Review: MSC Meraviglia Prize Cruise from Barcelona
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
MSC Meraviglia prize cruise from Barcelona
166 people found this review helpful
I couldn’t believe my luck when I had an e-mail from Silver Travel Advisor telling me I’d won a cruise in their monthly prize draw – on the brand new MSC Meraviglia – the ship shown on the Jane McDonald Cruise TV programme. I couldn’t believe my luck!
After much toing and froing with the very patient Jennie from Silver Travel Advisor, we were sorted with a date at the end of November, sailing from Barcelona. I booked EasyJet flights from Newcastle and a hotel close to Las Ramblas – well I wanted to be sure I didn’t miss the boat! And of course, it’s always a bonus to have an extra night in Barcelona.
After a day exploring Barcelona, we got a taxi to the Port – and our jaws dropped as we saw this huge ship towering over the port. It was magnificent. I’ve never seen such a big ship. Embarkation was fairly speedy and our photos were taken and we were on our way. I’d booked the all-inclusive package before we left the UK (well worthwhile doing – and cheaper booking it in advance – at £20 per person per day). We had our first cocktail before even finding our cabin, and very nice it was too!
The cabin was on Deck 13, and thanks to Silver Travel Advisor and MSC, it had a balcony. Everything was new and perfect; the cabin was decorated tastefully in grey and burgundy, with a double bed, huge sofa (which I think converted to a sofa bed), a decent sized bathroom with a good sized shower with a glass door. The only negative thing was I think they could have had more storage space, only 3 drawers in the cabin, even though there was space.
The highlight of the ship was the promenade area with shops and bars, and a curved ceiling with LED TV screens which could show anything from scenes from the Sistine Chapel, to Dinosaurs to Fish under water. It was amazing. The Swarovski crystal staircases were impressive too – and were the site of many people’s photographs.
The ship caters well for children, although on our cruise at the end of November, there weren’t too many on board. They have outdoor water slides – which go right over the side of the ship – YES we did try them out – great fun. There’s a Polar Park – a splash area with lots of water activities for children, a Himalayan Bridge – a bit like Go Ape – we didn’t get chance to try that as it was too windy. They have a Kids Club. There is even a full size sports pitch. There’s a bowling alley, Formula 1 simulator, and 4d cinema. Never a dull moment!
There were two outdoor pools and one indoor pool with a retractable roof which was lovely and warm. There were lots of Jacuzzis on the ship where you could watch the ship sail away.
There’s also an upmarket area of the ship called the Yacht Club which had its own private pool and lounges, so we didn’t get to see that. The Yacht club cabins have keycard access. The ship has a spa too, but we didn’t try that out.
The entertainment was excellent, some great musicians in the bar and the theatre had some great shows.
We were disappointed to miss the Cirque Du Soleil show due to one of the cast members having an accident. The stage set up for this show looked fabulous and we were told it was a brilliant show.
There are speciality restaurants, but we stuck to the main restaurant where we had a table for 4. The staff were great. The food wasn’t the best I’ve ever had on a cruise, certainly not so much choice – perhaps catering for 5,500 people has its drawbacks, but there was always something you could choose. We used the buffet for breakfast and lunch, it was well laid out to cope with the numbers, and we only struggled to get tables on days when lots of people were leaving the ship. Choice again, was probably not as extensive as on other cruise lines. One of the things we noticed was that hygiene wasn’t as strict as on other cruise lines. There were sinks on the way into the buffet, but they didn’t seem to be frequently used, but no hand gel dispensers. The hand gel dispensers were outside the restaurant, but there was no insistence from staff that they were used.
Our cruise was from Barcelona, visiting Marseilles, Valetta, Civitavecchia (the port for Rome), Palermo and Genoa. We did our own thing in most of the ports, but there were plenty of excursions on offer from the ship.
The ship never felt really crowded, despite the large number of guests. We only noticed when getting on and off the ship – they seemed to struggle to cope with large numbers of people and we had to queue a few times.
There were lots of large lifts, so you never had to wait long to get anywhere. Access seemed good for anyone with mobility issues. On our cruise, it was mainly Italian and Spanish guests, with a number of Chinese and Japanese guests. Most were in the over 50’s age group, but this may change in the Summer months with all the facilities for children.
Overall, a lovely cruise, great staff and a lovely ship. Thanks again to Silver Travel Advisor and MSC Cruises for an amazing prize.
166 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.