There is one thing, no two things, that I really need to get off my chest first. I was very alarmed to discover that smoking is allowed in the cabins on MSC ships. We had a lot of trouble with smokers on the balconies around us (even cigars) and cruise staff told us they would tell these passengers to keep the smoking to their rooms! As fire is the biggest threat to a ship I feel MSC is jeopardising passenger safety and health.
The other thing is that the average age group on this cruise was supposed to be 45. No way that is true. Would have to be above 60. Horrible to say this but sometimes moving around the ship reminded me of walking down the halls of my grandmothers nursing home. Lots of walking frames, wheel chairs and mobility aids.
THE SHIP. Very nice but kind of dark and not as large as the website virtual tour would have you believe.
CABIN. Great. Compact but plenty of room for us. Vey clean and great service from cabin staff.
FOOD. Very ordinary. For anything half decent you have to eat in the restaurant. Cafeteria is a feast of fat , sugar and bread and pastry.
PORTS. Not enough time in most ports, half days many times. Be prepared to share the sites with 6 other cruise ships all docked at the same time. Made a couple of places very unpleasant especially the Bahamas. We didn't take cruise excursion as there was always plenty of cheap options outside the ports and we enjoyed every one we took.
BACK TO B ACK. We booked this cruise as a 14 day cruise not 2 7 day cruises so we were very surprised at how MSC treats people that combine 2 or more. They operate on a 7 day schedule and and everything is repeated every 7 days. The menu, the special events, the entertainment, the jokes...... The second week got stale very quickly. If you want to do back to back all the caribbean cruise lines dock and leave FL on the Saturday so I would suggest a different line for the second trip to keep it fresh. Very easy to get to another ship. Wish we had because we were not happy with the eastern itinerary on Poesia.
The was a LOT of sea days and this really highlighted the issues with the pool area on poesia. The pools are small. But to make matters worse MSC insist on having 'entertainment' around the pool and actually tell people to get out of the water so the can use the area. There is no need to run bingo, aerobics and yoga around the pool on sea days and there is no excuse to take up much needed room with sale tables! It was impossible most days to get a chair of any kind. Some decks chairs were available on upper decks with no shade or drinks service and no where near the pool. Meanwhile, huge areas on the ship sat vacant. Trying to cram 3000 passengers onto the pool deck is just insane and fights nearly broke out over chairs.
The one advantage of all those ships being on port together was that we met a lot of them and were able to compare experiences. Think I will be trying one of those lines next time.