MSC Cruises asks this seasoned cruiser 8 questions about my experience on the MSC Preziosa.
In this article, I answer 8 questions that MSC Cruises asked me about cruising with them and the MSC Preziosa. As a regular, and enthusiastic, cruiser I was asked to be one of the ‘Official Bloggers” covering the launch and maiden voyage of the last of 4 “Fantasia” Class ships to join the MSC Cruise fleet. This is what they wanted to know about my experience:
You’re a seasoned cruiser, but this is the first time you’ve sailed with MSC. How has this trip differed from your past experiences at sea?
Younger, more diverse, more “European” and cosmopolitan!
The whole look and feel of the ship was very different from other cruise lines I have been on. It was less traditional than lines like Cunard, less “Las Vegas” than lines like Celebrity and less staid than lines like P&O. This style set the tone for the experience I came to find on the ship.
The biggest difference, though, was that the passengers were more diverse, and much younger than other cruises that I have been on. It was more relaxed and family orientated than I am used to. The whole ship, and the trip, felt like staying in a resort. A resort that catered for more diversity than other cruises I have been on. Other cruises have been more focused around pleasing one key group of travellers, but the MSC Cruise was more varied and had lots of different experiences. From the quiet calm of the Yacht Club through to the busy public pools, from quiet string quartets through to “Gangum Style” throbbing production shows and from a library through to 4-D rides. Very diverse.
Did the concierge and butler service in the MSC Yacht Club, the exclusive ‘ship within a ship’ on board MSC Preziosa, meet your expectations?
Yes. Not a lot to add to that! Service was very high in the Yacht Club, and everyone made a point of greeting you and talking to you.
When I interviewed the Captain and the Hotel Manager both spoke about how they stress the importance of the crew making each passenger feel like they are individuals and important – and not just one of several thousand people on board. I found this true, with small touches like the Butler bringing me the paper when I was at breakfast as it had not arrived when I set off.
As a travel blogger, having regular access to the internet must be incredibly important. Could you update your blog regularly on board, even during navigation?
Internet access was the best I have ever had on any cruise or cruise line.
I have grown used to slow and patchy internet access, and that usually means I can only run email and usually not try and do anything else. I was able to easily upload videos onto YouTube, post photos and articles on my blog and even was able to use FaceTime and Skype video with home (even on the sea day!). I travel a lot, and am often away from my partner, and so being able to see them to chat (and show them around the cabin and ship!) was fantastic. This would be great for anyone wanting to keep in touch with people while travelling – as cheaper than the roaming charges on your mobile phone too……
MSC is incredibly proud of its Mediterranean heritage and dining on board MSC Preziosa is very much focused on fresh and authentic ingredients from the region. What was your best dining experience on board?
The Yacht Club Restaurant “La Palmeraie”. I loved the food and service in here. It was amazing. Every night a different menu with great choices, and then some set standard Italian Classics if the daily menu did not appeal. It was so good that I am not sure people staying in Yacht Club need to go to any of the other restaurants that have small additional charges. It was amazing.
The others I was travelling with will probably say “Eately” as it was very special – but my favourite was the “La Palmeraie”. Saying that, the buffet was pretty impressive too for lunches and when time was tight.
MSC Preziosa has new several new entertainment features, including Vertigo, the longest waterslide on the waves, as well as a programme of updated shows in the theatre. How would you rate the overall entertainment experience?
“Vertigo” was my highlight! I love waterparks and being able to ride this long and high slide at sea was just fantastic. I went on it 9 times in 2 days in the limited time I had as there was so much else to do. I also really enjoyed the other features like the 4-D Cinema.
The “Wonderland” production show is worth mentioning, as this was dramatically better than the shows I have seen on other cruise lines. It was clever, funny, well produced and full of surprises. I came out smiling and satisfied. Just like the rest of the audience.
Would you recommend the shore excursions you took part in to other passengers? Which excursion did you enjoy the most and why?
Yes the excursions we went on were great. It is hard to pick out what my favourite was – as I went on very varied excursions and that was what I enjoyed most. Each was different, and so I had a varied experience. The highlights were:
- The tour of Tunis, where we saw the public square where the revolution took place recently, and then we explored the maze that was the Medina market. Full of smells, interesting craft work and foods.
- I adored visiting Taormina near Messina. Seeing the smouldering snow covered Mount Etna before walking through the gorgeous town to the Greek (and then Roman) amphitheatre was magical.
- Even the rough ferry crossing to Capri near Naples, where large amounts of the passengers were ill, was an adventure. I did not suffer – and so could enjoy the stunning island without dreading the choppy ferry ride back!
You’ve only travelled on British cruise lines before, so how did it feel to be on a multilingual ship?
Friends who had been on MSC Cruises said that it might drive me a bit crazy having announcements done in 6 languages. It did not.
Maybe it was because I have been working in global and regional jobs for most of my career and travel a lot, and so am used to multiple languages around me. However, I found that on-board most of the interactions and communication is given to you in your home language, and MSC try and reduce the amount of announcements that have to be made.
I am used to being on ships where about 80% or more passengers are English speakers, and I actually enjoyed the diversity and varied nature of the language around me on MSC. It made me feel the ship was more exotic – and not just a piece of the UK or USA at sea!
What has been your most memorable Mediterranean moment with MSC Preziosa?
Travelling around the Med with 2 other bloggers and some of the MSC Head Office Team. I felt like I was on a trip with friends.
Something about the atmosphere on the ship made us relax, laugh, share experiences and take long chatty dinners enjoying great Italian food. The MSC advertising talks about how life should be measured in moments and not minutes.
Even though I was on a ‘work” trip, we did just that and found moments to share the experience. It was an amazing time.
Further reading: Read all of my MSC Preziosa articles, watch the videos and listen to the audio interviews at https://www.tipsfortravellers.com/MSC
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