This was our first cruise on an MSC ship. My husband booked it because he got a good deal. We have cruised with Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean.
Casino: This was a huge letdown! There was only one five cent machine and two penny machines. It was also the first casino we have seen on a ship where you could pretty much get any slot machine you wanted, many times there was no one at the slot machines! We spend a lot of money in the casino, but we only spent $57 on this trip. No one was winning, thus no one was playing. We like the lower cost machines because we can play much longer for less money.
Entertainment: The entertainment was not our style. The first night was violin playing and a tenor was singing. We got up and left. Sitting through announcements in five different languages was rather annoying, and this is also heard throughout the ship when different announcements are made.
A friendly ship? NO! - The captain stated in a letter on the last night of our cruising that this was a "friendly" ship. That is not the case. It is, in fact, a very unfriendly ship...somewhat cold. In fact, the staff at the Accounting Desk were rude not only to me but to other customers.
Ship's Decor: This was the main highlight of our cruise. It is, indeed, a very beautiful ship, the prettiest ship we have been on.
Food: The food variety was just not there for us. There was nothing my husband would eat from the "hot specialties." We ate a lot of salads. They did have hamburger patties but the cheese was cold and not melted for you. I guess Carnival has spoiled us! If you wanted a cheeseburger, you got cold slices of cheese. There was also beef hot dogs that were good and chicken wings that didn't look good at all. There were no ketchup or mustard bottles on the table, nor salt and pepper shakers, only the little packages. If you forgot your mustard or ketchup, you had to walk back and butt yourself into line to get them. They only offer free tea and water in little glasses that are like juice glasses. One guy stands there and does nothing but pours water and tea. They need more drink stations. The main drink station was right before the food line so it was a pain trying to get in there to get coffee or ice. Very disorganized. I was surprised I never did see any spaghetti, as this is an Italian ran ship. The pizza would have been good if it wasn't burned. The guy at the pizza bar saw our plates with four slices of burned pizza and he said "go back and get more." The main cafeteria was not open on the two formal nights, which they call Gala nights. We were very disappointed in this, as we don't always eat in the dining room. The desserts were sorely lacking. The cakes were the same every day sometimes with a little different icing. MSC needs to learn from Carnival how to do desserts! There was no chocolate cake, no strawberry cheesecake. There was jello every day. The variety was really lacking. The salad bar was good at lunch time, but in the evening half of the fixings wasn't put back out. I enjoy sunflower seeds in my salad and they weren't available after lunch. If you like salami and cold sandwich meat, you would have been happy. There was no sandwich bar which my husband and I loved on the Carnival. The breads were all too hard for my husband to eat. Guess Italians love hard bread! You could get a coke card for $29 but you get 14 vouchers and when those are gone, you have to buy another coke card. Carnival lets you have unlimited cokes on their coke card.
Cabin: We had an interior room which was small, but nice. The shower was small, but it was sufficient for our needs. We don't stay in the room much any way. The worse thing was the mattress was too firm and I didn't sleep well all week. The pillows should not be called pillows. They are about half the size of a regular pillow and are full of little pieces of something. Take your own pillow if you go on this cruise!
Shore Excursions: We didn't take any cruise booked excursions. We did take tours of the islands, but we arranged those after we got off the ship. We had to change the date of when we arrived in St. Maarten because the port was too congested, so we got there one day later. I don't know how this affected those who had excursions booked.
Overall review: The MSC Poesia is a beautifully decorated ship. The "welcome on board" was just not there. Boarding the ship was also a joke. The lady made everyone sit down and she was letting them board row by row. People at the end of row two were jumping up and getting in line and she was yelling "no, no....just the first row" but they paid her no attention. The disembarkation was a lot easier as we used self assist and got off the ship really fast. They put a notice under our cabin door that stated "if you don't have the Self Assist Pass, you will not be allowed to get off the ship." This was not true, as they never even asked to see them. All we needed was our ship card. We will never cruise with MSC again because we like more American music, food and entertainment and better casinos!