Firstly the positives about the Christmas cruise on the Poesia:
We sailed through some very heavy sea's with little, if any, discomfort for the passengers. The ship is a credit to modern cruise ship design.
The cabins and the staff servicing them were very good.
The public area's were tastefully decorated and kept very clean.
The negatives would have to be:
The European staff on board seemed to come from the 'the customer is always wrong' school of training.
There was a large staff rotation on the ship for this cruise - many didn't appeared to have been trained properly.
Lack of dining choice in the evening. If you don't want to eat in the restaurant there is no buffet alternative. The only other choice to pay extra in one of the other restaurants.
The food was very disappointing. Having eaten well in Italy on many occasions I was looking forward to a great culinary experience. The food, apart from being permanently lukewarm, never achieved the 'wow' factor and was for the most part very ordinary.
There was not free water with the meals - bottles had to be paid for.
With the exception of the band in the wine bar, who were the highlight of the cruise for me, the entertainment in the lounges was mediocre.
The casino was lacking in any atmosphere, principally I suspect because at €5 per hand customers couldn't afford to stay there for very long. I know I would have spent more time in there, and inevitably spent more money had the prices been more reasonable.
Overcharging. Beer was €4.90 for 440ml (or £6.32 a pint), wine could be up to €7 a glass (although more normally €3 for house, but this wasn't a large glass). €5.80 for a gin & tonic and €7 for a shuttle bus at the port. I felt that charging premium prices to a captive audience really was and is not acceptable.
This was my sixth cruise and the first time I have ever been disappointed. I find it hard to imagine sailing with MSC again. There are many other cruise lines in the market, so why risk your hard earned cash and valuable holiday with MSC?