Dear mummy, it’s not everyday that you get let loose on a cruise ship to explore and you did just that when Tots100, the UK’s largest blogging network and MSC Cruises teamed up to allow over 100 bloggers the chance to set sail without leaving port at #BlogCampOnBoard.
But I’m a dab hand at all this cruising malarkey having already seen the MSC Preziosa earlier in the year on a kiddies tour! It was your chance to experience what daddy and I had seen and boy, were you impressed.
The MSC Preziosa is unlike any ship you have ever been on, a ferry to the Isle of Wight is what you are most used to! The cruise ship is about 20 times the size of a IOW standard ferry and it towers over the City Cruise terminal in Southampton. In fact you could see the MSC logo high above the roof tops from the civic centre. It guided you to Southampton Docks.
The MSC Preziosa, meaning Precious in Italian, was docked at Gate 10, through a grand entrance near the famous Solent Flour Mill, now known by locals as the Hovis building. The ship was massive and my mummy gasped at the sheer scale of it. Over 15 decks high (not including the outer decks) and multiple football pitches in length it was a floating city. Just like any holiday abroad you needed ID/passports to board and went through security like an airport which was reassuring for my mummy. Waking up the gangway while chatting to other bloggers you had butterflies in your tummy at what awaited onboard.
In the atrium there were some fine officers and deckhands that welcomed you onboard the MSC Preziosa and immediately you were transported into 1920’s Hollywood glamour. Two large Swarovski crystal staircases swept upstairs, a cocktail lounge with a baby piano and millions of twinkling lights. This place was seriously classy and my mummy felt under dressed walking around on the soft carpet brushing past the suede and velvet loungers.
She was ushered into a large auditorium in the belly of the ship, which was like a modern ballroom/theatre/cinema and bigger than some of the theatres in Hampshire! Eyes popped out of her head when the show started and gave her a brief overview of the kids facilities on board. She couldn’t believe that MSC Cruises welcomes 200,000 children from 35 different nationalities onboard every year and being a family-owned company, their emphasis is on families having fun. When I visited earlier in the year I was made to feel like a VILP, a Very Important Little Person! I had a great time with the MSC mascot DOREMI who looks like a giant sun in the corporate colours.
What most impressed my mummy was that the ship has 5 kids clubs which cater for all ages; from birth and all the way up to the teenagers. MSC Cruises have a varied programme of events for families included in the holiday price and they even have their own web show for the kids to watch called Kelly and Kloe which adds to the experience. The tour was organised by Tots100 host Sally Whittle and MSC Marketing Manager Natalie Billington. All the staff and representatives did a fantastic job of guiding the bloggers around the large ship without losing any of them!
My mummy had a tight schedule on board with so much to see. First was a quick stop to the impressive Spa on the ship and my mummy day-dreamed of herself relaxing in one of the jacuzzis while I played with daddy in the pool. Tropical palm trees and glittering mosaic walls added to the Caribbean feel of the interior. A highlight for her was the attention to detail and the Spa area was spotlessly clean.
My mummy was intrigued to hear that evenings out on the MSC Preziosa are big business and passengers enjoy dressing themselves up in their finest attire. While onboard she watched a hair and make-up demonstration. It was like watching Cinderella getting ready for the ball and I could see my mummy needing this treat onboard.
A whistle-stop tour of the upper decks saw my mummy take in the beautiful scenery of the Solent and the dizzying heights of the solarium and outdoor bars (and nearly get blown away!). A cruise on the MSC Preziosa would be perfect for my folks as relaxing is the name of the game onboard this ship. Unfortunately she didn’t get to see any cabins as the ship was full of passengers, however they cater for everyone; from single parent families to extended families with adjoining cabins.
The kids areas were only a stones throw away from all the action, inside through a maze of interconnected rooms. From baby to teenagers every child was catered for with soft play, crafting, games rooms and virtual reality. My mummy was super impressed with the relationship that MSC had developed with LEGO. They partnered up with this universally acknowledged toy to build barriers between language and cultural difference of children onboard. For babies, MSC has also joined forces with the Italian brand Chicco and there are also plenty of other toys for the kids to play with too. We were super impressed with the outdoor space for kids as well, including their own water park and outdoor slide!
It was also reassuring that the children could come away with something educational too (and a certificate) from the kids clubs, as the MSC Preziosa have teamed up with UNICEF to encourage kindness and awareness of charities onboard.
The rest of the day was a haze of quality food, networking and seeing the rest of the ship. My mummy was in awe of the numerous buffets and fine dinning onboard, the cafe shops and bars. I think her favourites where definitely Eatley, a modern Italian restaurant with a friendly feel perfect for families and the sports bar which came equipped with a bowling alley! She could see us in both these places enjoying quality time as a family.
I know my daddy would love the gym area to burn off the calories of the all-inclusive menu while my mummy would be quite happy to swim or walk around the top deck. Did you know that she walked 3,000 steps on her time onboard?!? With the 4D cinema, bowling alley, casino, virtual world, games room and theatre there’s more than enough to keep everyone entertained.
The main thing my mummy took away from a short tour on the MSC Preziosa is that cruising isn’t just for the overfed, nearly dead or newly wed. With the benefits of an all-inclusive holiday and seeing up to 7 destinations in one trip it certainly sounds tempting. Leaving the UK from Southampton on the MSC Preziosa or The Magnifica, one of their other ships, is brilliant for us as we live close by! With no unpacking or repacking between stop overs, quality time with the family (or without) and a chance to take in fresh sea air, it sounds like the perfect family holiday!
It’s a safe environment for families and the MSC crew even provide trackers for kids, so you know where they are all the time. You can’t put a price on peace of mind. The kids clubs looked fantastic and allow tired parents the chance to fully relax. Along with discos for kids with evening pick ups my folks could even have a night out for themselves. Date night anyone? I’d love to set sail with MSC Cruises.
There’s so much more that we haven’t mentioned and we could ramble on for pages so please watch our video and see the tour for yourselves!
What would be your favourite part onboard the MSC Preziosa?
Love Bella and her folks Dawn and Alex. x
Disclaimer: We boarded the MSC Preziosa as part of #BlogCampOnBoard.