Critique of MSC POESIA 1/16/2010 Sailing traveler1019
Having viewed the virtual tour of the MSC POESIA prior to our sailing, my wife and I anticipated an enjoyable journey to the western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale. In truth, the ship itself was magnificently appointed. The theater was high tech in all respects and we were really impressed.
However, as it has been said, "Beauty is skin-deep", and that, unfortunately is where it ended.
We had been to all of the ports before, so there wasn't too much to comment on there. What we can comment on is the service on the ship, or lack thereof, starting with the extended wait in line to embark. The ship was berthed in a fairly shabby section of the Fort Lauderdale terminal as compared to other areas of the port we had embarked from on previous occasions. After entering the ship we dropped our carry-ons in our rather small, but nicely appointed, clean, and neat balcony stateroom. Incidentally, and to our surprise, smoking was permitted in the room,,,,and not on the balcony.
Went up to the buffet and had lunch which was satisfactory. On deck there were many service personnel to be seen, but service was almost non-existent to say the least. You actually had to almost grab one of them by the arm to get them to remove dishes, etc. They mostly ignored everyone, except the girl that had charge of the ash trays. She was a consummate professional in the execution of her duties, attempting to dis-allow more than one ashtray per table.
Dinner was another story. Our waiter seemed to speak very little English and his helper even less. This is surprising for a line that is catering to English speaking passengers, although there were many guests from France, Germany, Latin America, etc. Announcements were made in five languages ALL THE TIME.
The dinner menu was limited to three choices with a few items that were always available. I had expected that, being an Italian line, the food would be outstanding. This was certainly not the case and we were very disappointed. with the food selections and food quality.
After dinner we visited the casino for a while, made our donations, and went to the theater for the show, and later to the buffet on the upper deck, which was non-existent. There was nothing to eat anywhere, just coffee. Very disappointing to say the least.
So ended the first day. Not a good omen.
The above was repeated for the remainder of the cruise. The final insult was their "Grand Gala Buffet", which was a complete disaster, to the point where several of our group acquired a touch of food poisoning. I, and several others, spent the final day sick in bed.
The shows were all about the same every night, with few exceptions, but the lounge dancers were multi-talented and performed in the lounges after the shows and seemed to work harder than anyone else on the ship. Their tribute to Michael Jackson was excellent.
Toward the end of the cruise a large group of guests decided to have the service charges removed from their bills in order to reward the people that had truly given them good service, the cabin attendants and the waiters. The headwaiters were inattentive and occasionally argumentative and rude to the guests. The accounting department people were rude and uncooperative, but finally gave in, but not without giving everyone a hard time.
All-in-all, this was an experience I will never repeat. MSC, take a good look as I leave because I am never coming back.