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CCJack

Just off Meraviglia - Mediterranean - had a great time

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We went on this cruise during xmas week and departed from Rome (Civi) -  many thanks to those posters who helped me plan our cruise.  I would be happy to answer any questions.  We had never sailed on MSC before.  previous:  RCCL x 5, NCL, Celebrity, Cunard, Viking)    We had booked 3 rooms (family of 6) on deck 10.  Fantasia package.

 

Overall a great trip - with just a few suggestions for improvement !

 

We spent 3 days in Rome pre cruise.  We arrived Civi at 1 pm (cruise documents said do not arrive before 2 pm) - there was no one in line and we got right on.   Cabins ready.  They gladly switched my wife and a teen child's rooms;  we had to previously book with a parent with each teen but they switched us. 

 

Ship is beautiful and of course new.    Very pleased with our cabin (balcony floor 10).  Although these cabins across cruise lines are starting to look a lot alike - this one no exception - it was just fine.  The bed was very comfortable, floor 10 was very quiet, larger shower than other lines/ships, and the thermostat worked well and quickly.  No complaints with the cabin.

 

We did not eat in any specialty restaurants.  Only MDR or buffet.   Overall the food was good and very comparable to other lines (RCCL and NCL as an example)  We had no issues with  food being served too cold.   Selection in the buffet was good.   Portions in MDR were a bit small, however our waiter always asked if we wanted something else at the end of the dinner.   One small complaint however, is MSC makes the drinks too much work for staff and passengers.  in MDR water, coffee, lemonade, etc. are not included.   As part of our fantasia package we got the 12 paper vouchers for drinks, plus we had free still or carbonated water (not sure why we got that.)  Anyway, they bring the bottles of still water but have to charge it to your room using your key card.  Then a second step is they deduct the cost of the water they just charged you requiring a signature on the waiter's ipad - which frequently was slow to respond.  it just seems this added unnecessary work to a overworked staff already - just bring water without any bookkeeping !   Ditto with the drink vouchers - a two step process involving the vouchers and the ipad.    Coffee was not available after dinner - unless the waiter ordered it from the bar for you - we didn't order any.   When I looked around the MDR, no one had coffee with their dessert.   This is really surprising to me.

 

Entertainment was very good.  Unlike other cruises we have been on, this ships' singers and dancers were scheduled to do shows 6 of the 7 nights and 3 show times each night.  (plus the bonus afternoon opera show).  That seems like more work for them than on other lines.   They were very good and I enjoyed every show.   Least favorite was Virtual - a show about smartphones (!) - the cast did fine, but not a topic that is appealing.   Most favorite was Pax  - Spanish music and dancing - I would not miss that.  (actually the one show with a guest artist (magician) was cancelled and the ship's crew did a last minute classical trio with Soprano show - so for our cruise every show was the ship's crew).  

 

We opted for the Sonar choice for Cirque show.   Like most Cirque shows it was done very well, very creative, and lots of visuals in the theater.   It is shorter than most full production Cirque shows such as those in Vegas.   Since the theater is small, it is not a grand as the Vegas shows either, but none the less very good and very entertaining.  

 

This was our second Med cruise. First one was NCL in July.   I much preferred a December cruise than July.  I was hesitant about going in winter - but we had pretty good weather and 58 deg F is much more appealing to me than 98 F.    I wouldn't hesitate to book another one in December.

 

We did no ship excursions.   Palermo, Barcelona: on our own.  Malta, Genoa: I booked a private tour guide.  In France we booked a transfer to Aix en Provence.  

 

My favorite stop was Genoa and 2nd favorite was Palermo.  

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for your review! We are going on Meraviglia in just 11 days! Did you visit the spa at all? We are going for a relaxing cruise but anticipating some busy days in port. Will be booking a few excursions as this is our 1st Med cruise but don’t want to overdo it. Anything else stand out? Do you have any of the daily planners from your cruise? Any trouble communicating on ship or in ports? Thanks for any help you may provide. 

 

 

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On 1/1/2019 at 4:29 PM, johnstoc13 said:

Thanks for your review! We are going on Meraviglia in just 11 days! Did you visit the spa at all? We are going for a relaxing cruise but anticipating some busy days in port. Will be booking a few excursions as this is our 1st Med cruise but don’t want to overdo it. Anything else stand out? Do you have any of the daily planners from your cruise? Any trouble communicating on ship or in ports? Thanks for any help you may provide. 

 

 

We did not visit the spa, but I understand it is very nice...   I can tell you the hot tubs around the ship were warm and not hot - so I did not use them either ( I am a hot - hot tub kind of person !)      I have most of the daily planners if you have any questions... English was the primary language on all signes, etc.  on the ship but not a majority language.    Announcements were always given in several languages.   No real problems with communications however.  I would expect less than 20% of the passengers were American.   Enjoy your trip !

 

 

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Another thanks for your review!!   Will be doing this cruise end of March on the 31st. First time in Europe, first time on MSC.  Will be our 15th cruise overall, so not too worried about the cruise part.  Arriving Saturday evening, staying near the airport in a "B&B" and then going to the port Sunday morning.  Staying 2 days after in Rome (Sunday/Monday) and leaving Tuesday morning back to California.  Bringing teenage daughter.

 

Even though I've read and read and read info on Trains etc, still planning on taking the train to the port, and a little apprehensive about that, with all our luggage.  Also a little overwhelmed on what to do/see in the ports.  For Rome, we will do mostly walking around the 2 days after the port as we will be staying in the old part of town. I haven't done much research on the other ports - I guess I need to get busy!  

 

Any tips of getting to the port?  What did you do in the other ports?  I am still trying to find out if there is an inclusive pass on the ship that includes the entertainment options - bowling, theater, race car, etc.  Did you see that was an offering?  We, like you, are not in the YC, so your review means so much more to me than all the other YC reviews that are totally one sided, and will be in a Balcony.  No drink package, will be going to the cirque show.  I see on my reservation that it does include "water" in the dining room, so I'm guessing it will be like what you experienced.  

 

Not too worried about the food, I know I'm not going to go hungry!

 

Thanks again for your input and for sharing!!

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Oh..one more thing....how many formal nights were there and what nights?  We are trying to maximize luggage space and trying to decide if we need to bring suits/dresses for formal night or just eat the buffet that night/s.

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4 hours ago, douggw said:

Oh..one more thing....how many formal nights were there and what nights?  We are trying to maximize luggage space and trying to decide if we need to bring suits/dresses for formal night or just eat the buffet that night/s.

 

 

We had two formal nights, however it seemed far fewer people dressed up as with other cruises I had been on.   I think you would not be out of place in the Main Dining room if you chose not to dress up but that is a personal preference.   Our formal nights were Palermo and "at sea" day.

 

We also stayed in central Rome and walked everywhere... We had pre arranged tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican however.

 

I do not recall seeing an all entertainment package what includes bowling and formula simulator.  I recall the bowling was 30 Euros per hour.

 

  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for a great review! 

 

wasn't there free tap water with ice cubes at the dinner table?? 

 

We are going on our first MSC cruise in july... 

Edited by Krydstosser

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14 hours ago, Howie Cruises said:

Would you mind providing information on the private tours you did Genoa and Palermo. Who did you book through

For Genoa we had an excellent private guide through GoGenova tours.   gogenova.com  ... I can highly recommend.

 

In Palermo we did on our own.  We walked to the Theater Massimo (Teatro Massimo) - we took the 8 Euro guided tour of the theater - it was very interesting.  We did not pre book just walked up.  Some scenes from The Godfather were filmed there.   We then walked to the Cattedrale di Palermo (cathedral).   For 5 Euro or so you can walk to the roof of the cathedral.  It was beautiful up there.   All in all a cheap day but one of our favorite stops.   The walk from ship to theater is about 20  minutes: safe but uninteresting.  The walk from theater to cathedral is interesting as it goes through the tourist and busy pedestrian / shopping  areas - a great walk... maybe 35 minutes .  Just stay along Via Maqueda or close to it and there will be plenty of shopping.  Then right on Via Vitorrio Emanuele and it will  be a nice walk as well to the Cathedral.   Then retrace your path back to the ship.....   

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20 minutes ago, Krydstosser said:

Thanks for a great review! 

 

wasn't there free tap water with ice cubes at the dinner table?? 

 

We are going on our first MSC cruise in july... 

 

No it was not on the table.   I missed the ice water a lot.   Ice water is hard to come by in Italy and on the ship.    Actually, I think if you asked your server for ice, they would bring it.   Then you can pour your bottled water in it.   At least for the kid's sodas we asked for ice and they brought it.    

 

Have fun....

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1 hour ago, CCJack said:

 

No it was not on the table.   I missed the ice water a lot.   Ice water is hard to come by in Italy and on the ship.    Actually, I think if you asked your server for ice, they would bring it.   Then you can pour your bottled water in it.   At least for the kid's sodas we asked for ice and they brought it.    

 

Have fun....

We have been on 8 cruises.... No water on the table??? I am shocked??? Why not?? Did you asked?

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For cruises that are booked from some countries where free tap water is standard, MSC offers vouchers for free water in the dining room. But normally you have to pay for water in the dining room, if you do not have a drink package.

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Posted (edited)

I'm kind of shocked by this ...coming from the US providing water is so standard we don't even think about it in restaurants...reg tap water is just a basic necessity..like having toilet paper in a bathroom .or providing a napkin at the dinner table...:classic_blink:

Edited by floridian1

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Posted (edited)

It is the same coming from central europe to the US: why is tipping mandantory? for us it is standard that every person gets their full salary from their employer 😉

 

But if you booked though US, I think you should have water in the dining room included on MSC

 

(but yes, I like the availability of tap water in the US and on american cruise lines… would be nice if we can get this also in europe…)

Edited by sebi

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My travel mug will get a real workout for sure when I sail on MSC in the Med.  I assume no prohibition of carrying my own beverage into the MDR.  Not a fan of mineral waters.

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In restaurants in Italy they refused to serve us tap water – even after DW figured out how to say it in Italian!  But I'll take that to get all the wonderful aspects of Italian culture!

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On 1/3/2019 at 1:01 PM, douggw said:

Another thanks for your review!!   Will be doing this cruise end of March on the 31st. First time in Europe, first time on MSC.  Will be our 15th cruise overall, so not too worried about the cruise part.  Arriving Saturday evening, staying near the airport in a "B&B" and then going to the port Sunday morning.  Staying 2 days after in Rome (Sunday/Monday) and leaving Tuesday morning back to California.  Bringing teenage daughter.

 

Even though I've read and read and read info on Trains etc, still planning on taking the train to the port, and a little apprehensive about that, with all our luggage.  Also a little overwhelmed on what to do/see in the ports.  For Rome, we will do mostly walking around the 2 days after the port as we will be staying in the old part of town. I haven't done much research on the other ports - I guess I need to get busy!  

 

Any tips of getting to the port?  What did you do in the other ports?  I am still trying to find out if there is an inclusive pass on the ship that includes the entertainment options - bowling, theater, race car, etc.  Did you see that was an offering?  We, like you, are not in the YC, so your review means so much more to me than all the other YC reviews that are totally one sided, and will be in a Balcony.  No drink package, will be going to the cirque show.  I see on my reservation that it does include "water" in the dining room, so I'm guessing it will be like what you experienced.  

 

Not too worried about the food, I know I'm not going to go hungry!

 

Thanks again for your input and for sharing!!

 

We used Stefano's Rome Cabs [http://www.romecabs.com] for all our transfers in 2016 [130 Euros from Rome to Civitavecchia] – nice cars and very reliable.

 

For your sightseeing research, I suggest buying [or borrowing from the library] Rick Steves Italy.  I find that he helps me prioritize much better than other guidebooks, and he provides detailed descriptions for touring the more complicated sites.

 

In Rome you definitely want to book the Colosseum, Vatican Museums (Sistine Chapel) and Borghese Gallery in advance.  That's why it's good to use Rick to lay out your touring itinerary for each day, so you can pick the right time for those tickets.  [For Vatican Museums, do one of the 'Vatican By Night' tours so the Sistine Chapel will only be very crowded, rather than crazy-crowded like in the daytime :classic_ohmy:]

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2 hours ago, sebi said:

It is the same coming from central europe to the US: why is tipping mandantory? for us it is standard that every person gets their full salary from their employer 😉

 

But if you booked though US, I think you should have water in the dining room included on MSC

 

(but yes, I like the availability of tap water in the US and on american cruise lines… would be nice if we can get this also in europe…)

 

I always buy a drink package but I think this water issue is the most crazy thing i have ever heard, why get bad reviews because of missing water?? maybe its me but I think this is bad or stupid business 😄 

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1 hour ago, Krydstosser said:

 

I always buy a drink package but I think this water issue is the most crazy thing i have ever heard, why get bad reviews because of missing water?? maybe its me but I think this is bad or stupid business 😄 

I agree.  providing tap water and ice at the tables is an inexpensive thing for the cruise line to do and they prevent really making people mad.   Cruise ships are a diverse group of passengers and many will not be used to paying for water.  Especially since all other lines provide water even when cruising in Europe.  

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On 1/1/2019 at 10:34 PM, CCJack said:

We opted for the Sonar choice for Cirque show.   Like most Cirque shows it was done very well, very creative, and lots of visuals in the theater.   It is shorter than most full production Cirque shows such as those in Vegas.   Since the theater is small, it is not a grand as the Vegas shows either, but none the less very good and very entertaining.  

 

Thanks very much for your review! I'm heading on Bellissima in May, and will definitely check out one of the Cirque shows. I was wondering if you knew how much in Euros the Show plus cocktail would be onboard?

Thinking of pre-purchasing that combo, as it's only $23AUD, roughly 15EU at the moment, which seems excellent value. 

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3 hours ago, adelaidefc said:

 

Thanks very much for your review! I'm heading on Bellissima in May, and will definitely check out one of the Cirque shows. I was wondering if you knew how much in Euros the Show plus cocktail would be onboard?

Thinking of pre-purchasing that combo, as it's only $23AUD, roughly 15EU at the moment, which seems excellent value. 

I think it was 16 Euro on board for show and cocktail.  I was disappointed in the cocktail, I was expecting to order a premium cocktail, however when you enter the theater they have a table of pre made drinks and you get to choose one of four.   A fruity rum drink, a gin and tonic, a non alcohol yogurt drink and one other I don't recall.   None really appealed to me..... 

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15 hours ago, CCJack said:

I agree.  providing tap water and ice at the tables is an inexpensive thing for the cruise line to do and they prevent really making people mad.   Cruise ships are a diverse group of passengers and many will not be used to paying for water.  Especially since all other lines provide water even when cruising in Europe.  

Tap water and ice is only a big thing in  America. Most European countries do very little to no ice and drink bottled water.  MSC has a large european segment that they cater too and Europeans are used to paying for water when they eat.  To try and cater to Americans, MSC provides free bottled water in the dining room.  You only need to book thru an American agent or the American MSC site to get the free bottled water.  They will bring out additional bottles as you use them up.  You may need to ask though.  We had no issue with this. 

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On 1/7/2019 at 4:04 PM, conshek said:

Tap water and ice is only a big thing in  America. Most European countries do very little to no ice and drink bottled water.  MSC has a large european segment that they cater too and Europeans are used to paying for water when they eat.  To try and cater to Americans, MSC provides free bottled water in the dining room.  You only need to book thru an American agent or the American MSC site to get the free bottled water.  They will bring out additional bottles as you use them up.  You may need to ask though.  We had no issue with this. 

 

Let me get it right? If you are american the water is free? but not if you are Danish,  Swedish or German etc..... 

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