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As we have some cruise experience (Holland America, RC, Princess, Costa, Viking, Aida) and have travelled with MSC (Fantasia) before, we spontaneously decided to spend a week on MSC Meraviglia. Prices seemed more than reasonable and as we planned our trip for March we knew we were not coming back with a tan, so opted for an interior cabin without balcony. The weather wouldn't be permitting spending much time outside anyways. Having just returned from the trip the conclusion is to never go on board an MSC cruise again. It was the first time in all these years that we decided to leave the ship early and were quite pleased to get away from it all. First, let's start by summing up some pros and cons. PROs: - the ship makes a good first impression looking clean and quite impressive - the cabin, in comparison to other reviews, we thought was decent considering the price - our booking included a mealtime drink package which made the price even more reasonable at first sight - the embarkation process in Marseille went smoothly and we were able to go on board within an hour. CONs: - depressed or rude staff - overcrowded everywhere at all times - airplane food - 15% service charge - MSCs money making scheme - EVERYTHING costs a lot The experience in more detail Ship When we entered the ship the first impression was good, nice clean with seemingly all the amenities required to spend a good holiday. However after having walked around and explored the ship it was lacking all aspects of cosyness and despite being so big we could not find a place where we really wanted to spend our time. The style is very modern, cold and bold, which may be a question of taste, but none of the bars, spaces and places had a sense of welcoming atmosphere about them. The mall is large but it makes you wonder why all this space has been wasted on rather useless instalments like a TV studio and the Chocolatiere chocolate shop. Have fun spending your time there on a 7 days cruise. Apart from that you get the usual overpriced duty-free and merchandise shops as well as restaurants you have to pay extra. Dining To describe it in one word: TERRIBLE! The marketplace buffet reminded me of 2* all-inclusive hotels in my teenage years travelling to Mallorca and the costa del Sol. Always overcrowded with people seemingly going for the last supper of their lives. Fighting for tables, food, Asians taking their time to fill up flasks with tea and coffee. Incredibly poor food standard. It sounds good when you read the signs, I.e. seafood ravioli in a white wine sauce, but as soon as you try it, you'll find that it tastes like cold or, when lucky, lukewarm airplane food. Another fun fact is the beer, as a German, I quite like my beer with my meals when on holiday but what on earth are these guys serving? My girlfriend and me were wondering if something like instant beer exists, cause if it does that's what they might be serving. Do you know these Softdrink machines at McDonald's where you can see the syrup mix with the soda? I imagine MSC's draft beer being made like that! The waves restaurant reminded me of the film Titanic when you see the decision between the upper and lower classes. No windows in this restaurant, grey dark and too many people in not enough space to create an enjoyable atmosphere. Our waiter was a joke. Incredibly rude and rolling his eyes at every single request being made. On the first night we had to queue for 20 minutes to be taken to our table. When we arrived he immediately handed us the menus without any greeting to return 1-2 minutes later to ask us for our choices. We ordered our starters and mains without any second thoughts before being asked our choice for dessert not even knowing at this time whether we wanted one or not. When someone from our table requested wine he put a bottle on the table and said help yourselves, it is your job for the evening now. Unbelievable! Once you have gulped up your last bite the waiters will indicate that it is time for you to leave now. We spend 2 regrettable dinners there and chose the buffet instead. Cabin The dark interior of the cabin is not quite our taste but the cabin was clean and alright. The only slight problem was the air conditioning which didn't do much to provide the cabin with some needed oxygen. In some moments we missed not having a balcony, oh and a chair would be useful as well as a bathrobe. When we requested some, we are told that they are only provided on the YC and Aurea categories. This meant for us that in March we had to walk the outside decks with just a towel when going to the whirlpools. Entertainment & Activities We did not try any of the costly extras like bowling etc. It seems that they are trying to make it extra boring to force you to pay for activities. No poolside games, poor quizzes and when something takes place it is too packed to enjoy. We bought day passes for the spa at an extra cost of€55 for two, also disappointing. A small (for 5000 guests) outdated spa and the steam rooms were not even working on the day. They said they will take care of the problems but did not offer any refunds. Talking about offering, they do not offer much of anything in the spa apart from towels. No tea or water or juices. Guys, this is standard everywhere!! Health & Safety Usually not a category in reviews it needs to be highlighted for this ship. The safety demonstration took place in the theatre forcing everybody to listen to 2 points of information in 6 languages, a demonstration of the safety vests and the alarm signal. Afterwards, in groups they show you safety station. Ours conveniently was the Irish pub. To this day I have no clue which safety exit to the boats we would have to take or who and how would they be handing out the safety vests. I can only imagine what the scenario would be like in case of an emergency with 5000 guests plus staff. Another important point is the complete disregard for any hygienic standards. Nobody cares if you sanitise your hands during embarkation or when coming into the restaurants, no reminder, no nothing. Good luck with noro viruses in the future, it is bound to happen. This is especially insteresting considering all the touch screens everyone uses everywhere. Excursions We always go by ourselves as 99% of the time cruise ship excursions are a rip off. Service If you could call it that... the reception is designed for people to give up during queuing. Phone calls are never answered by reception, all you hear is the mocking message that your call is important to MSC. Overall Many aspects that make a cruise special are lost on this ship because of the hop-on hop-off system. No official welcome, no official announcements to inform guests, no nautical information, no getting to know anyone else properly as they might be leaving the next day, no farewell dinner. It also means that people are Constantly exploring the ship or disembarking sitting around lounges and bars with their suitcases and suitcases in front of doors every day. Then the constant money making off of everything, whether freshly squeezed orange juice or watching a film on your cabin, there is no joy to be found without extra pay. If at least then staff would make up for it with good service, but they don't. In some moments you even feel sorry for them having to put up with it all for longer than we had. We chose to disembark early to spend the rest of the holiday in Barcelona, it felt quiet there in comparison to the Meraviglia.

If you want an enjoyable time, avoid this farce! Quantity rather than Quality

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by Cruisecritiki

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
As we have some cruise experience (Holland America, RC, Princess, Costa, Viking, Aida) and have travelled with MSC (Fantasia) before, we spontaneously decided to spend a week on MSC Meraviglia. Prices seemed more than reasonable and as we planned our trip for March we knew we were not coming back with a tan, so opted for an interior cabin without balcony. The weather wouldn't be permitting spending much time outside anyways.

Having just returned from the trip the conclusion is to never go on board an MSC cruise again. It was the first time in all these years that we decided to leave the ship early and were quite pleased to get away from it all.

First, let's start by summing up some pros and cons.

PROs:

- the ship makes a good first impression looking clean and quite impressive

- the cabin, in comparison to other reviews, we thought was decent considering the price

- our booking included a mealtime drink package which made the price even more reasonable at first sight

- the embarkation process in Marseille went smoothly and we were able to go on board within an hour.

CONs:

- depressed or rude staff

- overcrowded everywhere at all times

- airplane food

- 15% service charge

- MSCs money making scheme - EVERYTHING costs a lot

The experience in more detail

Ship

When we entered the ship the first impression was good, nice clean with seemingly all the amenities required to spend a good holiday. However after having walked around and explored the ship it was lacking all aspects of cosyness and despite being so big we could not find a place where we really wanted to spend our time. The style is very modern, cold and bold, which may be a question of taste, but none of the bars, spaces and places had a sense of welcoming atmosphere about them. The mall is large but it makes you wonder why all this space has been wasted on rather useless instalments like a TV studio and the Chocolatiere chocolate shop. Have fun spending your time there on a 7 days cruise. Apart from that you get the usual overpriced duty-free and merchandise shops as well as restaurants you have to pay extra.

Dining

To describe it in one word: TERRIBLE!

The marketplace buffet reminded me of 2* all-inclusive hotels in my teenage years travelling to Mallorca and the costa del Sol. Always overcrowded with people seemingly going for the last supper of their lives. Fighting for tables, food, Asians taking their time to fill up flasks with tea and coffee. Incredibly poor food standard. It sounds good when you read the signs, I.e. seafood ravioli in a white wine sauce, but as soon as you try it, you'll find that it tastes like cold or, when lucky, lukewarm airplane food. Another fun fact is the beer, as a German, I quite like my beer with my meals when on holiday but what on earth are these guys serving? My girlfriend and me were wondering if something like instant beer exists, cause if it does that's what they might be serving. Do you know these Softdrink machines at McDonald's where you can see the syrup mix with the soda? I imagine MSC's draft beer being made like that! The waves restaurant reminded me of the film Titanic when you see the decision between the upper and lower classes. No windows in this restaurant, grey dark and too many people in not enough space to create an enjoyable atmosphere. Our waiter was a joke. Incredibly rude and rolling his eyes at every single request being made. On the first night we had to queue for 20 minutes to be taken to our table. When we arrived he immediately handed us the menus without any greeting to return 1-2 minutes later to ask us for our choices. We ordered our starters and mains without any second thoughts before being asked our choice for dessert not even knowing at this time whether we wanted one or not. When someone from our table requested wine he put a bottle on the table and said help yourselves, it is your job for the evening now. Unbelievable! Once you have gulped up your last bite the waiters will indicate that it is time for you to leave now. We spend 2 regrettable dinners there and chose the buffet instead.

Cabin

The dark interior of the cabin is not quite our taste but the cabin was clean and alright. The only slight problem was the air conditioning which didn't do much to provide the cabin with some needed oxygen. In some moments we missed not having a balcony, oh and a chair would be useful as well as a bathrobe. When we requested some, we are told that they are only provided on the YC and Aurea categories. This meant for us that in March we had to walk the outside decks with just a towel when going to the whirlpools.

Entertainment & Activities

We did not try any of the costly extras like bowling etc. It seems that they are trying to make it extra boring to force you to pay for activities. No poolside games, poor quizzes and when something takes place it is too packed to enjoy. We bought day passes for the spa at an extra cost of€55 for two, also disappointing. A small (for 5000 guests) outdated spa and the steam rooms were not even working on the day. They said they will take care of the problems but did not offer any refunds. Talking about offering, they do not offer much of anything in the spa apart from towels. No tea or water or juices. Guys, this is standard everywhere!!

Health & Safety

Usually not a category in reviews it needs to be highlighted for this ship. The safety demonstration took place in the theatre forcing everybody to listen to 2 points of information in 6 languages, a demonstration of the safety vests and the alarm signal. Afterwards, in groups they show you safety station. Ours conveniently was the Irish pub. To this day I have no clue which safety exit to the boats we would have to take or who and how would they be handing out the safety vests. I can only imagine what the scenario would be like in case of an emergency with 5000 guests plus staff. Another important point is the complete disregard for any hygienic standards. Nobody cares if you sanitise your hands during embarkation or when coming into the restaurants, no reminder, no nothing. Good luck with noro viruses in the future, it is bound to happen. This is especially insteresting considering all the touch screens everyone uses everywhere.

Excursions

We always go by ourselves as 99% of the time cruise ship excursions are a rip off.

Service

If you could call it that... the reception is designed for people to give up during queuing. Phone calls are never answered by reception, all you hear is the mocking message that your call is important to MSC.

Overall

Many aspects that make a cruise special are lost on this ship because of the hop-on hop-off system. No official welcome, no official announcements to inform guests, no nautical information, no getting to know anyone else properly as they might be leaving the next day, no farewell dinner. It also means that people are Constantly exploring the ship or disembarking sitting around lounges and bars with their suitcases and suitcases in front of doors every day. Then the constant money making off of everything, whether freshly squeezed orange juice or watching a film on your cabin, there is no joy to be found without extra pay. If at least then staff would make up for it with good service, but they don't. In some moments you even feel sorry for them having to put up with it all for longer than we had.

We chose to disembark early to spend the rest of the holiday in Barcelona, it felt quiet there in comparison to the Meraviglia.
Cruisecritiki’s Full Rating Summary
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