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Leonard Miron

Age: 47

Occupation:journalist

Number of Cruises: 25

Cruise Line: MSC Cruises

Ship: MSC Preziosa

Sailing Date: 2016-02-21

Itinerary: Med

EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING - a luxury cruise with a lot of BUTS

Would I go back to MSC Yacht Club?

YES and NO at the same time!

With a predominance of International passengers on board the cosmopolitan experience is a must if you can ignore the frequent announcements in 5 languages.

A multilingual, international crew staffs Preziosa but sometimes if you don’t speak Italian or French you are a little bit lost in translation. The ship's service, style, and decor are decidedly Italian and stylish. Most of the food is provisioned in Genoa; the pastas, espresso and cappuccino are heavenly but you need more than that to think about MSC YC as a luxury dining option. Indeed it's hard to resist the piece of Venchi chocolate left on your pillow each night.

In terms of age, MSC cruise passengers skew about a decade younger than many other lines. Children, ages 11 and under, cruise free and children under the age of 17 sail at a reduced rate. That can be a problem as leaving your children in a kids club (and MSC excel in the offers for different ages) is not a cultural thinks. I saw couples in the Club and lounges with 4 months old toddlers and children running around the ship at 2.00AM. But again is a cultural thing -La Dolce Vita!

One of my biggest problems on board MSC Preziosa was the smoking policy. On MSC you can smoke indoor (and as a heavy smoker that keep me happy). Quite annoying if you don't smoke and Safari Lounge or Top Sail Lounge remind me of a flight when smoking was permitted on board and if you were on the last row in the non-smoking section you'd still be 'smoking' the unlimited cigarettes of the smoking section.

The biggest surprise during this cruise was the conversation I had with the Captain and the Hotel Manager. They found time to discuss, in a private meeting, for about 45 minutes about our experience and take seriously all the feedback, both positive and constructive. But not only that! The next day some changes started to be visible. That shows, with no doubts that the team on board really care and are passionate about the quality of the YC product and the way that it is delivered.

Would I go back to MSC Yacht Club?

YES! As a test, to see if all those BUTs were just a one-off glitch in an amazing product. At the end of the day, for today's value-conscious traveller, the Yacht Club offers the feeling of a luxury small ship with all the advantages of large vessel cruising at a very decent and reasonable price. And each time you use your key card to enter, you're reminded that you've found a yacht-like sanctuary away from the density and anonymity of a large ship More Photos at leonard,miron.com

Preziosa has nine dining venues, including a buffet that's open nonstop for 20 hours a day from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. The main restaurants are the two-deck Golden Lobster on Decks 5 and 6, with seating for 1,155, and the panoramic 766-seat L'Arabesque, aft on Deck 6. Both operate two dinner seating and offer identical menus. Breakfast and lunch are served in the ship's main restaurants and self-serve buffet restaurants, the adjoining Inca and Maya on Deck 14, which offer all-day dining and the option of a more casual setting for dinner.

But again cutting the costs showing the results. The dining experience is far from a Mediterranean experience and you wonder where the famous fresh, spontaneous, inspirational Italian cuisine disappeared. While adequate, the food was not particularly fancy in terms of presentation. Courses seemed rushed, and the wine service was rather haphazard, with wait staff acknowledging empty glasses but not returning to replenish for some time, if at all. Similarly, in the buffet restaurant, there was a feeling the team hadn't really gelled. Some staff couldn't have been more helpful, while others barely made eye contact, let alone smiled.

More Photos at leonardmiron.com

We stayed in cabin 16008 – The Royal Suite. An excellent choice, even if the name "Royal' will mislead a little bit if you take in the account the size of the cabin. The advantage was that the 2 rooms (living area and bedroom) were completely separated by a door, which make the cabin a real one-bedroom apartment at sea. Our room was attractively furnished with mauves, browns, and dark woods. It included a sleeping area, sitting area with a desk, a coffee table, a sofa and two armchairs, walk-in closet with drawer space, and sliding glass doors leading to a balcony with two chairs and two sunbeds. Sounds fantastic doesn't it?

But€¦ the balcony was the weirdest design ever. More long than wide had in the middle a handrail which reduce the available space. Actually both sunbeds and chairs cant€™t be used at the same time. The handrail can be useful if you practice for your classical ballet lesson, but no more than that€¦

The bathroom had a single marble topped sink, attractive hardware, sufficient shelf and cabinet space, and a combined shower/bath with a half-glass panel that kept water in and allowed light inside. Again a good idea€¦ But for a Royal Suite it was the smallest bathroom I ever seen and later I realised that is not difference between its size and other cabins in Yacht Club. While other cruise liners compete on the market with famous brands as amenities, toiletries this times were MSC-branded rather than luxury brands. And to be honest reminds me of Travelodge or Novotel.

But we loved our cabin and with the precious help of Edwin and Audrey we felt like royals for 14 days!

More&Photos at leonardmiron.com

This is not a ship where the majority of passengers are running to bed before midnight. The main entertainment venue is the 1,600-seat two-story Platinum Theatre on Decks 6 and 7. The emphasis is on visual shows, which supposed to appeal to an international audience. The theatre is, once again, like the entire ship impressive and has all the ads on to host amazing shows.

But€¦ MSC definitely cut costs in the entertainment department because I never saw such a poor offer in my entire cruise career. The cast, sets and costume are repetitive and the productions are just a line-up of well-known songs with no concept or imagination. The dancer was quite good but looking at their performance you can realise the different background and training: ballroom, cabaret, and street dance. It was a repetitive performance of how they couldn't manage to synchronize their movements every night and lift their hands or legs in a random order, for sure not created by the choreographer. As I said the dancing was not so bad. What really made me leave the theatre before the end of the show were the two leading voices€¦Painful most of the time, far from being a duo when was a need for that, more interested in their stage pose than their vocal performance and managing to kill every song in a very personal and powerful way. Worse than the first pre-pre-pre-pre selection for XFactor in Margate! I wonder if MSC found that Italians invented big lavish TV entertainment on Canale5 or they host every year the high quality Festival San Remo? More&Photos at leonardmiron.com



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