Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Andrew72681

Into the great unknown (at least for us) MSC Meraviglia Live Blog 11/24 -12/1

Recommended Posts

As we’re now officially a week out, it seemed like a great time to start with my precruise thoughts and background for our first MSC cruise on Meraviglia. 
Cruise History- this will be cruise number 11 for us and number 9 for our 9 year old daughter. We started out with Carnival, then onto Norwegian and Roysl Caribbean. It’ll be hard to compare to the week long cruise we had in Harmony of the seas this time last year. That was a great cruise on a great ship with great service. 

 

Background- to sound a little bit like an opening credit narration of an 80’s movie, we weren’t ever supposed to be on this cruise. We had booked the third sailing of Norwegian Encore for 12/1, however a change in my wife’s work schedule facilitated a change back in August for a cruise we had booked over 600 days out. Luckily we had booked a refundable deposit and were able to get that cancelled without penalty. We’ll definitely be looking to try out Encore sometime in the future, especially since the deposit I had was a NextCruise credit that needs to be used up by 12/05/2021.

After cancelling that found us in a tailspin on what is very short notice for me (we booked a cruise for next November that was 650 days out on booking) and while there were many options most of them took a big jump up in price because of thanksgiving week. We nearly pulled the trigger on a Disney repositioning cruise from New York to San Juan. Then almost booked a Mexican riviera cruise on Norwegian Joy (flights were crazy from the East coast), and almost booked Oasis of the Seas first cruise back from Dry Dock (it would be three times what we ended up paying for Meraviglia.) 

For anyone who is with the military or government one thing to remember is that MSC does offer a government discount, it’s 5-10%  depending on the room type booked. We ended up saving about 200 dollars, and it was combinable with the discounts being offered that week. 

 

Traveling Party- It’ll be myself (Andrew), my wife (Nikki), and our daughter Addison in our room. My mom and a friend will be in another room on the other side of the ship.

 

Rooms- we seemingly lucked out and one of the balcony rooms on the aft which is normally part of the family rooms opened up a few weeks ago so we moved to that room. We’ll be on the aft of deck 9, with a balcony room featuring bunk beds. Addison always loves the Pullman beds on other lines and as it opens up a space to sit during the day, I’m always for it. We hoped a Yacht Club room would open for our week, but none ever did outside of the interior rooms that only sleep two.  My mom and friend will also be in a balcony but Forward Starboard side also on deck 9.

 

Itinerary- As of right now this one is still up in the air. We think we know what they’ll do but may not know until we embark next Sunday. As of last week, before the announcement of the December opening of Ocean Cay our itinerary was

Day 1- Miami

Day 2- Sea Day

Day 3- Costa Maya

Day 4-  Belize City

Day 5- Roatan, Honduras 

Day 6- Sea Day

Day 7- MSC Ocean Cay (not happening but they haven’t updated the itinerary)

Day 8- Miami

 

Based on route and history, I’m pretty sure Day 6 will become Cozumel, Mexico and day 7 will become our sea day. One of the MSC phone agents tried to tell someone in the group that we’d be in Cozumel on Day 7, which clearly can’t happen unless they’ve added rocket boosters to the ship.

 

 

PreCruise Stay and transportation-

We’re big believers in not risking it and arriving the day before. We’ll be flying BWI-FLL on Fort Lauderdale Saturday morning and then trying something interesting. We figured we could take an Uber like usual, but decided to give the BrightLine train a try. It drops off only half a mile from our hotel, and for only 21 dollars per person a train ride with Food, Drinks, and a departure lounge to wait seemed like more fun than the UberXL for about the same cost. 

There’s only a few Marriott properties near dodge island (most are on Miami Beach or further away) so we picked on we really liked last time, the JW Marriott Marquis. It’s in a nice downtown location nearby a CVS and Whole Foods to get supplies (I love to have Amazon prime packages delivered to Amazon lockers rather than lugging things like Sunblock with me) Last time we got a great suite upgrade, and will be trying to use another Titanium suite upgrade certificate for this stay.   

Excursions-

For Ocean Cay we had booked a Cabana, which were very reasonably priced at 249, which for 5 people is a good deal, considering some of the Cabanas at CocoCay are 700+ some days.

Costa Maya- We tried to book Maya Chan for the day, but as 4 other ships are in and one is Symphony of the Seas, it was already sold out by the time we booked. We took a recommendation from a friend and booked Nohoch Cay for the beach day.

Belize City- in our other visits to Belize, it has never seemed like a place where you would just venture out on your own. This time we booked Cave tubing along with several other members on another social app for our cruise through a service called ButtsUp Cave Tubing. It almost seems too cheap for an excursion as they only charge $35 per person, and it weirds me out that they only take cash on arrival.

Roatan- we’ll venture out on our own this time again in Honduras, probably take a cab to see the Monkeys and Sloths as they are Addison’s favorite. We’ve always been very comfortable. 

 

So all in all, I kinda feel like I’m flying blind when it comes to MSC, they seem to be very polarizing online, but as we’ve learned with society, it seems most things are polarized now. I also know that you can’t expect Filet Mingon at Sirloin Prices (or in this case Regent Seven Seas Service at MSC prices)

I’m going in to this with an open mind and very much taking the “no matter what a day at sea is better than a day at home.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are also scheduled for cave tubing in Belize. Will lbs interested in your experience since we are using the same company. We are doing The option to add zip line and ATV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to following your review, great attitude going into your first MSC cruise with an open mind. Our family has also sailed on all the major lines....CCL,RCCL,NCL,HAL, Princess and X and will be taking our 3rd MSC cruise in December of this year aboard the Seaside... Enjoy your time, I am sure we will!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to your review.  Sounds like a great trip on a great ship.

Have a great time!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Andrew, looks like we have the same plans to head down a day early (from Toronto, Canada) as the only flights on sunday landed at 1:30 in Miami.

 

Like you, my party was on HotS last year early December, its a phenomenal vessel with customer service above and beyond.  This'll be our 5th cruise and first on MSC (done one on each Princess, Carnival, RC, and NCL).  This was actually the longest time out we had booked, just over 90 days.  Are you checking out the Cirque shows?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, bdandoy said:

We are also scheduled for cave tubing in Belize. Will lbs interested in your experience since we are using the same company. We are doing The option to add zip line and ATV.

Will do. We looked at adding the ATV but are still unsure about doing that with a child. You’ll have to let me know how the zip lining is when you get back. We got spoiled doing it in the rainforest of Costa Rica so have avoided the touristy ones. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, SteelCruisin said:

Looking forward to following your review, great attitude going into your first MSC cruise with an open mind. Our family has also sailed on all the major lines....CCL,RCCL,NCL,HAL, Princess and X and will be taking our 3rd MSC cruise in December of this year aboard the Seaside... Enjoy your time, I am sure we will!

Enjoy Seaside, seems like a great ship aside from the pool problems. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, djfunk said:

Hi Andrew, looks like we have the same plans to head down a day early (from Toronto, Canada) as the only flights on sunday landed at 1:30 in Miami.

 

Like you, my party was on HotS last year early December, its a phenomenal vessel with customer service above and beyond.  This'll be our 5th cruise and first on MSC (done one on each Princess, Carnival, RC, and NCL).  This was actually the longest time out we had booked, just over 90 days.  Are you checking out the Cirque shows?

We have both Cirque shows booked, just the cocktail and show as the YouTube videos of the Cirque dinners left a lot to be desired. So you’re on this sailing as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

We have both Cirque shows booked, just the cocktail and show as the YouTube videos of the Cirque dinners left a lot to be desired. So you’re on this sailing as well?

 

yup, also booked both shows.  I'm looking forward to it, just gotta get through the workweek! 4.2 working days to go

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We'll be on there with you.  We were lucky and got two spots at Maya Chan a few months back, but if they flip-flop our itinerary like they did last week, we'll be out of luck.  Keeping our fingers crossed that the first three stops are as planned!

 

Hope you guys enjoy MSC.  This will be cruise #17 for us--# 5 with MSC.  Our first MSC was a 4-night cruise to Cozumel and back on Divina.  We had an aft facing balcony cabin and enjoyed it, but we've done YC ever since. Sounds like you have the attitude we embrace when cruising--you're going to have fun and make the most of it no matter what.  If you end up liking it, you'll need to try YC the next time (although not as fun for a 9 year old as the main part of the ship).  Look forward to reading your blog during the trip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am on this cruise as well traveling with my husband and son (8) and daughter (7).  This will be our 3rd MSC cruise having sailed on the Seaside twice.  We love MSC and the kids love the kids club and really enjoy the European flair. The Seaside is one of the most beautiful ships we have been and are expecting the Meraviglia to be just as beautiful!  Coincidentally we are also on the Harmony of the Seas last November for Thanksgiving week and prefer MSC to Royal.  We like to switch up the cruise lines to keep it fresh and fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, bdandoy said:

We are also scheduled for cave tubing in Belize. Will lbs interested in your experience since we are using the same company. We are doing The option to add zip line and ATV.

Cave Tubing in Belize is ..... start at near the cave, water was deep enough and but as towards the end of cave water was very shallow and after cave we had to literary has to pull the tubes.  I guess if you had not done it maybe it is worth it but I have not heard from those who had done it including myself, repeating.  So, you know.  Also, water is very cold so in a chill day be aware of this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to following along.

We are on this ship April 12th from Miami for the  Repositioning Cruise ending in Copenhagen . This is our first Cruise with MSC but have 23 various other cruises under our belt. I find I try VERY hard not to compare them all. This one has been making me a bit nervous with the reviews of the food... 22 days may be a very long time to not like the food. 😬

Oh well- we could all probably cut down a bit on the calories any way! LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/18/2019 at 10:44 AM, Andrew72681 said:

Belize City- in our other visits to Belize, it has never seemed like a place where you would just venture out on your own.

Oh! I thought it is perfect for just venturing out on your own as off the boat you are in the middle of the town. 

 

On 11/18/2019 at 10:44 AM, Andrew72681 said:

Roatan- we’ll venture out on our own this time again in Honduras, probably take a cab to see the Monkeys and Sloths as they are Addison’s favorite. We’ve always been very comfortable. 

Negotiating with the cabs at this cruise port is something not very enjoyable ☹️

 

On 11/18/2019 at 10:44 AM, Andrew72681 said:

I also know that you can’t expect Filet Mingon at Sirloin Prices (or in this case Regent Seven Seas Service at MSC prices)

With this attitude it is not possible not to enjoy a MSC cruise. 

 

8 hours ago, deweytrader said:

The Seaside is one of the most beautiful ships we have been and are expecting the Meraviglia to be just as beautiful! 

It would be an endless discussion what is better, Mera-Class or Seaside-Class. But one can hardly gainsay that the Meraviglia is MSCs most beautiful ship (not knowing the Grandiosa). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They officially moved our itinerary all around today. While we thought they would add Cozumel on day 6, we didn’t think they’d also move around Costa maya to go with it. Working through moving excursions now to reflect the new itinerary, and officially cancelled my cabana at Ocean cay since there’s no longer any hope of it being open. 
ignore the left side as they messed up the original itinerary (I’m not even sure how that happened because all they had to do was pull it up online to put it in the email)

 

DB5122B8-0AA5-49F4-A2D4-D7B8DCAAEA48.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

image.thumb.png.be4fc1cdd9b3c495e1d087b06ccd257e.png Here's the original itinerary they sold us--notice how the departure times are changed as well.  Why did they have to flip Costa Maya and Roatan?!?

 

But for those not on Cruise Critic who are oblivious to all of these changes, they can still go onto the MSC website, access their booking, and book any excursion at Ocean Cay they want!  Way to go MSC!  Leave it up to the poor crew to explain to a few thousand unhappy passengers at embarkation why their whole itinerary was turned upside without any notification!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sure you are excited about the upcoming trip! We are on the Dec 1 cruise following you so we will definitely be interested in your postings. If not too much trouble posting the dailies would be wonderful.

Bon voyage!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎11‎/‎19‎/‎2019 at 5:43 PM, Andrew72681 said:

They officially moved our itinerary all around today. While we thought they would add Cozumel on day 6, we didn’t think they’d also move around Costa maya to go with it. Working through moving excursions now to reflect the new itinerary, and officially cancelled my cabana at Ocean cay since there’s no longer any hope of it being open. 
ignore the left side as they messed up the original itinerary (I’m not even sure how that happened because all they had to do was pull it up online to put it in the email)

 

DB5122B8-0AA5-49F4-A2D4-D7B8DCAAEA48.jpeg

I agree; how hard is it to paste & clip the "original" cruise itinerary?!?

 

Also, it would be nice if they changed the to the "new" cruise itinerary on our Booking Documents; right?!?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, principessalia said:

I agree; how hard is it to paste & clip the "original" cruise itinerary?!?

 

Also, it would be nice if they changed the to the "new" cruise itinerary on our Booking Documents; right?!?

They can’t even get it corrected in the app, which seems crazy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

They can’t even get it corrected in the app, which seems crazy. 

I'm curious to see how things run onboard the ship.

My husband & I are Diamond Members on Royal Caribbean & we were able to get the "matching status" of Gold on MSC; it's our 1st time, so we'll see...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, principessalia said:

I'm curious to see how things run onboard the ship.

My husband & I are Diamond Members on Royal Caribbean & we were able to get the "matching status" of Gold on MSC; it's our 1st time, so we'll see...

I’ll be sure to note the boarding procedures. I was able to match to Black which became diamond by way of my hotel statuses. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marriott Bonvoy titanium elite here with SNA to use too. Did your award clear for the JWMarriott?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, jdvmd said:

Marriott Bonvoy titanium elite here with SNA to use too. Did your award clear for the JWMarriott?

 

Yes. Cleared to an Executive corner bay view suite. It’s a great use of the Marriott Brilliants annual up to 50K cert. 

234026C3-9028-4606-BFA1-E02DD347CD45.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance w/ Steve Dasseos of the TripInsuranceStore.com June 2020
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations

Announcements

×
×
  • Create New...