In fairness I must say my last cruise was on the Oasis of the Seas. It would be difficult for any cruise to come up to those standards. In no particular order I would like to make the following comments.
If booked direct MSC provides a printed book with transfers and more. I was challenged by the driver because I did not have one since they do not provide them if booked through an agent.
MSC refused to provide transfer for a 12:00 departure flight. I had to book a 16:00 Miami flight. We were checked in and sitting at the gate by 10:15 and sat there for 6 hours. For the price charged by MSC you can boo a private cab.
Elevators are extremely small.
Food was average, sushi bar out of some popular items
No in-room Wi-Fi internet in rooms on many decks, by design.
Balconies very small
TV is a 21 inch.
Average passenger age must have been 60+
Entertainment very limited. No advance schedule on entertainment, only thing is the daily paper.
Only two small pillows provided, but did provide additional on request.
Mixed drinks are not very strong at $7 each, but twelve for the price of ten is a pretty good price.
With high winds but mild rolling seas, the ship had excessive roll.
Public bathrooms have poor signage. They seemed to blend in with the surroundings. Many complaints were heard.
The wind was very noisy though the passageway door, not just my cabin, you could hear it as you passed other cabins.
All announcements are done in multiple languages, a plus for non-English passengers.
Pools close very early, around 6 PM
Soft serve ice cream is available, but only from noon to 6 pm.
When charging the cruise it goes to a US company therefore there are no bank card problems. When onboard the charges go to a company in France and many cards will refuse a foreign charge unless actually approved by the card holder. This causes them to block the charges to your onboard account...
Security is not very tight coming back from shore, either the metal detector is off or set so high that four batteries, eye glasses, and a cell phone did not set it off.
Hand sanitizing and other health preventives not encouraged and not enforced.
A lady fell in the theater and was lying on the floor hurt for ten minutes before any ship personnel came. I personally notified a cast member. It was another 10 minutes before medical people showed up. Another 15 minutes before they took her out on a stretcher. She was removed by ambulance at the next port.
The highlight was the dinner seating. What made it the highlight was not the food or service, but the group of people at our table.
Below is a copy of the contents of an email that I sent to the MSC office... I have not received a response yet.
I would like to introduce myself. My name is Warren Kelley, on December 06, 2011, I was a passenger on The MSC Poesia. I would like to share with you an encounter I had onboard during the voyage. I find this to have been a very interesting business practice.
After dinner at the second seating I had a couple of cocktails at the bar outside of the restaurant. Before finishing the second cocktail I took it and went up to the pool bar. They were passing out small bags of popcorn on the deck. I asked the waitress for a bag. She said absolutely not, the drink I was drinking did not come from the pool bar so I could not have any. I thought perhaps this was just the thought of the waitress. I went to the bar and the supervisor confirmed that was correct. I found it to be very offensive that while working on my forth book of 12 bar drinks, I would be refused a 5 cent bag of popcorn. I asked to speak to the bar manager, not because I wanted the popcorn, but to find out why customers were treated this way.
Mr.Calin Radulescu came to the bar and I related the story to him. He said that was the company policy and that was it. I told him I had been on nearly 20 cruises and have never had such inconsiderate treatment. His response was that he had been on over 50 cruises so what the significance of my trips was. He asked if I would be back on future MSC cruises. I responded "NO". He said "Good".
I am wondering the business logic of making a customer so dissatisfied over a nickel. It would seem the correct thing to do was when the supervisor was informed to reiterate that the waitress was correct but he would accommodate the request. In the few minutes I sat around I saw at least 4 other people being turned away. In the mean time I watched a uniformed crew officer being passed a bag of popcorn. I hope that at this time you realize that this has nothing to do with a bag of popcorn but improper treatment of customers. It is hard to understand how MSC policy would think that the goodwill of customers is worth less than 5 cents.
I need to acknowledge that I was also highly irritated and did not act in a proper manner myself and should apologize. This may have been due to cultural differences between Italians and Americans. Perhaps these types of cultural differences needs to be considered when making policies for future US cruises.
All in all I would rate this cruise slightly below average at best.