MSC Meraviglia is far from MSC Cruises’ newest ship and it’s far from the cruise line’s largest. However, this ship is still relatively new (it’s less than a decade old) and it was quite the impressive option when it first debuted in the mid-2010s as the first Meraviglia-class ship.

Today, it still holds its own with modern amenities and finishes that keep the ship in good standing with avid cruisers. If you’re thinking of booking a cruise on one of MSC Meraviglia’s North American itineraries, here’s everything you need to know.

First off, here’s how this ship measures in.

Gross Tonnage: 171,598
Length: 1,315.83 meters (or just over 1,036 feet)
Decks: 19 (15 for passengers)
Staterooms: 2,214
Passenger capacity: 5,642
Crew: 1,607

When the ship first debuted, it was the sixth-largest cruise ship in the world. However, today, the ship has been surpassed by some of MSC Cruises’ other ships, such as those in the Meraviglia Plus class, as well as the new MSC World Europa. In terms of all cruise ships currently sailing, MSC Meraviglia sits further down the pack, closer to being in the top 20 largest cruise ships on the planet, versus in the top 10. 

Launched in 2017, MSC Meraviglia was built by STX France at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in St. Nazaire, France. During its construction, it was featured on the Science Channel’s “Building Giants” program, celebrating its size. Christened by godmother Sophia Loren on June 3, 2017, the ship entered service the same day. 

The ship launched MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia class, which also includes MSC Bellissima, which launched two years later in 2019, as well as the off-shoot Meraviglia Plus class, which is yet to be finished.

MSC Meraviglia in New York (Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators)

Currently, the Meraviglia Plus-class, which features larger ships (by about 10,000 GT), includes MSC Grandiosa and MSC Virtuosa, launched in 2019 and 2021, respectively, with MSC Euribia expected to launch in late 2024 (though it was originally slated to launch in 2023). 

One of the notable things about MSC Meraviglia when it launched was that it offered a cruising experience that more closely resembled what North American cruisers were used to enjoying with cruise lines with a larger footprint in the area.

The ship offers the standard selection of restaurants and cuisines you’d expect on any major cruise ship, alongside similar entertainment options, and a private, VIP, suites-only area called the MSC Yacht Club. The ship likewise impressed with its flashy amenities such as an LED-lit roof, ropes course and water park. 

As of yet, the ship has not undergone any extensive refurbishments, but it hardly needs them, as it still remains relevant and modern by today’s standards. 

As mentioned, MSC Meraviglia offers 2,214 cabins, including 55 accessible cabins. Non-suite cabins are split over four categories:

Interior
Ocean view
Balcony
Balcony Aurea

Interior cabins include double or single beds (you have to specially request single beds, though), and bathrooms with showers and vanities. Interior cabins are further broken down into studio interior cabins and deluxe interior cabins.

The studio interior cabins are specifically created for single cruisers and, as such, are on the smaller side, nearly half the size of the deluxe interior cabins in some cases. Deluxe interior cabins can fit up to four cruisers.

MSC Meraviglia Interior Stateroom

Ocean view staterooms likewise can be broken down into several sizes, including junior, deluxe and premium. Do note that some of the junior ocean view staterooms do come with an obstructed view. Otherwise, you can rely on all ocean view staterooms to have a true ocean view via a small-ish rectangular or circular window on one end of the cabin.

Worth Reading: What Are the Best Rooms on a Cruise Ship?

Likewise, also note that not all ocean view cabins are larger than the interior cabins. For an ocean view cabin with extra seating space and overall more room, go with the premium ocean view cabin, which also features a small, extra single bed tucked away behind the seating area, near the window.

MSC Meraviglia Balcony Stateroom

Balcony staterooms likewise differ, but all can fit four travelers. They range in size, but you won’t find any that are particularly larger than the ocean view staterooms. Aurea balcony staterooms come with spa-related amenities, but otherwise, all balcony staterooms are outfitted sitting areas both inside and outside the cabin, on the balcony, with large glass doors leading out to the exterior space.

When booking the suites on the MSC Meraviglia cruise ship, you get a little extra space — or a lot of extra space if you book a suite with a large balcony.

MSC Meraviglia Suite

Depending on the suite you book, you’ll get extra amenities, such as walk-in wardrobes, dining areas, a private whirlpool on your balcony and more. All suites on the cruise ship are called “Aurea suites.” 

For the crème de la crème in MSC Cruises, though, you’ll want to book a stay within the inner sanctum, the VIP area that’s off-limits to cruisers who haven’t booked a special suite: the MSC Yacht Club.

The MSC Yacht Club is filled with ultra-luxury suites that feature more space and more luxurious furnishings and décor. Do note, though, that some MSC Yacht Club suites are nicer than others.

MSC Yacht Club Pool

On the bottom end of the spectrum, you have the small interior suite that can fit two passengers and comes with a large wardrobe and a seating area, but not much else. On the top end of the spectrum, there’s the Royal Suite, with its private master bedroom, separate living and dining areas, balcony with a private whirlpool and extra, outdoor seating space, walk-in wardrobe and more. 

Wherever you stay within the MSC Yacht Club, though, you’ll enjoy extra perks and amenities, such as free WiFi, a Yacht Club-guest only sun deck with a pool and bar, unlimited drinks in your mini-bar and more. 

When MSC Meraviglia debuted, it was obvious that the cruise line had upped its culinary game. This ship offered expanded restaurants and dining experiences. The cruise line had also enlisted the help of a celebrity chef to improve dining quality.

Waves Restaurant

That said, don’t expect your dining options on this ship to be up to par with what you’ll find with some of the bigger cruise lines that have developed a reputation for their culinary programs. These are the restaurants that you can eat at, for free, when cruising on MSC Meraviglia:

Waves Restaurant
Panorama Restaurant
L’Olive Doree
L’Olivo D’Oro
The Marketplace Buffet

The first four restaurants in this list are all considered “main restaurants,” so expect your typical sit-down dining experience with a high-end feel and somewhat limited menus. The Marketplace Buffet is, as the name suggests, the ship’s buffet. 

If you’re an MSC Yacht Club guest, you do get access to two other restaurants, for free, including an upscale restaurant with a rotating menu and a more casual, grill-type restaurant.

Marketplace Buffet

This small number of options is admittedly disappointing, especially for those who don’t want to splurge for specialty dining during their cruise. While the dining experience on this ship is certainly improved over past MSC Cruises offerings, there’s still something to be desired. Cruisers more accustomed to other cruise lines often expect at least a few more free restaurants beyond the main dining rooms and buffet, even if they’re just casual, quick-bite eateries.

So, that said, chances are likely that you’re going to end up going to one of MSC Meraviglia’s other, for-a-fee restaurants during your cruise. The specialty options include:

Kaito Sushi Bar

Butcher’s Cut, a classic steakhouse
Hola Tacos & Cantina, for Latin American and Mexican eats
Kaito Sushi Bar, for sushi, obviously
Kaito Teppanyaki, for the expected cruise ship teppanyaki experience
Ocean Cay, a seafood-focused eatery 
Jean-Philippe Chocolat & Café, for coffee and chocolate treats
Jean-Philippe Crepes & Gelato, for more European-inspired treats 
Atmosphere Ice Cream Bar, for frozen treats outdoors 
Polar Bar, for more of the same 

You can also find food at some of the bars on the ship. There’s likewise room service available 24/7, with some free items offered, plus culinary experiences occasionally available, such as the Chef’s Table experience.

When it’s time to get a drink, you’ll find that your options aren’t quite so limited as they are when you’re looking for a bite to eat. MSC Meraviglia bars and lounges include:

MSC Meraviglia Casino Bar (Photo Credit: ODIN Daniel)

The Attic Club, for a disco-style experience
Bamboo Bar, an indoor pool bar
Brass Anchor Pub, with an English pub-style setting
Carousel Lounge, for mixed drinks
Casino Imperiale, for drinks in the casino
The Champagne Bar, where you can get Champagne but also culinary accompaniments
Edge, a cocktail bar that’s open pre-dinner
Infinity Bar, a similar cocktail bar that’s open pre-dinner
Marketplace Buffet Bar, for drinks in the buffet
Meraviglia Bar & Lounge, for drinks in the ballroom
Sky Lounge, a piano bar serving mixed drinks
The Sports Bar, for snacks and brews
The TV Studio & Bar, for live entertainment with your booze
Atmosphere Bar North, the outdoor pool bar
Horizon Bar, for panoramic views of the ocean

So, beyond dining and drinking your way through this ship, what is there actually to do? Here’s how to fill your days during a MSC Meraviglia cruise.

Going to the theater while on a cruise is practically a must, and the same applies when you’re aboard MSC Meraviglia

The ship’s broadway-style theater seats nearly a thousand guests, and shows multiple different shows during each cruise, meaning you nearly have something new to watch every night.

MSC Meraviglia, Broadway Theatre

The Carousel Lounge is the setting for the brand’s Cirque du Soleil shows. MSC Cruises was the first cruise line to bring Cirque du Soleil to sea, when the circus troupe’s shows debuted aboard MSC Meraviglia (and the Carousel Lounge was actually designed with Cirque du Soleil in mind). 

The hard working crew aboard MSC Meraviglia does a great job of pulling together activities and “events” throughout the entire ship, so no matter where you are, you can just about always find something fun to join in on. There are parties and pool games, quizzes, dances, classes, gaming tournaments, parades and more.

LED Display on Promenade

One of the forms of entertainment that’s bound to catch your eye? The light shows that take place in the ship’s Galleria at regular intervals each day, thanks to the humongous LED ceiling topping this promenade. 

The Galleria light shows continue in the evening, when the ship’s on-board entertainment becomes more like what you might expect from a high-end, lifestyle resort. Live music is everywhere. Classy parties take over the pool area, while themed parties go down in the Galleria. You can also escape to the casino, which is on the larger side for a cruise ship.

MSC Meraviglia’s main pool area sits on Deck 15 and consists of two connected pools. This main pool area can get pretty loud and pretty crowded, even though small children are not allowed in the main pool (they have to go to the kid-friendly water park, with its various water features). Loungers surround the pool. 

Adjacent to the main pool area, Bamboo Pool features a pool with a retractable roof and bar, as well as two whirlpool tubs. The Solarium is adjacent to the Bamboo Pool, with its own pool area, two large whirlpools, lots of seating, and even some table games.

Main Pool Deck (Photo Credit: Nate Hovee)

The Horizon Pool is yet another pool at the back of the ship, surrounded by an amphitheater. The Yacht Club also offers a pool for Yacht Club guests only. This is a saltwater pool and is accompanied by a hot tub. 

Beyond the pools, there’s a huge sun deck on Deck 16 overlooking several of the pools, and then an exclusive sun deck on Deck 19 that’s only open to Aurea and Wellness guests.

MSC Meraviglia offers plenty of ways to get active and work up a sweat, no matter who you’re traveling with. Families will love the family-friendly activities, which are abundant, but even older travelers and couples can get in on the fun.

Read Also: What Are the Best Cruise Lines for Families?

There’s a ropes course and aqua park at the back of the ship, the latter being just for the kids. There are three water slides that are open to everyone, though.

Ropes course above the deck (Photo Credit: Suchart Boonyavech)

The Sportplex hosts all kinds of team and individual sports, from basketball to volleyball to tennis. The Sportplex becomes a live music and dancing venue in the evening hours. The Amusement Park features even more family-friendly fun, with a 4D cinema, bowling alley, F1 simulators and arcade.

What’s a vacation (or a cruise) without a little retail therapy? MSC Meraviglia features a handful of shops on Deck 6 and around the Galleria and promenade, including stores selling designer, high-end purses, jewelry and more. Duty-free shops will outfit you with all your luxury goods, no tax required. 

There are several venues aboard this ship that are dedicated exclusively to the kiddos.

For those ages 3 and under, Baby Club Chicco is the place to go. Those ages 3 to 6 have Mini Club LEGO, while those ages 7 to 11 have Junior Club LEGO, both kids clubs inspired by everyone’s favorite building block. Older members of the family have the Young Club for preteens, and then the Teen Club for those ages 15 to 17.

MSC Meraviglia, Juniors Club Lego

Other kid-friendly spaces include the Doremi Lab, a tech lab, and Doremi Studio, a kid-focused theater. There’s also a virtual arcade and bowling area. 

With cruises from the Eastern United States and visiting cruising hot spots from the Bahamas to Bermuda to New England and Canada, booking an MSC Meraviglia cruise is convenient for many travelers. See what awaits on one of this ship’s upcoming itineraries!

When was the MSC Meraviglia built?

MSC Meraviglia was ordered in March 2014, laid down in October 2015, launched in September 2016, completed in May 2017 and then in service by June 2017. It is the first Meraviglia-class ship launched by MSC Cruises, and was followed by MSC Bellissima in 2019.

How large is the MSC Meraviglia cruise ship?

Both Meraviglia-class cruise ships can hold 4,500 passengers, and when MSC Meraviglia entered service in 2017, it was the sixth-largest cruise ship in the world, with a gross tonnage of 171,598 GT and length of 1,036 feet and 2 inches. There are 15 passenger decks and, beyond the capacity for 4,500 passengers, the ship holds 1,536 crew members.

How many pools are on MSC Meraviglia?

There are technically six pools aboard MSC Meraviglia, along with four whirlpool tubs and a hot tub. MSC Meraviglia’s main pool area sits on Deck 15 and consists of two connected pools, one of which is smoking-allowed. Adjacent to the main pool area, Bamboo Pool features a pool with a retractable roof and bar, as well as two whirlpool tubs.

The Solarium is adjacent to Bamboo Pool, with its own pool, two large whirlpools, lots of seating and even some table games. The Horizon Pool is yet another pool at the back of the ship, surrounded by an amphitheater. The Yacht Club also offers a pool for Yacht Club guests only. This is a saltwater pool and is accompanied by a hot tub.

While no longer one of the biggest, best and most advanced cruise ships in the world, MSC Meraviglia certainly still holds its own. While it might not be the perfect fit for foodies, it still has a lot to offer if you want a well-rounded cruising experience with lots to do and convenient itineraries leaving from the U.S.

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