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14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Embarkation: As this was a repositioning cruise, passengers embarked at multiple locations during the cruise: Marseille, Genoa, Valencia and possibly other ports. We embarked at Genoa and, in part due to not being a full ship ... Read More
Embarkation: As this was a repositioning cruise, passengers embarked at multiple locations during the cruise: Marseille, Genoa, Valencia and possibly other ports. We embarked at Genoa and, in part due to not being a full ship changeover, it was a quick process. Ship: MSC Poesia was a nice ship. Built in 2008, it does not have a Yacht Club section. Two main Dining Rooms and one Speciality Sushi Restaurant, along with the usual Deck 13 Buffet. Two swimming pools, two pairs of outside jacuzzis. The ship did not appear full and this seemed to be confirmed by the number of cabin upgrades people had received, us included. Cleaning took place frequently, staff seen with vacuum cleaners on their backs and brass work being cleaned. Unfortunately, this was offset by food and beverage staff not checking for glasses and plates of food left around the decks and the ship generally… Cabin: We had received a double upgrade from an Inside to a Balcony. We were pleasantly surprised to find our Balcony was pretty much midship on Deck 9. Compact balcony with two chairs and a footstool, comfortable main cabin area and usual, compact shower room. Soap dispenser by the sink, shampoo and shower gel dispenser in the shower. Cruise Card validation: One of the reasons for the speedy embarkation is that you are expected to register your credit card at an automated machine (there were a few around reception and shore excursions etc). There were instructions in each cabin about how to do this. One the first evening, we made three attempts to register our preferred credit card at one of these machines. These were all unsuccessful, without clear messages as to why. So I felt that I had to register a debit card, not my preference, as MSC operate this strange system of taking a fixed amount from a debit card and then you, the guest, having to collect any outstanding credit from them in the ship’s currency on the last day – more on this later… The debit card did register successfully and I also followed the process to say it was to be used for both cabins in our party. Lifeboat Drill: Disorganised summed this up. We collected our life jackets and attended our muster stations. We both had our cruise cards scanned by personnel at our muster station. So it was puzzling when my partner received a letter to our cabin next day, stating that he must attend another drill as he had not attended the initial mandatory drill. When he called Guest Services and pointed out that he had attended and his card had been scanned, this was accepted at face value. But if they are saying people who have taken part did not attend, how likely that they have identified passengers who did not attend? Food: I was very disappointed with the food on board. Portions were very small and the food quality very low. Steak did not make an appearance once during a 19 might voyage – except with food and beverage staff touting for guests to pay Euro 18 for a steak main course. I think there may also have been a similar offer for lobster. Generally, I mix and match between buffet and restaurant for breakfast and lunch, depending on how much time I wish to allocate to that particular meal. So, on day 2, I decided to try out the restaurant breakfast. What a strange thing that was. I went to the restaurant and asked for the menu - no menu. MSC Poesia do this hybrid thing of serving teas and coffees and fruit juice drink (not 100% juice, the cheap, watered down version laden with sugar) and then expect you, the guest, to visit the buffet area within the restaurant. I don’t regard this as a restaurant breakfast and the tables in the Fontane restaurant are set quite close together, making it a challenge to manoeuvre around other guests between your table and the buffet area. I decided not to waste my time with this version of buffet breakfast. So off to the zoo of deck 13 buffet. One of my guilty pleasures on a cruise is Bircher Muesli. MSC’s version was laughable. It appeared to consist of any cereal (but generally not muesli), with some diced fresh fruit (not the iconic grated apple) in a thin yoghurt. Such a disappointment. I tried the restaurant version of lunch, again MSC’s version was a rather strange combination. You go in to the restaurant to be seated. As MSC’s passengers are a wider mix of nationalities and languages than many other cruise lines, I politely asked to be seated with English speakers. The waiters blithely asserted that ‘all’ passengers can speak English. So not the case. Time and again tables of 8 guests sitting in stony silence, as they had no common languages between them. This is such a shame and MSC appear in total denial about this issue. One of the pleasures of a cruise is meeting new people and having enjoyable discussions about ports of call etc. This is such a missed opportunity on MSC. Yes, I appreciate it might require a little more thought in terms of seating people, but I am sure it could be done. So, having got to your table (and woe betide that you ask for a table of two to avoid that language issue – even in the first 5 minutes of service we only managed a table on our own twice in the whole cruise) I found the waiters seemed to hold back from providing menus. Why? Because once again, this was a mix and match seated restaurant buffet hybrid and it seemed that the waiters hoped you would just go and avail yourself of the buffet rather than them having to serve you. As at breakfast, the same issue of the tables in the Fontane restaurant being set quite close together, making it a challenge to manoeuvre around other guests between your table and the buffet area. Dinner was one of two sittings, 6.30pm or 9pm, at allocated tables in one of the two main dining rooms. The five people who had booked via the same Travel Agent were all seated together – this did resolve the language issue as we were all from the UK. A couple of days later a Canadian lady asked if she could join us, having first been sat with Spanish speakers, who quite forcibly told the waiter they would only accept Spanish speakers at their table. The wait staff then sat her on a table of Russian speakers, so she was very isolated. It seemed a common theme during the cruise was it being run for the ease of MSC and the staff, not for the benefit of the paying guests. MSC is the only cruise line I have travelled with, where chilled water is not provided in the seated Dining Rooms. I can only guess that this was done to maximise Bar revenue. As UK guests, we found that we had an inclusive drinks package of mineral water, American (filter) coffee and tea at Lunch and Dinner. This package stated it was for UK and Irish guests. Australians on the next table were most put out at having to pay for mineral water. I was also astounded to read claims in the Daily Programme about how MSC Cruises were the only line to have received a top environmental award. How can that be when they are massively overusing single use plastic bottles for mineral water – due to this refusal to provide chilled water for Restaurant Lunch and Dinners? Another issue there seemed to be problems with was language. Our waiter was from Spanish speaking Honduras. Whereas on most cruise ships he would only have needed to learn English, on MSC he needs a good understanding of six main languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. It soon became clear that his English was not as good as you would have hoped, with incorrect starters arriving etc. This, despite all of us guests trying to help by pointing out the specific item in the menu. To be honest, it would probably have helped to have all menu items numbered and order just like a Chinese or Indian takeaway… You remember I mentioned that all UK and Irish guests had an inclusive drinks package for American (filter) coffee and tea at Lunch and Dinner? So, we get to the end of the first Dinner and ask for American coffee. Instead, our Waiter tries to upsell us to the chargeable Cappuccino and Lattes… Why, because it turns out that there are NO facilities for coffee or tea in the Main Dining rooms on Decks 5 and 6. For him to provide the included coffee and tea the Waiter had to go to the Buffet on Deck 13 and get it, just as any guest would. How ludicrous. Unsurprisingly, the hot drinks were often lukewarm due to the journey involved. So now on to the zoo of the buffet on deck 13. It took a few days to discover that actually, this was a very large buffet. This was because often they closed the back half of the buffet and thus reduced the choice. So, we tended to go early in the opening hours when all sections were open and sit right at the very back of the ship, where the buffet area was noticeably quieter. Getting hot food was a challenge. It was displayed on the buffet in huge containers and just did not seem to keep warm for any length of time. It was very much a case of seeing that something was almost finished and watching for the fresh version to be bought out to ensure hot food. Then, whether you could find accompaniments that were also hot was somewhat of a gamble. Sometimes you could wait 10 minutes at an empty food station, to see if they had run out of that item or it was being replenished. Also, the food was not displayed in an appealing fashion. I have eaten in nicer works canteens. Guest Services / Reception: We needed to visit Guest Services on a number of occasions. Generally, we found they seemed to have been more trained in conflict resolution than customer service. Better customer service in the first place would have significantly reduced the need for conflict resolutions skills later. Having ended up registering a debit card initially (against both our cruise cards), due to problems with registering my credit card (I later concluded this may have been due to the debit card entry showing it was taken by MSC Marseille – my credit card company were instructed to expect transactions from Genoa onwards – not from Marseille which was a previous port) my partner then received a letter calling him to Reception. It seems the automated system had not registered that the debit card credit was against both cards – so this had to be adjusted manually. At the end of the cruise there was a credit and due to this one small initial debit card registration (a day later my credit card did accept), on the last evening we had to queue for one and a half hours to receive our credit back in Euros – the on board currency. During this time, we both saw a white uniformed officer come and view the lengthening queue on a number of occasions, and just go away with no obvious action being taken. Shore Excursions / Chargeable Port Shuttles: The presentations about Shore Excursions were not very informative. It was easier to just go to the Shore Excursions desk and collect the brochure with more detail. We did not do any of the Shore Excursions – they seemed lacklustre and expensive. We were quite happy to do our own exploring in port. It did seem that MSC used more commercial ports than some other lines. This meant you were sometimes some distance from where the ship docked to getting into the local town. This was an excuse to sell over-priced Port Shuttles. Malta was for the Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) bus - Euro 20.00 Palma – Euro 12.99 Valencia – Euro 12.99 Casablanca - Euro 19.99 Ilheus - Euro 10.99 Despite the assertion in the Daily Programme that some of these Shuttles would involve a 20 minute drive, we always managed to walk into town in around 30 minutes. Sometimes (Valencia), the Port provided a free Shuttle bus to the edge of the port (quite a distance in itself) – this was conveniently not advertised. Entertainment: I have already mentioned the issues caused by being having multiple language guests on board. In the theatre every evening, all announcements in six languages became very tedious. Some quizzes and both the questions and the multiple choice (usually three) answers all shown on screen in the six main languages. So why did the Cruise Director feel it necessary to delay the process by reading out questions and possible answers in full in each of the six languages… It was painful and caused events to endlessly over run. It seemed the on board performers only had two main singers and the dancers were different – it seemed more strutting and striking a pose than the sort of high quality shows I have seen on other cruise lines. Many of the production shows had the most un-flattering outfits. There were also a couple of aerialists, some acrobats and a duo of contortionists (so old fashioned). It was also the peculiar way these alternative performers were somehow shoe horned into production shows in the most inappropriate ways. I also found the music for the production shows strangely discordant. For a repositioning itinerary such as this was, with 10 sea days (five single sea days and the five days to cross the Atlantic) – I thought the entertainment low key and very basic. On other lines, I may have been running from one event to another. On this ship, thank goodness for Kindles… The Library was such a disappointment. Very small, obviously needing to cater to the different languages on board. Hardly any non-fiction books, mostly extremely well worn books that look to have been left by previous guests. I did not take a single book out of the library, most unusual for me. Spa area: We were disappointed to find that we need to pay an eye watering Euro 310 (including the 15% service charge) for the two of us to access the sauna and steam room for the whole trip. We have always found at least one no charge sauna or steam room on every previous cruise, but on Poesia they were set up and carefully guarded. For that significant cost, you had access to three inside jacuzzis with five loungers (the ‘relaxation’ area), two large steam rooms (one of which never got above 30 C so was barely warm enough to sit it) versus the other steam room which was consistently at 44 C and two small saunas. By comparison, friends have recently returned from a P & O cruise told us they paid around £100 for more facilities for both of them for a two week cruise. At least having access to this grandly titled Spa Thermal Area helped us occupy our time, especially on sea days. There was an ongoing issue with the jacuzzis and one of the steam room the whole voyage. Eventually we were compensated fairly, but it required persistence and I would have much rather all facilities were working as they should have been. Conclusion: On day two or three, there was almost a mutiny in the theatre when the staff ran a promo video about MSC’s Masterchef at Sea TEN times on a loop while we were waiting for the show to start. Then, just before the show there was a glossy MSC promotional video all about MSC’s 300 years of experience (but much of that was with freight, not cruise passengers). It showed numerous officers in their white uniforms picking up towels and putting them back on passenger’s loungers etc. This was so far from reality – we saw very few officers. In fact, all that video did was make me frustrated – MSC management are in denial if they honestly think that the contents of that video reflected the experience of the average guest on board. For me, it was all the missing things. I go on a cruise to be made to feel special. MSC did NOT make me feel special at all, on the contrary, it seemed that many things were being done for the convenience of the ship’s operations, not for the best guest experience. What was missing, some very strange things: Hardly any clocks on board – we only found two in public areas. Very basic telephones in the cabin – no means to leave a voicemail when trying to contact someone in another cabin. A much lower number of rest rooms (toilets) than I have ever found on a ship – it could take many minutes to get to one. Captain’s daily announcement – nothing for the first week, then taken up by the Cruise Director for a while, then suddenly stopped. No omelette station in the buffet. No standard coffee and tea in the Dining Rooms (despite providing it within inclusive packages for Lunch and Dinner). No list of TV channels in the cabin – when I requested one and asked also about what channels were available in English – I was told it was against procedures to provide this information to guests! Displayed navigation map did not appear until a good week into the voyage. Lack of information about points of interest – nothing about passing the Cape Verde islands during our 5 day transatlantic crossing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Booked thru Transat Holidays..big mistake. This ship was pretty much the same as any other ship..no WOW factor. Our inside cabin was quite pleasant. Locate at the front of the ship and down a small side hall, it was nice and quiet. Our ... Read More
Booked thru Transat Holidays..big mistake. This ship was pretty much the same as any other ship..no WOW factor. Our inside cabin was quite pleasant. Locate at the front of the ship and down a small side hall, it was nice and quiet. Our room steward kept it nice and tidy and even laid out our jammies when he turned down the bed. Was disappointed we didn't actually meet him/her. The food was terrible. The buffet served the same dishes as the dining room. Our dining room waiter was great, tried to accommodate as much as possible but when the food is awful he could only do so much. Can not recommend this cruise line. Have been on over 15 cruises and this way by far the worst. Good points, embarkation and disembarking were very good. Not mass confusion and easily handled. We took a couple of excursions, which were quite good. Read Less
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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this particular cruise because of the ports of call, and no ‘at sea’ days. Booked well over a year in advance, I started reading reviews on many different sites and was becoming a little concerned but thankfully fretted over ... Read More
I chose this particular cruise because of the ports of call, and no ‘at sea’ days. Booked well over a year in advance, I started reading reviews on many different sites and was becoming a little concerned but thankfully fretted over nothing (surely couldn’t have been worse than my P&’n’O experience earlier this year. Onboard announcements were in a number of languages, English being first, and all were clear and informative. There were many Italians, French, Spanish, German, American, Australian and few British passengers onboard, I actually liked having a great mix of cultures. The ship was well laid out, from the sun terraces to the lounges. Very easy to navigate. There was always something going on in each of the venues therefore no overcrowding, always able to find a seat. The same with the sun decks, never an issue finding a lounger, and, as it suits my requirements, out of the way with nobody stuck like glue next to me. If I was to have one gripe it would be that I did book this a year in advance and requested late sitting for dinning and a table for 2, but was given early dining with a table for 10!!! I personally do not like seating for dinner with strangers (personal preference. Therefore, I ate in the buffet restaurant each night, and can say that the food in the evenings and throughout the day was plentiful and really tasty. I’m not really one for the theatrical shows so can’t comment, but I did go to a number of the venues onboard and the performers in each were a bit ‘iffy’ hence my grading for entertainment. But I was quite happy sitting at the bar in the piano lounge, or up on deck at the pool bar. I did one excursion in Dubrovnik, Game of Thrones Tour, and found it extremely informative, not only with regards to the show, but included a lot of history about the city itself. I found the staff on the ship really friendly and helpful, the bar staff were impressive (I do like it when they remember my drink and save me asking for it Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our fifth cruise, but our first with MSC. It was also our first cruise to the Mediterranean. Our time on the MSC Poesia (sailing out of Venice, Italy) was a different experience than we've had with U.S. based cruises. Much of ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, but our first with MSC. It was also our first cruise to the Mediterranean. Our time on the MSC Poesia (sailing out of Venice, Italy) was a different experience than we've had with U.S. based cruises. Much of the difference was due to this ship having six official languages. Most activities and entertainment were limited to those that required little verbal interaction between guests. This ship had a much smaller selection of on-board events and activities than we've seen with other cruise lines. The primary daily activities were dance lessons and karaoke. There were no scheduled special-interest gatherings that are common on other lines (friends of Bill W., LGBT). The signs on board promote this as an Eco-ship, but in reality this seems to be greenwashing. Guests are instructed to put towels in the sink if they need to be washed, but all towels were replaced daily regardless. Service was adequate and generally unobtrusive. We never had to ask for something extra to be done. We booked this cruise specifically for the itinerary, so we were pleased with all of the ports we visited. The shore excursions sold through MSC were a mixed bag. These are the excursions we purchased and our experiences: Splendors and Flavors of Old Bari The description of this tour was very misleading. It says “you'll board a very comfortable little train to explore the city in all its glory”. In reality, only a few minutes were spent on the tram. The bulk of the 3 hours was a 1.7 mile walking tour of the old town. The “tasting of delicious local products accompanied by a glass of wine” consisted of a few thumbnail-sized pieces of crackers/breads and a single sip of wine from a small disposable cup. The street full of pasta-makers was interesting, as were the historic buildings and basilica. Take bottled water or have a few euros in your pocket. The few small shops don't take cards or dollars. Olympia and Museum A 30-minute bus ride delivers you to this 2.4 mile walking tour of the Olympia ruins. This is a scenic and photogenic guided tour, but it would be nice to have more time for personal exploration and to read the informational signage around the site. The museum contains most of the statuary found around the Olympic village. Mykonos Island Tour This tour is overpriced at $61. It was a bus ride with only 3 stops. The first stop was at a panoramic overlook, which was fine for taking some nice photos, but nothing else to see or do. The second stop, at a small beach, was a complete waste of time. It was just a small strip of sand along the water, and the views were nothing out of the ordinary. The final stop was at a monastery and church followed by a small Greek meal with a sample of ouzo at a restaurant next door. This stop was the only one with any real value. It was a ½ mile walk from the pier to the bus at the beginning of the tour, and the same distance back at the end. It would be helpful if the excursion description included this information so people aren't expecting to ride during the entire tour. Albanian Riviera And Its Villages This 6-hour tour is a pleasant scenic drive through the Albanian countryside and along the coast. There is a short stop at the natural spring and waterfall at Borsh. Food and drink are available at the local shops. The next stop is at Porto Palermo Castle. It has an interesting history and spectacular views. To get to the castle is a ¾ mile round-trip walk over rugged stones and loose gravel, up and down the hill. The final stop at Himare was simply an opportunity to buy a meal at a local restaurant. There are a few small shops to browse, but not much else to do here. Dubrovnik Go up to the top deck early in the morning for spectacular views of the ship entering the port and making a near 180° turn just before the scenic bridge. At this port, there's really no need to do a guided excursion, unless you want to travel beyond the old town. MSC offers a shuttle to the old town (2.5 miles away) for a small fee. It's easy to walk the town on your own and see all the major sights within a couple of hours. Plan to walk about 1 ½ to 2 miles exploring the streets and walls. There is a large concentration of majestic, old cathedrals here. The financial investment in these churches could feed the entire city for years! The narrow side streets have many small shops selling everything from unique Croatian handicrafts to Chinese tchotchkes. Most only take the local currency and you will see many signs reading “no euros”. There are ATMs on nearly every corner, making it easy to withdraw a little pocket money for the day. Dining Dining was the most chaotic on this ship that we have ever experienced. We usually prefer the buffet so we can eat whenever and whatever we want, but here it was more of an ordeal. The layout of the buffet causes excessive jostling of plates and people. Instead of one long line that everyone progresses through, there are little themed islands (salads, fruits, pasta, grill, deserts). This would probably still work, but the walking area surrounding the food is very narrow. There is not room for foot traffic in both directions AND a row of people darting in and out collecting food on their plates. The Kids Corner is a walled-off section of the buffet that further impedes the flow. It is supposed to allow entry to only children from 3 to 11 years of age, but if people see something there they like, of course they step over the wall and help themselves. This area should be eliminated or at least take down the wall. Once you are seated, you will be harassed by staff trying to sell you the beverage package. On the first day we had six people try to sell us the drink package during one meal. Keeping an empty beer bottle on the table seems to keep them at bay since they apparently believe you already have the package. By the second day they switch to selling the specialty dining options. By the third day it was Sangria on a cart. At breakfast, they push fresh-squeezed orange juice for a fee. There was always a nice assortment of flavorful food in the buffet. Often there were different items on each side of the cafeteria, so you need to walk around the entire dining area to see all the selections. The menu changes daily, so there is always something new to try. The food itself was good, but it was seldom hot. Usually it was just warm to the touch. Even trays that just came out of the kitchen had this problem, so it seems they hold the trays in the back at room temperature until ready to be brought out to the serving line. Entertainment The nightly entertainment in the theater mostly consisted of dance and music routines. It was pleasant, but of average quality. The segments that featured contortionists, jugglers and gymnasts were better than the main show. Likewise, the pre-show comedic diversions were usually more enjoyable than the ensemble acts. The set designs, costumes and special effects were excellent. Disembarkation We typically do the self-assist at the end of the cruise, where we carry off our own luggage whenever we are ready. We had an early flight to catch so we were counting on doing this to save some time getting to the airport. On this ship that wasn't allowed. All luggage was gathered up by the crew during the night, and piled at the terminal where we picked it up after getting off. Fortunately, it was fairly organized and didn't delay us for too long. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary offered on this cruise, but feel the ship itself has room for improvement. If your main focus is the ports of call, you will likely enjoy this cruise. If you are cruising to be entertained and pampered, you would probably do better to book on another ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose MSC as it tends to be cheaper than other cruise lines. We have used another 2 company's previously and MSC were on a par with them. The food was excellent and staff friendly and helpful. Would defiantly recommend. We went on ... Read More
We chose MSC as it tends to be cheaper than other cruise lines. We have used another 2 company's previously and MSC were on a par with them. The food was excellent and staff friendly and helpful. Would defiantly recommend. We went on a couple of excursions organised by the ship which were excellent and good value for money. The bars and restaurants were all beautifully decorated. This ship was amazing. We had two gala nights which were amazing and one white night equally as good. The pool area was well maintained and the bar staff were very quick to clear tables. Our waiter in the restaurant was fantastic and couldn't do enough for us. I must say their drinks package was also good value for money. The cabins had plenty of storage space and suitcases can be stored under the bed. All in all a very enjoyable and relaxing experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I'm pleased that we didn't read some of the previous reviews because we may not have booked this and then we would have missed out on an amazing time. The ship was brilliant - we were on the all-inclusive drinks package (part ... Read More
I'm pleased that we didn't read some of the previous reviews because we may not have booked this and then we would have missed out on an amazing time. The ship was brilliant - we were on the all-inclusive drinks package (part of the deal we picked up via a newspaper) and this entitled us to a very wide range of unlimited drinks , including cocktails and most spirits/liquers. Also a wide range of ice-creams. The buffet was open 20 hours a day for anyone concerned about portion sizes in the restaurant (we thought that they were fine and the quality was very good). We used the buffet for breakfast every morning and found the choice (and the view from the window) excellent. The staff through the cruise were all very friendly (and the 10 euro a person a day grat charge covers all tips - cabin, waiters etc - there is no need to tip again) All the trips and travelling went smoothly from the flights from Gatwick to Venice, to an amazing two night stay at Hotel Gabreili where we paid to upgrade our room to a lagoon view - well worth it (especially to see Poesia sail past our window!). We loved seeing Bari on our own - an easy 20-minute walk into the town and then a leisurely wander around - a lovely gentle first day. Olympia we took the tour to the site (just wished we'd agreed with the tour guide a time to meet her back at the site entrance and then we could have gone round at our own pace and not had to hear the commentary in English and French) The trip to Magna Grecia was fun (wine and olive tasting, a Greek plate and dancing Mykonos saw us on another guided tour - this time of the island, and then we were pleased to have some time in Mykonos town at the end. Athens was a 'cheat' - we have family living there so had our own personal tour guides. Albania - we took the coach trip headied 'Albanian Riviera' - mistake! If you have motion sickness this trip may not be for you! We hadn't realised that it involved long spells of driving through mountain roads (very twisty and turny) but the trip and stops were interesting. Dubrovnik on a Friday was very busy but we enjoyed time on our own getting a reasonably priced taxi there and back. And finally back to Venice for a few hours before our flight- we didn't realise that we could leave our bags at the boat, which would have been helpful, and instead took them to a luggage office Piazzale Roma and then got a taxi back to the airport.(worked fine but would probably have been easier to leave them at the ship) Would definitely go with MSC again (although we sometimes found it hard to get answers from them before we travelled) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked our first cruise with MSC (a party of 4) in August as we were drawn to the fact that there were no sea days and most of the ports looked appealing and were places we wanted to visit However I can honestly say I don’t think ... Read More
We booked our first cruise with MSC (a party of 4) in August as we were drawn to the fact that there were no sea days and most of the ports looked appealing and were places we wanted to visit However I can honestly say I don’t think we’ll be rushing back to book again anytime soon! First for the good bits:- Price - the price is very competitive when you look at other cruise companies. Ship – the ship, MSC Poesia, was beautiful, very well maintained and spotlessly clean. Our balcony cabin on Deck 9 was clean, tidy and well equipped. The housekeeping team looking after us were excellent, clean towels every day, whether we asked for them or not, and the cabin itself was perfectly adequate for our needs. The ship has many lovely bars (most of which we didn’t really visit) and & beautiful Theatre. The drinks package – we opted for the all inclusive alcoholic drinks package and this was in all fairness excellent – there was a huge range of soft drinks, teas, coffees, wines, beers and most spirits and liquors and of course cocktails. The only thing that let it down was the very limited choice of wine available with this package (although it did include processo). The ports – the ports with the exception of Albania were all lovely. We did book one of the excursions in Mykonos and found this to be a very enjoyable and well organised experience. It is worth saying that the excursions are very well priced in comparison with some of the other cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, but we could have saved a significant amount by booking this ourselves and utilising local transport and services. Embarking – We arrived in Venice late morning and found getting on the ship to be a very easy experience. We had a transfer from Marco Polo Airport and were at the ship, via organised transfer, in about 20 minutes. Here there was no queuing and we were on the ship and being offered a welcome drink in no time at all. The staff – the staff throughout the cruise were mostly very friendly – the bar staff in the bar on deck 5 were especially delightful, engaging and very friendly Now for the bad bits:- The food – OMG I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many green beans in all my life – they seemed to be served with just about everything. The food in the upstairs self service buffet restaurant was in my opinion better than the food in the restaurant, however most of the food was over salted, bland, overcooked, forgettable and at times very strange – think musky octopus or black broiled blackened salmon!. The portions were very small and on a number of occasions we had to ask for bigger portions or two starters!. It got so bad that after the first few days we did not eat in the main restaurant. The food in the self service restaurant was slightly better, although nothing to shout about and the food in this area didn’t seem to change from one day to the next so by the end of the week I never wanted to see another pizza (or green bean!) ever again!. There was however a salad bar and a fresh fruit bar (although the fruit was the same served all week). Breakfast was a much better experience and we enjoyed in the restaurant a freshly cooked omelette every day which was lovely. Disembarking was a slightly different issue! – we had a de-brief a day or so before which was very well organised and informative so that we would know the procedure for disembarkation. However on the day itself it was organised chaos!, not helped by the fact that all of the announcements were in many languages and seemed to take some time, there were no staff members present in the bar allocated to us for our disembarking and there was then a mad rush when everyone seemed to be trying to get off the ship all at once!. Finally one point of concern is that we did complain whilst on board about the quality of the food in the main restaurant and completed the form required for the post cruise email survey, which amazingly to date we are yet to receive. They must only email guests who have no issues!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I was quite concerned after reading several bad reviews that were very negative about the MSC Poesia. After returning from a cruise on the MSC Poesia in September 2018, I can honestly say that the bad reviews are not all accurate in my ... Read More
I was quite concerned after reading several bad reviews that were very negative about the MSC Poesia. After returning from a cruise on the MSC Poesia in September 2018, I can honestly say that the bad reviews are not all accurate in my view. Allthough there are some things that may bother you if you choose a cabin in the wrong area of the ship, like next to lifts or above the engine room, you cannot criticise the entire cruise just because of that, as your experience is reflected by the location of the cabin you chose. We were right at the back of the ship and found it fine apart from a vibration that you could feel when the ship was moving. You get used to it quite quickly. If youre prone to sea sickness, I can add that the weather has to be terrible before you will actual feel bad. We experienced wind of almost 50 km/h and we had people in our group that were prone to sea sickness, and no-one got sick..I found that the centre of the ship is slightly more stable than the front or rear so if you are worried about this, choose a cabing in the middle somewhere. I think the poor reviews are probably from people that are used to constant 5 star treatment, and wanting to have staff treat them like Royalty. If thats what you want, you will probably not be happy with this cruise, even though we thought the service was very good. The cruise was well priced, the ship was spotless and the service was good. We found that we did not enjoy the formal evening dining and we preferred the cafeteria, which we frequented all the time as there was such a good selection. This was not that the food was terrible, but because we preferred dishing up for ourselves, and to eat what we felt like. We took an all inclusive beverage package which worked you well as the pricing on board is expensive. There were several complaints that the staff did not speak English, which we found not to be true. I don't whink we encountered one staff member that could not converse in basic English. In short, I could probably complain about one or two things, but they are just that..One or two small things that we did not allow to affect our experience on the rest of the cruise. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and will be doing one with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
After reading bad reviews I was hesitant to take this cruise but my mother and I had a great time without any issues with the ship, staff or excursions. We chose this cruise because of all the ports and it was a good time for us. My mom ... Read More
After reading bad reviews I was hesitant to take this cruise but my mother and I had a great time without any issues with the ship, staff or excursions. We chose this cruise because of all the ports and it was a good time for us. My mom and I booked our cruise without any problems and we had the drinks package as well as a few excursions making a nice mix. Embarkation went well it was actually pretty easy. After getting to the terminal we left our luggage and sat for about an hour in the terminal, went through security and were let onto the ship in a pretty quick process. We were on board at 1230 but couldn't get into our room until after 2pm. The ship did however offer a buffet lunch which had a large variety of foods that were very good and plentiful. Our room was big enough and we kept our lugging in the closet area out of the way. The drawers were little but large enough we did not have to live out of the suitcase. The ship itself is dated and does not have a huge atrium or reception area but it is very clean and easy to navigate. The pool area was large enough and I could always find a lounge chair. The formal dining was very good, the portions are small but most European meals are on the small side. We didn't watch the shows preferring to stay on the balcony and watch the world sail by us at a leisurely pace. The service was very accommodating especially our steward Bruno he was very thoughtful bringing us ice twice a day without fail. The service from all staff was with a smile The bar staff were busy but got to all customers in a timely manner and were always professional. The gym was good and had enough equipment but I wish the staff would have kept people to the 20 minute maximum on the machines some people would hog the treadmills/ellipticals by resetting their times so it looked like they weren't on that long. The ports in Italy, Greece, Albania and Croatia were very good. I would have liked more time in Croatia but we had a good time on our own touring the old city. Albania was a big disappointment to a lot of people but I loved how proud the people were of what little they had. The country is up and coming and I'm glad I supported their tourism effort. The highlight was seeing dogs round up and walk goats down the national road amongst the cars. The Blue Eye Springs is not what most people would call a big attraction but for Albania it's huge, the spring itself is small with a rushing river leading to and from and that's about it. They do have a restaurant which we sat at almost the entire time, after you see the spring there isn't much else to do at all. The excursion on Mykonos to the beach is just that the beach is all there is with no bars (open early at least), shopping or way to get out of the heat. My mom suffered for this I love the beach and heat so I had no problem, please be aware of the heat. The beach is crystal clear but pebbly not sandy, bring water shoes. We spent a little time in the town of Mykonos after the beach and that was nice. We also took the shore excursion to Venice after the cruise and it was hot, when you're meeting the water taxi you have to stand in the sun, again uncomfortable for my mother not a problem for me. Our only issue was actually with the other cruisers. Some were very rude, let their children run all over the ship without supervision and acted like the food would run out if they didn't take all they could at one time. I saw one person berate a bar server because she tripped over a toy his son had left on the floor. He berated her for almost breaking the toy, really! All in all it was a great cruise and we would do it again any day. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked this over a year before sailing. MSC would not let us bolt on a couple of days in Venice and the return flight home was too early to have an excursion, so sadly we did not get chance to go into Venice, although you did get to see ... Read More
We booked this over a year before sailing. MSC would not let us bolt on a couple of days in Venice and the return flight home was too early to have an excursion, so sadly we did not get chance to go into Venice, although you did get to see the edge of it on the sail away. I also had to chase the flight details and paperwork information a couple of weeks before departure as I had not received anything. And, I could not check-in online as the flights had been booked as a block booking, but luckily we did manage to sit together on the flight, unlike some others. The embankment was long winded but no problems. You are greeted with a drink and staff trying to sell you extras. We at this point upgrades our drinks all inclusive package so we were less limited and could use the mini bar in our room. Or cabin was very well presented, very compact, but luckily we had a balcony. The decor was very nice, and the bed very comfortable. We chose 2 sitting (the my-time dining was booked up when we booked the cruise) the time was 9.30, if I had known it was so late I would have booked the 8pm seating Time. So as the waiter service was so very slow, the portions are small, and we were usually got our mains by around 10.30. The waiters seemed very thin on the ground so even getting a drink took ages. Because of all this we went to the buffet restaurants some evenings as we didn’t want to eat that late. There are drinks waiters I the buffet restaurants, but it was very hard to get their attention, so was easier to get your own drinks up at the bar. All this took the edge off the cruise experience for us as we love dressing for dinner and chatting with our table companions at the end of each day. The food is lovely throughout the ship. Did not try room service so cannot comment. The evening entertainment...... one show was more than enough for us, it reminded us of a school panto, very amateur and a bit laughable at times. And Some others did agree! The daily activities...... for us, there was nothing of interest at all, again disappointing for us, as we do like to participate, and as dancing or taisting wine etc, seemed to be all on offer, we did get a bit bored at times. And I did not know of any entertainment team so cannot comment on them is there was. The bar staff, once you got their attention, were generally very polite. Luckily we found A very welcoming team of bar staff at The Mojito bar on Deck 13. The coffee selection is lovely. There is no English speaking channels on the TV, only euro news. All other languages are catered for though. And EVERY announcement in person or over the tannoy is repeated in FIVE languages..... this was very tedious. The Tender was badly organised and Long winded. There is a written booklet of brief information on the excursions. And nothing was mentioned about Dubrovnik NOT taking Euros in most of the shops and restaurants... that proved very anoying when we wanted to get a gift and a drink. We did not travel with children. The shops...... watches, bags and jewellery, whisky......that’s about it! A Very poor and expensive selection, and confusingly all situated around 2 decks. There are loads of bar areas which made the ship layout very confusing, even after a week we were still having to work out how to get to the areas we wanted. We spent more time walking through the main restaurant than we did sitting in it, to get to the main area of the sip. The disembarkment at the end was very slow, but luckily for us, we found out from talking to another passenger, that our flight home was at 12.55 instead of 3.55 which is what our info said! Good jod I didn’t book that quick gondola trip! All in all we had a relaxing chilled break with lovely food and drinks, we met some lovely people, and we got to see Dubrovnik, which we will return to at some point. This is my 2nd cruise with MSC (the first was just over 20 years ago) and I will not be choosing them again. I would not recommend it for the English as it is more geared up for the europeans.... Read Less
MSC Poesia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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