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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Quick background - we are a couple who have cruised 6 times over the last 2 years. Not the most seasoned cruisers but have some experience of cruising with different lines. We decided to take the leap from mid sized ships to bigger ones ... Read More
Quick background - we are a couple who have cruised 6 times over the last 2 years. Not the most seasoned cruisers but have some experience of cruising with different lines. We decided to take the leap from mid sized ships to bigger ones with MSC as they offer yacht club, which we felt would be a good way to combine a big ship with some familiarities of a smaller vessel, as well as indulging in the luxury service YC offers. Embarkation was great. We were taken personally by a butler to the YC check in area and given Prosecco to drink. We were then escorted straight to our cabin (YC suite) by a butler who also introduced us to the staff on the concierge desk. The cabin was lovey. More a junior suite than a suite of rooms as we’ve had on other lines, but very well furnished. The only snags would be the wardrobe being quite small for two people and the balcony being quite small also. However this did not distract from how nice the room and shower room were. We also had a complimentary mini bar and a bottle of procecco on arrival in the room. This has to be the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in. The ship it’s self is a sight to behold. Absolutely amazing. Think Swarovski Crystal stairs and LED ceilings that show different images during the day. The YC private sun deck was very nice as was the private lounge bar for YC guests. The physical product that MSC offer was brilliant. However the service provided by the majority of staff was a massive problem. We had chosen to book several meals and drinks packages before travel. This allowed us to get the dates that we wanted in advance (NYE being one of them) for specialty meals. One of those we booked was the Cirque du Soleil meal and show. When we arrived we had a note in our cabin asking us to visit guest services to confirm our reservation for this meal. As we were in the YC we were able to go to our concierge desk rather than wait as guest services (the queue at guest services was at times 1hour long!). The concierge explained that anything in terms of meals booked on the website never transfers to their system and that’s why we had to see them. She emailed the cirque to confirm our choice of date. We decided to check that our other reservations were in place. She said no and that for those we would need to go over to Eataly and speak to the manager who would confirm them all in one place. We went to Deck 6 where Eataly was and tried to get the attention of the manager who was chatting with some Italian guests. He proceeded to ignore us for several minutes before we decided to interrupt his conversation. We explained the situation and he didn’t reply but waved another memeber of staff over who couldn’t even speak English. He didn’t have a clue what we wanted to after 10 minutes of trying to explain using hand gestures we gave up and went back to the concierge. The concierge said the reason for not being able to get it sorted was we ‘had gone to the wrong Eataly’ and it was our own fault. She said we needed to go and find the other Eataly and they would sort it. At this point we asked if she could sort it for us. She agreed, although did not seem happy about it and said she would email the bookings to us. She also explained that our booking for the chefs table wouldn’t be available for NYE as we had booked for. She also spotted our premium drinks package and said ‘I don’t know why you bought that as you’re YC and get it anyway’ . No offer of a refund. It was at this point we realised that the bottle of champagne and souvenir flutes we had booked for sail away had not been delivered. She again told us that this is because their system has never worked but she could sent it over for another day. This set the tone for the rest of the service recieved. •in the YC bar we were often ignored and found it easier to just go to the bar our selves rather than wait for a waiter. One who did come came back to us 4 times to confirm our drinks order of ‘Diet Pepsi and a white wine’. The same waiter slammed our drinks down and began shouting at another member of staff •when coming back on board from one of the ports the staff ignored us and we calling each other profanities very loudly •walking through deck 6 was an obstacle course of people selling you meals and drinks packages •we asked our concierge to change one of our meal bookings over one night as we’d had a long day and fancied something quieter than the cirque show we’d booked. He shouted at us over the phone saying that he couldn’t do that as it was ‘too complicated’. When pressured by us to sort it he said he would but in future could we ‘not change our minds as it’s awakward’ for him and that he’d struggled to get us a table in the other resturant (which ironically was very quiet anyway!) Food. •Generally the food was poor quality. The food served in the YC resturant was the same at lunchtime as in the buffet (not the gourmet experience the website promised). •The steak in the butchers cut was very good, but at a premium. •The buffet was a feeding frenzy with people grabbing food and pushing and shoving. There was inadequate seating available for the volume of guests. It was very very very loud in here, we didn’t go back after the first time! •When booking we were advised that we could dine anytime at any of the included resturants across the ship. However this was no longer the case and we could only dine in YC, premium resturants or the buffet. Other guests who were not YC were subjected to strict dining times in a set resturant - if they were 15 minutes late for their time they would not be allowed in. •unlike other lines you will not see officers around the ship and the manangement team do not interact with guests, passing you to a more junior memeber of staff Around the ship •Astheically the ship is lovely. However the public areas do not seem to cope very well with the volume of passengers during the winter season. Everywhere is loud. There was a DJ playing above the shopping arcade at the same time as a Zumba class happening at the bar a few meters away. •the Swarovski stairs are amazing, however you probably won’t be able to use them as the ships photographers use them for private photo shoots with people lying down on them posing •on day one I thought there was a queue to meet and greet the captain. It was very long. It was actually the queue for guest services for people complaining •staffing ratios do not seem very high. At the amusement arcade there was one person running the sports court, bowling alley, f1 simulators and the flight simulator. We had a go on the flight sim and had to wait ten minutes when it finished for the memeber of staff to let us out. We had to wait in a pitch back sealed pod! We even pressed the emergency button as we’d waited so long!!! •the safety drill was the most unusual experience ever. We were all asked to meet in the theatre. Given an demonstration in 5 languages as to how to put the life vest on and then group by group taken to different muster stations across the ship. We were group A so after everyone had left we were told in 5 languages that the theatre was our muster station and we could go. Surely they could have told us this at the start and saved us a 45 minute wait?? Bottom line This ship was on the whole not for us. It is loud and difficult to relax in. You could be sat eating a meal at the butchers cut to be interrupted for 10 minutes by animated dinsours fighting and roaring on the LED screen for a ‘show’. However we do appreciate that some people enjoy that kind of holiday. However, had the service and food been better we would have made the best. Instead we were treated like an inconvenience and told off by so called ‘concierges’ and ‘butlers’. We told the YC director that we were planning to leave the next day and he apologiesed but didn’t offer to rectify any of the issues we had raised. The next day he was genuinely surprised that we had booked flights home and said he thought we would have reconsidered - why? Nothing had been changed. All the bookings we had made online were still messed up. The food was still rubbish and staff still rude. And even our newspaper delivered on the last day was wrong. We decided our time was more valuable that the money we had already spent and we would have a happier new year at home where at least we don’t get told off and can relax. This ship is due to move over to serve the American market this year. I cannot see Americans who are used to and expect a high level of service tolerating what MSC offer on this ship. We have been offered no compensation or reimbursement for the services we paid for in advance that we did not revcieve. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Ship is beautiful Captain and senior staff should be fired! Ship was filthy I have never been on a cruise ship where they weren’t constantly spraying sanitizer on your hands. NOT ONE TIME did I see anyone spraying hands with ... Read More
Ship is beautiful Captain and senior staff should be fired! Ship was filthy I have never been on a cruise ship where they weren’t constantly spraying sanitizer on your hands. NOT ONE TIME did I see anyone spraying hands with anything! People all over the buffet coughing etc. on 3rd day of this floating bacteria petry dish and already one of our group is sick with diarrhea and vomiting. Sitting here waiting on my turn.....Walls and doors filthy with smudges, etc. DISGUSTING. Put all that aside: 1. Premium ALL YOU CAN DRINK package does not include juice or drinks in Cirque show (or some other areas) 2. So many yummy places to eat on board! Problem is all cost extra! 3. Lovely chocolate bar - bring your euros because not included 4. Who doesn’t like Gelato? Better have money! Cruise over 3 times a year on average - no allegiance to any line. First time on MSC - NEVER AGAIN - 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this particular trip because of a few reasons: 1. We sailed this same ship and route last year and had such a great time we could not wait to go again. 2. The price was just right to try the Yacht Club experience 3. We ... Read More
We chose this particular trip because of a few reasons: 1. We sailed this same ship and route last year and had such a great time we could not wait to go again. 2. The price was just right to try the Yacht Club experience 3. We had friends who wanted to try cruising, and figured this was the best option for them, and we could show them the ropes on cruising. So below are our thoughts on various aspects on this trip. Embarkation: We boarded in Genoa, Italy. We arrived at the terminal around 11 am. We dropped our luggage off at the main luggage point on the ground floor behind the ship. We did not see the Yacht Club check in point near there like it had been the year prior. Entering the terminal, we had a hard time finding where to go for Yacht Club check-in, until we were brought to the desk on the upper level. Here we finished our check-in, then waited for a couple of other groups to finish as well. In the meantime we were given a welcome glass of champagne. Shortly afterwards, a butler came down and escorted us and three other groups on board. Upon arrival into the Yacht Club, we were escorted down to our cabin, 15029, only to find it wasn’t quite ready for us yet. We were then seated in the Top Sail Lounge, and where they offered us a drink, which we gladly accepted. A short time later, the Head Butler came in, saying our cabin was now ready, and took us back to the room. Once again it wasn’t quite ready, so we went to the restaurant for our first lunch. After lunch we were brought to the room a third time, and this time it was all set and ready. We met our Butler, Jacques, grabbed our room keys then went off to the ship. We received our luggage in our room sometime between one and four. While we went through the Yacht Club check-in process, we had friends who are a family of four who went through the normal process. Like us, they dropped their large bags at the main drop-off point, then went into the normal check-in line. Because they were travelling with two small children, they were given priority boarding. Breezing through the check-in desk, security and gangway, they were on board before we even left the Yacht Club lounge. By noon their room was ready. By 1230 or so, their luggage was awaiting them outside their door. Ship: The Meraviglia was outstanding. She is well kept, easy to navigate, and has plenty to do on board. Many bars and lounges were open often with many different activities going on. Dancing lessons happen mostly at Meraviglia Bar, which is conveniently located right on the Galleria. Above that is the TV Bar and Studio which is the place to listen and participate in some fantastic karaoke! Although, the place to be no matter what time is the Sky Lounge on deck 18! They have unique cocktails and a pianist with vocalist there every night providing soft, jazz like music. The theater, while small, we found to have ample space for each show while keeping it more intimate instead of crazy packed. Shows: We saw three shows in main theater, a guest performer who did sleight of hand and the best hand puppet show I think we have ever seen. We watched Virtual, a show about a man who has a dream of being stuck in his phone, which was very entertaining. We also Born to Rock, which was a collection of classic rock from the Beatles to Pink Floyd. All three shows were very good. Our friends saw Viaggio, which they said was very good, but not as complex as some of the land based shows. Unfortunately three shows were cancelled due to a technical issue, so we could not see Sonor. Yacht Club: Yacht Club was everything we had heard it was and hoped it would be. The attentive service, the wonderful lounge, excellent restaurant, and private pool deck was all that we could want. They truly seem to have the best staff on board working the Yacht Club. That said, we would absolutely sail in Yacht Club again, as long as we are either sailing by ourselves or with a group all in Yacht Club. We felt as if we missed a lot of the offerings and amenities by not spending as much time within the complex as we could have, while still enjoying the rest of the ship. But for the price, it surely is the best deal on the market for everything that you get included. We will sail in the Yacht Club any chance we can, but if we can’t, it wouldn’t be a make or break in cruising MSC for us. Cabin: We had a Yacht Club Interior suite, room 15029. Overall the room was very nice, comfortable bed, and well appointed toiletries in the bathroom. The room did feel smaller than our Fantastica interior room the year prior, but not by much. There was a chair in the room which felt completely out of place, as it was a plastic wicker chair, which felt like it was brought down from the pool areas. We used it primarily as a place to put our backpack. Food: Overall food exceeded our expectations. The Yacht Club restaurant had very good selection of meals each night, always hot, and there was nothing that we ordered that we disliked. Breakfast in the restaurant was always a solid choice, with fresh breads, pastries, and fruit available as well as eggs cooked to order. Breakfast at the poolside buffet was a better choice for us when the weather was nice. You could get eggs made to order, fresh waffles, a selection of fresh fruits, pastries, and always a good selection of hot foods. While the standard coffee in the restaurant was good drip coffee, the bartender up in the buffet made the best cafe lattes and macchiatos. The lunch buffet on deck was different every day, featuring a pasta of the day and a grilled item of the day. The main buffet carried standard fare, with the Ethnic corner always being the busiest and best part of the buffet. Pizza was always fresh and hot, but otherwise pretty standard. One lunch down in the Waves restaurant was a huge disappointment. The menu was small, with only three options. The lamb of the day was okay, a little overcooked. Service was awful, very slow, and poor communication from server to guests in the area where we ate at. Crew: The crew aboard is quite multicultural, which is really nice. It provides every guest on board with someone who speaks their language, thus breaking the language barriers that happen on many US based cruise lines. Also, while many state the crew is stone faced and not kind, we have never found that to be an issue. Greet anyone with a smile and they are always quick to smile back and help in anyway possible. A good chunk of the crew speak English, which is helpful for us, but most of them speak anywhere from 2-8 languages. We did have some standout waitresses, Maria in the Sky Lounge and Smita in the Brass Anchor Pub. Quick to greet us anytime they saw us, and quickly learned our favorites, and in the case of Maria, would bring us new ones. Our Butler, Jacques and his assistant Nilheesh, were fantastic. The crew that were in charge of the Yacht Club buffet and bar were a great team, and even on the days where the weather wasn't the best, they had great attitude and were fun to learn a little about crew life from. I really wish I remembered all their names to give them the proper recognition. Ports: The itinerary for this run was Genoa, Civitavecchia (Rome), Palermo, Malta, Day at Sea, Barcelona, Marseille, and back to Genoa. In itself, this itinerary is awesome! It provides just enough variation of countries and ports that you can see so many different things. Civitavecchia, we did not get off. We’ve been to Rome before and did not see reason to get off and go again, so this port provided a great Ship day for us. Palermo was great. Even with having been before, we still got off an enjoyed the Hop-On Hop-Off bus to take in the various sights, architecture, markets, and gardens. They are always a wonder to see. We did the exact cruise itinerary last year and missed Malta, so our fingers were crossed we would make it to Malta this go around. Alas, Mother Nature was not on our side and we missed Malta once again. Maybe we are the bad luck? Who knows. The bridge and captain decided to make the day another cruise day, giving us 2 days at sea. Therefore, we made the Ship our destination for those two days. Barcelona is a city we love in Europe! It’s classic and modern all mushed together. We took a stroll up to the Saint Joseph Boqueria, the market right off La Rambla. We actually got a chance to walk around and take in all the market had to offer for tourists like ourselves. Then we opted to take a Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour as we wanted to make our way towards Tibidabo. Unfortunately for us, once we got to the Tibidabo stop and hopped off, we found that the Funicular railway was closed for winter except for the weekends, which put a wrench in our plans. Back to the Hop-On Hop-Off bus we went and made our way back towards the starting point. We made our way back to the market to grab lunch then back to the boat we went. The last port for us was the one we least looked forward to, the port of Marseille. It’s not that we don’t like Marseille, this was the first time we actually got off at the port. France just isn’t on our to-do list of places to visit. We got off and caught a taxi from the port to the city center where we found a lovely Christmas Market that we walked around and bought some soaps. After exploring a few avenues, most of the group we were with was ready to head back. We did notice there was some broken windows and other damage from recent protests, but nothing too bad. Back in Genoa we took some time to stroll around the streets closest to the train station before grabbing a quick meal and taking off on the train back home. Other thoughts: At the start of our cruise, there was an elevator bank that had a new express system installed. Express is a loose term in our opinion, but the whole system reverted back to a standard elevator bank by the time we left Palermo. No notice or anything, and in the end, only one elevator was left on deck 4 with an out of service message. On the subject of elevators, the Priority Service feature for Yacht Club members was hit or miss on when it would work. It was also easy for anyone on board the elevator who was paying attention to hijack the elevator that a Yacht Club guest tried to hijack themselves. Interesting perk, but one that wasn’t well explained nor one that works consistently. Even when you get the system to recognize a priority call, more often than not, another elevator in the bank will call on your floor in the direction you wish to go before your priority elevator. Admittedly, if you do overtake an elevator successfully, it is kind of fun to see the confusion on the other guest faces. There is a stone lounger in the spa that never seems to be on, whether this is intentional or not I am not sure. I asked about it once, but I don’t remember the answer. Seems that most of the growing pains of a new ship were worked out otherwise, crew seemed a lot more confident of where things were, and the technology was working with no major hiccups. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Being an avid cruiser and a loyal RCI customer (Royal, Celebrity, Azamara), I was getting curious about the MSC's new Yacht Club product. Everything I was reading indicated this was the standard of cruising my husband, in particular, ... Read More
Being an avid cruiser and a loyal RCI customer (Royal, Celebrity, Azamara), I was getting curious about the MSC's new Yacht Club product. Everything I was reading indicated this was the standard of cruising my husband, in particular, would enjoy. He's not that keen on ocean cruising, particularly if it involves older ships, tired itineraries, average food and constant nickel-and-diming (i.e. the average cruising experience in Australian/NZ waters.) Upon seeing a special price for a YC Deluxe cabin on a 7-day West Med sailing in early December 2018, we decided to check it out. It was not our first trip around the Med, so we were comfortable with the fact it was going to be cold (for Queenslanders!) and we would probably find ourselves onboard more than usual, rather than remain on shore until last call as is our usual MO. A big bonus with MSC is their status-matching with other cruise lines' loyalty programs. Based upon my Captain's Club level with Celebrity/Azamara, we were automatically assigned MSC Black, which is the highest grade in MSC's loyalty program. This was a very attractive incentive that other cruise companies should explore and gave us some very appreciated additional perks. Our trip from Australia to Europe started off brilliantly with an unexpected upgrade from premium economy to business class on board EVA Airways (BNE - TPE - CDG. Thank you, EVA, every outbound sector was an excellent flight!) After a couple of days in Rome at a gorgeous, well-priced hotel near the centre (Liberty Boutique), we travelled by private transport to the port of Civitavecchia. We arrived at the port around midday and were greeted by very friendly staff who shepherded us to an exclusive lounge area for YC guests. It was empty (the whole terminal seemed fairly quiet), but was still fully stocked with a wide range of drinks and snacks. After a short wait, we were greeted by a lovely young lady in livery (coat and tails!) who we were told was one of the YC butlers and had arrived to escort us onto the ship. We followed the butler in the direction of the ship, overtaking others who were standing in line, while she held aloft a paddle with "Yacht Club" stamped across it. Not surprisingly, our queue-jumping accompanied by a liveried staff member drew some attention. At this point, we started to wonder if we had fallen down the rabbit hole. On board, we were taken to the YC concierge area and given a whistle-stop tour of the exclusive YC facilities, then shown to our cabin. The lady butler advised us we had been assigned a different butler for the duration of our cruise and he would make himself known to us in short course. Our room was outstanding. It was new, modern, spacious, heaps of storage and the bathroom was an absolute delight with a large shower cubicle, rail shower and rain shower. We had a small but adequate balcony, comfortable bedding (pillow menu optional) and, frankly, I felt the room wanted for nothing. Our butler did not make himself known until later in the evening and, to be frank, we found his attention very sporadic throughout our whole cruise. Our understanding is that the YC butler is meant to be readily available to assist you with all manner of reservations and recommendations. Unfortunately, we hardly ever saw him as he seemed to be solely focused on his other guests. (At the time of introduction, he noted he was from Indonesia and, I suspect, he believed as 'Aussies' we were too laid back to need any special attention compared to the others under his care. However, we aren't exactly the type to be found holidaying in Bali, so he rather misread us if that was his assessment.) Consequently, this was the first cruise ever that we did not provide an additional tip to our cabin staff. (Obviously, we did pay our standard gratuities - we consider these to be non-negotiable.) The disappointing butler aside, our YC experience was generally excellent, with one notable exception - the breakfast service in the YC restaurant. It didn't matter what anyone did (and we know we weren't alone in this predicament) breakfast was never more than lukewarm and usually bland. In the end, we took ourselves off to the main buffet for breakfast and were surprised that the food was much more inviting (and I abhor large ship buffets - you won't see me in the Windjammer for dinner EVER.) As for the rest of the food, drink and general facilities in the YC - just brilliant. In particular, it was nice to have a dedicated concierge desk for any questions. Given we didn't really understand all the intricacies of the YC product, it was useful to be able to confirm details without lining up. (I still don't know that we took advantage of all the YC perks, but we certainly gave it a solid try out!) Would I sail MSC again? In a heartbeat, provided I was travelling in the YC. This product leaves the other cruise companies floundering when it comes to value-for-money. We did venture beyond the YC to check out the very impressive facilities on the rest of the ship. It is big - but then it needs to be, as its catering for nearly 6,000 pax. Our cruise didn't feel overly busy, but it wasn't exactly peak season either. I had read some nightmare stories about the behaviour of the general population on board MSC's cruises and I can't say I saw anything to suggest it was that bad. It does get noisy, however, as many of the people on a European cruise of this size are from cultural backgrounds that are comfortable with 'loud'. On the whole, I didn't think the non-YC environment was any less inviting than you'd find on one of RCI's larger vessels. Thank you, MSC, for a very enjoyable cruise. Please consider bringing your ships Down Under. Australians deserve more than the many aged vessels the other cruise companies try to shunt our way. My husband and I have already recommended friends to go (they travel this April) and, for our part, we'll definitely be back. 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
We booked this to give our legs a rest from our tour of Europe with a view to getting rested and primed for the next leg and beyond, but we didn't count on the wonderous sights we would miss if we didn't get off the ship at each ... Read More
We booked this to give our legs a rest from our tour of Europe with a view to getting rested and primed for the next leg and beyond, but we didn't count on the wonderous sights we would miss if we didn't get off the ship at each port. We travelled on the cruise as 'upgraded' guests in the 'Yacht Club', and, from the very moment we arrived at the terminal in Barcelona, the Yacht Club staff made us feel reaĺly special. Now, I'm not used to being upgraded, so I asked why. I was told that Australians and Americans are frequently upgraded so we can go back home and tell our families and friends about the experience. Well, they've got that right. I'm all over this. The 'Yacht Club' is a section of the ship, on the highest decks, right up front. Now I can hear everyone now saying, "But the middle of the ship is the calmest when there's a big swell". Now let me clear this up right now. This ship is, as I understand it, the 3rd biggest cruise ship in the world at roughly 167,000 tons displacement. Furthermore, it's a modern ship which is very able to smooth out any of the, err, bumps if you like, that the Mediterranean throws her way. It's huge and it looks it from anywhere you can see it. It dwarfed every other ship I saw, and that's enough about the ships size. The 'Yacht Club' is essentially a no go zone for anyone who isn't travelling as a Yacht Club passenger. For us it felt a little, or maybe a lot above our pay grades but we soon settled in. It wasn't difficult at all. I was worried I'd not know how to deal with a 24 hour concierge and butler service, but heh, they were really nice people who made me feel that we should utilise their services, so I did. The cabin was really comfortable, especially after I asked for and got the extra pillows of which there were multiple types to choose. In the Yacht Club, all the drinks are complimentary. They got off light with me since at 63 years of age I don't over do the alcahol. They might have regretted upgrading me 25 years ago. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Hard to believe all of the negative reviews of this ship and its staff. My wife and I have been cruising for over 25 years on many of the largest cruise lines and this cruise with MSC was our first with the company. We have to say it was ... Read More
Hard to believe all of the negative reviews of this ship and its staff. My wife and I have been cruising for over 25 years on many of the largest cruise lines and this cruise with MSC was our first with the company. We have to say it was one of the best experiences we have had on any cruise ship. The staff in all areas of the ship were always helpful and friendly. The entertainment was very good. We enjoyed two production shows and both of the Cirque performances. Getting on and off of the ship in Barcelona could not have been more simple and easy. It actually is much better when people can get on and off at each port of call. Seems to avoid the masses when a cruise begins and ends for everyone in the same place. We found the food and drinks to be very good with plenty of variety. We do understand that some people get angry when they are charged for the specialty restaurants and other things around the ship, but you should know that before you book the cruise. There's really not any surprises. There is a reason why the cruise fare is much lower than the competitors and you are not obligated to spend money for all of the extras. This cruise was full of so many different people from all over the world and most seemed to be having a great time, so if you are thinking about sailing on the Meraviglia, you really will love it! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I was really disappointed with MSC system. Most of the crew were rude, rude and rude in all area of the ship. Please pay attention to your bill. Almost everyday I need to go down the reception to clarify the charges. Even though I ... Read More
I was really disappointed with MSC system. Most of the crew were rude, rude and rude in all area of the ship. Please pay attention to your bill. Almost everyday I need to go down the reception to clarify the charges. Even though I purchased the package for food and drink. They have too many package until the crew and myself also confuse what is what. Let take an example like I bought the premium package for my drinks. So it emphasized that any glass drink that is under euro 10 is under the package. But I was told that I need to pay for the drinks like sake and plum wine which was under Euro 10. Then when I go challenge with the crew they answered me " this is an Italian cruise and you are drinking japanese sake so you need to pay" so meaning all the whisky and beer from scotland and US I need to pay????? Becareful with the photo you purchase too. Please ask for a better package and do check whether they double charge or not. Most of the crew are really rude especially in the Buffet dining area. If you manage to have someone take good care of you then please do appreciate this person. I was ask this question when I try to order some drinks from the waiter " Why didn't you order just now". I also have argument with the waiter and the supervisor on the fresh orange juice which fall on less then euro 10 category. I could go on and on. Their are just tons of problem with their system. Even to the cleanliness of the cabin. Don't bother with Balcony. They don't clean your Balcony. Their shows is boring. So no point go paying for show at Curosell. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We have been loyal to Royal for years but this cruise was such good value we gave it a go, and we had a great time. We went with an open mind recognising that each cruise line will have its own characteristics and MSC would not be exactly ... Read More
We have been loyal to Royal for years but this cruise was such good value we gave it a go, and we had a great time. We went with an open mind recognising that each cruise line will have its own characteristics and MSC would not be exactly the same as RCL. Firstly the ship, as many have said, is stunning, we found it clean throughout and lots of choice in the venues. The cabin, we were inside bella on deck 10, was spacious but had no furniture, I missed the small sofa. It did have the largest shower we have had at sea. Both the bathroom and bedroom would benefit from more storage. our steward Gusti was very attentive. Food - we ate every evening but one in the main dining room, Panorama. After the first night we asked to be moved to a round table as that suited our family better and from that point Gerlin and Anil looked after us very well indeed. We engaged with them and they with us and it made for a great dining experience, head waiter Jeannot was also very attentive and kept a close eye on everything. we all enjoyed the food. Butchers Cut - we ate dinner here for a family celebration and it exceeded all expectations - wonderful food. Entertainment - the team work extremely hard and the activities throughout the day and night suited us perfectly, quizes and dancing. Parties on the Promenade were a great success and we surprised ourselves by partying well past our usual bedtime. There is a variety of musical artists in the venues around the ship, hopefully a style for everyone or karaoke for your own style. I thought there were more drinks servers on MSC in the bar/lounge venues than on RCL and we had great service all round. Again we took the time to talk to staff they were very friendly and spoke with us anytime we met up during the cruise. We saw a couple of shows in the theatre, and even the ventriloquist was funny although so many languages was a challenge to listen through and still get the comedy. We saw Cirque show Sonor, and while appreciating the skills involved I think for us we chose the wrong show. it was very futuristic and the more traditional Viaggio may have suited us better. The cocktails offered are a bit strange. We had status matched our Crown and Anchor to Voyagers club black prior to going but did not receive all the benefits during the cruise, we are still not sure how that is intended to operate. We got a voucher for thermal area and meal in restaurant, vouchers arrived on different days at beginning of cruise, we kept waiting for the rest of the listed benefits but they didn't come, we asked for the chocolate ship on our last night and they seemed surprised we had not received, so we may have just been unlucky. Our itinerary was disrupted due to weather which was unfortunate - both in terms of not seeing the ports we wanted and in terms of the bad weather itself. Embarkation and disembarkation for us in Barcelona went smoothly. Our overall verdict - pleasantly surprised having read other reviews. We really enjoyed the whole experience and will not hesitate cruising with MSC again if the itinerary and price are right for us. 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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Me and wife wanted to go somewhere special for our first marriage anniversary. Heard of this cruise from a friend and then started the research work. We, first, did our research on the ports where the cruise will take halts, and then the ... Read More
Me and wife wanted to go somewhere special for our first marriage anniversary. Heard of this cruise from a friend and then started the research work. We, first, did our research on the ports where the cruise will take halts, and then the cruise itself. As many of you still wondering,we too saw a great number of negative reviews. This resulted in us thinking of changing our plans. But a friend of mine suggested to just ignore the reviews and go for it. I took the risk and it was worth every penny. We embarked the cruise from Barcelona. As soon as we entered the port terminal, we were greeted by the MSC staff. They were helpful in explaining the process of embarkation, the steps we need to do as son as we enter the ship etc. The check-in process took less than 10 minutes. They took our check-in luggage to deliver it to our stateroom and issued a cruise card for both of us. As soon as we entered the ship, we were in complete awe. The first thing that caught our eye was the LED Dome. It was enormous and lit with beautiful paintings. The central part of this floor( floor 6) was even more beautiful with amazing stairs, bar options and musicians in the center. We opted for the 'Fantastica Balcony' stateroom. The room clean and tidy with an amazing view. The bathroom had a soap dispensor at the wash-basin and a body-wash+shampoo dispensers in the bathing area. We mostly ate in the buffet section, called the 'Market Buffet' on 15th floor. It had plenty of options for 20 hours a day. We pre-booked all our excursion tours from MSC. There were plenty of options for each port. Some of our tours went really well, and others not(mostly due to the bad weather conditions). We tried all bars present inside the cruise. Their prices were slightly a bit on a higher side, but the drinks and ambiance was great. The best bar to sit in and enjoy your time was the Meraviglia Lounge. You can go there any time of the day and there was some hustle bustle around it. You can't get bored if you are sitting there. And if you want to just chat and relax while drinking, Brass Anchor Pub was apt for it. Our package also include a booking of Dinner and Show 'Cirque du Solei' and it was epic. It was the most entertaining hour of our trip. Do not Miss it. Didn't go for any Broadway Show, but heard pretty good reviews from fellow travelers. In the end, I just want to specially mention the staff of MSC. They are the real stars. All the waiters/waitresses, entertainers, musicians, chefs etc. They are always smiling and ready to help even when they have such hectic working hours. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We were concerned about the likely service, food etc - having read many poor reviews and bad comments. But our experience was almost nothing but everything was fine. We were very content. The ship's customers were much more heavily ... Read More
We were concerned about the likely service, food etc - having read many poor reviews and bad comments. But our experience was almost nothing but everything was fine. We were very content. The ship's customers were much more heavily Asian and of course there were plenty of Italians. Their nature is not to 'stand back' and wait patiently in line, unlike the Brits or Americans they certainly don't say 'after you' - so that was noticeable. The ship was immaculate and is quite stunning, good lifts, restaurants, bars, our steak in 'Butcher's Cuts' was one of the best we have ever tasted! Restaurant food was good, not five or six star, but good. The Panorama restaurant was very smart and very good indeed (and spacious) the Marketplace Buffet could be crowded and rather noisy (but no worse than Celebrity, RCL or NCL) and we always found a table without difficulty. The evening entertainment was overall very good, the Cirque du Soleil very good. Lively and good fun. The ship went to Marseille, Genova, Palmermo (had to miss Malta because of a storm) but then Palma de Mallorca. Our only adverse comment is that there are no staff positioned so that all that enter a restaurant have to use anti-bacterial gel hand cleaner. There is therefore a risk, we suggest that needs to be changed. Finally, the big question: would we book with MSC again : Answer: Definitely. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one ... Read More
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one of the top 10 largest ships afloat, very new, and the video was amazing. The reviews however, were anything but amazing. Like lukewarm and even negative reviews about our favorite restaurants, I have learned that most negative reviews are more about missed/too lofty expectations than reality. The biggest gripes about the Meraviglia seemed to be food and staff. Since the boat is so high tech and wondrously equipped, no one really complained about the ship. Sure enough, even our tablemates as well as others on board echoed the Cruise Critic complaints. They ranged from now having butter and iced tea (both free, readily available) to non English speaking staff who were "unfriendly". If your attitude is "I am the guest and I expect to be served", you will be disappointed. If you engage the staff with your own smile and understand they work 11 hours a day, even my first time cruising wife was amazed at how every waiter and staff person smiled back.....even when they had to say "no" (like when we were late for dinner and the gatekeeping waiter apologized saying he was not allowed to let anyone in past 7:45, so I asked him to ask for his captain, which he did, and of course, the captain, his boss, let us in). MSC offers the lowest prices afloat for the most interesting itineraries and the newest boats.....but unless you are traveling Yacht Club, you just cant expect white glove service--but you can expect politeness and cleanliness and entertainment and "service". And we got all of this and more. Dinner. We only ate at the standard Waves Restaurant. Three sittings, We were the second. The appetizers and desserts were great, the entrees, though varied were not as good and need improvement. Not to worry though because the astonishing buffet, open 20 hours a day, had stupendous selections of excellent food from simple salads, to homemade pizza, Halal and ethnic specialties, rotisserie *the roast veal carved to order was smashing), plus an on board mozzarella factory (you could see it being made) that ensured great caprese salads and more. And they changed the offerings every day! Housekeeping. In a word, perfect. No goofy doorknob hangers telling staff to clean up the room. Just press a button. Spotless. The Room. We opted for an admidships deck 12 interior cabin because my wife was worried about seasickness. The cabin was huge, with a queen plus bed, great pillows, lighting, etc And the bathroom has the best shower afloat in my experience with infinite hot water! And a blow dryer!. Staff. What a great group of waiters and support staff rom Central America to Ukraine and Africa. Just knocked themselves out to please! It surely helped that we engaged them instead of treating them like servants. Prices: For 5Euros we got any two items delivered free to our room. Drinks were 6Euros. The best ice cream and chocolate (made on the boat) were $1-3Euros. The coffee, water, tea, ice tea, etc. were all free at the buffet. So no complaints about the "extras" The experience: 32 elevators, four pools, an arcade full of shops, sky bars, full size basketball court, full size bowling alleys and a water slide that went OVER the edge of the ship, outstanding singing and dancing "Broadway" type shows and Swarovski glass staircases made onboard life hugely satisfying. The guests. Where were all the seniors? This was the first cruise I have ever been on where there were so many families, disabled people, young honeymooners, babies, kids, etc. from so many different countries. A true multi-cultural experience. Our table mates were from the Dominican Republic (an MD and his wife), honeymooners from Colombia, and a couple from Florida. A great itinerary and all of the above for $1300 for 7 nights? Yup, and we cant wait to go again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I decided to take a Mediterranean cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary. We searched several cruise lines as we have cruised with three other American Cruise lines. We opted to take MSC As the other options were limited ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take a Mediterranean cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary. We searched several cruise lines as we have cruised with three other American Cruise lines. We opted to take MSC As the other options were limited during the month of November. Never cruising with this cruise line before, we were a little bit hesitant but we’re excited about the port of calls. Leading up to the date of the cruise I became a little bit weary when reading other reviews. This caused our expectation to be lower than usual. As the other options were limited during the month of November. Never cruising with this cruise line before, we were a little bit hesitant but were excited about the port of calls. Leading up to the date of the cruise I became a little bit weary when reading the reviews. This caused our expectation to be lower than usual. We were pleasantly surprised at how gorgeous the ship was and how accommodating the crewmembers were. Everyone was super friendly and to our surprise the food was wonderful. We ate in various restaurants including one of the Cirque Du Soleil show with dinner. If there is one advice I can give to people that have not cruise with this cruise line before, is that there is a lot of information on the ship but you need to look for the information. Another words, if you opt for one of their experiences that includes unlimited drinks, be sure to ask from the beginning where the unlimited drinks are valid. This information was not readily available, therefore We did not take it vantage of it until the second to last night. The ship was extremely clean, the food was always hot, Unlike some of the prior reviews that we had read. I would recommend this gorgeous ship to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
My second cruise on Meraviglia and my second time in Yacht club. Based on my two experiences i will never sail MSC outwith Yacht Club. Embarked at Civitavecchia which was a breeze, yacht club butler organised paperwork and bags within a ... Read More
My second cruise on Meraviglia and my second time in Yacht club. Based on my two experiences i will never sail MSC outwith Yacht Club. Embarked at Civitavecchia which was a breeze, yacht club butler organised paperwork and bags within a few minutes of arriving and 15 minutes later we onboard and in cabin (bags arrived around 2 hours later). The cabin was well laid out and much more space in Yacht Club than the standard balcony cabins. Plenty of storage space. Bathroom with nice large walk in shower and of course a decent sized balcony. The first perk of Yacht Club onboard was the over the top fruit bowl and sparkling wine. I can summarise my experience in a few words - if i hadn't been in Yacht club i would have hated this cruise. being in yacht club has made me addicted to sailing that way!!! The ship is huge, the crowds are huge. YC has only about 200 people in it so it is always quiet. If you want peace stay in YC if you want to mix with others its only a short stroll to the main promenade. YC benefits are great. All drinks in the YC part of the ship are included as are almost all drinks in the other bars onboard so you can drink what you like when you like without thinking about the price. Mini bar also included and they will replenish as often as you want with as much as you need. Freestyle dining meaning you just go to the YC restaurant whenever you want - no having to be tied to dining at specific times which is great for someone like me who hates routine. Food though is quite average, but plenty of it. Access to the thermal area of the SPA is another great perk. The spa is a really nice space to relax, i went almost every day for at least an hour. I found the staff in YC a bit stuck up! I guess that's how they are trained to be. Outwith YC staff much more relaxed. Particularly good staff in Brass Anchor pub!!! Entertainment generally good. Did all shore excursions on my own which was easy enough as the ship docked pretty closed to town at all stops. Disembarkation process was excellent. All in all an excellent week cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I am a cruiser of significant experience. I have sailed many days on Crystal, as well as having sailed on Seabourn, Holland America Line, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess as well as ... Read More
I am a cruiser of significant experience. I have sailed many days on Crystal, as well as having sailed on Seabourn, Holland America Line, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess as well as the now defunct Transocean Tours' MS Marco Polo and Voyages of Discovery's much missed MV Discovery. I have sailed multiple times in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, as well as the Northwest Passage, Antarctica, South America, Asia, Alaska, Norway and the Baltics. Whenever I do a review, I review the ship against what it A) is pertaining to be, and B) value versus the price paid. In this sense, a Crystal cruise may not receive five stars if the voyage did not meet my high expectations, whilst a 3 night Norwegian Cruise Line voyage may rate higher if my substantially lower expectations were exceeded. In my opinion, the MSC Yacht Club product is the best value in luxury cruising. My wife and I are in our mid 20s, and we appreciated the fact that we had our own enclave aboard, where the crew quickly learnt our names and favourite drinks, but could at will descend into the melee of a mega-ship filled with energy, music, song and dance. The Yacht Club was in essence a haven (pun unintended), a quite, relaxing area, approximately the size of one the older Seabourn triplets, where it was easy to meet passengers and make friends, in a fashion that is usually impossible aboard a ship carrying several thousand passengers. One could then go and enjoy the entertainment and options available on the ship with said friends. The entertainment was of high quality, especially the Cirque de Soleil show. Every night a production show was presented, of which one can get tired of quite quickly, but they were of similar quality to shows I have seen on other mass-market lines. The overall ambiance of the vessel was international, which is something we really enjoyed about MSC, and the Meravilliga's interiors where nothing short of stunning. We did not try any eateries besides the Yacht Club restaurant and the buffet, so cannot comment on the quality of food in the rest of the ship. In the Yacht Club, the pantry always had food available, the drinks where of reasonable quality and weather permitting there was a barbecue or buffet available on the open private decks. The MSC Yacht Club restaurant offered food of a reasonable to high quality, with service that was great if not perfect, missing the finesse of service found on dedicated luxury lines. The butler aboard the Yacht Club was more of a room attendant, although you could always count on the ones serving in the Yacht Club lounge, for all intents a private observation lounge at the forward-most point of the vessel's superstructure. Lines where never a problem as we had dedicated lifts which we could override to give Yacht Club passengers express service, and the butlers where always at hand to walk you out or back on to the ship, skipping the sometimes substantial ques. In a similar fashion, after a very hectic day trying to get to the ship (trains on strike, taking a bus, taxis on strike, having to take several busses, etc.) the glasses of sparkling wine and welcome of the YC crew made our embarkation perfect. I can happily recommend the Meraviglia if you are a guest seeking a large cruise-ship experience in an international environment, with a value-driven luxury product, and for this value are willing to give up the extra refinements and finesse found on 'true' luxury lines. I am sure we will be sailing aboard an MSC vessel in the Yacht Club in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
UK Booking Office, Website and Tech Support should all be closed - the "service" provided and poor systems just aren't good enough. As MSC is starting to focus on the American market, just move it all there so we can deal ... Read More
UK Booking Office, Website and Tech Support should all be closed - the "service" provided and poor systems just aren't good enough. As MSC is starting to focus on the American market, just move it all there so we can deal with people accustomed to customer service. We booked Yacht Club - the prices are getting too steep for us now, so we had an inside cabin (14005). This is by far the worst cabin we have had in 40 cruises. I will review that separately. Boarding the ship is usually an enjoyable experience for those in Yacht Club. Luggage taken at the roadside and within your cabin in under 30 minutes. A separate check-in area, complete with drinks and snacks and a private butler-led escort to the YC area. Well, the butler obviously had a day off because the pleasant young lad given the job of escorting us to YC was clueless. He couldnt use his YC card to summon the express lifts because he didnt have one. The lifts were extremely crowded so we were led from one side of the deck to the other and back again in search of a lift. When we did get one, he took us to the wrong floor, led us out and had to quickly usher us back in before the lift went - he did that twice. He remained cheery even if the rest of us were a tad fed-up. Everything (well nearly everything) about YC was perfect. Dinner was excellent every night, the private top deck was great and the small food area was great to escape the chaos in the main buffet. Service within the YC lounge was sporadic and not a patch on our previous YC cruise aboard Splendida. The ship itself, once you figured it out, was great. The Italians were Italian, doing Italian things - sometimes annoying but they are Italian after all lol The shows were actually really good - now they have the gimmicky cirque de soleil (extra charge) they have moved the "bendy wendy girls" and other circus style acts into there - leaving the theatre to present theatre style musical shows. OK they may still be short at 45 minutes but they are worth seeing (3 shows a night and need to book as soon as you get aboard). Sadly, the main buffet was a complete shambles. Splendida had an amazing salad bar area; on here it is terrible. Food kept running out, was spread weirdly around the buffet area and never seemed to change from one day to the next. Even the famous Italian pizza was poor. Trying to get a drink in the buffet (using the excellent "bar call" button system) took forever or just didnt happen. Im sure the system is fine but Im not sure any staff actually bother to look at it. Now, Ive read several reviews regarding poor staff service levels and attitude. IF you go looking for those staff, Im sure you will find them. We never did because we greeted every single one of them with a cheery hello, please and thank you and they were just brilliant. It always amazes me how they recognise you from one cruise to the next, often a year apart - give them 20 seconds and most will even remember your name. They are all stars. We are looking forward to our next MSC cruise on Seaside and then the inaugural sailing of Bellissima next March - BUT we are keeping our fingers crossed on the cabin Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Fantastic ship,our cabin was a balcony could not complain the food was outstanding the staff in the pub where the best. ALL above where the best bits below for the bad bits Hair drier didn't work first day went to reception ... Read More
Fantastic ship,our cabin was a balcony could not complain the food was outstanding the staff in the pub where the best. ALL above where the best bits below for the bad bits Hair drier didn't work first day went to reception first thing she said what did i do to it practically accusing me of breaking it. when we left port the shops duty free shops opened decided to buy a watch as it was 35%discount and it stated if you could find a lower price they would match it,so i bought one,out of curiosity next day i looked on the net found same one for 40euro less on Amazon,went back to the shop and shown the guy who sold me the watch i was told the watch on amazon was a Fake, well you can imagine,wonder what amazon would think?i requested to see the manager very rudely told go find the manager inside and he walked off,that's twice that ive been rudely spoken to by MSC staff,so i went inside the woman in the shop was no better very reluctant to get the manager,in the end she rang and the reply was,the reduction was only if you find a lower price in the shops internet doesn't count,i said where does it say internet doesn't count on the printed sign,she couldn't answer me. I have made a online complaint to MSC not that im holding my breath for a response. went back to my cabin and looked at my billing 10 euro per day per person,hmm have i had great service no so why should i hand over my hard earned cash to rude,unprofessional unhelpful staff,went back to reception to get a refund of all my service charges ans this is VOLUNTARY NOT COMPULSORY i was asked why and told them straight i will give my money to someone who deserves it. Shuttle buses not part of the Cruise 13 to 16 euro a head but if you wait 2 hours after the first shuttle bus,or they think they taken as much cash from the customers,the shuttle buses become free! The other thing which i found disgusting was opposite the reception was a signed area for disabled seating this was ignored by a group of Italians another passenger pointed out it was seating for disabled he was laughed at not one member of staff moved them on discus-ting I could go on but i havnt got the time the other customer reviews speak for them selves as we thought it couldnt be that bad,but im afraid to say it was,we where glad to be home I can supply photos should the company request Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We did a MSC 7 day cruise onboard the Meraviglia leaving from Civitacchia end october 2018 , on the sunday it was raining and the ship was delayed due to bad weather , we had been given a ticket by the MSC staff and told it was our ... Read More
We did a MSC 7 day cruise onboard the Meraviglia leaving from Civitacchia end october 2018 , on the sunday it was raining and the ship was delayed due to bad weather , we had been given a ticket by the MSC staff and told it was our boarding ticket as we arrived about 9;30 to no ship but heard it was delayed , shipped docked at 12 and mad rush to the entrance where it said board ship here , must have been about a 1000 people waiting to board after about an hour saw MSC staff start carrying stuff in , then there was a rush to another entrance , no communication from any MCS staff eventually after 2 hours standing sat down , we later found out that they call the ticket numbers when to board , nobody told us or anyone else , we eventually boarded at 4 pm . Cabin was lovely did find someones sock under the bed though , our designated restaurant was Olivo D'Doro , we ate there once food was awful salad pathetic , salmon overcooked and dry and fruit salad 3 pieces of fruit , we ate every other meal on deck 15 at the buffet , food was nice but a fight to get to it and then to find a table and queues dont work as others just push in , had to do the same or starve , ate breakfast at 6 and supper at 9 to avoid the mad crowds , lunchtime you just took your chance and fought for food , disembarking and embarking at the various ports a nightmare again just a free for all and took forever to get 4000 people off as only 1 or 2 doors open and all passengers had to have cards scanned , same for embarking took forever sometimes had to stand in the cold rain waiting to embark . On board there is no quiet place to relax in , the bars kids everywhere running , climbing on the counter swinging on chairs even late at night , description of the ship is like being at a busy shopping centre before christmass just busy busy everywhere , then its the drinks and the packages , highly overpriced , at 3 or 4 ports a shuttle bus was supplied by msc as too far from town cost between 13 - 15 euros each again overpriced and not mentioned , MSC get you on board then want to empty your wallet and bank account some examples , 1.25 l bottle of water 2.90 euros , tin of pepsi 2.90euros . We had cruised before also in the Med with a different cruise company and loved it , would i cruise MSC again ? NO , would i recommend MSC ? NO Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
A small review after my cruise with MSC Meraviglia. Background: My wife and I got 7-8 cruises with Royal (grand suites incl.) 2 with Celebrity and 1 with NCL under my belt. A few negatives; - less CHOICES in the breakfast ... Read More
A small review after my cruise with MSC Meraviglia. Background: My wife and I got 7-8 cruises with Royal (grand suites incl.) 2 with Celebrity and 1 with NCL under my belt. A few negatives; - less CHOICES in the breakfast and lunch buffet than Royal, Celebrity, and NCL. - Do NOT book a stateroom on deck 14 under the pool deck on Meraviglia. NOISY! You could hear people running, loungers placed out by the crew every morning at 6, LOUD pool parties like the white party.. When I complained about this, I got the impression that the customer service was well aware of this, and gave me a B I G discount on my upcoming cruise in February. - lack of visible crew during disembarkion/poor imformation. ( our case was maybe especially bad since disembarkion was very late due to really bad weather in Civitavecchia. Chaos. - Lack of waiters during breakfast. Ordering drinks took forever.... getting them? Even longer. Some positives; - Value for money. Dont know about cruises in the Caribbean, but the prices on MSC cruises in Europa wins BIG time over Royal, Celebrity and NCL. - Very good food in the Main Dining Room - and yes u can have several starters, mains and/or desserts. No need to go hungry. In my opinion, equally good as Royal, NCL, and Celebrity. - Drinks. Better than on Royal and Celebrity. - Butchers Cut... oh.. the best filet mignon I ever tasted on sea. - Best pizza. No discussion! - Sunny in the Main Dining Room. A waiter that know what he was doing. Good recommendations through the whole cruise. Some neutrals: - the housekeeping is not there to befriend you, but to do a job. I got real friends, and I am fine with that. Im not trying to be a friend with my accountant, bus driver or my sons kindergarden teatcher either. They are doing their job. - those noisy «foreigners». I belive this is just cultural differences. I feel a ship out of Miami is equally “noisy” as from Genoa. The difference is that many cruisers are used to cruise with others with their own language. It sounds more noisy maybe. But since I am from Norway, if find those “foreigners” equally “noisy” as English speaking cruisers. Equally «rude» as well.. People push in the buffet everywhere - me too! In my opionion MSC delivers a equally good product as Royal, NCL and Celebrity. Yes it is some differences, but all in all a good cruise product. Some differences from Royal, Celebrity and NCL, but that I am mostly happy for. We dont need 7 cruise companies delivering the exactly same product, do we? Im more than ready for my two next bookings with MSC! Royal and/or Celebrity needs to do some REAL effort to get me back.. just my two kroner.. from a normal cruiser - not paid or bribed from any cruise company............ Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Ok, truth be said, there a far more experienced cruisers out there, who undoubtedly are in a much better position to compare. I’m a novice cruiser, who only did a Western Caribbean cruise on board of Regal Princess, in early February ... Read More
Ok, truth be said, there a far more experienced cruisers out there, who undoubtedly are in a much better position to compare. I’m a novice cruiser, who only did a Western Caribbean cruise on board of Regal Princess, in early February this year, and loved it. We’ve been very hesitant on cruising, and when we finally decided to try one, we we’re recommended Princess or Celebrity, because they offer a semi high standard. I know that sounds snob, but it’s just that we like our privacy, good food, good service, a place to relax and read, away from the hustle and crowds, and yes, we love luxury too. Regal Princess ticked all the boxes, and more, so why MSC which - according to experienced cruisers, our travel agent, and internet, is a step down. The answer is simple ; Yacht Club ! On our 4th day, on sitting in the ‘top sail lounge’ with a martini & Tonic, enjoying the view of leaving Palermo, and the quit atmosphere, while writing this review. Our embarcation port was Valencia, Spain, and the journey did not begin well. The port of Valencia is a nightmare, apparently road signs showing tourists to the that part of the port where you need to board, are not a requirement, and so we drove back and forth, passing MSC Meraviglia more then 5 times, before finally taking the ‘road of last resort’ leading to the cruise terminal, which is shared with ‘local ferries’ going the the various balearic islands. What a contrast with Fort Lauderdale. But then the Yacht Club kicked in, where a butler awaited us in front of the cruise terminal, took charge of our luggage, and guided us to the yacht club check in area. No waiting lines, no cues, but a private escort right to the stateroom on board. Lovely ! We booked the last available stateroom in Yacht Club, a ‘YIN Suite’ ; Yacht Club Interior Suite.
I wouldn’t call it a ‘suite’ since it’s definitely the smallest room I ever stayed in, even including my ‘road side’ rooms in these cheap highway chain hotels, for example ‘Accor’. That being said, a bottle of cava, fruit basket, chocolates, Nespresso machine, well stuffed mini bar ( included ), housekeeping, beds being made up ( even again after a ‘siesta’ ) towels folded to different animals everyday, and the omni present smile of our state room attendant and private butler. Yes, a 24/7 on call private butler is part of the Yacht club service too. So, perhaps, it’s not a suite in size, but it definitely is in service. Then we started our tour of the ship. Since it was after 14:00 h, the yacht club restaurant was closed, and because it was pouring rain, the Sundeck pool buffet was closed, so we decided to go to ‘the marketplace’ the main buffet restaurant. Bad idea ! It immediately made us realise why MSC is considered ‘a step down’.
Crowds, pushing and shoving, cues, people trying to cut the lines, a slice of pizza on the floor, horrible. We decided to skip the longest lines, and ‘fought our way’ to a slice of pizza, freshly baked, right out of the oven, then passed to the kids corner - because there was no cue there - for some condiments, and rushed outside to the tables alongside the pool. Quit ? No, but a huge difference with ‘in the marketplace’. A waiter came by, and soon after, brought our drinks. Nice. We continued our exploration through the central gallery with it’s impressive led dome, complimentary restaurants, bars, tv studio, etc, and a nice ambiance. Strange how such a big ship has such a simple layout, and I mean this in a positive way. On regal princess it took us days to figure out which floor we needed to go to for, say the theatre, which zones to cross, etc. On Meraviglia, it’s simple. Meraviglia - Regal Princess : 1-0. Soon, we ended our exploration tour, and headed back to Yacht Club, and only returned to the rest of the ship ‘when necessary’. Dinner in the Yacht Club Restaurant, free dining, great. Menu, food, presentation, wine, service, right up there with Regal Princess. A nice touch are the daily changing wine suggestions, and it you prefer another one, they’ll get it for you. Great ! A large selection for breakfast in the restaurant, and then some, or a breakfast buffet at the poolside sundeck. Great. So is the service at the sundeck, the buffet, the bar, etc. Add to all that the 24/7 yacht club concierge, who are perfectly able to attend clients in 5 languages. Great personal attendance, but with a downside, since all shows and announcements are done in 5 languages, a bit boring sometimes, even more when during the weekend the mandatory safety drills for new arriving passengers are also announced in 5 languages, and on Sunday at 7:37 an announcement of ‘all on board at 18:30’ was done in 5 languages. I did not quiet get the need for that. We booked the optional ‘Cirque du soleil at sea’ show and were escorted to the theatre by our Yacht club butler, passing the waiting lines. So relaxing. The show was good, not spectacular, but then again who’s complaining if you only pay 15 € per person, including a cocktail for a 45 minute show. In yacht club all drinks - and yes I mean almost all drinks, even premium whisky, cognac, … - are included. Truth be said, some are not, but then we’re only talking about the truly very expensive ones. And here I stumble upon a point of criticism ; from the info prior to booking the cruise we understood that only soft drinks are included in the yacht club and our travel agent was also very uninformative about this, and since we do like our gin&tonic, wine,… we decided to book the optional premium all inclusive drinks package. A total waste of money. When on vacation, we love to relax and read, in all serenity and tranquility. On Regal Princess that made us decide to - on sea days - rent a cabin in the adult only retreat section. On MSC Yacht Club we thought that we would have that anyway. Not so. It’s totally uncomprehensive that the MSC Yacht Club is not adult only. Don’t get me wrong, I love children, but on vacation, I love to relax without running, screaming children. And apparently other guests did so too, since when on day 3 of our cruise a couple boarded with 2 young children who monopolised the yacht club pool and hot tub, while continuously shouting, a lot of guests moved away to the far side of the yacht club, away from the pool. I was informed that since recently, yacht club also has family staterooms, and the concierge was aware of these 2 children, since the clients for their neighbouring staterooms had also already complained. My advise to MSC ; make yacht club adult only, or make some cruises in yacht club adult only, so that clients can choose wether they want to take the risk, or not. So what did we miss ? Well, ‘Movies under the stars’ like on Regal Princess, the ‘love boat’ episodes on the stateroom television, and the ‘sail away’ party with the love boat tune from the ships horn. So, I think it’s time to conclude, and of course all based on my subjective, personal opinion. For future cruises, the choice between Princess and MSC will entirely depend on the itinerary and the price, comparing MSC Yacht Club with Princess. I feel that the ‘standard service’ and overall quality of Princess is very comparable with MSC Yacht Club. But to make a fair comparison, I do have to include the premium drinks package and a retreat cabin for ‘on sea’ days on Princess. Let’s wait and see which - based on these conditions - will be our next cruise, and if MSC decides to make Yacht club adult only. If not, the choice will be very simple. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Without doubt the very worst holiday (let alone cruise) we have ever been on. Please, please, please do not ignore the negative MSC reviews and part with your hard earned cash or 'Take a punt' like we did. Where to start. ... Read More
Without doubt the very worst holiday (let alone cruise) we have ever been on. Please, please, please do not ignore the negative MSC reviews and part with your hard earned cash or 'Take a punt' like we did. Where to start. 1 - Ship - Lovely modern and clean. They've put a lot of thought in to it. 2 - Customer service - non-existent. Most staff are rude at best, hostile or aggressive at worst. Several times staff members barged their way past either myself or my partner through doorways or corridors. Staff in general looked depressed or bored and seemed to resent passengers. Would desperately love to say there were 1 or 2 notable exceptions however sadly there weren't. 3 - Food - The very worst we've been served anywhere on any holiday. Hard to believe that an Italian company can ruin pasta! Food in general was bland, lukewarm, recycled from one meal to the next and made from very, very cheap ingredients.As one of our fellow English speaking passengers put it 'I wouldn't feed it to my dog'. The buffet was nothing short of an absolute farce. The pizza was popular so if you fancy a slice be prepared to fight for it. I jest not. The only tip we picked up and would recommend is that if you are stupid enough to book a cruise on the Meraviglia and find yourself in the buffet head directly to the back. Do not pass 'Go', become one of them and barge your way straight to the back. End of. 4 - Fellow passengers - The vast majority of our fellow passengers were Italian. Which sort of makes sense considering it was an Italian ship on a Med cruise. However just making a point of saying what follows isn't based on 100% of Italian people, just 100% of the Italian people on our cruise. Now that's that out the way. The behaviour and general conduct of our Italian shipmates was nothing short of utterly disgraceful by anybody's standards. Rude, obnoxious, inconsiderate and loud, boy were they loud. With absolutely no exaggeration whatsoever we were unable to hold a conversation in either of the restaurants were ate in or any of the communal or public areas we were physically co-located with Italian passengers. Physically aggressive barging and hostile to anything resembling a queue whether that be for food, waiting to pay, boarding the ship or a bus/coach or to pass through a doorway. And they make no distinction for male or female, young or old you WILL be pushed and/or elbowed out the way. Sounds like a cliche however the only way to survive is to adopt the 'When in Rome....' approach (scuse the pun). It will inevitably lead to drama however although by that stage you just think 'Bring it on'. Now I have lived and worked abroad all my life so am happy with 'Cultural differences' and can put up with a fair deal without grinding my gears. However, being trapped with no escape from several thousand people who were put on this earth to make me hate them turned my hols in to an utter nightmare. 5 - Cabin - Clean, fresh and presentable however the storage space was minimal so we found ourselves more or less living out of our suitcases. Ultimately speaking though not the end of the world. What was particular horrific however was our cabin experience, which is really our private and intimate space, being utterly ruined by fellow passengers in surrounding cabins out on their balcony's seemingly chain smoking which wafted straight in to our cabin. So we either had to sit out and put up with a face full of smoke or stay inside our cabin with the door shut. The on board briefings clearly state that smoking on cabin balcony's is strictly forbidden and there are clear notices to that effect on the inside of balcony doors but this is simply ignored. My partner made a point of politely asking our neighbours if they'd please not smoke on the balcony however the chap just smiled, shrugged his shoulders and sparked up. Had I been there he'd have been 'Sparked' alright (see what I did there). Took x3 attempts reporting them to reception before MSC did anything about it. We had to physically tell a receptionist to smell a t-shirt I'd put out a dry on the balcony however so they lost any credit for that. It absolutely pinged of stale smoke. Sadly it was just our direct neighbours who were spoken to and not those above and below us so it made very little difference and any further complaints simply fell on deaf ears. I'm more than happy if somebody wants to crack on and have a fag however our cabin absolutely stank and to sit out on the balcony meant passively sharing their woodbines with them. Maybe we were just unlucky, who knows. Take the risk if you like but you have been warned. 6 - Excursions - Having read previous reviews we'd done our homework in advance and planned our own trips ashore at a fraction of the price. It's a good job we did because passengers we spoke to said what MSC had tried to cram in to the short times ashore was ridiculous. They were either rushed to/from/between each thing with little or no time to enjoy or experience anything or excursions were cut short with no refund or recompense of any kind. Expectations may vary however so not necessarily marking MSC down for that, you'll need to make your own mind up. 7 - Entertainment - The entertainment we saw seemed dated and pretty social club in quality (i.e. a tad naff) although some classical performers we saw in open or public areas were brilliant. Some fellow Brits paid for the Cirque du Soleil dining experience which they said was naturally superb however it was marred slightly by the dining part which they said was extremely poor. 8 - Embarkation/Disembarkation - Because passengers join and leave the ship on each stop there was no sense of occasion and one felt very. very much like a passenger as opposed to a guest. It did however make life easier not having to fight an entire ship's worth of people to get on/off. Once we'd boarded and run the carefully choreographed gauntlet of hard sell people it we were just left to crack on and find our cabin before setting sale with absolutely no fanfare. In summary - Should have been significantly more pleasant than it was given the ship however it was simply ruined by the dire service and appalling conduct of our Italian shipmates. One positive I would give MSC above the likes of Royal Caribbean is that whilst you still have the hard up sell, such as drinks packages/Premium dining/Spa treatments etc, they are no where near as persistent and in your face. In every other aspect however Royal Caribbean rather embarrasses MSC without even breaking a sweat. What else would I summarise or flag up from the usual topics or points? Probably that in tune with most airlines nowadays MSC gear 100% of their customer service on the premium 'Yacht Club' (First/Business class) passengers and everybody else down the back end are just the plebs making up the numbers and not worth making the effort on. I personally expect more from a cruise. Would I choose MSC again? Not if you paid me Would I recommend MSC to anybody else? Not a chance in hell Would my MSC experience put me off cruising? Probably not however I will pay more attention to the reviews in future. May give P&O a shot next. Read Less
MSC Meraviglia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 3.9
Dining 4.0 2.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.3
Public Rooms 5.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 5.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 2.0 2.9
Service 4.0 3.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.1

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