Ciao! Whilst this is not my usual introduction to a ship review post, it is very relevant in this case. On Saturday 25th August 2018, I had the pleasure of spending the day onboard the magnificent MSC Meraviglia. MSC is a swiss-Italian cruise line, but does it cater for everyone?
MSC Meraviglia arriving in Southampton captured by the super talented Andrew McAlpine @maritimegeek
Came into service: 2017
God Mother: Sophia Loren
Gross Tonnage: 171,598
Passenger Capacity: 4,500
Did you know that Meraviglia means wonder in English?
MSC was originally a family run company that has since grown and flourished with a current fleet of 16 ships including two due for release in 2019; MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa. The Swiss- Italian run cruise line have undertaken an investment plan which was implemented in 2017 and will continue to run until 2026, this includes 12 new ships which it is claimed are being built to standards so far unimaginable.
Did you know MSC was born in 1970 in Geneva, Switzerland?
Sneek a peek at what to expect on board MSC Meraviglia.
Atrium and WOW Stairs
Crystal clear is how I would describe the moment I stepped into the atrium onboard MSC Meraviglia (pronounced Mare-ah-vilia) in the port of Southampton. When I say crystal clear, I mean this in the literal sense as well as metaphorically. Covered from floor to ceiling in sparkle and glitz, with Swarovski filled staircases, silver lined banisters and balconies – Meraviglia’s luxurious atrium is a sight for the sorest of eyes and one that will be etched on your brain for some time. It’s oh so pretty…
Did you know that each step here is filled with €15,000 of genuine Swarovski Crystals.
Evidently, the Italian glitz and glamour, theme and flair continues throughout the ship. A feast for the eyes wherever they may lay. Crystals, gems, silver, leather and lights sure do give a luxury feel to the Meraviglia. One thing the majority of experienced cruisers look for when embarking on a new ship is the look and feel of the atrium. Why? The atrium is the heart and soul of every cruise ship. In addition to the atrium is the promenade deck/decks, which are always popular among most passengers. Who wouldn’t enjoy an array of shops boutique style, with eateries and bars galore in one or two well placed areas? MSC Meraviglia is no exception by any means. The 96 metre long Mediterranean style promenade features the largest LED screen at sea. At 80 metres long the LED dome lights up the ceiling 24 hours a day, with futuristic technology that continuously changes throughout your time onboard. I couldn’t help but feel this was reminiscent and perhaps inspired by the magic in the Great Hall at Hogwarts! I was only too sad not to witness the mesmerizing magic of the dome ceiling in the evening. I can only imagine how stupendous this sight would be…
Jean-Philippe Maury Chocolaterie
Award winning master-patissier Jean-Philippe Maury’s chocolaterie can be found on the promenade. It is here you can witness the sweet makings of your choice, with an open kitchen displaying a feast for your pallet. Why stop there? You can also sample the many flavors of ice cream on offer and if you’re are still craving a sweet treat, why not try a mouthwatering crepe?
I was left open mouthed at the display cabinets. I had never mentally prepared myself or even thought about the prospect of eating Maui, yes Maui! You know, the Demi God from Disney’s Moana? Whilst he looked delicious, I managed to convince my stomach that I should indeed save room for the complimentary lunch that was in order. Maui – you’re welcome ; )
I spent a good 5 minute or so consumed by another display cabinet adjacent to the Chocolaterie. A wonderful, whirling production of all things nautical; fish, a compass, stars and the moon. All made out of chocolate. These professionals are super creative and tremendously talented. Take a look for yourself…
Restaurants and Dining
You will find yourself spoiled for choice dining wise, for this ship has 12 eateries to choose from. Mediterranean and International cuisine can be eaten to your hearts content in the main dining room. Eataly certainly looks the part and I have heard many good comments about this restaurant from fellow cruisers, this specialty restaurant gives you the opportunity to learn, explore buy and taste the finest Italian foods. Whats more, this is all hosted and led by a team of experts. If that still doesn’t float your boat (excuse the pun), then you could head to the Butchers Cut for a premium steak and cocktail. Fancy fish, super sushi or amazing Asian foods? Go ahead, you can book the Kaito Teppanyaki Restaurant and Sushi Bar where only the freshest authentic Asian ingredients are prepared on the spot. Still hungry? The Marketplace Buffet is open 20 hours a day and offers an array of dishes. A multitude of dietary needs are catered for, there really is something on the menu for everyone.
MSC Yacht Club Dining
During the ship visit we were generously treated to a delicious 3 course lunch in the Yacht Club. The Yacht Club is MSC’s exclusive concierge club and is effectively a ship within a ship. You can find out more about the MSC Yacht Club here.
I thoroughly enjoyed the lunch hour spent here. The food was delicious and the company fantastic. Whilst you cannot always chose your company, it is a great opportunity to meet and greet fellow passengers. I had previously met only one of the other bloggers I was sat with. In my opinion, this time is precious and allowed me to indulge in one of my favorite cruising pastimes; meeting new people. If however, you are the opposite to me don’t worry. The MSC Yacht club dining room has plenty of space for you to just enjoy your own company and that of the people you have chosen to travel with you. There really is plenty of room in each and every dining room to allow for this.
Unfortunately, during the short time we had onboard MSC Meraviglia we were not able to view any of the staterooms or suits. If you would like to know more of what is on offer, please click here.
Activities and Entertainment for Adults and Children
At first I had two separate headings – Adults Entertainment and Children’s. The thing is, I realized that actually most of us adults still have the big kid in us and when I spied what the top deck on this ship has to offer, I instantly knew I would definitely be having me some inner child time. I was lucky enough to see some of the features this wonder ship has on offer for all of its passengers. In light of not having the time to see everything, I have attached a link for your ease of reference and viewing . Meraviglia has a range of entertainment, including and not limited to: Pools, both inside and out including whirlpools – A ship for all seasons! Numerous bars, kids clubs, sports complex, formula one simulator, bowling, polar aqua park and climbing. Furthermore there is a Broadway Theatre, Cirque du Soleil, Spa, gym and much more besides, see here.
My Personal Thoughts
From the moment I stepped onboard Meraviglia, the Italian flair had me in its clutches. As much as I am a self confessed ship geek, it’s no easy task to have me gripped immediately. You may or may not be aware that I come from a large family of cruising addicts, together our knowledge and experience extends over 20 years. My parents, who we refer to as the King and Queen of cruising had been keen for me to ask a specific question during my visit. “What languages are the evening shows presented in?” Of course, I did as they asked because this for us and am sure for you would be an important aspect of the cruising experience. I can confirm the shows onboard MSC cruise ships are presented in multi languages. I personally feel this is a positive move, being inclusive for all is a must for us. MSC have this covered with their daily updates which evidently is also in multi languages, meaning you can check beforehand which shows are on in the evening and which languages they will be in.
During my visit, I found Meraviglia living up to its name, the ship of wonder! This large cruise ship has something onboard for everyone like many of the other cruise ships. So what makes MSC different?
What Makes MSC Different?
Confident that my family would enjoy a cruise holiday with MSC on Meraviglia, we looked straight into a booking. Having discussed the finer details with our fellow cruisers (extended family and friends), we looked into a weeks’ fly and cruise from London to Genoa, over New Years Eve 2018. The price I was given blew me away, it blew us all away. MSC really do believe in children being children until they are 18 years of age! Hallelujah! Thank you MSC. Thank you! My husband and I were quoted what we would usually expect. My children on the other hand were not. My 12 year old was quoted just £249, that’s right, £249 and my 10 year old was quoted just £210. This is something I personally have never experienced before. MSC have now made it possible for our family to add another cruise to our yearly agenda, thanks to their fair costing system. The extra cruise is likely to be MSC’s Bellissima, the brand new sister ship of Meraviglia, arriving in the UK in March 2019.
Did you know, Bellissima will be the largest cruise ship to ever be christened in the UK?
If you would like to find out more about MSC cruises and grab yourself your own fantastic deal, click here.
Can you help Firstinitialsea?
Do you have experience of booking with other cruise lines who you consider to fairly charge for children? If so it would be great to hear from you. We would love for you to be part of our future feature “Children’s cruise price comparison” blog post. (You heard it here first).
If you’ve have cruised with MSC, I would love to hear all about it in the comments box.
Does this look like the ship for you or someone you know? If so, please feel free to share the link to this post on your social media, be sure to tag @firstinitialsea. All rights are reserved by firstinitialsea.com.
Finally, and with much thanks to you, I have been shortlisted in the World of Cruising Magazine’s Wave Awards, for the category of Cruise blogger of the year 2019. If you enjoy my blog and feel I am worthy of your vote then please do spare a minute to click here and vote for me. Great news, every vote will automatically be entered in to a draw to win a luxury cruise for two worth £8000 to either the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Good luck!
Thank you for your support and time as always.
Forever grateful – Claire xx