bit I’d warn future guests on is the ‘compulsory’ photo taken by the ships on-board photography team ‘for security reasons’ of all members of each cabin just after you’ve checked in and received your sea pass card (before you get to the boarding area). This is NOT the sea pass security photo that identifies each guest when disembarking or returning to the ship… guests will have either already uploaded this or have it taken by the ships security people as they physically board the ship… it is a con replacing (on other cruise lines) the entirely voluntary photo that can be taken for a souvenir of boarding day (typically with the ship as the canvas backdrop). They insisted on taking the photo despite our strong protests - we refused twice and they wouldn’t give us our sea passes back until we were prepared to stand there and have a photo taken! The reason for this is that the photo will be printed and delivered to your cabin on about day 3 or so and if you do not want (to buy) it you must return it to the photography booth or they will auto charge you for keeping it – it’s not a complimentary freebie… Shows – we quite enjoyed the included shows. There was no ‘laughing at the performance’ and very few people leaving shows even though we always went to the 10.30pm performances. They tended to last about 40-45 mins which is about right for that time of night and generally its clear they do put a lot of effort into them. That said, a bit like our Preziosa experience, it seems like MSC are trying to put almost too much into the shows, the cast is much bigger than other cruise dance/ singing casts we’ve seen, with too much content and sometimes this slightly detracts from focusing in on what’s going on. The quality isn’t anywhere near Norwegian’s Burn the floor or RCLs broadway shows but they are not likely to be so. Overall it was what it was – decent included entertainment that you can go to or not… your choice. Music – on board the ship there was quite a lot of music or various styles – not all of it suited us but it was ok. Staff motivation – we’d read a lot how downhearted and unfriendly the crew and staff were in people’s view and this had worried us too. Just to say whilst we encountered the odd individual who was not friendly and who looked like being on board was the worst life choice they had ever made (as we have on every cruise) generally the service, friendliness and effort to try to provide a service was really good. We experienced nothing more negative compared to other cruises we’ve done. Cabins Stateroom – we went for 2 ‘bella’ balcony staterooms which is the lowest of the ‘experience’ levels and contrary to some reviews we found the rooms really nice. The space in the room overall is pretty good, with the sofa being the biggest we’ve seen on ‘normal’ balcony cabins. Storage is small with only 8 hangers (so we took 8 of our own too) but there is also a second pull down rail underneath the main rail in the cupboard which is a clever addition. We never struggled for storage space overall and certainly didn’t need to live out of the suitcases (which immediately went under the bed and were not seen again until the last night!) A big tip for people considering Meraviglia – we had cabin 8127… it has the biggest balcony we have ever seen outside the most expensive suites. It was permanently in shade as the superstructure overhung it but you could have fitted 9-10 people laid down on the balcony and held a party for 15-20 on it. It really was huge. TV was great – not many English channels but still at least 4 in English (remember they are catering for at least 5-6 languages on board). Attendant – he was great. We are ‘low maintenance’ guests but he was always available and provided ice and glasses when needed for us to have a celebratory glass of champagne on our (enormous) balcony with the older folks. Everything kept really clean and tidy. No complaints at all re the stateroom. Bars Bars on decks 5 and 6 – these are very open plan and so feel almost more like coffee bars than cocktail bars and this does impact both on the ‘atmosphere’ of the bar and the degree of noise as people are constantly walking past you. The service was pretty good and generally a nice place for an afternoon beer or coffee, but not really night time bars. English pub – this was a nice place to sit for a short time but seemed for reasons we couldn’t explain always to be slightly chaotic. The guys behind the bar didn’t seem to be in control of what they were doing and the range of beers, what was ‘on’ or ‘off’ at any point was inconsistent. It needs something to ‘get it going’ in our view as something was missing. Sky lounge – this was our favourite bar by far. We went there every night after dinner and spent most of the evening and night in there. Great place, very club like atmosphere, drinks were good. It was adults only and was used in the day for private events but never in the evening. The jazz trio were tedious… but just about tolerable! Pool deck bars – these were all good albeit the bar tenders seemed a bit surly at times in the afternoons (maybe they were cold having been outside all day!) Dining Food – is a critical element of our cruise. We were so concerned at this aspect going with our older folks that as mentioned earlier we nearly cancelled. However, we were very pleasantly surprised – we did not experience ANY of the horrible negatives people have written about – the food was not tasteless, when freshly delivered food was not luke warm, there was choice and we were really relieved and pleased. Maybe we were just very lucky or more tolerant I don’t know – but the fish and pasta were always very nice. Breakfast MDR – we ate at the Deck 5 Waves restaurant for breakfast on most occasions and the menu stays the same (not surprisingly) each day for breakfast. Service was pretty good if not a bit chaotic, you cannot click your fingers for waiters to come to you, they will bring juice, breads, pastries trays on a circulating round the tables basis and tea and coffee pots to fill glasses – it means you can wait a while for a fresh cup. The hot food is cooked to order and was lovely (omelettes were very nice). Breakfast buffet – we did the buffet a few times for breakfast – it was a bit chaotic and the behaviour of some of the Italian and Spanish guests was generally poor but nothing too negative re the food itself. In our experience pretty much all cruise buffets at breakfast resemble a rugby scrum! Lunch MDR – we ate at Waves only a couple of times for lunch and it was nice. It was fairly quiet, good service and the food was good with portion sizes that were enough but not huge. Lunch buffet – we tended to do this most often as we were off the ship a lot and only got back on towards the end of service. Food was good, hot and we didn’t experience the complaint that the choice didn’t change at all. Yes the breads, pastries, fruit, salad, pizza etc were the same but other items (particularly the ‘ethnic’ choices) changed each day. Dinner MDR – we were allocated the Olivio D’oro restaurant on deck 6 for first sitting 7pm table for 4. We had asked for second sitting, but we decided to stick with 7pm as it actually suited our older guests a bit more than waiting till late to eat. Our experience of dinner was a positive one – the food was good, no-one complained re their choices, nothing was cold and we had no-one struggling to find a choice that they would like. We didn’t experience the issues reported re waiters not filling water or refilling wine glasses… it is true that there are less waiters handling each section than RCL and so the main waiter for your table does have to work harder and therefore maybe we were lucky. But the service was very good. The portion sizes are not huge (just as on Preziosa) but neither are they small – they were perfectly adequate. Also we never had any problem or funny look from our excellent waiter Imam when we ordered 2 starters (seafood or salad, plus a soup) and a main as a third course. He seemed to see it as perfectly normal and fine – again maybe we were just lucky. Dinner buffet – we only did this once and found no issues with it. The chaos was less (whilst still poor behaviour from our Italian and Spanish cousins was still a feature…) and so it was more of a relaxed atmosphere than at lunch or breakfast. Food was good and hot. Grab and go – we only used this once when we were back on the ship very late from a full and busy day of touring around Barcelona. The pizza and hot dog was good. Butchers cut – we ate there on one occasion and we found the steaks to be very good. The filet mignon in particular is lovely, albeit with the dining experience we only were allowed one side dish each which seemed a bit tight as they weren’t big enough for table sharing. Overall for Euros 39 it wasn’t cheap but was very nice. Ports/ excursions – this cruise was very port intensive (only one sea day) and we found that we really enjoyed this. We didn’t do any planned MSC excursions as they looked pretty pricey for the time/ activities involved and generally the ships docked close enough to the cities to be able to largely do your own thing. Naples – we wanted to go to Capri (we’ve been before and wanted to take the old folks) but we felt on balance we didn’t have enough time so we got the hop on hop off bus which was a bit expensive at around 25 euros and not really great value. We don’t really like Naples very much and it did show some nicer parts but it still didn’t really ‘do it’ for us. Messina – we had never been to Messina before and we found it really nice. Initially we got off the ship and just had a walk around the streets and then boarded the hop on hop off and did both lines for the rest of the day. As one guy rightly said on the bus, it was the best 15 euros he’d spent in a long time. One line was in town, one along the coast. Only downside was the commentary was via microphone and all nationalities showed their worst behaviours – Italians talked loudly during every language (including their own!), Spanish largely the same, germans all ex their own, French the same… you get the picture… no-one heard much as a result! Also a tip – don’t ever get a car hire in Messina and be careful crossing the road… we had never seen so many cars with scrapes, dents, banged up bumpers – I’m not exaggerating to say it was virtually every car….double parking everywhere… one business not to be in is car insurance in Messina! Valletta – wow what a bonus. We had never been to Malta and the capital was lovely with fantastic weather even in mid-November. You dock within 20 mins walk of the town (quite uphill to get there, but all downhill back!). We got off and walked around the town, very clean, very nicely presented, nice bars and restaurants. We watched the mid-day cannon firing. It was very easy, lovely views from the cliff top. It was a real highlight and I’m surprised more ships don’t dock there. There is a real attempt to invest in the city. It was a real highlight. Barcelona – we’ve been to Barcelona a number of times and sailed out of there a lot but the city never fails to impress. It’s such a well laid out, classy city with so much going on. We chose to walk off the ship and over the bridge to the WTC to pick up the hop on hop off bus rather than take the MSC shuttle which would have been 10 euros each to go to the same place. It’s about a mile and half but up and downhill to get there. We did both bus lines during the day (swapping over at the Plaza de Cataluna – brilliant place for food/ drink) for 28 euros each (25 for pensioners). Super tour and brilliant but a long day. We walked back to the ship which felt hard going on the way back! Marseille – we’ve been a few times and so decided to stay on the ship. Easy day, a lie in, a few beers, quiet lunch….. some cocktails, then packing in the afternoon! Overall, it was a super holiday. The ship is up there with RCL, the service seems to have improved and the food we found to be pretty good. For the price paid it was super value (much cheaper than RCL or NCL). My wife’s father summarised it best when we shared that we thought we ought to cancel way back in July – he said ‘look people see things differently, whatever it turns out to be like, we’ll make the best of it..’ – he was totally right. Fortunately we didn’t have to make the best of it because it was genuinely good. Next up is my favourite ship in the world in December …….. the absolutely glorious and truly awesome Oasis of the Seas – it will be interesting to compare that to our last 2 cruises on MSC…….!!!! I hope this has been at least slightly helpful to people. All the best. BIG ROGER. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
On arrival onboard there is a huge hard sell line of touts that surround you as you walk through calling out to you to buy all their extra packages and shoving their ads in your hands. Very difficult to ignore or say no which is what they ... Read More
On arrival onboard there is a huge hard sell line of touts that surround you as you walk through calling out to you to buy all their extra packages and shoving their ads in your hands. Very difficult to ignore or say no which is what they want. Market place buffet restaurant is massively overcrowded, noisy, uncivilised and impersonal. Have to push and grab for everything. Should be split into different rooms. No free fruit juice except at breakfast time and extremely sugary! Coffee is terrible. Hard sellers going from table to table touting for their businesses in your face whilst eating your meals. Pushing you to buy extras such as freshly squeezed orange juice which should be free anyway, soft drinks and payable restaurants, etc, etc. They are rude and interrupt you constantly. The alternative free upmarket restaurant also charge you for water plus commission on top! They refuse to offer tap water. Food there is tiny. 3 raviolis for a main meal or a teaspoon size mashed potato as the only veg with a thin piece of meat. Soup size is about 4 tablespoons. No films, documentaries, dramas, tv programmes for English viewers in the cabins. Only payable ones. They only had news channels and CBeebies in English. Cinema is chargeable. Bowling is chargeable. Free show every evening but Cirque du Soleil in another theatre is payable. Buying a wifi package doesn’t even give you access to your emails. You have to upgrade even more to get that. Excursions are much more expensive with MSC. Much much cheaper if you get a taxi or Hop On Hop Off buses. There is always a Tourist Information desk right next to the ship at every port giving you a free map and directions and ways to get about much cheaper than the ship’s. The ship always gives you the impression that their methods are the only ones, such as their own ‘payable’ shuttle bus to city centre a mile away – not true. Money is taken from your account towards UNICEF without your consent during the cruise. Was told this is apparently “in the small print”. The brainteaser quiz session had 90% of questions regarding MSC i.e. “What benefits are there if you book your next cruise now with us”. I think the word ‘benefits’ should be swapped with ‘hidden charges’. And the words of their show one evening was “We work with Love” - or rather “we work with del boys”. Felt like being hauled through a washing machine with the huge push to make you unwittingly spend more and I will never go with MSC again. Sadly, this mindset of hidden charges/hard sell/fees/commission is rife with all cruise companies and is getting worse. Stay away! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Intriqued by the Mediterranean itinerary, the Yacht Club ship-within-a-ship, the bargain pricing AND the program that matched our Princess loyalty status, we couldn't be happier with our experiment. We have already booked the new MSC ... Read More
Intriqued by the Mediterranean itinerary, the Yacht Club ship-within-a-ship, the bargain pricing AND the program that matched our Princess loyalty status, we couldn't be happier with our experiment. We have already booked the new MSC Bellissima for the same itinerary in 2019. Highlights? *absolutely gorgeous and easy to navigate ship that is downright lively with great shops, parties and activities *a BUTLER in Yacht Club that met and anticipated every need. Service exemplary throughout the ship. *all but highest end alcohol is included in Yacht Club. I kept track We had 74 drinks and two bottles of free Prosecco. *top-notch food in YC Dining Room AND specialty restaurants, eg Anchor Pub and Butcher,s Cut. Excellent Chef’s Table in EATALY, GREAT PIZZA. *TWO Cirque Shows, production shows fun as well EXCEPT see below *terrific itinerary that included Messina, Naples (we visited Sorrento),Marseille, Malta and Barcelona (don’t miss the Maritime Museum). Lowlights? *Wish they had told us about the planned transportation strike in Genoa when we disembarked. Cost us over $200 to get to Milan. *godawful on-board computer and television system—their website is poor as well. No reason it should be so poorly designed. *Poor meal at Cirque Show dinner—not up to high standards in YC. Mushy fish, overcooked vegetables at a meal we paid extra for. Would opt for cocktail show in future) seats are better at cocktail show as well. *hands down MAGIC FRIENDS is the lamest magic show in the history of the universe. *very limited storage in interior cabin, tiny closet *small casino with impossibly slow bar service Read Less
MSC Meraviglia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 2.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.3
Public Rooms 5.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 5.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.9
Service 4.0 3.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.1

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