Our next cruise is coming! And we’re branching out to a brand new to us cruise line. We just paid off our next cruise on the MSC Meraviglia in full and bought our trip insurance. Now it’s time to start getting excited!
First time on MSC
This will be our first cruise on MSC USA. Meraviglia means Wonder or Marvel in Italian, and believe me, from the YouTube videos I’ve seen, it is a marvel. From the Swarovski Crystal staircase in the main lobby, to the large LED overhead screen, reminiscent of Fremont Street in Vegas, it looks to be an amazing ship.
We’ll be setting out on November 10th from Miami on the third cruise of the Meraviglia out of the US. Her first two cruises in the US will be from New York, before she sails to Miami. And we’ll be among the first to visit MSC’s new private island, Ocean Cay Marine Reserve.
MSC Meraviglia was built in 2016 and was launched on September 2, 2016. She’s 1,036’ long, and has a capacity of 4,500 passengers and 1,536 crew. Compare that to the last ship we sailed on, Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas, which is 692’ long, and has a capacity of 2,270 guests and 668 crew, and you can get an idea of just how big the Meraviglia is. I think you could put Empress inside the Meraviglia.
MSC USA is great when it comes to giving discounts. First of all, they have a Voyager’s club that will automatically get you a 5% discount. And they will let you match one of your other Cruise Line clubs, such as the Crown and Anchor club from Royal Caribbean. We ended up with a Silver status and its perks, and we’ve never sailed with MSC before. On top of that they have other discounts, such as a Civil Service Discount which includes government jobs, military, and police. This discount is instead of the Voyagers Club, you can’t overlap. But since we had booked a balcony cabin, we got a 10% discount altogether. Plus, a dinner at the ship’s Cirque Du Soleil was included.
We opted to get the Bella Experience, which is the basic MSC experience, but still includes everything we need. The cabin is on a lower floor, we get to eat in the main dining room and buffet, and we get entertainment. We don’t really need anything else.
Our ports of call starting with Belize
This cruise we’ll be sailing to Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya, and Ocean Cay. We’ve been to each of these ports before, except for, of course, Ocean Cay. We’ve scheduled an excursion from the ship for Belize. Since it’s a long excursion, we didn’t want to chance missing the ship. We’re going to visit the Mayan ruins called Xunantunich. Try pronouncing that one! We’ve been to Belize once before, and this is actually the same excursion that we went on last time. You can still climb the ruins there, and what a view from the top. You can even see Guatamala. And on the way back we’ll stop for authentic Belizian food. Last time I bought some delicious sweet hot sauce, and I want more this time. So good.
We’ve scheduled a private tour in Roatan. We’re going to Daniel Johnson’s Sloth Hangout, and getting an island tour. Last time in Roatan we decided to just walk around the port area. That wasn’t my favorite thing. First off, a teenage boy from Coxen Hole decided to “adopt” us and followed us around everywhere trying to get us to buy things. He was a nice boy, but it got very annoying. I finally gave him some money to go away. Then I had a couple of Margueritas in a two story shopping area. Only 99 cents. But boy did I get sick afterwards. Must have been the ice.
In Costa Maya we’ll just hang around the port area. The Port of Costa Maya is one of my favorite ports. They have really upgraded and made it nice in the past few years. You can swim with the dolphins or just swim in the pool. And there is plenty of shopping and places to eat. Check it out HERE for more info about the Port of Costa Maya.
Ocean Cay Marine Reserve
And lastly, we’ll be at Ocean Cay. Like I said before, Ocean Cay will be brand new when we visit. Check out the interactive map HERE. Ocean Cay is an eco-friendly environment in the Bahamas, about 30 miles from Miami. It has eight beaches, eight massage huts, authentic Bahamian cuisine, tropical cocktails, and a Bahamian shopping village.
Ocean Cay is going to be different from most of the other cruise line private islands. It’s not going to be big on entertainment and things like waterslides. It’s going to be more about discovering nature and relaxing. Watersports, such as snorkeling and kayaking will be big. And of course, just chilling on the beach will be a primary activity. Time to just relax after that long cruise.
We plan on bringing our snorkel gear. I’m only comfortable in shallow water snorkeling, but it looks like that will be possible on Ocean Cay. And since we’re docked there till 1 am, I plan on going back out after dinner for some star gazing.
I can’t wait for November 10th!
So there you have it. I plan on blogging daily from this cruise in November if possible. And I’ll bring you lots of pictures of the MSC Meraviglia! You should check her out!
Meriviglia photos courtesy of MSC