Cruiseline: MSC Cruises
Ship: MSC Meraviglia
For bookings: msccruises.com
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!