The new flagship for MSC Cruises, Meraviglia (“mehr-ah-vee-ya”) translates as “wonder” in Italian, and it delivers. This 5,714-passenger ship ushers in a new era and class for the Switzerland-based European line. The mega ship packs mega wow factor, from the longest LED screen at sea to Cirque du Soleil at Sea, an amusement park, and technology that means never getting lost on board.
What We Love
The Food: Partnerships with the best of the best bring Mario Batali's Eataly experience on board, along with decadent treats from pastry chef Jean Philippe Maury and gelato from Venchi. The lavish buffet — with freshly-made mozzarella and French breads to charcuterie and house-made pesto — will convert even avowed buffet-skippers.
The Promenade: The 315-feet promenade draws passengers to stroll and linger in Mediterranean passeggiata style, with luxe boutiques and specialty restaurants, all under an ever-transforming LED ceiling.
Best Known For
Smart Technology: With touch screens throughout the ship, an app, and wristbands, passengers can scope out dining options and book dinner with a wave of their band or tap on their phone; and navigate the ship effortlessly with google map-style directions.
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Who It's Best For
All Ages and Budget Levels: MSC Cruises can legitimately say this ship offers something for everyone. Modular cabin groupings are designed for multi-generational groups; the Yacht Club provides a luxurious ship-within-a-ship experience; and a variety of package options let passengers choose their own adventure when it comes to price, dining, and what's included.
Families: This is a ship that caters to families with kids. There's a bowling alley, racing simulators, a Lego-themed play room (and a day dedicated to Lego-themed activities), and an aqua park with multiple water slides. Parents can even use the app to track their childrens' locations.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's Massive: Up there with the biggest of the big, it's a haul to get from stem to stern.
It's International: You'll likely hear more European languages than English, and some Continental touches — such as a focus on charcuterie and cheeses rather than, say, more American comfort foods — may come as a surprise to some cruisers with very American preferences.
Dana McMahan is a Detroit-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post.