If you follow me at all, you already know that I’m an MSC Cruises enthusiast to the core. We have been on the MSC Divina twice now and we have another Divina cruise booked for this fall. We’ve also cruised on the MSC Seaside, the MSC Poesia, and the MSC Bellissima – all ships I absolutely loved.
This summer, we also had the chance to cruise Northern Europe on the MSC Meraviglia. Not surprisingly, we all thought this ship was awesome! The Meraviglia is similar to many MSC ships so we knew what to expect. Still, it has some special features that really set it apart.
This particular review is dedicated to the MSC Meraviglia and the time we spent cruising Norway. Keep in mind, though, that this ship is heading to the United States next year and you can book it out of Miami.
Side note: We already have Spring Break booked on the MSC Meraviglia with stops in Ochos Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and MSC’s new private island, Ocean Cay. If that’s not proof of how much we liked the ship, I don’t know what is!
MSC Meraviglia Review: Embarkation Day
While our cruise on the MSC Meraviglia departed from Copenhagen, Denmark, we spent several days in Bergen, Norway before we departed. We flew into Copenhagen early the morning of departure; as a result, we got to the ship earlier than normal – around 11:00 a.m. But that was after sitting in the Copenhagen airport and killing time for a few hours.
Like always, getting on the ship was easy. There were hardly any lines at 11:00 a.m., yet they appeared to be holding off boarding until around noon.
If your goal is getting on your MSC cruise as quickly as you can, I highly suggest having MSC match your status from another cruise line. We status matched from our Hilton Diamond status to become MSC Black members. Being a black member gives you access to a special check-in line and expedited boarding on the ship.
When you match to Black status, you also receive a bunch of perks like a free dinner in a specialty restaurant for two, champagne and strawberries in your room, and a chocolate ship. In my opinion, status matching is well worth the effort.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget, some of the best travel rewards credit cards can help you earn status at your favorite hotels. Follow the link above to start searching!
Our Cabin on the MSC Meraviglia
Our cabin on the MSC Meraviglia was a lot like our cabin on the MSC Seaside. We had a balcony room on the 12th floor and our balcony was huge because it was right beside the panoramic elevator.
One thing I really like about the newer MSC ships is that they have couch bunk beds instead of a foldout couch for the kids. The bunk beds save so much room! They also don’t have to be taken apart and put back together every day. You can just leave them as-is.
While the cabins on this ship aren’t huge (just like on all cruise ships), we had plenty of room to store our luggage and clothing. We took our clothes out of our suitcases, hung everything up, and still had plenty of space to spare.
I also like the square shape of the showers on this ship. They’re similar to the showers on the Bellissima, and I think they offer more room than showers on some other ships we’ve been on.
Overall, I would give the cabin on our ship a 10/10. Hooray!
Pools on the MSC Meraviglia
Like other MSC ships, the Meraviglia has a ton of different pools to choose from! Not only do they have a large outdoor “main” pool in the center of the ship, but they have a small pool in the back. They also have an indoor/outdoor pool with a roof that can be closed if it’s cool out or raining.
The MSC Meraviglia also has a really neat water park and a climbing activity for kids. My 8 and 10-year-old spent a ton of time at both!
Dining on the MSC Meraviglia
There are plenty of dining options on the MSC Meraviglia – just as there are on other MSC ships. We were assigned to a main dining room called “Panorama” for early dining, which was at 6:00 p.m. We ate in the main dining room twice, then ate the rest of our meals in the buffet.
I have to say, I think MSC has really stepped up their food options on this ship. We aren’t picky eaters by any means, and we’ve found all the food on MSC ships be be somewhere between good and very good, but we had a ton of excellent meals on the MSC Meraviglia.
I thought the food on the buffet was really good in particular. They even had a mozzarella station with homemade mozzarella and basil pesto every day. I think I ate my weight in cheese and pesto!
Overall, I would give the food on the ship a 9 out of 10, which is pretty darn good for a cruise!
Kids Club on the MSC Meraviglia
As expected, my children loved the kids club on the MSC Seaside. They spent so much time there and there were days they didn’t want to leave!
The kids club is open most of the day while the ship is at sea and all day long on port days, which makes it easy to get a break. My kids love the kid’s club because they get to participate in fun activities and make new friends. The Meraviglia kid’s club is also huge and really nicely decorated.
This particular kids club also had some really fun events, including a cooking contest my kids participated in. Honestly, “MSC MasterChef at Sea” was so much fun! We all grinned ear to ear the entire time.
If you’re a family who wants some built-in babysitting on your next trip, you may want to give MSC Cruises a try. It’s so nice to have childcare for a few hours at a time when the kids want to play with their friends. Plus, it’s free!
MSC Meraviglia Bars and Common Areas
There are a few features that really help the MSC Meraviglia stand out. First, this ship features a giant promenade area with shopping and specialty restaurants. We loved this area so much because it has a chocolate shop where you can get gelato. There is also a bar that usually has live music or dance lessons in this area, and the main theater on board is found at the end.
There are a ton of other bars and areas to hang out on the ship, so I won’t bore you with those. But I did want to mention my second favorite area on the ship – the adults-only lounge right outside the kids club. We loved this lounge so much because it was close to the kids, and it had epic views of the ship below and the water outside. They also had live music in there at night, so we loved to just sit there and hang.
Another really amazing thing about this ship is that you can book a Cirque du Soleil show – and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg! The show was 15 euros during our trip in Northern Europe, so I expect it to be about $20 per person when the ship comes to the U.S. You even get a cocktail (or mocktail for the kids) for that amount, which makes it an even better deal!
I didn’t get any good pictures of the show because it was so dark in there, but we really did love it. It was a really special bonus for the kids, and it was so convenient since you can sign up once you’re on board.
MSC Meraviglia Review: The Bottom Line
Here’s one last important detail you should know about the MSC Meraviglia: The service we received was fantastic! We thought all the people working on the ship were lovely, and they seemed to bend over backward to keep guests happy. Of course, we weren’t surprised by this since we’ve had good service on all their ships.
If you’ve read any reviews saying the service on MSC ships isn’t that great, definitely ignore them. People that work on the ships put in really long hours and leave their family for months at a time. Despite this, they always have a positive attitude and do their best to help you enjoy your vacation.
In summary, we give the MSC Meraviglia a big thumbs up. I really cannot wait to be on the ship again for Spring Break next year!
If you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation, it’s hard to go wrong with MSC Cruises. Not only do kids cruise free on many itineraries, but their fares are affordable anyway.