The Cruise118.com team lives and breathes cruise – so much so that we often choose cruises over land-based holidays!
The latest member of the team to embark on a seaborne escape is our Supplier Relations Executive, Connell Green who, last month, stepped on-board MSC Meraviglia for a tour of the Mediterranean. From mouth-watering food to stunning ports, here is what he experienced during his seven-night break.
After a couple of nights in the bustling city of Barcelona – where the amazing architecture and even better food were the perfect introduction to the Med – my partner and I made our way to the port and embarked MSC Meraviglia at around 2.30pm.
Check-in was effortless, especially as we had already taken our own security pictures via the MSC for Me app. The app also lets you book dining experiences, shows and much more, so I'd definitely recommend downloading it for free before you go (it doesn't cost anything to use when you connect to the ships Wi-Fi).
After embarking we went straight to our room to check out the view from our balcony.
The room was on deck 11 and gave us both plenty of space to get ready. A member of staff soon introduced themselves and made sure we had everything we needed: she even showed us a full menu for different pillows!
Time to explore
Once we had admired our room and taken a good few pictures to make everyone back home jealous, we thought we’d take a walk around the ship while we waited for our cases to be delivered to the room. I wasn't quite expecting this to take a good couple of hours (nothing to do with stopping at three different bars on the way round, promise!).
We soon found out that when people say there is a lot to do on-board this ship they really aren't joking. In just a couple of minutes we found the bowling alley, a flight simulator, Formula 1 cars that you can sit in to race your friends, the pool area and, of course, the Atmosphere bar. There is also a great arcade for the kids (and big kids) to play in, as well as an indoor sports court that doubles up as a party venue later in the day.
However, we decided to take things a little easier on our first night. After getting ready for dinner and enjoying one of the best steaks I’ve ever had in Butcher's Cut, we made our way to the casino where we enjoyed a few drinks and tried our luck on the tables.
Onwards to Genoa
After waking up and drawing back the curtains I was greeted by a lovely warm glow from the already beating sun. We enjoyed breakfast on the balcony and got ready for a leisurely morning by the pool before heading off to discover the port of Genoa.
We didn’t organise an excursion here, but there seemed to be plenty to do if you wanted to go a little further afield. All were back on-board for 5.30pm and we set sail for the French port of Marseille.
Here, we made our own way to the Old Town for a delicious lunch, a couple of glasses of wine and a little window shopping before heading back to the ship. We quickly got ready for another taste of specialty dining at Eataly which was utterly fantastic. A true Italian foodie’s dream!
The ruins of Pompeii
The next day we had the pleasure of visiting the ruins of Pompeii on a private excursion. There is only one word to describe this experience: breath-taking.
I absolutely recommend taking a private tour. Although you pay a little more it is so worth it, and we heard insights about these eerie ruins we simply wouldn’t have if we tried to guide ourselves.
We returned to our ship a little jaded, so after a quick freshen up, made a beeline for some refreshments that we indulged in for a good three hours, followed by a stop by the casino for another flutter and to visit our favourite barman, Roger!
Scaling Mount Etna
Wednesday saw us visit the heights of Mount Etna after a scenic drive through Sicily – another excursion that we can’t recommend highly enough. We drove halfway up the towering volcano and were met by some of the most stunning views of our trip.
After returning to the ship in the late afternoon we made our way to dinner in one of the main restaurants, where we experienced superb service and food to die for. We genuinely couldn’t have asked for anything more and were treated just as well as in the other dining venues we had experienced.
Later that evening we headed to the top deck where hundreds of us enjoyed the White Party, where all passengers were dressed in white and plenty relished a cocktail or two.
A much-needed sea day
The next day saw a day at sea and a well-earned relax! We hit the top deck and took our position next to the pool, before heading to the bowling alley in the afternoon and having a go on the F1 racing simulators (I lost!).
As a younger couple heading off to sea there was so much to do on-board and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this ship to families and other younger couples. MSC Meraviglia really dismisses the myths of old-time cruises and opens the possibilities for so many more to enjoy the delights of a holiday at sea.
A stunning finale
Friday left us in Valletta where we took a four hour trip around the island, discovering the mesmerising Blue Grotto, historic Mdina and Mosta: all unmissable sights.
That evening we experienced the magic of Meraviglia’s on-board Cirque du Soleil performance complete with dinner. It was utterly spectacular and superb value for money. We then had a few drinks and reminisced over the week – Roger, our favourite barman, had even made us a leaving gift!
An embarkation time was set for 10am the next day and, with our heads spinning from everything we had experienced, we flew back home to the UK.
Would you like to experience the stunning destinations and spectacular on-board experience of MSC Meraviglia? Call our Cruise Concierge team on 0207 980 2847 to plan your perfect voyage.