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MSC Meriviglia Feb 16, 2020 7 Day Western Caribbean with photos


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Hello everyone,

 

Welcome to my review of MSC Meriviglia cruise. Here is the itinerary:

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Five of us traveled from New England to escape the snow and ice. Two adults in their 70s, two adults in their 40s, and one 13 year old boy. We stayed in Bella Cabins 12268 and 12260. We had the Easy drink package, wifi and Cirque du Soleil tickets included with our initial booking. We did not have access to the Yacht Club and ate most of our meals in the Waves main dining room or buffet.

 

This was our fourth MSC cruise. Prior to this we cruised on Divina, Seaside, and Sinfonia (in the Med). 

Edited by Match Game 72
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We arrived in Fort Lauderdale airport on the evening of Feb 15. Our hotel was

Ramada by Wyndham Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port, 2275 W Sr 84 Marina Mile Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL.  We used their free shuttle from the airport to get to the hotel. For one night including tax, we paid $221 per room. I felt that this price was artificially inflated because of cruise travelers, but it was the most reasonable accommodation I could find 8-9 months prior to the trip.

The hotel was adequate for one night. It has some recent renovations such as flooring and tile in the rooms, but some things like the exterior HVAC covers needed replacing. They also had two washers/dryers which cost $2 each.

The free breakfast in the morning was fine. They have fresh waffle machines, baked goods and fruit.

 

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We had prebooked MJS Transportation to pick up the 5 of us and bring us to the Port of Miami. MJS provided excellent communication via email and phone. They were prompt when picking us up at 11 am. The van was black with no logo or signage. Cost was $13 per person one way plus tip.

 

There were several families in the shuttle. It was very comfortable, and my husband was glad to leave the driving to someone else for the trip to Miami.

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Even with the increased security measures at Port of Miami, we had a fairly easy embarkation. Security was patting down everyone in the initial line after we went through the metal detector. We had not experienced that before.

Then, we checked in with MSC and filled out a health form related to the Coronavirus outbreak. Next, was another line to have our temperatures checked via an infrared camera. Workers were pulling aside anyone with a high temperature.

Luckily, we were all healthy and waited in the main area for our boarding number to be called.

 

All of this took some time. We had arrived around noon at the ship, and we were in the buffet having lunch by 1 pm. After lunch, we walked around the ship until our cabins were ready by 2:30.

 

Here are some photos of the Gelato (paid) shop in the Galleria.

 

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The Meriviglia is massive. There are several lounges, places to relax, and many things to do. In terms of MSC ships, it felt like the style of the Seaside with more of a focus on the interior (galleria) of the ship.

Outside walking areas are available on decks 7 and 16. Deck 7's view is blocked by the lifeboats, and we ran into another family that had no idea you could walk outside on deck 7.

The illuminated ceiling in the galleria was amazing. We enjoyed a couple of short shows there during the week.

 

Some more pictures from embarkation day.

 

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On the same level as the ropes course is the Artic water park. It was an excellent play space for children. There is plenty to keep them happy and occupied there. We enjoyed the 3 waterslides. Two of the waterslides use inflatable rafts and were very comfortable.

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Here is the main pool. And, yes, it was very crowded on Sea days. But we enjoyed it instead of visiting Roatan one day.

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The third pool area is Bamboo Pool which is also called the solarium. The roof of this area may be opened or closed based on the weather. There are two levels inside the solarium, and you'll find foozball and ping pong/table tennis on the upper level.

 

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The Sports area on the Meriviglia is on a high deck - directly next to the kids clubs. I think this was a great location which made it easy for the kids club staff to use the indoor basketball court for activities.

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The Gym is also on the same deck as the Sportsplex. Machines were all functioning and in excellent condition. The staff was friendly and welcoming. I used the gym 6 out of 7 mornings. It was, of course, very crowded on the first day at sea. But after that, there was no wait for a machine.

 

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Next, we stayed nearby and visited the kids club. Staff assured me that teens do not need to register. Teens are allowed to sign themselves in and out of the program. 

The Young/Teen program is one place that MSC really excels. Our 13 year old looks forward to meeting new kids and joining in the games. He went to the kids club every day.

Here are the hours for embarkation day. Hours vary if at sea or a port.

DSCN5723.thumb.JPG.3ec6da11db8a19a0a6b4a6d65978fbfd.JPGThe Attic bar is part of the teen club. Our son used the Easy package to get nonalcoholic drinks here in the evenings.

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The Sky Lounge for 21+ is also in the same area. Can you tell that this part of the ship is jam packed with things to do?

The Sky Lounge overlooks the main pool which has a huge video screen for movies in the evenings. Also, the lounge was the venue for the Cruise Critic gathering - which was very nice and included chocolate covered strawberries.

 

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Edited by Match Game 72
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If you have sailed in a balcony on MSC Seaside, you have essentially seen a balcony on Meriviglia. The main difference appears to be the number of sleeping spaces. We had a cabin with a twin sized sleep sofa. Other cabins had a sleep sofa for 2 and others had just a regular sofa.

Like the Seaside, storage in this cabin was lacking. The closet area is very small for 3 people's clothes. To help with the storage, I had packed 4 magnetic hooks and 3 folding "drawers." I also brought 2 folding clothes hampers to contain the inevitable mess of clothes that happens after a few days.

The cabin steward kept the sofa made up as a bed every day. We did not have use of the sofa.

In general, I think that MSC's designers could learn quite a bit from RV designers. There were many underutilized spaces in the cabin.

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The balcony was an average size and comfortably fits two adults. We ate breakfast on the balcony a few mornings. We did not use room service. Instead, I just ran up to the buffet and got what we liked.

 

Our balcony was inset from the outer most line of the ship. This meant that we got more shade and less wind than balconies that stuck out. Something to keep in mind if you like the shade vs. the sun.

 

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Edited by Match Game 72
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And finally, the bathroom was adequate for one person at a time. There were 3 shelves and a couple of hooks. The shower was a little larger than expected. However, the shower door tended to leak at the hinges. So, sometimes the floor got wet.

 

This was the cruise without hot water for about 24 hours. When that happens, the cold water is really cold. For us it was a minor inconvenience. All cabins were compensated with a $50 credit. I have seen some concern about the ship's ability to wash dishes. It's my understanding that the dishwashing machine have integrated hot water and hot drying capability. The plates at the buffet were still hot when they were put out during the hot water shortage.

 

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On embarkation day, we attended the muster drill. Our station was located in the Carousel Lounge where Cirque du Soleil performs. It is directly behind the Casino. When we booked our cabins, each cabin had 2 tickets to Cirque du Soleil included. But we wanted to bring our son, too. I thought we could talk to the reservation desk after the muster drill, but so did everyone else! So we waited until later that evening.

The staff allowed us to exchange our 4 dinner tickets for 5 tickets with a drink. Since none of us were interested in the menu and we preferred sitting closer to the stage, this was a good solution for us. We saw Viaggio on the first day at sea.

 

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As I mentioned earlier, we had the Easy package. While there are some limitations as to what you can order, we are light drinkers and so the package was fine for us. I must have consumed my weight in San Pellegrino water. Our son had a full selection of virgin drinks. And if we wanted a Mojito or Rum punch, we asked for the virgin drink and a shot of rum. Sometimes, the bar staff put the rum in the drink for us, and sometimes it was separate. But it was all fine. And I liked having no bar tab at the end of the cruise.

 

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As I mentioned earlier, we ate most of our meals at the Buffet or Waves main dining room. Food temperature and quality was good. Some food was very good. I have seen some concern about how long a meal in the main dining room takes. It was our experience that 3 courses that began at 5:30 were finished at 6:45. So, it was possible to see the first of the 3 evening shows.

 

One day for lunch, three of us ate at the sushi restaurant. It was fantastic with terrific quality. We enjoyed it on a sea day when the foot traffic near the sushi restaurant was very slow. I mention this because the restaurant is part of a walkway, and it could be distracting to have a high volume of people walking by the table.

 

The menus for all the speciality restaurants are available with prices on the MSC for Me app. Also, the complimentary restaurants posted their menus 2-3 days ahead of time. This made it easy to decide if there was anything we wanted on a particular evening. Keep in mind that the Easy drink package does not work in speciality dining venues.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'll mention a few things about the MSC for Me app. In general, we found the app easier to use than the cabin tv options. We found out on the first day that guests under 18 have the chat function disabled. We got around this by having our son login as one of the adults and then we could chat over the ship's wifi without using our data package.

 

Our wifi package was included when we booked the cruise. It was 2 gig of data for only 2 devices. Once a device was registered, it was one of the sole devices and could not be changed. We found that the wifi was normally steady and fast enough for checking email. We did not attempt to stream.  Here are some screen shots from the wifi towards the end of the cruise. I thought some folks would like to know about their options to buy more data.

 

 

 

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Edited by Match Game 72
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