Our friends, having sailed 3 times with MSC, recommended MSC as one of the best cruise lines they ever sailed with. After researching several cruise lines for the Christmas holiday, MSC Poesia seemed perfect. This ship was fairly new and the price was right for a balcony cabin. Being Italian American I felt sure to be in a warm and friendly environment.
Having sailed before, we are anticipating the mandatory drill before sailing. For some reason, we found it odd that we were not instructed to go on deck. We were instructed to gather in the casino area. How would this help us in case of an evacuation emergency? We never did find out. We just stood there until they announced it was over. No role call...we could have stayed in our cabin and no one would really know.
Dinner Dining Room experience: 2nd seating - we could not seem to pronounce our waiter's name. Ever. We all gave him a nickname. Name tags were so small, they could not be read either. No service for drinks; No wine steward; pouring our own wine seemed what they expected; bus boy--no name would never respond to our requests for anything...water, butter, sour cream, spoons, splenda, milk, etc. etc. He looked at us and never returned..never spoke ever to us the entire week. The last dinner he never showed up. Tablespoons were the spoons for EVERYTHING...coffee, tea, ice cream, soup, sorbet, jello, etc. Teaspoons were ever available at anytime, anyplace on this ship. Food: was nothing an Italian or an American would desire. The menu was not clear, at all, as to what your meal was going to be. The Italian side of the menu had zucchini and eggplant with everything everyday. The American side of the menu was so unappetizing that you really did not want to choose anything. The steaks were like rubber, baked potatoes were so overcooked they turned color. Shrimp were not available as a cocktail, ever. Christmas dinner was a lobster tail grilled with stuffing. It was vile and had to dig it out yourself with no seafood cutlery. We were not all eating at the same time. Our water never spoke to us, or apologized when he made an error. He asked our adult daughter to fill out a survey on his behalf. Never ever acknowledging any other person. Dessert: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday we never received what we asked for...ever. We asked the waiter what flavors they had and he came back with something different and NEVER thought anything of it. Timing: We seemed to always be the last table served on our side of the dining room, and we actually missed seeing a special show presentation because of it. Never saw the Matre'd or Assistant to complain or ask for help.
Breakfast: Open seating was OK since we were able to meet new people. The Dining room was open until 10 AM. Service at this time was worse than dinner. No talking, asked for water from 3 different people who heard me, yet I never received at all. Trying to swallow my food, my husband finally got the attention of the head waiter, who seemed to love to converse in Italian to other passengers. Finally, he brought the water himself. Juices were always warm. Butter would never melt on the toasted english muffins, ever. The creamers were placed upside down, and you didn't know what you had until the waiter left. Most were non-dairy and many waiters would take stuff from other nearby tables. Regular milk was a drama for each cup of coffee. By the 5th day, I gave up on the coffee and switched to tea. One day, the Dining room closed at 9:30 am. Our waiter never warned us, although it was on the program. Ordinarily, most waiters would advise you to come early. Not on this ship.
Lunch: Open seating again, was OK since we again met new people. The service was always terrible and the waiters were unfriendly and never spoke. The cafeteria was a nightmare of lines and crowds and waiters walking in front of you. The area was too narrow for the crowds.
By the 4th day, everyone we met, seemed to be saying these situations to us.
The pool deck never had enough chairs and those chairs were the most uncomfortable contraptions we ever experienced.
The disco had kids in it every single night. A true turn-off and total disappointment. The teen program was just before it opened and the kids were still hanging around.
In fact, we never experienced a cruise where children seemed to have nothing else to do. They were constantly under our feet.
One mother complained that there did not even seem to be a changing table for her baby, in the Ladies room, while she was waiting to see a show.
The Entertainment staff did their best to make sure everyone had a good time. They worked hard and were the friendliest with each greeting.
Photographers: For some reason, someone thought it would be a good idea to place a photographer in front of the Dining Room Entrance. We could NOT pass unless we totally walked in front of the camera! What a disaster!
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: We had to say "Merry Christmas" to the Dining staff before they said it to us. They never greeted us with a smile.
Ports of call: According to the brochure, AND the first Daily Program, our time in Puerto Rico was 5 pm to 11 pm. Upon arrival, the Daily Program changed and we overheard someone say we were arriving at 2 pm. News to us! We would have planned to do something knowing we had more time. Bahamas: We asked the reception desk for information on taking a taxi to Atlantis. They had no clue, no map, no information.
Captains Welcome Cocktail: On Monday the Daily Program stated to meet the Captain at the Zebra Bar. The usual cocktails upon waiting his arrival. We were told to leave and enter the theatre where no cocktails were allowed. The captain appeared and introduced all his staff, gave THEM a drink, they toasted THEMSELVES while we sat there...then we went to dinner.
During two of the shows which were all BEFORE our dinners, the shows were interrupted by announcements. The DANCERS AND SINGERS HAD TO STOP...a total disruption! Also, during the movie....a total disruption!
The Entertainment Director asked us: raise your hands if you're American, if you're Italian, German, French, Spanish. EVERY time there was instruction or a statment, they repeated it in ALL THE languages. Why? 97% of the passengers were AMERICAN! Why did we have to listen to this all week?
Luckily, we met nice people and made ourselves have a good time of it. However, we lost weight and are totally disappointed.
Our last breakfast was a totally different story: Best service, most friendly. We had to be out of the cabins by 7 am. We were stuck in the theater for 4 1/2 hours! Another nightmare! Kids crying, running around, people sleeping, exhausted from the night before. Customs was easy, getting luggage was easy.
Our friends were shocked upon hearing this experience. There is no way we would ever book a cruise on this line. Glad to be in AMERICA!