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We recently cruised the MSC Meraviglia Jan 12 – 19 to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Belize City. Our scheduled stop at Ocean Cay was cancelled due to weather, so Belize City was offered as a substitute. This was my 5th cruise (M/54); I took my grown daughter along as my companion. First off, this cruise was the most international cruise I’ve been on, and it had a definite “European vibe” to the whole cruise. Americans were definitely in the minority onboard – instead the ship seemed to be filled with people from Italy, France, and Germany, with several other European countries mixed in for good measure. Shipboard announcements were made in 6 languages – English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese – and it really felt like a melting pot of different cultures and languages. I met a lot of nice people from all over the world, and it was interesting to compare how they cruised vs. the primarily American crowds I’m accustomed to. The MSC Meraviglia is a beautiful ship – very well maintained, and clean throughout. The staff worked hard to keep everything pristine. Decks 6 and 7 were lively with activity and music throughout the day. Access to the different decks was easy, and the elevators seemed to move in a timely manner. I’d also like to throw in another plug for the staff – they were all very nice and helpful, and I didn’t see any rude or otherwise nasty behavior from anyone. They seemed to be sincerely enjoying working with the public. They did however work very hard to push drink packages and upgraded dining in their specialty restaurants. There must be some sort of prize to the person who sells the most, because at times they were a little aggressive about it. We were hit by a series of really nasty storms several days during the cruise, and the ship rocked something fierce at times. We were both fine, but we saw an awful lot of fellow cruisers who looked green the next morning. (You know it’s bad when you see the ocean spray directly in front of you, and you’re on Deck 10.) My thanks to the captain for keeping us safe despite the nasty weather. We really enjoyed the Cirque Du Soliel shows on board. We saw Villaggio all the way through, but Sonor was cancelled halfway through the performance by the storm. We really enjoyed the part we did get to see, however. They promised us a full refund for the cancelled show. We only saw one “free” show, the MasterChef at Sea competition, which really wasn’t a cooking competition, since they couldn’t risk letting passengers have hot stoves and sharp knives on a moving ship. Instead, it was more of a “cream puff decorating contest”, but it was still fun to watch. To ensure seating for the other shows you needed to make an onboard reservation, but that seemed like a hassle to us for something we didn’t care that much about, so we skipped the performances. So up until this point everything in this review has been extremely positive. Now it’s time to talk about the bad stuff. Namely, the food. I should point out that I’m far from a food snob – I’ve eaten my fair share of greasy fast food in my day. But the food served in the main dining room (Waves restaurant, deck 5) was HORRENDOUSLY BAD. Yes, in all capital letters bad. My tablemates and I sent back so many dishes, and they’d replace them with the exact same dish, which would also be just as bad. Cold soups, bland entrees, undercooked fish, lobster ravioli that smelled funny, overcooked and tough steaks, gristle-laden short ribs, shrimp that had not been properly cleaned(!), you name it. Even on Italian night – on an Italian cruise ship – they couldn’t get the dishes right. The calamari tasted mushy and was cold, and the chicken parmesan was about a quarter inch thick and required a chain saw to cut. It was horrible. Before cruising I read the previous reviews that mentioned how bad the food was, and I took them with a grain of salt. Nope – shouldn’t have done that. They were accurate to a fault. I felt bad for the waiters – it wasn’t their fault, and it was apparent they knew how bad it was, but they kept serving it up anyway. Throughout the dining room I saw a lot of food being sent back to the kitchen, and by night number four I noticed that there more and more empty tables from people who’d decided to opt out of even coming to the dining room. The buffet was serviceable – nothing too exciting about it, other than the pizza was good (except for the pizza with corn on it), and the fresh baked croissants were delicious. The selections never changed during the week, so we had to hope that we didn’t get tired of eating the same stuff every day. We ate at the buffet for breakfast every morning and for dinner one night, when we couldn’t face another lousy meal in the main dining room. We had four ports of call on the cruise – two with tenders (Grand Cayman and Belize) and two with pier stops (Jamaica and Cozumel). It was nice to be greeted with a cool towel and cold water when returning to the ship after a day in port. The tender process was as smooth and easy as possible. Overall, I really liked the MSC Meraviglia, except for the food. Would I cruise her again? Possibly, but I doubt it would be my first choice.

Nice Ship, but Lousy Food

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by beansatw

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2020
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Bella Balcony Stateroom
We recently cruised the MSC Meraviglia Jan 12 – 19 to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Belize City. Our scheduled stop at Ocean Cay was cancelled due to weather, so Belize City was offered as a substitute. This was my 5th cruise (M/54); I took my grown daughter along as my companion.

First off, this cruise was the most international cruise I’ve been on, and it had a definite “European vibe” to the whole cruise. Americans were definitely in the minority onboard – instead the ship seemed to be filled with people from Italy, France, and Germany, with several other European countries mixed in for good measure. Shipboard announcements were made in 6 languages – English, Italian, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese – and it really felt like a melting pot of different cultures and languages. I met a lot of nice people from all over the world, and it was interesting to compare how they cruised vs. the primarily American crowds I’m accustomed to.

The MSC Meraviglia is a beautiful ship – very well maintained, and clean throughout. The staff worked hard to keep everything pristine. Decks 6 and 7 were lively with activity and music throughout the day. Access to the different decks was easy, and the elevators seemed to move in a timely manner.

I’d also like to throw in another plug for the staff – they were all very nice and helpful, and I didn’t see any rude or otherwise nasty behavior from anyone. They seemed to be sincerely enjoying working with the public. They did however work very hard to push drink packages and upgraded dining in their specialty restaurants. There must be some sort of prize to the person who sells the most, because at times they were a little aggressive about it.

We were hit by a series of really nasty storms several days during the cruise, and the ship rocked something fierce at times. We were both fine, but we saw an awful lot of fellow cruisers who looked green the next morning. (You know it’s bad when you see the ocean spray directly in front of you, and you’re on Deck 10.) My thanks to the captain for keeping us safe despite the nasty weather.

We really enjoyed the Cirque Du Soliel shows on board. We saw Villaggio all the way through, but Sonor was cancelled halfway through the performance by the storm. We really enjoyed the part we did get to see, however. They promised us a full refund for the cancelled show.

We only saw one “free” show, the MasterChef at Sea competition, which really wasn’t a cooking competition, since they couldn’t risk letting passengers have hot stoves and sharp knives on a moving ship. Instead, it was more of a “cream puff decorating contest”, but it was still fun to watch. To ensure seating for the other shows you needed to make an onboard reservation, but that seemed like a hassle to us for something we didn’t care that much about, so we skipped the performances.

So up until this point everything in this review has been extremely positive. Now it’s time to talk about the bad stuff. Namely, the food.

I should point out that I’m far from a food snob – I’ve eaten my fair share of greasy fast food in my day. But the food served in the main dining room (Waves restaurant, deck 5) was HORRENDOUSLY BAD. Yes, in all capital letters bad. My tablemates and I sent back so many dishes, and they’d replace them with the exact same dish, which would also be just as bad. Cold soups, bland entrees, undercooked fish, lobster ravioli that smelled funny, overcooked and tough steaks, gristle-laden short ribs, shrimp that had not been properly cleaned(!), you name it. Even on Italian night – on an Italian cruise ship – they couldn’t get the dishes right. The calamari tasted mushy and was cold, and the chicken parmesan was about a quarter inch thick and required a chain saw to cut. It was horrible.

Before cruising I read the previous reviews that mentioned how bad the food was, and I took them with a grain of salt. Nope – shouldn’t have done that. They were accurate to a fault.

I felt bad for the waiters – it wasn’t their fault, and it was apparent they knew how bad it was, but they kept serving it up anyway. Throughout the dining room I saw a lot of food being sent back to the kitchen, and by night number four I noticed that there more and more empty tables from people who’d decided to opt out of even coming to the dining room.

The buffet was serviceable – nothing too exciting about it, other than the pizza was good (except for the pizza with corn on it), and the fresh baked croissants were delicious. The selections never changed during the week, so we had to hope that we didn’t get tired of eating the same stuff every day. We ate at the buffet for breakfast every morning and for dinner one night, when we couldn’t face another lousy meal in the main dining room.

We had four ports of call on the cruise – two with tenders (Grand Cayman and Belize) and two with pier stops (Jamaica and Cozumel). It was nice to be greeted with a cool towel and cold water when returning to the ship after a day in port. The tender process was as smooth and easy as possible.

Overall, I really liked the MSC Meraviglia, except for the food. Would I cruise her again? Possibly, but I doubt it would be my first choice.
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Cabin Review

Bella Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B1
The cabin was fine - very similar to other cruise ships. Be sure to get the balcony door closed and locked all the way, otherwise the wind whips through the crack and makes the door whistle.
Angkor Wat Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins