Gilly Pickup joined the christening ceremony in the French port of Le Havre, to see what the biggest ship built by a European-based cruise line has to offer
Accommodating more than 5,700 passengers in 2,244 cabins, Meraviglia (pronounced ‘mer-a-vee-ya’ ) – meaning ‘wonder’ in Italian - made her debut after being named by film star Sophia Loren at a glitzy ceremony in the French port of Le Havre.
The biggest vessel to be launched in 2017, this is Swiss-based MSC Cruises most high-tech ship to date with a number of ‘firsts’ for the company including the introduction of its onboard technology platform, ‘MSC For Me’. It also offers passengers wristband technology along the lines of that pioneered on Royal Caribbean's Quantum Class ships, to make payments, book specialty restaurants, access cabins and enable parents to locate their children while on board. Besides that, it is first in the MSC fleet to offer a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant, a steakhouse, modular accommodation sleeping up to 10 people and solo cabins which include a shared lounge space.
MSC Meraviglia’s dazzling chrome, marble and glass atrium with Swarovski crystal studded staircases is one of the onboard eyecatchers, another is the indoor Mediterranean-style promenade with 80 meter LED light dome projecting a changing display of colourful scenes. This promenade, social centre of the ship, is hemmed by a flurry of restaurants, bars and shops. For the first time on an MSC vessel and still only available on Meraviglia, passengers have flexible dining options so they can eat when they want or opt for traditional two-sitting dining.
As to be expected, the ship has entertainment options aplenty. The highlight is Cirque du Soleil who perform two shows six nights a week in the 400 + guest Carousel Lounge. The Broadway Theatre, seating almost 1000, offers six different shows in three daily performances. There is a TV studio on board too. This is the setting for games and talent shows on the ship, as well as karaoke where not only do wannabes show off their skills in public, but can also record their embarrassment and take it home. In the Sportplex games area, fun seekers can battle with zombies, land an aircraft in a storm by way of the flight simulator, have a game of volleyball or visit the 5D cinema.
The ship’s double-deck amusement park has facilities for families, a water park with ropes course for those who dare and three swimming pools. The 25-metre long South Beach-inspired main pool, most generous poolside space at sea, offers buffet dining for those who want as little disruption as possible to their relaxation. By night, the pool becomes a visual spectacle, illuminated with special lighting. A smaller swimming pool has a magrodome which is open when the sun shines, while the third pool on Deck 16 is transformed into a dance space at night.
For those who want to splash the cash, the glossy Yacht Club provides an extra dose of pampering. Spanning three decks, this ‘ship within a ship’ concept is designed for guests seeking exclusivity and privacy. Cabins, which include butler service, are extra luxurious, while two apartment suites each have a large living area and two balconies, one with a jacuzzi and dining table for eating al fresco. The Yacht Club also has its own solarium, pool, lounge, restaurants and private lift which whisks guests to the MSC Aurea Spa with its private treatment room for Yacht Club guests.
MSC Meraviglia will be based in the Mediterranean during summer 2017 offering six embarkation ports including Barcelona. Sister ship Bellissima, is scheduled for delivery in March 2019.
Gilly Pickup Click HERE to access the MSC Website
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