We chose the two night POESIA cruise because we had limited time after a meeting in Florida. We thought it would be a wonderful break for all of us.
The ship, from the pictures, looked great, but it turned out to be a really terrible experience, starting with the check-in and boarding. We were herded from one area to another like a flock of sheep. The check in person was pleasant, but most of the people, especially the security people were extremely rude.
When we finally got to the ship, the people at the top of the stairs who actually swiped our cards were unsmiling, unfriendly - no "welcome aboard" - no greetings at all. We were on our own to find our cabins. We did find our way, and were greeted by an unsmiling room steward, again with no welcome. When we asked for ice, it seemed like we were asking for the moon. The cabin was small, but acceptable. Each of us had a "deluxe" balcony cabin. We requested, via telephone, extra pillows, and the reaction at the service desk, was also rudeness. "We do not have down pillows", and then she hung up. We did finally get the lumpiest foam pillows we have ever seen, totally uncomfortable, and the beds are hard as rocks too.
But, since we have been on many cruises, we were hoping this was just a bad start, and we were ready to start enjoying the cruise.
We went to the buffet which was bedlam, with rude servers, huge lines, and no place to sit. Tables were not cleaned up, and the whole buffet was a mess. We decided we would not try that again.
Next, we checked on our dining room table. Our family group had requested one large, early sitting table, and we were told we had it. We found out we were all at separate tables for second sitting which begins at 9:00PM. We then found the dining room head, who was rushed, and like most of the Italian crew, was extremely rude. He did however, accept a very nice tip, and did us the "big" favor of changing our table to a large one at the first seating. We never saw him again. The table itself was fine, and the Indonesian wait-staff is the best thing about the ship. Our waiters were excellent and charming! The head waiters were a joke, and they did nothing except have their hands out for tips.
The food itself, was another matter. It sounded great, but was really terrible, poor preparation, usually luke warm and mostly tasteless. Yes, you could order alternatives like strip steak and salmon. Our party did that. The steak was thin, tough, full of fat and gristle, and was never prepared the way it was ordered. The salmon was always overcooked, even though it was requested rare, and was supposedly made to order. The Breakfast menu in the dining room had nice selections, but the eggs benedict, one of our favorite dishes, was poorly prepared and cold.
Entertainment was really poor. There were extra charges for many items such as ice cream other than the soft-serve cones (when the machines were not broken).
The casino staff was unfriendly and unwelcoming with great attitude. They had no interest in us at all. It was also outrageous to have one cashier, and the line at times to cash-out exceeded 30 people waiting.
The reception desk people were cold, unfriendly and not pleasant at all. One of our party had met the hotel director a few times, and requested an appointment. This was ignored by the reception staff. She was promised a call back with an appointment, but, no call ever came.
The boarding announcements are made in five languages. This is a bit unusual for a ship that home-ports in Fort LAUDERDALE. The announcements for the lifeboat drill took more than 25 minutes, while we all stood around like idiots. The various announcements were loud and endless.
The public areas are designed to SELL - SELL - SELL - with bars, it seemed, every few feet. By the way, most of the bar staff were also very pleasant, but the drinks themselves were rather small. Prices were typical for a cruise ship, however. The wine list was not huge, but was fairly priced for a cruise ship.
Nassau was a fine port, and we enjoyed being on our own there. Coming back to the ship, however, we were greeted by the same unfriendly security folks. Someone should suggest that they smile.
In general, the problem with MSC is rudeness. Other than the wait and bar staff, they do not seem to be there for the guests, and everything is just too much trouble for them. This tone is set by the officers, and flows on down through the ship.
Four of our family were members of the MSC Club. NO BENEFITS were offered to anyone.
We had looked forward to a longer cruise later this year on MSC, but now, we will never travel on this line again.