Today is a day at sea, so it’s a good opportunity to mention some of our (random) observations. It’s a bit like an MSC vs Princess smackdown.

The passengers
MSC cruisers are much younger and a hell of a lot friendlier than the passengers on Princess. There’s a good mix of nationalities and everyone is (in the main) polite, uncomplaining and accommodating. Refreshing.

The facilities
The MSC Virtuosa has something for everyone. From kids clubs to bars, a waterpark to sports park, dance classes to casino to aerial assault course. You won’t get bored on this ship anytime soon.

The staff
As I mentioned previously, the service on MSC Cruises is slightly less polished than Princess, but that’s not a negative thing. Each night, around 9pm, the waiting staff launch into a weird, unannounced song and dance routine in the main dining room. It’s hilarious – and definitely something you won’t see on Sky Princess.

The buffet
The buffet operates according to some strange opening hours. It is not unusual to grab a plate and find that a counter has closed while your back is turned and all the food has vanished. Pizza, salads and burgers seem to be available almost around the clock, in between scheduled meals.

The bars
Virtually everything is included in the drinks package. You can even drink Lanson Black Label in the champagne bar on the drinks package. The adults-only bar on the top deck is really nice.

The chalet
For a short period each afternoon, a German Christmas Market-style chalet opens on the open deck. Well worth visiting if you like mulled wine, spiked hot chocolate or candy floss.

When it comes to MSC vs Princess, the American cruise line wins for candy floss
Adult-sized portions – Linda confirms it was good

The decor
Think Las Vegas.

Admittedly, we have travelled in term time, but there are kids on board. And because the kids club is on the top deck, you almost never see them. Those we did encounter were well-behaved, which is nice.

To summon a lift, one must first press the number of their floor. A digital display then tells you which of the six lifts to get into. There are no buttons inside the lift, so no one can change their mind mid-journey. As a result, the whole experience is smoother, faster and more pleasant.

The MSC Virtuosa has a great choice of beers. The ‘pub’ down in the main plaza has plenty on tap – and they live stream Premiership football matches too. The only downside is that snagging a seat on match day isn’t easy.

Generally excellent. Perhaps the only criticism would be that dishes sometimes arrive a little cold in the main dining room.

Would we travel MSC again? Yes, absolutely. It’s a different vibe to Princess, but we like it.