MSC Poesia Cruise Review by Kelowna NCL: Poesia 14 Day New England/Canada
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Poesia 14 Day New England/Canada
Just back last week from the 14 day New England/Canada cruise.....wow....remember the movie "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly " with Clint Eastwood.....well this could be called "The Good, The Fair and The Poor" with MSC. As a background, my wife and I have been on 19 cruises so have a working knowledge of various cruise lines and what they offer and have really loved all the cruises we have been on even this one........but.....some things on MSC could be improved just as some things on other lines could be improved.....of the 2300 passengers more than 1500 were from North America...only 11 Italians...wow.....got that from the front office....
THE GOOD.....the ship is beautiful with all the marble and the way the ship is laid out......it is well maintained and clean......the cabin steward and assistant were very efficient and did an excellent job of looking after us.....the dining room waiter and helper were also very good....the ship handled well in More rough seas and the 110 km winds off the coast of Nova Scotia......getting on the ship went without any problems and a staff member showed us to our room which some of the other lines do not do.....we went straight to our room as got on after 2pm so did not rush up to the buffet for lunch...the 14 day itinerary and the price were excellent....something you do not see too often for a balcony cabin...dinner seating....we ate at a table of 8 and we all instantly gelled as a group...many enjoyable dinners together...that also was a plus as of the 4 couples, two were from Canada and two from US...and as a plus we were all English speaking....apparently the cruise line does make an effort to seat different languages together but we did hear of unhappy customers but not us...key card holder was a great idea when you went into your cabin....put card in slot...lights go on....take card out when leaving lights go off after a few minutes....great idea
THE FAIR.......LANGUAGE....most of the staff members had a limited knowledge of English....you could talk to the cabin staff or the dining room staff and really not know if they knew what you were saying.....we found out that MSC does not offer language training to their staff.....one would think they would if they want to make inroads to the NA market...I guess when the ship is in Europe there is also no communication with the passengers as most of the staff are Indonesian....the SHIP OFFICERS.....well you would wonder where they were or what they did....they were never around to talk to or see....they were introduced at the first show in their crisp white uniforms....all male except for two females and never hardly seen again....if you had a problem they were not there and we sure could have used them a few times as you will read later on.......the FOOD... first seating at 5:30 and second at 8pm ....as on all ships there were some good dinners and some poor ones.....you could always find something to eat....was quite surprised that the Italian fair was not really that exceptional considering it is an Italian line.....there were two sides to the menu for dinner....the Italian side featuring a part of Italy and the Stars and Strips side.....there was always an appetizer, a salad, soup, a pasta dish and a main course....then usually only two desserts to choose from......we would mix and match from both sides of the menu....sometimes if not sure of the main course we would order two different ones and then taste both and take the best one.....breakfast was the usual stuff but it was hard to find anything freshly cooked as was like a cafeteria in large warming trays.....there was a sign saying you could get fresh cooked eggs but it was hard to get that organized...no toaster to do fresh toast...plates all plastic, same for cups....pepper, salt, mustard, relish....all in little pouches like a fast food restaurant.....lunch the same but they sometimes had a carving station....no sandwich station anywhere to be found for the 14 days......lunch items same in large warming trays to pick from...more fish items than on other cruise lines for lunch......the dinner buffet was their idea of 'anytime dining'.....we tried it twice and really should have gone to the dining room.....same style as lunch and breakfast...and no carving station which you might have expected for dinner.....the salad bars for lunch and dinner were good....if you wanted a snack between say 4pm to 6pm there was nothing...the place was closed...poor for us as sometimes we wanted a snack with drinks in our room as we did not eat until 8pm.....coffee and water....well you had thought this was a new idea for them....it was a 24 hr station...which they seem to promote as a big idea....water was served at the dining room table but you could tell it was new for the staff.....rarely did they come and refill the glass unless you asked...wine and beer standard prices approx about $5.....ENTERTAINMENT.....the major shows were around 6:30 or 8:30....lasted for about 40/45 minutes which is short....mostly dance items and magic, acrobatics...things which language did not play a part....there was some singing in English...music was all canned...no ship band for backup....we usually like to go to the show after dinner but could not on this cruise as we had the late seating...most of the bars had some sort of entertainment....dancing??? well good if you liked Latin music otherwise you were out of luck....then there was what they call the "Animation Team"....if you like lots of clowning around shows and goofy stunts there were there every night...for about an hour and half....got pretty boring after 14 days of that stuff.....the animation team is the MSC's version of the entertainment team and cruise director on other cruise lines.....for example one night was advertised as a "70's Grease night" so we went up to dance to 70's music....not.....the animation team were there with goofy stunts and no 70's music....there was a conga line ....the cruise director..."Anna" was the worst we have ever encountered.....she did nothing and could not be found about with the customers....all she did was basically introduce the show and close the show in 5 languages....she looked pretty but had no personality ....the language thing was neat for the first few days but after 14 days got to be a pain.....we did notice one person, "Tyler" a Canadian, who was just hired to try to cater things to the North American tastes and try some ideas that work on the other cruise lines....this is a good thing if MSC wants to make inroads to the NA tastes.....the animation team members, in my opinion, were "stuck on themselves" ......they also had members assigned to the bars to get single women up and dancing, something not usually seen on other cruise lines.....if you were single you might like to have an Italian guy dance with you.....some bars were smoking bars which we stayed out of as we could not stand the smoke......the casino had few 1 cent or 2 cent machines which are popular on other lines....I think in the whole casino there were only 5 one cent ones.....most 25 cents and up....and they were tight machines.....the gym looked nice but we did not use it...usually went for long walks instead......the shops were like high end shops found in Europe....and prices higher than NA mainstream tastes....MSC runs all the shops, they are not sub-contracted out like other lines.....POOLS.......frigid.....they had little signs telling the temperature....how about swimming in 11 Celsius or 52 degrees.....never went once but would have liked to.....why not heat them????...would have been a nice touch....people were in the hot tubs most of the time if on deck and wanted some water to be in......do not remember any outside activities that we went to...maybe there were none?? there was a large outside TV screen but only showed commercials which was weird.....and on the TV the movie channel showed old movies, really old movies.... TV service was the world service of CNN or ESPN and a cartoon channel and TNT I think ..
THE POOR......there were a few things that really stood out when compared to the other cruise lines.....lets start with the TENDER service....one would think they never had done it before......how about leaving about 1000 passengers standing on the wharf in Newport in the dark at 7pm with a cold bitter wind and only a few tenders working....stood in line for an hour and others much longer.....and then have to wait to get on the ship also as they only had one entry point and with the scanner watching for illegal wine bottles....there were no officers in sight and no apology from anyone later saying we could have done better.....and no one organizing the line or offering help...it stretched for a city block...handicapped passengers stood in line with all the rest of us....no staff out offering help in the dark......one would have thought that they would have known that all the tours arrived back at the same time and have a bunch of tenders waiting for the customers....getting off the ship was not very efficient either.....people who had bought "ship tours" waited for up to two hrs to get off while at the same time they were running tenders for people who had just tender tickets.....usually people who have ship tours get off sooner...not here.....SCANNER.....never saw more than one entry point when we were off the ship....major "bottle neck" and long lines to get on ....2000 people trying to go through one door....they seemed really keen about catching people with a wine bottle.....staff at the door not very smiley.....PORTS.....well MSC seemed to get all the poor berths or were the last one in to port.....maybe because Holland America and Princess have been there lots of time in previous years....for example....in Quebec City the ship was at an industrial wharf behind a big cement factory and you got off and on in a dirty, gravel, somewhat paved parking lot.....they had set up big white party tents.....had to walk a long way to town or pay for a bus they had arranged.....while Princess and HAL were right in the real port area and the town was right there.....in Newport.....Princess was there before us and got the good tendering spot while MSC got the pooer area and had trouble with the anchor....funny thing we left before Princess the night before...figure that out.....In Sydney.....HAL had the port berth....MSC had to tender.....so the list goes.....something was going on here with no real explanation from anyone.....there was never a map of the port handed out either...TIME ZONES......wow what a goof here........left NYC on Eastern Time......then went to Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown...all on Atlantic time....but the ship did not change time....kept us all on Eastern time so times were all screwed up.....most ships would have gone to local time....not MSC.....people had arranged tours thinking we were in port at 9am....but it was really 10am local time.....what a disaster.....even the people with the organized ship tours were left scratching their heads on this one.....not a hint of apology from the ship's officers...but that was not unusual anyways and they were not to be found.....same thing on the way back....left Quebec on Eastern time and went to Saint John on Atlantic time but the ship still kept on the wrong time zone again....PUBIC RELATIONS......they probably need an North American PR person on staff to advise them ....the staff did not mingle with the customers or try to help out ....maybe they did but in 14 days we never talked to anyone except the new "North American Cruise Director" ....on most cruises we have been on we usually talk to 4 or 5 of the officers....MEET and GREET....what a joke here.....the Cruise Critic group had about 25 people who met in the disco.....apparently the organizer had trouble getting the room weeks before the cruise and when we met for an hour not one officer came to greet us or tell us about the ship and there was no effort to supply coffee or a cookie....other lines go out of their way here to show support....
SUMMARY......in spite of the poor section noted here we still had a good time, and depending on the itinerary and price, would cruise with MSC again but would know beforehand the limitations and pluses of MSC after sailing with them the one time for 14 days......as a side issue....we met up with a couple from our town and this was their very first cruise and they thought they "had gone to heaven"....so it shows all of us come from different perspectives....... Less
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