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MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
469 Reviews

This ship cannot handle its own crowds

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by rob411

46 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2017
  • Destination: the Mediterranean

I would avoid this ship. It is not large or well-staffed enough to handle its own crowd of customers. The Mediterranean port cities are excellent, on the other hand!

I was on the Meraviglia during its second week of cruising, embarked from Naples for a seven day cruise with extended family. My family of four (two kids, 5 and 2) were in our veranda room with us, in the Aurea class on deck 14.

Overall, I was disappointed with the ship. I knew it would be crowded (ship was close to, if not fully, sold out), but it was surprisingly ungracious. Sections of the ship were frequently closed off, forcing the considerable masses into uncomfortable places. Decks would be chained off completely or exclusive for certain cabin classes, dining rooms or whole sections of the buffet would be closed for unexplained reasons despite dense and unworkable crowds, odd rules would apply to different drink stations/bars about whether water (or coffee, or soda) could be served at different times of day.

For my young kids, food quality is a non-issue; we just want them reasonably well-fed until we can visit each port. That said, the food was bland. More important for us, the dining room did not open until 6:45 and the buffet did not open until 7pm. There was absolutely no food (except at up charge restaurants) between 4:30-6:45pm, which overlaps with the kids' dinner time. We adjusted by keeping a stock of pirated rolls and fruits in the room from breakfast, to be available once we returned to the ship. This felt unnecessary and absurd.

With the Aurea class, we had access to the lovely space on deck 19. This was the savior for our family when we were on the ship. There is a pleasant, lukewarm hot tub that overlooks the massive and insanely crowded pool deck. Great mix of shade and sun, never crowded and its own drinks service.

Excursions: we only did one excursion through MSC to Mt Etna and Taormina, which was a big hit with the kids. BUT. I booked it before we left on MSC's website and they had no record of it. I had to rebook on the ship. I would blame myself - maybe I never hit the final submit button? - except that the same thing happened to another family in our group, all of us pretty darn internet savvy.

Lots of things didn't work. I downloaded the MSC app to get mobile boarding passes, and spent some time inputting all of our info the week before we left... it did not work at embarkation. I had to add my credit card twice to the cruise account during the cruise, because for some reason we kept getting notices that we did not have a credit card attached to the cabin.

(Internet access: we bought the premium internet package for 70euro, and paid an additional 30euro to add. ALL we did was check email once a day, with all background apps set to NOT REFRESH at all, and the plan was insufficient. You are better off using an international cellular option and waiting for the ports.)

Our cabin (and the cabins of our extended family) was average, which is surprising for a new ship. Poor storage and dark (and I am adjusting for the fact that we had four people in the cabin). Beds, bunk beds were excellent, and the bathroom was clean and spacious. On deck 14 we were just under the overhanging roof from the pool deck on deck 15. We could hear everything, including the 23:30 DJ dance party and the 05:00 Sunrise DJ party. It always sounded like a herd of elephants was pounding on the roof. Avoid.

Staff/crew seemed excellent and they worked very hard. Leaving the cruise for the ports was generally very smooth and easy.

Minor annoyance - no laundry facilities on the ship, unless we used the very expensive service. We traveled light, banking on laundry, and ended up doing a lot of sink washes.

We loved the ports, we loved the mix of cities, and for our multi-generational family, the cruise just made sense. This ship, however, was an unfortunate choice, and I would avoid booking Meraviglia or MSC again. That said, if you are getting a good value (we did not), and you don't really care about the ship, GO GO GO.


rob411's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin Aurea 14082

Our cabin (and the cabins of our extended family) were average, which is surprising for a new ship.

Note that we had four people in the cabin (two kids in a bunk bed, ages 5 and 2).

Poor storage and dark, and I am adjusting for the fact that we had four people in the cabin. Beds, bunk beds were excellent, and the bathroom was clean and spacious. On deck 14 we were just under the overhanging roof from the pool deck on deck 15. Two consequences. First, the balcony basically always was shaded (great!) but the room always felt like a cave (not great for a veranda room!) Second, we could hear everything from deck 15, including the 23:30 DJ dance party and the 05:00 Sunrise DJ party (I am an early riser and I can confirm that there was NEVER a SINGLE human being at the sunrise dj dance party, but the music was playing regardless). It always sounded like a herd of elephants was pounding on the roof. Avoid.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


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rob411
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