Last week saw me flying back to the UK for the Tots100 BlogCamp On Board. However, this was no ordinary blog camp, this was a blog camp on board. It was going to be taking place on a cruise ship, an MSC cruise ship! There are lot of preconceptions surrounding cruising: it’s for fuddy duddies (all zimmer frames and blue perms), a bit Hi-de-Hi, tacky, or the other side is that people seem to think that cruising is horrendously expensive. I used to think the same then the in-laws took a cruise and exulted the virtues of cruising. We were still not convinced. I hated the idea of being stuck on a cruise ship, I have a very real fear of the sea – I blame all of those years teaching Jaws at GCSE – and I am about as far away from Jane MacDonald (I do love her, I’m just not glam) as you can get. Then 3 years ago our holiday was cancelled and we had to find a holiday at very short notice. The best deal by far was a cruise to the Caribbean. We went not knowing what to expect but fully expecting to dislike it.
That was not the case, regular readers of my blog will know that I now love a good cruise. I still have fear of the sea but when you are on a cruise ship you feel very safe. It is like a glorious floating hotel. I have previously shared our cruise to Norway and our Christmas cruise around the Canary Islands. We love cruising so much so that we are taking our 4th cruise this Christmas! Yes, we have become that family. Don’t worry, I don’t make everyone sit and watch my slideshow. However, we are very brand loyal and we have always stuck to P&O. Therefore, I was curious to experience a different cruise brand! I’m not going to lie, I didn’t really know much about MSC as a brand and therefore, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have since learnt that MSC are one of the biggest cruise ship brands in the world. I really have been very blinkered when it comes to cruising!
That’s Not My Plane, Its Wings Are Too Small
The day started early with me grabbing a shower at 4:45am. I am not a morning person and I did briefly contemplate getting some more sleep until I remembered that I was going to go on a cruise ship! Excitement helped get me to the airport where I grabbed a coffee and waited to be called to my gate. When I saw the plane I would be flying on I nearly cried. It was tiny. This is why I like cruises. I am not fond of planes. I said a few prayers and prayed that it would stay in the air long enough to get me to Southampton. We were told that the plane was only half-full so we could sit anywhere. I somehow managed to sit myself on the seat with a direct view of the propellers. This meant I spent the whole flight carefully watching those propellers. Despite the plane being only half full and there being lots of spare seats where you could sit on your own, I had a man sit next to me. Why does that always happen? Another reason I love a cruise, you can get up and walk around and hide too, if you want to.
When we finally touched down in Southampton the lovely Laura from Savings 4 Savvy Mums picked me up, and we then picked up the very lovely Mel from Le Coin de Mel and Kat from Candyfloss Dreams. We had been having a minor panic about how heavy the traffic was but luckily those traffic lights stayed green and we made it to the cruise ship, and what a cruise ship she is. A mighty beast that towers over you and made me do a gulp of excitement.
That’s My Boat!
The MSC Preziosa was built in 2013 and she is a mammoth ship with 14 decks and 139,072 tonnage. At full capacity she can carry 4,345 passengers. She is 1083ft long and has a crew of 1,388. There are 327 inside cabins and 1,310 outside cabins. There are also 4 outdoor pools and one casino as well as many, many more entertainment spaces. I was eager to get on board.
A Very Intimate Search – Oooh-Er
The security at Southampton was very tight and somehow I managed to set off the security beeper (not sure what the official name is). Anyway, I was frisked by a somewhat stern lady, who barked at me to keep my arms up as I began to lower them from sheer tiredness. In the words of my mother “it was a very intimate search” and I contemplated making a joke about whether she wanted to know my bra size but figured that it wouldn’t go down too well. I wanted to make sure that I was allowed onto the MSC Preziosa. Finally, I was through and we were ready to go on board. I practically galloped onto that ship. I was actually very impressed with security and it’s good to know that security is tight.
The first impression of Preziosa left me speechless (I know, it doesn’t happen often). I was in cruising heaven. Everything was gilded or glittered. There was a Swarovski crystal grand staircase which sparkled and made me wish that I was wearing more grand attire. I wanted nothing more than to sweep down those stairs with a cocktail in hand. This ship was full on flirting with me and I had forgotten my old tired boyfriend P&O in the blink of an eye. This was just something else. It was grander and more opulent. That boat had my name all over it. It was seducing me and I was powerless to resist.
Read Part 2 tomorrow and find out if I went to bed with MSC Cruise, or did I remain loyal to my other cruising brand……
If you are tempted to book with MSC, you can find details of their Southampton departures here
Disclaimer – I was invited aboard the MSC Preziosa for BlogCamp on Board. However, as always, all words are my own. I would like to say thank you to Tots100, Sally Whittle and MSC for the opportunity.