If you’re consider a MSC cruise you may be looking at the MSC Meraviglia. I’ve cruised on the ship twice and she is my favourite MSC Cruise ship. In this article we will explore all public areas of the ship, the bars, restaurants, lounges, pools and more.
The main promenade of the ship called the ‘Galleria Meraviglia’, this is where you’ll find shops, bars and restaurants. This area forms the central focus of the ship and you’ll find yourself frequently wandering down the street if you do cruise on the MSC Meraviglia. The space is light, bright and modern feeling with a HUGE LED dome which extends the length of the street.
The LED dome will change pattern throughout the day and mini shows are even projected onto the dome at certain times.
Jean-Philippe Chocolate Shop & Cafe – Deck 6
On the bottom level of the street you will find a chocolate shop and cafe by Jean-Philippe. All items here come at an extra charge and are a premium chocolate brand so quite expensive. That said it’s well worth a visit to the shop even if you don’t want to buy anything, there are chocolate sculptures which are amazing to see as well as this incredible chocolate clock!
Top tip: If you have a loyalty status with MSC you’ll receive a chocolate model ship free of charge. Even if you haven’t cruised with MSC before you can get this by ‘matching’ a loyalty status from another cruise line. I matched my NCL loyalty status to MSC and have been enjoying free gifts and meals ever since! It’s free and easy to do so it’s definitely worth looking into. You’ll find out more about that, plus how to save 5% on all MSC cruises here: MSC Status Match: The Free Way To Get 5% Off MSC Cruises!
Jean-Philippe – Gelato – Deck 6
On deck 6 you’ll also find an ice cream/crepe shop. Everything here does have an extra charge but it’s worth remembering that you’ll usually find free of charge ice cream in the buffet and main dining room!
If you’d prefer to watch than read, check out the video version of this post:
Shops – Deck 6
You’ll find various different shops on deck 6 which sell all kinds of things from souvenirs to perfume and make up. It’s worth remembering that certain products like toiletries do cost a lot more on a cruise. Buying something like painkillers onboard is a good option if you have forgotten to bring your own but if at all possible bring as much from home as you can. You can realistically expect to pay 3x the price you’d pay on land for toiletries onboard a cruise.
There is a gift ship onboard where you can buy MSC branded gifts. I bought an inflatable MSC cruise ship which is brilliant!
Edge Cocktail Bar – Deck 6
There are many many bars onboard the MSC Meraviglia. On some cruise ships I’ve found that it’s a struggle to find a seat in the bar at certain times but I never had this problem on the MSC Meraviglia.
The machine in the photo below is a card machine where you assign your card to your cruise account. On most cruise lines this will be done for you at check in before you get onboard the ship but on MSC cruises you have to find these machines onboard to link your card to your account.
The process is pretty easy and you are able to link multiple people to the same credit/debit card with ease.
Swarovski Crystal Staircases – Deck 5/6
A very popular feature of many MSC cruise ships is the real Swarovski crystal staircases. It’s said that each stair on the staircase costs upwards of $10,000. The stairs are a very popular place to have photos taken on formal nights and I often do on other days too.
You will find professional photographers here very often but professional photography isn’t necessary to get a good photo. I usually don’t buy professional photos and instead use my phone or camera to take my own photos.
Photos are one area where you can save dramatic amounts of money onboard, other areas include drinks, excursions and internet. To learn more about to cut down on these costs when onboard, check out this video:
Kaito Sushi Bar
On deck 7, the top level of the promenade you’ll find Kaito Sushi. This is one of the speciality restaurants onboard the ship. Dining in speciality restaurants isn’t necessary for you to have a good cruise but it can be nice to treat yourself on a special occasion. If you are a sushi fan this restaurant is a must.
Brass Anchor Pub – Deck 7
The brass anchor pub is one of my favourite areas onboard. Sitting outside the pub is great if you’d like to do a bit of people watching, there are views across the street and you’ll often find parties and games happening on the lower level.
You’ll find live music in the evenings inside the pub and it’s a brilliant place to meet up with friends or family after a busy day in port. The pub serves ‘Beertails’ which are cocktails which feature some sort of beer or cider, I’m not a fan of beer but did enjoy a Beertail or two!
It always felt quite quiet in the pub which was a surprise to me. MSC do have a variety of nationalities onboard so this may explain why not everybody was in the pub.
The pub is to the right of this photo with a brilliant view of the street.
TV Studio – Deck 7
Another large bar/lounge is the TV studio on deck 7. The lounge is usually pretty empty during the day which provides a place for people to play cards/meet up with friends. In the evening you’ll find karaoke here and on occasion live music.
To walk along this side of the top level of the galleria you have to walk through the TV studio which is a bit strange.
Butchers Cut – Deck 7
Butchers cut is a speciality steak restaurant found on deck 7. I’ve had many brilliant meals in butchers cut and would strongly recommend that whatever you do, you order onion rings and a giant cookie for pudding.
The restaurant itself is pretty small and quite dark because the windows are blocked by lifeboats on the outer side. That said, the darkness kind of adds to the atmosphere of the restaurant.
You can book speciality restaurants on the MSC for me app which I would strongly recommend you download if you are cruising with MSC. It works on most MSC ships and it allows you to do things like see menus ahead of time!
Bamboo Pool – Deck 15
On deck 15 you’ll find an inside pool. This area can get incredibly busy if you are cruising on a cold weather cruise where the outside pools are cold. There is a pool in the middle and hot tubs by the sides, you’ll also find more hot tubs on the edge of the ship. There is a bar here and there is plenty of seating on the top level.
Top Decks, Pools and Ropes Course – Deck 17, 18 and 19
The MSC Meraviglia has an incredible amount of top deck space with lots of hot tubs and pools. Compared to other ships with similar passenger numbers the ship feels incredibly spacious.
The ship has a main pool with lots of space to sunbathe around it. There is another another small pool at the back of the ship and a ropes course with waterslides on top of the ship. The ropes course and waterslides are free to use but you will have to sign a waver to use the ropes course. To learn more about this, including when the course is open, check out this post: MSC Meraviglia: Ropes Course and Waterslides
MSC Gym – Deck 16
On deck 16 you’ll find a gym which is free to use and open at almost all hours. There is variety of equipment available to use and the gym stretches around the top of the ship. The gym actually has some of the best views on the ship!
To learn more about cruise ships gym, including when to go to avoid the crowds, check out this post: Do Cruise Ships Have Gyms? Are They Free and Other FAQs.
Market Place Buffet – Deck 15
On deck 15 you’ll find a very large buffet which is open from early in the morning until late at night. There is good variety of food and every meal is served here.
As you walk into the buffet you’ll see a number of sinks where guests are encouraged to wash their hands. You’ll also probably bump into somebody trying to sell you a drinks package or speciality dining package, the up sell on MSC cruises can feel quite relentless but if you don’t want a package just say no thank you and continue walking.
To find out more about what food you can expect in an MSC cruise buffet, check out this post: Do MSC Cruises Include Meals? Your Guide To Whats Included
The buffet includes a mozzarella station where fresh mozzarella is made daily. There are many types of pizza available on MSC ships and it’s usually available until late in the night which is brilliant.
There is an area at the back where you can sit outside and enjoy your food.
There is a wide variety of tea and coffee available for free in the buffet.
If you’d prefer to watch than read, check out the video version of this post:
Sky Lounge – Deck 18
I LOVE cruise ships which have a lounge like the sky lounge. It’s located high up on the ship with floor to ceiling windows stretching right the way around three sides. The atmosphere in the lounge is always pretty relaxed and it’s a great place to come and get a drink and relax in the evening before or after dinner. When the sun sets or you are sailing away from a port this is one of the best places to be, it’s also great if you like people watching as you can see other passengers wandering around the decks below.
They serve some little snacks here with drinks which I like! Nuts, crisps and other little bites to eat before dinner.
Sports Bar – Deck 16
On deck 16 you’ll find a sports bar. This area is quite popular but mostly with people who are grabbing a drink while waiting for other people who are in the Sportsplex or outside on the ropes course. On both my cruises we didn’t have a drink here.
Sportplex – Deck 16
The Sportplex is one of the most unique parts of the MSC Meraviglia. You won’t find an area like this on the majority of cruise ships! Here you’ll find an F1 simulator, flight simulator and bowling. All of which do cost extra and can be incredibly popular, especially on sea days.
There are various ways that you can pay for the activities, either by paying as you go, or purchasing a package. There is a desk located in the Sportsplex where you can do this.
Kids Clubs – Deck 18
By the Sportplex you’ll find the kids clubs. MSC have a partnership with lego which I think is a brilliant idea. On an MSC cruise you’ll find children of all nationalities but lego is something that children can play with together regardless of if they speak the same language or not.
MSC have different types of kids clubs onboard:
Baby Club (0-3)
Mini Club (3-6)
Junior Club (7-11)
Young Club (12-14)
Teen Club (15-17)
All are free to join and there are a variety of activities which happen every day for children to take part in. If you do want to enrol your children in the kids clubs it’s important that you go to the kids club on embarkation day and do so.
Casino – Deck 7
On deck 8 you’ll find a very big casino and a lounge behind it where Cirque du Soleil perform. In the casino you’ll find a variety of table games and machines to play as well as a bar in the middle. The casino is light and bright decorated in a bright red colour.
Guests are able to smoke in the casino so this should be avoided if you don’t want to smell cigarette smoke. That said I never felt as though the area smelt particularly as it is so large.
Main Restaurants – Deck 6
There are three main restaurants on deck 6, all of which are very similar. When you cruise with MSC you’ll usually be assigned early, or late seating and this is where you will eat each evening. You are also able to eat in the buffet or a speciality restaurant if you’d prefer. Each evening you’ll have a different menu but the same table and same waiters.
To learn more about dining on MSC cruises, check out this post: Do MSC Cruises Include Meals? Your Guide To Whats Included
Main Restaurant – Deck 5
There is another very similar restaurant on deck 5. This one was often open for lunch which I enjoyed. There are no set dining times or tables for lunch you simply show up as you would to a restaurant on land and are seated.
To learn more about what food to expect on an MSC cruise, including sample menus, check out this post: MSC Meraviglia: Food Review + Menus
Infinity Bar – Deck 5
Deck five is the level below the Galleria Meraviglia and here you will find another bar. The reception is also here too and the lines for the reception can get incredibly long so make sure you allow lots of time if you do need to go to reception or go at a non peak time. Most things such as booking speciality restaurants and checking your onboard account can be done on your stateroom TV or on the cruise lines app.
Broadway Theatre – Deck 6
On deck 6 you’ll find the Broadway Theatre. Each evening there will be a different show here which usually consists of singers and dancers.
MSC’s entertainment is different from that that you’d find on an American or British cruise line because of the number of nationalities onboard. Due to the fact that so many languages are spoken MSC are quite limited when it comes to onboard entertainment as they try not to use spoken word. As a result the shows are quite interpretive and relatively short.
The theatre itself is massive and very modern but interestingly there is no bar in the theatre. This is the same on all MSC ships.
To learn more about why a cruise with MSC is different to an American cruise line like Royal Caribbean, watch this video next:
Want to learn how to cruise well on a budget? Start here: How to Cruise For Less
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