Having read reviews on the MSC Poesia we were prepared for a beautiful ship with substandard service but our cruise to Stockholm, Tallin, Sankt Petersburg and Kiel by far exceeded our expectations. It is true that food is not available 24/7, that water is not free of charge for dinner, that coffee and tea is not an option for dinner either and that the layout of the buffet needs rethinking but these were minor issues that were by far offset by the excellent service provided by all staff members including our head waiter Suatra.
We never experienced any language problems with any members of the staff and found the multi-cultural passenger list to be quite refreshing. Unlike on our previous cruises, all ports seemed to be ports of embarkation/disembarkation which meant a far smaller number of people "fighting" to get on and off the ship in each port.Embarkation in Copenhagen went very smoothly and we had instant access to our cabin at 2 pm and got our luggage about an hour later.
We did not go to see more than a few of the shows in the theatre, but what we saw was not very impressive. We did not participate in any of the other activities organized onboard.
Our inside cabin on deck 12 was about the same size and layout as on the other ships we've cruised on in the past and equally well cleaned and maintained.
As we had the "Allegrissimo" beverage package we enjoyed numerous cocktails as well as glasses of wine and beer. We rarely had to wait for long to be served and were always handed our drinks with a smile. However, by American standards the drinks seemed somewhat expensive (if you did not have the all inclusive beverage package), since they charged you 6.25 Euros for a cocktail, 2.70 for a Coke and 1.45 for a small bottle of water.
We only went on one ship-organized excursion (in Sankt Petersburg) which was expensive but interesting.In both Tallin and Kiel the ship docks in the city centre, so you can easily go sightseeing on your own. In Stockholm, the ship docks away from the city centre, but a shuttle bus is provided by the ship for 12 Euros round-trip. Hop-on-hop-off busses are also available when you get off the ship if you prefer these.
The weather was better than expected, but on deck it might get really windy and even cold, so I would recommend bringing a warm jacket for this cruise to the Baltic region.
All in all, we had a wonderful trip and might consider cruising with MSC again provided the price is right.