Cruising the Med with MSC
Travel Editor, David Powell, experiences a Mediterranean fly-cruise on MSC’s luxurious cruise ship Preziosa ..
‘Life should be measured in moments, not minutes’
As MSC say ... life should be measured in moments, not minutes, and my first moment on Preziosa was just one of many on this spectacular cruise ship. Having just boarded we headed for deck 14 and a special ‘welcome onboard’ buffet lunch. Spoilt for choice food wise this beautiful restaurant offers wonderful views ... and what a view greeted us, looking out over the rooftops of Venice and the wealth of artistic and architectural gems that make up this city. Several hours later we were to set sail past St Mark’s Square ... Venice must surely be one of the most iconic ports to start a cruise.
I was looking for a luxury cruise experience with a good selection of stops along the way and MSC’s 7 day Mediterranean fly cruise package ticked all the right boxes. A short flight from London Gatwick to Venice and my MSC experience had begun. On arrival at the airport my wife and I were soon spotted by a smiling MSC representative and then a hassle free transfer to the ship; and what a ship! The beautiful MSC Preziosa is the newest vessel in the fleet launched in March 2013, and my fly cruise came with a great itinerary mixing history and culture with sunshine.
MSC has a long and grand history of sailing going back over 300 years. Proud of their traditional Mediterranean values MSC are recognised as one of the world’s largest shipping groups. There are currently 12 cruise ships in the fleet, 4 Fantasia class flagships: MSC Divina, MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia and the latest addition MSC Preziosa.
This ship is certainly impressive. Just over 139,000 tons with 18 decks and a crew of 1390 all working together to ensure your personal comfort and safety and to help make your cruise a wonderful and unforgettable experience. There are a variety of cabins and suites to choose from including inside cabins, ocean view and balcony cabins, family cabins and suites. Also a range of cabin types for guests with disabilities or reduced mobility. I had a very comfortable suite at the front of the ship on deck 10. Well appointed with excellent facilities and super wall to floor windows to watch the world go by!
MSC Preziosa has been carefully designed and has a host of guest facilities. This includes 3 outdoor pools, one with a retractable roof, and a large water playground (Doremi Castle) for the kids at the rear of the ship. Here you’ll also find the Vertigo, a 120 metre water slide on a ship!
The Aurea Spa has a state of the art gym and offers spa treatments and beauty facilities in sumptuous surroundings, served by expert Balinese masseuses, beauty therapists, manicurists, hair stylists, yoga instructors, personal trainers and even a Spa Doctor. The team in Aurea Spa offers a series of special pampering spa experiences. I had a number of treatments here including a full body massage, which was amazing, and on Gala night my wife was able to have her hair styled for the occasion.
You can expect a fabulous choice of food and fine dining. There are 8 restaurants: The Golden Lobster, L’Arabesque, the Galaxy Lounge Panoramic Restaurant, the Maya and Inca Buffet open 20 hours a day, the Eataly and Italia themed restaurants, La Locanda Wine Bar and Pizzeria and a Sports and Bowling themed snack bar. For breakfast and lunch we ate mostly in the buffet restaurant and for dinner we chose first sitting in the beautiful L’Arabesque Restaurant. There are a number of table sizes and we had a table for two looking out over the sea. Around us were seated two Australian families who we became friends with and on a couple of nights we joined them at their table, which was no problem for our hard working waiters.
The range and selection of shops on MSC Preziosa are superb. The boutiques offer a wide range of jewellery, watches, clothes and accessories for women, men and children at competitive prices. Duty Free is the hub of the MSC Cruises' shopping areas with competitive prices and a huge selection, especially for tobacco and spirits, so you usually can pick up a bargain! The onboard Photo Gallery and Photo Shop displays pictures every day taken by the staff photographers during the cruise and additionally stocks digital cameras, film and accessories.
The onboard entertainment going on most of the time includes a wide choice of live music either in the lounges and bars and on deck. The spectacular Platinum Theatre seating 1603 is at the front of the ship spanning decks 6 and 7 with live shows throughout your cruise. There are bingo sessions, dance lessons, and more! Check out the all night Casino, or how about trying bowling in the Sports Bar, a thrilling 4D Cinema, an F1 Simulator (great fun!) and a themed play centre for teens. Additionally, there’s a good choice of movies available to watch on your cabin TV.
MSC YACHT CLUB
The MSC Yacht Club is an exclusive ship within a ship experience. This area has its own private pool and sun deck, private concierge reception and 24 hour butler service. With prestige luxury suites and a panoramic top sail lounge this represents a complete luxury experience.
One of the best ways to discover the world is by sea and whilst, of course, you are quite at liberty to make your own way ashore MSC excursions try to make your every moment at a destination unforgettable. So whether you’re looking for a city tour, culture and history, scenic routes, family fun, action and adventure, natural wonders or sea and sand the professional excursion team can advise and help you find the perfect trip for each stop. There’s a manned tour desk near reception with TV’s showing video tour options. My cruise came with an excellent range of destinations: Venice (start and finish), Bari in southern Italy, Katakolon in Greece, Izmir and Istanbul in Turkey and Dubrovnik, in Croatia with a relaxing day at sea. The Istanbul excursion I took was superb.
I can’t rate this cruise highly enough, a wonderful service on a spectacular ship. MSC Preziosa is suitable for couples and families and the whole MSC experience was first class and unforgettable. All the crew I came into contact with were friendly and professional. From state of the art facilities onboard to wonderful destinations and itineraries both my wife and I agreed this was a superb cruise from start to finish.
MSC’s Mediterranean fly cruise packages can whisk you from the UK to the sunshine in just a few hours and these cruises offer great value for money.
MSC are certainly going places ... I can’t wait to join them again!
For more information on MSC Cruises have a look at their website
or call them on 0203 426 3010
MSC have special offers and details of winter cruises on their website and cruises from Southampton. For the summer of 2015 MSC have put together a programme of cruises to both the Eastern and Western Mediterranean cruising from Venice or Genoa.
For advice on other cruises see the Best Cruises Guide.