My wife and I booked on a Christmas Cruise on MSC Poesia and were anticipating a wonderful time. We should have known something was up when our cabin was changed at the embarkation desk, with no reason being given. The embarkation process went relatively smoothly, and we were escorted to our cabin. We had asked for second seating on the meals and were assigned to the first seating. We joined a long line of disgruntled passengers on the first night who shared the same problem we did. We were successful at getting the change in meal times and ended up at a table for four with a wonderful couple from Miami. Our meal service was severely lacking, to say the least, and we attributed the poor service to a lack of training. It may seem like trivial issues, but when you add them together, it mounts up and ends up with a poor experience. Things like, not taking meal requests from the women first, no water at the table, forget about ice or a second glass, no introductions by the waiter or his part-time assistant, wine service arriving at the completion of the meal, reaching in front of guests to remove plates and utensils. We had purchased the wine package for our meals and the waiter could make no recommendations to us, primarily due to communication issues, but he made no attempt to seek assistance to answer our questions. The menu choices and presentation were also lacking, one entree, called a Bolognese Delight consisted of three meatballs and a quarter of a potato!!!! When we ordered fish, it was overcooked and very dry, and forget about ordering a cut of steak, it appeared to have been boiled. Coffee was served cold and when brought to the attention of the ass't waiter, he laughed it off, but he did bring another pot. Mid-week, my wife and I were offered an evaluation form about the service in the dining room, our table mates were not offered this survey, but after requesting one, they got one. We were honest in our evaluation, and the next night, some of the points we brought up had been addressed and changes were made. In fairness to the staff, I can't blame them, they did not get enough training to perform their jobs correctly.
The ship was extremely clean, and our cabin attendant was excellent, that offset some of the negativity we encountered in the dining room. The entertainment was lackluster by the dance team, the singers were adequate, and the contortionist and gymnasts, etc were above average. We have to consider that the make-up of the guests was primarily European, and most of the entertainment was in a language other than English. We were disappointed in the types of excursions that were available, and as a result we negotiated on our own with local vendors. We were able to receive tours and excursions at about half the price quoted by the ships personnel. Overall, it appeared as though the crew was uninterested in customer service, they seemed to be more interested in walking around looking bored. We had conversations with others on the cruise who shared our views and we will certainly make other choices for our next cruise. Hopefully, MSC will read these reviews and take what is being said here as constructive criticism, and they will learn from it.