A review of a day on the MSC Preziosa cruise ship (MSC Cruises) with bloggers in Southampton.
‘Blog Camp’ with MSC Cruises on the MSC Preziosa
MSC Cruises let us on to one of their ships (the MSC Preziosa) for a day’s ‘blog camp’ and I was excited. This was my first time on a big ship.
Cruising was not a holiday I normally consider. I’m someone who prefers to be based among the locals when away. I like to experience the culture, local flavours, smells and sounds at close quarters… But I also have an open mind on most things in life. And when talking holidays, I am always willing to be persuaded….
When lucky enough to join #BlogCampOnBoard and spend a day on the MSC Preziosa, courtesy of MSC Cruises and Foodies 100, I lapped up the opportunity to see what cruising might be about. Sadly however, we didn’t leave Southampton Dock.
It was also my first ‘blog camp’. Win win. Not only was the day spent on a beautiful cruise ship, but also with an amazing bunch of people that also happen to be bloggers.
The MSC Cruises Preziosa cRUISE sHIP
The ship itself was huge. Cruise ships really are floating towns. And it isn’t until you get on board that you really appreciate just how massive they are. The MSC Preziosa has 14 guest decks and accommodates more than 4,000 passengers. Which is a lot of people and a lot of space.
Preziosa has 20-odd bars and lounges and a range of restaurants to suit all tastes. To keep guests occupied it has a gym, spa, swimming pools, aqua park, whirlpools all over the place, bowling alley, gym and even a jogging track. For the less active, there’s a 4D cinema, casino, shops and even a theatre that seats upwards of 1,500 guests. So whether at sea or in port… rain or shine… there’s something to do.
Is cruising for families?
If you ever thought cruising was a holiday for the oldies (and scarily, I am not that far off), think again. MSC’s UK Director was keen to emphasise that this is a family-run company. And it has a child-friendly outlook. MSC Preziosa has a number of kids clubs aimed at phased age-groups from ‘littlies’ right through to 17. And there’s a huge range of activities to keep the brood entertained and out of mischief… Which means happy mums and dads too… right?
Child safeguarding on board MSC Cruises
For those who need reassurance about who the kids are left with (my hand’s up), rest assured… All child care staff have relevant child care qualifications, references and police/DBS checks. They also undergo comprehensive training in safety and security. And there’s a well-trained medical team for emergencies.
Sadly we live in an age of concern about people photography too. If there’s worries about who’s taking pictures of the children, MSC staff work to safeguard here too. Should concerns be raised, the on-board security team will be on to it.
MSC Preziosa Decor
Parental anxieties dealt with, what of the decor on MSC Preziosa? These ships are fancy. Truly decadent. It seems no expense has been spared and attention to detail surpasses all expectation. I mean, look at these… Aren’t they the most sparkly stairs you’ve ever seen? Filled with Swarovski crystal, they exude glamour with every beautiful step. And so they should… They come with an astounding price tag of £8-10K….per step!
Beyond show-stopping staircases, there is room after room of themed and eye-catching decor. My favourite feature had to be the stunning bauble lighting that hung from the high ceilings. Smooth, beautiful balls of clear, glass loveliness. Perfectly formed and photogenic.
Lunch on board – can they manage tricky diets?
If booking a cruise, it is important to know that the food will be safe. Could MSC Cruises manage tricky diets? As a Coeliac, safe food is important. Being gluten-intolerant means meals out can often raise anxiety. And it means scrutinising menus for information on allergens. So lunch on board the MSC Preziosa was of particular interest.
The delicious-looking menu provided for lunch was sadly not labelled for allergens and the waiters seemed more than a little unsure of how to manage dietary enquiries from what were a number of ‘intolerant’ bloggers. This was worrying.
Going in search of a boss-waiter to ask, I chanced upon a ‘guy who knew’. He later reappeared, gluten free menu in hand, advising the ship’s allergen kitchen would prepare the meal. The gluten free menu was limited, but it was reassuring to know that health/dietary needs would be taken seriously.
Actually, it turns out MSC Cruises have a certificate from the Bureau Veritas to provide gluten free menus on some of their ships. This includes MSC Preziosa. And they will work closely with guests from the point of booking to ensure they get things right.
Has blog camp on the MSC Preziosa persuaded me to cruise?
Would I consider a future cruise? It certainly whet my appetite! With MSC? Not convinced yet… Actually, despite it’s beautiful opulence, I prefer decor which is a little simpler. That may be an oxymoron when it comes to cruising, but too much bling is not my thing.
Interestingly however, this taster cruise ship experience did excite me enough that I went on a cruise with family the following summer! And it was incredible… both as a holiday and for the food. We chose our cruise line with great care and went with Princess Cruises up to the Norwegian Fjords. Am…az..ing!
If you are undecided about gluten free cruising, why not read about our actual cruise experience to Norway on the Sapphire Princess?
I spent the day on board MSC Preziosa courtesy of Foodies 100 and MSC Cruises, but was not required to write a blog post. As always, all views and photography (except where other credit is given) are my own.