A cruise really is the perfect holiday for children. Our daughter was enchanted on meeting Doremi, the MSC mascot, and she simply had to acquire a cuddly version from the MSC logo shop on the last night. I also acquired a bottle of perfume from La Profumeria – a necessity, I told my husband.
There are activities and entertainments galore for children on MSC Divina. Mini Club for age 3-6 and Juniors Club for age 7-11. For older children there was a play centre, 4-D cinema, video games room, bowling sports bar, F1 simulator, as well as a fabulous water slide.
We were particularly impressed at the breadth of the activities, with the programme in the kids’ clubs running from 9am until 11pm. Fantastic fun was had as the children made their own pizzas and learnt high-energy dance moves, providing ample time for us to relax and unwind.
The children loved the experience of being at sea – both whooped and whistled when the ship blew its horn. Liberty was absolutely enchanted with the mascot Doremi, while Miles was fascinated by the ship. His end- of-holiday treat was buying a model of the ship so that he could count all the lifeboats. Both children were also impressed by the chocolates left on our pillows every night.
A highlight for our family was our evening visits to the Pantheon Theatre. The shows were marvellous, and included Italian Singers, a Michael Jackson tribute, as well as dance and acrobatic shows. We were absolutely wowed by the talent. The theatre was ideal for all ages and varied entertainment was put on throughout the ship, with live music in most lounges and bars.
As members of the Yacht Club we had direct lift access to the MSC Aurea Spa – a tranquil and relaxing space with complimentary unlimited access to the thermal area – sauna, steam room and relaxation room. There were numerous treatment rooms, offering massages and other body-pampering treatments at an additional cost. I had a Balinese massage. It was the most soothing massage I have ever had. And for my husband, the gymnasium was large and had a variety of cardiovascular machines and strengthening equipment, which he used several times during the week, always managing to secure a piece of equipment. There were also various exercise classes including pilates, cycling and stretching classes, at an additional cost, as well as a jogging track and football pitch.
Of course, a big part of cruising is leaving the ship and exploring. We were delighted to discover that MSC Divina offered a variety of excursions from every port and I was amazed at how well organised and easy these were. We also did some exploring of our own and most things of interest only ever seemed a 10-minute walk away.
Our highlights included paddling on Cannes and Barcelona beaches and discovering the delights of Palma around the cobbled streets on a horse drawn carriage. In Naples we hopped on and off the city sightseeing bus, taking time out to indulge in real Italian gelato and, naturally, it being in the home of pizza, a Neapolitan margherita simply had to be sampled. Unsurprisingly, it was absolutely delicious.
Since we arrived home Miles has been asking: “Why haven’t we got a butler?” and “Why can’t we go to the theatre every night?” He’s not the only one. Luxurious, relaxing, and a fantastically easy way for us to visit idyllic Mediterranean destinations on one holiday, our first family cruise was simply amazing. We had the most incredible week and are now complete cruise converts. We can’t wait to experience one again.
GETTING THERE: A seven-night cruise on MSC Preziosa starts from £2,396 for a family of four (two children under 12) sharing a balcony stateroom, including return BA flights from Gatwick. A stay in the Yacht Club during the same week starts from £5,076 for a family of four, also including flights. For more information visit msccruises.co.uk or call 0203 426 3010.
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