MSC’s latest and largest cruise ship, Meraviglia, was christened by their serial godmother, the legendary actress Sophia Loren, in Le Havre on 3 June 2017.
The event came one week after the start of six months of celebration in the French port, entitled Un Eté Au Havre. They mark the 500th anniversary of the founding of Le Havre by King Francis I, a contemporary of King Henry VIII. Events include exhibitions, special sailings, concerts on the beach, city-wide art installations and more.
Meraviglia is MSC’s latest and largest ship with a capacity of 5,700 guests. Following the current trend the ship utilises technology to enhance the guest experience. It includes wristbands which allow parents and crew to monitor children on board. They also plan face recognition to help crew serve guests in a more tailored way, and virtual dressing rooms which allow guests to ‘try on’ clothes electronically.
Again following the current trend, Meraviglia packs in some innovative guest activities. These include a two-lane bowling alley, a flight simulator and a couple of F1 racing cars where participants can race each other on a simulated, screen-based track. There is also a multi-purpose sports hall.
Our balcony cabin was quite long, containing a huge and extremely comfortable double bed (or two large singles) plus a large sofa which converted into bunk beds. The balcony itself was spacious but the bathroom was a little on the small side, as was the storage space in the cabin. It was decorated in various shades of brown which gave it a muted but restful appearance.
Bars and other guest facilities centre on the Atrium featuring MSC’s trademark glitzy Swarovski Crystal staircases, and the shopping mall, Galeria Meraviglia, a two storey development with shops on the lower floor and eateries above, including Sushi and Teppanyaki restaurants and a large pub. Other speciality restaurants include the Butcher’s Cut, an American-style steakhouse, and Ristorante Italiano serving, of course, Italian dishes created by Eataly. There is a chef’s table for those who want to take their indulgencies more seriously and you can pick up delicacies in the food market to eat on board or take home. In addition there are two main restaurants and a buffet open twenty hours a day. You’ll just have to go without food for four hours!
Guests have some flexibility when it comes to dining. Meraviglia offers the traditional cruise dining experience of a fixed table and dining time at one of two sittings. However, guests can choose a more flexible option which allows them to pre-select a dining time for their evening meal with the option to change it at any time.
Outside, the main pool is almost 25 metres long and there is another 10 metre pool with a sliding roof so it can be used in all weathers. The main pool area also features a large cinema screen whilst the open air Horizon pool at the back of the ship offers great views by day and transforms into dance area at night.
There is a large and comfortable theatre but the star of the show is, without doubt, the partnership with Cirque du Soleil to provide a unique three-course dining and entertainment experience. Guests arrive thirty minutes before the show starts to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails. Cirque du Soleil has created two different shows and puts on twelve performances each week in the specially designed venue.
Unlike most other cruise lines that have a single embarkation point, MSC offers passengers the chance to board the ship at the various ports of call on the itinerary. Not to be confused with a ‘hop on, hop off’ service, passengers do the full cruise but can choose where their cruise starts and finishes. This gives guests greater flexibility, especially in the choice of flights from the UK. In addition, those who want to extend their holiday with shore-based accommodation also have excellent options.
Visit MSC Cruises or call 020 3856 3087.
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