The 2013 debut of MSC Preziosa moved the family-owned Italian company MSC Cruises up another notch to become the world's third-largest cruise company. That's no mean achievement, given its modest entry into the cruise industry with a second-hand vessel in the late 1980's. The 12th ship in the fleet -- and the fourth in MSC's flagship Fantasia Class -- Preziosa is making its mark with all-new facilities that include the longest single-rider body waterslide on the waves, a children's aqua park, an expanded shopping mall and the first two Eataly restaurants at sea. And, it's all coupled with the company's distinctive Mediterranean atmosphere.
The decks, named after precious jewels and gemstones, provide a clue about what to expect. Crystal-studded stairs, opulent public rooms decorated with animal prints, and lavish amounts of shimmering glass mosaics, white marble and Murano glass may overwhelm traditional cruisers who prefer classic, understated decor.
However, for families, younger couples and the young-at-heart, the ship provides a fun, relaxed and affordable way to cruise the Med. With 1,751 cabins and a total capacity for 4,345 passengers -- a figure that's more than double occupancy if parents bunk up with their children -- Preziosa offers a good choice of accommodation options for everyone from budget-conscious families to couples who want to splurge with a stay in the exclusive Yacht Club.
It's important to note that, while English is the main onboard language, MSC predominantly attracts passengers from mainland Europe. This means announcements are made in five languages, and entertainment is geared to appeal to multinational audiences, so you will find dancers, bilingual singers and acrobats instead of comedians and similar acts that require a lot of speaking.