PackThePJs was recently invited on board MSC Meraviglia as she docked in Southampton mid-cruise. Built in 2017, she has a capacity for 4,500 passengers across 15 passenger decks. With a gross tonnage of 171,598, a length of 316 metres and a width of 43 metres, MSC Meraviglia is currently the 5th largest cruise ship in the world, behind Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class vessels. MSC Meraviglia is the first ship in their ‘Vista Project’; MSC Bellissima is currently under construction, due in 2019.
First it is important to explain the meaning of the word ‘Meraviglia’. It is Italian for ‘Wonder’ and each of the ship’s decks are named after one of the Wonders of the World. We boarded the ship on Deck 5 (Colosseo) and walked immediately into an atrium with the famous MSC signature staircases. Each staircase, at a cost of £1.5 million, contains glittering Swarovski Crystals … without doubt the most expensive staircases at sea! I first saw an ‘MSC staircase’ on board MSC Preziosa last year, and I’m still in awe of them!
As we were mid-heatwave, we had a much needed (non-alcoholic) drink at the bar before taking one of the staircases to Deck 6 (Petra).
Deck 6 – Petra
Dominating this deck is the Galleria Meraviglia – a double-deck-height promenade lined with stores, cafes, and bars, which I’ll talk about in a minute. But the highlight here is the amazing 480-metre LED ceiling. Changing the ceiling images changes the whole atmosphere of the promenade, making it a multifunctional entertainment space.
Walking along the promenade, of note, is the Jean Philippe Chocolatier … wow! They serve specialty coffees too. You can watch the chocolates being made – a real treat for the eyes – so here’s a few images!
Across from the chocolates you’ll find Jean Philippe’s Crepes and Gelato Bar. Would you ever want to leave this part of the ship?
Our tour continued to the Broadway Theatre. This is rather modest in size, compared to other ships, but this is because there’s a second theatre on board that I’ll mention later on …
At the stern on this level is one of the main dining rooms; I loved this wall of bottles!
Deck 6 – Upper Floor
Progressing up to the ‘gallery’ part of the promenade we were greeted by a traditional English pub called the Brass Anchor Pub.
Beyond this is the Taisho Sushi Bar and Taisho Tepanyaki Bar
Further on, we reached the Aurea Spa, but alas didn’t have time to visit. Instead we walked through the Casino …
… to the Carousel Lounge.
The Carousel Lounge is a 400-seat circular theatre that is home to Cirque du Soleil At Sea. They have created two unique shows for MSC Meraviglia, called Sonor and Viaggio, and perform 6 days a week. Passengers can book a ‘meal and show’ package, where the menu compliments the performance, so it’s a ‘full immersive experience’.
Deck 15 – Tour Eiffel
Decks 7-14 are predominantly staterooms, so our next stop on our tour was the Marketplace Buffet. There’s a Mozzarella Station here (you can watch them make their own mozzarella cheese!)
Just outside is the Atmosphere Pool and Deck (and Bars).
There’s also the Bamboo Pool with retractable roof.
From here we headed up to Deck 16
Deck 16 – Iguazu
This deck is one of three decks devoted to the MSC Yacht Club. Because guests were onboard, we were unable to see many of these areas (though we did have a lovely meal in one of the Yacht Club restaurants). However, at the other end of this deck, there’s a lot to see! You will find here, the gym …
… F1 Simulators …
… Bowling Lanes …
… Flight Simulator …
… and a multi-use Sportplex …
Beyond this is the Horizon Pool …
Deck 18 – Pyramids
This deck is devoted to the MSC Yacht Club and the Kids Clubs. The latter will be discussed in a separate blog post, but here’s a few photos …
Deck 19 – Babylon
Again, the MSC Yacht Club dominates part of this deck, with the fun-looking Polar AquaPark at the other end!
There’s also the Himalayan Bridge high ropes challenge.
End of Tour
Well, we’d seen a lot of this beautiful cruise ship in a short length of time, so it was with a great deal of relief that we were invited to sit down for a three-course meal in one of the exclusive MSC Yacht Club restaurants. As our tour drew to an end we headed back down to the promenade and to the Jean Philippe Chocolatiers, to watch them making their sweet delights.
MSC Meraviglia has a lot to offer its passengers – across all age ranges. The children’s clubs are fantastic, as you’ll see in my next cruise post, and there’s everything you need to be as active, or as chilled out as you want to be. MSC Meraviglia is currently based in Europe, offering cruises around the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and the Baltics. In September 2019 she will start her relocation to the Caribbean, where she will homeport in Miami.
For more information, please visit MSC Cruises UK here