Onwards to Spain!
We awoke to another stunning sunrise as the ship sailed gently through the Mediterranean Sea. Today is slightly different than others and we aren’t arriving at a port early! In fact, we are not due to get into our port today until 1pm, furthermore – we don’t set sail until around midnight tonight!
BeyondCruise Live Voyage: MSC Meraviglia – (Missed a day or just got here? Skip to any day!)
Never ones to lie in, we were up and around the ship by 8 am taking photos for guides and more features we’ll be publishing when we are back on land! For breakfast, we went again to the Waves Restaurant on Deck 5 and randomly got the same table as yesterday! There was a lovely American couple we got speaking to next to us who boarded the ship at Civitavecchia (Hi to them if you are reading this!).
This morning Sara ordered Smoked Salmon to have with a bread roll and fruit to start. I had some watermelon to start followed by eggs benedict. We were also served orange juice and coffee and it was all conducted at a lovely leisurely pace and we left more than satisfied for a day ahead!
Exploring the ship
After breakfast, we headed back to the cabin to collect more equipment and went off to take photos and document some areas of the ship we hadn’t seen in detail yet.
First up was a few bars followed by the Virtual Games Arcade, followed by the Bowling Alley, F1 Simulators, Flight Simulator and the SportPlex – which is used for team ball games. Next to all these are the kid’s clubs. We’ll have a full guide on these upon our return with details!
Next, it was onto one of the exciting features of MSC Meraviglia that is fun for all ages!
The Polar Aquapark
The Polar Aquapark is located at the rear of the ship on Deck 19. On arrival, it wasn’t too busy (it was just after 10 am) and all the water features were in operation. There are dual waterslides, a Himalayan rope bridge you can walk around the back/top of the ship and across and also various splash fountains, paddle pools, water jets and water-related puzzles to play with. It takes over a huge part of Deck 19 towards the rear of the sea and is all in a themed style as you guessed – Polar! (MSC Bellissima will have a desert-themed version!)
The slides looked a lot of fun and you simply collect an MSC inflatable tube that you take up two flights of stairs to the top and then pick a waterslide to go down. About 15-20 seconds later you splash down at the bottom of the waterslide!
A Change of Plans
You know, this cruise has been incredibly good fun – but it has been very port intensive – and as much as we love exploring new (or old!) places we do love a good sea day too! Unfortunately for us, on the current itinerary, MSC Meraviglia only has two half sea-days. One is today and the other is the day we sail into Marseille (arrival at midday).
So, as a last-minute decision, we decide that actually, we won’t get off in Palma de Mallorca at all and just enjoy the ship instead! Sorry to anyone looking forward to us exploring that port – I am sure we’ll be back again in that port, but I know a huge amount of you are reading this to find out more about MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima, so duty calls – we’ve got more fun things to do onboard!
But first, if you are booked (or thinking of booking) on MSC Meraviglia from November 2018 until May 2019 you’ll find her Mediterranean itinerary changes slightly to the current one and you get a nice full day at sea somewhere in your cruise (depending on which port you embark at!). Better yet, if you are thinking about MSC Bellissima, who will take over from MSC Meraviglia in this region from May 2019 onwards, she will also have a sea day too! To really get the most out of this ship, you need to spend a good full day on board – there is TONS of stuff to do, for all ages and – as MSC Meraviglia is known as the ‘all-weather ship’ – it doesn’t matter what is going on outside, you’ll be kept entertained whatever the weather! Which reminds me, the Bamboo Pool has a sliding roof for when it is lovely and hot and of course, when it isn’t – it is shut!
Lunch – Teppanyaki Style
Following on from our last minute decision, we made a quick call to the restaurant reservations team to see if we could get a last minute booking in the Kaito Teppanyaki restaurant, this is located next to the Kaito Sushi Bar on the upper part of the Promenade on Deck 7. We were in luck, but it was in 15 minutes and we’d be sat with another group if that was okay? Well, absolutely it was, the more the better! If you’ve ever done Teppanyaki you’ll know that it is an extremely theatrical style of Japanese cooking where the chef not only artistically cooks your food right in front of you (on a huge griddle the size of a table), but also puts on a performance which can include juggling, drawing (painting!?) with food, sketches and at times, gets you to join in with things (don’t worry if you are shy, you can sit there and just enjoy it – they know not to pressure those that would rather watch!).
We headed along to Kaito Teppanyaki and chose from the Dining Experience menu (this isn’t part of a dining package or anything, just a set amount for a fixed menu). Both of us choose the Geisha Menu which included six courses in total (the photo of one course has currently escaped, when we find it, it’ll be here too!)
The entire event lasted over an hour and was really great fun, we were sharing the table (or bar really, as you sit in a horseshoe shape around the chef) with six people from Switzerland and we all had a really great time. Not only that, but the food was superb – cooked fresh right in front of you it was delicious! As we ate we arrived into the port and the ship was tied up alongside.
After lunch, we headed back up to the waterpark, because how can we say how good it is if all we did was take a photo or two?! We had an amazing hour or so just playing around the water and on the slides – it was yet another beautiful day and very warm with only a gentle breeze so it was perfect!
After we got dried we went to the Horizon Bar on Deck 18 and got some non-alcoholic cocktails and then headed to the games arcade where I lost not just once, but twice to Sara in air hockey (after threatening to beat her at it since we got on – oops!).
We headed back to the cabin with myself coming up with every excuse under the sun for losing ‘it’s different at sea, etc’. I was soon distracted as there was a gift waiting on the bed for us – an MSC Notebook! Now, don’t get me wrong, not the biggest perk of all cruise line loyalty schemes – but remember, this is one of MANY you get per voyage – not just when you hit that membership level! So far we’ve had a free meal in a speciality dining restaurant of our choice, a bottle of prosecco and strawberries dipped in chocolate, and now a notebook. I also know what else is to come (but unsure when it will arrive – so not saying yet!) and we have a cocktail party invite too – all MSC Voyager Club perks. It costs absolutely nothing to join and you can get your status elevated if you have past loyalty with not only other cruise lines but certain hotel and airlines too – I mean, what is there to lose right? Again, read all about it in our MSC Status Match feature!
After showering and changing we headed up to the Sky Bar and had a nice cappuccino each (thank-you inclusive drinks package).
We went for a walk around the deck, by this time the sun was on its way down and we decided to watch it whilst sat at the Horizon Bar at the rear of the ship. The view from the bar and the Horizon Amphitheatre (which goes from Deck 16 to Deck 18 at the rear of the ship) was great. The sun set behind the mountains and we saw the other couple of ships in port with us today sail away.
As we were getting hungry now (you’d think we never stop eating – but honestly, there are gaps in between all our meals and they are filled with boring stuff like ‘editing photos from this morning’ ‘editing the next post’ ‘reading Ultimate Air Hockey guides for sore losers’! Anyway, onto dinner – we had one last speciality restaurant to eat at and then we can say we’ve done them all! So that we did, we got a walk-in sitting at the Eataly Food Market – this is actually further down the promenade from the Eataly Ristorante Italiano that we ate at on the second night. This restaurant offers a Chef’s Table experience, a dining experience set menu and also a la carte options too. Additionally, they have Eataly goods for sale in here too if you are interested!
The service in here is what you’d expect from Eataly – fantastic knowledge about food and really enthusiastic staff. To start with I had a mixed cheese selection and Sara had Octopus Salad.
For our main course, Sara had Mixed Seafood Fritto and I had a tomato with basil and fresh mozzarella spaghetti. Additionally, we had some mixed bread as appetisers (including some olive bread and focaccia) and we used our inclusive drinks package to order wine with the meal at no cost!
For dessert we both had to of course have an Italian Tiramisu each! It was one of the best I have ever had without a doubt. Great desserts are becoming a thing on here!
After dinner we watched the show on the Galleria Meraviglia Dome – which is 96 metres long, making it the biggest at sea (this ship holds plenty of biggest records!) and it is fun to watch everyone below just stop and stare at the ceiling show despite whatever they were doing! Whoever designed the shows did really well with utilising the extremely long aspect ratio of the screen and the atmospheric soundtracks really add to the show!
MSC White Night Party
Tonight is the White Night Party – which is one of the MSC theme nights the ship runs on each weekly itinerary. Actually, to be clear, it is a night that MSC runs across their fleet on each ship! The idea being that the entertainment team dress in white, the ship is dressed up in various white props and the passengers all wear white too! Combined with lots of music and singing – you’ve got a party on your hands!
We’ve experienced a White Night Party before whilst on MSC Magnifica, back then there were plenty of people dressed top to toe in white (you don’t have to do this, it is just suggested – a white t-shirt with white shorts or trousers is absolutely fine!) and the bars on the ship had White Night Party themes in them (including crew dressed as polar bears and penguins!). We weren’t sure what to expect on MSC Meraviglia other than in the Daily Program it was suggested it would be held in the Atmosphere Pool (Deck 15 midship) if the weather was okay – oh, and it would start at 10:30pm and the main DJ would start at 11:30pm! A late one then!
We headed up to the Atmosphere Pool at around 10.45pm and usually a quiet peaceful area at this time of the evening was, in fact, a full-blown party in action! The entertainment team were on a stage alongside a singer and a band and there were several hundred passengers dressed in white all dancing and following the moves of the entertainment team that were stood in front and around the pool! It was really atmospheric and we watched from the walkway on the deck above – at just after 11.30pm the ship started to sail away from Palma de Mallorca and the mix of music, everyone cheering, the warm Mediterranean air and the beautiful lit up port all combined is a memory we will both very fondly look back on! We stayed there until around 1am whilst singing and dancing with everyone and it was a really great night! There were people there from all ages (even small children running around!) it was superb – make sure you don’t miss it when you sail on here!
After the party, we headed back to the cabin and tried to get as much sleep as possible, as tomorrow it is our last port (Valencia) and we’ve only a tiny 140 nautical miles to sail there!