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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
The ship is terrible - despite its enormous size, has very few things to do, no entertainment program on the main pool deck, only a few games to share among 5000 passengers, very low quality theater shows. Food is quite bad quality. Shore ... Read More
The ship is terrible - despite its enormous size, has very few things to do, no entertainment program on the main pool deck, only a few games to share among 5000 passengers, very low quality theater shows. Food is quite bad quality. Shore excursions are over priced, with mediocre guides with thick accents you cannot understand. Premium drinks are low quality (particularly wine). Kids programs are super boring - this is the first time my kids refused to go to the kids center and kept repeating how boring everything is. There are only 2 pools on the main deck!! - one indoor and one outdoor, and both are tiny so they are incredibly crowded at all times. Service across the ship is below mediocre. Casino manager is the least professional and disregarding you will ever encounter - don’t bother spending big money, you will get zero attention. Overall, a cheap look and feel and not worth any price you pay. STAY AWAY. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Have cruised carnival, royal, princess and others mostly larger boats like meraviglia. Cost was higher than most but we expected a matching experience. We booked this boat specifically because of the ports of call in the Baltic (vs ... Read More
Have cruised carnival, royal, princess and others mostly larger boats like meraviglia. Cost was higher than most but we expected a matching experience. We booked this boat specifically because of the ports of call in the Baltic (vs typical Caribbean destinations we have done 7 times). Bad service from the beginning. Employees look and act mostly clueless. You have to get irate to get a manager. Cabin is ridiculously small. We had 2 cabins for 3 people, the room was basically big enough for 2 with a wardrobe for 1 (on royal everybody gets their own wardrobe). There was NO space for luggage so it had to be left in the middle of the floor and you had to crawl over. I happen to look into a 4 person cabin and it was identical to the 3 but the couch has a bunk attached to it (royals and carnivals cabins are actually built for the number of passengers). No outlets near bed, you, cabin service was sporadic and steward was not friendly (our kids have literally taken pics with stewards on some boats they were so friendly). Also, dont expect wash cloths. Buffet, to put it mildly was a non stop chaotic mess. Food quality was poor and food choices were abysmal. I could go on for paragraphs, but buffet was indescribably bad. Dinner was okay, our table staff was the best experience we had. We got lucky there, many reviews talk about how bad it was. It was a shock that no dinner night offered a steak or lobster option (it was an upgrade), every other cruise we've been on always had one night with steak and lobster. Drink packages were ridiculously complicated and hard to use ( yes, they were also costly so we made sure to use them :-) so cost per drink wasnt bad). But, be aware, if you want a drink package, you are requires to buy a comparable package for everybody in your cabin. Wait, what if one is a child and one doesn't drink. Well, deal with it cause you're buying package for all. But dont worry about it, if your kids want ice cream, the only way to get it is a drink package (or you pay per scoop)- again royal and carnival have unlimited ice cream for kids. Btw, we found out after day 3 we weren't supposed to be able to use the drink package in the british pub, its considered a specialty restaurant and thus doesn't accept the drink package. Luckily the wait staff in the pub was enjoyable and never registered the drinks. Amenities: on the oasis of the seas (royal), which is comparable in size, you never felt crowded. On msc, you felt absolutely crowded everywhere you went. Elevators were claustrophobic, tiny pools and pool decks, sports area is cramped, gym incredibly small for this many people. Also, soooooo much of the amenities are add ons. Dont expect to bowl, f1 race, vr expeirence, there are 3 board games that are actually composites of like 6 different versions of each game across multiple languages...good luck. Also, dont expect towel service on the pool deck, only blankets. You have to bring pool towels from your cabin. There are at least 20 other situations like this involving stupid or uncommuncated policies, long lines, poor service personnel and bad food. I did send a detailed letter to MSC and have received no feedback. Funny thing, we spoke to several other families (who we didn't know) and they had similar experiences. But I will say the ports of call were amazing. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We did a Baltic Capitals Cruise on the MSC Meraviglia with our 24 months old. The experience was amazing for the three of us. The ship is decorated with taste - in fact it was the most beautiful ship we’ve been on. The buffet food is ... Read More
We did a Baltic Capitals Cruise on the MSC Meraviglia with our 24 months old. The experience was amazing for the three of us. The ship is decorated with taste - in fact it was the most beautiful ship we’ve been on. The buffet food is amazing: lots of tasty options all day long and the best pizza at sea! The evening seated dinner is also great - although there is a limited option to choose from. Nice staff, clean spaces, enough things to do on board. There’s a baby care program for under 3s but we didn’t use it, although we made use of the baby room which had plenty of toys and was really clean. The only thing we didn’t like was that they had the TV on all the time - and even when we were in the baby room alone they couldn’t turn it off - we went to the baby room to play, if I wanted my son to watch TV I would stay in our room. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise ship because of the ports mostly. We were most interested in sightseeing, but got more than we expected. We used cruise shuttles and Hop-off/Hop-on busses arranged by the cruise, for reasonable price. We did not use ... Read More
We chose this cruise ship because of the ports mostly. We were most interested in sightseeing, but got more than we expected. We used cruise shuttles and Hop-off/Hop-on busses arranged by the cruise, for reasonable price. We did not use any excursions, explored on our own and found it to be very efficient. On the ship, the entertainment was outstanding. We planned to book a Cirque du Soleil but the free Broadway shows were so nice that we attended those instead (different one each night). The dancers and singers are talented to say the least. There kids camp was good, our girls (5 and 7) got to love it by the third time we dropped them off, it took some time for them to get used to kids speaking different languages. The pool area was beautiful, outdoor pool was heated but the weather was too cold for us. We used indoor pool and Jacuzzis (well kept and orderly, never overcrowded). The casino was quite small, always too close to the smoking area in my opinion, but overall we were happy we didn't get to gamble and loose money. There were some photographers, we took pictures and booked a digital package, which was a deal in my opinion. We booked 2 rooms: a balcony and an inside room. Both rooms were not very roomy, but everything well organized. The service to the balcony room was noticeable better (never missed a thing, courteous, pleasant) than to the inside cabin (pool towels were removed and not replaced on several occasions) for some reason. There were no towel animals, but the beds were made several times per day, always clean and tidy. The program was delivered every evening. We checked our account every evening and were never charged for anything we didn't authorize. The ship was beautiful, as expected, also very clean and well-organized. I was happy with the service provided by all the staff in dining rooms and bars. We ate at our assigned restaurant once, found it to be quite slow and continued to use the buffet instead. The buffet had a wide variety of dishes, tasty and appealing. We were given coupons for drinks, but overall the prices were reasonable as well. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze! Overall, we would cruise with MSC again, especially on Meraviglia. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Just got back from cruise in Rome beautiful ship cabins good size restaurant waiters cabin staff excellent I don’t know how they put up with so many rude customers. Food in Buffett lukewarm was told to ask for freshly made if I wanted it ... Read More
Just got back from cruise in Rome beautiful ship cabins good size restaurant waiters cabin staff excellent I don’t know how they put up with so many rude customers. Food in Buffett lukewarm was told to ask for freshly made if I wanted it hot . Ridiculous this is how health issues start also no regard for health standard where was the hand sanitizer that all other cruise ships insist you use when attending Buffett. I saw many customers not using tongs supplied filing water bottles when clearly states not to no one stopped so I wouldn’t drink free water purchased bottled . This cruise company would be my last pick of all other cruise lines I have used. Shuttles not supplied like many other companies do profit put first used taxi instead same price. Security staff some rude butted in on conversation need more scanners for this amount of customers. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise allows passengers to embark and disembark at any port on it's route. That means no embarkation day and no debarkation day. The good news with that is that you're not fighting a big crowd at your point of embarkation ... Read More
This cruise allows passengers to embark and disembark at any port on it's route. That means no embarkation day and no debarkation day. The good news with that is that you're not fighting a big crowd at your point of embarkation and debarkation, and most of the first day stuff that might normally be mobbed, like ship-card management kiosks, aren't particularly busy. Embarkation and Debarkation were both very smooth. The bad news is that there is a muster drill every single port day with the blowing of the horn and the very long announcements, and you're not part of a cohort so if you like making cruise friends, they may be leaving much sooner than you are. We chose to embark in Barcelona to enjoy a couple of days in the city on either end of the cruise. This was a great call, we LOVE Barcelona and it is an awesomely easy terminal to access and move through. This is one big ship! At full capacity with guests and crew it can hold almost 7,000 people, but somehow it rarely felt that crowded. There is a lot to say about the experience so I will do my best to take it in categories and not to get too tangential. Our overall rating? 7.5/10, would cruise again but only if we got an awesome deal. Much of the lost points had to do with culture differences, language barrier, and frustrations with the European vs US idea of customer service. Without further delay ... let’s get reviewing! The ship itself is BIG but not super accessible. There are some annoying choke points that get clogged up and can’t be avoided (like exiting the theaters) and the the deck plan makes it somewhat difficult to navigate overall. There were actually entire areas we never even bothered going back to after we did our embarkation exploration because we couldn’t seem to find them again despite having a whole week on board. That said, the ship is gorgeous. It’s main atrium has a curved ceiling made of LED panels they call “The Dome” and each evening they do a brief Dome Show. It sounds cheesy but it was actually very cool. The signature Swarovski crystal staircases definitely add wow factor. We found our aft facing cabin very comfortable with an awesome and spacious balcony (cabin #10374). Book these rooms only if you enjoy the motion of the ship because you will feel it. It happens that we love it. The only issue was that it was all the way aft and there are no aft elevators, so it was a long enough walk that I definitely had a “if I forgot it, I don’t need it” mentality. Note: Smoking is still extremely common in Europe and a lot of people were smoking on their balconies which will waft up to yours and the corridors often smell of smoke. The casino is technically the only indoor smoking area and the ventilation is garbage and you must walk through to get to the Carousel Lounge, which is where they have the Cirque du Soleil show. Not judging anyone’s choices, but something to note for those who are sensitive to the smell or who worry about second hand smoke. Now on to everybody’s big question: how was the food? (A quick note, I am a vegan and my husband is not, but we are writing this together. Obviously a big factor for me is dietary accommodation and I also try to include allergen sensitivity in my review). This ship was good about allergen warnings but not very good at the distinction between vegan/vegetarian. I have noticed that for many cruise staff on all cruise lines, all allergies or dietary restrictions = gluten free, which is annoying but I do appreciate the effort. **TL;DR, food is hit and miss, dining room portions are very small.** In some specific areas the food was exceptional - the breads and pastry were all absolutely delicious (RIP my waistline), and all the mozzarella used/served is made fresh onboard. The house-made sorbets and ice creams were also excellent. Cured meats and cheeses were gourmet quality and there was very good selection. Buffet is open most of the day with solid variety and tasty food. Dinner Misc Notes- we ate in one of the complimentary dining rooms (Panorama) and found that unfortunately most of the mains were a bit disappointing. For those who are American you may find the portions pretty small as all dining is very much in the European style where you eat small plates at meals and supplement that by enjoying a bite with coffee or a hard drink in between meals. European meals are also often later than American ones, so it’s more like a pastry in the morning, lunch between 1-3 and dinner between 7:30 and 9:00. Be sure to sign up ahead of time for a seating you want or you could get stuck with a very late seating or a very early one. In the dining room the good news is that they had an entree option marked vegan at each dinner. Bad news is they were pretty bad - either very teeny but ok or sufficient but fried (I just don’t like deep fried food). One evening I was served 3 little pita points with about 2 tbsp of hummus and 2 tbsp of babaganoush. Suffice to say I came hungry and left...cranky and ended up having a protein bar back in the cabin. Although I was never in danger of starving or anything like that, it did not exactly make me feel like I was on vacation having a fine dining experience. BUT! All was not lost! After the hummus incident of 2019, the dining manager made me aware that they can do a 2 dish Indian entree every night if the menu option is no good. I ate that the rest of the trip (4 dinners) and it was delicious. My husband’s meals were ok, standouts include the escargot in puff pastry appetizer, and also the steak dinner served at the Cirque Du Soleil experience (extra fee). Desserts were very disappointing with the exception of ice creams and sorbet. We also had a major problem getting coffee served with our dessert, apparently this is not a thing that is common in Europe and so they would have to brew an entirely new pot, which is lovely except that the dessert was served long long before the coffee so you’re done or you’re waiting while the room empties out. Most of the service issues were things like this - simple requests from a U.S. perspective that required scrambling for a euro style dining setup. Not a deal breaker but definitely noticeable service hiccups and the staff was visibly annoyed. Breakfast - We attempted breakfast in the dining room the first two mornings but found the service to be a problem for getting to our excursions on time and there was no vegan option. Some classic dishes like eggs benedict were not done very well and so we preferred the buffet for breakfast, it has good options for just about anyone. The buffet is usually a zoo but that is true of every ship we’ve been on and it just comes with the big-ship territory. After hours: like most ships, pizza is available almost all the time and they also offer mini sandwiches (bocadillos), well into the evening along with fresh fruit and some small dessert bites. Don’t worry, you won’t go hungry! Entertainment: the shows were 50% awesome and 50% good-not-great. Again, full disclosure, we are very spoiled because we are near NYC and usually see shows on Broadway, so we have high expectations. The production quality was very solid and they went all out on the costuming - it had a distinctly eurovision look: gowns, headdresses, sequins, and omg so many costume changes! The dancing was excellent, there were 2 or three very very good singers and overall the performing was strong. The dancers were awesome. One problem we had was that the singers were largely Italian and so when they cover American broadway, rock, and pop classics the accent is very very noticeable. Big props though, not easy to sing in English while also trying to do right by a well known hit song. We had Cirque Du Soleil included with our cruise fare and it was great - definitely worth attending. Each night there was an interactive “party” in the main atrium and we found them to be lots of fun. If you attend the show you are pretty much released right into the party. I had the opportunity to spend an hour in the thermal suite, which was very impressive! Many rooms and different temperatures to choose from, including a temp variation rain shower path. I enjoyed it very much. We also took advantage of foosball and the “Himalayan Bridge” ropes course, and the gym facilities. If you are a gym goer, don’t forget weights are marked in Kilograms! I wasn’t thinking at 6am and got a big surprise when I tried to just pick up a “20”! There were many many more activities and things to do that we didn’t get to but which looked really great. We did a shore excursion in every port and had a good experience, and we definitely recommend the MSC excursions. If you're still with me here, you must have had a snickers because this ran LONG. If you choose to cruise this ship I hope you have a wonderful trip - we definitely did! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Hard to believe all of the negative reviews of this ship and its staff. My wife and I have been cruising for over 25 years on many of the largest cruise lines and this cruise with MSC was our first with the company. We have to say it was ... Read More
Hard to believe all of the negative reviews of this ship and its staff. My wife and I have been cruising for over 25 years on many of the largest cruise lines and this cruise with MSC was our first with the company. We have to say it was one of the best experiences we have had on any cruise ship. The staff in all areas of the ship were always helpful and friendly. The entertainment was very good. We enjoyed two production shows and both of the Cirque performances. Getting on and off of the ship in Barcelona could not have been more simple and easy. It actually is much better when people can get on and off at each port of call. Seems to avoid the masses when a cruise begins and ends for everyone in the same place. We found the food and drinks to be very good with plenty of variety. We do understand that some people get angry when they are charged for the specialty restaurants and other things around the ship, but you should know that before you book the cruise. There's really not any surprises. There is a reason why the cruise fare is much lower than the competitors and you are not obligated to spend money for all of the extras. This cruise was full of so many different people from all over the world and most seemed to be having a great time, so if you are thinking about sailing on the Meraviglia, you really will love it! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I was really disappointed with MSC system. Most of the crew were rude, rude and rude in all area of the ship. Please pay attention to your bill. Almost everyday I need to go down the reception to clarify the charges. Even though I ... Read More
I was really disappointed with MSC system. Most of the crew were rude, rude and rude in all area of the ship. Please pay attention to your bill. Almost everyday I need to go down the reception to clarify the charges. Even though I purchased the package for food and drink. They have too many package until the crew and myself also confuse what is what. Let take an example like I bought the premium package for my drinks. So it emphasized that any glass drink that is under euro 10 is under the package. But I was told that I need to pay for the drinks like sake and plum wine which was under Euro 10. Then when I go challenge with the crew they answered me " this is an Italian cruise and you are drinking japanese sake so you need to pay" so meaning all the whisky and beer from scotland and US I need to pay????? Becareful with the photo you purchase too. Please ask for a better package and do check whether they double charge or not. Most of the crew are really rude especially in the Buffet dining area. If you manage to have someone take good care of you then please do appreciate this person. I was ask this question when I try to order some drinks from the waiter " Why didn't you order just now". I also have argument with the waiter and the supervisor on the fresh orange juice which fall on less then euro 10 category. I could go on and on. Their are just tons of problem with their system. Even to the cleanliness of the cabin. Don't bother with Balcony. They don't clean your Balcony. Their shows is boring. So no point go paying for show at Curosell. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Me and wife wanted to go somewhere special for our first marriage anniversary. Heard of this cruise from a friend and then started the research work. We, first, did our research on the ports where the cruise will take halts, and then the ... Read More
Me and wife wanted to go somewhere special for our first marriage anniversary. Heard of this cruise from a friend and then started the research work. We, first, did our research on the ports where the cruise will take halts, and then the cruise itself. As many of you still wondering,we too saw a great number of negative reviews. This resulted in us thinking of changing our plans. But a friend of mine suggested to just ignore the reviews and go for it. I took the risk and it was worth every penny. We embarked the cruise from Barcelona. As soon as we entered the port terminal, we were greeted by the MSC staff. They were helpful in explaining the process of embarkation, the steps we need to do as son as we enter the ship etc. The check-in process took less than 10 minutes. They took our check-in luggage to deliver it to our stateroom and issued a cruise card for both of us. As soon as we entered the ship, we were in complete awe. The first thing that caught our eye was the LED Dome. It was enormous and lit with beautiful paintings. The central part of this floor( floor 6) was even more beautiful with amazing stairs, bar options and musicians in the center. We opted for the 'Fantastica Balcony' stateroom. The room clean and tidy with an amazing view. The bathroom had a soap dispensor at the wash-basin and a body-wash+shampoo dispensers in the bathing area. We mostly ate in the buffet section, called the 'Market Buffet' on 15th floor. It had plenty of options for 20 hours a day. We pre-booked all our excursion tours from MSC. There were plenty of options for each port. Some of our tours went really well, and others not(mostly due to the bad weather conditions). We tried all bars present inside the cruise. Their prices were slightly a bit on a higher side, but the drinks and ambiance was great. The best bar to sit in and enjoy your time was the Meraviglia Lounge. You can go there any time of the day and there was some hustle bustle around it. You can't get bored if you are sitting there. And if you want to just chat and relax while drinking, Brass Anchor Pub was apt for it. Our package also include a booking of Dinner and Show 'Cirque du Solei' and it was epic. It was the most entertaining hour of our trip. Do not Miss it. Didn't go for any Broadway Show, but heard pretty good reviews from fellow travelers. In the end, I just want to specially mention the staff of MSC. They are the real stars. All the waiters/waitresses, entertainers, musicians, chefs etc. They are always smiling and ready to help even when they have such hectic working hours. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I would like to start off by saying that this cruise was booked whilst on-board a previous MSC cruise in the year (Voyagers Club), therefore understandably chuffed with the already discounted trip/cabin/onboard credit ect. The ... Read More
I would like to start off by saying that this cruise was booked whilst on-board a previous MSC cruise in the year (Voyagers Club), therefore understandably chuffed with the already discounted trip/cabin/onboard credit ect. The Meraviglia is huge, well planned out and therefore should provide any passenger with a pleasant experience, over the duration of the holiday not once did I see an unclean part of the ship nor did I have reason to complain about the facilities. Travelling with my wife it is fair to say that we know what we want from a holiday and can easily compare the Meraviglia to past MSC holidays! DO NOT DO THIS ! this is where we learned very quickly that this trip is going to be different in many ways. If you are willing to sail away and embrace the new you will have an excellent time..... If you natter on to your newly found friends at dinner about your last cruise and think that that the waiters will have time for you then you will probably have a terrible time... > forget that honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean or that time that you took the kids away on a cruise where you found all the fun to be had at sea! It is very hard to repeat the same experiences, my thoughts below are reasons why I state this....... 1. Technology, your granny will hate it but get used to it as the MSC is top class with scrolling information boards at every lift point (much like scrolling on a mobile phone), scan your card or wristband at the terminal to get a map, book dinner of to simply check on tonight's shows. In room TV info is just amazing with on demand movies, news, safety info and future cruising info 2. Cleanliness - Its clean and tidy, almost OCD level so don't mess up the ship or your room for that matter as your cabin man/woman will notice. 3. Entertainment - Excellent but you'll need deep wallets to get rid of the kids for an hr, 100 euros will get a arcade pass to the flight simulator and F1 car simulator and similar, the water park and high ropes are FREE though so just make sure you use this facility. 4. Adult entertainment - Cirque du soleil, I didn't know what this was at the time but just book and see the show before you board to avoid disappointment, most easily the best show that you will witness on water. SONAR was so so cool. 5. Dining, Expect busy waiters and long wait times at the bar the STAFF versus PASSENGERS ration is miss managed, the only way to have a nice little chat to staff would be the Anchor pub, and that'll be because they know that mainly English passengers go there. Strongbow will be part of your drinks package if you have it. 6. Meeting friends - Not likely, If you are really lucky to keep in touch with your allocated dinner guests and make a point of meeting up or suggesting paring up on land to do some shore excursions then maybe you will> my experiences when even trying to strike up a conversation with others are that the ship is so so big why bother as I wont see you again for the rest of the cruise, even at the voyagers exclusive party and meet the captain it was like being in the middle of a busy shopping mall surrounded by (yes like minded) strangers. Summary - I had an excellent time with my wife and can say that the ship itself is amazing and takes all week to discover each and every facility, MSC have some nice touches, ill try not to spoil all of the quirky tricks that make you feel good about being on holiday but here are two (x2) must have experiences.... A. Get up before six (6am) and walk under the dome (dome show) to see the sky and hear the morning birdsong. B. Be up on deck (poolside) when sailing away from ports to experience Andrea Bocelli's TIME TO SAY GOODBYE song (the younger cruisers will be more familiar with the film step brothers - either way its a nice touch) .......If this is your first cruise I would consider starting with other smaller ships within MSC's fleet before you go big time. Whatever you decide or if you have already booked you will have a nice trip so make the most of it and put in a little effort with others- you'll be grateful when staff remember you for the right reasons and not just because you were complaining at reception- have fun guys. Mr Lee Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one ... Read More
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one of the top 10 largest ships afloat, very new, and the video was amazing. The reviews however, were anything but amazing. Like lukewarm and even negative reviews about our favorite restaurants, I have learned that most negative reviews are more about missed/too lofty expectations than reality. The biggest gripes about the Meraviglia seemed to be food and staff. Since the boat is so high tech and wondrously equipped, no one really complained about the ship. Sure enough, even our tablemates as well as others on board echoed the Cruise Critic complaints. They ranged from now having butter and iced tea (both free, readily available) to non English speaking staff who were "unfriendly". If your attitude is "I am the guest and I expect to be served", you will be disappointed. If you engage the staff with your own smile and understand they work 11 hours a day, even my first time cruising wife was amazed at how every waiter and staff person smiled back.....even when they had to say "no" (like when we were late for dinner and the gatekeeping waiter apologized saying he was not allowed to let anyone in past 7:45, so I asked him to ask for his captain, which he did, and of course, the captain, his boss, let us in). MSC offers the lowest prices afloat for the most interesting itineraries and the newest boats.....but unless you are traveling Yacht Club, you just cant expect white glove service--but you can expect politeness and cleanliness and entertainment and "service". And we got all of this and more. Dinner. We only ate at the standard Waves Restaurant. Three sittings, We were the second. The appetizers and desserts were great, the entrees, though varied were not as good and need improvement. Not to worry though because the astonishing buffet, open 20 hours a day, had stupendous selections of excellent food from simple salads, to homemade pizza, Halal and ethnic specialties, rotisserie *the roast veal carved to order was smashing), plus an on board mozzarella factory (you could see it being made) that ensured great caprese salads and more. And they changed the offerings every day! Housekeeping. In a word, perfect. No goofy doorknob hangers telling staff to clean up the room. Just press a button. Spotless. The Room. We opted for an admidships deck 12 interior cabin because my wife was worried about seasickness. The cabin was huge, with a queen plus bed, great pillows, lighting, etc And the bathroom has the best shower afloat in my experience with infinite hot water! And a blow dryer!. Staff. What a great group of waiters and support staff rom Central America to Ukraine and Africa. Just knocked themselves out to please! It surely helped that we engaged them instead of treating them like servants. Prices: For 5Euros we got any two items delivered free to our room. Drinks were 6Euros. The best ice cream and chocolate (made on the boat) were $1-3Euros. The coffee, water, tea, ice tea, etc. were all free at the buffet. So no complaints about the "extras" The experience: 32 elevators, four pools, an arcade full of shops, sky bars, full size basketball court, full size bowling alleys and a water slide that went OVER the edge of the ship, outstanding singing and dancing "Broadway" type shows and Swarovski glass staircases made onboard life hugely satisfying. The guests. Where were all the seniors? This was the first cruise I have ever been on where there were so many families, disabled people, young honeymooners, babies, kids, etc. from so many different countries. A true multi-cultural experience. Our table mates were from the Dominican Republic (an MD and his wife), honeymooners from Colombia, and a couple from Florida. A great itinerary and all of the above for $1300 for 7 nights? Yup, and we cant wait to go again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I decided to take a Mediterranean cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary. We searched several cruise lines as we have cruised with three other American Cruise lines. We opted to take MSC As the other options were limited ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take a Mediterranean cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary. We searched several cruise lines as we have cruised with three other American Cruise lines. We opted to take MSC As the other options were limited during the month of November. Never cruising with this cruise line before, we were a little bit hesitant but we’re excited about the port of calls. Leading up to the date of the cruise I became a little bit weary when reading other reviews. This caused our expectation to be lower than usual. As the other options were limited during the month of November. Never cruising with this cruise line before, we were a little bit hesitant but were excited about the port of calls. Leading up to the date of the cruise I became a little bit weary when reading the reviews. This caused our expectation to be lower than usual. We were pleasantly surprised at how gorgeous the ship was and how accommodating the crewmembers were. Everyone was super friendly and to our surprise the food was wonderful. We ate in various restaurants including one of the Cirque Du Soleil show with dinner. If there is one advice I can give to people that have not cruise with this cruise line before, is that there is a lot of information on the ship but you need to look for the information. Another words, if you opt for one of their experiences that includes unlimited drinks, be sure to ask from the beginning where the unlimited drinks are valid. This information was not readily available, therefore We did not take it vantage of it until the second to last night. The ship was extremely clean, the food was always hot, Unlike some of the prior reviews that we had read. I would recommend this gorgeous ship to anyone! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
So Before we went on this cruise I was tempted to change it due to all the negative reviews!!! Haha! I’m glad I didn’t Yes it has faults but it’s also an amazing ship with things to do all day Rude staff Yes they ... Read More
So Before we went on this cruise I was tempted to change it due to all the negative reviews!!! Haha! I’m glad I didn’t Yes it has faults but it’s also an amazing ship with things to do all day Rude staff Yes they can be a bit grumpy but just talk to them get to know them! You will be amazed how quick they soon love you On our first night a party on deck We used the bar and the main bar man Vitaly was quite abrupt. Next day he apologized and said he was tired. Looked after us the rest of the cruise! Bars were clean and staff were good Brass anchor pub had fab bands on every night and the beer was lovely!!! We changed our restaurant sitting from early till late no problem Restaurant was clean and our waiter was good Like the smaller tables that have been introduced Food was good not massive portions but you could order more if you wanted Buffet was busy yes but we never had a time when we couldn’t get a table Problem is people getting food before getting a seat??? Weird in my book? But hey ! Breakfast was busy but just wait a bit later We bought a restaurant package that was cirque de solie,estaly and butchers cut. Amazing Great food and great value The central plaza is fab Great atmosphere and parties Found the spa to be expensive so give it a miss We liked how you are not set to a routine like on other msc ships The shows ran 3 times a night and you just booked on your msc for me app on your phone! Cabin was larger than normal but hanging space in the wardrobe is less Bathroom is smaller but shower is bigger with the new design And how long do you spend in the bathroom???? Unless your my wife !!! Loads of stuff to do and even on busy days you can still find tables and areas that are quiet. The pool at the back of the ship was empty every time we went to it Getting back on ship was sometimes busy and I don’t think staff should use the same entrance Ship was clean and beautiful All in all Meriviglia is a fab ship A few problems but hey it’s got 6000 people on what do you expect Be happy be respectful and you will love it Be rude be miserable you will hate it Have a good one !!!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Overall we were disappointed with this cruise. A beautiful ship with lots of high value shops. Food in the buffet left a lot to be desired in flavour and quality and also was barely warm. Elegant dining was allocated and we were billed ... Read More
Overall we were disappointed with this cruise. A beautiful ship with lots of high value shops. Food in the buffet left a lot to be desired in flavour and quality and also was barely warm. Elegant dining was allocated and we were billed for it, a big surprise. We were not informed that dining anywhere but the buffet cost extra. We would not have minded but the main meal at the dining room was way below par. Training of the staff at the dining room was lacking. The ship treated all passengers like milk cows, money for ice cream and everything else. This company needs to look at other cruise lines and see the difference. The help desk was always queued up as this ship was acting like a ferry rather than a cruise ship. People getting on and off at every port and spent time querying their bills this caused a lot of frustration. Internet was expensive on board and was unavailable for 70/80 % of the time. Staff told us it was to be updated but on a new ship? as well as being told that the problem was the way we signed on and other excuses. To cap it all my wife was abused by one of the senior staff, Natalia, while we were waiting to disembark The entertainment was first class. Would not recommend this cruise line to anybody. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Initially I was concerned with some of the reviews that we had read. We decided to continue with the cruise and this was the best decision we could have done. Yes the cruise was different than the US based cruise lines but if you are ... Read More
Initially I was concerned with some of the reviews that we had read. We decided to continue with the cruise and this was the best decision we could have done. Yes the cruise was different than the US based cruise lines but if you are going to sail with a Eupoean ship, keep an open mind...be willing to experience other types of cruises. The ship was clean and the staff was wonderful. We booked the angled balcony suite with the external jacuzzi. This cabin included the Aurea experience which allowed us to do priority boarding, free choice of dining time, unlimited drinks and two massages (one per two adults). There was so much to do on the ship, so even if you with to skip a port of call, you will not regret it. We really could not understand how some passengers had negative experiences. My suggestion to anyone that chooses to read this review is to understand that everyone is different and therefore expectations are also different. For us, we chose to create our own wonderful memories upon this beautiful vessel! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise because of the ports, timing, and cost. The ship was beautiful with wonderful appointments. Access to room was each with a touch or the room card. There was an "over 18 only" room on the 18th deck that ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports, timing, and cost. The ship was beautiful with wonderful appointments. Access to room was each with a touch or the room card. There was an "over 18 only" room on the 18th deck that offered a quiet place to be, with a panoramic view! Shore excursions were terrific. Getting on and off the ship was SO easy. There were 4 pools plus hot tubs. Regrettably, most were filled with children and therefore noisy. The cabin accommodations were mostly good: quiet room, good shower, great new mattress and pillows. The only place to sit was on a stool & storage was quite limited in the bedroom, bath, and closet. There were no coffee bars or small cafes. Hygiene was deplorable. We were traveling during the flu season and were astonished to see buffet had 2 entrances w/o hand washing accommodations. Main entrance had some sinks; but soap and paper towels were sometimes lacking (as well as warm water). No staff encouraged hand sanitation, either. Food was very disappointing. Variety was limited. Few meats offered. Portions in the restaurants were small and very limited in variety. I literally could not eat the prime rib (despite my excitement at seeing it on the menu), due to its saltiness. Fruit was not fresh. Pasta was available at lunch and dinner; but again, without meat or seafood in it. Oddly no cocktails were available in the restaurants, though wine was available for purchase. The layout of the buffet was not practical. Some areas were needlessly congested. Often, the display of food was not logical, such as finding salad items under "Ethnic Food" sign. Buffet never opened up all of the possible lines (4), so seating got congested. We had assigned dinner time & table, which limited our socializing. Service was not very accommodating. No service staff offered to assist with finding seating, refiling drinks, serving coffee with dinner, etc. When passing staff in walkways, passengers were expected to give way to staff. The ship had no band or orchestra. There were no "small venues" of comedians, live music, etc. Shops had limited items, too. Another consideration is that there were few passengers with English as their first language, which severely affected out ability to mix and socialize. Something to consider if you are not fluent in other languages (Italian, Spanish, Japanese, etc.) Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
One thing you should know beforehand is that I'm not experienced in cruise ships. This was my first experience overall, but I'll still give you my two cents on it and give some advice to those who embark on a cruise ship for the ... Read More
One thing you should know beforehand is that I'm not experienced in cruise ships. This was my first experience overall, but I'll still give you my two cents on it and give some advice to those who embark on a cruise ship for the first time. I initially got scared when I booked a 7-Day trip in the MSC Meraviglia and saw the reviews in the site: A lot of them were overly negative, and I noticed that some of them were unbalanced: For just one inconvenience or negative aspect of the ship they'd put a 1 star rating on the trip. Not fair, in my opinion. So after taking this cruise I'm gonna rate the most important aspects of my trip, from worst one to best one: Worst part: The price. Your overall spendings can, and will, be more expensive than what you first planned when you booked the trip. This ship wants your money, and while they don't strictly force you to buy the things they offer, they will encourage you daily to do so. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were included in my plan: Breakfast and lunch only available in the buffet restaurant, and dinner available in both the buffet and one of the restaurants that they will assign you to once you get to the ship. They do have more restaurants: An English-like pub, a meat-focused restaurant, an italian restaurant, a chocolate factory, and an asian restaurant. As amazing as they may seem, you have to reserve and pay for them in order to eat in them, as they are not included. The beverages are also not included. You can drink coffee for free in the buffet restaurant (But the quality of it is average at best), and drink juice or water for free only during breakfast. For the rest of the beverages you have to pay, either with drink packages or with an "all inclusive" pack that lasts for the cruise but is individual, so it will cost you a lot if you go with your family. I put "all inclusive" in quotes because it actually doesn't apply in the Champagne bar, so it's not entirely inclusive. Entertainment options like the Spa, the Cirque du Soleil show, the waterslides, the F1 simulator and the arcade machines are not included as well and you will have to pay for them. They also charge for the movies if you want to see one in the cabin. Internet usage is only accessible by payment as well: They have different internet packages but all of them have limited data usage, which can be reaaally inconvenient. If you haven't ever been on a cruise, keep in mind that you will be charged with a daily fee of 10 euros per person as a way of tipping to the service tripulation. Also remember that you won't use cash while buying onboard: You will be given a cruise card that can be charged with cash or linked to a credit card to make the payments. Normal parts: The cabin. I had a balcony cabin that was always kept clean and tidy by the personnel. You will be given both towels to use in the bathroom and in the pool. If you've never been on a cruise the cabin will most probably seem narrow to you compared to a hotel room (And keep in mind that my cabin was bigger than the normal cabin). It has a flat 40 inch TV, a desk, and a minibar (Of course they'll charge you if you want to get something from it). The bathroom is okay, with a nice shower that has hot water and has both soap and shampoo available. I'd recommend bringing your own body soap to the cruise, though. Nice parts: The ship and the food. The ship itself is massive, and it has a lot of commodities and applications. Live music is always present in the reception lounge, and musical numbers or theatre plays (Besides Cirque du Soleil) are available for free in the Theater. It has both outside and inside pools, 4 or 5 lounges and bars as well as a small disco, and places where children can stay during the day. The food in the buffet is pretty nice and varied, and the dinner plates in the assigned restaurants are delicious. The ship itself would be an excellent feature of the trip, but as I've said before, some of the facilities that would be entertaining to be in aren't included unless you pay for them. The embarking processes are generally really fast: I personally didn't have any problem with them. Very Good parts: Activities and excursions. Excursions offered in the ship are not obligatory to take (You can even stay in the ship if you wanted to, of course) and are more expensive compared to the ones that they offer outside the ship in the ports or in websites, but they are really good. The guides are helpful, always caring for the passengers, they have a ton of knowledge of the sites you visit, and are also always aware of the time so that you don't get left behind the ship on the longer excursions. Most of the excursions will be available in different languages, mainly in English, Italian, Spanish, French and German. They offer different activities when you're inside the ship as well. As most of the passengers in these cruises are above 50 years old the activities will be focused towards them, but you can also find some activities for all ages alike. Best part: The personnel. Easily the best part of the cruise, and along with the excursions, they made the experience worthwhile. These people are always eager to help you, master different languages (English and Italian are the most important to know when you're onboard though) and are generally very kind. These people don't have an easy job at all (Imagine trying to keep all kinds of people in a good mood 24/7!) but they pull it off perfectly. The waiters at the Olivo D'oro restaurant are really good, the musicians are really skilled, professional and well-mannered; and the people in the entertainment parts are, to put it simply, some of the best people I met at the trip overall. Hats off to them! So, overall, would I do it again? Most definitely yes, but I'll have to save my bucks for a looong time to go on a ship this expensive again. Here are some advices for the newcomers on the cruise: - For the love of God, read the indications manual. Some days before the embarking, a large document will be sent to your email where they will give you all kinds of indications: How to get to the ship, what stuff to bring in the embarking processes, the things that are included in your package, the taxes you have to pay for, even the dressing codes. Please take your time to read it and I swear your trip won't be as stressful. A lot of complaints in the reviews here are from things that are directly adressed in the indications. - Try to have breakfast and lunch early. The later you arrive to the buffet, the less varied food options you'll have, and you'll be left with only pizza or hamburgers to choose from. Keep in mind that even if the buffet restaurant is really big there will be a lot of people (Specially during breakfast), so be patient when going through the stations to pick up food. - Always keep an eye on the things they can charge you for. For example, before embarking, a photographer will take a photo of you and your family all together: This photo isn't your obligatory security photo (The security photo is individual and will be taken when you get inside the ship) it will later be sent to your cabin and you will get charged for it unless you say you don't want to keep it. There will be photographers in the dining hours offering you some photoshoots: keep in mind that they will totally charge you for them in the last day. Same with your photo with the Captain. - On the cruise you'll have an elegant night and an all-white night: Carry an elegant dress or suit and a white one too. If something else comes to my mind, I'll add it to the review, as well as if you have some questions about the cruise overall. Hope you find this review helpful! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Well, what can we say after reading all the negativity about this ship! Don't listen to all the negativity, we thought it was fabulous and would go back on board in the blink of an eye! I got quite tearful as we had to disembark as ... Read More
Well, what can we say after reading all the negativity about this ship! Don't listen to all the negativity, we thought it was fabulous and would go back on board in the blink of an eye! I got quite tearful as we had to disembark as we truly never wanted our cruise to end. Embarkation went smoothly, perfect from Barcelona. We spent 3 days in a hotel before boarding and loved Barcelona too. I was starting to feel quite nervous about our choice of ship with all the review on here but as soon as we boarded and went to the bar on our classic all inclusive package to order our cocktails, I felt a huge sigh of relief, it was fabulous! Every cocktail we had was beautifully served by polite friendly crew, who we found so chatty and friendly and couldn't do enough for us! The cabin was just an inside but we found it to be one of the biggest cabins we have ever had and the bathroom was beautiful too. The ship is quite stunning, beautiful staircases, the entertainment was excellent, the shows were all very good. Particularly loved the flamenco show. The only thing I would not return to would be the Cirque du soleil Viaggio show, but other people seemed to enjoy it so perhaps just our opinion. The waiters were so friendly and if the food was not to your liking would quite happily exchange if for something else with a smile! Also, if we loved something we quite often ordered another one! The kids club looked amazing too. We spent many evenings dancing and enjoying wonderful cocktails and meeting some really lovely people. We would have no hesitation in returning for another cruise on the Merravigglia, a beautiful ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I chose this ship as I wanted to enjoy the holidays with my family in a new ship and this one looked spectacular and I thought the ports would be fun as well. Before leaving I read the reviews that other people had posted and thought that ... Read More
I chose this ship as I wanted to enjoy the holidays with my family in a new ship and this one looked spectacular and I thought the ports would be fun as well. Before leaving I read the reviews that other people had posted and thought that perhaps the shortcomings of this she would be in dining and the pay for everything culture. Let me break it down: Food I found the buffet on the 15th floor to have plenty of options to choose from. Yes, you did have the same items every day like hot dogs, hamburgers at lunch or eggs/croissants at breakfast, but to be fair, I never repeated a meal 2x during my trip and had plenty of choices to choose from. Food was good, not excellent, but certainly not terrible either. Desserts were so so, which I was glad as I didnt need the calories :) We really enjoyed the japanese restaurant for dinner one night. It was loads of fun! Entertainment Well this is an area that I find they need to work on. At every port we would leave shortly after arrival, take tours and return around 4-5 pm. Then there was nothing to do till dinner 6:30 pm and then again nothing till 8:45 for a show. Nothing before or after that timeframe. Every night they have dancing lessons, which my family had no interest in, or played some music somewhere. But there was no organized games, trivia, daily bingo, etc. Just basically nothing to do on the ship. In terms of the shows, do yourself a favor and skip the magic show. It is just dumb. The best one was Way. We were supposed to see Cique Viaggio but ocean was too rough and they cancelled show. We did see Sonor and I would say for an abbreviated version of Cirque it wasn't bad. We had dinner with the show and I would say dinner that night was mediocre. Just have dinner at the main restaurant or at the specialty restaurant. Information Most of the crew is clueless and will give you the wrong information or simply not answer your questions. It is hard to find someone that knows answers to questions. Just very disorganized. If you have a question ask 3 people and go with consensus. ALl in all we enjoyed our trip as we really liked the ports, and made the best of the time we had as family. We didn't go o the boat expecting much, and we probably won't cruise MSC again, but this is more because of our more favorable experiences with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and even Carnival. ENJOY! Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We booked our December cruise (Rome, Palermo, Malta, Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa) well in advance, and like many others, we were a bit freaked out by the many bad reviews of the cruise. After going on the cruise, I can say that it went ... Read More
We booked our December cruise (Rome, Palermo, Malta, Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa) well in advance, and like many others, we were a bit freaked out by the many bad reviews of the cruise. After going on the cruise, I can say that it went well compared with the 10+ other cruises we've been on with Norwegian, Princess, and Carnival. It was not perfect, but none of the cruises we've gone on were ever perfect. Each cruise line and ship has its pluses and minuses. The Pluses: - Beautiful, well maintained ship - Never felt overly crowded even though there were thousands of people aboard - Getting on board for the first time and leaving the ship after the cruise was really easy and fast. The fact that people started the cruise at different ports made things easy and fast. - Excellent, friendly staff -- especially the main waiter at our dinners. - The large touchscreens for ship info and reservations were great. - The food in the formal dining rooms came out fairly quick, so you don't have to wait too long. - Never had problems finding seating in the buffets. - Line to get an omelette went really quickly The Averages: - The food compares OK with other cruises I've been on. The food is designed for European tastes I believe, so the taste may not be quite be what us Americans are used to. So, if Olive Garden is what you think is good Italian food, you'll be disappointed. Like other cruises, every breakfast, lunch, dunner buffet has a stable offering that does not change (e.g. omelettes, breads, waffles, pizza, pastas, etc.), but they do introduce some changes every day to mix it up a bit. There was an emphasis on Italian food more since many Italians were on board. - As other people mentioned in their reviews, the portion size of the dinner food in the formal dining rooms was smaller compared with other cruise lines. I don't think this is an advantage or disadvantage. If you want more, order more. The wait staff doesn't care how many main courses you order. In fact, smaller sizes allowed you to have the stomach space to try more types of food. - The people on the cruises were fine. There was not the line cutting that people mentioned in other reviews. - The customer service desk was fine. There was a line, but it was not excessively long. - The shows were fine and were on par with many others I've seen on Princess, Norwegian and Carnival. There were 6 shows that rotated in the main theater in addition to the 2 Cirque shows. - The cabins were fine. The Minuses: - They tack on a surprise donation to your bill in the middle of the cruise. It was 1 Euro per person that gets added to the bill. It's annoying since I don't like to make donations I'm not consulted on. You have to go to customer service to get it removed. - The ship's large so depending on the cabin, it may take you quite a bit of time to get to another part of the ship. - There were less structured activities compared with other cruises. So, if you want more trivia contests, ping-pong tournaments, or cooking demonstrations, other cruises are better. - Not enough variety in the salad bar. Overall, the cruise went well and is not the nightmare that others have mentioned. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We had a wonderful time on our cruise, we chose to take breakfast in bed, oh so relaxing looking at the view through our balcony doors. The ship is stunning and beautifully decorated for Christmas and for such a large ship we had no ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on our cruise, we chose to take breakfast in bed, oh so relaxing looking at the view through our balcony doors. The ship is stunning and beautifully decorated for Christmas and for such a large ship we had no trouble finding seats in bars and lounges or the theatre. We ate in the Waves restaurant and our waiters were so attentive and friendly, the food was fine for us, wine very palatable,and water on the table. We had the all inclusive drinks package, such good value. The theatre entertainment was really good the team work so hard and we thoroughly enjoyed every show. Ports of call we did our own thing so can’t comment on ship trips. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well, no waiting. All the staff and Officers we met were so friendly and smiley, made some lovely memories and would cruise with MSC again. We have been on many cruises all different lines and this was our first MSC cruise, we were very satisfied. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Beautiful and new Ship. Bad food in quality, quantity and specially no variety. Poor variety always the same food 7 days a week. Hous open for food is limited. 7H30 to 10h30, 12h00 to 15h and 18h30 to 22h , after hours snack until ... Read More
Beautiful and new Ship. Bad food in quality, quantity and specially no variety. Poor variety always the same food 7 days a week. Hous open for food is limited. 7H30 to 10h30, 12h00 to 15h and 18h30 to 22h , after hours snack until 23h00 is only poor quality of pizza. Even fountain juice drinks are only served during breakfast. Quality of food is like school cafeteria . Buffet are very limited choice, very boring choice. Most of time food counter are closed. Long waiting queue to pick your food. Entertainment is boring, show quality is not high standard. The director entertainment speaks many languages, but yell loud for nothing. He speaks so fast in a short time many languages so nobody understand his messages. He doesn't care if people can get his message or not, as long as he has mentionned, he is satisfy with himself. No care for his customers. The cabin does not give cream lotions. The shower does not provide hair conditionner. Mainly the staff are very kind. But most of the time you have to run for your services. Food , drinks and Cleaning room staffs are very nice and helpful. We have a feeling that we don't get our services. I think it's the administration decision, to only give the minimum services. After cruising with MSC twice. I conclude the same conclusion as previously. MSC is a MINIMUM SERVICE CRUISE. Even I bought a Balcony with All inclusive drink package with AUREA spa package, to prevent bad experiences. I don't see any better. Not only i wasted my money but even more important my precious quality time. I can't get it back. Before I cruise I read other people critics but didn't believe. But it's true. DO NOT WASTE your Precious Time on the Cruise Line MSC. Try to Get better travel experience Consider other cruise lines, would worth more for your money. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
MSC Meraviglia – 13th to 20th November – Naples to Civitavecchia Background We had booked this cruise for a number of reasons, the first being that even though we have visited the majority of ports on the Western Med circuit we ... Read More
MSC Meraviglia – 13th to 20th November – Naples to Civitavecchia Background We had booked this cruise for a number of reasons, the first being that even though we have visited the majority of ports on the Western Med circuit we had never visited Naples. Knowing that we would like to see Pompeii, Herculaneum, Sorrento and some of the other main attractions, this itinerary meant we could spend a few days in Naples before the start of the cruise and tick these destinations off our lists. The other reason for booking the cruise was to experience what the latest flagship of the MSC fleet had to offer. Being launched earlier in 2017, MSC Meraviglia was billed as the most technologically advanced ship at sea. Since this cruise, MSC have launched another new ship, MSC Seaside, as part of their impressive expansion plans. Seaside and Meraviglia are completely different ships, with the design being poles apart. Meraviglia was built by STX France and Seaside by Fincantieri. Seaside focuses on getting guests ‘closer to the sea’ and is the ship that follows the sun, whereas Meraviglia is billed as the ship for all seasons. As I’m yet to sail on Seaside and can only comment on what I’ve seen on the Internet, I’ll refrain from any more comments or comparisons between these two ships. Embarkation Boarding at Naples was convenient, with the cruise terminal having decent facilities and a short and inexpensive taxi ride from our hotel helped us to relax. The signage within the terminal could have been better – luggage needed to be dropped off in one side of the terminal, with check-in / boarding being completed in the other. This could have been confusing had we not sought assistance early on. As we are Black Card members of the Voyagers club we were able to take advantage of the priority boarding – this meant that as soon as the Yacht Club passengers had been taken through security we were able to sail through the crowds. We were given our cruise cards at check in – on recent cruises the cards had been waiting in the cabin. Accommodation Once aboard we went to find our cabin, a Fantastica balcony, 14153. We had not fully appreciated on paper just how much bigger than the Fantasia class ships Meraviglia is, with extra corridors and inside cabins it would certainly take some time to get used to the layout. MSC Cabins are priced on cabin type (inside, outside, balcony, suite etc) and experience type (Bella, Fantastica, Wellness, Aurea, Yacht Club). Each experience type offers different perks. We tend to always choose Fantastica as the cabins are generally in a better location (mid-ships) preference of dining time (although not guaranteed), continental breakfast room service. The cabin itself was up to the usual MSC standard. It was spotless. It did feel perhaps a little smaller than some of the cabins we have stayed in, but still plenty big enough for two people for a week’s cruise. Storage space appears perhaps a little lacking as there are only two drawers, however suitcases fit under the bed, there is an extra rail in the wardrobe that folds down to provide extra hanging space. Lifejackets are also now stored at the muster station rather than in the cabin which again frees up some space. Our cases were soon delivered and we unpacked; alas there was still room for more clothes. To our delight the cabin also had a bath with glass shower screen; the bath was particularly nice when coming back to the ship on cooler days; great for relaxing with a glass of wine whilst getting ready for dinner! The Ship As our boarding time was 2pm, we had missed lunch, so it was off up to Deck 15 to have a look at the Market Place buffet. The buffet is simply huge! There are so many different stations including carvery, rotisserie and oriental, as well as the usual pizzas and salads. Following lunch, it was off to explore round the ship, with our first stop being The Horizon bar – an adults only area at the stern of the ship on Deck 18. This reminded me a little of NCL Epic’s Spice H2o area, only it was more spacious with a much more open feel. There were plenty of sunbeds in the staged amphitheatre area, a decent sized plunge pool and a large hot tub. We finished our glasses of champagne (Nicholas Feuillatte) which was included in our premium drinks package, which offers excellent value at £36 per day for unlimited consumption of alcoholic beverages, items in the mini bar and room service – there are very few exclusions to the package, with only some super-premium single malts, Beluga Vodka and Zacapa Rum being the main ones. Back inside and to the Edge cocktail bar on Deck 6. We were delighted to meet up with Francisco, a bar tender who remembered us from our very first cruise, and he was also very pleased to see us. From The Edge bar, it is impossible not to be wowed by the sheer size of Meraviglia; you really get a feel as to how wide the ship is, and how long she is with a spectacular view down the central promenade “Galleria Meraviglia” Meraviglia boasts the longest LED dome at sea and WOW what an impression it made! The domed ceiling is the focal point of the central promenade, with the LED screen used to show a variety of vistas, from fireworks in London, Paris, Sydney, famous ceilings of the world, ‘under the sea’, in to space, dinosaurs… Along the promenade are the speciality restaurants, the TV studio / comedy club, the chocolate shop and the Meraviglia lounge, which generally hosted the animation team’s evening games and dances. Dining One of the reasons many people decide to book cruise holidays is the reputation that cruising has for providing plentiful high quality food. On various review sites MSC seem to take a beating over the food provided in the main dining rooms, with writers suggesting the food is not good. Let me just say: Food is subjective. What I mean by this is that what suits the taste of one person may be completely against what others feel. I like to think of myself as a good cook and am somewhat a foodie. For me, the food on MSC is varied and well executed. Being a company of Italian heritage, it should come as no surprise that Italian cuisine has a heavy influence on the menu. Personally I found the food to be of a good standard and with a varied menu. The menu choices have been pared down since I first started cruising with MSC; there are now fewer options for each course and seemingly a push towards a three course dining experience. Portion sizes are adequate, and it is never an issue to have more courses – my partner and I quite often had four or five courses, as we love to try the different options available. We were assigned ‘My Choice’ dining in the Panorama restaurant and were waited on by Marcello and his team. They were knowledgeable about themenu and offered advice on wine pairings from the list of wines by the glass included in our package. Highlights of food throughout the week include the sparkling wine risotto and fillet of beef in marsala wine sauce on the first elegant night, the seafood mixed grill served on the Med night was also very well presented, consisting of a whole king prawn, swordfish and cuttlefish. Speciality Dining Traditionally, MSC have not had numerous speciality restaurants. For example, Fantasia and Splendida have just the Tex Mex / Steakhouse, Divina and Preziosa Eataly / steakhouse. Meraviglia is almost a break from this tradition with several options over and above the main dining room. These include a Teppan Yaki and sushi restaurant, a steakhouse, Italian, a British pub. With these choices, in addition to the assigned dining room and buffet options it is impossible not to find something of interest. As we are both Black Card holders in MSC’s Voyagers club, a perk is a meal for two in a speciality restaurant. We had decided to take one of these meals in the Kyoto Teppan Yaki and the other in the Butchers Cut steakhouse. The in-cabin TV and the MSC for me app now enables passengers to view the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As such we checked out whether we would really enjoy the dinner menu ahead of making reservations in another restaurant. On the second night of the cruise we decided to take our first complimentary meal in the speciality dining and were able to secure a table for 7.30pm. Paul, our chef for the evening was great fun – making a real show out of the whole experience. The complimentary Black Card menu was the ‘Emperor’ selection, which would usually cost €28 per head. It consisted of delights such as sushi, miso soup, fried rice, salmon and steak. The whole experience resulted in a synergy that in my opinion exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed the experience so much we decided that we would take our second complimentary meal in the Teppan Yaki Paul was delighted to see us again when we joined him a couple of nights later for another meal! Entertainment For those who have heard of MSC before, it will come as no surprise that there are a number of nationalities onboard, and therefore multiple languages are spoken. English is always the first language, then Italian followed by French, German, Spanish etc. Announcements are therefore limited compared to other cruise lines which seem to constantly have the cruise director on the Tannoy advising passengers of activities going on around the ship. Just because the announcements aren’t there that doesn’t mean that these activities don’t happen. The daily programme is delivered to the cabin in the evening. The MSC for Me app and the interactive screens around the ship give information about what is happening, where and when. Everyday during the cruise there was a quiz of some description, multiple games, dance lessons, and even Master Chef at Sea! MSC have partnered up with the TV programme to bring something different to their cruises. To qualify, contestants must take part in a quiz. The top scoring individuals are then chosen to take part in the live show in the theatre. I was lucky enough to be chosen and was paired up with another contestant from Portugal. It was certainly an experience and quite nerve wracking to try and prepare something tasty and well presented in front of a crowd of 700 using the following ingredients: galia melon, honeydew melon, watermelon, strawberries, feta cheese, balsamic vingar, olive oil, salt and pepper… By a sheer miracle we won and came away with various MSC and Masterchef branded goodies! On Meraviglia, MSC have teamed up with Cirque du Soleil who perform two different shows. Unfortunately, for much of our sailing there was an issue with some of the equipment in the Carousel Lounge – the special area deck 7 aft beyond the casino dedicated to these performances. This unfortunate issue meant that there were no shows until our penultimate night. We managed to secure two seats for the final night of our cruise to see the Sonor show. The show was absolutely excellent. We’d pre-booked our show and cocktail ticket online so we were really glad we managed to get to see Cirque. It is almost impossible to describe the show other than breath-taking. The comfortable and well-designed lounge with excellent views of the stage even from near the back, the amazing acoustics, wonderful costumes and of course the excellent artists. There are also three theatre shows per night, of two different shows, which allows passengers to perhaps see something they might have missed. We attended the Opera based around La Boheme which was very good indeed, with live opera singers. Conclusion There is far more to Meraviglia than I have mentioned so far – so many bars and lounges, waterslides, simulators, night clubs, sports parks – it would take weeks to write anything further in detail on all these aspects. We were certainly wowed by the ship and can see why she is the eighth wonder of the world. During our week onboard we were made to feel like celebrities; so many of the crew recognized us from previous cruises and were genuinely pleased to see us. Nothing was ever too much trouble. My only criticism would be that there did seem to be a lack of seating on occasion. This wouldn’t normally be much of an issue for us, however my partner is recovering from a broken ankle. It was always possible to find somewhere to sit by moving to a different bar or lounge, however this could be inconvenient when wanting to listen to a certain act. I’m confident that there is something for everyone on this ship and that she is a real game changer. For the moment though MSC Fantasia will still remain my favourite and hold a very special piece of my heart having spent so long on her and her sister Splendida. Being that bit smaller than Meraviglia Fantasia has all of the facilities of a big ship but offers the familiarity of a well-loved holiday home. Would I sail on Meraviglia again? Yes, I would, but possibly only for a week or ten days – the ship has so much going on it’s impossible to ignore the multitude of activities and attractions and just ‘switch off’ and relax. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We've just returned from the Meraviglia, taking our children and grandchildren. Over the last few weeks I have been reading these reviews and getting more and more anxious, to the pointing of considering cancelling and losing a lot ... Read More
We've just returned from the Meraviglia, taking our children and grandchildren. Over the last few weeks I have been reading these reviews and getting more and more anxious, to the pointing of considering cancelling and losing a lot of money. But we decided to go for it .. and I am so pleased that we did, as many of the reviews I read do not equate with what we experienced. I found the majority of staff to be very friendly and service was efficient. They always made a special fuss of the children. I had imagined living on pasta and pizza for a week, but there was a huge choice of food at the various cooking stations in the buffet .... it did get crazy busy sometimes but we always got our food reasonably quickly and found an empty table to sit at. Main restaurant was good in the evening and so were the waiters. We also paid extra for the Cirque du Soleil dinner show which I thought was excellent and well worth it. The only other restaurant that we tried was the Teppanyaki which we paid for too .... and it was a great evening with really good food. The other facilities were good too and I never noticed it that crowded by any of the pools even on the sea day ..... What I didn't like was that there were people boarding and disembarking at every stop, which gave it the feel of a glorified ferry, with suitcases in the corridors every day, and safety briefings ..... rather than just one day for everyone checking in together. The ship docks about 25 minutes drive to Marseille in the middle of nowhere, so you have no choice but to pay around 17 euros for their return shuttle into town or take an excursion. I think charging for the shuttle to take you where you should be anyway is just greedy and it should be a free service. It also felt quite rocky at certain times - I'm normally a good sailor but had to take sea sickness tablets one night. Finally, watch out for the photo shop con ! They put photos in your cabin during the cruise, which you think are a gift .... but when you check your bill at the end, they have charged 30 Euros for them ..... you need to take them back !! But on the whole the cruise was very good and I liked the mix of nationalities. It's very lively but I didn't see any rowdy behavior .... lots of children on board but there is a quiet adult only bar too, and I would recommend cruising in Aurea Class, which gives you a massive private deck to have use of, plus a number of other extras including a complimentary massage and drink package.. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We booked this trip for our honeymoon, and were accompanied by another two couples. We chose this ship because it was brand new. We had cruised before with Thompson and Royal Caribbean. First off, we had to wait at the airport for our ... Read More
We booked this trip for our honeymoon, and were accompanied by another two couples. We chose this ship because it was brand new. We had cruised before with Thompson and Royal Caribbean. First off, we had to wait at the airport for our transfer to the ship for just under an hour, the rep did not seem bothered that we were frustrated at their lack of presence.We were then taken to the port and herded into the waiting area. We could not register our card of use until we got on board. We were very pleasantly surprised with the decor and the cabins were spacious and well laid out, We paid extra for a balcony which was worth the expense. The package we chose was all inclusive although it did have a lot of exclusions. The astrix played a big part in our cruise. When you looked at a drinks menu, anything that had an astrix was not included in the deal. The ice cream parlour had a charge, the buffet was NOT open 20 hours a day, If you were hungry after 10pm you had no chance. There was no shop on board where you could purchase forgotten items, You could not buy duty free cigarettes or alcohol. The perfumes were well overpriced. The buffet named the Marketplace lived up to its name, Geared to the Italian market the place was so disorganized, You could easily have been trampled to death, an in and out system could have solved all the problems, with so many suits walking round a blind man on a galloping horse could have sorted this out. The waiting staff were very nice but a lot of pressure put on them by overbearing Italians. Now to the food, what can i say, i love my grub, breakfast the usual scrambled,boiled,fried,poached eggs. Bacon streaky and swimming in oil, sausage chippolatas , hash browns, beans. Ham,cheese,salami, watery oats,semolina. Loads of bread and the usual pastries, fresh fruit and yogurt, juices only available at breakfast, they turned the machines off at lunch time.Tea and coffee only available at meal times.These machines were also turned off. There were a lot of pizza,and pasta dishes, Spuds were nearly nonexistant, loads of salad items and the odd thing was they had a hot roast of some sort at lunch time but not at dinner,one good thing though i lost some weight lol. The entertainment was ok, we had to pay for the cirque du Soleil show, ten pin bowling, air hockey table, racing cars, parents must have been out a fortune. Only we checked our bill early in the week we would have been paying a 15% service charge on transactions and donations to Unicef .Be WARNED, read all the small print. Entertainment staff and housekeeping were fabulous, Take you own hairdryer theirs is rubbish, sorry for all the negative feed back but it had to be said. Sorry I wont be back MSC. Read Less
MSC Meraviglia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 2.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.3
Public Rooms 5.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 5.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.9
Service 4.0 3.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.1

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