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It was not necessary when I sailed in early Feb on the Meraviglia. Those with reservation enter first. Without, enters after. There were some seats left on the sides/edges, near the front that people who entered later usually filled in. I guess the less desirable seats. Not too hard for two people. Could be more of a challenge for big groups or people who want to enter early to get prime seat locations. You can also make reservations when you arrive on the ship. If it shows none left, then you can still show up and look for empty seats after those with reservations. That is how the cruise director explained it. Enjoy your cruise!

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I would put it the other way round:

It is necessary to do the reservation for the shows, BUT; if you have no reservation for 1 of the 3 daily performances you can still try to grab an empty seat without any guarantee of succes. 

making a reservation will only take 1 minute of your time and is very easy to do.

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from msc website:

There are three quick and easy ways to book: connect to the free onboard wi-fi network with your smartphone or tablet, use the touch screens on different decks of the ship, or ask at the Reception.

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As others have said, it is easy to do on board.  Just make sure you keep checking for upcoming shows.  When we boarded Meraviglia on a Sunday, some of the late week shows didn't show up on the listing until Wednesday IIRC.

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Most of the shows that I attended on Meraviglia were late night shows.  There were seats available from what I could see.  Agree; some of the seats were well to the side and one had to walk in front of many seated guests.

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You can usually get in the theater five minutes before show time of the passengers with reservations hadn't shown up. This works for most shows but maybe not Starwalker. The early show sometimes had no one checking reservations. You just walked in.

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I don't understand why you are all saying it is not necessary to make reservations because without the reservation there is NO guarantee you will have a seat. It is not that is that difficult to make the daily reservation for the theatre?!?

It is like driving a car? 

Is it necessary to have a drivers license? Yes

Is it possible to drive without one? YES but.....

The same here: 

Indeed, you might find seats without reservation but one is asked/encouraged to make his reservation and not the other way around (IMHO)

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