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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We picked this cruise after watching various videos of her online. It was to celebrate my mothers 70th Birthday and the price was great, especially as they don't charge for children which means we saves on 2 people! We chose three ... Read More
We picked this cruise after watching various videos of her online. It was to celebrate my mothers 70th Birthday and the price was great, especially as they don't charge for children which means we saves on 2 people! We chose three balcony cabins with Fantastica Experience. First impressions were excellent. Myself and my wife had managed to gain BLACK tier status in their loyalty programme through a 'match' with our RCCL status and as soon as we arrived at the terminal they gave me priority tags for our whole group. The ship looks amazing and is very spacious, in fact there seems to be a lot of wasted space. Usually every nook and cranny of a ship is utilised, but not here. There were huge corridors that just seems to be screaming to be used. Our cabins were very nice on first appearances. However I noticed that behind the door there was a thick layer of dust, it had never been hoovered. There was also finger prints on the Crome light fittings next to the bed and a drink spillage stain on the step to the balcony. All of these remained there for the whole duration of the 7 night cruise. So a 1* for cabin cleanliness. Storage was poor too although we did manage with 3 of us in the cabin. It wasn't helped by a sticky sliding wardrobe door which only needed a bit of adjustment to get working properly and despite bringing this to the attention of CS it never got mended (along with the cleaning) We also didn't receive our robes and slippers as black tier. The reason became apparent on the third day when the cabin attendant noticed our cards as we left the cabin and said 'you've got black cards!' yes we replied, he was pretty annoyed it wasn't listed on his manifest and promptly fetched robes and slippers. INTERNET.. This was poor. I had issues for the first two days and it wouldn't recognise my phone ad when finally rectified the speed was terrible. It was quicker to connect to 4g in port. Our cabin was at the very back of the boat on deck 12 and on our return to the cabin on the first night we noticed a VERY strong smell of cooking in the corridors and the cabin. It was roasted garlic smell and it was STRONG. I bought this to the attention of CS and in all fairness they did offer me another cabin, albeit 3 days later. The smell did seem to subside a bit, but did come back fairly strong on the penultimate night. We didn't take the cabin move as it would have meant us being further away from the rest of our group. Not once throughout the WHOLE cruise did anyone really acknowledge us as black tier. You would think that as their top tier you'd get a bit of recognition. In fact I had to ask as we didn't even receive any of the perks for the first 2 days. On day three we decided to order room service, this is free with the fantastica package. Or they let you think its free. In fact its only the delivery charge that's free. However there is not one single mention of a delivery charge in ANY of the info on room service. In fact I thought the whole fantastica package was a big CON. I don't think we received any of the perks including the drinks vouchers. FOOD. The choice in the main dining room was DIRE! hardly any selection and what there was was pretty poor. The buffet was the same. It was HUGE but had a very limited selection and it was exactly the same day in day out. They advertise it as a huge selection of culinary delights 20 hours a day. A complete LIE! The selection is VERY limited outside of dining hours. STAFF. Very Poor. I found their understanding of English to be poor some of them really didn't have a clue what you were asking of them or trying to order and rather than say 'sorry I don't understand' they just said YES no problem and then either didn't do anything or did the wrong thing! Some of the staff were just down right rude, don't get me wrong we did meet some fantastic staff, but it wasn't the norm. SPA. I like to treat myself to a bit of R&R on holiday, So I'd booked a couples spa package for myself and the wife. I Bali massage and Facial. We went to the spa to book them up on the first day. We booked our massages for the Monday and tried to book our facials for the Thursday (a sea day) but we were told it was not possible and to book them when we came for the massage. When we arrived for the massage we were led away in to separate rooms. I thought the whole point of a couples massage was that you were in the same room together? Well the other umpteen couples massages I've had have been! In all fairness the massage was lovely as was the thermal spa for which we had unlimited access too for the cruise. After our massage we went to book the facials. 'Sorry Thursday is a sea day and we're fully booked!' came the reply. 'You should have booked it when you booked the massage' I explained that we tried too and was told that we couldn't. She said, that's not possible, we wouldn't not take the booking. I re-iterated that we tried to but were told we couldn't. It got to the point where she was accusing me of lying. I WAS FURIOUS! Anyway we booked for the Wednesday instead. Again in separate rooms! Getting back to the smell in the room. I was called to CS and as an apology they offered us both a bali massage. I'd said that we'd already had one and was told to pop to the spa, book something and then let CS know and they would remove it from the bill. So off we popped to the spa, I actually quite enjoyed the Bali massage so decided I would take another one, although that wasn't to be as they were fully booked (it was now Tuesday and we disembarked on Friday) They managed to book us in for a manicure on the Thursday afternoon. After the treatment I took the receipts to CS to have the charges removed, NO they said. We offered you a BALI massage it's not transferable. I explained that they didn't have any available bookings for a Bali massage and anyway I was told to book something and bring the receipts. 'rubbish' they said, it's not transferable. I LOST THE PLOT, How can they offer something that's not even available and then not offer something else. In fact the manicure was cheaper! I've still not had it refunded but will be making a claim on my amex. One of the Black tier perks is a meal in one of the speciality restaurants. We'd already dined in the Italian (which was very nice) and opted for the steak restaurant (which again was very nice) I booked the Teppanyaki restaurant for my Sister and other half as a treat (they have a nine month old so it was nice for them to have a night out) Some 5 1/2 hours later my Sister was being violently sic and was very ill with food poisoning. The following day I went to CS to let them know that she'd had food poisoning. I was met with a very hostile reply which ended in a very heated exchange. I was told the dr would need to attend and that I would be charged. I told them they had a choice. Charge me and face court proceedings or offer the service free of charge. They told me they would charge me. I said fine. The doctor attended and decided there would be no charge (I wonder why). It really did seem like there was no organisation. You never knew what was going on. Apparently they have a cruise director. I didn't see or hear from him once in the whole week! The daily planner was dire, there was no real port information. in fact there was no information on anything all week full stop! The missed opportunities for up selling were amazing! I really couldn't believe it. I honestly believe that I could hop on that boat and make them an extra few hundred grand a week. KIDS CLUB. despite being open from 9am till 11pm again it seemed very unorganised and a bit of a shambles. Our little girl enjoyed it, although did get a bit upset once when some older girls picked on her, but she soon got over it and was happy to go back. ROOM CARDS. They had a lot of info on them which was good although a bit too much info. Usually they have no deck info so if you lose your card no one knows which deck your cabin is on. These cards had it all which would have made it easier for someone to raid your room if they wanted. THE BARS. Service in the bars was generally really good, even with an inclusive package you didn't wait long for drinks. I think it helped that all the waiters has little tablets that they could scan your card with. Oh and the drinks service in the buffet was quick too, with a little call button on the table which notified the nearest waiter / ress which meant quick and efficient service. Unfortunately the same couldn't be said for the main dinning room. All in all it's a lovely ship, but let down by the service and the crew! We've got another trip booked for early 2020 on one of the new ships, as to whether I'll cancel it or not I've not made up my mind yet. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Just finished a one week cruise on the Meraviglia from Rome, travelling to Palermo, Malta, Barcelona, Marseille and Genoa. We went on the Divina from Miami last year thus having experienced Msc before. First impressions were great as the ... Read More
Just finished a one week cruise on the Meraviglia from Rome, travelling to Palermo, Malta, Barcelona, Marseille and Genoa. We went on the Divina from Miami last year thus having experienced Msc before. First impressions were great as the Meraviglia is obviously much newer and the decor and the rooms were much nicer looking. We booked the Fantastica class with a Balcony room on deck 12. Great location midship. We booked excursions for every port and enjoyed every single tour. Now the not so good part: food on this ship in both the dining room and buffet was nothing to rave about. We ended up booking the a la cartes and paid a hefty price. The food there was on improvement but still nothing compared to Royal Carribean. The biggest disappointment was the service. From waiters who could barely understand english, orders being repeatedly wrong, slow bar service and constantly being overlooked (ignored) and just plain rude and unfriendly service were a total put off. Much so, that at the end of the cruise I asked to have the daily service charge removed from our bill. They did so without question. One would have thought there would be some follow up as to why but they did not seem to care. We also found that there was not much in entertainment. Live music was far and few.....we are in our 50s and are open to any kind of music. There was the odd jazz music and some very boring piana player. How about some fun and cultural appropriate live music (we were in Spain)!? We did a guided wine tasting on sea day which was fun. Other adults only activities would have been great. Went to see Cirque and saw Sonar. Not like the real cirque du soleil but still rntertaining. To sum it up we will not go on MSC again for the before mentioned reason. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was our 14th cruise and our first on MSC. As we got closer to our sail date, (April 1), started to get nervous about the poor reviews. Well, those worries left us when we boarded in Genoa. we had a large suite and were in the ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise and our first on MSC. As we got closer to our sail date, (April 1), started to get nervous about the poor reviews. Well, those worries left us when we boarded in Genoa. we had a large suite and were in the Yacht Club, so the service is unbelievable. Food, drink, butler service was out of this world. Yes, we were in the Yacht Club, had our own bar, restaurant and pool area, so this review is skewed as we were on a ship within a ship. That being said, we thought the entire ship was beautiful. Ate at Butchers Cut and the Japanese restaurant and were thoroughly impressed. All staff were courteous and the shows were very good. Now, I can see where some people had issues with this cruise. A few times walking around the ship, I was amazed by the amount of people that we saw. Pools, promenade, Jacuzzis seemed to be packed. others that we would have a drink with stated the same observation. Also, be prepared to hear announcements in numerous languages. It will start to wear on you. Excursions: Had a great time on all. The one to Rome was LONG. I think everyone on bus slept on the way back! Others in all ports were good. Best was a private tour out of Genoa to Portofino. BEAUTIFUL Also, the butler takes you on and off the ship at all ports. You by-pass all lines. This includes lines for all shows. This is a great perk of the Yacht Club. Just be prepared for people staring and mumbling under their breath!!) Overall, we loved MSC and in huge part to the yacht club. we will definitely cruise with them again Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I was looking forward for this experience with MSC having travelled with other companies in the past. first the sweet: The ship is new and looks very well kept, the cabin was really nice, the staff is trying to help whenever you ... Read More
I was looking forward for this experience with MSC having travelled with other companies in the past. first the sweet: The ship is new and looks very well kept, the cabin was really nice, the staff is trying to help whenever you need any help, the entertainment shows were excellent. Bitter: when you board, the staff is telling you that drinks are not included on board (not true there are dispensers) and if you want to drink you need to buy a package. the packages are not cheap but worse than that we bought an "all inclusive" pack (dont do it!) only to find out that all inclusive means a selection of drinks (not all) was very disappointed. you need to check your daily charges on the app, every evening, new charges appeared even if we didnt order anything, service charge (10 euro per person per day for "tips"), unicef donations, charges for pictures we never bought and so forth. you need to be very careful with this issue. every promotion we had on board had terms and conditions that would negate it... the photo package included photos taken at specific places, the free gifts were out of stock and so forth. the food is a bit above average at best. during the cruise it felt we had to be on the lookout for additional charges rather than just sit back and enjoy... I dont think I will use MSC again and its sad because the ship is really nice. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Returned from an MSC Meraviglia cruise yesterday (April Fool’s day, funnily enough) - very disappointed with our trip. If you’re thinking about booking with MSC, and trying to ignore the bad press they get in feedback comments, then ... Read More
Returned from an MSC Meraviglia cruise yesterday (April Fool’s day, funnily enough) - very disappointed with our trip. If you’re thinking about booking with MSC, and trying to ignore the bad press they get in feedback comments, then don’t. They are realistic, warranted and true. Don’t do it – find another cruise line and save yourself a lot of money, grief and stress. MSC seem to be interested only in extracting more and more money from you, at every turn – the profits of the company seem to be far more important to them than the customer experience. After an endless embarkation process (being herded like sheep or goats to the slaughter) we finally made it onto the ship, and we were bombarded with endless staff trying to get us to purchase a drinks, food, beverage, photos or whatever package. Strange that we couldn’t move a step without tripping over one of them when we first embarked, but later when we wanted to ask a question at reception, we had to wait in a queue for almost an hour to get any attention. (More of this later.) Even during meals the poor overworked waiters would shove a notice under our noses, trying to get us to pay an extra 20 euros for a steak, or whatever they were selling that night. Atrocious. On the plus side, we found the food good quality, varied and hot, and the waiters were courteous and attentive. The downside was that despite advertising a dozen restaurants, we were allocated ONE when we got there, at a sitting of 6 people (despite asking for a table for 2) and were expected to sit there every single evening. The only choice we had was to pay extra to upgrade to another one (of 3) restaurants. Other than that, it was the bun-fight in the Market (buffet) area or a burger sitting round the pool. (The Market buffet was extremely varied and quite good quality but the behaviour of the clients – and more particularly their unattended offspring – left a great deal to be desired. More reminiscent of a chimps tea party than a meal, but I digress.) The other problem we had with the ‘fixed’ sitting meant it clashed with the shows, so we were faced with a choice of either gulping down our food to get to the shows on time, or leaving without finishing our meals. On reflection this wasn’t much of a problem because the shows weren’t of a very high quality – either in content or variety, so we didn’t miss much (according to our fellow inmates). Having said that, the Cirque du Soleil show was extremely good, but of course, we had to pay an extra 15 euros for that (that included a cocktail – choice of 2 types) and a chocolate macaroon. Woopee! And woe betide you if you stopped for a chat after your meal – the manager would trot along and throw us out – he was far more interested in getting the tables re-laid for the next sitting to let us stay past our allotted time of an hour and a half for all 3 courses… They had 3 sittings to fit in! Our cabin had a large comfy bed and small but adequate shower room. The balcony, however, came with the added benefits of being covered in crumbs, a toe (or finger?) nail clipping, and filthy windows that you could hardly see through. The cabin attendant was polite and friendly but just managed the basics. No towel animals, chocolates on the pillows or any frills. And despite requesting breakfast in the cabin every morning (except one) they managed to miss us out 2 of the mornings (including disembarkation morning) so we had the added stress of attending the bun-fight on deck 15 and fighting through the marauding chimps to get a coffee and a table. Not a great finale. On 3 occasions we queued at the ‘reception’ area – mostly needing help with our bill, and on each occasion we were queuing for almost an hour. When we finally reached the front of the queue, there was no apology for the wait, contrition from the staff, or even a smile or an acknowledgement that we’d managed to reach the front without expiring from boredom – just a stony stare, a grunt and seemingly incredulity that we should bother them with such trivial matters. Their indifference to our plight (in each case) was spectacular. I wonder if they’re trained to become so obnoxious, or if comes naturally to them? A special breed, perhaps? They offer an alternative method of paying your final bill if you don’t use a credit card (which we didn’t) – a machine. But the machine tries to take another 100 euros credit every time you go near it, is incapable of telling you your final bill amount, or printing you a hand-out of your itemised bill. So you have no choice but to attend the charming staff on the reception desk. (We were told that ONE of the machines will give you a final bill, if not an itemised list, but they don’t tell you which one it is, or where it is, until you visit them behind the desk. Marvellous system, I’m sure you’ll agree…) The kids are very well catered for. Entire floors have been created for them, but unfortunately they seeped into all the other areas too, and the noise level (from shrieking babies to obnoxious teenagers tearing around) was often cacophonous. Add to that the scooters they went around on, buggies they were pushed around in and general level of single minded selfishness they exhibited (around food and drink mostly) I can’t say they added to the experience. The lifts were always full to the brim, often stopping at every single stop on their way up and down (often in the opposite direction to that which we wanted to go in) and took ages to arrive. MSC have invented a clever little app that you can download to your phone to ‘add to your experience’. However, mine didn’t work very well, and didn’t show me my account, or how much I’d spent (although fellow travellers seemed to have got that bit). Waste of time downloading it in the first place. As already mentioned, MSC only seemed to be interested in extracting every last cent from us (as a captured audience). Nothing was free, including water or coffee with meals, ice-cream or anything at all really. They would charge 18 euros for a shuttle bus to get from the ship to the local town, but if you knew what you were doing, you could just walk a few yards and catch the local bus free. At another port they charged us 9 euros for a shuttle bus, but the local one was provided for 4 euros (return). They relied on ignorance and panic which they received in droves. There are far too many passengers (being Easter the boat was at full capacity with over 5,700 guests) but only (up to) 1500 crew – the lowest ratio I’ve ever encountered on a cruise. The public areas (bars, pools, eateries) were way too crowded and it was difficult to find a seat/table – probably because the space they could have allocated to make the passenger experience more pleasurable has been taken up with shops to extract money from them for watches, perfume, chocolates and other stuff that funnily enough seemed empty for the vast majority of the time. Finally, this cruise (that wasn’t cheap) was to celebrate my 60th birthday. A celebration. Sadly it was far from that. And despite MSN being fully aware it was my birthday (the travel agents made it known to them before we departed and one of the bar staff sang a few bars, single-handed, of Happy Birthday to me) they made no effort to make my stay special in any way. No upgrade, no chocolates, no fruit, no bottle of bubbly, nothing! I wrote to them before we left, asking if there was anything they could do to make it more of an occasion. They wrote back and basically said ‘no’. It would be down to the management of the individual ship to do whatever they felt appropriate. Well it appears that apart from leaving a towel rabbit on the bed with a nasty cheap card, nothing else, in their opinion, was appropriate at all. We saw countless other people getting the ‘drum banging procession of half a dozen staff singing and dancing, followed by a birthday cake with a candle’ at different venues (restaurants and theatres) but nothing came my way at all. Not even a muffin and a pair of maracas. So thanks, MSC – you really pulled out all the stops to make my ‘special’ birthday celebration one to remember. But sadly, for all the wrong reasons. I’m sure this ship is ideal if you’ve got kids, like a lot of noise, huge crowds, queuing, and bun-fights and don’t want any courteous treatment from staff (I say this with the exception of our waiter) but for us, it felt like a money grabbing sausage factory where the staff are over-worked, probably under-paid, and frankly don’t give a ****. In a sentence: All glitz but no glamour. Or… all fur coat, and no knickers. We won’t be using MSC again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Overall we were disappointed with this cruise. A beautiful ship with lots of high value shops. Food in the buffet left a lot to be desired in flavour and quality and also was barely warm. Elegant dining was allocated and we were billed ... Read More
Overall we were disappointed with this cruise. A beautiful ship with lots of high value shops. Food in the buffet left a lot to be desired in flavour and quality and also was barely warm. Elegant dining was allocated and we were billed for it, a big surprise. We were not informed that dining anywhere but the buffet cost extra. We would not have minded but the main meal at the dining room was way below par. Training of the staff at the dining room was lacking. The ship treated all passengers like milk cows, money for ice cream and everything else. This company needs to look at other cruise lines and see the difference. The help desk was always queued up as this ship was acting like a ferry rather than a cruise ship. People getting on and off at every port and spent time querying their bills this caused a lot of frustration. Internet was expensive on board and was unavailable for 70/80 % of the time. Staff told us it was to be updated but on a new ship? as well as being told that the problem was the way we signed on and other excuses. To cap it all my wife was abused by one of the senior staff, Natalia, while we were waiting to disembark The entertainment was first class. Would not recommend this cruise line to anybody. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this ship as they put to us in writing and advertise swell that they have a GPS tracking system for young passengers. As we were travelling with a very active 3 year old this was important to us as we feared that he would dart off ... Read More
We chose this ship as they put to us in writing and advertise swell that they have a GPS tracking system for young passengers. As we were travelling with a very active 3 year old this was important to us as we feared that he would dart off into an open elevator and off he would go leaving us on the outside ! When we got on the ship we asked were to get the tracker and were told that it was not yet functional. Yes it was not yet working despite the fact that we have in writing that it was available. Reaction from HQ when we complained to a senior level ( Jeff Herzfeld in Miami ) was an insult. They really do not care. Further embarrassing IT issues with MSC but the topic for other reviews. Drink pass is irrelevant and a waste of $$. You can only get one beer brand yet all the beers are listed at the same price. Specialty restaurant pass required all in our group to buy it. OK for adults BUT a 3 year old . Really have you ever seen a toddler eat a 8oz filet mignon ? They get you at every corner if you are not careful. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This is our 26th cruise and it ranks as one of our worst.... Pros Thermal spa was great Honours other cruise line’s loyalty programs Ship was new and clean Cons Food too salty, and the pizza was limp and soggy. The ... Read More
This is our 26th cruise and it ranks as one of our worst.... Pros Thermal spa was great Honours other cruise line’s loyalty programs Ship was new and clean Cons Food too salty, and the pizza was limp and soggy. The restaurant’s menu was limited and the quality of the dishes was inadequate. It was always tough to find seats in the buffet as they always seem to close off sections and way too many people. Food selection in buffet was limited and seemed to be repeated daily. There are 3 sittings in the dining rooms, so you were always rushed through dinner so they can setup for the next seating. Too crowded, wasted space and the shops were not interesting. Hot tubs were always full. Our tour in Milan was cancelled in the last minute due to a marathon, I thought these types of events were planned years in advance, but I guess they forgot to tell MSC. Not even an apology from the Shore Excursion staff. UNICEF donation automatically charged to your onboard account Encountered an incredible situation while riding in the elevator. The elevator stopped and the Captain’s thugs came in and ushered everyone out, it was not an emergency or any urgent matter they just didn’t want the captain to wait for an elevator, 15 seconds later the captain didn’t come and they let us back into the elevator, without even an apology. Long waits to get back on board after shore excursions, only one X-ray unit was employed to checked baggage. All the literature showed that charges would be in dollars but we were charged in euros instead. Crew appears to be overworked and tired, not a smile in the bunch Always pushing drinks….everywhere. Guest Service waits were always over a hour, lineups were long, as many had problems. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We choose this ship and voyage for the spring break, after the good price and the new ship and value. Booked early. We are experienced cruisers, took many cruises on different major lines. We read about the different approach of ... Read More
We choose this ship and voyage for the spring break, after the good price and the new ship and value. Booked early. We are experienced cruisers, took many cruises on different major lines. We read about the different approach of European based cruise liners, and monitored the clients' review carefully before the journey. We adjusted our expectations and made sure we board with an open mind. It appeared to be a very valuable move to make sure we enjoy the trip. EMBARKATION / DISEMBARKATION Great, fast, efficient service. We board / disembarked in Barcelona. The fact MSC boards passengers in all ports resulted less new comers in any given port. We checked in at 1 p.m. and was boarded within 20 minutes. Disembarkation was less organized, any one can walk off the ship at will. But the luggage comes out fast (disregard of the number assigned) and it was relatively painless procedure. SHIP The ship is brand new and beautiful, very well maintained and cleaned. The design has modern clean cut flavor, lacking of huge high ceilings, etc. But overall a very modern, super clean ship. CABIN We optioned for the duplex suite, for 2 adult and 2 children. It was an excellent choice. Price wise, the two floor suite stands out for great value, much more affordable than any other major lines' equivalent suite. It features a large private balcony with large jacuzzi, 1 st floor sitting room with sofa bed converted to king, a dinning area easily accommodate 4-6 with very comfortable table and chair, 2nd floor bedroom with king bed. Both floor has plenty of storage with both huge walk in closet. Both floor has separate bath room one with tub and one with shower. The suite comes with Aurea experience - including all unlimited wine / beer / drinks throughout the journey, dine as you wish (not set dinning time) at Panorama restaurant, and complimentary massage for 2 adults at spa. The suite was kept superbly clean, two housekeeping per day. Yes the living room sofa bed was turned back to sofa in the day time, and converted to bed at night, daily. DINNING I dined at both Panorama Restaurant and Wave. The Panorama Restaurant was assigned as part of the Aurea experience. It is well docorated with lots of space, and service apparently is more attentive. We walk in as we wish at any time and never experienced any waits to obtain a table, I also dined in Wave - along with some friends booked on the same trip. The restaurant manager was very nice to re-arrange the table size for us from day 3. It was set time dinning daily - early dinning at 5:30 p.m.. To my observation, the Wave is more crowded, and the service was not as nice but acceptable. Both restaurants offer the same menu. Food quality wise it was not great, but acceptable. Size / portion wise it was ok. Passengers used to US based carriers of offering lobster night / steak, will be disappointed. These were offered and sold as "cost extra" items. Thus no free lobster, no free steaks. Other than that, the food quality / portion / presentation are acceptable, not great, but no bad either. ENTERTAINMENT Due to busy itinerary (we arranged own shore excursion every day), we did not have time to attend the show. From past clients, their feedback ranges from great to nono. Thus I can not give my opinion. Circle O Solei show cost money - since we have seen them in Las Vegas, we did not attend, but the kids who saw them seems to be enjoying. There are plenty of activities - Himalayan high walk rope adventure, water slides, etc., these were free of charge, but one has to line up at the deck below to sign paper and get wrist band to be allowed to line up at the venture. No clear instruction and signs were given so many experienced lots of frustration to begin with. Pool sizes and public Jacuzzi are small and are frequently crowded. Live music played around the ship are nice. We enjoyed them. They were not exceptional great or impressive, but we are happy with what they are. PORTS and SHORE EXCURSIONS This is a port intensive journey. We arranged our own activities in all ports. From the 7 days journey there are only 1 sea day which comes on the last day. It was kind of fully packed. The voyage was officially designed from Genoa - for those who gets on from Genoa they can enjoy three days of port day, followed by a sea day to take a breath, and then another three days of port day activities. But for those embarked from Barcelona, they have to go port days 6 days in a row, before they have a sea day to take a breath - that is the end of the cruise. Thus the itinerary was very intensive. The city / port it docks was a wonderful combination. But was a very tired "vacation" if one wants to see every ports and started their journey in Barcelona - which I believe most of the US passengers do.. Also it seems MSC purposely make those who arranged their own activities (rather than book ship tours) to encounter some last minute surprises. Docking time / shore time was changed almost at every port, in most cases shortened, only at last minute (the night before after dinner), thus many passengers who arranged own activities were scrambled to get hold of their local operator to inform them the most updated timing. In many cases they have to cut short the initial planning. This is new to us - as we have cruised to Europe before on HAL and RCCL, both sticked to their initial docking schedule announced almost months in advance. MSC seemed to in favor of changing their mind at every port. Docking time as changed from 10 a.m. to 8 a.m. last minute, leaving time was changed from 6 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. last minute. It creates lots of confusion and last minute surprises for those who arranged their own pick up / activities. TIPS TO ENJOY THE TRIP 1. Adjust your expectation - for those who have cruised other lines before. For European based lines, don't expect them do the same as US based lines. They have their way of operation. If you can not accept the difference or adjust your expectations, you should avoid this line. 2. Book higher / more expensive modules. For example, pay a little extra to book Aurea Experience (rather than Fantastica etc). The all inclusive drink, the free massage, the complimentary use of SPA and Pool and exclusive sundeck area with pool, makes all the difference, and is cheaper than paying after boarding. 3. Prepay for services you feel necessary to enjoy - for example, I prepaid for a unlimited photo download package for US$59 before the trip, while onboad it sells for 119 Euro. I prepaid a US$59 laundry package (40 items) for a week, and it turned out wonderfully. Overall speaking, it was a great vacation. The family enjoyed the ship and the experiences. We knew it was different from RCCL or HAL or any other lines we have been on, but we adjusted our expectations and never went on to expect them to do the same. As a result, it was a very rewarding trip. We would travel on MSC again, but only at Aurea experience, and probably at higher catagory of cabins for space. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
The just about 1 year old cruise liner 'MSC Meraviglia' is a great ship with lots of attractions, sights and well designed and elegant interior. She sailed a little bit unstable, reacting more intense to waves, given her size. ... Read More
The just about 1 year old cruise liner 'MSC Meraviglia' is a great ship with lots of attractions, sights and well designed and elegant interior. She sailed a little bit unstable, reacting more intense to waves, given her size. Strong winds additionally increased the cruise experience with rolling and pitching a little more than other cruise liners of comparable sizes. The weather was like a diva on this cruise, majority of nights were stormy, and there were only 3 more or less sunny and warm days. In the night 4 days before departure of the ship, I received an eMail with a reissue of my cruise ticket, containing an information about a cabin number change, which actually was an upgrade to the 'Yacht Club'. The MSC 'Yacht Club' is a separate area with suites and luxury staterooms. Admission is granted for passengers - called 'Members' - of those staterooms only. The 'Yacht Club' offers to its guests an own reception with concierge, a butler service, the 'Top Sail Lounge', open nearly all day with a bar and delicious snacks, as well as the own sun deck with pool, whirl pool and the 'MSC Yacht Club Pool Buffet', where the guests can eat and drink open air. Regular meals are served in the 'MSC Yacht Club Restaurant', with service at the tables. I prefer buffet restaurants, and if you don't know about the great variety of food in the 'Marketplace Buffet' restaurant, you may miss something, or even a lot. The 'Yacht Club' on 'MSC Meraviglia' spans over 5 decks behind and above the bridge, with 80 balcony suites and 15 smaller interior staterooms, the 'Yacht Club' has its own elevator and stairs in a small atrium. The lounge and the restaurant give a good view over the bow, as well as the sun deck, but there is no glass free outlook to the bow for photography; furthermore, most of the sun deck area is covered with some sort of sun sails. Among the amenities in the 'Yacht Club' are priority at boarding, security and even elevators, free beverages, fruits on the stateroom, a chocolate praliné on the pillow and other things. Embarkation and disembarkation, as well as leaving and boarding the ship for excursions, were always fast without long queues. The security drill in the theater took just 20 minutes and was held in different languages, even Japanese and Mandarin. Orientation on 'MSC Meraviglia' was a little bit more easier than on other ships, with stateroom numbers separated into even on starboard and odd on port side of the ship, with signs in the staircase halls. I noticed longer waiting times at the elevators sometimes, but they were an artwork of mirrors and very fast. The passengers were from many different nations, even lots of people from Asia, very international atmosphere on board, majorities were people from Italy, Spain and Germany. Many kids were on board; I also saw people in wheel chairs and with rollators. The staff was very friendly, caring and attentive, not just in the 'Yacht Club', but everywhere. American way of communication and dealing with things, I was addressed in German language sometimes. The 'Reception Guest Service' on deck 5 was not very frequented most of the time and the ship generally did never appear crowded to me. I am a buffet type of passenger, and I preferably avoid long sessions in the main dining room, I did not eat in the main dining room therefore. The 'Marketplace Buffet' restaurant was open from 06:00am till midnight, guests can stay casual and do not need to dress up. Plastic table ware was used, but the offered food was more than very good, with a great choice and variety, even for breakfast. The quality was excellent, the delicacies from the patisserie extremely good. There was an 'Ethnic Corner' with food from different parts of the world, and genuine Italian pizza was included in the cruise fare as well. Tab water was always complimentary from dispensers, many different beverages for breakfast as well. Other beverages could be ordered at the table, soft drinks were delivered in cans of 330ml each, water in bottles. Mostly, I had no problem of getting a free table, but I repeatedly noticed a scarcity of teaspoons. The nicely done hand wash niches at the entrance were used by very few guests. On the 'Galleria Meraviglia', many shopping opportunities and events. From my observation, the ship is very kid friendly, toys are being offered in the shop, as well as candy, potato chips and chocolate for example, even cheaper than at the airport. There is also a small pharmacy, and the MSC shop offers gifts and clothes at affordable prices even in my size. Also on the 'Galleria Meraviglia', there are some luxury boutiques, the 'Jean-Philippe Chocolate & Coffee' chocolaterie, the 'Brass Anchor' pub, the 'Kaito Sushi Bar' and the 'Eataly Food Market', where guests can taste and learn about Italian food, as well as purchase some of the things. Entertainment for everybody was provided nearly all around the clock at different locations on board, a little bit limited due to the bad weather, that was not allowing pool parties. Many activities were on the 'Daily Program', in the gym and the indoor and outdoor pool areas with some whirlpools, and of course in the 'MSC Aurea Spa' wellness area. I did not book any of the excursions offered in a big variety, all my tours were self organized. Internet access worked very fast only in the few night hours, the system was obviously repeatedly a little bit overloaded during daytime. I usually had to click the 'Start' button twice, to activate the internet access. Sometimes, it was helpful to log out and log in again, when the connection was too slowly. The 'MSC For Me' app is available for guests with smartphone or tablet, the guest can - for example - monitor on-board expense accounting, see deck plans and log in to the internet via WLAN / WiFi, also possible at address 'login.mscwifi.com', using the ID from the Cruise Card, bandwidth usage was shown at log in and log out. Features are offered to guests on the interactive screens in the staircases as well. Thank you 'MSC Cruises', for a wonderful cruise with so good food and your warm Mediterranean hospitality on meravigliosa 'MSC Meraviglia'! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We are avid cruisers, Platinum on Carnival, Emerld on Royal in addition to other lines with single or double cruises. This was our first time with MSC and probably not the last. We chose this cruise and ship based on itinerary, date and ... Read More
We are avid cruisers, Platinum on Carnival, Emerld on Royal in addition to other lines with single or double cruises. This was our first time with MSC and probably not the last. We chose this cruise and ship based on itinerary, date and cost. They all fit so we booked it almost a year in advance. I was very concerned reading all the reviews coming in from the beginning to the time we sailed. I know these reviews are just opinions of others and everyone’s expectations are different but I’m really surprised at all the negative comments about this ship. We sailed in the Yacht Club Deluxe suite and the rooms were wonderful. Very similar to the other suites we have done on the other lines but the addition of the coffee maker and stocked refrigerator made this just a step above them. Service and food quality were exceptional throughout the ship. We did see most of the shows at the Broadway Theatre and thought they were all done and produced well. The only slow show was the operetta, but that’s not to say it was bad, Vocally the two opera singers were great It just isn’t our style of entertainment. The ports and excursions were all very interesting. We bought the excustions through MSC beforehand and took advantage of a 15% off sale. Prices were more reasonable than other ships we have been on. We purchased the pre paid picture deal. 100 pictures for $99. We couldn’t have enough pictures taken to fill the order. We left with 90. The problem is we don’t know what we are going to do with all the pictures. But if you want a lot of pictures it is surely a great value. Overall, a cruise is what you make of it. Go in with an open mind and pay no attention to the negative and positive reviews. Make your own opinions based on you own experience. We are already looking for another MSC cruise as we feel they out performed Carnival and Royal for the money. Bon Voyage djp Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Initially I was concerned with some of the reviews that we had read. We decided to continue with the cruise and this was the best decision we could have done. Yes the cruise was different than the US based cruise lines but if you are ... Read More
Initially I was concerned with some of the reviews that we had read. We decided to continue with the cruise and this was the best decision we could have done. Yes the cruise was different than the US based cruise lines but if you are going to sail with a Eupoean ship, keep an open mind...be willing to experience other types of cruises. The ship was clean and the staff was wonderful. We booked the angled balcony suite with the external jacuzzi. This cabin included the Aurea experience which allowed us to do priority boarding, free choice of dining time, unlimited drinks and two massages (one per two adults). There was so much to do on the ship, so even if you with to skip a port of call, you will not regret it. We really could not understand how some passengers had negative experiences. My suggestion to anyone that chooses to read this review is to understand that everyone is different and therefore expectations are also different. For us, we chose to create our own wonderful memories upon this beautiful vessel! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
MSC is one of my favourite cruises lines and I love their ships, particularly the Poesia, Divina, Magnifica and Preziosa. There seems to be a lot of negative comments on many of the reviews of MSC, mostly to do with food, staff and other ... Read More
MSC is one of my favourite cruises lines and I love their ships, particularly the Poesia, Divina, Magnifica and Preziosa. There seems to be a lot of negative comments on many of the reviews of MSC, mostly to do with food, staff and other guests and the different languages - well in all the 25 cruises I have been on (11 of which on MSC) I have always found the MSC food to be good and varied, the staff to be among the best, and enjoyed the company of different nationalities. Furthermore, MSC ships offer the best nightlife and great casinos run by excellent friendly staff! So, we chose this cruise on the Meraviglia because of past experience and it was a new ship which looked awesome in the pictures! Well on that note the ship certainly did deliver. It is indeed a magnificent vessel - it looks awesome and beautiful from land, and on board everything is sparkling, new and spacious. Embarkation was a breeze, and first impressions were good - the ship is without doubt stunning. The main swimming pool (actually 2 connected) looks beautiful - very well designed with fountains and poolside beds. All the public areas seemed spacious, and décor was glitzy but tasteful. We got into our cabin and again all very smart with plenty of space - although storage space for clothes was tight for a 1 week cruise, I would imagine difficult for a 2 week one! The cabin attendant was friendly and kept our room clean and tidy at all times. All good so far! Food in the buffet was plentiful and a there was an adequate choice - the new plates better than we've had on other MSC ships. Found a table without any problem - the ship was full and we never had a problem finding a table - pressed the call button and within minutes waiter was there to take our drinks order. The MSC drinks package is the best value package at sea and includes most cocktails, wine, beer, speciality coffees and still or sparkling water. For the whole trip service was excellent and the servers were all friendly. Breakfasts were great - we especially enjoyed the bacon and the "egg man" always cooked me two perfect over-medium fried eggs! Hand wash basins are present as you go into the buffet, but it seemed we were the only ones using them! MSC need to enforce their use more as it seems most passengers are oblivious to the risks of norovirus and similar bugs on cruise ships! We also enjoyed our experiences in the evening in the Panorama restaurant, one of the main dining rooms. Our waiter, Gede Sujina, was brilliant - a credit to MSC! Food was generally very good. We tried the Butcher's Cut one night and the steak there was excellent! We were realistic about the weather - March in the Mediterranean is often little better than it is in the UK. However we had sunshine in Civitavecchia (apparently it poured with rain in Rome), Malta and Barcelona. We stayed on the ship those days because we wanted to use the pools and benefit from a quiet ship. We enjoyed the sunshine even though it was only 11 -15c and the water temperature was perfect - between 23 and 28c! The casino was awesome - our favourite bar on the ship! Spacious imposing entrance, large circular bar with slots one side and mainly tables the other. Well designed and not smoky! All the staff at the bar and at the tables were brilliant - engaging, friendly yet professional and hard working at all times. We really enjoyed our time at the casino. We were disappointed however with the nightlife - high on our list when cruising and one of the reasons we love MSC so much. The attic disco is way too small for a ship of this size, and is split in 2 with 2 tiny dance areas and lacks any atmosphere! The Carousel lounge would make a fantastic nightclub, but the Cirque du Soleil shows take place there and although they had a few parties there after the shows were finished, the parties were largely the entertainment team dancing whilst facing the passengers and the passengers facing them with a kind of formation / line dance routine. Great to get people moving but not so good for atmosphere or interaction! As I have already mentioned, our favourite bar was the casino bar. I guess I don't enjoy shopping and the central area of the ship resembles a mall (other ships have done this and I just don't get this street / mall concept). Everyone seems to be just milling around, none of the bars had any ambience - other MSC ships have much better bars, lounge areas and nightclubs / discos! The sky lounge was an impressive area with great views but it didn't work for us - again little atmosphere or ambience. I guess though people who just want to enjoy a quiet drink together would love it. We also enjoy eating outside and the Meraviglia only offers an area at the back of the buffet under a rather oppressive canopy. Bye breakfasts and lunches in the sunshine! The gym was excellent and I enjoyed my times in there - good equipment! However in common with a lot of the newer ships in many cruise lines there are no changing or shower facilities so when finished you have to walk through a beautiful ship dripping in sweat! Even the spa is on a different level. First impressions of the spa were good, however we went on a sea day and it is far too small for a ship of this size. There were used towels hanging everywhere and the experience was far from relaxing! When finished, I couldn't even get to my locker because too many people trying to change, and had to wait for a shower cubicle because there were only 2 in the changing room! Poor design. So overall I have rated my cruise experience as very good (4 stars). There is no question that this is a beautiful ship but for me the layout doesn't work. Were it not for the staff, who were amazing and a real credit to MSC, and the casino, I would have only rated it average (3 star). I can understand why some people would love the Meraviglia, however the ship just didn't work for me. MSC is still one of my favourite cruise lines and I look forward to booking more trips with them, just not on the Meraviglia. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We were on the Meraviglia March 11-18. We booked the cruise about 5 weeks before departure because we had the opportunity to travel to Europe for work during March. With the tight timeline and last minute wedding items to attend to (our ... Read More
We were on the Meraviglia March 11-18. We booked the cruise about 5 weeks before departure because we had the opportunity to travel to Europe for work during March. With the tight timeline and last minute wedding items to attend to (our wedding was March 3) we thought a cruise would be a great option. We were not able to relax during our honeymoon because of serval inaccuracies between the American booking site and the Italian services offered on board. We spent a week arguing with your staff about packages and experiences we had prepaid! Upon talking with other couples from the US and Europe we found they all had similar issues. Drink Package Upon arriving at dining we were told that we could choose from house wines only. The American site clearly listed several wines to pick from (I believe they are the ones listed "by the glass" on the dining room menu) including sweet wines. We were not in the mood to argue with our waiter so went to guest services after dinner. We were told the American site is wrong, that they could not give us a refund and they offered us a draft beer package. Why weren't they able to at least give us an onboard credit? We made due with these tickets, but on top of the 24 other drink tickets we had with our cruise package we were not able to use all of them. Every time we tried to use the water bottle coupons from the beer package the waiters questioned us, told us the coupons were old and asked if we got them from another ship. It is a horrible feeling to be accused of stealing for a $2.75 bottle of water! Our last issue came the last night of the cruise. We used several drink tickets at the bar on the 6th floor. The bar charged us for 2 bottles of wine (we ordered wine by the glass) and several other drinks, instead of applying our drink tickets. This caused us to have to go to guest services once again and wait in the never ending line. Cirque show We prepaid for both shows, one for dinner and one for drinks. It is truly ridiculous that you can not pick your show day and time online when you prepay for this experience. We went to the lounge to book and were helped by an employee. We were told to come back the next day at 5 pm to pick up the tickets. When we arrived the next day, our reservation had not been made and we did not have seats for the show that night. After a stern conversation, the manager was able to rearrange and get us in to that showing. An experience we were most looking forward to, overshadowed by the lack of attention to detail and customer service. Excursions One of the main reasons we choose the cruise as our honeymoon was because of the excursions offered. The following pre-booked excursions were canceled during our trip: Cycling in Palermo and Surrounds Flavors of Barcelona Marseille e-bike discovery tour We did not enjoy our replacement excursions in Palermo and Marseille. Upon speaking with the excursion manager, we learned that the bike rides in Palermo and Marseille aren't offered on the ship because the ship does not have bikes to loan out. Why then, was I able to book and prepay for these excursions? We also learned, several of the tours never happen, for example the jogging tour. One of the other issues we experienced was the excursions sale staff. We were told a minimum number of people were required for a tour to take place, but the sales staff was not allowing people to sign up for them. How can you ever meet your minimum capacity if your staff is steering people in the opposite direction? After talking to the manager for several minutes we asked for confirmation that the Barcelona e-bike tour could depart the next day (this tour was not listed online but was in the printed excursion information). She made it work, and it was our favorite day on the cruise. Departure off ship/ tour groups Our final frustration happened when we were trying to get off the boat one final time. The disembarking was 2.5 hours behind, and the first time they made an announcement about the delay was at the 2 hour mark. All the people who were following instructions about their colors were on deck 5,6,7 with no where to move. The large tour groups were huddled together taking up so much space. At one point we asked employees to help control the crowd because the tour groups were blocking the front desk as we were standing in line to get the alcohol charges removed. Tour groups really should have a private meeting space and be escorted by cruise staff when there are hundreds of them gathering at once. On a positive note, the Meraviglia was a beautiful ship our room was spacious for an inside cabin. Our room steward took excellent care of us while we were onboard. We also had a wonderful last night onboard at the hibachi restaurant. This however, does not make up for all the problems we experienced. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Chose this ship based on the dates I would be in Barcelona and it had a good itinerary. I am a seasoned cruiser having been on over 30 cruises so I had a lot to compare. MSC bombards you with staff selling different packages when you ... Read More
Chose this ship based on the dates I would be in Barcelona and it had a good itinerary. I am a seasoned cruiser having been on over 30 cruises so I had a lot to compare. MSC bombards you with staff selling different packages when you board. You have to pay extra for everything, room service, sauna and more. We boarded at 1:30pm and didn’t meet our room steward until 7:40 when Ihad to look for him. Nothing I had ever experienced in any of the other 7 cruise companies I have been on. It got worse! couldn’t call the front desk or room service for almost 2 days, called and it rang forever without a reply. placed complain cards but no reply. lines at the assistance desk would take over an hour with 4 attendants for 5100 passengers! Poorest food and service wil keep us from ever cruising MSC. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
As we have some cruise experience (Holland America, RC, Princess, Costa, Viking, Aida) and have travelled with MSC (Fantasia) before, we spontaneously decided to spend a week on MSC Meraviglia. Prices seemed more than reasonable and as we ... Read More
As we have some cruise experience (Holland America, RC, Princess, Costa, Viking, Aida) and have travelled with MSC (Fantasia) before, we spontaneously decided to spend a week on MSC Meraviglia. Prices seemed more than reasonable and as we planned our trip for March we knew we were not coming back with a tan, so opted for an interior cabin without balcony. The weather wouldn't be permitting spending much time outside anyways. Having just returned from the trip the conclusion is to never go on board an MSC cruise again. It was the first time in all these years that we decided to leave the ship early and were quite pleased to get away from it all. First, let's start by summing up some pros and cons. PROs: - the ship makes a good first impression looking clean and quite impressive - the cabin, in comparison to other reviews, we thought was decent considering the price - our booking included a mealtime drink package which made the price even more reasonable at first sight - the embarkation process in Marseille went smoothly and we were able to go on board within an hour. CONs: - depressed or rude staff - overcrowded everywhere at all times - airplane food - 15% service charge - MSCs money making scheme - EVERYTHING costs a lot The experience in more detail Ship When we entered the ship the first impression was good, nice clean with seemingly all the amenities required to spend a good holiday. However after having walked around and explored the ship it was lacking all aspects of cosyness and despite being so big we could not find a place where we really wanted to spend our time. The style is very modern, cold and bold, which may be a question of taste, but none of the bars, spaces and places had a sense of welcoming atmosphere about them. The mall is large but it makes you wonder why all this space has been wasted on rather useless instalments like a TV studio and the Chocolatiere chocolate shop. Have fun spending your time there on a 7 days cruise. Apart from that you get the usual overpriced duty-free and merchandise shops as well as restaurants you have to pay extra. Dining To describe it in one word: TERRIBLE! The marketplace buffet reminded me of 2* all-inclusive hotels in my teenage years travelling to Mallorca and the costa del Sol. Always overcrowded with people seemingly going for the last supper of their lives. Fighting for tables, food, Asians taking their time to fill up flasks with tea and coffee. Incredibly poor food standard. It sounds good when you read the signs, I.e. seafood ravioli in a white wine sauce, but as soon as you try it, you'll find that it tastes like cold or, when lucky, lukewarm airplane food. Another fun fact is the beer, as a German, I quite like my beer with my meals when on holiday but what on earth are these guys serving? My girlfriend and me were wondering if something like instant beer exists, cause if it does that's what they might be serving. Do you know these Softdrink machines at McDonald's where you can see the syrup mix with the soda? I imagine MSC's draft beer being made like that! The waves restaurant reminded me of the film Titanic when you see the decision between the upper and lower classes. No windows in this restaurant, grey dark and too many people in not enough space to create an enjoyable atmosphere. Our waiter was a joke. Incredibly rude and rolling his eyes at every single request being made. On the first night we had to queue for 20 minutes to be taken to our table. When we arrived he immediately handed us the menus without any greeting to return 1-2 minutes later to ask us for our choices. We ordered our starters and mains without any second thoughts before being asked our choice for dessert not even knowing at this time whether we wanted one or not. When someone from our table requested wine he put a bottle on the table and said help yourselves, it is your job for the evening now. Unbelievable! Once you have gulped up your last bite the waiters will indicate that it is time for you to leave now. We spend 2 regrettable dinners there and chose the buffet instead. Cabin The dark interior of the cabin is not quite our taste but the cabin was clean and alright. The only slight problem was the air conditioning which didn't do much to provide the cabin with some needed oxygen. In some moments we missed not having a balcony, oh and a chair would be useful as well as a bathrobe. When we requested some, we are told that they are only provided on the YC and Aurea categories. This meant for us that in March we had to walk the outside decks with just a towel when going to the whirlpools. Entertainment & Activities We did not try any of the costly extras like bowling etc. It seems that they are trying to make it extra boring to force you to pay for activities. No poolside games, poor quizzes and when something takes place it is too packed to enjoy. We bought day passes for the spa at an extra cost of€55 for two, also disappointing. A small (for 5000 guests) outdated spa and the steam rooms were not even working on the day. They said they will take care of the problems but did not offer any refunds. Talking about offering, they do not offer much of anything in the spa apart from towels. No tea or water or juices. Guys, this is standard everywhere!! Health & Safety Usually not a category in reviews it needs to be highlighted for this ship. The safety demonstration took place in the theatre forcing everybody to listen to 2 points of information in 6 languages, a demonstration of the safety vests and the alarm signal. Afterwards, in groups they show you safety station. Ours conveniently was the Irish pub. To this day I have no clue which safety exit to the boats we would have to take or who and how would they be handing out the safety vests. I can only imagine what the scenario would be like in case of an emergency with 5000 guests plus staff. Another important point is the complete disregard for any hygienic standards. Nobody cares if you sanitise your hands during embarkation or when coming into the restaurants, no reminder, no nothing. Good luck with noro viruses in the future, it is bound to happen. This is especially insteresting considering all the touch screens everyone uses everywhere. Excursions We always go by ourselves as 99% of the time cruise ship excursions are a rip off. Service If you could call it that... the reception is designed for people to give up during queuing. Phone calls are never answered by reception, all you hear is the mocking message that your call is important to MSC. Overall Many aspects that make a cruise special are lost on this ship because of the hop-on hop-off system. No official welcome, no official announcements to inform guests, no nautical information, no getting to know anyone else properly as they might be leaving the next day, no farewell dinner. It also means that people are Constantly exploring the ship or disembarking sitting around lounges and bars with their suitcases and suitcases in front of doors every day. Then the constant money making off of everything, whether freshly squeezed orange juice or watching a film on your cabin, there is no joy to be found without extra pay. If at least then staff would make up for it with good service, but they don't. In some moments you even feel sorry for them having to put up with it all for longer than we had. We chose to disembark early to spend the rest of the holiday in Barcelona, it felt quiet there in comparison to the Meraviglia. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
A quick review of Meraviglia...... this was my second MSC cruise in 6 months, usually travelling with RCI. We boarded in Marseilles one very rainy Saturday. I think there were only about 400 joining the 'bus' that day. ... Read More
A quick review of Meraviglia...... this was my second MSC cruise in 6 months, usually travelling with RCI. We boarded in Marseilles one very rainy Saturday. I think there were only about 400 joining the 'bus' that day. Boarding started at 12 noon prompt and we were on board before 10 past. Muster was held in the theatre and then, rather strangely we were led to where our actual muster station was (a random point along the deck 6 promenade.....) . It was a very multi cultural cruise with a very large group of Chinese on board. We had a balcony on deck 9, 2 doors away from the 'secret' lift which was the perfect location and highly recommended. The only issue we had was on the last night when many Spanish teens got on board and they used the foyer of the secret lift for their meeting place at 3am, chatting very loudly. The room was well appointed, rather strange wall paining of some vegetables. Cupboard was very small with sliding doors that didn't slide very well. 2 drawers and 2 shelves. Very little storage. Suitcases fitted under the bed. Beds were very comfortable and the shower was very hot. Hairdryer in top drawer of dresser. Very odd dressing table chair which isn't a chair at all but a very heavy uncomfortable stool. No hooks on the wall to hang coats so they had to go in the cupboard. Being Black member I got a bottle of prosecco, chocolate covered strawberries, bathrobes, the chocolate ship, a backpack, an invite for 2 to a specialty restaurant, invite to cocktail party, free photo which is the one taken at the cocktail party, invite to a dance class, and and hour in the gym. I think that was all! We went to Butchers Cut for the complimentary dinner - very good steak well cooked but I found the starters a bit odd. I had the goats cheese and it came in a skillet on a rather hard base...it was too large I think. For pudding I had the cookie which came in the (same) skillet and again was a bit heavy going. The restaurant temperature was very cold and for pudding we actually moved tables out onto the balcony. Staff on board were excellent. Especially those in the English pub and in the various bars. The ship was spotless. Dress code was varied (to put it politely). The spa area is huge with so many baths and steam rooms - it was very enjoyable. Weather was not good - rain in Marseilles and Genoa. Snow in Rome which resulted in tours being cancelled. The ship was very good about keeping people informed. Music everywhere - lovely classical music in the atrium, a good band allowing for dancing in the Meraviglia Bar, salsa type band and karaoke in the On Air club; the only music I didn't like was the singer in the pub which I felt was far too loud for the space. I also liked the fact that some of the entertainment team were always around dancing with guests. The ship definitely had a party atmosphere. The ceiling display is impressive and only lasts a few minutes. Shows were proficient. I liked the one that was about the Apps. I did not go to see Cirque de Soleil. The chocolate shop is large and takes up a lot of space and I never saw anyone in there. I bought a box to go for €17.70 The Sky Lounge is a lovely quiet space, supposedly child free. One evening there were two prams in there, I spoke with the bar staff asking why they had been allowed in ...they obviously had to maneuver the prams past the large sign that says "0-18 not allowed" ti get in in the first place (!). The staff looked embarrassed and obviously did not want any confrontation. I went and spoke with another bar manager I had met earlier in the voyage. Immediately he was on his phone asking for the children to be removed...and he also wanted to send me a plate of something for my inconvenience. Now that is service! Very impressed! unfortunately it was my last night so I had to decline! There is a corner of the Sky Lounge (unmarked on any deck plan!) that is an enclosed smoking room. Meals in the MDR were fine, didn't go hungry and didn't come out feeling as if I could't eat another mouthful. Buffet had a very good selection including an Ethnic Corner which had some good dishes I like the way the MDR is open for lunch every day to although I didn't try it. The drinks package is the best value at sea. Didn't like the rose too much but the prosecco and the Aperol more than made up for it! There is a far wider selection of beers in the pub than in any other bar too. I would say that travelling as a solo it was quite a lonely experience. Most were families or couples. I have never spoken so much French! I feel that the lack of roll calls on these cruises mean you do not build up any friendships beforehand. Ship never felt crowded and was well laid out. I personally hate the Royal Promenade on RCI ships (all the ambiance of a shoe box) but this one was wide and I think the 'curves' into the shop areas helped with the flow. Shops were full of luxury items. There is also a very good range of toiletries and essential items on board too. Branded items are much cheaper than on RCI. MSC also add €1pp to your cruise bill as a donation to UNICEF. If you prepay the tips in UK it works out at £49pp for 7 days compared to the €70pp on board (which is about £61). Every penny helps! There is a huge kids area with 10-pin bowling and car simulators, and a big sports court. Outside there is a waterslide and a rope climbing frame for the adventurous. Last day was a disaster. Disembarking in Marseilles where all documentation said we docked at 8a so flights had been arranged accordingly. On board they said they docked at 9. This caused a great deal of stress to some people, not to mention expense, where people had booked cars, or tours or onward transportation. Despite having the priority Orange coloured departure group there was no organisation and it was a free for all with everyone pushing to get off the ship at once. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We got a good deal through Cruise Nation and although it wasn't an ideal time of year to cruise the Mediterranean we were looking forward to seeing the ports of call and experiencing life on a huge ship. Sadly we found that life with ... Read More
We got a good deal through Cruise Nation and although it wasn't an ideal time of year to cruise the Mediterranean we were looking forward to seeing the ports of call and experiencing life on a huge ship. Sadly we found that life with MSC was not for us and never will be again. We boarded at Barcelona and it was a relatively smooth process. The ship is really a hop-on hop-off service around the Med so there wasn't a full boarding process. The numbers boarding at Citavecchia seemed greater which is no surprise as it is an Italian ship. The ship itself was impressively huge and inside was the epitome of bling with shiny finishes and mirrors everywhere The ship had 5000 plus passengers and when everyone was on board it was hell on earth. The cabin was a little sanctuary but as soon as you stepped out the door it was mayhem with people pushing and shoving everywhere, competing for every facility on board. Everyone was allocated a particular restaurant for their evening meal although it was the same menu in each one. On the first evening it took almost two hours to be served three courses of luke warm, miniscule portions of bland food. After that experience we didn't go back. We did check the menu each day and found very little to suit the British palate, even if it had been palatable.The only alternative was to use the Market Place buffet areas which, most of the time, resembled a school canteen gone mad. There was no semblance of order with long queues at the counters, rude people wandering around with full plates, eating as they walked and pushing in front of others at the serveries. I have no desire to be racist, but another reviewer hinted at the huge numbers of a far Eastern race who monopolised large parts of the buffet areas, descending like a plague of locusts as soon as the doors opened, each carrying their little flasks and emptying the drinks containers. After a few days all the pleasure of eating on board, if there ever had been any, had gone. We saw the Cirqe de Soleil Sonar show and it was very good. The other shows in the Broadway theatre were average enough but were ruined by the number of people allowed in well after the show had started. We even had the pleasure of a group of children stand behind us talking loudly and laughing through the performance. As other people have said the central mall area is impressive but it does take up a lot of space with no purpose. There is large area given over to a Chocolate Bar/shop which is completely pointless and a range of designer outlets with huge prices The Brass Anchor pub was enjoyable until the female vocalist did her strangled cat impression each night. The Edge cocktail bar on Deck 7 was the most popular but, conversely, was the one with the least seating. People could be seen loitering around waiting for a table or chair to become free and then compete to get there first. We have to compliment the bar and waiting staff on the ship. They worked long hours but were always the most pleasant and well mannered. We didn't do any of the MSC excursions. Most of the ports were walkable from the ship. MSC were looking 16 euros for a shuttle bus into Marseille but didn't tell you that a 15 minute walk from the ship took you to the free port shuttle. In all, not an experience to be repeated. We will stick to a smaller, more personal and more British based cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
After we had booked our cruise many months before sailing we were really worried about the reviews We were very surprised to find that what most had complained about we didn't feel the same Embarkation went really smoothly We ... Read More
After we had booked our cruise many months before sailing we were really worried about the reviews We were very surprised to find that what most had complained about we didn't feel the same Embarkation went really smoothly We found the choice of food in the main restaurant and in the buffet to be very tasty and enjoyed good service at all times The Entertainment was ok We thought that all staff were very polite at all times especially drinks and food waiters Exiting and re boarding the ship was well organised everyday with the card system which does make things easier The ship itself is fantastic with the ceiling in main walkway forever changing it looks amazing We liked many of the bars to just sit and relax and have a drink We really enjoyed our cruise with msc and would certainly cruise again as we found it good value for the price we paid up other cruises of same standard Thank You. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I’ve been following the reviews here of MSC Meraviglia since summer 2017, and have been quite worried about our cruise at the end of February. That was not nescessary. In general there is very little to complain about, but also not so ... Read More
I’ve been following the reviews here of MSC Meraviglia since summer 2017, and have been quite worried about our cruise at the end of February. That was not nescessary. In general there is very little to complain about, but also not so much that really impressed me. My overall rating is a 4- (or 3,5 stars of 5). I’ve cruised once before, on NCL Breakaway in January 2014, which as I remember it I’ll rate at 4,5 stars. Now back to our cruise on MSC Meraviglia: We were a group/family of 13. (Five adult couples and three kids age 4, 5 and 8.) PROS and TIPS The buffet is less crowded and quieter in the back of the ship and the buffet repeats it self three times (both sides + the back), so make your way through the crowd on the sides and relax and eat at the back :-) The gelato sundaes are very good and great value for money! CONS I wish the food was more tasty. On the plane home (Norwegian Air Shuttle) I ordered a hot meal. It was mashed potatoes and meat balls. As a surprise it was really good, had a delicious sauce and tasted much better than any food I tried on Meraviglia.) The buffet and food on Meraviglia looks nice, is fresh and varied, but in general lacks taste. CABIN The two families with kids and the grandparents shared an aft facing Super Family Plus cabin on deck 11. A cluster of three connecting cabins. Two balcony cabins and one interior cabin in the middle. Total capacity of ten people. (The two other couples had outside cabins on deck 5 and 8). I was in the middle interior cabin with my five year old son. The cabin has a sofa that turns into a double bed. Not much floor space when the bed is set up, but cabin staff turns it back into a sofa after breakfast (and it’s easy to do yourself). I unpacked the suitcase and put it under the bed in one of the other cabins. The interior has a closet with two drawers and 7 hangers. Just enough space for my needs. Due to the middle interior cabin the two balconies were both quite wide and spacious. Two chairs and a small table on each. The balconies were separated with a plastic wall that somehow were built to be collapsed and made into one very big balcony, but we did not find a way to unscrew the bolts. The separating walls on the other sides were made of solid steel and not made to be removed. I thought this Super Family Plus cluster were treated as one cabin, but in practice it’s three separate connection cabins with separate cabin numbers. Even though it has one price it’s treated as three separate cabins due to keycards and billing accounts on board. We were three separate families sharing this cabin cluster but the families were mixed up in different cabins, keycards and accounts. I don’t know if it’s the fault of our agent or MSC. (I had specified beforehand who should share cabins). FOOD The buffet is varied and fresh. Nothing tasted bad, but little were very tasty or impressively good either. I guess it’s up to the guests to spice things up themselves. I had prepaid a water package of 15 bottles of water. That was not needed as there were always water, ice and lemon slices available for free in the buffet. The middle of the buffet is generally crowded but in the back and frontmost corners there’s almost always quiet and space available. The buffet goes all around on three sides. We had dinner in the included restaurant the first two days. I think the waiters serve tables in a given order and our table were the last in his routine, so with three kids we had to wait a while for food and drink. There seems to be a different three-course menu each day, with various selections to choose from. Some dishes were quite good, others did not taste much. For less waiting and more variation we ate dinner in the buffet the rest of the cruise. We did not try the speciality restaurants. Valetta on Malta were the best itinerary. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I think if this was our first cruise ever, we would have thought this was an OK (not great) cruise. But we’ve cruised before with Holland America and Carnival which had given us certain expectations that MSC fell far short. We ... Read More
I think if this was our first cruise ever, we would have thought this was an OK (not great) cruise. But we’ve cruised before with Holland America and Carnival which had given us certain expectations that MSC fell far short. We picked this cruise because we liked itinerary. We wanted to see as much of Europe as we could in a short period of time spending the least amount possible on transportation. However, we also wanted to go as a multi-family group that included my parent in-laws, and sister and brother in law. Because the in-laws are older, they do not like to travel this way. So as a compromise, we all agreed to this cheap cruise. We viewed this cruise as a glorified multi-city RyanAir flight. But we’ve been on cruises before, and they can’t be truly as bad as RyanAir can they? BOOKING Before booking, we noticed that there was a distinct lack of fine print on the MSC website compared with Holland and Carnival. One thing I do not like is being surprised with expenses. It was difficult to get a sense of what is/is not included. Many pages on the website are very generic. I could not get a sense of what is included in the drink packages, what is included as far as entertainment, etc. When we were doing research for our previous cruise, other companies specified ‘drinks up to $xx are covered by this package’ which were more helpful. Also, the MSC website makes it seem that the Cirque du Soleil shows would be included (i.e. free), of which we were [rightly] a bit skeptical. We had figured this was growing pains of MSC’s expansion into the North American market. Boy were we right. We booked for our February 2018 cruise in July 2017. We paid a $100 deposit and decided to wait till the December 26 deadline to pay the full amount. Come November, when we checked our booking on the MSC website, we discovered that we were no longer reserved. Our deposit was not returned, so what was going on? My wife called MSC USA and they said they had a major computer glitch in the summer and some reservations were lost. We were rebooked. For some reason, we were rebooked from an interior room to an exterior room with a balcony for the same price! We never received an email saying that we were upgraded because we complained, but we made this assumption at the time. However, after our cruise experience with MSC, I highly suspect it was just incompetence. We warned my sister and brother in-law, and in-laws and they discovered the same issue. It seems that they had contacted MSC (but not MSC USA) and they were rebooked too. Little did they know there were consequences of not rebooking through MSC USA (i.e. no free water). See the Dining section for more details. EMBARKATION – 4/5 Embarkation and disembarkation was the smoothest thing about this cruise. This is a hop-on hop-off cruise meaning that there are people embarking at every port. While this had made the embarkation process a well-oiled machine I feel it takes away from the enjoyment of a cruise in a few areas: - Comradery Between Passengers – I never got to know any guests too well because I knew I’d never seen them in 1 or 2 days. And everyone had the same view so no one, me included, made much effort to get to know other passengers. There was no shared experience of all being clueless newbies (more on this next paragraph), seeing the same people in the halls, and disembarking at the same port. Even on our recent cruise on the 4000 passenger Carnival Vista, where it is truly possible to never see the same person twice, we still made friends with a few families. - Constant Stream of Clueless Passengers (Us Included) – This means that almost every day there are a few hundred people boarding the first time. This has multiple consequences: 1. There is a safety presentation every day. Mildly annoying as the PA is used to broadcast the safety briefing in 8 languages and there is a demonstration of the emergency signal which is 7 long beeps. This is done during port hours so unless you got back on the ship early you will likely not encounter this every day. By the way I am a little concerned MSC’s safety procedures. The life jackets are NOT in your room (unlike in Holland and Carnival). They are all stored at your muster station under lock. Based on the stories from Costa Concordia, I’d rather not have to rely on staff to access the life vests. 2. Frustrated Front Line Staff. We embarked from Barcelona and stayed at a hostel called Casa Gracia the days prior. Their lobby is just beside their restaurant and the check-in desk looks more like a maitre d’s podium. So naturally when we first arrived, we asked the person situated there where is the check-in desk. This person who turned out to be the manager dejectedly sighed and said that ‘yea this looks like a maitre d podium doesn’t it?’ This is the feeling I get when I ask dumb questions of most of the MSC front line staff. Because every single day, they deal with new clueless passengers asking the same, what seems in retrospect, dumb questions. Case in point, their included sit-down restaurant (either Horizion or Wave) has a strict dinner time [more on this later]. You are allowed to be late by up to 15 minutes. We, not knowing this rule, were a bit late on the first day. This is our vacation after all. The waitress guarding the door rolled her eyes and complained ‘Ugh. Hadn’t guest service explained our strict dinner time?’ One of the managers came to do the door and said the same thing, but nicer. I figure they must have had to deal with this every single day for every single dinner cycle. 3. Guest Services is Always Busy and Frustrated. A trip to guest services is a guaranteed 30 minute experience minimum. There will always be a few dozen people asking the same newbie questions (us included) day after day. There will always be a few dozen arguing the bill because tomorrow is disembarkation [and there is much to argue about, more on this later]. The line is just constant day after day with no hope of dying down as we settle into the cruise because we’re all settling at different times. And unlike Holland (though not Carnival) who has the forethought to have extra staff at guest services in and around embarkation and disembarkation, having long lines seem to be business as usual for MSC. 4. There is No Assigned Seating at Dinner. This is due to the hop-on-hop-off nature as there are people leaving every day and it would be a nightmare to manage. Being socially awkward, I went in to the cruise slightly relieved. Finally, I will not be seated with random strangers trying to force small talk! Although during the cruise I did find that I missed being thrust into the position to talk to fellow travellers from all over the world and to hear their stories. And on a European cruise like this where the safety demo requires 8 languages, I would have been forced to interact which quite a varied array of people which would have been a good challenge. - A positive of the hop-on-hop-off business plan is that the MSC embarkation process is the smoothest I’ve seen. There’s less people boarding at the same time (a few hundred vs. the full 5000+ for which this ship is rated). The time between arrival at the terminal and getting on board was just over an hour. CABIN – 4/5 We had cabin 11043 which has a balcony. It was an good size for 3 people. Our 4 year old daughter slept on the couch bed. Minor complaint that the closet storage space is severely lacking compared to the Holland Zaandam and Carnival Vista rooms that we’ve had (both were cheap interior rooms too might I add). Most of our clothes had to stay in the suit cases. There were only 6 hangers. The washroom was new and clean. Minor complaint that while there was shower gel and shampoo but no conditioner. Also weird that the hair dryer is permanently attached to the desk drawer with no indication that it is there. We didn’t find it till our second day. DINING – 2 / 5 We had not read any reviews of the MSC Meraviglia. So we went into this expecting better Italian cuisine (as it’s an Italian company) compared to Holland and Carnival. Boy were we surprised that even Carnival has them beat. On the positive I will say that their Marketplace buffet is a tiny bit better than Holland’s and Carnival’s Lido buffets. This is the only reason this section gets a 2 instead of a 1. There is more selection and the food is pretty good for a buffet. There are a few constant staples like cold cuts, pizza, burgers, hot dogs (which surprised me for a European cruise), roast beef station, rice, pastries etc. They make their own mozzarella which they make a big deal about. I liked them though my wife said they’re a bit bland (well yea, it’s mozarella). But it’s surrounded by jams and other pastes at the buffet table with which you can spice it up. There’s also rotating items such as the fish of the day, pastas, soups, salads, etc. For the common buffet, of which we weren’t expecting much, we were pleasantly surprised. Our 4 year old daughter enjoyed it. Although she was disappointed that, unlike with Carnival, there is no [free] ice-cream at the buffet. In fact the desert selection was a bit underwhelming for an Italian ship. Though there is an ice cream station outside Marketplace by the pool, but this requires payment. You can include an ice-cream add on as part of a drink package but we learned that this does not include the gelato restaurant on the promenade. In fact, nothing is included on any package in the promenade. The restaurants, bars, chocolate shop, and gelato shop are not included as far as drinks. Even their poorly named “All Inclusive” drink package is not usable there. Where the dining experience really falls short is with at the included sit down restaurant (either Wave or Horizon to which you are randomly assigned). Here, we were expecting a relaxing atmosphere and good food (at least superior to the buffet), but we got neither. We were assigned to the Wave restaurant and a dining time of 5:30 pm. Most excursions and port disembarkations are at 4:00 to 4:30 pm. By the time one gets through security, back to the cabin, unpack, it’ll be easily 5:00-5:30. This does not leave much time to unwind after a long day of walking. We were also planning on having a proper lunch at most of the ports so we’d still be full by 5:30. On the first night, we just didn’t make 5:30. We found out that they close their doors pretty strictly at 5:45 and were not allowed in. Instead, we ate at Marketplace that first night. Let me go on a tangent. Both Carnival and Holland had assigned dining times at the sit down restaurants. You were guaranteed a table at these times with minimal wait. BUT, they also allowed you to come in at any other time provided that you had to wait for a table. Usually this was short as there were always tables reserved for drop ins. We felt that MSC’s process is far too strict of a dining system that is not suited to providing a comfortable experience for the passenger. Instead, we must conform to the MSC way or the high way. We went to Guest Services and asked to change it to 6:00 pm. At first they were unwilling and stated that the only allowable times are 5:30 pm or 8:45 pm!!! Yikes. I know the Spanish and the Italians eat late, but these times will not work for us North American folks. After some hemming and hawing, they allowed us a 6:00 dinner. Guest Services wrote this on a business card and told us to show it to the staff at Wave. Well Wave did not recognize this and said that Guest Services had no authority to do that. Well this is just not going to work. We had a fairly major argument with the restaurant manager. Eventually we were allowed to be seated. [More on this interaction in the Service section] We were asked what we wanted to drink, and we asked for water. Our Fantastica package included alcoholic drinks at the dining table. The MSC system is to provide you with drink tickets up front that you can use. This was unlike with Carnival where it is preloaded onto your room card. We were each given 12 drink tickets for our 7 day 8 night cruise. However, we were a little taken back on the first sit-down dinner when they asked for our drink tickets when we ordered water. Why do we have to use up our drink ticket for water? Another tangent. It seems to be a European thing to pay for water. As a North American, I expect free tap water at a restaurant. I had asked for tap water at a few Barcelona restaurants and was met with blank stares. “We don’t drink tap water here” was the typical response. Malls don’t even have water fountains. When you ask for tap water, you get a bottle. Back to the story. “Can we just get tap water?” “At the restaurant we serve bottled water only.” “You mean if I don’t want to pay for water, I need to go up 7 decks to Marketplace and use the water dispenser where it *is* free? Why can’t I just have that water?” “We only serve bottled water here.” ***DISBELIEF*** I realize this is small and petty, but I don’t think MSC truly understands where we are coming from. Asking your North American customers who are used to free water at restaurants, where water fountains are abundant, and where everyone carries a water bottle is quite a culture shock. And having to do this when free water was a mere 7 decks up just felt like a money grab. When we got back to our cabin we reviewed the cruise docs that we printed out before boarding. They did say that bottled mineral water is complementary at the restaurant. My sister in law and in-laws reviewed their cruise docs and found that their Fantastica package did NOT include water. After yet another trip to Guest Services and a helpful American couple also waiting in line, we determined the cause. When booking through MSC USA, the Fantastica package normally includes free mineral water. I guess MSC did actually anticipate the reaction of a typical North American vacationer after all. There was an MSC wide computer glitch last year and our bookings got lost. We were rebooked by an MSC USA rep, and the inlaws were rebooked by an MSC (not USA) rep and they got the European Fantastica package (i.e. no free water). Guest Services, can you please correct this? Sorry we can’t do that here. This was going to be a common phrase we’d here on the cruise. Guess services advised us (and this was just me and my wife because they were not able to help my in-laws who did not have this code in their guest profiles) to show their own waiters our Guest Profile (accessible from the MSC app) which lists all the included items under Fantastica so that they can punch in the coupon code listed there. When we did, the waiters remarked that they’ve never seen this coupon code before… Oy. As a nightly reminder of this water insult, because only my wife and I had the free water code, we had to order water for the rest of the table through our account, which only allowed us 2 bottles for the table. We eventually got over it, but it was stress and awkwardness that we did not want to have to go through… and for water for goodness sake. The food at the sit-down restaurant is mediocre. For most nights, we saw the same dishes and soup at the buffet. What’s the point of going to the sit-down restaurant then if they’re going to recycle the menu? To ‘enjoy’ the service (and to pay for water)? ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES – 1/5 There were language classes, but they are all scheduled during port times which is very unhelpful. There are no other enrichment classes unlike Holland. Holland had a history lecture about every port we visited. Boy this review is becoming an advertisement for Holland America and Carnival! ENTERTAINMENT – 3/5 There was a magic show and several concert type shows. My daughter enjoyed the magic show. The concert shows were cheezy but that was the case with Holland and Carnival as well. The MSC website made it seem like the Cirque du Soleil shows are included and would be walk-in (i.e. free). We were a little skeptical that such a cheap cruise would have a Cirque show included and were indeed correct. The show is technically free but you have to buy either dinner for 35Euro or a cocktail for 15Euro. Booking is required which is another trip to Guest Services. We really enjoyed the show. It was short for a Cirque show but it was a great performance. One point off for deceptive marketing. FITNESS AND RECREATION - 4/5 Most of the recreation facilities reminded me of Carnival Vista. There is a two storey gym/basketball court/soccer court. There is a running track at the top deck. There is a gym. There’s a daycare that’s partnered with a children’s brand, in this case Lego. There’s a small arcade which charges a whopping 1.5-2Euro per play, and a Formula 1 and flight simulator. We enjoyed the indoor pool as we cruised during the winter off season. We really enjoyed the “Himalayan Bridge”, which is an obstacle course on the top deck similar to Carnival Vista’s sky ride, on our sole sea day. We were a bit surprised it was still open as the water was very choppy that day. On an equally choppy day in the Caribbean on Carnival Vista, their SkyRide was closed citing safety concerns. I guess Americans are a more litigious bunch. SHIP AND PUBLIC ROOMS – 4/5 The ship is quite beautiful. Although we found a few elements that were more flash than substance. The most impressive is the 2 story promenade with an LED screen roof which can show any time of roof or scenery. Every night there’s a few 5 minute LED shows interspersed through the evening. At first this was a novelty, but after the first day the novelty wore off and this just meant that the promenade was impassable for 5 minutes as everyone stopped to look up. The Swarovsky encrusted staircase between Deck 6-7 is a wonder, but this also means everyone wants to take a picture on it. There is a theatre that is exclusive to Cirque du Soleil. But it is small and in the back of the ship. Knowing that this is a show that could be cancelled for rough seas, wouldn’t it make more sense for this to be mid-ship? The Bamboo Pool which is indoors is a nice touch. It’s a two story area, but it was annoying not having the washrooms on the bottom floor adjacent to the pool. Instead I need to climb stairs in barefoot/flip flops to access the washroom. There is a running track at the top of the ship (similar to the Carnival Vista), but the ends of the track coincide with the stairs which means I have to occasionally dodge other passengers. The Vista track has the stairs further away. The Broadway Theatre is a fair size. The Marketplace Buffet has a nice touch with floor to ceiling glass. It’s quite nice when you can get a window table. SERVICE – 1/5 If I could give MSC a service score of 0, I would. MSC is an Italian based company so while most of the front line staff are from all over the world like in many other cruises, their supervisors and management are mostly Italians. Boy do they approach customer service differently than in North America. Before I dive into the details, I want to say that the front line (non Italian) staff were all smiles and very friendly. Our encounters with the waiters, our cabin steward (though he was a bit aloof), and various servers were all smooth. Firstly the Italian men all have a certain machismo to them. While this may serve well in politics or acting, it is not suited to the service industry. On the surface and if you are not approaching them with a problem, they are very friendly. But come with a problem, and that changes. They really rubbed my wife the wrong way. While not overtly sexist, she said she felt a demeaning attitude from them. When we were complaining to the Maitre D about the dining time, he would always be addressing me and not my wife, despite the fact that she did most of the complaining. Everytime we complained about something, we were met with a grilling of questions of whether or not we followed their system or protocols first. There was no give and take in these interactions with the Italian management staff. It was mostly take. There was no attempt in allowing us to get a word in, or to understand our concern. Every complaint felt like fighting an uphill battle instead of an exercise of them understanding the complaint. A complaint encounter usually felt like an exploration of what we did wrong instead of how can MSC make this better. Heck, even Carnival does customer interactions better than this, and that’s already a pretty low standard already. When I cruised with Carnival previously, I thought they treated people like a walking wallet, but apparently Carnival has nothing on MSC. Everything on about MSC a money grab. I’ve already talked about the “All Inclusive” drink package which is anything but. The drink menu is heavily starred and starred items are not included. When we checked in, we had our picture taken as a group. Both Holland and Carnival had something similar. I expected this would show up on our app or the photo center as something we could order. Instead, they sent the photo to our room and applied a 20Euro charge to our account without any direction from me. We had to give the photo back to our cabin steward to get the charge taken off. At least they did it. The options for communication is insane! With Carnival, you had the option to pay $5 per device to use the chat feature on the Carnival app. The only option on MSC is to buy their internet package. For our 3 families, the premium bundle made the most sense: 1GB shared by 4 devices for 95Euro!!! This allows you to use your device’s data messenging. I think 95Euro just to chat is a tad ridiculous. By the time we figured out to turn off our Background app refresh and set our email app to stop push notifiations, we had reached 1000 MB. So before this happened, there was an option in the MSC app to add a top-up of another 1000 MB for *only* 45Euro. However, when our data got to 990 MB, the app *conveniently* crashed for ALL our phones. When one of us managed to log back on, our data had already reached 1000 MB and the option to top up was gone. We had to buy another 95Euro package. Yet another trip to Guest Services and surprise surprise, there was “nothing they could do, we had a computer error last night.” This seemed to be a common phrase. And as a final F-U to their passengers, on our last day, they added a 1Euro per person donation to UNICEF “on our behalf”. I would not have a problem donating, if asked. But to do it in such an underhanded way: to do it on the last day knowing that it would be another 30 minute ordeal to Guess Services just to remove, that is just unforgivable. It’s the same as their staff coming into my cabin, taking 3 Euro out of my pocket and leaving a note that we donated 3 Euro to UNICEF “on our behalf.” It’s petty of them, and they’re playing strumming the guilt strings of their customers to either appear petty to worry about a 1Euro/person charge and/or the annoyance of their customers to spend 30 minutes in line just to take off a few Euro. And I wonder how much of that donation went to administration costs? That was just the last straw. NEVER AGAIN MSC. One positive about the service was with the daycare. Although some North American parents may actually consider this a negative. With Carnival, when dropping off a child, all parents are issued a cellphone to be used on a list of conditions. One being if your child is hurt. Another being if your child cries for more than 10 minutes. If your phone goes off, you must come back to the daycare to pickup your child. Violate this and there will be consequences. On our first dropoff attempt with the Carnival daycare our daughter did cry for more than 10 minutes, and we were called and had to take her back. Carnival seemed to want to limit their liability, which is understandable and we appreciated their approach, though were silently disappointed we didn’t get any adult only time. On MSC, and I guess this is more indicative of European approach to parenting, when you drop off your kid, he/she is staying there till you come back. Cry or no cry. No cellphone to call you back in case anything happens. Whatever happens, you find out when you pick up your child. Though I’m sure if it was really serious, the staff will find you, but it was never actually discussed with us what would occur. On our daughter’s first daycare experience with MSC, it turned out she actually cried for almost the full hour she was there. Those poor care givers. She didn’t like that none of the other kids could understand her. I guess there weren’t any Brits that time. My wife and I were on the fence about the MSC system. We both believe that kids need to be given the sink or swim treatment every once in a while. But worrying about if your kid is truly ok, with no ‘life line’ to know if they’re ok made our parent-only activities a little guilt ridden. At least with Carnival’s system, we were confident that if anything truly bad were to happen, we’d get a call. SHORE EXCURSIONS – 1/5 For what they are, the shore excursions are extremely marked up. In Marseille, there was a very basic bus into town excursion for 18Euro per person. Luckily we did our research and walked about a km to the free bus to the town centre and from there could take the transit bus to various locations. And unlike on Holland, there is really no lecture or much guidance on doing excursions yourself. With Holland at least, excursions was a soft sell. They would promote their own excursions, but if you asked they would tell you how to get around. On MSC, there is a few basic pages on their app about each port. VALUE FOR MONEY – 1/5 Like my title says, MSC is the RyanAir of Cruises. Don’t expect much for service and expect to be nickel and dimed to death, for a cruise line. This strategy seems to work for the European crowd, but MSC still has a lot to learn about what a North American vacationer is looking for. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We’re a couple in our late 40’s who enjoy all sorts of holidays. On this trip we were looking for relaxation, good food and drink, dancing of all kinds, and a visit to Valetta. I also wanted to experience this new and beautiful ... Read More
We’re a couple in our late 40’s who enjoy all sorts of holidays. On this trip we were looking for relaxation, good food and drink, dancing of all kinds, and a visit to Valetta. I also wanted to experience this new and beautiful offering from MSC. We travelled in late February embarking in Civitavecchia; we knew what to expect when it came to the weather, we weren’t travelling to get a tan! There were some very positive aspects to our cruise, I’d read many reviews before we went and changed my booking based on what I'd read. A huge thanks to those people who took the time to write both positive and negative points about their experience, I hope my comments will also help others make decisions about what is right for them. We wanted to love this ship, and we did, unfortunately there were areas that we didn’t like at all. Most of those issues were caused by the number of passengers and the limited amount of real space for them to share. This was low season, and because of the weather most adults passed their spare time on just 3 decks. We travelled outside school holidays and hardly noticed any children or young people (apart from the indoor pool) whether that was because they were enjoying the facilities, which looked very good, or whether there just weren’t many of them I don’t know. We walked around the Himalayan Bridge and the Water Park and I’m sure this would have been great if the weather had been in double figures. The Ship Big, bold and beautiful, Meraviglia is just as its name suggests a ‘wonder’. When you step onboard for the first time, you can’t help but be blown away by its open space and shiny interior. This is probably one of the advantages of having guests arrive and depart every day; when you arrive many guests will be on shore so you get a really spacious, uncrowded feeling. The casino entrance, the entrance to the dining room, the sports court, there were big spaces everywhere and lots of big glass windows to look out from. First impressions count, and this impression was 10 out of 10. Deck 6 is the centre of the ship. Forward was the theatre closely followed by the beautiful galleria, the perfect place for an evening passeggiata. This is also the spot to find the shops and bars (and Eatly) as well as the excursion desk. It’s a similar experience to Royal Caribbean, but this definitely has a real Italian feeling. One deck up on 7 were the speciality restaurants and pub with close up views of the dome, the spa, casino and the Carousel Lounge for the Cirque du Sole. In the winter these two decks, along with deck 5 below are the main areas of the ship, and we found them easy to navigate. These are the spaces we used onboard Meraviglia. The Galleria This is a beautiful space. We didn’t use any of the speciality restaurants but liked the light and bright atmosphere. We loved the lounges on MSC Splendida, but as far as we could tell, the largest lounge on this ship was the Meraviglia Lounge on deck 6 just off the Galleria. Be prepared to hover if you want to sit down, and guard your seat, otherwise if you get up to dance you could loose it. There wasn’t a lot of space to dance, and when the galleria show started it was a mad dive to get a good position. Sadly we thought this lounge and dance floor was way too small for the number of passengers. I’m not sure why, but we thought the dome show would last longer and it would have a huge wow factor. It wasn’t quite what we were expecting. We caught a couple of the shows but didn’t make too much of an effort to see the rest. The Gym A great addition to Meraviglia is the availability of changing rooms at the gym. It’s much better than dripping around the ship on the way back to your cabin after working out. There were a good number of machines; it was also nice to have rowing machines. There was a good choice of free weights but sadly only two bench presses. Anyone who uses a ship’s gym regularly knows sea days and after the ship sets sail is not the best time to work out, as they are always full, the same is true for this ship. However, at times it was also dangerous and the staff just couldn’t keep their eyes on everyone. There is a very small area for floor exercises and stretching, at the centre of which are pull up bars and an area to use a barbell. The area is probably big enough for a maximum of 6 small people at the most. There was a separate room with spinning bikes that was always locked. One day we walked in and there was nobody at the desk to check our cards, often the staff appeared to be helping people in the changing rooms unable to remove their belongings from the lockers. We found a small corner to lay our mats, but then we noticed a young man trying to put weights on the barbell. He was clearly struggling. Moments later he left a weight on one end and tried to move to the other side without locking the bar in place. It tipped and very narrowly missed a lady who was doing floor exercises nearby, she was extremely shocked as were we, the heavy bar only narrowly missed her head. There was quite a lot of shouting, as you can imagine. After that, we only entered the gym during mealtimes or when we could see there weren’t too many people around. Perhaps a good idea would be to have an entry system linked to a passengers cruise card, to allow access to only those who had received an induction and to help keep numbers to a safe maximum. The Thermal Area I’d seen lots of pictures of the thermal area and it looked wonderful. I’d read about the different experiences - relaxing, invigorating etc, and the coloured wristbands that go with them. I was keen to try them out. Unfortunately, things didn’t get off to a good start. The first day we attempted to visit it was absolutely packed. Not knowing quite what to do I went to the reception desk to ask for help. I explained that I couldn’t see any of the notices without my contact lenses (which you can’t wear) and I didn’t know what to do. I was told…just go in…. I asked about the experiences; I was shown the bands and told to follow the symbols. No hope, I couldn’t see a thing; that's why I asked for help :-( So I did as suggested and went to try things out. My first problem was trying to find somewhere to put my robe and towel. There were things everywhere, in the clean towels racks, any available horizontal space, even on the floor. When I eventually nabbed a hook I tried to find a place to relax. The only places that weren’t full were the ice flow room and the cold showers. Not surprising as it was freezing outside. We queued for the walk through shower; there were two ways in, the hot way and the cold way. My ‘thoughts’ were that it would get hotter or colder as you went through but it didn’t seem to. It started cold went to hot, back to cold and then warm (with rather a nice coconut smell) and you had to wait for the water to change it didn’t move with you. In our 4 visits we could never get to use the 3 hot stone beds as they were either fully occupied or had towels spread out on them. We did use the Jacuzzi with the metal beds and the standard Jacuzzi, which we found more comfortable. We also liked the Finnish sauna and the light steam rooms, we found the dark ones a bit….dark, with people lurking in the corners :-) The Mediterranean rooms, and even the ice flow room, were also good when you visited at meal times and there was enough space. I never found out about the coloured buttons outside some of the rooms, I can only guess they were to be pressed when you wanted a specific experience. Although I’m not sure the other people already using the room would be very pleased if you changed it! The Theatre We were really looking forward to seeing some live shows, and the fact that you have to book made us think that we were in for something rather special. We booked ‘Way’ which was music through the years. We love music so we thought this would be a great start. We booked through the TV in our cabin, which wasn’t too difficult. There were 6 singers, dancers and a band on stage. We’re sure that all the performers were really good, but the sound system was so bad we spent most of the time wincing with our eyes closed. The sound system was way too underpowered to cope, it was painful, especially when everyone played and sang at the same time. We would have left, some people did, but we were in the middle of the row and didn’t want to appear rude. We stuck it out but ever returned. The Yacht Club The Yacht Club was our saving grace. It really is as good as every review that has been written, and every member of staff tried their absolute best to please. We had an inside cabin. Winter in the Med is no time to be sitting on a balcony so that wasn’t an issue, we had the virtual webcam to see what the weather was like outside. The cabin had just enough cupboard space for two people for a week and was kept spotlessly clean. We were onboard in minutes after arriving in Civitavecchia, and enjoying lunch in the restaurant within an hour. Every meal we had in the YC restaurant was tasty, well cooked and diverse. We especially liked the pasta and fish courses, but everything was perfect. The waiters were wonderful too. The YC lounge was a very relaxing place to read, listen to music and enjoy ‘High Tea’ at 4pm. This was proper tea, with scones, cakes and sandwiches on a stand. It was a real treat. There were always snacks available throughout the day and drinks were served quickly. There wasn’t anything not to like about this place. The sundeck was a little under used on this trip. We did brave sitting on the sun loungers on a couple of occasions and used the outdoor Jacuzzi once. Despite the air temperature, the water was lovely and we really weren’t expecting to use this area at all so that was a great surprise. The Pianist Edo was wonderful. His sets were diverse and he could play everything from Dire Straits to Frank Sinatra, he sang beautifully as well. Once we found him there was no need to go anywhere else The Yacht Club gets 9 out of 10 from us. One point was dropped not because of the staff, but for the design of the ship, and the sometimes temperamental ‘priority’ lifts. Thankfully even one of the butlers had problems with getting priority, which he seemed embarrassed about, especially as he had insisted that everything worked perfectly! The gym location was the only real problem during wet and cold weather. The YC is deck 16 forward, the gym 16 mid ship. To get there you have to go outside, not great when it’s pouring with rain and cold. You could try going down to deck 15 then run to the covered area by the pool and walk along outside. The concierge advised the best way was to go down to deck 6, walk along the galleria then take the mid ship lift to deck 16…hmmm not great. Conclusion In conclusion we had a lovely trip on Meraviglia, we chose our experience level well and it suited our needs perfectly. Would we go again? Yes without hesitation in the Yacht Club. Would we recommend it? Yes, for families with children and maybe in the spring or autumn. Would we recommend a drinks package? Every time. Would we recommend a weekly pass for the Thermal Spa? Maybe in better weather when other parts of the ship could relieve the pressure. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
39 years of cruising, 30th cruise just completed. This is the 1st time I have ever uttered the words "I can't wait to get off this ship!" Website: Pros: There aren't any. Cons: Buyer Beware. See for ... Read More
39 years of cruising, 30th cruise just completed. This is the 1st time I have ever uttered the words "I can't wait to get off this ship!" Website: Pros: There aren't any. Cons: Buyer Beware. See for yourself, the website is just shades of things to come. Try to navigate the counter-intuitive pages. Good luck getting assistance when you call due to the frustrating website. And once you're locked into the cruise (less than 3 months before sail date), you can't get anything resolved. Pay attention to your invoice, our invoice had to be corrected twice, the price kept increasing. Wanted to bail out at this point, but it was too late. Ship: Pros: Beautiful, brand new ship. Cons: Absolutely no sound-proofing, anywhere. From hearing the shows/disco from 2 floors beneath us, pounding music so loud that you have to leave the cabin, till 23:30-1:30 each and every night .. to hearing the next door cabin's conversations. Many complaints of noise from guests at different parts of the ship. Reception: Pros: We had to go up the chain of command to get any type of empathy or possible solution. Not really a "pro" but at least we got an appointment "4 days later" to discuss problems. Cons: Staff clearly don't understand the words "Reception" or "Guest Services". Not a smile amongst the entire group. We had to spend time in the ever-long line of Reception every single day. Anything that had to do with Reception had to be done twice, no follow-through, and don't expect any apologies from anyone. To quote the Reception Manager, "We have a lot of problems with this ship." Housekeeping: Pros: Well done, exceptionally clean cabins and ship. Cons: None Dining: Pros: Staff Cons: Food is borderline airplane food; served cold, or at best lukewarm. Very limited menu. Waiters are forced to "sell" at your table for better food and wine. Buffet: Pros: Available 20 hours a day. Cons: Everything is cold. Staff unable to replenish choices in a timely manner. Entertainment: Pros: The "only" entertainment that "might be" free on this ship, are some of the shows. Cons: High school talent show at best. Disappointing. Every single entertainment option available on this ship comes at a cost. And since there's nothing free to do, EVERYONE is stuck in the narrow promenade just to "do" something. MSC obviously wants you spending money, not relaxing and enjoying your time on-board. Spa: Pros: You can get a massage. Cons: It's sandwiched in the middle of the ship, not a window in sight. Cramped little areas. Didn't get much use of it since it was so small and always full of guests. Nothing beautiful or relaxing about this spa. Excursions: Pros: The best thing because you can get off this ship. Cons: None. Staff: Pros: There are a few smiling faces. Cons: You get the feeling they're not happy and it filters through to the guests. It seems they are more interested in what's easiest for them .. not you, their guests. Overall: 3 months of "conversations" prior to cruise, correcting errors, struggling with website. 7 nights without sleep once on-board. 7 days of constant aggravation from the staff forced to "sell" you more. At least in Jamaica you can walk away. It seems that MSC has forgotten how to treat their guests. It also seems that they are simply trying to recoup the price of their new ship. It's an experience we will never forget and will never recommend MSC on their new greed driven venture. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We booked principaly to see the Cirque du soleil performance and have been on many MSC cruises before. This ship is ghastly in side and out. The décor in the balcony cabin was dark and depressing the view being partially obscured by a ... Read More
We booked principaly to see the Cirque du soleil performance and have been on many MSC cruises before. This ship is ghastly in side and out. The décor in the balcony cabin was dark and depressing the view being partially obscured by a life boat which they failed to mention when booking. I think they got TK Max or the Range to do the furnishings.The ship was full of all nationalitys the result of which was over crowding at every event and facility. The buffet was akin to being in a lunatic asylum- pushing ,shouting, no manners , people making pigs of themselves etc. Security on and off the ship was shambolic ,queing not enough staff,rude and ill mannered. We had a meal in the Cirque du soleil - the chaos had to be seen to be believed in the dinner serving. All with rip off prices and lack lustre service. I could go on for ages with what was wrong with this ship but hey ho they never listen any way If this is the future of cruising then count me out! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
MSC Meraviglia Westen Mediterranean cruise. Feb.2018. This ship is like a game changer of Italian cruise lines. It's a fabulous vessel, and we really enjoyed it. Venues and shows are spectacular, entertainment is in the ... Read More
MSC Meraviglia Westen Mediterranean cruise. Feb.2018. This ship is like a game changer of Italian cruise lines. It's a fabulous vessel, and we really enjoyed it. Venues and shows are spectacular, entertainment is in the air in a way that we haven't experienced with MSC before. I really enjoyed the opera, but there was something for everyone. It's a great ship for the cold with marvellous indoor pool areas and a fantastic spa. I did however question if it would work in the summer time since there is a lack of outdoor space. I asked someone and got it confirmed that the past summer was a disaster since there wasn't space enough on the pool decks. It's been pointed out before : it's like travelling on a bus, with people coming and the whole time. This makes the reception constantly crowded. Unlike many non - Italian ships there isn't much of a choice for dinner unless you are willing to pay up. You can however visit the buffet, which is at least one alternative. We were happy with what we got regarding quality and service, but we miss the delight of being able to choose where to go for dinner like we would normally do. General service was a mixed bag, but house keeping was top notch. With people leaving just about every day, disembarkation was great. Embarkation could have been good too, but it was unnecessarily messy. Even if it was too cold to be outside our kids had their best cruise ever. All the theatures and the kid's clubs kept them happy. 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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