Reading the many horrible reviews here, I boarded the MSC Poesia with LOW expectations and was just looking to have some family fun at a good price. My husbands parents are Italian immigrants and I am a educated foodie myself. We both have college educations (myself a law degree as well) and have experienced the "finer things" in life many times so I know the difference. We traveled with my 3 and 4 year old children and 4 other senior family members. I have done short cruises out of Pt. Canaveral on Royal Carribean many time (that boat is a dump and the service is not good, but I live near the port so we do it as a fun cheap weekend with friends) and Disney (had an overall positive experience).
My first impression of the boat was that it was wonderfully CLEAN!! The rooms was nice and standard cruise ship size. The bed and pillows were more comfortable them usual. Housekeeping was adequate in the room as well. The clean feel to the boar is most likely because it was only made in 2008. The furnishings and decor was beautiful and very modern.
All of the waiters are Indonesian and very nice. They kept touching my kids - which freaked me out a little to be honest - like pinching their cheeks etc....I figure it MUST be cultural. Frankly, it made me a tad uncomfortable, but I know I am a bit uptight about my little angels, so I tried to take it in jest. I know most of them had kids of their own and the probably just missed their babies.
One of the biggest complaints I read in other reviews was about the food. I personally thought it was fantastic!!!!!!!! A few of the desserts and breakfast items (hashbrowns) could use an upgrade, but all in all I thought most things were very delicious. The midnight buffett was very beautiful, but didn't have a lot of "substance" - a lot of deserts and salads. However, the dining room food and service was 4 star in my opinion.
We used the kids club a few times and the staff was very nice and good with the kids. But ID or at least your ship card SHOULD be required upon pick up. My husband had dropped the kids off and I picked them up by myself and just signed a paper and left with them. I didn't care for the lack of security on that given my kids are 3 and 4. Also communication of when and where the children will be moved could be improved. I went to pick them up one time and the door was locked and I had no idea where my angels were. I had to ask around and it freaked me out a bit - but overall I actually liked the childcare on MSC better then the large chaos of Disney.
All and all I really enjoyed the MSC cruise and would be happy to take the MSC Poesia again!! I had the yummiest Osso Buco and lazagna...so good.