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71 MSC Cruises New York (Manhattan) Cruise Reviews

This cruise was a 13 day repositioning cruise to the Caribbean, from NYC to Miami & not the five day Canada cruise, as stated! We chose this cruise because it left from our home port of NYC, eliminating on air fare, plus the cost was ... Read More
This cruise was a 13 day repositioning cruise to the Caribbean, from NYC to Miami & not the five day Canada cruise, as stated! We chose this cruise because it left from our home port of NYC, eliminating on air fare, plus the cost was low, i.e. $499. per person for an ocean view room! The ship was opulent & the shows presented were beautifully staged, with the digitally changing backgrounds better than anything that I have seen in my 62 cruises! However, my estimate of MSC cruises changed on Nov. 7th when my wife experienced a heart attack on board! After spending a day in the ship's somewhat limited infirmary, & a $1,800. fee, we were forced to leave the ship on the island of Jamaica ( an originally unscheduled port) & taken to a "third world" very poorly equipped clinic/hospital in Montego Bay, for two days of observation & care! (only 2 days before cruises end!) After having to pay a $1,000 ambulance & a $11,000. hospital bill (out of pocket)we were air lifted to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. where my wife had quadruple by-pass surgery. After 16 days recuperation in Fla. we were again air lifted to a REHAB center near our Long Island home. Not once in this nearly one month ordeal, did anyone from MSC contact us to see how my wife & I were coping with this totally unexpected "nightmare"! So, the lesson in this is if you cruise with MSC & get sick, be prepared to deal with it on your own! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This is a new ship and it is beautiful and the price was right. Getting on the ship was pretty fast if you don't stop to take a cruise pic. First impression of inside of ship was wow very nice. We went to buffet for lunch it was just ... Read More
This is a new ship and it is beautiful and the price was right. Getting on the ship was pretty fast if you don't stop to take a cruise pic. First impression of inside of ship was wow very nice. We went to buffet for lunch it was just ok noting special like Carnival or RCCL lines what I'm use to. Made it to cabin stated where's the 3rd closet and extra storage space. There was a foul smell coming from the shower drain at times so strong I put a wet towel over the drain to keep the odor from penetrating the entire cabin, most times the smell was in the halls. MSC should make it mandatory for all employees to wear deodorant OMG the smell was pretty bad on some employees. The ship hasn't changed over to the American market it still is favoring the European market. Food: The food on the Meraviglia is just one step above the MSC Seaside and that's not good. Back in the day people went on cruises and raved about how fabulous the food was, not on these ships. People in the yacht club were complaining about the food quality. A passenger in the YC was telling me that a man ordered a t bone steak and a strip steak was server to him. It was corrected but the mistake should not have happened in the first place. The food was lukewarm, some mornings you have super hot coffee and other days it's like warm by the time you put creamer of milk in it's cold. One day I chose a small piece of steak from the children side it was so tough I couldn't even cut it with a knife. Restaurants kept running out of clean coffee cups. I noticed how much food that was left on plates. Food was not edible, to tough or to salty or just not cooked right. The specialty restaurants were a joke, they are just a small step above the buffet. NOT GOOD. I inquired 3 times if the Meraviglia had switched over to the American market and was guaranteed that it has been. NO IT HAS NOT. MSC better wake up and copy other ships that have their program together if not it will fail in the American market. Entertainment: Went to the special show on board thought this is what I've seen in Vegas not, they might as well hired some of the seniors in wheelchairs and using walkers to do the show. Show was boring and felt like a middle school production. The show was over and there wasn't an announcement saying goodnight and thank you for coming just silence for a minute then the passengers started getting up to leave. There was a group on board that had a private event in the Sky lounge it was more entertaining then all the shows on board. We had a ball with them. There should be more to do during the day other then shopping shows or trivia. Who was the cruise director? Other pass cruises I've taken the cruise director was more active and we all knew who it was. Money: MSC nickel and dime you to death, old tv shows and movies cost $8 to watch in your cabin. bowling $25 for one half hour. .All day long you are bothered by the people trying to sell you a drink package or to one of their terrible specialty restaurants. Would I recommend this cruise line to a friend no I would not, to and enemy yes I would. I'm done with MSC Cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a 37-year-old male who sailed with his mother to celebrate her milestone birthday. This was my second MSC Cruise, my first being on the MSC Seaside in October 2018 (there’s a review for that voyage as well). However, this sailing I was celebrating a milestone of my own as this was my 47th cruise overall and my accomplishment was hitting a full year of my life at sea! Other cruise lines I’ve sailed on are Norwegian Cruise Line (Platinum Plus with over 25 cruises), Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and lastly a couple of times on Carnival. My reviews are typically written in chronological order so you can follow along with when things occurred and what my thoughts on them were. At the end there’s a summary and thank you to staff who stood out. I hope you enjoy! Day 1 – Embarkation Day – New York City After the first cruise to sail from NYC had a bad embarkation, I was happy I wasn’t arriving to Manhattan until Noon on the bus I took down from Boston. Upon arrival to the pier, the porters quickly took our luggage and with a decent tip ($2 per bag), our bags were gone and down the conveyer belt in no time! We entered the terminal and encountered a fairly long security line at 12:30PM. When I had my documents out, the lady pulled me aside and told me to go into another line which was not snaked. I did so and we were at security in no time. The check in counters didn’t have any lines at all. I was taken straight away and we were on the ship by 12:45PM. It was pretty seamless! We embarked the Meraviglia from the front of the ship and walked down the indoor Promenade with the giant LED screen, the largest at sea! It was impressive, although some of the shows watching them looking straight up later in the cruise would make me get dizzy. To best view them, go to deck 7 by the spa and look the long way down the promenade. Helpful Tip: We registered our credit cards at the onboard kiosk on Deck 6 by the elevators mid-ship. There are two types of machines to register your room card with. One takes cash and credit cards, the other one takes credit cards only and is smaller. The cash machine had so many people fiddling with them, I just wanted the card machine and this was located on Deck 6 starboard side. We went to lunch at the Market Place Buffet up on Deck 15. The buffet is quite lengthy. Each side has the same type of sections. In the front on the port side is the pizza station which serves pizza pretty much ALL the time (breakfast pizzas, and a changing variety throughout the rest of the day). There’s a pasta, salad, rotisserie, sweets and wellness sections. On port and starboard side there was ethnic sections which largely consisted of Mexican / Spanish foods throughout our voyage. In the back of the buffet (most didn’t walk that far), there was a stir fry section which was really good. During the voyage, on port days, the back section of the buffet was closed. We grabbed a plate of food and sat on the outside deck overlooking the Hudson River. It was overcast but not too chilly to enjoy a lunch out there. While eating lunch, I connected to the ship’s WiFi and loaded the MSC for Me app. This app is quite handy in booking reservations for all the shows and seeing what’s on. It also has a chat functionality which you can use to stay connected to new found friends on the ship. It was the first cruise where I used the chat functionality and it worked quite well. The app also gives you guidance on where things are in the ship and how to get to them. I strongly urge you to download this prior to the voyage so you can take full advantage of what’s on offer and waste minimal time at the touch screens scattered throughout the ship. After lunch, it was announced the staterooms were ready. We proceeded to our stateroom and the luggage was already there! This was quite impressive given how short of a time it was. The rooms were ready at 2PM. Stateroom 9218: This is a Fantastica balcony stateroom. If you don’t know what Fantastica is, it’s a tier level of room you book on MSC ships where you get certain amenities – main among them is room service. This stateroom was located starboard side on the mid-ship bump out and it was the second to last room heading aft in the mid-ship bump out. MSC seems to have a standard stateroom format as the room looked exactly the same as Seaside. The closet was small and didn’t have enough hangars (we remembered and brought our own). There is two cubbies and two drawers on the right side of the closet with the safe in the middle. There’s also another cubby on the floor of the closet on the right side. The bathroom consisted of a shower with glass door, very deep sink (love the sink design on MSC) and a counter which extends down the wall for storage. There are three shelves in the bathroom. The stateroom was in physically good condition upon initial inspection. It quickly became apparent due to the ship’s configuration with the bump out, we must’ve been on the end of the vacuum line with our neighbors being the last. The toilet was very picky so you had to flush it constantly. We had to get it fixed twice during the voyage. The refrigerator was good at cooling items such as the water containers we brought. There’s a desk drawer under the counter top, it’s quite big and another helpful place to store stuff. The light to the left of the beds was constantly flickering during the voyage. I never used it but when the evening turn down was done, it would flicker. I don’t know if it was an electrical issue or what not. I did not report it. Now this part is important, when the ship was at sea and we had some rough sea conditions due to passing cold fronts, the room was constantly creaking! For a ship as new as this, I couldn’t believe the amount of noise the room made. It wasn’t anything the ship could do to fix it as it was the room itself. I still slept but when you were in the room, you could hear it with the ship’s movement. If you’re a light sleeper, book another room and probably not on the bump out. Of more important note, the room did NOT have any Kleenex / tissues. We asked for a box and were told the ship does not provide them, only to Yacht Club guests. Some guests on the previous voyage (where an illness had started to break out) were given them who were not YC guests. This would later come back to bite MSC big time. If you’re going to be an Eco Ship, why not get rid of bottled water but instead tissues? I’m still scratching my head over this one. After unpacking, we headed down to the dining room to change our dining time. We requested the early seating but when we said early – we didn’t mean 5:15PM. I don’t know why MSC doesn’t allow a person to pick slots in first, second and third order so that if you booked an experience, they could work best to accommodate you. Having fixed dining times is inherently lazy of cruise lines anyway! It’s the one thing on MSC that I do not like. The restaurant manager switched us from Waves at 5:15PM to 6PM in Panorama. Panorama is a really beautiful restaurant aft on the ship. However, what I didn’t realize is when he switched us, we went to a table share with two other couples. Thankfully they turned out to be quite lovely people when tables around us had some really odd pairings with people swapping out. This process took us over 1 hour to do so if you don’t like your dining time, change it first thing when you get on because the people pile up and you don’t want to spend your first day of holiday waiting. At 5PM as we wasted so much time getting the table and time changed, it was the compulsory emergency drill. Our muster station was in the casino (oddly it was on Seaside as well). We arrived early to get a seat for mom and waited and waited. People were not attending the drill like they were required to. Finally, it started and it was over in the blink of an eye. They only demonstrated how to put the life jacket on. The rest was found on the stateroom TVs which was clear during the voyage people did not watch (throwing cigarettes and other items overboard, smoking on the balconies, etc.). Fellow Passengers: There was truly an international mix of passengers on the ship. I became friends with people from Germany, Holland, Canada, Austria and Greece! What unsettled me was the group of people MSC used to fill the ship closer to sailing. I booked fairly last minute (8 weeks out) and thought wow, the ship is still fairly open. However, when they discounted the prices even lower around 3 weeks out, the passenger make up got really interesting both posting online beforehand and on the ship. The Cruise Director joked about it not being a Carnival ship one night in the theater, well I guess he never visited the nightclub. Those folks causing issues were the scum the low pricing MSC did brought onboard, amazingly and not shockingly… all Americans. Before you say how rude, I’m American but I do have a sense of propriety and class. I understand everyone is on holiday but save your offensive shirts, surly (perhaps drunk) comments, feeling up your fellow (perhaps drunk) cruisers for your stateroom or better yet… don’t cruise if you can’t act correctly in public. Most of the latter stuff was in the nightclub. Cruisers also didn’t seem to practice good hygiene either leading to a massive spread of a sinus and upper respiratory bug throughout the ship. Cough etiquette goes a long way. Coughing into your elbow is great way to stop the spread of germs, but most just chose to cough on everyone else. The lack of tissues made the spread of germs on all surfaces even better. Way to go MSC on that one! I will give credit to MSC for trying to make the situation right during the voyage. I truly appreciated the guest services hospitality when my concerns were addressed. It was dinner time in Panorama and the first night menu resembled a similar one to NCL with the vegetable spring rolls. I had the lamb t-bone. The spring rolls were great. The lamb t-bone was incredibly small so I asked for a second portion. Lino, our head waiter, delivered it without issue. Lino and Frederick in Panorama offered great service throughout the cruise. Frederick was very attentive and constantly filling my water glass. The food was way too salty and it just made me thirsty incessantly. Frederick would have to refill my water glass up to five times during the dinner service! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot We booked the 8PM showtime for the ventriloquist. I realize there’s an international audience on the ship so he would say somethings in English and I believe the other parts were Spanish. However, the little character was not really amusing and he was hitting on female passengers and calling other male passengers ugly. It was entertainment but not the kind I experienced on Seaside. I know Meraviglia had to add entertainment to the ship as they only had 7 production shows but this guy was not very entertaining overall. After the long day of traveling and getting up early, after the show I showered and relaxed. It was at this time that we discovered the room service menu’s inadequacies. I remember having room service on the Seaside and not having any issues finding something to eat. This cruise I was up in the buffet for breakfast more than I had anything from room service. Mom found items but it was challenging as she doesn’t like chocolate (and most of the menu was chocolate items) and can’t have dairy. Other entertainment going on the first night was a welcome party from the cruise staff around 10:45PM in the Promenade and the disco with the DJ after 11PM. DAY 2: At Sea The weather was still chilly outside and the seas were kicked up. Cold fronts coming off the USA East Coast would cause issues during various days of the cruise. Today was the Cruise Critic gathering and the ship did it nicely with cocktails being served at 10AM and little bites to eat. This time they let the passengers mingle a bit before they introduced the officers and presented us with a cake. It was a very nice touch and I got to make some great cruise friends along the way! It was today I discovered the Gym on Deck 16 mid-ship and wanted to do a workout since the weather wasn’t warm enough for it. The gym was packed solid and hideously small for a ship this size. Some of the cardio equipment was broken further compounding the crowded feel of the place. I went for a walk around the walking track with mom that goes around mid-ship to aft on Deck 16 to get some steps for the day. While doing the walking track, it’s single file so where possible I walked outside to the right of it to talk with mom. Runners were coming along on the other lane or just running everywhere and not staying in their lane. When you got to the aft section of the Horizon Pool where the track loops around on the Starboard side, you go right through a smoking area! How dumb!! If you’re trying to workout, why on Earth would you want to inhale smoke?! After an early lunch, I decided to go to the gym and finally found a spot to work out on the mat. I did have to work in for one of the two benches near the free weights. Very few guests were sanitizing equipment after use so I did before each usage. The side room which could be a good stretching area, was locked as it had the spin cycles in them. An aerobics room was missing on this ship since they used the basketball/soccer court for those classes. You couldn’t take a mat down there to stretch though! After a brief nap, I went to the single / solo cruisers gathering. It was there that I met two wonderful ladies at the bar who introduced me to some of the bar staff they knew from a previous voyage. All the bartenders and wait staff in the Sky Lounge were really friendly, helpful and out-going. It would become a good place for a pre-club drink or to pass time between activities. It was the first formal night of the cruise and I had the beef tournedos. The meat was cooked to order and very well presented but the sauce was way too salty. I didn’t have time for dessert as the ship had scheduled the LGBT gathering at 6:30PM in the Sky Lounge and I wanted to attend. Both the LGBT and the singles were unhosted events and unlike the Seaside – occurred every night of the cruise from night 2 onward at the Sky Lounge. Since we booked the 9:30PM show because I was unsure whether or not the LGBT gathering would run late or not, mom and I went to the Sportsplex which included the arcade, bowling, F1 simulators and the flight simulators. I purchased the Fun Pass pre-cruise for $100 for what I thought was unlimited usage of the entire complex, it turned out, it wasn’t unlimited but that’s not too much of a worry after the weather finally moderated. Of note, the bowling only had one functional lane meaning you had to arrange an appointment to use it. The 4D Cinema was intense. I played all three of the interactive movies with the skeletons in the mine one being the gentlest of them all. It’s quite an intense experience. The arcade has minimal games for a ship this size: 1 competing motorcycle game, Star Wars Game, shooting game (which didn’t seem to be working during the voyage much) and a demolition style sit down race car game. Turned out I was really good at destroying opponents in this game! The arcade would be a good place to pass time in between moments in the evening hours where entertainment gaps existed. I would highly recommend the Fun Pass at $100. The 4D Cinema is $10 per person, bowling is $25 for a half hour play, F1 was also expensive. One bad weather day and you could easily hit the $100! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: One Day More It was the first production show of the cruise, featuring Broadway hits like Singing in the Rain, Cats, Les Miserables. The productions make extensive use of LED walls for graphics saving tons of space for props and endless costume changes back stage. The production cast tonight was great, the opera singers were more overpowering of their cohort singers in group numbers but I knew they’d both be shining stars during opera night later in the cruise! I would definitely recommend catching this show on the ship! Tonight, was the first night I went to the Attic Club disco on the ship. It was here that I discovered one of the two DJs from the Seaside was onboard (and he wasn’t the better one from Seaside – DJ Tony). At the bar in the nightclub was a younger guy with his head down sleeping, apparently passed out. Security went over to check on him and let him stay there but he put his head back down. Eventually he ordered two Red Bull and was much more awake but only caffeinated. It was a good night out but most hung outside at the Horizon Bar to smoke on the starboard side. With the crosswinds, it would waft across the deck into the non-smoking area making it impossible to get air. The Attic Club was insanely hot as the ship still had the heat on from the colder cruises. I retired shortly around 1AM. DAY 3: At Sea It’s October 30th and the ship began coming alive with Halloween decorations. The culinary team in the buffet carved pumpkins yesterday all day in the kitchen they make the fresh mozzarella in and today they setup a display of them with fake candles. The display was just as you entered the Marketplace Buffet. Also, in the Meraviglia Lounge, they had pumpkins carved on the tables there and the whole bar was even more decorated than the previous day. Actually, the whole Promenade on Deck 6 was alive with Halloween items, including some scary looking man who was later used for photos by the ship’s photography team. The weather was not cooperating so well so the Fun Pass was used to play some bowling, arcade games and 4D Cinema before heading back to rest for the afternoon. The temperature outside was finally starting to moderate a bit but the weather was still overcast with occasional rain showers. We also found a nice place to go for a walk downstairs away from the smokers. It was on Deck 7 forward and was a horseshoe from port side to starboard side through the front tunnel in the ship from one bump out section to the other. It’s by the life rafts and was a good place to go to not be in the direct sunlight as well. There are NO deck chairs on this deck, it was strictly used for walking purposes only and it’s not very well advertised. Crew do a lot of work out on this deck so parts may be shut off as well. Today, the ship delivered strawberries and prosecco to the room as part of the Diamond status Voyager’s Club welcome back gift. Prior to sailing, make sure to status match with your other cruise line’s loyalty club status. On NCL I’m Platinum Plus which makes me Diamond on MSC. Just before dinner it was announced Cirque du Soleil’s scheduled performance of Viaggio was cancelled due to the rough sea conditions. I was scheduled to attend the 9:30PM showing. It would become practically a routine to visit the scheduling guy at the Carousel Lounge to get the shows rescheduled this cruise. Why would you ever build a show lounge at the aft of a ship for a Cirque performance? The least amount of movement is mid-ship! Tonight, after switching the dining time around, the birthday cake showed up to the Panorama restaurant for mom. The first night it was delivered to the Waves Restaurant because we were scheduled to be there but the second night I left early before it could be served. It became a running joke this cruise because the travel agent also bought a cake for my mom’s birthday so there were TWO cakes floating around the ship! The section host, William, did a splendid job of tracking them all down and getting them arranged though! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Born to Rock The second production show of the cruise with the production cast was mom’s favorite. She loves rock music and loved all the tunes. They had Tina Turner and many other rock legends. The production was pretty solid with full usage of LED panels and several wardrobe changes by all. Less group singing in this production so it made it a lot smoother. A definite must catch show! THEME NIGHT: Country and Western Night MSC has several theme nights on their American sailings or so it would seem (some appeared on the Seaside as well). The first theme night was Country and Western. I don’t particularly like country music but I was interested to see what they would do. The cruise staff dressed in Western attire and danced to the same line dance songs you’d hear most other places with a few country dance tunes thrown in for good measure. The overhead LED panels in the promenade had different graphics displaying throughout the event. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show This was an adult’s only improv comedy show. It started slow and just died. It wasn’t too funny and when it took too long to setup the next act, most people, including myself walked out. I felt bad for them but with a more engaging party (Country Night) going on just feet away, I felt my time could be better used to watch people have fun than those four TRYING to be funny. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Black Light Party Cirque du Soleil might’ve been cancelled but the Carousel Lounge was still open for usage. I loved the Carousel Lounge as a nightclub. Yes, the bar had a significant shortage of various types of alcohol requiring you to walk to the casino bar to get your drink but the lighting system and sound systems in there were FAR superior to the Attic Club. It also was much better climate controlled. It was sad the Neon party only lasted one hour before they closed it down at 12:30AM and sent us up to the Attic Club. DAY 4: At Sea – Happy Halloween MSC Meraviglia Finally, a good morning to go sunning on the pool deck after breakfast! I went up for a little while before returning to the room to join my mom at the Welcome Back Cocktail reception on the Promenade Deck 6 for all Voyager’s Club member. The event was attended by all senior staff on the ship with little snacks and drinks being served, including non-alcoholic ones. The best part was the production cast came through and did a song and dance number for us after the captain came by to say some remarks and toast. There was also a history presentation on the LED ceiling. It was very well done and probably the best welcome back party I’ve attended on any cruise line to date! After a buffet lunch, it was time to hit the gym. While most folks were out on the pool deck or worked out earlier, I could find a corner to do my ab workout and didn’t have to battle nearly as many people for the equipment. Dinner tonight was ribs and an Asian Salad. The salad was good. I asked for a double order of the ribs and still felt hungry. I didn’t order more because of the showtime and needing to get to the theater. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Serge Massot Yes, this ventriloquist came back with a new show dubbed to be full of surprises and laughs. Some of it mirrored the first show and there were new elements. The female he selected from the audience clearly didn’t want to do it and looked like she could’ve punched him at any time. I was sitting in the back and her unwillingness was palpable from there! It was a show to see but again, if he’s on, take a pass on it. THEME NIGHT: Halloween Several cruise guests, largely Americans, dressed up for Halloween. The top 3 were picked by the cruise staff for final voting up on the bridge in the Promenade. I dressed up as Cesar, quite a few vampires around but the winner of the contest was a group of drag Pan Am flight attendants and a pilot. I’ve never had my picture taken by so many cruisers before! A ship’s photographer named Veronica (I think) also snagged me for a photo shoot and she did some amazing poses. She was having a ton of fun with it! I don’t customarily buy ship photos but I did from her shoot. She’s got a good eye! Music tonight was by DJ Fabiano and the LED ceiling was on fire with creative and spooky graphics. I’ve done 3 Halloween parties at sea and this was by far the best one yet! Bravo Meraviglia entertainment team! The after party was up in the Attic Club and Horizon Pool Bar at midnight but since I was getting up to go ashore tomorrow, I went up for a bit and went to bed. Cirque du Soleil was cancelled again tonight, although it was the SONOR show I was scheduled to see. It was again due to the ship swaying in the sea conditions (high winds). DAY 5: Land Ho! ST MAARTEN After a quick breakfast, it was off the ship and in a taxi with other guests to head to Maho Beach. I was heading to Cupecoy Beach, a LGBT friendly beach on the island. It cost me $30 for the trip for myself one way. When we arrived at Maho Beach, the beach was underwater and the sand had gone up over the wall and a bus got stuck causing a traffic jam. This should’ve been my clue to get out but I didn’t. I went to Cupecoy anyway and the beach conditions were similar. The beach was underwater due to the tides and high seas. I stayed and sunned myself on the rocks until some other cruisers from the ship arrived. We walked the different inlets from above and admired the views. I split the van on the way back with the other guys from the ship. It took us one hour to get back to the ship because the traffic was so bad. Mom spent the day walking around Philipsburg, St Maarten and finding tissues. She wasn’t sick at this point but the only option available at the time was to use toilet paper to clean out your nose when you awakened in the morning. This was very silly to her (and eventually to me too when I saw what a lack of it was doing to the ship) so she sought out tissues and made that her day ashore. She was successful. You knew it was starting to get bad on the ship because a hand sanitizer lady appeared in the entry way to the Marketplace Buffet. She wasn’t there until this day. When I arrived back onboard and synced by phone back to the Meraviglia Wi-Fi, the restaurant reservation was gone showing what time we were supposed to have Teppanyaki. My mom reserved the Teppanyaki for me to celebrate a career advancement. SPECIALTY DINING: Kaito Teppanyaki This specialty restaurant is where a cook prepares a meal in front of you using a grill and puts on a show. The price varies depending on what meal you select. I had the Samurai meal which was 7 courses and included sushi, salad, soup, tempura, steak, rice and dessert. Mom had the vegetarian version of it with tofu, cucumber rolls (versus tuna rolls), tempura, salad, soup and dessert. Dominique from the Philippines prepared our meal on the grill and did an excellent job of the show. I asked him if he’d been on NCL doing it as the show was quite similar and he said he actually did work on NCL. If you’ve done Teppanyaki on NCL, this is similar but with more food (courses). Also, during the reservation process, the lady asked my mom if I was celebrating anything and she put it in the computer. To my surprise, during dessert time, the Kaito crew came out with a congratulations cake and sang a modified happy birthday congratulations song to me! I wasn’t expecting it and it caught me off guard… my mom’s payback for the birthday cake for her earlier on I presumed! It was a great meal with excellent service. I would bump into the waitstaff in the mornings up in the buffet and they’d always greet me by name. Impressive! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Antonio Versini: A world of Hands I figured this would be the standard magicians show with sleight of hand magic tricks and such. It actually was that and a whole lot more. He put up this projection light on the starboard side and this circle screen in the back and started doing impressions with his hands of animals, singers while songs were playing and morphed them all together. It was quite impressive and unique as I’d not seen anything like this before at sea. THEME PARTY: White Party A signature event on MSC seems to be their White Party. It’s simple, you wear white and dance the night away. It was the first night a party was held at the Atmosphere Pool outside. It was high energy once the line dance songs ended that accompanied most theme nights on the voyage. We had some good EDM tunes before the party shut down at midnight and moved to the Horizon Pool and Bar on Deck 16 / 18 aft. I stayed up until 1AM enjoying the fun before heading to bed. DJ Fabiano was spinning the after party. At the bar, one of the late bookers was drunk and loudly complaining about how crappy the music was. He was a complete buzzkill for anyone near him at the Horizon Bar. DAY 6: FORT-DE-FRANCE, MARTINIQUE We called on Fort-de-France, Martinique and when the morning started it was sunny and I had a leisurely buffet breakfast. I was joined by another solo from New York who hopped on last minute. She was very pleasant and we chatted for a bit. By the time I got off the ship, the sky had changed and storms were coming. The local dancers were out and performing tunes for photo ops. We decided to head to the museum we couldn’t see the last time we were there because it was Sunday. This time it was Saturday and the museum still closed because it was a holiday weekend for them (All Saints Day). The problem with going to the other side of town was the sky opened up and it down poured. Everyone ran for cover; my very large umbrella was no match for the deluge of rain that came. I ducked into an open shop. It was at this time we began to realize most of the city was closed! After getting soaked, it was time to head back to the ship and change. We decided on a leisurely lunch in the Panorama Dining Room. It was leisurely alright; it took 1.5 hours to get our lunch service and it largely seemed because the waitstaff didn’t want any other people to sit in their section again. We never dined in Panorama for lunch again after this one experience. In the PM, I returned to the gym and did a workout waiting for the sun to come out and then watched as the new guests embarked. The cruise was split into two segments to try and get more of it sold. We had a lot of new faces but sadly the sick ones were still around coughing everywhere. I continued to use my avoidance precautions as best as I could but the buffet was a hot bed of germs. Tonight, seemed to be a Greek themed menu so I stuck with the selection of Greek plates including Zucchini meatballs (Kefeta [sic]), slovaki and a custard pie for dessert. A table mate recommended all the dishes and he was supported by Lino, our head waiter for our table. It was a pretty tasty meal. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Virtual The third production show of the cruise featuring the singers and dancers. The show is with more modern music and features a cast member interacting with a phone which has different apps. Dancers come out as dancing emojis and such. While the costuming was engaging, the show, in my opinion, was the weakest one of all the productions. It just didn’t flow right and seemed wonky as they moved from app to app on an iPhone displayed on the LED screen. THEME NIGHT: Space Party I didn’t know or have anything for this party to wear so I just went as I was. It seemed like a lot of cruisers just showed up because it was on right after the show. It was at 10:15PM in the Promenade. The LED ceiling had different solar system displays and stars showing. It was a nice party with the cruise staff decked out in light up silver wardrobe. The funny part was the party was over at 11PM and they told everyone to check out the after party up at the Horizon Bar. When I went up there along with several other cruise guests, there was no music! Someone messed up this night and left a one-hour gap between the two parties! When the DJ came up, it was music under the stars at the Horizon Bar and not inside at the Attic Club. The lack of music and movement for one hour made me exhausted so I headed to bed shortly after midnight. DAY 7: BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS Our arrival was a nail biter for those of us on the starboard side of the ship. We watched as the ship backed into the channel and then come alongside a shipping container vessel (carrying some MSC containers by the way), and then slowly inching back. It was probably the tightest park job I’ve ever seen by a ship. We had to use this section of the pier because it was Sunday and the trolley trains wouldn’t be working. It was truly a sight to behold and nice work by the shore pilot and the bridge crew for an awesome docking without hitting anything (cargo ship or pier)! It was Sunday so everything was largely closed here. It wasn’t due to the same holiday in Martinique but just a very traditional church-going island. This actually worked in our favor as we decided to head to the Garrison and see if the George Washington House might be open. The ship was doing a tour to it so we figured we would try and the walk was a nice jaunt from the ship. We arrived and found a worker who was doing some clean up and said we could enter for $10USD per person. We did and walked the whole site and when we were leaving, the curator actually had just come back from church to close it up. He opened it before church for the ship’s tour. We lucked out! It was noon so we tried a place close by, one of two that were open for lunch called Brown Sugar Restaurant. It was a buffet lunch for $40 USD per person, since the other food option open was spicy Jamaican, we had to dine here. The service was non-existent. We needed water as the sun had emerged finally and it was a scorcher but the lady seemed to make it a chore to refill the glass even once. The buffet was extensive but not worth the money they were charging. After lunch, we decided to take a taxi back over to the port because it was so hot! The one-way taxi fare cost us $20 USD. Back on the ship, we showered and relaxed. Tonight’s dinner menu was not appetizing. I had the strip steak off the always available menu and it was tough despite requesting it be medium. This was one of two nights where I found the main dining room’s menu seriously disappointing and I’m not a picky person by any means. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Come Il Mare This night featured the Italian opera singers of the Meraviglia. We had heard them in earlier productions but tonight showcased their range. It was a spectacular show. Before the show and the previous night, the cruise director made it a point to say the show wouldn’t be for everyone. It wasn’t for everyone. The interpretations were on the side panels of the words being sung. The problem was the port side panel with the English was partially blocked by the curtain to the stage. I still enjoyed it! An aside: What I found really rude was despite the warning, the folks who had the 8:30 dining time still attended the show and got up and left en masse to their dining room! It was beyond rude given the caliber of the production being put on. MSC needs to put a block on reserving the show times if it overlaps with the person’s scheduled dining times. Folks with late seating need to see the first show only. Folks with the early seating see the second or third shows depending on when they finish. It’s much more respectful to the performers and the audience that way. THEME PARTY: Pirates Party Channel your inner Jack Sparrow mate and come along on the promenade for a fun-filled night at sea! I had a pirate shirt with me after learning of this theme on the Seaside the year prior. It was well-received by the staff who were surprised anyone had anything to go along! It was a typical night of line dances. However, when the party ended at 11PM this time around, I knew there would be a one-hour gap between music so I went straight to bed. DAY 8: GRENADA MSC SHORE EXCURSION: Spices and Rainforest Despite having been on so many cruises, sometimes I do go to someplace new. Today was the day to explore Grenada using a ship’s excursion because I didn’t know the island. I always take an organized tour the first time to a place and then go on my own the second time after I have my bearings. With that said, do NOT take this tour if you’re prone to motion sickness. The roads in Grenada are tight with lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. I got was getting car sick in the back and trying to get some fresh air. The AC in the tour van wasn’t working effectively and the hot air plus the lady who was coughing her head off up front was making me feel more nauseous. Finally, at the lake when I almost puked, the driver let me open the back window. I was fine thereafter but we had already stopped at the spice factory and driven well over an hour like this. The spice factory was short but informative with a 20-minute presentation and then time for shopping in the gift shop out front. The next stops were in the mountain at a lake and national park and then the Annendale Falls. The falls were spectacular and I wish I could’ve gone swimming but timing didn’t allow for it. They had cliff divers doing crazy jumps into the water for money. When the tour returned to the ship, I was still queasy. Overall, there were cheaper taxi options available doing a similar tour minus the nutmeg factory. However, no tour will be without the windy, bumpy roads so keep this in mind. We sailed for Curacao at 2PM. I went back and sunned for a bit before catching the Snow Party up on deck. At the pier welcome back show they had today, they had the snow machine out there and it appeared again on the pool deck for fake snow during this party. I live in New England, the last thing I wanted to see was snow – fake or real! Ha but it was a good afternoon party to have poolside and helped pass the time. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Butcher’s Cut (Elegant Night) As a Diamond member, you are given a choice of complimentary specialty dining. We chose this restaurant. The sommelier was quite helpful in finding mom a non-alcoholic drink she could order since the first one she had ordered; the ship didn’t have one of the ingredients. I ordered a glass of Robert Mondavi and the sommelier delivered it promptly. He was very attentive and so was the specialty restaurant manager who stopped by to say hello. I had the shrimp cocktail, the New York Steak (better quality than main dining room) and cheesecake for dessert. It was a nicely paced meal with great service offered by all. It was a nice evening to have dinner away from Panorama and well done! FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Way Yet another production show brought to you by the production cast of the MSC Meraviglia. It was a high energy dance show with some opera thrown in. I sat much closer to the stage than I usually do for this show because it had filled up quite early tonight. The dancers had a soda fountain themed attire and several wardrobe changes. I liked the energy from it and would recommend it. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Cirque du Soleil’s VIAGGIO The production was off to a very slow start. It didn’t seem too engaging. When the jugglers and all the other entertainers got going together, the show ended. It took forever for it to ramp up to something exciting and when it did, it was over in the blink of an eye! Yes, there were people walking on the LED wall sideways and a bike which was being pedaled across the ceiling but this show was not like any other type of Cirque show I’ve seen before. It was my first Cirque du Soleil and frankly, I wasn’t impressed by it. My mother fell asleep because it was boring. Other guests were just as confused as we were when the show ended because it had just started to get good when it did so. Being so short, it meant it had to be high energy the whole way through and instead it seemed like the last 10 minutes were. I would skip this show. I did the drink option for $18 pre-booked online. THEME NIGHT: Gatsby Party The Gatsby Party was taking a step back to the roaring 20s with cruise staff in period costumes. Since I was in Viaggio during most of it, I didn’t hear the actual type of music played but the LED ceiling was still putting on a good show while it was happening. DAY 9: CURACAO We arrived at 1PM. I went up on the sun deck and grabbed some sun before our arrival. I started to feel a bit under the weather today. Mom had started to feel that way at the end of the previous day. By the time we docked at 1PM, I was definitely coming down with something. During the afternoon, mom and I walked over to the Maritime museum and had a look around at the exhibits. The museum was not too far from the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. We had a walking tour of historical buildings in Willemstad we did afterward on our own. The ship was offering something similar but we found this walking tour online and it actually explained buildings quite well. We walked around quite extensively before heading back to the ship. Tonight’s main dining room theme was Tropical Night. The menu featured Jamaican jerk chicken and several other Caribbean favorites. It was a good menu, but not perhaps if you’re not a fan of spicy foods. It seemed like the spices weren’t too heavily applied though to the dishes I had but I have a high tolerance for spice. I went back off the ship after dinner since we were in port until 11PM to grab a drink in town with friends. It was a nice night off the ship. Most of the crew were off the ship that worked during the day, the production casts had the night off and were out and about in town. I returned to the ship and skipped the Tropical Latin Party to go to bed. I was exhausted and wanted to try and beat whatever this sinus thing was happening. Thankfully I had bought more tissues! DAY 10: ARUBA Today, mom and I walked around town which was scorching hot as the sun was out! It looked like it was threatening rain but it never materialized. We first went to the National Aruba Archaeological Museum. It was highlighted in a tour book of the island we had bought years earlier. When we arrived, the gentleman said we were in luck as the museum had just reopened during a ceremony the night prior with a new exhibit as well. The cost of admission was FREE. The museum was quite interactive and extensive on the island’s history and archaeological finds. I enjoyed it and would recommend it! The Aruba Historical Museum was also in Oranjestad and it was a five-dollar admission fee. What the gentleman at the ticket booth failed to state was this museum was also under renovations with the exhibits squished in the middle of the floor and largely unlabeled. They were in the process of moving things around. You could climb the fort tower and get a view in both directions. Overall, I would pass on this museum until they’re done their reorganization of exhibits. The island has a few other museums on offer as well and can be found by going to Visit Aruba’s website. We didn’t go to the model train museum as it was too far out of town. However, there was an antiquities museum in town as well. There was a free trolley running very infrequently from the port taking you on a loop around town. It was free as well. This was new since the last time I was in town. The entire port area had been done over nicely. When we returned to the ship, this was the first port where workers were outside squirting you with hand sanitizer besides the girl in the buffet. The gym was largely deserted so after a late lunch, I went there to do a workout and see if I could sweat out whatever this bug was coming on. I took a brief nap before getting ready for dinner. I didn’t write down what was on the menu tonight but it couldn’t have been too memorable as I didn’t take photos of it either. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Life is Magic Now here was a proper magic show with sleight of hand tricks, the sawing in half of the beautiful lady, putting her in a box and escaping and then switching it out for the magician. The show was definitely engaging and used some of the dancers as well to move things along between his wardrobe changes or setting up for the next act. I would recommend this show if it’s still around on the ship for the 7-day itineraries. For the second time, the production of SONOR from Cirque du Soleil was cancelled due to a technical issue. This time it wasn’t due to rough seas. When I went to go and change out the tickets, they were in the midst of a dress rehearsal or something and there were a bunch of technicians standing around. Since this was the second time I had to re-schedule this show, I wasn’t happy. If they had done this rehearsal earlier in the day instead of going ashore (which they did do because I saw them out), the cast would’ve discovered the technical problem and got it fixed in time. I was starting to regret booking any of the Cirque du Soleil shows on the ship. THEME NIGHT: 60s, 70s and 80s Party The cruise staff once again dressed up in their best 70s outfits, mostly bell-bottoms and glistening tops. The party was true to the time frames in questions featuring songs from the 60s, 70s and 80s which were heard at most of the other parties. I didn’t finish the party and went to bed. DAY 11: At Sea The morning consisted of a Welcome Back party for Diamond Card members only on the deck 6 promenade with more drinks and light snacks available. The LED screen did a performance of outer space landing on Earth and then the Captain and the senior officers appeared on the bridge. They seemed to be keeping their distance from the cruise guests as a good portion of the ship was now sick with whatever upper respiratory / sinus bug was going around. In the afternoon after a buffet lunch, I went out to the sun deck and relaxed. They had a King of the Sea show on at 4PM but it seemed like they picked up random people to do it. It wasn’t overly entertaining so I went back to the room to shower and take a nap. Tonight’s dinner was a formal night and the beef tournedos were on the menu again. I ordered a double of them as the meal was good the first time around. The first one was very tender but the second one on the plate was overcooked. I’m not sure how that occurred but the salt from the covering made me thirsty the rest of the night. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Paz This is a production showcasing the Flamenco dance with the art of Picasso on the LED screens behind the dancers and rotating through the audience projections. The lead dancers did an amazing job. The footwork of both of them was so fast and graceful, it was a good show. The artwork itself was enjoyable to see and how they worked it into the show. Definitely a must catch, especially if you like the flamenco dance. MOVIES UNDER THE STARS: Cars 3 The ship had run a few shows and music video type productions on the big screen at the pool but tonight was Cars 3. I hadn’t seen it in its entirety with my nephew and was waiting on the silent disco to open so I watched it for a bit until I got to a part I saw and then got a drink and came back. It’s nice they have a movie on the big screen because during the day, the screen is largely used for what’s on at the pool deck with no movies playing. There’s just tables and chairs setup but no food on offer like Princess Cruises does with popcorn and such. The bar is open there if you want to do a walk-up drink order. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Silent Disco The Carousel Lounge once again opened up with a silent disco. Housing three channels, one EDM, one Latin and one old school, there was plenty on offer. It seemed most people were on the first channel which the DJ was actually spinning in real time. The other two were pre-recorded it seemed. You had to check in for the headset and check out for it. The problem was, the bar in the Carousel Lounge didn’t have Grey Goose so I had to exit to get a drink at the bar straight ahead in the casino. You also had to hand over the headset when you had to use the bathroom which was just outside the Carousel Lounge. It seemed a little bit silly if they scanned your cruise card for taking one of the headsets. However, the Carousel Lounge was an amazing venue and it was a fun night. The music continued after the Silent Disco ended up at the Horizon Pool and Bar. I stayed up a bit later to dance to the music before finally crashing to bed around 1:30AM. DAY 12: JAMAICA Now if you’re wondering why we hit Jamaica, it was because on November 4, 2019 after sailing from Grenada it was announced due to operational issues on Ocean Cay, the island was not ready to accept ship visits. As a result, the compensation offered was a $100 onboard credit and a 20% of cruise fare paid to be applied to a future cruise. The compensation offered was astounding for missing a private island. I wasn’t sure they were going to make it there when I saw the photos on Cruise Critic prior to sailing but if we did it would’ve been nice to be one of the first. Turns out three sailings stops were cancelled and now it seems on hold for the next sailings as well. Since we would’ve had 3 sea days instead of 2, MSC decided to have the ship call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica since there was berth space available. When we arrived in Jamaica, we pulled in and looked like we were going to dock at the James Bond pier which was not close to anything but swung a hard left and came around to the other closer pier. We didn’t book anything on this island as we’ve seen what we wanted to see. Mom just wanted to go to the shopping center outside the port area with Margaritaville and to find another box of tissues. The tissue hunt brought us way outside the port with all the harassing taxi drivers trying to sell you tours every 2 feet and then other seedy characters trying to sell you marijuana. Both were out of luck, in MA marijuana is legal. I don’t smoke it but told them it was legal back home so didn’t need it. They didn’t like that response. Ha ha! Soon, those annoying folks are not going to find someone to buy it. One interesting thing to note, while the taxi drivers were all local, a predominant part of the stores we visited in search of tissues were not owned by original islanders. We had noticed this in the last few ports but this was really in your face here. No wonder the locals are not making any money if they can’t even sell their tourist wares. It seemed more desperate than my last visit. I truly was annoyed with the locals pushing stuff at me every couple of feet. I wanted to get back to the ship asap. I really wished MSC had gone somewhere, ANYWHERE but Jamaica like Cayman or Cozumel! Tonight, was Italian Night on the ship. In the main dining room, the menu was Italian themed with meatballs as an app, chicken parmigiana and Osso Bucco on order for mains and a lemoncello-type of dessert. The waiter also brought the second cake for my mom that was ordered by the travel agent. It was a nice touch and they did a whole big thing. The cake said Best Wishes and it was handled by William, the section lead. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Meraviglioso Amor The last of the production shows was the second best for mom (Born to Rock her first) and one of my favorites as well. The production featured hits like Gloria, foreign love songs with familiar lyrics so the person knew what it was no matter what language it was. The dancers and singers came together at the end along with the cruise staff and selected staff from different areas to say goodbye to Italian opera singers singing Time to Say Goodbye. It was a fitting close to a great show and a capstone to the production shows presented throughout the voyage. After the show ended, we hurried down the promenade to the logo shop for the Logo Shop Happy Hour where if you buy 3 things you would get 20% off. I bought a Lego version of the ship for my nephew for Christmas and two magnets to give him of the Doremi character for the refrigerator and trip souvenirs. I was also entered to win a ship figurine signed by the Captain. Since it was 9PM, I stuck around for the drawing. I didn’t win it but it was a good thing I hadn’t because my luggage was already overweight! THEME PARTY: MSC Little Italy The cruise staff were dressed in the colors of Italy but sadly I was exhausted so I went to bed after quickly stopping by. To be in theme, just wear red, white or green or all three! DAY 13: Sea Day The last day on the ship meant doing things I’d said I was going to do the whole cruise and never got around to. After walking a bit in the morning after eating breakfast, mom and I stopped by the Bamboo Pool for a smoothie. The Bamboo Pool had a bunch of delicious smoothies and the MSC for Me app tipped me off to them when they offered a special earlier in the cruise. I did stop by and look at the beverage menu and said I would return. I never did until today. I had the Strawberry concoction with yogurt and it was very nice. Mom sampled a different one without the yogurt in it and hers was a purple color so I’m not sure what was in it. The drinks cost $6.50 each but were pretty decent for the price paid. I spent the rest of the morning catching some sun and returned for lunch to the Marketplace to meet up with mom. After lunch we decided to head to the Photo Shop to pick up the complimentary Mediterranean night photo and find the others. I found the Halloween photos and decided to buy one of them. The embarkation photo didn’t look good so we chucked that. Vanessa who did the photo shoot with the Halloween photos rang us up. I asked her why they had printed all these photos when you can tap the cruise card in the kiosks and print them around the corner. It is so wasteful and you have to jack up the price of the photos to cover all the paper and chemical waste. MSC should have a selection pre-cruise where you choose if you want any photos printed or if you want them done digitally and you can request the print be made if you like it. This would be more environmentally friendly and perhaps the cost savings could mean they’d purchase tissues for the staterooms again! Win win, right?! After finishing up with the photos, I met up with some cruise friends at the Polar Aquapark in the aft part of Deck 19. I had not been up there the whole cruise but wanted to try the water slides. The water slides were a ton of fun. Two of them require an inflatable tube to ride, the other one which shoots you into a bowl doesn’t require a tube. The bowl slide was not as fun as you don’t shoot around it as much and then stop and have to climb out and go down the stairs. There are other water features largely geared towards kids but tons of adults were in the water park having fun too! After the water park, I needed some sun to dry off as I had to finish packing stuff including the bathing suit. The girls who I met were in the Aurea area up front on Deck 19. I wondered what this area was like as it faces the pool deck. It wasn’t relaxing because the music from the pool deck is blasting right at you. It was also a bit windy up there since it was so high up. I went back down to Deck 18 forward behind the screen and a nap. At the last dinner we had an amazing time chatting with our table mates and wishing each other well in our future travels. We also missed the Beer Prov Adult Comedy Show. I wasn’t too saddened by missing it and instead enjoyed the company of our fellow table mates a bit longer. We returned to the room to do the last of the packing and get the bags out of the room. They had to be out by 1AM but ours was out by 9:30PM. We went to bed early because we had to meet in the Carousel Lounge at 7:30AM. All Diamond US citizens had to meet at that time and were assigned Lilac 1 luggage tags. DAY 14 – MIAMI, FL, USA I was up at 5:15AM to get ready and the Marketplace Buffet was open at 6AM. When we got upstairs, the Norwegian Breakaway was still in the Miami turning basin. Goodness, what an early start this was! We were in the channel in the early hours of the morning and tied up. The siren they have on the inside of the ship by the bulkhead doors that opens out is so darn loud and ricochets off the buildings it was impossible to sleep with our starboard side facing the pier. This made a long day even longer. We reported to the Carousel Lounge as directed by the information left in our stateroom. You had to vacate your stateroom by 8AM anyway. We noticed none of the luggage tags had been called. This continued for over an hour as we noticed more and more cruisers disappearing from the Carousel Lounge with Lilac tags. We had a noon flight and needed to get off the ship. When 8:30AM came and they said disembarkation had been stopped, I made my move and asked where the actual gang ways were because we needed to get out. The lady told me where they were but disembark had stopped. When it resumed, we were in position and got off. Most of the lilac people had done so as well. There was huge gaps in luggage in the terminal for a luggage color that wasn’t called yet! No wonder the whole disembarkation process was messed up. The line for the non-US citizens inside the terminal was lengthy. All of them needed to be fingerprinted. For US citizens, all they did was snap a photo of the passport with a handheld device and send us on our way. The US citizen line moved faster and those were supposed to be the ones getting off the ship first anyway if people read the instructions! We made it to the airport by 10AM and checked in for our flight home. THOUGHTS ON SHIP DESIGN: The Meraviglia is a ship dubbed for all seasons. Her overall design supports her being a ship for cold weather cruising only. Her top deck is woefully inadequate for the passenger load she has and this will become a problem when the ship commences its Caribbean season. One side of the ship is always shaded from the smokestack back and deck chairs are crammed in every nook and cranny along the walking/jogging track. If you’re looking for a proper sun deck, stick with the MSC Seaside sailing year-round Miami. The ship’s interiors have some really beautiful spaces including the crystal staircases in the atrium. There’s a lot of wasted space on Deck 6 and 7 midship where the entry to the dining rooms and casino / Carousel Lounge are respectively. The gym is a postage stamp and is in dire need of better equipment and expansion. The promenade is great but with all sorts of sales going on and photography setups, it makes passing this area a pinch point every night on the way to the shows. The bathrooms on this ship were always distant from where you were, especially for the nightclub. If you wanted a bathroom that was large enough from the Attic Club, you had to walk down past the kid’s club to the ones by the elevators. The Horizon Pool had a one stall bathroom on Deck 16 but this wasn’t enough to support a mildly packed nightclub. You’d always have to walk a distance to use the bathroom. This didn’t make sense if the goal was alcohol sales! Likewise, for the sun deck, if you are on Deck 18 forward by the solarium roof, you have to come down one deck and go inside across the Bamboo Pool below where you were sunning and into the bathroom there. There didn’t seem like any convenient bathrooms to the Atmosphere pool deck either. You had to go into the Marketplace buffet to go bathroom. I never found it more cumbersome to need a bathroom on any cruise ship than this one! I found this truly odd. The Carousel Lounge is a far superior venue and fully equipped with a lot of audio-visual equipment. I’m surprised only a very small portion of what the equipment was in the lounge was used for Cirque du Soleil. It was evident either the shows were changed in some way to shorten them or to make it easier for the cast. There were projections and a large circular screen which were never deployed during either Viaggio or SONOR. I tend to notice production aspects more and love a good visual show. Sonor used some visuals on the LED wall but not nearly as much as the room was capable of handling. Lastly, the ship’s walking and running tracks are so crammed during warm weather days with sun bathers and people trying to run and walk and just figure out what they’re doing, it would make sense to have walkers use the Deck 7 semi-loop and leave the runners topside. My mom got clipped a few times by runners while staying in her lane. The runners didn’t seem to care or apologize for it either. This ship is not the best for fitness if you’re looking for that. STAFF SHOUT OUT: I always like to recognize staff who went above and beyond to make my holiday memorable. Ahmadi, my stateroom steward for accommodating most special requests (sans tissues) and always greeting me in the hallway no matter the time of day or night when he was working. He got used to our schedule and cleaned our room when we had our dinner. Our dining team of Lino, the main waiter and Frederick, the assistant waiter, were amazing and kept us hydrated and offered us more food if we wanted it. If we wanted more, there was rarely a wait. William who oversaw this team of amazing professionals was also quite attentive and handled a special request to find decaf tea for mom. When coming to the USA, the Meraviglia had to get rid of this nice tea display case which didn’t comply with USCG Vessel Sanitation program inspection criteria. As a result, it was a hunt for various versions of tea. He saw to it mom had her supply! He also oversaw the birthday cake situation and figured out a workable solution! Ryan De Leon in the Sky Lounge and in the nightclub was also amazing. He knew my name and my drink order by heart! Lastly, the Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant cook Dominique for a good show and the team who would greet me whenever they saw me in the Marketplace Buffet when they were up there selling the restaurant. Even the guest services staff on this ship were so kind and helpful (unlike Seaside’s guest service staff). I had a repeated issue with the ink on my stateroom keycard rubbing off in the intense heat topside and they replaced it without issue and with a smile. They have the toughest job on the ship constantly getting yelled at! SUMMARY: The Meraviglia is a nicely decorated ship. The LED panel is a great way to entertain. The night time cruise staff went out of their way to make the ship enjoyable and make sure everyone was dancing. The crew on the ship were the happiest and most efficient if I had to compare it to the Seaside last October. The crew made the trip. The chef could lay off the salt and I’m not a foodie but if I’m saying it was salty, the food was not as good as the Seaside’s preparation was. I didn’t encounter a rude staff member anywhere on the ship and only had slow service once, in the main dining room during lunch. I know the crew had a chance to get off the ship finally in each of the ports we visited. I think that plus a crew party helped to lift spirits among them. Would I recommend the Meraviglia? For top notch service, yes, I would! Would I sail on the Meraviglia again? I’m not so sure I would. If it were the Caribbean and the Seaside were on offer, I would probably sail Seaside instead. If it is a cold weather cruise, then I would consider Meraviglia again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This ship is beautiful and the shows were outstanding but cold food and lack of hygiene and sanitation made it undesirable. There are no hand sanitizers at all entries to the buffet. It was not until the ship became a cough fest did MSC ... Read More
This ship is beautiful and the shows were outstanding but cold food and lack of hygiene and sanitation made it undesirable. There are no hand sanitizers at all entries to the buffet. It was not until the ship became a cough fest did MSC stand a crew member to spray hands and this was only at the one entrance with sanitizers in place. MSC allowed guests to refill water bothles bu putging the used botgle right up into the water nozzle on thewater machine this also occurred on the pumps of coffee creamers. People reused glasses to get beverages also. MSC failed to changed serving utensils when they replenished the food. Not only is this disgusting it can contribute to illness and food poisoning as well. All utensils were used the duration of the food service. People also urinated in showers and pools as we seen one gentlemen pull his trunks outwards to rinse of his private area. Many people but no water on floors leading into bathrooms and it wasnt bc MSC squeegeed the floors nonstop. The ladies bathroom by the buffet had no soap or water for a few days but remained open. On many occasions the guests onboard failed to wash after using the restroom even in working facilities. Seating is very minimal in many music venues so if you want to listen to it be prepared to stand. I have cruised NCL Carnival Holland America and Disney snd the careless concern for spreading of illness would more than make me think twice about booking again. I want all health and sanitation to be top notch not simply the facade Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Had a really good time as usual we dont let the little stuff get to us.The crew were unreal and worked harder than ever to make our vacation as good as it could be. THE PROBLEM? The company completley misses the mark on the importance ... Read More
Had a really good time as usual we dont let the little stuff get to us.The crew were unreal and worked harder than ever to make our vacation as good as it could be. THE PROBLEM? The company completley misses the mark on the importance of quality and making tools available to the staff. We have done about 15 cruises now Royal Caribbean, celebrity,Cunard, Seabourn, viking and even Carnival and have never had such poor quality of food.the chicken breast was frozen the soups were thin tasteless even the cheese on the onion soup was welded to a round wafer of bread I think That was not eatable. The pasta was limited to 2 or 3 different sauces that resembles wallpaper paste. Italian cruise line? The cheeseburgers were ok and pizza was good. The waiters at the table were inexperienced but tried hard but not even supplied with bottle opener and had to search around for one before opening my beer every night even in the specialty restaurant. My wife even asked for a cranberry spritzer that after 10 days and multiple explanations couldn't get it right. We went to the specialty restaurant using a package of 3 that includes a show. Sorry to say that even didn't measure up. So was below avarage and food just ok.The ship is beautiful and is not really crowded dispite the amount of people aboard.The shows were ok and didnt see anything that wowed us. The bingo was expensive and we didn't play but the last game they proudly boasted a $500 grand prize. No art auction or inside movie theater although they have a few cool things like bowling, f1 race cars and simulators at extra charge. The pools were crowded the hot tubs were small and cold the slides were fun and oh yes dont forget your room supplied beach towel that needs to go everywhere with you ( even on excursions) and if you lose it $20.Overall disappointed and would not return to MSC. There are too many companies out there that work really hard and deserve our business but Hope's of MSC improving are slim. GEORGE l Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
First, although Cruise Critic insists on calling this a 5-night leaf-peeper run, it was in fact a 13-night repo from New York to Miami via the Eastern Caribbean. My wife and I booked this cruise as a target of opportunity: a nice way to ... Read More
First, although Cruise Critic insists on calling this a 5-night leaf-peeper run, it was in fact a 13-night repo from New York to Miami via the Eastern Caribbean. My wife and I booked this cruise as a target of opportunity: a nice way to celebrate her birthday, a nice opportunity to see our kids in New York before the cruise, and a nice opportunity to visit cousins in Florida afterward. We chose the Meraviglia partly because of a good experience with MSC a little more than a year ago and partly because we were curious to see whether a ship this big was really too big. This was our 35th cruise since our first in 1976. Coincidentally, we marked a full year at sea during this run. We realize that to many people who spend every possible moment at sea, a year is no big deal. And since it took us well over 40 years to reach that milestone it’s obvious that we average less than a cruise a year. We differ from many on board this cruise in that we’ve always taken more vacations on land than at sea. Pre-Cruise Three days before the cruise we took the train from our home in the DC area up to New York and checked in to the Conrad Midtown on West 56th Street. This was an excellent headquarters for our activities with the kids, and made for a very easy 10-minute cab ride to the ship. Embarkation Absolutely no issues boarding. Bags were dropped within seconds of the cab pulling up to the West Side terminal, our Diamond status got us to an agent immediately, check-in was very efficient, and we were onboard quickly with no fuss. This was surprising given the dire warnings about long waits to board previous cruises here. The Ship Meraviglia is big. Very big. If your cabin is at one end of the vessel or the other (or even if it isn’t) you walk a lot. That’s not necessarily bad, it’s just a fact. A big plus is that getting around the public areas of the ship is extremely straightforward. No hidden public rooms, no “you can’t get there from here” adventures. The customer service desk is on five. On six, the main restaurants are aft and the main theater is forward. On seven, the casino and the big Carousel Lounge (Cirque de Soleil and other things) are aft and the spa is forward. In between on both six and seven is the central core of the ship, with all the shopping, boutiques and specialty restaurants easily found under the huge and very clever semi-circular LED “ceiling” that functions variously as décor, light show and video screen. Overall, the ship gets high marks for being quite attractive in a Las Vegas sort of way. If you’re past MSC customers and/or Diamond (formerly Black) card holders you’ll be invited to one or more parties in recognition of your status. Unless you’re absolutely desperate for a free glass of champagne, you’d be wise to skip these assemblies. Where on most ships these events are held in one of the larger lounges, with seating and reasonable breathing room, the size of the Meraviglia and the number of eligible guests forces them into the promenade on deck 6, with no seating and little room to move. They use crowd control barriers to be sure only those with invitations get in, while others are forced to the sides of the promenade to get by. The feeling is distinctly one of a cattle pen. The program consists of the cruise director appearing on the deck 7 bridge over the promenade to say a few words and to introduce the captain, who does a quick welcome. The Cruise Critic party, on the other hand, was held in the deck 18 lounge on the morning after embarkation and was very well done. Although those who sign up are supposed to receive invitations, we did not. However, we saw it listed in the daily program and found our way up there in good order. So if you’re signed up for such a party, keep your eyes open. You may not get a personal invitation. Accommodations We booked an Aurea suite on the 13th deck, in the bow just under the bridge. We had a large balcony and a private hot tub which was very nice. The ergonomics of the suite, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. While it was nice that there were two closets, it seemed strange that one of them was in the living room. Similarly, the only access to the bathroom was from the living room. Entering from the bedroom would have made much more sense. Finally, although the total area of the suite was fine, parts of it felt really cramped, especially along one side of the bed, where the open door between the rooms all but blocked access. To boot, that door was extremely heavy, and would not remain in the open position by itself. MSC provided a very flimsy doorstop to wedge under the door, but it was awkward to use and only marginally effective. A sliding pocket door would have been the best solution here. Overall, an annoying setup for a premium room. Shipmates We always enjoy situations where we can meet and chat with people from other countries, and MSC ships reliably provide plenty of opportunity for that. We had great fun talking with Canadians, Brits, Norwegians, Australians, Kiwis, Danes and many others. Not so enjoyable were some Americans whose sole focus seemed to be on the rock bottom price they paid for the cruise. This seemed to be the only thing they could talk about except for their further proclamation that small inside cabins are the only way to go because, “all you do is sleep in the room anyway.” I resisted pointing out that this is the classic self-fulfilling prophecy. One person with an inside room told us frankly that it was virtually unlivable compared to similar rooms he’s had on other ships. I realize that ship dress codes have largely fallen by the wayside, and I’ve never been a big fan of dressing up on cruises. But I have always respected the traditions of the sea and followed the code of whatever ship I was on, including digging out the tux back in the days when they were expected. On this cruise several nights were designated as “elegant,” which to me meant nice slacks, tie and jacket. I was conspicuously overdressed. A very few people did dress up, but many more arrived at dinner every night looking like—how shall I say it?—slobs. Torn clothing, ratty shorts, t-shirts with all sorts of inscriptions, some of which were downright obscene. MSC says that they forbid shorts and t-shirts in public areas after six, but no attempt was made to enforce this rule. Food Compared to most other cruises we’ve been on, except for the specialty restaurants the food on Meraviglia was borderline dreadful. Yes, we’re foodies, but we also understand the limitations imposed by steam-table operations when cooking for thousands at a time. But the fact is that if you got a mediocre, “just OK” dinner in the main dining room, it was a good night. On embarkation evening, my wife’s “blackened” fish entrée was stone cold and showed no signs of blackening. On the next night I opted for the “always available” New York strip steak. What arrived was a piece of meat roughly 4 inches square and a quarter inch thick. I just stared at it. A few nights later we ate at the specialty steakhouse where I held my breath and again ordered a New York strip. Happily, what arrived was an excellent steak, cooked as ordered, with a nice array of sauces. When the waiter asked if everything was OK, I told him that it was, and suggested that he have the chef take one of those steaks over to the main dining room and show them what a New York strip looks like. At a main dining room “fish and chips” lunch the fish was 90% soggy, greasy breading. On another night, “Maryland Crab Cakes” were on the menu. Our home in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area boasts the best crab cakes anywhere, and we just laughed at what the Meraviglia’s version might be like. We didn’t order them. In the main dining room, soups were generally OK, salads tended to be less than fresh and quite small, entrees ranged from awful to just bland, and the best bet for dessert was ice cream. Upstairs in the buffet, at breakfast the omelet station turned out a perfectly credible product, the bakery items were OK, as were some of the meat products. The highlight of the place is the “mozzarella factory” where they make fresh batches of the cheese while you watch. They evidently supply mozzarella from here to all the restaurants on the ship, and the quality is excellent. The much-publicized pizza, on the other hand, is utterly ordinary and not up to MSC’s standards. Neither New York nor Chicago (nor Washington, for that matter) need fear competition from these pies. Most items in the buffet are just OK, generally under-spiced and, well, dull. The best food we had was in the specialty restaurants. We ate at the steakhouse twice, the seafood restaurant once and the Japanese restaurant once. All were very good to excellent, with high quality, well-prepared food, and a healthy dose of imagination. Also good were the various bars around the ship where, in addition to booze, you can get very credible specialty coffees. I think we used the drinks package that came with our room much more for coffees than for liquor. But drinks package or no, the availability of good coffee all over the ship is a big plus. Entertainment I think it is now a well-established law of the sea that no cruise ship is allowed to complete any itinerary until somebody sings Andrew Lloyd Weber’s feline anthem, “Memory.” Meraviglia’s entertainment troupe didn’t pussyfoot around, getting that chore out of the way on the second night. In their version of the standard Broadway mash-up show, which was performed to an entirely pre-recorded and synthesized orchestra, “Memory” was sung by a trio (odd). “Singin’ in the Rain,” which is actually a lilting, laid-back swing tune, was given the full aria treatment (very odd). On the other hand, the show managed to channel some moments from Chicago pretty well, and the contemporary stagecraft which made ample use of scenic projections was impressive in this and a number of other shows. After that first experience we imagined that there was no stage band aboard, but in fact, there was. They played a number of other evening shows, but they were most enjoyable at a pair of afternoon jazz sets in the large theater. This was some of the most authentic and best music on the entire cruise. Also good was an afternoon classical concert, consisting mostly of arias and guaranteed-to-please Italian fare from the operatically trained young singers in the entertainment troupe. And, to their credit, MSC paid tribute to its roots by taking a swing at an opera, namely La Boheme. This Cliff’s Notes version of Puccini’s hit opus was credibly performed by the house singers. It’s interesting that the threadbare plot of young love thwarted (boy meets girl, boy courts girl, girl gets sick, girl goes away to recover, girl doesn’t recover, girl comes back to boy, girl dies) is about as well-developed in this 40-minute version as it is in the hours-long original. But the real point is that some of the music is gorgeous. Two magicians and a Canadian improv troupe were featured in other evening shows. The main theater is pretty, but does have some flaws. There are no railings to help folks up and down the aisles, and the LED floor lighting sometimes creates optical challenges for people with balance and visual issues. Most surprisingly, not only are there no drink holders at the seats, but drinks are prohibited in the room. Drink service at the shows represents a solid revenue stream on most ships, but not on Meraviglia. Drinks are available (and come with the price of admission) at the two Cirque de Soleil shows that are performed onboard. We saw both of them and enjoyed them. You can choose the “drinks only” version or the “drinks-and-dinner” package. We did drinks only after seeing some pretty bad comments about the set dinner that is served there. We think this was probably the right choice, especially since the dinner people are seated in the back of the room while we had prime seating up front. TV Television offerings were minimal. Something like ten or twelve channels were devoted to shipboard stuff, including shopping, tours, safety, bridge cams and ship’s technical data. They carried CNN US, CNN International and CNN Spanish, two ESPN channels, and two Turner movie channels, both of which experienced several audio and video dropouts per minute for the entire 13 days, and therefore were useless. A few other channels featured the languages of the international clientele on board. A small menu of pay-per-view movies was available for $8 each, and an even smaller array of hard-core porn films could be seen for $16 each. Noticeably missing was a morning broadcast by the cruise staff. While these shows are never Emmy material their absence was unusual, especially since one of the bars is called the “TV Studio,” but except for a nice little control room behind glass panels seemed to be just a bar. Ports We’d been to these islands a number of times, so we took no ship’s tours. We did pick up a local tour in Curacao, the one port we hadn’t visited before, and had a nice three-hour introduction to the island. We were due to be the first cruise to visit MSC’s new Bahamian private island, but that stop was cancelled because evidently the place wasn’t ready yet. We went to Ocho Rios instead, where we were among the many, many passengers who absolutely did not get off the ship. MSC gave everyone a $100 per room credit and a certificate worth 20% of their current fare on a future cruise to compensate for missing the private island. Debarkation The cruise staff warned us that owing to the large number of passengers and the fact that there would be many ships pulling into Miami that morning, getting off the ship could be a lengthy ordeal. Bottom line: it wasn’t. We were eligible to get off early, but we lingered over breakfast, chatting with another couple. When we did go, we waited in line maybe ten minutes. Once we got to customs we waited less than five more minutes. Out on the sidewalk, it was another 20 minutes to catch the shuttle bus to the rental car lot at the airport. The whole process was efficient and well managed. This and That • Our room steward, the dining room and bar staffs, and the cruise staff were universally very good to excellent. Absolutely no problems on those fronts. • The “MSC for Me” app tied to the shipboard internet system is excellent. There’s no need to subscribe to an external internet package to use it, so the service is free. It’s a welcome alternative to carrying around the printed daily schedule to keep track of your planned activities. You can also make restaurant and show reservations with the touch of a screen. The app gets high marks for usefulness. • Our room included the standard internet package for general uses like emails and web surfing. It, too, was very good and we didn’t come close to reaching our data limit, even on this 13-day cruise. The wi-fi signal was strong everywhere on the ship, and it was nice that the data package could be shared between two devices. • The cruise spanned the last two games of the baseball World Series, where our home team Washington Nationals emerged victorious. Although the games were carried on one of the ESPN TV channels, it sure would have been nice if the cruise staff had turned them into special events, maybe with hot dogs and popcorn under the big screen on the pool deck. I realize that MSC is a European line, but this cruise started and ended in the US, and the cruise director was American, so this was an obvious missed opportunity. • Lines at the customer service desk on five were hellishly long for the first four or five days of the cruise, as people waited to get various problems straightened out. The lines diminished later in the cruise, but this was a two-week run. With such a high passenger count, the lines could be long for the entirety of shorter cruises. And Finally. . . Is the Meraviglia, for all its good features, just plain too big? Our answer: yes it is. We feel that many of the negatives we encountered were directly tied to the 4,000+ passenger capacity. We remember back around the turn of the century when we were worried that the new 2,000+ passenger ships like Celebrity’s Millennium would be too big. We found that they were not. But we think that 4,000 people, many of whom are on board solely because they scored dirt-cheap rooms, are a bit too much. We’re likely to stick to smaller ships on future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This is another one of my part two reviews from our back-to-back Meraviglia sailings in October and November. The first part was a ten day Canadian/New England cruise in a Yacht Club interior cabin beginning October 18th. On this sailing ... Read More
This is another one of my part two reviews from our back-to-back Meraviglia sailings in October and November. The first part was a ten day Canadian/New England cruise in a Yacht Club interior cabin beginning October 18th. On this sailing beginning in New York City on October 28th we headed straight towards warmer waters so chose a forward facing Aurea Suite with large balcony. I’ll try to keep this a comprehensive review but it might help to also read my review of the previous sailing. If you’re interested in part one or seeing my other reviews it’s easiest to see them in my profile signature after searching my username in the forum boards section of Cruise Critic. I booked this sailing about 650 days out, when it was first released, in order to get a specific cabin, 12010. Even in the Yacht Club we had a lackluster prior sailing, luckily this cabin made the continuing problems on this leg more bearable. For this sailing we were joined by my son and daughter-in-law who I booked into a mid-ship inside cabin due to their being prone to sea sickness. As back-to-back passengers we left our suitcases in our previous cabin, they would be taken to our new cabin while we met up with about 40 other back-to-back passengers and all went together through a quick customs process since the ship had to zero out all passengers between sailings. This was the simplest process I’ve yet done. We had other US ports prior to returning to NYC so we had a quick immigration check a couple days earlier while on a sea day. So for the NYC customs they just escorted our group onto the gangway where they counted us and within 15 minutes we were allowed back on the ship, we didn’t even speak to a customs agent. We were issued our new cruise cards that morning while still in the Yacht Club but they did not have the accompanying Aurea wrist bands so my first objective was to get them at guest services before it became a madhouse. I was in communication with my son who was in the terminal and found that check-in was proceeding rapidly and regular passengers were already being called to board. After getting our wrist bands we decided to see about dropping our personal bags in the new cabin. I was a bit surprised to see our suitcases had been dropped off outside the cabin, on all other back-to-back cruises they were always placed inside the new cabin by the person moving them from the prior cabin. Our cabin steward, Mark, was there almost immediately and said it was fine to move our bags into the cabin. By that time my son had boarded and we went to find them and head to lunch. Aurea passengers are allowed to have embarkation day lunch in the Panorama main dining room rather than the only other open option, the buffet. One major piece of good fortune did happen that also made this sailing more enjoyable. On the prior leg I learned a crewmember friend of ours, the legendary Arthur, was on the Meraviglia. We’ve had five prior MSC sailings with him as either our waiter or head waiter, he is the most meticulous, attentive and entertaining person we’ve ever met on any cruise ship or cruise line. He had spent a couple weeks working in Meraviglia’s Yacht Club dining room but for both our sailings he was working in the Waves main dining room as a head waiter. Waves restaurant on deck five seems to be considered the least appealing of the four main dining rooms, the three on deck six are larger and perhaps a little fancier with Panorama restaurant being considered the nicest and also where Aurea My Choice dining is located. Without hesitation on the first leg I asked Arthur and Mario the assistant maitre d’ in Waves for a table in Arthur’s section for this next sailing, thus giving up the My Choice dining in the Panorama restaurant. We requested and were given a table for six for the late 7:45pm seating in Arthur’s section with waiters he felt we would like. We had two Cruise Critic friends from a prior sailing join my party of four for dinners. After eating several meals in the Panorama main dining room I was even happier with this decision. Our first lunch in Panorama went fairly well, the restaurant was not crowded with only a few Aurea passengers and a group of travel agents that were touring the ship. They had a special embarkation lunch menu, but not quite as nice as I experienced earlier on Divina, and service was a little sporadic. For this sailing I upgraded from the Classic drinks package to the more inclusive Deluxe package – the top package available at the time of my booking but both are now superseded with new drinks packages. I had also done this for our last Divina sailings when the new drinks packages had more recently come out. On Divina I had no problems, my card had the correct package number printed on it and all the servers on the ship knew what the old Deluxe package entitled me to. Unfortunately on Meraviglia the problems started immediately. I’ll go into this for those who are familiar with MSC, when issued our cruise cards I noticed they were printed with an odd drink package number, 836, rather than the normal 536 which usually designates the Deluxe package. I asked customer service about this while getting our wrist bands and was assured we had the Deluxe package. The drink server in Panorama at lunch had no idea what package we had and insisted the $9 a glass wine we wanted wasn’t included. After trying to explain it to him he took my card to his manager who also said the wine was not included. We compromised by signing a charge slip that we would pay for the drinks if the billing department found the wine wasn’t included, luckily I never had to go to customer service to get the charges removed. But this wasn’t the end of problems regarding the Deluxe package on this cruise. I’ve come to the conclusion that for me dining is a big part of what can make or break a cruise. I’m not particularly picky about the food but do know poor quality food and service when I get it. Even though I began sailing with NCL for the Freestyle dining, I really don’t mind MSC’s set dining table policy for the Fantastica and Bella cabins, we’ve found the tables we get are usually with other Cruise Critic members and have had some very nice tablemates assigned. In the main dining rooms I do prefer the last seating as I don’t like being rushed through a meal to make room for the next seating. I find the food in the MDR’s on MSC can be hit or miss and having an experienced wait staff can be crucial. The MDR food on Meraviglia was pretty much the same as on other MSC ships, overall good with a few bad choices and a few excellent dishes. Having an experienced and interested wait staff can make a world of difference here. Our waitress Taciana was very helpful and effortlessly and efficiently handled our non standard dining choices. On Divina we found plates were lacking in vegetables so often ordered vegetable plates to supplement, on Meraviglia we only ordered extra vegetable plates twice because we soon learned it wasn’t necessary as sides of vegetables were plentiful with the regular menu items. We do often order multiple starters or entrees etc… and Arthur was offering us samplings of special dishes the chef was preparing that we shared at our table. This out of sequence dining can cause havoc with some server’s abilities to keep the flow and timing right, but Taciana was never phased. By our second meal Davish, our assistant waiter, had already brought bottles of sparkling and still water before we arrived and was waiting to take our wine order because we always ordered a couple bottles of wine during our meal. While he was a little inexperienced you could tell he was interested in learning and wanted to make our experience better, and in my opinion that means a lot. One thing I found interesting is early in the cruise our dining room section was fairly empty with unoccupied tables all around us. But as the sailing progressed we had more and more tables fill in around us. One table missed their early seating at another restaurant and was able to get a table in our section for late seating, they never went back. Another couple that came to a nearby table said they didn’t like their table mates and others had trouble with their service and they all moved in for the rest of the cruise. This was the first sailing where I saw many more people in the MDR on the last night than anytime throughout the cruise. I’m not sure if this ability to change tables will continue or if this was only due to the ship not being full. After a few lunches in Panorama I really appreciated what we had in Waves. Our experience of Panorama was it’s a madhouse of waiters and head waiters trying to put out multiple fires. When full it was overcrowded and noisy, service was overall poor with multiple missing items long times between courses. For lunch the unchanging menu became a problem with multiple sea days. Unlike other MSC ships the MDR would not provide items from the room service always available menu, on other MSC ships you could order items like a Club sandwich from the room service menu. Since Meraviglia had only done two other US based sailings it seemed like the servers were still not used to providing glasses of water, exacerbating the problem was the rather small glasses which constantly needed refilling. I don’t mind tap water but with having the drinks package it was easier to order a large bottle to ensure we wouldn’t run out. Both breakfast and lunch service was excruciatingly slow. One lunch we left early after it taking over an hour and a half to get the entrees and no sign of when dessert may have eventually come. We went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch several times and after 23 days on board it became very monotonous, very few items changed from day to day and I found it difficult to find items I liked. I cannot say if this was also the case for dinner and it may not be a problem on seven day cruises. Lack of palatable buffet choices would drive us to keep trying the Panorama when it was open on sea days but in the end lunches anywhere on the ship were a problem. Breakfast options in both the dining room and buffet were a little better but were also unchanging. In the end we rarely ate breakfast, most often we’d stock up our cabin with fruit we liked when it could be found (bananas were scarce) in the buffet and just bring back coffee and croissants each morning. My son booked Kaito sushi for lunch one afternoon and enjoyed it. The only problem was he forgot the Easy drinks package was not valid there and was charged for the water and drinks they ordered. The seating area is also a little strange as it is right along the main walkway on the upper level of the inside Galleria promenade. Since there are rarely people eating there it fells like you are on display as all the people walk past you. Since we were no longer in the Yacht Club for this sailing we had purchased the Tryptic specialty dining package, so with our now Diamond status we planned on four meals outside the main dining room. In my prior sailing’s review I described the one poor specialty dining experience we had in Butcher’s Cut. Our first meal this sailing was in Ocean Cay with two Cruise Critic friends and this meal also was a disaster. It started with having only two poor wine choices – and that was with our having the Deluxe package which actually had a higher dollar limit than the Yacht Club package. We had the same problem in Butcher’s Cut but the assistant manager let us have the same wines which were available in the Yacht Club but priced out of range in the specialty restaurants. This time we were unable to get any other choices because the Deluxe package had a specific dollar limit and on this ship most of the wines were newly priced above that level. Another problem lies with the overall design of the specialty restaurants on this ship, all of them face out onto the Galleria promenade. Some tables are located on the actual walkway overlooking the lower level. The specialty restaurants on deck six are like dungeons having no windows and the ones on deck seven look right at the life boats, it would be better to have had opaque windows. In general the ambiance in Ocean Cay was lacking so I guess it was understandable why this restaurant was usually not very busy, on our night there were only three other tables at any given time. I found the dining experience menu very limited and really couldn’t find an appetizer I wanted. I finally decided to ask about the seafood platter, which is was what I usually like but was horrible in Butcher’s cut earlier. I’ve ordered this several times on Seaside. On Meraviglia the new menus had it listed at $59 and now it was shown as for two people, I was puzzled. It was always a large platter and enough for two so asked was this in place of two people’s appetizers and was told yes. Then our waiter said it is also $59 per person. What? That’s never been the case before. But yes on Meraviglia it was a $118 appetizer. So we stuck to the dining experience items. The final thing that made this such a disappointing meal was the service. There’s no other way to say it but our waiter was just plain terrible. Our meal took over two hours, what’s strange is other tables that came in 30 minutes after us were finished before we even had our entrees. Our waiter was not only extremely slow but ridiculously blasé about the service. Plates were almost slung down in front of us, flatware was slung down like he was playing craps. He would disappear from the dining room for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. The food was okay, barely better than in the main dining room and not even worth the discounted dining package rate we paid. I allowed more than two hours before the theater show we wanted to see and time was now getting close. Finally dessert arrived, at least for the other three at the table. I thought “Okay he could only carry three plates” as he went back into the kitchen. Surely mine would be right out, nope he was gone for over fifteen minutes so the others ate their desserts since we needed to go. He eventually came back with a tablet for my signature, I asked if he could send my dessert to our cabin because we had to go. His face went blank when he realized he had forgotten. We got up to leave and he ran back to get the dessert for me to take with us, I told him I was heading directly to the theater and could not take it with us there. Again I asked if it could be sent to our stateroom but was told that they couldn’t. We left, with not a manager to be seen anywhere in the restaurant for the last hour (Ocean Cay is where the specialty restaurant managers and reservationist are stationed). At that point I decided to see if I could cancel my Tryptic specialty dining package and just call the Ocean Cay dinner our Diamond status meal. So after the show it was off to the guest services line to make the request. The first agent had me wait until a supervisor was available and after explaining my problems was told they would forward the request up the management chain but weren’t sure it would be possible since I had pre purchased the package. I cancelled my other specialty restaurant reservations and waited for a call back. Three days later we had a message asking us to meet with the assistant hotel director. We met later that day, he was interested in our experiences and opinions then admitted he was aware of the problems with menu pricing and food quality and service. The dining package cost was credited back too our on board account. So we had two terrible Voyagers Club meals and an apology for how poor they were, nothing else was ever said. Later in the sailing I noticed the “per person” wording and a few other discrepancies on the menus had been white taped over. It’s about time I got to something more positive again. Aside from our good main dining room experience the biggest positive on this sailing was the cabin. I specifically picked 12010, a forward corner Aurea suite. There are big differences between these cabins on the different decks. Not all are true suites, having a separate living room and bedroom, and there are large overall size differences. Deck 12 cabins are the largest with over 400 square feet cabin space and the ones on the starboard side have the balcony hot tub oriented with the seats to face the ocean. Yes, these cabins have a large private Jacuzzi tub on the large balcony. Unlike the hot tub suites ion Seaside they fit two people very comfortably. The next closest cabins are the Royal suites in the Yacht Club. The living area was very spacious with a double sleeper sofa, two chairs, large coffee table, desk and TV. Storage for the living area was a very large walk in closet. The bedroom was also quite large with two chairs and a sizeable wall closet unit and also had a TV. Unlike the similar suites on Divina there was a balcony sliding door in both rooms. The only thing that could have been better would have been a larger or second bathroom. It could easily have been done if they had made the walk in closet a little smaller. The bathroom was the same smallish one used in all the standard cabins. The only thing that was bad was the sofa couch was stained and was totally worn out. The hot tub was locked at 40 Celsius, which was actually a little hot for me. Actually that’s a first for me on MSC as I find all the public hot tubs are below body temperature and I actually get cold after several minutes. The tub was a little erratic and would lose water over time so if you let it get too low it would cause an error and shut off the heater. I quickly learned to add water once or twice a day to keep from having problems. We were told they would change the water every three or four days, more if requested. I suppose this works out to one change on turnover day and one change during a seven day itinerary. The absolute best part of this cabin was our steward, Mark. Overall I’ve had pretty good cabin steward on MSC but Mark set a new high level, only matched by our butler Vishnu on Seaside. When he found out I had given my son and daughter-in-law my wrist band so they could use our cabin when they wanted he immediately brought extra bath robes, shower towels and pool towels for them. He already knew we had the Deluxe package and brought a stack of reorder forms for the mini bar. He also knew we had a laundry package and offered to do multiple bags rather than the new official all items at one time only rule, luckily this time having four people made us able to do all 40 pieces at once anyway. Again I was surprised to get frequent towel animals on this ship. We did use the mini bar fairly heavily and Mark restocked it at least twice a day, about half way through the cruise he came to me and apologetically informed me that his manager told him the mini bar was not, or no longer, part of our Deluxe drinks package. He said he thought it was wrong but had to ask me to go to guest services to figure this out. On to another wait in line to talk to a representative who didn’t know and called over a manager who got out several papers and they both pondered for a bit and finally decided the mini bar was included, like they hadn’t ever heard of the Deluxe package before. My son rarely saw his cabin steward and did not meet him until the third day, so I wasn’t surprised when Mark told me they had 21 cabins. Since he had all the forward Aurea large balcony and Duplex suites he only had 16 cabins. I’m constantly amazed at how hard some of these stewards work, they were going long before we got up and still going when we come back at night. You could see how tired they got in their eyes but Mark always took time to ask how our day was and if there was anything he could do for us. We wrote a letter to the head of housekeeping praising is work and attitude. I waited until this sailing to book the Cirque shows. After seeing the menus and reading reviews we only did the drink and show, not the dinner version. The show was cancelled about 20 percent of the times, either due to too much ship movement or technical difficulties. My advice is to book these for earlier in the cruise as cancellations were common and towards the end of the cruise reservations became difficult to make. I booked and paid for these shows over a year ago for $14 per person, I think they are now $18 per person. Actual reservation date and time usually need to be made at a booth near customer service or at the aft Carousel theater. Both my wife and I preferred Viaggio slightly over Sonor, in the end they were entertaining enough but I think overall I wouldn’t go again. To me it seemed they just took the acrobatic elements normally found in the other ship’s theater shows and moved them to the Cirque venue on Meraviglia for a charge. At least it made them have different main theater shows. On Meraviglia we went to more shows than we normally would do on the other ships because they were different. I particularly liked Antonio Versini’s show “A world of Hands”, the ventriloquist Serge Massot did a good job with the international audience and multiple languages. He had two different shows that were okay, the chosen audience members could either make the show hilarious or boring. The show “Virtual” was a nice break from the normal MSC show, the story could actually be followed. I noted none of the normal acrobatics were in the main theater, those were moved to the aft Cirque Carousel lounge. Our main interaction with the entertainment crew was at trivia which was held three times a day in the Brass Anchor pub and were well attended. Visual trivia was also held once a day. I’ll go ahead and restate in this review that overall Meraviglia is not a ship I would prefer to book again, perhaps for a cooler weather itinerary but not in the Caribbean. MSC Seaside would be a better alternative. The layout focused on the interior Galleria where many of the ship’s lounges and restaurants were located but all of them lacked views. The three top deck pools did break up the crowds a bit but even with the ship not full on warm sea days they were very crowded so we kept to our cabin’s balcony to enjoy being outside. There were numerous areas I considered design flaws like lack of exits from the theater. There are no aft elevators, do not book any cabin near the aft unless willing to make a long walk to the mid ship elevators. Public restrooms were not adequate, my worst example was on deck seven forward serving the Meraviglia lounge and Brass Anchor pub the men’s restroom had two stalls and no urinals. This was repeated in other areas around the ship. As with all the MSC ships I’ve been on Meraviglia was always kept clean and repairs seemed to be made quickly. Even after 23 days we really weren’t able to fully experience all the venues so for a shorter sailing there should be no lack of exploration opportunities. On this sailing we only booked two formal excursions, both independent from the ship and with others from the Cruise Critic Roll Call. Previously I’ve felt MSC excursions had been reasonable but on this sailing I felt they were overpriced. Because we aren’t fluent in French and didn’t want to exchange for Euros we took an island tour in Martinique with Martinique Best Secret tours in a private van for six people. It was a nice tour for our mixed ability group, we picked a tour that had a heavy botanical focus but they offer a good variety and will personalize trips for private groups. Our other excursion was a private van for eight in Grenada through Tropical Adventures. Again we picked a tour that was easy for our mixed ability group that was heavy on vistas and the islands spice history. We enjoyed the easy pace but they also offer more adventurous versions. In the other ports I organized our own hikes, city tours and beach stops. I had reserved a Deluxe cabana for our Ocean Cay stop but rumors we heard came true and the port was cancelled, the cabana cost was quickly credited back to our on board account. Ocho Rios, Jamaica was substituted but since we’ve been there many times we didn’t make any plans to get off the ship. On our last sea day MSC put out a special disembarkation letter stating they expected difficulties with the customs process and to expect delays of six to eight hours. We had planned to stay on the ship until later because we had 5pm flights from Fort Lauderdale. The letter caused a bit of a commotion on the ship and pushed us to do the earliest 6:45am Aurea departure. We were supposed to meet at a lounge but I saw self assist walk off was being delayed so we decided to just join that line directly. On our last Aurea and Black card disembarkation they just led us from the meeting point to join the back of the self assist walk off line. So I felt this would be the quickest. People did not begin to leave the ship until about 7:30 and by that time loosely snaked back and forth throughout the Galleria. MSC staff did nothing to keep it orderly and pretty quickly the lines deteriorated and it turned into a free for all to the exit point. Luckily we were near the front and cutting into the line was minimal. I have to admit the mediocre experiences on Meraviglia played a role in my canceling two European Preziosa sailings this coming Summer. Another irritation I experienced that is affecting ant future bookings was MSC’s newest cabin pricing policy and upgrade bidding system. I though this sailing was unique and would be fairly well booked, but this sailing had many, many cabins open even with les than a month to sailing, thus had a few significant price drops. MSC would not let anyone who booked earlier take advantage of these drops, even if willing to upgrade. We were held to the pricing structure at the time of booking which was hundreds more than the current prices. Even when I was before final payment they made it too difficult by refusing to allow the Voyagers Selection discount if I tried to cancel and rebook. Then the bidding system minimums made upgrading not cost effective because of our high initial booking cost resulted in paying more than the upgrade cabin’s current cost. The end result was overall poor sales, last minute price drops and finally removal of the single supplement which caused a mass of last minute super bargain hunters booking the sailing. I will leave it that there was a noticeable difference in the passenger makeup on this sailing compared to my other MSC sailings and even the prior sailing. I hope this is not a sign of things to come with MSC over saturating the market for people willing to sail their ships. My future strategy leans towards taking advantage of these last minute deals I see that are becoming more frequent, but I’m afraid MSC might be changing from what I considered a good value cruise line to what I would call a budget cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
New York Boarding was a breeze .the shows were excellent . The meet and mingle was a highlight to meet and greet cruise critics fans. Outstanding! Staff in all areas were very friendly and helpers with our internet.ship was different ... Read More
New York Boarding was a breeze .the shows were excellent . The meet and mingle was a highlight to meet and greet cruise critics fans. Outstanding! Staff in all areas were very friendly and helpers with our internet.ship was different than our usual cruises. Enjoyed our new cabin after we had to change due to problems in our original cabin. Cruiser were friendly except that we had trouble communicate with different languages. The islands we visited were good, took a few tours with local vendors. Some of the island’s celebrate an holiday so many stores and museum s were not open and we had a lot of rain. Enjoyed the food , ice cream and the hot tubs. The ship was very clean and the bed and pillows were excellent. There always a problem getting off any cruise which is normal. We enjoyed the cruise which was the first on MSC Different but still enjoyable Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The price leaving NYC 13 day cruise was great we even got a balcony , the balcony was tight for luggage space, ,embarking from NY was smooth , disembarking was havoc , The main dining food was not that good ,they push specialities ... Read More
The price leaving NYC 13 day cruise was great we even got a balcony , the balcony was tight for luggage space, ,embarking from NY was smooth , disembarking was havoc , The main dining food was not that good ,they push specialities dinning ,thecrew was inexperienced and very new to working on a ship,but very eager to please, and we took care of our waiter, assistant waiter and steward with cash gratuities, most ships allow you to go down to guest services and get envelopes to give cash ,do not allow the cruise line to decide who gets your tips, its there job to pay for higher earning labor ,which comes out of your purchase price. Alot of guest did get sick coughing due to (we were told)very cold air conditioning and hot weather, it plays with your lungs.Save yourself $125 to $175 from going to ships Doctor, bring a z pack or antibiotic, benadryl,inhaler albertoul de-congestion etc, just in case , If you go to one of the islands ,stop at a pharmacy and try and get cough medicine with codeine, works great on suppressing coughs. The maitre d were in main dinning room great overall I recommend this ship especially if they can keep cost low. If you have the money great spend it, but if your on a budget, this ship can be negotiated, just dont get stupid with spending on excursions, and alcohol if your looking for a beach for example in Aruba it will cost you $49 dollars on ship excursions ,were as a local bus will take you there and back for $2.50 each way,Curacao anther ex, $59 dollars tour to town , blue curacao liqueur factory, and beach, $25;to $30 neg. same tour in van with locals, for first ,timers,newbies,, who are inexperienced , go to ship excursion , By the way the ship cancelled their new island,(not ready) and we went to Jamaica instead, not my choice: but it was class act by MSC who gave every cabin $100 back and %20 off next cruise, they were not obligated to do that and are allowed to change ittertinary any time, MSC PROVED TO ME THEY ARE A Class Act Thank You Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
After 36 cruises (on different cruise lines), we found a team at the Edge Bar that went above and beyond to be helpful and friendly. They were always courteous, hardworking and very professional. They were Neptin Alie, Gregory Jean, ... Read More
After 36 cruises (on different cruise lines), we found a team at the Edge Bar that went above and beyond to be helpful and friendly. They were always courteous, hardworking and very professional. They were Neptin Alie, Gregory Jean, Mariel Magallano, Angela May Lamog, Max Magotsi and Yange Ndayi. They took care of us for 23 days. The atmosphere with them around was always pleasant and made our cruise unforgettable. Service like this is very hard to find. We tried to recommend them on the cruise, but they do not have a system in place to do it as on other cruise lines. We have to compliment Meraviglia on their shows, as they were excellent and very entertaining. We battled with the packing space in the stateroom, as it was very limited comparing to other cruise lines. The buffet area is very busy and sometimes chaotic and the variety is limited. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Due to the fact that it was a two week cruise down to my preferred destination, southern Caribbean, and that it left from New York (bused to Manhattan from Montreal/flew back from Miami) which meant I would sail by the statue of Liberty, ... Read More
Due to the fact that it was a two week cruise down to my preferred destination, southern Caribbean, and that it left from New York (bused to Manhattan from Montreal/flew back from Miami) which meant I would sail by the statue of Liberty, as well as it was totted to be an interesting ship and my introduction to MSC line. Could not resist. Ship was good sized, slightly unique (French builder), easy to get around. Good food, very good entertainment. The itinerary enabled us to visit some favourites like Grenada, Curacao, Aruba, Barbados as well as be introduced to Martinique (liked). Disliked the classing (being pushed more and more by cruise lines) of people by category purchased. You don't get to eat in the same dinning room as Fantastica category guests or have a decent hour to dine. We were given 5:15! Pay more get treated better is back!! In general we have noticed this trend throughout the cruise lines and its becoming a turn-off! Cost has also been increasing so value is dropping for us. After 17 cruises we are starting to rethink cruising. Too bad. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This ship is absolutely beautiful. Everything was clean and fresh and shiny. The food was good to delicious in the MD and the buffet. In fact, the prime rib was better than we had recently at a local steak house. We enjoyed the ... Read More
This ship is absolutely beautiful. Everything was clean and fresh and shiny. The food was good to delicious in the MD and the buffet. In fact, the prime rib was better than we had recently at a local steak house. We enjoyed the Cruise Critic party. It was held in the Sky Lounge and was the largest number of guests to attend. There were drinks and snacks and we got a chance to meet the Officers. The crew we met were mostly friendly and efficient in their duties. We did see 2 occasions when guests were rude or aggressive in their behaviour towards crew. Sad but common nowadays. The itinerary was especially appealing. Most days we went to the beach and soaked up the sea and sand. Entertainment on the ship was top notch. The evening shows were Very professional. We did see Cirque show Sonar. We thought it was amazing. The theatre is attractive and interesting. A cruise is what you make of it. Your attitude will go a long way to determine your enjoyment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose the cruise to see family in new York, Visit "beautiful" |||| New England and travel on a fantastic looking ship at what we thought a reasonable price. Embarkation wasnt too bad considering the number of people but ... Read More
We chose the cruise to see family in new York, Visit "beautiful" |||| New England and travel on a fantastic looking ship at what we thought a reasonable price. Embarkation wasnt too bad considering the number of people but disembarcation horrendous. I dont know if it was better if you had pre booked one of their final destination tours or their airport transport but as our travel agent had prebooked us a private pickup we expected it to be like an airport where there are pickup points or welcome centres. No way complete chious.. 4,500 people trying to find out where to go as we all had to be off the ship by 10.30 latest by timed exits. We landed up on pavements across a busy road with hundreds of other confused people trying to find their pickups. With no phone and after 30 mins we were quite distressed and ready to book our own taxi when we spotted someone with our name. Wonderful modern ship but too big to cope with so many people and although reasonably priced.its all about getting money from you. Overpiriced drinks, meals and tours. Luckily we had an easy drinks package which sufficed and did our own thing on shore as to be honest rhere isnt much to see or do in the small towns and countryside. We went to the Cirque Du Soliel "Viaggo" show which we were told was better than "Sonar". Very, very dissapointing and a lot of people agreed. Seen better at the local circus. Shows in the theatre very good. Computor screens everywhere to book things which a good idea BUT. Our travel agent gave us no choice and booked us late sitting dinner at 8.30 which is no good for someone on UK body time. Told we could change on board. No way. Spent 2 nights gping from one restaurant to another trying to find someone to take responsibilty. Lots of queses of other people doing the same. With 3 main reataurants giving a total of 6 sittings and all their computirs you would think it would be easy to change dinner times. Food good, cabin good, staff good except at reception where they are probably fed up of complaints poor things. No guest lectures, travel talks, hosted meetups. Sorry for anyone single, LBGT Would I travel with them again. Dont think so as prefer a more personel, organised experience. Most ports just cant cater for such big ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were on the Meraviglia departing New York doing the 10 day Canada/New England cruise leaving October 18. We have been on more than 20 cruises with Princess, Holland, Celebrity, Carnival and Norwegian. We have cruised previously on the ... Read More
We were on the Meraviglia departing New York doing the 10 day Canada/New England cruise leaving October 18. We have been on more than 20 cruises with Princess, Holland, Celebrity, Carnival and Norwegian. We have cruised previously on the MSC Seaside and the Divina. The Meraviglia is a very large ship carrying 4500 passengers. The ship is beautiful and was very clean throughout. We found all the staff to be polite and friendly. The ports were all very good and we did do one excursion to Peggy's Cove and it was fine. We had a balcony cabin on deck 13 and our cabin steward was great. He was friendly and kept our cabin immaculate. Now, the part we did not enjoy: This ship is too large and very crowded. The traffic flow on this ship is horrible. We realize that because of the time we went it was not warm enough to use the pools or sit outside, so everyone was inside. There was never any seats to watch the one entertainment option besides the theatre. The theatre productions in the Broadway theatre were amazing, and the best we have seen on any other cruise line. That is where it ends. The one small area where they had some decent music was always packed and no seats available. They had someone singing and playing the piano in the piazza but it was horrible. The same dull music over and over again. It lulled you to sleep. Hopefully, once in the Caribbean and passengers can use the pool and the outside area things may improve. Too many people pushing into elevators and through the buffet. Also these same people took huge amounts of food in the buffet and never ate it. Very wasteful, it is no wonder the quality of the food on cruise ships is going down. I think there should be signs telling people to take only what you can eat as you can always go up for more. On the subject of the food in the buffet is was just okay. We ate dinner in the dining room and it was just okay also. We did eat one night in the Butcher's Cut and it was excellent. We were happy with the embarkation process. With regard to disembarkation we had a tour of New York then on to the airport. There was a problem with some people's luggage being ready for pickup once off the ship that caused some people to be very angry. I think MSC does not pay attention to the small details. They seem to take a long time getting and being setup for any changes or new situations. 13 Overall we enjoyed the cruise. We took this cruise because of the excellent time we had on the MSC Seaside. Keep in mind MSC cruises are a good price, they do cater to a large European and Asian clientele, and as a result they do give instructions in all languages. If you are okay with something a little different and not a perfect cruise experience than MSC would be okay for you. For us, we have not decided if we will go on MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I have sailed on MSC Seaside twice before and really enjoyed everything about it. So I decided to sail on Meraviglia. There were confusing issues constantly. I registered as a gluten free passenger but that was not on their list. I ... Read More
I have sailed on MSC Seaside twice before and really enjoyed everything about it. So I decided to sail on Meraviglia. There were confusing issues constantly. I registered as a gluten free passenger but that was not on their list. I booked the cruise 2 years ago while onboard Seaside but nothing I signed up for showed on their reservations. Seaside had lots of great options for eating but Meraviglia had very few. Dining room was only open at night so I was not able to order gluten free at the buffet. I went for breakfast 2 times in Panorama and they were very disorganized with serving gluten free options. SEASIDE delivered gluten free pastries every day to my cabin, Meraviglia did not do this. I ended up going to the Marketplace and carefully selecting my foods. As a side note NCL allows you to order gluten free pizza at the buffet MSC does not. I had pre-purchased the Thermal Spa package for the entire cruise and I had purchased a 50 minute Bali massage. Neither appeared in their systems but I presented my confirmation from MSC showing it was there. They took 5 days to actually acknowledge I had them. I was given a 30 minute free massage but since half the cruise was over it was hard to schedule it in. I found the "Captains night" lacking as they were concerned with pushing people through. My photo with the Captain was printed huge and was going to cost me $50.00. I asked for a smaller version and was told sorry it would not be available. Several days later I found smaller versions so they agreed to print one for me at $25.00. The welcome back cocktail party was insane. The captain appeared for a moment above the promonade and thanked everyone for being family. There was no photo opportunity as on the other 2 sailings with MSC. As for the crew they were wonderful, My waiters James and Matt in Wave were outstanding as was my Maitre de Roby. The people in the spa were very nice and the massages were excellent. I found the drink packages very confusing and what was "given for free" did not offer drinks anywhere except in the dining room or during meal times., If I wanted a cocktail any other time I had to pay for it. The ship was beautiful and sailed so smoothly even in rough waters. I love MSC but I was very disappointed with this ships processes. I think people onboard should be allowed to make decisions without constantly having to contact headquarters when the evidence is right in front of them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Living in South Florida, we were ready to get away from the heat and travel to a cooler climate for a few days. Had cruised on MSC Divina and MSC Seaside, so decided to give the Meraviglia a try. We were not disappointed! The ship is ... Read More
Living in South Florida, we were ready to get away from the heat and travel to a cooler climate for a few days. Had cruised on MSC Divina and MSC Seaside, so decided to give the Meraviglia a try. We were not disappointed! The ship is just beautiful, and lovingly maintained. Officers and staff were very friendly and often visible. We had a balcony cabin and initially thought closet and storage space was tight, but we actually were able to unpack everything and store our luggage. Hanging hooks on the wall added great space for winter coats and outerwear. We spent 2 wonderful nights in NYC before a memorable sailaway. Embarkation was a breeze.Having heard things were backed up on the previous cruise, we waited till about 2:30 to head to the port. We literally walked on board immediately. Since our departure was delayed from 7 pm to 10pm we sailed past the Statue of Liberty under the stars....it was just breathtaking! The Canadian itinerary was perfect for the time of year. We took excursions in all ports. The trip to Peggy's Cove was our favorite. Portland,Maine and Boston were on our own, as we have lived there and know those cities well. Our onboard was terrific. We have cruised many times before, and our cabin steward Chris, and his colleague Jeremy, both from the Phillipines were the best we have ever had. They anticipated any needs we had, and their service was always timely. Cannot say enough about these two!! We enjoyed the food onboard, loved the pizza and had a great meal in Ola, the tapas restaurant. Overall this cruise was a great way to enjoy some autumn weather, and we look forward to traveling on MSC again soon. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I’m writing this review for the October 18th Canada and New England sailing from New York City. This was our seventh MSC cruise, and fourth sailing in the Yacht Club. If you look at my signature on the discussion forums you can see my ... Read More
I’m writing this review for the October 18th Canada and New England sailing from New York City. This was our seventh MSC cruise, and fourth sailing in the Yacht Club. If you look at my signature on the discussion forums you can see my other reviews where we’ve previously spent an enjoyable two weeks in a Seaside Yacht Club interior, so had no hesitation booking the same type cabin for this 10 day cruise. Due to sailing late in the season we didn’t feel the need to spend additional money for a balcony cabin. We became a bit concerned after reading the horror stories from the October 8th Canada sailing, but with MSC’s last minute port staff reorganizing and terrific weather it proved much more favorable for this sailing. We flew into Newark airport a day before sailing and used a GoAirlink NYC shuttle for transport to the Chelsea Pines Inn in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. Uber was a consideration, but our 9am arrival and trip into the city made traffic a concern so we settled on the $18 per person fixed fare of the shared shuttle. Unfortunately on our ride they took several last minute bookings and severely overcrowded the very tight seating of the van. In fairness my son used the same service for the next sailing and had a very good experience. Paying the premium for a Manhattan hotel was worth it for the ease of getting to the NYC landmarks we wanted to visit. The 30 room hotel has typically small NYC rooms that were clean, the bathroom and shower was large. No elevator was available for those on the upper floors. Their communication was good and our request for a first floor room was honored. Rooms facing the street are noisy, request a room facing the rear garden area. Meraviglia slipped back into NYC early, about 1am, and we figured it was in an effort to improve upon the dismal embarkation of the previous sailing. All passenger e-tickets stated a 1pm embarkation time and we were torn whether to arrive early or later in the afternoon, in the end we decided not to ask for a late checkout and to get to the port about 11:30am. We found no lines and the port operating normally. I spotted a Yacht Club sign near the terminal entry doors and bypassed the porters heading towards the table staffed with MSC butlers in their typical uniform. The beginning of strange new YC procedures started quickly as we were almost immediately asked what dining time we preferred. Then as group of about 10 YC guests we were then escorted to the security check point that was already moving smoothly, then on to the YC check in area which was the same room NCL uses for the Haven passengers. Regular passengers were already boarding and after a snack and a Prosecco a group of about 20 was escorted onto the ship and into the YC area. We dropped our carry-on bags at our cabin then headed to the YC restaurant for a quick lunch before going out to explore the ship. It was a very easy embarkation, and looked to be so for most passengers. On our first day I did manage a brief conversation with the concierge, Luciano, which turned out to be the only time throughout the cruise I spoke to him. On all other occasions when I passed by he appeared very busy, not even looking up from his computer. While I found it quite a difference from my other YC experiences I attributed it to the personnel still being in a more European mode of service. Upon entering the YC restaurant I met Luis, the YC restaurant maitre d’. I asked about the set dining time question I had been asked at embarkation and he confusedly assured me we could dine at any time during the restaurant’s open hours. I expressed my desire to keep the same table, server and time and was told they would try to accommodate. I asked for a recommended waiter and found a nice table for two in his section. Our first dinner went fairly well with a wonderful view of the NYC skyline because the ship left port several hours late, luckily our itinerary was unaffected and we had a very nice late night sail away down the Hudson. Unfortunately it only lasted for two nights when the problems with the YC restaurant became more apparent. One of the problems was waiters would only offer selected wines each day, usually two reds, two whites and a Prossecco. They made it very difficult to get any of the other wines served in the Top Sail lounge just one deck below. The restaurant wine selection was usually quite poor and it took talking to several people every single time to just get a glass of what you wanted, even though it was included in the YC drinks package. This second part may go back to what I feel is an overall concept problem with YC dining on all the ships, based on the small size of the restaurant, without set times the early diners can tend to linger and cause a backup for those wanting to dine later. By the third day we often found lines of people waiting for a table even after 8:30pm, at least it encouraged us to join other couples as there was usually a larger table available. Perhaps this was due to slow service which I did notice was often a problem. I came away with the distinct impression that many of the waiters were inexperienced and overwhelmed. This was our first sailing with the new YC menus and I must say I was not impressed. There seems to be a larger emphasis on presentation rather than substance. The combination of barely finding a vegetable on a plate with the food coming out barely warm made the experience underwhelming. After a meal in which my main course was forgotten for 20 minutes as my wife ate hers, and then after asking about it I was brought out cold, I told Luis we were ready to move. While we had less problems with our new waiter the food and overall dining experience continued to be poor, and it became more apparent that the senior YC staff was unwilling or incapable of fixing the problems. I t got to the point that after lunch one day we went to the buffet to find something more satisfying. On our last sea day there was an actual revolt at lunch, several tables began talking and loudly complaining about the poor experience and food throughout the cruise, Luis was called over and I’m surprised a larger scene was averted as he offered no solutions. Idris, the YC manager, was aware of the dining room situation and I was told the chef was replaced on the next sailing. Unfortunately I don’t think that will fully address the problems I experienced. We did have good enough weather that the deck 19 pool grill was opened for lunch on a couple days. While smaller and having less food offerings than Seaside it was a needed break from the YC restaurant. The weather was nice but it wasn’t really warm so the area was not heavily used, I had concerns with overcrowding as the area is smaller than Seaside’s but on this sailing there were very few people up there. The Top Sail Lounge was more popular and it could become busy and difficult to get a drink, but overall was a nice place to relax as we lacked cabin space. On sunny days they set up the white canopy tents for needed shade over the tables.. Before getting to our cabin I just wanted to expand on our booking experience and how I feel it eventually affected our overall YC experience. When I booked this cruise about 500 days before sailing I had the choice of any YC cabin, I specifically chose 14013 because it had cabins above and below and I’m a light sleeper. All other deck’s YC interior cabins have “white space” above them, some I knew were the concierge offices and others were the YC restaurant galley. MSC has a pretty complex algorithm in their cabin pricing now so I’ve been going through a constant learning process. By about six months before sailing most of the YC was “sold out” and cabins that sporadically appeared had gone up by almost 50% in price while all the other cabins were experiencing repeated price drops as there was plenty of inventory. In the last month it was apparent to me there were many unsold YC cabins and then the upgrade bidding emails went out. A couple weeks before sailing every YC interior except mine on deck 14 was available, as well as a couple on deck 15. There were also about a dozen YC Deluxe not sold. On sail date the YC was full, I heard several conversations of people who didn’t even realize they won a YC bid until getting on the ship, just crazy. I talked with several of my neighbors and they all had done the bidding upgrade, I think over a dozen YC cabins just on deck 14 were upgrades. Without getting into the debate over this bidding system I do think it had an effect on my experience. I examined the bid winner’s cruise cards closely and then talked with several senior staff that also said they have no way to know who upgraded and who paid full price. I don’t know how else to describe it but I’m left with an unsettling feeling that I was treated differently than on my other YC sailings. Perhaps it’s just a difference in this ship, but the level of attention and service by the senior staff was no where near what I have previously experienced as a YC passenger. There are lots of pictures and reviews of Meraviglia’s YC interior cabins and as I mentioned earlier we sailed in one on Seaside so I was fairly well prepared. The layout is slightly different with the closet on a side wall and the TV on the bathroom wall facing the bed, a better design. I was surprised they used a single rattan chair, the same as in the aft of the buffet and quite uncomfortable. Two drawers and two useable shelves in the small closet, it was tight but we made it work using suitcases under the bed as additional storage. The bathroom was the same as all the other standard cabins with a smallish shower, at least the controls were located better so as not to be easily bumped and then scalded. Temperature fluctuation seems to be a common problem on MSC ships and I’m beginning to think it is done intentionally to curb long showers. Our butler Bruce was friendly but we asked for no special services from him, I did notice he was not often in the Top Sail Lounge or around the other YC public areas during the day as most other YC butlers I’ve had. Our cabin steward, Roy, we had previously on seaside. This time we got towel animals on most nights, a first for us on MSC. He kept the cabin tidy and stocked the mini fridge with Samuel Adams as I requested. The Nespresso machine had visible “debris” in the water tank so we opted for in cabin coffee delivery one morning, it was delivered by another butler. The efficient YC elevator made it a quick trip up to the lounge, restaurant and pool deck but being on deck 14 I did feel a disconnect from the main YC areas. I did learn the white space above the deck 16 YC interiors is the YC pool machinery rooms and after talking with guests in those cabins can confirm those cabins are a better choice based on quietness and better location in relation to the YC facilities. Okay, on to the ship. It’s big. It’s clean. In 23 days I didn’t see all of it. It’s definitely oriented to cool weather cruises, that’s why I added this Canadian itinerary. I just can’t get over how poorly the ship is laid out and the severe design flaws. I could go on for pages here but will just hit upon my major complaints. On Seaside and Fantasia class ships there are two rear exits plus two additional forward exits at the lower level of the theater, on Meraviglia there is one exit at the rear that lets out at the forward elevators and into the galleria where there is usually an event going on that completely stops people from being able to exit the theater. The aft elevators are mid-ship, do not book any even remotely aft cabin on this ship unless you are willing to do a lot of walking. The Carousel Lounge takes up prime aft facing real estate and is seldom used, six nights a week for two one hour shows (frequently cancelled) where they close the curtains anyway, and then once or twice a week at night for silent disco type events. Plus you have to walk the casino smoke gauntlet to get there. Public restrooms are a disaster. Deck seven forward serving the TV lounge and also the British Pub has one men’s rest room with only two stalls and no urinals. This scenario is repeated throughout the ship. The YC was particularly bad, one public restroom on deck 16, gender shared with only one stall. I didn’t think it could be worse than Seaside but Meraviglia proved me wrong. The specialty restaurants are clustered in the promenade area and have very dull atmospheres. Kaito sushi is right in the middle of a major walking corridor, Ocean Cay is a dungeon. The ones on deck seven at least have windows, but they look directly at life boats, the other deck seven bar venues at least have opaque windows. The deck seven outside “promenade” facing the lifeboats was a total waste of space other than being a smoker’s respite. It was frequently closed off and totally under utilized, most people couldn’t even find a way to access the aft portion leading to the Carousel lounge back doors. The Bamboo pool was a nice area and quite popular on this sailing. Overall pool deck area seemed okay for cooler weather, this became more of a problem on warmer sea days that I will discuss in my subsequent sailing’s review. One thing I did learn from these sailings is I really don’t like the mega ships, and in my opinion this one falls well below both Seaside and Divina. My hopes look to a sailing on Armonia, otherwise I will wait for the MSC luxury class ships with hopes they will not be priced beyond my abilities. For this sailing we booked no excursions, for most of the ports the ship docked or tendered right at the city centers with plenty for us to do as first time ports. I’m not going into detail about the ports, they were all equally interesting with the exception of Sydney. I will comment on the inconsistent process of getting on and off the ship at the ports. YC tendering was very simple at Bar Harbor, priority YC service was available at both ends. At docked ports it was strange that sometimes they would have two gangplanks and at others there were four of five, it seemed random and when there were only two points of entry large lines could form getting back on the ship. We always found a YC butler to get us into a shorter line at the forward gangplanks. Yacht Club includes thermal spa access, we went one time while in port of Sydney and the spa was nearly empty. I did not find it a place I wanted to frequent, even darker than on Seaside with no views or open deck areas. We walked by on a crowded sea day and never found a reason to return. We don’t really cruise MSC for the entertainment any more so only attended three shows which were markedly different from Seaside and Divina, notably lacking the acrobatic part of the other ship’s shows. We later found the typical MSC acrobatic content was moved for a fee to the Cirque shows which we attended on the next sailing. We attended the ventriloquist and magic shows which were okay. The other show was “Virtual” which was a nice break from the typical Caribbean MSC musical genre shows we now no longer attend. Having a live band at the theater was a definite improvement. We heard bad reviews of the late night comedy improv and after poor experiences on Seaside decided to skip these. Overall MSC activities can be a bit lacking, we did attend several trivia games in the Brass Anchor pub which were well attended. I did notice there were no “Name that tune” type games. On board activities are not a reason for our choosing to sail MSC. I will include a paragraph about our one specialty dining experience, our Black card meal. We chose to eat at Butcher’s Cut with another couple we knew from a previous sailing. I immediately noticed there was only one red and one white wine available under the new $12 YC drink package pricing structure for areas outside the YC complex, also all the cocktails were priced at $12.50. I asked the assistant manager what could be done, after a bit of back and forth between the managers as a concession they allowed us the same wine that we had available in the YC. I’ve eaten at this venue several times and will often eat off of the “Dining Experience”, electing to pay the 50% for other items. I usually like the seafood platter as an alternative appetizer, the waiter informed me it would take a few minutes longer as it came from the Ocean Cay restaurant, fine. The platter is large and meant to be shared and perhaps I made a mistake ordering this after a couple of great Northeast ports where we enjoyed fresh seafood. I initially noted the one lone King crab partial leg on the top of the platter but quickly went on to a large prawn. It was very good but I noticed my table mate’s demeanor change after trying two of the large whole shrimp. I asked and was told something was wrong, I took one and it had the consistency of tooth paste with a smell to match. I immediately called the manager who replaced them with three other shrimp tails. As I progressed into the platter it became more apparent something was very wrong. The oysters were shapeless, tiny and black, then I tried the warm water lobster tail which when I broke open caused the entire table to become nauseous from the stench. We asked for the chef, only the sous-chef came out. He admitted the platter should never have left the kitchen and looked like a deer caught in the headlights. The following steaks were very good, perhaps a little over cooked. My favorite cheesecake dessert was soggy crusted and probably left over from an earlier night. I was not charged for the seafood platter but was charged $3.40 for an additional side of broccoli. I later received an email asking if my complaint resolution was to my satisfaction, I have no idea what that was about but suspected it was regarding this seafood platter fiasco. The restaurant managers were notably absent when we were finishing our meal and leaving the restaurant. This was our fourth Yacht Club sailing, seventh MSC cruise overall, and the first time I’ve ever felt the MSC product was not worth the money I spent. We remained on the ship for the following 13 day reposition cruise to Miami and will write a separate review for that sailing. I actually was glad we were moving to an Aurea suite, and we remained in contact with fellow cruisers that stayed in the Yacht Club. Reports about their ongoing experience in the YC were mixed, I will write a separate review of our Aurea experience. The disembarkation in New York looked to go fairly well, we were given our new cruise cards while in the YC, but not the Aurea bracelets which we had to go to guest services for later. We packed our suitcases and they were taken by our butler that morning then we had one last breakfast in the YC dining room. We then met with other back to back cruisers in the Carousel lounge and about 11:30 were taken off the ship for a few minutes then told we could re-board without any customs, I guess the earlier quickie customs prior to Portland was enough. I was a little surprised our luggage was left outside the Aurea suite, on all other MSC back to back sailings the butler or steward always placed it inside the next cabin since it arrived there early in the morning. I’m still a bit confused about why we had such a differing YC experience on Meraviglia. The YC restaurant was unquestionably a mess. But still I feel the overall experience was lacking something, and I think it was the personalization. On our other Caribbean YC sailings we were more involved with the captain, senior officers and/or YC senior staff on a much more individual basis. On this sailing we felt more of a commodity and could not make any personal connection to the staff at any level. I have previously noticed a difference on the same ship between different captains, each having their differing levels of social involvement, and how that trickles down through the crew, perhaps my Meraviglia experience was affected by captain Battinelli and his senior staff that comparatively were much more distant from the passengers. Unfortunately, with the exception of the dining room, this feeling tended to persist on the next leg repositioning cruise to Miami. I have decided to cancel two European MSC bookings I made long ago for this Summer, but for now will still keep one European YC sailing for this Fall. I’m also looking forward to two of the last Seaside Caribbean sailings in YC for Spring 2021. I do not foresee booking Meraviglia again, at least not in the Caribbean. I will most likely look for the ideal of my prior MSC experiences on Armonia this Spring, as a last minute booking. That is where current MSC non-YC pricing policies seem to be pushing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
DH saw TV commercial and was intrigued. I booked this sailing in early 2018 for the yacht club deluxe suite at an unbelievably great price. The Ship is beautiful and the crew is fabulous, not just in yacht club but everywhere on the ship. ... Read More
DH saw TV commercial and was intrigued. I booked this sailing in early 2018 for the yacht club deluxe suite at an unbelievably great price. The Ship is beautiful and the crew is fabulous, not just in yacht club but everywhere on the ship. Our cabin was spacious and very clean. I know food is subjective but I mainly chose seafood entrees which were better than meat which DH frequently chose. Appetizers and desserts were very good. As far as ports we have done this itinerary before, so no excursions this time. They have a strange system for getting on and off the ship in ports. People were using the same ramps and scanners whether coming or going. It was a little hectic. And as far as the shows the few we saw were not great. But as with all of our cruises we enjoyed it and would love to see the Meraviglia add more itineraries and stay in the New York area. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were waiting for MSC to cruise out of NYC. We were sick of RCCL Anthem of the Seas, and don't cruise on Carnival or Norwegian. Embarkation was quick. The staterooms were ready fairly early and our luggage arrived to the room ... Read More
We were waiting for MSC to cruise out of NYC. We were sick of RCCL Anthem of the Seas, and don't cruise on Carnival or Norwegian. Embarkation was quick. The staterooms were ready fairly early and our luggage arrived to the room fairly early as well. We had a balcony on Deck 10. It was one of the smallest balconies we have ever had on a cruise, but since we were going to Canada, we didn't use it too often. The cabin itself was pleasant enough, but there was not enough storage for an 11 day cruise, we kept having to pull our suitcase out from under the bed. We had the Premium Drink package, and we had to watch our account as we were being charged for drinks. Shenel in Customer Service was great in getting our account credited back, but it was pretty annoying that the IT department couldn't get this fixed, as we weren't the only ones with this problem. I was impressed on all the cleaning that was going on throughout the ship. However, the public women's bathrooms frequently had no soap in all the sink dispensers. Some hand sanitizer dispensers were empty. I was appalled by the number of people entering the dining room or the buffet without washing their hands; no one from the cruise line was even directing them to do so, which is what happens on other cruise lines. We took a 3 specialty restaurant package and used it for lunch. When the ship was in port, they were open! On those days we received excellent service. We even decided to eat in the Sushi Bar and the Hibatchi restaurant without our package. Our least favorite meal was at the Tapas restaurant. Main dining room, late dinner on Deck 5, for the most part the food was good. It came out warm sometimes, but we found out that it was because there was only one kitchen on the ship for the dining rooms. The Pizza in the buffet was always hot and freshly made and was good for a late night snack, a big plus too, was that you could watch them making the Mozzarella right there. The Comedy show, Beer Prov was a bust. Sat through the first show, and didn't laugh. So didn't go to the show later in the week. We didn't like the crowds to see any other shows in the Broadway theater, so we didn't go. Enjoyed Master Chef at Sea. Cirque De Solei the first show was great, the second show was cancelled for us because of weather. We didn't like the crowds on the Promenade, when they had the music events. Too crowded for us. There really were not other lounge areas, like on the Seaside to enjoy a cocktail and music. On Deck 5 near the Customer Service desk, the piano player and singer were great. She sang in either English or Italian. We liked the service at both The Edge Bar (where you can always get Espresso) and the Champagne Bar. The future cruise desk is stuck in the back of the Champagne Bar on Deck 7, there is no sign up sheets, and really no way of knowing who is on line to see them. That needs to be more prominently placed. We did one MSC excursion in St. John, and thought for the $50 each, the trolley tour was not worth it. After that, we did things on our own in port. We found out on the last day that there was a morning show to talk about the day. We didn't know and were never told that our balcony would be cleaned 2 different times in 2 different ports. Both times we were in our room with the curtain open for sunlight. Disembarking at the end of the cruise was easy. We live in Brooklyn, NY and were home 30 minutes after we got off. We waited to get off since we lived locally. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My mother and I chose mergalvia because it was a new sailing to Canada and the New England States. We had never sailed with those ports before. She had a casino offer 30% off the rate plus 5% loyalty since we had cruised with them before. ... Read More
My mother and I chose mergalvia because it was a new sailing to Canada and the New England States. We had never sailed with those ports before. She had a casino offer 30% off the rate plus 5% loyalty since we had cruised with them before. About one month ahead of time I had upgrade offers for a balcony or an interior yacht club. I decided to take my chances and bid low on the yacht club interior.I thought this would be a nice treat for my mother since she has done so much for me and my life so I decided to splurge for once. We sailed out of New York which I've never done before either. Once we arrived at pier 88 it was very confusing no clear signs of where you're actually supposed to go in the line. Finally when we saw the sign for yacht club we went down the aisle. Apparently when we checked in they had not upgraded us correct. They gave us a blue card which is for regular status. We should have had the gold yacht club card . I learned later that you're supposed to be separated into a group that embarked earlier. I was told that the Butler supposed to escort you up to the lounge once you arrived on board. That never happened. I was very disappointed in the embarkation since it was not done correct .I was very thankful that we did not have to wait over 2 hours in a line though. Standing in line just to get our Room key maybe took 10-15 minutes at the most it was smooth. We sat and the waiting area for about 2 to 3 hours waiting on them to clear us to get on the ship. The interior yacht club Room was about the same as a regular interior on in the MSC ship. There was Prosecco and fresh fruit when we arrived. Around 2:00 p.m. We went to the 18th floor to eat lunch in the yacht club dining Room. The food was actually good compared to some of the main dining Room on some ships. Will you then went down to the other level that had snacks and the. club lounge area. They have little sandwiches and desserts. I was then given a menu all the drinks that were listed were included in the yacht club selection for free To me for the price I paid the drinks that I drank plus the spa area included was well worth it. Also in the yacht club it was very quiet compared to some ships that have children running up-and-down the halls and playing with the elevators. The yacht club was very secluded and had a range of ages from Maybe 45 up to people in their eighties. There were some people that had children but they are very well behaved We stayed in the yacht club in Room 14005. Some of the room amenities were a robe, houseshoes, body wash ,shampoo ,conditioner a sewing and a shower cap. The refrigerator there were other cocktails as well like Pringles chips and some nuts. There were a few liquors and beers in the fridge as well. I was very disappointed in the Room service menu compared to the Room service in a regular state room MSC.They had more choices listed than we did even though hour Room service was of no charge. The 1st time we got Room service the order was totally incorrect that we were so hungry we just went ahead and aided. The 2nd time I ordered a pizza it was fresh and it was one of the best meals I ate for lunch. The next day round 10:00 a.m. we had our cruise critic meet and greet. I took pictures of the cake and some of the other members of cruise critic that we met beforehand as well. It was a large number of people that actually joined it and were actually present. I was very shot. I think they did a wonderful job especially introducing the captain and most of the managers over seeing certain areas on the ship itself. Most all of the dinners were adequate it was hit-and-miss they were very hot and not Luke warm. On some of the nights where I can figure out what I want to eat I just went with the stake. I learned an old yacht club that if there's something you don't like you can order either grilled chicken salmon or a steak Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Just a note: I can't seem to select just the 10-day portion, we couldn't do the 23 day due to job/time restrictions. MSC Meraviglia Review: 18 Oct 2019 – 28 Oct 2019 Passengers: me (CH), my husband (BH), and our adult ... Read More
Just a note: I can't seem to select just the 10-day portion, we couldn't do the 23 day due to job/time restrictions. MSC Meraviglia Review: 18 Oct 2019 – 28 Oct 2019 Passengers: me (CH), my husband (BH), and our adult daughter (SH). Package: Fantastica: inside cabin, the Easy Drinks, Spa, Arcade/Amusement Park Fun Pass, and Internet (which we upgraded onboard). We reserved both Cirque Shows for the first two full nights (early cocktail show, as the meal didn't appeal). We also reserved two excursions: Tall Ship Sailing Cruise (Halifax) and Lighthouses of Maine (Portland) Cabin# 13300 Steward: William Panorama MDR; 1st seating: Main Server: Rakesh Assistant: Russel Both were excellent, and quickly learned and provided for our preferences. OK, right off the bat, would I sail on the Meraviglia again? Yes. Like all ships, she has good points, bad points and meh points. She's a beautiful ship, with most of the amenities we look for in a cruise ship. Such as: Pools Ropes & trees course Spa Waterslides Specific specialty restaurants: steakhouse teppanyaki Entertainment shows 4-d theater bowling f-1 simulater flight/roller coaster simulator Good points: The Aurea Spa: For me the Spa on any ship is an important yes/no, make-or-break deal. This one was great. With a whirlpool, a bubble bench, 2 steam rooms (dark and light), four saunas (though one seemed down the entire time), an ice/cold room, multiple rain-showers with add-ons, the walk-through alternate hot/cold shower, a salt room, two nice relaxation rooms, some warm lounge chairs in the bubble tub room, and free robes during the cruise (part of our package) It was the best one I've been in on a cruise. All it lacks is a large thlasso pool such as NCL has. Food: The meals in the Buffet and Panorama MDR were very good. I even occasionally wandered off the standards to experiment with new-to-me items. Specialty Restaurants: The Butcher's Cut: excellent, I'd definitely eat there again. We used the Dining Experience option and it was quite filling. Unfortunately, I don't remember our server's name, but he was excellent. (I recall it being Marco -BH) Kaito Teppanyaki: also excellent, and very good at dealing with dietary issues, they were quite willing to swap out for the shellfish, and verified that it was dietary not allergy multiple times. William was our cook and he was one of the best we've had on a cruise. Cirque du Soleil: [note: it's almost impossible for a Cirque show to be bad.] Viaggio: excellent SONOR: the seeming lack of a coherent story makes Viaggio the better of the two. (Corrected to SONOR -BH) Meh Points: General: The white tea/coffee cups in the Buffet are too small. The blue ones were the right size, but were not at every station every day. The tea selection was OK, but needed more plain black tea. MSC, there's a reason the Vanilla/Raspberry tea was almost all that was left when we got back to NYC. The cabin seemed smaller than most other ships. They ran out of San Pelagrino! On an Italian ship! Granted, there were other brands of sparkling water available, but still! No menus posted by the MDRs for the daily meals. Boarding: Not bad, not great: we were told boarding was to start at 1 PM, so we made plans for meeting with a friend for lunch. We got to the Port at 10:30 AM, only to learn boarding had already started. Even then we were in group 13. Boarding went smoothly otherwise. Aurea Spa: No easy in-and-out for the whirlpool and bubble tub tubs in the Spa. I'm short, 5' 1/2” and the entry/exit was doable but awkward. No Color bar! I loved that on the Divina, and it was included in their drinks package. I'm a real fan of teas and those were fantastic. The Drinks Package: We had the Easy Drinks Package,which is nice, but the $6 limit cuts out my favorite drink (Strawberry Daiquiri). It also doesn't include some of the special items (such as gelato and the snack items in the Piazza del Doge) the coupon package on the Divina did. Towel Animals: No towel animals or a program on how to make them. I miss my towel animals. Sea Day Brunches: The breakfasts at the MDR were OK, but when you wind up eating most breakfasts in the Buffet, it's an issue. In fact, one sea day [Thursday the 24th, I believe] they were out of one specialty of the day. Maybe it's just me, but the best sea-day breakfasts/brunches I've had were on Carnival. Steak and eggs! When you're being beat out on food by Carnival, you're doing something wrong. The Buffet: Could we get more beef in the carving stations? None of us like ham, and BH cannot eat any pork. Excursions: Well, the one(s) we went on were good, but the one I was most looking forward too (the Tall Ships) was cancelled due to 'insufficient registration', though when we got to Halifax, they said that particular ship usually stops on the 18th. SH added the Salem Witch Excursion on board and enjoyed it very much. Bad Points: The Specialty Dining Packages: Not quite what we've seen elsewhere. Even MSC Divina had better options. Meraviglia's Dining Packages are, in our opinion, unnecessarily limited. Your specialty restaurants are pre-chosen and the meals provided are fixed. Not that the one in Butcher's Cut is bad, in fact, it seems to be the most relaxed, allowing choices from a limited menu, with options to swap out at an additional cost of half the listed cost of the item swapped. Ocean's Cay? We're not seafood lovers and BH has shellfish issues [dietary restrictions], so only the tuna dinner was even an option. Kaito Teppanyaki is NOT included, just the Sushi bar. Again, seafood issues. Same with the Tapas bar. Even the best plan, the Two + One included Ocean's Cay in the package, though the other was Butcher's Cut and the plus was a Cirque dinner show. We'd have taken that one or the Tryptic if we could have swapped out Ocean's Cay. General: MSC's seeming lack of (or just poor) communication. For example; Italian/Mediterranean Night was just listed as an Elegant Night, so if we hadn't seen the waiters and the tables dressed for it before we got to the Panorama, we'd not have known. Another example was on our last day, a sea day. Around 12:30 PM, while we were already in Panorama and had ordered, they announced that the specialty restaurants were half-off for lunch. I'd have seriously considered Butcher's Cut again if we'd known earlier and BH would have re-done Kaito Teppanyaki. Another communications point is our repeated attempts to get confirmation that MSC knew I used a CPAP. In fact, the only line we've used that acknowledged my CPAP was Carnival. Things I'd like to see in the future: A list of Elegant/Specialty Nights posted/provided on the first day. A listing of the dates for the various shows available on the first day. Menus for the MDRs posted daily (as on every other ship we've been on) I'd also love to see MSC have a ship based out of New York, as it's much easier for us to sail from. Maybe one that does that Grand Cruise Meraviglia is making in Oct 2020 as a routine sailing, allowing for both north and south trips regularly. Both routes seem very nice, missing only St. Kitts, our favorite island. Add a Brazilian style steakhouse as well. And, yes, Towel Animals, please! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our 2nd MSC cruise, the first one being 5 years ago on the Divina. We are platinum on both Carnival and NCL. As a New Yorker, I was trilled when I found out MSC would be sailing out of the city. The entertainment on this ship ... Read More
This was our 2nd MSC cruise, the first one being 5 years ago on the Divina. We are platinum on both Carnival and NCL. As a New Yorker, I was trilled when I found out MSC would be sailing out of the city. The entertainment on this ship was excellent. I'd say the talent was Broadway quality. Each night there were new shows in the theatre. There was also music in smaller venues for listening and dancing. For such a large ship and so many passengers I rarely felt crowded. The halls were wide, the entrance to the buffet was huge and except for one time we never had a problem finding seats in the buffet. That "one time" was for breakfast when our port arrival time was 10am...so it was understandable. And, the elevators weren't crowded. The best part of the buffet was the pizza! I didn't find any other food above "the OK level" but I eat to live, so as long as I have my vegetables and fruits I'm good. And, they had lots of vegetables and fruits. This ship is gorgeous. Those Swarovski Crystal staircases were like "Staircases to Heaven". And everything was immaculate. We had a Bella Balcony. We travel light, so storage wasn't a problem for us. However, those who pack a lot might find it limited. Our steward was always around and made up our room early. I had 3 services in the spa...massage, facial and hair color/cut. I was very satisfied with the hair (incredibly inexpensive if bought on line). The massage and facial were also pre-purchased at good prices. The massage was OK; the facial better. We had a free hour in the thermal spa; I wasn't very impressed. I also used the gym several times. The equipment was all new and modern. The first morning it was too crowded but after that I went in the afternoon so there was always room. Our weather was beautiful except for one "cloudy and a little drizzle day" in Sydney. We had an MSC excursion which wasn't super exciting but then again, there's no much in Sydney to get excited about. If I didn't know I was on a ship I would have thought I was on land (except for one night when there was minimal rocking) it was such a smooth sailing. Please take all those negative reviews with a grain of salt. This is a wonderful ship. If you cruise for food it might not be your best ever experience. But, if you cruise to relax, meet lots of people from other parts of the world and just enjoy yourself you won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The cruise started with a horrible embarkation. I never received the wheelchair that I had reserved for embarkation and spent over 2 hours standing in line which is very painful for me. The lounges on the ship are way to small for the ... Read More
The cruise started with a horrible embarkation. I never received the wheelchair that I had reserved for embarkation and spent over 2 hours standing in line which is very painful for me. The lounges on the ship are way to small for the amount ofpassengers. The food was horrible. Almost all the food in the buffet was cold, the dining room not much better. The meat was very tough. One day a headwaiter watched me unsuccessfully try to cut 3 steaks. Another night I injred a tooth on atough pork chop and had a toothache the rest of the cruise. and now have a dentl appointment scheduled. I reported this to the headwaiter and the reception desk. I was promised by reception that someone would get back to me. This never happened. A lot of the food such as the horrible chicken cordon blue is not prepared on the ship. My waiter explained it comes in a box and is just heated onboard. I had arranged to have a wheelchair pick me up in the cabin at 9:15 and was told it was ok to stay there even though they ask you to vacate the cabin at 8. After numerous calls by me and the cabin steward they finally got me at 1030. Luckily I live in NY so did not have to worry about missing a flight. One other note, they cut our stay in Quebec City by 12 hours so we arrive in NYC before 2am Why? One more note. There was no Kleenex in the cabin and my cabin steward said it is by request and he needed his supervisors permission which he got. One passenger I spoke to was told by their steward there is no Kleenex on the ship. I hace done close to75 cruises and this joke of a line was by far the worst. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Our recent Cruise with MSC aboard the Meraviglia October 8th – October 18th, 2019. This was a 10 NIGHTS – Canada Fall Foliage Cruise with Overnight in Quebec, Sailing the St Lawrence, and 3 other ports. We Purchased the following Aurea ... Read More
Our recent Cruise with MSC aboard the Meraviglia October 8th – October 18th, 2019. This was a 10 NIGHTS – Canada Fall Foliage Cruise with Overnight in Quebec, Sailing the St Lawrence, and 3 other ports. We Purchased the following Aurea Class Balcony (B3) Unlimited Beverages Included & Spa and we also did status matching which gave us MSC GOLD Status. Embarkation Day. We (group of 6) arrived at port around 11:15, unloaded our luggage, but there were no porters, or nobody around give directions as were to go. Luggage everywhere, so we proceeded to lug our luggage to a conveyor belt upon getting to the conveyor we were told only Even number taken here (what did that mean floor or room) again no signs or personnel providing directions. Finally, we found a porter who took our luggage. Now on to security, again no one providing directions to the mass of people it was chaos, we finally wiggled our way in line. We had a few folks in our group that had medical issues (1 with cane and another with a boot on foot) we finally we able to moved to the head of the security line (again they were only going to let the 2 folks go, but we are traveling as a group). Now on to the check in line, once again no one there to direct the crowded (multiple lines from security trying to funnel into check in line). No one separating folks for Priority check in (which I believe gold status had). So once again we wait while we are in line we are hand a piece of paper notifying us that we will not have the second day in Quebec and they were giving us a $50 room credit (25 a person) for missing ½ a day in Quebec. We finally reach the check in counter, folks there did not seem to know what to do we were hand an immigrations document of Canada and told we need to hand it in somewhere did not know where or by when. We only had 1 key card ready, we had to wait an additional 15 minutes for the second card. Cards in hand now we are on our way, caught up with our group and had on boarding picture taken now on to the Gang Way…guess what another line. There were only 1 gangway open and 1-person scan cards. Really, 1 gangway and 1 person to scan 5000 passengers. Finally, 3 hours later we were on board the ship, but we were the lucky ones others had greater than 4 hours to check in. The Safety Drill was a JOKE, for muster station (tv Sound room) there was no one by the doors at meeting point to check in with, finally my partner went out to find them standing by the elevator and direct them to the group of people who were waiting. The actual drill was not good either as compared to other ships. They only did the directions for life jackets, no directions of what to do if not in your cabin, what about those traveling with children...etc. We finally set Sail about 730PM which is 2.5 hours late Dinner first night was okay no issues with using our Beverage package, however Starting Day 2 Beverage Package Issue…. This was the thorn in our side the whole cruise. When I boarded, I checked with bar in Market Lounge to find out our dollar limit (which I was told 10). Dinner second night was a disaster wasted almost 30 to 40 minutes on Drink Package I order a glass cost $ 8.50 and was told not on package. We explained we had the Aurea Experience (it was even on our sea card) which included unlimited drinks. But they kept saying but when scan our cards that is not what is says. They said I could have the house wine, which they serve to everybody at dinner, but the point is WE PAID FOR A BEVERAGE PACKAGE which included drinks anywhere This issue continued throughout the trip; some bartenders and wait staff knew how to ring it others did not. Our travel agent XXXXX and 100 other guests were on board, he kept working with the staff to correct this problem, with no luck. XXXXX even asked my partner to attend a meeting with Ship personnel to address this issue. During that meeting is was quite apparent that no one knew which plan was included. It appears that had been some changes since we booked. But again, that should not be an issue for Guest aboard the ship. The issue was never resolved so we spent more time and aggravation trying to get charges removed for our drinks. We also began bringing and getting our own drinks for dinner when we found a bar tender that knew how to ring up our drinks correctly. During 1 meal one a member of our party went to get Iced tea for a member of our group as the staff could not provide. Dining Experience, Food in Panorama and Waves was subpar. Food was served warm at best, one night I order the Shrimp D’avaoli (spelling) the shrimp was way overcooked and mushy. One evening a member our group decided to treat herself to Lobster (upcharge). Her Lobster arrived 30 minutes after everyone else. We were all done eating before hers arrived. It does not take that long to cook a lobster, fortunately they comp the meal, but still it was frustrating and disappointing and bad dinner experience. The specialty Dining package TRYPTIC DINING PACKAGE was equally disappointing. The package included 3 dinners at the following restaurants Butcher Cut, KaitoSushi and Ocean Cay. However, our documents indicated we had an Italian restraint (which was not on this ship) Upon boarding the ship, we went directly to Ocean Cay to book our reservations as we had a group of 10 so we knew we had to book early. Unfortunately, the next day all our reservations we gone once again we had to go back down and set up new reservations. We opt for the following restaurants Ocean Cay, Tapas Restaurant and Butcher Cut. One of the main complaints for all the specialty restaurants was the limitations set on what we could order with the package (very restricted compared to the cruise lines special packages). The Ocean Cay should provide options for those who don’t want and/or can’t eat sea food but want to go to dinner with the group. Food was okay but not great Tapas Restaurant food was ok, I ordered the lobster burger, which was an upcharge, the lobster was very overcooked rubbery, the wait staff comp the charge on the lobster since I did not like it Butcher Cut offered the best meals of all the specialty restaurants I would have selected that for 3 meals if given the choice. Our Aurea Experience included unlimited access to the Thermal spa and 1 50-minute Massage The Massage was great the Therapist I had done a great job. The Thermal SPA has some needs for improvement. First off, the position of the Women’s locker room is poorly laid out, the changing area is visible to the main public area of the Spa. The Spa Area is much to small for this size ship only 3 Thermal Beds (of which only 2 worked the entire cruise). It was difficult to get time on the chairs. Compared to other cruise lines Thermal areas this was very small and very dark. Need the larger towels placed in the women’s locker room, supplying small towels does not proved a cover up as you walk from the locker room which again is visible to the entrance spa to the thermal area. Providing Robes would be a big improvement as well. Also, it might be helpful to post reminders to folks that this is area for relaxations excessive and loud talking is not appropriate. The saving of the thermal beds is not permitted, I walked in to find towels on bed and people were in the Jacuzzi spa. I know MSC can not be responsible for people rudeness or lack of common sense, but reminders and staff monitoring might help Regarding communications, the phone system on board did not provide the ability to leave messages for other guests. The online app good thing did not charge for app as other cruise line do, but there is need for improvement need to be able to send chat to multiple guest at one time to cumbersome to send chats to people in group. Updates and chats need to be timely. We had issue scheduling our Cirque De Soleil it took 4 follow up conversations to get it right. Disembarking went better than Embarkment but still a bit confusing. Refunding of credit balance to passengers (which was probable more since we got a 150 per persons credit for missing Port in Sydney) for those passengers putting CC on accounts, it should have been a simple transaction to credit our account. Why should a guest have to wait in long lines at guest services to get our money back? We purchased this cruise based on 2 key factors first being to visit Quebec and spend time in Quebec and to view the fall foliage while sailing to and from Quebec along the St Lawrence. Well MSC fell short on both accounts. While standing in line to check in we were notified to that we would not have the additional half day on Quebec on the October 15th. They offered us $50 on board credit (nonrefundable credit) 25 per person. Chump change for time lost in port, we should have been refund for the day. And due to this change in schedule we did not sail during the day light hours along the St Lawrence to view the fall foliage as anticipated. Scheduled was changed to leave Quebec 12 hours early to arrive New York 2 hours earlier at 7 AM instead of original arrival was 9 AM. Note that even with the rough seas we arrived in port after 1 AM 6 hours early. This was the worst cruise experience we have had, and we have cruised quite a bit we have Diamond Plus on RCL and Platinum on NCL. So, we will not be paying for another cruise on MSC and will not be recommending this cruise line to anyone Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
It was horrible from the beginning. MSC was NOT prepared to deal with NY. They did not make the right arrangements with the longshoremen and the Stevedore unions and got it stuck up where the sun doesn’t shine. No excuse they need to ... Read More
It was horrible from the beginning. MSC was NOT prepared to deal with NY. They did not make the right arrangements with the longshoremen and the Stevedore unions and got it stuck up where the sun doesn’t shine. No excuse they need to prepare. 3 to 4 hour waits to check in. People getting sick and requiring medical treatment. No priority boarding. It was a fiasco! They also were showing NY travel agents the ship and those people were getting off while people who had waited in line were trying to board. Not enough ramps not enough computer a complete disgrace. Left over an hour late. They claimed that rough seas caused us to miss Sydney port of call but word has it they did NOT make proper arrangements to stop there and even Canada said the heck with you. Most of the crew just arrived the same day, they were being shown around the next morning. No Satellite TV or sports broadcast. No NFL or College football, no baseball playoffs and NY Yankee fans were pissed and I don’t blame them. No news ! It was like we were lost at sea and we kind of were. MSC was in total disarray. Food was terrible. Buffet was weak, some water and juice dispensers did not work. Ran out of Coffee many times and no one to replenish. Poor selection and quality. Poor choice of deserts and fruit. Ice cream was out at the pool deck which was freezing rain. No cookies. Their pizza wasn’t even very good ! LOL ! Main dining room was just as bad. Poor cuts of meat and bad menus choices. Long waits to be served. The SPA was also a disgrace. One Steam room was not working and never got repaired. Only two of the three warm chairs worked and on Rough sea days they drained all whirlpools bot outside and in the SPA. Entertainment was ok but Cirque du Soleil was a rip off with watered down drinks and the show had to be stopped due to technical difficulties for 15 minutes. They credited everyone $300 for inconvenience of missing Sydney but it was no where near enough for their incompetence. People didn’t get drink packages, people didn’t get on board credits from the travel agencies. I didn’t get mine and when I called my agent he said it was definitely paid to MSC so they were really screwed up. I inquired but never got it. Ship is just fair. Poor design compared to others like Seaside and Celebrity Edge. No officers to be seen even at the VIP Black card party that was a joke. They probably were afraid to be confronted. I didn’t speak to one person that was happy and yet MSC is in complete denial. Be careful of cruising on them. They have expanded too quickly and are not prepared. They really should be ashamed. The $300 OBC that they gave everyone was no where near enough for their incompetence ! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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