MSC Poesia Cruise Review by Chrispy09: Not Great, Not Horrible, but OK
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Not Great, Not Horrible, but OK
The Poesia, as noted by others, is clean and well appointed. The rooms and hall were very quiet. The dining and housekeeping staff are courteous, pleasant and attentive. The Poesia's personable and talented entertainment/activity staff work hard getting people involved in skits and activities. We especially enjoyed the "dance around the world" interactive party poolside. The theater shows started off slow and simple and gradually improved in content and entertainment value. The Michael Jackson tribute show was a notch above the others. The variety of music and dance opportunities are good. If you don't have a partner, the activities staff are ready to get you on the floor smiling. Carlos and the Judge's Nephews were awesome as were the other groups. We especially liked Filippo, who played the best variety of ballroom and Latin dance music.
The food, though, is just OK. There's lots of it, but it's not special. Some herbs and seasoning and serving it warm might help. Even in More the dining room, hot dishes and soups were lukewarm or cool. In the buffet, the "hot" offerings sit under ordinary light bulbs. There aren't any warming lights or steam tables used even for seafood dishes. Bright lights over our assigned dining table made me wish for sunglasses or access to a dimmer in the dining room. Also, the dining and buffet rooms are mostly hard surfaced. This probably makes them easier to clean but the noise levels, as a result, are very high. This is not relaxing and makes conversing difficult. I got hoarse trying to talk to folks sitting right next to me, often had to repeat myself and couldn't always hear what they said back. There is only one narrow back deck off the buffet area with a handful of tables as an alternative. I did like the Poesia's coffee which was hot, strong, but smooth.
During the lifeboat drill, nobody was paying attention to instructions recited in 5 languages or was able to watch the one crew member in the center of the Zebra bar, our muster station, demo proper use of the jackets because people were standing up and blocking the view. If there ever was an emergency, I don't think things would go smoothly.
My husband and I chose this cruise because of the Latin music and dance theme. Of the several dance areas, only the smallest in a bar where smoking was allowed was wood--the others were tile. Three couples on the floor and it was crowded unless you were just doing a rock-in-place slow dance. We learned after boarding that the largest dance area, the Pigalle (Moulin Rouge), was blocked off every night for an Irish music festival group. This wasn't disclosed before the trip. With this venue reserved for a private function, the inside dance bands used the Zebra Room, which has a smaller dance area. They and other groups played sporadically and only in the evening because the activities staff needed the Zebra room for events, skits and games off and on, except for one night when the pool stage was used. The disco, for some reason, wasn't used as an alternative and it was empty until 11 p.m. The disco was large and we were looking forward to enjoying it. But, it was so loud that we couldn't stay. We saw several groups walk in and walk right out for the same reason. We tried again for the Latin Party night. Initially, the sound level was tolerable, but then it was raised as soon as a few people arrived so we reluctantly left again. Music doesn't have to be at the hearing damage, painful level to be exciting.
Other than info about excursions you can book through MSC, the Poesia staff give you no details about ports--no maps, nothing on local attractions, no caveats, no recommendations. It's best to do some research on your own before hand. There were lots of alternatives to the cruise sponsored tours when you got off the ship at discounts if you want to take pot luck. Many of these were not listed on port related websites.
We went on the sail and snorkel trip through MSC at the BVI and loved it. Four hours flew by. In Nassau, I took a water taxi ($6.00) round trip to Atlantis available at the port and enjoyed the local guides informal tour narration on the way to and from Paradise Island.
There's not a lot to do on board during the day on the Poesia if you're not a hang around the pool person, which is tough due to the chair hogging habits of many and a very high noise level outside made reading tough. The chairs on the upper level make walking pretty much impossible right after breakfast. There's very little on TV. There's one movie shown daily, repeatedly and several channels in Spanish. The ship did rock and roll a lot, even in light seas. I woke up nightly due to ship movements and engine vibrations and one man fell on some interior steps when the ship lurched suddenly. Folks who had been in storms at sea said the Poesia was more "pitchy" in calm weather than any other they experienced. One woman we dined with was going to leave in San Juan due to sea sickness, but got a patch and was able to tolerate the movement afterwards. The captain in his theater presentation explained that the pitching was due to passengers engaging in "naughty moments" which was cute, but nobody bought it. We stopped dancing one night when the rolling was especially bad after stumbling several times when the floor would move when we turned.
Coming off the boat, we were supposed to be out of our room by 7 and at an assigned group area. It was a full hour before the first group was called to disembark by color coded groups. Two hours later, we still hadn't been called. We decided to wander out early with another group. I'd recommend getting out of your cabin at the last minute, taking a late breakfast (open til 8:30) and then going to your group area.
The MSC Poesia's multilingual staff must be a big plus for non English speaking passengers and they may do well catering to European travelers. But, we heard many Americans say they were not coming back because of the food and the ship's lack of or use of stabilizers. We haven't ruled out another MSC cruise, but the Poesia couldn't compare to the Celebrity Century cruise we took last year except for having larger dance floors. Since two (Pigalle and Disco) weren't really usable for us, the advantage wasn't noticable.
I would encourage the MSC Poesia staff to warm up the food, turn down the dining room lights, get some sound absorbing materials in the dining/buffet areas, provide more info on ports, use the stabilizers especially at night, turn down the decibels in the disco, and don't make the activities and dancing in the evening and either/or situation. Put them in separate areas. Less
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