MSC Poesia is a nice and elegant ship. It is spotless clean, definitely cleaner than average cruise ships.
I chose this ship because of the itinerary and was not disappointed. Due to high winds, the ship could not dock in Falmouth but docked two hours later in Montego Bay. At all the other ports the ship came on time and getting off the ship was a fast process, except for the tendering in Grand Cayman which went longer than expected due to strong winds. I had booked excursion with private companies in advance and all went smoothly. I would in particularly recommend the "ride and swim" adventure with El Barrio Dorca Ranch in Roatan which gave us the opportunity to go horse-riding on the beach in West End and taking a plunge in the lukewarm waters of West Bay. Having a flight in the evening, we booked an excursion with MSC on the last day which was highlights of Miami and shopping at Dolphin Mall: it was well organized and at a good price. MSC had also organized our flights and More
transfer from Miami to Port Everglades: that was very well done and luckily so as we would have missed the ship due to a very heavy delay in intercontinental flights (the ship actually departed one hour later than schedule to wait for us!).
Our stateroom was an inside on deck 11: it was fairly large and well appointed. The safe was large and the hairdryer very efficient. We did have a major problem with our stateroom, though: it as located next to a crew alleyway and we would hear crew going back and forth all night long. The point was that everytime a crew member entered or exited, the heavy door would slam, make our wall and my bed shake. After the first sleepless night, I went down to the reception to report the fact: they investigated it and called me up in the afternoon saying that they would lock the door of the alleyway and ask crew to use another entrance. As my daughter soon noticed, this did not happen and the door had no lock at all! However for the following 2 days, crew seemed to be more careful and the door would slam only occasionally.
After day 4, all went back to usual routine: door slamming and wall shaking 24 hours a day. The receptionist told me that the ship wall fully booked, so no change of stateroom would have been possible. I had to put up with it and resolved to move to the bed on the other side of the stateroom, placing my daughter to sleep on the bunk bed on that side so that at least the bed would not shake.
We had another two minor issues with our stateroom: the soap dispenser for the sink was broken and our cabin attendant was not able to set it back to work. I complained a couple of times and then let it go, I could easily turn and use the body wash dispenser in the shower.
The other problem was with the TV: MSC offers a wide choice of movies in several languages at USD 8 each. We did not mind paying for this service, so on day 2 we purchased Disney's Brave. After 40 minutes or so, the screen went black and we could only hear the sound. I called up the front desk and the girl told me that she would contact a technician. We waited half an hour but nothing happened. I went down to the front desk and I was advised to purchase the movie again and assured that they would not charge me twice for the same movie. Unfortunately it was not true, so the next day I went down again and the double charge was cancelled. My daughter wanted to see another movie: guess what, after a while this went black too! I had to repeat the same procedure again (including the double charge).
Now the food: having read several negative reviews, I was quite concerned. After the first meal, I was not sure if all those negative reviews were really aboyt MSC Poesia! The food quality and the choice of food appeared very good to me. On day 2 I had the best gnocchi with tomato and basil that I have ever eaten in my whole life! As usual on cruise ships, we prefer the buffet rather than the MDR, so most meals were at the buffet. We never had a problem finding a table and waiters were very efficient in cleaning up. Water was available 24 hours a day and juices were complimentary at breakfast and lunch time.
We had dinner in Le Fontane MDR on Christmas Eve: the menu had a variety of choices and the food was served hot and at a good pace, so no complaints at all.
My last comment is on entertainment and this is where MSC Poesia falls in my substandard category. The daily activities were quite slack and I never saw anyone from the animation staff, as they called themselves, come round the ship to invite guests into games and shows. Our last 3 cruises before this one were onboard NCL and there I had troubles fitting all the activist in my schedule as there was always something going on, from lectures to games at poolside and dance lessons.
Here all seemed quieter. The shows in the Carlo Felice theater were alright but nothing I would see twice as we often did on NCL.
Kids club had several activities and the staff was nice. On Dec 24 Santa Clause was onboard giving out very nice presents to children. My daughter got a set to make bracelets and was extremely happy with it. On the last day there was a show for kids in the theatre and afterwards children could go on the stage to dance and participated in a quiz show that was funny.
All in all we liked MSC Poesia and would cruise again with MSC, choosing a better stateroom the next time! Less
We went to Chankanaab for the dolphin encounter experience. Finding a taxi at thenpier was quite and adventure as it was rush hour and they squeesed us in a van with several other people. Negotiate the rate in advance: at the taxi stand I had seen that the rate from Punta Langosta to Cankanaab was 11 USD up to 4 people, yet the driver asked me 20 (but when I said 11, he immediatley accepted!).
Chankanaab is a lovely place. You find wooden deckchairs, sunumbrellas, hammocks, white sand and palm trees plus a spectacular reef just from the shore, so you can easily snorkel even with kids.
The dolphin experience was nice, yet a bit too commercialised.
We loved this island! We saw hibiscus flowers, mangroves and a hummingbird. We booked horseridinbg in West End at El Barrio Dorcas Ranch and they proved to be very reliable. They organised a taxi pick up for us at the pier and took us riding on the beach. After the ride, the taxi drove us to West Bay. This beach was a big disappointment for us because it was overcrowded and there were no fish top be seen from the shore.