Cruise review: MSC Meraviglia

Cruiseline: MSC Cruises
Ship: MSC Meraviglia
Itinerary: Mediterranean


Most of you know I LOVE cruise ships… Cruising is definitely my favorite way to explore new destinations in a glamorous environment. MSC Cruises launched in 1988 and what began with one ship has now grown into a magnificent fleet of 15 ships. It is actually one the fastest growing cruise companies in the industry.

I explored and experienced one their newest ships, the MSC Meraviglia. This ship was launched in June 2017 and is one of the largest cruise ships in the world. Trust me, she’s huge with a capacity of 4,500 passengers and 1,536 crew members. There are 15 glamorous passenger decks offering the most luxurious facilities one could wish for. I immediately fell in love with the interior design of the MSC Meraviglia. MSC is known for its glitter and glamour finishing and that’s how it should be on a cruise ship. The eye catcher on Deck 6 is the Galleria Meraviglia with a magnificent digital ceiling: a LED screen with gorgeous images and videos that change depending on the time of the day. It is really spectacular. As you walk through this promenade, you will pass the Infinity Atrium. I see why they call it the Infinity Atrium as there are mirror on the ceilings. As usual at most MSC cruise ships, the Swarovski Crystal Staircase is a must!


Let me tell you something more about the cabins. MSC offers inside cabins, ocean view cabins and balcony cabins. The balcony cabin we stayed in was absolutely amazing and very spacious. Actually, one the largest balcony cabins Ive ever stayed in. The king sized bed was among the best as well. No small couch here, but a full sized comfortable couch which was excellent for relaxing and reading a book. The balcony had a good size too with high quality furniture. There was a big interactive tv with several channels that we enjoyed. I can tell that a lot of thought has gone into the design and lay out of the cabins. What I appreciate is that each cabin has a minibar, even insides. Also, the touch panels to control the bedside lights were great! Another feature I like is the switch controlled ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Make Up My Room’ signs. There’s a double wardrobe in the cabin which was large enough to store your luggage and clothes.


The bathroom has a large shower with glass doors, a footrest which is ideal for leg shaving. There also a clothes wire for drying laundry. There are no toiletries provided, but there’s shampoo and soap available in fixed dispensers. The single sink has a great design and there’s a convenient cupboard with shelves. Do note that MSC sells its cruises by “experience” rather than cabin types. For example, the standard experience is called Fantastica which offers a classic cruise experience. The next level is Bella which offers a complimentary room service, etc.


There is so much to do on board of the MSC Meraviglia. As mentioned before, there are 15 (!) passenger decks. On Deck 5 I loved the infinity bar. This modern bar is the perfect place for people watching which is always fun, right? Oh by the way, drinks are not included in the fare, but I do recommend to buy a drinks package as it is great value for money. We paid 206 EUR per person for the Easy Package which includes unlimited consumption of selected drinks priced up to 6 EUR. There’s a good selection of spirits, wine, cocktails, mocktails, soft drinks and juices available. Also bottled water and classic hot drinks are included in all bars and restaurants, excluding specialty restaurants. I do like the all inclusive feeling without having to worry about the final bill at the end of the cruise. With a drinks package you know exactly what you will spend on board regarding drinks.


I would call Deck 6 the heart of the ship as it is home to the Galleria Meraviglia with the LED ceiling. Here you can shop and dine as you walk by many beautiful shops and dining venues. Also, make sure to visit the Jean-Philippe Chocolate store! The chocolate masterpieces they show are incredible (and I’m sure they taste pretty good as well!).


Plaza Meraviglia is the small shopping area of MSC Meraviglia with watches and sunglasses, perfumes and cosmetics and a mini hall. Here you can also find the MSC Excursions desk where you can book your shore excursions. The MSC shop is the place to buy souvenirs. Right across this gift shops, there’s Fashion Jewellery.


If you walk through the Galleria Meraviglia to the front of the shop, you will enter Broadway Theatre. A spectacular theatre where passengers can enjoy shows each night. In terms of entertainment, MSC is one of my favorite! Behind every corner, there’s something new waiting for you. I like to get entertained! There’s so much to do on this ship… I’ve found the quality of the shows excellent, especially Virtual, a resolutely contemporary show for today’s generation. Do note that you must book to attend a show. You can book any time up to 10 minutes before show time very conveniently through the MSC For Me app which I will tell you more about later. Speaking about shows, MSC works together with Cirque Du Soleil. That is right, for the first time ever, Cirque Du Soleil is at sea and they designed a special theatre on board the MSC Meraviglia. There are two 40-minute productions – Sonor and Viaggio – for you to enjoy at a small surcharge. We paid 15 EUR per person for each show and this includes a cocktail. I liked both shows, but found Sonor a little bit better as the special effects during this show were stunning.


Also during the day, there is so much to do. There are quizzes, dance classes, games, etc. all over the ship.

I should also highlight the Polar Aqua Park on Deck 19. It is the best water park at sea I have ever seen with 3 great water slides and the Himalayan Bridge which was very fun and actually a bit scary too. All activities are included in the rate. Very cool! Kids will have the time of their life here (and not only kids!). There are large outdoor pools available, Atmosphere Pool and Bamboo Pool, on deck 15. If the weather is bad, they will cover the Bamboo pool with a sliding roof, turning it into an indoor pool.


If you want to relax and unwind, make sure to visit the MSC Aurea Spa. This beautiful area is the place to visit when you want to come at ease. For a cruise ship, this spa center is huge offering several kinds of saunas and steam rooms. Do note that access is not included so you need to pay extra to make use of those facilities.

MSC is known for their family facilities. On Deck 18 you will find the kids clubs. That is right, there are several clubs on this ship especially built for kids. It is safe to leave your children here since there’s a reception and kids can’t just leave this area. They divided the clubs based on ages. There’s the Baby Club Chicco, Mini Club Lego, Junior Club Lego, Doremi Studio and the Young and Teen Club. This is also the place where you will find Sportplex, a place to play soccer, basketball, etc. Very cool!


Cruising is also about dining. There are many restaurants on board the MSC Meraviglia. Not all the restaurants are included in the fares. There are 5 specialty restaurants which cost extra. I did not make use of them as I found the food and service in the main restaurants to be really good. Beside the main restaurants, there’s also the huge Marketplace buffet on deck 15 with endless choices of freshly prepared food. The quality of the food was excellent and since this place is so huge, we never found any problem finding a table. The Marketplace buffet was our favorite place to have lunch. At night, we had dinner at L’Olive Doree. The food was just amazing! Each night, a delicious three course menu will be served. I’ve found the overall quality of the food pretty good and it all tasted fresh. Service was great too.


Cruising is not only about the ship, the ports we visited were beautiful. We had such a nice itinerary and visited Italy (Genua and Rom), Malta, Sicily (Palermo), Spain (Barcelona) and France (Marseille). That’s the main advantage of a cruise. You can visit so many places. You can book your excursions via MSC or just go off the ship and explore the area on your own which we did most of the time. It’s always nice though when you get back on the ship. It almost feels like coming home 😊

By the way, make sure to download the MSC For Me app when you cruise with MSC. It is so convenient to navigate and see what’s going on. You can even see the menus and book your seats for shows. You can actually chat with your fellow passengers and keep in touch. All you need to do is log in on the on board wifi system. The use of the MSC For Me app is free and a must have while you are on board.

MSC Meraviglia is new ship with tons of facilities and endless dining options. The service on board was great. Our cabin steward was very nice and nothing was asked for too much. The whole ship is maintained very well and was spotlessly clean. Make sure to check it out yourself, you will love it! We had the time of our lives on this jewel! Can’t wait to sail on her again!


Guarda Golf – Crans Montana

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Location: Crans-Montana – Switzerland
Classification: 5 star hotel superior

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Guarda Golf hotel & residences is a top notch five star hotel in Crans-Montana. Making part of Swiss Deluxe Hotels and The Leading Hotels of the World, my expectations were high and were met in every single way! We arrived during their winter opening weekend and I was blown away as soon as I entered this gorgeous place! I always like mountain style interiors when staying in the Alps and the warm and cozy interiors definitely gave me the mountain feelings. Guarda Golf hotel & residences is not an ultra modern design hotel, but a very stylish, elegant and luxurious appointed place instead. The traditional wooden décors and furniture are all beautiful.

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The most friendly and professional check-in staff greeted us with a smile and gave us some useful information about the hotel and the village. I loved the personal approach and I immediately noticed the high service level. The hotel has ‘only’ 23 rooms which is why guests are treated as royalty here. From this winter, they added 7 huge suite apartments, each with a lot of space to move (225m²!). Also new is the new private 15-seat cinema which is accessible at no additional charge. I should definitely mention that a lot of other services are included in the rates too such as complimentary valet (underground)parking, a limousine service within Crans Montana and each day you’ll receive a newspaper upon request.

The rooms at Guarda Golf hotel & residences are glorious, spacious and elegantly appointed. The dark wood made it even more romantic. Our room had a gorgeous king sized bed and the most comfortable sitting area with two comfortable couches. The oversized desk was perfect for doing some work and internet speed was excellent! By the way, each room comes with a minibar with complimentary soft drinks.

The balcony had picture perfect views over the surrounding areas. Beautiful!

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The luxurious bathroom featured a bathtub and an excellent shower! Water pressure was superb and 2 people could easily fit in! As most of you know, I’m a true fan of Bulgari toiletries and was happy to find out they provide those here!

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Enough things to do here! A must visit is the spa area! This is THE place to relax and unwind after a day in the mountains. It is just gorgeous. The indoor pool has a good size and water temperature is excellent! I felt great in the large sauna and steam room as it was freezing outside!

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They offer a large spa menu with several beauty treatments to choose from. I enjoyed a relaxing massage which was given by a talented spa therapist. She did an excellent job and made me feel reborn after the treatment. She was very knowledgeable about the products and took my preferences about the medium/soft pressure which I requested in mind. Loved every single minute of this wonderful beauty treatment. They’re real professionals here and the entire spa area is maintained in an excellent way! They use Eva.j products which is a Swiss-made line of products using only the best, biological ingredients, certified for Swiss pharmaceuticals.

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Guarda Golf hotel & residences is located near a 18 holes golf course, called Severiano Ballesteros. As it was the start of the winter season, we weren’t able to play golf, but they do offer an indoor golf facility as well. Very cool!

The ski slopes are only a short drive from the hotel. We took advantage of the wonderful complimentary limousine service and they took us to the slopes in their brand new Mercedes. The ski area at Crans Montana is stunning. With 23 lifts and 140 km of ski slopes, this is a perfect place to enjoy several days of winter fun. I was happy to find out there are many blue and red slopes as I’m not a fan of black slopes. What I liked about this ski area is that it is not over crowded. We never had to wait at the lifts and the whole area is connected in a very convenient way.

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Back to the hotel, as you would expect from a hotel of this class, they offer several gourmet dining options for their guests. The first night we had dinner at the Guarda Golf Lounge with a more international all round cuisine. As we arrived pretty late in the evening and since we were a bit tired, we enjoyed a more casual dinner. The food here was to die for and service was top notch! A must try is their crème brulee! The most beautiful crème brulee I have ever seen. Period!

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Mizuki by Kakinuma is their fine dining restaurant and is one of the better restaurants in Crans-Montana. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner here the second night. This restaurant offers an authentic Japanese cuisine in a unique setting. The décor is stylish and the panoramic views over the mountains is fantastic! The food really is out of this world and each plate was like a picture. As a starter we just had to try the suhi and we loved every single bite. For the main course we enjoyed a traditional hot pot called Marmite Sukiyaki with thin slices of beef and a selection of fresh vegetables in a sweet and salty soy bouillon, served with a raw egg on the side.

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Guarda Golf hotel & residences recently underwent expansion works which are completed this week and I just had to see the new expansions myself! They added 7 luxury three-bedrooms suite apartments – and trust me, I wouldn’t just call them apartments but presidential suites instead, a library, private dining space, an adults and children’s games room, a cigar lounge and a private cinema honoring the legendary James Bond actor who used to be a loyal guest for many years. Let me share some pictures!

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As you read, I really liked our stay at Guarda Golf hotel & residences. From the moment I stepped in to the moment I checked out, we enjoyed every single minute here and we can’t wait to return to this jewel in the Swiss Alps! Five stars all the way!