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A zombie suddenly materialized, and I screamed and then laughed, reflexively firing the plastic gun.
I was trying out the immersive theater in the amusement area onboard the 4,488-passenger MSC Meraviglia. Although the sleek casino and the promenade’s 5,200-square-foot LED dome — the largest at sea — had wowed me, it was here, among the race car simulators, bowling alley and arcade games, that I was having a scream — literally. This area (along with the colorful kids’ and teens’ clubs) may be intended for younger cruisers, but it soon became my favorite place on MSC’s new megaship.
Meraviglia is Italian for “wonder,” and it was clear to me that the line had pulled out all the stops when designing and building the first ship of the new Meraviglia class.
The ship was christened in early June by actress Sophia Loren. Its decks are named for various wonders of the world, and it has a distinct European vibe; I didn’t feel as if I was leaving behind the excitement of a destination when I reboarded the vessel each evening.
But what was most wonderful in my book?
The ship’s onboard technology. The MSC For Me program — which includes the use of a mobile app, a wristband and digital screens located around the ship — ensures that clients won’t get lost; allows parents to locate their kids; and gives foodies access to onboard menus and table reservation systems.
Come evening, a whole new set of experiences awaits. Cirque du Soleil at Sea, in its fantastical, intimate theater, gets the most buzz. Its two shows — Viaggio and Sonor — can be paired with a dinner or drinks package, but there’s also the Broadway theater, several bars and lounges and a poolside dance club.
A dozen venues compete for clients’ taste buds, too. The excellent Marketplace Buffet is open 20 hours a day, and swanky main dining rooms give options such as Kaito Teppanyaki Restaurant & Sushi Bar and Butcher’s Cut steakhouse a run for the money. But, really, MSC had me at the onboard Eataly – Ristorante Italiano and its gelato. The a la carte restaurants offer a tiered choice of dining packages, including a reasonably priced kids’ package.
Stateroom options range from thirteen, 130-square-foot Interior Studios to eight, 60-square-foot Duplex Suites. There are 85 family-friendly accommodations, where as many as three connecting cabins combine to accommodate up to 10 passengers. Meraviglia’s Yacht Club encompasses several cabin categories: the MSC Yacht Club Royal Suite; MSC Yacht Club Deluxe Suite; MSC Yacht Club Interior Suite; and MSC Yacht Club Deluxe Suite-Wellness.
Meraviglia is currently sailing the Mediterranean, stopping in Barcelona, Spain; Marseilles, France; Genoa, Naples and Messina in Italy; and Valletta in Malta.