Is this the real life? Is it just Fantasy…
Preziosa will be our third ship in the Fantasia class, having previously cruised numerous times on the Fantasia and Splendida. We’re really looking forward to this cruise on what to us is a new ship and also visiting a couple of new ports – Zeebrugge and Oslo.
The rest of itinerary is the familiar Hamburg and Le Havre; both of which we have been to before. In Hamburg we plan to have a “fake sea day” and in Le Havre we’re looking to head to Honfleur.
Our journey from Birmingham this morning started on the 08:33 Cross Country Service from Birmingham New Street to Southampton Central. A comfortable journey with a friendly, happy host – Heather.
We arrived in Southampton at 11:30 ish and unfortunately it’s too early to board, so what else can we do other than find a pub to sit in the sunshine outside the Dancing Man Brewery in Southampton. Check in will open at about 2pm, which is fine with us considering our embarkation time is 3pm on our tickets.
Fact file: MSC Preziosa
MSC Preziosa was originally intended to be the Phoenicia and would feature a 120 ton shark tank as requested by Libyan Hannibal Gaddafi, the son of the former Libyan leader. Libya broke in to Civil War during the construction process and the building of the ship was cancelled by STX France.
MSC Cruises later announced it had reached an agreement to purchase the vessel, which following completion in March 2013 was Christened in Genoa by screen icon Sophia Loren.
The ship holds a maximum of 4300 passengers, has 18 decks and the first infinity pool on an ocean going cruise vessel.
We have had a fantastic time on the MSC Preziosa and was sad to leave her. We will definitely cruise on her in the future.
As MSC are taking on the UK market they’re making subtle tweaks to their product in order to better suit UK cruisers, particularly when leaving from Southampton. These tweaks include kettles in the cabin, Yorkshire Tea, HP Brown Sauce to provide a few home comforts.
The Cruise Director, Darren, is a fantastic gent who really knows the business having previously worked onboard other cruise lines after starting out as a Red Coat at Butlins. In the entertainment department UK guest acts are featuring and the shows put on by the Sing Out Sisters and Adam Press are not to be missed.
In making the food in the Sports Bar and Phoenician Plaza complimentary this offers guests a greater variety of dining options which can be particularly useful on port days when late back and also on sea days when the main restaurant and buffet can be busy.
The new drinks packages are also great – they’ve simplified the system from there previously being around 20 different packages to now just a few. Easy covers drinks up to €6, Premium up to €10 and Premium Plus all drinks that are served by the glass. We’ve decided that unless the ship has a dedicated Champagne bar we’ll go with the Premium package as the only items not included are super premium spirits such as Beluga Vodka and Jenneau Cognac, molecular and smoky ‘crafted’ cocktails and a few wines.
Thanks to all the crew on the MSC Preziosa who made this a fantastic cruise with so many moments that will stay with us forever as fantastic memories.