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

MSC Cruise

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by iolh888

18 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2019
  • Destination: Canada & New England
  • Cabin Type: Aurea Balcony Stateroom


New York City to Quebec (roundtrip)

October 2019

Our first experience with MSC was extremely disappointing, to the point we will never use this cruise lines again.

MSC is an Italian based cruise line that is trying to make an entrance into the U.S. market and unless they make some major changes, will definitely fail. See some of our experiences below.

• Arriving at terminal was total disorganization - chaos. No one to direct passengers resulted in our standing on multiple lines for over 4 hours just to board.

• Ship left two hours late since not all passengers could board on time.

• Since the highlight of this cruise was to go to Quebec Canada, it was very disappointing to learn that the itinerary was changed from one and a half days in Quebec to just one day. I learned this after boarding. We also learned that instead of the return arriving changing by two hours earlier that the itinerary stated. My wife asked the ships cruise director what we were going to do with the 12 hours cut short form the itinerary. The cruise director replied (and this true) “we need to go slower leaving the Saint Lawrence Seaway since we must avoid hitting any whales.”

• There were several other stops to Canada ports and when approaching Sydney, the captain announced that they were cancelling this stop altogether. As experienced cruisers we found these itinerary changes altogether unacceptable. This is no way to treat your customers in any business.


• Having traveled on all the major cruise lines that serve the US market such as Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Carnival, Holland America, etc., we know that we can look forward to fine dining as part of the experience. We especially expected dining to be good since we like Italian food (of which there was some, but little) MSC obviously doesn’t consider quality dining important. While their buffet was good the evening dinners were mediocre at best. Maybe this is acceptable on European cruises, I don’t know. It was another significant disappointment.


• The crew, for the most part, spoke little, and in some cases, no English. In many cases they simply did not know the answer, for example “where is the restroom” or “what kind of meat is in this dish?” I don’t want to convey that all crew members were like this because some made sincere efforts to be helpful. I am sure that MSC knows their business, but I also know that if they want to make in the American market major changes will have to occur.

• Like all cruise ships that we have been on, MSC also had a Customer Service desk. This also had long lines. Many people told us of 2 hours waits on this line. Going there myself the desk that could be staffed by 7 people, only had one.


• MSC does offer several “drink packages”. We purchased the base one that included unlimited drinks for most beverages. The drinks that qualified for with our Easy Package were all drinks that were listed as $6.00 or less on any ship menu. This seemed to be working well until we all discovered that in many cases, we were being charged for drinks included in our package. This was an 11-day cruise that took all 11 days to get the charges straightened out.

o Here is where I must compliment the head waiter in the dining room for his persistence in getting the charges rectified.

• It is also is an indication that so many ship personnel had no understanding of the drink package program, even that the program existed, though it was clearly written on each passenger’s ship cabin key card that had to be presented for any purchases.


• Electrical outlets in staterooms and ship are set up with many European 220-volt receptacles, although our room did have two 110 outlets, there are zero public 110 outlets. An example of this is my friend had to return to his sate-room to recharge his oxygen converter. This is another example of how the MSC lines is really not prepared for the U.S. market.

• MSC seems to pride themselves in being an international cruise line. Clearly the large majority of passengers were English speaking from the U.S. It did get to be a bit much having to hear each single ship announcement in 5 different languages (English, French, German, Spanish, and of course Italian). I really think that they don’t realize that this is unlikely to work for the U.S. market.

o While on an MSC sponsored excursion in Quebec the bus tour guide explained everything in Italian and English. I couldn’t help but feel that were missing out on part of this tour because more than half the time we had no idea what she was saying. Even the entertainment was presented in 5 languages.


This partial overview really doesn’t list all the disappointments we had on this cruise; however, I feel that it is only fair that I point out some of the ship’s positive traits.

The Meraviglia is a fairly modern ship with many sections aesthetically pleasing. The ship is large and I believe able to accommodate 5,700 passengers. If adequately staffed I think it could support this quantity of passengers.

Staterooms were comfortable and sized as one would expect to find on similar cruise lines.

Dining rooms were large and sufficiently sized to support all passengers.

The ship Meraviglia did have the multiple pools, spa, exercise room, food court, casino, plus even had two stationary Formula One race cars and bowling alleys.

In my opinion if you are considering a cruise with MSC I would highly recommend checking out them carefully before making a regrettable decision. Please ask others their opinion/experiences as well. While I realize that you don’t know me, please take my word as an experienced cruiser that there much better options than MSC.

iolh888's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Aurea Balcony Stateroom

see my review.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

New York (Manhattan)

Embarkation disaster. The ship left 2 hours late due to delays embarking.

City Tour

The tour guide did the entire tour in English and Italian. We felt that we missed much of what the guide was saying since half the time we had no idea what she was saying.

View All 56 City Tour Reviews
Montmorency Falls

The tour guide did the entire tour in English and Italian. We felt that we missed much of what the guide was saying since half the time we had no idea what she was saying.

View All 45 Montmorency Falls Reviews
Sydney (Nova Scotia)

The ship skipped this port altogether! Unacceptable.

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