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MSC Meraviglia Review

5.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
481 reviews
1 Award
MSC Meraviglia
MSC Meraviglia Dining
MSC Meraviglia Cabins
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Editor Rating
5.0
Excellent
Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic UK Managing Editor

MSC Meraviglia is the biggest ship the line has launched -- and the fifth biggest in the world. The 171,598-ton, 4,475-passenger ship marks the start of a massive (nine billion euros) ship-building program that will see a megaship launched each year until 2022 (in fact, there were two alone in 2017 -- MSC Seaside, a new class of ship, launched in December 2017).

Pros

Fantastic for families; foodies and for those who just want to have a lot of fun

Cons

The endless activities and constant noise, plus kids up all hours, can be a little overwhelming

Bottom Line


About

Passengers : 4,475
Crew : 1,536
Passenger to Crew : 2.91:1
Launched : 2017
Shore Excursions : 444

Long dominant in Europe, South Africa and South America, MSC Cruises is consciously -- and cleverly -- positioning itself to try to gain a greater slice of the North American market. After two seasons in Europe, this ship will head to Miami, where it will homeport in 2019.

MSC has always emphasized the "Mediterranean way of life" tag for its ships, but Meraviglia marks a move away from strictly that with some international (North American) concessions. Everything is in English (signage, first language, announcements); there are two new restaurants -- a teppanyaki and an American steakhouse -- and a Cirque du Soleil at sea.

So the big question is: Does it work?

The answer is a resounding yes. Meraviglia boasts concepts similar to those made popular by other lines -- the aforementioned teppanyaki restaurant (Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal's Oasis-class ships); a central promenade that is almost a carbon copy of Royal Caribbean's Quantum-class ships; a high-tech theater that looks like Royal's Quantum-class Two-70; duplex suites (Royal) and so on. Then it sprinkles its own touches -- the extraordinary Yacht Club, possibly the finest key-card-access suite enclave at sea; a chocolate shop and cafe; a link up with LEGO and Eataly and that MSC signature -- genuine Swarovski crystal studded stairs, which form the centerpiece of the main atrium.

But none of it jars. And it so easily could. Despite the sheer number of passengers, we never witnessed pinch points onboard; there is always a venue or a spot you can go to get away from the craziness. And if there is one criticism, it's just that: Everything is kept at fever pitch, from the pool parties all day and most nights, the clubs, the parades and the shows -- it's nonstop. But hey, if you like that, then this is the ship for you.

The line has also improved significantly in two areas in which it often came in for criticism: food and service. It's linked up with a couple of name chefs (Carlo Cracco and the chocolatier Jean-Philippe Maury); and has clearly been working hard on training. We found service universally of a high standard.

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The ship is also the most technologically advanced in the fleet and sees the debut of MSC for Me, an app that will store all your details and preferences and allow you to make reservations in restaurants and shore excursions. The ship also has RFID wristbands, which will eventually replace cruise cards and allow you to get into your cabin and make onboard purchases.

All in all, MSC Meraviglia is a really well thought out and considered design, which takes the best of the brand and adds an international edge, with great success.

 

 

Fellow Passengers

The ship will be Mediterranean-based until 2019, and the make up reflects that. It also (unlike many lines) embarks and debarks in most ports, so expect Italians, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Austrian, Dutch, Irish, a few Brits and then some unexpected nationalities, such as Japanese and South Africans. There are very few North Americans. The average age is around the early 40s for adults, though with the strong emphasis on family expect literally hundreds of kids during school vacations, all of which are extremely well catered for. The only thing that an American or Canadian (or indeed a Brit) might find jarring is the fact that there are no bedtimes for kids, nor adult-only areas: Children are up until all hours, roam the ship unchecked and will be in the disco until closing time, which can seem odd.

All announcements are in five languages: English first, then Italian, Spanish, French and German.

MSC Meraviglia Dress Code

Daytime: During the daytime it's casual, with people wandering around in just swim suits and flip-flops.

Evening: In the evening it's dressier, but more smart casual than formal, except for the two "elegant" (not formal) nights per cruise. A jacket for the men and a dress for the ladies would not go amiss, but it's not strictly enforced. A suit or tux or ball gown are not necessary, though on the meet-the-captain night people go all-out.

Not permitted: T-shirts and shorts are not allowed in the ships' public areas in the evenings. No swimwear is allowed in main dining rooms. Jeans are not allowed in the dining room on elegant nights.

Read more about MSC Cruises dress code.

Find an MSC Meraviglia Cruise from £36

More about MSC Meraviglia

Where does MSC Meraviglia sail from?

MSC Meraviglia departs from Miami, Port Canaveral, Barcelona, Rome, Civitavecchia, Palma de Mallorca, Cannes, Genoa, Marseille, Manhattan, Madeira (Funchal) and Funchal

How much does it cost to go on MSC Meraviglia?

Cruises on MSC Meraviglia start from £36 per person.

Is MSC Meraviglia a good ship to cruise on?

MSC Meraviglia won 1 award over the years.
MSC Meraviglia Cruiser Reviews

MSC offers the best private island experience in the business

I booked the weekender cruise on the MSC Meraviglia so that I could see the ship's design. Gorgeous Italian design, beautiful everywhere you look.... Read More
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barry427

10+ Cruises

Age 70s

Excellent service and spacious room

MSC upgraded us and other passengers from an inside cabin to a balcony for no additional cost. The room we selected was spacious enough for a family of four.... Read More
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mac4boating@aol.com

10+ Cruises

Age 80s

The BEST time and the BEST staff.

My friend and I decided to take a girls trip and The MSC Meraviglia is what we decided on. I was concerned after reading reviews but I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun we had!... Read More
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Arkoz12

First Time Cruiser

Age 30s

Really nice time on the Meraviglia

Review of 3 day weekend cruise on the MSC Meraviglia. Our group of 4 consisted of my husband and I along with my 2 sisters. We have all cruised many times but it was the first time on MSC.... Read More
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kjenaz

10+ Cruises

Age 60s

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