This morning when we awoke we were still at sea – don’t be fooled, not a sea day for us though – today is, unfortunately, the day we disembark. This is the first time I have not awoken in the port on the disembarkation day and I have to say, this more relaxed way of finishing the voyage suits us just perfectly! We had ordered a final breakfast to the cabin and it arrived promptly at 8am.
As we sail the final ten nautical miles into the port of Marseille we pack our final hand luggage and then sit on the balcony for a short while just lapping up the coastal scenery. It feels like we saw it only yesterday!
We settled our bill automatically last night, it is really simple – you just register a credit card at the start of the cruise (look out for our guide on this coming soon!). Throughout the cruise, you can check your bill breakdown (by person or cabin) on the MSC for Me app on your phone or on your in-cabin TV. Finally, on the last night they push a copy of the bill under your cabin door – if you are happy with it, you can just disembark when you wish – if not, a quick visit to reception if you have a query.
Two more MSC Voyager Club perks coming up for you (I told you there was more!) – when you get to the Black level you also get a chocolate ship delivered to your cabin during the cruise – an excellent gift for those at home (or just don’t tell them and keep it for yourself!) – again, this happens on every voyage you take when you reach the Black level, not just once!
Our second perk today was we were able to take advantage of the late cabin check-out and stay in our cabin until midday when the ship arrived! Now, don’t assume that every ship has exactly the same policy – some may still wish for you to leave your cabin a little earlier than midday depending on what time the ship arrives in the disembarkation port – just check at the reception!
Time to say goodbye
We left cabin 10055 for the final time (leaving a little note, gift and a tip for our wonderful cabin steward – Aziz – he was great!).
As we had an MSC Airport Transfer booked we were located in the same meeting point with the MSC Aurea guests who receive priority disembarkation. Remember, travelling on an MSC Cruise that disembarkation is generally a lot quicker and easier than your standard cruises because not everyone on the ship finishes their cruise on the same day as you!
We met in the Carousel Lounge and we couldn’t help but be reminded of the amazing Cirque du Soleil show we had experienced only a couple of nights earlier. We wished we had got to see the other show too, but there are only so many nights in this cruise to do things – it gives us yet another reason to return one day though!
When our time was called we were escorted as a group to the correct gangway and led off the ship and within a few moments, we were in the Marseille Port Terminal. Down an escalator and our luggage was easy to find, located with a lime green flag – same as our provided MSC luggage labels. Just after collecting our cases, a lady came over and asked our names and said she’d call the driver.
Within ten minutes of leaving the ship, we were en route to Marseille Airport, one last glance of MSC Meraviglia as we left the port and within twenty minutes we were at the airport and back in Terminal 2 departures.
After a bit of a wait for the desk to open, we went through security and found our flight was delayed by 50 minutes because of fog in Palma this morning (these aircraft get about a bit don’t you know!). Nevermind, the airport has a few shops, a decent restaurant/cafe and it didn’t seem that long before our plane arrived and we boarded.
After a brief taxi, we took off and immediately headed North West towards the UK, the flight was only 1 hour 30 minutes and we landed in Luton just as the sun was setting. My choice of clothing wasn’t the best, and I have to say that by the time we exited the airport that wearing shorts in late October in the UK is a no-no!
So, what is next?
Well, our journey is now over – we’ve just laundry to do and processing all the media we captured during the last week – we can’t wait to show you all the photos!
We had a fantastic time on MSC Meraviglia – from our spacious, cabin with all the facilities we could need to the endless amounts of bars and restaurants on the ship to choose from every evening – we were kept very busy at all times! Some highlights for us without a doubt was the Cirque du Soleil show, Galleria Meraviglia, the Sky Lounge, the Polar Aquapark and the stunning Atrium. Oh, and the Champagne Bar, the Brass & Anchor pub, the Horizon Amphitheatre – ok, we are finding it hard to just pick one or two things. We have honestly fallen in love with the entire ship! We totally loved the different ports, although a full sea day would have been most welcomed for a little rest! (Both MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima offer a full sea day in their itineraries – so check them!). Our favourite port was Palermo. We must visit Sicily again!
Reflecting back on MSC Magnifica earlier in the year from our first MSC Cruise is interesting for us too. We see so much of what we now know is MSC Cruises’ spirit and ethos in their ships. From their elaborate and thoughtful Italian-style design to their European food selections and way of thinking, we felt a little bit proud to be exploring their flagship for an entire week!
Sara now loves the idea of fly-cruises, the idea you can pick up a ship from a brand you love and explore ports afar is really cool. This is good to know as there are a few options next year. Firstly, MSC Meraviglia will be repositioning twice next year, first to Copenhagen for the Summer (with cruises to Norway and the Baltic region) and then again over to the USA in the Winter with cruises down the East Coast and a homeport of Miami!
Also, MSC Bellissima will be based in the Mediterranean from March offering fly-cruises from the UK and embarkation ports such as Genoa, Barcelona, Marseille and Naples. Once MSC Bellissima completes her Maiden Season in the Mediterranean (from March – November 2019) she will be spending the Winter Season based in Dubai and sailing to exotic ports such as Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island (MSC Cruises’ private island!), Bahrain and Doha – she’ll be the largest ship in the region and of course, have those two brand new Cirque du Soleil shows onboard.
So, as we say goodbye for the final time – thank you to all the fabulous friendly staff onboard MSC Meraviglia, who of course work hard to make sure everyone’s cruise is perfect (and ours was!) and thank-you so much to our readers, who with your comments online and privately have also made our voyage so much fun! We’re glad you’ve enjoyed our daily reports and we hope you’ll stay with us as we publish some amazing in-depth guides for those of you who are thinking of travelling on MSC Meraviglia or MSC Bellissima in the future!
There is just one final thing, in case you missed it yesterday – could you do us a small favour and drop a vote our way in the Wave Awards 2019? We’re up for Best Cruise Bloggers and every vote you enter puts you in with a chance of winning a FREE cruise too (so a win-win for us both hopefully!) – Just pick ‘Chris Hughes – BeyondCruise’
For this voyage, we were guests thanks to MSC Cruises UK. The content published is covered by our Transparency and Ethics Policy.