Last year we were lucky enough to go on our first cruise and it is safe to say that we fell in love with sailing the seven seas, as it is a great way of visiting lots of countries without the hassle of constantly packing and unpacking.
I was invited onboard the MSC Preziosa whilst it was docked locally in Southampton with Tots100 for their #BlogCampOnBoard conference and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store.
Getting up close and personal with a cruise ship is always a real treat as nothing prepares you for their sheer size, especially when you climb onboard.
The most stunning part of a cruise ship is always the atrium and MSC Preziosa did not disappoint, offering a real “WOW” moment as it glittered and sparkled in front of us.
In fact, we later found out that the sweeping glass staircases were full of Swarovski crystals, with 40-50 glistening gems in each step which cost a staggering €8,000 each!!
Once we were all onboard, we were ushered to the huge theatre, where we were treated to an introduction to the ship and the kids entertainment as well as witnessing one of the fun games they play with the families onboard.
We were astounded to learn that MSC Cruise Line welcomes 200,000 children, from 35 different nationalities, onboard every year and being a family-owned company, their emphasis is on family fun. Everything is done under the friendly eye of their loveable DOREMI mascot, who looks like a giant sun, only in blue.
They have 5 clubs for the children which cater for all ages; from birth, all the way up to the teenagers age up to 17, meaning there is something for everyone and in this social media age, they even have their own web show for the kids to watch – Kelly and Kloe.
MSC Cruise Line ensure they provide a varied programme of events, supervised activities, entertainment and social events tailor-made for four separate age groups in their own clubs. Family events include cooking, a talent show and a disco. And best of all, they’re all free, too!
For babies, MSC has partnered with the Italian brand Chicco (pronounced Key-co – who knew!), but possibly the most exciting bit for my kids would be that MSC has also partnered with LEGO® for a LEGO® Experience On Board, although there are also plenty of other toys for the kids to play with too.
On our family cruise it took a good day to get our bearings and learn where everything was on the ship, so 6 hours onboard MSC Prezosia was certainly not enough to see everything I wanted to, however, I did get a good feel for what was on offer.
My dream cruise would be the Norwegian Fjords and Iceland, but I was worried that the outdoor activities would be too chilly for the kids. My concerns were unfounded as one of the pools has a handy retractable roof, meaning it is covered when in chilly climates, like ours and open if sailing the Caribbean!
There were also two further pools, numerous hot tubs and a splash park area for the kids at the rear of the ship.
For those a little more adventurous, there is Vertigo, the longest single-rider water slide on the seas, which stretched out over the side of the ship……
…..with a transparent section for only the brave to ride. What a view that must offer as you whizz down the slide!
Of course, there are plenty of things for the adults to do too, including the Aurea Spa with 20 beauty and wellness treatments melt the tension away. They even offer hair and make-up for those special occasions.
There is also a 4D cinema, sports bar with bowling alley and numerous TV’s which you can watch the latest match on, a gym, casino, virtual world, video games room and theatre.
Meals are included in the price of the cruise, however, they do have specialist restaurants onboard at an extra cost, which offer the treat of fine dining.
We didn’t get to see any cabins as the ship was full of passengers, however, they cater for everyone; from single parent families to larger families with cabins that sleep up to 10 guests!!
Seeing Southampton from the top of the ship was a highlight, as my Dad lived across the water in Hythe for a long time and we loved to watch the cruise ships leave port, waving to all the excited passengers as they set off on their holiday’s.
Of course, we were also there for a blog conference and it was lovely catching up with my fellow bloggers in such a wonderful location.
I did kick myself for being the designated driver for the day as we were offered copious amounts of wine over lunch and then cocktails later in the day, but I did console myself by trying every dessert on offer at lunchtime.
I didn’t attend any of the sessions as I was too excited about exploring the ship, but I did enjoy learning all about MSC Cruise Line by the MD of the company, Antonio, whose passion for making their cruising experience magical, was an inspiration to us all. He also added that he has listened to UK feedback and is adding kettles to each cabin and will be using the passengers’s choice of tea in each room – Yorkshire Tea!!
Once we had finished quizzing him and his colleagues, it was time for a fun game of metrics, with Sally and the team from Tots100 which was fascinating, plus we had the chance to pose with all the attendees of the day.
Last year we flew out to Barcelona to go on our cruise which I found to be quite a stressful experience, as effectively we had to do the whole check-in malarkey twice, which is never fun with a young family, so the thought of driving half an hour up the road to board the ship is very appealing.
MSC Cruise Line is the largest cruise line in Europe and sail from Southampton with two ships, the MSC Preziosa and MSC Magnifica to various Mediterranean and Northern Europe destinations throughout the year.
Sending out a huge thanks to the Tots100 and MSC Cruises team for this great opportunity to explore the ship, I had an amazing day.