CruiseClout score: 95.0
MSC Preziosa offers an affordable, family-friendly international adventure
MSC Cruises' MSC Preziosa will appeal to families, as children under 18 can share a cabin with their parents and sail free (except for port taxes). There are quality kids clubs, special family excursions as well as traditional-style, family-friendly entertainment. While the waterslide is fun, the ship also provides a more interactive and classic approach to entertainment with broad appeal.
MSC attracts a mixture of nationalities. They always have six different language announcements and on-board materials and tours to reflect their wide cultural appeal. In Europe most of the passengers are likely to be Italians, French and Spanish, and Brazilians when the ship moves to South America during the European winter.
The ship came into service in 2013 and is one of the larger Fantasia Class ships. MSC actually acquired the ship part built from Libya as it had been ordered as a private ship for President Gadaffi before the regime fell and adapted it to fit the fleet. It is modern with pleasing and stylish Italian-style decor throughout. The service and food is inspired and follows a Mediterranean approach. As a value-based line and ship, all meals and entertainment are included, as is tea, coffee and water all day, as well as use of the children's clubs and facilities and access to the fitness center and classes.
Who will enjoy sailing on MSC Preziosa
Ideal for: Families with young children looking for a good value vacation with a traditional resort-like atmosphere, food and entertainment, and that caters for and understands the needs of parents and children.
Probably not ideal for: Couples or solo travelers looking for a quiet, sophisticated break.
Where MSC Preziosa sails
Home port: Santos, Brazil
Destinations: MSC Preziosa cruises the Atlantic coast of South America and the Mediterranean. How about a little of both? Embark from Santos, Brazil and sail north to Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia and Fortaleza, and then cross the Atlantic to Tenerife, Casablanca, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca and Genoa.
MSC Preziosa is a large ship with a wide choice of dining, bars and entertainment options designed to meet the varied needs of the multinational mix on board, although expect a strong Mediterranean influence across everything the line does and provides.
Arranged on two levels, MSC Preziosa’s main restaurant offers Mediterranean and international cuisine. Its elegant décor features marble floors, gold textile chairs and precious Murano glass appliqués. As an alternative to a full meal, the restaurant also offers a 30-minute Express Lunch menu for those going on afternoon excursions or simply looking for a quick, informal meal.
Serving fine cuisine against a backdrop of stunning sea views, L’Arabesque is MSC Preziosa’s panoramic restaurant at the rear of the ship. The daily menus offer dishes from the Mediterranean and beyond. And for those having too much fun to stop for a long lunch, a 30-minute Express Lunch is also available every day.
With about 80 seats, the first Eataly Restaurant at sea embodies the original concept of the Eataly food chain, offering a stylish, minimalist space where you can eat, buy and learn about the finest Italian food. Choose from 18 delicious, simple dishes in a relaxed, uncluttered atmosphere. After dinner, you can take a taste of Eataly away with you, thanks to the wide choice of high-quality Italian produce available to buy, from aged balsamic vinegar and Ligurian olive oil to dried Gragnano pasta and chemical-free wines.
The exclusive 24-seat evening-only Ristorante Italia offers a different menu every night, specially developed by the Eataly chefs. The menus feature a variety of dishes made using ingredients sourced through the Slow Food Foundation, created to protect small producers and to preserve the quality of local produce.
La Locanda Pizzeria Wine Bar
The perfect place to end a day or begin a night out on board, this stylish casual dining option serves up the best pizza on the sea (in my view!). It also serves 22 different varieties of bottled and draft beer and cider. For an even bigger slice of Italy, try the 3-foot pizza.
Maya & Inca Buffet
The Maya & Inca Buffet offers a casual dining experience anytime from 6 am to 2 am featuring colorful surroundings inspired by the Mayan and Incan cultures. In a series of specialty corners, you can watch the chefs preparing a range of fresh dishes, from pizza and pasta to ethnic recipes from a diverse range of countries. The Mediterranean corner offers a large selection of cheeses as well as high-quality cold cuts. You’ll also find a dessert corner and a children’s corner.
Travelers in the MSC Yacht Club have their own dedicated gourmet restaurant serving Mediterranean and international cuisine.
Rising over three decks, it has a futuristic interior with reflective metallic panels on the walls and ceiling, which interact with the stage and the lighting to create unique visual effects. Each night there is a spectacular program of Broadway-style entertainment of music and dance. Due to the international audience, there are unlikely to be acts relying on language-based shows (comedians, for instance), but there are lots of specialty acts and singers.
Milleninum Star Casino
This huge casino offers everything from classic roulette and blackjack tables to a host of slot machines.
Galaxy Lounge Restaurant & Club
Towering over the ship on deck 16, the Galaxy Lounge is the ship’s circular, panoramic disco restaurant that gets packed in the evenings. Offering fantastic views and casual dining in trendy surroundings, it’s a place to chill out, enjoy the music and soak up the atmosphere as you savor a lazy brunch or a delicious meal of fusion cuisine at any time of day. And once the dining is done, it’s the ideal place to dance the night away.
Bars & lounges
Located in the ship’s main foyer, this elegant bar is a popular place to meet up for a relaxing drink before dinner or meet new friends at other times of day. There is a large coral-effect glass bar, shell-shaped sculptures and decorative steel, glass and crystal features, with the Swarovski crystal staircases providing a dramatic focal point.
At the heart of the ship, this lively area is another popular meeting point. It is inspired by ancient North African cultures with the stylish boutiques surrounding it. There is a bar serving coffee, delicious pastries and handmade ice cream.
This large bar and lounge area is a fun and busy bar with leopard-skin motif carpet and glass partitions, a two-tone tortoise-shell dance floor, dramatic sculpted walls in brushed brass and specially designed chandeliers and appliques fashioned in black Murano glass and gilded metal.
The Green Sax Jazz Bar
The décor of this Jazz Bar evokes the neon-lit, downtown world of the American cities where jazz music first emerged. It’s a great place to grab an original cocktail from the extensive drink menu and soak up the live music.
Sports & Bowling Diner
Inspired by the world of sports, this trendy diner with its retro-chic wood and metal décor is an informal place to hang out, bowl a game with friends or family, watch live sports on the large screens and savor some great food. The authentic hamburgers cooked "the American way" are popular with hungry sports fans of all ages.
For lovers of music, martinis and more, the El Dorado Piano Bar is the place to go. Here, the bar staff double as entertainers, showing off their skills as they mix martinis and shake a wide variety of other cocktails. The glossy black walls, golden onyx floor and large amber candelabra with Swarovski crystals all add to the glamorous atmosphere.
The best place on board to savor an authentic espresso is at this coffee bar with its stylish Neo-Art Deco interior in brown wood and red marble. The bar list includes a selection of hot and cold coffee delights, as well as a range of flavored hot chocolate temptations, including a “zero calorie” version: all the taste with none of the sugar.
Diamond Bar & Library
A good place to have a quiet pre-dinner drink or read a good book during the day. Located on deck 6, looking over the main atrium, the Diamond Bar is the perfect venue for socializing with friends or settling down for a relaxing read, thanks to the library and reading area incorporated within the bar area itself.
Graffiti’s is a place where children gather, as well as serves as the base for the activities of the Young and Teens Clubs there are also games, 4-D rides and other attractions. The teens-only disco boasts a well-equipped dance floor with a professional DJ station as well as a selection of snack and drink machines.
Starting way up on deck 18, Vertigo offers a thrilling journey through nearly 400 feet of twists and turns. Bands of color create a wonderful strobe effect as you zip through the tube. And when it shoots out over the edge of the ship, you’ll enjoy amazing views of the sea below through the glass sided tube.
Doremi Castle Aqua Park Adventures
This aquatic adventure playground for kids has sprays, fountains and other water features designed to splash, soak and delight. A drenching bucket builds suspense by filling up drip by drip over unsuspecting heads, ready to rain down from on high, while a battery of water cannons encourages mischievous interaction between friends old and new.
The children’s area, home to the Mini and Junior Clubs, is colorfully decorated in a pirate theme. From pirate ships to buried treasure and desert islands, Doremiland holds all the elements to spark the imagination and enliven the games of the youngest travelers on board MSC Preziosa.
- La Caramella: An authentic candy shop with a vast range of sweet treats.
- L'angolo Dell'Oggetto: Watches, sunglasses and fashion jewelry from the best Italian and international brands including Emporio Armani, Prada, D&G, Ray Ban, Fossil, Swarovski and more.
- The Mini Mall: This stocks a wide range of products including tobacco, alcohol, candy and electronic products.
- Il Gioiello: The jewelry store, where you can choose from a wide selection of jewels, watches, pens and accessories.
- La Profumeria: Fragrances and cosmetics from brands like Chanel, Hermès, D&G, Lancôme, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Armani, Bulgari and Gucci and many more.
- La Boutique: Clothes from brands like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Lacoste.
- MSC Logo Shop: A boutique dedicated to MSC designer items, from polo shirts to T-Shirts, sweatshirts, Bermuda shorts and souvenirs from the places visited.
- The Pool Shop: Located in the covered pool area, the Pool Shop sells sea items such as bathing suits, flip flops, goggles, masks as well as clothing carrying the MSC logo.
The staff-to-passenger ratio is lower than on luxury lines so service is efficient but crew cannot spend as much time on each guest to give as personal and personalized service. In my experience, they did respond enthusiastically to help resolve issues and when asked for help.
There are also fewer added touches in the cabins. Toiletries are in dispensers versus brand-name individual bottles, bathrobes are not supplied as standard, there is no suitcase-unpacking protector and the quality of bed, linen and towels is comfortable versus plush.
One key feature of the MSC Preziosa, as with the other Fantasia-class ships (MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida and Divina), is the Yacht Club. This is a “ship within a ship” with an access controlled entrance with 60 premium suites, concierge service, 24-hour butler service and a large lounge, which serves breakfast and light snacks offered throughout the day. On deck 18, there is an exclusive Yacht Club pool deck with a bar, hot tubs and many lounge chairs. There is also a dedicated restaurant (La Palmeraie), which is at the rear of the ship. I really liked the Yacht Club experience as you can escape the busy ship and retreat into a more calm space.
Gary Bembridge sailed on MSC Preziosa on a press/blogger trip as a guest of MSC Cruises.
Interested in a cruise on this ship?
If you're interested in a cruise on MSC Preziosa, contact a Cruiseable travel advocate at 1-877-322-3773 or by email. We can usually offer a better deal than you can get by contacting the cruise line directly.
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Top highlights on this ship
- Vertigo Water Slide, the longest at sea
- Yacht Club, the "ship within a ship" premium suites area with concierge, lounge, private pool deck and restaurant
- Mediterranean-inspired food and service
- Good value fares; children under 18 sharing a cabin with their parents travel for free
- Family-friendly entertainment including special family excursions
- Five complimentary kids' clubs for babies to 17 year olds
- Enjoy the multicultural experience of cruising with many from Italy, France and Brazil
Top dining options on board
Editor & community ratings
“A not-to-be-missed experience is the Aurea Spa, a whopping 18,000 square feet of Asian-inspired paradise complete with amazing ocean views. Treatments are performed using precious minerals and have been designed to combat signs of aging and purify and de-stress the body.”