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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Chose this ship based on the dates I would be in Barcelona and it had a good itinerary. I am a seasoned cruiser having been on over 30 cruises so I had a lot to compare. MSC bombards you with staff selling different packages when you ... Read More
Chose this ship based on the dates I would be in Barcelona and it had a good itinerary. I am a seasoned cruiser having been on over 30 cruises so I had a lot to compare. MSC bombards you with staff selling different packages when you board. You have to pay extra for everything, room service, sauna and more. We boarded at 1:30pm and didn’t meet our room steward until 7:40 when Ihad to look for him. Nothing I had ever experienced in any of the other 7 cruise companies I have been on. It got worse! couldn’t call the front desk or room service for almost 2 days, called and it rang forever without a reply. placed complain cards but no reply. lines at the assistance desk would take over an hour with 4 attendants for 5100 passengers! Poorest food and service wil keep us from ever cruising MSC. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
As we have some cruise experience (Holland America, RC, Princess, Costa, Viking, Aida) and have travelled with MSC (Fantasia) before, we spontaneously decided to spend a week on MSC Meraviglia. Prices seemed more than reasonable and as we ... Read More
As we have some cruise experience (Holland America, RC, Princess, Costa, Viking, Aida) and have travelled with MSC (Fantasia) before, we spontaneously decided to spend a week on MSC Meraviglia. Prices seemed more than reasonable and as we planned our trip for March we knew we were not coming back with a tan, so opted for an interior cabin without balcony. The weather wouldn't be permitting spending much time outside anyways. Having just returned from the trip the conclusion is to never go on board an MSC cruise again. It was the first time in all these years that we decided to leave the ship early and were quite pleased to get away from it all. First, let's start by summing up some pros and cons. PROs: - the ship makes a good first impression looking clean and quite impressive - the cabin, in comparison to other reviews, we thought was decent considering the price - our booking included a mealtime drink package which made the price even more reasonable at first sight - the embarkation process in Marseille went smoothly and we were able to go on board within an hour. CONs: - depressed or rude staff - overcrowded everywhere at all times - airplane food - 15% service charge - MSCs money making scheme - EVERYTHING costs a lot The experience in more detail Ship When we entered the ship the first impression was good, nice clean with seemingly all the amenities required to spend a good holiday. However after having walked around and explored the ship it was lacking all aspects of cosyness and despite being so big we could not find a place where we really wanted to spend our time. The style is very modern, cold and bold, which may be a question of taste, but none of the bars, spaces and places had a sense of welcoming atmosphere about them. The mall is large but it makes you wonder why all this space has been wasted on rather useless instalments like a TV studio and the Chocolatiere chocolate shop. Have fun spending your time there on a 7 days cruise. Apart from that you get the usual overpriced duty-free and merchandise shops as well as restaurants you have to pay extra. Dining To describe it in one word: TERRIBLE! The marketplace buffet reminded me of 2* all-inclusive hotels in my teenage years travelling to Mallorca and the costa del Sol. Always overcrowded with people seemingly going for the last supper of their lives. Fighting for tables, food, Asians taking their time to fill up flasks with tea and coffee. Incredibly poor food standard. It sounds good when you read the signs, I.e. seafood ravioli in a white wine sauce, but as soon as you try it, you'll find that it tastes like cold or, when lucky, lukewarm airplane food. Another fun fact is the beer, as a German, I quite like my beer with my meals when on holiday but what on earth are these guys serving? My girlfriend and me were wondering if something like instant beer exists, cause if it does that's what they might be serving. Do you know these Softdrink machines at McDonald's where you can see the syrup mix with the soda? I imagine MSC's draft beer being made like that! The waves restaurant reminded me of the film Titanic when you see the decision between the upper and lower classes. No windows in this restaurant, grey dark and too many people in not enough space to create an enjoyable atmosphere. Our waiter was a joke. Incredibly rude and rolling his eyes at every single request being made. On the first night we had to queue for 20 minutes to be taken to our table. When we arrived he immediately handed us the menus without any greeting to return 1-2 minutes later to ask us for our choices. We ordered our starters and mains without any second thoughts before being asked our choice for dessert not even knowing at this time whether we wanted one or not. When someone from our table requested wine he put a bottle on the table and said help yourselves, it is your job for the evening now. Unbelievable! Once you have gulped up your last bite the waiters will indicate that it is time for you to leave now. We spend 2 regrettable dinners there and chose the buffet instead. Cabin The dark interior of the cabin is not quite our taste but the cabin was clean and alright. The only slight problem was the air conditioning which didn't do much to provide the cabin with some needed oxygen. In some moments we missed not having a balcony, oh and a chair would be useful as well as a bathrobe. When we requested some, we are told that they are only provided on the YC and Aurea categories. This meant for us that in March we had to walk the outside decks with just a towel when going to the whirlpools. Entertainment & Activities We did not try any of the costly extras like bowling etc. It seems that they are trying to make it extra boring to force you to pay for activities. No poolside games, poor quizzes and when something takes place it is too packed to enjoy. We bought day passes for the spa at an extra cost of€55 for two, also disappointing. A small (for 5000 guests) outdated spa and the steam rooms were not even working on the day. They said they will take care of the problems but did not offer any refunds. Talking about offering, they do not offer much of anything in the spa apart from towels. No tea or water or juices. Guys, this is standard everywhere!! Health & Safety Usually not a category in reviews it needs to be highlighted for this ship. The safety demonstration took place in the theatre forcing everybody to listen to 2 points of information in 6 languages, a demonstration of the safety vests and the alarm signal. Afterwards, in groups they show you safety station. Ours conveniently was the Irish pub. To this day I have no clue which safety exit to the boats we would have to take or who and how would they be handing out the safety vests. I can only imagine what the scenario would be like in case of an emergency with 5000 guests plus staff. Another important point is the complete disregard for any hygienic standards. Nobody cares if you sanitise your hands during embarkation or when coming into the restaurants, no reminder, no nothing. Good luck with noro viruses in the future, it is bound to happen. This is especially insteresting considering all the touch screens everyone uses everywhere. Excursions We always go by ourselves as 99% of the time cruise ship excursions are a rip off. Service If you could call it that... the reception is designed for people to give up during queuing. Phone calls are never answered by reception, all you hear is the mocking message that your call is important to MSC. Overall Many aspects that make a cruise special are lost on this ship because of the hop-on hop-off system. No official welcome, no official announcements to inform guests, no nautical information, no getting to know anyone else properly as they might be leaving the next day, no farewell dinner. It also means that people are Constantly exploring the ship or disembarking sitting around lounges and bars with their suitcases and suitcases in front of doors every day. Then the constant money making off of everything, whether freshly squeezed orange juice or watching a film on your cabin, there is no joy to be found without extra pay. If at least then staff would make up for it with good service, but they don't. In some moments you even feel sorry for them having to put up with it all for longer than we had. We chose to disembark early to spend the rest of the holiday in Barcelona, it felt quiet there in comparison to the Meraviglia. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
A quick review of Meraviglia...... this was my second MSC cruise in 6 months, usually travelling with RCI. We boarded in Marseilles one very rainy Saturday. I think there were only about 400 joining the 'bus' that day. ... Read More
A quick review of Meraviglia...... this was my second MSC cruise in 6 months, usually travelling with RCI. We boarded in Marseilles one very rainy Saturday. I think there were only about 400 joining the 'bus' that day. Boarding started at 12 noon prompt and we were on board before 10 past. Muster was held in the theatre and then, rather strangely we were led to where our actual muster station was (a random point along the deck 6 promenade.....) . It was a very multi cultural cruise with a very large group of Chinese on board. We had a balcony on deck 9, 2 doors away from the 'secret' lift which was the perfect location and highly recommended. The only issue we had was on the last night when many Spanish teens got on board and they used the foyer of the secret lift for their meeting place at 3am, chatting very loudly. The room was well appointed, rather strange wall paining of some vegetables. Cupboard was very small with sliding doors that didn't slide very well. 2 drawers and 2 shelves. Very little storage. Suitcases fitted under the bed. Beds were very comfortable and the shower was very hot. Hairdryer in top drawer of dresser. Very odd dressing table chair which isn't a chair at all but a very heavy uncomfortable stool. No hooks on the wall to hang coats so they had to go in the cupboard. Being Black member I got a bottle of prosecco, chocolate covered strawberries, bathrobes, the chocolate ship, a backpack, an invite for 2 to a specialty restaurant, invite to cocktail party, free photo which is the one taken at the cocktail party, invite to a dance class, and and hour in the gym. I think that was all! We went to Butchers Cut for the complimentary dinner - very good steak well cooked but I found the starters a bit odd. I had the goats cheese and it came in a skillet on a rather hard base...it was too large I think. For pudding I had the cookie which came in the (same) skillet and again was a bit heavy going. The restaurant temperature was very cold and for pudding we actually moved tables out onto the balcony. Staff on board were excellent. Especially those in the English pub and in the various bars. The ship was spotless. Dress code was varied (to put it politely). The spa area is huge with so many baths and steam rooms - it was very enjoyable. Weather was not good - rain in Marseilles and Genoa. Snow in Rome which resulted in tours being cancelled. The ship was very good about keeping people informed. Music everywhere - lovely classical music in the atrium, a good band allowing for dancing in the Meraviglia Bar, salsa type band and karaoke in the On Air club; the only music I didn't like was the singer in the pub which I felt was far too loud for the space. I also liked the fact that some of the entertainment team were always around dancing with guests. The ship definitely had a party atmosphere. The ceiling display is impressive and only lasts a few minutes. Shows were proficient. I liked the one that was about the Apps. I did not go to see Cirque de Soleil. The chocolate shop is large and takes up a lot of space and I never saw anyone in there. I bought a box to go for €17.70 The Sky Lounge is a lovely quiet space, supposedly child free. One evening there were two prams in there, I spoke with the bar staff asking why they had been allowed in ...they obviously had to maneuver the prams past the large sign that says "0-18 not allowed" ti get in in the first place (!). The staff looked embarrassed and obviously did not want any confrontation. I went and spoke with another bar manager I had met earlier in the voyage. Immediately he was on his phone asking for the children to be removed...and he also wanted to send me a plate of something for my inconvenience. Now that is service! Very impressed! unfortunately it was my last night so I had to decline! There is a corner of the Sky Lounge (unmarked on any deck plan!) that is an enclosed smoking room. Meals in the MDR were fine, didn't go hungry and didn't come out feeling as if I could't eat another mouthful. Buffet had a very good selection including an Ethnic Corner which had some good dishes I like the way the MDR is open for lunch every day to although I didn't try it. The drinks package is the best value at sea. Didn't like the rose too much but the prosecco and the Aperol more than made up for it! There is a far wider selection of beers in the pub than in any other bar too. I would say that travelling as a solo it was quite a lonely experience. Most were families or couples. I have never spoken so much French! I feel that the lack of roll calls on these cruises mean you do not build up any friendships beforehand. Ship never felt crowded and was well laid out. I personally hate the Royal Promenade on RCI ships (all the ambiance of a shoe box) but this one was wide and I think the 'curves' into the shop areas helped with the flow. Shops were full of luxury items. There is also a very good range of toiletries and essential items on board too. Branded items are much cheaper than on RCI. MSC also add €1pp to your cruise bill as a donation to UNICEF. If you prepay the tips in UK it works out at £49pp for 7 days compared to the €70pp on board (which is about £61). Every penny helps! There is a huge kids area with 10-pin bowling and car simulators, and a big sports court. Outside there is a waterslide and a rope climbing frame for the adventurous. Last day was a disaster. Disembarking in Marseilles where all documentation said we docked at 8a so flights had been arranged accordingly. On board they said they docked at 9. This caused a great deal of stress to some people, not to mention expense, where people had booked cars, or tours or onward transportation. Despite having the priority Orange coloured departure group there was no organisation and it was a free for all with everyone pushing to get off the ship at once. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We got a good deal through Cruise Nation and although it wasn't an ideal time of year to cruise the Mediterranean we were looking forward to seeing the ports of call and experiencing life on a huge ship. Sadly we found that life with ... Read More
We got a good deal through Cruise Nation and although it wasn't an ideal time of year to cruise the Mediterranean we were looking forward to seeing the ports of call and experiencing life on a huge ship. Sadly we found that life with MSC was not for us and never will be again. We boarded at Barcelona and it was a relatively smooth process. The ship is really a hop-on hop-off service around the Med so there wasn't a full boarding process. The numbers boarding at Citavecchia seemed greater which is no surprise as it is an Italian ship. The ship itself was impressively huge and inside was the epitome of bling with shiny finishes and mirrors everywhere The ship had 5000 plus passengers and when everyone was on board it was hell on earth. The cabin was a little sanctuary but as soon as you stepped out the door it was mayhem with people pushing and shoving everywhere, competing for every facility on board. Everyone was allocated a particular restaurant for their evening meal although it was the same menu in each one. On the first evening it took almost two hours to be served three courses of luke warm, miniscule portions of bland food. After that experience we didn't go back. We did check the menu each day and found very little to suit the British palate, even if it had been palatable.The only alternative was to use the Market Place buffet areas which, most of the time, resembled a school canteen gone mad. There was no semblance of order with long queues at the counters, rude people wandering around with full plates, eating as they walked and pushing in front of others at the serveries. I have no desire to be racist, but another reviewer hinted at the huge numbers of a far Eastern race who monopolised large parts of the buffet areas, descending like a plague of locusts as soon as the doors opened, each carrying their little flasks and emptying the drinks containers. After a few days all the pleasure of eating on board, if there ever had been any, had gone. We saw the Cirqe de Soleil Sonar show and it was very good. The other shows in the Broadway theatre were average enough but were ruined by the number of people allowed in well after the show had started. We even had the pleasure of a group of children stand behind us talking loudly and laughing through the performance. As other people have said the central mall area is impressive but it does take up a lot of space with no purpose. There is large area given over to a Chocolate Bar/shop which is completely pointless and a range of designer outlets with huge prices The Brass Anchor pub was enjoyable until the female vocalist did her strangled cat impression each night. The Edge cocktail bar on Deck 7 was the most popular but, conversely, was the one with the least seating. People could be seen loitering around waiting for a table or chair to become free and then compete to get there first. We have to compliment the bar and waiting staff on the ship. They worked long hours but were always the most pleasant and well mannered. We didn't do any of the MSC excursions. Most of the ports were walkable from the ship. MSC were looking 16 euros for a shuttle bus into Marseille but didn't tell you that a 15 minute walk from the ship took you to the free port shuttle. In all, not an experience to be repeated. We will stick to a smaller, more personal and more British based cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
After we had booked our cruise many months before sailing we were really worried about the reviews We were very surprised to find that what most had complained about we didn't feel the same Embarkation went really smoothly We ... Read More
After we had booked our cruise many months before sailing we were really worried about the reviews We were very surprised to find that what most had complained about we didn't feel the same Embarkation went really smoothly We found the choice of food in the main restaurant and in the buffet to be very tasty and enjoyed good service at all times The Entertainment was ok We thought that all staff were very polite at all times especially drinks and food waiters Exiting and re boarding the ship was well organised everyday with the card system which does make things easier The ship itself is fantastic with the ceiling in main walkway forever changing it looks amazing We liked many of the bars to just sit and relax and have a drink We really enjoyed our cruise with msc and would certainly cruise again as we found it good value for the price we paid up other cruises of same standard Thank You. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I’ve been following the reviews here of MSC Meraviglia since summer 2017, and have been quite worried about our cruise at the end of February. That was not nescessary. In general there is very little to complain about, but also not so ... Read More
I’ve been following the reviews here of MSC Meraviglia since summer 2017, and have been quite worried about our cruise at the end of February. That was not nescessary. In general there is very little to complain about, but also not so much that really impressed me. My overall rating is a 4- (or 3,5 stars of 5). I’ve cruised once before, on NCL Breakaway in January 2014, which as I remember it I’ll rate at 4,5 stars. Now back to our cruise on MSC Meraviglia: We were a group/family of 13. (Five adult couples and three kids age 4, 5 and 8.) PROS and TIPS The buffet is less crowded and quieter in the back of the ship and the buffet repeats it self three times (both sides + the back), so make your way through the crowd on the sides and relax and eat at the back :-) The gelato sundaes are very good and great value for money! CONS I wish the food was more tasty. On the plane home (Norwegian Air Shuttle) I ordered a hot meal. It was mashed potatoes and meat balls. As a surprise it was really good, had a delicious sauce and tasted much better than any food I tried on Meraviglia.) The buffet and food on Meraviglia looks nice, is fresh and varied, but in general lacks taste. CABIN The two families with kids and the grandparents shared an aft facing Super Family Plus cabin on deck 11. A cluster of three connecting cabins. Two balcony cabins and one interior cabin in the middle. Total capacity of ten people. (The two other couples had outside cabins on deck 5 and 8). I was in the middle interior cabin with my five year old son. The cabin has a sofa that turns into a double bed. Not much floor space when the bed is set up, but cabin staff turns it back into a sofa after breakfast (and it’s easy to do yourself). I unpacked the suitcase and put it under the bed in one of the other cabins. The interior has a closet with two drawers and 7 hangers. Just enough space for my needs. Due to the middle interior cabin the two balconies were both quite wide and spacious. Two chairs and a small table on each. The balconies were separated with a plastic wall that somehow were built to be collapsed and made into one very big balcony, but we did not find a way to unscrew the bolts. The separating walls on the other sides were made of solid steel and not made to be removed. I thought this Super Family Plus cluster were treated as one cabin, but in practice it’s three separate connection cabins with separate cabin numbers. Even though it has one price it’s treated as three separate cabins due to keycards and billing accounts on board. We were three separate families sharing this cabin cluster but the families were mixed up in different cabins, keycards and accounts. I don’t know if it’s the fault of our agent or MSC. (I had specified beforehand who should share cabins). FOOD The buffet is varied and fresh. Nothing tasted bad, but little were very tasty or impressively good either. I guess it’s up to the guests to spice things up themselves. I had prepaid a water package of 15 bottles of water. That was not needed as there were always water, ice and lemon slices available for free in the buffet. The middle of the buffet is generally crowded but in the back and frontmost corners there’s almost always quiet and space available. The buffet goes all around on three sides. We had dinner in the included restaurant the first two days. I think the waiters serve tables in a given order and our table were the last in his routine, so with three kids we had to wait a while for food and drink. There seems to be a different three-course menu each day, with various selections to choose from. Some dishes were quite good, others did not taste much. For less waiting and more variation we ate dinner in the buffet the rest of the cruise. We did not try the speciality restaurants. Valetta on Malta were the best itinerary. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I think if this was our first cruise ever, we would have thought this was an OK (not great) cruise. But we’ve cruised before with Holland America and Carnival which had given us certain expectations that MSC fell far short. We ... Read More
I think if this was our first cruise ever, we would have thought this was an OK (not great) cruise. But we’ve cruised before with Holland America and Carnival which had given us certain expectations that MSC fell far short. We picked this cruise because we liked itinerary. We wanted to see as much of Europe as we could in a short period of time spending the least amount possible on transportation. However, we also wanted to go as a multi-family group that included my parent in-laws, and sister and brother in law. Because the in-laws are older, they do not like to travel this way. So as a compromise, we all agreed to this cheap cruise. We viewed this cruise as a glorified multi-city RyanAir flight. But we’ve been on cruises before, and they can’t be truly as bad as RyanAir can they? BOOKING Before booking, we noticed that there was a distinct lack of fine print on the MSC website compared with Holland and Carnival. One thing I do not like is being surprised with expenses. It was difficult to get a sense of what is/is not included. Many pages on the website are very generic. I could not get a sense of what is included in the drink packages, what is included as far as entertainment, etc. When we were doing research for our previous cruise, other companies specified ‘drinks up to $xx are covered by this package’ which were more helpful. Also, the MSC website makes it seem that the Cirque du Soleil shows would be included (i.e. free), of which we were [rightly] a bit skeptical. We had figured this was growing pains of MSC’s expansion into the North American market. Boy were we right. We booked for our February 2018 cruise in July 2017. We paid a $100 deposit and decided to wait till the December 26 deadline to pay the full amount. Come November, when we checked our booking on the MSC website, we discovered that we were no longer reserved. Our deposit was not returned, so what was going on? My wife called MSC USA and they said they had a major computer glitch in the summer and some reservations were lost. We were rebooked. For some reason, we were rebooked from an interior room to an exterior room with a balcony for the same price! We never received an email saying that we were upgraded because we complained, but we made this assumption at the time. However, after our cruise experience with MSC, I highly suspect it was just incompetence. We warned my sister and brother in-law, and in-laws and they discovered the same issue. It seems that they had contacted MSC (but not MSC USA) and they were rebooked too. Little did they know there were consequences of not rebooking through MSC USA (i.e. no free water). See the Dining section for more details. EMBARKATION – 4/5 Embarkation and disembarkation was the smoothest thing about this cruise. This is a hop-on hop-off cruise meaning that there are people embarking at every port. While this had made the embarkation process a well-oiled machine I feel it takes away from the enjoyment of a cruise in a few areas: - Comradery Between Passengers – I never got to know any guests too well because I knew I’d never seen them in 1 or 2 days. And everyone had the same view so no one, me included, made much effort to get to know other passengers. There was no shared experience of all being clueless newbies (more on this next paragraph), seeing the same people in the halls, and disembarking at the same port. Even on our recent cruise on the 4000 passenger Carnival Vista, where it is truly possible to never see the same person twice, we still made friends with a few families. - Constant Stream of Clueless Passengers (Us Included) – This means that almost every day there are a few hundred people boarding the first time. This has multiple consequences: 1. There is a safety presentation every day. Mildly annoying as the PA is used to broadcast the safety briefing in 8 languages and there is a demonstration of the emergency signal which is 7 long beeps. This is done during port hours so unless you got back on the ship early you will likely not encounter this every day. By the way I am a little concerned MSC’s safety procedures. The life jackets are NOT in your room (unlike in Holland and Carnival). They are all stored at your muster station under lock. Based on the stories from Costa Concordia, I’d rather not have to rely on staff to access the life vests. 2. Frustrated Front Line Staff. We embarked from Barcelona and stayed at a hostel called Casa Gracia the days prior. Their lobby is just beside their restaurant and the check-in desk looks more like a maitre d’s podium. So naturally when we first arrived, we asked the person situated there where is the check-in desk. This person who turned out to be the manager dejectedly sighed and said that ‘yea this looks like a maitre d podium doesn’t it?’ This is the feeling I get when I ask dumb questions of most of the MSC front line staff. Because every single day, they deal with new clueless passengers asking the same, what seems in retrospect, dumb questions. Case in point, their included sit-down restaurant (either Horizion or Wave) has a strict dinner time [more on this later]. You are allowed to be late by up to 15 minutes. We, not knowing this rule, were a bit late on the first day. This is our vacation after all. The waitress guarding the door rolled her eyes and complained ‘Ugh. Hadn’t guest service explained our strict dinner time?’ One of the managers came to do the door and said the same thing, but nicer. I figure they must have had to deal with this every single day for every single dinner cycle. 3. Guest Services is Always Busy and Frustrated. A trip to guest services is a guaranteed 30 minute experience minimum. There will always be a few dozen people asking the same newbie questions (us included) day after day. There will always be a few dozen arguing the bill because tomorrow is disembarkation [and there is much to argue about, more on this later]. The line is just constant day after day with no hope of dying down as we settle into the cruise because we’re all settling at different times. And unlike Holland (though not Carnival) who has the forethought to have extra staff at guest services in and around embarkation and disembarkation, having long lines seem to be business as usual for MSC. 4. There is No Assigned Seating at Dinner. This is due to the hop-on-hop-off nature as there are people leaving every day and it would be a nightmare to manage. Being socially awkward, I went in to the cruise slightly relieved. Finally, I will not be seated with random strangers trying to force small talk! Although during the cruise I did find that I missed being thrust into the position to talk to fellow travellers from all over the world and to hear their stories. And on a European cruise like this where the safety demo requires 8 languages, I would have been forced to interact which quite a varied array of people which would have been a good challenge. - A positive of the hop-on-hop-off business plan is that the MSC embarkation process is the smoothest I’ve seen. There’s less people boarding at the same time (a few hundred vs. the full 5000+ for which this ship is rated). The time between arrival at the terminal and getting on board was just over an hour. CABIN – 4/5 We had cabin 11043 which has a balcony. It was an good size for 3 people. Our 4 year old daughter slept on the couch bed. Minor complaint that the closet storage space is severely lacking compared to the Holland Zaandam and Carnival Vista rooms that we’ve had (both were cheap interior rooms too might I add). Most of our clothes had to stay in the suit cases. There were only 6 hangers. The washroom was new and clean. Minor complaint that while there was shower gel and shampoo but no conditioner. Also weird that the hair dryer is permanently attached to the desk drawer with no indication that it is there. We didn’t find it till our second day. DINING – 2 / 5 We had not read any reviews of the MSC Meraviglia. So we went into this expecting better Italian cuisine (as it’s an Italian company) compared to Holland and Carnival. Boy were we surprised that even Carnival has them beat. On the positive I will say that their Marketplace buffet is a tiny bit better than Holland’s and Carnival’s Lido buffets. This is the only reason this section gets a 2 instead of a 1. There is more selection and the food is pretty good for a buffet. There are a few constant staples like cold cuts, pizza, burgers, hot dogs (which surprised me for a European cruise), roast beef station, rice, pastries etc. They make their own mozzarella which they make a big deal about. I liked them though my wife said they’re a bit bland (well yea, it’s mozarella). But it’s surrounded by jams and other pastes at the buffet table with which you can spice it up. There’s also rotating items such as the fish of the day, pastas, soups, salads, etc. For the common buffet, of which we weren’t expecting much, we were pleasantly surprised. Our 4 year old daughter enjoyed it. Although she was disappointed that, unlike with Carnival, there is no [free] ice-cream at the buffet. In fact the desert selection was a bit underwhelming for an Italian ship. Though there is an ice cream station outside Marketplace by the pool, but this requires payment. You can include an ice-cream add on as part of a drink package but we learned that this does not include the gelato restaurant on the promenade. In fact, nothing is included on any package in the promenade. The restaurants, bars, chocolate shop, and gelato shop are not included as far as drinks. Even their poorly named “All Inclusive” drink package is not usable there. Where the dining experience really falls short is with at the included sit down restaurant (either Wave or Horizon to which you are randomly assigned). Here, we were expecting a relaxing atmosphere and good food (at least superior to the buffet), but we got neither. We were assigned to the Wave restaurant and a dining time of 5:30 pm. Most excursions and port disembarkations are at 4:00 to 4:30 pm. By the time one gets through security, back to the cabin, unpack, it’ll be easily 5:00-5:30. This does not leave much time to unwind after a long day of walking. We were also planning on having a proper lunch at most of the ports so we’d still be full by 5:30. On the first night, we just didn’t make 5:30. We found out that they close their doors pretty strictly at 5:45 and were not allowed in. Instead, we ate at Marketplace that first night. Let me go on a tangent. Both Carnival and Holland had assigned dining times at the sit down restaurants. You were guaranteed a table at these times with minimal wait. BUT, they also allowed you to come in at any other time provided that you had to wait for a table. Usually this was short as there were always tables reserved for drop ins. We felt that MSC’s process is far too strict of a dining system that is not suited to providing a comfortable experience for the passenger. Instead, we must conform to the MSC way or the high way. We went to Guest Services and asked to change it to 6:00 pm. At first they were unwilling and stated that the only allowable times are 5:30 pm or 8:45 pm!!! Yikes. I know the Spanish and the Italians eat late, but these times will not work for us North American folks. After some hemming and hawing, they allowed us a 6:00 dinner. Guest Services wrote this on a business card and told us to show it to the staff at Wave. Well Wave did not recognize this and said that Guest Services had no authority to do that. Well this is just not going to work. We had a fairly major argument with the restaurant manager. Eventually we were allowed to be seated. [More on this interaction in the Service section] We were asked what we wanted to drink, and we asked for water. Our Fantastica package included alcoholic drinks at the dining table. The MSC system is to provide you with drink tickets up front that you can use. This was unlike with Carnival where it is preloaded onto your room card. We were each given 12 drink tickets for our 7 day 8 night cruise. However, we were a little taken back on the first sit-down dinner when they asked for our drink tickets when we ordered water. Why do we have to use up our drink ticket for water? Another tangent. It seems to be a European thing to pay for water. As a North American, I expect free tap water at a restaurant. I had asked for tap water at a few Barcelona restaurants and was met with blank stares. “We don’t drink tap water here” was the typical response. Malls don’t even have water fountains. When you ask for tap water, you get a bottle. Back to the story. “Can we just get tap water?” “At the restaurant we serve bottled water only.” “You mean if I don’t want to pay for water, I need to go up 7 decks to Marketplace and use the water dispenser where it *is* free? Why can’t I just have that water?” “We only serve bottled water here.” ***DISBELIEF*** I realize this is small and petty, but I don’t think MSC truly understands where we are coming from. Asking your North American customers who are used to free water at restaurants, where water fountains are abundant, and where everyone carries a water bottle is quite a culture shock. And having to do this when free water was a mere 7 decks up just felt like a money grab. When we got back to our cabin we reviewed the cruise docs that we printed out before boarding. They did say that bottled mineral water is complementary at the restaurant. My sister in law and in-laws reviewed their cruise docs and found that their Fantastica package did NOT include water. After yet another trip to Guest Services and a helpful American couple also waiting in line, we determined the cause. When booking through MSC USA, the Fantastica package normally includes free mineral water. I guess MSC did actually anticipate the reaction of a typical North American vacationer after all. There was an MSC wide computer glitch last year and our bookings got lost. We were rebooked by an MSC USA rep, and the inlaws were rebooked by an MSC (not USA) rep and they got the European Fantastica package (i.e. no free water). Guest Services, can you please correct this? Sorry we can’t do that here. This was going to be a common phrase we’d here on the cruise. Guess services advised us (and this was just me and my wife because they were not able to help my in-laws who did not have this code in their guest profiles) to show their own waiters our Guest Profile (accessible from the MSC app) which lists all the included items under Fantastica so that they can punch in the coupon code listed there. When we did, the waiters remarked that they’ve never seen this coupon code before… Oy. As a nightly reminder of this water insult, because only my wife and I had the free water code, we had to order water for the rest of the table through our account, which only allowed us 2 bottles for the table. We eventually got over it, but it was stress and awkwardness that we did not want to have to go through… and for water for goodness sake. The food at the sit-down restaurant is mediocre. For most nights, we saw the same dishes and soup at the buffet. What’s the point of going to the sit-down restaurant then if they’re going to recycle the menu? To ‘enjoy’ the service (and to pay for water)? ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES – 1/5 There were language classes, but they are all scheduled during port times which is very unhelpful. There are no other enrichment classes unlike Holland. Holland had a history lecture about every port we visited. Boy this review is becoming an advertisement for Holland America and Carnival! ENTERTAINMENT – 3/5 There was a magic show and several concert type shows. My daughter enjoyed the magic show. The concert shows were cheezy but that was the case with Holland and Carnival as well. The MSC website made it seem like the Cirque du Soleil shows are included and would be walk-in (i.e. free). We were a little skeptical that such a cheap cruise would have a Cirque show included and were indeed correct. The show is technically free but you have to buy either dinner for 35Euro or a cocktail for 15Euro. Booking is required which is another trip to Guest Services. We really enjoyed the show. It was short for a Cirque show but it was a great performance. One point off for deceptive marketing. FITNESS AND RECREATION - 4/5 Most of the recreation facilities reminded me of Carnival Vista. There is a two storey gym/basketball court/soccer court. There is a running track at the top deck. There is a gym. There’s a daycare that’s partnered with a children’s brand, in this case Lego. There’s a small arcade which charges a whopping 1.5-2Euro per play, and a Formula 1 and flight simulator. We enjoyed the indoor pool as we cruised during the winter off season. We really enjoyed the “Himalayan Bridge”, which is an obstacle course on the top deck similar to Carnival Vista’s sky ride, on our sole sea day. We were a bit surprised it was still open as the water was very choppy that day. On an equally choppy day in the Caribbean on Carnival Vista, their SkyRide was closed citing safety concerns. I guess Americans are a more litigious bunch. SHIP AND PUBLIC ROOMS – 4/5 The ship is quite beautiful. Although we found a few elements that were more flash than substance. The most impressive is the 2 story promenade with an LED screen roof which can show any time of roof or scenery. Every night there’s a few 5 minute LED shows interspersed through the evening. At first this was a novelty, but after the first day the novelty wore off and this just meant that the promenade was impassable for 5 minutes as everyone stopped to look up. The Swarovsky encrusted staircase between Deck 6-7 is a wonder, but this also means everyone wants to take a picture on it. There is a theatre that is exclusive to Cirque du Soleil. But it is small and in the back of the ship. Knowing that this is a show that could be cancelled for rough seas, wouldn’t it make more sense for this to be mid-ship? The Bamboo Pool which is indoors is a nice touch. It’s a two story area, but it was annoying not having the washrooms on the bottom floor adjacent to the pool. Instead I need to climb stairs in barefoot/flip flops to access the washroom. There is a running track at the top of the ship (similar to the Carnival Vista), but the ends of the track coincide with the stairs which means I have to occasionally dodge other passengers. The Vista track has the stairs further away. The Broadway Theatre is a fair size. The Marketplace Buffet has a nice touch with floor to ceiling glass. It’s quite nice when you can get a window table. SERVICE – 1/5 If I could give MSC a service score of 0, I would. MSC is an Italian based company so while most of the front line staff are from all over the world like in many other cruises, their supervisors and management are mostly Italians. Boy do they approach customer service differently than in North America. Before I dive into the details, I want to say that the front line (non Italian) staff were all smiles and very friendly. Our encounters with the waiters, our cabin steward (though he was a bit aloof), and various servers were all smooth. Firstly the Italian men all have a certain machismo to them. While this may serve well in politics or acting, it is not suited to the service industry. On the surface and if you are not approaching them with a problem, they are very friendly. But come with a problem, and that changes. They really rubbed my wife the wrong way. While not overtly sexist, she said she felt a demeaning attitude from them. When we were complaining to the Maitre D about the dining time, he would always be addressing me and not my wife, despite the fact that she did most of the complaining. Everytime we complained about something, we were met with a grilling of questions of whether or not we followed their system or protocols first. There was no give and take in these interactions with the Italian management staff. It was mostly take. There was no attempt in allowing us to get a word in, or to understand our concern. Every complaint felt like fighting an uphill battle instead of an exercise of them understanding the complaint. A complaint encounter usually felt like an exploration of what we did wrong instead of how can MSC make this better. Heck, even Carnival does customer interactions better than this, and that’s already a pretty low standard already. When I cruised with Carnival previously, I thought they treated people like a walking wallet, but apparently Carnival has nothing on MSC. Everything on about MSC a money grab. I’ve already talked about the “All Inclusive” drink package which is anything but. The drink menu is heavily starred and starred items are not included. When we checked in, we had our picture taken as a group. Both Holland and Carnival had something similar. I expected this would show up on our app or the photo center as something we could order. Instead, they sent the photo to our room and applied a 20Euro charge to our account without any direction from me. We had to give the photo back to our cabin steward to get the charge taken off. At least they did it. The options for communication is insane! With Carnival, you had the option to pay $5 per device to use the chat feature on the Carnival app. The only option on MSC is to buy their internet package. For our 3 families, the premium bundle made the most sense: 1GB shared by 4 devices for 95Euro!!! This allows you to use your device’s data messenging. I think 95Euro just to chat is a tad ridiculous. By the time we figured out to turn off our Background app refresh and set our email app to stop push notifiations, we had reached 1000 MB. So before this happened, there was an option in the MSC app to add a top-up of another 1000 MB for *only* 45Euro. However, when our data got to 990 MB, the app *conveniently* crashed for ALL our phones. When one of us managed to log back on, our data had already reached 1000 MB and the option to top up was gone. We had to buy another 95Euro package. Yet another trip to Guest Services and surprise surprise, there was “nothing they could do, we had a computer error last night.” This seemed to be a common phrase. And as a final F-U to their passengers, on our last day, they added a 1Euro per person donation to UNICEF “on our behalf”. I would not have a problem donating, if asked. But to do it in such an underhanded way: to do it on the last day knowing that it would be another 30 minute ordeal to Guess Services just to remove, that is just unforgivable. It’s the same as their staff coming into my cabin, taking 3 Euro out of my pocket and leaving a note that we donated 3 Euro to UNICEF “on our behalf.” It’s petty of them, and they’re playing strumming the guilt strings of their customers to either appear petty to worry about a 1Euro/person charge and/or the annoyance of their customers to spend 30 minutes in line just to take off a few Euro. And I wonder how much of that donation went to administration costs? That was just the last straw. NEVER AGAIN MSC. One positive about the service was with the daycare. Although some North American parents may actually consider this a negative. With Carnival, when dropping off a child, all parents are issued a cellphone to be used on a list of conditions. One being if your child is hurt. Another being if your child cries for more than 10 minutes. If your phone goes off, you must come back to the daycare to pickup your child. Violate this and there will be consequences. On our first dropoff attempt with the Carnival daycare our daughter did cry for more than 10 minutes, and we were called and had to take her back. Carnival seemed to want to limit their liability, which is understandable and we appreciated their approach, though were silently disappointed we didn’t get any adult only time. On MSC, and I guess this is more indicative of European approach to parenting, when you drop off your kid, he/she is staying there till you come back. Cry or no cry. No cellphone to call you back in case anything happens. Whatever happens, you find out when you pick up your child. Though I’m sure if it was really serious, the staff will find you, but it was never actually discussed with us what would occur. On our daughter’s first daycare experience with MSC, it turned out she actually cried for almost the full hour she was there. Those poor care givers. She didn’t like that none of the other kids could understand her. I guess there weren’t any Brits that time. My wife and I were on the fence about the MSC system. We both believe that kids need to be given the sink or swim treatment every once in a while. But worrying about if your kid is truly ok, with no ‘life line’ to know if they’re ok made our parent-only activities a little guilt ridden. At least with Carnival’s system, we were confident that if anything truly bad were to happen, we’d get a call. SHORE EXCURSIONS – 1/5 For what they are, the shore excursions are extremely marked up. In Marseille, there was a very basic bus into town excursion for 18Euro per person. Luckily we did our research and walked about a km to the free bus to the town centre and from there could take the transit bus to various locations. And unlike on Holland, there is really no lecture or much guidance on doing excursions yourself. With Holland at least, excursions was a soft sell. They would promote their own excursions, but if you asked they would tell you how to get around. On MSC, there is a few basic pages on their app about each port. VALUE FOR MONEY – 1/5 Like my title says, MSC is the RyanAir of Cruises. Don’t expect much for service and expect to be nickel and dimed to death, for a cruise line. This strategy seems to work for the European crowd, but MSC still has a lot to learn about what a North American vacationer is looking for. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We’re a couple in our late 40’s who enjoy all sorts of holidays. On this trip we were looking for relaxation, good food and drink, dancing of all kinds, and a visit to Valetta. I also wanted to experience this new and beautiful ... Read More
We’re a couple in our late 40’s who enjoy all sorts of holidays. On this trip we were looking for relaxation, good food and drink, dancing of all kinds, and a visit to Valetta. I also wanted to experience this new and beautiful offering from MSC. We travelled in late February embarking in Civitavecchia; we knew what to expect when it came to the weather, we weren’t travelling to get a tan! There were some very positive aspects to our cruise, I’d read many reviews before we went and changed my booking based on what I'd read. A huge thanks to those people who took the time to write both positive and negative points about their experience, I hope my comments will also help others make decisions about what is right for them. We wanted to love this ship, and we did, unfortunately there were areas that we didn’t like at all. Most of those issues were caused by the number of passengers and the limited amount of real space for them to share. This was low season, and because of the weather most adults passed their spare time on just 3 decks. We travelled outside school holidays and hardly noticed any children or young people (apart from the indoor pool) whether that was because they were enjoying the facilities, which looked very good, or whether there just weren’t many of them I don’t know. We walked around the Himalayan Bridge and the Water Park and I’m sure this would have been great if the weather had been in double figures. The Ship Big, bold and beautiful, Meraviglia is just as its name suggests a ‘wonder’. When you step onboard for the first time, you can’t help but be blown away by its open space and shiny interior. This is probably one of the advantages of having guests arrive and depart every day; when you arrive many guests will be on shore so you get a really spacious, uncrowded feeling. The casino entrance, the entrance to the dining room, the sports court, there were big spaces everywhere and lots of big glass windows to look out from. First impressions count, and this impression was 10 out of 10. Deck 6 is the centre of the ship. Forward was the theatre closely followed by the beautiful galleria, the perfect place for an evening passeggiata. This is also the spot to find the shops and bars (and Eatly) as well as the excursion desk. It’s a similar experience to Royal Caribbean, but this definitely has a real Italian feeling. One deck up on 7 were the speciality restaurants and pub with close up views of the dome, the spa, casino and the Carousel Lounge for the Cirque du Sole. In the winter these two decks, along with deck 5 below are the main areas of the ship, and we found them easy to navigate. These are the spaces we used onboard Meraviglia. The Galleria This is a beautiful space. We didn’t use any of the speciality restaurants but liked the light and bright atmosphere. We loved the lounges on MSC Splendida, but as far as we could tell, the largest lounge on this ship was the Meraviglia Lounge on deck 6 just off the Galleria. Be prepared to hover if you want to sit down, and guard your seat, otherwise if you get up to dance you could loose it. There wasn’t a lot of space to dance, and when the galleria show started it was a mad dive to get a good position. Sadly we thought this lounge and dance floor was way too small for the number of passengers. I’m not sure why, but we thought the dome show would last longer and it would have a huge wow factor. It wasn’t quite what we were expecting. We caught a couple of the shows but didn’t make too much of an effort to see the rest. The Gym A great addition to Meraviglia is the availability of changing rooms at the gym. It’s much better than dripping around the ship on the way back to your cabin after working out. There were a good number of machines; it was also nice to have rowing machines. There was a good choice of free weights but sadly only two bench presses. Anyone who uses a ship’s gym regularly knows sea days and after the ship sets sail is not the best time to work out, as they are always full, the same is true for this ship. However, at times it was also dangerous and the staff just couldn’t keep their eyes on everyone. There is a very small area for floor exercises and stretching, at the centre of which are pull up bars and an area to use a barbell. The area is probably big enough for a maximum of 6 small people at the most. There was a separate room with spinning bikes that was always locked. One day we walked in and there was nobody at the desk to check our cards, often the staff appeared to be helping people in the changing rooms unable to remove their belongings from the lockers. We found a small corner to lay our mats, but then we noticed a young man trying to put weights on the barbell. He was clearly struggling. Moments later he left a weight on one end and tried to move to the other side without locking the bar in place. It tipped and very narrowly missed a lady who was doing floor exercises nearby, she was extremely shocked as were we, the heavy bar only narrowly missed her head. There was quite a lot of shouting, as you can imagine. After that, we only entered the gym during mealtimes or when we could see there weren’t too many people around. Perhaps a good idea would be to have an entry system linked to a passengers cruise card, to allow access to only those who had received an induction and to help keep numbers to a safe maximum. The Thermal Area I’d seen lots of pictures of the thermal area and it looked wonderful. I’d read about the different experiences - relaxing, invigorating etc, and the coloured wristbands that go with them. I was keen to try them out. Unfortunately, things didn’t get off to a good start. The first day we attempted to visit it was absolutely packed. Not knowing quite what to do I went to the reception desk to ask for help. I explained that I couldn’t see any of the notices without my contact lenses (which you can’t wear) and I didn’t know what to do. I was told…just go in…. I asked about the experiences; I was shown the bands and told to follow the symbols. No hope, I couldn’t see a thing; that's why I asked for help :-( So I did as suggested and went to try things out. My first problem was trying to find somewhere to put my robe and towel. There were things everywhere, in the clean towels racks, any available horizontal space, even on the floor. When I eventually nabbed a hook I tried to find a place to relax. The only places that weren’t full were the ice flow room and the cold showers. Not surprising as it was freezing outside. We queued for the walk through shower; there were two ways in, the hot way and the cold way. My ‘thoughts’ were that it would get hotter or colder as you went through but it didn’t seem to. It started cold went to hot, back to cold and then warm (with rather a nice coconut smell) and you had to wait for the water to change it didn’t move with you. In our 4 visits we could never get to use the 3 hot stone beds as they were either fully occupied or had towels spread out on them. We did use the Jacuzzi with the metal beds and the standard Jacuzzi, which we found more comfortable. We also liked the Finnish sauna and the light steam rooms, we found the dark ones a bit….dark, with people lurking in the corners :-) The Mediterranean rooms, and even the ice flow room, were also good when you visited at meal times and there was enough space. I never found out about the coloured buttons outside some of the rooms, I can only guess they were to be pressed when you wanted a specific experience. Although I’m not sure the other people already using the room would be very pleased if you changed it! The Theatre We were really looking forward to seeing some live shows, and the fact that you have to book made us think that we were in for something rather special. We booked ‘Way’ which was music through the years. We love music so we thought this would be a great start. We booked through the TV in our cabin, which wasn’t too difficult. There were 6 singers, dancers and a band on stage. We’re sure that all the performers were really good, but the sound system was so bad we spent most of the time wincing with our eyes closed. The sound system was way too underpowered to cope, it was painful, especially when everyone played and sang at the same time. We would have left, some people did, but we were in the middle of the row and didn’t want to appear rude. We stuck it out but ever returned. The Yacht Club The Yacht Club was our saving grace. It really is as good as every review that has been written, and every member of staff tried their absolute best to please. We had an inside cabin. Winter in the Med is no time to be sitting on a balcony so that wasn’t an issue, we had the virtual webcam to see what the weather was like outside. The cabin had just enough cupboard space for two people for a week and was kept spotlessly clean. We were onboard in minutes after arriving in Civitavecchia, and enjoying lunch in the restaurant within an hour. Every meal we had in the YC restaurant was tasty, well cooked and diverse. We especially liked the pasta and fish courses, but everything was perfect. The waiters were wonderful too. The YC lounge was a very relaxing place to read, listen to music and enjoy ‘High Tea’ at 4pm. This was proper tea, with scones, cakes and sandwiches on a stand. It was a real treat. There were always snacks available throughout the day and drinks were served quickly. There wasn’t anything not to like about this place. The sundeck was a little under used on this trip. We did brave sitting on the sun loungers on a couple of occasions and used the outdoor Jacuzzi once. Despite the air temperature, the water was lovely and we really weren’t expecting to use this area at all so that was a great surprise. The Pianist Edo was wonderful. His sets were diverse and he could play everything from Dire Straits to Frank Sinatra, he sang beautifully as well. Once we found him there was no need to go anywhere else The Yacht Club gets 9 out of 10 from us. One point was dropped not because of the staff, but for the design of the ship, and the sometimes temperamental ‘priority’ lifts. Thankfully even one of the butlers had problems with getting priority, which he seemed embarrassed about, especially as he had insisted that everything worked perfectly! The gym location was the only real problem during wet and cold weather. The YC is deck 16 forward, the gym 16 mid ship. To get there you have to go outside, not great when it’s pouring with rain and cold. You could try going down to deck 15 then run to the covered area by the pool and walk along outside. The concierge advised the best way was to go down to deck 6, walk along the galleria then take the mid ship lift to deck 16…hmmm not great. Conclusion In conclusion we had a lovely trip on Meraviglia, we chose our experience level well and it suited our needs perfectly. Would we go again? Yes without hesitation in the Yacht Club. Would we recommend it? Yes, for families with children and maybe in the spring or autumn. Would we recommend a drinks package? Every time. Would we recommend a weekly pass for the Thermal Spa? Maybe in better weather when other parts of the ship could relieve the pressure. 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We booked principaly to see the Cirque du soleil performance and have been on many MSC cruises before. This ship is ghastly in side and out. The décor in the balcony cabin was dark and depressing the view being partially obscured by a ... Read More
We booked principaly to see the Cirque du soleil performance and have been on many MSC cruises before. This ship is ghastly in side and out. The décor in the balcony cabin was dark and depressing the view being partially obscured by a life boat which they failed to mention when booking. I think they got TK Max or the Range to do the furnishings.The ship was full of all nationalitys the result of which was over crowding at every event and facility. The buffet was akin to being in a lunatic asylum- pushing ,shouting, no manners , people making pigs of themselves etc. Security on and off the ship was shambolic ,queing not enough staff,rude and ill mannered. We had a meal in the Cirque du soleil - the chaos had to be seen to be believed in the dinner serving. All with rip off prices and lack lustre service. I could go on for ages with what was wrong with this ship but hey ho they never listen any way If this is the future of cruising then count me out! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
MSC Meraviglia Westen Mediterranean cruise. Feb.2018. This ship is like a game changer of Italian cruise lines. It's a fabulous vessel, and we really enjoyed it. Venues and shows are spectacular, entertainment is in the ... Read More
MSC Meraviglia Westen Mediterranean cruise. Feb.2018. This ship is like a game changer of Italian cruise lines. It's a fabulous vessel, and we really enjoyed it. Venues and shows are spectacular, entertainment is in the air in a way that we haven't experienced with MSC before. I really enjoyed the opera, but there was something for everyone. It's a great ship for the cold with marvellous indoor pool areas and a fantastic spa. I did however question if it would work in the summer time since there is a lack of outdoor space. I asked someone and got it confirmed that the past summer was a disaster since there wasn't space enough on the pool decks. It's been pointed out before : it's like travelling on a bus, with people coming and the whole time. This makes the reception constantly crowded. Unlike many non - Italian ships there isn't much of a choice for dinner unless you are willing to pay up. You can however visit the buffet, which is at least one alternative. We were happy with what we got regarding quality and service, but we miss the delight of being able to choose where to go for dinner like we would normally do. General service was a mixed bag, but house keeping was top notch. With people leaving just about every day, disembarkation was great. Embarkation could have been good too, but it was unnecessarily messy. Even if it was too cold to be outside our kids had their best cruise ever. All the theatures and the kid's clubs kept them happy. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We have just returned from Meraviglia, having cruised many times with MSC we went with an open mind as this was a new ship but with some conflicting reviews. There does seem to be some design flaws with the ship that did impact on our ... Read More
We have just returned from Meraviglia, having cruised many times with MSC we went with an open mind as this was a new ship but with some conflicting reviews. There does seem to be some design flaws with the ship that did impact on our enjoyment. We have been used to the large entertainment lounges and theatre, and due to the promenade the bars are pushed to the side and the theatre as very small for such a large compliment of guests; to the point where you have to book the day before if you wish to see a show The staff on the ship (not crew) were fantastic we were always able to get served with drinks, food service was good and the cabin steward was fantastic. All were very friendly and willing to chat, wish I could say the same for the reception staff and some of the guests. There was a large amount of people who went round in packs (make your own mind up about the race) who were the most bad mannered, pushy and rude people anyone could meet, I had always been under the impression they were a gentle race; but they really did bring disgrace upon their eastern culture. Embarkation in Barcelona: this was very disorganized, there was a vast number of guests embarking and returning to the ship, all trying to get into the terminal during heavy rain. there should have been a separate system of security for embarking and day trippers, there was a lot of rude behaviour not being contained by staff who seemed to be out of control of the situation. the resulting mayhem left us very stressed and wet and our baggage and clothes getting wet. Cabin: It was not possible to hang clothes for two people in the wardrobe, as it was too narrow. The door configuration only gave access to half of the hanging space. There is also no drawer space in the cabin or in the shower room. If this is a fantastica cabin it is not very fantastic . Reception: I had to report that there were people smoking on balconies, reception said I would need to ring when I next witnessed it. I rang later but the call was not answered after half an hour, I then went to reception to be met by the daily endless line waiting to see them; and was eventually told I would need to ring the emergency number. At the next incident I tried this number but again it was not answered, I hate to think what would have occurred should I have had a major emergency. For the most of the cruise we were unable to use the balcony because of the smoking issue; there is only a small sign on the door and there should be a large prominent sign in most languages on the balcony bulkhead. All inclusive package: when we went for the "included ice cream" We went to the area on the promenade and was told we could not use it as it is a franchise and would have to go to deck 15 and use the "soft ice cream", on all the other MSC ships we were able to use the gelato station and get real ice cream. We were allowed to use the Gelato stations on all the other MSC ships why not this one. We also tried to obtain a coffee from the "Chocolate bar" staffed by MSC staff and we were again told this is a franchise and would have to use another bar, but the package states we can have coffee in ANY bar. What quickly became apparent was that the whole of the promenade is a franchise and just taking up a large area of the ship. Restaurant: Though the staff worked very well on most evenings the food was only just warm, we were told this is an issue because we are dining on deck six and the only kitchen is on deck five. On two occasions we ordered "well done" beef that was served rare, we asked for it to be changed but were told the chef only does it one way; we had to leave our food and eat in the buffet. Bars/entertainment: the main dancing and entertainment bar is the meriviglia lounge, due to the bad design of the ship this can only accommodate 60 seats even though it is used for most events. All other MSC ships we have sailed on have full size venues. If you are listening and dancing to the band everything suddenly comes to a halt while they change the scene on the promenade roof, once you have seen it; it just becomes a disruption to your entertainment. The shows in the theatre were marred by having to book the day before, then near the start they let anyone in so there are people standing and sitting on the stairs. We didn't go to the circus show having seen it before and the interactive entertainment was never open when we went to find it. Voyager club : The captains meeting for club members was held in the "meriviglia lounge" again the issue with 60 seats. the captain only spoke from deck 7 above the promenade, this could not be seen or heard by the club members but all other guests crowded into the promenade had full view and may I also add the wine for the club members. On all other ships the club party is held in a closed room, but there is no venue on the ship to hold a large party; this reflects in the poor design of the ship. Disembarking Barcelona: We were told there would be no announcements and that the embarking information would come on the interactive screens, guests on the ship were using the screens so no information was seen; we noticed a lot of people were leaving and asked a member of staff what we were to do and was told "O! just go off when you want, hardly the organisation we have had in the past. When we entered the terminal the sign stated our luggage would be on carousel 1, after waiting for some time we noticed them on carousel 2. We then went to find the "organised transfer to the airport" but there was none to be seen. a lot of guests were waiting but could not find it. MSC staff were very unhelpful giving us conflicting and misleading information. Eventually they changed a shuttle bus into a transfer bus and we left feeling very stressed and in need of another and better organised holiday. To sum up: On the cruise I spoke to many guests of different nationalities, The Italians felt it was too American and would not use this ship again, the Americans felt it was not Italian enough and if they wanted an American ship there are a lot of companies who do it better, English guests just felt very let down by the experience and first time cruises said that they would use other cruise lines in future. MSC seems to by trying to copy RCI with an American style ship, but if people want the American style they will use a line that knows how to do it better; people use MSC to get the Italian experience but this is sadly lacking on Meriviglia. The ship has a design flaw with the promenade taking up a third of the ship, this means that all the entertainment venues are squashed at each side not leaving any space for a full size entertainment lounge. The only inside area that can boast a full deck size is the casino (wonder why). Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We have just returned from a one week cruise on-board the Meraviglia we travelled in a group of 7 adults family & friends age range 46-86, 2 of our group had walking difficulties & sometimes needed the assistance of a wheelchair, ... Read More
We have just returned from a one week cruise on-board the Meraviglia we travelled in a group of 7 adults family & friends age range 46-86, 2 of our group had walking difficulties & sometimes needed the assistance of a wheelchair, we had 3 balcony cabins. (1) The good points about our cruise, The Ship is fantastic, we you first step aboard it is quite breathtaking, it really is just like a 5 star Hotel with all new fixtures & fittings, plush carpets & seating, there is a good choice of bars & Lounges to sit & enjoy a drink. (2) The 'Not so good' points, this ship was crammed with far too many passengers ( yes this is how MSC make money) during our cruise there was a notice placed on the customer service desk stating that the ship was full ( standard notice on most cruise lines) but in this instance i believe it was a true statement as in most parts of the ship you could not move around for people, let alone get in a elevator with-out people pushing. The surrounding cabins to ours were filled with college students from Barcelona ( 4 in a Cabin) hence constant noise usually starting at 4am when the upper deck Disco closed, we complained every day to the customer services desk, but they really didn't do anything to resolve the situation until the 4th day when most of our group went to complain again! tempers were getting frayed as we had no sleep for 4 nights, it was only then that we were told that the offending group were to be given an ultimatum to quieten down or they would be disembarked the following day, this did seem to help as it did go quiet ,but we were giving us the evil-eye every-time we passed in the corridor!. This ship seems to have very few security personnel to deal with large groups of unruly teenagers running riot around the ship. As stated in many other reviews the buffet is a total shambles with so many passengers searching for a available table ( sometimes impossible) & then all the pushing & line cutting-in, & the food is at best just very average quality & low temperature. We have never encountered so many rude & impolite people on a ship before, this includes some of the staff they really do need to get some customer service skills, but here again I think that they are just overworked with so many passengers to deal with & not enough staff. This was our first time with MSC & we will not choose this cruise line again, I think there were far too many different nationalities on-board & this had a determental effect. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our first cruise and first trip to Europe. The ship left from Civitavecchia but since we wanted to see Rome we arrived a day early and stayed across from the Coliseum. It was about an hour and 50 Euros to get the terminal. ... Read More
This was our first cruise and first trip to Europe. The ship left from Civitavecchia but since we wanted to see Rome we arrived a day early and stayed across from the Coliseum. It was about an hour and 50 Euros to get the terminal. Embarkation was well organized and straight forward. Our cabin wasn't quite ready but it gave us time to explore the ship a little before it got too crazy. Even though there were 4000 people on the ship it was always clean and never felt over crowded. The food was good. Some items were very good, others were not but there was always something that I liked. The Eataly was not worth the extra money. It was no better than the dining room. The other al a carte were very good and reasonable. Here's the only thing you MUST remember. Know your drink package and how it works. My bill at the end was only slightly more than the daily tip while others had hundreds of Euros to pay. They always let you know what the charge will be so pay attention and you will be fine. We only had one issue when dining with people that took our assigned seating and would not move. The staff quickly dealt with the issue and sat us without too much fuss. Our cabin was always immaculate. Cleaned twice a day and never saw a single issue in any of the public areas. The excursions were pretty good. Only the one time we had an issue with language. We were one of only 2 English speaking couples that wanted the tour and we had to tag along with the Spanish group. They tried to accommodate us. The port in Malta is by far the prettiest and best for hopping off to see. Literally a 5 min walk to some very interesting sites. Make sure to settle up the night before or to activate your credit card on their system. If you had no bill then disembarkation was well organized and relatively stress free. As a North American there was a little culture shock because the locals are used to being more forceful in a crowd but a little getting used to and you get the system. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
After reading some of the reviews we were wondering what we’d let ourselves in for. We needn’t have been concerned, the ship was lovely, spotlessly clean, cabin although a little smaller than most, was very comfortable, the staff ... Read More
After reading some of the reviews we were wondering what we’d let ourselves in for. We needn’t have been concerned, the ship was lovely, spotlessly clean, cabin although a little smaller than most, was very comfortable, the staff friendly and helpful. Plenty of entertainment.The theatre, and the Circe de Soliel were excellent. Although there were many nationalities on board English was the first language.The food was good, all tastes catered for in the buffet diner and specialty restaurants. Maybe a bit on the expensive side, but we were on holiday. The only disappointment was the weather. We enjoyed Rome, and Valletta.Barcelona and Marseilles were the proverbial wash out. We are going to the Caribbean next month so hopefully we shall find the sunshine there, again we go with MSC, although not the same ship. I’m not going to read any reviews before I go, as we had a very good experience last time I shall look forward to the same. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Well, what can we say after reading all the negativity about this ship! Don't listen to all the negativity, we thought it was fabulous and would go back on board in the blink of an eye! I got quite tearful as we had to disembark as ... Read More
Well, what can we say after reading all the negativity about this ship! Don't listen to all the negativity, we thought it was fabulous and would go back on board in the blink of an eye! I got quite tearful as we had to disembark as we truly never wanted our cruise to end. Embarkation went smoothly, perfect from Barcelona. We spent 3 days in a hotel before boarding and loved Barcelona too. I was starting to feel quite nervous about our choice of ship with all the review on here but as soon as we boarded and went to the bar on our classic all inclusive package to order our cocktails, I felt a huge sigh of relief, it was fabulous! Every cocktail we had was beautifully served by polite friendly crew, who we found so chatty and friendly and couldn't do enough for us! The cabin was just an inside but we found it to be one of the biggest cabins we have ever had and the bathroom was beautiful too. The ship is quite stunning, beautiful staircases, the entertainment was excellent, the shows were all very good. Particularly loved the flamenco show. The only thing I would not return to would be the Cirque du soleil Viaggio show, but other people seemed to enjoy it so perhaps just our opinion. The waiters were so friendly and if the food was not to your liking would quite happily exchange if for something else with a smile! Also, if we loved something we quite often ordered another one! The kids club looked amazing too. We spent many evenings dancing and enjoying wonderful cocktails and meeting some really lovely people. We would have no hesitation in returning for another cruise on the Merravigglia, a beautiful ship. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Our first criteria was the itinerary, in particular, Palermo and Malta. We had previously visited Marseille, Genoa and Civitavecchia ( Rome). Pricing was attractive. I consultated with a travel agent we had used in the past. Her comment ... Read More
Our first criteria was the itinerary, in particular, Palermo and Malta. We had previously visited Marseille, Genoa and Civitavecchia ( Rome). Pricing was attractive. I consultated with a travel agent we had used in the past. Her comment was " Well, MSC does things a little differently", which doesn't necessarily mean better or worse. The cabin classification is more than inside, ocean view etc. They have "experiences" Ours, " Fantasia" meant we were inside, upper deck (11) and came with a voucher for 12 cocktails each. This was a reasonable up charge all things considered. However, we met a family who were told that there was NO water served in the main dining room unless they purchased a bottled water upgrade. I know this is not the case. The ship itself is spectacular, 19 decks, 5700 capacity, only a few months old, well designed. It doesn't disappoint in that regard. Food was an overall disappointment. Not at all to what we have enjoyed on the 3 other lines we have used. The buffet offering were poor, no other way to put it. The"Grill" offered prepackaged hot dogs and burgers "BAD" Entrees and salads were substandard, layout of buffet did not allow free flow of diners. Food was not replenished in a timely manner. Tried breakfast buffet first morning only. Went to main dining room thereafter. Based on the crowds I'd say many others felt the same. Embarkation was fast and smooth. Their app helps out with this. Also they board and exit passengers at all ports when in the Med. This means fewer boarding at at port than a full load at once, BUT, you now have a lot of people learning around every day. Make for a lot of confusion at the buffet. Enrichment such as we have enjoyed elsewhere, e.g. lecture on upcoming ports/ culture are non existent. With the exception of Cirq de Sol, the entertainment was below par. No live music at the main stage show. Canned music only, even for the dance review shows. Actully found live music to be lacking thru out all venues and times, with the excepetion of the main atrium at cocktail time. Our biggest concern was the lack of public hand sanitation procedures at dining areas. There are no "washey washey" people. Yes, I've laughed at hem but they do serve the purpose of encouraging hand sanitation. The buffet had hand washing sinks at the main entrance but not the side entrances. The water usually ran cold, a sign no one used it recently , some times there were no paper towels. No hand sanitizing dispensers at entrances. We resorted to using a napkin to grasp the food tongs when serving ourselves. The main dining room did have liquid stations but were very seldom used. I mentioned this to the Maitre, d. He gave a shrug! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise because of the ports, timing, and cost. The ship was beautiful with wonderful appointments. Access to room was each with a touch or the room card. There was an "over 18 only" room on the 18th deck that ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports, timing, and cost. The ship was beautiful with wonderful appointments. Access to room was each with a touch or the room card. There was an "over 18 only" room on the 18th deck that offered a quiet place to be, with a panoramic view! Shore excursions were terrific. Getting on and off the ship was SO easy. There were 4 pools plus hot tubs. Regrettably, most were filled with children and therefore noisy. The cabin accommodations were mostly good: quiet room, good shower, great new mattress and pillows. The only place to sit was on a stool & storage was quite limited in the bedroom, bath, and closet. There were no coffee bars or small cafes. Hygiene was deplorable. We were traveling during the flu season and were astonished to see buffet had 2 entrances w/o hand washing accommodations. Main entrance had some sinks; but soap and paper towels were sometimes lacking (as well as warm water). No staff encouraged hand sanitation, either. Food was very disappointing. Variety was limited. Few meats offered. Portions in the restaurants were small and very limited in variety. I literally could not eat the prime rib (despite my excitement at seeing it on the menu), due to its saltiness. Fruit was not fresh. Pasta was available at lunch and dinner; but again, without meat or seafood in it. Oddly no cocktails were available in the restaurants, though wine was available for purchase. The layout of the buffet was not practical. Some areas were needlessly congested. Often, the display of food was not logical, such as finding salad items under "Ethnic Food" sign. Buffet never opened up all of the possible lines (4), so seating got congested. We had assigned dinner time & table, which limited our socializing. Service was not very accommodating. No service staff offered to assist with finding seating, refiling drinks, serving coffee with dinner, etc. When passing staff in walkways, passengers were expected to give way to staff. The ship had no band or orchestra. There were no "small venues" of comedians, live music, etc. Shops had limited items, too. Another consideration is that there were few passengers with English as their first language, which severely affected out ability to mix and socialize. Something to consider if you are not fluent in other languages (Italian, Spanish, Japanese, etc.) Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
One thing you should know beforehand is that I'm not experienced in cruise ships. This was my first experience overall, but I'll still give you my two cents on it and give some advice to those who embark on a cruise ship for the ... Read More
One thing you should know beforehand is that I'm not experienced in cruise ships. This was my first experience overall, but I'll still give you my two cents on it and give some advice to those who embark on a cruise ship for the first time. I initially got scared when I booked a 7-Day trip in the MSC Meraviglia and saw the reviews in the site: A lot of them were overly negative, and I noticed that some of them were unbalanced: For just one inconvenience or negative aspect of the ship they'd put a 1 star rating on the trip. Not fair, in my opinion. So after taking this cruise I'm gonna rate the most important aspects of my trip, from worst one to best one: Worst part: The price. Your overall spendings can, and will, be more expensive than what you first planned when you booked the trip. This ship wants your money, and while they don't strictly force you to buy the things they offer, they will encourage you daily to do so. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were included in my plan: Breakfast and lunch only available in the buffet restaurant, and dinner available in both the buffet and one of the restaurants that they will assign you to once you get to the ship. They do have more restaurants: An English-like pub, a meat-focused restaurant, an italian restaurant, a chocolate factory, and an asian restaurant. As amazing as they may seem, you have to reserve and pay for them in order to eat in them, as they are not included. The beverages are also not included. You can drink coffee for free in the buffet restaurant (But the quality of it is average at best), and drink juice or water for free only during breakfast. For the rest of the beverages you have to pay, either with drink packages or with an "all inclusive" pack that lasts for the cruise but is individual, so it will cost you a lot if you go with your family. I put "all inclusive" in quotes because it actually doesn't apply in the Champagne bar, so it's not entirely inclusive. Entertainment options like the Spa, the Cirque du Soleil show, the waterslides, the F1 simulator and the arcade machines are not included as well and you will have to pay for them. They also charge for the movies if you want to see one in the cabin. Internet usage is only accessible by payment as well: They have different internet packages but all of them have limited data usage, which can be reaaally inconvenient. If you haven't ever been on a cruise, keep in mind that you will be charged with a daily fee of 10 euros per person as a way of tipping to the service tripulation. Also remember that you won't use cash while buying onboard: You will be given a cruise card that can be charged with cash or linked to a credit card to make the payments. Normal parts: The cabin. I had a balcony cabin that was always kept clean and tidy by the personnel. You will be given both towels to use in the bathroom and in the pool. If you've never been on a cruise the cabin will most probably seem narrow to you compared to a hotel room (And keep in mind that my cabin was bigger than the normal cabin). It has a flat 40 inch TV, a desk, and a minibar (Of course they'll charge you if you want to get something from it). The bathroom is okay, with a nice shower that has hot water and has both soap and shampoo available. I'd recommend bringing your own body soap to the cruise, though. Nice parts: The ship and the food. The ship itself is massive, and it has a lot of commodities and applications. Live music is always present in the reception lounge, and musical numbers or theatre plays (Besides Cirque du Soleil) are available for free in the Theater. It has both outside and inside pools, 4 or 5 lounges and bars as well as a small disco, and places where children can stay during the day. The food in the buffet is pretty nice and varied, and the dinner plates in the assigned restaurants are delicious. The ship itself would be an excellent feature of the trip, but as I've said before, some of the facilities that would be entertaining to be in aren't included unless you pay for them. The embarking processes are generally really fast: I personally didn't have any problem with them. Very Good parts: Activities and excursions. Excursions offered in the ship are not obligatory to take (You can even stay in the ship if you wanted to, of course) and are more expensive compared to the ones that they offer outside the ship in the ports or in websites, but they are really good. The guides are helpful, always caring for the passengers, they have a ton of knowledge of the sites you visit, and are also always aware of the time so that you don't get left behind the ship on the longer excursions. Most of the excursions will be available in different languages, mainly in English, Italian, Spanish, French and German. They offer different activities when you're inside the ship as well. As most of the passengers in these cruises are above 50 years old the activities will be focused towards them, but you can also find some activities for all ages alike. Best part: The personnel. Easily the best part of the cruise, and along with the excursions, they made the experience worthwhile. These people are always eager to help you, master different languages (English and Italian are the most important to know when you're onboard though) and are generally very kind. These people don't have an easy job at all (Imagine trying to keep all kinds of people in a good mood 24/7!) but they pull it off perfectly. The waiters at the Olivo D'oro restaurant are really good, the musicians are really skilled, professional and well-mannered; and the people in the entertainment parts are, to put it simply, some of the best people I met at the trip overall. Hats off to them! So, overall, would I do it again? Most definitely yes, but I'll have to save my bucks for a looong time to go on a ship this expensive again. Here are some advices for the newcomers on the cruise: - For the love of God, read the indications manual. Some days before the embarking, a large document will be sent to your email where they will give you all kinds of indications: How to get to the ship, what stuff to bring in the embarking processes, the things that are included in your package, the taxes you have to pay for, even the dressing codes. Please take your time to read it and I swear your trip won't be as stressful. A lot of complaints in the reviews here are from things that are directly adressed in the indications. - Try to have breakfast and lunch early. The later you arrive to the buffet, the less varied food options you'll have, and you'll be left with only pizza or hamburgers to choose from. Keep in mind that even if the buffet restaurant is really big there will be a lot of people (Specially during breakfast), so be patient when going through the stations to pick up food. - Always keep an eye on the things they can charge you for. For example, before embarking, a photographer will take a photo of you and your family all together: This photo isn't your obligatory security photo (The security photo is individual and will be taken when you get inside the ship) it will later be sent to your cabin and you will get charged for it unless you say you don't want to keep it. There will be photographers in the dining hours offering you some photoshoots: keep in mind that they will totally charge you for them in the last day. Same with your photo with the Captain. - On the cruise you'll have an elegant night and an all-white night: Carry an elegant dress or suit and a white one too. If something else comes to my mind, I'll add it to the review, as well as if you have some questions about the cruise overall. Hope you find this review helpful! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We have been cruising for over 35 years, and never have we had a bad cruise, till now. We have cruised with Costa before on many of their ships, so we were under no illusion it would be noisy, particularly as it was a large ship, ... Read More
We have been cruising for over 35 years, and never have we had a bad cruise, till now. We have cruised with Costa before on many of their ships, so we were under no illusion it would be noisy, particularly as it was a large ship, however, it was only a 7 nighter and it was going were we wanted it to, so we thought we'd make the most of it. Our first impression of the ship was very favourable, it was a beautiful high tech ship. The cabins were very comfortable and the staff were very good and tried to please where they could. The shows too were a very good standard, and that was were the pluses ended. I'll list the negatives which sadly far outweighed the pluses: 1. There was very little seating around public areas for such a large number of people. 2. No cultural activities, not even on sea days. 3. The food in the restaurants was mediocre with very little choice in the buffet and the quality was not brilliant. 4. The wine packages were very restrictive and the selection of wines on offer on these packages were not of good quality. 5. Worst of all was the hygiene, or lack of. This was evident at the entrance to restaurants as the sanitising gel was hardly used. Even if you did use it as we did, it was rendered null and void by the waiters who handed you a tablet to sign for the drinks. After a few days, my wife and I ended up in the hospital with food poisoning, and by the looks of it, many people were affected too as the hospital was very busy. Some passengers on our table were also sick. We have a policy of never eating or drinking outside the ships precisely to avoid getting sick and spoiling our holiday, but this time, after 35 years of cruising, we got sick with food on board. Never, never again will we go on one of these cruises again, even if they were to be given to us free. 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
we wanted to try this new ship, which seemed very new and impressive. First of all the embarkation was very long at Barcelona, especially with two small kids. First evening we had a safety drill, we were told to go to the Casino with ... Read More
we wanted to try this new ship, which seemed very new and impressive. First of all the embarkation was very long at Barcelona, especially with two small kids. First evening we had a safety drill, we were told to go to the Casino with our MSC cards, where we were checked in, shown a storeroom filled with life-jackets, and shown how to put it on, in about 6 languages. In case of a real emergency, I would not like to think what would happen. Cabin was nice, with a small balcony, very little storage space, wouldn't be enough for a two week cruise. Cabin staff was extremely helpful and did his job really well. Otherwise it was very noisy especially late in the evening when we could hear people stamping about upstairs, or running around the corridors. One night I got up at 2h30 am to see what was going on, and found a group of 8-10 year old Italian kids running around shouting in the corridors. My grandson had a wonderful week at the mini-club and the staff were great there. The main lobby is enormous and it is a luxury mall, with expensive shops (I saw a wooden painted Russian box, for 10,000 euros) paying restaurants, and anything they can wangle money out of you, including a chocolate shop and ice-cream shop. The bars and lounges don't have enough space for a family of 8 who want an apèritif while waiting to go to eat. The Panorama restaurant was very good, with very nice and helpful staff. The food was good, and anyone who says the portions are small don't understand that you can ask for second or third helpings of anything you particularly liked. The Waves restaurant in the morning, was over-staffed, with waiters standing around talking in groups, while the customers waited for someone to come around with croissants, bread or coffee....I prefer Costa's buffet in the dining room where you can get what you want, and also get extras from the waiters. The Buffet upstairs, was difficult to get seating for our group, the staff were not very motivated, the food was ok, but not very warm. The pizza was great...real Italian pizza without tons of tinned stuff stuck on top of it. There was an Ethnic section which was quite good. I think a few micro-wave ovens would be a good idea. Most of the entertainment such as 'Cirque du Soleil', bowling, etc. has to be paid extra. We got plenty of information in the cabin for excursions etc. but not the necessary information about disembarking on the last evening, before we left the ship. The internet which we paid for was very slow, and we hardly ever managed to telephone each other with our mobile phones. We had to stay two days in Civitaveccia near Rome because of bad weather, and missed out on our visit to Malta and were taken to Mallorca instead. We arrived at 4p.m. It took an hour to get off the ship, and when we got out it was nearly dark.....a real waste of time. Getting back on board after an excursion was also very long. Long waits for the lifts when everyone was on board, or at meal times. The reception desk was extremely busy unless you went very early in the morning or late in the evening, and you could have a very long wait, sometimes over an hour. There were indoor pools and jacuzzis, gyms, and other indoor activities. A big melting-pot of nationalities, with people arriving and leaving every day, so it was not possible to get to know anyone else,.Lots of very loud tannoy announcements for the safety procedures for new arrivals, when the bars would close up. ...Lots of lovely staff from all over the world.... All in all an interesting experience, but I would never take such a big ship again, it was impressive, but I didn't think it was well organised.....teething troubles perhaps? I will go back to taking a more human sized ship, where you don't get the feeling you are being seen as a cash-cow. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We booked our December cruise (Rome, Palermo, Malta, Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa) well in advance, and like many others, we were a bit freaked out by the many bad reviews of the cruise. After going on the cruise, I can say that it went ... Read More
We booked our December cruise (Rome, Palermo, Malta, Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa) well in advance, and like many others, we were a bit freaked out by the many bad reviews of the cruise. After going on the cruise, I can say that it went well compared with the 10+ other cruises we've been on with Norwegian, Princess, and Carnival. It was not perfect, but none of the cruises we've gone on were ever perfect. Each cruise line and ship has its pluses and minuses. The Pluses: - Beautiful, well maintained ship - Never felt overly crowded even though there were thousands of people aboard - Getting on board for the first time and leaving the ship after the cruise was really easy and fast. The fact that people started the cruise at different ports made things easy and fast. - Excellent, friendly staff -- especially the main waiter at our dinners. - The large touchscreens for ship info and reservations were great. - The food in the formal dining rooms came out fairly quick, so you don't have to wait too long. - Never had problems finding seating in the buffets. - Line to get an omelette went really quickly The Averages: - The food compares OK with other cruises I've been on. The food is designed for European tastes I believe, so the taste may not be quite be what us Americans are used to. So, if Olive Garden is what you think is good Italian food, you'll be disappointed. Like other cruises, every breakfast, lunch, dunner buffet has a stable offering that does not change (e.g. omelettes, breads, waffles, pizza, pastas, etc.), but they do introduce some changes every day to mix it up a bit. There was an emphasis on Italian food more since many Italians were on board. - As other people mentioned in their reviews, the portion size of the dinner food in the formal dining rooms was smaller compared with other cruise lines. I don't think this is an advantage or disadvantage. If you want more, order more. The wait staff doesn't care how many main courses you order. In fact, smaller sizes allowed you to have the stomach space to try more types of food. - The people on the cruises were fine. There was not the line cutting that people mentioned in other reviews. - The customer service desk was fine. There was a line, but it was not excessively long. - The shows were fine and were on par with many others I've seen on Princess, Norwegian and Carnival. There were 6 shows that rotated in the main theater in addition to the 2 Cirque shows. - The cabins were fine. The Minuses: - They tack on a surprise donation to your bill in the middle of the cruise. It was 1 Euro per person that gets added to the bill. It's annoying since I don't like to make donations I'm not consulted on. You have to go to customer service to get it removed. - The ship's large so depending on the cabin, it may take you quite a bit of time to get to another part of the ship. - There were less structured activities compared with other cruises. So, if you want more trivia contests, ping-pong tournaments, or cooking demonstrations, other cruises are better. - Not enough variety in the salad bar. Overall, the cruise went well and is not the nightmare that others have mentioned. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I chose this ship as I wanted to enjoy the holidays with my family in a new ship and this one looked spectacular and I thought the ports would be fun as well. Before leaving I read the reviews that other people had posted and thought that ... Read More
I chose this ship as I wanted to enjoy the holidays with my family in a new ship and this one looked spectacular and I thought the ports would be fun as well. Before leaving I read the reviews that other people had posted and thought that perhaps the shortcomings of this she would be in dining and the pay for everything culture. Let me break it down: Food I found the buffet on the 15th floor to have plenty of options to choose from. Yes, you did have the same items every day like hot dogs, hamburgers at lunch or eggs/croissants at breakfast, but to be fair, I never repeated a meal 2x during my trip and had plenty of choices to choose from. Food was good, not excellent, but certainly not terrible either. Desserts were so so, which I was glad as I didnt need the calories :) We really enjoyed the japanese restaurant for dinner one night. It was loads of fun! Entertainment Well this is an area that I find they need to work on. At every port we would leave shortly after arrival, take tours and return around 4-5 pm. Then there was nothing to do till dinner 6:30 pm and then again nothing till 8:45 for a show. Nothing before or after that timeframe. Every night they have dancing lessons, which my family had no interest in, or played some music somewhere. But there was no organized games, trivia, daily bingo, etc. Just basically nothing to do on the ship. In terms of the shows, do yourself a favor and skip the magic show. It is just dumb. The best one was Way. We were supposed to see Cique Viaggio but ocean was too rough and they cancelled show. We did see Sonor and I would say for an abbreviated version of Cirque it wasn't bad. We had dinner with the show and I would say dinner that night was mediocre. Just have dinner at the main restaurant or at the specialty restaurant. Information Most of the crew is clueless and will give you the wrong information or simply not answer your questions. It is hard to find someone that knows answers to questions. Just very disorganized. If you have a question ask 3 people and go with consensus. ALl in all we enjoyed our trip as we really liked the ports, and made the best of the time we had as family. We didn't go o the boat expecting much, and we probably won't cruise MSC again, but this is more because of our more favorable experiences with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and even Carnival. ENJOY! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Chose cruise for ports of call over Christmas holidays so my family could come with us. Do not take this ship if you get seasick. It is too tall for waves and 1/2 the audience in the theatre was motion sick when the ship began to rock and ... Read More
Chose cruise for ports of call over Christmas holidays so my family could come with us. Do not take this ship if you get seasick. It is too tall for waves and 1/2 the audience in the theatre was motion sick when the ship began to rock and roll when leaving Valletta for Barcelona. Horrid experience watching guests vomit in the theatre and walkways. Why put a cirque show on a high wave night...I am sure it was always cancelled every cruise. Cirque sonar was disappointing...we have seen three real cirque shows and sonar is a high school performance by the cheerleading squad. No other great shows on board. We found nothing to do after dinner and shows so we would go to sky lounge for a nightcap. Service was slow and poor...I could give the staff lessons. Never travelling on MSC again. Get the basic drink pkg otherwise you will pay for still water, even at dinner and lunch. Buffet is simply horrid, passengers are pushy and very rude by Canadian standards. Read Less
MSC Meraviglia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 2.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0

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