We are on the MSC Poesia, 4 back to back cruises 1 -10 day, 2-11 day and one 3 day. This review will be on the ship, more later on each cruise. I chose MSC because it had the itinerary I wanted. It was also about $80-$100. a day cheaper per person than other cruise lines. When some complain that they are nickel and dimed to death I thought it would take a lot of nickels and dimes to make up for $160-$200. Per day.
Embarkation was smooth, over all process took about 45 minutes, we pre-registered. We embarked from Genoa. Disembarkation was equally as smooth in Kiel, Germany.
We had a deluxe balcony, slightly larger than a regular balcony. Room had a small couch, pull out for bed. Plenty of space for storage. Bathroom was larger than most ships we have be on, shower about average. We have had larger and smaller. Balcony chairs were plastic woven. They were comfortable. We were in room 12047. The pool deck was above this floor. Some noise during the day from chairs and heavy feet. The ship widens at this area so we had a very large angled balcony. Little forward view as we were in the front of the ship. Similar cabins aft with little backward view. There are eight of these on each floor. No extra cost. Room steward did a great job. Whatever we asked for we received. There were a couple of English channels , all news, CNN, MSNBC, movies if you wanted were for purchase and could be ordered in various languages.
I found the food to be on a par with most ships we have cruised, my wife would rate it below par as she likes good beef, lobster and shrimp, though some entres left a little to be desired. Being Italian there was pasta dish every night, very good pasta and risotto. Entre normally had a choice of 4 different each night. Servings were not the largest but with pasta course we had more than enough. Examples of dinners: a fish selection, Guinea fowl, lamb chops, roast beef, a vegetarian choice. Beef as expected not great but fish, lamb, chicken and veal were good. There was one choice for a salad and 2 choices for soup. There were 2 options for appetizers. Desert offered a cheese plate, very good cheese with the selection changing daily. Typically 2-3 other deserts: carrot cake, tart etc. and then ice cream, sorbet and a fruit plate.
Being American we received a water voucher for each dinner. Coffee breakfast and lunch, you could order for dinner at a cost but few did.
Breakfast buffet - rolls, pickled fish or salmon, a couple of types of eggs, fried, soft boiled, scrambled, premade omelets. Nice selection of fresh and canned fruit. Lunch meat and cheese-European. Yogurt cereal pancakes etc. There were no omelet or waffle stations.
Breakfast - dining room- we ate here most days when we didn't have an early excursion. Each day there was a special, other than that most everything one would want was available. Service was very good. Rolls pastries were served as on most ships.
Lunch buffet - very good selection. You really need to walk around the buffet before choosing. There are 4 areas with similar items but also some that had other choices, like Indian one day or Mexican the next. 4 salad stations. Offerings changed daily. Also available were hotdogs, hamburgers, French fries.
On the Poesia they have stations but they are in a straight line with dishes in between which offers some confusion. There are 2 stations as you enter that have cereal, fruit, yogurt in the morning and salads in the afternoon. We had little problems with flow through the buffet line and no problem with seating except at peak times when everyone wanted to eat and many were just sitting waiting for the ship to dock. There were few children on our cruises.
The grill, in the buffet, was open from 7:00-8:30 pm for those who did not want to attend formal dinner. Also available were the Japanese restaurant, not well attended and the ala carte- one section of the buffet. It was 20 Euros. We did not visit either offering.
Entertainment was very good, lasted about 45 minutes. On our cruises we had late seating 8:15 pm . We felt the shows were very creative as compared to other cruises we have been on. The performers, singers were very good. As stated in other reviews, because of language there were no comedians.
Pool areas were large plenty of chairs, not always right around the pool but close. The large TV had just information about the ship. No movies, as what language could they show? The pools were heated salt water. Some were swimming when we were above the Arctic Circle.
Bars - a lot of bars and large bars more than I have ever seen on a cruise ship. No drinks allowed in the theater. Policy on bringing alcohol on board was adhered to. We were able to bring on soda and a couple of cans of beer with no problem.
Service was good. Dinner was a bit hurried. We had a great cabin steward. Some employees could smile a bit more. Some had an attitude that I thought could be improved. It goes a long way to improving a cruise. Announcements were at a minimum. Language was not a major problem but many stewards and waiters had a very basic English vocabulary, words OK but sentences became a problem. Though you may think they understand they may not. It was best to point at what you wanted on the menu.
There were at most 6-12 Americans on each cruise, though many English speaking cruises predominately from Australia. Our table mates were Australians and a couple from New Zealand, all great table mates.
I would definitely cruise with MSC again. It is a different experience but not a bad experience.
I will make a post in Boards under Rudy is anyone has any questions or comments.