My husband and I booked this cruise on MSC because of the great ports of call. We left from Ft. Lauderdale, FL and found that the cruise terminal was a little slow in processing. The reason for this probably was because when one enters the ship, they are personally escorted to their room by a chamber maid. Lovely hospitality, but it really slows the process. They may just want to give the cheap toast with Proseco and send you on to your cabin to speed the process. Other reviewers have mentioned that the terminal is not the nicest, and this is true since MSC recently started to cruise there. However, the staff was VERY nice and helpful. The folks who took our luggage made sure it was delivered in a very timely fashion. People should tip them though (I go with $5 per bag).
The ship itself is lovely. This was my 7th cruise (we have sailed Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, Holland America, and Norwegian) and the Poesia was the cleanest, most well maintained ship I have ever sailed on. The balcony was of ample space to enjoy some wine and the views.
We did experience some high seas with approx. 12 foot swells, but stabilizers worked and it was not too problematic. The balcony door made a lot of noise but a carpenter quickly was dispatched after I called and he created some shims to keep down the rattle.
The shows were exceptional on this cruise. From a string trip, well trained professional opera singers, and cirque du soleil acrobats, it was a step above from anything we previously experienced. The big band theme was nice but because of smokers, we did not enjoy the band when they were located in the Zebra lounge.
The food was good, not excellent; however, plentiful. It is Italian Mediterranean style and our waiter, Sudarma, was phenomenal as was his assistant. I would not recommend the lobster as it comes out too dry and this was a universal comment. The pastas, risottos, and fish were all quite good. I almost never eat dessert, but you cannot resist the tiramisu and other torts.
The fellow passengers are quite the international bunch. We are Americans who have lived abroad and found the announcements in English,Italian, Spanish, German, and French to be quite amusing. We also met some lovely folks from Scandinavia, South America, and all over Europe.
The staff who coordinated the games led by Marco were enchanting. Most of the crew and officers are Italian, wait staff are from Indonesia, and cabin stewards are the UN. All of the crew and staff were attentive.
This is a relaxing cruise with lots of potential adventures. In Grand Cayman, we returned to Eden Roc for exceptional snorkeling and then hung out at 7 Mile beach. In Cartegena, Columbia we took a city tour. The old walled city is beautiful and lots of history. The cathedral and other churches were lovely. Plan to pay to enter and ladies should dress conservatively. Lots of shopping for emeralds if you wish. In Cristobal Panama, we took a boat tour down Gaton Lake and kayaked. Juan Carlos our tour guide was very knowledgeable. The highlight was the tour of the Panama Canal locks and witnessing a Celebrity ship make her way through lock #2 into #3. In Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, we took the Monkey Canopy Tour with Jean Pierre. This was a highlight for us zip lining through the jungle. We saw sloths, howler monkeys, incredible butterflies, and beautiful vegetation. This is a tour for someone who can easily climb stairs and is not fearful of heights. Puerto de Carmen was rerouted to Cozumel, but tours still were carried out with a ferry instead of a tender. We chose to stay in Cozumel and enjoy the food, margaritas,and shopping.
Days at sea were relaxing. We took a wine tasting course and learned a lot about the fine wines of Italy. BTW, most of the wine choices are from Italy and they are delicious!
The only down side to this cruise line were the rudeness of Americans. There is an expected gratuity included at 12 dollars per day = $120/person, and a number of folks demanded to remove this. These Americans made those of us with manners embarrassed by their loud and brash behavior and unrealistic demands. I actually heard people complain that their bacon was not crispy enough and another that her oatmeal was too warm. Other folks did not like that the cafeteria is not 24/7, and they do not serve ice cream at all times. Demands for more hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, and bake beans on an Italian cruise ship should be laughed at. Obese Americans demanding more food made a terrible impression. I heard complaints about all the foreigners and crew members with accents should fall on deaf ears. The vast array of fresh fruits especially the pineapple was a highlight for me. Others commented about the bread assortments.
You can really enjoy yourself on this cruise if you like a newer cruise ship that is well appointed, people of many nations, a relaxing atmosphere where the crew is not always hawking drinks at you, decent Italian food, and exciting ports of call.
Ignore the ugly Americans.