I have just returned from a 4 day sailing of the MSC Mereviglia. This was my 11th Cruise, but the first on MSC. We were myself, 55 yr old mom and her 23 yr old daughter. This was overall the worse cruise I have ever been on., but of ... Read More
I have just returned from a 4 day sailing of the MSC Mereviglia. This was my 11th Cruise, but the first on MSC. We were myself, 55 yr old mom and her 23 yr old daughter. This was overall the worse cruise I have ever been on., but of course- not all bad!
We were informed via email ahead of time that we would not be going to Ocean Cay, as it was not ready to open as scheduled. A disappointment, but not that important to me personally. Our only other port was to be Nassau, Bahamas, but that was changed to Cozumel right before sailing. This fact is important, as this change was NOT communicated to guests ahead of time. I should mention that this sailing had a majority of guest that are Travel Advisors (including myself) . The only way some of us were aware of the port change ahead of sailing is because we emailed MSC and asked them. But the information was never put out FROM MSC. The port made no difference to us, but I spoke to many guests that had excursions planned and looked forward to Nassau. For these port changes, guests were given a $100 OBC per stateroom and 20% a future cruise.
The MSC Mereviglia is a very very beautiful ship! The Atrium with its Swarovski stairs and the Promenade with its ever-changing LED dome are some of the indoor highlights, along with a spectacular display of wines/champagnes. There are many common gathering spaces, which were both comfortable and functional. The main pool, the Atmosphere Pool, was beautifully laid out, with soft cabana beds, and ample lounge chairs, as well as a theatre sized movie screen. The Horizon pool was also outdoors- very small with sunbathing deck. There was also a very nice indoor pool (which would be great to have in inclement weather).
The main dining rooms (included) were completely unremarkable. As for the food, it was very bland and basic, as was the service. After the first night, I felt no desire to go back (but I did). These dining rooms are on set early/late times, which I personally do not like. I also do not normally eat at the ship buffet (except for a quick bite during pool time) but I did eat dinner at the buffet one night, and it was actually quite good. Fresh, well attended, clean. The pizza is excellent!! We did not try the specialty restaurants. However..... we “attempted” the Chef’s Table. Here’s the story (and I’m sorry it’s so long, , but it dragged on throughout our 4 days...). Immediately upon boarding I called and made a reservation for the Chef’s Table ($120 pp) for our Cozumel night. We made several attempts over the next 2 days to confirm this, but guest services could not help, and specialty dining didn’t answer. This involved us waiting in the guest services LONG line more than once, as well as numerous phone calls, all with promises to “call back” but no one ever did. We wasted so much time. By the Cozumel night, we finally learned that our reservation had been made for the wrong night (our last night). So here’s the kicker- by the 3rd night, I had become so sick with the flu (yes, I’m a nurse and it’s the actual flu) that I could barely get out of bed. So my daughter carried on with the saga. The reservation had been the wrong day AND now I was sick, so we were canceling. She went to the specialty restaurant in person, only to be told that they were starting a staff meeting and she would have to “get out”. She was literally pushed out the door by a Ukrainian woman. Back in the room, she looked at our account and found we had been charged $138 fee! This made me so mad that I forced myself to get dressed and go back to the restaurant with her. We spoke to the head of specialty dining, Mustafa, who was no less than completely dismissive and condescending to us. We found out that THEY had intentionally changed our reservation night to accommodate another group and NEVER TOLD US! And then still wanted to charge us for canceling, acted like they were doing us a favor to credit our account and waved us out. And I was so sick!
Our cabin was 9109, deck 9, midship, B2 Balcony, typical, nicely done, with a nicer bathroom than most. Be aware the lifeboats are right there, but not obstructing. Only one US outlet. Our cabin steward, Pari, was exceptional, even allowing us to stay in the cabin late on debarkation day, as I was so sick I could barely move.
We found the onboard music to be bland and lacking variety. Not bad, just repetitive and boring. Same singer in the atrium area each night, a stiff jazz trio elsewhere, it was like “dinner music” everywhere. I cannot comment on the onboard shows, as we didn’t go to any. We did go to the Cirque du Soleil cocktail show “Viaggo”. $18pp included one cocktail of a type of “tiki punch” of their choice. The Cirque shows were all sold out when we embarked, but we learned we were able to go on “standby”, and we were able to get in. The show was not the caliber of a full Cirque show, but was very nice and we thought worth the $18 ticket.
We spent a lot of time at the pools, one day at Atmosphere, one at Horizon. In each case, I got up at 7am to secure a pool BED. We stayed there from 7am throughout the rest of the day, only leaving for lunch. Cocktail service was virtually nonexistent, so we had to go up to the bars. Bartenders were generally accommodating. We had the “easy” drink package, AKA cheap one. We had to be creative about ordering, which was a hassle. Example: a Pina colada was not covered in our package, but we could order a Virgin Pina colada plus a double shot of Bacardi, and just combine. All bartenders allowed this, some even just went ahead and mixed it for you. There was NO tequila included in this package, hence, no margaritas. MCS has 3 tier beverage packaging, but it’s really not well thought out. The next tier up is nearly double the price, so a hard sell, yet the easy package was really a reasonably priced disappointment. MSC should go to 2 tiers- regular and premium, and adjust their pricing.
I cannot comment on the spa or spa services, or fitness areas in general, as I did not use.
We did go up to the Aquapark to check it out. Lots of kids (of course) and all wet, slippery surfaces with children running and climbing. That sort of thing makes me too nervous to watch, and we did not see much for MSC employees monitoring this. We did not actually use the water slides, as there appeared to be a lengthy process of signing waivers and instructions first (20 min +), so we didn’t take the time.
The ports: This sailing was a 4 day, scheduled for a sea day, Nassau day, and private island day. Prior to sailing, we were informed via email that the island “wasn’t ready” and as such, we would not be going. But then, a couple days before sailing, we found out (I called) that we would NOT be going to Nassau, but Cozumel instead. I personally have been to both enough times that it didn’t really matter one way or the other. However, it DOES matter to a lot of people, people who booked based on Nassau and made plans and excursion reservations. Also, we spoke to many people onboard who did not even know about the change until the were on the ship. That is BAD communication on MSCs part.
All in all, I think I’d like a give MSC another try- probably on the Seaside. But this was a very disappointing sailing for many reasons. We made the best of it, and we still had a great time, even with blah food and the flu! My daughter and I have traveled together on cruises, all-inclusives , and across Europe, so we have realistic travel expectations. As my 11th Cruise, I think I have a fair idea of the good, the bad, and the ugly of cruising. After (only) 4 days, I was ready for this cruise to be over and not really sad to leave (I’m always sad to leave a cruise). So this was a very different experience for me.
I’m confident the next will be better! Read Less