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Denis F

Age: 45

Occupation:Entrepreneur

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: MSC Cruises

Ship: MSC Preziosa

Sailing Date: 2016-02-20

Itinerary: Marseille - Genoa - Roma - Palermo - Mallorca - Barcelona

We travelled as a large family of 25 people (8 cabins), to celebrate my parents 50th Anniversary. Everyone enjoyed the cruise life and experience overall, we had organized our own outings at each port (the cruise line offers their own organized tours, with a high price tag, which I won't be able to judge here. I just know that when visiting the various sites, we saw a lot of the cruise people with their own tours, and they seemed content). We had quite some trouble at booking time to get cabins next to each other (our travel agent had guaranteed that he would arrange for us to be next to each other), but we ended up being on 8th, 10th and 13th floor, with cabins on both sides of the ship. Also we had prepared a rooming list, and the whole list was totally messed up when we boarded. We had to spend almost 2 hours at reception to make it right. Seems that people who book through travel agencies don't get the same service that those who book directly with MSC...Some of the booking people on board were actually very rude to us. But reception staff was really good about it, and helped solve the issues. I have to mention two great Guest Services Agents, both from Ukraine: Anastasia Syktina and Inna Galabayeva: thank you and great job, and hope your Italian colleagues will thank you for fixing their mess!

We enjoyed very decent food both at the buffet restaurant and the Golden Lobster Restaurant for breakfast and dinner. For lunch we were usually visiting cities and sites. Breakfast can be 'A la Carte' at the Golden Lobster, and we needed 25-30 min to get through it, or we also took it at one of the buffet restaurants, which is very crowded and messy but can also be very quick. We had booked the late dinner service with our travel agent, but when we arrived, we discovered that we were scheduled for the early dinner (6:00 pm), which is fine for people who enjoy early dinners, but that does not work too well with French people (my family is mostly from France). But thanks to the efficient help of Mr Romolo Buondestino (Asst Maitre D at the Golden Lobster Restaurant), we were able to be rebooked at the later service. Dinner was very decent, with a different 'A la Carte Menu' every night, with a small choice of starters, entrees and desserts. (Note that you are actually entitled to 2 starters, a main course and a dessert). For drinks, you will have to book drinks package, and the best is to buy upon boarding, as they don't charge you the additional service charge (which they do, when you buy the package in the restaurant). Drinks package may include water (there is no free water in the sit-down service restaurants, just at the buffet restaurants), beer, wine...In terms of service, waiters in the Golden Lobster were mostly from Bali, Indonesia, and the experience was fantastic. Great smily and efficient service. I would like to recognize specially Mr Wisnu Santika, who was in charge of our tables, and did a truly remarquable job with his teams of runners.

Our room was quite comfortable, we had a double bed and a sofa bed for two kids. Very decent bedding, comfortable cabin, and small but decent and good looking bathroom. Our cabin attendant did a very decent job.

Kids had lots of fun playing in the arcades, be careful it goes up fast. Games were 1.5 or 2.5 Euros each, and kids use they cabin card to pay: a very painless experience for them, can be painful on the bill if you don't watch out. Decent swimming pools and jacuzzis on the boat, but make sure you do shower right after...Also, a great toboggan slide on board, but was a pretty chilly experience in February. Nice and decent entertainment on board, did see two or three shows in their theater, I left early from one of them, as singing quality was really not there. But the acrobatics and dancers were quite good.

We organized our own excursions, being a large group, and we ended up paying a small fraction of what MSC typically charges. (We paid 30-50 Euros per person including tour guide, transportation, entry tickets to attractions and lunch). Note that in Palma de Mallorca, MSC was offering a shuttle bus service to downtown for 10-12 Euros a person. If you walk about 5 min to the cruise terminal, public buses are available and it will cost you 1-1.5 Euro one way to anywhere downtown.

A great experience overall. Perfect for family trips, and those who enjoy doing a little bit of tourism while vacationing. Staff on board is coming from all over the world, makes lots of effort to solve your issues in many different languages (we found service staff from Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Indonesia, Philippines, Morocco, Nepal, India, China, with a supervision or management mostly from Italy). Customers were mainly from Europe (France, Italy, Germany, Holland and Spain) with a few Russians, Chinese and Hong-Kong people.

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