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MSC is one of my favourite cruises lines and I love their ships, particularly the Poesia, Divina, Magnifica and Preziosa. There seems to be a lot of negative comments on many of the reviews of MSC, mostly to do with food, staff and other guests and the different languages - well in all the 25 cruises I have been on (11 of which on MSC) I have always found the MSC food to be good and varied, the staff to be among the best, and enjoyed the company of different nationalities. Furthermore, MSC ships offer the best nightlife and great casinos run by excellent friendly staff! So, we chose this cruise on the Meraviglia because of past experience and it was a new ship which looked awesome in the pictures! Well on that note the ship certainly did deliver. It is indeed a magnificent vessel - it looks awesome and beautiful from land, and on board everything is sparkling, new and spacious. Embarkation was a breeze, and first impressions were good - the ship is without doubt stunning. The main swimming pool (actually 2 connected) looks beautiful - very well designed with fountains and poolside beds. All the public areas seemed spacious, and décor was glitzy but tasteful. We got into our cabin and again all very smart with plenty of space - although storage space for clothes was tight for a 1 week cruise, I would imagine difficult for a 2 week one! The cabin attendant was friendly and kept our room clean and tidy at all times. All good so far! Food in the buffet was plentiful and a there was an adequate choice - the new plates better than we've had on other MSC ships. Found a table without any problem - the ship was full and we never had a problem finding a table - pressed the call button and within minutes waiter was there to take our drinks order. The MSC drinks package is the best value package at sea and includes most cocktails, wine, beer, speciality coffees and still or sparkling water. For the whole trip service was excellent and the servers were all friendly. Breakfasts were great - we especially enjoyed the bacon and the "egg man" always cooked me two perfect over-medium fried eggs! Hand wash basins are present as you go into the buffet, but it seemed we were the only ones using them! MSC need to enforce their use more as it seems most passengers are oblivious to the risks of norovirus and similar bugs on cruise ships! We also enjoyed our experiences in the evening in the Panorama restaurant, one of the main dining rooms. Our waiter, Gede Sujina, was brilliant - a credit to MSC! Food was generally very good. We tried the Butcher's Cut one night and the steak there was excellent! We were realistic about the weather - March in the Mediterranean is often little better than it is in the UK. However we had sunshine in Civitavecchia (apparently it poured with rain in Rome), Malta and Barcelona. We stayed on the ship those days because we wanted to use the pools and benefit from a quiet ship. We enjoyed the sunshine even though it was only 11 -15c and the water temperature was perfect - between 23 and 28c! The casino was awesome - our favourite bar on the ship! Spacious imposing entrance, large circular bar with slots one side and mainly tables the other. Well designed and not smoky! All the staff at the bar and at the tables were brilliant - engaging, friendly yet professional and hard working at all times. We really enjoyed our time at the casino. We were disappointed however with the nightlife - high on our list when cruising and one of the reasons we love MSC so much. The attic disco is way too small for a ship of this size, and is split in 2 with 2 tiny dance areas and lacks any atmosphere! The Carousel lounge would make a fantastic nightclub, but the Cirque du Soleil shows take place there and although they had a few parties there after the shows were finished, the parties were largely the entertainment team dancing whilst facing the passengers and the passengers facing them with a kind of formation / line dance routine. Great to get people moving but not so good for atmosphere or interaction! As I have already mentioned, our favourite bar was the casino bar. I guess I don't enjoy shopping and the central area of the ship resembles a mall (other ships have done this and I just don't get this street / mall concept). Everyone seems to be just milling around, none of the bars had any ambience - other MSC ships have much better bars, lounge areas and nightclubs / discos! The sky lounge was an impressive area with great views but it didn't work for us - again little atmosphere or ambience. I guess though people who just want to enjoy a quiet drink together would love it. We also enjoy eating outside and the Meraviglia only offers an area at the back of the buffet under a rather oppressive canopy. Bye breakfasts and lunches in the sunshine! The gym was excellent and I enjoyed my times in there - good equipment! However in common with a lot of the newer ships in many cruise lines there are no changing or shower facilities so when finished you have to walk through a beautiful ship dripping in sweat! Even the spa is on a different level. First impressions of the spa were good, however we went on a sea day and it is far too small for a ship of this size. There were used towels hanging everywhere and the experience was far from relaxing! When finished, I couldn't even get to my locker because too many people trying to change, and had to wait for a shower cubicle because there were only 2 in the changing room! Poor design. So overall I have rated my cruise experience as very good (4 stars). There is no question that this is a beautiful ship but for me the layout doesn't work. Were it not for the staff, who were amazing and a real credit to MSC, and the casino, I would have only rated it average (3 star). I can understand why some people would love the Meraviglia, however the ship just didn't work for me. MSC is still one of my favourite cruise lines and I look forward to booking more trips with them, just not on the Meraviglia.

Awesome ship, great service, some disappointment.

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by OptimistKeith

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
MSC is one of my favourite cruises lines and I love their ships, particularly the Poesia, Divina, Magnifica and Preziosa. There seems to be a lot of negative comments on many of the reviews of MSC, mostly to do with food, staff and other guests and the different languages - well in all the 25 cruises I have been on (11 of which on MSC) I have always found the MSC food to be good and varied, the staff to be among the best, and enjoyed the company of different nationalities. Furthermore, MSC ships offer the best nightlife and great casinos run by excellent friendly staff!

So, we chose this cruise on the Meraviglia because of past experience and it was a new ship which looked awesome in the pictures! Well on that note the ship certainly did deliver. It is indeed a magnificent vessel - it looks awesome and beautiful from land, and on board everything is sparkling, new and spacious.

Embarkation was a breeze, and first impressions were good - the ship is without doubt stunning. The main swimming pool (actually 2 connected) looks beautiful - very well designed with fountains and poolside beds. All the public areas seemed spacious, and décor was glitzy but tasteful. We got into our cabin and again all very smart with plenty of space - although storage space for clothes was tight for a 1 week cruise, I would imagine difficult for a 2 week one! The cabin attendant was friendly and kept our room clean and tidy at all times. All good so far!

Food in the buffet was plentiful and a there was an adequate choice - the new plates better than we've had on other MSC ships. Found a table without any problem - the ship was full and we never had a problem finding a table - pressed the call button and within minutes waiter was there to take our drinks order. The MSC drinks package is the best value package at sea and includes most cocktails, wine, beer, speciality coffees and still or sparkling water. For the whole trip service was excellent and the servers were all friendly. Breakfasts were great - we especially enjoyed the bacon and the "egg man" always cooked me two perfect over-medium fried eggs! Hand wash basins are present as you go into the buffet, but it seemed we were the only ones using them! MSC need to enforce their use more as it seems most passengers are oblivious to the risks of norovirus and similar bugs on cruise ships!

We also enjoyed our experiences in the evening in the Panorama restaurant, one of the main dining rooms. Our waiter, Gede Sujina, was brilliant - a credit to MSC! Food was generally very good. We tried the Butcher's Cut one night and the steak there was excellent!

We were realistic about the weather - March in the Mediterranean is often little better than it is in the UK. However we had sunshine in Civitavecchia (apparently it poured with rain in Rome), Malta and Barcelona. We stayed on the ship those days because we wanted to use the pools and benefit from a quiet ship. We enjoyed the sunshine even though it was only 11 -15c and the water temperature was perfect - between 23 and 28c!

The casino was awesome - our favourite bar on the ship! Spacious imposing entrance, large circular bar with slots one side and mainly tables the other. Well designed and not smoky! All the staff at the bar and at the tables were brilliant - engaging, friendly yet professional and hard working at all times. We really enjoyed our time at the casino.

We were disappointed however with the nightlife - high on our list when cruising and one of the reasons we love MSC so much. The attic disco is way too small for a ship of this size, and is split in 2 with 2 tiny dance areas and lacks any atmosphere! The Carousel lounge would make a fantastic nightclub, but the Cirque du Soleil shows take place there and although they had a few parties there after the shows were finished, the parties were largely the entertainment team dancing whilst facing the passengers and the passengers facing them with a kind of formation / line dance routine. Great to get people moving but not so good for atmosphere or interaction!

As I have already mentioned, our favourite bar was the casino bar. I guess I don't enjoy shopping and the central area of the ship resembles a mall (other ships have done this and I just don't get this street / mall concept). Everyone seems to be just milling around, none of the bars had any ambience - other MSC ships have much better bars, lounge areas and nightclubs / discos! The sky lounge was an impressive area with great views but it didn't work for us - again little atmosphere or ambience. I guess though people who just want to enjoy a quiet drink together would love it.

We also enjoy eating outside and the Meraviglia only offers an area at the back of the buffet under a rather oppressive canopy. Bye breakfasts and lunches in the sunshine!

The gym was excellent and I enjoyed my times in there - good equipment! However in common with a lot of the newer ships in many cruise lines there are no changing or shower facilities so when finished you have to walk through a beautiful ship dripping in sweat! Even the spa is on a different level.

First impressions of the spa were good, however we went on a sea day and it is far too small for a ship of this size. There were used towels hanging everywhere and the experience was far from relaxing! When finished, I couldn't even get to my locker because too many people trying to change, and had to wait for a shower cubicle because there were only 2 in the changing room! Poor design.

So overall I have rated my cruise experience as very good (4 stars). There is no question that this is a beautiful ship but for me the layout doesn't work. Were it not for the staff, who were amazing and a real credit to MSC, and the casino, I would have only rated it average (3 star). I can understand why some people would love the Meraviglia, however the ship just didn't work for me. MSC is still one of my favourite cruise lines and I look forward to booking more trips with them, just not on the Meraviglia.
OptimistKeith’s Full Rating Summary
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