PackThePJs were recently invited on board MSC Preziosa while it was docked in Southampton for the day. This was a rare event for us as it’s the first ship visit we’ve attended where the children came too (and they had an amazing time!)
We arrived at Southampton mid-morning for an 11:30 meet-and-greet with the MSC team. We were then processed quickly and efficiently through security and then boarded the ship on Deck 5. The reception area is an atrium with curved staircases going to lower and upper decks. You were instantly drawn to these glittery, sparkly steps! We were told that they contain silver Swarovski crystals and that every step cost in the region of $15,000 to produce. Wow! But very impressive.
All the visitors were taken up to the top decks via one of several glass elevators and shown around the Grafitti’s Club for teenagers aged 12-17 (more of this in a separate post). Here we were given a breakdown of activities planned for us, and the children, during our day. We were then taken to the self-service Inca buffet on Deck 14 for lunch.
The buffet was extremely well received by my children, especially given that burgers, fries and artisan handmade pizza were on offer! (Many varied and healthy options were also available I should point out.) The pizza was a particular hit with my son: he thinks himself somewhat of an expert as we have a pizza oven at home and he helps make the dough for it. His exact comment to me while eating his pizza slices was:
“So, So Good! Better than Dominos [this is his benchmark standard for pizza], as good as my own. Really nice toppings.”
Next time Toby goes on board an MSC ship, he perhaps should spend some time with the pizza chefs!
After our lovely lunch the children went off with the kid club team to have some fun, while the grown-ups took a tour of some of the ship highlights. There are a lot of highlights to mention, so I’ll break them down by area.
MSC Preziosa: Deck 16 – Kids Clubs, Galaxy Bar, 4D Cinema and F1 Simulator
MSC is a family-owned cruise line where ‘family’ is at the forefront of their ethos. Very few places are ‘adult only’ on board MSC Preziosa. There are of course some areas where adults can escape to when they want to relax, but in the main MSC encourages multi-generational cruise experiences. This is greatly illustrated here on Deck 16. I won’t go into details about the kids clubs as these will be covered in detail separately, but the clubs are as follows:
Baby Club (for under 3s)
Mini Club (for 3-6 year olds)
Juniors Club (for 7-11 year olds)
Graffiti’s (for 12-17 year olds)
Each club is designed to appeal to the specific age groups. The teen area in particular is very cool!
For the children there are lots of activities on board, over and above those arranged by each of the clubs. In fact, there’s a really good checklist on the back of the daily activities schedule for children to tick off during their cruise holiday:
- Say Hello to the Captain of the ship
- Meet our mascots, the Doremi Family
- Enjoy a thrilling show at the 4D cinema
- Discover new places on a shore excursion
- Ride our fantastic Formula 1 simulator
- Have fun in the Doremi Castle
- Go bowling with your friends at the Sports Bar
- Perro Caliente Clasico, a Classic hotdog with ketchup and mayonnaise
- Make new friends
- Buy a cool swimming costume at the Pool Shop
- Swim in the pool while you sail the seas (Aqua Park, where there is also an outdoor cinema screen)
- Get soaking wet at the Doremi Spray Park
- Order a metre-long pizza
- Step onto the theatre stage and feel like a star
- Shop for a Doremi souvenir to take home
- Take a high-speed ride down the water slides
- Sip on a super-delicious Kids’ Cocktail
- Have your photo taken with the LEGO mascot and the Doremi Family
- Bite into a yummy crepe or a delicious ice cream
- Win a competition
- Watch a spectacular children’s show at the theatre
- Eat some candy floss or popcorn
- See dolphins from the sea
- Drink a refreshing, slushy Happy Puppy
- Play on one of the great games in the Video Games arcade
- Enjoy a meal with your family at Eataly
- Look up at the stars at night
…so enough to keep every child amused!
I’ll mention a few additional activities here in brief:
- Doremi Chef – learn to make pasta
- Doremi Pool Parade
- Doremi Singalong
- Doremix Family Disco
- WII, Xbox and PS3 Tournaments
- LEGO Experience Days
Note: some of the activities above incur an additional charge.
The Galaxy Bar deserves a special mention. It’s very purple! It’s a great multipurpose family space near the Kids Clubs. This is the heart of family entertainment on MSC Preziosa (disco etc.) and is also where the Doremi Chef session takes place.
MSC Preziosa: Deck 7 – The Sports and Bowling Diner
This is one of my favourite areas on any MSC cruise ship. It’s a whole lot of fun J You can’t miss the ten pin bowling lanes first and foremost … a great feature on board. The walls are decorated with signed sports memorabilia. There are lots of screens showing various live sports coverage. There’s a jukebox! Food served here is authentic American – naturally.
I love this space, and quirky décor like this amazing telephone!
MSC Preziosa: Deck 6-7 – Platinum Theatre
This very impressive theatre has unobstructed comfortable seating for 1,600 guests. The theatre is located at the front of the ship and offers Broadway-style entertainment. Six shows are offered in total and this includes Wonderland, a children’s story told using circus performers (acrobats, dancers, jugglers etc.)
MSC Preziosa: Deck 7 – Safari Lounge
This area needs to be mentioned, even though we only strolled through it briefly. It is a lounge by day, and I was told a really happening dance venue by evening. The décor is amazing, as the following photos (hopefully) show:
MSC Preziosa: Deck 14 – La Playa Preciosa
This indoor pool area has a retractable roof to cater for all weather types. There are also three whirlpools and the La Playa Preciosa Bar that serves Caribbean-inspired cocktails as well as the usual bar menu. Lots of palm trees, mosaics, and loungers make this a lovely bright, warm and relaxing area.
MSC Preziosa: Deck 14 – Aurea Spa
Spas on board cruise ships are always welcoming and luxurious, and the Aurea Spa on MSC Preziosa is no exception. Along with a Barber Shop, Beauty Parlour, Massage Room, and Relaxation Room there’s also a fully fitted out TechnoGym. Here you’ll find all the usual exercise machines, along with spinning bikes and weights. We were especially taken by the couples’ treatment room …
MSC Preziosa: MSC Yacht Club
The MSC Yacht Club is an exclusive private, luxury club – in effect a ‘ship within a ship’. It is pure indulgence here … the gold Swarovski staircase to the reception area sets the scene! The Yacht Club is where you find luxurious suites with 24 hour butler service. There is a dedicated restaurant on board, just for Yacht Club members. Likewise the Top Sail Lounge and the One Pool Deck are for the exclusive use of members. There is also a private ‘never have to wait’ lift that takes you from the Yacht Club direct to a private area in the spa. Nothing is too much trouble here and the attention to detail is quite incredible.
We could only cover a fraction of MSC Preziosa on our ship tour. There’s so much more to see. What we loved, in addition to the friendly helpful crew, were the totally contrasting areas on board. You can go from a traditional classically neutral-decorated lounge into a bright contemporary diner in just a few steps! This means that the ship will appeal to everyone – and it is fun 🙂
MSC Preziosa was in Southampton just for the day, as the UK stop off midway through an existing cruise. However, from April to October 2018, MSC Magnifica will be based in Southampton offering 7 to 14 night cruises of Northern Europe, Scandinavia and the Western Mediterranean. MSC Magnifica will be ready for its UK guests: Kettles will be in every cabin, with tea bags! Also draught beers, sauces and condiments and Premier League football will be available.
To find out more about MSC Magnifica, and to book a cruise from Southampton for 2018, please visit www.msccruises.co.uk