11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Having booked Merella explorer 2 as our first cruise was a choice well made. The ship is an older ship nearly 25 years old and is showing its age here and there although the ship has gone through a refit in March and those additions have ... Read More
Having booked Merella explorer 2 as our first cruise was a choice well made. The ship is an older ship nearly 25 years old and is showing its age here and there although the ship has gone through a refit in March and those additions have added greatly to the experience. A negative was the lack of toilets on the main restaurant decks 5,6 and 7. That was the only negative. The staff were excellent and the food and drink packages were again value for money. The entertainment was good throughout the ship and the silent disco is something to behold. The cabin we had was on deck 9 with a balcony, it was spacious, the bathroom was well proportioned with the shower enclosure big enough for me as I'm six foot four. The pool deck area had enough sun loungers for all the guests and the bar staff ensured your drinks were topped up continually. On the whole it was a superb holiday with way more positives than negatives. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We flew into Naples airport expecting the worse but were pleasantly surprised as we encountered no problems other than waiting 40mins for our luggage to come through.TUI staff were on hand to guide us onto the waiting buses and in a short ... Read More
We flew into Naples airport expecting the worse but were pleasantly surprised as we encountered no problems other than waiting 40mins for our luggage to come through.TUI staff were on hand to guide us onto the waiting buses and in a short time we were at the port ready to board the ship.We had to go through some security checks before boarding,but this is perfectly understandable in this day and age.The ship itself is modern and clean and fairly easy to find your way around,we found the different colour carpets to be a big help with this.We ate mainly in the Market Place during the day and Latitude 53 for evening meals where we were expected to dress in smart casual to eat here.We found the food here very good with mostly different things on the menu every evening and the waiter service excellent.On one night we paid approximately £50 for the two of us to book into Kora La for a meal,although this is extra to the all inclusive we found it to be well worth the money as the food and service provided was exceptional.Special mention for Albert who went out of his way to look after us that night.We had paid for the Premium package for drinks and as my wife enjoys different types of gin and I enjoy my whisky we found this to be value for money,again special mention to Rommel in the Gin and Whisky bar in the Squid and Anchor a top class barman.We enjoyed some of the shows in the Broadway Showroom also.We did not go on any excursions preferring to find our own way around the lovely cities we visited.All in all a great first cruise experience,looking forward to the next. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Loyal Marella customers. This was our second cruise on this ship. It has definitely improved since our last voyage on her - you can tell that the team have settled in and the snagging issues from earlier this year have gone. The ship ... Read More
Loyal Marella customers. This was our second cruise on this ship. It has definitely improved since our last voyage on her - you can tell that the team have settled in and the snagging issues from earlier this year have gone. The ship is being maintained nicely and the public areas are still very fresh. The only snag being that the air conditioning didn’t seem to cope very well when the ship was in port. Our cabin was one of the two Royal Suites on board and it was worth every penny. Very luxurious and comfortable. There always seemed to be some form of entertainment going on around the ship. We saw a few of the shows and also watched the comedians (note to the unaware - stay well away from the front few rows If you don’t want to be the butt of any jokes!). We preferred the pianists in Flutes and Aperitif over the more formal entertainment like the shows. As always with Marella, the thing that made it so good was the service that the staff offered. So many of the staff remember us from previous cruises - it was lovely. A special thanks to Simina the sommelier, the wine tasting she does on sea day is really good fun and informative. She looked after us for the rest of our cruise surprising us with nice wines. Dining was great. From the al a carte dining we went to Surf and Turf, Kora La and the Dining Club. All well worth a visit! The only downside with this particular cruise has to be Naples airport. Really really bad. Stressful. Made better by the fact that the TUI cabin crew warned us before we got off that it ‘runs on Italian time!’ That bit of good humour kept everything in perspective. We waited on the aircraft for 40 minutes on the tarmac before the busses came to take us to the airport. We were told by the screens to wait at luggage belt 5 and then an hour later were told to move to belt 1, and then it took another 30 minutes for luggage to arrive that then got stuck at the entrance to to belt and other passengers had to pull it through. It was also quite a walk to the coach transfer in the heat so if you do have anyone in your party with a disability make sure you ask for assistance. The return experience was just as shambolic with no where to sit while you wait (think people actually arguing over seats!!!), so again if you struggle I would be requesting a wheel chair. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first ever cruise as a couple of 26 year olds and my parents in law, who had been desperate to try a cruise, so we booked together and then personally followed our cruise with a trip to Sorrento. We have been truly ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise as a couple of 26 year olds and my parents in law, who had been desperate to try a cruise, so we booked together and then personally followed our cruise with a trip to Sorrento. We have been truly converted and would love to cruise again, on explorer 2 again too. Wish we’d done a 2 week cruise!!! Best bits: - Food was really good and in such abundance! (Vista and the Dining Club were brilliant). - Crew were lively and generally super helpful and polite. - Drinks package is very good and although we upgraded to premium we needn’t have as there was such a large selection of drinks. - We always managed to get a sunbed, even on sea days and we certainly weren’t up at the crack of dawn- but they were enforcing rules for people leaving towels on beds which is good to see. - My mother and father in law had a cabin on lower decks and their service from Nui (their steward) was incredible. - Jack Glanville the guest comedian was the highlight of the week for the entertainment. - I loved using the gym, running track. - Fish and Chips from snack shack were a treat! - We did excursions to St Tropez, Rome and Florence but did the ‘on your own’ versions as didn’t fancy following an umbrella!! They were beautiful places, but hot and over crowded at this time of year- completely not Marella’s fault, but just a word of advice for other cruisers. Think we would organise tours independently next time as they were extremely long days and fellow cruisers said we could do them cheaper if we arranged taxi tours ourselves! Things to improve on: - Both main speciality restaurants (Kora La and Surf and Turf) were booked up by day 2 of our cruise which we were gutted about. They didn’t seem to care either, I did complain and say customers should be told they book up quickly and I would have booked day 1 of the cruise (even though this seems a bit sad to have to do as soon as stepping on the ship). It did mean we booked The Dining Club instead which in the end was superb, but my boyfriend really wanted to try Surf and Turf. - Our steward kept walking into our room without knocking, whilst we didn’t spend a lot of time in the room, it was a bit uncomfortable! He walked in without a moments knock or hesitation and my partner was quite frustrated by this when he walked in and I was in the shower and he just asked, ‘is someone in there?’ A little strange but I suppose they’re just used to people not being in the cabin, but may require some further training. We just ended up leaving the lock on the door or do not disturb in whenever we were in. - As others have mentioned, Naples airport was a nightmare, queues galore through passport control and a very long wait for bags, and long walk in the heat for the bus transfer. I hope they don’t only use Naples (although it’s good for Sorrento trips for us!) - Noise in our cabin kept me from sleeping one night due to a loud noise when the ship was rocking in the wind- I didn’t sleep till 5am. (Cabin 8128) - Spa is great, but an infinity pool it is not! (It is only deep enough to sit in!) - Gym needs air con!!!!! All in all, these are minor complaints for a superb cruise but things which if rectified would be amazing! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We have sailed on the Seaside two previous times and had very good experiences. This time, things certainly changed ! Dining room dinners were substandard for sure, although our dining room staff were very nice and did a good job, ... Read More
We have sailed on the Seaside two previous times and had very good experiences. This time, things certainly changed ! Dining room dinners were substandard for sure, although our dining room staff were very nice and did a good job, doesn't make up for the food. Terrible selections and poor quality of entrees, the specialty restaurants were nothing short of perfect. We should not have to pay to get a good meal, even their pizza was terrible !at the buffet which we always enjoy. We got better pizza in Ocho Rios ! The bar staff was over burdened and apparently getting an olive for a Martini is a stretch ! They do a great meet and great and have done we enjoyed them on Seaside before. The rooms are small but we knew that from previous cruises on Seaside. Would I be going again on the Seaside, right now I need a rest from MSC !! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Firstly I wished I found this website before i booked!!!! Wow we have been on many a Royal Caribbean cruises in the past, but we booked this after watching a very luxurious video on MSC website. We thought that this was going to be ... Read More
Firstly I wished I found this website before i booked!!!! Wow we have been on many a Royal Caribbean cruises in the past, but we booked this after watching a very luxurious video on MSC website. We thought that this was going to be opelent, luxurious, classy and extravagant cruise seeing as that's what the video to us. Having paid alot more then we usually would, treating ourself to a jacuzzi room and we were told drinks were all in we were so excited. We were wrong our cruise company got it wrong apparently we didn't have the deluxe package for drinks of course that's started us off badly having to pay the extra €198 each. That way my husband could have a better choice of beers and I could have more options of cocktails and s baileys. What a disapointmet, yes the ship is beautiful but lacking what in my book is no1 customer service. We have never felt so unwelcome alone and miserable by the way we were treated on this ship we my husband and I couldn't wait to get off. All the staff were miserable no one would look at you or ask if you needed anything or help. There was never a good morning or evening nothing. No one is ever made to wash their hands when going into the restaurants,it's disgusting no wonder theses ships get poorly. It's a health risk. This is a must why do they no take this on. Royal Caribbean make everyone who enters resturaunts to wash their hands someone stands there. The food was boring every night in the dining room, the same food just a different flavour. The 4 nights we did eat here at golden sands we waited over 2 hours for 2 courses. Seeing as it was all luke warm or cold and waited so long we did the buffet a couple of nights this wasn't much better pizza and chips.....again samey every night too. We had a rude waiter when we asked once if someone could clear our plates because they had been sat there for half an hour we were told no... I thought he was joking actually he wasn't. I have never in all the cruises I have been on have such bad attitude, rude argumentative, unapproachable customer service like it. Including receptionist, waiting staff, bar staff pool attendants every one was the same... what is that about? why is everybody the same. It made us feel awful, the boat had no life or soul no happiness no life. Do not get excited about the formal night, was a waste of me taking my long dresses. Because actually they called it elegant night, I understand not everybody wants to get dressed up but my husband and I changed twice because thier elegant night was trainers,shorts,flipflops baseball caps and t shirts in the main dining. We were all sat so close to one another, we were on laps most of the time. Ice cream were very nice this we enjoyed for our dessert every night seeing as waiting for an ice cream in the restaurant always took 30 minutes and had melted. Except one day at the Panama pool I was put off when I saw hairs in it the coconut ice cream. The 3d simulator the bowling and zip line is at a fee, all other ships are always free when ever we've been on royal Caribbean.... wow you really should try taking your team and trying your competitors for cruising see how they do it The sun loungers are dangerous, as they kept collapsing with people on them. There's so much more to write. The very worse thing about this cruise is that before we went on this, all my family and i stupidly booked a once in a lifetime holiday cruise to Dubai and around the Emirates but it is on the spendida for December 28th. After reading reviews from that ship, on this site its like reading my own all the same thing. The terrible customer service, the awful food, even reading a cleaner using passangers toothbrushes to clean toilets!!!!! Oh my gosh I'm heartbroken as we will all lose the money if we cancel. So we have had to suck it up and still go. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
MSC Meraviglia – 13th to 20th November – Naples to Civitavecchia Background We had booked this cruise for a number of reasons, the first being that even though we have visited the majority of ports on the Western Med circuit we ... Read More
MSC Meraviglia – 13th to 20th November – Naples to Civitavecchia Background We had booked this cruise for a number of reasons, the first being that even though we have visited the majority of ports on the Western Med circuit we had never visited Naples. Knowing that we would like to see Pompeii, Herculaneum, Sorrento and some of the other main attractions, this itinerary meant we could spend a few days in Naples before the start of the cruise and tick these destinations off our lists. The other reason for booking the cruise was to experience what the latest flagship of the MSC fleet had to offer. Being launched earlier in 2017, MSC Meraviglia was billed as the most technologically advanced ship at sea. Since this cruise, MSC have launched another new ship, MSC Seaside, as part of their impressive expansion plans. Seaside and Meraviglia are completely different ships, with the design being poles apart. Meraviglia was built by STX France and Seaside by Fincantieri. Seaside focuses on getting guests ‘closer to the sea’ and is the ship that follows the sun, whereas Meraviglia is billed as the ship for all seasons. As I’m yet to sail on Seaside and can only comment on what I’ve seen on the Internet, I’ll refrain from any more comments or comparisons between these two ships. Embarkation Boarding at Naples was convenient, with the cruise terminal having decent facilities and a short and inexpensive taxi ride from our hotel helped us to relax. The signage within the terminal could have been better – luggage needed to be dropped off in one side of the terminal, with check-in / boarding being completed in the other. This could have been confusing had we not sought assistance early on. As we are Black Card members of the Voyagers club we were able to take advantage of the priority boarding – this meant that as soon as the Yacht Club passengers had been taken through security we were able to sail through the crowds. We were given our cruise cards at check in – on recent cruises the cards had been waiting in the cabin. Accommodation Once aboard we went to find our cabin, a Fantastica balcony, 14153. We had not fully appreciated on paper just how much bigger than the Fantasia class ships Meraviglia is, with extra corridors and inside cabins it would certainly take some time to get used to the layout. MSC Cabins are priced on cabin type (inside, outside, balcony, suite etc) and experience type (Bella, Fantastica, Wellness, Aurea, Yacht Club). Each experience type offers different perks. We tend to always choose Fantastica as the cabins are generally in a better location (mid-ships) preference of dining time (although not guaranteed), continental breakfast room service. The cabin itself was up to the usual MSC standard. It was spotless. It did feel perhaps a little smaller than some of the cabins we have stayed in, but still plenty big enough for two people for a week’s cruise. Storage space appears perhaps a little lacking as there are only two drawers, however suitcases fit under the bed, there is an extra rail in the wardrobe that folds down to provide extra hanging space. Lifejackets are also now stored at the muster station rather than in the cabin which again frees up some space. Our cases were soon delivered and we unpacked; alas there was still room for more clothes. To our delight the cabin also had a bath with glass shower screen; the bath was particularly nice when coming back to the ship on cooler days; great for relaxing with a glass of wine whilst getting ready for dinner! The Ship As our boarding time was 2pm, we had missed lunch, so it was off up to Deck 15 to have a look at the Market Place buffet. The buffet is simply huge! There are so many different stations including carvery, rotisserie and oriental, as well as the usual pizzas and salads. Following lunch, it was off to explore round the ship, with our first stop being The Horizon bar – an adults only area at the stern of the ship on Deck 18. This reminded me a little of NCL Epic’s Spice H2o area, only it was more spacious with a much more open feel. There were plenty of sunbeds in the staged amphitheatre area, a decent sized plunge pool and a large hot tub. We finished our glasses of champagne (Nicholas Feuillatte) which was included in our premium drinks package, which offers excellent value at £36 per day for unlimited consumption of alcoholic beverages, items in the mini bar and room service – there are very few exclusions to the package, with only some super-premium single malts, Beluga Vodka and Zacapa Rum being the main ones. Back inside and to the Edge cocktail bar on Deck 6. We were delighted to meet up with Francisco, a bar tender who remembered us from our very first cruise, and he was also very pleased to see us. From The Edge bar, it is impossible not to be wowed by the sheer size of Meraviglia; you really get a feel as to how wide the ship is, and how long she is with a spectacular view down the central promenade “Galleria Meraviglia” Meraviglia boasts the longest LED dome at sea and WOW what an impression it made! The domed ceiling is the focal point of the central promenade, with the LED screen used to show a variety of vistas, from fireworks in London, Paris, Sydney, famous ceilings of the world, ‘under the sea’, in to space, dinosaurs… Along the promenade are the speciality restaurants, the TV studio / comedy club, the chocolate shop and the Meraviglia lounge, which generally hosted the animation team’s evening games and dances. Dining One of the reasons many people decide to book cruise holidays is the reputation that cruising has for providing plentiful high quality food. On various review sites MSC seem to take a beating over the food provided in the main dining rooms, with writers suggesting the food is not good. Let me just say: Food is subjective. What I mean by this is that what suits the taste of one person may be completely against what others feel. I like to think of myself as a good cook and am somewhat a foodie. For me, the food on MSC is varied and well executed. Being a company of Italian heritage, it should come as no surprise that Italian cuisine has a heavy influence on the menu. Personally I found the food to be of a good standard and with a varied menu. The menu choices have been pared down since I first started cruising with MSC; there are now fewer options for each course and seemingly a push towards a three course dining experience. Portion sizes are adequate, and it is never an issue to have more courses – my partner and I quite often had four or five courses, as we love to try the different options available. We were assigned ‘My Choice’ dining in the Panorama restaurant and were waited on by Marcello and his team. They were knowledgeable about themenu and offered advice on wine pairings from the list of wines by the glass included in our package. Highlights of food throughout the week include the sparkling wine risotto and fillet of beef in marsala wine sauce on the first elegant night, the seafood mixed grill served on the Med night was also very well presented, consisting of a whole king prawn, swordfish and cuttlefish. Speciality Dining Traditionally, MSC have not had numerous speciality restaurants. For example, Fantasia and Splendida have just the Tex Mex / Steakhouse, Divina and Preziosa Eataly / steakhouse. Meraviglia is almost a break from this tradition with several options over and above the main dining room. These include a Teppan Yaki and sushi restaurant, a steakhouse, Italian, a British pub. With these choices, in addition to the assigned dining room and buffet options it is impossible not to find something of interest. As we are both Black Card holders in MSC’s Voyagers club, a perk is a meal for two in a speciality restaurant. We had decided to take one of these meals in the Kyoto Teppan Yaki and the other in the Butchers Cut steakhouse. The in-cabin TV and the MSC for me app now enables passengers to view the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As such we checked out whether we would really enjoy the dinner menu ahead of making reservations in another restaurant. On the second night of the cruise we decided to take our first complimentary meal in the speciality dining and were able to secure a table for 7.30pm. Paul, our chef for the evening was great fun – making a real show out of the whole experience. The complimentary Black Card menu was the ‘Emperor’ selection, which would usually cost €28 per head. It consisted of delights such as sushi, miso soup, fried rice, salmon and steak. The whole experience resulted in a synergy that in my opinion exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed the experience so much we decided that we would take our second complimentary meal in the Teppan Yaki Paul was delighted to see us again when we joined him a couple of nights later for another meal! Entertainment For those who have heard of MSC before, it will come as no surprise that there are a number of nationalities onboard, and therefore multiple languages are spoken. English is always the first language, then Italian followed by French, German, Spanish etc. Announcements are therefore limited compared to other cruise lines which seem to constantly have the cruise director on the Tannoy advising passengers of activities going on around the ship. Just because the announcements aren’t there that doesn’t mean that these activities don’t happen. The daily programme is delivered to the cabin in the evening. The MSC for Me app and the interactive screens around the ship give information about what is happening, where and when. Everyday during the cruise there was a quiz of some description, multiple games, dance lessons, and even Master Chef at Sea! MSC have partnered up with the TV programme to bring something different to their cruises. To qualify, contestants must take part in a quiz. The top scoring individuals are then chosen to take part in the live show in the theatre. I was lucky enough to be chosen and was paired up with another contestant from Portugal. It was certainly an experience and quite nerve wracking to try and prepare something tasty and well presented in front of a crowd of 700 using the following ingredients: galia melon, honeydew melon, watermelon, strawberries, feta cheese, balsamic vingar, olive oil, salt and pepper… By a sheer miracle we won and came away with various MSC and Masterchef branded goodies! On Meraviglia, MSC have teamed up with Cirque du Soleil who perform two different shows. Unfortunately, for much of our sailing there was an issue with some of the equipment in the Carousel Lounge – the special area deck 7 aft beyond the casino dedicated to these performances. This unfortunate issue meant that there were no shows until our penultimate night. We managed to secure two seats for the final night of our cruise to see the Sonor show. The show was absolutely excellent. We’d pre-booked our show and cocktail ticket online so we were really glad we managed to get to see Cirque. It is almost impossible to describe the show other than breath-taking. The comfortable and well-designed lounge with excellent views of the stage even from near the back, the amazing acoustics, wonderful costumes and of course the excellent artists. There are also three theatre shows per night, of two different shows, which allows passengers to perhaps see something they might have missed. We attended the Opera based around La Boheme which was very good indeed, with live opera singers. Conclusion There is far more to Meraviglia than I have mentioned so far – so many bars and lounges, waterslides, simulators, night clubs, sports parks – it would take weeks to write anything further in detail on all these aspects. We were certainly wowed by the ship and can see why she is the eighth wonder of the world. During our week onboard we were made to feel like celebrities; so many of the crew recognized us from previous cruises and were genuinely pleased to see us. Nothing was ever too much trouble. My only criticism would be that there did seem to be a lack of seating on occasion. This wouldn’t normally be much of an issue for us, however my partner is recovering from a broken ankle. It was always possible to find somewhere to sit by moving to a different bar or lounge, however this could be inconvenient when wanting to listen to a certain act. I’m confident that there is something for everyone on this ship and that she is a real game changer. For the moment though MSC Fantasia will still remain my favourite and hold a very special piece of my heart having spent so long on her and her sister Splendida. Being that bit smaller than Meraviglia Fantasia has all of the facilities of a big ship but offers the familiarity of a well-loved holiday home. Would I sail on Meraviglia again? Yes, I would, but possibly only for a week or ten days – the ship has so much going on it’s impossible to ignore the multitude of activities and attractions and just ‘switch off’ and relax. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This ship had the rudest staff no good morning and the rudes customers ever I have been on several ships and this was the worst .No hand sanitiser as you enter dinning room .Room wasn't clean even when they were supposed to have ... Read More
This ship had the rudest staff no good morning and the rudes customers ever I have been on several ships and this was the worst .No hand sanitiser as you enter dinning room .Room wasn't clean even when they were supposed to have cleaned it big clumps of somones hair on floor food left outside our cabin not mine .dirty carpets all down the corridor this ship is only two months old God help it after a year .paneling coming off in stairs and broken glass in casino would not recommend this ship to anyone they need to train staff to at lastest smile .staff in restaurant too busy taking selfys of each other to serve you people pushing and shoving at meal times food left all over ship it was shameful to look at shame on you msc it only takes one person to have norovirus and all the ship will be down Read Less

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