MSC Meraviglia – What I loved and what I hated!

My Five Favorite things about MSC Meraviglia

1. The beauty of the ship

MSC Meraviglia is a beautiful ship!  The Swarovski Crystal staircases glimmer and are an excellent showcase for photographs of your family.  The entire promenade area is beautifully laid out. The atrium area, with its grand piano and metal sculptures is a pleasant place to linger. Even the outdoor pool area is planned for beauty with magnificent sculptures. The theater itself is a lovely place, and there are no awkwardly positioned poles to block your vision.    

Swarovski Crystal staircase

2. The Promenade Dome

This had to be my favorite part of the ship.  When you walk onto the ship you cannot fail to see the Las Vegas style dome in the Promenade area.  The pictures and videos on the dome were ever changing, and very beautiful to watch.  It was amazing!  And every night they have a Dome show with a different theme.  In my opinion, this cruise was worth it just to see the Promenade Dome. 

3. The Waterslides

The Meraviglia has three waterslides.  My favorite was the twisting slide with the tubes.   The slide area wasn’t open often, but when it was, it didn’t seem to be overly crowded.  The tube slide was a lot of fun, and easy to get onto.  The other slides were fun also.  In this area there is also a ropes course that I didn’t go onto.  It didn’t seem to be overly crowded either, but it did look challenging. 

4. The children’s pool area

The Meraviglia has a very nice children’s pool area.  I never saw it crowded.  In the area are numerous water features, and also a very shallow large pool.  It’s packed with animal sculptures and plenty of places to get wet and cool down.  It has plenty of deck chairs so the parents can watch their children play.  This is in the same area as the waterslides and ropes course.

5. And finally (most of) the entertainment

For the most part, the entertainment on the MSC Meraviglia was very enjoyable.  You do have to make reservations for most of the shows in the Broadway Theater, but we never had a problem getting in and getting a seat.  The theater itself is very nice and comfortable, and there are no poles in your way.  The entertainment staff were very talented, and most of the shows were entertaining.  The best, in my opinion, was the Cirque du Soleil, for entertainment and food.

There were a couple of shows that we did not understand the meaning of even though they were done in English, plus I did not enjoy the opera that was included in almost all of the shows in the Broadway Theater.  These shows were done with a European audience in mind, I think.   

And My Five Least Favorite Things

1. Embarkation at the Port of Miami

I don’t know if it’s because we were on the Meraviglia’s first cruise out of Miami, or if F terminal in Miami is unorganized.  It seemed to take forever to get through the check in line at the terminal.   Plus, we waited a long time after we were checked in to board the ship.  There was no organization at all when we started boarding, and no way to hear which boarding number was boarding at the time unless you were right by the port agents.  This had to be our worst boarding experience ever.   However, disembarkation was smooth and painless.

Crowd in Terminal F, Port of Miami

2. The Food

Most of the food was okay, and just okay.  Some of it was just not good at all.  There was no variety from day to day in the buffet for breakfast or lunch.  The over-easy eggs were like rubber.  The bacon was good.  The french toast was so-so.  For lunch I basically got a hot dog and fries almost every day because there wasn’t a lot of variety to choose from. I’d heard great things about the pizza but I was not impressed.  I’d recommend going to the dining room for lunch, the food there was much better. They have a great signature burger!  And try the Sweet Fries (sweet potato fries)!

As for dinner, the NY Strip steaks on this cruise were not good.  We saw multiple steaks being sent back to the kitchen just at our table.  Very little sauce was served with pasta and other dishes.  I had to ask for extra sauce.  I’m just assuming that this is the European way of serving food.  Nothing was outstanding, and no lobster tails at all.  However, the food in the Cirque du Soliel was very good. 

3. The crowds and noise

Especially on the Promenade area after the theater lets out, it’s hard to move.  The crowds all just filter into one narrow area.  And in the dining room, the noise was really loud.  The tables were too large. You had to yell across the table to be heard, which did not help the situation.  It was a constant din of noise.  To get away from the crowds I spent time in the game and arcade areas.  I never saw it crowded in those areas, or in the basketball court area.

4. Customer Service

From even before our cruise, we had problems getting answers to our questions and it took a long time for them to answer our emails.  And then on the ship, the customer service line was always very long.  The line never seemed to end and the wait was long.  A lot of the staff was not as friendly as I’ve grown used to on other ships either.  I think that maybe it’s because MSC does not encourage extra tipping.  We tipped extra anyway, but maybe they don’t expect it.

5. Announcements

Talk about monotonous, every single announcement that was made on the Meraviglia was done in approximately seven languages.  They would do one announcement in English, then it would be repeated over and over in multiple languages.  It took forever for an announcement to be over.  And the Muster Drill was the same way. We heard the same information over and over in different languages, but they really didn’t explain much about what to do if there was an emergency.  I understand that this is because the Meraviglia is a European ship, but nonetheless, it gets tiresome.

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