MSC Preziosa – Yacht Club Experience

My wife and I have recently returned from a cruise that gave us our first experience sailing with MSC….

 

…onboard the MSC Preziosa…

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…and a chance to evaluate their Yacht Club facility.

This cruise was initially chosen for one particular reason: MSC are one of the few cruise lines that visit the island of Guadeloupe…

…which was amongst the 12 other islands this cruise visited, all in the course of 14 days.

And our reason for wanting to visit Guadeloupe?

My wife is a huge fan of the UK TV Series, Death in Paradise, and it was an ambition of hers to visit the village of Deshaies and surrounding area where the series is filmed. More about this in the ‘Itinerary’ section of this review.

Our package also included Virgin flights from Gatwick to Barbados which we later discovered was basically an MSC charter with an MSC ‘Registration’ desk at Gatwick Airport..

On arrival at Barbados the MSC organisation was equally slick and very good.  We were very soon allocated to a coach and transferred to the ship.

MSC pride themselves in offering the highest level of service to their ‘Yacht Club’ guests and this became apparent the moment our coach pulled up at the Bridgetown Terminal Building. As ‘Yacht Club’ guests we were greeted outside the terminal building and escorted to a reserved area and offered refreshment including champagne and chocolates while our booking details were checked…

…including an enquiry as to which UK national newspaper we preferred (more about that later).

I’d like to mention at this stage that we had at the time of booking also availed ourselves of MSC’s offer to match, for new MSC cruisers,  any cruise line’s loyalty scheme. This meant, by transferring our Cunard World Club status, we kicked off with MSC as ‘Diamond’ members…

I would certainly urge anyone considering an MSC cruise to avail themselves of this relatively easy to achieve process.

Having completed the formalities in the terminal we were introduced to our ‘Butler’ and escorted onboard. Our first stop was the Yacht Club Concierge Lounge where once again drinks were offered and the Senior Concierge gave a short briefing on his services before we were then escorted to our suite.

We had reserved, at the time of booking, a YC1 Deluxe Yacht Club Suite number…

 

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The ‘Suite’ was a generous 344 Sq Feet with spacious storage …

…a walk in Wardrobe…

…Balcony…

…and ensuite bathroom …

…with full size bathtub, marble sink unit with more than ample storage beneath…

…and a good selection of bathroom toiletries…

As a Yacht Club suite, all beverages are complimentary. Drinks and nibbles in the suite are replenished daily along with the fruit basket…

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We were to discover that we were in for some excellent nights sleep with the suite’s ergonomic mattress bed, fine sheets, and pillow menu…

 

I would add that it was only on arrival in our suite that we first set sight on our cruise cards. At this point we had not been asked to give any form of credit card authorisation, though we were requested to activate our ‘onboard account’,  within 48 hours, at one of the many machines around the ship: one of which was perfectly positioned adjacent to the Concierge Desk…

The Yacht Club on MSC ships is is effectively a ‘ship within a ship’…

…access to which is controlled via one’s cruise card…

On Preziosa, the main Yacht Club facilities included The Concierge, The Topsail Lounge,  The One Pool and the exclusive to Yacht Club guests restaurant, La Palmeraie.

The Concierge 

An area consisting of a central desk and a small lounge …

…complimented with  a useful Library…

Amongst the many services that I noted at the Concierge desk over our 2 weeks onboard was the making of reservations at restaurants,  issuing ship’s  excursion identification stickers for Yacht Club guests and coordinating butler escorts for those heading ashore with ‘private’ excursions.

The Topsail Lounge

Adjacent the Concierge Desk is the entrance to the Topsail Lounge…

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…complete with an excellent bar…

…and barista service…

The Topsail Lounge proved to be our ‘social hub’ whether it was meeting friends for a pre-dinner drink, enjoying the panoramic views or just popping in for some light refreshment…

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Indeed, the lounge offers a continental breakfast service from 7.00 am to 11.00 am while from midday there are continuous selections of delicious snacks available.

High tea was served between 4.00 and 6.00 pm,  when a  butler in full dress uniform offers a  ‘white glove’ table  service…

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For evenings there was always a programme of musical entertainment featuring various artistes who also performed around the ship…

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The Topsail Lounge is an outstanding facility, not just for the exclusive position and  view, but the excellent service, facilities and of course, convenient proximity to one’s suite.

 

The One Pool Deck

I never quite figured out why this area was named as ‘The One Pool’: it seemed to me a strange anomaly as it really is a very good exclusive Sun Deck for Yacht Club guests…

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…complete with pool…

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…two jacuzzis…

…and a bar and dining area…

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Apart from the normal bar opening hours, a snacks buffet was available throughout the day from 7.30 am to 10.00 pm while between midday and 3.00 pm individually prepared cooked lunches were available from the chef’s Gazebo…

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On numerous occasions we received invitations to either Cocktail or Sailaway Parties at The One Pool…

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They were all good fun and, in the main,  gave us a chance to meet and chat to our fellow English Yacht Club passengers…

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…and particularly enjoying the music and early evening balmy Caribbean  atmosphere…

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The final piece in the Yacht Club jigsaw was the dedicated ‘Private Restaurant’, La Palmeraie…

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A dedicated ‘open seating’ restaurant with superbly indulgent menus where guests can dine at leisure. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner this was a classy facility with staff to match and was certainly up there on a par with Cunard’s Grill restaurants…

A selection of dinner menus…

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…and a selection of dishes we ordered, including an Asparagus and Baked Tart starter…

and Beef Carpaccio…

All meals were accompanied by a good selection of complimentary wines…

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A selection of main courses we chose, including Fillet of Sea Bass…

Veal Ossobuco…

And Octopus and Cuttlefish Stew…

Once a week the menu featured a selection by Michelin Chef Harald Wohlfahrt…

…seen here The Halibut and Carrot Mousseline…

…with Enoki Mushrooms.

Desserts were excellent, the genuinely homemade Tirimisu…

…featuring almost every night, while other offerings included the decadent ‘Opera Cake’…

…and the prepared table side Crepes Suzette…

And for those who crave cheese there was a first class selection on the Cheeseboard…

…every evening.

Our overall experience in La Palmeraie was simply awesome. The staff under the direction of maître d’hôtel Vicenzo Cinque and his assistant Ena, were truly exceptional and I make no apologies for mentioning the stand-out waiter, Sumit…

…who was a credit to MSC.

Life onboard

It would be easy to confine this review to the Yacht Club’s facilities but that is not our scene. We very soon discovered that there was a variety of entertainment to be found around the ship and we were determined to make the most of it.

With membership of the Yacht Club comes a number of additional benefits. Most important amongst these was the fact that you can order unlimited premium all Inclusive drinks, not just in The Yacht Club but from any bar around the ship.

Central to the entertainment has to be the Platinum Theatre…

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…which, for Yacht Club guests, had a specially reserved section on the theatre upper level…

We found the ship’s Production Show Team…

…amazing. Over the 14 days onboard we watched 10 different production shows…

…and as can be seen from the above photograph there is a cast of 26 performers. During many shows an interval was programmed in for a number of incredible ‘Cirque du Soleil’ style performances…

including this amazing balancing piece where the guy walked up the stairs with his partner balanced by one hand on his head…

Great Entertainment.

And if that was not enough we often met the performers again as they led the entertainment at the numerous late Deck Parties…

 

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Musical entertainment certainly featured throughout the ship and one was often spoilt for choice whether it be in the Mixology Bar, The El Dorado…

…at the large aft  entertainment centre, The Safari Lounge…

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…and the Atrium & Preziosa Bar…

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But by far our favourite for variety and atmosphere was The Green Sax…

 

A great variety of music, reasonable dancing space plus the addition of two attractive ‘dance hosts’…

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We additionally found an excellent venue for those who may like to indulge in a little people watching. Il Cappuccino…

…is the ship’s speciality Coffee Bar and is delightfully positioned on the edge of the Atrium on Deck 7…

Also a great venue for that night cap, an ‘Italian Coffee’…

There were two occasions when we ventured into dining areas that weren’t the preserve of Yacht Club guests. The first was the….

an American-style steak house serving select aged Linz heritage Angus beef and a selection of other dishes…

Earlier in this review it was mentioned that we had utilised the  MSC offer of transferring another cruise lines loyalty points. Well apart from the numerous (4) parties we were invited to this proved an immensely interesting benefit…

We made our reservation through the La Palmeraie maître d’hôtel who, to our surprise, arranged for the ‘Butcher’s Cut’  restaurant manager to brief us on the menu…

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience dining at ‘The Butcher’s Cut’…

…having been given a window table…

…our meal was further complimented by a good Malbec…

…choosing for starter a Baked Goat’s Cheese Tart…

…and two different cuts of Steak…

…cooked exactly to our taste…

…and followed by a most tasty dessert, Chocolate Lava Cake…

Our second outing to dine elsewhere was when we thought to try a pizza lunch in the Inca Buffet…

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An impressive selection of 5 different pizzas to help oneself…

…and while there I couldn’t help noticing an impressive array of sauces on another counter…

Something for everyone.

What also impressed, apart from the variety of available food, was the waiter service. having found your table just press the buzzer…

Cheers then, Pizza done…

Well not quite. There actually is a separate Pizza restaurant onboard, the…

While being highly recommended for its high quality pizzas it does actually carry a surcharge to dine there…

However, as Yacht Club guests we discovered a loophole. We could order room service, any item, and there was no charge. The butler even came and laid up our table with cutlery and poured the wine…

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And finally while covering entertainment, we did on two evenings end up in the Galaxy Disco…

…though surprisingly we found it a shade lacking in atmosphere…

…possibly due to the absence of a good DJ.

One bar that we did pass on numerous occasions and would have been tempted to use was the Al Fresco Garden Bar…

…aft on Deck 15. There was often good music ‘under the stars’ but this was the only bar where smoking was allowed which kind of precluded our patronage. We did on one occasion, however, give the patrons a dance exhibition in between some good banter with our musician friend ‘Scorpion”.

That basically ends our Yacht Club experience onboard Preziosa and it is time to move on to the…

Itinerary

As mentioned in the introduction this was a 14 night cruise with NO sea days…

We were scheduled to call at 12 ports, two of them, Fort de France, Martinique and Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe) twice.

Three of the ports would be ‘maiden’ calls for us ( Pointe a Pitre, Kingstown and Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) . Others we had mostly been to on many occasions, some done to death.

Our first port of call, on Wednesday 19 February, was Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago…

…one of the ports that was new to us. But we had a plan…

We wanted to see the area around Woodford Square which included The Red House…

Originally dating back to 1844,  The Red House is the seat of Parliament in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Also bordering  Woodford Square is Trinity Cathedral…

…with its fascinating stain glass windows…

…and sacred stone labyrinth…

Our main focus though was to see the Magnificent Seven…

The Magnificent Seven are group of seven mansions located west of the Queen’s Park Savannah in the northern part of Port of Spain and is a group of architectural gems that in their heyday were a sight to behold. We saw all seven – here’s one or two examples to add to the Queen’s Royal College above and include Ambard’s House… 

…Whitehall…

…and Stollmeyer’s Castle…

Port of Spain was a good start to our itinerary and my wife’s Fitbit tells me we covered a total of 9.73 miles that day.

Our second port of call,  Thursday 20th February,  was Saint George, Grenada...

One of the Caribbean islands we had visited most, the first time being in August 1990 while on our first ever cruise onboard Cunard Countess. But in all those visits not once had I climbed up to…

…which dominates the town and has a bit of history…

There are some pretty good commanding views to be had as well…

…including out towards Grande Anse beach where we usually spend our visits…

 

Our third port of call, on Friday 21st February, was KingstownSaint Vincent and The Grenadines…

We had a plan that would entail a walk to Fort Charlotte which we spotted as we sailed into Kingstown…

Fort Charlotte is a British-colonial era fort standing some 601 feet above sea level, and checking my camera’s timings we did the climb…

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…in an hour and 21 minutes…

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We certainly enjoyed the spectacular views over Kingstown and back towards the ship…

The fort enjoys a panoramic view of the Leeward side of the island, including Kingstown, Young Island, the Caribbean, Bequia and the Grenadines.

 

Our fourth port of call, on Saturday 22nd of February, was Fort de France, Martinique…

It had been some 30 years since we last visited Fort de France and well before digital photography had gripped my interest. So this visit was looked at in the light of it being a first and the necessary research was duly undertaken and a map of our targets to see produced…

Not quite as accurate though as this was one of those ports where MSC embark new passengers and, as such, we berthed at a terminal that I had not anticipated, in the port area to the right of Fort Saint Louis…

It proved no great problem, the walk from the ship to the Bibliothèque was only 20 minutes and that included time to stop and photograph the ‘mess’ of iguanas along a road side waterway…

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We easily made it to the Bibliothèque Schoelcher…

Built in 1887, this public library houses the works collection of the abolitionist Victor Schoelcher…

…and was pretty fascinating to visit…

The Bibliothèque also helped us with our bearings for our planned ascent of Chapelle du Calvaire…

…seen standing on the hill overlooking the town: central on the above photograph. It turned out to be not as simple as it may look as we needed to navigate a number of streets and blocks to find the path which leads up to Chapel…

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Having arrived at the top…

…the views made the climb well worthwhile…

On our return to the town we took in a visit too The Pavillion Bougenot…

which is Martinique’s most famous old colonial building and the former home of sugar plantation  owner Emile Bougenot.

I should point out here that as Martinique is an insular region of France, where the  €uro is the currency it is also worthwhile noting that those visitors with European roaming mobile phones can utilise their monthly allowance without any further charge.

 

Our fifth port of call, on Sunday 23rd of February, was…

 Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe…

We’ve made it. In retrospect this was the island that was initially the sole reason for us booking the cruise. And why?

Well my wife is a great fan of the television series, ‘Death in Paradise’, and it is on Guadeloupe, in and around the village of Deshaies, that the series is filmed. There were initially a number of obstacles to be overcome for us to get to Deshaies. It is some 41 Km from Pointe a Pitre and while there is normally a local  bus service they don’t run on Sundays – the day we were visiting. Research directed us to a local tour guide, Mirva Lempiainen, whose web site is…

http://guadeloupeguide.com

…who, due to other commitments, couldn’t accommodate us on our dates. He did,  however,  recommended another tour guide, Krisztina Kovacs…

…who can be found via Facebook..

https://www.facebook.com/karibialmok/     or email…     kovakriszta@gmail.com

Our day with Krisztina was awesome. Having collected us promptly at the cruise terminal she gave us a quick familiarisation drive through Pointe a Pitre before heading north across the island towards the area around Deshaies. Our first stop,  a short distance past Deshaies, was at the island’s famous Deshaies Botanical Garden…
…that provides 7 hectares offering a wide range of remarkable plants, trees and magnificent Caribbean flora…
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Our visit to the garden complete we headed back into Deshaies for a full and leisurely visit to those places that feature in the series…

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And it was here that our luck really was in. The Saint Honore Police Station film set was actually open to visitors…

What an opportunity…

…we couldn’t believe our luck…

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Naturally our next set to visit was to head down to Saint Honore’s beach and Catherine’s Bar…

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…Cheers…

But we weren’t finished yet, there were a number of beaches to see on the way back to Point a Pitre, first the aptly named Grande Anse…

…where Krisztina successfully managed to negotiate me a part time job at one of the local ChiChi stalls…

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…before moving on to Plage de la Perle…

…which is the location for the ‘Caribbean Detective’s beach hut home’, though,  as we knew before leaving the UK, it is dismantled after each series shoot.  Not to worry, we got the feel of the place…

Thanks also to Krisztina’s efforts and outstanding navigation we even managed to return in time to see parts of the Point a Pitre Annual Carnival…

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Thanks once again Krisztina for giving us an outstanding service and  wonderful day:  and especially for your patience with the camera man.

FOOTNOTE: So good was our day out in Guadeloupe that I fully intend writing a separate review under the cover of my …’One Way to do …’ series.

Our sixth  port of call, on Monday 24th February, was Road Town, Tortola…

One Caribbean island we have done to death on both cruise ships and on a two week shoreside villa holiday. But apart from adding to my collection of Preziosa photographs…

…there was a specific purpose to our getting ashore. Two years ago, while visiting onboard P&O’s Oceana, I found an electronics shop in the Tortola Pier Park and got a great deal on a Nikon camera…

On this visit I was delighted to find they had the full range of Apple 11 Pro iPhones and was delighted to do an excellent business deal  with Teddy…

After a few beers at the Coconut Lounge…

…all I wanted was to return onboard and play with my new boys-toy.

Just one other point of interest though. This was the second port in six days that we had found ourselves tied up alongside Fred Olsen’s Braemar…

…which was at the centre of one of the unfortunate coronavirus scares.

Our seventh port of call, on Tuesday 25th  February, was Philipsburg, St Maarten…

St Maarten is another of those Caribbean islands vying with Tortola, Grenada and St Lucia that we have lost track of the number of visits. This for us was a good day then to clock up some walking and steps on my good lady’s fitbit while taking in a few local hostelries on the way…

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…and…

 

I have to confess though that I had an urge to be photographed with  a pair of big beasts…

…and actually enjoyed watching and listening to the rousing choruses and whistles directed at us by passengers as Symphony of the Seas set off before us…

 

 

Our eighth port of call, on Wednesday 26th February, was Roseau, Dominica…

You guessed it, we’d been here before…

…on Queen Elizabeth in December 2010…

…so I can’t complain at MSC parking out at crap berths. But once again the walk did us good.

And on this occasion we did find Roseau’s ‘Old Prison’ which eluded us on the last visit…

…or at least, what is left of it…

 

Some things do change however. Back in 2010 we enjoyed a fun afternoon at a bar named CocoRico…

It’s still there but trading somewhat differently…

On this occasion the ‘Ruins Rock Cafe’ proved a much more exciting prospect…

…if not exactly packed…

Our ninth port of call, on Thursday 27th February, was Basseterre, St Kitts & Nevis…

On previous visits we have done both beaches and historical sites such as Brimstone Hill Fortress…

On this visit though , apart from our daily exercising of my wife’s fitbit, photography was again the order of the day. One task was to try and capture the ‘Town Clock’ uninterrupted by vehicles negotiating the roundabout. Success at last…

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We also had some fun along the waterfront watching the pelicans feeding off scraps thrown by a local fish vendor…

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…and investigating an older style cruise ship that was berthed on Basseterre’s new jetty…

The ‘Freewinds’…

…is in matter of fact a floating recreational and training facility for the Church of Scientology…

She has an interesting history. Launched in 1968 as the MS Bohème she had a disastrous start to her cruising life. Her maiden voyage from Stockholm to Miami was cut short when she hit an underwater obstacle in the Stockholm Archipeligo.  Her hull and fuel tanks were breached and lifeboats were used to evacuate all passengers from the listing ship and three days later she was refloated and towed to the Finnboda shipyard for repairs.

Our tenth port of call, on Friday 28th  February, was St John’s, Antigua…

We were on a mission. As with Grenada and Tortola, on our more recent visits to Antigua we had preferred days on the beach. We had however, in 1990, visited onboard the Cunard Countess and had taken a tour of Shirley Heights and English Harbour. That was before the advent of digital photography and that needed to be rectified.

Once ashore we negotiated with a local taxi guide for a days private tour.

Our driver, Paulson, turned out to be not just knowledgeable on the islands best view points, but also a walking, talking cricket encyclopaedia…

Whatever, we achieved everything on our list plus a number of other places of interest that Paulson had up his sleeve. Our main places were the view over English Harbour from Shirley Heights…

The Blockhouse…

…and the view over Eric Clapton’s home from The Blockhouse…

…and a bit of zoom…

Next up was Nelson’s Dockyard…

…taking the best it has to offer…

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…while additionally having a little fun ourselves…

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Our tour continued along the coastal road stopping at a number of beaches including Curtain Bluff…

…and Valley Church…

…before we returned to St John’s in time for a few beers at the waterfront ‘Harbour View Bar’…

Cheers Paulson, a great day out.

Paulson can be contacted and pre-booked via email:     paulsonfarquhar13@gmail.com

 

Our eleventh  port day, on Saturday 29th February, was a return visit to Fort de France on the island of Martinique…

I arose early, and as it turned out, just in time to see the seaward side of Fort Saint Louis…

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We retraced our steps from the previous week’s visit as far as the La Savane…

…a 12½ acre park fronting the Fort-de-France Bay. Formerly known as ‘Jardin du Roi’ its original purpose was to harbour scientific experiments on plants that were new to the colony at that time.

The statue above is of Pierre Belain d’Esnambuc the French trader and adventurer who, in 1635,  founded the first colony in Martinique. However, his statue is not the one that attracts the greatest interest. That honour goes to the one in the park corner adjacent the Bibliothèque, of the ‘headless’ Josephine de Beauharnais, first wife of Napoleon and Empress of France…

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A short walk from La Savane can be found the island’s former colonial Palace of Justice, the renamed Espace Camille Darsières…

…fronted by a commemorative statue of Victor Schœlcher, with a child on the way to education.

And maybe a hundred yards down the road, Fort de France’s Saint Louis Cathedral…

Having inspected the cathedral internally I could not resist a photo shot at the reflection opposite…

We completed our DIY tour walking along the waterfront and circumnavigating Fort Saint Louis from the landward side…

*****

 

Our twelfth  port day, on Sunday 1st March, was a return to Pointe A Pitre, Guadeloupe…

…and we planned a beach day.

The terminal operates a ‘taxi office’ point that, certainly on a Sunday, is run as one of the finest cartels your likely to meet away from Salalah. But never mind, we are on holiday and we joined ten others in a mini-bus for the 30 minute ride to the town of Sainte-Anne…

….and the Plage de Bourg…

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While we had a good time we would, with hindsight, have chosen to pay a little more and returned to one of the beaches we had visited the week previously. On our return to Pointe A Pitre we spent a pleasant hour walking around some of the sights we missed on the previous week’s visit, including the Saint-John-Perse Museum…

Housed in a spectacular silver-latticework structure on the site of the former Darboussier sugar factory on Pointe-à-Pitre’s long-neglected waterfront is The Memorial  ACTe

It is a contemporary museum offering historical exhibits on the Caribbean’s slave trade & indigenous people and, on that subject, while walking towards it we also discovered this poignant wall mural to 1967 May Massacre…

…when, on 26 May 1967, French police opened fire on striking workers in Pointe-à-Pitre.

 

Our thirteenth  port day, on Monday 2nd  March, was a call to Castries, St Lucia…

We were berthed at Pointe Seraphine on the opposite side of the harbour to the main town…

Castries is another of those ports that we have visited many times and done many excursions so, once more, it was time to clock up the steps on the fitbit…

…so off we set and eventually completely circumnavigated the harbour which afforded an opportunity to capture some great images of the ship…

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…before stopping at a bar for some light refreshment…

…to aid our walk back to the ship.

Day 15 sees us returning to where we started this cruise, Barbados…

…but this was to be unlike any other disembarkation we have undergone. Indeed, it was so relaxed to be almost surreal. We had received very clear and detailed information on procedures and timings the main thrust of which was that we could remain in our suite till 10.30 am and then proceed to the ‘Top Sail Lounge’, where there was a full range of services,  until called for our transfer to Bridgetown airport.

This relaxed procedure wasn’t just applied to Yacht Club guests either. I spotted this board detailing Colour Tags disembarkation times…

…while walking on the deck mid morning. Also worth noting that our luggage, which had been placed outside our suite the previous evening, would not be seen until we arrived at the airport.

All in all a very impressive disembarkation and MSC are to be congratulated.

 

Summary.

 

Where do I begin.  Well to say we were bowled over by the level of service we received would be an understatement. The whole cruise was excellent and our enjoyment simply proved way beyond our expectations.

Okay, this was in MSC’s Yacht Club and you pay for it but it just felt that in so many ways they went beyond expectations across the board.

For instance I had no idea that we would be offered our own personal choice of UK national newspaper…

…delivered usually before 7.30 am. Being an habitual early riser there was something almost decadent sneaking out of the suite and enjoying excellent coffee and a croissant in the Top Sail Lounge while reading a UK Newspaper before I would have we been home…

 

The ability to order complimentary drinks anywhere on the ship opened up the social horizons and to have your suite ‘nibbles’ replenished daily was just awesome.

Equally impressive was the ‘Butler’ reception at each port. Whether it was a Gazebo at the gangway…

or a private facility in a terminal…

…there was always the cold towel, a selection of iced drinks and chocolates on return to the ship.

Of all the services however, the one that most impressed was the ‘Escort Ashore’. We only availed ourselves of this on one occasion and that was in Guadeloupe when we had booked a private tour: the service operates equally for ship’s excursions.  Simply head to the Concierge Desk 15 minutes before the tour or excursion and be escorted ashore by a butler, avoiding any gangway queues or delays.

Food I’ve covered and, suffice to just repeat,  the La Palmeraie Restaurant staff and food were outstanding and certainly on a par with Cunard’s Grills.

And so to the the usual final question. Would we cruise with MSC again?

Simple to answer, yes we would and from what we saw outside of the Yacht Club we’d even consider that option should an itinerary on a ship with no Yacht Club  appeal to us: indeed we have already booked for 2021 where a 10 day itinerary with 4 maiden ports to us was on offer.

 

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©2019 – 20 * Solent Richard’s Cruise Blog * All Rights Reserved

Duplication in part or whole without prior written consent is prohibited by international laws.

 

Disclosure to potential conflict of interest:

It is common throughout the travel industry for travel journalists and many cruise bloggers to be provided with complimentary cruises for the purpose of their reviews.

Solent Richard has no ‘conflict of interest’ as he is not an accredited journalist, he pays for his cruises, and is happy to confirm that all his reviews are his own given without fear or favour.

 

 

 

9 responses to “MSC Preziosa – Yacht Club Experience

  1. Thanks for your blog Richard! We too love the Death in Paradise series and really enjoyed your photos of the Honore Police Station and Catherine’s Bar! Thanks for fulfilling your wife’s dream visit!

    Joyce Law

    Sent from XFINITY Connect Mobile App

  2. Anyone thinking of taking a cruise probably voted for donnie t-rump. Hey, there are millions of idiots out there, maybe you’ll fill the ships!

    • Hello Bill in Lockport, New York. I’d be delighted to help the cause The Donald as we in the UK are great fans of his particularly as he’s made those Europeans sit up and start paying for their own defence. Have a nice day.

  3. Hi Richard, Thank you so much for your blog, I found it really interesting especially as I have been nervous of trying MSC having previously been Celebrity and Silversea cruisers. However your blog had definitely reassured me and I would now give it a go in the Yacht Club for sure. Hopefully this terrible Coronavirus will spare us all to cruise again.

    Stay safe and happy

    Regards Jan Fisher-Payne

    On Wed, 25 Mar 2020 at 11:52, Solent Richard’s Cruise Blog wrote:

    > solentrichard posted: “My wife and I have recently returned from a cruise > that gave us our first experience sailing with MSC…. …onboard the MSC > Preziosa… ***** …and a chance to evaluate their Yacht Club facility. > This cruise was initially chose” >

  4. Dear Richard – I always read your blogs with much pleasure and interest. I admire their detail enormously and envy your energy and enthusiasm – both of you so lovely.

    There is something important to point out about The Yacht Club – in my case on MSC Seaview on 13th May – immediately after my 80th Birthday Party in the theatre at the V&A where my theatre company performed.

    I booked direct – cabin 18013 and all went much as you describe.

    I’ve cruised alone on almost every cruise line for over fifty years without anything but joy. I’m confident in joining tables whether of couples or singles and have always found people to spend time with.

    So, having left everything in my cabin – kitted out in dark brown including the ceiling – I found my way to the club restaurant. I expressed a wish to be on a table of eight if possible. Oh no, the maitre d’ said – you will be dining alone. Why, I asked her. We don’t join tables at the Yacht Club. I’d like to leave this ship right now, I said. We were still in port. No, she said. You will meet people round the pool. This seemed invidious to me but, unfortunately, I demurred. I did meet one family to join for the first night – they took pity on me – then they disembarked and I ate every single meal alone after that. It rained most days, the pool area was deserted, and no effort was made on my behalf.

    I booked directly with MSC, had long chats with countless personnel, and never, in any discussion or printed literature, was the fact that Yacht Club is not run like a usual cruise, mentioned.

    It was miserable from start to finish. Concierge were sympathetic but could do nothing.

    I met some other couples who thought that they were going to celebrate various anniversaries with new-found friends and they were disappointed also.

    I’m just hoping that other single travellers don’t get tempted to try MSC Yacht Club after reading your excellent review.

    Any other cruise line will take care of their lone travellers but, particularly, the new Saga Cruise Ships for those over 50 with 109 beautiful single cabins and a great atmosphere on board.

    In terms of travelling on MSC without the Club – you’re braver than me. I now find the crowds a bit oppressive but, in years gone by, I cruised MSC and Costa although preferring Sea Dream!

    Well – we’re not allowed to cruise now so I suppose it will be a while until a new blog appears but, perhaps, you could send us some recent ones as we now have more time to read.

    All v. best wishes – Angela M.

    ________________________________

  5. Thank you very much for the great review.

    We are trying MSC for the first time, We wil be on the Preziosa In December for the 8 night Rio de Janeiro cruise.

    Take Care,

    Brian and Cindy Dietz
    Annapolis, MD USA

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