I have never been on a cruise. Actually, that’s not entirely true, I’ve done loads of boat trips. I cruised down countless rivers, the odd sea and one time I even spent 5 straight days and nights on a boat from Manaus to Belem in Brazil, sleeping in hammocks and spending the day drinking beers and tanning on the roof top. I’ve just never been on an actual cruise ship, the kind that crosses oceans and has the size of a small city. Given that in my early teens I was a loyal fan of watching the Love Boat (anyone?) after school I really feel I should have been on one by now so when the offer rolled in that I could assist the christening of the MSC Preziosa, the 11th cruise liner by cruise powerhouse MSC, I naturally accepted and made my way to Genoa, Italy.

MSc Preziosa genoa - photo by katja hentschel

I had no idea what I was in for but I expected it to be fun despite varying reports of cruise liners often being hubs for older folks and families and not necessarily trips targeted at my age group. That didn’t scare me though, I had seen enough photos of fancy pool landscapes on cruise ships to already picture myself relaxing inside some whirlpool, Mai Tai in hand. This image in my head even helped over the fact that the Preziosa wasn’t actually going anywhere during the 48h I was on there, but simply waited at Genoa harbor for Sophia Loren to crash a bottle of Champagne against it.

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Walking onto the ship for the first time I swear I could hear the Love Boat theme playing. One look at the sparkly chrytsal-studded staircase and it felt like Capitan Stubing would walk down any minute now greeting me with that charming smile of his.

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The way to our room led through a small shopping street, a loungy cafe bar with live piano music and a casino. The hallways for the 1700 cabins seemed endless and perfect for a Madonna music video (you can tell my mind associates real world with TV a lot). Special perk: the red carpet throughout all hallways meant that you could take your heels off even before u finally find your room.

The room was much nicer than I had imagined it would be (mind you, traveling to all those lovely hotels has made me a bit of a snob when it comes to holiday accommodation) with lots of modern features, a wonderfully comfortable kingsize bed and a great balcony with a gorgeous 180° seaview.

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We dropped our bags and headed straight for the buffet floor (it’s not actually called that but that’s pretty much exactly what it is) where pastas, pizzas, meats, fruits, sandwiches, burgers, cheeses, cold cuts, salads, international fare and a ton of desserts were waiting to fill our stomachs to the point of no return. Here it’s all you can eat, 24h a day. For those craving a more refined food experience there are different restaurant options, including a branch of EATALY, a fine dining experience that has made a name for itself the world over.

MSc Preziosa genoa - photo by katja hentschel

When you’re not eating, you probably are drinking, after all there are 21 bars waiting to fulfill your liquid dreams. My favorite watering hole however was not a bar but the ship’s own nightclub, with DJ’s spinning poppy crowd pleasers and waiters filling your champagne glass until you can’t hold it up any more. Best part of same club: the adjacent entertainment centre complete with pinball and racing machines, a real race car thing and a very, very cool 4-D cinema. (Have you been in a 4-D cinema before? That shit’s unreal!) Other types of sweet evening entertainment included a casino and a highly entertaining nightly show in a theatre that holds 1500 seats.

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Now that I’ve covered eating, drinking, playing and partying there is only one thing left you really must do on a cruise – relaxing. Luckily there is no shortage of swimming pool options, everything from 12 whirlpools, 4 proper pools and a delicious infinity pool at the rear of the ship are on offer. If you’re feeling young you do not miss out on the kick ass water slide, even if you might be the only person over the age of 12 to do so – it’ll be worth it.

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If all those things still leave open wishes you will find 1370 crew members there to help you navigate around the 18 decks and when you’re not in one of the pools, at one of the bars, inside the nightclub, the theatre or the casino you will surely enjoy the fitness centre, basketball court, tennis court, the mini soccer ground, the shopping centre, the bowling alley and the spa.

We only spent 2 nights on the MSC Preziosa but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I think a cruise like this is suitable for anyone coming here with a great friend or partner who really know how to have a good time as this ship is laying it all out there for you, you just have to make the best out of it.

Thank you MSC for inviting us, we had a blast!

MSc Preziosa genoa - photo by katja hentschel