MSC Poesia Cruise Review by kiki_caprice: 1st Cruise in the Caribbean
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1st Cruise in the Caribbean
This was our first cruise, my bf and I travelled with my parents. The ship was very nice and they were able to accommodate our dinner seating by putting the 4 of us together.
I guess I'll start with the embarkation procedure. We flew into Miami and took at cab to Ft. Lauderdale (with 4 of us, it was the most cost effective, working out to be $20USD/pp). We took an early flight, landing in Miami around noon, with embarkation from Ft. Lauderdale at 7pm. There isn't alot to do at the port in Ft. Lauderdale, so we were pleased to find that we could board the ship early, and they started serving lunch! Embarkation was pretty quick, and seamless, they quickly outfitted us with our cruise ship cards, allowing us access to the ship and our rooms, our checked baggage arrived a few hours later (if you want to catch some sun, I'd pack swimwear in your carry on for this purpose). The lunch buffet was huge and somewhat overwhelming at first, but more about the food later.
After More boarding and eating quickly - there was an orientation to talk about the ship and some excursions available to us. There were 4 ports of call: Key West, Ocho Rios, Georgetown, and Cozumel.
The ship was clean, (really clean, it seems someone is always cleaning actually). Our rooms were tidied up twice daily, some time in the morning, and again in the evening, our beds were turned down. There are several nice lounges to hang out in, 2 pools - during at sea days, it's important to get up early to get a deck chair. It didn't seem like they were enforcing the policy of removing towels on chairs not occupied for more than 20 minutes. The gym/spa was also nice - there were daily specials for spa treatments, etc (all were reasonably priced, especially with the discounts!).
There is a daily service change per person of $12/day. There seemed to be a ruckus at accounting once the bills arrived. I think service charges are standard on most cruise ships, and $12/day for the level of service on cleanliness of this boat was fair.
Shows nightly - they were pretty good, and reached a broad audience, the exception would probably be the opera night (opera is not for everyone). But overall the entertain was great. There's also a casino, which I'll include as entertainment (it was adequate, not vegas, but what is?). They also had some late night movies showing on the screen by the pool on a night or 2.
The dutyfree shops were well priced for alcohol, and cigarettes. A nice thing about the shopping was that it's an Italian ship, so olive oil, balsamic vinegar and limoncello was available in the dutyfree for very reasonable prices. They also offered sales on jewellry and clothing (but for these items, I'd pick them up at the ports - I was suprised at the number of jewellry stores at the ports)
There was no opportunity to be hungry on this boat. The breakfasts were great (we usually went to the buffet). Choice of fruit, cereal, oatmal, and americal style breakfasts (bacon, eggs, etc). There was also an omelette station. I felt that the break selection was really great. For lunch we also typically went to the buffet. There's a pizza station, hot lunch (stews, etc). Also burgers, hotdogs and fries, a salad bar. I felt that the food was varied enough, I didn't feel bored of the food. There was also a self-serve soft ice cream bar open from noon till 5 daily. For dinners, we dined each night in the restaurant. The food was usually good. Some of the favourites (steak, and chicken) lacked some flavour, but everything else was good - cheesecake was on the menu almost every night. The Cheese plates, left a little to be desired (the crackers are saltines!) Most nights were themes after regions in Italy. I didn't have a bad meal in the restaurants. Drink prices are also reasonable - a carafe of house wine is $8USD, and a reasonable wine. There's also an opportunity to dine at 2 other restaurants on board (but I didn't try them). Less
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Cabin review: 1111155
The balcony was nice, 2 chairs and a little table. The closet space was also adequate, we were able to put all our stuff away and store 2 large suitcases out of site. The bathrooms were clean, and small (but it's a cruiseship). My bf is over 6ft tall and the shower was ok for him.
Port and Shore Excursions
The process to get off the boat was a little disorganized, but still worth it.
Lots of shopping right at the port - the duty free shops here were much more expensive for watches, but the prices seemed reasonable for jewellry (rubies, sapphires, tanzanites, etc)...the quality of the diamonds was so so.
We stopped by a wine store and picked up fruit wines in key west - these were amazing (can't wait to serve them in the summer). If you love key limes, then Key West is for you! There is key lime pie, candy, ice cream, wine, you name it! And it was all delicious!.
I really enjoyed Key West, it had a tropical feel, but everything was still in english - lots of shops selling $5 tshirts and souvenirs also...
For those craving internet service, there is a starbucks with wifi in Key West so bring your laptop netbook (probably cheaper than using the internet on the ship).
The Dunn's River Falls is really a site to see, we climbed up from the bottom, and it took longer than I thought. They have lockers, so you can rent them to leave your stuff. If I had more time... I would have walked the length of the falls, and the bit of beach to catch some kodak moments before climbing up the falls - but I know for next time...
The enchanted gardens were also nice - I think there were 7 falls there, and lots of lush greenery. They also have an Aviary there (which was fun - if you like birds).
There was a short stop for shopping on this tour. We opted to order some local jerk chicken and jerk pork, before doing a quick peak into some jewellry stores. Jamaica would be my pick for shopping for designer watches, seemed better priced than the duty free shops at the other ports.
If there was time, there's a lot more shopping close to the port - so that's something to consider.