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MSC Meraviglia Review

MSC Meraviglia
MSC Meraviglia

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MSC Meraviglia
5.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
to book


Passengers 4,475
Crew 1,536
Passenger to Crew 2.91:1
Launched 2017
Shore Excursions 653
Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic UK Managing Editor

MSC Meraviglia Overview

MSC Meraviglia is the biggest ship the line has launched -- and the fifth biggest in the world. The 171,598-ton, 4,475-passenger ship marks the start of a massive (nine billion euros) ship-building program that will see a megaship launched each year until 2022 (in fact, there were two alone in 2017 -- MSC Seaside, a new class of ship, launched in December 2017).

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Long dominant in Europe, South Africa and South America, MSC Cruises is consciously -- and cleverly -- positioning itself to try to gain a greater slice of the North American market. After two seasons in Europe, this ship will head to Miami, where it will homeport in 2019.

MSC has always emphasized the "Mediterranean way of life" tag for its ships, but Meraviglia marks a move away from strictly that with some international (North American) concessions. Everything is in English (signage, first language, announcements); there are two new restaurants -- a teppanyaki and an American steakhouse -- and a Cirque du Soleil at sea.

So the big question is: Does it work?

The answer is a resounding yes. Meraviglia boasts concepts similar to those made popular by other lines -- the aforementioned teppanyaki restaurant (Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal's Oasis-class ships); a central promenade that is almost a carbon copy of Royal Caribbean's Quantum-class ships; a high-tech theater that looks like Royal's Quantum-class Two-70; duplex suites (Royal) and so on. Then it sprinkles its own touches -- the extraordinary Yacht Club, possibly the finest key-card-access suite enclave at sea; a chocolate shop and cafe; a link up with LEGO and Eataly and that MSC signature -- genuine Swarovski crystal studded stairs, which form the centerpiece of the main atrium.

But none of it jars. And it so easily could. Despite the sheer number of passengers, we never witnessed pinch points onboard; there is always a venue or a spot you can go to get away from the craziness. And if there is one criticism, it's just that: Everything is kept at fever pitch, from the pool parties all day and most nights, the clubs, the parades and the shows -- it's nonstop. But hey, if you like that, then this is the ship for you.

The line has also improved significantly in two areas in which it often came in for criticism: food and service. It's linked up with a couple of name chefs (Carlo Cracco and the chocolatier Jean-Philippe Maury); and has clearly been working hard on training. We found service universally of a high standard.

The ship is also the most technologically advanced in the fleet and sees the debut of MSC for Me, an app that will store all your details and preferences and allow you to make reservations in restaurants and shore excursions. The ship also has RFID wristbands, which will eventually replace cruise cards and allow you to get into your cabin and make onboard purchases.

All in all, MSC Meraviglia is a really well thought out and considered design, which takes the best of the brand and adds an international edge, with great success.



Fellow Passengers

The ship will be Mediterranean-based until 2019, and the make up reflects that. It also (unlike many lines) embarks and debarks in most ports, so expect Italians, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Austrian, Dutch, Irish, a few Brits and then some unexpected nationalities, such as Japanese and South Africans. There are very few North Americans. The average age is around the early 40s for adults, though with the strong emphasis on family expect literally hundreds of kids during school vacations, all of which are extremely well catered for. The only thing that an American or Canadian (or indeed a Brit) might find jarring is the fact that there are no bedtimes for kids, nor adult-only areas: Children are up until all hours, roam the ship unchecked and will be in the disco until closing time, which can seem odd.

All announcements are in five languages: English first, then Italian, Spanish, French and German.

MSC Meraviglia Dress Code

Daytime: During the daytime it's casual, with people wandering around in just swim suits and flip-flops.

Evening: In the evening it's dressier, but more smart casual than formal, except for the two "elegant" (not formal) nights per cruise. A jacket for the men and a dress for the ladies would not go amiss, but it's not strictly enforced. A suit or tux or ball gown are not necessary, though on the meet-the-captain night people go all-out.

Not permitted: T-shirts and shorts are not allowed in the ships' public areas in the evenings. No swimwear is allowed in main dining rooms. Jeans are not allowed in the dining room on elegant nights.

Read more about MSC Cruises dress code.

MSC Meraviglia Gratuity

Adults, which are classified as aged 12 and over, pay 10 euros per night; children, classified as aged 2 and over, pay five euros per night, and there's no charge for kids aged 2 and under. This is automatically added to your account. A 15 percent service charge is added to bar bills and spa treatments, with the exception of the prepaid all-inclusive beverage package. The onboard currency is the euro.

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Colosseo Deck
Petra Deck
Taj Mahal Deck
Machu Picchu Deck
Alhambra Deck
Hagia Sophia Deck
Acropolis Deck
Grand Canyon Deck
Kilimanjaro Deck
Angkor Wat Deck
Tour Eiffel Deck
Iguazu Deck
Pyramids Deck
Babylon Deck

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MSC Meraviglia Member Reviews

MSC Meraviglia
Sail Date: Dec 2019
The Basics: We had the pleasure of sailing on MSC Meraviglia from December 29, 2019 to January 5, 2020 on the New Years Cruise....Read More
MSC Meraviglia
Sail Date: Jan 2020
We recently cruised the MSC Meraviglia Jan 12 – 19 to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Belize City....Read More
MSC Meraviglia
Sail Date: Aug 2019
Less than 2 years old with the latest technology on board-MSC For Me, and access to Cirque Show, sailing the MSC Meraviglia to the Fjords was the right move....Read More
MSC Meraviglia
zany janey
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Sailing into NYC was pretty cool too and coming back to the ship after a day and night out was great because you really couldn't miss the MSC Meraviglia once you got close to the Manhattan waterline....Read More

MSC Cruises Fleet