I recently had the opportunity to spend the day on board MSC Meraviglia. I’ve been wanting to experience this ship since she debuted in 2017. It has received excellent reviews across the board from journalists, to bloggers and the public – she’s something not to be ignored!
I spent some of the summer with her upcoming sister ship, MSC Bellissima, which is under construction in France. So, I had a vague idea as to the scale and feel of the ship, but it doesn’t compare to the finished product. Make sure you head over to this link to see more about MSC Bellissima as I follow her construction through to her christening in Southampton in 2019.
MSC Meraviglia is the biggest ship in the MSC fleet, and one of the biggest in the world in terms of size and passengers. While the ship is certainly big, from my time on board it doesn’t feel overly big. It has been designed in a way that’s accessible. The ship is also the most technologically advanced in the fleet, and debuted MSC for Me, an app that works as a concierge for you while on board. Let’s take a look around at what she has to offer.
Stepping on board – The Infinity Atrium and Galleria Meraviglia
Upon walking onto MSC Meraviglia you find yourself within the Infinity Atrium. This is a chic spot, bustling with bars, music and activities. You can’t miss those all so sparkly Swarovski Crystal staircases. Extending from the Atrium is perhaps the heart of the ship, and certainly the centre-piece of Meraviglia, Galleria Meraviglia. This expansive two-tier promenade is lined with boutique shops, mouth-watering gelato and crepes, coffee shops and the ship’s chocolate boutique, run by world-renowned French chocolatier Jean-Philippe Maury.
Along the length of the promenade is an 80 metre LED dome that transforms through different scenes across the day. This area is very much the heart of the fun to be found on board, and throughout the day you can find various activities taking place.
On the second tier you will find a number of the speciality restaurants, including the interactive Teppanyaki, Butchers Cut steakhouse, the Brass Anchor Pub and the TV Studio. This high-tech, multi-purpose space houses a radio broadcast suite and a TV studio broadcasting live games, quizzes, talent contests and other fun content across the ship. It also serves as a comedy club, karaoke bar and live music venue through a cruise.
Meraviglia takes entertainment on MSC to the next level. Firstly, heading to the Broadway Theatre at the front of the ship. This hosts six different shows through the course of a typical cruise – ranging from flamenco dancing to a show about phone apps (…no really).
New to MSC is the Carousel Lounge, located at the back of the ship. This expansive space that looks out over the wake of the ship has been designed for one-of-a-kind productions from Cirque du Soleil. The ship features two for-fee shows, Sonor and Viaggio, which play twice nightly on a typical cruise. You can also opt to enjoy the show with a full dining experience as well. Adjacent to the Lounge you’ll also find Casino Imperiale to try you luck at the slots and gaming tables.
Feeling more active? Then head upstairs to Sportplex. This enclosed space includes a large arena where passengers can play sports and games during the day. At night the venue is perfect to party and dance the night away. You’ll also find two Formula 1 virtual-reality racing cars, simulators and a full-size bowling alley.
Food and drink
MSC is going from strength to strength with its culinary offering. It has sought out world renowned chefs to rethink its food and it shows on board Meraviglia. The food I experienced on Meraviglia was really delicious from my short time visiting. On board you will find four main dining rooms, each covering the different dining options (from the classic dining times to more flexible options). As well as this, there is the Marketplace Buffet which is open 20 hours a day offering a variety Mediterranean and international dishes.
In addition to the main restaurants there are a number of speciality for-fee offerings. There may not be as many as on other lines, but MSC have chosen to do what they do well. In addition to the Cirque dinner I previously mentioned, there is also Eataly, a speciality Italian restaurant; Butchers Cut, an American Steakhouse (which I have heard nothing but amazing reviews of); and Kaito Sushi and Teppanyaki.
Across the ship you will also find a variety of bars, 18 in fact. From the glamorous Champagne Bar, to the Brass Anchor Pub, to a sports bar. My favourite one has to be the Sky Lounge located at the very top of the ship overlooking the main pool areas.
Let’s go outdoors
I really love the design of the outdoor spaces on board Meraviglia. Firstly, there is the main pool. This is a very generous space with a variety of loungers and spaces to enjoy the sun. It’s somewhere some where I could easily see myself on a sea day. It also features a large outside giant screen. Adjacent to the main pool you’ll find another large indoor pool. Perfect for chillier days, this is again another generous space to spend time in. Don’t worry, if the weather warms up the roof can be retracted.
At the back of the ship you’ll also find the Horizon pool. This offers more open deck space over the wake of the ship. It’s another transformative venue that becomes an outdoor bar and club at night.
For the more active types head to the Ropes Course and Aqua Park. This park features three twisting slides, one of which is cantilevered over the side of the ship, a ropes course, and a range of pools, interactive water features and activities that will be fun for everyone.
Spa and Fitness
The MSC Aurea Spa on board is the largest in the fleet, offering a range of signature treatments. It also has a huge thermal suite on board. The thermal suite (which can be access for a price) has two steam rooms, two saunas, a salt room, two relaxation rooms, two aromatherapy rooms, a snow grotto, showers and two thalassotherapy pools. If you want me, you know where to find me!
Meraviglia also has a spacious gym on board. It overlooks the main pool and is well equipped with state-of-the-art Technogym equipment, as well as weight training and other areas. There are also separate rooms for spinning and for the various classes offered on board.
It’s a suite life
The MSC Yacht Club makes a return to Meraviglia. Situated at the front top of the ship, this private enclave evolves the ship within a ship concept. Here you can relax in your own private lounge and restaurant and enjoy your own private pool area.
From my short time on board I was really impressed with Meraviglia and I can fully appreciate why she is so popular. MSC have taken the best the brand can offer and elevated it to the next level. The result is that there is something to suit everyone on board.
MSC Meraviglia will reposition to the USA in 2019 to start to offer Caribbean cruises. For more information about the ship and itineraries head here.
MSC Bellissima is set to debut in March 2019. Head on over to this blog to read more about my time visiting the ship.
5 thoughts on “The wonder of MSC Meraviglia”
Great blog – she’s a gorgeous ship! I’m really curious to try MSC – I’ve heard such mixed reviews, they seem to be a bit Marmite, more so than some other lines.
I’d really like to try them and I totally agree with you – they do seem to divide opinion. But, with every new ship they seem to be winning over more and more people, and you can see why with ships like Meraviglia
MSC is the worst. Terrible customer service and mediocre food. Even the ship (Seaside) was poorly designed. I only cruised with them once and it will be the last one: https://www.avidtravelgeek.com/blog/review-msc-seaside-january-6-2018-caribbean-cruise?rq=msc
Ah that’s really unfortunate, I love the concept and ideas around Seaside. I’ve been on a few ships and I feel they are getting better and better – particularly I think with Meraviglia and Bellissima.
I have heard that over the years, the Divina really improved due to customer feedback, but I think it will be really hard for MSC to compete in the North American market with so much competition. Instead of lowering their prices below everyone else, MSC should focus on customer service. But then again, I don’t travel to Italy and expect the best service and efficiency because I don’t think that is their priority.