My husband and I have taken many cruises including three transatlantic, one South American and the rest Caribbean. As Florida residents, we get to take advantage of great last minute deals. The deal we saw for Poesia for a 10 day cruise that included a back to back to the Bahamas combined with a 7 day Caribbean cruise was the lowest we'd ever seen. We chose the balcony guarantee and were upgraded to a superior balcony room. We were thrilled as we always look forward to any type of vacation. We are still happy we went, but we would not choose MSC again.
Our first bad experience was at check in. I have never waited as long to get on a boat. We finally got to the head of the line. We told the agent that we wished to pay our bill in cash. We tendered our credit card for security and she told us to just pay cash at check out. So far, not too bad. Our cabin was OK but I don't know what was superior about it. It had just enough room for the bed, one chair and a desk. The shower was the typical tiny space with the clingy curtain. No nice toiletries were provided, just body wash and shampoo in a dispenser in the shower. The TV showed movies on TNT and TCM (I think) but the screen was often so dark you couldn't tell what was happening. A friend we made on board complained about this to no avail.
We made our way to the buffet for a late lunch and there is where the big problems began. The buffet was laid out in such a way that there was always a huge line, with people trying to cut in. The area to get drinks was just in front of this line, so that was always a mess too. The food served there was very disappointing. Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, rice dishes made from the previous nights dinners, and mostly boring desserts were the choices EVERY DAY. Sometimes the pasta was good and the best thing was the salad bar (thankfully away from the crowded area) that had lots of good choices for a nice salad. At breakfast, every day was also the same with scrambled eggs, over or undercooked bacon, hard as rock omelettes, sunny side up eggs with lots of white runny stuff, beans, baked tomatoes and sausage. Some of the bread was good, including pan de chocolate. My husband started eating cereal for breakfast about half way in. We are used to choices and lovely surprises on cruise ships, not military cafeterias.
The dining room food was good about one third of the time. Many of the dishes were so bland that I got tired of sending them back and started trying to stir my food around like I was 5 and didn't want to eat my peas. The calamari was good, the pasta was generally good (served very al dente but I like it that way), and the soups were almost all good. Other than that, very hit and mostly miss. My husband had steak 3 times. Only 1 was good. The fish was always overcooked. The service was good, but I think the poor waiter was embarrassed by the product. He tried very hard and we tipped him a little extra. It's not his fault. Anyway, I guess the point is, if good food is important to you, don't take this ship.
On to better news. We loved the entertainment. The nightly shows were the BEST I've ever seen outside of Broadway or Las Vegas. There were also good entertainers around the ship. We heard an opera singer (I've never been to an opera) who was just amazing. The entertainment team was energetic and lots of fun.
The pool area, though crowded, always seemed to have a lounger available. The steam room, spa and exercise area were nice. Exercise classes were offered most days but they were by the pool area rather than in the rather small exercise area of the gym.
There were several days spent at sea and the ship did not offer very many activities. This was OK for us, but might not be good for everyone.
Because we had a back to back cruise, we had to disembark in Ft. Lauderdale and go through customs. Again, this was a nightmare. No one had any idea of how to handle this. This simple operation took almost 3 hours.
We enjoyed our port of call. We had been to all of them before and arranged our own entertainment. The itinerary included very short days on some ports and new cruisers would probably be very disappointed in that.
On the final night when our bill came, we went to the desk to pay in cash as we had requested. There was no one available in accounting and reception said to come back in the morning. When we did that, we were informed that we could not pay cash since we hadn't arranged it on embarkation. When we explained that we had done that, the abrupt manager said that the "70 year olds they have checking people in don't know anything and it's not my fault that they didn't get it right." After trying to argue about this, we gave up. We did however inform the 70 year olds assisting with embarkation about it. They said they were only using the computers and information they were given.
My husband and I have always joked about when we get old (we're 54 and 56) we'll get on a cruise instead of checking into a nursing home. This cruise will be just the ticket then, inexpensive and bland food and not much to do.