This MSC Meraviglia ship review contains all public spaces, my cabin, bars, restaurants, pools, theatre, casino and more! (Lots of lovely pictures if you’re not in the mood to read words.)
My second MSC cruise
Back in 2012, I took my first MSC cruise onboard the Opera. We cruised ‘up and down the channel’ and for some reason I have very few memories of this cruise. I didn’t have my cruise blogger hat on back then!
The second MSC cruise (and the one I will be talking about in this review) was a Mediterranean cruise during Christmas 2017. We boarded the Meraviglia in Genoa on Christmas Eve and disembarked on new years eve.
We stayed the night in Genoa before boarding so we had that amazing moment of waking up, pulling back the curtains and seeing the ship waiting for us. The skies were blue and the Meraviglia looked gorgeous! We struggled at first to actually find the way to the ship, despite being huge and her being very close we seemed to struggle with the streets of Genoa.
I stayed with my brother in an inside cabin (no surprise there). I really loved the cabin, it felt HUGE! It didn’t have a table or a sofa which may explain why we had so much empty floor space. The cabin felt very minimalist which I liked, there wasn’t anything unnecessary in the room. We both had a super comfy bed, a bedside table and touch activated lights above our beds. There was, of course, a table in the room, a mini-fridge, hairdryer and a wardrobe. The TV was also in a fantastic position to be able to watch TV when you are in bed, which is really the only time I watch TV when cruising.
The full cabin tour is here:
There are 5 plugs in the cabin. 2 European plugs, 2 American plugs and a USB port.
I also really loved the bathroom, it had clean lines and there again was nothing unnecessary. The shower was also really good. The only criticism I have of this bathroom is that there wasn’t really much storage space (only the drawers you can see on the side there). I really didn’t bring many toiletries so that wasn’t a problem. You could also put things under the sink if you needed to.
My parents had a balcony cabin which was just as nice. I frequently borrowed their balcony (thanks mum and dad!)
The main street felt very similar to the promenade that you would find on a Royal Caribbean ship. It was lined mostly with shops along the bottom and restaurants at the top. There were no ‘street parties’ though which I almost expected after cruising with Royal Caribbean.
The LED dome is absolutely incredible and it is impossible to take a photo of it that does it justice. It is absolutely HUGE and I enjoyed each day seeing what the current display was. I also watched a couple of the ‘shows’ that they put on on the dome and they do a kiss cam on there too. Very strange to see lots of adults just waving at the sky trying to get it’s attention.
That green splodge is on the screen, not the image! Hope it isn’t breaking already…
I tend to avoid things which cost extra when I cruise, the only shop that I did venture into was the gift shop. There I bought another inflatable ship (to go with Indy) and a MSC duck.
There is a chocolate shop on the lower level where you can watch chocolate ships being made. We received a free ship because we have black latitudes status (achieved by using status match ) There is also a huge chocolate clock which moves and really works, how they stop it from melting and falling apart I have no idea.
I didn’t venture into the outside pool because it was pretty cold during our cruise. As a result the top decks were always pretty quiet (apart from the occasional organised event). I can imagine though that it is a brilliant place to hang out in the sunshine, I did try to sunbathe in my jeans but it just wasn’t the same…
There was also another pool at the back of the ship, behind the waterslides and ropes course. It was tiny and we again didn’t try it out, I imagine it’s much nicer in summer. I do love this sculpture though!
I did try out the solarium (inside pool!) Woohoo. The pool is a fair size and there are a number of hot tubs around it. 2 on the lower level and 2 at the top. They also serve smoothies here but none of them were included in the unlimited beverage package which was annoying. I always find it strange when I am allowed alcohol but not a cheaper option!
We made friends with some French kids here and played a game of table football against them, they won…
Main dining room
The main dining room was nice enough but nothing special. It was quite small and had nothing which made me go ‘wow’. No big staircase or big windows. It was functional, clean and nicely decorated. The picture below was taken on Christmas day, I loved the waiters hats!
The buffet was nice! I liked the layout and we didn’t have too much trouble finding a seat. There was a wide variety of food but most of it seemed to be pizza, pasta and bread. The pizza was made freshly in front of you every day. (I’m intolerant to dairy so didn’t get to have any though!)
I like how they have a ‘press for bar service’ button the tables. I’ve never seen that in a buffet before.
We had two speciality meals for free during our cruise because of our black latitudes status (woohoo!) We chose butchers cut both times and had an amazing evening and meal. The waiters were really lovely and the food was brilliant.
The sky lounge was my favourite bar onboard. It has a brilliant view of the top of the ship and is a great place to sit down and watch a sail away. We were lucky enough to catch a gorgeous sunset here one evening when we were having a drink and eating some of the nibbles.
We spent a LOT of time in the pub. Most days we visited at some point or another for a beertail or a coke. My favourite was by far the ‘spiced apple pie’! The pub was surprisingly quiet, we were often in there with only a couple of other people which made it a nice place to relax after a busy day in port.
There are a number of other bars around the ship but I didn’t really use them. We occasionally had a drink from the bar in the buffet or solarium but didn’t really visit any of the others.
Carousel lounge (Cirque de Soleil)
This is the one lounge which I felt was a let down *gasp*. The lounge has huge windows, it is what you see when you look at the back of the ship. It would have been an amazing location for a restaurant or a bar but it is only used for Cirque de Soleil (as far as I can tell!) It was always empty in the day and in the evenings the blinds are closed for the Cirque de Soleil show. The lounge itself was nice enough but it just seemed like a waste to me.
The theatre wasn’t the biggest, or sparkliest that I have been in but I did really like it. One of my favourite things about the theatre was the fact that there was an aisle around the outside as well as through the middle. I normally like to sit by the aisle and this layout meant I had a lot more options.
It’s worth noting that they don’t have a bar or any bar service in the theatre. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a cruise ship theatre without a bar before but it seems to be an MSC thing. This was one of the main differences that I noticed between MSC and NCL/Royal Caribbean. Check out the full list here: 10 differences between MSC and NCL/Royal Caribbean.
I liked the casino! It was rather out of the way, I am used to the casinos being in the middle of the ship but this was towards the back and you wouldn’t really walk through it unless you were going to see Cirque de Soleil. It had a big bar in the middle.
There wasn’t one! This was my least favourite thing about the MSC Meraviglia. I like to be able to go for a stroll around the promenade deck but that simply isn’t a feature on this ship. I think I’ve spent too much time hanging out on the oceanfront on NCL ships.
It would be impossible to end any MSC ship review without showing you some sparkles. MSC ships seem to be covered in diamonds and almost everything shines.
I loved the Meraviglia. She was so shiny and exciting. I adored my inside cabin and the LED dome and the main street were really cool. I would definitely recommend a cruise on the Meraviglia if you are considering it.
Please do let me know if you have any questions about the Meraviglia or about MSC, either in the comments below or in our Facebook group here. We have over 850 people in our Facebook group now which is amazing. I love talking to you all!
Our lovely friends (and guest bloggers) Paul and Carole recently returned from a cruise on the MSC Opera around the Caribbean. Click here to check out their review!