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Our previous cruise experiences were with Thomsons, NCL, Carnival and Disney. Ship – fantastic, big, bling and fitted out top quality stuff all over Embarkation /disembarkation – Smooth and efficient as all ports are embark / disembark Food – poor Service levels – high Shows – Cirq du Soleil (extra cost) very good. Others a mixed bag. Lots of music and bands playing at various parts of the ship Ship’s IT infrastructure – SHAMBOLIC The buffet was limited in choice with no premium items or in fact rarely anything other than pasta, pizza, fruit and things like bacon and eggs. Bacon was usual med stuff – 50% fat and essentially a vehicle to hold the cooking fat. Good choice of bread and pastries. Nothing was ever hot in the buffet, not even freshly laid out stuff. Occasionally, they would bring out a small joint and start carving it but it would only serve around 20 people and that would be it. The restaurant was worse than the buffet. Although food was delivered looking stylish, everything was delivered luke warm except some desserts which were cold from the fridge. On the first night one of the options for main course was ‘suckling pig’. It was 30-40 % fat, cold and more like belly pork and just about inedible. Things got little better. Portions were very small too so it seems that they expected you to fill up in the buffet on pizza. By day 2 we were worried that this would be the first cruise we would return from weighing less. On day 4 we decided to try one of the extra cost restaurants – Butchers Cut. This is a steak restaurant and was good (could have been very good but let down but the use of frozen chips – in-excusable in a restaurant which costs £35+ for main course. The food was served hot! As usual everything bought on the ship (which included water in the restaurants) was subject to a 15% service charge. However, the calculated 15% was incorrect when viewed on the TV in the cabin. E.G. wine at 18E = 2.69e service charge (should be 2.70). Another drinks bill for 10.65 showed 15% service charge of 1.61euro (correct value = 1.60). Every calculation of 15% was incorrect. I pictured this on my phone and raised it with customer services who denied it ‘the computer cannot be wrong’ simply dismissing the photos of the TV screen and refusing point blank to discuss it. Every other purchase had the incorrect 15% figure but at the end of the week it tallied ok. I have detailed this point about the 15% service charge because it is typifies a major problem on the ship and one which it’s difficult to understand how MSC are unable to resolve – the IT infrastructure. The ship is IT intensive with monitors all over the place which allow you to book shows and excursions etc. They even have an app for your phone for this but unfortunately the whole system is unreliable. In fact, it’s worse than useless sometimes because often you book things using it (show / excursion etc) and, whilst you will have received confirmation of the booking, when you get to the show they have no knowledge of the reservation. You are NOT booked. Having read about these issue on previous critic of the ship we went prepared for this and pre booked and paid the Cirq shows. Still, we arrived at the door for the performance we had booked and the handheld tablet they use to check you in had no record of our booking so we couldn’t get in – classic example of ‘computer says no’. The check in staff at this point were under siege from several other irate folks with similar issues but, armed with my printed email booking confirmation, I wasn’t going to back down. Tempers got raised and then they went and checked on another computer system which confirmed we HAD booked and paid so we got in. I don’t know about the other folk still at the door arguing however. So, in this case the hand- held device was not synced to the main system or something like. We had further problems trying to book the other shows whilst on the ship. The system would only let me (the party leader) book for shows, not the others in my party. We discussed these things with the waiter in the restaurant who said that the restaurants (which also rely heavily on IT) had also experienced severe problems when the ship launched but things had improved since then. The other shows were a mixed bag. A couple of them featuring the ship’s staff were good but one called ‘hands’ had a bloke casting animal shadows onto a large white screen. This was good for 15 minutes but unfortunately the show lasted 45 and the rest was ‘illusions’ which were clearly aimed at 7-year olds even though the show was on at 10.30pm. Overall, the cruise is aimed at families and there lots of activities going on at various points on the ship which we didn’t try. Don’t pick this ship expecting good food but prob a good choice if you have sports loving kids around 8-14. We were fortunate in that we had privately arranged excursion in most ports otherwise the cruise would have been ruined by IT and food. ** if you want to take alcohol on board to hide the disappointment in the food its worth considering doing this at Barcelona and Valleta. To get onto the cruise ship jetty you go through security by showing your cruise card and then you are confronted with alcohol shops. These can only be accessed by cruisers so presumably would have to close if the ship didn’t allow you on with alcohol. We passed the bags through the scanner no problems. Equally, when you embark on the ship they ask you if you have any bottles – just say NO.

Not suitable for foodies - partial chaos

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by hexhead

16 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Our previous cruise experiences were with Thomsons, NCL, Carnival and Disney.

Ship – fantastic, big, bling and fitted out top quality stuff all over

Embarkation /disembarkation – Smooth and efficient as all ports are embark / disembark

Food – poor

Service levels – high

Shows – Cirq du Soleil (extra cost) very good. Others a mixed bag. Lots of music and bands playing at various parts of the ship

Ship’s IT infrastructure – SHAMBOLIC

The buffet was limited in choice with no premium items or in fact rarely anything other than pasta, pizza, fruit and things like bacon and eggs. Bacon was usual med stuff – 50% fat and essentially a vehicle to hold the cooking fat. Good choice of bread and pastries. Nothing was ever hot in the buffet, not even freshly laid out stuff. Occasionally, they would bring out a small joint and start carving it but it would only serve around 20 people and that would be it.

The restaurant was worse than the buffet. Although food was delivered looking stylish, everything was delivered luke warm except some desserts which were cold from the fridge. On the first night one of the options for main course was ‘suckling pig’. It was 30-40 % fat, cold and more like belly pork and just about inedible. Things got little better. Portions were very small too so it seems that they expected you to fill up in the buffet on pizza. By day 2 we were worried that this would be the first cruise we would return from weighing less. On day 4 we decided to try one of the extra cost restaurants – Butchers Cut. This is a steak restaurant and was good (could have been very good but let down but the use of frozen chips – in-excusable in a restaurant which costs £35+ for main course. The food was served hot!

As usual everything bought on the ship (which included water in the restaurants) was subject to a 15% service charge. However, the calculated 15% was incorrect when viewed on the TV in the cabin. E.G. wine at 18E = 2.69e service charge (should be 2.70). Another drinks bill for 10.65 showed 15% service charge of 1.61euro (correct value = 1.60). Every calculation of 15% was incorrect. I pictured this on my phone and raised it with customer services who denied it ‘the computer cannot be wrong’ simply dismissing the photos of the TV screen and refusing point blank to discuss it. Every other purchase had the incorrect 15% figure but at the end of the week it tallied ok.

I have detailed this point about the 15% service charge because it is typifies a major problem on the ship and one which it’s difficult to understand how MSC are unable to resolve – the IT infrastructure. The ship is IT intensive with monitors all over the place which allow you to book shows and excursions etc. They even have an app for your phone for this but unfortunately the whole system is unreliable. In fact, it’s worse than useless sometimes because often you book things using it (show / excursion etc) and, whilst you will have received confirmation of the booking, when you get to the show they have no knowledge of the reservation. You are NOT booked.

Having read about these issue on previous critic of the ship we went prepared for this and pre booked and paid the Cirq shows. Still, we arrived at the door for the performance we had booked and the handheld tablet they use to check you in had no record of our booking so we couldn’t get in – classic example of ‘computer says no’. The check in staff at this point were under siege from several other irate folks with similar issues but, armed with my printed email booking confirmation, I wasn’t going to back down. Tempers got raised and then they went and checked on another computer system which confirmed we HAD booked and paid so we got in. I don’t know about the other folk still at the door arguing however. So, in this case the hand- held device was not synced to the main system or something like.

We had further problems trying to book the other shows whilst on the ship. The system would only let me (the party leader) book for shows, not the others in my party.

We discussed these things with the waiter in the restaurant who said that the restaurants (which also rely heavily on IT) had also experienced severe problems when the ship launched but things had improved since then.

The other shows were a mixed bag. A couple of them featuring the ship’s staff were good but one called ‘hands’ had a bloke casting animal shadows onto a large white screen. This was good for 15 minutes but unfortunately the show lasted 45 and the rest was ‘illusions’ which were clearly aimed at 7-year olds even though the show was on at 10.30pm.

Overall, the cruise is aimed at families and there lots of activities going on at various points on the ship which we didn’t try.

Don’t pick this ship expecting good food but prob a good choice if you have sports loving kids around 8-14. We were fortunate in that we had privately arranged excursion in most ports otherwise the cruise would have been ruined by IT and food.

** if you want to take alcohol on board to hide the disappointment in the food its worth considering doing this at Barcelona and Valleta. To get onto the cruise ship jetty you go through security by showing your cruise card and then you are confronted with alcohol shops. These can only be accessed by cruisers so presumably would have to close if the ship didn’t allow you on with alcohol. We passed the bags through the scanner no problems. Equally, when you embark on the ship they ask you if you have any bottles – just say NO.
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