In the nearly four-and-a-half years which will have passed since its last ship launched, the next generation of vessels for MSC Cruises will be a tangible example of the innovative path the line has travelled in the intermitting period.
MSC Meraviglia will begin its working life sailing from the Mediterranean port of Genoa in less than a year. Housed within the ship will be many brand new passenger features across the categories of dining, technology, entertainment and wellness. In the conception and design phases of this ship, MSC has joined forces also with some of the world’s most well-known brands, taking them on a new journey as they’re fitted onboard. Here, we’ll take a look at some of these and what passengers can look forward to.
MSC has put on its thinking cap in the design of Meraviglia, coming up with ten different categories, some of which are brand new concepts designed with families in mind. The growing trend of multi-generational families cruising together has led MSC to think outside the square and find ways to allow these groups to stay together if they so choose.
Adopting a modular, flexible design, MSC has built a section of this ship in such a way which will allow it to accommodate up to 10 passengers in a particular stateroom. This comes as a result of combining three stateroom types together.
At the so-called “pointy end” of the ship, which in this case is the MSC Yacht Club, this higher-end section is exclusive to guests booking a room in this “ship within a ship”. The Yacht Club has actually been expanded, owing to its popularity, and now covers three decks with 78 suites, 15 interior cabins for those who prefer it and two apartments, each offering a large living room and two balconies, one of which is furnished with a private whirlpool. Across the ship, three of every four staterooms will boast a sea view.
Rain, hail or shine, the sky will be clear and by day, the clouds fluffy white in a 96-metre long Central Promenade will form a central daytime hub for cruisers to congregate and mingle. Built around this arcade will be cafes, restaurants, an ice-cream parlour, creperie and a number of boutique retail outlets, providing an ideal place also to just gather and people-watch, and all under an enormous LED screen providing an enormous virtual atmosphere.
Three swimming pools will feature on MSC Meraviglia, headlined by the summer vibes emanating from the main pool on Deck 15. The theme of this space will be Miami’s South Beach and alongside plenty of exciting music, guests can also get a bite to eat at a nearby buffet which will offer indoor and outdoor seating.
The ship will also offer a 10-metre pool which can become enclosed whenever inclement weather demands, or opened to take in the full effect of the sunlight. Finally, the Aft Pool at the rear of the ship will be covered over at night and become an outdoor dance floor.
For those who may wish to amuse themselves with dry activities, they can head down to a Sports Bar which will feature a pair of Formula 1 racing simulators. The ship will also feature a bowling alley and multi-purpose entertainment zone with an inbuilt basketball court.
Fine and casual dining
Whether you’re looking for a casual bite to eat or have your reservations all set for a memorable evening which begins with a first-class meal, MSC has factored all options into its new design. More than 10 different venues will cater to passenger palates, led by the MSC staple of its 20-hour buffet which is always rotating fresh, tasty and popular options.
From a more structured perspective, Meraviglia will offer multiple Asian options including the Kaito Sushi Bar and Teppanyaki Restaurant. In addition, the main dining room will continue to serve three meals per day included in cruise fares, while more details about an American style steakhouse will be revealed as the ship gets closer to sailing.
Cruise lines around the world have been paying particularly close attention to their family features in recent years, with many breaking up their offerings to suit kids of different age brackets. MSC has turned about-face and headed somewhat in the opposite direction, designing a combined space for families and kids of all ages to meet, mingle and play, still enjoying activities suited to their age but still with the convenience of being in one place.
Families can not only leave their children in a safe and supervised environment, but are also encouraged to join their kids and meet other families around a variety of lounge spaces. The DOREMI Studio Lounge will serve as the central area, with older kids able to enjoy a DOREMI Tech Lab to play with technology and activities designed through the line’s recent partnership with LEGO and Chicco.
Up on the top deck, a dedicated Kids Aqua Park will feature four water slides, splash pool among a number of other age-appropriate water activities. Older kids can test their limits on the Himalayan Bridge, which will take them way up, high above the ship to cross a rope bridge, some 60 metres above the water (while safely attached via a harness of course).
The part of the cruise experience every brand aims to make its mark is its after-dinner showpieces, and MSC has landed a coup, last year signing with Cirque du Soleil which will see the development of two brand new production to be performed in a custom venue. Acrobats, dancers, contortionists, magicians and other performers of Cirque calibre will become the evening standard once MSC Meraviglia takes to the Mediterranean waves this time next year.
The purpose-built Carousel Lounge will feature the two shows, which will perform six nights per week, meaning you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch at least one, if not both during a regular cruise. A Cirque performance will incorporate dinner, becoming one of the first combined dinner and show experiences at sea.