With youngsters younger than 18 travelling free if they share a cabin with two full-paying adults, and special rates for children accompanied by one adult in the same cabin, it's no surprise MSC is popular with families. Preziosa offers great facilities for children, including the all-new Doremi (clever name -- say it like the musical scales, do re mi) water playground on Deck 16. With features like sprays, fountains, water pistols and a "drenching bucket" that fills up drip by drip before raining down on unsuspecting heads, it will keep splash-happy children amused for hours.
Above Doremi on Deck 18 is one of the ship's standout features -- the 394-foot-long Vertigo waterslide, billed as the longest single-rider body waterslide on the waves. The slide is 42 feet high and takes thrill-seekers on a twisting descent that includes a 30-foot transparent stretch over the side of the ship. Note: Children shorter than 47 inches are not permitted on the slide, and there is a maximum weight restriction of 330 pounds.
The indoor pirate-themed Doremiland children's area on Deck 15 is home to the Mini and Junior clubs, for children ages 3 to 6 and 7 to 11, respectively. The clubs offer free daily entertainment conducted in different languages, according to the nationalities of youngsters. Doremiland remains open in ports of call to provide supervised activities for children whose parents have booked shore excursions. Parents should be aware that Preziosa does not offer a baby-sitting service.
Children younger than 3 can join Babytime, with an accompanying adult, for two-hour sessions every morning, afternoon and evening. For older children, the Y-Team caters to ages 12 to 14 and the Teens Club to 15 to 17. Facilities include the dedicated teen disco, Graffiti's; a weekly themed party; and, new for 2013, the chance to take part in the weekly Flash Mob, impressing other passengers with a performance by the pool. Virtual World includes a video arcade, Formula 1 race car simulator and 4D cinema, all at extra cost.
Teens will feel very grown up with Teenage Kicks, a range of spa and makeup treatments, temporary stencil tattoos and hair services available in the spa. A prepaid Teen Card is also available, which doubles as a cabin key and offers under-18's the opportunity to buy items onboard. Available in €30 ($38) and €50 ($64) versions, it cannot be used to buy alcohol or tobacco, and any credit remaining at the end of the cruise is not reimbursed.