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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I'm a frequent cruiser, as I've been on other cruise lines including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and Carnival, and I have never been on a cruise ship where I was treated with such a low regard in my entire life. ... Read More
I'm a frequent cruiser, as I've been on other cruise lines including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and Carnival, and I have never been on a cruise ship where I was treated with such a low regard in my entire life. Now, this is not my first time with MSC. I have sailed on the MSC Divina and the Seaside out of Miami each twice. However, on the Seaside we booked the Yacht Club, the inclusive ship-within-a-ship service on MSC (similar to Norwegian's Haven), and found the service just as equal to service found on smaller ships of other cruise lines. This trip we decided to book the two-story duplex suite instead of the Yacht Club under the Aurea Experience, thinking that with all the money we were spending, we would get good service and quality. Boy, were we wrong. FOOD: First of all, the main dining room waiters are unfriendly and unaccomodating. They refused to serve us any food that was not listed on the menu. And although we had a beverage package, the waiters refused to fetch us a pina colada from a nearby bar when my father ordered one. One night, my sister wanted an apple juice and the waiters in the dining room claimed there wasn't any juice available, yet when we walked to buffet a few moments later, juice was readily available. It seemed to be that the waiters didn't want to go out of the way to get us anything. Additionally, every time we asked for something in the dining room, like ice for our drinks, it seemed to be almost a bother to them. Also, the selection of food on the menu was awful. There were only like four or five main entrees to choose from, and most of them looked pretty nasty to me. It didn't even look like a cruise ship menu. They had grilled chicken every night, but as soon as it touched my lips, I immediately spit it out as the taste was disgusting and it was incredibly chewy. The buffet is a whole other story. The buffet is huge, with a relatively nice selection of foods, yet that didn't mean the food looked good and tasted good for that matter. I do have to say, the pizza was excellent, with different varieties everyday, and fresh-made mozzarella nearby. But other than that, the food went downhill. I literally ate pizza every single day of the cruise because everything else looked and tasted so bad. Breakfast, I have to say was decent and honestly had a nice variety, but lunch and dinner was worse than college cafeteria food. The ship itself was incredibly overcrowded- you could barely keep yourself from tripping over someone at buffet. And since the ship left out of Copenhagen, the ship was full of Europeans who were rude and would shove right into you. The staff on the ship had such thick accents, it was hard to understand them. So did the tour guides on the excursions. What I found quite annoying was MSC often put English speaking people on the same bus as a non-English group such as German or Italian. So we would hear it in two languages, even though it was still difficult to hear it in English. CABIN: The cabin itself was beautiful, however, upon embarkation our stateroom wasn't cleaned thoroughly enough as there was bugs in our jacuzzi tub and the carpets didn't seem vacuumed. After we got that sorted out, the room honestly saved the trip. From my experience, MSC staterooms are not to small or crowded, and since it's a new ship, your stateroom size shouldn't be much of a problem. ENTERTAINMENT: I do have to say out of all the cruise lines I've been on, the nightly theater shows on MSC Cruises are the best! Their singers are amazing on all the ships I've been on and the dancing is great. Be warned though: there are no comedy shows or shipped entertainment people like on other cruise lines. We also barely saw the cruise director and only realized halfway through the cruise that the lady who came into the theater and spoke in Italian for five minutes was actually the cruise director. She only muttered a few words in English, so I felt that we were being left out with information. Overall, I don't think I will ever travel MSC again without booking Yacht Club. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Sailed with husband,daughter and 2 friends. This was our 55th cruise. 6th cruise line, returned from 04/04/2019 sailing on MSC .meraveglia The ship is lovely, staff was wonderful, especially Jonathan, my room steward. ( Balcony ... Read More
Sailed with husband,daughter and 2 friends. This was our 55th cruise. 6th cruise line, returned from 04/04/2019 sailing on MSC .meraveglia The ship is lovely, staff was wonderful, especially Jonathan, my room steward. ( Balcony Stateroom #13150, Aurea experience), was kept perfect at all times. Jonathan was kind, courteous and one of the best I’ve ever had. The room needs more storage. Small closet with too few shelves with only 2 drawers is not sufficient. The spa was amazing and “Cherry’ gave me the best message ever. She was excellent Spa was the best I’ve experienced at sea. Very very busy on sea day. Dining room sat 5 of us at table of 4. Woman who does seating in Panorama dining room was downright rude when we requested a different table. My daughter was placed in the aisle with metal bar in front of her making it difficult to actually sit at the table. No napkin or flat wear unless requested. My daughter, a professional woman, was mortified. As I was for her. Food in dining room, Panorama, was ok..not good. Variety was small...do not even think to order Mahi mahi . The staff is hard working. Courteous. The real problem, which absolutely ruined our cruise was the tour “Rome on your own”. We waited a lifetime to see Rome, and did not. 4 of us are 65+ With health, mobility and vision problems. Don’t let the term “easy’ Fool anyone, disgraceful. There was a marathon the day of our arrival to Rome. The entire city was affected and virtually closed down. The tour company was totally unprepared,causing the ride to last twice as long just to try to find parking. When the bus finally parked, we were at first, led in the wrong direction. Walking up hills and many steps. The tour guides finally realized an error in direction ,so we retraced our steps. We never got to see Rome s sights as we could not walk further than the Spanish steps. The reason for our trip was primarily visiting Rome. I cannot tell you the disappointment. We should have been told we could not get buses or taxis into the center of Rome because of the marathon. We should have been given a choice of cancelling. The guides SHOULD HAVE PREPARED. Till we walked back to bus stop, we had hobbled nearly 5 miles. Causing problems for the remaining trip. I will not go back on the MERAVEGLIA again Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I traveled with my partner and my mother, both my mother and I have traveled with Royal Caribbean quite a few times so I have another company to base this experience with. We flew to Barcalona from Heathrow, and joined the MSC ... Read More
I traveled with my partner and my mother, both my mother and I have traveled with Royal Caribbean quite a few times so I have another company to base this experience with. We flew to Barcalona from Heathrow, and joined the MSC MERIVIGLIA, my partner who is a first time cruiser was taken back by the size of the ship, as she puts it “wow” and indeed, the ship is massive, and magnificent, and that’s where the thumbs up stop. Embarkation was actually smooth and quick, so once all paperwork was done, we entered the ship, no welcome aboard, no warm greetings, just on and that was it. The first appearance of the ships interior is quite good, and the arched LED roof in the main deck area is also impressive, but that soon fades. The cabin, clean, standard, I could bang on and on about everything, so here is a pros and cons list Pros Great itinerary - some beautiful cities. Embarkation quite quick. The food and service in the Main dining hall is great. Beds are comfy. Cons Only three swimming pools - all sea water. (Very salty) All deck chairs cleared away after about 19:00 making the decks empty. Large TV over main pool - never used for movies. No smoking rules very lax, some even smoked in the hot tubs. Lack of things to do of an evening, unless you like music, eating, and Italian humour. Large gangs of moody and loud teens roaming boat being bored. Lack of lifts for size of ship The artwork, and colours used are bland. Super cons The main buffet hall (the market place) Luke warm food, bland and the same food EVERY DAY. Main buffet hall over crowded, which didn’t help with people using tables to play board games due to being bored. Lack of drinks choice in main buffet hall, Morning you get juices, and water and coffee and tea, but after about 11:00am all you will get is water and coffee and tea, (unless you pay) Drinks are expensive (most cruises are) At around 21:00, the kids club decides to march the kids through the main promenade to kids music loudly. The cabin to balcony doors slam loudly by inconsiderate neighbours. No night lights in or around the toilet, so sometimes you have to put the lights on to see where your going. The showers are ok, but could be more powerful. We found out they only change the bedding once in 7 days. Lost use of balcony twice due to “maintainace” Serious lack of things to do of an evening. All shows were based on music. Mainly Italian or Spanish The magic show and hand silhouette show was very 1980’s and most humour Italian orintated Everything costs, even certain shows that are based on the boat. The layout of the foods in the market place buffet is a mess, so by the time you finally sit down your food is pretty cold. The staff in the market place will only attend your table if you are buying a drink. Staff will tend to either walk straight at you, or refuse to move if you need to get past. If you have special dietary needs, good luck, mum was celiac, The tv in the cabin had only two English speaking channels BBC news and National geographic. The layout of such a large ship was a mess. The entertainment area will bankrupt you, for example 30 mins bowling €30.00 €55.00 for an hour. 4D cinema adults €10.00 or €8.00 for kids So to sum up, what you thought was a good priced cruise will actually cost you more than with other cruise lines, Would I recommend or travel with MSC again, NO. even my partner who had never Sailed before claimed that she found the evenings boring and would not sail with MSC again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I have been cruising with other companies before so this is not my first cruise experience. But this is my first and last cruise experience with MSC. Pros and cons: Pros: (1) Beautiful interior - swarovski crystal stairs make it ... Read More
I have been cruising with other companies before so this is not my first cruise experience. But this is my first and last cruise experience with MSC. Pros and cons: Pros: (1) Beautiful interior - swarovski crystal stairs make it perfect for photos. The giant LED gallery on the 6th floor ceiling also stunning. (2) Cabin - my interior cabin has pretty good space and got tidy up very well daily which I appreciated. Bed is also very comfortable to sleep. (3) Spa - this one is exceed my expectation. I thought it is a small facility but end up, they have so many different rooms (ice, light steam, heavy steam, thermal, jet, sauna, salt, ....) I was so happy that I purchased the pass to use during my entire stay. Totally worth it! Cons: (1) Online account - after I booked the cruise from the travel agent, then I created an online account with MSCusa site (I am in USA). I wasn't able to login the site so I fill out the online form request to call back. No call or contact ever received. After several weeks, then I called the customer service and the rep said they don't know why and kept trying to transfer my call to different departments and eventually call disconnected. Still not resolved. Anyway, I'm done with this cruise company so no need to follow up. (2) Quality of food in buffet AND complimentary restaurants - It may seem there are plenty of complimentary restaurants to choose from, but they serve the same food (same menu actually). The quality of food served in dinner time by far is the worst I have ever had in my cruising experience. Meat are hard and dried; Fish/seafood not taste fresh ... the only dish I can recall that I was happy with is the risotto. After the 3rd night, I didn't have other choice but opt to the specialty restaurant which finally have decent quality of food and service. The quality of food is the main negative impact to my choice of cruising with them again. (3) Staff - You have to yield your way to them or they come straight at you, sounds odd, isn't it? I don't mind to yield my way if I am just causally walking around, but when I have food and drinks on my hand and people are behind and beside me, how can I yield? Also, I can sense how tired they are because I barely see the staff with energy nor smile. I hope the company treats them well and not overworked them because they should be the frontline passing the good/bad impression to the customer. (4) You better order drinks at dinner time because they don't have a cup of free normal water able to serve you. But you can get one for yourself in the buffet area. Arh, ok?! I didn't have much comment on entertainment and activities because of only one day at sea (thank God!) and I spent most of my evenings in the spa. But based on the comments from other cruisers I met, I didn't miss a lot. Last comment, would I choose this company again, I don't think so. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary but were sadly disappointed with the overall service experience. Service was non-existent from the staff. The do not greet you or welcome you at all. The F&B experience was terrible. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary but were sadly disappointed with the overall service experience. Service was non-existent from the staff. The do not greet you or welcome you at all. The F&B experience was terrible. We purchased the Tryptic dining package, but you don't get the full menu from the restaurants. They give you the choice of a few items only. We also had the drink package, but you can't use your drink package in the specialty dining rooms, which makes no sense at all. The ship itself was nice, but the true detractor was the service. Getting a good morning, afternoon etc was almost impossible. Maybe this was the European influence, but if MSC is wanting to expand their presence in the US, this type of service won't fly. Our cabin attendant twice left our balcony door open, not just unlocked, but fully opened. Apparently they have no concern for security either. Overall I rated them poor and would say the only bright point was the excursions were great. Sorry MSC, but you just don't measure up. It's back to Norwegian for us. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
A little about us: my husband & I are 45-50 yrs old. We have cruised a total of 34 cruises on RCCL, Celebrity, Princess, Norwegian (2) & Carnival (2). This was our 4th European cruise but our 1st MSC cruise. The ship is ... Read More
A little about us: my husband & I are 45-50 yrs old. We have cruised a total of 34 cruises on RCCL, Celebrity, Princess, Norwegian (2) & Carnival (2). This was our 4th European cruise but our 1st MSC cruise. The ship is very pretty. The dome area in the center of the ship is a real feature. I hope MSC utilizes it in many other ways.The Stairs are beautiful. The dining rooms could have more flare. But the area outside the dining room is very nice. Food- this is where things go downhill. Food is mediocre, verging on terrible. The food in the dining room is mostly terrible & the food at the cirque show which we paid for, was not good either. The buffet was very European & we found it difficult to find anything tasty. Even the pizza was a 5 out of 10. Another Con is that MSC charges for things that are included on other cruises. For example, there’s no ‘free’ water in the dining room, no tap water. You must pay 3.50 euro for bottle water. There’s no lobsters at captains night dinner Entertainment was also lacking. That wasn’t a big deal for us because we had been out touring Europe all day, most days. But on sea days, there wasn’t anything fun to do that didn’t cost. Also, Cirque de soleil Sonor show was so very lame, almost odd. There was a singer in the lounge area who did perform a song in a different Cirque show that was really good. She had an amazing voice. Re: staff, mostly they were very nice. But, they didn’t seem to have any power or limited power to resolve issues. For example on a windy night, something on the balcony partition broke. It banged from 8pm until the next night. We called & went to guest relations several times with no resolution for almost 24hrs. I have to admit that embarkation & disembarking was really quick & easy. MSC needs to do better with everything else. Back to my usual cruise lines. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
OVERALL This was our first cruise on MSC so we were excited to try a new company after a couple of friends had recommended them. The ship itself is nice enough but found the many staff members to be quite rude. We visited some ... Read More
OVERALL This was our first cruise on MSC so we were excited to try a new company after a couple of friends had recommended them. The ship itself is nice enough but found the many staff members to be quite rude. We visited some excellent ports. Food was decent. Most shows were dreadful. We had a couple of good party nights where we could dance until late. As it was winter the indoor pool and pool area was packed with families (this is the only ship I’ve been on and not been in the pool). We decided that 4 days was enough on this ship and after that kept saying ‘MSC, not for me!’. EMBARKATION On arrival at Barcelona we were given a number and told to wait until our number was called. After a 20 minute wait our number was called and we went to the check in desk. The man on the check in desk was unfriendly. We showed our passports and signed documents even though we had previously filled out the online check in. Then we had to have our photo taken with a picture of the ship behind us (which were left in the cabin a few days later with a sticker on saying we will be automatically charged €29.99 unless we return them to the cabin steward within 2 days). We then queued to get onboard for another 10 minutes. We then showed our passports again to the security staff and then again to another member of staff who took our photo for our cruise card (even though we did this on the app before boarding). Finally on the ship and we were shepherded through some bar staff who asked for our card and swiped it on their tablet computer and said ‘That’s ok’. We asked what he was doing and he said he was checking we had a drinks package. We had paid for a drink package online so we asked what drinks we could have. He swiped our card again and said the drink package we paid for no longer exists and would be somewhere between package A & B and that we would have to ask if we could have certain drinks each time we ordered them. We had requested late sitting for our dining and as the time of 7.30pm was printed on the card we went to have a look at the dining room and see if we could change to a freedom dining or a later sitting. At the dining room we were ignored for a while and when finally spoken to, told as we weren’t in a suite we could not have freedom dining and we had to go upstairs to the other dining room if we wanted to make any changes. We decided not to change our time as the the later sitting was 9.30pm and the staff so far had been so unhelpful it wouldn’t be worth trying. First impressions not so good. CABIN We had an inside cabin 12054 which was the only inside cabin available when we booked. The bed was comfortable and there was plenty of space to put stuff for a 7 night cruise. It was quite dark and could do with better lighting. The room was very noisy, lots of banging & knocking and could hear the family in the room next door. DINING We only ate in the Marketplace buffet and main dining room. There aren’t any other places that we found where the food was included but there were quite a few pay extra restaurants. The Marketplace buffet was very busy at lunchtime. We never had breakfast onboard so can’t comment on that. We would usually lunch here after a gym session so around 12.30pm. You would quite often be barged into by somebody. The food was good. A large variety of foods like pizza, salad, Mexican, pasta, roast meat or fish. Our biggest gripe is that even though there were many hand wash basins at the entrance nobody was being encouraged to wash their hands which meant that you rarely saw people actually doing it. My wife and I washed our hands before each meal but would spend time going from sink to sink to find a soap dispenser with soap in as they either didn’t work or were empty. The main dining room food was good. Our waiters were attentive and friendly. The Italian foods were the best, like risotto and pasta. We had roast turkey one day which was very bland. Apple tarte tatin was excellent. The water was all poured from plastic bottles which in this day and age is a bit of a no no. The tap water would’ve been ok for us but this wasn’t provided anywhere onboard. ONLINE BOOKINGS We had many emails to remind us to book everything before we boarded the ship so prior to boarding we checked in online, paid for a drinks package, booked tickets for both Cirque Du Soleil shows and paid for the week pass to the thermal spa. Most of this was completely pointless and a waste of our time. We had to check in normally at the check in counter in Barcelona and even show our passport 3 times before getting onboard. With the online check in you have to take a photo of yourself for your cruise account but this also had to be done onboard the ship. The lengthiest check in of any cruise we’ve been on. The drinks package had changed from the one we had booked leading to much confusion with the bar staff and us constantly having to ask what we were allowed to have. Cirque Du Soleil tickets do NOT get booked for you when you book online even though you book a date and time of show. We had a note in our cabin a couple hours after getting to the room asking us to go to the Cirque Du Soleil desk. Another 30 minute queue to get to the front. I was told that it is easier for me to book these shows whilst onboard even though I’d already booked them. I asked the lady to tell me the times and dates that I had previously booked as I couldn’t remember and they suited us. The reply was ‘you tell me what time you want and I will see if is available’. I then rebooked the shows. The person being served beside me was being talked into buying a package of restaurants and Cirque with dinner. They were there a long time before me and were still being seen to when I left and the queue had doubled in size. The thermal spa was the only thing we booked online that made it onto the ship. APP The MSC For Me app worked pretty well when onboard. I couldn’t get it to work in the check in hall but worked all round the ship when connected to the ships wifi (no charge). It shows all the activities going on that day and you can book seats for the shows in the theatre. I couldn’t check my account which is advertised, I had to check this on the tv in the room. HIMALAYAN ROPES BRIDGE Great fun to try. We chose a day when the wind wasn’t too high. Legs were quite shaky after completing a couple of rounds. CIRQUE DU SOLEIL The Cirque show lounge is located at the far side of the very smoky casino. We held our breath and rushed through. Who wants to get dressed up for a night out and end up stinking of smoke in this era? Not us! We paid €15 each to see the “Sonar” show which was great. It comes with a cocktail too. There are amazing balancing acts & beat boxing. We had also paid to see the “Viaggio” show however the day we were supposed to see it the show was cancelled and replaced with “Sonar” again. I phoned the Cirque desk to get a refund and was told we could just see the next Viaggio. The next show was on our debarkation day so again I asked for a refund to my credit card as that was how I paid for it. I was quite rudely told this wasn’t possible but I could have onboard credit instead and get that refunded. That proved to be an exhausting process on our final evening. 3 trips to the main desk and the refund machines each and finally we had the cash back. Despite the shows being advertised as being on 6 days each week it was only on 5 days. This meant Viaggio was only on once during the week so we missed it. THEATRE SHOWS The only show we enjoyed was “Paz”, the flamenco & Spanish dance show. “Show of Hands Magic” was a magic show straight from the 70’s. It was supposed to be sleight of hand but you could see everything. He lit a cigarette and blew the smoke into bubbles, with kids watching. The performer left the stage to get a puppet for the ventriloquist’s section so we took the opportunity to leave. “Virtual”, a show about mobile phone overuse (while half the audience were videoing it on their phones) started well but got more and more irritating. “Way” had a good bit from Dirty Dancing. “One Day More” with songs from musical theatre was bad especially the bit from Oklahoma. We waited until the end for the Les Mis songs but they sang the wrong song to the music that was playing. The dancers are very good but it is really difficult to understand the singers. It was quite comical trying to understand what they were singing about. AUREA SPA The thermal spa was our favourite part of the ship. We went in nearly every day. There are 2 steam rooms, 2 saunas, 2 spa pools, an ice room, hot and cold sensory showers and some heated beds. Each day we spent at least an hour in there. We were told we had to wear swimming costumes but 1 day there was a naked lady walking around (much to the amusement of some of the men). On the day at sea the spa was heaving and many of the rooms were quite cool as people kept opening the doors and not shutting them. GYM We used the gym every morning. I cycle and my wife runs. The gym is good. It has treadmills, bikes, weights, weight machines, etc… Our last day was a (rainy) sea day and the gym was packed. There was only 1 towel left on the shelf but we couldn’t get a treadmill or bike so we went for a walk on the running track instead. PORTS OF CALL We really enjoyed Genoa, Palermo and especially Valletta. Each port we did our own walking tour as the towns are easily walkable from the port. In Valletta we paid to be close to the noon gun canon which was a great experience. Getting back on board in each of these ports involved at least a 30 minute queue to get through the scanners which we’ve never experienced before. We once had somebody complaining on a P&O ship because we had to wait 2 minutes in the sun to get onboard, they would’ve had a huge tantrum on this ship. FELLOW PASSENGERS The majority of guests onboard are Italian & then there were a mix of other nationalities. We found many guests to be quite rude especially during the theatre shows. So many people were talking loudly, videoing the whole performance on their phones and using flash photography. I don’t know how the performers can cope with this. We always went to the 10pm show and people were still arriving at 10.25pm trying to find seats and generally getting in the way of the other guests watching and shouting to each other. The shows were only 40 minutes long so why not just sit at the back for 15 minutes. On our first evening I went to the toilet and I could hear somebody swearing outside the door of the toilet (there were no urinals in this particular toilet). When I came out the man said “Thank f*** for that” and burst into the loo , sat down and started pooping with the door wide open and he was still swearing but in relief this time. Another evening we were sat at the bar in the Meraviglia lounge and a group from the MSC Yacht club were ordering champagne and were constantly knocking into my wife and I. When they returned for a second bottle and kept knocking into us again we decide it was time to go. We saw an irate man telling his kids off as they’d been playing and woken their baby brother. He grabbed his childs hands, put them behind the boys neck and rammed him head first into my wife’s stool making it tilt. I told the man he was out of order but I don’t think he understood me. He then carried on telling off his son and hit him round the head. Again I told him stop. This was followed by a huge row with his wife right behind our chairs. I asked them to stop arguing or move elsewhere but they didn’t even acknowledge me. We moved in the end. CONCLUSION We had some good experiences on this ship but we had so many bad ones. Every day there were more disappointments. We will never try MSC again as the staff can be rude, the pushy sales tactics and awful shows. There is a muster drill every port day with announcements being made ship wide as guests can embark at any port. Trying to relax around the ship, your cabin or the spa is impossible whilst this is going on. The ship was very smoky as the smoking in the casino oozes to the bars surrounding it and people smoking on balconies meant the corridors would often stink of it too. MSC, not for me!!! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Cruise in NEITHER a 1 nor a 5...realistically closer to a 2. Best NOT to view this as a cruise ... better to invision as a hotel with meals and transportation to locations. Ship has 5700 passengers and a crew of another 1500.....word ... Read More
Cruise in NEITHER a 1 nor a 5...realistically closer to a 2. Best NOT to view this as a cruise ... better to invision as a hotel with meals and transportation to locations. Ship has 5700 passengers and a crew of another 1500.....word to the wise! Ship passangers are 80 percent Italian. Large groups of Chinese. Also Germans, French, Japanese, Russians and other nationalities. Very few British and virtually no American. Everything is translated into all languages. Ship is loaded with screaming, yelling, pushing and rude passengers. Noise level is so intense that it is pervasive in all areas of the ship. Its so bad that all you wish to do is go back to your cabin to avoid the noise. Loads of young children (who should be in school during the middle of January) and tons of kids in strollers all over the ship. Difficult to move and navigate across the ship at ALL times. Hoards of people/groups who take over everything. Good: 1. Embarkation (and Disembarkation) in Barcelona was excellent. 2. Ship is new and clean … inside front of ship cabin was clean and enough room for 2 people. Common ares nice and spacious but limited seating for people. 3. Shore excursions were good and reasonable priced. Many options to chose from. 4. Cirque de Soleil shows (2) were superior. Dont miss them. 5. Cities/Countries visited were perfect; Barcelona (SP), Marseilles (FR), Genoa (IT), Citivechhia (IT), Palermo (Sicily IT) and Valetta (Malta) 6. Our Main DIning Room Waiter was very good. 7. All Entertinment Shows in Broadway Theater were TOPS! Best ever seen on a cruise ship. 8. Bar singers and musicians were very good. THATS WHERE THE GOOD ENDS. Bad: EVERYTHIN ELSE! 1. Cruise staff is Rude and unprofessional. I had a Guest Service Rep even walk away in the middle of our conversation due to the end of her shift. Staff could generally care less about helping or servicing your needs. Total retraining required .. if they ever had any to begin with! 2. Lowball price to get you onboard and then everthing else is pay-pay-pay. All charges in Euors so 15% higher than in USD $.. 3. Drink packages are daily charge per person per day but they dont make that clear. Also packages are VERY EXPENSIVE...buyer beware!!! 4. Buffet food is low quality and more like hospital or prison food. With that being said, the fresh pastries at breakfast and freshly made mozerella are the best menu items. Even the Pizza was marginal. Everything else, including other Italian food on an Italian ship, is largely VILE! Did I say the food was LOW QUALITY!!!!! 5. Feeding frenzy at Buffet ... all time and every time. Groups of people pushing and shoving, People RUNNING everywhere and grabbing food like there is either no food left in their own country OR they believe that the ship will run out of food! Expect to be jostled and shoved and hit into your person at any given moment. 6. Main Dining Room food is slightly better quality than buffet but also lower class. Portions are very small so you must order atleast 2 appetizers OR a few main courses! Noise level in MDR is oppressive do to loud, screaming Italians. Totally ruins the meal experience. Dining rooms located in rear (AFT) os ship so you have to travel across the entire lengthy ship to eat at every time if your cabin is in the front of the ship. 7. Two Cirque de Soleil shows - We booked Dinner/Show packages but they also offer Cocktail/Show Packages. Dinner package tables are in worse location for viewing than Cocktail package locations. At one show which we booked 1 week prior, we were seated at a worse table location than someone who just walked up and bought their dinner show package 10 minutes before the show itself! NOT SMART AND NOT FAIR! 8. The ship is a massive ATM. There is a constant attempt to sell passangers something every waking minute on the ship. Also, everything you purchase is subject to a +15% (Euro) Surcharge! 9. People are smoking all over the ship .. EVEN THOUGH THE SHIP IS NON SMOKING IN 95% OF ALL AREAS. Not one crew member did anything to discourage people from walking around and smoking everywhere in public areas or even elevators. STUPID STUPID STUPID! To summarize, MSC Meraviglia has many positive aspects but it is a European ship for the Eurpean market and NOT for the American market. To that end, you have to be prepared for a miserable experience with passengers. The cruise ship does a 7-day round trip to each city and people are constantly getting on and off the ship at every port. We embarked and disembarked in Barcelona, which was excellent, other points of on & off were problematic. Ticket prices are low to entice you onboard and then the upsell for everything begins and is nonstop for the entire cruise. Ship entertainment was superior. Ship food was LOW CLASS and mostly TERRIBLE. The one giant dessert buffet day was nice but did not make up for the other 6 days of miserable food. (By the way MSC bills their trip as having Gourmet Food- I guess if you are in a prison this IS Gourmet Food!. NEVER SETTING FOOT ON AN MSC SHIP AGAIN EVEN IF THEY PAID ME!! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Ship is beautiful Captain and senior staff should be fired! Ship was filthy I have never been on a cruise ship where they weren’t constantly spraying sanitizer on your hands. NOT ONE TIME did I see anyone spraying hands with ... Read More
Ship is beautiful Captain and senior staff should be fired! Ship was filthy I have never been on a cruise ship where they weren’t constantly spraying sanitizer on your hands. NOT ONE TIME did I see anyone spraying hands with anything! People all over the buffet coughing etc. on 3rd day of this floating bacteria petry dish and already one of our group is sick with diarrhea and vomiting. Sitting here waiting on my turn.....Walls and doors filthy with smudges, etc. DISGUSTING. Put all that aside: 1. Premium ALL YOU CAN DRINK package does not include juice or drinks in Cirque show (or some other areas) 2. So many yummy places to eat on board! Problem is all cost extra! 3. Lovely chocolate bar - bring your euros because not included 4. Who doesn’t like Gelato? Better have money! Cruise over 3 times a year on average - no allegiance to any line. First time on MSC - NEVER AGAIN - Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Passion for Norway for many years and wish to visit the Nordkapp by boat this time. Saving instructions after embarking were not clear and communicated. The second call for that, we missed too, because we were at the swimmingpole at ... Read More
Passion for Norway for many years and wish to visit the Nordkapp by boat this time. Saving instructions after embarking were not clear and communicated. The second call for that, we missed too, because we were at the swimmingpole at 9.00 hour and the call was posted at 9.40 hours. Silly!!! we found it in the evening by entering our cabin. The ship was só crowded, that people didn't line up ordently in breakfast- en lunchroom, but walking through each other in an agressiv atmosphere. Our cabin was só small, that the door of the cupboard couldn't get open well, collapsed on the bed next to it. The matras didn't fitt to the bed, you couldn't see the mecanic under the matras.But we hadn't booked a bed and breakfast, but an expensive cruise to Norway. MSC???? Never again!!! Transfers (very long waitingtimes every day) were okay, tenderboats during the cruise too, food were okay too, but everyday there were many logistic problems with so many people. We had read a lot about this cruise before leaving our city and country (the Netherlands!), but were forgotten the amount of all passengers, our fault! It was a village in the water, só huge and some decks só awful and decadent (tasts are different, aren't they?) with expensive shops and wealthy people, we didn't like to be confrontated with in our vacation. Oldfashioned and misplaced, from the time of the "Titanic", Dramatic, noisy Italian people every day, Germans who expect that everyone speaks German and we saw all the cliches of nationalities passing through. Happily, Norway was beautiful. astonishing as always! MSC, go away, never again! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
The following events were my experience with the MSC Ship: 1. When you embark the ship you were instructed to follow a long queue to take photos, even you said you are not willing to do so and you were not allowed to leave. You have to ... Read More
The following events were my experience with the MSC Ship: 1. When you embark the ship you were instructed to follow a long queue to take photos, even you said you are not willing to do so and you were not allowed to leave. You have to wait for others photo taking, it was more than 10 minutes; 2. The restaurant waiter firstly refused to offer free iced water, when you asked the senior staff for reason, they were then willing to offer both hot and iced water free of charge. However, you had to wait for half an hour before the water was given to you. But on the other day, the waiter again refused to offer free iced water, I told him my previous experience in this request. Then the waiter went off and did not bring any water during the whole dining period. In this regard, we gave up the dining at the designated restaurant in the 9 remaining nights; 3. The ship only provided 2 tenders to transfer passengers ashore & returning ship on 23 May 2018. We stood on a long queue (more than 500 persons) waiting for the tender to return the ship. We took more than 1.5 hours at the pier under the windy and rainy conditions. I complainted to the staff-in-charge and requested more tenders to come. No response from the staff, his answer was telling us to wait patiently. When the tender arrived the ship you still had to wait on the tender because there was only one security check, we waited for another hour before embarking the ship, a total of 2.5 hours used to return the ship by tenders under severe windy and rainy conditions; 4. We never took photos but we received a charge of Euro 29.99. After clarification, the photo shop staff just simply replied an error without telling us who's error and why? One photo costed Euro 29.99, only stupid fool would pay for it; and 5. Our experience on this cruise was very poor and considered that the MSC staff were only eagerly to pick money from their guests without providing a minimum standard of service. Read Less
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
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
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
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
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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We have just returned from Meraviglia, having cruised many times with MSC we went with an open mind as this was a new ship but with some conflicting reviews. There does seem to be some design flaws with the ship that did impact on our ... Read More
We have just returned from Meraviglia, having cruised many times with MSC we went with an open mind as this was a new ship but with some conflicting reviews. There does seem to be some design flaws with the ship that did impact on our enjoyment. We have been used to the large entertainment lounges and theatre, and due to the promenade the bars are pushed to the side and the theatre as very small for such a large compliment of guests; to the point where you have to book the day before if you wish to see a show The staff on the ship (not crew) were fantastic we were always able to get served with drinks, food service was good and the cabin steward was fantastic. All were very friendly and willing to chat, wish I could say the same for the reception staff and some of the guests. There was a large amount of people who went round in packs (make your own mind up about the race) who were the most bad mannered, pushy and rude people anyone could meet, I had always been under the impression they were a gentle race; but they really did bring disgrace upon their eastern culture. Embarkation in Barcelona: this was very disorganized, there was a vast number of guests embarking and returning to the ship, all trying to get into the terminal during heavy rain. there should have been a separate system of security for embarking and day trippers, there was a lot of rude behaviour not being contained by staff who seemed to be out of control of the situation. the resulting mayhem left us very stressed and wet and our baggage and clothes getting wet. Cabin: It was not possible to hang clothes for two people in the wardrobe, as it was too narrow. The door configuration only gave access to half of the hanging space. There is also no drawer space in the cabin or in the shower room. If this is a fantastica cabin it is not very fantastic . Reception: I had to report that there were people smoking on balconies, reception said I would need to ring when I next witnessed it. I rang later but the call was not answered after half an hour, I then went to reception to be met by the daily endless line waiting to see them; and was eventually told I would need to ring the emergency number. At the next incident I tried this number but again it was not answered, I hate to think what would have occurred should I have had a major emergency. For the most of the cruise we were unable to use the balcony because of the smoking issue; there is only a small sign on the door and there should be a large prominent sign in most languages on the balcony bulkhead. All inclusive package: when we went for the "included ice cream" We went to the area on the promenade and was told we could not use it as it is a franchise and would have to go to deck 15 and use the "soft ice cream", on all the other MSC ships we were able to use the gelato station and get real ice cream. We were allowed to use the Gelato stations on all the other MSC ships why not this one. We also tried to obtain a coffee from the "Chocolate bar" staffed by MSC staff and we were again told this is a franchise and would have to use another bar, but the package states we can have coffee in ANY bar. What quickly became apparent was that the whole of the promenade is a franchise and just taking up a large area of the ship. Restaurant: Though the staff worked very well on most evenings the food was only just warm, we were told this is an issue because we are dining on deck six and the only kitchen is on deck five. On two occasions we ordered "well done" beef that was served rare, we asked for it to be changed but were told the chef only does it one way; we had to leave our food and eat in the buffet. Bars/entertainment: the main dancing and entertainment bar is the meriviglia lounge, due to the bad design of the ship this can only accommodate 60 seats even though it is used for most events. All other MSC ships we have sailed on have full size venues. If you are listening and dancing to the band everything suddenly comes to a halt while they change the scene on the promenade roof, once you have seen it; it just becomes a disruption to your entertainment. The shows in the theatre were marred by having to book the day before, then near the start they let anyone in so there are people standing and sitting on the stairs. We didn't go to the circus show having seen it before and the interactive entertainment was never open when we went to find it. Voyager club : The captains meeting for club members was held in the "meriviglia lounge" again the issue with 60 seats. the captain only spoke from deck 7 above the promenade, this could not be seen or heard by the club members but all other guests crowded into the promenade had full view and may I also add the wine for the club members. On all other ships the club party is held in a closed room, but there is no venue on the ship to hold a large party; this reflects in the poor design of the ship. Disembarking Barcelona: We were told there would be no announcements and that the embarking information would come on the interactive screens, guests on the ship were using the screens so no information was seen; we noticed a lot of people were leaving and asked a member of staff what we were to do and was told "O! just go off when you want, hardly the organisation we have had in the past. When we entered the terminal the sign stated our luggage would be on carousel 1, after waiting for some time we noticed them on carousel 2. We then went to find the "organised transfer to the airport" but there was none to be seen. a lot of guests were waiting but could not find it. MSC staff were very unhelpful giving us conflicting and misleading information. Eventually they changed a shuttle bus into a transfer bus and we left feeling very stressed and in need of another and better organised holiday. To sum up: On the cruise I spoke to many guests of different nationalities, The Italians felt it was too American and would not use this ship again, the Americans felt it was not Italian enough and if they wanted an American ship there are a lot of companies who do it better, English guests just felt very let down by the experience and first time cruises said that they would use other cruise lines in future. MSC seems to by trying to copy RCI with an American style ship, but if people want the American style they will use a line that knows how to do it better; people use MSC to get the Italian experience but this is sadly lacking on Meriviglia. The ship has a design flaw with the promenade taking up a third of the ship, this means that all the entertainment venues are squashed at each side not leaving any space for a full size entertainment lounge. The only inside area that can boast a full deck size is the casino (wonder why). Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We have just returned from a one week cruise on-board the Meraviglia we travelled in a group of 7 adults family & friends age range 46-86, 2 of our group had walking difficulties & sometimes needed the assistance of a wheelchair, ... Read More
We have just returned from a one week cruise on-board the Meraviglia we travelled in a group of 7 adults family & friends age range 46-86, 2 of our group had walking difficulties & sometimes needed the assistance of a wheelchair, we had 3 balcony cabins. (1) The good points about our cruise, The Ship is fantastic, we you first step aboard it is quite breathtaking, it really is just like a 5 star Hotel with all new fixtures & fittings, plush carpets & seating, there is a good choice of bars & Lounges to sit & enjoy a drink. (2) The 'Not so good' points, this ship was crammed with far too many passengers ( yes this is how MSC make money) during our cruise there was a notice placed on the customer service desk stating that the ship was full ( standard notice on most cruise lines) but in this instance i believe it was a true statement as in most parts of the ship you could not move around for people, let alone get in a elevator with-out people pushing. The surrounding cabins to ours were filled with college students from Barcelona ( 4 in a Cabin) hence constant noise usually starting at 4am when the upper deck Disco closed, we complained every day to the customer services desk, but they really didn't do anything to resolve the situation until the 4th day when most of our group went to complain again! tempers were getting frayed as we had no sleep for 4 nights, it was only then that we were told that the offending group were to be given an ultimatum to quieten down or they would be disembarked the following day, this did seem to help as it did go quiet ,but we were giving us the evil-eye every-time we passed in the corridor!. This ship seems to have very few security personnel to deal with large groups of unruly teenagers running riot around the ship. As stated in many other reviews the buffet is a total shambles with so many passengers searching for a available table ( sometimes impossible) & then all the pushing & line cutting-in, & the food is at best just very average quality & low temperature. We have never encountered so many rude & impolite people on a ship before, this includes some of the staff they really do need to get some customer service skills, but here again I think that they are just overworked with so many passengers to deal with & not enough staff. This was our first time with MSC & we will not choose this cruise line again, I think there were far too many different nationalities on-board & this had a determental effect. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise because of the ports, timing, and cost. The ship was beautiful with wonderful appointments. Access to room was each with a touch or the room card. There was an "over 18 only" room on the 18th deck that ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports, timing, and cost. The ship was beautiful with wonderful appointments. Access to room was each with a touch or the room card. There was an "over 18 only" room on the 18th deck that offered a quiet place to be, with a panoramic view! Shore excursions were terrific. Getting on and off the ship was SO easy. There were 4 pools plus hot tubs. Regrettably, most were filled with children and therefore noisy. The cabin accommodations were mostly good: quiet room, good shower, great new mattress and pillows. The only place to sit was on a stool & storage was quite limited in the bedroom, bath, and closet. There were no coffee bars or small cafes. Hygiene was deplorable. We were traveling during the flu season and were astonished to see buffet had 2 entrances w/o hand washing accommodations. Main entrance had some sinks; but soap and paper towels were sometimes lacking (as well as warm water). No staff encouraged hand sanitation, either. Food was very disappointing. Variety was limited. Few meats offered. Portions in the restaurants were small and very limited in variety. I literally could not eat the prime rib (despite my excitement at seeing it on the menu), due to its saltiness. Fruit was not fresh. Pasta was available at lunch and dinner; but again, without meat or seafood in it. Oddly no cocktails were available in the restaurants, though wine was available for purchase. The layout of the buffet was not practical. Some areas were needlessly congested. Often, the display of food was not logical, such as finding salad items under "Ethnic Food" sign. Buffet never opened up all of the possible lines (4), so seating got congested. We had assigned dinner time & table, which limited our socializing. Service was not very accommodating. No service staff offered to assist with finding seating, refiling drinks, serving coffee with dinner, etc. When passing staff in walkways, passengers were expected to give way to staff. The ship had no band or orchestra. There were no "small venues" of comedians, live music, etc. Shops had limited items, too. Another consideration is that there were few passengers with English as their first language, which severely affected out ability to mix and socialize. Something to consider if you are not fluent in other languages (Italian, Spanish, Japanese, etc.) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Chose cruise for ports of call over Christmas holidays so my family could come with us. Do not take this ship if you get seasick. It is too tall for waves and 1/2 the audience in the theatre was motion sick when the ship began to rock and ... Read More
Chose cruise for ports of call over Christmas holidays so my family could come with us. Do not take this ship if you get seasick. It is too tall for waves and 1/2 the audience in the theatre was motion sick when the ship began to rock and roll when leaving Valletta for Barcelona. Horrid experience watching guests vomit in the theatre and walkways. Why put a cirque show on a high wave night...I am sure it was always cancelled every cruise. Cirque sonar was disappointing...we have seen three real cirque shows and sonar is a high school performance by the cheerleading squad. No other great shows on board. We found nothing to do after dinner and shows so we would go to sky lounge for a nightcap. Service was slow and poor...I could give the staff lessons. Never travelling on MSC again. Get the basic drink pkg otherwise you will pay for still water, even at dinner and lunch. Buffet is simply horrid, passengers are pushy and very rude by Canadian standards. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Beautiful and new Ship. Bad food in quality, quantity and specially no variety. Poor variety always the same food 7 days a week. Hous open for food is limited. 7H30 to 10h30, 12h00 to 15h and 18h30 to 22h , after hours snack until ... Read More
Beautiful and new Ship. Bad food in quality, quantity and specially no variety. Poor variety always the same food 7 days a week. Hous open for food is limited. 7H30 to 10h30, 12h00 to 15h and 18h30 to 22h , after hours snack until 23h00 is only poor quality of pizza. Even fountain juice drinks are only served during breakfast. Quality of food is like school cafeteria . Buffet are very limited choice, very boring choice. Most of time food counter are closed. Long waiting queue to pick your food. Entertainment is boring, show quality is not high standard. The director entertainment speaks many languages, but yell loud for nothing. He speaks so fast in a short time many languages so nobody understand his messages. He doesn't care if people can get his message or not, as long as he has mentionned, he is satisfy with himself. No care for his customers. The cabin does not give cream lotions. The shower does not provide hair conditionner. Mainly the staff are very kind. But most of the time you have to run for your services. Food , drinks and Cleaning room staffs are very nice and helpful. We have a feeling that we don't get our services. I think it's the administration decision, to only give the minimum services. After cruising with MSC twice. I conclude the same conclusion as previously. MSC is a MINIMUM SERVICE CRUISE. Even I bought a Balcony with All inclusive drink package with AUREA spa package, to prevent bad experiences. I don't see any better. Not only i wasted my money but even more important my precious quality time. I can't get it back. Before I cruise I read other people critics but didn't believe. But it's true. DO NOT WASTE your Precious Time on the Cruise Line MSC. Try to Get better travel experience Consider other cruise lines, would worth more for your money. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I read all the reviews prior to taking this cruise. I am sorry to say most were right on target. The ship is beautiful. We were on the Aurea deck along with our son and daughter in law/ Cabins 14081 and 14083. We had a tub in our ... Read More
I read all the reviews prior to taking this cruise. I am sorry to say most were right on target. The ship is beautiful. We were on the Aurea deck along with our son and daughter in law/ Cabins 14081 and 14083. We had a tub in our cabin which was very dangerous. Very narrow and is rounded on the sides. There was absolutely no closet space in either cabins and only 2 small drawers. We both had a small balcony which was fine. We had the 3 restaurant dining package and the two shows of Cirque de Soleil. The only decent restaurant is Butchers Cut. We had a very nice meal there and we found out that they serve brunch there on certain days and we paid to eat brunch which was very nice. The ship has to many people and they just cannot accommodate everyone. There were long lines wherever we went. If we had a question we would be in line about an hour before we reached the counter. The food is horrible. The buffet is a nightmare, too many people, pushing and grabbing food. The food was uninteresting and just no taste. We did the buffet for a couple of lunches and two breakfasts. The waves restaurant was not any better, rude staff and food with no taste. We did go to Panorama Restaurant for dinner and it was just ok, staff very nice. The elegant night offered Filet of Beef, which we thought was Filet, ended up being Roast Beef. We had tickets to see both Cirque shows and they were cancelled due to "technical difficulties". You could not get a seat in the bar lounges due to people playing cards and not ordering cocktails. There just were no seats to accommodate all the people on board. My son had to tip the bartenders because if not you would stand there for about 15 minutes and no one would take your order. Once he tipped, we had no problem. I would never cruise this line again. 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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