Sail the MSC Meraviglia: Exclusive Tips and Activities for a Luxury Experience

Estimated read time 18 min read
msc meraviglia guide - msc merviglia tips

People often ask me, “What’s your favorite cruise?” With 20 sailings under my belt, it’s a fair question, right? Here’s the thing: I LOVE cruising, but each cruise line caters to different needs, and as those needs evolve, so do my favorites.

That said, MSC has a special place in my heart. If you’re traveling family-style and crave a blend of modern luxury with a touch of elegance, then MSC Meraviglia is a must-try.

This floating paradise greets you with sparkling Swarovski stairs and an exhilarating ropes course on the 19th deck for starters.  If this sounds like your next cruise, then keep reading to uncover some of my best tips to make it absolutely unforgettable.

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MSC Meraviglia docked

Family-Style Cabins

When I say family-style, I’m not just talking about connecting cabins but also large, spacious cabins with a hidden bunk bed cove and spacious balconies.

No, not every cabin but definitely some special ones aboard if you’re looking for a little something extra. These offer comfort and convenience, and are designed to cater to the needs of families and groups.

We’ve always found relaxing in our MSC cabins to be some of the best home-like atmospheres, ensuring relaxation after a fun-filled day of activities.

Luxuriously Elegant Stairs

I don’t know who isn’t dazzled with every step as you proceed up or down the Swarovski crystal adorned stairs.  This is where you want to strike a pose because those photos will be worth every step.  Between the stairs and the lighting, you are enveloped in an ambiance of opulence. 

Exciting Activities on the 19th Deck

Your cruise adventures begin when you perch yourself up on the 19th Deck.  You simply must take a walk on the wild side with the Himalayan Bridge, a suspended ropes course that offers breathtaking views at sea.

At the Polar Aqua Park, you can enjoy water slides and splash zones, with the kids or while just acting like one. When you’re in the mood for some relaxation, the Horizon Bar offers panoramic sea views, the friendliest bartenders, and a sensational space to unwind with a cocktail.

MSC Meraviglia Tips: Making the Most of Your Cruise

Check In for Your Cruise

Your check-in will open 30 days before your cruise, so go ahead and get it done long before it closes which will be 24 hours before your cruise.  It’s a very simple process online where you will just enter your booking number and name.  

As a matter of fact, once you’re booked, go ahead and set up your account and reminders to stay well-ahead of these things.

The check-in process requires you to make sure your name is right, all of your personal details are confirmed, upload a photo and necessary documents and be ready to board.

Not already booked? Book your MSC cruise today.

Print Your Luggage Tags at Home

If you’ve done your online check-in, there’s no sense in stopping now.  Stay organized by keeping your documents in a ready to go folder for your trip. Save precious time at the port by printing your luggage tags at home. It’s a small step that makes the embarkation process smoother and quicker, giving you more time to start your vacation! Even if you think you’ll just carry-on your bags instead of giving them to a porter, you may still want the tags on them just in case.  

And don’t forget to tip your porters, most people tip between $2 – 5 per bag. Twenty cruises and my bag was only damaged once, but the cruise line also made it right. Besides, you’re on vacation, who wants to carry bags on vacation?

cruise luggage tag holders

These are the best protective luggage tag holders for your next cruise, an absolute cruise essential.

Speed Up Embarkation

Be the person that keeps the line moving so we all get on and get to having fun. This is where that little folder I talked about earlier is going to come in handy because if you’ve been collecting and gathering your documents in it and kept it safe and ready, then this part is a breeze.  

What documents do you need? Typically, this includes your boarding pass (which you printed also), passport, and any health declarations. As an extra protective measure, secure your documents in a clear waterproof document holder that makes finding the right thing easy while keeping it safe from damage.

clear waterproof document hodlers
clear waterproof document holders

Why Travel Insurance is a Must

Missed port? Unexpected medical issues? Travel insurance is your safety net for the unpredictable, ensuring that even if things don’t go as planned, you’re not left stranded or with a very hefty bill.

Trust me, things happen.  And I’ve witnessed it all – a fall while dancing by the pool, an allergic reaction to food, gastrointestinal issues suddenly, lost bags due to delayed flights and a couple being left with nothing to wear, sailing away and watching someone run as they’re being left in port – yep, seen all of it. 

And we’re not even going to bring up the monster of all unexpected happening, ahem, 2020. SO, yes, get the insurance.

Swimming on a Cold Weather Cruise? Yes or No?

Cold weather cruising doesn’t mean you have to skip the pool. Most cruise ships, including the MSC Meraviglia, offer heated pools and hot tubs. So pack that swimsuit and enjoy a warm dip even when it’s chilly outside! But Meraviglia has something special in mind for you, the Bamboo pool (solarium pool) feels like a tropical rainforest room and it’s the perfect spot for a pool day in cold weather with its retractable roof and balmy atmosphere.

Bamboo pool
Bamboo pool

Unlock Loyalty Perks

One of my favorite things about sailing with MSC is the MSC Voyagers Club Join when you check-in and start earning points from your very first cruise. These points translate into fantastic perks like discounts, priority boarding, and exclusive events. It’s a no-brainer for regular cruisers looking to enhance their experience.

Want to level up quickly and enjoy some amazing perks on your very first cruise with MSC? Use your best travel status with a qualified hotel, airline, or cruise and request a status match after you’ve booked your cruise but at least 2 weeks before you sail.  Some of the perks we’ve enjoyed range from private cocktail parties as a welcome back, priority disembarkation, and a welcome bottle of champagne and macarons.  These little treats just help foster the feeling of being a valued customer.

complimentary champagne and macarons MSC Meraviglia
complimentary champagne and macarons MSC Meraviglia

Dining Delights

With 11 restaurants on board, the culinary adventures are endless. From the American Steakhouse’s prime cuts to interactive Japanese Teppanyaki, there’s something for vegetarians, picky eaters, and special dietary needs. Be sure to make reservations early to secure your spot at the specialty venues.

Pro Tip: Step Out of Your Culinary Comfort Zone

Cruising is the perfect time to try new foods that may not fit your norm. Ever tasted escargot or sushi? How about indulging in a decadent French dessert or a spicy Indian curry? Embrace the opportunity to expand your culinary horizons and savor the diverse flavors on board.

Book Excursions Early

Don’t miss out on unique experiences like beachside stargazing or a sunrise mimosa cruise at Ocean Cay Marine Reserve. Some activities fill up quickly, and waiting till you’re on board can be a huge mistake when there’s something you really want to do.

Utilize On-Board Credits

Want to take advantage of sales and offers that include free drinks, free Wi-Fi, and on-board credits? Here’s my secret tip for finding those deals – holidays. Seriously, besides Wave season at the beginning of every year, you can almost guarantee that every National Holiday, there will be advertised sales that offer some of these types of deals. 

Sign up for email alerts because sometimes, there are also flash sales when the cruise lines are looking to fill some voyages that might’ve been less popular. Then, indulge in spa treatments, specialty dining, or shopping sprees to elevate your cruise experience.

Choose the Right Cabin

I’m a balcony person, I have been since the moment I booked the first one and I can’t go back now.  Book the room that’s right for you and your budget.  If you like to enjoy the views and feel the breeze in your own private corner, the balcony is the perfect spot.  

If you just want to cruise, keep costs down, and enjoy a more social atmosphere on board then an inside or oceanview might be a better fit for you.

If you need accessible options, selecting the right cabin is crucial and making note in your booking that you have special needs is of the utmost importance.  Look at the deck plans or have your travel agent find the perfect one for you.

Attend Special Shows and Events

Don’t miss the LED Dome shows in the Galleria Meraviglia or cultural experiences like the Junkanoo parade at Ocean Cay. These magical events are the cherry on top of your cruise experience.

Plan for Health and Safety

Stay updated on the latest health protocols to ensure a smooth and worry-free cruise. Being prepared means more time to enjoy your vacation!

Ocean Cay

Ocean Cay Marine Reserve: A Slice of Paradise

Relax on White Sand Beaches

Explore the island’s various beach areas, each with its unique charm. Arrive early to snag the best spots, or reserve loungers and umbrellas in advance for guaranteed comfort.

Water Sports and Activities

From paddleboarding to snorkeling, there’s no shortage of water fun. Guided tours offer a more immersive experience, perfect for adventure seekers.

VIP Treatment at North Beach

Yacht Club guests can enjoy exclusive services and private beaches. If you’re looking for luxury, this is the way to go. You must be booked in a Yacht club cabin to enjoy these exclusives.

Best Balcony Cabins on MSC Meraviglia

Fantastica Balcony Cabins

These cabins offer prime locations and extra perks like 24-hour room service. Perfect for those seeking a little extra comfort and convenience.

Cruise Cabin View Considerations

Choose cabins based on sailing direction and itinerary. Starboard or port side? It’s all about what sights you want to wake up to. Want to wake up to a view of the sea when you dock in port – go for Starboard side.  Want to watch the busy daily life of this new exciting port you’re visiting, then you want the Port side.

Health Considerations

You’ll have a smoother ride in midship cabins on lower decks if you’re sensitive to motion. 

From the moment you step on board MSC Meraviglia, you’ll find a world of luxury, excitement, and unique experiences waiting for you. Follow these MSC Meraviglia tips to optimize your itinerary, explore the ship’s features, and enjoy a cruise vacation filled with memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it’s your first time cruising with MSC or you’re a seasoned traveler, the tips and insights offered here will guide you in making the most of every moment on this spectacular ship.

MSC Meraviglia Facts: Tips and Information

Essential Facts

  • Built: 2016
  • Cabins: 2,214
  • Passenger Capacity: 5,642
  • Restaurants: 11 (including specialty restaurants like American Steakhouse and Japanese Teppanyaki)
  • Decks: 19 total (15 for passenger use)
  • Casino: Located on Deck 7
  • Sailing Routes: Caribbean and Bahamas through Spring 2022; the Mediterranean for Summer and Fall 2022

Dining Experience

MSC Meraviglia boasts an extraordinary dining experience with 11 restaurants. Here’s a closer look:

  • American Steakhouse: For meat lovers, this restaurant provides a classic steakhouse experience with prime cuts and delectable sides.
  • Japanese Teppanyaki: Engage in an interactive culinary experience as skilled chefs prepare delicious Japanese dishes right at your table.
  • More Options: The ship also offers an array of other dining choices, including Italian, Mediterranean, and buffet options, to satisfy every palate.

Sail the MSC Meraviglia: Exclusive Tips and Activities for a Luxury Experience

Entertainment and Activities

Instagram-worthy Photos on the Swarovski Crystal Staircases

The Swarovski Crystal Staircases serve as an elegant backdrop for capturing memorable photos. The sparkling crystals and the luxurious design make every picture an artistic masterpiece.

swarovski crystal stairs msc meraviglia

Champagne Bar (Deck 7)

Indulge in the finer things at the Champagne Bar, where you can enjoy a selection of Prosecco, Champagne, and caviar. Whether toasting to a special occasion or enjoying a romantic moment, the Champagne Bar sets the tone for sophistication.

champagne bar msc meraviglia


A haven for those with a sweet tooth, this café offers mouthwatering crepes, chocolates, and specialty coffees. Enjoy a morning espresso or indulge in a chocolate treat as you stroll through the ship’s promenade.

Horizon Bar on Deck 16

Unwind with breathtaking views at the Horizon Bar. Offering an array of cocktails and a relaxed ambiance, it’s the perfect spot to take in a sunset or gaze at the stars.

tv studio bar msc meraviglia

Polar Aqua Park, MSC Formula Racer

For family-friendly fun, the Polar Aqua Park offers thrilling water slides, while the MSC Formula Racer invites you to test your racing skills in an exciting simulator

formula car

MSC Aurea Spa

Escape to tranquility at the MSC Aurea Spa, where you can pamper yourself with rejuvenating treatments, massages, and wellness therapies.

LED Dome Show in the Galleria Meraviglia

Don’t miss the stunning LED Dome Show in the Galleria Meraviglia, a mesmerizing spectacle of light, color, and imagery that takes place under the 262-foot-long LED dome – the largest at sea.

What to do on Ocean Cay Marine Reserve

Ocean Cay Marine Reserve is a slice of paradise in the Bahamas exclusively offered by MSC Cruises. Here are some expanded details and tips for your Ocean Cay Marine Reserve experience, particularly if you’re sailing aboard the MSC Meraviglia:

1. Relaxing on White Sand Beaches

  • Various Beach Options: The island offers several beach areas, each with its unique charm. Explore them all and find your favorite spot for sunbathing or swimming.
  • Beach Amenities: Loungers and umbrellas are often available, so make sure to arrive early to get the best spot, or consider reserving in advance if possible.
  • Family-Friendly Spaces: Look for specific family-friendly beaches if you’re traveling with little ones.

2. Water Sports and Activities

  • Range of Options: From paddleboarding to kayaking, there’s no shortage of water sports to enjoy. Rentals are typically available.
  • Guided Activities: Consider taking part in guided water adventures, such as snorkeling tours or scuba diving excursions for a more immersive experience.

3. Cabana Rentals

  • Luxury and Privacy: For an extra dose of luxury and privacy, consider renting a cabana. They come equipped with loungers, shade, and often beverage services.
  • Advance Booking: Cabanas can be popular, so consider booking in advance to secure your spot.

full cabana view

4. Unique Experiences and Shows

junkanoo parade ocean cay

Junkanoo Parade and Lighthouse Show: Don’t miss these unique cultural shows, reflecting Bahamian tradition. Check the schedule as timing may vary.

5. Excursion Tips and Highlights

  • Beachside Stargazing: A unique and romantic experience. Opt for guided sessions for additional insight into the night sky.
  • Sunrise Mimosa Cruise on a Catamaran: An elegant way to start the day. Book early as these popular excursions can sell out.
  • Balmoral Island Beach Day: A serene escape. Pack sun protection and remember to bring some local currency for any extra expenses.
  • Ocean Cay Snorkel Rental & Ocean Cay Lighthouse Climb: A combination of underwater adventure and panoramic island views. Suitable for various fitness levels, and guides are often available for assistance.

6. Dining and Shopping

  • Variety of Dining Options: From casual beachside eateries to more formal dining options, there’s something to suit every taste and budget.
  • Unique Shopping Opportunities: Look for unique souvenirs and local crafts at the island’s shops. It’s a perfect opportunity to take home a piece of the Bahamas.

Ocean Cay Marine Reserve offers an idyllic and exclusive Bahamian experience for MSC Meraviglia guests. From relaxation to adventure, there’s something for everyone. Utilize these tips to tailor your day on the island to your preferences, and don’t hesitate to explore all that this beautiful private paradise has to offer.

Sail the MSC Meraviglia: Exclusive Tips and Activities for a Luxury Experience

Best balcony cabins on the MSC Meraviglia

Choosing the right cabin can make a big difference in your cruise experience. On the MSC Meraviglia, the balcony cabins are popular for their beautiful views and added space. Here are some tips and highlights for choosing the best balcony cabins, with a particular focus on Fantastica Balcony options:

1. Fantastica Balcony Cabins

  • Prime Locations: These cabins are located on the upper decks and often offer quicker access to the main dining and entertainment areas.
  • Specific Recommendations: Cabins 10261, 10265, 10382 are known to be well-positioned, offering both privacy and optimal views.
  • Extra Amenities: Booking a Fantastica Balcony cabin also includes perks such as 24-hour room service and priority choice of dining times.

2. Consider the Ship’s Layout

  • Avoiding Obstructions: Study the deck plan to ensure the balcony is not obstructed by lifeboats or other structural elements.
  • Proximity to Elevators and Stairs: Depending on your preference, being close to elevators and stairs can be convenient, but it may also be noisier.

3. Size and Configuration

  • Larger Balcony Options: Some cabins may offer extended or angled balconies, providing more outdoor space.
  • Room Configuration: Consider the internal layout as well. Connecting cabins may be ideal for families, while couples might prefer a more secluded option.

4. View Considerations

  • Direction and Itinerary: Think about the ship’s sailing direction and the ports on your itinerary. You might prefer a starboard or port side cabin based on the specific route.
  • Wake Views: Some travelers enjoy cabins at the back of the ship to view the wake. This can be both mesmerizing and soothing.

5. Health Considerations

  • Motion Sensitivity: If you’re sensitive to motion, midship cabins on lower decks may provide a smoother experience, but still check the deck plan for good balcony options in these areas.

6. Specialty Cabins

  • Suites and Yacht Club Cabins: For a more luxurious experience, explore the suites or Yacht Club cabins with balconies. These often come with additional amenities and exclusive access to certain areas of the ship.

7. Consult with Cruise Experts

  • Talk to MSC Representatives or Travel Agents: If in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult with cruise specialists who know the MSC Meraviglia well. They can guide you to the perfect balcony cabin based on your preferences and needs.

Happy Wandering on MSC Meraviglia!

Read more about MSC Cruises.


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  1. 1
    Gina Ferrell

    This sounds like a fabulous place to visit and so beautiful. I love that there is all kinds of things to enjoy for a family vacation.

  2. 5
    Dawn Mielke

    I’ve always wanted to take a cruise but I have to monitor the noise levels in my environment. Thanks for the great review. If I can’t go, I can enjoy others experiences.

    • 6
      Portia O'Laughlin

      I completely understand. There are some things I know I can’t do like mountain climbing but I love watching others share their experiences. If you do decide to try it, some parts of the boat can be quieter than others so a little research and assistance finding a quiet room can help. Stay away from areas directly below pool decks or dining/buffet. And an ocean view room at the beach feels just as good as a balcony on the cruise without the movement and boat noise. (Maybe better sometimes.) Thanks for stopping by.

  3. 7
    gloria patterson

    WOW this would be a dream come true! It has been over 20 years since I was on a cruise and it was fun. Will add this to our check on list

    • 8
      Portia O'Laughlin

      You’re due a cruise then! We’re always adding new things to the check list too, it’s good to keep an eye on the prize.

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