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We were disappointed by this cruise, and would never choose MSC again. Overall I would say that it was a bit like being locked inside a cross between a shopping mall (lots of marbled interiors), a holiday camp (lots of jolly announcements) and a creche (lots of young children noisily having fun - everywhere, and at every hour) for a week. Our first experience of eating was in the cafeteria which was like your worst nightmare of a school dining hall. Very crowded, people pushing to get a plate, you needed sharp elbows to get at the food, and then we wandered up and down in despair trying to find a table to sit at. We kept having similar experiences for the whole week. (We weren't the only ones who felt like this, we spoke to numerous other couples who found it traumatic). For the dinner sitting, my partner and I were sat on a table for eight. We met a few nice couples, although it was slightly awkward, as they kept changing as people got on and off the boat on different days. By the last night, we had got to know a nice family and were looking forward to spending our last night on the ship eating with them. After sitting down, having our wine and some bread, the manager came up and told us to move, there had been a mistake with the table number (although it was printed on our card). Despite our protests, we had to say goodbye quickly to the nice family who were as distressed as we were. When I complained to the manager about this (I did so twice, I was absolutely furious), he just walked away from me muttering under his breath. The most infuriating thing was that the restaurant was half full, it was unnecessary to move us at all. Complaints later to the customer service manager gained us the offer of a free drink (not needed - we already had the drinks package) or a free MSC branded tote bag. Judge for yourself if this is sufficient recompense for wrecking our last night dinner. This is the quality of the customer service on board MSC. The food itself is of an acceptable standard. I wish I could rave about it, but for example, the fish I had was overcooked and dry, salads are watery, risottos are bland (main flavouring ingredient = salt), many of the desserts are not made with real cream / butter but some cheaper alternatives, the croissants at breakfast are not freshly baked but taste of the packet (Lidl?), the fresh orange juice is from concentrate (and very strong), the coffee tastes bitter, the pizza in the cafeteria has the absolute minimum of toppings - barely more than the thinnest tomato paste. We paid for a week of this food! On the plus side, the cabins are scupulously clean and comfortable (excellent beds, and quiet air conditioning), the cocktails are good, and I have to commend the excellent waiting staff and cabin staff who worked without stop, and were unfailingly friendly and cheerful - they were an absolute delight and made us very welcome. My argument is with the management higher up, almost all of whom are Italian, and I would be interested to know how many really had to interview for those jobs, and how many of them are competent to do them. When we had problems, it was due to management incompetence, not the staff on the ground. Entertainment: The shows in the theatre are very short (about 30 minutes), and designed for very young children - mostly involving people doing silly dances in costumes and a bit of low level acrobatics of the jumping on the shoulders kind. If you have ever been to the theatre before, you will not find them interesting. Plus you will have to sit through about 20 minutes of appallingly smug self-congratulatory introduction from the MSC head of entertainment (or some such) which is done in 5 languages one after the other. Other elements which did not please us: The constant attempts to sell us stuff, despite our paying more than enough for the cruise already (e.g. photos of your cruise, drinks packages, souvenir limoncello glasses etc.) The over-priced excursions (we always found cheaper alternatives through internet research - e.g. instead of paying 18 Euros for an MSC return shuttle bus at Marseille, we paid 2 Euros each way for a local bus to the centre - and walked the rest). Plus bear in mind that MSC doesn't take responsibility for those excursions (e.g. if you miss the boat), although I'm sure they take a cut of the profits. Having to pay extra for internet access - in this day and age, please! No escape from the children. Even at 1am we couldn't get away from children running around. How about an adult only bar? The only peace was in our cabin (when the neighbours weren't being noisy). Number of people. The ship was so full that it couldn't really cope with the number of people aboard. We walked around the pool deck for half an hour one morning trying to find a sun bed, but they were all taken by other people's towels. I never managed to get into the pool or one of the jaccuzzi's they were always packed. In fact, everywhere was packed almost all the time. We would have had more luck sleeping through the day, and sunbathing at night. I'm afraid my overall perception of MSC is that they are a greedy company, run too much for the bottom line, they spend the minimum they think they can get away with, take on more passengers than they can cope with, and have too little concern for their customers' experience on board.

Disappointing

MSC Poesia Cruise Review by LondonerSE6

27 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We were disappointed by this cruise, and would never choose MSC again. Overall I would say that it was a bit like being locked inside a cross between a shopping mall (lots of marbled interiors), a holiday camp (lots of jolly announcements) and a creche (lots of young children noisily having fun - everywhere, and at every hour) for a week.

Our first experience of eating was in the cafeteria which was like your worst nightmare of a school dining hall. Very crowded, people pushing to get a plate, you needed sharp elbows to get at the food, and then we wandered up and down in despair trying to find a table to sit at. We kept having similar experiences for the whole week. (We weren't the only ones who felt like this, we spoke to numerous other couples who found it traumatic).

For the dinner sitting, my partner and I were sat on a table for eight. We met a few nice couples, although it was slightly awkward, as they kept changing as people got on and off the boat on different days. By the last night, we had got to know a nice family and were looking forward to spending our last night on the ship eating with them. After sitting down, having our wine and some bread, the manager came up and told us to move, there had been a mistake with the table number (although it was printed on our card). Despite our protests, we had to say goodbye quickly to the nice family who were as distressed as we were. When I complained to the manager about this (I did so twice, I was absolutely furious), he just walked away from me muttering under his breath. The most infuriating thing was that the restaurant was half full, it was unnecessary to move us at all. Complaints later to the customer service manager gained us the offer of a free drink (not needed - we already had the drinks package) or a free MSC branded tote bag. Judge for yourself if this is sufficient recompense for wrecking our last night dinner. This is the quality of the customer service on board MSC.

The food itself is of an acceptable standard. I wish I could rave about it, but for example, the fish I had was overcooked and dry, salads are watery, risottos are bland (main flavouring ingredient = salt), many of the desserts are not made with real cream / butter but some cheaper alternatives, the croissants at breakfast are not freshly baked but taste of the packet (Lidl?), the fresh orange juice is from concentrate (and very strong), the coffee tastes bitter, the pizza in the cafeteria has the absolute minimum of toppings - barely more than the thinnest tomato paste. We paid for a week of this food!

On the plus side, the cabins are scupulously clean and comfortable (excellent beds, and quiet air conditioning), the cocktails are good, and I have to commend the excellent waiting staff and cabin staff who worked without stop, and were unfailingly friendly and cheerful - they were an absolute delight and made us very welcome. My argument is with the management higher up, almost all of whom are Italian, and I would be interested to know how many really had to interview for those jobs, and how many of them are competent to do them. When we had problems, it was due to management incompetence, not the staff on the ground.

Entertainment: The shows in the theatre are very short (about 30 minutes), and designed for very young children - mostly involving people doing silly dances in costumes and a bit of low level acrobatics of the jumping on the shoulders kind. If you have ever been to the theatre before, you will not find them interesting. Plus you will have to sit through about 20 minutes of appallingly smug self-congratulatory introduction from the MSC head of entertainment (or some such) which is done in 5 languages one after the other.

Other elements which did not please us:

The constant attempts to sell us stuff, despite our paying more than enough for the cruise already (e.g. photos of your cruise, drinks packages, souvenir limoncello glasses etc.)

The over-priced excursions (we always found cheaper alternatives through internet research - e.g. instead of paying 18 Euros for an MSC return shuttle bus at Marseille, we paid 2 Euros each way for a local bus to the centre - and walked the rest). Plus bear in mind that MSC doesn't take responsibility for those excursions (e.g. if you miss the boat), although I'm sure they take a cut of the profits.

Having to pay extra for internet access - in this day and age, please!

No escape from the children. Even at 1am we couldn't get away from children running around. How about an adult only bar? The only peace was in our cabin (when the neighbours weren't being noisy).

Number of people. The ship was so full that it couldn't really cope with the number of people aboard. We walked around the pool deck for half an hour one morning trying to find a sun bed, but they were all taken by other people's towels. I never managed to get into the pool or one of the jaccuzzi's they were always packed. In fact, everywhere was packed almost all the time. We would have had more luck sleeping through the day, and sunbathing at night.

I'm afraid my overall perception of MSC is that they are a greedy company, run too much for the bottom line, they spend the minimum they think they can get away with, take on more passengers than they can cope with, and have too little concern for their customers' experience on board.
LondonerSE6’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom – Fantastica
Cabin B2
Cabins are small but comfortable. You will find some water left for you on arrival. Don't drink it or you'll be charged an extra fee! Don't remove it, or it will be replaced the next day to tempt you again. Same for the minibar.

Beds were comfortable, air conditioning was really good - quiet and did not drip - bathroom was good, balcony fine for two.
Pascoli Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews