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jgallagh1944

MSC Meraviglia vs Divina and Seaside - Food & Entertainment

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We cruised on MSC Meraviglia in October, 2019 from NYC to NE/Canada. This was the second cruise for the Meraviglia after it re-positioned from Europe. Having cruised on Divina twice ans Seaside twice, our expectations were sky-high. The ship was beautiful and the crew was great. At the Meet & Mingle, I asked the Cruise Director about the theater entertainment and would it be the same or similar to that on Divina and Seaside. I truly believe Divina and Seaside have the best theater entertainment at sea; second to none. He told me that Meraviglia was using a different production company, but not to worry, that we would love it.  Sad to say, the entertainment was horrible; read my cruise reviews for more detail. 

 

Even worse than the entertainment was the food served in the Main Dining Room and Buffet. There was a very limited selection each night in the MDR and the quality and temperature of the food was poor. The same could be said about the buffet for lunch. It seemed every day was the same selection and that selection was very limited. The best meal on the ship was breakfast. We figured that once Meraviglia started cruising out of Miami, the people at MSC in Miami would somehow bring it in line with the quality of food and entertainment available on the Divina and Seaside. From reading recent reviews for January cruises, it appears that nothing on the Meraviglia has changed. A large group of friends have booked the Meraviglia for a February 2021 cruise and we're reluctant to book unless someone suddenly wakes up at MSC. 

 

I'm interested in hearing what others who have sailed on Meraviglia have experienced as far as food and entertainment are concerned.

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I've been on two Meraviglia sailings after yours, one in Yacht Club and one not.  Both were somewhat disappointing but more so the YC sailing primarily because of the dining room food and service.  Food does seem to be a major issue with Meraviglia's current 2.5/5.0 star average reviews.  I thought the entertainment was average, I don't even go to the shows any more on Divina/Seaside.  On MV they were at least a little different, they just took the acrobatic aspects and moved them to the Carousel lounge for a fee.  We lucked out in the MDR and had good a good server/head waiter/maitre d' that took care of us.  Food was average and I will not book the ship again unless they offer extreme discounts.  I don't expect management to change anything else, she's heading back to Europe in April.

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We returned from Merg Western Caribbean last Sunday.  Food in MDR was inconsistent, Buffet unexciting.  More from US than those from foreign countries had food complaints.  Plusses-  For those of us without dietary fat considerations there was a good selection of Salami, proscuito, fruit, bread etc.  You can order off menu with planning.  Shows average but varied.  Don't expect Cirque du Soleil to be a Las Vegas Spectacular.  The violinist had amazing talent.  People who had dinner and show didn't seem too impressed and would have opted just for drinks and show package.  Alcoholic drinks on the weak side, but the beer is cold. Compared to the 3 Divina sailings we felt the food was definitely superior;  not great but bwetter than Merrg.

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We did Meraviglia in the Med and Divina in the Caribbean. We thought that main theatre entertainment on the Divina was much better, but we loved the Cirque du Soleil Productions on the Meraviglia, easily beating anything that we saw on the Divina. Well worth the extra fee.

 

As far as food, we considered everything on the Meraviglia to be substantially better than on the Divina. I remember eating a lot of pizza on the Divina simply because it was usually the most appetizing thing available, but on the Meraviglia we thoroughly enjoyed the food, both at the buffet and at the MDR. Once again, our experience aboard the Meraviglia was in the Med, so it may have been different.

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We actually loved the entertainment on Mera but not on Seaside.

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Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

 

As a YC guest on Meraviglia, I was pleased with the cuisine in the YC Restaurant.  There were a couple of dinners that were not my favorites, but one or more courses, even then, were delicious.  Service was 4.9 out of 5.0 with Luis and Arthur, our two Maitre d's, being very active in the service.  I did not dine outside of YC, but had some pizza as a snack.  The pizza was delicious.

 

Entertainment in the Theater?  What was there to complain about?  My MSC cruise was sandwiched between cruises on the Volendam and the Eurodam.  If one did not like the shows on Meraviglia, then don't sail on a HAL ship with the Mainstage entertainment currently being offered.  I attended the Cirque Viaggio cocktail show and enjoyed it (and I previously very much disliked the two Cirque shows that I saw on Celebrity Eclipse a few years ago).

 

The live musical groups in the lounges that I heard were enjoyable and the Dome Shows in the Atrium were awesome.

 

hotdog647 commented on weak alcoholic drinks:  not my experience when I ordered drinks at the Meraviglia Lounge or the mid-ship Bar at the pool with the video screen.  The bartenders there really know HOW to make an excellent Bloody Mary.

 

I enjoyed my experiences on MSC Meraviglia.  What I did NOT enjoy was the traffic in the Port of Miami area when arriving at the Terminal.  I wish MSC would consider sailing from a different Florida port where the traffic congestion is less and the flow better controlled.  

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39 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

...As a YC guest on Meraviglia, I was pleased with the cuisine in the YC Restaurant.  There were a couple of dinners that were not my favorites, but one or more courses, even then, were delicious.  Service was 4.9 out of 5.0 with Luis and Arthur, our two Maitre d's, being very active in the service.

Arthur was pulled back to the YC dining room for the first Miami sailings because the situation up there was so dire.  I heard the chef was also replaced sometime on the NYC to Miami leg.  Luis and Idris did not impress me at all.  I haven't heard if Arthur is still working YC as he was supposed to go back to Waves after a couple weeks.

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58 minutes ago, Até said:

Arthur was pulled back to the YC dining room for the first Miami sailings because the situation up there was so dire.  I heard the chef was also replaced sometime on the NYC to Miami leg.  Luis and Idris did not impress me at all.  I haven't heard if Arthur is still working YC as he was supposed to go back to Waves after a couple weeks.

 

Idris is not a name I recognize; a  Maitre d'?  I did not meet the Chef, but he did visit some tables.  I met a couple who had sailed with Arthur previously.  We dined together a couple of times.  Arthur clearly remembered them and the service was superior.  When he saw me dining without them, my service was also just as good.  I did enjoy Luis and, from my observations as I dined, Luis was the senior YC Maitre d'.  (I am a "people watcher" on my cruises.)  

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Idris was the YC manager in November, not sure if he was still there for your cruise.  Arthur was just back there to help out and supposed to go back to Waves as a head waiter by December, it sounds like they were keeping him in YC longer than anticipated.

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We were on our first MSC cruise on the Meraviglia on Janauray 5th in a YC cabin.  I think that was the same cruise as rkacruiser and find his review spot on right down to the Port Miami traffic (Port Everglades is our home port so we are spoiled with ease of use)!  We enjoyed all the shows except the first which was the worst we've seen on any ship anywhere!  The fish, risotto and homemade pasta dishes were excellent (we lived in Italy for 5 years and prefer Mediterranean cuisine to any other).  Giorgio, the YC director, was everywhere.   He was charming and couldn't do enough for you.  I think the staff reflected his attitude.

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When I started this topic, I was speaking of the experience of eating in the MDR and Buffet. Having stayed in the YC on Divina, I agree their menus were great. Unfortunately, the YC is very limited and the vast majority must dine in the MDR and Buffet, where on the Meraviglia, the menus and quality of the food, in my opinion, we’re sub-standard for a ship cruising in the US. We all had the same theater entertainment on the Meraviglia, and that too, in my opinion, was poor and not up to the standards set by Divina and Seaside. 

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We were on the Seaside a year ago December and then the MV this past December. The shows in the Seaside Theater were the best we had seen in all our cruises. The shows in the MV were sadly some of the worst; almost walked out on a few but did not. Could have without making a scene since we sat in the YC Section, which is located in the back of the theater (both ships).

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28 minutes ago, sptrout said:

We were on the Seaside a year ago December and then the MV this past December. The shows in the Seaside Theater were the best we had seen in all our cruises. The shows in the MV were sadly some of the worst; almost walked out on a few but did not. Could have without making a scene since we sat in the YC Section, which is located in the back of the theater (both ships).

 

Out of curiosity since we only have a single MSC cruise:  do the MSC ships have the same shows (excluding Cirque)?  If so, then the problem is with the singers and dancers.  If not, I'm really impressed.  Our other cruises have been on Princess and there is a standard suite of shows on their ships with the exception of a few new ones usually rolled out on their newest ships.  While for the frequent passenger that gets boring over time, for the company it provides great economies of scale both from a production point of view and a human resources point of view (singers and dancers can change ships with a shorter learning curve).

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1 hour ago, capriccio said:

 

Out of curiosity since we only have a single MSC cruise:  do the MSC ships have the same shows (excluding Cirque)?  If so, then the problem is with the singers and dancers.  If not, I'm really impressed.  Our other cruises have been on Princess and there is a standard suite of shows on their ships with the exception of a few new ones usually rolled out on their newest ships.  While for the frequent passenger that gets boring over time, for the company it provides great economies of scale both from a production point of view and a human resources point of view (singers and dancers can change ships with a shorter learning curve).

No, the shows were 100% different at least between the Seaside and MV. That was the problem, the Seaside set a very high bar and the MV came co were close.

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18 minutes ago, sptrout said:

No, the shows were 100% different at least between the Seaside and MV. That was the problem, the Seaside set a very high bar and the MV came co were close.

 

Thanks for the response.  That's very interesting.  Given the size of MSC's fleet, if each ships has different entertainment, the cruise line's budget for entertainment must be enormous!

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3 hours ago, capriccio said:

 

Thanks for the response.  That's very interesting.  Given the size of MSC's fleet, if each ships has different entertainment, the cruise line's budget for entertainment must be enormous!

 

In a previous post on some thread, I believe the thread dealt with Meraviglia's initial New England/Canada cruises, the poster asked the Cruise Director if the shows would be the same as on Seaside.  The CD said No, Meraviglia's shows were produced by a different production company.

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6 hours ago, capriccio said:

We were on our first MSC cruise on the Meraviglia on Janauray 5th in a YC cabin.  I think that was the same cruise as rkacruiser and find his review spot on right down to the Port Miami traffic (Port Everglades is our home port so we are spoiled with ease of use)!  We enjoyed all the shows except the first which was the worst we've seen on any ship anywhere!  The fish, risotto and homemade pasta dishes were excellent (we lived in Italy for 5 years and prefer Mediterranean cuisine to any other).  Giorgio, the YC director, was everywhere.   He was charming and couldn't do enough for you.  I think the staff reflected his attitude.

 

Yes, indeed!  We sailed together!  I regret that we never met.  

 

I did not make it to the first show.  I went to the Restaurant probably 45-60 minutes after our 7:00 sailaway and then to the Lounge for a nightcap before retiring for the evening.  I was worn out from the stressful embarkation of the day.  

 

Your description of the involvement of Giorgio in our experience is accurate.  My experience has been:  if management is "out and about" and interacting with the guests, the staff "gets the message" and influences my cruise experience.

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What is the entertainment  like on  the Seaside specifically live bands that play dance music.

 

Thanks,  Gary  

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23 minutes ago, shipbound2 said:

What is the entertainment  like on  the Seaside specifically live bands that play dance music.

 

Thanks,  Gary  

 

Dance music as in house and rave or dancing music as in latin and salsa?

The first you've got no chance and the second is pounded out every night that you struggle to escape it.

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Latin( salsa, bachata, samba, merengue and cha cha) not rave music. Music that you have to know how to do single time swing and triple time swing and Hustle.

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5 hours ago, shipbound2 said:

What is the entertainment  like on  the Seaside specifically live bands that play dance music.

 

Thanks,  Gary  

There are venues throughout the ship that play a variety of dance music. Every evening, there is a big dance party up on the pool deck. There are also smaller venues with what I would call "house bands" playing popular dance music. There you see a variety of couples dancing, some who just want to enjoy each other and also those who look like they took dance lessons before their cruise. The smaller venues are always near a bar where you can sit and relax and watch the people dance. There's no shortage of dance opportunities; that's almost universal on all large cruise ships.

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On 2/9/2020 at 4:26 PM, rkacruiser said:

 

In a previous post on some thread, I believe the thread dealt with Meraviglia's initial New England/Canada cruises, the poster asked the Cruise Director if the shows would be the same as on Seaside.  The CD said No, Meraviglia's shows were produced by a different production company.

 

I posted the comments on Meraviglia's NE/Canada cruise in October, 2019. I was told by the CD that the ship used a different production company from that used by Divina and Seaside out of Miami. I stand by my comments that Divina and Seaside, both of whom I have cruised on twice, have the best shows at sea. Meraviglia's were a total disappointment. I can only hope that they would switch production companies to that of Divina and Seaside once they located to Miami in November. The entertainment wasn't their biggest problem. The food in the MDR and on the Buffet was pretty bad. The Buffet menu seemed to be repeated almost every day with the same boring food meal after meal. 

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4 minutes ago, jgallagh1944 said:

I stand by my comments that Divina and Seaside, both of whom I have cruised on twice, have the best shows at sea. Meraviglia's were a total disappointment. 

 

The main theater shows that I attended on Meraviglia were well done and enjoyable.  Opera at Sea on Meraviglia:  never experienced that type of performance on any other cruise.  (And the production was good, I thought.  The theater was packed and, sitting near the rear, I saw few who walked out during the performance.)  A CD who put on his own show one afternoon:  what was there not to enjoy about that?  

 

Like cuisine, opinions about entertainment differ from one guest to another.  Nothing wrong about that!  I do agree that different production companies can make an important difference in the enjoyment of the main theater shows on ships.  I have noticed that on several cruises on HAL.  

 

 

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22 minutes ago, rkacruiser said:

 

The main theater shows that I attended on Meraviglia were well done and enjoyable.  Opera at Sea on Meraviglia:  never experienced that type of performance on any other cruise.  (And the production was good, I thought.  The theater was packed and, sitting near the rear, I saw few who walked out during the performance.)  A CD who put on his own show one afternoon:  what was there not to enjoy about that? 

 

 

 

We were on the same cruise as rkacruiser (early January 2020) and concur with his opinions with the exception of the first show (whose name I've intentionally forgotten) which was the worst (incomprehensible 'story', horrible music, etc.) we've ever seen at sea.  We were greatly relieved that the subsequent shows were of a very high standard and some of the singers were absolutely magnificent.

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1 hour ago, jgallagh1944 said:

There are venues throughout the ship that play a variety of dance music. Every evening, there is a big dance party up on the pool deck. There are also smaller venues with what I would call "house bands" playing popular dance music. There you see a variety of couples dancing, some who just want to enjoy each other and also those who look like they took dance lessons before their cruise. The smaller venues are always near a bar where you can sit and relax and watch the people dance. There's no shortage of dance opportunities; that's almost universal on all large cruise ships.

Thank you that is good to know.

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