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We sail onboard Fantasia Class MSC Preziosa

clock 10th May 2016 | comment0 Comments

Updated May 2019

 

We sent Michael from our sales team off to report on Mediterranean masterpiece MSC Preziosa, of MSC Cruises' Fantasia-class. Read all about his experience below.

 

First Impressions

 

After arriving in Nice we had a three hour transfer to Genoa. This would not usually be the airport to use for such a cruise, but the flight had been cancelled to Genoa on this date - so instead we enjoyed a very scenic drive along the coastline.

On arrival to the port, the check in process was very quick and swift as this is one of MSC Cruises' home ports, so they have their own check in terminal. Once boarding the ship we were able to grab a drink before freshening up for a meet and greet in one of the many bars on board.

 



The ship is very opulent, and has a high standard of interior furnishings. It was immaculately clean throughout, and has a contemporary yet stylish feel. It's easy to recognise that this is not an American cruise line, and instead Italian design and hospitality shines through at every turn.

The cabin was very spacious in size and even had a nice lounge area. The shower space was good and the shower had glass doors that could be folded back to allow more changing space if preferred.

 

The Entertainment

 

We saw one show in the Main Theatre. This area is very modern, and the focus of the entertainment is more on visual and sound effects so that everyone can enjoy the entertainment, regardless of their language. In particular there were lots of acrobatic performances which were very impressive. The only downside was that there was no bar service in the theatre.

We were lucky enough during this cruise to have a behind the scenes tour; this was very useful as we met some of the crew during their working hours. The tour gave us a great insight into their lives onboard, and completely justified the gratuities policy. The crew areas were immaculate and it was great to see the galleys (kitchen). The ship is very economical and any food waste is burnt into ashes and used as fuel; a great step toward greener cruising.

Note: gratuities can be removed or adjusted with MSC Cruises. I was more than happy to keep mine in place due to the fantastic service we received.

 

 

The Facilities

 

The Infinity Pool at the aft of the ship is very impressive. The middle of the ship features a heated pool area where competitions are held, some of us ended up joining in and it was a great experience. The Vertigo Slide is great fun and the clear section even extends off the side of the ship. Kids can enjoy the Doremi Castle Area.

The gym was very well stocked with all the latest equipment, and had great views looking out over the front of the ship. The spa is one of the biggest we'd seen on a cruise ship, and I treated myself to two massages! Both of these were very well priced. There is a Day Pass system for access to the Sauna and Spa - when we were onboard this was €16 for 1 hour or €29 for the day, but there were special offers available on various days throughout the itinerary. The spa area boasts fabulous choices of sauna and steam rooms - there is even a Coconut Steam Room and a Fridgenium (crushed Ice room to put on your body before the sauna).

 

 

The Spa Café is a quiet spot to enjoy one of many teas or smoothies (some were included in the package and some come at a supplement price). There are many other bars and lounges onboard which offer entertainment in the form of live music of varying styles, some with audience participation and some more relaxed with fine wine to accompany the music.The Piazza was especially classy and impressive with its Swarovski Crystal staircase - in the MSC Yacht Club the staircase features Gold Swarovski Crystals.

 

Food Onboard

 

As this ship is popular among Mediterranean nationalities, there is an Italian flair throughout the cuisine onboard. The chef explained to us that us Brits typically love our food hot, but generally in the Med the food is warm - something that can seem strange at first if you like your food hot! At breakfast we enjoyed a buffet option with a variety of hot and cold foods: croissants, cold meats, cheeses, fruit, cereals, sausages, hash browns, bacon, beans, and more. There is always self-service coffee, tea, and hot water available in the buffet 24-hours a day, and it is open for 20-hours a day for Food. Another option is to have breakfast in the restaurant with menus and waiter service. I preferred this as it was less busy and a more relaxing experience. Tables are allocated by the waiters.

For lunch and dinner guests can choose between the buffet or waiter service in the restaurants. One of my favourite venues was the Golden Lobster, an a la carte restaurants in which I experienced great service from the waiters and maître d. Each evening here there was a choice of something new or something from the staple menu.

Golden Lobster Example Menu

Shrimp Cocktail / Puff Pastry with Snails / Chickpea and Hummus and Aubergine Ghanoush Sweet and Sour Salad / Rock Lobster Bisque

Tortellini Mascarpone Cheese / Rissatto allo Spumante / Fish of the Day – Seabream / Leg of Lamb / Fillet of Beef

There are two Specialty Restaurants onboard, Eataly and Galaxy. I chose to eat in Eataly which had laid back décor which made it seem more like a café than a restaurant. The best part of this experience was the chefs talking to us about the local produce, and the way in which the dishes are created.  

 

 

Eataly Example Menu

Selection of Cold meats and Cheeses

Pasta with Seafood / Steak Medium Rare with salad and potatoes

There was plenty of choice for dessert, and wine at the table was included.

Dietary requests are very well looked after throughout all restaurants onboard, and guests with these needs are provided with an individual menu to suit if required. 

The drinks available are all popular brands, and you can enjoy cocktails, coffees, and ice cream (Ferrero Roche being the best one!).

 

Lasting Impressions

 

This cruise line are known for being very competitive on price, and are great value for money. The best way to describe MSC Cruises in order to set them aside from other cruise lines would be that that they are ideal for anyone who enjoys being among other nationalities, sipping on fine wine, dining on Italian flair food and relaxing in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

 

Join MSC Voyagers Club for exclusive member benefits and priviliges, and browse our latest MSC Cruises cruise deals today.



Mediterranean cruises just £1!!!

clock 30th November 2009 | comment0 Comments

Although, there is a catch - there must be one full fare paying passenger, and flights cost around £210 per person, so actually the best price we have is £599 pp based on 2 sharing- though this is still £200 per person off the normal price.

This offer is valid on most 2010 MSC Cruises, but only until 14th December.

top tip - why not book the cruise to get the great price, but book flights through easyjet or BA etc - you'll save even more!

https://www.iglucruise.com/promotion_id98



Catch a celebrity on a cruise near you

clock 9th October 2009 | comment0 Comments

The Drifters & Marco Pierre White

When you embark on your next cruise holiday and find yourself wandering past a familiar looking face, it might just be a celebrity. As the popularity of cruising grows, the world of cruise and entertainment are becoming ever more entwined with cruise lines looking to bring star attractions to the seas to entertain passengers. We've had a look around to see who's appearing where in the next year or so.

For themed music cruises Fred. Olsen have 'music at sea', some of the performers appearing soon on the cruise line are Lulu on Boudicca (8th Nov) and legendary soul act the Drifters on Balmoral (29th Nov). MSC Cruises have an event called 'Shiprocked' on MSC Poesia (15th Nov) - a five day rock cruise around the Caribbean featuring acts Skid Row, Telsa and more. Watch out for star performers on Cunard Line too, legendary folk singer James Taylor's June 2009 performance on Queen Mary 2 was extremely well received.

When it comes to the world of food and drink, celebrity chefs are becoming more frequent visitors to cruise ships. James Martin is the man behind Ocean Village's Bistro and he's onboard on the 30th Dec and 6th Jan Caribbean sailings to share his knowledge and expertise. If you're travelling with P&O Cruises, keep and eye out for Marco Pierre White and Gary Rhodes as they have dining venues on a number of the P&O vessels.

Other cruises with celebrity themes include Broadway style shows, comedy acts and general spectaculars such as Derren Brown’s recent performance on P&O Aurora. If you’re a baseball fan an MSC Cruises ‘Baseball Cruise’ gives cruisers the chance to rub shoulders with greats of the game, but we think we’ll wait until the Football or Cricket version is invented!

And finally, one note of caution, if you think you’ve spotted Robbie Williams, Tom Jones or Tina Turner by the Jacuzzi, maybe all is not what it seems. The chances are it’s one of an increasing number of tribute acts wowing audiences on the high seas.



Fresh Innovations for Cruisers on New Cruise Ships

clock 19th August 2009 | comment0 Comments

With a whole host of new cruise ships taking to the seas or readying to launch, we thought we’d run the rule over some of the new innovations and features coming soon, to a cruise ship near you.

Perhaps the stand out concept of the new breed of cruise-liners is Royal Caribbean’s creation of distinct neighbourhoods. The Oasis of the Seas due to sail in November 2009, has seven such neighbourhood areas, including the first tropical garden at sea – Central Park, a Boardwalk entertainment area, and Aquatheatre. Maintaining their mantle as leading leisure innovators the ship also includes a 25m zip-line, nine decks up - for a thrilling descent!

Celebrity Cruises new Solstice class continue the green theme with real grass lawns on deck, giving you the opportunity to practice your putting or simply stretch out. Another impressive feature of this class of ship is the Aquaspa wellness facility - a common trend with new builds seems to be investment in quality health and wellness facilities. The P&O Azura will feature an Oasis Spa and MSC Cruises new flagship, MSC Magnifica, will come complete with an Aurea Spa, offering Turkish baths and Thalassotherapy treatments.

Entertainment is also key - a must on all ships is a state of the art theatre and some quality performers. You will soon be able to enjoy the Blue Man Group in the Epic theatre on NCL Epic and Broadway production Hairspray in Oasis of the Seas’ Opal Theatre. For something more refined the Royal Court Theatre and Queens Room ballroom on Cunard Line’s new Queen Elizabeth promise evenings of high culture, and for something laidback, you can watch blockbuster movies under the stars, poolside, on ships like the Grand Princess and P&O Azura.

With accommodation and dining facilities also greatly improving, it’s no surprise the cruise holiday market is growing. Staterooms are becoming more spacious and luxurious, with a higher percentage having balconies. Royal Caribbean bring us 51m² Loft Suites sleeping up to 10 persons and NCL introduce the equally impressive Courtyard Villas. The choice of restaurants and cuisine has improved across the board with dining options inspired by world-renowned chefs becoming the norm. Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar joins the ranks of James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Gary Rhodes, Aldo Zilli and Nobu Matsuhisa, as his Indian fusion restaurant Sindhu comes to the Azura.

Other new innovations include a pool area with retractable roof on MSC Magnifica and an elevator bar that moves between three levels on Oasis, but the common theme is massive improvements to established facilities. You can expect finer dining, more comfortable cabins, higher class spa centres and more leisure options than ever on the next generation of cruise ships.



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