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

The best parts were Cirque at Sea [Viaggio] and the Aurea Spa

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by SeniorCruiseClan

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2019
  • Destination: Canada & New England
  • Cabin Type: Fantastica Inside Stateroom

Just a note: I can't seem to select just the 10-day portion, we couldn't do the 23 day due to job/time restrictions.

MSC Meraviglia Review: 18 Oct 2019 – 28 Oct 2019

Passengers: me (CH), my husband (BH), and our adult daughter (SH).

Package: Fantastica: inside cabin, the Easy Drinks, Spa, Arcade/Amusement Park Fun Pass, and Internet (which we upgraded onboard). We reserved both Cirque Shows for the first two full nights (early cocktail show, as the meal didn't appeal). We also reserved two excursions: Tall Ship Sailing Cruise (Halifax) and Lighthouses of Maine (Portland)

Cabin# 13300

Steward: William

Panorama MDR; 1st seating:

Main Server: Rakesh

Assistant: Russel

Both were excellent, and quickly learned and provided for our preferences.

OK, right off the bat, would I sail on the Meraviglia again? Yes. Like all ships, she has good points, bad points and meh points.

She's a beautiful ship, with most of the amenities we look for in a cruise ship. Such as:

Pools

Ropes & trees course

Spa

Waterslides

Specific specialty restaurants:

steakhouse

teppanyaki

Entertainment

shows

4-d theater

bowling

f-1 simulater

flight/roller coaster simulator

Good points:

The Aurea Spa: For me the Spa on any ship is an important yes/no, make-or-break deal. This one was great. With a whirlpool, a bubble bench, 2 steam rooms (dark and light), four saunas (though one seemed down the entire time), an ice/cold room, multiple rain-showers with add-ons, the walk-through alternate hot/cold shower, a salt room, two nice relaxation rooms, some warm lounge chairs in the bubble tub room, and free robes during the cruise (part of our package) It was the best one I've been in on a cruise. All it lacks is a large thlasso pool such as NCL has.

Food: The meals in the Buffet and Panorama MDR were very good. I even occasionally wandered off the standards to experiment with new-to-me items.

Specialty Restaurants:

The Butcher's Cut: excellent, I'd definitely eat there again. We used the Dining Experience option and it was quite filling. Unfortunately, I don't remember our server's name, but he was excellent. (I recall it being Marco -BH)

Kaito Teppanyaki: also excellent, and very good at dealing with dietary issues, they were quite willing to swap out for the shellfish, and verified that it was dietary not allergy multiple times. William was our cook and he was one of the best we've had on a cruise.

Cirque du Soleil: [note: it's almost impossible for a Cirque show to be bad.]

Viaggio: excellent

SONOR: the seeming lack of a coherent story makes Viaggio the better of the two. (Corrected to SONOR -BH)

Meh Points:

General:

The white tea/coffee cups in the Buffet are too small. The blue ones were the right size, but were not at every station every day.

The tea selection was OK, but needed more plain black tea. MSC, there's a reason the Vanilla/Raspberry tea was almost all that was left when we got back to NYC.

The cabin seemed smaller than most other ships.

They ran out of San Pelagrino! On an Italian ship! Granted, there were other brands of sparkling water available, but still!

No menus posted by the MDRs for the daily meals.

Boarding: Not bad, not great: we were told boarding was to start at 1 PM, so we made plans for meeting with a friend for lunch. We got to the Port at 10:30 AM, only to learn boarding had already started. Even then we were in group 13. Boarding went smoothly otherwise.

Aurea Spa: No easy in-and-out for the whirlpool and bubble tub tubs in the Spa. I'm short, 5' 1/2” and the entry/exit was doable but awkward. No Color bar! I loved that on the Divina, and it was included in their drinks package. I'm a real fan of teas and those were fantastic.

The Drinks Package: We had the Easy Drinks Package,which is nice, but the $6 limit cuts out my favorite drink (Strawberry Daiquiri). It also doesn't include some of the special items (such as gelato and the snack items in the Piazza del Doge) the coupon package on the Divina did.

Towel Animals: No towel animals or a program on how to make them. I miss my towel animals.

Sea Day Brunches: The breakfasts at the MDR were OK, but when you wind up eating most breakfasts in the Buffet, it's an issue. In fact, one sea day [Thursday the 24th, I believe] they were out of one specialty of the day. Maybe it's just me, but the best sea-day breakfasts/brunches I've had were on Carnival. Steak and eggs! When you're being beat out on food by Carnival, you're doing something wrong.

The Buffet: Could we get more beef in the carving stations? None of us like ham, and BH cannot eat any pork.

Excursions: Well, the one(s) we went on were good, but the one I was most looking forward too (the Tall Ships) was cancelled due to 'insufficient registration', though when we got to Halifax, they said that particular ship usually stops on the 18th. SH added the Salem Witch Excursion on board and enjoyed it very much.

Bad Points:

The Specialty Dining Packages: Not quite what we've seen elsewhere. Even MSC Divina had better options. Meraviglia's Dining Packages are, in our opinion, unnecessarily limited. Your specialty restaurants are pre-chosen and the meals provided are fixed. Not that the one in Butcher's Cut is bad, in fact, it seems to be the most relaxed, allowing choices from a limited menu, with options to swap out at an additional cost of half the listed cost of the item swapped. Ocean's Cay? We're not seafood lovers and BH has shellfish issues [dietary restrictions], so only the tuna dinner was even an option. Kaito Teppanyaki is NOT included, just the Sushi bar. Again, seafood issues. Same with the Tapas bar. Even the best plan, the Two + One included Ocean's Cay in the package, though the other was Butcher's Cut and the plus was a Cirque dinner show. We'd have taken that one or the Tryptic if we could have swapped out Ocean's Cay.

General: MSC's seeming lack of (or just poor) communication. For example; Italian/Mediterranean Night was just listed as an Elegant Night, so if we hadn't seen the waiters and the tables dressed for it before we got to the Panorama, we'd not have known. Another example was on our last day, a sea day. Around 12:30 PM, while we were already in Panorama and had ordered, they announced that the specialty restaurants were half-off for lunch. I'd have seriously considered Butcher's Cut again if we'd known earlier and BH would have re-done Kaito Teppanyaki. Another communications point is our repeated attempts to get confirmation that MSC knew I used a CPAP. In fact, the only line we've used that acknowledged my CPAP was Carnival.

Things I'd like to see in the future:

A list of Elegant/Specialty Nights posted/provided on the first day.

A listing of the dates for the various shows available on the first day.

Menus for the MDRs posted daily (as on every other ship we've been on)

I'd also love to see MSC have a ship based out of New York, as it's much easier for us to sail from. Maybe one that does that Grand Cruise Meraviglia is making in Oct 2020 as a routine sailing, allowing for both north and south trips regularly. Both routes seem very nice, missing only St. Kitts, our favorite island.

Add a Brazilian style steakhouse as well.

And, yes, Towel Animals, please!


SeniorCruiseClan's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Fantastica Inside Stateroom

I found it a bit small, but still comfortable. Since there were three of us, we had to separate the beds to allow for access to the bunk and allow me to plug in my CPAP. I did like that removing the card did not cut all the power, so neither my CPAP or laptop needed to be reset the entire trip.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

St. John's (Newfoundland)

We wandered around the town, did a bit of shopping in a mall (some items we forgot). SH also bought a very nice jacket.

This, however was the most forgettable port.

Halifax

I HAD an excursion but they couldn't get enough other folks interested to persuade the ship's crew to do one last trip after they had closed for the season.

While frustrating, there's enough to do in Halifax that I would willingly return and the only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is the missed excursion.

Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Again, beautiful town, loved the fiddle and the sea walk (even though my knee gave out). One I'd go to again.

We were interested in the history of the Fiddle excursion, but it filled too fast.

Bar Harbor

I liked the town, I'd go there again. Friendly people, lovely town. We were tendered, and on the way back by the one of the ship's lifeboats. A really neat experience to ride one without worrying about a crisis.

Next time I'm going to try to eat at Looking Glass (Mary Roberts Reinhart fan).

New York (Manhattan)

No time to explore NY as boarding started early.

Historic Salem & Witch Museum

OK, so SH wanted to see the Sale Witch Museum and BH and I stayed back on the ship for some relaxation and private time. She was a bit late getting back, but we still had time to get a shuttle to Quincy Market, which turned out to be n overcrowded food court.

Note: close to Halloween is a bad time to explore Salem/Boston.

View All 8 Historic Salem & Witch Museum Reviews
Martinique

Left ship in NYC, not on this part of the cruise.

We've been to Martinique before and didn't find it that interesting.

Barbados

Left ship in NYC, not on this part of the cruise.

Grenada

Left ship in NYC, not on this part of the cruise.

Lighthouses of Maine Tour

This excursion was BH's choice and we all loved it.

View All 29 Lighthouses of Maine Tour Reviews
Curacao

Left ship in NYC, not on this part of the cruise.

Aruba

Left ship in NYC, not on this part of the cruise.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Left ship in NYC, not on this part of the cruise.

If/when we sail with MSC again, this is one port we're looking forward to.


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