This was my second cruise with MSC cruises. The first one was with the MSC Magnifica.
The MSC Poesia is similar in layout to the MSC Magnifica. It is a very nice ship and it is in a very good condition.
My cruise was 8 nights. From Barcelona to Genoa, Malaga, Lisboa, Casablanca and back to Barcelona. I have found the itinerary very nice and it was a nice mixture of sea days and port days.
Embarcation in Barcelona was well organized and it went smooth. In about 45 minutes I was already on the ship. My cabin was an outside cabin and it was quite central located. The cabin itself was fine but the bed was laid against the outside wall and this meant that I could feel the waves hitting on the wall. When the sea was not calm, this was not a pleasant experience and kept me awake a couple of nights. Maybe the position of the bed could be different for those cabins?
Food at the MSC Poesia at this particular cruises was imo substandard. Since I have enjoyed the food on my cruise with the MSC Magnifica, I was very much looking forward to having nice Italian food. Well I was disappointed. I guess the Italian officers must have been eating some where else because I do not believe they would have enjoyed the food (undercooked risotto, overcooked pasta, dry fish....).
I was travelling on my own and despite my request many months in advance for a table for me alone, it was for me not easy to get such a table. Apparently there are not many solo passengers at MSC that wish to dine alone so my wish was kind of a challenge for the Maitre D' who pointed out that the ship was full and the tables for two passengers would have to be allocated to two passengers and not just to one. Only on the third day of the cruise I was able to get a table for two just for me alone. The experience was for me unusual because when I have travelled alone with other cruiselines (including Cunard) there was never a big deal to have a table on my own despite the ship being fully booked.
Entertainment was OK but not as good as in the MSC Magnifica. The classical concerts were the best. I have enjoyed also the piano players at the main lobby.
I did not like very much that passengers could embark and disembark the ship in any of the ports. I mean there were passengers embarking in Barcelona, Genoa, Lisboa, etc. There were always passengers with suitcases on the lobby and the whole cruise gave me the feeling of a hop on hop off bus. I have cruised before in the Mediterranean with Azamara. Celebrity and Royal and none of this cruiselines gave me that impresion.
Since MSC cruises is very family friendly (children cruise free), there were plenty of families with children. Many of those children were running around in public areas including the theater and this somehow influenced the athmosphere of the ship. Very little ambiance or elegance even in formal nights. There were however inside venues where one can retreat if one wishes to do so.
Another thing that I noticed was that the ship sails in a way that it felt as at high speed. Actually I think it was about 21 knots per hour and maybe this is normal. However this is different from my previous cruises with other cruiselines in which during the day the cruising speed is around 18 knots per hour. I find that it makes a difference the way one experiences the cruise. The MSC Poesia (and also the Magnifica) gave me more the feeling of "travelling" from one port to the other, while the Azamara, Celebrity, Royal or Cunard ships gave me more the feeling of "cruising".
The library at the MSC Poesia has a very limited collection of books, which show that they have been used a lot. The library room is nice and an inviting place. It would be lovely to have new, hard back books there. Maybe the hotel director can do something about it?
There is also room for improvement in the way how MSC handles the hygiene control at the buffet. There are hand cleaning dispensers at the entrance of the restaurant but no one really pays attention if they are being used or not. Most of passengers did not use them. I guess the crew at the restaurant has to assume a more active role at the entrance taking care that every body at the buffet uses before the sanitizers. This works very well in ships of the Royal Caribbean family.
Overall and despite those areas in which I think there is room for improvement, I had a good time. Many thanks to the crew of the MSC Poesia, who contributed with their friendliness to this experience.