For our eighth cruise, my husband and I decided to try MSC for the first time because of the itinerary, which included two islands we had not visited before (Guadeloupe and Dominican Republic). We have sailed with Royal Caribbean and ... Read More
For our eighth cruise, my husband and I decided to try MSC for the first time because of the itinerary, which included two islands we had not visited before (Guadeloupe and Dominican Republic). We have sailed with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity in the past. On this cruise we were traveling with a toddler and my husband’s elderly parents.
Honestly, I was a bit apprehensive considering all the poor reviews I read on here about Poesia. Following the cruise, I’m not certain where most of the complaints are coming from; some others I can understand to a certain extent.
First off, more than half the passengers on this ship were from French-speaking countries, notably France and Martinique, and most of the others were European as well (German, British, and Italian). The announcements were made in several languages. As Canadians, we were definitely in the minority. I wouldn’t refer to a culture shock per say; perhaps a slight cultural adjustment. I am fluent in French so there were no problems on the linguistic side. Maybe some unilingual English speakers don't like being in the minority, which would explain some of the bad reviews?
What we had to get used to was all the passengers from the Caribbean countries who weren’t there to visit the other islands, but rather to eat lots of food and use the pool. There were a lot of kids running in the corridors that had obviously not seen elevators very often in their lives.
The staff varied. For us, our room attendant and dining room service were great. My experience as not as good when dealing with the customer service/reception crew and some others onboard the ship. The spa was nice but I got the impression those girls work very long hours and don't get out much.
But overall, I believe things went better than expected. I would say this ship is way better organized and managed than on our previous cruise last year (RC Anthem of the Seas).
Embarkation and disembarkation on Poesia were a breeze. We were given a late evening embarkation time so did not have dinner onboard; on that front I have the impression we were a bit cheated since others had been on earlier. We must have been among the last to get on that evening. I learned that there were consecutive days of people embarking and disembarking at various ports (Barbados, Guadeloupe as well). It doesn't seem like a bad idea.
Our stateroom was more than adequate and well laid out. Our room attendant Jun was efficient, friendly, and easily reachable.
Dining: Great service. Our waiter De Leon was very attentive to the needs of our toddler. Service was quick, friendly and efficient. The food was generally pretty good – excellent pasta in particular - although there were some misses there (some beef and poultry dishes were not appreciated by the in-laws). The desserts were among the best I’ve had on any cruise.
As for the buffet, it was a zoo most of the time. I believe it was due to the high number of families with younger children. I think Poesia should rethink its layout considering it was hard to move around sometimes. Pizza and fries were really good. The rest didn't particularly stand out.
We only did one shore excursion, colonial Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. My husband and I had to opt for the combined English and German one. I guess there weren't enough passengers to justify English only.Had I known the tour guide would speak more German than English, I would have gone with the French tour.
I found there were less sales pitches than on Royal Caribbean. Maybe I didn't get around that much. The photographers weren't trying to take our picture at every single meal or at each port. That was appreciated!
I will admit the ship is starting to show its age (used furniture, plates for the buffet need replacing, for instance)
However, despite Poesia's flaws, we had a good experience. I would sail with MSC again. Read Less