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Andrew72681

Into the great unknown (at least for us) MSC Meraviglia Live Blog 11/24 -12/1

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Just now, jdvmd said:

Excellent!

It was a great suite last time. Tons of space and a huge bathroom. Just be sure no to confuse the JW Marriott (35k points) and JW Marriott Marquis (50k points) 

 

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Today’s travel day. So excited to finally be on the way there. Yesterday was a great Pre-travel day consolation though as we got to hang out with the Washington capitals at a Hockey Fights Cancer event. 
 

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As we always fly Southwest on vacation (companion pass and BWI Based its an easy choice) we have to fly in Fort Lauderdale as our gateway to south Florida. This time we’re arriving today around 1 so we’ve got some time to kill. 

 

Our normal course of action would be to just hop in an UBERXL, which normally with tip sets us back ~100. This time though we’ve got an extra family friend so 5 people and large suitcases we might have needed two. After hearing some friends (not the Phoebe and Chandler variety) we decided to try the Brightline train. 
 

The Brightline Train (now being called Virgin Trains USA) opened in January of 2018 with service between Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm. There’s a plan to expand the line to Orlando which would be a great fit if they could wind it up to Port Canaveral and then over to Orlando proper. 
 

While many have had trouble with the website, we didn’t have any trouble getting tickets booked for the five of us. The Fort Lauderdale station is a few miles north of the FLL Airport just north of the Las Olas Blvd. area. We’re going to take two separate uberX’s up to the station. 

Seats can be selected in advance which gave us the opportunity to make sure we were all together. Brightline has two classes of service, Smart which is a standard train seat with WiFi and power and food available for purchase. Their other option is Select which features a seat two inches wider 21 vs 19 as well a many other great features

alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages included, snacks included, chargers available to borrow for your device, one free day of garage parking, conference room access, early boarding, and my favorite a Pre-departure lounge with food and drink to wait until boarding. 
 

Pricing seems to stay pretty low on this route with Smart tickets being as low as 15$ between the two stations, for our date there were two options available for Select a less flexible 21$ and a fare that can be changed at no costs up to an hour before for 25$. As we were flying in from Maryland, I decided to that the flexibility was worth the 4$ per person. 
 

We’re booked on the 3:39 train so I’ll be sure to report back this afternoon. 
 

 

 

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The Brightline was a great idea. It’s a simple Uber ride up from the airport and once you walk inside the station you instantly notice you are not in Amtrak country anymore. 

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Access is controlled to the terminal by scanners.

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The select lounge is also gate controlled. We noticed on several occasions people trying to “tailgate” in with other people walking in  

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There was ample seating along both sides of the window. Wifi was also available for free in the terminal and was plenty fsst

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When we first arrived they were between more substantial snack times. There were fruit,chips, and Clif LUNA bars available. About halfway through our stay they brought our Charcuterie which was quite good. 
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a few minutes before our departure an announcement was made, we Went down to the track and were welcomed aboard the front car  

 

seats in the select car are in a 2-1 configuration. Some of the seats are setup around tables, but just know that if you are looking to sit across from someone it means one of you will be riding backwards. After we departed Fort Lauderdale we were greeted by a very friendly car attendant named Kae who was available to make mixed drinks, sodas, and also had snacks  

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When we arrived at the Miami station we were greeted by a beautiful new station right in the middle of downtown, claimed our luggage, and were on our way. 

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Thanks so much for all your info/photos on the Train! How great is that!! I will definitely go that route rather than an Uber. How long did the ride take? Did you get a ca/Uber from the train station to the Cruise Port in Miami once you arrived? Cost?

Thanks in advance for all the answers to my petty questions LOL

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21 minutes ago, copper6606 said:

Thanks so much for all your info/photos on the Train! How great is that!! I will definitely go that route rather than an Uber. How long did the ride take? Did you get a ca/Uber from the train station to the Cruise Port in Miami once you arrived? Cost?

Thanks in advance for all the answers to my petty questions LOL

We took an Uber from the station, which was about ten bucks. The train ride itself was about thirty minutes. 

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Hello fellow Frederick, MD'er.  I will be on Meraviglia in 2 weeks...excited to follow you.

 

Kerry

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Andrew - If you have the time and energy after your cruise, would you consider posting your Bright Line/Virgin Trains experience and photos on the Florida Departures board (https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/386-florida-departures/)?  It would benefit lots of cruisers searching for transportation to/from Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

 

I'm looking forward to your review - we have our first MSC cruise on the Meraviglia coming up in early January.   Thanks!

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For anyone checking in on the liveblog. Was hoping to keep it current throughout each day, but the WiFi has been late 1990s terrible through the week so far. I most definitely miss the voom service from Harmony of the seas where I’d get 8mb down. Being that the Meraviglia is actually younger than Harmony I would have expected better. 

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55 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

For anyone checking in on the liveblog. Was hoping to keep it current throughout each day, but the WiFi has been late 1990s terrible through the week so far. I most definitely miss the voom service from Harmony of the seas where I’d get 8mb down. Being that the Meraviglia is actually younger than Harmony I would have expected better. 

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Sorry to see that. Im looking forward to when you get a better connection.

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23 minutes ago, bluefish17 said:

Sorry to see that. Im looking forward to when you get a better connection.

I had no problem doing my live blog from Meraviglia a couple of weeks ago. I had a Wi-fi package.

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Following along also.

 

Do you remember if they advertised any internet package specials when you boarded? Can't decide whether to book one now or wait for a possible better deal aboard.

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On 11/24/2019 at 8:59 AM, copper6606 said:

Thanks so much for all your info/photos on the Train! How great is that!! I will definitely go that route rather than an Uber. How long did the ride take? Did you get a ca/Uber from the train station to the Cruise Port in Miami once you arrived? Cost?

Thanks in advance for all the answers to my petty questions LOL

Uber from FLL to Miami cost around 50$ if not cheaper. Takes you from point A to point B in 30 min. Whats a pint of this train? You need to take ride TO train, than from train TO port, carry your luggage around. 

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On 11/18/2019 at 8:01 PM, copper6606 said:

Looking forward to following along.

We are on this ship April 12th from Miami for the  Repositioning Cruise ending in Copenhagen . This is our first Cruise with MSC but have 23 various other cruises under our belt. I find I try VERY hard not to compare them all. This one has been making me a bit nervous with the reviews of the food... 22 days may be a very long time to not like the food. 😬

Oh well- we could all probably cut down a bit on the calories any way! LOL

We are also considering the same TA itinerary as you are on with MSC. Excellent Itinerary with many very good port stops and ending in Copenhagen. Also, nearly new ship, good size for traversing the Atlantic, and much better price than the rest. I have been researching MSC for over 3 months on various different forums. It is really difficult to coalesce all of the reviews. Some are horrible, some are glowing, and some are somewhere in between. I just think that there are significantly different types of people with all sorts of expectations. Since my wife and I have minimal expectations when traveling you learn go go with the flow and enjoy that you are still alive and healthy at an advanced age.

 

What type of stateroom have you booked? I am tempted to possibly try the RYC but am not keen on paying a small fortune for the privilege. So, we will go with what we normally do and that is an Ocean View. Am leery of a balcony on an MSC ship as they are very lenient with smoking. Have read that sometimes there are problems with Balcony Staterooms with people smoking on their balconies. I would never put up with that if the rules state no smoking on balconies. Don't really want to get into a confrontation right out of the box. So, we'll stick with an Ocean View. 

 

My Best,

 

Dave @ Ad from Northern Florida

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Hello!  My husband and I will be sailing on the Meraviglia right after you on December 8th-15th.  This is our first MSC cruise and we are so excited!  Since you are on board now, would it be possible for you to post or tell us what the theme night schedule is?  Our itinerary round trip Miami with stops in Costa Maya, Belize & Roatan.  This would be so helpful if it isn't too much trouble!  Trying to plan accordingly and have been getting conflicting information.  Thank you so much and I hope you're having a wonderful trip so far!

Edited by MSchwarz

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7 hours ago, Floridastorm said:

We are also considering the same TA itinerary as you are on with MSC. Excellent Itinerary with many very good port stops and ending in Copenhagen. Also, nearly new ship, good size for traversing the Atlantic, and much better price than the rest. I have been researching MSC for over 3 months on various different forums. It is really difficult to coalesce all of the reviews. Some are horrible, some are glowing, and some are somewhere in between. I just think that there are significantly different types of people with all sorts of expectations. Since my wife and I have minimal expectations when traveling you learn go go with the flow and enjoy that you are still alive and healthy at an advanced age.

 

What type of stateroom have you booked? I am tempted to possibly try the RYC but am not keen on paying a small fortune for the privilege. So, we will go with what we normally do and that is an Ocean View. Am leery of a balcony on an MSC ship as they are very lenient with smoking. Have read that sometimes there are problems with Balcony Staterooms with people smoking on their balconies. I would never put up with that if the rules state no smoking on balconies. Don't really want to get into a confrontation right out of the box. So, we'll stick with an Ocean View. 

 

My Best,

 

Dave @ Ad from Northern Florida

We are the same... we just "Go with the flow". The "Bad" reviews are mostly from those on this Ships first Transatlantic Voyage. Most of the reviews that I have read since it has arrived in Miami [and seem to be more settled]- are MUCH better. Some really happy people out there! 

As far as the type of room- it is such a subjective question. Price , location, your overall needs- play such a big roll in choosing... 

I hadn't herd that they are lenient with letting people smoke on this ship at all since it has quite a nice smoking room[ as well as a few other areas to smoke around the ship.

 

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9 hours ago, GOLDENBONNY said:

Uber from FLL to Miami cost around 50$ if not cheaper. Takes you from point A to point B in 30 min. Whats a pint of this train? You need to take ride TO train, than from train TO port, carry your luggage around. 

I think that the original Poster was travelling with a large group to which an Uber wouldn't be possible[ if I remember the story right]

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Thanks for this post!  

 

Sorry to see that your internet speeds are not up to par...  I would've expected better as well.

 

Can you tell me what the theme nights have been for your cruise?  We're preparing for the December 8th departure and are trying to finalize our packing.

 

Thanks again!

Koji & Pam

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I was hoping this thread would actually be about the Meraviglia.  😕

 

I hope the OP had a great cruise!

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27 minutes ago, jkgourmet said:

I was hoping this thread would actually be about the Meraviglia.  😕

 

I hope the OP had a great cruise!

We did. After starting it just devolved into a normal cruise critic response of people bitching about things so I just let it die. It’s a shame this community is so negative. It’s a cruising version of Reddit. 

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