Thursday 5 October 2017

On Board with MSC Cruises

When the opportunity to visit the MSC Preziosa recently landed in my inbox, I did a little squeal and clapped my hands. Board a cruise ship and explore? No way did I want to miss that! I did have to work a little for my ticket, but it was all worth it.
MSC Preziosa cruise ship in dock

This was our first view of the enormous MSC Preziosa as we drove into the docks in Southampton.  It's a long time since I've been on any sort of ship... I *may* have mentioned it before (look at this old post if you want more info) but did you know I lived on an oil tanker when I was nine years old?! Or that I've been on the 10th biggest ship in the world?! It was 378.4m long - the MSC Preziosa is 333m long, so a little shorter but still fairly huge!
Burmah Endeavour oil tanker
Credit to John Jones and for this photo of the Burmah Endeavour

Anyhow, oil tankers are a million miles away from the gorgeous MSC cruise ships. I just had to take loads of photos to show you all how magnificent life on board these ships can be. The MSC Preziosa is ranked one of the Top 5 cruise ships in the world and the photos hopefully show why.
MSC Preziosa staircase

The most impressive area is without a doubt the huge reception lobby with Swarovski crystal staircases - each step worth from 8-10,000 euros apparently! 
MSC Preziosa swarovski stairs

I know my girls would be transfixed by these, and I was quite a fan myself. My converse definitely didn't do them justice but I can imagine the glamour of sweeping up and down with a floaty dress and equally sparkly shoes.

In my short video of our time on board (made with Instagram Stories, my new favourite toy so bear with me - no idea how to change that bright image above sorry but the video is better I promise!), you can see them in their full glory - when our 12 year old watched this, she gasped 'oh but that lift though!' (tween speak for 'that's pretty cool').
Safari Lounge on MSC Preziosa

I wandered around with my jaw open as we moved through several themed areas on the main decks - the Safari Lounge was a favourite, but I loved the Green Sax Jazz Bar too!
Green Sax Jazz Lounge

I know that if we were away at sea I'd want to spend any time I wasn't staring at the horizon actually in the pool on board, so I couldn't wait to see that area. I wasn't disappointed - not only a big pool out on deck with several jacuzzis, but also a spa indoors which was equally inviting.

Outdoor pool MSC Preziosa

Indoor spa MSC Preziosa

Our day was rounded off by an informative talk from the Managing Director of MSC Cruises Ireland and UK, and his passion for the ships inspired me even more. They have 13 ships already in service and plans well underway for another 11 by 2026. Most important news though is that they are now introducing kettles in cabins on all their new ships, as they are keen to attract more UK customers - now that's what I call fully researching and understanding your market! From Southampton you can travel around Europe on the MSC Preziosa or the MSC Magnifica, and more routes are due to be added soon. Full details of what's on offer from Southampton can be found on the website too - and I was pleasantly surprised at the cost once I had researched it, especially having tasted the delicious food which is included on board.

I think there is a tendency to assume cruises are for the older generation, but MSC cruises have put so much effort into making their ships an attractive proposition for young families too - collaborations with Lego and Chicco in their activity rooms, along with the amazing Doremi Castle water area, 4D cinema room, virtual games play places, bowling lane and many more options for fun. 
Doremi Castle MSC Preziosa
Photo borrowed from the MSC website as there was so much to see that I sadly didn't make it this far - how much would the little ones love this though?!

I know I've over-used explanation marks already in this post but it's my way of describing my excitement at being on board so I hope you'll forgive me. Everything you could possible want is on board - delicious food and drink, shops selling everything from handbags to camera equipment, great entertainment and activities for children, spa and relaxation areas, and a huge theatre for evening entertainment.
theatre on MSC Preziosa

Cruising offers the chance to visit several different countries without having to pack and unpack your bags, and an exciting life on board to boot too.

There is a great 360 virtual tour of the MSC Preziosa on their website and I definitely recommend it for the wow factor! In fact I love their whole website - there's so much information, you can see detailed plans for every ship and work out what facilities and what routes would suit you best.

Huge thanks to Tots100 and MSC Cruises for offering us this great opportunity. On Board is the place to be! I do love meeting other bloggers at these events, and of course bubbles help the chatter flow...

Here's two lovely ladies I was happy to get the chance to chat with, Kelly from It's A Tink Thing and Laura from Mum On A Mission:
Bloggers Steph Kelly Laura

and my stripey co-workers for the day, super friendly Afra from Mad Mum of 7 and Sarah from Toby Goes Bananas!
Bloggers Afra Sarah Steph

I'm editing this post to add this fab Tots 100 bloggers group photo which MSC Cruises UK have just tweeted out:

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