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Guide to the Best Things to Do on MSC Meraviglia & Ocean Cay Marine Reserve

msc meraviglia guide

Guide to the Best Things to Do on MSC Meraviglia & Ocean Cay Marine Reserve

Family style cabins with plenty of space, luxuriously elegant stairs, a walk on the wild side suspended on the 19th Deck, and much more worth experiencing on MSC Meraviglia. There were so many spots that rank high that I have a hard time picking an absolute favorite.  It’s a nice mix between family comfort and elegance that makes it a cruise that you’ll want to book again.

Sailing this Spring could save you money and have you enjoying one of the most beautiful exclusive beaches for Spring Break.  The New Year’s Sale includes Free Drinks, Free Wi-Fi, and on board credits up to $400 on 3 Night Cruises starting from $189 per person.

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MSC Meraviglia Facts

How old is MSC Meraviglia and how many passengers does it hold?

Built in 2016, the Meraviglia has 2,214 cabins with 55 designated for guests with disabilities for a capacity of 5,642 passengers and about 1600 crew members.

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How many restaurants are on the MSC Meraviglia?

There’s 11 restaurants including the main restaurants on decks 5 and 6, then the buffet restaurant on deck 15.  On deck 7, you’ll find the specialty restaurants offering an American Steakhouse, Latin American & Mexican cuisine, and A Japanese restaurant and Teppanyaki.  The specialty restaurants are not included and are an optional experience at $30 per person per visit.

How many decks on MSC Meraviglia?

There are 19 decks with 15 of those for passenger use.

Does MSC Meraviglia have a casino?

Yes, the casino is on Deck 7 in the Aft and you’ll find the Carousel Lounge (live band performances) at the back of the casino.  

Where does the MSC Meraviglia sail?

The MSC Meraviglia will sail the Caribbean and Bahamas through Spring 2022.  Then, heads to the Mediterranean for Summer and Fall 2022.

You’ll find the Meraviglia very easy to get around, you’ll learn the layout of the ship quickly. 

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Things to do on MSC Meraviglia

Shine bright like a diamond when you take instagram worthy photos on the Swarovski Crystal Staircases in the Infinity Atrium (Deck 5).  Don’t forget to take advantage of the pro shots here on special nights.

swarovski crystal stairs msc meraviglia

Pop bottles at the Champagne Bar (Deck 7).  An assortment of Prosecco, Champagne, and Bubblies are available, as well as caviar, oysters, and crab.

champagne bar msc meraviglia

Watch the chocolatiers at the JEAN-PHILIPPE CHOCOLAT & CAFÉ work their magic (Deck 6).  Spoil yourself with crepes, chocolates, and specialty coffees. (Additional costs, not included in cruise fare.)

Make new friends or just enjoy the panoramic sea views at the Horizon bar on deck 16.

Get splashed on at the Polar Aqua Park (Deck 19) or dare to cross the ropes of the Himalayan Bridge.

Join in the fun at the game shows or party nights in the TV Studio Bar (Deck 7).

tv studio bar msc meraviglia

Race full size virtual simulators  at the MSC Formula Racer (Deck 16).

formula car

Soak and relax in the 9 areas of the thermal area at the MSC Aurea Spa (Deck 7).  Besides whirlpools, there’s also a Himalayan Salt room, Ice Fall, Water Benches, Dark/Bright Sensory Steam Bath, Mediterranean Bath, FInnish Sauna, Water Paradize, and Harmonic Vibes.

The LED Dome over the Galleria Meraviglia of Decks 6 & 7 illuminates with a timed Dome Show where you can have a Jurassic experience or see famous ceilings among other shows.

What to do on Ocean Cay Marine Reserve

Ocean Cay Marine Reserve is MSC’s private island in the Bahamas.  It has 2 miles of white sand beaches with crystal blue water.  It is the perfect place to just relax and enjoy but there’s plenty of excursions to try as well.  Your visit to the island does not cost anything extra unless you purchase additional excursions.  Food is included and drinks (if you purchased a drinks package).

MSC has invested in restoring this island’s ecosystem which has included revitalizing ocean beds, attracting marine life, and creating an environment for endangered coral to thrive.

When docked, you can just walk right off and the first thing you see is the Welcome Center in the Bahamian Style village.  It’s equipped with unique stores with Bahamian made products including sarongs and soaps.  You can even get a demonstration of how to wear the sarong if needed. 

There are plenty of beaches with a variety of stylish and comfortable chairs so, if you are on a pretty full sailing, just walk a little further, you’ll find the perfect spot.  You can access water sports like jet skis, paddle boarding, and snorkeling.

If you decide to book a cabana, you will have plenty of seating for 6, plus a cooler filled with ice and water, a set of floats for the water, and you can even find baskets of sand toys.  While there isn’t a fan, the shade of the cabana does a nice job of keeping you cool and there is an outlet for charging your devices.  The cabanas start at $249 for the day.

full cabana view

Snacks and food are never far away with food trucks and beach bars are dotted throughout the island and the main food court – Seekers is close to the central part of the Island in South Beach.  

Night experiences can include picnics, fire pits, or glow paddle boarding. The Junkanoo parade starts in the evening and leads up to the Lighthouse show.  This cultural experience highlights dancers in colorful costumes and painted masks dancing to local music.  If you pick a central spot along the main walkway and break away a little before it ends instead of joining the walk after it passes you, you’ll be able to grab a good spot for the light show before the crowd arrives.  I recommend heading past the Lighthouse Bay area down a bit further to find one of the colorful sacs for an up close viewing.

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On the cruises that dock overnight at Ocean Cay, things shut down by midnight and you can head back out in the morning.  On the second day, I recommend a morning walk to the Signature Lighthouse (100 ft tall) & Lighthouse Bar (even if you didn’t book the excursion to go to the top).  It’s just a beautiful and quiet time to have some morning peace by the sea in this Hemingway style area.  They definitely make the best drinks at the Lighthouse Bar.

Sunset Beach seems to be the quieter less traveled part of the island and it has its own unique decor for a completely different relaxing vibe.  The Spa on Ocean Cay offers beachside massages and is also at the furthest point of the island past Sunset Beach.   You can even say “I Do” in a private ceremony away from the public at the Wedding Pavilion.  Great for symbolic ceremonies and legal ceremonies, as well as, vow renewals.

North Beach holds an exclusive area for Yacht Club guests to enjoy VIP treatment in their own sanctuary and a secluded upscale restaurant.

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Excursions to Look For:

Note: Excursions are noted as Options for Fully Vaccinated Guests and ones that are Open to All.

  • An Explorer Package that includes multiple day activities might be offered.  For example, Balmoral Island Beach Day, Ocean Cay Snorkel Rental, & Ocean Cay Lighthouse climb for $115 (vax guests only).
  • Something Special: The Big Reveal – see  what happens behind-the-scenes including a visit to the Bridge and engine control room.
  • Beachside Stargazing 
  • Sunrise Mimosa Cruise on a catamaran

Best balcony cabins on the MSC Meraviglia

My recommendations for the best balcony cabins are based on getting a little more space, especially when traveling as a family.  If you aren’t lucky enough to book early and snatch one of the family cabins, the next best thing are the following cabins where you get a nice cove with the bunk beds tucked in it and a larger balcony.  These cabins are in the Aft and if you tend to get seasick, these might not work for you as it can be rockier back there.  Another downside is that they are pretty far from the elevators if that matters to you.  Look for cabins 10261, 10265, 10382, 10378, 11269, 11273, 11386, 11382, 12257, 12261, 12348, & 12344 (Decks 10, 11, & 12). Must book Fantastica Balcony.

The other best balcony cabins are on the sides with deeper balconies but not necessarily private as you can see and be seen by everyone in the side balconies.  Some are labeled for guests with disabilities. There are 9 of them on all 6 cabin decks.  I recommend looking at the deck plan to find specific numbers.  

No matter which cabin you get, I think you will definitely enjoy your time on board MSC Meraviglia and visiting Ocean Cay MSC Marine Preserve.

Book the New Year’s Sale includes Free Drinks, Free Wi-Fi, and on board credits up to $400 on 3 Night Cruises starting from $189 per person.

Happy Wandering on MSC Meraviglia!

Read more about MSC Cruises here.

OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES

We know how important it is to save money so we can have more to spend on the things we love.

Here are our favorite travel resources for saving money and planning your trips.

  • Booking Flights: To compare flights and set price alerts, search on Google Flights or Momondo
  • Accommodations: We typically stay in mid-range or boutique hotels with loyalty programs.  That way we earn ourselves free stays to help extend our vacations and getaways for free.  Learn more about earning your free stays here.  For vacation rentals, we prefer to book using VRBO (for the lower fees and better support than Airbnb, sorry, we’re not big fans of the alternative) You can also book vacation rentals on Hotels.com
  • Travel Insurance: We feel pretty strongly about this, travel insurance is a MUST for international trips, and if you still aren’t sure why, check out our Travel Horror Stories. We recommend comparing your options with Squaremouth , learn more here
  • Local Attractions:  We utilize memberships to help us see more when we travel. NARM members get free or discounted access to reciprocal member Art museums, Arboretums, Historic Sites, and Nature Centers throughout North America. AHS reciprocal membership includes gardens throughout the U.S. and Canada. ASTC membership gives reciprocal access to Science Centers and Museums. America the Beautiful National Parks Pass allows entry into National Parks for $80 annually.  You could spend less than $300 for all 4 memberships depending on your local museums and have access to hundreds of museums, parks, and gardens.  Memberships often pop up on Groupon so always look there first.
  • Save more with loyalty programs, read how to get more free flights and hotels here.

11 thoughts on “Guide to the Best Things to Do on MSC Meraviglia & Ocean Cay Marine Reserve”

  1. 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. 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.

    1. 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. 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

    1. 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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