A lively Mediterranean spirit and modern décor set the decidedly European tone of 3,502-passenger MSC Preziosa (meaning "precious" in Italian). For passengers who swoon over sparkles, this ship amply satisfies with grand, Swarovski-crystal-studded staircases, Murano glass, white marble, and opulent sculptures everywhere. It’s almost surprising this level of panache can be paired with bargain fares. More well-heeled cruisers can upgrade to the Yacht Club, a ship-within-a-ship 'hood, which encompasses 69 suites with butler and concierge services, plus a private dining room, lounge, and pool. It even has its own signature fig-and-almond scent wafting in the air, which is subtle yet inviting.
What We Love
Italian Eats: Mangia! Mangia! Passengers have plenty of opportunities to indulge in their cravings for pasta, pizza, and pastries at venues from quick-grab, casual spots to the open-kitchen Galaxy Lounge. There are also more sophisticated options, such as Eataly, a Turin-based chain that promotes Italy’s slow-food movement, and Ristorante Italia, which serves an elegant table d’hôte menu. Also, with 10 bars on the ship, you'll never have to stroll too far for a prosecco and Peroni — or to find music and late-night revelry.
Kid-Friendly: Italians adore children, and MSC orchestrates a full program of activities — and a slew of promotions — to keep kids (and their parents) happily humming. There’s a junior Tiki bar with fruit drinks, a weekly poolside flash mob, and a Formula 1 race car simulator. The Doremi Castle aqua park (named after the musical scale: do-re-mi) is a sizable zone where kids can splash, giggle, and have fun; and the supervised, pirate-themed Doremiland stays open even when the ship is docked.
The Vertigo Water Slide: This 394-foot-long single-rider slide twists and turns from a 43-foot-high launch and then shoots around a transparent loop that curves over the side of the ship.
Best Known For
Fun at an Affordable Price: The ship offers diversions galore and a joie de vivre vibe that only Italians know how to embrace — all for wallet-friendly fares.
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Who It's Best For
Internationally Minded Amusement Seekers: Young couples, fun-loving baby boomers, and families with children are the core cruisers. Most passengers are European, so the line's a treat for North American vacationers open to building friendships with international cruise mates.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Too Many Languages Are Spoken: You’ll have to have patience when listening to announcements — they’re spoken in five languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish, and English. Don’t expect English-speaking singers, comedians, and lecturers either. Entertainment tends to spotlight acts that don't rely on language (think acrobats, magicians, and dancers).
The Casino Allows Smoking: This could be a problem for Americans accustomed to sailing on other lines that ban smoking indoors.
There Are No Laundry Facilities: Pack enough changes of clothes for the little ones. There are no self-serve washer and dryer facilities on board.
Laura Manske is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Redbook, InStyle, and Cosmopolitan.