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We were on the Poesia's inaugural cruise (April 6th - 19th; London (Dover) to Venice. I was interested to see the member reviews here as well as the comments on this board. Most of the complaints seem to be about the food while the ship itself got generally high marks. I'm writing this primarily as a ship review, but I will briefly go through the ports (I loved them all): • London - We spend two and half days here before the cruise. It's a beautiful city with so much to see in the way of history and architecture. We particularly enjoyed the British Museum. Excellent mass transit system. • Cork/Cobh Ireland - Scenic, friendly, nothing specific I'd describe as a must-see. If I did it again, I think I'd spend more time in Cobh (where the ship docks) and less in Cork. • Lisbon - I loved it. I would definitely like to go back. Friendly and helpful people. Beautiful stone and tile work everywhere. We enjoyed the Castle and the Jeronimos Monastery. • Barcelona - Attractive city. Nice parks. You have to see the Sagrada Familia. • Rome - I wouldn't know where to start. I think the must-sees in Rome are known by all. St. Peter's Basilica was amazing. • Naples - Naples, at least in the midst of its current garbage crisis, was not pleasant. I'm sure there are things to do and see there, but our experience was limited to walking through the city to the train station where we caught the Circumvesuvius line to Pompeii (wonderful) and then on to Sorrento (gorgeous, one of my favorites). • Messina, Sicily - Our time here was also limited to walking to the train station where we caught a train to Taormina. Unfortunately we didn't have much time there and found out only too late that we had gone to the waterfront when the main town was high on the hill above. • Dubrovnik - A lovely city. The main attraction is the Old City, but the whole area is beautiful. I want to get back there someday for a longer visit. • Venice - A place everyone has to visit at least once. We stayed 2+ days there and really enjoyed it. Just roam the streets and take it all in. Piazza San Marcos is a must see. Get a Water Bus pass for the duration you're going to be in port - it's a fun and easy way to get around. Aside from the main island, I would also recommend going out to Murano (glass!) and Lido. We saw all these ports on our own. We gave up on ship-offered excursions after about our second cruise having found them to be overpriced and over-restrictive. While we made significant use of public transportation (which, compared to Seattle, is outstanding everywhere we went, with the possible exception of Dubrovnik), mostly we saw these ports on foot. I would recommend that method to anyone with the energy to do it as the best way to get a real feel for a city when you are only there for a short time. It also helps work off all of those cruise calories. Now, back to the ship ... We've been on about a dozen cruises over the last 20 years, about half on Princess and the remainder on Sitmar, HAL, RCL, and now MSC. In my opinion MSC falls at the bottom of those lines in terms of the things important to me, but I wouldn't go so far as to say I'd never sail with them again (though I felt that way at times during the cruise and heard that view from many other passengers). I thought the food was OK. There were high and low points. The pasta courses were good, the main dishes often not, etc. It was definitely NOT 5-star cuisine, but it was still good. As with the ship as a whole, I'd rate it at the bottom of the lines I've been on, but not by a lot. Some things I didn't like: • The casual dining (buffet) was not even close to 24 hours and was closed entirely at dinner. That wasn't a huge deal for us on this trip, but it would have been on if we had brought the kids. We have friends that, on cruises, eat exclusively in the casual dining when dining room attire is other than casual because their idea of a vacation is never having to dress up. • It was very difficult to get ice water (that is tap water as opposed to purchasing bottled water) in the formal restaurant or the buffet. • There was no self-service water/tea/coffee anywhere and no free service except during buffet hours. • Free room service - available and extensive on the other ships we've sailed on - was nearly absent (limited to very bare-bones breakfast). Some things I did like: • The wait staff was polite and friendly • Lunch in the dining room featured a full six-course menu (appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, entrEe, and dessert) and was often better than dinner. • The buffets were of generally good quality though the desserts were unimpressive. For the most part I did NOT like the ship itself. Issues: • Very few of the public areas (library, card room, lounges, ...) even had a view of the outside. • The decorating was sometimes nice but sometimes jarringly unpleasant. The disco, for example, was about the ugliest room I've ever seen. Obviously this is a matter of taste and only my opinion. • I'm fairly sensitive to smoke which made many of the public areas unusable for me. For example, I completely steered clear of the casino. Also, since smoking in the cabins is merely "discouraged" I think you can be certain that all cabins will have been "smoking" cabins at some point within the first several cruises. That wasn't a problem for us since the ship was brand new. • Some of the public areas that I generally use on ships were sub par. For example, the library was only open for a couple of hours, twice a day - even when at sea, was very small, and had no exterior windows. • There was not enough pool/pool deck space for a ship this size. Further, they closed the pool and hot tubs at 8:00 pm. • The workout room was small for a ship this size. • The beautiful art collections that are a feature of so many ships were mostly replaced by mirrors and flat-screen TVs (promoting the ship). Everything else ... Good • The ship was new and the condition of everything was pristine. • The service staff was friendly certainly tried to be helpful. • Embarkation and disembarkation were handled well. • The music in the central atrium, particularly the classical string trio/piano, was very pleasant. The music in the lounges was generally good as well. • They were less strict than other ships about bringing your own alcohol aboard. I was even told by other passengers that they allowed passengers to buy liquor in the duty-free shop and take it back to their cabin. • The Captain's welcome aboard and farewell cocktail parties were well done. Not so good • While it's happening on all lines (except perhaps the super-premiums), MSC has taken nickel and dimeing you to new heights. For example, there is a charge (about $24, if I remember right) for a one-time use of the sauna/steam room - I've never had to pay for that before. Personally, I'd rather pay a bit more for the cruise, up front, and have the vacation itself be more all-inclusive. • The drinks, at least for an American, were very expensive. When converted from Euros to dollars, a beer or a well drink was around $9-10. • The cabins were smaller than we've seen on other ships. In general it wasn't too bad, but the storage space for clothes was MUCH less than I've seen on other ships. We had to leave a portion of our clothes in the suitcases under the bed because they just wouldn't fit. • There was often a language barrier when trying to deal with the staff - not surprising on a ship that caters to so many different nationalities, but still an issue. It was, in fact, impossible to ask anything directly of our cabin steward. We had to make requests to the main desk. • The on-board activities were, BY FAR, the sparsest of any ship I've ever been on. That made at-sea days - often my favorite - rather dull. The activities they did have were often available for only very short hours. • No deck chairs on promenade (a favorite place of mine to sit and read). • It was necessary to check out pool towels and other items (e.g. putter and ball for the putting area) on your cruise card and then wait in line to return them. They frequently reiterated the point that you would be charged for anything not returned, that there were cameras in all the shops, etc. Conveying the unmistakable message: WE DON"T TRUST YOU. The so-so: • The shows I saw were of mixed quality. In my experience, that's always the case. We had late seating and the shows followed so we tended to skip them when we were going to be in port early the next day. The number of different languages on the ship led, I'm sure, to a different mix of performers. Comedy, for example, would be difficult if you had to deliver the punch line in 5 languages. • The cruise staff and officers were polite, but certainly not friendly. • They handled the multitude of languages well, but hearing all of the announcements in 5 languages gets tiring after a while. In summary, I'd sail with MSC again, but only if it was either a very good price and/or an itinerary I really wanted and couldn't find elsewhere. Beware of choosing them based on any relatively small price advantage, because you will probably end up spending more on the ship for the same experience.

Wonderful itinerary, so-so ship.

MSC Poesia Cruise Review by mysterybay

Trip Details
We were on the Poesia's inaugural cruise (April 6th - 19th; London (Dover) to Venice. I was interested to see the member reviews here as well as the comments on this board. Most of the complaints seem to be about the food while the ship itself got generally high marks.
I'm writing this primarily as a ship review, but I will briefly go through the ports (I loved them all): • London - We spend two and half days here before the cruise. It's a beautiful city with so much to see in the way of history and architecture. We particularly enjoyed the British Museum. Excellent mass transit system. • Cork/Cobh Ireland - Scenic, friendly, nothing specific I'd describe as a must-see. If I did it again, I think I'd spend more time in Cobh (where the ship docks) and less in Cork. • Lisbon - I loved it. I would definitely like to go back. Friendly and helpful people. Beautiful stone and tile work everywhere. We enjoyed the Castle and the Jeronimos Monastery. • Barcelona - Attractive city. Nice parks. You have to see the Sagrada Familia. • Rome - I wouldn't know where to start. I think the must-sees in Rome are known by all. St. Peter's Basilica was amazing. • Naples - Naples, at least in the midst of its current garbage crisis, was not pleasant. I'm sure there are things to do and see there, but our experience was limited to walking through the city to the train station where we caught the Circumvesuvius line to Pompeii (wonderful) and then on to Sorrento (gorgeous, one of my favorites). • Messina, Sicily - Our time here was also limited to walking to the train station where we caught a train to Taormina. Unfortunately we didn't have much time there and found out only too late that we had gone to the waterfront when the main town was high on the hill above. • Dubrovnik - A lovely city. The main attraction is the Old City, but the whole area is beautiful. I want to get back there someday for a longer visit. • Venice - A place everyone has to visit at least once. We stayed 2+ days there and really enjoyed it. Just roam the streets and take it all in. Piazza San Marcos is a must see. Get a Water Bus pass for the duration you're going to be in port - it's a fun and easy way to get around. Aside from the main island, I would also recommend going out to Murano (glass!) and Lido.
We saw all these ports on our own. We gave up on ship-offered excursions after about our second cruise having found them to be overpriced and over-restrictive. While we made significant use of public transportation (which, compared to Seattle, is outstanding everywhere we went, with the possible exception of Dubrovnik), mostly we saw these ports on foot. I would recommend that method to anyone with the energy to do it as the best way to get a real feel for a city when you are only there for a short time. It also helps work off all of those cruise calories.
Now, back to the ship ... We've been on about a dozen cruises over the last 20 years, about half on Princess and the remainder on Sitmar, HAL, RCL, and now MSC. In my opinion MSC falls at the bottom of those lines in terms of the things important to me, but I wouldn't go so far as to say I'd never sail with them again (though I felt that way at times during the cruise and heard that view from many other passengers).
I thought the food was OK. There were high and low points. The pasta courses were good, the main dishes often not, etc. It was definitely NOT 5-star cuisine, but it was still good. As with the ship as a whole, I'd rate it at the bottom of the lines I've been on, but not by a lot. Some things I didn't like:
• The casual dining (buffet) was not even close to 24 hours and was closed entirely at dinner. That wasn't a huge deal for us on this trip, but it would have been on if we had brought the kids. We have friends that, on cruises, eat exclusively in the casual dining when dining room attire is other than casual because their idea of a vacation is never having to dress up. • It was very difficult to get ice water (that is tap water as opposed to purchasing bottled water) in the formal restaurant or the buffet. • There was no self-service water/tea/coffee anywhere and no free service except during buffet hours. • Free room service - available and extensive on the other ships we've sailed on - was nearly absent (limited to very bare-bones breakfast).
Some things I did like: • The wait staff was polite and friendly • Lunch in the dining room featured a full six-course menu (appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, entrEe, and dessert) and was often better than dinner. • The buffets were of generally good quality though the desserts were unimpressive.
For the most part I did NOT like the ship itself. Issues: • Very few of the public areas (library, card room, lounges, ...) even had a view of the outside. • The decorating was sometimes nice but sometimes jarringly unpleasant. The disco, for example, was about the ugliest room I've ever seen. Obviously this is a matter of taste and only my opinion. • I'm fairly sensitive to smoke which made many of the public areas unusable for me. For example, I completely steered clear of the casino. Also, since smoking in the cabins is merely "discouraged" I think you can be certain that all cabins will have been "smoking" cabins at some point within the first several cruises. That wasn't a problem for us since the ship was brand new. • Some of the public areas that I generally use on ships were sub par. For example, the library was only open for a couple of hours, twice a day - even when at sea, was very small, and had no exterior windows. • There was not enough pool/pool deck space for a ship this size. Further, they closed the pool and hot tubs at 8:00 pm. • The workout room was small for a ship this size. • The beautiful art collections that are a feature of so many ships were mostly replaced by mirrors and flat-screen TVs (promoting the ship).
Everything else ...
Good • The ship was new and the condition of everything was pristine. • The service staff was friendly certainly tried to be helpful. • Embarkation and disembarkation were handled well. • The music in the central atrium, particularly the classical string trio/piano, was very pleasant. The music in the lounges was generally good as well. • They were less strict than other ships about bringing your own alcohol aboard. I was even told by other passengers that they allowed passengers to buy liquor in the duty-free shop and take it back to their cabin. • The Captain's welcome aboard and farewell cocktail parties were well done.
Not so good • While it's happening on all lines (except perhaps the super-premiums), MSC has taken nickel and dimeing you to new heights. For example, there is a charge (about $24, if I remember right) for a one-time use of the sauna/steam room - I've never had to pay for that before. Personally, I'd rather pay a bit more for the cruise, up front, and have the vacation itself be more all-inclusive. • The drinks, at least for an American, were very expensive. When converted from Euros to dollars, a beer or a well drink was around $9-10. • The cabins were smaller than we've seen on other ships. In general it wasn't too bad, but the storage space for clothes was MUCH less than I've seen on other ships. We had to leave a portion of our clothes in the suitcases under the bed because they just wouldn't fit. • There was often a language barrier when trying to deal with the staff - not surprising on a ship that caters to so many different nationalities, but still an issue. It was, in fact, impossible to ask anything directly of our cabin steward. We had to make requests to the main desk. • The on-board activities were, BY FAR, the sparsest of any ship I've ever been on. That made at-sea days - often my favorite - rather dull. The activities they did have were often available for only very short hours. • No deck chairs on promenade (a favorite place of mine to sit and read). • It was necessary to check out pool towels and other items (e.g. putter and ball for the putting area) on your cruise card and then wait in line to return them. They frequently reiterated the point that you would be charged for anything not returned, that there were cameras in all the shops, etc. Conveying the unmistakable message: WE DON"T TRUST YOU.
The so-so: • The shows I saw were of mixed quality. In my experience, that's always the case. We had late seating and the shows followed so we tended to skip them when we were going to be in port early the next day. The number of different languages on the ship led, I'm sure, to a different mix of performers. Comedy, for example, would be difficult if you had to deliver the punch line in 5 languages. • The cruise staff and officers were polite, but certainly not friendly. • They handled the multitude of languages well, but hearing all of the announcements in 5 languages gets tiring after a while.
In summary, I'd sail with MSC again, but only if it was either a very good price and/or an itinerary I really wanted and couldn't find elsewhere. Beware of choosing them based on any relatively small price advantage, because you will probably end up spending more on the ship for the same experience.
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Smallish but good layout. Very limited storage. Typical bathroom. Good TV with very limited (English speaking) viewing options.
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