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My wife and I had originally booked with MSC to go to Cuba This was her 11th cruise. This would be my first. Cuba was a joint desired destination. I am a veteran of a slew of All inclusive land vacations. So my expectations of service, cost, fun and activities was based upon my many trips to Sandals resorts. We booked in September for December 2019 but with Cuba, again, being declared a "no go" by the government, MSC offered us two weeks aboard the Meraviglia in exchange for 1 week to Cuba. There was also some money refunded We would probably have not picked MSC as the Caribbean cruising line but no there was no offer of getting our money back. My wife has cruised on Royal Caribbean , Carnival and Princess. I do not attempt to speak for her but she does agree with my final concussion. With that said let me state the following: The ship was pretty The rooms were small. They did a nice job with what they had with the exception of mini bar. The concept of the mini bar on a cruise ship seems absurd to me but then I am new to the cruising maybe is the a "thing". The mini bar space, in my opinion was wasted and would have much better served as storage space. The European power plugs did not bother me, I get it that it is a Italian ship. But the limited access to the converters, once on the ship, combined with the limited amount of UL plugs in the room made the AC service problematic. I will take that as My inexperience and lack of packing but, in my defense, I did not see any warning on this in any of the paper work I received speaking about the upcoming cruise. Again, my first cruise, but here is what I did notice: We were on the ship for 14 days, I never saw the Cruise director, or the Captain. The both spoke over the PA (multiple times for the cruise director and once each day at sea by the captain, but I never saw either at the pool the stage or anywhere else for that matter. No biggie but I believe it may have contributed to the attitude of the rest of the uniform crew, I address this a little further on. The food: Let me state that the Buffet was fine. They made Pizza that was great and many of the dishes were very very good. Seated dinner, was fine, I was not bowled over but the food was good. The upscale " you pay to get them", items was a surprise, but again, maybe that is my naivete. The servers in the dinning room , that I dealt with, were all terrific. However, we bought the triptych for the specialty restaurants, and I was universally disappointed. All there were, in my opinion, at best mediocre. The Sushi was Gas station level. The Seafood set a new level for a lack of actual seafood in a seafood dish.. My wife actually asked where the fish was in her dish and the waiter pointed out that the "red flakes" of which there were not enough to even assume they were anything more then visual accents, were the fish. The clams in my dish were so small they fell through the tines on the cocktail fork. The steak place served a decent steak but was no better then the long horn steak house. In all three, I was surprised at the limited choices included with the prices and somewhat astounded at the cost of the items that were not included, given the cost to eat at the restaurant on top of paying to be on the ship. Again, perhaps that is my naivete at cruising. The bars were all physically nice and the wait staff in all locations, pleasant, interesting and fun. They remembered your name and drink, they were enjoyable to engage with. The housekeeping staff were great. I would state that the people in the white navy attire, one and two bars on their epaulets (with the exception of one woman) were cold , distant , unfriendly and when tested , uninformed. They seemed to have little interest in speaking with, engaging or interacting with the guest. In fact in 14 days not one of the many I walked past, stood next to or ask a question of even bother to say "thanks for sailing with us" " are you having a good time" " anything I can do" In fact, on two occasions I asked questions of sets of them (they seemed to travel in pairs) and on those two occasion they gave answers that were wrong and needed to be corrected by hospitality staff. In both cases they seemed somewhat annoyed that I asked them anything at all. There seemed to be a constant push to up-sell while you were on the ship, even while you were eating in the Buffet ( perhaps this is normal but it was annoying). And I found that buying the Premium drink package before hand and then not getting a drink cup on board ( offered only to the aboard purchasers) is nitpicking but still annoying. The staff at the debarking and embarking where stoic and cold as if they distrusted the passengers on the ship. On the other hand the on-board photographers where very funny whether you were getting a picture taken or not. The SPA pricing was outrageous but the SPA was beautiful and perhaps that kind of pricing is the norm on cruise ships. The actual activities on the sea days where pathetic, (sorry the only word I can come up with). Perhaps this was a standard for MSC, a very low key ride, not much going on. In which case they achieved that in spades but did not seem the theme of the video they kept showing on every touch screen around the ship. Please note: I do not need to be entertained, but I did think there would be something on sea days that lasted more then 1 hour. On the fully subjective side, the music was pretty dull, expect for the music trivia quiz, one of two pool activities in 14 days that I observed got a crowd response. There was very little dancing available, unless you were into learning how to lines dance or fox trot or something. As a whole, it was not a bad vacation. I had fun , the place was clean ( the shower was a marvel of size for the limited cabin size but I am not a big guy so) but it was a less then inspiring cruise. As a whole I would rate this line: MSC. On this ship: Meraviglia. At best so/so. Perhaps It was the the ship The week The cruise But while I would recommend cruising to someone after my first experience, I could not recommend MSC/Meraviglia I have the least experience so anyone can can challenge my opinion. But that is why I titled this "I expected too much Or I got too little?"

My first Cruise "I expected too much Or I got too little?"

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review by EBS2020

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2020
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Aurea Balcony Stateroom
My wife and I had originally booked with MSC to go to Cuba

This was her 11th cruise.

This would be my first.

Cuba was a joint desired destination.

I am a veteran of a slew of All inclusive land vacations.

So my expectations of service, cost, fun and activities was based upon my many trips to Sandals resorts.

We booked in September for December 2019 but with Cuba, again, being declared a "no go" by the government, MSC offered us two weeks aboard the Meraviglia in exchange for 1 week to Cuba. There was also some money refunded

We would probably have not picked MSC as the Caribbean cruising line but no there was no offer of getting our money back.

My wife has cruised on Royal Caribbean , Carnival and Princess.

I do not attempt to speak for her but she does agree with my final concussion.

With that said let me state the following:

The ship was pretty

The rooms were small.

They did a nice job with what they had with the exception of mini bar.

The concept of the mini bar on a cruise ship seems absurd to me but then I am new to the cruising maybe is the a "thing".

The mini bar space, in my opinion was wasted and would have much better served as storage space.

The European power plugs did not bother me, I get it that it is a Italian ship.

But the limited access to the converters, once on the ship, combined with the limited amount of UL plugs in the room made the AC service problematic. I will take that as My inexperience and lack of packing but, in my defense, I did not see any warning on this in any of the paper work I received speaking about the upcoming cruise.

Again, my first cruise, but here is what I did notice:

We were on the ship for 14 days, I never saw the Cruise director, or the Captain.

The both spoke over the PA (multiple times for the cruise director and once each day at sea by the captain, but I never saw either at the pool the stage or anywhere else for that matter.

No biggie but I believe it may have contributed to the attitude of the rest of the uniform crew, I address this a little further on.

The food:

Let me state that the Buffet was fine.

They made Pizza that was great and many of the dishes were very very good.

Seated dinner, was fine, I was not bowled over but the food was good.

The upscale " you pay to get them", items was a surprise, but again, maybe that is my naivete.

The servers in the dinning room , that I dealt with, were all terrific.

However, we bought the triptych for the specialty restaurants, and I was universally disappointed.

All there were, in my opinion, at best mediocre.

The Sushi was Gas station level.

The Seafood set a new level for a lack of actual seafood in a seafood dish..

My wife actually asked where the fish was in her dish and the waiter pointed out that the "red flakes" of which there were not enough to even assume they were anything more then visual accents, were the fish. The clams in my dish were so small they fell through the tines on the cocktail fork.

The steak place served a decent steak but was no better then the long horn steak house.

In all three, I was surprised at the limited choices included with the prices and somewhat astounded at the cost of the items that were not included, given the cost to eat at the restaurant on top of paying to be on the ship.

Again, perhaps that is my naivete at cruising.

The bars were all physically nice and the wait staff in all locations, pleasant, interesting and fun.

They remembered your name and drink, they were enjoyable to engage with.

The housekeeping staff were great.

I would state that the people in the white navy attire, one and two bars on their epaulets (with the exception of one woman) were cold , distant , unfriendly and when tested , uninformed.

They seemed to have little interest in speaking with, engaging or interacting with the guest. In fact in 14 days not one of the many I walked past, stood next to or ask a question of even bother to say

"thanks for sailing with us"

" are you having a good time"

" anything I can do"

In fact, on two occasions I asked questions of sets of them (they seemed to travel in pairs) and on those two occasion they gave answers that were wrong and needed to be corrected by hospitality staff.

In both cases they seemed somewhat annoyed that I asked them anything at all.

There seemed to be a constant push to up-sell while you were on the ship, even while you were eating in the Buffet ( perhaps this is normal but it was annoying).

And I found that buying the Premium drink package before hand and then not getting a drink cup on board ( offered only to the aboard purchasers) is nitpicking but still annoying.

The staff at the debarking and embarking where stoic and cold as if they distrusted the passengers on the ship. On the other hand the on-board photographers where very funny whether you were getting a picture taken or not.

The SPA pricing was outrageous but the SPA was beautiful and perhaps that kind of pricing is the norm on cruise ships.

The actual activities on the sea days where pathetic, (sorry the only word I can come up with).

Perhaps this was a standard for MSC, a very low key ride, not much going on.

In which case they achieved that in spades but did not seem the theme of the video they kept showing on every touch screen around the ship.

Please note: I do not need to be entertained, but I did think there would be something on sea days that lasted more then 1 hour.

On the fully subjective side, the music was pretty dull, expect for the music trivia quiz, one of two pool activities in 14 days that I observed got a crowd response.

There was very little dancing available, unless you were into learning how to lines dance or fox trot or something.

As a whole, it was not a bad vacation. I had fun , the place was clean ( the shower was a marvel of size for the limited cabin size but I am not a big guy so) but it was a less then inspiring cruise.

As a whole I would rate this line: MSC.

On this ship: Meraviglia.

At best so/so.

Perhaps It was the the ship

The week

The cruise

But while I would recommend cruising to someone after my first experience, I could not recommend MSC/Meraviglia

I have the least experience so anyone can can challenge my opinion.

But that is why I titled this "I expected too much Or I got too little?"
EBS2020’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Aurea Balcony Stateroom
Cabin B3
The ship was pretty
The rooms were small.
They did a nice job with what they had with the exception of mini bar.
The concept of the mini bar on a cruise ship seems absurd to me but then I am new to the cruising maybe is the a "thing".
The mini bar space, in my opinion was wasted and would have much better served as storage space.
( the shower was a marvel of size for the limited cabin size but I am not a big guy so)
Angkor Wat Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

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