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I had read a lot of bad reviews and was a bit worried if our so much wanted cruise would be as exciting as we anticipated. Yes, it was. Let me first note that we were first time cruisers. Joined Meraviglia from Naples, Italy. The embarkation was a bit frustrating as there were no clear signs where is the drop of luggage section - it appeared to be in the other wing of the port. Then we waited a long line with no seating options. Once we gave our suitcase we were assigned a number which meant we had to spend a few more hours in the waiting area. Of course we used the time to explore out and about, but in general the embarkation was very exhausting experience. Once we got aboard we were met by the kids club staff who put a wristband to our 5yo so he could be easily tracked and signed at different activities. There was no other kind of welcome on board. We had to find our own way to the elevators and cabin. Not that we didn't manage but it was somehow annoying. I don't know how it is organized on the other ships- here we felt a bit like dropped in the deep. Cabin- Apart from that first experience the rest was fantastic. We got newsletters every night so we would know what the schedule for the next day was. the cabin- inside on Deck 13- there was enough room for all 3 of us- 2 Adults 1 child. We had 2 wardrobes, a good size bed, the kid's bunk bed was also a good size- he enjoyed going up and down the ladder. The bathroom was bigger than expected. Very good ventilation system- our swimsuits and small washing dried up very quickly. The TV in the cabin was showing screens from two of the ship's cameras so we felt like we had a window- this was the first thing in the morning- switch on the TV to see where we are. The cabin steward was a nice guy- these people work so hard from dusk to down and even more. We would get up very early in the morning- he's seen in the corridor, going back to the cabin past 10pm- he's still folding towels. One day I pushed the DND button just to give him some rest. The policy of tiding up cabin 2 times a day is a bit too much for me. Dining- We ate dinner 3 times in the restaurant and the rest in the buffet. The restaurant was nice - Olive D'Doro on deck 6. The waiters, the atmosphere, the tables layout- fantastic. The food- delicious but minor portions. Even if you eat lunch at the port, you get back to the ship at around 4:30-5pm (5:30 is all aboard time) so you need some snack to bite. Go up to the buffet- mainly hot dogs and hamburgers. OK wait for dinner, already starving eat a small portion of food and then end up in the buffet again. And actually we enjoyed the buffet food at the proper meals times. Big variety of salads, meat, pasta, bread, vegetables, desserts- everything for everybody. Entertainment- Fantastic shows, we saw 4 shows and Cirque Du Soleil. From the regular shows we enjoyed Way and Paz the most. The kids club is also a very well organized. There's entertainment for the kids all the time. The girls take them not only in the play areas but for some movies down in the theater, for games in the sports zone, there are constantly some activities for the kids. Also there is fun dinner time in the buffet, so you can dine in the restaurant or in the buffet and they will entertain and feed your child. Unfortunately among all the variety of food in the buffet they feed the kids hamburgers and fires - even my 5yo said it's not healthy food and didn't want to eat with them the following days, although he enjoyed the rest of the daily program. We couldn't attend any of the dancing classes, Master Chef or other entertainment as we were too tired from the onshore exploring, but we were very impressed by the variety of activities offered. Even if we had 7 days at sea there would be something new to everyday. The musicians were all fantastic. I can't say a bad word for the entertainment- just fantastic! We were very happy with the pools- all with warm water even the outdoor one. The jacuzzys were also very pleasant (quite packed most of the time though). I only missed a changing room at the pool area. We got a bit cold as we had to walk in wet towels back to the cabin and even though we were inside we could still feel some some air drаught. Service- all in all we were very happy with everybody. Yes, some of the staff seemed tired, but they were never rude. We are please with the interactive info screens and the mobile app. We did not have the need to visit reception. Although the lack of the human touch in communication felt a bit like a 'self-service-luxury'. Ports- we enjoyed all the ports. The only con was in Marseille where the ship docks really far from the center and if you want to use the free port shuttle you have to walk over a kilometer through the windy port, then wait 20 min for the shuttle, then travel over 15min to get to a transport hub. It's so much waste of time. Of course there is a transfer from the ship which is approx Eur12.00 per adult. Having in mind it was 3 of us- we would had to spend more than Eur30.00 just to reach to the city. Drink package- We are not big drinkers so we only bought prepaid vouchers for caffeine drinks and soft drinks. They were absolutely enough. At dinner we bought water from the restaurant (approx Eur3,00 for a 1l bottle). In the buffet there was free water and juice. We ordered a glass of wine once or twice and it was absolutely enough for us. Even if we had a full drinks package I don't know if we'd drink more. There's simply no time for it. In the morning you have free coffee and juice in the buffet, then spend the whole day onshore, get back in the late afternoon, have a refreshing shower and get ready for dinner, then dine, watch a show and eventually spend some more time on the top deck to enjoy the nice breeze and that's all- time for bed. All in all it was a great experience for us. And we would definitely go again!

Fantastic 1st time cruise

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by Aranvonit

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I had read a lot of bad reviews and was a bit worried if our so much wanted cruise would be as exciting as we anticipated. Yes, it was.

Let me first note that we were first time cruisers. Joined Meraviglia from Naples, Italy. The embarkation was a bit frustrating as there were no clear signs where is the drop of luggage section - it appeared to be in the other wing of the port. Then we waited a long line with no seating options. Once we gave our suitcase we were assigned a number which meant we had to spend a few more hours in the waiting area. Of course we used the time to explore out and about, but in general the embarkation was very exhausting experience.

Once we got aboard we were met by the kids club staff who put a wristband to our 5yo so he could be easily tracked and signed at different activities. There was no other kind of welcome on board. We had to find our own way to the elevators and cabin. Not that we didn't manage but it was somehow annoying.

I don't know how it is organized on the other ships- here we felt a bit like dropped in the deep.

Cabin- Apart from that first experience the rest was fantastic. We got newsletters every night so we would know what the schedule for the next day was.

the cabin- inside on Deck 13- there was enough room for all 3 of us- 2 Adults 1 child. We had 2 wardrobes, a good size bed, the kid's bunk bed was also a good size- he enjoyed going up and down the ladder. The bathroom was bigger than expected. Very good ventilation system- our swimsuits and small washing dried up very quickly. The TV in the cabin was showing screens from two of the ship's cameras so we felt like we had a window- this was the first thing in the morning- switch on the TV to see where we are.

The cabin steward was a nice guy- these people work so hard from dusk to down and even more. We would get up very early in the morning- he's seen in the corridor, going back to the cabin past 10pm- he's still folding towels. One day I pushed the DND button just to give him some rest. The policy of tiding up cabin 2 times a day is a bit too much for me.

Dining- We ate dinner 3 times in the restaurant and the rest in the buffet. The restaurant was nice - Olive D'Doro on deck 6. The waiters, the atmosphere, the tables layout- fantastic. The food- delicious but minor portions. Even if you eat lunch at the port, you get back to the ship at around 4:30-5pm (5:30 is all aboard time) so you need some snack to bite. Go up to the buffet- mainly hot dogs and hamburgers. OK wait for dinner, already starving eat a small portion of food and then end up in the buffet again.

And actually we enjoyed the buffet food at the proper meals times. Big variety of salads, meat, pasta, bread, vegetables, desserts- everything for everybody.

Entertainment- Fantastic shows, we saw 4 shows and Cirque Du Soleil. From the regular shows we enjoyed Way and Paz the most.

The kids club is also a very well organized. There's entertainment for the kids all the time. The girls take them not only in the play areas but for some movies down in the theater, for games in the sports zone, there are constantly some activities for the kids. Also there is fun dinner time in the buffet, so you can dine in the restaurant or in the buffet and they will entertain and feed your child. Unfortunately among all the variety of food in the buffet they feed the kids hamburgers and fires - even my 5yo said it's not healthy food and didn't want to eat with them the following days, although he enjoyed the rest of the daily program.

We couldn't attend any of the dancing classes, Master Chef or other entertainment as we were too tired from the onshore exploring, but we were very impressed by the variety of activities offered. Even if we had 7 days at sea there would be something new to everyday.

The musicians were all fantastic. I can't say a bad word for the entertainment- just fantastic!

We were very happy with the pools- all with warm water even the outdoor one. The jacuzzys were also very pleasant (quite packed most of the time though). I only missed a changing room at the pool area. We got a bit cold as we had to walk in wet towels back to the cabin and even though we were inside we could still feel some some air drаught.

Service- all in all we were very happy with everybody. Yes, some of the staff seemed tired, but they were never rude. We are please with the interactive info screens and the mobile app. We did not have the need to visit reception. Although the lack of the human touch in communication felt a bit like a 'self-service-luxury'.

Ports- we enjoyed all the ports. The only con was in Marseille where the ship docks really far from the center and if you want to use the free port shuttle you have to walk over a kilometer through the windy port, then wait 20 min for the shuttle, then travel over 15min to get to a transport hub. It's so much waste of time. Of course there is a transfer from the ship which is approx Eur12.00 per adult. Having in mind it was 3 of us- we would had to spend more than Eur30.00 just to reach to the city.

Drink package- We are not big drinkers so we only bought prepaid vouchers for caffeine drinks and soft drinks. They were absolutely enough. At dinner we bought water from the restaurant (approx Eur3,00 for a 1l bottle). In the buffet there was free water and juice. We ordered a glass of wine once or twice and it was absolutely enough for us. Even if we had a full drinks package I don't know if we'd drink more. There's simply no time for it. In the morning you have free coffee and juice in the buffet, then spend the whole day onshore, get back in the late afternoon, have a refreshing shower and get ready for dinner, then dine, watch a show and eventually spend some more time on the top deck to enjoy the nice breeze and that's all- time for bed.

All in all it was a great experience for us. And we would definitely go again!
Aranvonit’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 3 to 6
Service
Onboard Experience
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