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

Bigger most definitely NOT better!

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by ilovegoldens

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

I don't like to be completely negative in my reviews, so let's start with a positive:-

It's a beautiful ship.

That really is the only thing I can think of in it's favour. We embarked Meraviglia as a family of 5 at Barcelona. We have cruised over 20 times - 4 of which with MSC so I think have a fairly balanced view. Knowing it was a new ship we expected a few teething troubles, but this was in a different league. It took an hour for embarkation with a chaotic boarding process. Once onboard, we were impressed with the look of the ship - which is typically bling. Cabins are average size both in cabin size and balcony. We made our way to the buffet - which was an immediate disappointment. Pizza, pasta and very little else. Salads wilting and little or no vegetarian food. No clean glasses and the food was at best lukewarm - this was the norm overthe whole week. The pool area is nice, but during our week long cruise we experienced 3 fights over sunbeds, which on one occasion turned very nasty between two families. The sunbed situation is a bit of a powder keg I must say, as by 8am each morning the best situated sunbeds all had towels on them - and stayed this way for most of the day while the owners were on trips, they only returned to the sunbeds at about 4pm. The pool staff did nothing to discourage this. On the one sea day we had, which was incredibly hot, ALL the sunbeds throughout the ship were taken by 7,30am, which meant that many of the passengers did not get one. Some had a couple of beds each, as they had claimed one in the sun and one in the shade. It was a ridiculous situation we have not ever seen before on any cruise line.

Service on the ship was terrible - there were nowhere near enough staff for the 5,700 passengers. We never once got the right breakfast order in the dining room and had to wait for a good 45 minutes after placing our order for it to arrive with the wrong items. This ship relies heavily on technology for food orders etc; Much was made of the new MSC app - which didn't work! We booked Cirque tickets via the app, and had the price added to our onboard account, but when we arrived for the performance - they did not have us on their list.This happened to a lot of people. We had booked the new flexi dining system, but once on board we were told that it had been such a disaster in the first week, that they had abandoned it. We were then allocated a dining sitting - 3 of us on the 1st siting and 2 of us on the second - in different restaurants and not on the same table as any of our party. This necessitated a 2 hour queue to sort out. Our waiter at our allocated 9,30pm sitting was doing his best, but admitted they did not have enough tables and that consequently they had used a section of the buffet- laid up with tablecloths for people who were not allocated a table in the dining room. We waited a very long time for out dinner to arrive and on two occasions left before desert having waited almost an our between courses. Service in the bars was not good either and wrong drinks appeared on a regular basis. The crew are not happy and look fed up, surly and stressed. Our cabin steward did not even introduce himself and did not do the cabin at all one evening. One day our 14 year old grandson had to return to the cabin for something after putting the "make up room" light on, and the steward tore into him!! The buffet closes between 4pm-7pm and the only place to get anything at that time is the Grab and Go by the pool deck, greasy burgers, pizza and hotdogs, which on one day was rationed to one slice of pizza per person. The buffet also clossed at 11pm. The cups and glasses ran out on numerous occasions in the buffet and orange juice one day was hot!

There is a distinct lack of hygiene on the ship - they have introduced wash basins at the entrance of the buffet - which I never saw anybody use, there are no hand sanitisers either at the buffet entrance or the dining room entrances - the only one I ever saw was at the gangway when returning to the ship - and that was empty! We were so unimpressed with the service that we asked for our gratuities to be removed - which was done without question. I think they had had so many people doing this they had given up asking why. The whole vibe of the ship is pretty much a Butlins type experience, thumping music most of the day around the pool and screaming crew trying to whip up audience participation. We spent most of our time on our balcony as that was the only place you could get any peace.

So, never again on Meraviglia - it may or may not get better, but we beieve it just has too many passengers for too few facilities. By the way the entertainment was dire too. We will give MSC one more try on one of their smaller ships we have already booked, but it looks like we will be returning in future to RCI, NCL or Princess - who know all about customer service. If this had been our first cruise - it would have been our last.

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