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MSC Cruises: MSC Poesia

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MSC Poesia Review

Insider Take

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

All American cuisine for every meal; a smoke-free environment.

Public Rooms

Poesia offers 11 different bars and lounges, each of them unique, and most of them situated on Decks 5 and 6 connected by a grand marble staircase.

At the other end of the scale, the L' Enoteca Wine Bar offers a selection of varietals and an even better selection of food pairings to go with them. You can choose from, Spanish, Italian, French or German cuisine traditionally consumed with wine. For under $10 one can get a plate of a cultural delight, such as pickles and sausages from Germany or breads and cheese from France.

On deck five is the Casino Royale with a traditional Monte Carlo flair. One will find blackjack, slot machines ranging from one penny to five dollars, or euro as the case may be, and of course roulette. There is no craps table, however, as that is an American game. Behind the casino is a large sushi bar, and beyond the stairwell comes the cyber cafe and the Havana Club where cigar smoking is not only allowed, it is encouraged.

Deck six is the outdoor promenade deck encircling nothing but staterooms. Decks seven through 11 are all staterooms as well, but deck 13, Vivace Deck, begins with the Aloha Beauty Farm and Fitness Centre all the way forward. Referring to a fitness spa as a beauty farm, well I'll leave the jokes to you. Deck 12 midships is the pool and suntanning area followed by a large buffet restaurant. Fully astern is the a la carte restaurant Il Giardino.

Deck 14 forword is comprised of penthouses. Midships is the jogging track around the pool area and astern we find the golf simulator, children's area, shuffleboard, a simulated space trip to ride and a virtual games parlor. Fully a stern is the discotheque Q32. The small Deck 14 has a tennis court and secluded tanning areas. In Europe topless tanning is still acceptable.

Cuisine

Delicious pasta and risotto dishes are featured nightly. The menu lists appetizers, soup, salads, pasta, main courses and garnishes, as well as vegetarian and alternative dishes. The dessert menu includes cakes, pastries, ice cream and sorbet, along with after-dinner drinks.

While the buffet area on earlier MSC cruises ships was a source of several complaints, over the years they have gotten their act together and managed to provide a variety of cuisine with something to appeal to almost every culinary gene pool. in Europe one well have to pay for every beverage including bottled water and ice tea. Ships in a Caribbean will offer these drinks on a complimentary basis. It is possible to get water free if you can find the ice dispenser where glasses and water are available.

The only time you will get coffee free onboard MSC ships is during breakfast at the buffet area were from room service. The good news is, that you can get a fantastic espresso or mocha at any bar on the ship. The bad news is you have to pay for it.

Made to order snacks are available 24 hours a day from room service, allow 30 minutes for preparation and delivery. Continental breakfast can be ordered at bedtime for morning delivery. Expect coffee and rolls, only. In Europe, room service items will be charged for on an a la carte basis. In the Caribbean room service is gratis.

Restaurants

There are two seatings in each of the two dining rooms (5:45 and 8:00 p.m. respectively in the Caribbean, 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. in Europe), and casual alternatives in the Lido buffet (6:00 - 8:00 p.m.) and poolside grills. The grill area on Deck 12 opens for alternative dining until 9:30 p.m. It is well protected from wind and there's plenty of shade.

Il Palladio Ristorante and Le Fontaine Ristorante dining rooms are situated on Decks 5 and 6 respectively. Those prone to seasickness may prefer the mid-ship location of Il Palladio Ristorante but Le Fontaine Ristorante has the better views, with the full picture windows looking out over the stern. Breakfast and lunch are both open seating, while dinner is assigned tables.

Entertainment

The cruise staff, called Animators or Pagliacci, double as entertainers who foment a lot of lighthearted fun and mischief. Every evening, musicians perform in the various lounges, and there's jollity in profusion in the Teatro Carlo Felice.

A large deck area behind the swimming pools is used for games and dance classes. Bingo is offered on board, but pay attention or you might miss it.

Baseball and music-themed Caribbean cruises allow passengers to meet up to half a dozen baseball legends and Poesial greats. Hitting, pitching and batting clinics, interview, Q&A, storytelling, and autograph sessions are all popular.

Fitness/Spa

The Aloha Beauty Farm and Centre, deck 13, offers aerobic equipment in a light-filled room with floor-to-ceiling windows. The spa offerings are the usual cruise ship fare of facials and massages. There are two swimming pools and two whirlpools (deck 11). And although the pool area is surrounded deck chairs, more can be found on deck 13, nicely shielded from the wind. Topless sunbathing is allowed in specified locations.

Aerobics classes are free, with personal training sessions available for $35. Step, Pilates and Stretching classes are a steep $12 per lesson, five for $55. There is a jogging track is on Deck 12 above the pool.

Attire

The dress code is resort casual with two formal nights on ten-night, three on 11-night, and four on 17- and 18-night cruises. On our cruise we found the Europeans dress surprisingly casual, even on formal nights. Not a single tuxedo was in sight, and on the jacket and tie required informal nights we saw casual shirts and pants were everywhere. A simple jacket and tie would have been enough to qualify as fully dressed on our MSC cruise.

Overview

A modern, mid-size ship (Poesia-class) with lovely interior and a variety of cuisine and activities.

Best For People Who Want

A true bargain on a classy new ship with family activities and children's menus.

Onboard Experience

MSC is a tasteful cruise line that has refined its product over the years after experiencing early growing pains. While MSC Cruises tries to accommodate American tastes during the Caribbean season, the onboard vibe remains European, with Italian officers and a mix of Italian, Balinese and International crew. The onboard entertainment, pianists and vocal duos with guitar, feature excellent European performers. As in the Mediterranean, announcements are in five languages, but in the Caribbean English is the first.

The Musica-class of MSC Cruises is the second generation - started in 2006. There are four Musica-class ships including the Musica, Orchestra, Poesia and MSC Magnifica with a debut in 2010. At 90,000 tons for 3000 passengers, these ships belong firmly in the mainstream market and are comparable to Royal Caribbean or Norwegian Cruise lines in America. Keep in mind that MSC cruises is marketed to the European masses.

There is 236,000 sq. ft. of public space inside the ship, most of it supported by an Art Nouveau design theme straight out of 1930s Europe. The main attraction is a three deck tall atrium, where the focal piece is a clear glass platform suspended a piano over a waterfall. On the bottom floor of the atrium you will find the reception desk and shore excursion offices. There are also plenty of shops nearby, including the perfume shop, the jewelry store and a kiosk for everyday notions.

There are three large showroom lounges with plenty of a grandstand style seating on raised platforms facing the stage. The entertainment may be a jazz quartet or a single piano player accompanied by his own technology. The main showroom has fine sight lines and a state-of-the-art theater featuring large cast production shows.

Altogether, there are 11 bars and lounges on the ship, and music is the common cruise denominator for all of the various nationalities onboard. During the day, one can join in trivia games, cooking demonstrations and various other activities, but keep in mind that each of these must be conducted in five different languages.

To navigate the ship, one must walk a through each public room and it is not possible to bypass the bottlenecks that are bound to occur. There is no unifying passageway or atrium from which every, or even a few, public rooms are accessible.

As expected for a European cruise ship, the highlight is the cuisine and the best on board comes in the buffet area and specialty restaurants. These alternative dining spots, served on an a la carte basis instead of fixed per person service fee, makes them more convenient and accessible. Best of all, the price will not go beyond the typical cruise ship alternative dining experience.

With MSC Cruises' "kids sail free" policy all year round these ships get especially crowded with youngsters during the summer. That policy applies to anyone 17 or under. Keep in mind that the foremost nationalities onboard are Italian, Spanish, French, German and English - in that order. While the American component becomes stronger whenever an MSC ship enters the Caribbean region, the European onboard flavor is persistent and continues to appeal to the Europeans. U.S. cruisers are advised that taking an MSC Cruise in the Caribbean does not necessarily mean that English and will the dominant language onboard. It depends on the passenger mix onboard.

Decor

Each of Poesia's public room has its own distinctive color scheme, all more subdued than the earlier ships, and each room blends well with the next, giving a sense of unity. Cabin decks are similarly color-coordinated, each in its own hue. Abundant polished brass, mirrors, glass and marble make the insides of these immaculate ships resplendent.

Service

Most of the service personnel onboard are Indian, South African or European. Dining room service is provided by Europeans.

Tipping

In the Caribbean, a daily gratuity for cabin attendants, bellboys and wait staff of $12 per person is automatically added to the onboard account, unless you're under 18 and sharing with two adults, in which case it's only $6.00 per day. The amount can be adjusted at the front desk.

A gratuity for bar staff is already included in the price of drinks. Spa and casino staff may be tipped in cash at the discretion of the passenger. In the Caribbean, they have come to expect a tip from the North American clientele. In Europe, tradition dictates that tips be presented to service personnel on the last night of the cruise. The cruise line suggests $3.50 to $5.00 per person per day for the Waiter and Stateroom attendant and $1.00 - $2.00 per day for the Maitre D'. Children under 12 pay half those amounts. Again, the gratuity for bar service personnel is included in the price of the drink.

Cabins

Interior cabins are 152 sq. ft. with two twin beds that can be converted to a Queen. They come with a hair dryer, Internet access, safe, minibar and a chair with a desk. Ocean view cabins are similar, except that they have a window. Balcony cabins in categories 10 and 11 add a 40 square-foot balcony with floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Categories six through nine are smaller veranda staterooms at only 126 sq. ft. Balcony suites are 229 ft. with a 40 foot balcony. They come with extra-large bathrooms including a tub and shower combination.

With the kids sail free policy, which requires that the kids stay in a room with two full fare paying adults, there are plenty of cabins with one or two upper berths and cabins with a double or single sofa bed. For families with money to burn there are connecting staterooms.

Fellow Passengers

In Europe these ships appeal to the part of the European market that still does not speak English - so in Europe expect to hear a lot of Italian, French, Spanish, German and everything else.




Ship Overview

Launched in 2008, MSC Cruises’ third Musica-class ship, MSC Poesia was built to the highest and most demanding ecological standards. While the vessel features eco-technology to safeguard the environment, its style is still comfortable with modern flair.

MSC Cruises took a giant leap into mainstream cruising with the introduction of this large and entirely new ship class. Highlights of the Musica-class design are a three-deck central foyer, where a piano is suspended on a transparent floor, à la carte restaurants, large-screen outdoor cinemas, and, on MSC Magnifica, a covered outdoor pool with retractable roof.

Italian culture prevails throughout, and serves as an important part of the entire cruise experience. Interiors are a blend of art deco and art nouveau themes as well as the authentic Italian designs for which other MSC Cruises ships are known. The extensive use of various colored marbles adds a luxurious quality to public spaces. In addition to its soothing Zen garden and Oriental music, the sushi bar is a bonus to the dining experience.

More widely known as one of the world's largest cargo shipping companies, MSC has operated cruises with an eclectic fleet since the late 1980s. When the line introduced two graceful, medium-size ships in 2003 and 2004, it ushered in an era of new shipbuilding that has seen the fleet grow faster than any other European cruise line. This line is growing into a major player in both Europe and the Caribbean.

MSC blankets the Mediterranean nearly year-round with a dizzying selection of cruise itineraries that allow a lot of time in ports of call and include few if any sea days. In summer months, several ships sail off to northern Europe to ply the Baltic. Itineraries planned for repositioning sailings visit some intriguing, off-the-beaten-track ports of call that other cruise lines bypass.

No glitz, no clutter—just elegant simplicity—is the standard of MSC's seaworthy interior decor. Extensive use of marble, brass, and wood reflects the best of Italian styling and design; clean lines and bold colors set their modern sophisticated tone.

MSC adopts some activities that appeal to American passengers without abandoning those preferred by Europeans; however, regardless of the itinerary, be prepared for an Italian-influenced experience. Also expect to hear announcements in several languages.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • There's a walking track high atop the ship as well as a covered promenade
  • Private gaming rooms for serious gamblers add a Las Vegas vibe to the casinos
  • Smoking is limited to one lounge and outside deck spaces

Cons

  • Announcements are made in several languages
  • Boat drill instructions, also given in several languages, can seem endless
  • Some in-cabin TV programming might be considered too "adult" for family viewing
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 987
  • Entered Service 2008
  • Gross Tons 92,400
  • Length 964 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,275
  • Passenger Capacity 2,550
  • Width 106 feet
  • New

Apr 6, 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!!

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  • New

Apr 2, 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.

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By Jane_CR

  • New

Mar 16, 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.

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  • New

Mar 14, 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.

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  • New

Aug 27, 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.

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