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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
With 4 cruises behind us and having visited many countries we decided we would like to visit Northern Europe. MSC was the cheapest option as Royal Caribbean and Norweigan were a lot more expensive so we decided to try this option, we ... Read More
With 4 cruises behind us and having visited many countries we decided we would like to visit Northern Europe. MSC was the cheapest option as Royal Caribbean and Norweigan were a lot more expensive so we decided to try this option, we were not very pleased with a few things, the ship is very new so this itself was fabulous however as the saying goes "you get what you pay for".. We spoke with many others on board from various parts of the world and we all felt that once on board the ship it seemed to be like "we have your money so entertain yourself".. from past experience on RCC and Thompson (TUI) ships there was always music or entertainment by the poolside and especially on the days at sea, on this very large ship there was no music to be heard and no cruise director to be found to participate in games etc. the only time we saw this lady was at the beginning and end of each show in the evening times. The marketplace in particular is a dangerous zone and needs a "huge restructure" as there is no queueing system in place and easily knocked off your feet in a heartbeat. some nationalities in particular have no manners in this area or at the lifts around this area and we saw elderly people almost run-down.... :-( this includes some workers in the marketplace as well as customers. we spoke with some waiters in the Panorama dining area and they agreed about the Buffet area and said that many people had mentioned it but nothing was done.. very sad to see this ongoing problem is not being rectified considering this is an expensive holiday for each family and MSC don't seem to be happy to take on board people's comments. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Last summer we were planning spring break 2019 and found a great deal on AA Rewards tickets to Barcelona. We'd been to Spain, but not Barcelona. During our research, we came upon MSC and their 7 night Med cruises. We've sailed ... Read More
Last summer we were planning spring break 2019 and found a great deal on AA Rewards tickets to Barcelona. We'd been to Spain, but not Barcelona. During our research, we came upon MSC and their 7 night Med cruises. We've sailed with RCCL, HAL, Celebrity and our beloved DCL many times, but had barely even heard of MSC. The price, timing and itinerary were right, but boy oh boy, the reviews were shaky at best. Still, after checking out the forums and youtube videos, and discovering we could status match to Black with MSC based on our DCL Platinum status, we decided to give them a try. We booked our Aurea Duplex Suite and set our countdown clocks for March, 2019. Our sailing party: Myself and my husband, 50-somethings, married 30 years with two kids. Our daughter is an adult and didn't travel with us this trip. Our son, who sailed with us, is 16. We've done over 25 cruises. This was our sixth European cruise (third Med) and, as noted above, first on MSC. We're American. Embarkation: Took a taxi from our hotel (RoomMate Carla) to the Port and arrived just before noon. First impression of the ship as we drove up "wow...looks more like an apartment building than a ship." Immediately saw the line for "Black Card" luggage drop. Had our bags tagged and our paperwork in hand, so we were processed quickly. Noticed many fellow passengers without tags, but staff was prepared and helpful. We were directed inside to the Aurea line (there separate lines...Yacht Club, Aurea and everyone else. All lines appeared to be moving...the Port was well staffed. We soon had our cards, were directed to the embarkation photo and then headed on board. From taxi drop to stepping on board took about 15 minutes. Painless. First hours onboard: Entering the Meraviglia is a bit like walking the gauntlet. In Barcelona, you enter into the Gallery where you are greeted by many smiling crew members selling drink packages, dining packages, spa packages, etc. If you've done your research, you'll be prepared and can politely decline or make someone's day by actually purchasing their wares! For convenience, we upgraded our Easy Drinks Package to Premium Plus. We're not heavy drinkers, but we like what we like and we didn't want to hassle all week with limiting ourselves to the $6 and under menu. And, yes, we should have upgraded before leaving home, but we were MSC rookies and have learned our lesson. Carefully consider you drinks package before leaving home! Anyway, after walking the gauntlet, we headed up to Deck 15 to the Market Place for lunch. It's a large area with several food and beverage stations. The stations repeat and we found that, in general, if you head to the back of the space, there are fewer crowds. The food was fine and plentiful and the drinks service (push a button at your table) was efficient and friendly. We explored the ship a bit using the MSC and Me app for a map (there are also paper ship maps located at Guest Services...we found both helpful) checking out the work out facility, basketball gym, walking track, etc. The ship is clean and bright and mostly well-laid out. It's obviously very large, but didn't feel too large and rarely felt crowded. We encountered many smiling faces from crew and guests and found the same throughout the week. We headed to our room around 1:30pm. Aurea Duplex Suite 12001: When we first looked at sailing MSC, we were shocked at the relatively low prices for staterooms, even those labeled suites and yacht club. We considered yacht club, but were intrigued by the Duplex Suite. Two stories! Two closets! Two bathrooms! And a HOT TUB ON OUR VERANDAH! For what price???? Less than an inside cabin on DCL? We decided that "we had to go for it" and pushed the book button. We also decided to surprise our son, so when he opened the door, it was the first time he had any idea what category stateroom he was spending the week in. Priceless! I had read every review and watched every video posted on the suite. The pictures and descriptions are all accurate. The room is truly special. All seasoned cruisers know that space on cruise ship is at a premium, and any parent of a teen knows that an extra bathroom on vacation is a miracle. This stateroom gave us both, as well as two walk in closets, two tvs, a dining table (which we used to plan our days and play games, as well as for breakfast most mornings,) and the fabulous verandah with private hot tub. We used it almost every evening for enjoy sailaway and sunset and it was a true luxury. The stateroom also had a minibar (which our premium plus drinks package allowed us to use, including the snacks) and a nespresso maker, which we used every morning. We found our excursion tickets, navigator, invitations to onboard events and black card gifts in the room everyday, including the first day. And shortly after entering the cabin, our room host knocked to introduce himself and see whether we needed anything. He was super friendly and nonintrusive and we appreciated him all week long. He delivered our luggage before 3 and we unpacked ready to truly begin vacation! Safety Drill: Because people embark everyday, the mandatory safety drill is different everyday. Ours was in the Deck 6 Theater and last about thirty minutes. This was our first introduction to just how many nationalities were sailing...the presentation was in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese. We were impressed by how many crew members spoke three or more languages and enjoyed listening to them throughout the week. Dining: Because we were Aurea, we had "My Choice" dining. Our dining room was the Panorama and the process was very easy. Simply decide what we want to do and show up at the dining room when we want to eat. We never waited for a table and had great waiters 5 of our 6 meals in Panorama. And the one miss wasn't anything terrible, just an okay server who maybe was having a bad night. The dinner menus change nightly and we never had a problem finding meals that appealed to us. The food was mostly very good with a few excellent items and a few less tasty items. Generally, we enjoyed the appetizers and entrees more than dessert. And with the premium plus package, although it's wine by the glass, not bottle, if my husband and I ordered the same wine, they automatically brought the whole bottle. Lounges: I'm a champagne drinker and enjoyed the champagne bar for a predinner drink most evenings. They offer a selection of cocktails and champagne and sparkling water...my favorite was the Veuve Clicquot Rich. They bring snacks like chips and nuts to the table (which our son enjoyed) and have a menu for charge available, too. The service was very friendly and professional. We used a few other bars for cocktails during the week with varying levels of service and atmosphere. There's a fabulous looking top deck 18+ lounge that we didn't use because we were sailing with our son, but definitely would have used if we were alone. Gym, game room and basketball court, etc.: So cool that they offer an indoor basketball court. Our son used it almost every evening for an hour. He met several other kids, enjoyed the view and got some exercise. My son and hubby also used the gym and found it adequate. We checked out games for free a few times from the activities desk, as well. We didn't bowl or do the ropes course. Next time! Entertainment: We enjoyed a few show onboard...the Opera, the Broadway medley and the flamenco dance performance. We booked our seats using our app. The theater was full, but not overcrowded and the performances were good. We enjoyed all three. The cruise director, who introduces the shows, is fabulous...great energy and personality. We also played bingo a few times (and yes, the numbers are announced in at least 7 languages!) It's only coverall, so one prize of at least !000 euro each game. We also went to one Cirque du Soleil show. That's not really our cup of tea, but we enjoyed the show and were glad that we gave it a try. Specialty Restaurants: Only tried one, Butcher's Cut, using our free Black Card dinner. All three of us matched Black, so there was no charge. The service was very good, as was the meal. The dessert here was excellent...a "cut" above the dining room, for sure! The atmosphere was okay, but I actually preferred the Panorama dining room in that regard. Spa: Although Aurea provided us with a week long pass to the thermal area, we never made it! We did, however, enjoy our complimentary 50 minute massages and I got a blow out three times during the trip. Again, friendly staff. Nice atmosphere. No complaints. Itinerary and Shore Excursions: This is really what the trip was all about....traveling comfortably through one of our favorite parts of the world. As noted, we embarked in Barcelona and sailed to Marseille, Genoa, Rome, Palermo and Malta, with one day at sea. We did a mix of MSC prebooked excursions and independent excursions. Our day in Rome on our own was probably my favorite, but we also really enjoyed our walking street food tour in Palermo (by Streaty) and our day in Marseille when we went to Ax en Provence with a ship’s excursion we spent two nights in Barcelona pre and post cruise. I highly recommend Sagrada Família and also very much enjoyed a day trip to Andorra. Final impressions: We were on a much needed break sailing the Mediterranean on a relatively new ship staffed with friendly people and in a fantastic stateroom. The weather was picture postcard perfect...upper 60’s and sunshine and the sea was calm. The champagne flowed and the onshore experiences were varied and plentiful. We enjoyed sail away from our private hot tub and were entertained by earnest performers in the evenings. The food was varied and tasty and the price was right. We’re not giving up n DCL, but we’re booked on another MSC itinerary. So glad we tried them and already looking forward to going back! Happy Sailing! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Location and time frame is great! The service is friendly most of the time. However, compared to the food I had on the US base cruise ships, MSC is not on the same level. The specialty restaurants are OK, I spent the last three nights ... Read More
Location and time frame is great! The service is friendly most of the time. However, compared to the food I had on the US base cruise ships, MSC is not on the same level. The specialty restaurants are OK, I spent the last three nights eating at the dinner buffet instead of the main dining room because the food sucks. Not steak, extra cost 29.99 for Lobster Tail... I got food poisoned by eating the smoked salmon. Throwing up the whole night long, went to the Medical room on the 4th floor, the nurse was very helpful but the Doc, what Doc, he is taking his 4 hours lunch break. After all, I feel better by taking medicine that I bought from their Mini Mart and Medical room but I completely missed my Barcelona City Tour ... By the way, if you are using the Voucher for Drinks, make sure you could get most of the drinks on the menu, lots of server doesn't know that and think the Vouchers works like Package. The bathroom is good but you could hear everything that happens next door, I felt bad for the carbine next to mine, the night I got food poison, I spent the whole in the bathroom Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I went on a weeks cruise in january 2019 and we were a bit nervous because of the bad critics we have read. We both agreed that compared to Celebrity Cruise, MSC Meraviglia had much better food and much better varity of wine ... Read More
My wife and I went on a weeks cruise in january 2019 and we were a bit nervous because of the bad critics we have read. We both agreed that compared to Celebrity Cruise, MSC Meraviglia had much better food and much better varity of wine (including a lot of good european wines). The coffee was true italian style espresso - top quality. And the best is that it was served in almost every bar and restaurant. The ship was new and clean and the cabins in fine size. The skylounge bar is very cool and they make the best drinks and we also enjoyed the live music. The only thing we would have wished for was a little better space in the public areas and we missed a separat discotek. Seen from our point of view MSC is a serious and trustworthy company. All-in-all: We would like to try another of MSCs ship next time mainly because of the food and wine and friendly staff. 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
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise allows passengers to embark and disembark at any port on it's route. That means no embarkation day and no debarkation day. The good news with that is that you're not fighting a big crowd at your point of embarkation ... Read More
This cruise allows passengers to embark and disembark at any port on it's route. That means no embarkation day and no debarkation day. The good news with that is that you're not fighting a big crowd at your point of embarkation and debarkation, and most of the first day stuff that might normally be mobbed, like ship-card management kiosks, aren't particularly busy. Embarkation and Debarkation were both very smooth. The bad news is that there is a muster drill every single port day with the blowing of the horn and the very long announcements, and you're not part of a cohort so if you like making cruise friends, they may be leaving much sooner than you are. We chose to embark in Barcelona to enjoy a couple of days in the city on either end of the cruise. This was a great call, we LOVE Barcelona and it is an awesomely easy terminal to access and move through. This is one big ship! At full capacity with guests and crew it can hold almost 7,000 people, but somehow it rarely felt that crowded. There is a lot to say about the experience so I will do my best to take it in categories and not to get too tangential. Our overall rating? 7.5/10, would cruise again but only if we got an awesome deal. Much of the lost points had to do with culture differences, language barrier, and frustrations with the European vs US idea of customer service. Without further delay ... let’s get reviewing! The ship itself is BIG but not super accessible. There are some annoying choke points that get clogged up and can’t be avoided (like exiting the theaters) and the the deck plan makes it somewhat difficult to navigate overall. There were actually entire areas we never even bothered going back to after we did our embarkation exploration because we couldn’t seem to find them again despite having a whole week on board. That said, the ship is gorgeous. It’s main atrium has a curved ceiling made of LED panels they call “The Dome” and each evening they do a brief Dome Show. It sounds cheesy but it was actually very cool. The signature Swarovski crystal staircases definitely add wow factor. We found our aft facing cabin very comfortable with an awesome and spacious balcony (cabin #10374). Book these rooms only if you enjoy the motion of the ship because you will feel it. It happens that we love it. The only issue was that it was all the way aft and there are no aft elevators, so it was a long enough walk that I definitely had a “if I forgot it, I don’t need it” mentality. Note: Smoking is still extremely common in Europe and a lot of people were smoking on their balconies which will waft up to yours and the corridors often smell of smoke. The casino is technically the only indoor smoking area and the ventilation is garbage and you must walk through to get to the Carousel Lounge, which is where they have the Cirque du Soleil show. Not judging anyone’s choices, but something to note for those who are sensitive to the smell or who worry about second hand smoke. Now on to everybody’s big question: how was the food? (A quick note, I am a vegan and my husband is not, but we are writing this together. Obviously a big factor for me is dietary accommodation and I also try to include allergen sensitivity in my review). This ship was good about allergen warnings but not very good at the distinction between vegan/vegetarian. I have noticed that for many cruise staff on all cruise lines, all allergies or dietary restrictions = gluten free, which is annoying but I do appreciate the effort. **TL;DR, food is hit and miss, dining room portions are very small.** In some specific areas the food was exceptional - the breads and pastry were all absolutely delicious (RIP my waistline), and all the mozzarella used/served is made fresh onboard. The house-made sorbets and ice creams were also excellent. Cured meats and cheeses were gourmet quality and there was very good selection. Buffet is open most of the day with solid variety and tasty food. Dinner Misc Notes- we ate in one of the complimentary dining rooms (Panorama) and found that unfortunately most of the mains were a bit disappointing. For those who are American you may find the portions pretty small as all dining is very much in the European style where you eat small plates at meals and supplement that by enjoying a bite with coffee or a hard drink in between meals. European meals are also often later than American ones, so it’s more like a pastry in the morning, lunch between 1-3 and dinner between 7:30 and 9:00. Be sure to sign up ahead of time for a seating you want or you could get stuck with a very late seating or a very early one. In the dining room the good news is that they had an entree option marked vegan at each dinner. Bad news is they were pretty bad - either very teeny but ok or sufficient but fried (I just don’t like deep fried food). One evening I was served 3 little pita points with about 2 tbsp of hummus and 2 tbsp of babaganoush. Suffice to say I came hungry and left...cranky and ended up having a protein bar back in the cabin. Although I was never in danger of starving or anything like that, it did not exactly make me feel like I was on vacation having a fine dining experience. BUT! All was not lost! After the hummus incident of 2019, the dining manager made me aware that they can do a 2 dish Indian entree every night if the menu option is no good. I ate that the rest of the trip (4 dinners) and it was delicious. My husband’s meals were ok, standouts include the escargot in puff pastry appetizer, and also the steak dinner served at the Cirque Du Soleil experience (extra fee). Desserts were very disappointing with the exception of ice creams and sorbet. We also had a major problem getting coffee served with our dessert, apparently this is not a thing that is common in Europe and so they would have to brew an entirely new pot, which is lovely except that the dessert was served long long before the coffee so you’re done or you’re waiting while the room empties out. Most of the service issues were things like this - simple requests from a U.S. perspective that required scrambling for a euro style dining setup. Not a deal breaker but definitely noticeable service hiccups and the staff was visibly annoyed. Breakfast - We attempted breakfast in the dining room the first two mornings but found the service to be a problem for getting to our excursions on time and there was no vegan option. Some classic dishes like eggs benedict were not done very well and so we preferred the buffet for breakfast, it has good options for just about anyone. The buffet is usually a zoo but that is true of every ship we’ve been on and it just comes with the big-ship territory. After hours: like most ships, pizza is available almost all the time and they also offer mini sandwiches (bocadillos), well into the evening along with fresh fruit and some small dessert bites. Don’t worry, you won’t go hungry! Entertainment: the shows were 50% awesome and 50% good-not-great. Again, full disclosure, we are very spoiled because we are near NYC and usually see shows on Broadway, so we have high expectations. The production quality was very solid and they went all out on the costuming - it had a distinctly eurovision look: gowns, headdresses, sequins, and omg so many costume changes! The dancing was excellent, there were 2 or three very very good singers and overall the performing was strong. The dancers were awesome. One problem we had was that the singers were largely Italian and so when they cover American broadway, rock, and pop classics the accent is very very noticeable. Big props though, not easy to sing in English while also trying to do right by a well known hit song. We had Cirque Du Soleil included with our cruise fare and it was great - definitely worth attending. Each night there was an interactive “party” in the main atrium and we found them to be lots of fun. If you attend the show you are pretty much released right into the party. I had the opportunity to spend an hour in the thermal suite, which was very impressive! Many rooms and different temperatures to choose from, including a temp variation rain shower path. I enjoyed it very much. We also took advantage of foosball and the “Himalayan Bridge” ropes course, and the gym facilities. If you are a gym goer, don’t forget weights are marked in Kilograms! I wasn’t thinking at 6am and got a big surprise when I tried to just pick up a “20”! There were many many more activities and things to do that we didn’t get to but which looked really great. We did a shore excursion in every port and had a good experience, and we definitely recommend the MSC excursions. If you're still with me here, you must have had a snickers because this ran LONG. If you choose to cruise this ship I hope you have a wonderful trip - we definitely did! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I don't get all the negativity surrounding this ship? I guess some people are never satisfied. Anyway, this was my very first cruise ship experience, and in my opinion, worth it indead. Very good first impression. Although a little ... Read More
I don't get all the negativity surrounding this ship? I guess some people are never satisfied. Anyway, this was my very first cruise ship experience, and in my opinion, worth it indead. Very good first impression. Although a little pricey for the whole 7 days on board, all went relatively smooth. The food: - Great food, excellent in fact - Unlimeted buffet for the whole journey (Disclaimer: at least when I was on the ship, we had unlimited buffet) - Went to a fine dinning experience at one of the restaraunts, although extra and a bit pricey, the food was awesome, nice presentation of food too. The ship: - A huge, magnificent ship that lives up to its name!! - First time embarking on the ship, I was wowed, by its sheer size and activities - Very posh and 'rich' looking, which is not bad at all! The Cabins: - The room that I stayed in was very clean, with a balcony - Although the cabin was a bit small, it was well furnished, with a tv, desk, bins, bathroom amenities and a couch - When I was there, the room was serviced on a daily The entertainment: - The ship was not short of entertainment and activities - I wasnt bored even when I stayed a whole day on the ship - Although some activities are extra (need to pay extra, which I did not do) Services: - The staff was friendly, if you are friendly towards them - My room was serviced everyday, with out my asking, which I appreciated - Although a good ship with excellent service, the sales assistants on the retail strip were pushy Amenities: - There are kids clubs, from ages baby-17 or 18 years - There are pools, gym, buffet, restaraunts, a retail stip and so on - Some activities are free, some not, so look and ask carefully if you are on a budget, or else it gets quite expensive!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Being an avid cruiser and a loyal RCI customer (Royal, Celebrity, Azamara), I was getting curious about the MSC's new Yacht Club product. Everything I was reading indicated this was the standard of cruising my husband, in particular, ... Read More
Being an avid cruiser and a loyal RCI customer (Royal, Celebrity, Azamara), I was getting curious about the MSC's new Yacht Club product. Everything I was reading indicated this was the standard of cruising my husband, in particular, would enjoy. He's not that keen on ocean cruising, particularly if it involves older ships, tired itineraries, average food and constant nickel-and-diming (i.e. the average cruising experience in Australian/NZ waters.) Upon seeing a special price for a YC Deluxe cabin on a 7-day West Med sailing in early December 2018, we decided to check it out. It was not our first trip around the Med, so we were comfortable with the fact it was going to be cold (for Queenslanders!) and we would probably find ourselves onboard more than usual, rather than remain on shore until last call as is our usual MO. A big bonus with MSC is their status-matching with other cruise lines' loyalty programs. Based upon my Captain's Club level with Celebrity/Azamara, we were automatically assigned MSC Black, which is the highest grade in MSC's loyalty program. This was a very attractive incentive that other cruise companies should explore and gave us some very appreciated additional perks. Our trip from Australia to Europe started off brilliantly with an unexpected upgrade from premium economy to business class on board EVA Airways (BNE - TPE - CDG. Thank you, EVA, every outbound sector was an excellent flight!) After a couple of days in Rome at a gorgeous, well-priced hotel near the centre (Liberty Boutique), we travelled by private transport to the port of Civitavecchia. We arrived at the port around midday and were greeted by very friendly staff who shepherded us to an exclusive lounge area for YC guests. It was empty (the whole terminal seemed fairly quiet), but was still fully stocked with a wide range of drinks and snacks. After a short wait, we were greeted by a lovely young lady in livery (coat and tails!) who we were told was one of the YC butlers and had arrived to escort us onto the ship. We followed the butler in the direction of the ship, overtaking others who were standing in line, while she held aloft a paddle with "Yacht Club" stamped across it. Not surprisingly, our queue-jumping accompanied by a liveried staff member drew some attention. At this point, we started to wonder if we had fallen down the rabbit hole. On board, we were taken to the YC concierge area and given a whistle-stop tour of the exclusive YC facilities, then shown to our cabin. The lady butler advised us we had been assigned a different butler for the duration of our cruise and he would make himself known to us in short course. Our room was outstanding. It was new, modern, spacious, heaps of storage and the bathroom was an absolute delight with a large shower cubicle, rail shower and rain shower. We had a small but adequate balcony, comfortable bedding (pillow menu optional) and, frankly, I felt the room wanted for nothing. Our butler did not make himself known until later in the evening and, to be frank, we found his attention very sporadic throughout our whole cruise. Our understanding is that the YC butler is meant to be readily available to assist you with all manner of reservations and recommendations. Unfortunately, we hardly ever saw him as he seemed to be solely focused on his other guests. (At the time of introduction, he noted he was from Indonesia and, I suspect, he believed as 'Aussies' we were too laid back to need any special attention compared to the others under his care. However, we aren't exactly the type to be found holidaying in Bali, so he rather misread us if that was his assessment.) Consequently, this was the first cruise ever that we did not provide an additional tip to our cabin staff. (Obviously, we did pay our standard gratuities - we consider these to be non-negotiable.) The disappointing butler aside, our YC experience was generally excellent, with one notable exception - the breakfast service in the YC restaurant. It didn't matter what anyone did (and we know we weren't alone in this predicament) breakfast was never more than lukewarm and usually bland. In the end, we took ourselves off to the main buffet for breakfast and were surprised that the food was much more inviting (and I abhor large ship buffets - you won't see me in the Windjammer for dinner EVER.) As for the rest of the food, drink and general facilities in the YC - just brilliant. In particular, it was nice to have a dedicated concierge desk for any questions. Given we didn't really understand all the intricacies of the YC product, it was useful to be able to confirm details without lining up. (I still don't know that we took advantage of all the YC perks, but we certainly gave it a solid try out!) Would I sail MSC again? In a heartbeat, provided I was travelling in the YC. This product leaves the other cruise companies floundering when it comes to value-for-money. We did venture beyond the YC to check out the very impressive facilities on the rest of the ship. It is big - but then it needs to be, as its catering for nearly 6,000 pax. Our cruise didn't feel overly busy, but it wasn't exactly peak season either. I had read some nightmare stories about the behaviour of the general population on board MSC's cruises and I can't say I saw anything to suggest it was that bad. It does get noisy, however, as many of the people on a European cruise of this size are from cultural backgrounds that are comfortable with 'loud'. On the whole, I didn't think the non-YC environment was any less inviting than you'd find on one of RCI's larger vessels. Thank you, MSC, for a very enjoyable cruise. Please consider bringing your ships Down Under. Australians deserve more than the many aged vessels the other cruise companies try to shunt our way. My husband and I have already recommended friends to go (they travel this April) and, for our part, we'll definitely be back. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this as our 25th anniversary and it sailed out of Rome, and Rome was on our Bucket list. Embarkation was one of the smoothest ever, as was disembarkation. Our first time on MSC, so not sure how to compare, but this was our 15th ... Read More
We chose this as our 25th anniversary and it sailed out of Rome, and Rome was on our Bucket list. Embarkation was one of the smoothest ever, as was disembarkation. Our first time on MSC, so not sure how to compare, but this was our 15th cruise overall. We were disappointed that we booked this cruise when we did to get the Circ du Soleill tickets that were part of the package. When we got on board we found out we needed to pay for this. The guy running the ticket desk told me had numerous people complaining about the same thing. They were supposed to get free tickets but had to pay. I have complained to MSC but no word back yet. Very strange not having a Cruise Director or actviities lined out like we are used to. It's also a little strange the people embark and disembark at every port, so there is no set embarkation point, new people coming and going all the time. Food was great compared to other lines we thought. We appreciated the dining room having assigned seating and times again. It gave us a chnace to get to know the staff and table mates. We never figured out how to make reservations that are REQUIRED to see shows, so only skipped in on the end of a couple. Disappointed no comedians either. I havent been on other MSC cruises, so I really dont know how it compares. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Hard to believe all of the negative reviews of this ship and its staff. My wife and I have been cruising for over 25 years on many of the largest cruise lines and this cruise with MSC was our first with the company. We have to say it was ... Read More
Hard to believe all of the negative reviews of this ship and its staff. My wife and I have been cruising for over 25 years on many of the largest cruise lines and this cruise with MSC was our first with the company. We have to say it was one of the best experiences we have had on any cruise ship. The staff in all areas of the ship were always helpful and friendly. The entertainment was very good. We enjoyed two production shows and both of the Cirque performances. Getting on and off of the ship in Barcelona could not have been more simple and easy. It actually is much better when people can get on and off at each port of call. Seems to avoid the masses when a cruise begins and ends for everyone in the same place. We found the food and drinks to be very good with plenty of variety. We do understand that some people get angry when they are charged for the specialty restaurants and other things around the ship, but you should know that before you book the cruise. There's really not any surprises. There is a reason why the cruise fare is much lower than the competitors and you are not obligated to spend money for all of the extras. This cruise was full of so many different people from all over the world and most seemed to be having a great time, so if you are thinking about sailing on the Meraviglia, you really will love it! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We had a great time at MSC Meraviglia, so much that we're going to its sister Belissima, again. Pros: - Bars. The champagne bar was above the atrium band, so we could enjoy a nice bottle of sparkling wine in a quiet ... Read More
We had a great time at MSC Meraviglia, so much that we're going to its sister Belissima, again. Pros: - Bars. The champagne bar was above the atrium band, so we could enjoy a nice bottle of sparkling wine in a quiet environment, while listening to the music. The pub had a great selection of beers. The piano bar had some nice drinks and an amazing view of the pool area and of the cities. - Spa area. Several types of saunas with modern design. This is enough reason to go to this ship, in my opinion. A notch above spas in any other cruise line, with finnish a sauna, and low-temperature sauna. A mini-con is that the spa pools were smaller than usual. - Some kinds of food were great. Fresh mozzarella every day, excellent bread and the best pizza at sea (which is still not great pizza, but better than american crap). - Cirque du Soleil shows were amazing! - Buffet area was well structured, and we were always able to get a table. Cons: - Dinner tables on the main dining room were too close to each other. As an introvert trying to relax, I was always contemplating how horrible it would be the day somebody sat near my table and started trying to engage in conversation. - Things close too early on, and there is nothing to do at midnight. On Harmony of the Seas, for example, you could get a hot tub at 2AM. - Food quality is average. Although there were some nice dishes, most of the food was average. Not horrible, but average or disappointing. For example, one night I ordered a prime rib, but then got a slice of prime rib that was probably cooked immersed in liquid, not on a grill. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I would like to start off by saying that this cruise was booked whilst on-board a previous MSC cruise in the year (Voyagers Club), therefore understandably chuffed with the already discounted trip/cabin/onboard credit ect. The ... Read More
I would like to start off by saying that this cruise was booked whilst on-board a previous MSC cruise in the year (Voyagers Club), therefore understandably chuffed with the already discounted trip/cabin/onboard credit ect. The Meraviglia is huge, well planned out and therefore should provide any passenger with a pleasant experience, over the duration of the holiday not once did I see an unclean part of the ship nor did I have reason to complain about the facilities. Travelling with my wife it is fair to say that we know what we want from a holiday and can easily compare the Meraviglia to past MSC holidays! DO NOT DO THIS ! this is where we learned very quickly that this trip is going to be different in many ways. If you are willing to sail away and embrace the new you will have an excellent time..... If you natter on to your newly found friends at dinner about your last cruise and think that that the waiters will have time for you then you will probably have a terrible time... > forget that honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean or that time that you took the kids away on a cruise where you found all the fun to be had at sea! It is very hard to repeat the same experiences, my thoughts below are reasons why I state this....... 1. Technology, your granny will hate it but get used to it as the MSC is top class with scrolling information boards at every lift point (much like scrolling on a mobile phone), scan your card or wristband at the terminal to get a map, book dinner of to simply check on tonight's shows. In room TV info is just amazing with on demand movies, news, safety info and future cruising info 2. Cleanliness - Its clean and tidy, almost OCD level so don't mess up the ship or your room for that matter as your cabin man/woman will notice. 3. Entertainment - Excellent but you'll need deep wallets to get rid of the kids for an hr, 100 euros will get a arcade pass to the flight simulator and F1 car simulator and similar, the water park and high ropes are FREE though so just make sure you use this facility. 4. Adult entertainment - Cirque du soleil, I didn't know what this was at the time but just book and see the show before you board to avoid disappointment, most easily the best show that you will witness on water. SONAR was so so cool. 5. Dining, Expect busy waiters and long wait times at the bar the STAFF versus PASSENGERS ration is miss managed, the only way to have a nice little chat to staff would be the Anchor pub, and that'll be because they know that mainly English passengers go there. Strongbow will be part of your drinks package if you have it. 6. Meeting friends - Not likely, If you are really lucky to keep in touch with your allocated dinner guests and make a point of meeting up or suggesting paring up on land to do some shore excursions then maybe you will> my experiences when even trying to strike up a conversation with others are that the ship is so so big why bother as I wont see you again for the rest of the cruise, even at the voyagers exclusive party and meet the captain it was like being in the middle of a busy shopping mall surrounded by (yes like minded) strangers. Summary - I had an excellent time with my wife and can say that the ship itself is amazing and takes all week to discover each and every facility, MSC have some nice touches, ill try not to spoil all of the quirky tricks that make you feel good about being on holiday but here are two (x2) must have experiences.... A. Get up before six (6am) and walk under the dome (dome show) to see the sky and hear the morning birdsong. B. Be up on deck (poolside) when sailing away from ports to experience Andrea Bocelli's TIME TO SAY GOODBYE song (the younger cruisers will be more familiar with the film step brothers - either way its a nice touch) .......If this is your first cruise I would consider starting with other smaller ships within MSC's fleet before you go big time. Whatever you decide or if you have already booked you will have a nice trip so make the most of it and put in a little effort with others- you'll be grateful when staff remember you for the right reasons and not just because you were complaining at reception- have fun guys. Mr Lee Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one ... Read More
I have cruised before, but my wife had not, and she was looking for "an over the top" experience". So I began searching for big ships doing the Mediterranean in November. MSC had a lot of ships and the Meraviglia is one of the top 10 largest ships afloat, very new, and the video was amazing. The reviews however, were anything but amazing. Like lukewarm and even negative reviews about our favorite restaurants, I have learned that most negative reviews are more about missed/too lofty expectations than reality. The biggest gripes about the Meraviglia seemed to be food and staff. Since the boat is so high tech and wondrously equipped, no one really complained about the ship. Sure enough, even our tablemates as well as others on board echoed the Cruise Critic complaints. They ranged from now having butter and iced tea (both free, readily available) to non English speaking staff who were "unfriendly". If your attitude is "I am the guest and I expect to be served", you will be disappointed. If you engage the staff with your own smile and understand they work 11 hours a day, even my first time cruising wife was amazed at how every waiter and staff person smiled back.....even when they had to say "no" (like when we were late for dinner and the gatekeeping waiter apologized saying he was not allowed to let anyone in past 7:45, so I asked him to ask for his captain, which he did, and of course, the captain, his boss, let us in). MSC offers the lowest prices afloat for the most interesting itineraries and the newest boats.....but unless you are traveling Yacht Club, you just cant expect white glove service--but you can expect politeness and cleanliness and entertainment and "service". And we got all of this and more. Dinner. We only ate at the standard Waves Restaurant. Three sittings, We were the second. The appetizers and desserts were great, the entrees, though varied were not as good and need improvement. Not to worry though because the astonishing buffet, open 20 hours a day, had stupendous selections of excellent food from simple salads, to homemade pizza, Halal and ethnic specialties, rotisserie *the roast veal carved to order was smashing), plus an on board mozzarella factory (you could see it being made) that ensured great caprese salads and more. And they changed the offerings every day! Housekeeping. In a word, perfect. No goofy doorknob hangers telling staff to clean up the room. Just press a button. Spotless. The Room. We opted for an admidships deck 12 interior cabin because my wife was worried about seasickness. The cabin was huge, with a queen plus bed, great pillows, lighting, etc And the bathroom has the best shower afloat in my experience with infinite hot water! And a blow dryer!. Staff. What a great group of waiters and support staff rom Central America to Ukraine and Africa. Just knocked themselves out to please! It surely helped that we engaged them instead of treating them like servants. Prices: For 5Euros we got any two items delivered free to our room. Drinks were 6Euros. The best ice cream and chocolate (made on the boat) were $1-3Euros. The coffee, water, tea, ice tea, etc. were all free at the buffet. So no complaints about the "extras" The experience: 32 elevators, four pools, an arcade full of shops, sky bars, full size basketball court, full size bowling alleys and a water slide that went OVER the edge of the ship, outstanding singing and dancing "Broadway" type shows and Swarovski glass staircases made onboard life hugely satisfying. The guests. Where were all the seniors? This was the first cruise I have ever been on where there were so many families, disabled people, young honeymooners, babies, kids, etc. from so many different countries. A true multi-cultural experience. Our table mates were from the Dominican Republic (an MD and his wife), honeymooners from Colombia, and a couple from Florida. A great itinerary and all of the above for $1300 for 7 nights? Yup, and we cant wait to go again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I decided to take a Mediterranean cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary. We searched several cruise lines as we have cruised with three other American Cruise lines. We opted to take MSC As the other options were limited ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take a Mediterranean cruise for our 20th wedding anniversary. We searched several cruise lines as we have cruised with three other American Cruise lines. We opted to take MSC As the other options were limited during the month of November. Never cruising with this cruise line before, we were a little bit hesitant but we’re excited about the port of calls. Leading up to the date of the cruise I became a little bit weary when reading other reviews. This caused our expectation to be lower than usual. As the other options were limited during the month of November. Never cruising with this cruise line before, we were a little bit hesitant but were excited about the port of calls. Leading up to the date of the cruise I became a little bit weary when reading the reviews. This caused our expectation to be lower than usual. We were pleasantly surprised at how gorgeous the ship was and how accommodating the crewmembers were. Everyone was super friendly and to our surprise the food was wonderful. We ate in various restaurants including one of the Cirque Du Soleil show with dinner. If there is one advice I can give to people that have not cruise with this cruise line before, is that there is a lot of information on the ship but you need to look for the information. Another words, if you opt for one of their experiences that includes unlimited drinks, be sure to ask from the beginning where the unlimited drinks are valid. This information was not readily available, therefore We did not take it vantage of it until the second to last night. The ship was extremely clean, the food was always hot, Unlike some of the prior reviews that we had read. I would recommend this gorgeous ship to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I am a cruiser of significant experience. I have sailed many days on Crystal, as well as having sailed on Seabourn, Holland America Line, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess as well as ... Read More
I am a cruiser of significant experience. I have sailed many days on Crystal, as well as having sailed on Seabourn, Holland America Line, Azamara Club Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess as well as the now defunct Transocean Tours' MS Marco Polo and Voyages of Discovery's much missed MV Discovery. I have sailed multiple times in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, as well as the Northwest Passage, Antarctica, South America, Asia, Alaska, Norway and the Baltics. Whenever I do a review, I review the ship against what it A) is pertaining to be, and B) value versus the price paid. In this sense, a Crystal cruise may not receive five stars if the voyage did not meet my high expectations, whilst a 3 night Norwegian Cruise Line voyage may rate higher if my substantially lower expectations were exceeded. In my opinion, the MSC Yacht Club product is the best value in luxury cruising. My wife and I are in our mid 20s, and we appreciated the fact that we had our own enclave aboard, where the crew quickly learnt our names and favourite drinks, but could at will descend into the melee of a mega-ship filled with energy, music, song and dance. The Yacht Club was in essence a haven (pun unintended), a quite, relaxing area, approximately the size of one the older Seabourn triplets, where it was easy to meet passengers and make friends, in a fashion that is usually impossible aboard a ship carrying several thousand passengers. One could then go and enjoy the entertainment and options available on the ship with said friends. The entertainment was of high quality, especially the Cirque de Soleil show. Every night a production show was presented, of which one can get tired of quite quickly, but they were of similar quality to shows I have seen on other mass-market lines. The overall ambiance of the vessel was international, which is something we really enjoyed about MSC, and the Meravilliga's interiors where nothing short of stunning. We did not try any eateries besides the Yacht Club restaurant and the buffet, so cannot comment on the quality of food in the rest of the ship. In the Yacht Club, the pantry always had food available, the drinks where of reasonable quality and weather permitting there was a barbecue or buffet available on the open private decks. The MSC Yacht Club restaurant offered food of a reasonable to high quality, with service that was great if not perfect, missing the finesse of service found on dedicated luxury lines. The butler aboard the Yacht Club was more of a room attendant, although you could always count on the ones serving in the Yacht Club lounge, for all intents a private observation lounge at the forward-most point of the vessel's superstructure. Lines where never a problem as we had dedicated lifts which we could override to give Yacht Club passengers express service, and the butlers where always at hand to walk you out or back on to the ship, skipping the sometimes substantial ques. In a similar fashion, after a very hectic day trying to get to the ship (trains on strike, taking a bus, taxis on strike, having to take several busses, etc.) the glasses of sparkling wine and welcome of the YC crew made our embarkation perfect. I can happily recommend the Meraviglia if you are a guest seeking a large cruise-ship experience in an international environment, with a value-driven luxury product, and for this value are willing to give up the extra refinements and finesse found on 'true' luxury lines. I am sure we will be sailing aboard an MSC vessel in the Yacht Club in the future. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Fantastic ship,our cabin was a balcony could not complain the food was outstanding the staff in the pub where the best. ALL above where the best bits below for the bad bits Hair drier didn't work first day went to reception ... Read More
Fantastic ship,our cabin was a balcony could not complain the food was outstanding the staff in the pub where the best. ALL above where the best bits below for the bad bits Hair drier didn't work first day went to reception first thing she said what did i do to it practically accusing me of breaking it. when we left port the shops duty free shops opened decided to buy a watch as it was 35%discount and it stated if you could find a lower price they would match it,so i bought one,out of curiosity next day i looked on the net found same one for 40euro less on Amazon,went back to the shop and shown the guy who sold me the watch i was told the watch on amazon was a Fake, well you can imagine,wonder what amazon would think?i requested to see the manager very rudely told go find the manager inside and he walked off,that's twice that ive been rudely spoken to by MSC staff,so i went inside the woman in the shop was no better very reluctant to get the manager,in the end she rang and the reply was,the reduction was only if you find a lower price in the shops internet doesn't count,i said where does it say internet doesn't count on the printed sign,she couldn't answer me. I have made a online complaint to MSC not that im holding my breath for a response. went back to my cabin and looked at my billing 10 euro per day per person,hmm have i had great service no so why should i hand over my hard earned cash to rude,unprofessional unhelpful staff,went back to reception to get a refund of all my service charges ans this is VOLUNTARY NOT COMPULSORY i was asked why and told them straight i will give my money to someone who deserves it. Shuttle buses not part of the Cruise 13 to 16 euro a head but if you wait 2 hours after the first shuttle bus,or they think they taken as much cash from the customers,the shuttle buses become free! The other thing which i found disgusting was opposite the reception was a signed area for disabled seating this was ignored by a group of Italians another passenger pointed out it was seating for disabled he was laughed at not one member of staff moved them on discus-ting I could go on but i havnt got the time the other customer reviews speak for them selves as we thought it couldnt be that bad,but im afraid to say it was,we where glad to be home I can supply photos should the company request Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
So this was my third cruise, our first with MSC which we embarked in Genoa for our honeymoon around the Mediterranean. Firstly the ship is amazing and our room was lovely, we had everything we needed but unfortunately there were not many ... Read More
So this was my third cruise, our first with MSC which we embarked in Genoa for our honeymoon around the Mediterranean. Firstly the ship is amazing and our room was lovely, we had everything we needed but unfortunately there were not many other positives things we encounted on our cruise. The majority of the staff were unpleasant, shuffling around, generally miserable and you felt as if you asked for anything it was really putting them out. Whether it’s a lack of training in the customer service department or they are generally overworked and tired I am not sure. For anyone on holiday a cheery atmosphere where you feel special and nothing is too much trouble is what can make the experience a pleasant one, this was not the case here. The food was average, nothing to rave about but was very reasonable. For the size of the ship however pretty much everyone would go to the buffet for lunch as it was the only real food restaurant open so it was chaotic with some very rude people. The level of information was poor, we came to port and there was nothing mentioned about getting off the ship, where to go or the procedure. As I have mentioned we have done it before so knew the score but we spoke to some first time cruisers who were very confused. When you book a cruise with various ports you expect to be taken there. MSC don’t tell you that on some occasions they need to port 20 mins drive from the city. This is fine I understand it’s necessary due to the ships size etc but to then expect the guests to pay €13 each to get on the shuttle bus they provide I believe is wrong. This seriously adds up and I have never been expected to pay that with other companies just to get to the port the cruise said it was going to take me to anyway. One morning we decided to have a lie in, only to be awoke at 8 am by an almighty screeching noise. We thought the ship was scraping along the seabed as we were coming in to port. We phoned the steward who told us it was balcony cleaning. Before we knew it someone was on our balcony whilst we were still in bed, no warning. I had to leave the room after an hour as the noise was so irritating. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to wait a little so those who don’t rise early or maybe had a late night aren’t disturbed. Having a romantic meal was not possible. You are put on a table with a group of random strangers. Luckily they were nice people but we were with 6 others which made having a nice meal together in the restaurant for our honeymoon not something we could do. And lastly I would describe them as a low cost or no frills kind of cruise. You get your bed and food and that’s it. Ice cream, room service even the circus show that was advertised you have to pay for, all things that have been included with other cruise companies. The ship is stunning it’s just got a long way to go in the customer service department and to make guests feel special. Others have described it as feeling like cattle and I think that’s pretty accurate. Will be looking for another company next year. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this for our honeymoon. Our group includes our 80 year old mothers. I’m struck by the sheer overcrowded, impersonal, iPad and upsell-driven process we are a part of. Food areas and common areas are ridiculously overcrowded, ... Read More
We chose this for our honeymoon. Our group includes our 80 year old mothers. I’m struck by the sheer overcrowded, impersonal, iPad and upsell-driven process we are a part of. Food areas and common areas are ridiculously overcrowded, no seating available and long queues for lukewarm and very ordinary food-we cruise a lot, this is way below par on many levels. The ship itself is impressive, and I’m sure few would deny this, the experience though is far from relaxing. Cabins small, we have a balcony cabin with the Aurea package, TV impossible to see from the bed, we have no sofa, nor mirror in our cabin (bar the bathroom). I believe we have seen our cabin attendant once. We found that the staff are undertrained in general, they work too many hours and are tired and overstretched as they have traded opulence of ship and taken away any form of personal experience, just doesn’t feel special in any way and it’s a fight to get service-I requested a tray to carry food to my mother who is disabled, and was told to make several trips with plates instead, each time fighting my way back through infeasible crowds. Not a patch on other similar priced cruise experiences I’ve had. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We enjoy very nice days of navigation,entertaining and sociability.The embarkment and desembarkement a little slow because this ship have 5700 passengers.When we come tours the embarkment is very slow because control passengers.The ship is ... Read More
We enjoy very nice days of navigation,entertaining and sociability.The embarkment and desembarkement a little slow because this ship have 5700 passengers.When we come tours the embarkment is very slow because control passengers.The ship is new one and very confortable and all areas very beautiful.From our cabin was very fast to go Broadway theater. The cirque soleil show was very nice. The lunch and dinnertime very good and service very good.We enjoy Tv studio karaoke bar and we profit free package drinks.After dinner we walk and shopping.The shopping area very good with a lot good offers special perfumes,clothes. The cruise tours are very expansive and The some bus drivers very fast drive that was impossible make fotos. The temperature on the ship not very good sometimes cold and sometimes very hot.On the cabin sometimes was cold.The cabin with balcon was very confortable and this time Tv channels with large offer several languages. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Embarkation in Genoa started off as a nightmare. It was disorganised, none of the staff knew where we had to go and the signage was very confusing. No sign of the Yacht Club tent until we finally got directions from a staff member who ... Read More
Embarkation in Genoa started off as a nightmare. It was disorganised, none of the staff knew where we had to go and the signage was very confusing. No sign of the Yacht Club tent until we finally got directions from a staff member who actually knew where the Yacht Club check in was. With suitcases, this was very stressful not helped by the fact that 2 ships were in at the same time. Our new butler, Maksim, was amazing. He was there if you needed him but left you alone if you didnt want anything. He was friendly and professional and always had time for a chat. Butlers tend to provide room service but they also serve in the Top Sail lounge and the One Pool Deck this gives a continuity of service as they know how you like drinks, etc. There are 3 places in the Yacht Club where you could get food (apart from room service) the One Pool Deck, the Top Sail lounge and the restaurant. You could also book in to one of the speciality restaurants although we didnt do this as the food was so good in the Yacht Club. Main buffet: We ate in the main buffet twice and we had no problem getting a seat. The button on each table to ask for drinks was a really nice touch and the service was quick and friendly. Food here was nice although there were some strange combinations of food which made it difficult to have a complete meal. However, you could get burgers, hot dogs and pizza here. Yacht Club One Pool Deck: Here you could have casual breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks. We had roast beef, chicken parmigiana and salmon amongst others and the food was generally good but was sometimes a bit lukewarm. This place is great if the weather was good but you couldnt eat up here if it was cold. You also had a full range of drinks including some very nice wines such as Chablis and Pinot Grigio. Top Sail lounge: There was a small buffet of cold snacks such as sandwiches, cakes and nuts. You could also get sushi here and they had canapes before dinner. You could also take high tea here between 4-5pm where you had a 3 tier cake and sandwich stand with a selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones with jam and real clotted cream. If you wanted any other sandwiches, you only needed to ask and they would get you some. They also had a selection of loose leaf teas which were served from the trolley. A very civilised experience. Yacht Club Restaurant: This was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The first night was really good and Ajay was efficient. However, the second night started out as a disaster, so much so that we tried to walk out. It took an age for the menus to arrive, we didnt get any drinks and the waiter couldnt understand what we wanted. When we walked out, we were stopped by the Restaurant Supervisor Massimo who was very concerned and persuaded us to stay. He seated us in another section of the restaurant and our new waiter, Miljan, was amazing. He served us for the rest of our cruise and we didnt want for anything. He got to know what wines we liked and recommended some new ones which were good to try. He also tailored the dishes and had a really good sense of humour. He knew how to tailor the service based on our personality and attitude. We never had an issue getting a table bar one night (tables were available but not in Miljans section) so we were asked to go to the Top Sail lounge and Massimo came to collect us as soon as a table was ready. He generally got us the same table every night which was nice. Joyce, the Assistant Waiter, was also really good remembering that we liked still water and what type of bread we generally like. Miljan and Massimo really made our cruise special and we were quite emotional when we left the last night. Massimo also organised an anniversary meal for us with a specially cooked dish and a bottle of champagne. The entertainment on board ranged from dire to quite good. It seemed that MSC has spent all the money on Cirque du Soleil on board and not had much left for the other entertainment. We did not go to see Cirque du Soleil as it is not our cup of tea but there were spaces available every night for the shows for both the meal and drink options. Highlights: Yacht Club and the Meraviglia itself is amazing Always loungers available even on the main decks (never busy on the One Deck even on sea days) Service was impeccable Food was of a very good standard with some great wines recommended The butler service was amazing including getting on and off the ship The button on the buffet tables to get a drink worked really well Concierge and room service were excellent Loved the pillow menu. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Initially I was concerned with some of the reviews that we had read. We decided to continue with the cruise and this was the best decision we could have done. Yes the cruise was different than the US based cruise lines but if you are ... Read More
Initially I was concerned with some of the reviews that we had read. We decided to continue with the cruise and this was the best decision we could have done. Yes the cruise was different than the US based cruise lines but if you are going to sail with a Eupoean ship, keep an open mind...be willing to experience other types of cruises. The ship was clean and the staff was wonderful. We booked the angled balcony suite with the external jacuzzi. This cabin included the Aurea experience which allowed us to do priority boarding, free choice of dining time, unlimited drinks and two massages (one per two adults). There was so much to do on the ship, so even if you with to skip a port of call, you will not regret it. We really could not understand how some passengers had negative experiences. My suggestion to anyone that chooses to read this review is to understand that everyone is different and therefore expectations are also different. For us, we chose to create our own wonderful memories upon this beautiful vessel! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We were on the Meraviglia March 11-18. We booked the cruise about 5 weeks before departure because we had the opportunity to travel to Europe for work during March. With the tight timeline and last minute wedding items to attend to (our ... Read More
We were on the Meraviglia March 11-18. We booked the cruise about 5 weeks before departure because we had the opportunity to travel to Europe for work during March. With the tight timeline and last minute wedding items to attend to (our wedding was March 3) we thought a cruise would be a great option. We were not able to relax during our honeymoon because of serval inaccuracies between the American booking site and the Italian services offered on board. We spent a week arguing with your staff about packages and experiences we had prepaid! Upon talking with other couples from the US and Europe we found they all had similar issues. Drink Package Upon arriving at dining we were told that we could choose from house wines only. The American site clearly listed several wines to pick from (I believe they are the ones listed "by the glass" on the dining room menu) including sweet wines. We were not in the mood to argue with our waiter so went to guest services after dinner. We were told the American site is wrong, that they could not give us a refund and they offered us a draft beer package. Why weren't they able to at least give us an onboard credit? We made due with these tickets, but on top of the 24 other drink tickets we had with our cruise package we were not able to use all of them. Every time we tried to use the water bottle coupons from the beer package the waiters questioned us, told us the coupons were old and asked if we got them from another ship. It is a horrible feeling to be accused of stealing for a $2.75 bottle of water! Our last issue came the last night of the cruise. We used several drink tickets at the bar on the 6th floor. The bar charged us for 2 bottles of wine (we ordered wine by the glass) and several other drinks, instead of applying our drink tickets. This caused us to have to go to guest services once again and wait in the never ending line. Cirque show We prepaid for both shows, one for dinner and one for drinks. It is truly ridiculous that you can not pick your show day and time online when you prepay for this experience. We went to the lounge to book and were helped by an employee. We were told to come back the next day at 5 pm to pick up the tickets. When we arrived the next day, our reservation had not been made and we did not have seats for the show that night. After a stern conversation, the manager was able to rearrange and get us in to that showing. An experience we were most looking forward to, overshadowed by the lack of attention to detail and customer service. Excursions One of the main reasons we choose the cruise as our honeymoon was because of the excursions offered. The following pre-booked excursions were canceled during our trip: Cycling in Palermo and Surrounds Flavors of Barcelona Marseille e-bike discovery tour We did not enjoy our replacement excursions in Palermo and Marseille. Upon speaking with the excursion manager, we learned that the bike rides in Palermo and Marseille aren't offered on the ship because the ship does not have bikes to loan out. Why then, was I able to book and prepay for these excursions? We also learned, several of the tours never happen, for example the jogging tour. One of the other issues we experienced was the excursions sale staff. We were told a minimum number of people were required for a tour to take place, but the sales staff was not allowing people to sign up for them. How can you ever meet your minimum capacity if your staff is steering people in the opposite direction? After talking to the manager for several minutes we asked for confirmation that the Barcelona e-bike tour could depart the next day (this tour was not listed online but was in the printed excursion information). She made it work, and it was our favorite day on the cruise. Departure off ship/ tour groups Our final frustration happened when we were trying to get off the boat one final time. The disembarking was 2.5 hours behind, and the first time they made an announcement about the delay was at the 2 hour mark. All the people who were following instructions about their colors were on deck 5,6,7 with no where to move. The large tour groups were huddled together taking up so much space. At one point we asked employees to help control the crowd because the tour groups were blocking the front desk as we were standing in line to get the alcohol charges removed. Tour groups really should have a private meeting space and be escorted by cruise staff when there are hundreds of them gathering at once. On a positive note, the Meraviglia was a beautiful ship our room was spacious for an inside cabin. Our room steward took excellent care of us while we were onboard. We also had a wonderful last night onboard at the hibachi restaurant. This however, does not make up for all the problems we experienced. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Chose this ship based on the dates I would be in Barcelona and it had a good itinerary. I am a seasoned cruiser having been on over 30 cruises so I had a lot to compare. MSC bombards you with staff selling different packages when you ... Read More
Chose this ship based on the dates I would be in Barcelona and it had a good itinerary. I am a seasoned cruiser having been on over 30 cruises so I had a lot to compare. MSC bombards you with staff selling different packages when you board. You have to pay extra for everything, room service, sauna and more. We boarded at 1:30pm and didn’t meet our room steward until 7:40 when Ihad to look for him. Nothing I had ever experienced in any of the other 7 cruise companies I have been on. It got worse! couldn’t call the front desk or room service for almost 2 days, called and it rang forever without a reply. placed complain cards but no reply. lines at the assistance desk would take over an hour with 4 attendants for 5100 passengers! Poorest food and service wil keep us from ever cruising MSC. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
As we have some cruise experience (Holland America, RC, Princess, Costa, Viking, Aida) and have travelled with MSC (Fantasia) before, we spontaneously decided to spend a week on MSC Meraviglia. Prices seemed more than reasonable and as we ... Read More
As we have some cruise experience (Holland America, RC, Princess, Costa, Viking, Aida) and have travelled with MSC (Fantasia) before, we spontaneously decided to spend a week on MSC Meraviglia. Prices seemed more than reasonable and as we planned our trip for March we knew we were not coming back with a tan, so opted for an interior cabin without balcony. The weather wouldn't be permitting spending much time outside anyways. Having just returned from the trip the conclusion is to never go on board an MSC cruise again. It was the first time in all these years that we decided to leave the ship early and were quite pleased to get away from it all. First, let's start by summing up some pros and cons. PROs: - the ship makes a good first impression looking clean and quite impressive - the cabin, in comparison to other reviews, we thought was decent considering the price - our booking included a mealtime drink package which made the price even more reasonable at first sight - the embarkation process in Marseille went smoothly and we were able to go on board within an hour. CONs: - depressed or rude staff - overcrowded everywhere at all times - airplane food - 15% service charge - MSCs money making scheme - EVERYTHING costs a lot The experience in more detail Ship When we entered the ship the first impression was good, nice clean with seemingly all the amenities required to spend a good holiday. However after having walked around and explored the ship it was lacking all aspects of cosyness and despite being so big we could not find a place where we really wanted to spend our time. The style is very modern, cold and bold, which may be a question of taste, but none of the bars, spaces and places had a sense of welcoming atmosphere about them. The mall is large but it makes you wonder why all this space has been wasted on rather useless instalments like a TV studio and the Chocolatiere chocolate shop. Have fun spending your time there on a 7 days cruise. Apart from that you get the usual overpriced duty-free and merchandise shops as well as restaurants you have to pay extra. Dining To describe it in one word: TERRIBLE! The marketplace buffet reminded me of 2* all-inclusive hotels in my teenage years travelling to Mallorca and the costa del Sol. Always overcrowded with people seemingly going for the last supper of their lives. Fighting for tables, food, Asians taking their time to fill up flasks with tea and coffee. Incredibly poor food standard. It sounds good when you read the signs, I.e. seafood ravioli in a white wine sauce, but as soon as you try it, you'll find that it tastes like cold or, when lucky, lukewarm airplane food. Another fun fact is the beer, as a German, I quite like my beer with my meals when on holiday but what on earth are these guys serving? My girlfriend and me were wondering if something like instant beer exists, cause if it does that's what they might be serving. Do you know these Softdrink machines at McDonald's where you can see the syrup mix with the soda? I imagine MSC's draft beer being made like that! The waves restaurant reminded me of the film Titanic when you see the decision between the upper and lower classes. No windows in this restaurant, grey dark and too many people in not enough space to create an enjoyable atmosphere. Our waiter was a joke. Incredibly rude and rolling his eyes at every single request being made. On the first night we had to queue for 20 minutes to be taken to our table. When we arrived he immediately handed us the menus without any greeting to return 1-2 minutes later to ask us for our choices. We ordered our starters and mains without any second thoughts before being asked our choice for dessert not even knowing at this time whether we wanted one or not. When someone from our table requested wine he put a bottle on the table and said help yourselves, it is your job for the evening now. Unbelievable! Once you have gulped up your last bite the waiters will indicate that it is time for you to leave now. We spend 2 regrettable dinners there and chose the buffet instead. Cabin The dark interior of the cabin is not quite our taste but the cabin was clean and alright. The only slight problem was the air conditioning which didn't do much to provide the cabin with some needed oxygen. In some moments we missed not having a balcony, oh and a chair would be useful as well as a bathrobe. When we requested some, we are told that they are only provided on the YC and Aurea categories. This meant for us that in March we had to walk the outside decks with just a towel when going to the whirlpools. Entertainment & Activities We did not try any of the costly extras like bowling etc. It seems that they are trying to make it extra boring to force you to pay for activities. No poolside games, poor quizzes and when something takes place it is too packed to enjoy. We bought day passes for the spa at an extra cost of€55 for two, also disappointing. A small (for 5000 guests) outdated spa and the steam rooms were not even working on the day. They said they will take care of the problems but did not offer any refunds. Talking about offering, they do not offer much of anything in the spa apart from towels. No tea or water or juices. Guys, this is standard everywhere!! Health & Safety Usually not a category in reviews it needs to be highlighted for this ship. The safety demonstration took place in the theatre forcing everybody to listen to 2 points of information in 6 languages, a demonstration of the safety vests and the alarm signal. Afterwards, in groups they show you safety station. Ours conveniently was the Irish pub. To this day I have no clue which safety exit to the boats we would have to take or who and how would they be handing out the safety vests. I can only imagine what the scenario would be like in case of an emergency with 5000 guests plus staff. Another important point is the complete disregard for any hygienic standards. Nobody cares if you sanitise your hands during embarkation or when coming into the restaurants, no reminder, no nothing. Good luck with noro viruses in the future, it is bound to happen. This is especially insteresting considering all the touch screens everyone uses everywhere. Excursions We always go by ourselves as 99% of the time cruise ship excursions are a rip off. Service If you could call it that... the reception is designed for people to give up during queuing. Phone calls are never answered by reception, all you hear is the mocking message that your call is important to MSC. Overall Many aspects that make a cruise special are lost on this ship because of the hop-on hop-off system. No official welcome, no official announcements to inform guests, no nautical information, no getting to know anyone else properly as they might be leaving the next day, no farewell dinner. It also means that people are Constantly exploring the ship or disembarking sitting around lounges and bars with their suitcases and suitcases in front of doors every day. Then the constant money making off of everything, whether freshly squeezed orange juice or watching a film on your cabin, there is no joy to be found without extra pay. If at least then staff would make up for it with good service, but they don't. In some moments you even feel sorry for them having to put up with it all for longer than we had. We chose to disembark early to spend the rest of the holiday in Barcelona, it felt quiet there in comparison to the Meraviglia. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
After we had booked our cruise many months before sailing we were really worried about the reviews We were very surprised to find that what most had complained about we didn't feel the same Embarkation went really smoothly We ... Read More
After we had booked our cruise many months before sailing we were really worried about the reviews We were very surprised to find that what most had complained about we didn't feel the same Embarkation went really smoothly We found the choice of food in the main restaurant and in the buffet to be very tasty and enjoyed good service at all times The Entertainment was ok We thought that all staff were very polite at all times especially drinks and food waiters Exiting and re boarding the ship was well organised everyday with the card system which does make things easier The ship itself is fantastic with the ceiling in main walkway forever changing it looks amazing We liked many of the bars to just sit and relax and have a drink We really enjoyed our cruise with msc and would certainly cruise again as we found it good value for the price we paid up other cruises of same standard Thank You. Read Less
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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