I Was on MSC Poesia December,2010. I traveled with my family including a two year old to Western Caribbean. The cruise experience was so much fun! From previous reviews was not expecting much but have realized some people just expect too much.
The ship is Italian. Passengers were from around the world, buffet & restaurant is mostly Indonesian. The ship's decor was tasteful and stylish, and attention was paid to detail and quality in all aspects of the ship's services. All this created a relaxing and comfortable feeling.
Embarkation: we arrived early and were on board by 3:00pm. Our ship supposes to sail at 7:00pm. We checked our luggage in at the front & went through security. After that fill out a short medical form saying that we did not have any symptoms of being sick (runny nose, cough, etc.) waited in a line to check in, where they gave us our ship card with our table number for dinner seating. They took one credit card to charge all expenses onto it at the end of the cruise but if you want to pay in cash the day you receive your invoice which is the day before debarkation you go to the accounting & pay. They also took a photo of each of us which is used to identify you when you're leaving and coming back on the ship during excursions. The picture is not on the card itself, just your name and the table number. When we boarded the ship gave a band for my kid just in case he is lost the cabin number & his name is marked their. Straight away went to see our cabin & went for a tour in the ship came back luggages were there.
Cabin: Clean room & washroom, cleaned the room twice a day including bed, towels & vacuumed. Really don't know when they come to do this & how they know we are out our rooms we go for breakfast come back room is cleaned. Go for dinner & come back (we are straight back to the room after dinner to get my kid's milk bottle) and the room is clean. The room climate control was great. The refrigerator and TV were great.
Dining: restaurant is beautiful & friendly staff. For people with kids they gave a small separate table in the center which I thought is lovely. Because with kids we might disturb other people if we are in a big group of people. The food was exquisite, in the restaurant steak & lobsters & amazing desserts are the best. We had first seating 5:30 one day we went at 6:15pm because the buffet was closed due to a deck party. They had the buffet open from 8:00 - 11:00 for dinner that day. That was unexpected. But made it to the restaurant, no body said anything. And we always go to the shows after.
Shows: all the shows are excellent except one evening was an opera evening which neither of us enjoyed. The ship had a group called the "Animation Team". These spirited young people kept the passengers engaged in activities throughout the day and evening...exercises classes, dance classes, funny events, contests, and skits. They inspired participation with a sense of joyfulness.
Tipping - On board, there is no concept of cash. Thus, you never directly tip anyone using cash until the very last day after they have closed out your onboard account. Housekeeping, waiters in buffet & the restaurants and for all the staff at the deck tipping is done via a standard $12 per day per adult "Service Charge" that gets added to your bill. They give you a printed bill halfway through the cruise for you to view. If under 18 sharing with two adults, it's only $6.00 per day. The amount can be adjusted at the front desk. Come to think about with the service we had $12 a day is well worth it, if we are to tip in cash we might end up paying more.
Daily Program: Check the Daily Program every night for next day activities First seating is 5:30pm and second seating is 8:00pm.
Dress attire - At night on casual nights, they recommend you dress in long pants. The dining rooms on casual nights require long pants. Women usually wear dresses on formal nights.
Disembarkation - if you don't have many luggages & kids would recommend signing up for their Self Assist option. Save you tons of time. We were given colour & a number for our luggage & until that colour & number called we can't disembark. Our ship arrived at 7:00AM but we got out at 9:30AM. Pre book a cab if you don't have any one to pick you up.
EVERYONE I spoke to on the ship was impressed with the services and delighted with the cruise...most of us had read a mediocre review and were astonished, for we all were so impressed. It was a fantastic vacation.