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MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
469 Reviews

Horrible service, horrible amenities, over priced for what you get

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by Jcavedo

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jul 2019
  • Destination: the Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Fantastica Outside Stateroom

Have cruised carnival, royal, princess and others mostly larger boats like meraviglia. Cost was higher than most but we expected a matching experience. We booked this boat specifically because of the ports of call in the Baltic (vs typical Caribbean destinations we have done 7 times).

Bad service from the beginning. Employees look and act mostly clueless. You have to get irate to get a manager.

Cabin is ridiculously small. We had 2 cabins for 3 people, the room was basically big enough for 2 with a wardrobe for 1 (on royal everybody gets their own wardrobe). There was NO space for luggage so it had to be left in the middle of the floor and you had to crawl over. I happen to look into a 4 person cabin and it was identical to the 3 but the couch has a bunk attached to it (royals and carnivals cabins are actually built for the number of passengers). No outlets near bed, you, cabin service was sporadic and steward was not friendly (our kids have literally taken pics with stewards on some boats they were so friendly). Also, dont expect wash cloths.

Buffet, to put it mildly was a non stop chaotic mess. Food quality was poor and food choices were abysmal. I could go on for paragraphs, but buffet was indescribably bad.

Dinner was okay, our table staff was the best experience we had. We got lucky there, many reviews talk about how bad it was. It was a shock that no dinner night offered a steak or lobster option (it was an upgrade), every other cruise we've been on always had one night with steak and lobster.

Drink packages were ridiculously complicated and hard to use ( yes, they were also costly so we made sure to use them :-) so cost per drink wasnt bad). But, be aware, if you want a drink package, you are requires to buy a comparable package for everybody in your cabin. Wait, what if one is a child and one doesn't drink. Well, deal with it cause you're buying package for all. But dont worry about it, if your kids want ice cream, the only way to get it is a drink package (or you pay per scoop)- again royal and carnival have unlimited ice cream for kids. Btw, we found out after day 3 we weren't supposed to be able to use the drink package in the british pub, its considered a specialty restaurant and thus doesn't accept the drink package. Luckily the wait staff in the pub was enjoyable and never registered the drinks.

Amenities: on the oasis of the seas (royal), which is comparable in size, you never felt crowded. On msc, you felt absolutely crowded everywhere you went. Elevators were claustrophobic, tiny pools and pool decks, sports area is cramped, gym incredibly small for this many people. Also, soooooo much of the amenities are add ons. Dont expect to bowl, f1 race, vr expeirence, there are 3 board games that are actually composites of like 6 different versions of each game across multiple languages...good luck. Also, dont expect towel service on the pool deck, only blankets. You have to bring pool towels from your cabin.

There are at least 20 other situations like this involving stupid or uncommuncated policies, long lines, poor service personnel and bad food. I did send a detailed letter to MSC and have received no feedback. Funny thing, we spoke to several other families (who we didn't know) and they had similar experiences. But I will say the ports of call were amazing.

Jcavedo's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Fantastica Outside Stateroom

Horribly small, no wardrobe space to speak of and no place to store luggage. No convenient outlets, cabin service was unfriendly and you can't get washcloths.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


MSC parks in the furthest port away from city center/train and then force you to basically pay for a shuttle to the boat/from the boat per person. No coonvienence at all.


Amazing port. We did our own tour through kayak republic that was awesome

St. Petersburg

Did our own private tour through smartfree tours that was awesome. Cant recommend enough.


Rented bikes from city bike that was super easy to work with. Dont ever pay for cruise excursions. Do your own thing and you'll save a ton and have more fun.

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