It’s 9:48 p.m., and we’ve only just left Port Everglades aboard MSC Poesia. The voyage is off to a bit of a rocky start, following the ship’s late arrival in Fort Lauderdale after its previous sailing — a music-themed jam cruise, from which a 31-year-old passenger was evacuated by Coast Guard helicopter after injuring himself.
The resulting delay meant lots of passengers unknowingly arrived for embarkation hours earlier than necessary. Thousands — including us, after we asked four different port employees where to go without success — were shuttled to the port’s convention center to wait (see photo) as the vessel’s previous group of passengers debarked. Those waiting were given hot dogs and pizza, but some grew a bit testy as the cruise line later attempted to shuttle the more than 20 “groups” of passengers back to the terminal in shifts.
It’s been an eventful and, most recently, tragic couple of weeks in the cruise industry, with Poesia running aground two sailings ago and Costa Concordia running aground in Italy on Friday. The latter prompted the evacuation of about 4,000 passengers and crewmembers and has left a dozen dead and several still missing.
In the wake of so much bad news, those onboard seem relatively upbeat — even the gentleman we met who told us he had been at the port for six hours before the return shuttles for Poesia began. The atmosphere is a bit out of whack, though. Public areas don’t seem as crowded as they otherwise might, and even dinner in the main dining rooms — which was somewhat sparsely attended — was pushed back by a half-hour. (My travel companion and I ended up alone at a table for eight.)
As for the ship itself? Simply put, it’s gorgeous. The decor is flashy, but it’s more elegant than tacky. There are “stars” on the ceiling in the reception area’s atrium, and unlike several other ships on which I’ve cruised, there are no scuff marks on the walls, dents in cabin doors or fraying carpets that often indicate a ship’s age.
Overall, it’s been a busy day, but I’m looking forward to experiencing more of the ship — including the baseball theme that’s a part of this sailing. But, more on that later ….
Check out MSC Poesia cruise reviews here.
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