This was my 12th cruise, and the first I have bothered to review. The 7
Princess, and 3 NCL cruises were great, and the Costa was a train wreck. So I took the MSC Poesia cruise with a little trepidation (Costa and MSC are both Italian lines). My father and his wife took a trip on the Poesia over the 2013 new years holiday, and were impressed. With over 30 cruises under there belts I trusted there judgment. In fairness to MSC this was a themed cruise for fans of progressive rock, we sailed with Yes, UK, Zebra, Steve Hacket, Saga,... so the ship was over run with ripped blue jeans and black tee-shirts. This was fine for my wife and I, but pissed off the other ten family members we were traveling with. I understand why it's not disclosed up front, but theme cruises should warn you after booking, and give you a no charge opt out, our clan would have found another cruise.
What is right with MSC Poesia. The food. I have seen some reviewers who were not impressed with the food, but as a serious home cook I was very happy with the food. Excellent quality baked goods, outstanding cheese, pastas, salads, and cold cuts. Near perfect roasted meats, grilled fish, and fresh pizza. I enjoyed every bite of food on the ship Breakfast to midnight snack it was well done. Just like a trip to Italy food and fashion are Poesias strong points.
The ship also offered some very good wine education, we enjoyed a wine lecture and wine tasting, with advice on food pairings. The "wine makers experience" was also a lot of fun. we got to taste a number of different wine varietals then blend our own custom wine. One of the highlights of the trip.
The ship was overall well designed, clean, and in good repair. Nothing over the top, but a fine ship
What is almost right with the MSC Poesia. The room steward did a good job over all. No towel animals or pillow candy, but the room was always clean. Maybe i'm spoiled by Princess, but I wanted to meet my room steward, a little personal touch goes a long way, and $24 a day tip requires personal service. I'll grant that might be a cultural thing, invisible was the byword for the house keeping staff.
What is wrong with the MSC Poesia. Frankly a lot. The rock festival might explain some of the problems, but does not excuse them. The very good food I talked about, be ready to wait for it. the service in the dinning room was glacial. We had to plan to cut the meal from 7 coerces to 4 and it was still 1 hour and 45 minuets for dinner. The wait staff was bumbling at best. one night most of the table wanted bar drinks with dinner, after 45 minuets we gave up and my brothers and I walked to the bar and got drinks for our table.
The biggest problem was communication. For example the ship anchored at spots bay in Grand Caymen due to bad weather, but the pin head at the excursion desk had not even looked outside and was telling me we were just off the Georgetown tender docks. This was not my first trip to G.C. so I had an idea of what was going on, but it must have been hard on the first time cruisers. This was emblematic of the communication problems on the ship. On Princess you get a port guide for every port of call, nothing big, but a basic map, a little FAQ, and some shopping tips. On MSC nothing. I'm so glad that both ports we visited were places we had been to before. Less than zero is what you got on board for port info.
The service was death by a thousand cuts. No monumental F*&K ups but just an attitude of indifference. The tenders to port were slow to board. The bar tender tried to give you the wrong drink, then was pissy about fixing you the right drink. Extra pillows yes but not tonight. Lots of little glitches that with just a little work could be smoothed out. I also got the feeling that Americans were second class passengers to this crew.
With just a few tweaks this could be a favorite cruise line, but with out a few tweaks I'll probably not go on MSC again.