The Canadian Maritime Province itinerary of this cruise and the thought of sailing on a new ship was appealing but the execution of all aspects of the pre-cruise experience, a nearly four hour wait during embarkation and general on-board disorganization have convinced me to refrain from sailing with MSC in the future. Having experienced the woeful lack of customer service when booking a previous cruise with MSC, I should have known that frustration would ensue as I attempted to make use of the poorly designed website. That, in addition to innumerable unanswered emails and phone calls, might have been put aside had the cruise itself not been fraught with problems even before setting foot onboard. During the nearly four hour wait (most of it outdoors on a windy day), MSC dispatched no agents to speak with the thousands waiting to board. Busloads of passengers were dropped off near the head of the line which, apparently, indicated to those folks that there was no need to proceed to the back of the line. Quiet resignation eventually turned into vocal disruption...not a good way to welcome passengers to a ship. Once onboard it was apparent that the Meraviglia is, indeed, beautiful. Our cabin was immaculate and attended to by a friendly, hardworking young woman. (Most crew members were similarly pleasant; only one guest services agent was less than welcoming. To her credit, I believe that she realized that her demeanor didn't meet acceptable hospitality standards ~ a bottle of wine and some appetizers were delivered to our cabin with a card bearing her name.) No compensation was offered for the four hour wait to board ~ MSC lost thousands of future bookings with that decision. To the company's credit, compensation was offered when a port was missed. However, that compensation was not increased when the ship left the port of Quebec City in the middle of the night rather than the next afternoon. (More than one explanation was given by guest services agents as to why/when the early departure plan was put in place ~ none of them even remotely related to the other.) As the cruise progressed, one overheard more and more people who had decided to never book with MSC again. Every elevator ride, table-side discussion, casual chat with another passenger, excursion, etc. resulted in unsolicited details about the disorganization encountered before and during the cruise. Unless MSC decides to compensate those on the ship with some post-cruise incentives, I predict that the company will, indeed, lose thousands of future bookings. The sad part, for me, is that the jobs of some very hard working crew members are in jeopardy because of MSC's apparent lack of concern for the future of its company. A satisfied customer generates numerous future bookings...a dissatisfied customer has the opposite effect. I'm still hoping that MSC will contact all passengers from this cruise with a sincere apology and a tangible reason to consider MSC as a viable choice in the future...until then my plan is to book with Princess. (The poor service rating below reflects both pre-cruise and contemporaneous service from MSC as a company and does not reflect the service provided by individuals on the Meraviglia...the vast majority of whom were well-trained and efficient.)
Our cabin was immaculate and well cared for by Caroline S.. There is less storage space than on other ships with which I'm familiar (look at a video of a Meraviglia balcony room to get an idea of how the space compares with other ship's cabins so that you can pack accordingly). The location of cabin 10168 is perfect in terms of easy access to the public areas of the ship (use the panoramic elevator which is close to the room).