Sunday, January 16, 2022

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review - 16 January 2022

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review

Just the Facts:
Ship:  MSC Meraviglia, first of its own MSC class @ 176,000 tons.
Sailing:  January 16, 2022 - 4 day cruise - Sailing out of Port Canaveral
Captain:  Masimiliano Rossi    Cruise Director: Sarah Rossi
Ports: Port Canaveral, FL - Nassau Bahamas - Ocean Cay, Bahamas

I am sailing with the Dear Wife, a rarity of late.  We have a premium balcony and beverage package so a fun short get away cruise.  This is my 6th cruise on the MSC Meraviglia, my 15th MSC cruise, and my 171st cruise overall.

Day One -- Sunday --  January 16th, 2021 -- Port Canaveral  — Embarkation 
The day began early at the Florida Villa with an early thunderstorm and heavy rain. We delayed leaving until the weather front had moved across most of central Florida, ruling out the 10:30 scheduled arrival time. It’s a fairly easy drive to Port Canaveral and we were away about 8:15 am. This is my third time driving to this port so becoming more familiar with it. We arrived at Cruisetime Parking & Shuttle ($45) on Merritt Island about 11:00 am and soon on a shuttle to the ship. We carried our bags as usual and was through Security easily, but next was something new…EVERYONE had to take a new Rapid-antigen covid test, even though everyone had just had one within 48 hours. They had a lot of testing stations but still a big job to test everyone. After the test, we had to wait from 20-30 minutes for the test results. Once you are confirmed as negative you then proceed to the MSC check-in. It was 1:00 pm before we got on the ship. Fortunately, not many guests sailing so the process could have been much worse…overall not a deal-breaker experience. We went directly to our aft-facing balcony on deck 12 and dropped our bags, then to the Lido Marketplace buffet on Deck 15 for lunch. You have to show your Sail&Sign card to enter and they take your temperature as well. The staff serves you your food selections some of which are pre-plated so you do get a tray for your visit to the food stations. I had Roast Beef for the Carving Station with Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, a Green Salad, a Cole Slaw salad, and a selection of small desserts. Terry had Pizza, a custom Green Salad, and Cheese. It was a very good lunch. We did a walkabout as this is Terry’s first time on the Meraviglia. We walked the two levels of the beautiful Promenade deck and settled at the Champagne Bar for several cocktails while we waited for the scheduled afternoon Boat Drill. It is different, you watch a safety film on the TV then dial in a code on the phone from your cabin. You do have to go to your assembly area, but only to have your card scanned…we went to Muster Station K located in the Carousel Lounge at 5:00 … easy peasy. We then went up to the Sky Lounge on deck 18 for the sail away and cocktail. About 7:00 we went to dinner in the Waves Restaurant. My favorite waiter Julius was home, but Pru was there and came by to visit. We had a nice dinner and then went to the Broadway Theater for the production show: Meravigloso Amor,(photo above) it was very good! All in Italian. Unfortunately, they had two fewer singers and fewer dancers than just last month. Not sure if it is a cut-back or if covid protocols are thinning the available entertainers. The final number was Con Te Partiro is always Amazing! It was an interesting embarkation day on the MSC Meraviglia.

Day Two -- Monday --  January 6th, 2021 -- Nassau, Bahamas  
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well and later than usual. We were so busy yesterday we never really unpacked or set up the cabin so did so this morning. Our cabin is a larger family balcony with a bathtub and bunk beds set up in a separate space. I’m using that area as my closet/dressing area. The DW can have the closet/wardrobe. A unique floor plan for this premium balcony cabin. We went to breakfast in the Marketplace Restaurant at about 10:00ish. It was not busy at all, we had fried eggs, an omelet, bacon, danish, croissant, sausage, milk, and assorted fruit. We did a walkabout stopping in the Solarium Bar for a Bloody Mary, still, a lot of spaces for the DW to see on the Meraviglia. We estimate the guest count at under 800 guests after confirmations from reliable sources. We will enjoy the service. We had cabin time and watched us approach Nassau about noon, we have no plans to get off the ship here. About 2:00 we went down to Hola’s for snacks: Guacamole to order, Pico de Gallo & Chips, El Champo (bean & cheese dip), and a Carne Asada taco. After another walkabout, we made reservations at the steakhouse and had cabin time. We watched a movie: 
Mary Queen of Scots from the good selection of videos on demand on MSC. We enjoyed watching the various cruise ships sail away from Nassau…the aft balcony is ideal for it…Celebrity Edge, Caribbean Princess, and finally the Mardi Gras. The Mardi Gras seems to be everywhere I go lately. We went to the Edge Cocktail Bar at Deck 6 Atrium for aperitifs about 6:30 pm, we sat by the Swavorski steps and enjoyed watching the guests and listening to the piano music from Deck 5. We went to the The Butchers Cut Steakhouse for our 7:30 dinner reservation and decided to eat outside along the Promenade, The LED screen ceiling light was the New York skyline so very nice. My 6th time to eat here and I don’t recall eating out, but I also had a lovely date so it was all special. Dinner was delicious. We each had the wonderful Hearts of Palm with Avacado salad and assorted bread. I had the Filet Mignon and a NY Strip Steak with Onion Rings as a side dish. Terry had Macaroni & Cheese and a Creme Spinach…that she enjoyed. For dessert a Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Creme. It was a great meal and the service excellent. Since we sat in both the Atrium area and the Promenade tonight it was very noticeable that there is more crew on board than guests. We enjoyed a stroll back to the cabin and retired. It was a great day on the MSC Meraviglia.
Day Three -- Tuesday -- January 7th, 2021 -- Ocean Cay Marine Reserve,  Bahamas 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. We arrived at Ocean Cay by 9:00 am but I’m no longer a beach nor beach games person so it not rushing anything this morning. We went to the Marketplace for breakfast at about 9:30 am. They have bacon and both scrambled and fried eggs available on the buffet as well as custom omelets. I had an omelet, danish, bacon, fruit, potatoes, and hot milk. After breakfast, we went onto the island and did a nice walkabout. The architecture was a Key West or southern plantation shutter style. The Lagoon is an ideal place to swim with beautiful beaches. We sat at sunset beach (no swimming) on the south side enjoying the direct Atlantic waves for a time then walked over to the Lighthouse and Lighthouse Bar where we sat and enjoyed Mojito cocktails and the beautiful views of the various blue colors of the water. We were also entertained by two Pelicans diving for fish and the view of the ship and island. About 1:30 we walked over to Seakers Food Court for the Island Buffet. We had two unique Island Salads, one with Rice, Sweet Potatoes, & Veggies, The other with Couscous, Pineapple, and Veggies. I also had Fruit, Jerk Chicken, and Ribs. We had Brownies & Banana Bread for dessert. It was a great Island luncheon with a view of the main swimming lagoon. One of the reasons for such a wonderful island day was that the weather was nice and cool even with the bright sun. A perfect day. We went back to the ship and had Cabin time and a nap. At 7:15 pm we went down to Waves Restaurant for dinner, it was French night but I ordered the Green Grilled Asparagus with Pancetta Chips, The Rigatoni Meatballs as my Pasta starter, the Chicken coq-aux-vin entree, and Warm Apple Strudel for dessert. The Rigatoni and sauce were excellent. After dinner, we walked back onto the island and I enjoyed a Mojito as we waited for the 9:00 pm light show at the Lighthouse. It was a nice show and stroll but as it was getting cool we returned to the ship and soon retire for the evening. It was a great day at Ocean cay.
Day Four -- Wednesday --  January 8th, 2021 -- Ocean Cay Marine Reserve,  Bahamas  
We were docked overnight and I slept very well. We slept with the balcony door open to enjoy the cooler temperature and slight ocean breeze. Did some online work before breakfast. I went to breakfast in the Waves Restaurant and had Eggs Benedict with Bacon and Potatoes. I did have my Hot Milk and Danish this morning. I went to the Marketplace and picked up some items: Fruit Bowl with Cranberries, Danish, and Cheeses to take to the cabin for the DW. Balcony time the rest of the morning, the waters have so many shades of blue here at Ocean Cay. We took a long walk around the island to get in our exercise, lots of beaches but few guests out today. We stopped at the Illusions Bar on deck 5 for canned Coca-Cola once back on the ship. We went to the Marketplace for lunch: Pizza and Salad…always good on MSC. After lunch, we watched our 3:00 pm sail away from our aft balcony. Interesting watching the island getting smaller as we sailed away. (photo above) We did see dolphins playing just off the island. Later we watched the movie Nobody starring Bob Odenkirk. It was excellent. We went to the Edge Bar for cocktails about 6:30 pm then to dinner in Waves Restaurant. It was Italian Night and we both ordered most of the Italian courses. Starters: Venetian Pasta & Bean Soup and Sicilian style Arancini, My two entrees were: Lasagna Bolognese and Chicken Breast Parmigiana and Limoncello Cake for dessert. Good Italian food on the largest Italian cruise line as expected. We passed on attending the production show tonight and retired to the cabin, then we did something we haven’t done before, we again watched the movie Nobody. We enjoyed it that much. It was a very pleasant final day at Ocean Cay and on the MSC Meraviglia.

Debarkation — Thursday -- January 9th, 2021 -- Port Canaveral 

Smooth seas overnight. I woke about 7:00 am as we were entering the outer channel. We rolled off with self-debark about 8:00 am and barely a line to roll off and went quickly, no diamond express. Shuttle for parking was there within a few minutes. We left the parking lot about 9:00 am and arrived at DD’s to pick up the dog at 11:30 am. At the Villa with Maise and the granddaughter just after noon time. Very easy overall.

Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruises
Butcher’s Cut Steak House
Beautiful Day on Ocean Cay
Meraviglio Amor
Danish & Hot Milk in the mornings
Light show on Ocean Cay
Movies on Demand



No comments: