Our newest member of staff and cruise specialist, Susan Maxwell, had the opportunity to spend a week on the fantastic MSC Meraviglia. With 19 decks to explore, a myriad of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes, out of this world entertainment and the longest LED dome at sea, she had plenty to keep her occupied! Read her review below to find out about her on-board experience.
"MSC Cruises are the world’s largest privately owned cruise line, borne out of 300 years of seafaring history. A floating resort combining timeless glamour with excellent service, they said and it did not fail to deliver!
MSC Meraviglia has the capacity to host 5701 guests and 1536 crew. There are 32 lifts, 4 pools and 19 decks. They have WI-FI everywhere on board. Want to really try some luxury? Upgrade to The MSC Yacht Club with concierge, located on Deck 19 with its own sundeck pool, bar, grill (the MSC Yacht club restaurant is located on Deck 18).
My travelling companions and myself were celebrating a significant birthday and a cruise was the preferred choice of holiday. We wanted a cruise that worked in well with the actual birthday date. When we researched our choices of Cruise companies MSC Cruises came up with the best option for our dates in question – a 7 night Mediterranean cruise departing from Barcelona.
We flew from Dublin to Barcelona and departed on our cruise that same day. We arrived a little earlier than planned at port to board the MSC Meraviglia and were very pleased we had booked the Wellbeing Aurea package which offered priority boarding. It saved a lot of time and avoided the long queue. We were in our cabins by 3pm.
Choosing which cabin and its location was an important factor for us. At the time of booking the ship was actually quite full and from the selection offered we chose cabins numbers 14057 & 14083 (B3 Balcony Cabin) on Deck 14 (Balcony Aurea), which were pretty much mid ship and in close proximity to the panoramic lift. We were very happy with their location and liked the idea of being located on a higher deck and one deck below the marketplace buffet which was very handy at times and open 20 hours a day!
Our cabin 14057 had a bath and our companion’s cabin 14083 had a large shower area and everything was clean, comfortable and modern with slippers and bathrobe. We were delighted with the complimentary MED by MSC room diffuser which came as part of our well being package. It smelt divine! We found the bed extremely comfortable and our cabin steward was very efficient, friendly and very helpful at all times.
For dining options we were allocated the Panorama Restaurant (my choice dining) – anytime dining with a priority lane during dinner times. We also decided to try out two of the speciality restaurants for a different culinary experience – The Butchers Cut & Kaito Teppanyaki . They are definitely well worth trying but note that a supplement will apply and early booking is advisable.
We also really liked the Sky Lounge on Deck 18. It has spectacular panoramic windows and was much quieter than the other bars with a really great area to watch the ship sail out of port on a cold evening while you relax and enjoy a Bellini! Our package included all-inclusive unlimited drinks. Take time to check it out in detail, as certain brands are not included.
We also had unlimited access to the MSC Aurea Spa thermal area with sauna, steam and relaxation room on Deck 7. Remember to book the massage the day you arrive on the ship as if you forget to do this after the 2nd day it will not apply (the four hands Balinese massage is not included in this offer) We booked our massage for the day at sea – it was just perfect timing as we were exhausted from all the sightseeing!
There are lots of areas on the ship for Family Entertainment and a baby club for under 3’s called Baby Club Chicco, a Mini Club, Young Club and Teen Club all situated on Deck 18 – all ages are covered up to 17 years inclusive.
The shopping area on Deck 6 has boutiques with designer clothes. There are also other shops with special offers most nights, items such as handbags, sunglasses, watches and perfumes. Deck 6 is located on a 96 metre long indoor promenade with a fabulous visual display on the longest LED dome at sea. Each evening it never ceased to amaze.
The Carousel Lounge is host to Cirque de Soleil at sea. It was a really enjoyable show and you can choose to have your evening meal during the performance or opt for a cocktail and dine after. The Broadway Theatre is large and very comfortable with many different shows and events nightly.
We opted to visit all of the ports of call independently, rather than book trips with the excursions desk, which worked out quite well. We even took some of the tourist buses. However for the stopover in Rome we booked an MSC guided trip which cost €130 Euro and it turned out to be the highlight of our trip! We strolled past the long lines of tourists straight into the Vatican and were brought on a visit to the Sistine Chapel. If you opt for this trip you will not have time to visit anything else and can see some of the attractions from your coach but we decided we can always come back to Rome again, throw our coin in the Trevi Fountain and see all the other amazing sights another time. The Vatican City was incredible and a very memorable experience.
There is so much on board this cruise ship to keep you busy and entertained and the spectacular Swarovski staircase is a must for a photo opportunity! It was our first time travelling with MSC Cruises and we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise experience."
If you are interested in booking an MSC Cruise, please see our MSC page for all MSC cruise departures or get in touch with our cruise specialists Susan Maxwell and Adele Walsh via email or by picking up the phone and giving them a call on 01 241 0800