While Boston isn’t necessarily thought of as a cruise ship destination, it is a popular port of call in the summer and fall months. Last week, Boston welcomed the largest ship to visit the Flynn Boston Cruiseport this year – the MSC Meraviglia. The ship, which originated in Brooklyn, visited Boston on the way to Canada as part of a New England/Canada itinerary.
While I didn’t sail on the MSC Meraviglia, I did have the opportunity to visit the ship for the day at the Flynn Cruiseport to see all of the activities on board. I also enjoyed lunch at the Butchers Cut Steak restaurant on board.
Disclosure: My day and lunch on the MSC Meraviglia were at no cost. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links and a purchase/click through this post may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you.
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Guide to the MSC Meraviglia Cruise Ship and Things to Do
About the MSC Meraviglia Cruise Ship
MSC cruise line, which is headquartered in Switzerland, is the third-largest cruise brand in the world and has been growing in North America. The MSC Meraviglia, which was first introduced in 2017, has a passenger capacity of 5,700 guests across 19 passenger decks.
She’s 1,036 feet long and 213 feet tall (one of the largest cruise ships) and has a current home port in New York City (Brooklyn Cruise Terminal). The MSC Meraviglia is the first of the Meraviglia class ships.
When I talk to people about large cruise ships, they are often concerned about getting lost. I felt comfortable in the Meraviglia right away, however, and already had a good sense of direction after a few hours on board. Maps and deck plans by the elevators can help aid in directions as you try to find different destinations on the ship.
The centerpiece of the ship is the Galleria Meraviglia, a 315-foot atrium/indoor promenade with an LED domed ceiling. I loved the open atmosphere of this area, where you’ll find many of the shops and restaurants on board.
Activities on the MSC Meraviglia
As someone who was very new to the MSC brand, and who is very focused on family travel, I wasn’t sure what type of kid-friendly activities to expect about the ship. I was very impressed by the amount and quality of family entertainment on board, however. There’s a lot for a family to enjoy in between port stops.
Water Park: The Meraviglia actually offers a water park at sea, right on the top deck. This water park has three twisty slides and is a great place to hang out during days at sea between port stops.
Ropes Course: Located along the water park is the Himalayan Bridge ropes course, the centerpiece of which is a bridge walk. Be sure to pack the appropriate footwear if you plan to take advantage of the ropes course.
Swimming Pools: The pool deck is always one of the most popular destinations during a family cruise. MSC offers several pools, including an indoor pool with a retractable roof – the Bamboo Pool (perfect for cooler weather itineraries). There’s also an adult-only pool.
MSC Aurea Spa: In recent years, I’ve been finding myself spending more and more time in spas on board ships. So, while I was on board the ship, I made sure to take a quick tour of the Aurea spa, including the thermal suite.
This area includes saunas, steam rooms, a Himalayan salt room, hot tubs, and much more. You can also choose to book a spa treatment. An additional fee applies for the spa.
Kids’ Club: My kids always enjoyed spending time in cruise ship kids’ clubs, so I was eager to see the offerings on the MSC Meraviglia. There are five different kids’ clubs for different ages/stages, from 0-17 years old. MSC has a partnership with LEGO, and that can easily be seen as soon as you enter the Doremiland Kids’ Club area.
Sportsplex and Gym: You don’t have to worry about skipping your workouts when you are on board the MSC Meraviglia. In addition to a TechnoGym with loads of fitness equipment, there’s also a Sportsplex area. In this indoor area, you can play basketball, pickleball, volleyball, and more, away from the elements.
Entertainment Area: One of the most impressive areas on the ship for families, in my opinion, is the small entertainment area overlooking the Sportsplex. Here, you’ll find a 4D theater, an F1 racing simulator, a flight simulator, and a bowling alley. I think this area of the ship will be especially appealing to teens.
Theaters: Want to see a show while onboard? There are two different entertainment venues. The Carousel, which requires an additional fee, offers two dynamic shows – Rock Circus and House of Houdini. There’s also the Broadway Theater, which offers six different shows during every sailing.
Casino: There’s a large casino on board, as well as a separate area with just slot machines.
Restaurants on the MSC Meraviglia
With 20 bars and 12 restaurants, you’ll never go hungry or thirsty. Here are some of the venues (including bars and specialty restaurants) you’ll find on board:
Butchers Cut: This high-end steakhouse is a splurge, but it’s absolutely delicious. I enjoyed a burrata and beet appetizer and a small filet mignon entree. Another highlight is the bacon cheese bread.
Kaito Teppanyaki: Enjoy Japanese food cooked right in front of you in this Teppanyaki restaurant located on the ship.
Kaito Sushi Bar: Sushi is one of my favorite foods, so I’m always happy to see a sushi restaurant on board a ship. Kaito Sushi Bar is located adjacent to Kaito Teppanyaki.
L’Olivio d’Oro and L’Olive Doree – two separate sides of a restaurant that is included as two of the main dining rooms. They are open for dinner.
Waves Restaurant: Another included restaurant is Waves Restaurant. It offers all three meals.
Panorama Restaurant: A restaurant offered exclusively to guests booked in the Aurea Class.
Marketplace Buffet: This is your typical cruise ship buffet, but it also offers pizza as well as freshly made mozzarella.
Ocean Cay: If you want to have some seafood while you are onboard, you’ll want to make a reservation at this specialty restaurant.
Hola! Tacos and Cantina: This is a newer concept for MSC and is extremely popular.
There’s also the Jean Philippe Chocolat and Cafe, (by French chocolatier Jean Philippe Maury), Jean Philippe Crepes and Gelato, the Carousel Lounge, Edge cocktail bar, the Champagne Bar, the Brass Anchor Pub, the Meravilglia Bar and Lounge, the TV Studio and Bar, the Attic Club nightclub, Atmosphere North and South bars, the Bamboo Bar, the Sports Bar, the Sky Lounge, the Horizon Bar, the Top Sail Lounge (exclusive to MSC Yacht Club sailors), and the Polar Bar.
Shops on the MSC Meraviglia
While you are on board the ship, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do some shopping. Like all cruise shops, these stores are not open when the cruise ship is in port.
Shops include an MSC merchandise shop, a duty-free shop, a jewelry shop, an accessory shop, and a clothing shop.
Yacht Club on the MSC Meraviglia
Guests booking a cruise on the MSC Meraviglia (and every MSC ship) have the option to book the MSC Yacht Club. This premium experience does cost more but offers a “ship within a ship” experience.
Benefits of the Yacht Club include:
- A premium stateroom in this exclusive section of the ship
- A butler
- Access to the Top Sail Lounge
- Priority elevator access
- Priority embarkation and disembarkation
- Access to the Thermal Spa
- Exclusive access to the private pool deck just for Yacht Club guests
- An exclusive Yacht Club restaurant
- A premium beverage package
- 24-hour room service
- Much more
MSC Meraviglia Itineraries
Ready to set sail on the Meraviglia? There are some great itineraries offered on the ship, including some that stop at MSC’s private island, Ocean Cay. These include (not a complete list):
- The Bahamas and Florida: 7-night sailings stopping at Port Canaveral, Nassau, and Ocean Cay, 8-night sailings stopping in Miami, Nassau, and Ocean Cay, 9-night sailings shopping in Port Canaveral, Miami, Nassau, and Ocean Cay, 16-night sailings going to Port Canaveral, Miami, Nassau, and Ocean Cay, and 10-night sailings stopping in Puerto Plata, San Juan, USVI, and St. Maarten.
- Bermuda: 5 and 6-night sailings going to Bermuda, 12-night sailings going to Bermuda, Port Canaveral, Ocean Cay, and Nassau, and 14-night sailings going to Bermuda, Miami, Ocean Cay, and Nassau
- Caribbean and Bahamas: 11 and 20-night sailings stopping in Port Canaveral, Miami, Ocean Cay, Cozumel, and Costa Maya
- Canada and New England: 10-night sailings stopping in Newport, RI, Boston, MA, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown, and St. John, and 11-night sailings stopping in Newport, RI, Boston, MA, Portland, ME, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown, and St. John