Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Preziosa, sailing from Venice to Bari, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul, Dubrovnik and back into Venice.
We sailed as a family of 4 (2 adults:1 child of 11yrs and and infant of 20 months) over the easter break.
We recieved priorty boarding due to having a push chair, which was a very nice surprise- however if we'd joined the 'mass' queue it would have been a lengthy wait. We got on board at mid-day and it was pretty busy, even though it's an any port embaraktion cruise, Venice was definately the busiest.
We were pushed towards our first surly crew member where we were given wristbands for the kids, with no real explaination as what we were being given them for. For a crew member who was meant to engaging the kids- she looked truly miserable (with added fairy wings).
Buffet was open and rooms were available an hr or so later. We were disappointed to not have the cot in our room as requested, and had to go through reception. Just as an point to anyone travelling with an infant/toddler; we were told that the MSC provided cot was MASSIVE and FIXED. We were strongly encouraged to bring our own to save space in the room. The cot MSC provided was a a standard size, collaspable travel cot!?
We had an inside cabin on deck 12 an we were pleasantly surprised with size of cabin and storage space. The room was clean and the beds were comfortable. Our 11 yr old loved the pull-down bunk too.
The Inca Buffet.
I think this is where the true gripe of my holiday lies. Seating is always a challenge, this is our 3rd cruise and I've never experienced the search for tables as I did on the Preziosa. The staff seems in a world of their own, they would sweep under tables as we were eating, walk towards you and expect you to move out of their way. Trying to order a drink was near impossible! The staff never seemed to smile, morale seemed very low.
The juice that was meant to be available at breakfast... well if we found some we were proud of ourselves! All the stations seemed to have closed written on them by 9am (buffet closes at 10am) The buffet always opened 45mins late and cutlery was difficult to find.
Food was never hot and the selection seemed a bit hit and miss.
We enjoyed most of the other other cafes and bars and the styling in some of these was very good. The Cake/coffee shop was excellent an the staff there were good also.
We ate in the American Sports Diner which had a nice family atmosphere and food was easy going burgers etc. We also ate in Eataly and would probably give this a miss- nothing special for the extra cost and due to the lack of other cruise passengers using it, there was no restaurant atmosphere.
The Golden Lobster was average, comparing the standard of food to other cruise lines the choice and standard didnt hit the mark- my daughter order a Risotto one evening and the presentation and flavour is something I'd have chucked together after a hectic day at work.
We loved this side of the cruise ship.The pools and hot tubs were family friendly and well kept- hats off to the staff here, it was immaculate. The slide was a real hit and the aqua park was great too, April was perhaps a bit chilly to play too long there, but we all have great time.
Theatre shows we of a high standard and the muscians in the atrium were lovely.
We found FINDING the 4D cinema hard work, but worth it! There a nice little play park for the little ones too.
Just few other things.
As mentioned in other reviews, I felt there was WAY too much smoking space given on the ship and the areas where it was meant to be smoke free, often had the drift of smoke in it. I accepted it as this was a european ship, and smoking is deemed ok- but still not great.
We really expected the queue jumping, pushing etc- but this wasn't the case and pretty much everyone seemed to embace our british love of order :)
If anyone from MSC is reading this(!?) the ports of call that were lovely- Dubrovnik was definately our highlight- it seems a shame to cut short the more appealing ports and give more time to ports with less to offer- Izmir for example. Maybe adjust the port timings?
Overall we have a lovely time- however if you could afford the extra £££ we could choose P&O, Carnival RCCL etc.