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

Worst cruise we've taken

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by tstretch

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2019
  • Destination: the Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Yacht Club Royal Suite


25 cruises later, worse experience ever on board the very underwhelming MSC Meravilgia. Where do we start?

We stayed in the Royal Suite, one of two on the ship, in the Yacht Club, $18K USD for a 17-day Transatlantic cruise. It was myself and my 26-year-old son. From a negative embarkation experience with an argumentative and unprofessional cabin steward, it basically went downhill from there. No working A/C and our deck hot tub was cold (for the entire trip, save for technician after technician coming and them giving us so many stories, we couldn’t keep them straight). Many days of voicing concerns got us nowhere. That’s just two issues out of the dozens we experienced with service. Most staff pays lip service and doesn’t follow up. My son couldn’t even get real cream for his coffee. We went to port and got it ourselves.

As I write this, room service has taken 75 minutes, service for two... one person makes four trips because they can't carry everything (takes over 20 minutes from her first entrance to last). and remember, this is in the Yacht Club! Room service, total false advertising. Nothing hot except pizza. Terrible menu… and mediocre food everywhere else to boot. Buffet has the same food day after day and minimal choices. 17 days of agony. Not even proper vegetables except for a few same salad items. No gluten-free options on board whatsoever, and the sugar-free option was vanilla ice cream, more or less. Dining room was much better than the buffet. We honestly had hard time eating, and you definitely cannot eat healthy while onboard or have variety.

Things to Note:

- They nickel and dime you for everything. Be prepared! Even shuttles to get to ports once you get off the ship cost. The cash grabs are offensive to many guests. You want a good steak, you pay, even in the dining room. Don’t have one otherwise. They’re not good! Don't even talk about lobster.

- 1500 staff to over almost 5200 guests, and half the staff were new to this itinerary. The overall service was simply awful, even in the Yacht Club. In fact, we dined in the main dining room because of it. The staff in the main dining room were fabulous! There were a few gems on board, which really helped.

- Entertainment sucked, except for Cirque, which you had to pay for. Don’t bother going to the theatre at night. You will be disappointed.

- Nothing to do on board unless you want to take dance lessons, do crafts, or aerobics. Didn’t even have a yoga class offered.

- The loud speakers on board the ship are soooo loud, they’re deafening. AND in six languages. So be prepared many times throughout the day for 20 minutes of announcements where you cannot talk and feel like plugging your ears because it’s unbearably loud. There was nowhere to run!

- The drink packages! Buyer beware. They sell you a pkg where they cap the drink price, and then the drinks are 50 cents over that limit. But you don’t pay the 50 cents; you pay the entire drink amount! We had the premium pkg that came with the Yacht Club, and we don’t drink much at all, so we weren't bothered, but guests were not happy at all. And it’s 55Euro/day for the premium plus one. Cheers!

- And many staff on board are frazzled. After speaking to certain of them, they feel controlled, unempowered, and are unhappy. It shows to the guests. We felt bad for them.

After finally having an hour-long meeting with the Yacht Club Director and the Butler Manager, in which we gave them an opportunity to make things right before we left a scathing review, voicing our concerns about service basically (which they were already totally aware of), the next day we got a note to go see the concierge where they offered a 30-minute massage to compensate us for our troubles! Talk about adding insult to injury. Not even a follow-up of any sort from the Director.

We paid for service we never got, valid complaints about the A/C, heat, cold hottub, and many other things were not addressed or taken seriously, never mind the whole ship experience with subpar food and service.

We will look forward to be off this ship. Along with our amazing new British mates, dining in the Panorama was one of the highlights of the ship for us. The amazing crew should have been performing in the theatre! A big shout out to them. And there was a state-of-the-art gym.

All that being said, we can’t really lay blame at the feet of the workers per se, save for the Yacht Club Director, who had the power to make a difference and chose not to. Staff are mostly doing their best within restrictions and things out of their control. This cruise line and ship needs a serious overall. Book something else!

They do not value their guests or their concerns. First and last time we would ever travel on this cruise line again.

tstretch's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Yacht Club Royal Suite

If the heat and A/C worked... and hot tub actually got hot... it might not have been so bad! Oh, right, I forgot that we were on the front corner, and the wind was so loud at night, it was difficult to sleep. A constant howling through the patio doors.

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