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Juvesgirl

Overdue Preziosa Review

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My husband and I sailed on the Preziosa this past summer in July. I should have written the review months ago, but kept putting it off. Therefore, this will be a brief review since I have forgotten most of the details! We are Americans; my husband had 1 prior cruise with Carnival, I had prior cruises with Carnival and Norwegian.

 

We embarked in Messina, Sicily, Italy. The embarkation was remarkably easy, probably because few people board the ship from this location. We were literally on in a matter of minutes, and it might have been quicker if we hadn't dawdled.

 

The ship was gorgeous. It was always sparkling clean and looked just like the pictures and just as you would imagine a brand new ship to be.

 

Our cabin was perfect. It was one of the smaller balcony cabins (less sq ft and $ than the regular size balcony cabins). We didn't mind the smaller size at all. We found it was enough space for us, but also expected it to be a bit on the small size. We thought the balcony size was also fine. My husband would have liked to smoke a cigar on the balcony, but since that is prohibited, we didn't do so. We found it adequate size to sit out and enjoy leaving each port. One of the best things about the room was the bathroom. Many people have mentioned the showers with the inverted doors, which make the bathroom seem larger. Another feature I loved was the under-sink storage. I felt it was extremely spacious and that we had plenty of room for our bathroom things. I was very pleasantly surprised. The only time we felt tight in the cabin was getting ready when the bathroom door was open and trying to get into the closets in the hallway. The cabin steward was very friendly and seemed genuinely shocked when my husband and I tipped him at the end of the week (as some of the few Americans on the ship, my husband and I got the feeling that tipping is not customary among Europeans on cruise ships, but we could be wrong about that, it was just an impression, not a judgement!!!).

 

As for the food, we didn't mind the leisurely pace of dinner. We chose the later dinner seating (more on that later) and didn't mind eating as late as we did (I think dinner was 9:30pm most nights). We had a table for 2 (not many of them, they often paired parties up at larger tables, saw this happen unsuccessfully next to us for a few nights) by the aft windows. Beautiful, but sometimes too dark to enjoy if we weren't near land. The food itself was just okay. There were a few dishes that were great, but we never had a night where we loved each course. I would say the food was adequate. We didn't ever go hungry, but it wasn't the best food I have ever had. Having said that, I understand the challenges of preparing food for hundreds/thousands of people simultaneously. We had excellent service from Deni and Febby (not sure how to spell their names) who remembered our drink preferences each evening, gave menu recommendations, and were equally surprised to receive our daily tips. We didn't always eat lunch because we were often off the ship for an excursion, but went to the buffet daily for breakfast. I have to say that this was a bit of a zoo. The complaints about people jostling around have a bit of truth. We found it very difficult to get 2 seats together at breakfast. We were able to take some bread and lunch meat and make some sandwiches to take with us for a bite while off the ship at lunchtime.

 

We had the drinks package. My husband and I are definitely not big drinkers, but found it to be an amazing opportunity, especially if you reserve in advance and avoid paying the 15% service charge. My husband drinks espresso daily, a lot of diet coke, and we also got to use it for gelato. We definitely got our money's worth, but never felt like we were forcing ourselves to order things we didn't want. I would absolutely get the drinks package again. Also, it was helpful to get bottles of water in the am at breakfast to take with us on excursions and in port. Gelato tip: it is better from the place at the pool than the place near the shops.

 

We loved the pool areas. They were definitely crowded and sometimes we couldn't find seating right near the pools. Despite that, I very much enjoyed having the parts of the pool that were shallow and could be used for sunbathing. Water temperature was refreshing. Pool area was generally clean, and there was always someone trying to remove excess water from the deck.

 

We were impressed with the entertainment. We had low expectations, and were pleasantly surprised. The costumes were fantastic and enjoyed ourselves each night. I think we just missed the french-themed show. The wonderland show was the best, and I think we saw that the first night. Some of the acts were a bit repetitive. The Italian song night was a lot of fun. In general, the entertainment team worked very hard and tried to get everyone involved. As an American in the minority of those who spoke English, I appreciate their efforts to say everything in multiple languages, but it also got a bit annoying after a while. Some games were entirely in Italian, but I expected that so didn't mind (and my husband translated for me at times!). Some of the lounge singers and piano players were great. A little tip: if you go to the pizza and wine bar before the late dinner seating and order a drink (which we could get as part of our drinks package), they would bring you a plate of complimentary appetizers that matched the theme of the port you were in (Spanish in Barcelona, etc.). They were some of the most delicious food I ate, and it was always empty! Great service there.

 

Overall, we are very satisfied with our MSC experience and would cruise with them again. We did had three negative experiences that I will share:

-There are two main dining rooms, and although you request a seating for dinner prior to your sailing, it isn't guaranteed. It should be written on your key/id. Our IDs didn't include any dining information, although we had requested the late seating and had this written on our cruise confirmation documents. We called the front desk and they explained that they were having a trial of a "dine anytime" program and we were selected for that and should see the maitre'd of the restaurant. We were ecstatic. We went to the restaurant, explained the situation, and asked for the matire'd. We were shuttled to speak with 3 different people. After lots of back and forth, we finally spoke to the matre'd who basically said that when Americans pick the late seating, he thinks they don't know what they are doing and he deletes their preferences because Americans don't like to eat as late as Europeans. He said this is why there was no dining information on our card, and we were not part of the "dine anytime" program. I assured him that I knew exactly how late the late dinner seating was and that is when we wanted to dine. He assigned us to a table for the late seating and wrote the name of the dining room on our cards "L'Arabesque." He didn't apologize. I felt highly insulted that we were considered unable to make a decision about selecting a dinner seating time and would have liked an apology, but the matre'd didn't seem to think it was a big deal.

-We did two excursions. One was to Portofino when we were in Genoa. It was exactly as we expected it to be, no complaints at all. In fact, I was actually highly impressed with both the Portofino and Tunisia excursions re: the organization of everyone on the ship as we disembarked. We had a problem with the Tunisia excursion. The excursions are offered in multiple languages. We selected the English option, which also seemed to be where the people are put who don't speak the other available languages, so we were with Chinese speakers, Russian speakers, etc. I don't mind this at all (part of the reason why I chose MSC over mostly-American passenger ships sailing the same route is to be with people who are different than me). but I felt it made the tourguide give less than a tour. He barely gave us any "tour" information. Our primary goal was to see Carthage. There was no ship tour of just Carthage, and based on state department warnings we wanted to go with the ship. We had to pick a tour that was Carthage and something else. We didn't want to do the medina/market, so we picked Sidi Bou Said, which was described as a fishing village. It was basically another excuse to make people buy stuff. There were a ton of vendors selling the same goods stall after stall, we had to hike for a view to the beach, and there was literally nothing else to do. We approached the tour guide and asked if there was anything else to do besides shop, and he said no and to just wait by the bus. We were there for 2 hours. There was literally NO PLACE TO SIT and almost no shade. The bus was gone because there wasn't enough room for all of the buses to wait. There was one bench, but it didn't have slats of wood to sit on it. We basically did nothing for the entire time. A few of the people at the stalls are aggressive (get in your personal space, try to grab your arm), so we wanted to steer clear of that area. When we finally reboarded the bus, we stopped at 2 places that had some ruins for about 10 minutes each and then stopped at the main Carthage ruins for about 20 minutes. At the main Carthage ruins, the tourguide literally talked for about 2 minutes pointing to a faded poster. That was it. I am not exaggerating. My husband and I were really disappointed because we felt we could have learned a lot more, and would have preferred 20 minutes shopping and 2 hours at the ruins. Also, when we boarded the bus after the ruins, the tourguide counted the people on the bus, was one short, said he must have miscounted to the MSC rep on the bus, and they left. No idea if they actually left someone, they didn't seem to care.

-There is an "infinity" pool advertised as adults only, but there were a ton of kids in this "adult" pool. That was definitely a bummer. There was no non-pay adult only area, despite it being advertised.

 

Although I ended with some negative points, we definitely had a fantastic time and I strongly encourage the experience, especially to Americans who could be exposed to people from the cultures the ship visits while on board!!!

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Thanks for your well written review. We are looking forward to sailing on Preziosa in March, and appreciate being able to read a bit about your experience.

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Thanks for your well written review. We are looking forward to sailing on Preziosa in March, and appreciate being able to read a bit about your experience.

 

My pleasure, glad you found it helpful.

 

I forgot to mention that we went to the spa for a massage and enjoyed the experience. They offer the same special in the spa each day the ship is in port, regardless of the port (not sure, think it was 30% off). Also, there was a yummy juice bar in the spa and you can use your drink package there, too.

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Great review - thank you! We are sailing on the Preziosa in July this year so enjoyed hearing of your experience.

 

One thing you don't mention, how did you find it with being school holidays and MSC letting kids sail free? Was it very busy? Were the kids well occupied? I note you mention that the 'adults' pool was full of kids.

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Great review - thank you! We are sailing on the Preziosa in July this year so enjoyed hearing of your experience.

 

One thing you don't mention, how did you find it with being school holidays and MSC letting kids sail free? Was it very busy? Were the kids well occupied? I note you mention that the 'adults' pool was full of kids.

 

Good question. To be honest, the only place I felt was 'overrun' by kids were the pool areas. I didn't notice a lot of children anywhere else except perhaps the buffet area. They were generally well behaved in the buffet. By the pool the behavior was as expected for kids playing (some splashing, jumping, yelling, etc.)-nothing really to complain about. Also, if MSC didn't advertise the adult pool as such, I wouldn't have minded. I was just looking forward to it from the MSC publicity and was surprised. I didn't notice many children younger than teen years in the dining room, but we had the late seating. I also didn't see many of the kids at the shows, but that may be because they were eating while we were at the show or because we always sat in the balcony. I don't recall seeing many children in the hallways near the cabins, or around the ship in the evenings. Funny enough, I only saw a few kids in the kids pool area! I guess they were too busy in the adult pool :)

 

Let me know if you have any other questions!

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Am going on divina in 19days spendida in May and preziosa oct are the infinity pools heated?

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Am going on divina in 19days spendida in May and preziosa oct are the infinity pools heated?

 

I honestly don't know the answer to that question. They are salt water pools and are emptied each night. I found them to be a pleasant and refreshing temperature, not too hot or cold. I was sailing at the end of July, so don't know if the pools were warmer because they were heated or because it was simply so hot outside. I'm sorry I can't be of more help!

 

I bet if you posted is as a question in a new thread someone could answer it for you!

 

Enjoy!

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I enjoyed reading your review - thank you the information you give is very useful. We are due to sail next September it's good to be prepared.

You mentioned that you had a table for two at dinner how did you secure that?We like our own own table but in the past have managed it because we had anytime dining and were willing to wait for a table, I wondered if this might be a problem because of the fixed dining.

Thank you for your help.

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I enjoyed reading your review - thank you the information you give is very useful. We are due to sail next September it's good to be prepared.

You mentioned that you had a table for two at dinner how did you secure that?We like our own own table but in the past have managed it because we had anytime dining and were willing to wait for a table, I wondered if this might be a problem because of the fixed dining.

Thank you for your help.

 

I am not sure how we got a table for two, as they were very limited and by no means guaranteed. Any of the following may have helped:

 

1. We used an online agent to book. We asked them to put a request for a table for two on our account along with the request for the late dinner seating.

2. I contacted MSC customer service for another issue prior to sailing (had a problem booking an excursion online), and asked them to ensure the request for a table for 2 was on our record.

 

NOTE: I don't think either 1 or 2 were actually the reasons because of the issue with the maitre'd deleting our dining preferences I explain in my review above.

 

3. What I think is the real reason is that when we had the issue with the maitre'd deleting our dining preferences (see above review), when he rebooked us, I said we wanted a table for two. Perhaps because he had caused a problem, he gave us a table for two to prevent us from having two dining related issues.

 

4. I read on another thread prior to sailing that the English speaking passengers may possibly have more likelihood of getting the 2 person tables because there are fewer English speaking people on board, so smaller chance of being paired up with someone (although I did read another review of two couples speaking entirely different languages being put at the same table).

 

I don't think there is a guarantee, but I would suggest that upon boarding the ship you head to the maitre'd and see if you are at a 2 person table and, if not, request that you are moved. When we sailed the Preziosa, people boarded at almost every port. The first few nights there was an empty 2 person table near us, which then was filled a few days later. You could ask them to put you at a 2 person table even if just for a few night.

 

Best of luck!

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Thank you very much for the information I will certainly try the things you have suggested.

Much appreciated.

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Thank you very much for the information I will certainly try the things you have suggested.

Much appreciated.

 

Happy to help! Let me know if any other questions arise.

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Thank you for your excellent MSC Preziosa review...glad you decided to post it. :):):):)

 

My pleasure, glad you liked it!

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How was the disembarkation organisation?

 

It was no problem. We had to catch a train and didn't want to worry about finding our bags so we just walked off with them. We didn't wait for any type of announcement. We asked our room steward if we could keep our bags in the room a bit later (the day before), grabbed some breakfast at the buffet, and then walked off, no problem.

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Thanks for the quick reply. Where did you disembark?

 

Also what was the process for self disembarking with your own bags. Did you get allocated a slot or just leave anytime after the process started?

 

In comparison to scheduled arrival time, when did people manage to start getting off?

 

I am worried about a flight connection, which people are telling me is dangerously tight

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Thanks for the quick reply. Where did you disembark?

 

Also what was the process for self disembarking with your own bags. Did you get allocated a slot or just leave anytime after the process started?

 

In comparison to scheduled arrival time, when did people manage to start getting off?

 

I am worried about a flight connection, which people are telling me is dangerously tight

 

Unless you are disembarking in Messina, Sicily, I am not the best person to answer your question. I got off in Messina, which is a TINY port and hardly anyone got on/off at this port. My experience will be much different than, say, disembarking in Barcelona, Genoa, Marseilles, etc. There was no process or time, we just walked right off. I don't remember specifics, but I know I was worried about making an early train and I had plenty of time to spare. Are you disembarking in Messina? If not, you may want to start a new thread and ask about disembarking at your specific port. I got lots of great information when I did that.

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Thanks for the quick reply. Where did you disembark?

 

Also what was the process for self disembarking with your own bags. Did you get allocated a slot or just leave anytime after the process started?

 

In comparison to scheduled arrival time, when did people manage to start getting off?

 

I am worried about a flight connection, which people are telling me is dangerously tight

 

Also, you may find this thread useful:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1874024

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Thank you for the great review. I experienced almost the same when I went on MSC Fantasia on May 2012.

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Thank you for the great review. I experienced almost the same when I went on MSC Fantasia on May 2012.

 

Glad we are consistent! I would hate to think what I posted is not what most would experience, leaving new sailers with the wrong impression!

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Thank you for your review, it was really helpful. My husband and I are due to travel in April on the Preziosa and really looking forward to it. We have previously been on the MSC Orchestra and loved it but like you found the buffet experience a bit taxing. What I would recommend to people and what we will do is have breakfast in the dining rooms. They are very chilled and the food is a lot better quality than the buffet, so perhaps give that a try.

 

In terms of tipping, that's something that we definitely do and have always done for our cabin staff and regular servers, so its not just an American thing. We also found that the European approach can be quite curt but I find if you stand your ground and be assertive back they tend to melt a little. Nope, standing in line doesn't seem to apply in certain cultures so if you can't beat em, join them and make lots of humphing and coughing sounds to make sure they are aware of how ignorant they are. All part of the experience and gives you something to talk about is how I see it.

 

I've traveled on European, British and American cruise lines and they all have their pro's and con's but accepting that there is differences will make you enjoy your cruise all the more.

 

Oh and the Allegrisimo is a must in my opinion. We're not big drinkers but like a cocktail or two and that includes non-alcoholic and the fact that we can have coffees, ice-cream etc without having to get our calculator out gives us great peace of mind.

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Thank you for your review, it was really helpful. My husband and I are due to travel in April on the Preziosa and really looking forward to it. We have previously been on the MSC Orchestra and loved it but like you found the buffet experience a bit taxing. What I would recommend to people and what we will do is have breakfast in the dining rooms. They are very chilled and the food is a lot better quality than the buffet, so perhaps give that a try.

 

In terms of tipping, that's something that we definitely do and have always done for our cabin staff and regular servers, so its not just an American thing. We also found that the European approach can be quite curt but I find if you stand your ground and be assertive back they tend to melt a little. Nope, standing in line doesn't seem to apply in certain cultures so if you can't beat em, join them and make lots of humphing and coughing sounds to make sure they are aware of how ignorant they are. All part of the experience and gives you something to talk about is how I see it.

 

I've traveled on European, British and American cruise lines and they all have their pro's and con's but accepting that there is differences will make you enjoy your cruise all the more.

 

Oh and the Allegrisimo is a must in my opinion. We're not big drinkers but like a cocktail or two and that includes non-alcoholic and the fact that we can have coffees, ice-cream etc without having to get our calculator out gives us great peace of mind.

 

Completely agree on all accounts!

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What I would recommend to people and what we will do is have breakfast in the dining rooms. They are very chilled and the food is a lot better quality than the buffet, so perhaps give that a try.

 

Do you mean in the main dining room at deck 5? Is it included in the cruise fare or you have to pay extra?

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Breakfast and lunch in the main dining rooms are no extra charge. Although the other poster recommends, my husband and I preferred the buffet for breakfast because we spent most days off the ship and we were able to get meats and breads and make a sandwich to take with us for lunch. We were only on the ship for lunch 1-2 days. We tried the dining room once and found the service very slow. We didn't mind this at all for a leisurely dinner,but wanted to have quicker lunches to enjoy the daytime activities. Of course, we could have just been there on an off day and the other poster's experience may have been more accurate!

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