Well, here we are on our second sea day. Unfortunately, there are only two on this itinerary and truth be told, I wish they were at the end rather than at the start!
If you’ve ever sailed to the Norwegian Fjords, you’ll know how nice it is to have a ‘bookend’ of a sea day at each end of your 7-nights – it really helps you get into the cruise and is very relaxing before you get off.
But, there is nothing we can do to change this, so let’s make the most of our second and final sea day, before three days of ports and then straight into Southampton.
This morning’s weather is certainly ‘lively’ to say the least – there are a few swells, nothing big, and it is quite breezy. I am yet to find the ship’s map channel, which I usually am glued to (I love my stats), so I don’t know just how windy it is currently.
A More Formal Breakfast
This morning, I skipped the room service breakfast and instead, I am heading to one of the main restaurants on the ship for a sit-down waiter/ress served breakfast.
Cruise ships generally offer breakfast three ways – room service, buffet or one of the dining restaurants. There is usually no cost for any of them (although room service may incur a delivery fee with some lines).
When you go for breakfast in one of the ship’s restaurants, it will not necessarily be the same restaurant that you are allocated for your evening meals – and if it is, by chance, then you’ll find that you won’t be sitting at your usual table (unless by luck) – they sit people wherever, based on the number of seats required.
If it is really busy, you may find you have to share a table (i.e. two couples, or a table of six, etc.) – but you will also find that there are numerous waiting staff that, unlike at dinner, don’t wait for each person to finish whatever course – you could be ordering your coffees, whilst the couple opposite you are awaiting their cooked breakfast.
Dining in the restaurant offers a good majority of what is in the buffet (or room service) and some more carefully crafted food items, like Eggs Benedict, Omelettes, Grilled Kippers and so on.
I would choose this option if you are not in a rush and/or perhaps it is a sea day – it is a less hectic way to start breakfast compared to any ship’s buffets, and you have more choices (i.e. warm food) than room service.
In this instance, I had some fruit juice, coffee, a couple of pastries and my all-time breakfast favourite – Eggs Benedict.
The food arrived within around 5-10 minutes, and the eggs were cooked to perfection. The hollandaise sauce was .. ‘different’ than I am used to, but overall a good breakfast and lovely friendly crew serving, a nice cheery start to the morning!
As it is on this cruise, the allocated breakfast restaurant for the ship happens to be the Golden Lobster (lower) which is my Aurea MyChoice Dining restaurant (which I will be visiting) tonight.
After breakfast, I decided to do a bit of a tour of the ship. However, it was only 8.30 am and therefore.. everything was still shut. I walked through the casino, dropped 25 EUR into a machine (because I was going to blog about how to use them!) and a few spins later, I won 250 EUR – what a result! Excitedly, I nearly walked away, leaving my cruise card in the machine – not a good idea.
I returned to my cabin to pick up my bag with my laptop and notes and took a few minutes to get some fresh air on the balcony. Oh, how things have changed.
It is now quite windy, and there is a definite swell heading to the port bow (left front) of the ship. We are certainly moving a little now, not much, but it is steadily increasing.
By the time I headed to Il Cappuccino (my coffee bar haunt I like to visit now) – the sick bags had been positioned by the lifts on each deck, and there was an announcement informing us that the outer decks would now be closed due to the inclement weather (which means the waterpark would be shut too) – not ideal for the ship on a sea day when everyone has to stay on – but certainly not the first time!
I had a few coffees, helped a couple get online with the weird intermittent Wi-Fi, and struggled myself to actually get much to load for the blog or otherwise – I guess everyone else is also online!
So, I went for a wander around the shops, but first looked at the inside, and the main outdoor pool, which both had netting over them and clearly were not suitable for swimming or even standing in – the water was spilling out of each end, and it was getting very windy on deck (even around the sheltered areas).
Looking out to sea, I could see other ships battling the strong winds and swells and whilst MSC Preziosa is not a small ship, mother nature can still make her move around easily enough like a toy.
As it is, I don’t get seasick, so I headed back inside and down to the Minimall, the MSC Logo Shop and various others to see what was on sale.
I picked up a few bits from the MSC Logo Shop and took them back to my cabin as I didn’t want to carry them about and then went to my ‘go-to’ place for Wi-Fi – a pair of seats outside the Golden Lobster restaurant – no idea why, but the Internet is pretty good here.
On my way, I passed by the Phoenicians Plaza on Deck 6 (Diamante Deck) and noticed they have pastries and cakes available (for free) if you wish – I might do that another day!
A More Formal Lunch
After about one hour, I was getting hungry and noticed the restaurant was due to open in five minutes. Whilst I am here, I may as well get lunch here instead of at the buffet as that will be busy I imagine.
For lunch, the menu does change daily, and it is like breakfast – no allocated table or time, turn up, and they will seat you.
As it is, I was back by the window where I was for breakfast – fair enough, it is a good people-watching spot (especially as the window was now covered by the sea frequently).
For my starter, I had New Zealand Mussels au gratin, which was really quite tasty.
For my main course, I had two main courses, a small Chicken Caesar Salad and Penne Pasta in a creamy egg sauce (as I have said before, the fresh pasta onboard MSC ships is good) – two might seem a lot, but if you ask your waiter/ress they’ll actually bring you half-portions if you prefer. This is ideal for tasting different dishes!
I decided to skip the dessert option as I am eating a proper meal tonight, and that will likely be three courses – if you do this each day, you’ll quickly run out of clothes that fit (unless you are one of those really smart cruisers, which packs larger sizes for later on in the cruise!)
After lunch, I headed back through the casino and clearly being so full of myself for winning earlier, I managed to lose 50 EUR in less than a minute this time. Good one.
Internet & Downtime
This afternoon, the internet has slowly but surely become very sluggish to the point that I keep getting kicked off the Wi-Fi points, and when I am on them, even social media sites won’t load. It is a bit annoying as I wanted to do some work, but because everything outside is closed (and the inside pool) – lots more people are online, so it is to be expected to a certain degree, I guess.
(As I later found out, though, there is a workaround!)
As the internet wasn’t playing, I decided I would go and have a nice drink and listen to some music somewhere – I found myself a seat in the Safari Lounge (rear of the ship, Deck 7 ‘Rubino Deck’) where there were plenty of seats and waiting staff to take your order (after passing through the casino again)
After a Cappuccino and a Long Island Ice Tea (strange combination, I know), it was getting dark outside, and the ship was starting to get a little more lively (in terms of bumping around!)
It was time to get ready for the evening.
A More Formal Dinner
This evening the ship has a formal night. Whilst MSC offers formal nights like other cruise lines, they aren’t especially strict with what you wear – which is one of the reasons why they are popular too.
In fact, in the Daily Program, it actually has this about the formal night
On Gala Night, dress to impress! Whether that means a tuxedo, suit and tie, evening gown or cocktail dress, or perhaps it’s your very best jeans and polo shirt, your attire should fit your own level of elegance’MSC Preziosa Daily Program – 01 November 2022
I thought that was an excellent summary of exactly what formal night is on MSC Cruises! All too often, I see people ask, ‘Is it really formal?’ ‘do I have to wear a suit?’ ‘If I wear a tuxedo, will I seem out of place?’ and the resounding answer is no.
The only restriction they have is no shorts, flip flops, tank-tops or t-shirts in the main dining rooms, lounges or theatre. That isn’t to say that by 11 pm you can’t change into those – many people stay in the same attire, others go back after their meals and get changed – it is up to you.
Tonight I headed to the Golden Lobster (low) located on Deck 6 ‘Diamante Deck’ – this will be the third time I have eaten in the restaurant today.
As I am sailing with the MSC Aurea Experience, I have MyChoice Dining – which means I can turn up for my evening meal anytime between 17:45 and 20:45 and (as long as a table is free) they’ll seat me there and then for my meal.
Whilst I like fixed dining times on cruises (always opting for late, usually) – I love the freedom of the MyChoice Dining when I am undecided about what I am doing at each port or sea day – it gives you great flexibility.
For my starter, I had another Caesar Salad.
For my main course, I was unsure whether to have the Porcini mushroom risotto or the Beef Wellington. My waiter said I should have both, and he’d bring out a smaller risotto for me than usual so that I could make sure I had a dessert – what a guy!
For my dessert, I had Baked Alaska – which is a very traditional cruise ship dessert.
All of this was washed down with some lovely drinks, repeatedly topped up by my waiter, Joe.
After that, it was time to head back to my cabin so that I could finish off some work (Dedicated. That is me.)
The Internet is BACK
After picking up my laptop and wondering where to work from, I headed across the ship to the various lounges and stumbled across (this should have seemed obvious in hindsight) an empty room, which was perfect for my needs.
It was just off the Atrium, near the Fountain.
The Internet Lounge on Deck 5 ‘Corallo Deck’ by the Guest Services, is somewhere where I have never visited on most ships (as I bring my own devices) – but I am now sold on this venue being one of my all-time favourites now.
Firstly, it is nice and quiet, and I don’t have any distractions – so perfect for getting on and working – secondly, it has its own dedicated Wi-FI point, which never once dropped the connection and thirdly, I don’t know if this was an actual thing or not – but the internet was the quickest in here than anywhere I have experienced on the ship (and to be fair, it’s been okay the majority of the time).
So, for those onboard whilst I am – let’s keep it a secret between us before it becomes just as busy as the other places!
Whilst I am on the subject of the internet – if you have not brought a laptop with you, you can use the computers in this room by just swiping your cruise card – they have browsers, Office, etc. on them and even a printer – so useful if you need to print out tickets. The only thing is, the keyboards on the computers remind me of a typewriter.
Port Day Planning
After successfully publishing a blog (albeit late), I left and headed back through the Atrium – whilst most people have gone to bed now, there are many crew out hoovering, polishing and cleaning everything.
I have been told that when the ship returns to Hamburg next week and drops off its passengers, it will then sail to Malta and go in drydock for three weeks for a bit of a spruce up / mandatory hull check and maintenance and then it will sail to Brazil for its next season.
I have to say, though, the ship doesn’t look tired or dirty, and nothing appears broken – if anything, it looks brand new in most places!
The only place where it is obvious something is happening soon is the MSC Logo Shop – where they have only some colours of various items because they aren’t getting restocked for a few more weeks. Other than that, you wouldn’t know!
Tomorrow is Rotterdam, and I have not been for years (previously on a cruise) – I don’t even remember much of the sail-in, so I am going to try to get up early to get some photos and see how it goes!
The weather has absolutely taken a turn for the worse now, and I got soaked taking this blurry photo on the balcony before bed.
Until tomorrow – see you later!