GUEST POST: MSC Preziosa Review 2018
About the cruise line
MSC Cruises are an Italian-based cruise line, part of the MSC shipping company. MSC is the world’s largest privately-owned shipping company, with their main hub in Genoa, Italy. Currently, they have 15 ships in their cruise fleet with 2 more due to launch in 2019, and more to follow in 2020 and beyond. MSC are also one of the few cruise lines that allow you to embark and disembark the ship at most ports, thus allowing you to tailor-make your holiday.
Why we chose MSC Cruises
We have sailed with MSC a number of times, and always embark the ship in Marseille.
We took the cruise in late summer 2018 after the European children went back to school. MSC ships get very busy during school holidays. The price we paid for a Fantastica balcony was extremely good, we added the drinks package and prepaid gratuities, and paid a little over £100 per person per night.
The MSC Preziosa is one of 4 “Fantasia” class ships in the MSC Cruise Fleet. It started its life as a ship ordered by the Gadaffi Regime in Libya. The original vision for the ship was to include a huge shark aquarium and a host of other unusual features. After the revolution, the regime defaulted on payments. MSC Cruises bought the hull, as it was similar to their “Fantasia” Design, and created the MSC Preziosa.
The ship holds 3,500 passengers and around 1,300 crew. It is a modern looking ship which, despite its size, has a sleek looking style… Unlike some modern cruise ships that sometimes look like chunky apartment blocks.
Curious about what MSC ships look like? MSC Meraviglia – Ship Tour: https://bit.ly/2BL24FG
The ship is aimed at the Italian market, but they also cater for other nationalities too. All of the announcements are in various languages, and there will usually be 5 or 6 different ones depending on the nationalities of the passengers on board at the time.
Most of the food service in the restaurants on board is of a Mediterranean style, with lots of fish and pasta.
MSC Yacht Club
One of the key features of the MSC Preziosa is the Yacht Club. This is called a “ship within a ship”. It is an access controlled area that offers a premium experience. It has about 60 suites, with most being the Deluxe Style. In addition, you have a Concierge Service, 24-hour butler service, a huge lounge which serves breakfast and light snacks through the day. On deck 18 forward there is a pool deck with a bar, hot tubs and recliners. It has a dedicated restaurant, La Palmeraie, which is at the rear of the ship.
Dining options on board
The whole ship is very stylish, modern looking and very very clean (as are all MSC ships), the ship has many dining and entertainment options. The main restaurant (Golden Lobster) has two dining times (early and late). It is full of gold and very glitzy. It has a good menu, with most evening meals of 4 or 5 courses. We usually have a drinks package, so we have never had any problems with getting water or wine at the table. MSC do not serve free water at the dinner table (including tap water).
*** Tap water is free on MSC cruises if you are from the UK ***
Many people like to use the buffet for breakfast and lunch, so at times it is very very busy. You can usually find a seat the further back you go. The buffet itself is very good, has a lot of fresh fruit, salads, vegetables, fish and very good pizza (made fresh daily). It only serves free juice at breakfast – again this seems to be an MSC thing. However, it is very good compared to other buffet experiences I have had on other ships.
The “Eataly” restaurant, (one of the additional charge restaurants) is very good and has a more formal menu section, it also has an informal section. The additional charge was about 30 Euros for the set menu, and in the other section around 5 to 7 Euros per item.
MSC Preziosa has 4 main types of cabin available : inside, ocean view, balcony and the yacht club suites.
Most of the cabins on the Preziosa are standard balcony cabins, they do not have tea and coffee making in the rooms, but again this changes with the location of the ships. When cruising from the UK most cabins do have a kettle.
Curious about the cabins? Check out my Balcony Cabin Tour filmed onboard the MSC Meraviglia: https://bit.ly/2Em0prQ
All of the cabins are well appointed with even the lowest grade having shower gel, soap, towels and pool towels provided. All cabins also have a large flat screen TV and air conditioning. Some of the higher grade balconies and all of the suites have a bath and shower.
Things to do on board
Entertainment is varied and aimed at a young and family audience. There is the very long “Vertigo” waterslide on the top deck at the rear of the funnel (the only fantastica class of ship to have it), 4-D Cinema, Formula 1 Racing simulator and even a 2 lane bowling alley in the sports bar. The shows in the theatre are aimed at families with lots of music and acrobatics. There is little speaking as they generally speak Italian. Any announcements are in up to 6 different languages which would make the show too long to have speaking parts. The shows are generally of a high quality.
Swimming pools, sun decks and spa
There are 3 main pool options, a large outdoor pool, a covered pool that can have the roof opened and an “infinity” style pool at the rear of the ship. All get busy on sea days, and you quickly realise how many people are on the ship.
There is a chargeable sun deck on deck 18 mid-ship, near to the funnel, with a hot tub and nice comfy sun loungers. This area doesn’t tend to get too busy due to the extra charge.
Gym & Spa
There is a large and well appointed gym situated at the front of the ship, overlooking the bow – and above the navigation bridge. It is very popular depending on the passenger profile, during our trip this was mainly younger people. The Spa Sauna and steam room area has an additional charge. It is very large compared to other ships and is very popular at times. The use of the area can be pre-booked via the MSC Website, or booked on the ship for the duration of the voyage.
MSC have amazing spas!
The MSC Aurea Spa area is very well equipped to modern cruise ship standards, it has all the usual spa treatments on offer. One unusual item on offer is 2 stand up sun tan beds with are chargeable in 10min blocks.
Would we recommend MSC?
We liked the MSC Preziosa. It was stylish and bright. It attracts a young and family crowd, so if you do not like the boisterous nature of multi-cultural family resorts then this ship may not be for you using the standard cabins. The Yacht Club may be better as it is a good way to enjoy all the many features of the ship and still be able to find some quiet spaces.
While the the MSC brand approach is very Mediterranean, it is not for everyone. If you want value for money on elegant, stylish and modern ships then try MSC and the MSC Preziosa.
If you’ve cruised with an American or British line before, check out this post about the differences between MSC and Royal Caribbean. They’re very different experiences and it’s better if you’re prepared.
Emma says – Thanks for this one Keith! I’ve been on 3 MSC Cruises but never on the Preziosa. It sounds like you got a real bargain and I’m glad you enjoyed your cruise.
I have lots of other MSC content (and videos) to share so if you are reading this make sure you check out some of the posts mentioned below. I love MSC but it is important to understand how they differ to American/British cruise lines.
MSC Meraviglia – Ship Tour: https://bit.ly/2BL24FG
Balcony Cabin Tour – MSC Meraviglia: https://bit.ly/2Em0prQ
MSC Cruises – MSC For Me App: https://bit.ly/2t0M8dV
Ship Review -MSC Meraviglia: https://bit.ly/2GSMBXC
MSC Meraviglia – Spa Review: https://bit.ly/2SdXSUs
Christmas on the MSC Meraviglia: https://bit.ly/2BNYJFU
MSC Meraviglia – Food Review: https://bit.ly/2XaPOaR
MSC Voyagers Club Black Status Perks: https://bit.ly/2GE4zh7