Posted by: Tom Baker | November 17, 2017

MSC Meravigila-Wonderful? YES!!!


I h

ave sailed several times with MSC and had mixed experiences from excellent to not-so-good. I decided to give them a try once again and sail in the Mediterranean taking my mother on a special 7-night cruise sailing round trip from Genoa to Naples, Messina, Malta, Barcelona, Marseilles and back to Genoa.

The ship is brand new having been introduced in June of 2017. This ship currently is the largest in the ever-growing fleet of Italian liners built by MSC which stands for Mediterranean Shipping Company. BTW, MSC is the largest container company in the world.

Meravigilia means WONDERFUL in Italian and I will start the spoiler by telling you she was just that!

This magnificent custom-built liner is 1034 feet long, 167,600 tons, carries 4400 passengers, and 1400 crew. The ship is technologically advanced, green, and incredibly well-laid out compared to other modern super liners recently introduced.

This ship has extra wide elevators, three banks of elevators and staircases (almost all other new built ships have only a forward and aft set of staircases and elevators), extra wide corridors, public spaces, and has 5 pools (one with a dome) vs. 3 on most other ships in this size!

I booked one of the last remaining cabins which happened to be in the MSC Yacht Club, coined as a ship-within-a-ship. It is brilliant. I booked the last inside Yacht Club suite which was 182 square feet, elegantly designed, adequate storage, superb Dorelan bedding, pillows, monogrammed sheets, large bath towels, superbly English trained butler service, private concierge desk and services, a Top sail lounge for Yacht club, Private open-seating gourmet restaurant where menus change daily, a private pool, bark grill, and sunning area-all of this in a private key access area on the forward top 4 decks of the ship. MSC has a cool watch tool that acts as your room key, and card throughout the ship. You could even pre-book shows and alternative dining from the electronic reader board using your MSC watch. There is complimentary 25-hour room service, food available 20 hours a day in the Top Sail Lounge, and an incredible menu of pizza delivery that was simply irresistible..

There are just a few MSC yacht Club services:

  • UNLIMITED DRINKS in all bars and restaurants of the ship
  • MSC Yacht Club restaurant with all-inclusive dining at flexible times
  • Priority check-in and check-out in dedicated area
  • Exclusive Top Sail Lounge offering finger foods, desserts, afternoon and midnight snacks
  • Private swimming pool and bar (for those staying in MSC Yacht Club)
  • Luxury suites with Egyptian cotton linens
  • Dorelan pillow menu and bedding
  • 24-hour butler and concierge service
  • And more!

The check in was done shoreside in a Yacht Club tent where guests are met buy shoreside butlers who usher you into a private check in area and onboard the ship within minutes and taken to the concierge where a tour is provided, and your suite is already awaiting you…

I found the Yacht Club quite affordable and my cabin cost around $2200 for 7-days for my interior suite but most Yacht Club suites have private balconies. There are less than 20 interior suites which run about the same price as a standard balcony in the rest of the ship but offer so much more!

I found the ship incredibly clean, the layout excellent, the music varied and entertaining. Moreover, the clientele hailed from every part of the globe. There were plenty of Italians, French, Germans, Spanish, British, not too many Americans but we were about 5% according to the Cruise director, tons of SE Asians, Chinese, and South Americans. I loved the liveliness of the clientele and the amount of activity throughout the ship.

I dined primarily in the Yacht club restaurant where the food was excellent, and the experience was quite luxurious. One night was spent in Teppanyaki which cost an added 24 euro per person and it was the best experience I have had in this type of venue on any comparable ship I have sailed.

There are multiple dining venues including sushi, steak house,  Eataly Restaurant and shop, 3 main dining rooms, the Marketplace buffet (I personally stayed away from this due to the crowds). This venue also had a mozzarella making kitchen-how cool is that? Along the lengthy open colonnade inside the ship and off the atrium, there are plentiful gorgeous shops, bars, clubs, a chocolate shop that is just out of this world, a creperie, gelato shop, shore excursion desk, and more…

The ships spa, gym, and shopping outlets were far more upscale than any other contemporary brand ship. I honestly would rate this ship as premium from my own experience given my experience onboard (Maybe flat out Luxury experience in the MSC Yacht Club).

The shows were amazing with every type of show and NEW production show each night. The entertainers were all quite good and there was even a Puccini opera! MSC has partnered with Cirque du Soleil and has two unique shows which have an added fee of 19 euro per show with champagne and macaroon snack. Both were entertaining and excellent but left the audience wanting more as they were only 45-minutes long each and abruptly ended wherein the audience did not understand that the show was over. You can even have dinner in this spectacular marvel of a venue for an added fee.

The Meraviglia has an amazing indoor sport arena, 4-D theater, massive kid’s area for all ages, slides, outdoor fun activities, and tons of hot tubs and pools everywhere…

While my sailing was packed, I did not find the ship overwhelming, but I don’t like crowds and enjoyed the Yacht club which buffered my experience exponentially.

This ship has a magnificent 3 level atrium which is lined with sparling Swarovski crystal steps that cost 10,000 euro per step. This adds a little more glamour to a stunning ship which has many more sitting areas clubs, bars, and more!

MSC is unique and allows embarkation in each port of call which takes of some of the crush when guests disembark. Early sailing were publicly slammed for absurdly long waits to disembark after a cruise but this never seemed an issue on my sailing at any time.

I would not hesitate to sail this ship again, but it is an international experience, has fewer American’s than most other lines, and is uniquely Italian in spirit and attitude. The Yacht Club remains t be an exceptional experience and one I highly recommend if you want more value and the extra TLC. MSC offers this experience better than any other line who may offer similar suite experiences.

You can see my entire ships photos here: https://cruisecenter.smugmug.com/MSC-Meraviglia-Med-Cruise-September-2017/


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