Five things I learned about the cruise ship MSC Preziosa

Five things I learned about the cruise ship MSC Preziosa

Last week, I was a guest of MSC Cruises on board their flagship Preziosa. MSC invited 150 of us bloggers on board, and hosted a Tots / Trips 100 BlogCamp in style while Preziosa was docked at Southampton, England.

MSC Preziosa

At BlogCamp we caught up with blogging friends, and learned about blog metrics, photography and podcasting. The real star of the show, though, was the Preziosa. I hadn’t been on a cruise before, but I’ve heard from travel blogging friends like Karen, Sarah, Lisa and Claire that this style of travel can be well-suited to families. For a newcomer like me, the thousands of cruise options tend to blur into a confusing mass of choices. But MSC Cruises and the Preziosa stood out from the crowd for a number of reasons.

Diverse set of travellers

Last year, 200,000 children sailed with MSC, from 35 different nations. All those youngsters were entertained by MSC’s bouncy staff in five different kids’ clubs: Baby (under 3s), Mini (3-6 years), Juniors (7-11 years), Young (12-14 years) and Teens (15-17 years).

MSC Preziosa

The kids’ entertainment team, with mascot figure Doremi on the right.

Although English is the official language on board the cruise line, and staff speak up to six languages, MSC wanted to make sure their kids’ clubs had a unifying force. The answer they settled on, was Lego. MSC figured that most children understand the international language of Lego, so they set up a partnership with the Danish firm, to help children play together in the kids’ clubs – even if they didn’t speak the same languages.

There was a LOT of Lego (and Duplo, for the younger children) in the kids’ play area.

MSC Preziosa

MSC also have a partnership with younger kids’ brand Chicco. For the older children, on Preziosa there was a hangout space, with video games, street art and a DJ booth, where they could learn how to mix tunes on the decks. On board MSC Meraviglia, we were told, there’s even a teen dance floor to rival that of the adults.

MSC Preziosa

MSC Preziosa

Partnerships with UNICEF and Cirque du Soleil

MSC’s partnerships don’t end there. As a partner to UNICEF, they support the production and transportation of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods, for malnourished children. Every child travelling with MSC has the chance to be a UNICEF ambassador.

MSC Preziosa

Cirque du Soleil, the world-renowned innovative dance and theatre company, has co-created exclusive shows for MSC Meraviglia’s West-End scale theatre. Children who want more of a starring role, can appear in MSC’s web-based series, Kelly and Kloe on Board. Slightly more low-key, but still interactive, is the chance to learn to make pasta with Doremi; a family disco; sports programme; and a lab with a 3D printer and computer, where youngsters can create their own CG art.

British flavour

MSC Cruises is owned by an Italian family. There was no mistaking this fact when strolling round Preziosa. Where other than southern Europe would you find such a delightful homage to the larger-thighed lady:

MSC Preziosa

Coffee was clearly taken very seriously, with several coffee bars strewn around the ship. I even came across this display,which playfully turned the beverage into a piece of art.

MSC Preziosa

MSC Magnifica will have Southampton as its home port in 2018, and the southern European cruise line has prepared for the 22 rotations from Southampton, up to northern Europe and down to the Med. To celebrate the English sojourn, MSC decided to introduce a very British feature to the Magnifica, and the Preziosa: kettles in the cabins. After a poll of the British public, they decided on a brew to accompany these kettles. The choice? Yorkshire Tea.

Waterslides and pools

MSC Preziosa

Preziosa’s waterslide, Vertigo, is the longest single-rider waterslide on any cruise ship. Just at the point where the slide juts out over the waves, it turns see-through. Yikes. As well as this stomach-lurching attraction, Preziosa has pools with a retracting roof, so customers can swim even when it’s cool outside. There’s a splashpark for the youngsters, and, on some ships, an infinity pool overlooking the sea.

Glitz and glamour

MSC Preziosa

Italian glamour is everywhere on the Preziosa. From the Swarovski Crystal-strewn atrium (each of the steps above is worth a whopping €10,000), to the twinkly ceiling of Il Gioiello and the Safari Lounge’s sparkling dance floor, glitz and glitter greeted us round every corner.

MSC Preziosa

Il Gioiello’s sparkle-encrusted ceiling.

MSC’s lavish style extended to the choice of shops in Il Gioiello. Staff in the Effy shop greeted customers with champagne, and no piece of jewellery was worth less than £3,000.

As well as luxurious shops, on board Preziosa there was a Balinese-style spa, bowling alley, casino and a ‘yacht club’ where customers could pay more to stay in exclusive suites, with a butler service and private restaurants.

MSC Preziosa

After our day on board MSC Preziosa, I wanted to find out more. Apart from the onboard facilities, the other side of cruising is the day trip excursions. MSC’s team told us that the ship’s Mediterranean and northern European routes are good for families, as there are frequent stops along the way. This is a side to cruising I’d like to explore. How would these day excursions compare to independent travel?

Have you been on a cruise? Did you enjoy it?

We were guests of MSC Cruises for the day. All views are my own.

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MSC Preziosa

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9 Comments

  1. Lovely to catch up with you last week onboard Nell;) You have captured some beautiful features of the MSC Preziosa. I think I now have a new life goal… to be able to shop in the Effy shop and stay in the exclusive yacht club! Regarding your question shore excursions v’s touring independently – from my experience I would say that booking shore excursions via the ship are great for making the most of the time in port with an expert guide who is able to tell you about the port and show you the ports highlights. There is nothing worse than disembarking a ship in a foreign port and not knowing where to go and potentially wasting a day. Especially as when exploring independently you need to be constantly worrying about the time and getting back to the port in time for the ship sailing. Thanks fort linking to #MondayEscapes

    • Nell
      Author
      October 13, 2017 / 11:46 am

      I’d like to try it. A guide would be very handy for places that I don’t know.

  2. October 14, 2017 / 4:46 pm

    I’ve forwarded your post to my brother, who is looking to do something along these lines with his wife and two young children. I’m impressed by the fact cruise lines now have offerings that appeal to families.

    • Nell
      Author
      October 15, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      Thanks for passing on my post, Stuart. MSC did seem to be pulling out all the stops to make families feel welcome.

  3. October 16, 2017 / 5:39 pm

    I did a cruise when my daughter was a toddler and it was fantastic, i’d love to go back and do another now she’s older and able to appreciate even more. The Lego tie in would go down a treat too.

    • Nell
      Author
      October 17, 2017 / 9:02 pm

      Yes, that was a clever touch.

  4. November 6, 2017 / 10:35 pm

    It was lovely to see you at the event, thanks so much for coming along and for such a fabulous write-up!

    • Nell
      Author
      November 7, 2017 / 11:36 am

      It’s a pleasure! A thoroughly enjoyable experience. Thanks for organising it.

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