When I booked our MSC Meraviglia cruise I couldn't find a lot of information directly associated with this ship since it is such a new ship to the Caribbean. I had many questions and called many times to get the answers so I thought I was pretty prepared when we headed off on vacation. I found that a lot of what I was told was not true but in a good way. This is going to be a long review as I hope to answer any questions you may have for your future cruise. Let's start before we even leave for the port. Things that are and are not included. Drinks. You can get juice, coffee, water and tea during breakfast in the buffet. I had heard that the only drinks available after breakfast was coffee, water and tea. Because of the information I received from MSC I purchased the non-alcoholic package for my grand daughter and the Easy beverage package for myself. When I purchased the package I was also told that the non-alcoholic drinks were not "frozen" drinks. On both instances the information was incorrect. During lunch and dinner there is water, coffee, tea, flavored waters and lemonade which is free. The non-alcoholic drinks were frozen. I simply ordered a non-alcoholic drink and a shot of whatever instead of having to pay premium price for a pina colada for instance. In the main dining room we were served bottled water as it was part of our package but my understanding was you can order a pitcher of water with ice for no charge.
Now dining. There are many options if you wish to order speciality dining. I had heard many bad reviews about the food provided in the main dining room and buffet. If you are expecting a Royal Caribbean, Disney, or Carnival type buffet you will be disappointed. There are fewer items available in the buffet but what was available was very good. There were definitely more healthy choices and I really enjoyed the food. I never went for dinner as we went to the main dining room each night but I found breakfast and lunch to be very tasty. It is BUSY. Go to the back of the ship and sit there. It is much less congested.
Onto the main dining room. You will be assigned to one restaurant for your entire cruise. We were in Panarama. Our wait staff was AMAZING and treated my grand daughter like a princess. She only ate with us for three nights as she wanted to stay with the kids in the Doremi Kids room and eat with them. The main dining room was hit or miss a little bit. Nothing was bad but food could have used a little more seasoning. Nothing a little salt and pepper wouldn't fix. Other meals were spot on and amazing. Hint: Try the mushroom volevant it is amazing.
Now the ship itself is beautiful and very clean. I would go so far as to say it really gives even Disney a run for their money. Everything was just sparking and beautiful. It is huge. Plan to do a lot of walking! We booked the Fantastica experience and just got an inside cabin because we didn't plan on being in the room much. It was a very nice cabin and had lots of room. Warning though... there is very little storage. The cabin had 2 drawers in the closet and one small drawer on the desk where the hairdryer is. We just stacked our clothes on the top shelf of the closet. I'm a fluffy girl and found no issues with the size of the bathroom. The shower (I love the shower door) was roomy. They do have shampoo and body wash in the shower but I suggest you bring your own as it doesn't work very well. When we first got in our room the a/c didn't work well but a quick trip to the guest service took care of the issue quickly and they even sent some chocolate covered strawberries to our cabin as an apology.
Now onto entertainment and activities. I attended all of the shows in the Broadway Theatre except the last night as we were just too tired from I loved all of the shows even the Opera. I strongly suggest keeping your clothes light if you are going to the shows. It gets very very warm in the theatre and I found myself uncomfortable on the few nights I didn't change out of my dinner clothes. I also booked the Cirque Sonor and Viaggio shows. I loved the Viaggio show. It was amazing. We were only able to see half of the Sonor show as the weather was too bad for the entertainers to preform safely. The ship offered a full refund or to book another day. If you only see one show I would suggest Viaggio it was definitely my favorite.
For those who are taking their children on this cruise.... the kids program is wonderful. They do new things each day and my grand daughter never wanted to leave. Don't forget the Polar Aqua park! It is on deck 19 and can only be accessed by the aft stairs on deck 18. We only got to go twice because the weather was not cooperating. We had LOTS of wind and LOTS of ship swaying but hey it's all part of the adventure.
Onto Service. I can honestly say every member that we interacted with went above and beyond. They were always smiling and as helpful as they could be. Remember, most people working on the ship are not Americans and speak very little English but enough to get through. I found it adventurous and interesting. Again, be open minded and don't get upset if it takes just a bit longer to get your answer or point across. They are doing their best.
Ports and Shore excursions. The port was very busy of course. When getting my information checked for boarding it took a bit because the young lady was new to this ship and had to ask her supervisor about 4 things before I finally got through. Took about an hour from entrance to stepping aboard the ship. We were scheduled to visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Cozumel Mexico, Grand Cayman and Ocean Cay. Did I mention we had terrible weather? LOL Sadly we did not make it to Ocean Cay but when the waves are 18 Feet it's better to be safe than sorry. They did however go to Belize City instead of Ocean Cay so we still had four ports of call. I was given a refund for excursions we had booked in Ocean Cay.
Overall I would recommend this cruise and suggest you bring your kids. Take the chance and enjoy something new and different.. it is well worth the money and time. Hope this answers some questions you may have.
The cabin had lots of room and was clean and fresh. Lacking in storage space but it worked out ok.
The childrens area was wonderful. The beach itself was awful. About the first 5 feet into the water were tons of broken shells which can be overcome by wearing water shoes but once your out of the shells there is nothing but hard rocks that you can not walk on. We tried for 5 minutes and gave up and went back to the kids water park and pool.View All 222 Private Resort Day Pass Reviews
Rode through the mangroves to the Ocean where our guides took us riding in the ocean waves.View All 24 Horseback Riding Reviews
Since this was not a planned port we did not have anything booked and stayed on the ship. We were only in port for about 5 hours and people were still trying to tender off the ship at noon with an all aboard time of 3:30. It was a 45 minute tender ride each way which made it almost impossible to get to Belize and back on time.