I've read some harsh review of the MSC Poesia, and while this wasn't my favorite cruise, it certainly wasn't the worst.
First up, embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship in no time and got keys to our room immediately. The ship doesn't leave port until 7pm, but we arrived at the terminal around 1pm and had a leisurely afternoon and lunch on board.
The ship is beautiful and very clean. We saw people polishing the stairs and railings constantly. Not all of the elevator banks go up to pool level, deck 13.
Out stateroom was a nice size, lots of storage and very clean. We had a balcony on deck 12 and loved it. We rarely saw our room attendant. This is by design. There is a slot on the wall for you to insert your key into when you are in the room. This runs the lights and air conditioning. It also lets the room attendant know you are in the room. Our attendant made sure we had clean towels, and seemed to check on the room several times a day, while we were out. Dirty dished were removed promptly, too. I thought the bed was comfortable.
Complaints about the pool decks being very crowded are true! Chairs were snatched up with towels very early in the morning, and unfortunately, aside from a towel, no one sat in them for a big part of the day. Why wasn't someone policing this? There were a lot of people that wanted a chair and couldn't get one.
Yes, the ship was crowded, yes, it was spring break and yes, there were a lot of kids, but we made the best of it. They only problem we ever ran into were younger kids running around in the disco at all hours of the night. This should have been an adults only area.
There is a very quiet, but windy, place to lay out up on deck 15. We never saw any kids up there!
Prior to the cruise I read a lot of complaints about the food. Let's just say it's not as bad as many people made it out to be. Did we have some bad meals? Yes. But there were also a lot of good ones, too. Order Italian. The pastas and risottos were really good. Don't order steak. This is an Italian cruise line. The food was somewhat bland, I asked for red pepper flakes to spice it up and it wasn't a problem. Also, the desserts, especially the gelato, were very good. We did the dining room for breakfast and lunch a few times and also hit the buffet, where the pizza was served. It was very good. I would not recommend the specialty dining. We paid to have dinner there one night and it was a tasting menu, all seafood and lamb chops and I didn't eat any of it. Gelato or ice cream is served in the dining room at no charge. There is a small charge for gelato on the pool deck, but it's worth it. There are two machines on the pool deck outside the cafeteria that have some kind of "ice milk" ice cream cones in vanilla or chocolate. They are free.
Only saw one show, the last night, and it was a tribute to Broadway shows. I thought it was very well done.
We met some great people at the daily trivia contests and had fun playing he games.
I thought the drinks were reasonably priced. We bought several of the drink packages on board,(hard liquor it already includes the 15% gratuity. Basically, it was like paying for 10 drinks and getting two for free.
There were fantastic singers in the Zebra Bar and the Bar de Poeti each night.
As with any cruise line, there were a lot of photographs taken. The announcements in 5 languages didn't really bother me. We also didn't have any problems at the reception or accounting desks.
There were some good spa deals on the last few days of the cruise. Take advantage of those. Most services were 60% off.
The stories about a rough and lengthy debarkation are all true! Out of your room by 7am. We did have a last breakfast in the dining room, but it took forever to wait in line on the ship and then you had to wait in another long line going through customs. We were suppose to catch a "free" shuttle back to our hotel, but never saw one and lines for shuttles were long. We ended up getting in line for a taxi, and that took forever too. We overheard workers say they have never seen it so crowded before.
Would I cruise MSC again? I don't know. You get what you pay for. There are other cruise lines I'd go back to first, but this trip wasn't as bad as some of the other reviews I have read. I think MSC has tried to be as responsive as possible to many of the demands of the American traveler, but there is still some work left to do.