Back To Line

MSC Cruises: MSC Poesia

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
  • New

Apr 5, 2013

Caribbean

1. All activities on board had been cancelled with the exception of single games of Bingo (which had to be paid for) and 1 or 2 dance lessons. We did partake in the dance lessons, but the concert equipment took up half the dance floor. People were having to dance around tables in the common areas of the lounges. When this very limited time for activities was available. 2. All nightly entertainment was nonexistent until the last night

when one single show was held. 3. Every lounge and main Carlos Felice theater was required to show badge identification for entry which was not available for purchase to regular cruisers - when there was entertainment going on. Not that we had any interest in heavy metal rock anyways. 4. The pool area had been blocked off on our first day departing due to the band completely taking over the one of the pool areas with their dangerous scaffolding and poorly wired stage and equipment 5. Throughout the stage equipment being on board, they navigated bad weather and high winds. I rightfully feared a speaker would come unhinged from the rickety attachments and kill someone below or fall into a pool and electrocute someone. They were held with nothing more than plastic C clamps. One night, MSC made the right call to shut down a show (which of course we weren’t welcomed to see as well) and shut it down due to high winds, but still allowed people to walk the decks. MSC is extremely lucky no-one was killed or injured and took unbelievable risks in allowing some 'fly by night concert' company to take over and run the ship this way. With no regard to health and safety. 6. Smoking and doing drugs were common in every area of the ship. I feared fire safety and extinguished lit cigarettes on deck more than once. My daughter stepped on a still warm cigarette while barefoot by the pool. Cigarettes were seen being flicked overboard constantly. The times we tried to sit and have gelato together as a family at the ice cream shop was interrupted by cigarettes and marijuana. We were constantly leaving areas to be forced back into our room as a family because of the disgusting behaviors of the other passengers. Even then we couldn’t enjoy our balcony in our room because of smoke from the other rooms on balcony decks. What happened to the designated smoking areas? No-one was following them. Eventually MSC put out ashtrays at tables because they could no longer control it and must have noticed that health and safty were again at risk. 7. Our 9 year old normally looks forward to the kids club. The first day we took her, we stopped to check on her. To our dismay, the room was packed elbow to elbow. With 300-400 kids in one room there were too many to count. When we asked why they were stuffed in there, we were told the common areas are all taken over by the bands so they were not allowed to take the kids anywhere else as they normally would. They changed this on the final day after our complaints and took them for ½ hour to a disco. That’s all. None of the nightly ‘watching shows in the theater' because those were cancelled, no special dinner options, everything was cancelled. When we picked up our daughter, she was grateful to leave the kids club and said she never wanted to go back. My family was absolutely miserable and bored almost every single moment of the trip. We felt like prisoners on the ship and hated every single minute of being stuck with loud obnoxious passengers who we shared no interest with. It’s fine for MSC to choose to have a themed cruise, but I would have never knowingly booked this themed cruise with a travel agent who was also unaware – especially paying what we did. The clientele who were aboard were rude, obnoxious and made comments to my 4 children one that included explicit sexual advances. How dare MSC allow this to happen by selling us one thing – a family cruise - and giving us something totally different! This was our family’s spring break and time together does not come easily. We flew and drove over 2,000 miles combined to have everyone together to go on an MSC cruise. MSC can’t repay our time or money spent getting to the “cruise to the edge”…. of Hell! To top it all off, every single day with the exception of 5 hours on the last day, it rained. This made the common areas even more important to have access for and to do activities. We were relegated to our cabin to sit and watch TV which was something we could do just as well at home for free and with more comfort and space The only way to rectify this is a complete ‘do over’ on another cruise for my family. MSC wasted our precious family time and money -- now the question is if they are ethical and willing to fix it with a completely new cruise itinerary that is the proper MSC cruise we bought and paid for. Good as in the past. Good as in the past. With the exception of not being able to use the balcony. Horrible.... not as before. Paid full fare for cruise party of 8, 4 of which were kids with no activities. I felt bad for the staff having to put up with the drunkards of the concert cruisers, and then with the complaints of the duped normal cruisers. Bad planning and bad decision by someone in the upper ranks of MSC! Average. Bad weather added insult to injury but we were happy to get off of the ship for a while. I will report back the MSC response when I am contacted. We sent a letter to Albino Supino di Lorenzo Director of Cruise Operations & Shore excursions at MSC Cruises USA Inc and Nicola Gargiulo. Another person we knew on the cruise was offered $100 for the trouble. I know the likely hood of a replacement cruise is unlikely, but it's the principle of buying this cruise and being blindsided with a rock cruise. It made for a horrible vacation and we will not sail on MSC again because of this. Had they notified me that the boat had been partially chartered and there would be no entertainment I would have rescheduled, but I was not given that choice BUYER BEWARE!!

Read More
  • New

Apr 1, 2013

MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE

While the Monsters Of Rock Cruise organizers & the event itself was fabulous....the theft of a smaller Canon Powershot SD1400 IS camera from my cabin & the lack of any concern on the part of the crew has turned me off of MSC forever! Too many times myself & other passengers found the Cabin Stewards in our cabins for no apparent reason or entering them while we were in there. With multiple complaints & a rash of thefts on the 12th deck, I would have

expected the Reception Staff & Security to do more than just tell me it was probably in my cabin somewhere, or maybe stolen by a cabin mate, and that there was NO WAY their staff would do such a thing. I left my cabin for an event, got up one deck via the stairs & realized camera and sharpies were not with me...went right back down to find the crew member leaving my cabin and my camera was gone....less than 10 minutes had elapsed since I'd first left the cabin. I called immediately but was told the steward had just ended his shift and they would not disturb him. My cabin was searched by their head steward that same night and again before 8am by 2 more stewards, one of which told me he had filed a "lost item report" that it later turned out he never had. Too much of my cruise was spent trying to get some resolution and repeated requests for a Corporate address & phone number were refused and all I was given was a lost & found number in Fort Lauderdale. Awful! Aside from the insane amount of sodium (so much that by day 3 my ankles had swollen completely)everything was either poached or pizza. Lots of unpleasant bathroom side effects and if I never see another slice of pizza again I'll be forever happy. No variety, same stuff day after day. We found trash in various spots of our cabin, were given only 3 full sized towels & 2 hand towels (despite there being 4 of us in the cabin) and fresh towels were not provided (despite several requests) until day 3....at which time the staff actually refused to give us more towels without getting into the cabin for a count AND requesting that I remove the one I was wearing so they could take it. Coco Cay was awesome, Nassau was dirty and overall boring. MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE.....organizers great, MSC staff was the absolute worst. Most barely spoke English, were hard to understand, were invasive and always in our cabins for no apparent reason, slow service AND there were several thefts on deck 12 while occupants were out of their cabins with absolutely no investigation on the part of the cruise line....they never even questioned the cabin steward I caught coming out of my cabin when I found my camera gone less than 10 minutes after I'd left it.

Read More

By Jane_CR

  • New

Mar 15, 2013

Caribbean

'For the Price' - it was better than prison. Terrible. And I am not picky - but I like food that tastes good and is hot when it is supposed to be hot and cold when it supposed to be cold. Also, I don't like bottled salad dressings - and that's all they used. Never had a decent salad - the greek salad was ok, but then they put bottled Italian dressing on it! We had an inside stateroom category 1 which means it doesn't get any worse.

Actually it was ok! Except the bed was hard and the pillows lumpy - but I brought my own pillow so I was ok:) Ok - but I don't care about stuff like that anyway. The only time you could get a lounge chair by the pool was when they were in port. Not sure how they would fix that as when the weather is nice, everybody wants to be out there. The staff could be a little more attentive and do what they say ie: if someone leaves a towel on the lounge chair for more than 30 min it is removed - never happened. Only people with more money than brains would book an excursion from a cruise line. Plenty of other cheaper options out there. The main thing that bothered me was the staff communication problem. Nobody spoke English properly and the wait staff didn't understand a word anybody said - plus the wait staff were more or less rude - there were some exceptions, but generally, they push the menu in front of your face the minute you sit down, then take your order (heaven help someone who wanted something that wasn't actually written down on the menu) . I repeatedly had to ask for my water glass to be refilled, and sometimes I wasn't asked if I wanted wine. I could excuse the lack of communication if people were friendly, but neither the Indonesian waiters or anybody else were friendly. Smiles were generally lacking and the phrase "I'm sorry" was not in anybody's vocabulary. Basically, if anybody on that ship wanted a job in the customer service industry in Canada or US, they shouldn't be surprised if they got fired the first day! The only good thing was that the ship was clean and nicely decorated. But they need to fire the chef and personnel manager.

Read More
  • New

Mar 13, 2013

Eastern Carribean

Beautiful Ship, larger than average balcony stateroom, average food, awful cold and uncaring assistant maitre d. I will never sail this line again! The food was not terrible but was never outstanding. Never had a meal that made you think wow that was wonderful. The buffet had a fair selection and was always kept hot and fresh. The large amount of people at the buffet made it almost impossible to get a table to eat. You always had to do

the drill of one would keep walking around to find a table while the other got their food. Once this was accomplished the other one could get their food while the other one held the table and ate their food. I don't think anyone ever ate in the main dining room at lunch as their were so many in the buffet area. I was told by a couple of people it was an ordeal trying to eat in the main dining room as it was just too slow and the selection of food was not good. We had stateroom # 9053 which was a balcony room. It was very comfortable. Upon arrival we had a torn bedspread and a dirty toilet. The ice bucket had no ice and it had dirty water in it. The toilet was disgusting! When we brought this to their attention they took the bedspread away and it took us three days to get a new one. They did take care of the disgusting toilet and we also received a clean ice bucket with ice. It did get better for the rest of the week. They did an adequate job of taking care of the room. We took this cruise to just relax so we didn't participate in onboard activities. We did enjoy several of the nightly shows. When going to St. Maarten we always take the beach rendezvous. This is a trip to Orient Beach with a lunch at one of the small beach restaurants. We have always enjoyed this and had a good local fare lunch. MSC uses a different excursion company for this than we were used to. The lunch was not good and the restaurant. Don't waste your money! We booked this cruise in February of 2012 and we booked directly through MSC. I stated when we booked that we wanted main seating for dinner and a table for two. I explained this was very important to us. When I called back approximately three months later I had the agent check that this was noted on our reservation. She assured me it was but once upon the ship I should check with the maitre'd concerning the table for two. I did just that and he told me were at a table for TEN! I explained we would not sit with a table for ten and that I felt they had a year to get this right. He advised me IF he could change it I would have a card in my cabin prior to dinner. No card arrived. I went to the maitre d again and he said it was impossible! He could give me a table for two at second seating but not at first. I tried to reason with him that due to the tie my husband had to take medication that we should not eat that late. He just didn't care and was rude. It was a take it or leave it situation for him. I told hm that I had booked through and MSC employee and he claims they didn't do what they should have so now he is an employee of MSC and it had become his problem. He said he only worked for a COMPUTER! If you want personal service DO NOT CRUSE WITH THIS LINE! This man did not like Americans as I observed him being very friendly and helpful to the Italian on board. By the way there were only about 10% Americans on the ship.

Read More
  • New

Aug 26, 2012

Copenhagen to the Baltic Sea

Great cruise!!!! If you like italian food, you're in for a treat. But don't expect American style steaks and twice baked potatoes at dinner. They do have a so called "minute grilled" steak on the menu, for the "always available" options, but it's not recommended. Also, I wonder why the restaurants had a daily salad on the menu, with "choice of dressing" when there was never a choice, and the salad had already been prepared with oil and vinegar?

There was plenty of dressing choices in the buffet on deck 13, but that never made it down to the restaurants on deck five and six. I mentioned this in the customer satisfaction questionnaire. But the service was fast! The restaurants onboard are as beautiful as the rest of the ship, but they are quite crowded when full, very little space between tables. The waiters are very nice and effective, but VERY busy, could be that they were lacking staff on our particular cruise, as the rest of the servers never seemed to be as busy and stressed as in the restaurants. In cabin breakfast is european style, and so don't expect bacon and eggs. The buffet is very good at all times! Plenty of choices, always hot, very nice salad bar and always clean and inviting. Do try the L'obilisco speciality restaurant, it's worth the extra 24EUR charge and is just amazing. We also tried the Japanese speciality restaurant, and that is also recommended, even at the extra charge. The portions are large, and so be careful how much you order! Gala night is not to be missed! And do remember to go the midnight buffet, it's stunning! We had a category 12 balcony room on deck 12, forward. Very nice room, beautifully appointed, nice lighting, good large bed. We had a connection room, and so there was no sofa, just an armless chair, and the table is a bit too small for having breakfast in the cabin. There was plenty of closet space, and the bathroom was usual cruise ship size. Our cabin steward never introduced himself, but kept the cabin in pristine order at all times. There was VERY little vibration or movement on the ship. Going to bed at night meant that you could hardly feel that you were on a ship. VERY well done indeed... As deck 12 is directly below the pool deck, some running, moving of sun beds and stuff can be heard. But we didn't experience that as anything major. They are good at making activities that don't include a lot of talking. Due to the mix of nationalities onboard, all things have to be said in five languages. The entertainment staff had some great fun activities in the Pigalle Lounge every night. We enjoyed dance lessons, fun games, bingo, etc. but don't expect standup comedians or the likes as on American based ships. That just won't work here. There are so many Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Scandinavian and so on among the passengers, and they don't all speak or understand English. That being said, they really did some creative and fun stuff. The southern Europeans are less inhibited than Scandinavians and all joined in on the dance floor. Lots of laughs. Absolutely don't miss Saint Petersburg. We took the full day tour to the city, the Hermitage and the Cathedral of Spilled Blood, at a cost of 116EUR per person, which also included a nice lunch of salad, soup and beef Stroganoff, all complete with Vodka shots. They will take you to a souvenir shop on the way, but don't buy anything there. Wait until you get to the market right in front of the Cathedral of Spilled Blood. There you can get the same stuff, much cheaper from the little stands, and you can also negotiate with the sellers. Stockholm, Tallinn and Kiel are nice cities, take a walk around, have a nice lunch, and look around for yourself, unless you have something specific on one of the tours that you just gotta see! We had a wonderful trip! Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze, a mere 10 minute wait to board, after a five minute check-in procedure. Nice service all over, the drinks are fabulous, and the ship itself is simply immaculate! Just beautiful touches everywhere. Nice art, top quality upholstery, many options for dinner, drinks, relaxing and so on. They have lots of people polishing brass, glass, marble and steel all the time. Everything was simply spotless at all times! Never had problem finding a sun bed, even on the best sunny days of the cruise. They do very few announcements, as they have to be done in five languages. The ship never really felt crowded, even with a full complement of 2550 passengers.

Read More
  • New

Mar 5, 2012

Bahamas

I first sailed on the MSC Poesia in January 2011. It was my husband and 2 small kids. We chose that ship & cruise line because the kids sailed free. We found the staff to be really uninterested and the food really bland and overall did not like the cruise line and said we wouldn't do MSC again. BUT, then in January 2012 my sister in law gave me a gift of a free cruise so we could go together. She booked the MSC Poesia. Even though I knew what I was

in store for, it still suprised me how most staff treated the guests. I don't know if its because its an Italian cruise line and they just don't emphasize courteousy or what . . . but I have done Royal Carribean, Holland America and Carnival cruise lines and have been happy with all of them and it just blew me away how rude the MSC staff is compared to other lines. I would have thought that my first trip on this ship in January 2011 was a "fluke" except that I/we got the same treatment again in January 2012. The food in the buffet is ALWAYS the same - literally. It never changes. And it is bland at best (the pizza and french fries are good, however). The food in the dining room, though, was very very good in my opinion. You have to really watch the times they serve food because they don't have the long, flexible hours like the other cruise lines. If you think you just want to grab a bite to eat when you feel like it - think again. EXAMPLE: At 10pm my sister in law wanted a piece of fruit. She went to the buffet and they were, of course, closed. She asked someone if they could just get her a banana, apple or orange or something. They refused, saying they were closed until Midnight and she would have to come back then. She asked another person at the bar and was told she had to wait for the buffet to open at midnight. Comparable to inside staterooms on other cruise lines as far as size, decor, ammenities. It was nice and clean. Bed was rock hard, though - very uncomfortable. (The first time I took a cruise on this ship in January 2011 - we had a balcony room and the ship was much nicer - soft and comfortable. So, maybe they put cheaper beds in the cheaper rooms??) Not as much to do as we found on our Royal Carribean or Carnival cruise (like mini golf, rock climbing, etc) The evening shows on MSC are, I think, the best I have seen because them offer more than just singing & dancing. They put really interesting acts into their shows (think "Cirque de Sole"). We had to tender into Cococay (this is Royal Carribean's private island that MSC had rented for us for the day) The tender process was as unorganized as everything else seemed to be on this ship. We sat in the tender boat for 45 minutes waiting to get back on the ship because the process was so disorganized. That didn't include the 15 minute ride loading up the boat on the island and driving back to boat - so total time to tender back from Cococay was 1 hour. It was just crazy. I have so many examples of rude behavior by the staff and can't really list them hear. I just sum it up to say that on all other cruise lines I have been on you are greated with a smile and a friendly "hello" - where MSC staff in many cases would outright ignore you or just act like you were bothering them when you ordered a drink or asked a question. I would NEVER recommend MSC to anyone. And compared to a line like Royal Carribean, MSC is an outright joke.

Read More
  • New

Mar 5, 2012

Bahamas

I first sailed on the MSC Poesia in January 2011. It was my husband and 2 small kids. We chose that ship & cruise line because the kids sailed free. We found the staff to be really uninterested and the food really bland and overall did not like the cruise line and said we wouldn't do MSC again. BUT, then in January 2012 my sister in law gave me a gift of a free cruise so we could go together. She booked the MSC Poesia. Even though I knew what I was

in store for, it still suprised me how most staff treated the guests. I don't know if its because its an Italian cruise line and they just don't emphasize courteousy or what . . . but I have done Royal Carribean, Holland America and Carnival cruise lines and have been happy with all of them and it just blew me away how rude the MSC staff is compared to other lines. I would have thought that my first trip on this ship in January 2011 was a "fluke" except that I/we got the same treatment again in January 2012. The food in the buffet is ALWAYS the same - literally. It never changes. And it is bland at best (the pizza and french fries are good, however). The food in the dining room, though, was very very good in my opinion. You have to really watch the times they serve food because they don't have the long, flexible hours like the other cruise lines. If you think you just want to grab a bite to eat when you feel like it - think again. EXAMPLE: At 10pm my sister in law wanted a piece of fruit. She went to the buffet and they were, of course, closed. She asked someone if they could just get her a banana, apple or orange or something. They refused, saying they were closed until Midnight and she would have to come back then. She asked another person at the bar and was told she had to wait for the buffet to open at midnight. Comparable to inside staterooms on other cruise lines as far as size, decor, ammenities. It was nice and clean. Bed was rock hard, though - very uncomfortable. (The first time I took a cruise on this ship in January 2011 - we had a balcony room and the ship was much nicer - soft and comfortable. So, maybe they put cheaper beds in the cheaper rooms??) Not as much to do as we found on our Royal Carribean or Carnival cruise (like mini golf, rock climbing, etc) The evening shows on MSC are, I think, the best I have seen because them offer more than just singing & dancing. They put really interesting acts into their shows (think "Cirque de Sole"). We had to tender into Cococay (this is Royal Carribean's private island that MSC had rented for us for the day) The tender process was as unorganized as everything else seemed to be on this ship. We sat in the tender boat for 45 minutes waiting to get back on the ship because the process was so disorganized. That didn't include the 15 minute ride loading up the boat on the island and driving back to boat - so total time to tender back from Cococay was 1 hour. It was just crazy. I have so many examples of rude behavior by the staff and can't really list them hear. I just sum it up to say that on all other cruise lines I have been on you are greated with a smile and a friendly "hello" - where MSC staff in many cases would outright ignore you or just act like you were bothering them when you ordered a drink or asked a question. I would NEVER recommend MSC to anyone. And compared to a line like Royal Carribean, MSC is an outright joke.

Read More
  • New

Jan 1, 2012

Eastern Caribbean

The general air of the crew is unhelpful and standoffish. The poor level of English comprehension of the waiting staff made communication particularly difficult. Senior staff were extremely standoffish and did not acknowledge passengers when approached. Main Dining Room: Il Palladio All food, from both the Italian and the other menus, was served tepid at best, and was tasteless and bland. The vegetables were hard and insufficiently cooked.

There was no option to have a salad without dressing, and communicating this to the waiting staff was very difficult due to their poor command of English. No tea or coffee was served at table at the end of the meal. In general service appeared rushed. Cafeteria: Villa Pompeina Again, "hot" food was tepid and looked congealed and unappetising. The menu was repetitive and uninspiring. Only the food freshly cooked such as omelettes at breakfast, and pasta and burgers at lunch were warmer than tepid. Crockery and cutlery was not replenished promptly. The breakfast and lunch opening times were relatively short which resulted in long queues and rushed dining. The evening buffet closed at 8.15pm each evening, with only pizza available for the rest of the evening. The no swimwear code was not enforced, and in general the senior staff were not interested in what was happening around them. Food was not available 24 hours, and there were long periods when nothing was available which was a problem if you got back to the ship just as the buffet was closing. Our cabin (8155) was well appointed and well maintained. We did have some communication difficulties when asking for extra pillows etc. On the last morning we returned to our cabin well before 7.30am when we had to vacate to find that the steward had already moved all of our personal bags and last minute toiletries, and had stripped the bed and made it up into twins. We have never encountered this before on any cruise, and felt that our personal belongings had been violated. Sea Days A very limited programme was on offer which mainly mindless "jeux sans frontiers" type games around the pool. The "crafts" offered were suitable only for preschoolers and were run by bored young entertainment staff. There was thumping loud pop music all round the pool area all day which was difficult to avoid. The 2 lectures given by an American called Jim on pirates and Christopher Columbus were interesting and a very welcome diversion. He gave us more information about the ports we were to visit than we could ever have got from MSC Poesia. Evening Entertainment The format of the variety shows was good given the huge number of different nationalities on board, but after the 3rd/4th show it did become a bit monotonous. One female singer was frequently flat. The dancers were good, but by the end of the week we could anticipate the choreography. The acrobats and jugglers were the highlight of each show. We did not partake in any of the late evening entertainment as it seemed to be an extension of the mindless games from during the day. There seemed to be nothing to do but sit in a bar and drink, not an option for us as we are not big drinkers. On the last day we took the excursion costing $62 each to the everglades with airport transfer. We had completed the visit to Gator Park (very disappointing) by 11.30am. Our guide Edward from 7871 Travel then said that as it was too early to go to the airport he would take us to Dolphin Mall for a "supplement" of $2.50 per person which he said would cover a discount pass. If we did not agree we would have to stay at the park for nearly 2 hours. Many people refused to pay as they were short on cash, and had already paid for a full 5 hour excursion. Edward refused to budge, so we spent the time till 1.00pm at the park. I spoke to the Park Manager who confirmed that the Mall was on our route back to Miami Airport, and that entrance was free. I do not appreciate being held to ransom by a tour guide who is obviously trying to line his own pockets. Most of the passengers were British or European who are obviously not as easy to bribe as Americans, as I got the impression this was a regular occurrence. We have not enjoyed this cruise as much as we would have hoped due to the problems encountered on board which I have detailed above.

Read More
  • New

Nov 18, 2011

Caribbean

This was my first cruise and I went with my wife and a group of friends. We were drawn in by the $299 sales price and as a "smart person", I should have immediately recognized that you get what you pay for. The boat itself is nice and the service staff are generally nice. That said, our waitstaff at dinner (the same idiot for 4 nights) SUCKED. He rolled his eyes at us when we asked for a wine list, soda's, etc. and he had the personality of

a toad. The food is an absolute atrocity. Again, you get what you pay for, but picture high school cafeteria quality slop served buffet style. Some of the offerings are borderline inedible. One night we went to the private sushi restaurant and I could have gotten the same quality sushi from a kiosk at JFK. The ships chef should be thrown overboard. To put this in perspective, every once-in-awhile I'll share a can of Chef BoyarDee with my daughter and think that's okay. One night for dinner I was served lasagna and I can honestly say that the lasagna that Lean Cuisine makes is 50% better. My waiter asked me "what's wrong" so I told him this food is terrible, please bring me some more bread please. He proceeded to roll his eyes at me, walk away and ignore my request. Our room was lovely. It was decent sized for 2 in that we weren't all over each other. The balcony was also lovely. Service comes to clean your room twice a day and while they check what you took from the minibar, they never replace anything. Note to MSC - if you want to make more money, restock the minibar every day when you're checking. Also, they bang you for a $12 per day "service charge" for what? I don't know. Staff was generally friendly and attentive. During the day a couple of people came out and did some lowbrow activities with the kids and parents that suffer from ADD, but it was cute. We enjoyed lounging by the pool and having a few cocktails. It's a process to get a drink - you give them your room key and the waitress (or bartender) will take about 10 minutes to get back to you. The bartenders are awkward in that they won't even make eye contact with you until they're ready to assist you....that's no big deal because we're low key but still a little odd. Excursions were fine, getting on and off the boat were not problem. BUT, getting off the boat for the final time was one of the most painful experiences I've ever endured. The boat insists you pack your bags and leave them in front of your door at 1 a.m. the night before. Then you have to leave your room no later than 7:45 a.m. to go to you dis-embarkation "staging area", which is 2,500 directionless people getting on each others nerves. Now the same bartenders, entertainers, waitresses are dressed nicely and standing around looking good and not telling anyone what to do. One elderly woman in an electric wheelchair ran over a little kid and while the mother was apoplectic yelling "DO SOMETHING!" the nearest attendant just stood there and acted as if he didn't speak English. He literally started whistling and walked away. Now after about an hour of waiting around (if you're lucky), they call you the color code you've been assigned to queue back up and get off the boat. Having gotten off the boat, I can assure you I will never get back on. Anyone that writes a good review about the food has no taste buds. We will cruise again and it will be with Royal Caribbean or Norwegian Princess.

Read More
  • New

Feb 11, 2011

Canada-New England

OK Cruise - MSC provided a nice cruise, and delivered exactly what they advertised. Dining on board was just average. The food in the dining room lacked presentation. It was good, but nothing to brag about. The buffet was adequate, good selection everyday, properly served, and made a good appearance. The category 12 stateroom is advertised as a suite. This cabin (see picture below) is no larger than a verandah cabin on Holland America.

Beautiful cabin, high on deck 15...but it is not a suite! Entertainment on board was good in the lounges, considering they were all Italian, and did their best to translate the songs into English. -------------------------------------------------- The show every evening in the theater was another disappointment. The stage was very small , and lacked any appearance of being a production set. They projected images on a screen, and had a catwalk with stairs on both sides, as the only prop for every show for 12 nights of the 14. The dancers were very good considering they didn't have much of a stage setting to work with. The entertainers on the other hand left a lot to be desired. In my opinion there was not enough variety. Every night you had a dance routine and then it was followed by a circus act or a opera singer. No other type of entertainment was available. This type of entertainment got real old-real quick. -------------------------------------------------- On a typical day, the animation team might bring passengers together for card and board games, organize trivia contests, offer multilingual cha-cha lessons on the Zebra Lounge dance floor, stage an "Italian Party" in the disco, and wear black clothes with red clown noses as they tiptoe in a line behind unsuspecting passengers who are headed for seats in the Carlo Felice Theatre. The team's antics are often silly, but the animators carry their stunts off with such panache and good spirits that nearly everyone seems to enjoy them. Quite frankly, if it weren't for these talented young people. The entertainment on board would have been a total disappointment! Shore excursions were available as advertised. The only complaint I heard were from guests that bought them from a travel agent prior to sailing. There was some confusion a the tour desk concerning these pre-paid tours. A couple we meet had to purchase the tours again, and were told to take it up with their travel agent and credit card company. No effort was made by the cruise line to rectify this situation. Staff was very helpful, considering the language barrier. Most spoke very little, if any English. They did do their best to accommodate the guest. Service was adequate...They did nothing over and above in order to make you feel like a valued guest. I guess with 3200 passengers on board. There is only so much they can do to pamper you. -------------------------------------------------- This is my first cruise on board a larger ship. We normally sail on smaller ships (1400 -2000 guests) so we expected a little more personal service, especially when your booked in their best (suite) stateroom. It didn't happen! Holland America keep those smaller ships in service - - - were coming back!

Read More

By John_CR

  • New

Feb 7, 2011

eastern carribbean

While I am not a big cruise fan, I will never cruise MSC or recommend it. The low price of 299 and the disembarking for the final time were the highlights of the cruise. At a low low price i may recommend, but after that, stay with the other big names. The international flavour that MSC should suppy is lacking, except for the lengthy,annoying 5 languages that the cruise director bores you with. Just okay. Risottos were very good. Pastas

were just ok or terrible. My carbonara sauce was a disgrace. Morning Omlettes were the worse, did they use synthetic eggs? Corned beef hash was out of a can it seemed. The morning breakfast in the cafeteria was like a whole lot of nothing, so we ate in the dining room and also for lunch. Just way too many people waiting in line with no place to sit. The dinner plates had no presentation what so ever. Basically the food was either a hit, a miss or ok. You never knew what you were going to get. As an talian who appreciates food and I am not fussy, i was diappointed I really enjoyed our inside cabin with the window view. Clean, spacious and a comfortable bed. The bathroom was nice. No compaints here. The shows before dinner were excellent. The singers, acrobats and others were great. The 3 piece band(violin,piano,cello) were awesome. After that, throw everyone overboard. Animation, activitiies, bars, were boring. And again, evrything in long boring 5 languages. 2 bars offered live bands and listening to them was painful. I am Italian, but if you are not avoid this cruise line. due to the night life we did our own thing on the islands. Don't be afraid of St Thomas, St. Maarten, or Nassau. The people are friendly and don't be afraid to bargain with them. Especially in the jewelry stores, take another 30% of their first offer. A price of 299 brought us to the MSC Poesia and talking to other passengers, the low price that MSC offers led them as well. The food was average, but the layout at pool deck is really bad. I have done 2 other cruises in the last 6 years and they were far superior to the Poesia and the same size. At 2500 people, this ship gets crowded at the cafeteria and at poolside. The ship offers a beautiful disco, but its empty due to the large amount of older people on board. The gym is small, offers little. I did not checkout the spa except for the steam room. It could have been nice but as a male, i do NOT need to be bothered, annoyed and propositioned by some male spa attendant. This was very bothersome and MSC will hear from me about this matter. MSC also needs to upgrade the cruise director as she was very poor, no personality, just a 5 language translator.

Read More

By PS_CR

  • New

Jan 16, 2011

Caribbean

The embarkation & debarkation was VERY unorganized & the older couple who were handling people were extremely rude, rude, rude & way over there heads in how to organize people. We experienced the older man yelling at many people at different times which was terrible. We had the older tall woman tell us that we were not in the line that we really were in & that we should o to the end of the line -- we refused -- how strange & unprofessional is that!!

The cruise was fine -- rough seas though. The saving of pool chairs was ridiculous -- many, many chairs were saved for hour on end & no one used them, so others had to go without chairs. The debarkation process on the ship was poor -- we had to cross from one end of the crowded ship to the other to wait in the theater without knowing what to expect & then an hour & 45 mins later we were called to leave the ship! The overall communication was terrible! Our time in 2 of the three ports was less than 3 hours due to having to wait to go on excursions, that were also poorly organized & poorly communicated. I look forward to my next cruise to be on an America owned & operated ship. Ok Good actually Shows were so-so --nothing to write home about! Do your own -- much wasted time waiting. Not enough time in port! Not Msc again!

Read More
  • New

Jan 8, 2011

Bahmamas

THIS WAS THE WORST CRUISE EVER! We chose the two night POESIA cruise because we had limited time after a meeting in Florida. We thought it would be a wonderful break for all of us. The ship, from the pictures, looked great, but it turned out to be a really terrible experience, starting with the check-in and boarding. We were herded from one area to another like a flock of sheep. The check in person was pleasant, but most of the people, especially

the security people were extremely rude. When we finally got to the ship, the people at the top of the stairs who actually swiped our cards were unsmiling, unfriendly - no "welcome aboard" - no greetings at all. We were on our own to find our cabins. We did find our way, and were greeted by an unsmiling room steward, again with no welcome. When we asked for ice, it seemed like we were asking for the moon. The cabin was small, but acceptable. Each of us had a "deluxe" balcony cabin. We requested, via telephone, extra pillows, and the reaction at the service desk, was also rudeness. "We do not have down pillows", and then she hung up. We did finally get the lumpiest foam pillows we have ever seen, totally uncomfortable, and the beds are hard as rocks too But, since we have been on many cruises, we were hoping this was just a bad start, and we were ready to start enjoying the cruise. We went to the buffet which was bedlam, with rude servers, huge lines, and no place to sit. Tables were not cleaned up, and the whole buffet was a mess. We decided we would not try that again. Next, we checked on our dining room table. Our family group had requested one large, early sitting table, and we were told we had it. We found out we were all at separate tables for second sitting which begins at 9:00PM. We then found the dining room head, who was rushed, and like most of the Italian crew, was extremely rude. He did however, accept a very nice tip, and did us the "big" favor of changing our table to a large one at the first seating. We never saw him again. The table itself was fine, and the Indonesian wait-staff is the best thing about the ship. Our waiters were excellent and charming! The head waiters were a joke, and they did nothing except have their hands out for tips. The food itself, was another matter. It sounded great, but was really terrible, poor preparation, usually luke warm and mostly tasteless. Yes, you could order alternatives like strip steak and salmon. Our party did that. The steak was thin, tough, full of fat and gristle, and was never prepared the way it was ordered. The salmon was always overcooked, even though it was requested rare, and was supposedly made to order. The Breakfast menu in the dining room had nice selections, but the eggs benedict, one of our favorite dishes, was poorly prepared and cold. Entertainment was really poor. There were extra charges for many items such as ice cream other than the soft-serve cones (when the machines were not broken). The casino staff was unfriendly and unwelcoming with great attitude. They had no interest in us at all. It was also outrageous to have one cashier, and the line at times to cash-out exceeded 30 people waiting. The reception desk people were cold, unfriendly and not pleasant at all. One of our party had met the hotel director a few times, and requested an appointment. This was ignored by the reception staff. She was promised a call back with an appointment, but, no call ever came. The boarding announcements are made in five languages. This is a bit unusual for a ship that home-ports in Fort LAUDERDALE. The announcements for the lifeboat drill took more than 25 minutes, while we all stood around like idiots. The various announcements were loud and endless. The public areas are designed to SELL - SELL - SELL - with bars, it seemed, every few feet. By the way, most of the bar staff were also very pleasant, but the drinks themselves were rather small. Prices were typical for a cruise ship, however. The wine list was not huge, but was fairly priced for a cruise ship. Nassau was a fine port, and we enjoyed being on our own there. Coming back to the ship, however, we were greeted by the same unfriendly security folks. Someone should suggest that they smile. In general, the problem with MSC is rudeness. Other than the wait and bar staff, they do not seem to be there for the guests, and everything is just too much trouble for them. This tone is set by the officers, and flows on down through the ship. Four of our family were members of the MSC Club. NO BENEFITS were offered to anyone. We had looked forward to a longer cruise later this year on MSC, but now, we will never travel on this line again.

Read More
  • New

Dec 4, 2010

Caribbean

Prior to our cruise I read the reviews, just like you are doing now. After our 10 day cruise on MSC Poesia, I can't understand some of the negative comments I've seen about this ship and cruise line. First, this is an Italian cruise line and, yes, the English is iffy sometimes. English is not their native language and their is a highly diverse group of people working on the ship (Italy, Indonesia, UK, Central America. When I read the reviews from

other cruisers about this issue of language, the term "ugly American" comes to mind. We experienced excellent service, very nice and helpful crewmembers and had a great time. OK, we haven't done 233 cruises like some of the reviewers (The ones that seem to focus mostly on the quality of the buffet!), but we've done 4 and this one was wonderful....and at a fantastic price. The high number of outside cabins makes the price of getting a balcony room affordable. The rooms were the biggest and nicest of any previous cruises we've taken. If you are looking at an online deal that seems to good to be true on the MSC Poesia, like we did, believe it! Great value, gorgeous ship, attentive crew, excellent food and, of course, expensive drinks. We did a 10 day Carribean cruise with a balcony room, flying from California, for less than $2500; airfare, cruise, excursions, drinks, etc. No regrets. Very good. We enjoyed every dinner, the service was top notch and the menu was diverse. We had breakfast at the buffet and some lunches, also very good, very diverse selection. Much larger than we anticpated and the balcony allowed us seclusion and privacy. We didn't paticipate in many onboard activities. We did go to a couple shows and they were very entertaining and only lasted about 45 minutes...just right for us. Nice diversity of talent acts in the lounges, we found a musical act that we went to several nights to dance and enjoy these very talented people. We enjoy wine and the MSC Poesia had a wonderful wine bar. Even better was the sommelier, Luigi, from Sorrento, Italy. We only are familiar with California wines and Luigi took us under his wing and provided amazingly detailed information and history about the Italian wines on the menu. Luigi has run a sommelier school in Sorrento, as well as a restaurant, for many years and has a gift for explaining complexities of wine making. Thanks Luigi! We did the Champagne Catamaran on USVI to St. Johns island. Kind of a cattle call but the crew made it fun. It's hard to beat the value MSC provides. We had a great time and highly recommend the MSC Poesia to anyone who is, by nature, fun loving and not nit picky, like some of the reviewers you will see on this blog.

Read More
  • New

Dec 4, 2010

Caribbean

Prior to our cruise I read the reviews, just like you are doing now. After our 10 day cruise on MSC Poesia, I can't understand some of the negative comments I've seen about this ship and cruise line. First, this is an Italian cruise line and, yes, the English is iffy sometimes. English is not their native language and their is a highly diverse group of people working on the ship (Italy, Indonesia, UK, Central America. When I read the reviews from

other cruisers about this issue of language, the term "ugly American" comes to mind. We experienced excellent service, very nice and helpful crewmembers and had a great time. OK, we haven't done 233 cruises like some of the reviewers (The ones that seem to focus mostly on the quality of the buffet!), but we've done 4 and this one was wonderful....and at a fantastic price. The high number of outside cabins makes the price of getting a balcony room affordable. The rooms were the biggest and nicest of any previous cruises we've taken. If you are looking at an online deal that seems to good to be true on the MSC Poesia, like we did, believe it! Great value, gorgeous ship, attentive crew, excellent food and, of course, expensive drinks. We did a 10 day Carribean cruise with a balcony room, flying from California, for less than $2500; airfare, cruise, excursions, drinks, etc. No regrets. Very good. We enjoyed every dinner, the service was top notch and the menu was diverse. We had breakfast at the buffet and some lunches, also very good, very diverse selection. Much larger than we anticpated and the balcony allowed us seclusion and privacy. We didn't paticipate in many onboard activities. We did go to a couple shows and they were very entertaining and only lasted about 45 minutes...just right for us. Nice diversity of talent acts in the lounges, we found a musical act that we went to several nights to dance and enjoy these very talented people. We enjoy wine and the MSC Poesia had a wonderful wine bar. Even better was the sommelier, Luigi, from Sorrento, Italy. We only are familiar with California wines and Luigi took us under his wing and provided amazingly detailed information and history about the Italian wines on the menu. Luigi has run a sommelier school in Sorrento, as well as a restaurant, for many years and has a gift for explaining complexities of wine making. Thanks Luigi! We did the Champagne Catamaran on USVI to St. Johns island. Kind of a cattle call but the crew made it fun. It's hard to beat the value MSC provides. We had a great time and highly recommend the MSC Poesia to anyone who is, by nature, fun loving and not nit picky, like some of the reviewers you will see on this blog.

Read More

By D_CR

  • New

Oct 4, 2010

New England Canada

The Poesia is a beautiful ship. Unfortunately the management needs to be able to understand their passengers. English was poorly spoken and understood. Ports of call were fine. The entertainment was amateur night. The dancers were high school level. On the other hand, the costumes were fun. A couple of the acts were good. The programs only lasted 30 minutes or less. We felt the crew was fearful of doing something wrong. If you asked for something

and it was not on their list or training manual they said they could not accommodate because they were told they had to follow management orders or they would get in trouble. Waiters appeared to be coached in what to say. When asked a question they could not understand they laughed and walked away. We will never, ever take another MSC line ship. There are so many others that know how to accommodate Americans. The meals were never hot, only warm. Food was less than marginal. Can't believe the lunch line for ice tea/water. Small glasses and not placed for easy access. The beef was overcooked and tough. The best thing on the ship was the pizza in the lunch cafe. Our stateroom was always clean and well taken care of. The actives were minimal at best. I don't think of making paper flowers as much of an adult activity. Nothing fun or interesting in the way of activities for us. Very boring trip. Sydney, Nova Scotia is not much of a port. Quebec and Halifax are great Horrible - will never go on a MSC cruise ship. The communication was poorly done and the entertainment was amateur night type.

Read More

By Mark_CR

  • New

Mar 28, 2010

CARIBBEAN

We were very disapointed in this cruise line. We (group of 60) went on country theme cruise. The concert of the Bellamy Brothers was excellent but the rest of the cruise was not much of a theme. We found the sun decks crowded and the multilanguage announcements very annoying. We did bring our own dj and dance instructor with us so we did have fun within our group. The staff was excellent and went out of their way to do whatever they were allowed

to do. The service at our dining room was excellent but the food was just average at the most. I asked for a simple shrimp cocktail which got turned into a joke because I was told it would only be available on the last night. The lunch buffet lines were very unorganized, people cutting in line just because they put plates at wrong spots on the line... The midnight buffet was the worst buffet I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Room service is supposed to be 24 hr but the menu is very limited. You cannot even get a fried egg or burger. I think this was very misleading. Our stateroom was a balcony room. Looks were nice but the vibrations in the room at night kept us up most of the night. I found folded pieces of paper in the ceiling tiles where others had tried to quiet down the room noises. Not much We signed up for 2 excursions but both were canceled. We did find same excursion on shore for less money and had a great time. The lounges and clubs were great but we probably would not travel with this cruise line again.

Read More
  • New

Mar 20, 2010

Western Caribbean

This was our 17th cruise, and we have been on all the major cruise lines except Costa, from 3 star to 5 star ships, and never had a cruise we were not glad we took. We picked this cruise because it hit 2 ports we had not been to, it was a new ship, and the price was good. We booked a category 2 (inside) several months before the cruise, and about a month before the cruise the price dropped $140pp. Often when this happens the cruise lines will

offer early bookers some compensation to reward and encourage early bookings, like shipboard credits, refunds, and free upgrades. We asked our TA to call MSC and see what they would do. They told our TA they would not offer any immediate compensation, but they would put us on a courtesy upgrade list if we would agree to accept whatever upgrade might occur. Since this was our only option we agreed. Four days before the cruise and no word, so our TA called them and was told that they disqualified us from any compensation because at the time of the price reduction there were no cabins available in our category, what a clever loophole (lots of cat 2 cabins opened up through the month). And then we found out that they had taken our preferred cabin location and given us another one in the same category in a worse location. But they would offer us a balcony for $180pp. To make the best of a bad situation we decided to accept, and when our TA called back they broke their word and said we could not have that offer any more, it had to be $300pp. Sounded like they were hustling us with bait-and-switch like a car lot, we had had enough, and said no. So there was no advantage in booking early with MSC, no compensation for a price reduction, and you are better off sitting on your money and waiting until you think the price has bottomed out. As a guideline, a month before the cruise the prices had dropped to $399 inside, $519 oceanview, and $659 category 6 balcony in peak season, and stayed there right up to the cruise. No cruise docs were ever sent to us so we had to find out ourselves which terminal in the port the ship was at (#4) in case the taxi did not know, we had one once that took us to the wrong ship. Embarkation If you fly into Fort Lauderdale a cab to the port is $15, and the dispatcher at the a/p expects a tip for loading your luggage into the cab. At the port entrance all traffic is checked and you have to show photo ID before your cab can enter. We dropped our luggage at the ship porters at 12:45 and walked on the ship at 1:10. It would have been maybe 5 minutes quicker if we had not discussed the wrong cabin number with them. If you do not want to get stalled lining up for an embarkation photo from the ships photographers there is a little room to bypass them as you enter, walk along the side of the lane and tell people why you are going ahead, some will like the idea and follow you. The embarkation buffet was fine, a bit crowded as you enter as would be expected, just go to the back at the second buffet area and there are lots of tables. Service was great, we were even offered more ice tea and ice water when ours was getting low. Fire muster at 4:30 was the most civilized ever, seated in a cool lounge. The Cabin Our cabin steward was great, started her off with a tip to keep the ice bucket full and get robes and more hangers, done immediately. The cabin is small, rated at 141 square feet, compared to CCL and HAL at around 185 sq ft. It was a quad, don not know how 4 people would manage. You cannot open the bathroom door and the closet doors at the same time. Cabin card operates the cabin lights, your steward knows when you are gone and can make up the cabin b/c your card is out of the slot. Shampoo and body wash, no conditioner. Nice shower wand, good pressure and temp control. The first 2 nights our cabin was noisy, banging and doors slamming, and we noticed a crew work room next to us, so we snuck in to check it out and found 2 service elevators and other equipment, and a nice big door to slam. We told Francesca, the new Customer Service Manager, and she found us a quiet cabin, thanks Francesca. It was a stern cabin, and had some strong engine vibration one night, but not the other nights. These cabins only have seating for 1, a stool under the vanity. 2 electrical outlets on the vanity, another in the ceiling of the bathroom. Good sized mini-bar to keep your drinks chilled. Good hair dryer. The Ship As every other review has noted, the ship is beautiful. We liked the atmosphere on the ship, low key, no drink waiters bugging you. Past reports of the crew being rude or indifferent did not fit, they were polite and helpful all week. The atriums on some ships are very impressive, soaring up many decks with glass elevators rising out of sight, a nice place to have a drink a enjoy the view. The Poesias atrium is the older traditional lower style, only going from decks 5-7, more room for extra cabins. The promenade shops area is also traditional, shops down hallways instead of the new open street concept. The configuration of the ocean view cabins surprised us. All the ocean view cabins either have a porthole (cat. 4) or have a window with an obstructed view behind the lifeboats (cat. 5). There are no ocean view cabins with both a regular window and a open view, just tons of higher priced balcony cabins, all the way from deck 8-12. Other newer ships have this same pattern of many balcony cabins, which would increase revenue if they sold them all, and if they did not sell, they could discount them to the price of an ocean view, so probably nothing lost. But many cruisers only want an outside cabin with a view, and will not take a balcony unless it drops to an ocean view price. We have never been on a ship on a nice sea day when there have been any loungers available in the pool area after mid morning, and it was the same here, the last ones by the pool were taken by 10am. You have to sign your pool towels in and out from the towel police. We like listening to the bands at the pool, but if you do not need to use the pool or want to listen to a band, there are many open loungers in other areas, go up to the deck above the pool and walk end to end and you will find tons of loungers. No pool band most days anyway. There are 2 pools, the Coral Bay pool near the entrance to the spa, and the Cayo Levantado near the entrance to the buffet, plus a kids pool on deck 14. Self serve soft ice cream cones at the pool 1-4pm.The loungers are good and bad, the good is they are a nice mesh, no buggy straps, and they have a great adjustable shade to keep the sun off your face, a first on a ship for us. The problem is the backs are short, and will not support your head if you lean back, so you have to scrunch down, but then your feet hang over the end. If you are petite you have it made. If you do not want to lay in full sun all the time there are a few great private spots near the pool where you can slide your chair in and out of the sun. For the first 2, stand on deck 14 (above the pool), with the giant screen above you and 3 hot tubs below you, and look back in the 2 corners past the staircases by the tinted windows. 2-4 loungers fit nicely there, but you have to drag them in there. And if it is windy you will be out of the wind. The Solarium sounded spa-ish, but it is just an open deck area with loungers, but no shade or wind protection there. The other nice shady/sunny spots are on either side of the big screen, slightly behind it, you can move your lounger around for sun or shade and adjust to sun movement too. Generally the loungers in front of the big screen do not get wind. The gym is good, 4 ski motion ellipticals and 4 straight ones, several treadmills and bikes, free weights, machines, floor mats, but a water fountain would have been nice. The tennis court is about half size, sort of like platform tennis. As all ships do, gratuities are added to your ship account, but it is more than the other lines charge, $12/day pp instead of $10. MSC prefers to call it a service charge, and the amount is not published in the daily newsletter, just a small statement a couple times that it will be on your account and not to tip the crew, and that the amount and conditions are in their brochures and web site. So there is no comment that it can be adjusted or cancelled, but when you ask about it you find out there is a 3 hour window the last sea day to do that, held in the DR. The long 20 minute hassles previously reported did not happen, and people were done in a few minutes. No line up around 9-10, just a steady stream coming and going. We asked why the charge was more than other ships, and he said he did not know. People on our shore excursion who had talked to the crew told us the ship does not give this money to the crew as on other ships. Some crew said they were told it was built into their salary, and others said they got $10 a week. It is supposed to be a secret, and the crew are warned not to discuss it with passengers, and not to accept tips, a lose-lose for them. The ship notice says the procedure is to encourage service excellence, but how a non-merit system does this is a mystery to us. Anyway the whole procedure seems sneaky and underhanded. Accounting was efficient, there were a few charges on our card that were not ours which they quickly corrected. You can view your account on the TV the last 3 days, and get a print-out at the desk on days before that. You can also book tours on your TV. The ship overall: when we evaluate how much we have enjoyed a ship, our method is to think of one (or more) features that were special to that ship and to which we would really look forward to having again, sometimes simple little things. Like the solarium on the Vision, the indoor street promenade on the Mariner, the private upstairs level on the old Destiny lido buffet, Sabatini's alternate restaurant on the Crown, the French and Chinese alternate restaurants on NCL, the private little tables out the back of the buffet on the Century, the big cabins on HAL and CCL. But although the Poesia was lovely we could not find a special feature that appealed to us, it was just a pretty ship in the traditional style. The Food The breakfast buffet was the same as most other ships. There are 2 buffets on each side, and many people stop at the first one as you enter. If you bypass the line and go to the back buffet there are less people and more empty tables. These 2 rear buffets have a few less items than the first ones as you enter (from the pool), like at the back ones there are no pancakes, French toast, waffles, or ready made omelets. And there is no cooked-to-order omelet station at any buffet. Reports about rude people in the buffet lines was not evident, it was busy as on all ships, and people would reach in for just an item, no problem, or they would enter the line if there was big gap, and it worked fine. Orange and pineapple juice was available at several stations. If you get your food at the first buffet and there are no tables just walk through to the back at the second buffet. The lunch buffet was also the same as on most ships, interesting selection, no problem finding something that appeals. The open hours change from day to day depending on shore times etc, sometimes it closes at 2:30 and sometimes it is open as late as 5pm, check the newsletter. Free ice tea and ice water, lemonade is $2. We had all our dinners in the main dining room. We wanted a 2 person table for some private time this cruise, which cannot be selected when you book the cruise as usual. So after boarding we went to the meeting room set up to handle dining requests, deck 6 next to the Zebra bar, and were fixed up. We thought the food was about average compared to other ships. There are usually 3 entree choices on the Italian menu, 4 on big nights, and an American entree on the other side, plus 3 standards that can be ordered any day, beef steak, chicken scaloppini, and salmon. These were generally adequate, and we always ordered an extra entree different than the first 2 so we would have an alternate if one did not appeal. One night it was a bit wanting, the choices were meatballs with boiled potatoes, red snapper, and spaghetti with clams. They could throw the first and last one together for a pretty good combo. Another night the 3 choices were swordfish, veal scaloppini, and mini-pasta, with the American alternate being pot roast which was delicious. Swordfish was good too. Loved the cannelloni, Cajun tilapia, prime rib, pot roast, and great lasagna. As a benchmark, we thought the seafood except for the lobster was as good as the Red Lobster chain, but the pasta dishes were not as flavorful as the Olive Garden chain except for the excellent lasagna. Service was efficient, food was never cold. We pre-ordered the dinner wine package #556, 7 bottles for $67, which has to be done no less than 1 week before the cruise by printing the form on their website and then faxing it to MSC. They sent no confirmation that they received it, but it was processed through our credit card 2 days before the cruise. This package says you get a choice of wines, but you do not, you can have either the house red or white each night. The red is the Italian house wine, Montepulciano Dâ Abruzzo 2008, which luck for us we found acceptable. If you wait till you are on the ship to order the package, it is $105, but you get choices, 3 reds from California, 5 whites (2 CA, 2 Italian, 1 German), and 2 roses (1 CA and 1 Italian). If you pre-order, the wine coupons are supposed to be delivered to your table the first night. Ours was not there, and fortunately I packed the order form, so I had to go and get it to show the head waiter before getting the wine. They ended up keeping this form, so you might want to black out your credit card number before giving it away, they do not need that info since it has been paid for. We always select anytime dining on other cruises, and it is always worked out well, short waits for tables. After returning from ports it is usually about 7 by the time we are cleaned up and ready for a drink before dinner, so making the 5:30 time for first seating was quite a rush, and second seating is too late for us. When we mentioned this to our waiter he said 6pm would be no problem, and it was nice to have some extra time. Many people just came in then anyway, not too considerate of their table mates. The dining room dress code is not enforced. Nice that the code allows jeans on casual nights, but we also saw shorts which are not allowed, and on a formal night there was a t-shirt and ball cap. Overall this was not a dressy crowd, we saw only a few tuxes on formal nights. Average age was mid forties. Entertainment The entertainment in the main theatre was good, interesting shows much like the other ships, one Cirque du Solei style, some magic, and a Michael Jackson tribute that was probably the hit of the cruise, he had Michael down pat, had everyone hopping. Most of the other big action is in the large Zebra lounge, get there before the theatre next door empties out at 9:30, standing room only after that. One night a conga line dance party, another night the crew dressed passengers in carnival costumes for some mob dance lesson laughter, quite a hoot, and another night a Travolta/Newton-John dance contest, pairs of crew and passengers doing a hilarious routine of 4 or 5 famous moves flipping the girls etc, to the tune of You Are The One That I Love. The crew did a great demo first, and then 2 chubby good sport passengers won top prize, they had us in stitches, got a bottle of champagne. The staff in the lounge really work hard to interact with the passengers, and succeeded in involving them in all the action. The Captain's cocktail reception the first formal night was the most bare bones we have been to, no hors de ouevres, what tasted like virgin martinis, and champagne. The MSC club past cruisers party was the same, no snacks, and the drinks were a red virgin fruit drink and champagne, I guess he thought we had had enough to eat. Honeymooners and anniversaries were also invited to this one. Ports Most ships hand out port maps at the gangway or have one on the daily newsletter, but none were available this cruise. Key West Cute port, rented bikes and toodled around. Not much time here, 7-2, which seems to be the norm for most ships stopping here, they do not seem to stay for the whole day. We did a recommended route from the Little White House down Whitehead to the Southernmost Point, then east on South St, and right on Reynolds to get down to Atlantic Blvd along Higgs Beach, then a right onto Bertha and continuing along Smathers Beach on Roosevelt Blvd. Then we made it back on board before the lunch buffet closed. A pretty route along the beaches, took about 1 hour. Bikes are $8-25 per half day depending where you rent. Playa Del Carman This port was one reason we chose this cruise, we had not seen it and also wanted to take a side trip to Cancun. When the ship started doing this itinerary before and after Xmas we saw the cruiser reports that the ship always canceled Playa and went to Cozumel, citing weather too rough for tendering. Finally one cruiser reported that on the day Playa was canceled for them, the sea between Coz and Playa was calm, a row boat could make it across. So weather does not appear to be the real reason, just the convenient one. So anyway we got prepared for either port, and sure enough Playa was cancelled for us too and we docked at Coz, at the International Pier outside of town, on a beautiful calm day. With the short time in port (10-4) and the ferry from Coz to Playa eating up 1.5 hours return, and running irregularly (one ferry missed the ship), we decided to stay in Coz instead of doing Playa on our own. We often like going to a resort in port and having snacks and drinks at the pool and beach, and Coz has several options. For the morning we fooled around the ship pool, then had a quick lunch as soon as it opened, then headed ashore. Since we had to be leaving a resort around 3 to make departure time of 4, we would not get our money's worth from an all-inclusive deal, and wanted a pay-as-you-go deal, which the Fiesta Americana offers cruisers, so we went there and had a nice time, a pretty resort. It was about 7km, a $6 cab if you get the cab at the road 50 feet beyond the cue at the dock, those cost more, about $9. Drinks cost $7.50 and loaded nachos were $8. Loungers with towels are free. The main pretty pool area is on the hotel side of the small road, and they also have a beach club if you walk across the small road, with a smaller pool and loungers under thatched papillas umbrellas. Tell the waiter at either location that you are paying cash for food and drinks. Restrooms in the lobby. Swim up bar at the pool, and there are cute cabanas with mattresses, free too. If you want all-in there it is $45 which includes all food, only beer and pop for drinks, and a day room. The Presidente InterContinental offers a day pass for $130 which includes a pool-view day room, food/booze credit of $45 per room, and full resort access. The El Cozumeleno has an all-in day pass for $65. The Coral Princess had free use for cruisers a few years ago. The Melia Cozumel used to be $45 all-in for day use, one of the Wyndham hotels is currently $50 all-inclusive, the Occidental Grande used to be $50, Cozumel Palace used to be $75, and the cute little Ed Cid La Ceiba right by the ship used to be $10 a la carte and $25 all-inclusive. Grand Cayman Cayman was a tendered port and previous reviews said the tenders did not take people to the Georgetown dock, but somewhere outside town requiring transportation to get to town. This time the tender took us to the main pier downtown. The ship uses their own lifeboats to tender, but a large private tender took a couple loads too. We read reports that the tender service was very slow here, so in the morning we did the gym and some other stuff and did not try till after lunch. Later we heard that there were some tempers flaring in the lineup. We did note that tender numbers 1-6 were called at 10:20, then numbers around 17 were called at 11:15, then numbers around 22 were called around 11:30, then numbers around 28 were called around noon, and then at 12:20 numbers were no longer required. We have been to Grand Cayman several times and never made it to the famous 7 Mile Beach, did the rays and other stuff. So this time we wanted to check out the beach, and decided to walk a few miles of it, starting at the Westin/Ritz Carlton area and ending around the Marriott/Comfort Suites, stopping for drinks and snacks whenever needed. Two choices to get there, either the local bus routes WB 1 (yellow) or WB 2 (lime green) for $2.50 pp or a cab for $5-6 pp. The bus depot is now north of the ship on North Church Road just north of the yellow Waterfront Center bldg. Wave your hand and the bus will stop for you. Sit near the door in case the bus gets crowded. Pay when leaving the bus (it is a big van), exact change requested. Jamaica We did not need the hassles in downtown Mo Bay, and booked the Chukka Canopy Tour through the ship, a zip line over the forest, only $10 more than doing it privately. The tour began with a bus ride through the mountains, transferring to camo style army trucks for a wild ride through the jungle to a gorge. There we did pretty zip lines through the tree tops over the gorge and rivers. Well run, good equipment, very safe. Free ice water thermo after, then at a jungle cafe where you can buy snacks and drinks. They have photographers at each location taking shots of each person, which you can buy after, we got the 7 pack on a CD for $25. You can choose the ones you want from a computer screen. Also take your own camera, there are good opportunities for that as well, just have your hands free. In the afternoon we checked out the Sunset Beach Resort near the ship, $60 all-in, a 10 minute walk but through a dirty construction area, take a $9 cab from the ship or $6 cab at the road. For the afternoon they wanted $30pp but it was 2:30 and not worth it to us for a couple hours, and they are not set up to accept cash purchases, so we went back to enjoy the pool at the ship. The 3.5 star Royal Decameron is half way to town and $70 all-in, the Riu is $99 all-in, the Rose Hall Resort is $65 apparently with lunch but no booze, the Holiday Inn Sunspree on the other side of the airport is $55 all-in, the new Palmyra timeshare is free, pay as you go but you might get a speech, and the Coyaba Beach Resort is free, pay as you go. We read that Breezes was $98, and Sandals Mo Bay and Sandals Royal Caribbean were $85, but avoid the Sandals Inn, different place. Our cabbie said the Ritz was free, a $15 ride. Nassau In the afternoon we went to the British Colonial Hilton, an easy 10 minute walk from the ship, to the right of Senior Frogs, easy to see from the deck of the ship. It offers a $40 pass which includes towels and a $30 food and booze credit. We chose pay as you go, which allows you to use loungers and the pool and beach, but not their towels. Beer was $6 and cocktails were $8. Bar and food service was very slow, glad we passed on the AI, 5 ships in port, the bartender was shaking his head at the huge Oasis of the Seas. The Sheraton Nassau offers a $25 pass without food or booze, and Breezes Superclub is $55 or $60 all-in. The Wyndham Nassau Crystal Palace is $40 incl buffet lunch, do not know about included booze. There are no buses to Paradise Island, just cabs, about $11/2ppl, or $4 pp for 4 or more ppl. Buses (jitneys) are $1.25, bus depot at Bay and George, #10 goes to the Sheraton. Day pass deals change all the time, email or call the resorts to be sure. Disembarkation Our flight was at 11am so we needed to get off right away and get to the airport, so we did express self-disembarkation where you take your own luggage off the ship, and you have to sign up for this ahead of time. The line started moving at 7:15 and we were at the cabs at 8, and at the a/p at 8:15. If you need to get off sooner than that you could save about 15 minutes by waiting at the Place Vendine boutique which turned out to be near the front of the line. Delta does not allow check in more than 2 hours before your flight, so we had to wait till 9. Overall we did fine on the Poesia, but it reminded us how much we like to have anytime dining on the other cruise lines, and there was not a particular feature of the ship that was unique and special for us. We would cruise MSC again if it hit ports we wanted, and if the price matched the guidelines in the intro, but if the prices were higher than that we would not book early.

Read More
  • New

Feb 26, 2010

Western Caribbean

Yes, there is a MSC Poesia. It is incredibly beautiful and you will be in awe at her. We stayed in a category 11 which was larger than any of the previous ships I have sailed. All the beds were overly large, king bed and bunks that were twin size. This is the good. The BAD: * Food does not leave dining room! * Portions for room service. A JOKE! * Gala night is dining room only or pizza -- NO BUFFET * Children's areas are poorly

supervised and possess NO organization * Ports of call - flip a coin for port and location -- NO JOKE * Docking time was always late except on disembarkation day! * Most of the staff was unfriendly * Most did not speak very good English. * Only two desserts every night with one being Jell-O. * The smell of raw sewage every morning at 6:00am on the jogging track. The VERY UNACCEPTABLE: * Adults can come and go in the children and teens areas. HUGE No - No! * Staff arguing with guests. * Children could drink water or coffee at any time during the day. * Cords running down the middle of jogging track. The food was ok. The Filet Mignon was really a sirloin and the lobster was fishy (my father does not normally complain about food). Nothing to write home about. Desserts were virtually non-existent unless you are a huge fan of Jell-o. You do get free room service, just don't be expecting more than a five year old might eat. The stateroom in a category 11 was overly large. The beds were larger than most cruise ships but my side had a indent that I kept rolling into. What onboard activities? Nothing ever ran on time or ran at all. Especially in the children/teen's programs. If this is your first cruise, you may be in awe providing no one told you what you SHOULD expect. This is my 7th cruise with this being the 6th one in a row for six years since 2005. I will not ever sail MSC. The Europeans can have her. They may have the niche in Europe and the Mediterranean but they have no idea what Americans want or expect. MSC CEO take a cruise on Princess and be enlightened! On Montego Bay, Jamaica, be sure to do the Chukka Canopy Zipline Tour. The guides are fabulous. Crazy Chris and Pokey Floyd helped me through a panic attack on the last zipline. They were awesome! In Key West, Florida, rent an electric car. It is the best bang for your buck. You can see the major points and take your time doing it. For my family the cost was about $126 for 4 +/- hours which was about $18 per person. This was a lot less than the Trolley or Train. The BAD: * Food does not leave dining room! * Portions for room service. A JOKE! * Gala night is dining room only or pizza -- NO BUFFET * Children's areas are poorly supervised and possess NO organization * Ports of call - flip a coin for port and location -- NO JOKE * Docking time was always late except on disembarkation day! * Most of the staff was unfriendly * Most did not speak very good English. * Only two desserts every night with one being Jell-O. * The smell of raw sewage every morning at 6:00am on the jogging track. The VERY UNACCEPTABLE: * Adults can come and go in the children and teens areas. HUGE No - No! * Staff arguing with guests. * Children could drink water or coffee at any time during the day. * Cords running down the middle of jogging track. The bad explained: Every other cruise ship has allowed us to bring a dinner up to the room when someone in our party could not make it for dinner. Not MSC!! The first night my father could not make it to dinner so we asked if WE could take his meal to him. We were informed that no food is taken out of the dining room. The Maitre D' informed me that my dad could order room service and it is free. Yeah right! It is free but it turned out to be a tuna sandwich! MMMMMM So much for the free room service. There is also not food available all hours of the day except room service. Just hope you are not hungry because three small pieces of cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, and Swiss - this is the assorted cheeses) and two packs of crackers with a quarter size of marmalade or three pieces of fruit is it. The only thing to drink during the day is coffee or water unless you want to purchase milk, juice, soda, ice tea, or alcohol. Who ever heard of a cruise ship with two desserts maybe a third? One was always Jell-O. Jell-O is great if it is sugar free and your a diabetic or you have no teeth left to chew the "real" desserts. MSC get with the program! Children's areas are pathetic at best in the 7-12 and 13-17 areas. I peaked at the younger kids area but I have no comments because of lack of viewing of that area. The 7-12 yr olds are crammed into a small room with a ping pong table and foosball/soccer table for 20 to 30 kids. There is no gate keeping children in and adults out. In fact, my mother and a friend walked right into the childrens' room trying to convince my kids to join in. Adults walking into the kids area does not happen on any other ship that I have been on. The rooms are usually gated and you have prove who you are before your kid is brought to you! I also observed a little girl about 7 - 9 hitting the behind of the male counselor in the room. This is inappropriate behavior for both child and the staff. He never said a word to her! I saw no organization at all during any of my observations of this center. My 15 1/2 year old said they never ran the activities scheduled for her age group. She also said the teens were allowed in the Disco/teen center at 10:30pm approx. but it was suggested that they leave by 11:00pm for adult dancing. However, adults could roam freely in this room at any time and interact with the teens. NO NO NO! I was told my another adult that a "drunk" adult came up to her teen. What is wrong with MSC? Shame on MSC and the drunk adults hanging out with teens. This is unsafe and extremely unacceptable. I work in a high/middle school and work the after-school program for the elementary, this would NOT be and should NOT be tolerated! The ship never docked on time nor did you know which port you will be going. It seems MSC likes to dock in "no mans land" and lets you pay extra to get into the town. I have been to Grand Cayman three times before and this was the only time we ported/tendered in a residential area where you needed to pay $5 per person each way to go into Georgetown shopping. The cost would have been $40 each way or $80 to go shopping. We found out how to use the public transportation for $2.50 per person each way. The majority of the staff did not speak very good English but you can eventually find someone to communicate with to help. Hello, MSC CEO, a smile is a UNIVERSAL HELLO -- teach your staff to smile. You very rarely (3 times on the 7 night cruise with the exception of the room stewards and waiters) get a smile, good morning, good afternoon, etc. I finally could not take this one guy at the buffet line that just looked mean (convict looking mean) and scary so I told him he had a great smile and needed to smile, however I really did not know if he had a nice smile. After that he always smiled at me and said hello, he really was scary before. The jogging track is great to use on a cruise ship. Just to walk briskly with the wind in your hair, sound of the ocean all around you, the smell of salt water, and the wonderful sunrise. The Poesia had a jogging/walking track. I had the wind in my hair, sound of the ocean, and wonderful sunrises but the smell of salt water was masked with the smell of raw sewage every morning about 6:00 am. One word -- Nauseating! I have used the jogging track on every boat (except Disney - did not have one) and the staff is always cleaning it between 5 - 6:30 am but every other ship the cords for the vacuums are run along the sides the track not down the middle. Of course, it makes it more exciting when all of a sudden the cord gets pulled taunt and you trip. Yes, this is the MSC Poesia. Send the MSC back to the Mediterranean

Read More
  • New

Jan 23, 2010

Caribbean

I am writing this review in the airport on the way home from this cruise. My wife and I flew from Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale to board the MSC Poesia. Getting on the ship was fantastic. It was very easy and we boarded early and it gave a chance to explore the ship a little bit. I would recommend doing that as well, also to avoid the droves of people all boarding at the last minute. The ship was absolutely beautiful and they were constantly cleaning

the ship which made for a very pleasant aesthetic. Our stateroom was also very nice and the stateroom service and maintenance was excellent. Unfortunately, that was about the extent of our pleasant experience. The service was just horrible, if you were lucky enough to find someone who spoke the same language as you, they were usually unable or even worse unwilling to help you. The food was canned and disgusting. And the overall experience was terrible (read below). I will not cruise with MSC ever again. Uggh, where do I begin? Usually, one of the main attractions to a cruise is the food. I have had better food at a nursing home than on this ship. Most of the fresh fruit was fresh out of the can. The juice was from a terrible concentrate that tasted like water. The coffee was from big dispensers with a huge vat of instant coffee powder above them and tasted like battery acid. The iced tea was from concentrate, and the milk was usually at room temperature (but maybe that is a European thing, I'm not sure). The meat was horrible and very tough. We had the filet mignon one night and I could not eat it. My wife and I had our tender tickets for the tender boat to the docks and had the running joke that we wanted to use our tender ticket on our steaks! I actually got food poisoning on the second night and was sick for two days of the cruise. It was so bad that I could not even keep water down and missed our port of Montego Bay. The following day I found out that some other people sitting at our table also had the exact same thing happen to them. On cruises I am used to there being a station of food that is open all day if not all night. Not the case. Lunch buffet shut down at 2:00 pm and if you did not eat by that time you had to wait 4 hours before you could eat again. It was annoying when my wife and I would come back from an excursion at 3:00 or 3:30 and could not get anything to eat...anywhere. Back to the port to pay $15.00 for a cheeseburger. Are you kidding? The whole dining experience was a complete disappointment. The only upside was that the food was the butt of many funny jokes throughout the week. The stateroom was very good, there are a few exceptions, but I will start with the good. The bathrooms were probably the nicest I have ever had on a cruise. There was a good amount of room and the the service staff was excellent. Our service attendant was Herman and he did an excellent job cleaning the room and making sure that we always had ice and clean towels. MSC does not do anything cute like RC and Carnival like put chocolates on your pillows or make towel origami animals or anything like that but they do do a good job with the basics. The beds are aluminum tube framed cots, in our room we had two put together to make a queen size bed. One side was very comfortable and one side left both me and my wife sore in the morning. The temperature adjuster in our room did not work but we did not complain about it. On the 4th night of the cruise we lost hot water for about 10 hours and finally called the reception desk and they had it fixed within an hour. All in all the stateroom was very good. We did not participate in many of the on-board activities due to the fact that every sentence was repeated in five different languages, which is necessary but does not make for a very enjoyable experience. The nightly shows in the theater were not very family friendly and you often saw bare butts throughout the entire show every night. The at-sea day was very disorganized as it was very much every man for himself on the deck. Good luck getting a sunbathing chair, and if you wanted the attendants to get out more chairs because they are all taken by beach towels with no one on them, get ready to rumble baby! Most of the on-board activities were directed by the entertainment director, Richard who was very good and just that, entertaining. Please read this part: The most important part of a cruise to me is the service and for this reason alone I will never sail again with MSC. There were multiple stories of disastrous service that I would not expect from a human being let a lone a cruise line that I paid to be their guest. I will share a few experiences that happened within the last 4 days of me writing this review. One of the days that I was sick I was going to try to eat some crackers, it was about 4:15 in the afternoon and my wife went to go find me some crackers she found 2 packets and had asked the buffet attendant for a few more packets of crackers. He said NO! She asked him again twice and he said that she would have to wait to TOMORROW??? For Crackers??? We were trying to get something to drink and there were no cups by the water station. My wife asked one of the attendants if there were anymore cups. (by this time we knew that getting them to help was like pulling teeth) long story short by the end of the conversation he pointed to a cabinet that was supposed to be locked and told us that that is where the cups were and that we could get them ourselves. Thanks! You may read about this experience by some other writers in the future as it made many of the people vocally irate. When we docked in Mexico we had to take a tender boat from the ship to the pier. Everyone was given a tender ticket to have some kind of order to the whole process otherwise there would be absolute chaos. Unfortunately when there is no communication between staff members and some people are enforcing the the tickets and the people allowing the people on the tender boats just letting anyone on, it is a recipe for disaster. All in all it took some people over two hours to get ashore and some missed their excursions. So disorganized. There are so many other little things that I could write that would probably make your jaw drop to hear but rest assured that the service was below terrible and downright rude at times.

Read More
  • New

Nov 17, 2009

Western Caribbean

All in all, it was a pleasant experience. It is not a luxury cruise line and the food and service reflect this. However, it is a good value for the price and much better than our previous experience on Costa, another Italian cruise line. The ship is new and beautiful and it seemed that everyone made a real effort to cater to the North American tastes and preferences, usually quite successfully, I thought. I heard complaints about food and service

from others in our travel group, but I didn't experience any problems with either. The food was usually good and varied, with a Red, White, and Blue alternate dinner menu, featuring American basics, like pot roast. I thought that was a very nice touch for their first cruise out of the States. The food was not elaborate but, again, was much better than that on Costa. There were a few misses, but most of the selections we chose were good to very good, with a few excellents. The big midnight buffet was a bit disappointing and not at all like the productions of old, but they are pretty much a thing of the past on all moderately priced cruises. They are very wasteful and not in tune with the "green" philosophy of the modern ships. The fruit and vegetable and bread sculptures were amazing, but the food was very ordinary. The stateroom was a bit small, but adequate. We had the smaller balcony cabin and a few extra square feet would have been nice. There was adequate storage space for clothes and luggage, so not too difficult to navigate. The shower was exceptionally tiny and a problem for larger folks. The nightly entertainment was very good. The programs were short, about an hour or less, but the performers were very energetic and talented. Excellent Italian female and male soloists! The costumes were elaborate and the there were many costume changes. We really enjoyed the performances and didn't miss a single one. As for the other on-board activities, they were the usual--poolside games and contests, crafts and bingo, dance lessons and trivia games. The casino was small, but adequate. It got too crowded in the evening and could have been bigger for over 2,000 passengers. We took only one excursion in Ocho Rios and it was fine. We went to Dunn River Falls, Fern Gully, and the Coyaba Tropical Gardens. All were enjoyable and quite beautiful. The tour guides were good and the bus was air conditioned. We had a 5 day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Grand Cayman and back to Fort Lauderdale. Our small group had a good time and found it to be a pleasant experience. None of the four of us had any serious complaints and I think it was a successful first entry into the North American market for MSC. The Poesia is a beautiful ship and the crew was very helpful. We found the service to be very good, though others apparently had some problems. The ship is amazingly clean, as were the cabins. I heard no one complain about that. I would recommend this cruise and this ship.

Read More
  • New

Sep 19, 2009

Venice-Bari-Katakolon-Izmir-Istanbul-Dubrovnik

This was the first-ever cruise for my wife and me. While the overall experience was positive, there were some aspects to this cruise that we found irritating. Having to pay for drinks with our meals was a little strange, and this seems to be a common complaint among our fellow passengers. The food was good but not great, at least not quite to the standard we expected. Tours were very pricey, and while the quality of the local tour guides was uniformly

good, the short amount of time during port calls made us feel like we were constantly rushing -- not exactly the sort of feeling one wants to have while on vacation. The food was ample, but not outstanding. Perhaps our expectations were unrealistic, given the fact that the ship's mess has to prepare meals for hundreds of passengers several times a day. However, we spoke with many other passengers on this cruise who had gone on multiple cruises before, and in each case their assessment was that the food on this cruise did not compare favorably with the food they'd been offered on other cruise lines. Again, having to pay for beverages (especially water!) in addition to our meals was a significant irritant. On the positive side: My wife is a vegan (i.e., a vegetarian who also does not consume dairy products), and our first night at dinner was a major disappointment for her. Most Italian dishes contain some ingredient that would pose a problem for a vegan. Fortunately, the maitre d'hotel was very accommodating and understanding, and the chefs made special vegetarian dishes for my wife every night. (Those dishes were in some cases more appealing to the rest of us at the table than what we were served!) The variety at the lunch buffet was usually pretty good, but breakfast featured the same selections day in and day out. That got a little boring after a few days. Our stateroom was clean and well-appointed. The staff did a superb job of keeping the room clean and tidy throughout the cruise. While the room seemed a touch on the small size to us, this was our first cruise and therefore we have no basis for comparison. They seemed to be adequate. The activities that took place on the pool deck were very loud, though. The nightly shows were very good, certainly better than we expected. Experienced cruisers we spoke with told us they felt these were some of the best shows they'd ever seen on a cruise. Excursions are NOT cheap! We were on a seven-day cruise, with the option for excursions at each port of call. We went with excursions at Bari, Katakolon and Ismir, and were glad we did. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and did their best to impart as much knowledge as possible. There was one tour (Bari) where there were not enough English and Spanish participants to warrant separate tours, so we shared a bus and a tour guide -- which meant everything had to be said twice, once in each language. Given the short amount of ground time we had during that port call, this situation proved less than desirable. We opted not to go on excursions in Istanbul and Dubrovnik, but to explore those locations with another couple. Both of these locations are suitable for venturing out on your own, without signing up for one of the tours. Overall, we have more positives than negatives to report. We found the staff to be friendly and helpful for the most part, and have no complaint with the service. Internet is available, but the prices are very high -- 20 Euro for the first hour (!), and the connection is more like dial-up speed. We would recommend using Internet only when absolutely necessary. Again, having to pay for beverages ON TOP of what we paid for the cruise itself (including the food) was more than mildly annoying.

Read More

Cruise Forums

Have a cruising question? Ask our Fodorite community.

Cruise News

Read our latest news about cruises.

Store

Shop our travel guides on European, Caribbean, and Alaskan cruises.

Back To Top