Last week I met 120 other bloggers for a conference on board the cruise ship MSC Preziosa. We boarded the ship at 9:30am and had a day packed with fun activities and fabulous food, until we sadly had to disembark seven hours later.
You can watch the short video I made here:
(Apologies for the quality. My camera has broken so this was all photographed and filmed on a (also broken) phone which was running out of battery!)
I posted already about the Swarovski Crystal staircases, because they blew me away, but in general, top to bottom, the MSC Preziosa was an absolutely stunning ship. In fact, my first word, when I stepped foot inside, was, “Shiny!”. Everything was sparkly, glittery, shiny and pretty. From the 20 bars and 9 restaurants, to the west-end style 1600 seat theatre, even the shops had bling.
The most fundamental thing I learnt from my time on board, was that MSC are changing perceptions of cruising. Cruises are not just for old people, the average age of cruisers is lowering and MSC cater for all ages. An abundance of children’s facilities and activities demonstrates this. Partnerships with Lego, Chicco and Unicef add to the child-friendly vibe. Not forgetting the MSC mascot Doremi!
There are a variety of children’s clubs with different schedules for each age group (from 0-17 years), a baby and toddler room, a primary age room and a teenage room. These are open and fully staffed from 9am-11pm. Security measures are in place to make sure the children are safe and parents must sign younger children in and out. Geolocate bracelets are used too, so that children’s exact location can be tracked by parents. Kids club staff are fully qualified and children in the club are taken off to do a multitude of activities, such as swimming, sport and cooking, as well as activities in the club rooms. The club is called Doremi and features it’s own cartoon and a webseries called Kelly and Kloe. Full sports programmes, technology programmes, and a Doremi talent show are just some of the things available to immerse children.
As a family travel blogger, I loved hearing about how family friendly their ships are. One thing we struggle with, as a family of six, is finding holidays where the six of us don’t have to split into separate rooms. MSC cater for families even bigger than ours and on some ships (like the Meraviglia) can even accommodate a family of 10 by joining three interconnecting cabins.
I enjoyed a short ship tour of the MSC Preziosa, where I saw the Millenium Star Casino, the 1600 seat Platinum Theatre and three of the four swimming pools. The fourth boasts the Doremi Castle Kids Aquapark. There’s also a giant flume called Vertigo which is actually the longest single rider flume at sea, and goes right over the side of the ship. There’s also the Aurea spa, a gym, a bowling alley, a F1 simulator, a games arcade, a nightclub, a cinema… I could go on. They don’t call cruise ships “floating cities” for nothing.
Cuisine on board cruise ships is second to none and I also got a sample of this during my day on the MSC Preziosa. We were offered a choice of buffet or three course lunch (or both). I opted for a three course lunch, where I had a seafood cocktail (shrimp, calamari and scallops) as my starter. It was delicious. Calamari is not something I order often as it’s often cooked badly and ends up being very chewy, but this calamari was soft, tasty and cooked to perfection. For my main course I ordered ravioli with spinach and ricotta, which again, was fresh, tasty and cooked beautifully. Nutella cream mille-feuille a la mode was my choice of dessert and an excellent choice it was indeed! I would absolutely love a week on board to test out all the restaurants and work my way through the menus. I might not be a food blogger, but I am a huge food lover and have a great appreciation for good food.
MSC currently operate 12 luxurious cruise ships with another ten ships on order; four of which will run on liquid natural gas, making the ship super environmentally friendly. Eco friendly energy saving and water recycling systems are in place on most of their ships, in order to reduce environmental impact. The biggest of MSC’s ships is the Meraviglia, which is currently the 4th biggest cruise ship in the world, weighing in at 171598 Gross Tonnes. The Meraviglia hosts up to 5714 passengers and features a promenade with the longest LED dome on the ocean.
For those who like their statistics, the MSC Preziosa is 1093 feet long, with a capacity of 4345 passengers and weighing 139072 gross tonnes.
MSC Preziosa and MSC Magnifica are currently both sailing from the UK port of Southampton. Between them they offer a variety of different cruises around Northern Europe, with destinations including France, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar, Italy and the Netherlands to name just a few.
I’d love to say a big thank you to Sally (Who’s The Mummy), the Tots100 team and the MSC press team for organising #BlogCampOnBoard. The whole day was fantastic and I’m simply dreaming of cruising with MSC now. It would make the perfect honeymoon for me and Mike!
All photography of the MSC Preziosa in this post is my own, with the exception of the two cabin photos, which were provided by MSC.