1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. MSC Cruises
  4. MSC Meraviglia Review
  5. MSC Meraviglia Cruise Reviews
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
It may seem odd that I do a review nine months after it ended. However I found that among all the other reviews that I read there are some aspects concerning this ship, that have not been pointed out before. It is even harder to read a ... Read More
It may seem odd that I do a review nine months after it ended. However I found that among all the other reviews that I read there are some aspects concerning this ship, that have not been pointed out before. It is even harder to read a cruise review for this particular itinerary. As a consequence I will mainly focus on aspects not mentioned by other reviewers. Embarkation was at Steinwerder Cruise terminal in Hamburg, Germany, for a fourteen day cruise that took us to the Norwegian coast, north cape and the remote island of Spitsbergen. I have to say that exactly one year earlier we had already taken a cruise to Iceland starting on this same embarkation port and once again aboard a vessel from MSC, the Preziosa and were not at all thrilled with the overall organization of that ship. Anyway MSC was the only cruise company doing this route on the time frame me and my family (my girlfriend and our nine years old daughter) had. It is difficult not to draw comparisons with the Preziosa, but fortunately I got to see that aboard the Meraviglia the experience was better, although in early evening the ship was as crowded as a shopping mall on weekends. It seems the crew is better prepared to tackle with the huge number of passengers on board. First of all embarkation and disembarkation were well organized, shore excursion desk is much better, no cues to come aboard on the different ports of call we were in, as it frequently happened on my prior cruise with MSC. If there is a place that needs to be completely reorganized, this is the buffet they call Market Place. Almost everything is wrong because it is too big and messy. It was the same aboard the Preziosa. MSC does not understand that in order to cope with a big number o passengers using this venue at the same time, the answer is not a bigger restaurant but rather a disciplined organization, even if this disciplined attitude is made at the cost of freedom of the passengers to choose a particular table to sit. At breakfast and lunch time on sea days it is impossible not to bump with other passengers who wonder around with trays of food on their hands while trying to find a place to sit. The answer would be for the management to assign the families or groups to the table, the moment they enter the buffet. With such a big place it was also easy to arrange this venue in a way that starboard partition is closed for cleaning and repositioning of stands for a 30 minute period, while port side is open also for a 30 minute period. What most chocked me was the small device they put on the tables to call the servers who take the orders for the beverages. In fact, if you want a special drink, you press that device and a server quickly comes to take your order. While the system always worked efficiently with me, I think that danger of norovirus widespread lurks around, as these devices were almost always noticeably dirty because of the huge number of fingers that touch them. My advice would be not to touch them with your bare finger tips and use instead a paper napkin to do it. And the same should be done whenever you press a button on a lift, even if around here dirt was not perceivable. Concerning the cabin we had chosen a Fantastica class balcony stateroom in the aft of the ship (9271). Prior to booking, I had studied the deck plan layout and noticed that there was a bank of lifts close by. However, once on board we realized that these particular lifts are for crew only. The consequence was that every time we wanted to go anywhere from our room, we had to endure long and fatiguing walks on a long and uninteresting corridor and again on the way back. Be aware of this fact if you book one of these staterooms. Another warning concerning staterooms on the aft of the ship but only on deck 9, is that you are directly above the Carousel Lounge. This is a sort of disco lounge with an height that spans on two decks and it is at moments very noisy, mainly at night when you want to rest. There is another advice that I cannot refrain from doing: You should avoid, at all cost to book a cabin on deck 14. Our tablemates at dinner had their cabin immediately under the Bamboo Pool and had to complain frequently at reception at two or three o’clock in the morning because of the unbearable noises coming from deck 15 while maintenance to the pool is being done. They said they had the feeling of being close to a big washing machine while on spin cycle. After having complained for three or four nights in a row they managed to be reassigned to a cabin on deck 5 and were thankful for the change. Other cabins on deck 14 are also noisy because they stand immediately below the Atmosphere Pool or the Market Place Buffet. My advice to future travelers would be for you to save some money and go to a lower deck while choosing your cabin. As said before the itinerary was for us the main reason for this cruise. We were very keen to visit Norway and above all to set foot on the northern most parts of the country, as our route included the north cape and a stop at the Svalbard archipelago. However, I have to say that these two spots were the only that turned out to be somewhat deceiving. Honningsvag is the port of call to visit the North Cape. It is just a fishing village and totally uninteresting. We had booked a shore excursion that included the transfer to the North Cape - a windy spot by the way- and a King Crab tasting. We were unlucky with the trip to the north cape because of the fog but on our way back the sky had cleared up and enjoyed very much the landscape that was definitively beautiful. Longyearbyen was our port of call at the Svalbard archipelago and just to get there it is necessary a full day at sea and another one to return to Norway mainland. It was a complete dud. The most interesting shore excursions were all sold out the moment we boarded the ship in Hamburg. I had even tried to make a booking some weeks before the cruise through MSC webpage, as this is also possible and in fact very convenient if you want to avoid the crowds around the shore excursion desk, but the most interesting excursions were already sold out at that moment too. As a consequence we just booked an uninteresting drive to a place where they breed Huskies. There is a museum in town that is moderately interesting and shops (expensive) for tourists. It is a very short walk from the ship to downtown Longyearbyen, but a dusty one on a road full of heavy trucks and with no sidewalks. By the way, this is a place with lots of coal mines which explains this pattern of dusty traffic around the existing few roads. Coal exploration is in decline as a source of energy, so the economy of the archipelago relies mainly on tourism. You cannot venture on your own outside the village because of the risk of attack from polar bears, whose population has been steadily increasing anyway. While walking around the main pedestrian road of the village I spotted inside a shop some photos of the place taken in late winter or early spring while the island was still covered with snow. Judging from what saw on those photos, it seems that’s the ideal time of the year to enjoy a wonderful scenery and with luck seeing the northern lights in the sky. If you want to visit this place, do never take a cruise in summer just to go there. Finally I would caution future travelers disembarking in Hamburg as MSC does not organize a transfer to the airport. This is a pity as many of the passengers that I saw around the airport on the afternoon of disembarkation day had also been aboard the Meraviglia. And the same happened to me one year earlier upon disembarking the Preziosa, again in Hamburg. We had our flight back home early afternoon on disembarkation day and had to take a taxi. The ride to the airport was time consuming because of the heavy traffic around the port. It took us almost one hour to get to the airport terminal and that was after we had to wait in line for 30 minutes in front of the cruise terminal on a hot sunny morning with no shades at all, just to get a taxi. Still it would have also been even worse should it be raining. Taxis were just slowly coming to the cruise terminal. Take that into account on your post-cruise arrangements. Other travelers may think differently, but personally I prefer much smaller and better organized ships. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We are certainly not cruise experts. We booked the cruise based on land stops and the look of the cabins. The destinations were well picked and we enjoyed every one of them. We did not use the MSC Excursion service and took all land trips ... Read More
We are certainly not cruise experts. We booked the cruise based on land stops and the look of the cabins. The destinations were well picked and we enjoyed every one of them. We did not use the MSC Excursion service and took all land trips into our own hands. The organization while boarding and check out were chaotic, you were not informed very well about what your next step is and the lines at the info desk were horrendously long. The look of the ship is modern, the cabins are small but have everything you need and the cabins get cleaned several times during the day. For anyone over 6'2", the shower will give you neck pains because the ceiling is so low. Cabin crew was awesome and so nice as well as the staff in the restaurants. But we have noticed that they are definitely over worked and barely get any time off. Activities and events on the ship were not our cup of tea (young couple) but that certainly is a preference thing. We enjoyed the Cirque du Soleil show but other than that there were no activities getting our attention. We painfully missed a movie theater for example. You have to pay for movies in the room. They offer lots for kids and older people. The buffet restaurants were mostly over crowded but the quality of the food there was buffet worthy. The food at the complimentary restaurants was mostly tasteless and not very good. But the specialty restaurants on board were good (but expensive). Bars were plenty and good. We have used the gym but that also was mostly over crowded and too small for so many people. MSC is not an all inclusive cruise line and you certainly get charged a lot for everything. You can avoid costs on food because there are enough complimentary offers but if you do not have a drink package booked before hand it gets expensive. Spa, movies, internet, bus shuttles to downtown areas....it all costs a lot of money. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Never MSC for me... They should name the next ship MSC upsell. On the Meraviglia upselling is going on from when you wake up until you gouing to sleep again. I'll booked the orient spa. 120€ for 60 min massage, i'll booked 2. ... Read More
Never MSC for me... They should name the next ship MSC upsell. On the Meraviglia upselling is going on from when you wake up until you gouing to sleep again. I'll booked the orient spa. 120€ for 60 min massage, i'll booked 2. Even while doing the massage the lady tryed to sell 4 extra massages, cremes etc. The news leaflet you find on the bed is becoming a comervial magazine trying to sell (again) Lotto tickets, bingo, restaurant packages. champagne by he bottle, pictures, camara's, parfum, beauty treatments.. etc. When you open the tv = the same. Walking under the dome .. again. In the sauna everyone is whering fabric, from short to underpants.. dont get it? The food standards whent absolutely down in the last years. We had a exclusive drink package. Again a lot of drinks, not included. What is 'exclusive' standing for then? Staff was smoking in corridor upeside the staterroom. Excursions realy overprised. You find the same for the half of the price once ashore. Interaiment is very Italian. Italian singers try yo sing English songs. 7 seadays, why not showing a movie in the theater in the afternoon, oh true you can do in your room 7€ / film. For serval years I do cruises, i'm always happy to pay the service charge. This year I asked serval staff members what they get from that. Absolutely NOTHING! So I went to the information desk and ask to take away the service fee. The lady did understand my complaints and said I better choose the smaller ships from MSC. They have the same amount off staff on the Meraviglia as par example the Divina, only 1500 guest more. So i dicide to tipp them directly. Pitty because you can only tip the employee's you see. The led screen cealing is a expensive gimmick. If you have a good lookaround on the ship you see that a lot is done with cheap materials. MSC is hunting for mass tourism and that you see. No sign of a cruise director. That been said, staff is workkng hard 15 days without one free day. €1050 / month for a bar tender. Most off the staff is exosted. The destination to Spitsbergen where Meraviglia but MSC lost his smile. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
MSC MERAVICLIA / 5 – 19 JULY 2018 / CABIN 8020 (Inside) “L’Olive D’Oree” Dining room We had an early – on time request – via our travel agent for a table of two. Instead of this, MSC gave us a table (Nr 797) which ... Read More
MSC MERAVICLIA / 5 – 19 JULY 2018 / CABIN 8020 (Inside) “L’Olive D’Oree” Dining room We had an early – on time request – via our travel agent for a table of two. Instead of this, MSC gave us a table (Nr 797) which actually was a table for 4 persons, divided in 2 parts, right next to each other. So, as a real fact, we were all the 4 persons in the same table! The food choices were so few and the menu options were extremely “strange”, with a poor quality and quantity. Generally we have serious doubts about the Chef’s “choises” and dining decisions. Nowhere hand sanitizer ! A sterilize liquid machine might be everywhere, especially at the dining areas ! “Market place” Dining Room Few staff can not serve so many people, or keep the dining tables and the floor clean, on time. We rarely could see supervisors and foremen checking around the extremely noisy dining area. Quite poor quality and quantity of meat and fish. The same not delicious foods were repeated every lunch and dinner. Limited food variety and none difference in the menu every day ! Most of the simple food choices were unacceptable tasteless (f.e. pizza, kinds of cheese etc.). Generally we have serious doubts about the Chef’s “choises” and his dining decisions. Nowhere hand sanitizer ! A sterilize liquid machine might be everywhere, especially at the dining areas ! Room amenities None – at least 1 bottle in the embarkation day – complimentary bottle of water. A small table with one small armchair could be placed into the cabin. An offer of a goodnight small chocolate on the bed, must be cost a lot to the MSC Co., on the contrary of the others cruise companies. Bath amenities Total lack of bath toiletries (hair conditioner, body/hand lotion, cotton pads, ear cotton buds, etc.). No hand towels, no wardrobs, no slippers, no shoe shiner, not a cheap cotton bag. Bad quality of the shampoo, bath gel and toilet paper. Photo Shop Annoying photographers were hunting for a shoot, any time, anywhere. They sent us in the cabin, the embarkation photo – which they forced us to take -that we didn’t want to bye, warning us that otherwise, they were going to charge our bill ! English beer pub The cuisine was any time “closed”, so the beers were coming without any chips or nuts, as everyone knows that nuts or chips need cook / baking ! Shuttle Bus in Tromso Shuttle bus service from port (Fredik Langes Gate 4) to Tromso city center, total 6 Km (actually 4 Km), 19,90 Euros per person round trip. None announcement / information on behalf of the bridge regarding the navigation, or the passage of the Arctic Circle. 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

Find a MSC Meraviglia Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise