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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.

Not to be repeated!

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by Lighthouse keeper

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
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.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8161
The cabin was well located close to the central lifts and just above the main entertainment decks 6 & 7. It was adequately sized for two people, definitely not any more. There was a small hanging and storage space but also a lot of wasted space. The shower room was fine, the beds were comfortable and the balcony was good sized. The room was kept tidy enough although the balcony area and the glazed balustrade were never cleaned in the week. The biggest criticism of the cabin was that it creaked. Yes, creaked! The worse the weather, the more everything creaked and we couldn't put our finger on why. But it was like a collection of old creaky doors and sleep was frequently interrupted .
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