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MSC Meraviglia Review

5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
545 reviews
1 Award

Pristine Mega-Ship Repo Cruise

Review for MSC Meraviglia to the Western Caribbean
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Papermoon4
10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Cabin
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment

Additional details

Sail Date: Nov 2019
Cabin: Fantastica Balcony Stateroom
11078
Atrium
Dining Room
Wine in the walls!
11078
Ocean Cay Dining Room (Specialty Restaurant)
Atrium (LED ceiling)
One of three pools

This was my first MSC cruise. The Meraviglia is huge - but it never felt crowded. It has a good layout, centered by an atrium featuring the (to date) largest LED ceiling at sea. My balcony cabin was comfortable (especially the pillows!). Not much storage space for two on a longer cruise, but you can make it work. The staff is friendly and works hard, although I sense an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with management - one which I share. Often, managerial decisions caused inconvenience and traveler frustration. MSC's multi-language communication (in print and verbal) leaves something to be desired.

The biggest drawback of the cruise was the food. The line still does early / late dinner sittings and flex dining is only for those in premium class. Not one meal went by without something returned to the dining room. Menu items were not hot, bland, unseasoned, and sometimes not even what they were listed as when they showed up at the table! The specialty restaurants were no exception. Do not be lured in by their "experiences" - where you must chose from a restricted menu. Ocean Cay (the seafood restaurant) only offered five choices, three of which were pasta dishes! The Butcher's Cut (steak house), served chopped and formed previously frozen onion rings like the type sold at Burger King. The Kaito Sushi Bar requires you to sit "outside" (in the atrium) where gawkers watch you eat and lurch into your table when the ship rocks. The good news is that the room service is free if you don't order hot food (continental breakfast and lunch of sandwiches and salads). They brag that they make all their pasta onboard, but this is not always true. Most, but not all! The Market Buffet often is the best choice because of their delicious pizza, fresh mozzarella, and fresh-baked breads. Also, when something comes right off the buffet grill or is carved in front of you, at least it is hot! The buffet, however, is basically the same night after night with no themed nights.

This cruise packed six ports in six days. Martinique, Sin Maarten, Curacao, Barbados, Grenada, and Aruba. I only wish MSC would stop patronizing ports that imprison LGBTQ people. Barbados is particularly egregious - life in jail. Disgraceful. We were scheduled to be the first to visit MSC's private island Ocean Cay - but it was announced mid-cruise we would be going to Jamaica instead (another island unfriendly to the LGBTQ community). The line offers a nightly gay and lesbian meeting, so it is a big of a contradiction. I took two MSC-sponsored shore excursions, both of which were well managed and pleasant.

Cabin Review

Fantastica Balcony Stateroom

I was very pleased with my balcony cabin. Very comfortable bed - especially the pillows. I still wish there were an outlet near the beds, although the lighting is versatile. Be warned that MSC's eco-friendly policy has eliminated facial tissues completely, bar soap, and lotions. The shower and sink provide liquid soap and the shower has shampoo. Towel animals are extinct and ice is only provided upon request. Storage space for two people for two weeks is limited, but would be fine for shorter trips or single travelers. The ship is a labyrinth so bring something to mark your cabin door!

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