Just returned from two weeks in the Caribbean on the Poesia.
Never again. I will mention that some of what I'll write below was common discussion fodder with many, if not the majority of the people we spend time with on board, but these are my personal experiences.
I'm a relatively new cruiser, only 4 previous cruises under my belt, all with Holland America, and I'll stick with them.
It was only a few days into the cruise that my wife and I both came to the conclusion, at about the same time, that regardless of the price, we would not stoop so low as to cruise with MSC again. Unfortunately, we still had another 10 days to endure.
I read reviews ahead of time so I thought I was prepared for the food issues, but no. If you're a pasta lover, great, the pasta is cooked perfectly, as you would imagine on an Italian ship, otherwise, stick to the steak. DON'T stray to other things on the menu just because they seem interesting, you WILL be disappointed. And before someone jumps in to defend the Italian cooking, I've spend time in Italy, and there is no comparison. I suppose it might compare to some sort of 'institution' food in Italy, but that's not what I go on a cruise for.
I suggest its best to stay completely away from the buffet. They used no sound abatement materials whatsoever and you'd have a hard time holding a conversation with those at your table over the din. Lunch buffet is burgers and dogs, or, as a kind woman pointed out to me a couple days in, on one side of the buffet they are making all kinds of interesting sandwiches. I headed over with interest to find a choice of runny egg salad slop, runny tuna salad slop and runny chicken salad slop... nice... I suppose that goes with the extremely watered down iced tea and orange juice,(only available in the morning, if you miss it, you're out of luck for the rest of the day.. or maybe that's good luck)
The Asian and Indonesian room staff, general cleaning staff and dining room staff were terrific. The European office and head staff are atrocious... just like in Europe.
Ship rules for the most part were completely unenforced. An example, the hot tubs. They are for 5 adults (and children over, I think 12, with an adult), and, although it shouldn't have to be said, those not in diapers... AT almost all times there were 7, 8 or more in each hot tub, many times all kids and MANY MANY times adults in there with their babies, in diapers... seriously. We didn't even bother after that. Also the reserving of deck chairs. It's very clearly stated that deck chairs are not to be reserved, but, as on every ship (and resort) I've been on, the deck chairs have towels on them from 7 in the morning until pool closing, most often left completely vacant all day except for a few minutes here and there during the day.
The level of communication was abysmal. I didn't mind so much, as others have stated on these boards, about the multiple languages. They need to get information to people in their own languages and that's reasonable. But it's what they said that was so irritating. Nothing was ever clearly articulated, or at least not not in English. Again, I understand that I was on an Italian ship, but the cruise was marketed to an English speaking public and the vast majority of the passengers where English speaking.
Either way, there is no excuse for inarticulate, confusing, misdirection in on board announcements. Leaving Ft Lauderdale we had two sea days, but the daily program, slipped through the door the first night, said we'd be in port the next day. Lots of confusion at dinner that night from people trying to arrange with friends and family the things they'd be doing in port the next day, except we'd still be 'at sea'. And when we did get to ports, the daily program gave almost mo information about the ports themselves. Yes, if one happened to wander down to the front desk they had an easel set up with a couple clippings of what to in port, but with 3000 passengers stopping in to these ports week after week, would it be so hard to put that information into the daily program?
As for that program itself, forget using it as an event guide for each day, which it was undoubtedly designed to do. The information is scattered all over the four pages in random fashion and there seems to be no logic as to what is, or is not, included in the hourly schedule on the back page. If you had something you wanted to do or see, you needed to scour the whole program to find it, and then also scour the program again to find out if the timing conflicted with anything else. Bizzare.
The scrolling text news channel on the TV DID NOT CHANGE for the entire two weeks., The in-room interactive TV information was often outdated, showing excursions for not just previous days, but even previous cruises.
The library consists of about 100 books in English, (and an equal amount I suppose in a couple other languages), VIRTUALLY all are fiction, story books. If you're looking for something in a biography, or any other nonfiction book, you're out of luck.
Cruise cabins are always smaller than you hope, obviously. We had a balcony which helped, but our bathroom's shower was the smallest I have ever experienced in my life. If you enjoy taking a shower with the flimsy shower curtain always sticking to you as you try to wash, this is just right for you!
Safety-wise, there is no excuse for room service trays to be scattered about the hallways at all times of the day and night, as well as the cleaning equipment. So many time while negotiating the hallways in rolling seas we'd be having to step over the ever present interventionist of the vacuum cleaners
A couple good notes, the ship was relatively new and spotless, (because they keep vacuuming!)and embarking and disembarking was a breeze! Of course, embarking was a breeze because of all the miscommunication. We heard MANY different time for embarkation, anywhere from noon to 4PM, we decided with nothing better to do we'd head over from our hotel at noon and were aboard, sitting in the lunch buffet, by 12:30
A small but annoying point, the main bank of elevators at the front of the ship, is four cars with two SEPARATE sets of buttons. I cant tell you how many times I saw people pressing one set of buttons and standing waiting while the other bank of elevators went up and down missing them.
As for previous posters, yes, there were lots of children, and yes they were noisy and boisterous, but it was a cruise at Christmas time, so you have to overlook that.
The ports of call were all short. I don't know if this is standard in the Caribbean as I've never been before, but getting in at 8 or 9AM and having to be all aboard by 4pm seemed rushed. It was if MSC had to pay extra to arrive early or depart later, yet the other ships we saw in port were often there well before us and still there when we left. In the Cayman's for example, people were still being tendered in, tender ticket in hand, at 11:30AM and last tender back was 3:30PM!
I think I'm just ranting now so I'll sign off...