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Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise for the remarkable deal we found to cruise Northern Europe. Embarkation was very smooth, we waited about 30 min or so, but we arrived before our check-in time. The ship is very modern and has a real wow factor! This ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the remarkable deal we found to cruise Northern Europe. Embarkation was very smooth, we waited about 30 min or so, but we arrived before our check-in time. The ship is very modern and has a real wow factor! This was out 13th cruise. We’ve done Disney, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival. MSC is definitely different from the “American” lines. Pool decks are much quieter, no music/games/contests like on the other ships. No sail away party. There was a giant screen; however, it never played any movies or shows, only beach scenery. The pools are salt water and we’re not terribly crowded except on sea days when it was nearly impossible to find a lounger even on the deck above. The thermal suite is lovely and a great place to relax. The kids club was good. Our boys enjoyed their time there. They do close at various points throughout the day in seas days, which was a bit of a pain. The food in the buffet was really just ok as was the main dining room. The speciality restaurants have much better food. The status match program is nice. I have a gold card so there were some perks, but not like ones On other lines. We got a bowl of fruit in our cabin and a string back pack. We were offered a free photo but it had to be from a particular party which was at 11 on the last sea day. Overall, any cruise it what you make of it. We chose MSC for the great itinerary. It can feel like you’re being nickeled and dimed, but we were prepared for that from other reviews. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Theis ship is horrible, the service is so bad there is no excuse for it. It takes ages for a waiter to come to you for drinks in the main buffet even tho you have a bell for colling them, one time the waiter came to the table canceled ... Read More
Theis ship is horrible, the service is so bad there is no excuse for it. It takes ages for a waiter to come to you for drinks in the main buffet even tho you have a bell for colling them, one time the waiter came to the table canceled the call and just walked away without takeing our order, when we asked him why he did that he came with such a dumb excuse, and thats is all the staff have for you is excuses. When you want to go to shore there are harbors with only steps as gang walks so disabled people cant disimbark, on the ports that disabled people can disimbark you will go thru hell when you imbark, first of all they will make sure that you know that they doing the disable people a big favor if they let 1 person to acompany the disable thru security, we had 1 person with an oxigen mask on her and security made her stand in line for 10 mins for security, they made me choose betwin my disabled father and my child ( who didnt speak english) so i had no choice but to wait for my child, so my father had to wait for me and my child and they put him near a trashcan so god forbid he will interfere the other guests, when we whent to complain about it, the costomer service made me feel like I was the one to blame, he didnt wrote my complain right and ofcourse the complaint was nulled with the excuse that you cant expect them to let 3 people cut the securety line (and I remind you 1 person is disabled and one is a child) and leting the other guest wait. The dishes in the buffet was dirty we got glasses with lipstick marks on them, plates with pasta still on it. On other ships at the evenibg of your first imbarkation the person in charge of cleaning your room comes and introduce him/her self to you and tells you that every thing you needs room wise to come to him/her, on this ship we saw him only on the last night of the cruise. The one bright light on the ship is the food, it was tasty and good and you had a large choice of dishes to choose from in the buffet, and every day was diffrent dishes, too bad you couldn't had plates to put those delicious dishes. We took an excurtion in kiel and asked the woman who booked us the excurtion if it takes us to see the city itself including the city center because they had 1 tour only for the harbor and the tour we took, at the end both of the excurtions was only for the harbor and we didnt saw the city at all. Pass these ship there are other ship lines that are much better with the same prices as this one. Read Less
8 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
4 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We sailed the Nordic fjords from Kiel with our adult children. The cabins are quite OK, not a lot of space for storage, bit dark colors. Still cleaning twice a day, not really necessary for us. Very large ship, very crowded, ... Read More
We sailed the Nordic fjords from Kiel with our adult children. The cabins are quite OK, not a lot of space for storage, bit dark colors. Still cleaning twice a day, not really necessary for us. Very large ship, very crowded, specially because we had bad weather and everybody was searching inside convenient seating. There are many lifts, maneuvering through the ship is easy and quick. Going ashore quick every time, how ever long waiting times at the security check getting back on board. Food overall pretty good. The easy drinking package gives you cheap drinks of low quality for 30 euros/ day, overpriced!! Staff not more than average, some very rude (you have whole day, one European in a bar told us). Very disappointing, our cabin was again (!!) changed by MSC without informing us. We booked 3 cabins together, they ended up scattered over the ship. We won't book MSC again, they just change your cabin as they like to do.... Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First , I tried to contact MSC customer support prior to the cruise. Two emails and two phone call back requests and NO response! Ship was beautiful but food was mediocre at best. Staff was sad looking, not friendly and not helpful. They ... Read More
First , I tried to contact MSC customer support prior to the cruise. Two emails and two phone call back requests and NO response! Ship was beautiful but food was mediocre at best. Staff was sad looking, not friendly and not helpful. They just stood around looking like sad sacks. When I had an issue and went to the front desk I was met with:someone will respond. No one ever did. Funny, after I got home I receive an email asking if the problems had been handled. I responded No! Again no response from anyone. At dinner the waiter made a mess of our order, brought it cold and said the kitchen was having problems? It was obvious to the three of us that the staff urgently needed extra training, with about half of the buffet group being send to a remedial course. There was consistently confusion when approaching key staff. One officer replied, I have absolutely no idea and walked away without offering assistance. It may have been a cheaper cruise but not worth the money. This was my 38th cruise and my worst. I use to say there are no bad cruises, just some better than others. I no longer will say that. Cabin attendants were good but also confused when asked about simple issues like why did I not get a daily program or why can I not get ice. Entertainment was on the cheap. 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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This ship was amazing and beautiful. Tastefully decorated, extremely clean and very nice cabins. But, the food was the downside. This was my first cruise with MSC. We've cruised many times on Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, ... Read More
This ship was amazing and beautiful. Tastefully decorated, extremely clean and very nice cabins. But, the food was the downside. This was my first cruise with MSC. We've cruised many times on Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Celebrity and Princess. The food on MSC was no comparison to these other lines. It was a disppointment in the main dining room and buffet. As spactacular as this ship is, we will not cruise on this ship again because of the food. On a more positive note, the activities are awesome and there is a lot to do. We loved the Aurea package! We are not big drinkers but it was worth the money since so much more is included. This ship was an excellent value and we were very pleased with our cabin, service, quality of drinks and atmosphere. It is only the food that would keep me from cruising on this ship or MSC again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We booked this cruise a year in advance with an inside guarantee quad cabin. We were given a free upgrade to an outside cabin with a porthole #5078. Room was well laid out, enough room for us and 2 teenagers. The couch lifted to form a ... Read More
We booked this cruise a year in advance with an inside guarantee quad cabin. We were given a free upgrade to an outside cabin with a porthole #5078. Room was well laid out, enough room for us and 2 teenagers. The couch lifted to form a bunk bed. Shower was larger then other cruises. We had mid dining 730 and ate every night in the dining room. Because we are from the states, msc included free bottled water while in dining room during lunch and dinner. We did late shows every night and loved all the singers and dancers. The pools and water slides were nice. Had fun doing the bridges. The shops on board offer designer labels and prices! They really push drink packages. We opted to save money and just go with what is included. Odd- no coffee in dining room with desert during dinner time. Buffet was good selection. They automatically add a donation to UNICEF on your account everyday that will be removed if you call down and ask for it to be. We pre purchased internet package 4gb for 4 devices that worked for our family for the week. Signal was good enough for chatting with clients and checking emails - not enough to stream. Food in dining was good - no lobster (available as an upcharge.) No menu posted for dining room as with other ships but we asked each night to see the next night menu so we could decide buffet or dining room. We ended up eating every night in the dining room. For such a large ship, tons of elevators and never had to wait long. People embark and disembark at each port of call. Smooth process both times. FYI- need to be out of room the day you leave by 8am. We planned a later flight thinking it would take longer. We were off the ship with luggage in hand by 930am. All and all I would do it again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I traveled with my partner and my mother, both my mother and I have traveled with Royal Caribbean quite a few times so I have another company to base this experience with. We flew to Barcalona from Heathrow, and joined the MSC ... Read More
I traveled with my partner and my mother, both my mother and I have traveled with Royal Caribbean quite a few times so I have another company to base this experience with. We flew to Barcalona from Heathrow, and joined the MSC MERIVIGLIA, my partner who is a first time cruiser was taken back by the size of the ship, as she puts it “wow” and indeed, the ship is massive, and magnificent, and that’s where the thumbs up stop. Embarkation was actually smooth and quick, so once all paperwork was done, we entered the ship, no welcome aboard, no warm greetings, just on and that was it. The first appearance of the ships interior is quite good, and the arched LED roof in the main deck area is also impressive, but that soon fades. The cabin, clean, standard, I could bang on and on about everything, so here is a pros and cons list Pros Great itinerary - some beautiful cities. Embarkation quite quick. The food and service in the Main dining hall is great. Beds are comfy. Cons Only three swimming pools - all sea water. (Very salty) All deck chairs cleared away after about 19:00 making the decks empty. Large TV over main pool - never used for movies. No smoking rules very lax, some even smoked in the hot tubs. Lack of things to do of an evening, unless you like music, eating, and Italian humour. Large gangs of moody and loud teens roaming boat being bored. Lack of lifts for size of ship The artwork, and colours used are bland. Super cons The main buffet hall (the market place) Luke warm food, bland and the same food EVERY DAY. Main buffet hall over crowded, which didn’t help with people using tables to play board games due to being bored. Lack of drinks choice in main buffet hall, Morning you get juices, and water and coffee and tea, but after about 11:00am all you will get is water and coffee and tea, (unless you pay) Drinks are expensive (most cruises are) At around 21:00, the kids club decides to march the kids through the main promenade to kids music loudly. The cabin to balcony doors slam loudly by inconsiderate neighbours. No night lights in or around the toilet, so sometimes you have to put the lights on to see where your going. The showers are ok, but could be more powerful. We found out they only change the bedding once in 7 days. Lost use of balcony twice due to “maintainace” Serious lack of things to do of an evening. All shows were based on music. Mainly Italian or Spanish The magic show and hand silhouette show was very 1980’s and most humour Italian orintated Everything costs, even certain shows that are based on the boat. The layout of the foods in the market place buffet is a mess, so by the time you finally sit down your food is pretty cold. The staff in the market place will only attend your table if you are buying a drink. Staff will tend to either walk straight at you, or refuse to move if you need to get past. If you have special dietary needs, good luck, mum was celiac, The tv in the cabin had only two English speaking channels BBC news and National geographic. The layout of such a large ship was a mess. The entertainment area will bankrupt you, for example 30 mins bowling €30.00 €55.00 for an hour. 4D cinema adults €10.00 or €8.00 for kids So to sum up, what you thought was a good priced cruise will actually cost you more than with other cruise lines, Would I recommend or travel with MSC again, NO. even my partner who had never Sailed before claimed that she found the evenings boring and would not sail with MSC again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Last summer we were planning spring break 2019 and found a great deal on AA Rewards tickets to Barcelona. We'd been to Spain, but not Barcelona. During our research, we came upon MSC and their 7 night Med cruises. We've sailed ... Read More
Last summer we were planning spring break 2019 and found a great deal on AA Rewards tickets to Barcelona. We'd been to Spain, but not Barcelona. During our research, we came upon MSC and their 7 night Med cruises. We've sailed with RCCL, HAL, Celebrity and our beloved DCL many times, but had barely even heard of MSC. The price, timing and itinerary were right, but boy oh boy, the reviews were shaky at best. Still, after checking out the forums and youtube videos, and discovering we could status match to Black with MSC based on our DCL Platinum status, we decided to give them a try. We booked our Aurea Duplex Suite and set our countdown clocks for March, 2019. Our sailing party: Myself and my husband, 50-somethings, married 30 years with two kids. Our daughter is an adult and didn't travel with us this trip. Our son, who sailed with us, is 16. We've done over 25 cruises. This was our sixth European cruise (third Med) and, as noted above, first on MSC. We're American. Embarkation: Took a taxi from our hotel (RoomMate Carla) to the Port and arrived just before noon. First impression of the ship as we drove up "wow...looks more like an apartment building than a ship." Immediately saw the line for "Black Card" luggage drop. Had our bags tagged and our paperwork in hand, so we were processed quickly. Noticed many fellow passengers without tags, but staff was prepared and helpful. We were directed inside to the Aurea line (there separate lines...Yacht Club, Aurea and everyone else. All lines appeared to be moving...the Port was well staffed. We soon had our cards, were directed to the embarkation photo and then headed on board. From taxi drop to stepping on board took about 15 minutes. Painless. First hours onboard: Entering the Meraviglia is a bit like walking the gauntlet. In Barcelona, you enter into the Gallery where you are greeted by many smiling crew members selling drink packages, dining packages, spa packages, etc. If you've done your research, you'll be prepared and can politely decline or make someone's day by actually purchasing their wares! For convenience, we upgraded our Easy Drinks Package to Premium Plus. We're not heavy drinkers, but we like what we like and we didn't want to hassle all week with limiting ourselves to the $6 and under menu. And, yes, we should have upgraded before leaving home, but we were MSC rookies and have learned our lesson. Carefully consider you drinks package before leaving home! Anyway, after walking the gauntlet, we headed up to Deck 15 to the Market Place for lunch. It's a large area with several food and beverage stations. The stations repeat and we found that, in general, if you head to the back of the space, there are fewer crowds. The food was fine and plentiful and the drinks service (push a button at your table) was efficient and friendly. We explored the ship a bit using the MSC and Me app for a map (there are also paper ship maps located at Guest Services...we found both helpful) checking out the work out facility, basketball gym, walking track, etc. The ship is clean and bright and mostly well-laid out. It's obviously very large, but didn't feel too large and rarely felt crowded. We encountered many smiling faces from crew and guests and found the same throughout the week. We headed to our room around 1:30pm. Aurea Duplex Suite 12001: When we first looked at sailing MSC, we were shocked at the relatively low prices for staterooms, even those labeled suites and yacht club. We considered yacht club, but were intrigued by the Duplex Suite. Two stories! Two closets! Two bathrooms! And a HOT TUB ON OUR VERANDAH! For what price???? Less than an inside cabin on DCL? We decided that "we had to go for it" and pushed the book button. We also decided to surprise our son, so when he opened the door, it was the first time he had any idea what category stateroom he was spending the week in. Priceless! I had read every review and watched every video posted on the suite. The pictures and descriptions are all accurate. The room is truly special. All seasoned cruisers know that space on cruise ship is at a premium, and any parent of a teen knows that an extra bathroom on vacation is a miracle. This stateroom gave us both, as well as two walk in closets, two tvs, a dining table (which we used to plan our days and play games, as well as for breakfast most mornings,) and the fabulous verandah with private hot tub. We used it almost every evening for enjoy sailaway and sunset and it was a true luxury. The stateroom also had a minibar (which our premium plus drinks package allowed us to use, including the snacks) and a nespresso maker, which we used every morning. We found our excursion tickets, navigator, invitations to onboard events and black card gifts in the room everyday, including the first day. And shortly after entering the cabin, our room host knocked to introduce himself and see whether we needed anything. He was super friendly and nonintrusive and we appreciated him all week long. He delivered our luggage before 3 and we unpacked ready to truly begin vacation! Safety Drill: Because people embark everyday, the mandatory safety drill is different everyday. Ours was in the Deck 6 Theater and last about thirty minutes. This was our first introduction to just how many nationalities were sailing...the presentation was in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese. We were impressed by how many crew members spoke three or more languages and enjoyed listening to them throughout the week. Dining: Because we were Aurea, we had "My Choice" dining. Our dining room was the Panorama and the process was very easy. Simply decide what we want to do and show up at the dining room when we want to eat. We never waited for a table and had great waiters 5 of our 6 meals in Panorama. And the one miss wasn't anything terrible, just an okay server who maybe was having a bad night. The dinner menus change nightly and we never had a problem finding meals that appealed to us. The food was mostly very good with a few excellent items and a few less tasty items. Generally, we enjoyed the appetizers and entrees more than dessert. And with the premium plus package, although it's wine by the glass, not bottle, if my husband and I ordered the same wine, they automatically brought the whole bottle. Lounges: I'm a champagne drinker and enjoyed the champagne bar for a predinner drink most evenings. They offer a selection of cocktails and champagne and sparkling water...my favorite was the Veuve Clicquot Rich. They bring snacks like chips and nuts to the table (which our son enjoyed) and have a menu for charge available, too. The service was very friendly and professional. We used a few other bars for cocktails during the week with varying levels of service and atmosphere. There's a fabulous looking top deck 18+ lounge that we didn't use because we were sailing with our son, but definitely would have used if we were alone. Gym, game room and basketball court, etc.: So cool that they offer an indoor basketball court. Our son used it almost every evening for an hour. He met several other kids, enjoyed the view and got some exercise. My son and hubby also used the gym and found it adequate. We checked out games for free a few times from the activities desk, as well. We didn't bowl or do the ropes course. Next time! Entertainment: We enjoyed a few show onboard...the Opera, the Broadway medley and the flamenco dance performance. We booked our seats using our app. The theater was full, but not overcrowded and the performances were good. We enjoyed all three. The cruise director, who introduces the shows, is fabulous...great energy and personality. We also played bingo a few times (and yes, the numbers are announced in at least 7 languages!) It's only coverall, so one prize of at least !000 euro each game. We also went to one Cirque du Soleil show. That's not really our cup of tea, but we enjoyed the show and were glad that we gave it a try. Specialty Restaurants: Only tried one, Butcher's Cut, using our free Black Card dinner. All three of us matched Black, so there was no charge. The service was very good, as was the meal. The dessert here was excellent...a "cut" above the dining room, for sure! The atmosphere was okay, but I actually preferred the Panorama dining room in that regard. Spa: Although Aurea provided us with a week long pass to the thermal area, we never made it! We did, however, enjoy our complimentary 50 minute massages and I got a blow out three times during the trip. Again, friendly staff. Nice atmosphere. No complaints. Itinerary and Shore Excursions: This is really what the trip was all about....traveling comfortably through one of our favorite parts of the world. As noted, we embarked in Barcelona and sailed to Marseille, Genoa, Rome, Palermo and Malta, with one day at sea. We did a mix of MSC prebooked excursions and independent excursions. Our day in Rome on our own was probably my favorite, but we also really enjoyed our walking street food tour in Palermo (by Streaty) and our day in Marseille when we went to Ax en Provence with a ship’s excursion we spent two nights in Barcelona pre and post cruise. I highly recommend Sagrada Família and also very much enjoyed a day trip to Andorra. Final impressions: We were on a much needed break sailing the Mediterranean on a relatively new ship staffed with friendly people and in a fantastic stateroom. The weather was picture postcard perfect...upper 60’s and sunshine and the sea was calm. The champagne flowed and the onshore experiences were varied and plentiful. We enjoyed sail away from our private hot tub and were entertained by earnest performers in the evenings. The food was varied and tasty and the price was right. We’re not giving up n DCL, but we’re booked on another MSC itinerary. So glad we tried them and already looking forward to going back! Happy Sailing! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This is a long review. It has a lot of info that I wish I knew before we went. We are a family of 4 from Ohio. This is our 5th cruise, first time on MSC. My wife and I (43 & 45) and our two girls (11 & 9) have sailed on ... Read More
This is a long review. It has a lot of info that I wish I knew before we went. We are a family of 4 from Ohio. This is our 5th cruise, first time on MSC. My wife and I (43 & 45) and our two girls (11 & 9) have sailed on Princess, Celebrity and NCL. This was probably the best cruise we have ever been on. We sailed on the MSC Meraviglia from Barcelona, Spain on 3/21/2019. We opted to stay one night in Spain before and after the voyage. We had the Fantastica package. We also traveled with our parents. Both pairs stayed in an inside cabin with the Bella package, one on deck 8, the other 5. Their experiences were similar to ours. Embarkation: We arrived to the cruise port at around 11:00 AM. We dropped our bags off at the entrance to the port. They had a stapler there in case you didn’t already attach your luggage tags as we did. Check in was easy. They gave us a numbered card and we had a seat until we were called, which took about 10 minutes. A couple of minutes in line and we were at the desk. We got our cruise cards and packet and were told that our room should be ready around 1:30. This left us plenty of time to eat lunch at the buffet and explore the ship. As we embarked, they took our picture for their computer ID system and gave our kids wrist bands which are required to be worn at all times. Room: Our room was 13163, Deck 13 Aft Port. We were right by the aft stairs in a Balcony cabin. We loved the location. It was a decent size room. The couch converted in to a bunk bed for the girls. We had a queen-sized bed. The bunk bed was not converted daily, but for us was a permanent bed and never a couch. All beds were comfortable. The room, although comfortable for the four of us, is still pretty small. Don’t plan on living out of your suitcase. It is much better to unpack and store the bags under the bed. Otherwise there will be no room to move. We use these convenient organizer bags where each person has their own color. That way we only have to half-unpack. We just stacked the bags in the closet and pulled out what we needed. There is a TV and a phone. There is not much to watch, and only 2-4 English speaking channels. Our room was pretty quiet, even for being only 2 decks down from the buffet and right next to the stairs. None of use were ever awoken by noise; even my wife who is a light sleeper. The bathroom was big enough for one person to fit comfortably, 2 to squeeze in. The shower is plenty big and gets super-hot. Be careful! Our room was attended to at least twice a day by the cabin steward who we only saw if we sought him out. He was very friendly and thorough. My wife was extremely sick one day (we suspect norovirus). I let the cabin steward know that our bathroom needed some additional attention. He seemed more concerned for my wife’s health than the extra work. He definitely earned an extra tip beyond our daily fee. The balcony was lovely with a couple of chairs and a small table. The railing was plenty high so were not at all concerned about our or our children’s safety. The door locked up tight to keep the noise out. My in-law’s room (8102) had a smell of some sort coming out of their bathroom drain. The crew came out and bleached it. That didn’t really help. My in-laws just lived with it. Dining: The buffets were awesome. Crowded, but awesome. Their pizza was excellent (as it should be from an Italian line). Everything was fresh and there was absolutely no shortage of food, except for bananas. There are 3 stations, one port, one starboard, and one aft. We usually didn’t have a problem sitting on the port side, which was the busiest side. But the aft portion we the most available and least crowded. On the port side, forward of the general buffet, is a kids’ buffet with hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, pizza, pasta, and various other daily items. My kids never used it and always ate from the regular buffet. There are water/ice dispensers there and also juice, tea & coffee. Bottled water, soft drinks & alcohol are available for purchase. As a general rule, the water/ice dispensers are too small to fill up your own water bottle and it is usually so busy that you will be holding up the line if you do it. I only filled ours when it was slow there or I would go all the way aft where it was much quieter. I used a cup to fill our bottles daily. We never had dinner at the buffet, only breakfast, lunch & snacks. There are hand washing stations at the entrance to the buffet. We had breakfast every day at the buffet. Some days as early as 7am, others as late as 10am. Every morning there was fresh and canned fruit, meats and cheeses, fried and scrambled eggs, omelet stations, bacon, sausage, cereal and milk, yogurts, bread, jams, and a ton of other stuff. Milk, coffee, tea, juices and water were available. If you want a banana, get there early. They go fast. The main lunch buffet had various cruise standard foods. Everything from pizza to pasta to fresh cut meats and deserts. They usually had an Asian, Indian or other ethnic food area. Their hamburgers were excellent. Water, coffee and tea were available. There is no free ice cream in the buffet or anywhere else on the ship except for the main dining room. The buffet staff was not particularly friendly, but not rude either. They had a job to do and they were going to do it. It didn’t affect our experience in any way. The buffet is mostly a free-for-all, but there is some flow. It was not nearly as bad as I had read on other sites. We never went hungry. Main Dining Room All 8 of us sat together. There are hand sanitizers on the way in to the dining room. Our waiter and his assistant were excellent. They also earned extra tips from all of us. Because we booked in North America, we had free bottled water in the dining room. There were 4 bottles on our table every night, and more if we needed it. He didn’t bother asking, he would just bring it. We shared a few bottles of wine over the course of the week. They were very reasonably priced and had a nice selection. Dinners were very good to excellent. We would usually order one or two appetizers and one entrée. There were always various selections of delicious desserts to choose from including ice cream every night. Only once did I have a second entrée because the first one was just not enough. The waiter knew it and suggested it right off the bat. He was very attentive and kind, especially seeing how busy he was every night. One night I stayed in the room with my daughter who was sick (again, probably norovirus). I went to the buffet for myself but there was nothing there she could eat. The dining room sent up some plain chicken for her. She didn’t eat it, but it was a nice gesture none the less. The food was very good and sometimes excellent. It always amazes me the quality they can produce when serving so many people. My youngest is not an adventurous eater, but always found something she wound up liking. If she only ate a few bites, the waiter was eager to bring her something more to her liking. We dressed for dinner every night like almost everyone else. I wore slacks and a button down; my wife would wear a nice dress or skirt. Two nights were “formal” nights. We did see one or two tuxedos, but most people did not change from whatever they wore the night before. I opted for a jacket and tie, which, in hindsight, was unnecessary. I could have stuck with the slacks and shirt or just added a tie and I would have been dressed completely appropriately. I would suggest no jeans, shorts or other casual clothes for any main dining room dinner. Activities & Entertainment We purchased a “fun pass” before embarkation. This gave us a $180eu credit for $120eu cost in their entertainment area. It wasn’t worth the money. We didn’t use it all. Things you must pay for: Flight simulator, F1 simulator, video games, bowling. The girls did the flight simulator and loved it. I did it once and it made me nauseous. I can’t take that movement anymore – spinning, rolling, flipping. It was all too much for me. I tried the F1 simulator. It was OK, but difficult to control. We bowled on our day at sea. That was fun. The high ropes course and water slides are free, but you have to sign a waver and get a wrist band before you can do them. The kids didn’t even do the water slides just because it was pretty chilly. We all did the ropes which was fun. You can go as much as you want. They close at 4:00pm though, so usually we were back to late to do them. The outdoor pools were nice, but again it was too cold to swim for us. A few people were swimming. We preferred to hang out in the hot tub or in the indoor pool. The indoor pool was crowded but warm. We only saw one show. It was a magic/shadow puppet show. I figured the magic would be cool, but the shadow puppets would be cheesy. It was the exact opposite. The shadow puppets were amazing and the magic was boring. We also sat and listened to music on deck 5 aft or 6 forward. It was very enjoyable. Frankly, we were too tire to go to any other shows. My parents went to a few others and really enjoyed them. Our package came with cirque du soleil, but we never made it. My kids had no desire to go to the kid’s club. They thought it looked too juvenile for them. They were probably right, but I can’t say for sure. They did make use of the soccer/basketball court. It is multi-use and there could be many people playing different games all at once. It was fine just to kick around a ball, though. My girls were never bored there (their words, not mine). Customer service We had only one problem which required customer service. They had charged our account twice for the same day’s daily fee for our children. It was an extra $10eu. It took two visits to correct. I also had the remove the $1eu they automatically charge you for Unicef. I don’t mind giving to charity, but I don’t like being forced in to it and I prefer to donate to a charity of my choosing. I also went to Customer service to exchange money. It is the best place for this. You get a MUCH better rate than at an exchange at a port or even at a bank. I highly suggest it. They don’t have much in small bills, though. They automatically charge $10eu per adult per day and $5eu per child per day for tip to be shared amongst the crew. You can opt out of this and tip personally in cash if you choose. We chose to let them charge our account and supplement where we saw fit. My mother was a bit upset when there was a man cleaning the ladies’ bathroom with guest using it. Elevators are always an issue. People will barge in front of you to get on. I had to stop people from forcing themselves in to a completely full elevator. We usually used the stairs during busy times. Ports Barcelona, Marsaille, Genoa, Rome, Palermo, Malta. Most ports we walked around at our own pace. Obviously, we spent a lot of time in Barcelona. Definitely don’t miss La Segrada Familia. It is truly a wonder. And if you want genuine FCB gear, go to the team shop. It’s not cheap, but it is authentic. We scheduled a private tour in Rome. They picked us up at 8:00am and brought to Gianicolo Hill, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, and Vatican. It was $300eu plus $30eu tip for the day for all eight of us in a private van. I talked to several others who paid that much for just 2 people. They saw more, but they were rushed from place to place. We were able to go at our own pace. I wish our driver Mario spoke better English. Fortunately, my father speaks Italian. It was totally worth the money. If you are interested, contact Albertina at tourromeitaly@gmail.com. In our opinion, Barcelona was the best. Marsaille for me was the worst, Palermo for my wife was the worst. Get out of the city of Palermo if you can. Go to Santa Rosalia or Monreale. In France, Notre Dame De La Guarde is beautiful. Malta was absolutely gorgeous, friendly and clean. Just beware of the taxis. They are expensive. If you have a chance, be on deck as you pull in the port of Valetta. It is a sight to see. There is not much in Genoa to see. We took a quick bus tour and then walked around the port by the aquarium. Be aware of pickpockets EVERYWHERE. We were not targeted, or at least we weren’t pickpocketed. But there are signs everywhere. Just stay aware. Don’t flash your wallet. Keep your purse close. Disembarkation Simple and easy. They took our bags the night before. We ate breakfast and headed to the meeting area. We sat for 20 minutes and then they took us off the ship. Our bags were waiting for us along with a line of taxis. Suggestions Wide mouth refillable water bottles are much easier to fill. Bring lots of hand sanitizer & sanitizing wipes. If you don’t generally have pockets like my wife and kids, I suggest some lanyards with card holders. They are convenient and secure. Wear comfortable shoes, especially in Rome. These ports are very old. Most of the time you are walking on uneven cobblestone or concrete. Shoes make the difference. Get a private tour from a reputable company instead of booking through the cruise line. There are plenty of suggestions and reviews on trip advisor. They understand that you need to be back at a specific time and will probably get you back with and hour to spare. Bring some plastic bags to make some sandwiches for a snack on shore, but don’t miss out on the local foods – tapas and jamon in Spain, Arancine in Sicily, and gelato everywhere… Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Overall, this was an enjoyable cruise and I would sail on MSC again. My husband and I sailed with our 13 mo daughter and both sets of grandparents (in their 70s). We have all cruised several times on a variety of cruise lines. This was ... Read More
Overall, this was an enjoyable cruise and I would sail on MSC again. My husband and I sailed with our 13 mo daughter and both sets of grandparents (in their 70s). We have all cruised several times on a variety of cruise lines. This was our first time on MSC. EMBARKATION: We spent a week traveling around Italy prior to making our way to Genoa, where we embarked. We found the locals in Genoa to be the least friendly (and some even hostile) to tourists, compared to the rest of Italy. We were glad we were only spending one night there. The port itself was quite confusing. We took the metro to the stop close to the port. Once we arrived, there were very few signs. We followed what signs there were, which sent us upstairs, only to have to go back downstairs to drop our luggage off. Luggage drop off was not labeled. We ended up at a tent that looked like the right place, only to be told (after waiting a few minutes) that we were in the Yacht Club drop off. Steerage passengers needed to just leave their luggage in the road. It was a little odd. But we eventually got it to the right place and got ourselves on the ship. Our luggage arrived without issue, despite our misgivings. Once embarked, there was definitely a push for up-selling drinks and dining packages, but the staff members left us alone when we declined. We were able to immediately drop off our hand luggage in our rooms and head up to the buffet for lunch. All in all, it took us about an hour to get from the port entrance to lunch at the buffet. So despite the lack of signage and the confusion about luggage drop-off, it was a relatively quick and easy process. SHIP: The ship was stunning and always clean. There are multiple dome shows daily and it's worth catching at least one. The area that felt the most crowded was the Bamboo Pool area and the buffet (partially because they would block off parts of the buffet seating at various times). DINING: BUFFET: There was always seating at the very back of the buffet--even during peak times. The lines there seemed to be the shortest, as well. The stations repeat themselves a handful of times throughout the buffet, so there's no need to stand in a long line at the beginning of the buffet. Staff members from the pay-for-restaurants would walk around asking if we wanted to make reservations for dinner that night. Again, they left us alone when we declined. We found breakfast at the buffet to be one of the best meals of the day. There was a good variety of food, although it did not vary from day to day. There was an omelette station, a ham carving station, eggs, bacon/sausage, yogurt, fruit, cereals, muesli, Asian rice and noodles or dumplings, pancakes, waffles, sticky buns, etc. Lunch at the buffet was also pretty good. The pizza, pasta, and fresh mozzarella were always delicious. A few members of our group had pizza that had been sitting out for awhile and it wasn't as good as the fresh slices. There was also a salad station, bread, carving station, and a variety of dishes of the day, some of which were good, some not. The mass-produced desserts were similar to other cruise lines--usually not delicious, but ok. There were a few that were really enjoyable. MDR: We ate dinner in the MDR each night. Our waiters were very friendly, but hadn't been trained as well as on other cruise lines. They weren't trained to pay attention to details or anticipate needs. Some nights there would be butter for the bread, but no butter knife. Other nights there were small dishes for olive oil and vinegar, but no olive oil and vinegar. Some nights there would be a place setting for the baby, other nights there wasn't (there was always a high chair). The staff were always responsive when asked to do something, but failed to anticipate needs. Not a deal breaker, but something the training could improve upon. The food quality was inconsistent. Some nights the food was really good (ie the mushroom risotto), others it was quite bland or even not good (ie the prawns). CABIN: We had an inside cabin that was relatively spacious. Obviously smaller than ocean view or balcony rooms, but larger than the one other inside cabin we've had on another cruise line. The bathroom was small, but well designed. Our cabin steward was very attentive and always called our baby by her name when he saw her. THEATER SHOWS: There was a really great variety of shows ranging from rock to opera to flamenco. The dancers and singers were more talented than I've seen on other cruise lines. The singers did sing in English with an accent, but overall put on excellent performances. The one miss was when they had the opera tenor sing Frank Sinatra's "My Way" during a tribute show. Opera just isn't the right style for Sinatra. On the sea day, there was an opera, which was really well done in less than an hour. They had some subtitles, but they were intermittent. Unclear why they didn't provide full subtitles, which would have made it even better. GYM: The gym was small and crowded no matter when we went (early morning, mid-day, or evening). There's a waiver that has to be signed to use the gym, but they didn't ask us to sign it until our last day. ROPES COURSE/WATER SLIDES: There's also a waiver that has to be signed to participate in the ropes course and water slides. There are no signs to advertise this, so you could end up waiting in line for some time, only to find out that you had to go two decks down (to the Sportsplex) to sign the waiver and get your wristband before being allowed to participate. Once the wristband was obtained, both the ropes course and water slides were fun. The waits were never very long. POOLS: The outdoor pool didn't get much use given highs in the mid 50s to low 60s for most of the cruise. The indoor Bamboo Pool was almost always packed when we saw it. At one point on the sea day, there was a 15 person line for one of the hot tubs in the Bamboo room. This is likely less of an issue in the summer/warmer climate as passengers are more willing to use both the indoor and outdoor pools. GUEST SERVICES: I'd read several very negative reviews about Guest Services, but had no issues with their services. I went to Guest Services twice. Once was to have the UNICEF donation removed. The line was short and they were quick to comply. The second time was the last night of the cruise at 22:00. We found the embarkation pictures in our room, but left them there based on what other reviewers have said. The last night, we read the fine print that we were to return them to our cabin steward 48 hrs before the end of the cruise or we'd be charged. As we were packing up the last night, we saw this and I thought we'd have to eat the $E30 since we hadn't returned them, but thought I'd give Guest Services a try. I got in a line of about 10 people, but there was a guest services team member going through the line asking people what their issues where. He redirected me to the Photo Shop. I figured I was really out of luck at that point given the late hour, but they were still open and quick to take back my photos and refund the money. PORTS: As others have said, the published port hours are different than what actually happens--by up to an hour on both sides. For example, we were to arrive in Barcelona at 7:00 a.m. and leave at 6:00 p.m., but we arrived at 8:00 a.m. and left at 5:30 p.m. This is important to keep in mind if buying timed tickets for something in port. Civitavecchia: There's a free port shuttle from the port to the city. There are many taxistas waiting where the shuttle drops passengers off ready to take passengers to Rome and show them the sites. They were quite persistent despite declining their offers, then offended when they finally realized we weren't interested. We walked the mile or so to the train station and took the train into Rome for the day. Round trip it was Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Location and time frame is great! The service is friendly most of the time. However, compared to the food I had on the US base cruise ships, MSC is not on the same level. The specialty restaurants are OK, I spent the last three nights ... Read More
Location and time frame is great! The service is friendly most of the time. However, compared to the food I had on the US base cruise ships, MSC is not on the same level. The specialty restaurants are OK, I spent the last three nights eating at the dinner buffet instead of the main dining room because the food sucks. Not steak, extra cost 29.99 for Lobster Tail... I got food poisoned by eating the smoked salmon. Throwing up the whole night long, went to the Medical room on the 4th floor, the nurse was very helpful but the Doc, what Doc, he is taking his 4 hours lunch break. After all, I feel better by taking medicine that I bought from their Mini Mart and Medical room but I completely missed my Barcelona City Tour ... By the way, if you are using the Voucher for Drinks, make sure you could get most of the drinks on the menu, lots of server doesn't know that and think the Vouchers works like Package. The bathroom is good but you could hear everything that happens next door, I felt bad for the carbine next to mine, the night I got food poison, I spent the whole in the bathroom Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I went on this cruise with my husband and my parents who are in their late (age 67 and 69). None of us had ever been on a cruise before and we only had minimal travel to Europe in the past. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and ... Read More
I went on this cruise with my husband and my parents who are in their late (age 67 and 69). None of us had ever been on a cruise before and we only had minimal travel to Europe in the past. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and location. I have to admit after I booked the cruise, I read some reviews about this ship and was a little nervous, but my fears were completely alleviated by my experience. We boarded at Civitavecchia after spending 2 days in Rome first. The clientele is definitely quite international, lots of Italians. I heard plenty of Spanish and French speakers as well. There were several Japanese tourist groups as well as I think one from Hong Kong. I met a few Americans on the trip, so we were definitely not alone from the U.S. This ship is absolutely sparkling clean, which is amazing considering it's size and the number of people on the ship. And that's something coming from a clean freak like myself. Everything seems well-maintained. So, to address different parts of the trip: BOARDING and CHECKIN: I was given check-in time between 3:10pm and 5pm. We got there probably around 2:30pm, but were checked-in immediately with no line. Between leaving our car service (used RomeCabs as they can drive directly into the port), we were on the ship within about 15 minutes. They pause you quickly to take a photo in front of a ship's steering wheel that you can buy later if you want, security photos, and then you walk through a few people who ask if you want drink packages and then, that was it. Nobody was pushy. It was so fast that once we got on, we were all like, "so we're on the boat now right?" We went to check out our cabins and our luggage arrived in front of our door within an hour. CABIN: Clean, modern, simple. Yes, the storage is limited but adequate. My husband and I still managed to unpack and store everything so that we didn't have to live out of suitcases I had a balcony room. It was a little cold for use, but I'm sure in summer time I would've enjoyed it immensely. The room was cleaned twice a day by our cabin attendant, once in the morning and once during turndown service. DINING: Assigned dining was fine. I'm not sure what other reviewers' comparison are for food, but I thought the dinners were acceptable. My parents loved going to the dining room for dinner because they felt it was elegant. Once they figured out they could have as many items as they wanted off the menu, they were ordering multiple entrees and appetizers every night! I thought that for a mass-produced meal that the dishes were nicely plated and acceptable. Sure the Butter Chicken didn't taste like the dish from my favorite Indian restaurant at home, but it was certainly an acceptable resemblance of it. So just keep in mind this is not some Michelin star restaurant, but a ship kitchen trying to make all these different cuisines. The waiters are courteous, remembered our drink orders from the nights before and would ask if we wanted the same thing. We never used the breakfast or lunch dining rooms, mainly because we didn't realize until the end that these existed. They don't make it very obvious. We ended up at the Marketplace Buffet for breakfast and lunch. They have an adequate spread of different foods, something to suit everyone. There's an "Ethnic Corner" that changes everyday (Mexican, Chinese, Indian, etc). The croissants are delicious in the morning when they first come out of the oven. We usually had no trouble finding a table to sit at except after the day at port in Barcelona when I presume a TON of people boarded the ship. By the way, if you have free mineral water as part of Fantastica package, the bottled water is free ONLY in your assigned dining room, not at Marketplace Buffet. The Marketplace Buffet has water, juices (in the morning), tea, coffee for free. There was always people asking if we wanted the T-Bone Steak or Lobster dinners every night, as well as drink packages. I wonder if they have to meet some quota, and that sucks if they do. They were persistent only in that they asked everyday, but when you said no they'd leave you alone afterwards that day. ENTERTAINMENT: Different show every night, definitely had European flare, much to my mother's delight. There was a medley of pop songs, Broadway hits, shortened version of the opera La Boheme, flamenco show, magician/finger shadow puppet performer, medley of Italian love songs. I suspect that American cruise lines don't have this variety of cultural component in their theater shows, but this is my first cruise so can't say for sure. Mostly the same singers and dancers every night. Some were pretty good, others were adequate, but probably not going to Broadway anytime. Still good entertainment. During the day, limited entertainment I think on-board, but most people were out doing shore excursions anyways so it didn't matter too much. They had a themed party everynight, but I was too tired to actually check it out. It did look like some people would dress for the party, but also significant number didn't. You could probably go either way and not feel like you were sticking out based on what you were wearing. We went to the Sonor Cirque show. They had some aerial and tumbling routines, simple compared to land-based Cirque shows but still impressive on a moving ship. I wonder whether they have to cancel shows if the ship is pitching too much. We did cocktails. There was only a single option for non-alcoholic drinkers and none of my group liked the option (some sort of yogurt-based drink). It'd be nice if we could've selected a soda or something else instead. The theater is circular (not completely 360, maybe more like 270). Good view from all angles I think. They had sort of three tiered layout with dinner and show audience members in the 2nd tier. Didn't use the casino. It has a few tables, lots of slots. Only open in evenings. I did use the Spa for a massage and a facial, especially once I found out they could do a prenatal massage, which they didn't advertise. Sure it was a little pricier than something you'd find on land, but I'd have to say it was one of the best massages I've had ever! They have deals everyday so if you're patient wait for a day they have a sale on whatever service you want. You can see the sales on your MSC for Me app or on the ship board information screens. SERVICE: I had no problems with anyone being rude. I'm also a pretty friendly smiley person in general so maybe that helps. But I found that all the workers were helpful and willing to engage if you put in the effort as well. I'm still absolutely amazed by how multilingual their workers are (coming from someone who speaks two languages fluently and two others at an intermediate level), although I guess you find that a lot in Europe. Only in America do people ONLY speak English...going off topic there. SMOKING: Nonsmoking in most parts except casino and designated outdoors. I was afraid smokers would be everywhere given the European clientele, but the ship's crew were pretty good about reinforcing smoking only in designated areas. I saw one crew member ask two guests to put out their cigarettes when they were caught smoking in a no-smoking deck. I don't think smoking is allowed on balconies, but some people did it anyways. But otherwise, most of the ship was pretty cigarette smell-free, thank goodness. SHORE EXCURSION: SHORE EXCURSION: We did shore excursions at Barcelona (Panoramic Tour and Shopping), Marseille (Aix-En-Provence), Palermo (Taste of Sicily), and Valletta (Mdina, Mosta, and Rabat). Barcelona excursion was just "eh" considering how much there is to see in that city. The free time for "shopping" we spent eating our way around a food market, so that was pretty cool. The Marseille stop was not bad, some free time to walk around on our own. I thought it was actually going to be more rural and country-sideish, but it's more of a college town according to our tour guide there. Palermo was not particularly impressive, although it was also raining that day unfortunately. The food was good though, especially the Middle Eastern-inspired rice balls that we got to try. My father and I LOVED the Valletta excursion just maybe because the guide was amazing and the sites were just different from the other cities. I have no illusions that a <1 day shore excursion will give you an idea what a city is about, but I do think that it is an opportunity for them to entice you back for future vacations to spend more time there. I would say that the Marseille, Barcelona, and Valletta excursions did that, but not the Palermo one. Most shore excursions we did got us back to the boat around 2pm or so. My husband and I explored Genoa on our own. It is EXTREMELY walkable! We left the ship and walked into town, saw what we wanted to see and then walked back. Maybe about 1 mile or less to get into the area where the different siteseeing things are. DISEMBARK: We were assigned a disembark time of something like 945am, but I asked them if we could get off earlier. If you want your luggage taken off for you, you have to go with the disembark time (grouped by priority and deck). What they didn't advertise though is that you can also self-disembark. I was finally told about this option after I them I needed to get off before 9am (they had said they could only move me to the 915am disembark group at the earliest). You just have to drag your own suitcase off with you. Which actually ended up being more convenient because if you have them take luggage off for you, you have to leave your suitcase out the night before. It was easier for us to have our luggage with us until we physically left the room so we could do some last minute parking. We were estimated to get into port around 8am, but we were already able to disembark at 8am and were sitting in front of the terminal at 815am waiting for our driver to take us to the airport. Overall, great experience. Would definitely consider traveling with MSC again! My parents loved their first cruise so much that they are talking about doing a family reunion cruise every other year now. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My partner and I, along with our 14 yo daughter (New Zealanders) recently spent a month (Dec 2018) in Europe including two cruises, one on the Costa Luminosa (out of Venice) and the other on the MSC Meraviglia (out of Rome). The following ... Read More
My partner and I, along with our 14 yo daughter (New Zealanders) recently spent a month (Dec 2018) in Europe including two cruises, one on the Costa Luminosa (out of Venice) and the other on the MSC Meraviglia (out of Rome). The following are my thoughts on comparing the two: Foremost I would like to say that we had a fantastic time on both cruises and staging a cruise for 2-5 thousand people is obviously a mammoth undertaking requiring staggering resources and organization. People come to cruises with very high expectations and it is always possible to set your expectations in the realm of fantasy, such that they will never be met. On the Luminosa we booked a suite, which included a comprehensive drinks package, and on the Meraviglia we booked a balcony cabin and bought the comprehensive (but not premium brands) drinks package. The total cost of both cruises (excluding excursions) came to within a few hundred dollars of each other (US$2,830+/-). OVERALL On balance we enjoyed both cruises. I preferred the Costa cruise because I really did not like the crowds on the Meraviglia. There were just too many people making too much noise with too many children for my liking on holiday. To be fair though, I'm an introvert, I have seven children, and a holiday to me means getting away from people and children, at least a bit. On that score the suite package on the Luminosa allowed us to eat in a proper restaurant with peace and space for every meal. The other thing I liked was that the suite cabin was twice (I do mean twice) the size of the balcony cabin on the Meraviglia. Dining on Meraviglia was by contrast the noisy chaos that is buffet dining (better than the buffet on the Luminosa but fundamentally the same experience) or dining in the dedicated dinner and breakfast restaurants, which are also noisy busy affairs with the tables of other diners being mere inches away from yours. While the food in the Meraviglia buffet was better, the restaurant food was just as hit or miss as the Club Luminosa. I had delicious food on both cruises and some terrible dishes. I thought Costa unfairly got a bad rap on this score in hindsight, although it is fair to say the Club Restaurant food is not the same level as a surcharge specialty restaurant on another line, it more than made up for this by being included in the price, a comfortable setting, and available on demand when we needed for any of the three meals a day (i.e. not set dining times). One of my frustrations with Costa is that the wording around booking a suite is ambiguous about including dining in the Club Restaurant for all meals. I thought this was the case and I found it to be the case once on the cruise, but I could not get a Costa agent, or Costa, to confirm that was the deal prior to the cruise. In fact I was erroneously told on a number of occasions by the Asia agent that Club Luminosa dining was NOT included. While I'm on gripes, priority embarkation with Costa was not a pleasant experience and did not feel "priority". I put this down to a majority non-English speaking crowd and therefore insufficient signs in English and the fact that much of the embarkation is managed by port security staff, who have no interest or training in prioritizing passengers who may have been promised the privilege. Other than that the Costa cruise was managed as expected and I have no gripes. The staff on both cruises were friendly and helpful, and fantastic for the most part. Gripes on Meraviglia were more numerous. Embarkation was smoother, which I put down to a bigger and better equipped port. I soon found out through additional charges on my account that MSC had changed the method of charging for drinks packages since I had paid for mine in advance, so I was now on an "old" package, which the bar staff may or may not be trained on and for which all identification of included and excluded drinks had been removed from all the drinks menus. Fun! Also the MSC website stopped recognizing our booking a month before the cruise, which was annoying; and the three specialty restaurant and show bookings all had to be redone (no big deal). MSC has an annoying habit of giving you things to do to avoid charges like delivering photos back to the room steward, who was seldom seen. Our room was not made up on two days and was only turned down for the night on one night. Costa only charged a half the gratuity rate for the third child passenger, whereas MSC charged the full perdeim rate. CABINS As I said the Luminosa suite cabin was literally twice the size of the balcony cabin on the Meragivilia, so there is no competition there. Having the personal butler was also superior, to having a room steward who did not turn up on two days because he was assigned to 1) cleaning the balconies; and 2) crew safety drills. On the plus side we booked cabin 8205 which sits just above the lifecraft and has a balcony 2.5 times the size of the other balcony cabins. We enjoyed the extra space there. DINING I have covered above. The specialty restaurants on the Meravilia were all a bit hit and miss. Butcher's Cut was very good, but sitting in the Galleria walkway is not good if you don't want people standing next to your table and yelling to their friends on the deck below. The Sushi was very high quality but light in quantity and the desert was not available. The Eataly was better than the reviews suggest, with SOME of the dishes being very good, but that was again let down by the deserts being very ordinary. On average the food was better on the Meraviglia, but the dining experience was better on the Luminosa because of the full time use of the Club Luminosa. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES Activities on the Meraviglia surpassed those on the Luminosa although we enjoyed our included spa day on the Luminosa very much. The Meraviglia is a bigger ship and just has slightly more on offer, more bars, galleria, and water slides. We found the shows to be quite even on balance. The Luminosa shows were very good. The entertainers around the ship were somewhat limited. We enjoyed playing a game where we would work out what lyrics the singers were actually singing when they sang English songs. What they actually sang guessing at the English and pronunciation was actually quite hilarious. Trivial Pursuit had a dimension added to it when presented by someone who clearly did not know how to translate questions into English. "What color does a bride in China wear?" became "What color is the bridge in cheena?" We did not do well. On the Meraviglia three of the four shows we went to appeared to be lip-synced. Now I stand to be corrected, but it appeared to us that in all but the show including the band the singers lip-synced their way through the entire show. The dancers on the Luminosa were less ballet trained but worked as a troupe much better. The Circ-de-sole show was excellent on the Meraviglia so the shows came out even for me. SERVICE Staff and service was excellent on both cruises. Staff were always friendly, pleasant and eager to help when help was asked. We did not run into attitude or passing the buck on either ship. The staff were great. PORTS and SHORE EXCURSIONS We only did one excursion in the two cruises and might well have avoided that with what we know in hindsight. Most excursions can be duplicated with a significant cost savings with a little self planning. Ports really depend on the individual and where you want to go. You should want to go to Venice though. :-) Only one comment on excursions: none of the excursions offered on Meraviglia would take you inside La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. This is a crime. You should not go to Barcelona and not go inside this unique and stunningly beautiful building. The outside is impressive, but the inside is a moving experience. FELLOW PASSENGERS Both cruise were far and away dominated by Italians, which didn't bother me at all. Introvert. I was surprised at the lack of Americans or Brits on the Meraviglia. I would put the population of Americans at about 1% and Brits slightly higher. If you want to meet people and make friends, this could be a negative. Good on the Italians for holidaying with their children. They don't have sitters on the ship, so the kids get an early education on how Mommy and Daddy go out and have fun at night (including in the Casino). LOL [shakes head] CONCLUSION Costa Luminosa won me over as the best value for money. The big Meraviglia was just too crowed and noisy for me. The public spaces were always filled with the din of loud conversation and no matter what time of night it always seemed from the cabin someone was slamming a door somewhere or children were running up and down the halls. My advice is, give Costa another look, but book the suite or better. I didn't book the MSC Yacht Club experience, but I have read that children rule the roost there as well, so that might not be your best solution and is pricey. Good luck everyone and I hope you have a great next cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I don't get all the negativity surrounding this ship? I guess some people are never satisfied. Anyway, this was my very first cruise ship experience, and in my opinion, worth it indead. Very good first impression. Although a little ... Read More
I don't get all the negativity surrounding this ship? I guess some people are never satisfied. Anyway, this was my very first cruise ship experience, and in my opinion, worth it indead. Very good first impression. Although a little pricey for the whole 7 days on board, all went relatively smooth. The food: - Great food, excellent in fact - Unlimeted buffet for the whole journey (Disclaimer: at least when I was on the ship, we had unlimited buffet) - Went to a fine dinning experience at one of the restaraunts, although extra and a bit pricey, the food was awesome, nice presentation of food too. The ship: - A huge, magnificent ship that lives up to its name!! - First time embarking on the ship, I was wowed, by its sheer size and activities - Very posh and 'rich' looking, which is not bad at all! The Cabins: - The room that I stayed in was very clean, with a balcony - Although the cabin was a bit small, it was well furnished, with a tv, desk, bins, bathroom amenities and a couch - When I was there, the room was serviced on a daily The entertainment: - The ship was not short of entertainment and activities - I wasnt bored even when I stayed a whole day on the ship - Although some activities are extra (need to pay extra, which I did not do) Services: - The staff was friendly, if you are friendly towards them - My room was serviced everyday, with out my asking, which I appreciated - Although a good ship with excellent service, the sales assistants on the retail strip were pushy Amenities: - There are kids clubs, from ages baby-17 or 18 years - There are pools, gym, buffet, restaraunts, a retail stip and so on - Some activities are free, some not, so look and ask carefully if you are on a budget, or else it gets quite expensive!! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We have been on 17 MSC cruises now and wouldn't consider any other cruise line. We tend to pick cruises based on dates rather than itinerary as we just go to relax. This time was a bit different for us as it was the first time we ... Read More
We have been on 17 MSC cruises now and wouldn't consider any other cruise line. We tend to pick cruises based on dates rather than itinerary as we just go to relax. This time was a bit different for us as it was the first time we had been away for New Year, and the first time cruising in winter. This was also the first time being on such a large ship so we were a bit apprehensive especially with all the negative reviews, but as a seasoned MSC cruiser, I know to ignore most of the bad reviews on here as they are mostly unfounded. Our overall experience was very good and I would travel on the Meraviglia again if that ship was the only one available at my chosen dates, but if given the choice I would pick a smaller ship or try to get a much bigger cabin. We travelled with our 6 year old son, another couple with a 5 year old and a childless couple. We arrived at Genova by train and walked the short distance to the port arriving around 11.30. We all had Aurea cabins so had priority boarding and had no waiting around we got straight on, however even the other queue was not very long. I think later on in the day, queues can get to be quite long when the transfer buses arrive but if you get there early enough you won’t wait very long. Our cabins weren’t supposed to be ready until 14.00 but we went straight there to drop off our bags and they were ready. One negative point was to register the credit cards, the machines on the Meraviglia are slightly different to other ships and there was a bit of confusion as it was not clear which part was to pay in cash and which was for credit cards but we got there eventually. We all had Aurea balcony cabins, but we were very disappointed with these as they were tiny. It’s amazing how the biggest cabins we’ve had were actually on the smallest ships, I get the impression that they just try to squeeze in as many cabins as they can to make more money. The wardrobe was much too small for 3 people, although we did manage to squeeze all our clothes in there and stored our empty luggage under the bed as usual. The bathroom was small but well designed with a proper glass shower door and very powerful hot shower. Disappointing that we didn’t have a bath as we usually do with Aurea cabins. Some of the Aurea/black member perks were missing at first but as soon as housekeeping/reception were informed they appeared. So make sure you know what you should expect. The ship is very beautiful and plenty to do, so much that we didn’t get to do everything. The extras were quite expensive (bowling, 4d cinema etc) – even more expensive than on other MSC ships, but you can buy Fun Passes on board which are quite good value. Little tip, don’t expect to just turn up and do bowling, especially on the day at sea as there are only 2 lanes and you need to book in advance. We did it at 14.30 on the Marseille port day and were on our own. If you have small children ask the to put the gutter barriers up, I didn’t realise this was possible at first and it was only after a few loud tantrums from my 6 year old when he kept going in the gutter, that the staff member told us about this. It was a much more enjoyable game after that and my son ended up winning! I would also not recommend the flight simulator for young children, my son was tall enough to go on, but we didn’t realise that it actually went upside down and was very scary for him and even me as we were unable to control it, I laugh about it now as we were completely safe but wouldn’t take him on again until he was much older. The promenade was a great atmosphere for parties, but not well designed for parties due to the lack of bars. There is one bar at the far end then it is all shops, so we tended to go thirsty and dance rather than wait ages to get a drink. What is missing on this ship is little bars with music to have a drink and a dance, I think they could have created more of these rather than have so many specialty restaurants. The New Year’s party was amazing and best New Years Eve I have ever had. There was also the flower power party, white party, fluo party which were all amazing, great atmosphere and great music. This was a winter cruise so we didn’t use the outside pools at all (although some crazy people did) and only used the inside pool once. They seemed to be quite spacious but I can imagine how busy they would be on a sea day. We had a massage each included in our Aurea package, and I also had an eyebrow wax at the spa. The spa therapists are all very professional and the massages are excellent. They are quite expensive though, but I think you can get some good packages, I go on a cruise for family time though so didn’t look into this. It was quite hard to get an appointment for the wax as they only have one beautician that does this, but I suppose most people do their waxing before going on holiday. The theatre shows were quite disappointing, still high quality but not as varied as on the other ships we’ve been on. I think with them having the Cirque du Soleil, they don’t want to have any acrobatics in the ‘free’ theatre any more. It was mainly singing and dancing, which was quite boring for the children. There should have been a magic/puppet show on our first night but the magician missed the boat so this show was replaced by a classical concert. Cirque du Soleil was excellent but a little short, I would’ve been prepared to pay a little extra to see a longer show. We just got the show & cocktail tickets which I would highly recommend, when you already have dinner included in your cruise I don’t see the point in reserving a dinner with the show. The dinner started an hour before the show so you didn’t get to eat while you watched the show and the drinks only seats were much better – although the Carousel lounge is so small there are no ‘bad’ seats. Be aware that these shows can be cancelled in bad weather. Foodwise I am always amazed at how people can criticise the food on MSC as for us it is always amazing and one of the main reasons we like MSC cruises. I think there is something for everyone. I am a vegetarian and I never have to eat the same dish twice – unless I want to. The food is high quality, and if you think the portions are small in the restaurant, just order double! We rarely went to breakfast as we like to take it easy in the mornings on holiday. On the days that we did get up in time we just went to the buffet, there was plenty of choice, and we especially liked the made to order omelettes that you don’t usually get on MSC. We also went to the buffet most days for lunch as we find that there is more choice for everyone here at lunchtimes and more relaxed. The buffet can get very loud and crazy, but for the whole week we always found a table easily even when we were a group of 8. The trick is to have one person reserve a table while the others get their food, to avoid your food getting cold while you search for a table. It is also easier to find a table near the back end of the buffet. On the day at sea we preferred to go to the Panorama restaurant, although there is not as much choice here and not as well organised at lunchtimes as it is in the evenings. Dinner was in the Panorama restaurant. We had My Choice but it wasn’t as flexible as usual as we were a party of 8 so not as easy to get a table with the same waiter whenever we wanted. We ate at 19.15/19.30 every night apart from new year’s eve when we were able to get a table at 21.15. Our waiter Ashveen was excellent and we were very disappointed to hear that 2 days before the end of our cruise he had to return home due to personal problems, he was very professional and gave 120% to make sure that everything was perfect for us and we were able to have a laugh with him. One thing to note during winter cruises is the risk of bad weather. We were generally very lucky with the weather apart from the sea day. During the trip from Malta to Barcelona we encountered gale force 9 winds which made it very bumpy. A few of our party felt ill during the afternoon, and 2 had to leave the restaurant early in the evening. In all my 17 cruises I’ve never experienced seas that rough before, it was so bad during the night that it felt as though we were going to tip over. I always thought that the bigger the ship the less you felt the sea, but I’ve now realised that the bigger ships get knocked around more in high winds. A note on the photos, the MSC photographers are always excellent and the photos are always perfect but I always feel I am conned on these as they are always so expensive. On the other cruises we have managed to negotiate a price on board for all the photos usually €150-200, but this just means I have hundreds of photos hanging around at home that I never look at anymore. This time I decided to book in advance a 10 photo package (any size) for €80, still pretty expensive but limited photos. As soon as we got on the ship our friends were able to book packages for all photos – digital and small printed copies for €130. I wasn’t able to change my package but I was able to add all the digital photos for €60, so not as good a deal as my friends got but I much prefer to have the digital copies than the printed ones. I am also always surprised that people on here criticise the MSC staff, I find the staff to be highly professional and pleasant. I always get a smile and a hello out of anyone I pass in the corridors and always try to have a chat with staff I see regularly. Our group was a mix of 4 nationalities – English, Italian, French and Cuban with all of us speaking at least 2 different languages and none of us had any communication issues. All staff are required to speak English so I don’t understand how any English speaking passengers have communication issues. Passengers are a mix of all nationalities and personalities which I always find really interesting. If you want to be surrounded by English-speakers then please stay away from MSC and stick to the hundreds of English speaking cruises and leave the multinational cruises to us multinationals. We never choose our cruises for the destinations and do tend to repeat ports often. My main reasons for cruising are to relax and spend time with my family, this time especially as I was recovering from a foot operation and was not planning on doing too much walking. Civitavecchia – I had planned on going to see the nativity scenes at the nearby fort, but as the weather wasn’t great when we first got up we decided to stay on the boat instead. Palermo – we took a taxi tour with our friends €120 for 6 adults and 2 children. Saw most of the sights over 2 hours and had a wander round the food market. Malta – new years day so wanted to take it easy, took a horse and carriage ride around the city for €40 (or €50 can’t remember but was negotiated €10 cheaper than the ‘official’ price) 2 adults one child, then a wander around the shops near the port. Barcelona – a city I never tire of and so easy to get around on your own. We got the port cruise (blue) bus from right outside the terminal for €4 return each which leaves you near Plaza Colombo (as does the MSC shuttle which you have to pay €8/9). We then got the Metro from Drassanes to the Sagrada Famiglia (changing at Passeig Gracia) we got a 10 trip ticket for €10.20 as we were 8. Wandered round the outside of the Sagrada Famiglia, then got the metro back to Plaza Catalunya (changing again at Passeig Gracia), and walked back down the Ramblas stopping at the food market near the middle. Marseille – stayed on ship, had a lazy morning then took advantage of the quiet ship to do bowling and 4d cinema) Overall I’ve given the Meraviglia 5/5 as I feel that MSC needs a little boost and none of the negative points I’ve mentioned ruined my holiday in any way, I am already planning 2 cruises with MSC for 2019. I would recommend to anyone taking a cruise, no matter which company, to do your research on what to expect, to avoid disappointment. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The 5 plus and minus with this cruise. Plus. World class evening entertainment - The main company consist of 6 singers, 11 dancers and 5 musicians (alternate nights). They offer 6 great shows of 40 minutes, popular broadway ... Read More
The 5 plus and minus with this cruise. Plus. World class evening entertainment - The main company consist of 6 singers, 11 dancers and 5 musicians (alternate nights). They offer 6 great shows of 40 minutes, popular broadway musicals, history of Rock, flamenco dance, Italian songs and a modern day themed. The shows are world class with great choreography, costumes and musics. Mobile phone app - MSC for Me - while on board the ship can easily find informantion on itinerary, book restaurant and shows and check details of billing account (the most useful function in the app). Itinerary - Civitavecchia, Italy - Palermo, Italy - Valletta, Malta - Barcelona, Spain - Marseille, France - Genoa, Italy. Spa - Modern, spacious and well equipped. Daily activities - plenty of choices and varied to suit. Minus. Charity donation to UNICEF - Auto deduction of 1 (one) EUR per person per day. Chairty donation is a personal choice and voluntary. MSC auto enrolled my cabin of 4 person, of which I needed to visit the reception and wasted my time in the long line to remove the charge. The pushing of products and services - I understand cruising is a business and want of MSC to increase income and profit. However, there is a fine line between of highlighting and selling, I rather ask than to be offered. Transfer in Barcelona, Spain - The charge of 8 EUR per person between port and World Trade Centre (WTC) in the port is not value for money, since WTC is still 30 minutes walk from the city centre. In fact, the metered taxi from city centre to port is only 10 EUR for 4 person. Rushed service in the morning - the ship was full, 4,500 passengers, so I understand it was difficult for the restaurants to cope with the rush in the morning. Poor information or lack of transfer service between airport FCO and Civitavecchia. I rather prefer MSC to organise the transfer service. This was the missing link in an otherwise wonderful MSC cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this as our 25th anniversary and it sailed out of Rome, and Rome was on our Bucket list. Embarkation was one of the smoothest ever, as was disembarkation. Our first time on MSC, so not sure how to compare, but this was our 15th ... Read More
We chose this as our 25th anniversary and it sailed out of Rome, and Rome was on our Bucket list. Embarkation was one of the smoothest ever, as was disembarkation. Our first time on MSC, so not sure how to compare, but this was our 15th cruise overall. We were disappointed that we booked this cruise when we did to get the Circ du Soleill tickets that were part of the package. When we got on board we found out we needed to pay for this. The guy running the ticket desk told me had numerous people complaining about the same thing. They were supposed to get free tickets but had to pay. I have complained to MSC but no word back yet. Very strange not having a Cruise Director or actviities lined out like we are used to. It's also a little strange the people embark and disembark at every port, so there is no set embarkation point, new people coming and going all the time. Food was great compared to other lines we thought. We appreciated the dining room having assigned seating and times again. It gave us a chnace to get to know the staff and table mates. We never figured out how to make reservations that are REQUIRED to see shows, so only skipped in on the end of a couple. Disappointed no comedians either. I havent been on other MSC cruises, so I really dont know how it compares. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We had a great time at MSC Meraviglia, so much that we're going to its sister Belissima, again. Pros: - Bars. The champagne bar was above the atrium band, so we could enjoy a nice bottle of sparkling wine in a quiet ... Read More
We had a great time at MSC Meraviglia, so much that we're going to its sister Belissima, again. Pros: - Bars. The champagne bar was above the atrium band, so we could enjoy a nice bottle of sparkling wine in a quiet environment, while listening to the music. The pub had a great selection of beers. The piano bar had some nice drinks and an amazing view of the pool area and of the cities. - Spa area. Several types of saunas with modern design. This is enough reason to go to this ship, in my opinion. A notch above spas in any other cruise line, with finnish a sauna, and low-temperature sauna. A mini-con is that the spa pools were smaller than usual. - Some kinds of food were great. Fresh mozzarella every day, excellent bread and the best pizza at sea (which is still not great pizza, but better than american crap). - Cirque du Soleil shows were amazing! - Buffet area was well structured, and we were always able to get a table. Cons: - Dinner tables on the main dining room were too close to each other. As an introvert trying to relax, I was always contemplating how horrible it would be the day somebody sat near my table and started trying to engage in conversation. - Things close too early on, and there is nothing to do at midnight. On Harmony of the Seas, for example, you could get a hot tub at 2AM. - Food quality is average. Although there were some nice dishes, most of the food was average. Not horrible, but average or disappointing. For example, one night I ordered a prime rib, but then got a slice of prime rib that was probably cooked immersed in liquid, not on a grill. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
BACKGROUND In 2016, I had taken my family on our first MSC cruise aboard the MSC Divina out of Miami. At the time, I couldn’t pass up MSC’s deep discounts, kids sail free promotion, and loyalty match program. We sailed for 7 nights ... Read More
BACKGROUND In 2016, I had taken my family on our first MSC cruise aboard the MSC Divina out of Miami. At the time, I couldn’t pass up MSC’s deep discounts, kids sail free promotion, and loyalty match program. We sailed for 7 nights to the Eastern Caribbean for less than what a weekend booze cruise to the Bahamas would’ve cost. That cruise was enjoyable, but it failed to excel or impress. It was marred with glitches, snafus, and unmet expectations. I thought of it as a budget experience which needed a lot of polishing aboard a pretty ship. My wife hated it so much that she said that she didn’t want to sail on this cruise line again. So I told myself that most likely, I wouldn’t be choosing MSC for subsequent cruises. But about a year later, I was browsing cruises for Thanksgiving 2018 and I came across a 7 night Mediterranean cruise aboard MSC’s brand new Meraviglia. What really caught my attention was not the ship or the itinerary, but an Aurea Duplex Suite, similar to Crown Loft Suites on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships. And what caught my attention even more was the fact that I could book an Aurea Duplex Suite for one fourth the price of a Crown Loft Suite. I’d been wanting to experience this type of accommodation ever since they were introduced on Oasis! So on a whim, I booked the only Aurea Duplex Suite available, not even knowing if I could get my wife to agree to take this trip. But she said yes, and we stuck to the plan. A year and 4 months later, the day finally came to fly across the pond to sail on the MSC Meraviglia! We are a young family of 4, which includes a 9 year old boy and a 6 year old girl. As the date approached, I questioned my sanity several times, and why I’d decided to take this trip. Don’t American families with kids this age normally take vacations to Disney, not to 5 European countries in 10 days?? I knew that I needed to make this trip as kid friendly (and wife friendly) as possible. So I did a lot of research, in order to accomplish this goal. From flights, to excursions, to onboard experience, everything was meticulously planned. And without giving too much away, I’m glad to say that it was worth it! FLIGHTS, TRANSFERS, HOTEL, AND ROME Another reason to select this itinerary was the fact that we could fly nonstop from Atlanta (where we live) to Rome, which was highly desirable, specially traveling with small children. Two of us were upgraded complimentarily to Delta One (with lay flat seats) so I gave one seat to my wife and then the the kids took turns and each enjoyed the second seat for half of the flight. I “enjoyed” my economy seat on row 25! But even in economy, Delta truly excels. Hot towels, small amenity package with eye shades, earplugs, and headphones, tasty and plentiful food selections, and extensive entertainment options. 9 hours and 5 minutes later, we landed at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. Everyone’s behavior truly exceeded my expectations. Kids were very well behaved and relaxed, both going and returning. In an effort to keep things simple for the family, I pre-booked all of our ground transfers. I used Stefano’s Rome Cabs, which was highly ranked on Trip Advisor. They did not disappoint! We prepaid for all of our transfers in (via PayPal) which simplified things further. Their YouTube videos on how to locate our driver were extremely helpful! Great, friendly, and very helpful drivers. I wouldn’t hesitate to use their services again. We planned on spending two nights in Rome pre-cruise. I had decided to book a hotel near the Vatican, since this was the main attraction in our land itinerary. We chose Starhotels Michelangelo, literally within a 5-10 minute easy stroll to St Peter’s Square. I’d read that the area where this hotel is located is not in a very touristy part of town, and that it’s not too convenient to other attractions in Rome. But for our needs, it was absolutely perfect! The hotel is modern, the staff was very attentive, and our room was nicely and tastefully appointed. It is located in a decidedly not touristy area (more residential). Our room faced an apartment building. Several restaurants and small shops, mostly frequented by locals, were only a block away. It was nice to have a little haven where to escape the mob of tourists. Eating where the locals ate not only was a highlight of our stay, but it was also easier on my pocket. In Rome, I booked “Skip the Line” Access to St Pete’s Basilica (money extremely well spent since the regular line snaked like a line for a new ride at Disney). We then took a taxi to the Trevi Fountain, did some shopping in that area, and visited the Colosseum. TRANSFER TO CIVITAVECCHIA AND BOARDING THE SHIP We enjoyed our morning in Rome. We returned to St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus with the Pope. Once again, our hotel’s location proved to be ideal. We entered St. Peter’s Square using a side entrance where the line was much shorter. Watching the Pope and listening to the Angelus was a definite highlight of this vacation, specially since the last time I had been to such an event had been 30 years prior when I was a child, and when St. John Paul II was the Pope. We then returned to our hotel for our transfer to Civitavecchia. Our RomeCabs driver was already waiting for us! We were promptly driven to Civitavecchia, one hour away. We were dropped off right in front of the terminal around 2:00pm. Our driver told us where to meet our driver upon our return and bid us farewell. I must say that I was a bit surprised at the facilities, which were basically an oversized temporary tent-like terminal. There was a line for passengers dropping off their luggage but we decided to skip that line since we were traveling with carry-ons only. We later learned that this was a mistake. We passed the security checkpoint and entered the check-in area. The smallish waiting area was pretty packed and they were calling group 22 to proceed to the check-in line. Since we had the Aurea Experience, I inquired about the priority line. The agent asked me for my Aurea priority boarding card and when I said that I didn’t have one, he said that I had to go back outside and get it from the luggage drop off checkpoint which we had skipped. I showed him my paperwork clearly stating that we were Aurea passengers, hoping that he would allow me to proceed to priority check in without the card but he wouldn’t budge. So I went back outside, got the card, and returned. I handed the card to the same agent which now smilingly allowed us to proceed. I found the inability to think outside the box a bit off-putting and the extra hassle unnecessary, but I understand that he was probably trying to strictly follow rules that he’d been told to enforce. In the grand scheme of things, it was just a small blip in an otherwise easy check in process. We proceeded to the next available check-in agent who quickly scanned our paperwork and gave us our key cards and wrist bands. These wrist bands could be used in lieu of key cards to open the cabin door and to charge things around the ship, but it couldn’t be used to embark or disembark at ports of call. Still a pretty nifty idea. We had our welcome aboard photo taken and we quickly proceeded onboard the ship. As we entered, our paperwork was once again scanned, our security photos were taken, and then we proceeded to the next desk which was for the kids club wristband for our children. We continued walking and were met by another agent who had a handheld device. She warmly welcomed us onboard, swiped our cards, and told us that our stateroom was ready and that we could proceed to it. She also informed us that lunch was being served at the buffet marketplace. In reality, this was another stop to try to “upsell” us to a drinking or specialty restaurant package, but since we already had a drink package included with the Aurea experience, she skipped that part of her speech. We then proceeded to a self-help kiosk to set up our onboard account. Quick and painless. Because passengers embark and disembark at the various ports of call, smaller groups of passengers are checking in each day. I found this to be a welcome change. The general feel of organized chaos normally associated with embarkation days when an entire passenger compliment is being disembarked and embarked, and hordes of passengers are rushing to the buffet for their first lunch onboard, was greatly diminished. The ship never felt packed. In fact, on embarkation day, the ship felt quiet and uncrowded, most likely because most in-transit passengers were off the ship and touring Rome when we embarked. OUR STATEROOM This was the moment that I had been waiting for since I had booked the cruise 1 year and 4 months ago. Would this Aurea Duplex Suite be everything that I had hoped for? In a nutshell, it was! It was an amazing 2 deck loft suite, and the only thing that I regret about booking it is that we are now spoiled for life! Two bathrooms, two walk in closets, one that doubles as a dressing room, separate sleeping quarters in separate floors, dining area, Nespresso machine, and a large, forward facing balcony with loungers and our own jacuzzi tub! The views from the loft were breathtaking. We truly couldn’t have asked for better accommodations! One drawback about the suite’s design is that it doesn’t have an open balcony. Since it faces forward, there’s a large glass wall to block the oncoming wind, but it also limits the ability to enjoy the ocean breeze, and it also limits the views left and right. Still, it was an absolutely fantastic place to watch the scenery, specially going in and out of port. Just be aware of this hindrance, specially if you’re someone who enjoys taking photos from your balcony like I do. Although this suite was truly the definition of luxury, I believe that it would’ve been better suited as part of the Yacht Club, not the Aurea Experience. The service and perks didn’t quite match a suite of this caliber. Toiletries consisted of a wall mounted shampoo and body wash dispenser, which made the suite feel just a bit less luxurious. Room service (except for continental breakfast) incurred an extra charge, and the items in the mini fridge also incurred an extra charge unless we paid extra to upgrade our included drink package. Yes, it came with perks like the mentioned drink package, access to the thermal suite at the spa, access to a private Aurea passenger deck, and complimentary massages, but our cabin steward seemed unfamiliar with features specific to this suite. For example, he failed to replenish the Nespresso pods, or provide new coffee mugs, and one day he removed our used bathrobes but never replaced them. But once again, I had to remind myself that we had literally paid a fraction of what a similarly appointed Crown Loft Suite on Royal Caribbean would’ve cost. Those do come with a butler, a long list of suite specific perks, and are located in a private, exclusive section of the ship, but they would’ve cost $16,000 thousand dollars. In retrospect, I was grateful that MSC provided a way to experience a suite of this caliber but without the overinflated price tag, even if it didn’t come with all the perks on Royal’s Crown Loft Suites. THE SHIP WOW! is all I can say. My wife and I both agreed that we hadn’t been this wowed about a new ship since we’d sailed on the Allure of the Seas during her inaugural season. Everywhere we went on the ship, we were wowed by something. It’s indeed a beautiful, well appointed, and a huge ship. It never felt crowded. In fact, during the day while the ship is in port, the ship feels blissfully uncrowded and quiet. At night, the main promenade would get crowded, but that added to the excitement of this area, which is the heart of the ship. Electronic signage can be found near most elevators, which were helpful in determining daily activities, how to get from here to there, and to make reservations for shows and other things. Technology is used for other things, like to electronically locate photos taken by the ship’s photographer which was much better than browsing walls filled with hundreds of photos, like on older, less technologically advanced ships. Entertainment on this ship is much more elaborate. The water park was absolutely fantastic. The water slides are fast, specially the one that lands you in a bowl. And even though the air temperature hovered in the 50F’s-60F’s, the water was heated which meant that we could comfortably use the outdoor pools and slides. We purchased a Fun Pass for 70 Euros which gave us an additional 30 Euros. We used them for the flight and roller coaster simulators, the 4D cinema (which is more advanced and realistic than the one on the Divina), and for a night of bowling. Overall, great fun for the whole family. Cirque du Soleil at Sea truly helped take the onboard entertainment to another level as well. The Carousel Lounge is the purposely built theater for the Cirque shows onboard. There are two exclusive shows; Sonor and Viaggio. Initially, we had booked both shows, but halfway through the week, they had technical difficulties, which required Cirque engineers to be flown in to fix the problem. As a consequence, shows were canceled 2 nights in a row, including our Sonor performance. Luckily we were able to attend Viaggio towards the end of the week, although we were assigned to the absolute worst seats in the house (back row against the wall, in a corner, so we had a sideways and slightly obstructed view which took away from our enjoyment). Still, it was a great show, with all the elements and special effects of Cirque shows on land. It is a shorter, somewhat watered down version of land shows, but still well worth the 15 Euro admission. Main theater shows were a bit lackluster. The Broadway Theater is a wonderful venue, with unobstructed views and great acoustics, but the performances felt a notch below what we had experienced on the Divina. Scenography is not as elaborate or awe inspiring, and it’s compromised of mostly LED screens. Shows were mostly a tribute to “something”, like rock bands, musicals, etc, which felt less original than the shows that we’d seen on the Divina which had a more unique feel and theming. Singers and dancers were talented, but not more talented than what you’d expect for cruise ship entertainment. Still, we attended three shows: Paz, Born to Rock, and One More Day. All were about 40 minutes long. We had access to the Thermal Suite as part of the Aurea Experience. I somewhat liked the setup on the Divina more, with a relaxation room facing floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the ocean. On the Meraviglia, the thermal suite is fully enclosed with no windows, which made it feel a bit claustrophobic in my humble opinion. It is bigger, with more features, but it also seemed to be more crowded. They do have a thalassotherapy pool which I missed on the Divina. Maybe one of the reasons why the thermal suite on the Meraviglia felt more crowded than on the Divina was because it’s a fully coed facility, which provides a more inviting environment for couples. On the Divina, several facilities are gender specific, which forces couples to split up and spend less time using the facilities. We spent more time at the Thermal Suite on the Meraviglia than on the Divina, but there were times when we couldn’t use some facilities because they were so full. FOOD AND DRINKS Overall, I feel that cuisine has improved since we sailed on MSC back in 2016. There seemed to be a wider and tastier selection, both at the main dining room and at the buffet. On the Divina it felt as if we ate a lot of pizza because we just couldn’t find more appealing options. That wasn’t the case on the Meraviglia. We enjoyed most of what we ate, although things started to feel a bit repetitive as the week progressed. For the record, we did enjoy the pizza several times, but not because there wasn’t anything else to eat. This ship does have plenty of other places to eat, but not for free. I feel that MSC has taken the “extra fee” concept a bit to the extreme. While it’s still possible to enjoy complimentary venues in addition to the main dining room and buffet on other cruise lines, on the Meraviglia we were pretty much limited to only two complimentary venues. I normally like to enjoy a night at a specialty restaurant when I cruise, but on the Meraviglia it seemed as if these venues carried a heftier fee than on other cruise lines. The one way to make the per restaurant cost more palatable was to purchase a 3 specialty restaurant package, but for someone like me who just wanted to select one specialty restaurant, these packages were not really useful and I saw them more as a way to force me to pay for something that I normally wouldn’t have purchased, so I skipped the whole concept completely on this sailing. As part of the Aurea Experience, we had a drink package included. A week before our sailing, MSC decided to “downgrade” the drink package included to the “Easy Package” (meaning cheaper, more limited). However, we were grandfathered to our original package since we’d booked before the announced change. Still, there was some confusion at the beginning of the sailing. The first bartender that I spoke to told me that I had the Easy Package, but another bartender quickly corrected him and proceeded to inform me of what I was entitled to. This included all cocktails costing less than 10 Euros, draft beers, select wines by the glass, sodas, bottled water, specialty coffees, juices, and mock cocktails. One thing that was a bit of a head scratcher is that bottled water and sodas were free, but if we grabbed the same exact item from the mini fridge in the cabin, we’d get charged for those items. I just learned to grab these items from the bars around the ship free of charge and bring them back to our cabin. Overall, we calculated that having a drink package included in the Aurea Experience saved us about $500. ITINERARY AND PORTS OF CALL First of all, our arrival and departure times at pretty much every port of call was altered from what was printed on our embarkation papers and which we had used to book activities ashore. We would learn the night before arriving at each port of call that our arrival time would be an hour later, and/or our departure time would be an hour earlier. This proved to be a nuisance because we had booked activities with a scheduled admission time based on the itinerary the way that it had been published in advance. We had to unnecessarily rush to make our admission times several times. Because we were traveling with 6 and 9 year old children, I ditched expensive shore excursions, conducted some research, and selected kid friendly activities ashore. Here’s what we did at each port: - Palermo: We booked a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus tour. In all fairness, Palermo isn’t the prettiest city, but there are some interesting landmarks and sights throughout. This tour was a good way to see these sights in a kid friendly way. - Valletta: One of my favorite ports of call in this itinerary. We took the ferry across the bay to The Three Cities and booked a self guided tour through Rolling Geeks. These are golf carts which provide turn by turn directions and audio commentary of what you’re seeing. If you make the wrong turn, you receive a call in your cart from their head office and they tell you how to get back on track, A really neat way to see the beautiful cities of Cospicua, Senglea, and Vittoriosa. - Barcelona: We pre-booked admission to La Sagrada Familia and the Camp Nou Experience, home of the FC Barcelona. We moved easily around town by taxi. We had planned on spending a bit of time along Las Ramblas, but my 9 year old lost his embarkation card which he had been wearing on a lanyard (I know, bad parenting choice), and he started freaking out about being left behind in Barcelona. Even though we knew that he wouldn’t be left behind, we decided to return to the ship a bit earlier than planned because we didn’t know how long it would take to get him a new card and board the ship. The process was fairly quick and simple. The agent at the entrance to the terminal had a printed copy of the passenger manifest. She quickly verified that he was indeed on the list and then proceeded to ask for his passport to verify his identity before allowing him to proceed onboard. Thankfully I did have his passport with me, so I showed it, and we proceeded to the ship. As we boarded the ship, the security officer asked for our cabin number and with that, he pulled up his embarkation photo on the computer. From there we proceeded to the information desk where new cards (for the whole family) had to be issued for security reasons. Moral of the story is that, even though many savvy cruisers recommend leaving passports in the safe on the ship when going ashore, having our passports with us allowed me to expedite and quickly resolve this hiccup in our travel plans. The MSC security officer also recommended to always take passports ashore, not only for what happened to us, but for a myriad of other things that could arise. - Marseille: We had planned on taking it easy in Marseille, head to the city center, explore the Cathedral, walk around the Vieux Port, have lunch, and return to the ship. MSC left vouchers in our room the night before offering bus transportation from the cruise terminal to the city center. If we chose to use them, our shipboard account would be charged 9 Euros per person. We decided to ditch those and take advantage of the complimentary bus provided by the city. Finding the bus was easy enough. All we had to do was follow the green line painted on the sidewalk. This would’ve been a great idea if it hadn’t been cold and rainy, if there hadn’t been three other ships in port, meaning hundreds of other passengers with the same idea, and if we didn’t have to walk 1 kilometer from the cruise terminal to the bus stop at the entrance of this industrial port. We then had to wait 40 minutes in line until we were able to get on a bus. Needless to say, we took a taxi back once we decided to return to the ship. But once we got to the city center we truly enjoyed the sights. The Cathedral was beautiful, Vieux Port was charming, and we enjoyed our lunch. Since it was raining and cold, we couldn’t enjoy sitting out on the patio as we had planned, but we still enjoyed our time. Once again, we chose to return to the ship early, first because MSC had posted an unusually early “all aboard time”, and second because we noticed an unusually large police presence as we walked along the Vieux Port. We asked a local person if that was normal and he said no, and that the police were there because of the ongoing riots throughout France concerning the escalating fuel prices. He recommended that we return to the ship soon because many roads were being blocked by protesters. Sure enough, our taxi driver had to take several detours to get us back to the ship since roads had indeed been blocked. He would stop and wave down another passing taxi and ask which way they’d gone back to the terminal, and then he’d take another detour. We finally made it back to our ship, but the uncertainty got our hearts pounding a bit. Genoa: Our last port of call. Because we were getting off the ship early the next day, I wanted to keep things simple so that we could return to the ship, pack, and get a good night rest before our return trip home. We went to the Acquario di Genova, located near the cruise terminal. It would’ve been a fairly easy 20 minute walk, but we decided to take a taxi. 15 Euros flat fee. The aquarium is a bit old, but it’s comprehensive and extensive. It is considered the largest aquarium in Europe. It was what the kids needed after a long week of sightseeing. We returned to the ship early, packed our bags, and enjoyed an afternoon of family activities on the ship, bowling and 4D cinema. DEBARKATION As mentioned before, our arrival and departure times at each port of call kept getting changed which was annoying, but nothing proved to be truly nerve wrecking until they changed our return time to Civitavecchia. When I booked this cruise and flights, the itinerary showed a 7:00am arrival so a 12:30pm return flight seemed reasonable. About 6 months before the cruise, the airline changed our departure time to 11:25am which gave me reason to consider changing the flights, even if we couldn’t fly nonstop back to Atlanta. After asking on these forums, I was reassured that I’d still have enough time to make our flight as long as there were no further changes or delays. Well, the day before our return to Civitavecchia, MSC posted a delayed 8:00am arrival time, and to make things tighter, I learned when I checked in for our flight that Delta had posted an early departure of 11:15am. Now I barely had 3 hours to disembark, gather our luggage, drive 45 minutes to the airport, check in, go through airport security, go through customs with small children in the longer, general lane, and get to our gate. Overstressing about the compressed timeline and logistics and being snippy was not how I wanted to spend my last few hours onboard an otherwise fantastic vacation. We received our disembarkation information packet in our cabin which provided red tags with an 8:30am MEETING time at one of the lounges. No mention of any other options, like self-assist debarkation. I went to the information desk to ask about the quickest way to disembark once we got to Civitavecchia. First the agent said that the arrival time had ALWAYS been 8:00am (liar, and I had the paperwork to prove it), and then she said that we had already been given red tags which meant that we’d be off the ship with the first group. I then asked her if there was such a thing as self-assist debarkation in Civitavecchia and that’s when she finally said that I could proceed on my own to the disembarkation point and that I’d be allowed to get off the ship as soon as we received clearance from local authorities. The next morning, we had breakfast at the buffet marketplace at 6:00am, and based on the hordes of passengers having breakfast that early, I was sure that debarkation would be a nightmare. One hour prior to our arrival in Civitavecchia, I lined up at the debarkation point and thankfully secured the second spot in line. The debarkation point was ideally located on deck 6, right on the Galleria Meraviglia, so my wife and kids sat at one of the bars and comfortably enjoyed one final cappuccino and hot chocolate before we got off the ship. Based on the number of people that we’d seen at breakfast, and based on our experience with self assist debarkation back in the US where half the passengers on the ship are trampling each other to get off the ship as early as possible, I was expecting a similar scenario here, but it never materialized. Only about 15-20 people total lined up to do self assist, either because nobody really cared to get off the ship in a hurry, or because nobody even knew about it. In all fairness, it wasn’t printed anywhere in the debarkation paperwork, and I only knew about it because I dragged the information out of the information desk agent. But whatever the case, it didn’t matter. I was just glad that the mob that I expected didn’t materialize. The only passengers in line were also families from the USA with early flights home, all stressed out as much if not more than us. Maybe this was another lesson on how Americans like to do things in a more and unnecessary stressful way than the rest of the world! I know that I learned my lesson and will never book a tight flight or stress over things that I have no control over while on vacation. Promptly at 8:00am, we were cleared to disembark. We walked in the terminal and realized that no customs are required getting off the ship in Civitavecchia! We were on the sidewalk within minutes of getting off the ship. It was storming with gusty winds, but standing in the rain was our Rome Cabs driver holding a very wet and soggy sign with our name on it! I could’ve hugged her! She quickly handed out umbrellas to my wife and children, and between the two of us we loaded all the luggage in our awaiting car. She helped us dry off before departing. We were literally the first car to pull away from the parking lot! Before we knew it, we were on the highway, on our way back to the Fiumicino airport. We arrived at the airport shortly after 9:00am, but it wasn’t until we had cleared the customs checkpoint and found myself sitting at our gate at 10:30am when I started relaxing again. We left Rome behind but took with us amazing memories that we will always treasure. IN CONCLUSION Our cruise on the Meraviglia was absolutely fantastic, and after 32 cruises across several cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Costa, Holland America, Princess, Disney) I can say that it was without a doubt one of the best cruises I’ve ever taken. Overall, MSC has greatly improved their product since the last time we sailed on them in 2016. Friendlier, more attentive and pleasing crew, better food options, less snafus and technical glitches, amazing new ship with more amenities, and an overall better experience. With the Meraviglia repositioning to the USA next year, MSC’s expanding presence in the region, and improved product, I believe that they will provide some stiff competition to the US based cruise lines, and I won’t hesitate to sail on them again. There’s always some room for improvement, but the positives far outweighed the negatives. I did feel that MSC’s product is designed to force people to spend extra (buy or upgrade their drink package, limit dining options to force people to purchase specialty restaurant packages, downgrading some of the perks included with the different experiences, cutting back in some free entertainment to entice people to pay for upgraded entertainment, and charging for some basic things that should be free). But then again, all cruise lines are in some way or another doing the same to increase their onboard revenue, so I can’t really point fingers specifically at MSC for this practice, but instead at the whole cruise industry. Once again, this was a wonderful cruise, and the Meraviglia truly lived up to its name, which translates to “Wonder”. This ship and experience were indeed wonderful. 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
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 3.0

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