We were so surprised that our embarkation went so smoothly. We had booked the Poesia cruise first and then we discovered a wonderful deal to cruise on the Caribbean Princess that left the week prior to the Poesia. Our big concern was how would we get to the Poesia from the Caribbean Princess. We had tried to find out which piers the 2 ships were docked at but no one was able to tell us. We knew they were both in Port Everglades and figured a cab driver would not want to drive such a short distance and as a last resort we asked our shuttle bus driver if he would be willing to do it if need be. Were we ever surprised when we found that the 2 ships were docked right next to each other. So all we would have to do was walk our bags over. The second problem we were concerned with was MSC told us we could not board till 4 PM. We had no idea what we would do until 4 PM since we would have to leave the Caribbean Princess around 9:30 AM to 10 AM. When we pleaded our case to MSC they said we could probably be able to board at 1 PM. When we were arranging our debarking time with Princess, Leigh Anne, Princess Front Desk Supervisor, arranged for us to leave the ship at 11 AM. So long story short, by the time we got off the ship found our luggage, went thru customs and checked our luggage on the Poesia we found that we were able to be checked in have a seat for maybe 15 min. and were allowed to board.
We had originally booked an inside guarantee cabin and were upgraded to a balcony. It was a beautiful cabin with a lovely view. We had requested an egg crate mattress pad and bathrobes and our cabin steward German, made sure our requests were taken care of. We had a love seat that could be converted to a bed and another bed that pulled down from the ceiling. The room was nicely decorated. We had a beautiful bedspread. The only problem with the room we never had ice in our ice bucket. We had a fridge filled with drinks and expensive treats. They do not have bar soap, hair conditioner or body lotion. There is only one plug in the room so you need to bring a power strip. We had a problem one day with a toilet not flushing but once reported we found that it was a major problem effected the whole 12 th deck. We had to use the bathrooms up on the pool deck. That was another thing we found disturbing the labeling on the mens and ladies rooms were not clearly marked. They only had a picture of a woman or a man but they were difficult to distinguish, they were very similar. Once the toilet in the cabin was repaired we found that no note was left saying your toilet was repaired, nor a message on the phone saying"Your problem has been resolved, let us know if you need any additional service."This is usually standard procedure on most ships. The TV in the cabin had very few english speaking channels and if you wanted to watch a movie there was a fee for a rental. Also there was no sleep timer on the TV.
We were disappointed that there was no main dining room open for lunch on departure day. We had been told there was not to be any lunch at all when we originally called MSC. Fortunately the buffet was open on deck 13. It was enormous. Many choices. (There was no smoked salmon). All the way in the back was an area that specialized in ethnic dishes daily. The food was excellent. The waiters on the buffet did not help to seat you nor offer to get you a beverage or a refill. The ice machine was usually empty as well as the ice tea machine. You were on your own. No trays but they had large platters to put your food on. We were fortunate to find 2 empty seats next to two lovely people who invited us to join them. I was on the Cruise Critic Roll Call for this cruise and had suggested we all wear Mardi Gras beads so we could recognize each other. Sure enough the 2 delightful people we were seated with were wearing Mardi Gras beads. When they saw we had our beads on they immediately asked if we were with Cruise Critic. This was the start of a beautiful friendship that continued through the entire cruise. We immediately arranged to sit at the same table for dinner. We had early sitting and found the maitre'd completely able to work his magic on his computer and the change was made. We were assigned the best waiter, Wayan Juniarta, from Bali. Indonesia. He was polite, efficient, pleasant and accommodating. He was like a mind reader and always anticipated our needs. Our new friends we were seated with were on a back to back Poesia cruise and they were so impressed with Wayan's service they arranged to be seated the following week with Wayan as well. Dinners were excellent. Our favorites were Salmon, Lobster/Filet Mignon and Prime Rib. Desserts were outstanding. You must try the different kinds of cheese cake, baked Alaska and tiramisu .
The life boat drill was held at 4:30PM and unfortunately it was held out on the promenade deck by the life boats. It was long and drawn out and if you have a back problem as we do it was painful to have to stand for 30 minutes. After the drill people were not cautioned to make sure the belt on the life jacket did not drag on the floor. Because of this people were tripping on the belts. The elevators were so small so it took forever to get back to your cabin. The elevators were well marked outside of the elevator on the wall but once inside it was very difficult to know what button to press. There were small tv's in each elevator with ads but no directory information. The floor number was difficult to read since you could only view it on one side of the elevator. The elevator had mirrors everywhere so you could see the mirror image of the floor number.
The theater was magnificent. The lighting, the curtain, the costumes, the sets were beautiful. They had 2 shows nightly one for first seating and one for second seating. The seats in the theater were very uncomfortable. The cruise director, Anna, was amazing. She was so charming and was always accompanied by her assistant cruise director, Cobus, who was equally charming. They both spoke many languages and it was a real treat to hear the announcements before the show repeated in english, spanish, portuguese , french and german. By the end of the cruise I felt like I could understand what she was saying in all the languages. Cobus was in charge of the english speaking guests. He was from South Africa. He speaks 6 languages and his english is spoken like a dramatic actor. After having some private conversations with him I found out that 6 months of the year he is on a TV program where he is a dramatic actor. Cobus had his own special way of conducting Trivia games. He never did team Trivia it was always individual and if you knew the answer to his question a nice prize was waiting for you as long as you hollered out "Goonie Goo Goo." Have no idea what that means but it was fun. There was only one Trivia game each day which we found disappointing. We wanted more.We found the shows in the theater to be a bit repetitive. They had some amazing acrobats. One was 20 year old Russian boy was unbelievable. He defied gravity. The dancers really were amazing because they had to keep their balance while dancing and the ship was bouncing all over the place. Fortunately no one fell.
On the first night they announced in the theater that on the following afternoon Effy Jewelers was going to have a speaker in the Bar Dei Poeti at
3 PM . Anyone who attended would be given a $100 coupon toward an Effy purchase. When I heard this my blood began to boil. I had arranged the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet Party for our Roll Call on this cruise. I originally scheduled it with Louis from MSC Corporate office at least 4 weeks prior to sailing to be held at 11 AM in the Zebra Lounge. Louis later called me on the phone and said he was unable to get the room and time requested but instead he secured the the Bar Dei Poeti at 3 PM. I told him I would notify our 30 + roll call participants of the place and time and asked Louis if he could arrange for complimentary cookies,coffee and tea to be available and also to invite the cruise director and any department heads and the captain to the party. Louis said he would get us the refreshments as well as have the bar staff available to purchase alcoholic beverages. He would do his best to get representatives from the crew's staff to attend but it would depend on their schedule. So when I heard the announcement at the first evening show that Effy was going to schedule their lecture in the same room, at the same time I immediately went to the front desk and asked to speak to whomever was in charge of event scheduling. This person was ANTONELLA MAZZINI. She wasted so much time telling me that she would be glad to reschedule our party and have it in a more private room. This was unacceptable. I explained to her I had no way to contact the 30+ members of our cruise critic roll call. They had already been notified of the time and location and if Effy was having this big lecture our party would be ruined. I pleaded with her to move the Effy party since she could have them announce the change of location over the PA system and also place it in the daily newspaper. She said this was not possible and that Effy had already had this planned. I said so did Cruise Critic. She denied having any information about the size of our group and had not invited anyone from the cruise staff to attend. She finally agreed to make some signs up and post them in the room that the Cruise critic party would be delayed until 4 PM. I asked her if the speaker for Effy could make an announcement before her lecture that the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet Party would be delayed till 4 PM. She said no that was not possible. I was so upset! She told me not to worry she would make signs. The next day I went to her office to see the signs. She had not made any. She went back into her office and came up with a sign that was so confusing, I edited it so the time was not in military time and she was going to make the changes and post them in color. I stopped by the Bar Dei Poeti at 2:45 PM to see the signs. I did not see any. I called Antonella and asked where are the signs. She said don't worry she gave them to the bartender to put up. I told her they should be up before the presentation by Effy. She said she would come up and take care of it. When she arrived she introduced me to MARY ANNE LACHANCE, who is MSC Regional Sales Manager from Canada who was the representative that Louis had arranged to attend our Meet and Greet. Mary Anne had copies of all the communications from Louis and was there for our 3PM Party but had not been told by Antonella of the mix up. Some how there was a breakdown in communication between Louis and Antonella. Mary Anne agreed to come back at 4 PM. I checked again at 3PM and I still did not see the signs Antonella promised to post. I called her again and she said the bartender was looking for metal holders to display the signs. I never saw the signs. Main reason I thought she would display them in a prominent locations such as the hallway as you entered and left the lounge on both sides of the lounge. Instead she had two signs posted to the side of the room. They were so small and light in color that I did not notice them and I was looking for them. It turned out that 10 of our Roll Call members showed up for the rescheduled Meet and Greet Party. There were no cookies, coffee or tea. Mary Anne did show up and had to bear the complaints of our entire group. She did an amazing job of calming them down and gave us a 45 min. presentation about MSC new ship the Divinia. She apologized for the mix up and did not know how it happened. After she left we were able to introduce ourselves and tell funny stories that happened on previous cruises. We had a nice time despite Antonella not understanding what a major mistake she had made and the consequences it would cause. MSC has had so much bad PR already they did not need our whole group writing negative comments about how MSC ruined our Meet and Greet Party. Rick Sasso, the CEO for MSC, has worked so hard to improve MSC, he does not need the ineptitude of his event coordinator to tarnish its image. The same afore mentioned event coordinator also managed to mishandle the MSC cocktail party for MSC Club Members. She did this by scheduling the cocktail party at the same time were at their sit down dinners.
The lounges on the ship were beautiful, all having outstanding entertainers. The Atrium area was spectacular. Nightly there was always musicians playing either violins or pianos set on what appeared to be a floating stage. The MSC Entertainment Team is amazing. They were in charge of the 10:30 PM gatherings in Club Pigalle. We found them to be hysterically funny, and most entertaining. They always were able to get the whole crowd involved with their wild and crazy antics. Several times in the main theater a few of them would appear before the performance as cruisers were flowing into the theater looking for a good seat. They would wear red phony noses and follow a cruiser aping them as they searched for their seat. The videographer for the cruise did a wonderful job capturing all the fun parties, games and other activities on video and displaying them not only in the cabins but also on large screen TV's placed in different areas aboard the ship. Copies of these videos were available for purchase. There was a large screen above the main pool that was underutilized for passenger entertainment.
This cruise had a theme "Baseball Greats." Representing the greats were Stan Bahnser, Randy Hudley, Jack Billingham, Ellis Valentine and Amos Otis. During the cruise there were several entertaining lectures by the baseball greats as well as a trivia game with the cruisers and some really nice prizes for the team who had the most correct answers.
The ship stopped at San Juan, Antigua and Nassau. Unfortunately exiting the ship at the ports of call was done in a most unusual fashion. Instead of having 2 lines, one leaving the ship and one entering the ship there was one line which resulted in inefficiency with people going in both directions. resulting in confusion and inefficiency. If you planned to stay aboard on Port days there were no scheduled activities. When you returned to the ship they did not supply you with cold towels or some cold drink prior to boarding. This is such a nice feature that most cruise lines offer in warm climates.
On the last day of the cruise you had to be out of your cabin by 7 AM. We had a lovely final breakfast in the main dining room. Debarkation was well organized and we had no problems leaving the ship.
We would recommend the Poesia and would definitely return for another sailing.