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I’ve never added anything to the forum so though it was time to pay back for all of the great info. I have found during my research for a recent cruise. It really is a great place to find out what to expect, but it’s like most sites that allow people to give opinions. If you look at trip advisor etc. every hotel or cruise boat would appear to be a nightmare, but I guess it’s because people tend to focus on the negatives. Reviews of MSC and Poesia don’t appear to be overly positive! A bit of background. I’m basically a 1st time cruiser, so I don’t have anything to compare against. MSC might be the best or worst in the business but I can only give my opinion of what we experienced. I decided on a cruise for myself and the wife having never been on a full cruise before. We did do the 3 day Cruise & Maritime winter markets trip a few years ago to Amsterdam & Antwerp on the Marco Polo which was great, so though we would try a full length cruise. The main reason for choosing MSC was the ports visited and we wanted a cruise the week after our wedding. We like to visit the towns/cities and see the local sites, and as the wife has Maltese and Italian parentage we picked this 8 day MSC Poesia cruise. The ship called at Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina, Valetta, and Palma and back to Barcelona. I booked in February with Iglu (who were excellent throughout) as MSC were offering the Allegrissimo drinks package free during February. The package also included a 2 night stay at the Silken Diagonal in Barcelona plus flights and transfers. I booked the Fantastica package and Iglu gave me a deck 11 D’Annunzio B2 balcony cabin no. 11105. This was a better cabin than was available direct from the MSC website, so I was happy with that. I also paid extra for some better flight times (via EasyJet) and the whole package came to about £2600 each for a cruise starting 26th August. Day 1 – Overnight stay @ Best Western Skylane Hotel (£84) – Used this because of the included free car parking option. Decent but basic hotel. Poor restaurant attached and lift broken. Decent clean room and reliable transfer to Gatwick available for £5 each (return). Would use again for parking alone. Day 2 – Flight to Barcelona for Gatwick. Delayed again with EasyJet flight (9.10 scheduled departure). Pilot put his foot down so arrived at Barcelona about 1.5 hours late to be met by From2 driver who took us to the Silken Diagonal. Very good service. Silken Diagonal was very, very nice. Large, clean, modern room. Rooftop pool and 5 mins walk from Glories underground station and tram stop. Bought a T10 ticket which is great value. Allows 10 journeys of 75 minutes duration including tram, bus or underground for 10 Euro and ticket can be shared between you. Visited Las Ramblas in the evening and found a great vegetarian restaurant - http://www.teresacarles.com/ Day 3 – Visited Sagrada Familia and the Gothic Cathedral and did some shopping. Back to Teresa Carles in the evening. Great day! Booked tickets for Sagrada Familia online beforehand and had tower visit and audio guide. About 50€ all in but worth it. 20-30 minute walk from Silken Diagonal. Day 4 - Checked out of Silken Diagonal (12 noon checkout is useful). Only a small local city tax to pay (5€ ish). Also Large shopping centre opposite including Carrefour so you can get everything you might need for your cruise (sun creams etc.). The transfer to Barcelona cruise terminal was again using From2 driver (organised by Iglu). Scheduled for 12noon and arrived at 12:10. Very efficient. Check in for cruise was 3-4 pm so in hindsight I would leave luggage at the hotel (I did see lots of people doing this) and reschedule the transfer for about 3pm if you wanted some more sightseeing time. We arrived at the cruise terminal and approx. 12.30 which is way too early. We checked in the luggage and got a taxi (10€) to the bottom of Las Ramblas as we had 3 hours to spare. This turned out to be a bonus as we had a nice few hours more in what is a beautiful city. You can get the cruise bus for about 4€ return which we did on our return. I heard lots of pickpocket scare stories about Barcelona, Las Ramblas etc. but I didn’t feel any more at risk than if walking around London. We did take all of the usual precautions though as you would anywhere you go. Very comfortable to walk around the sights with just the normal street hawkers selling their generic junk. Barcelona was a real treat and a must visit city. Sit on the right of the plane when flying in a get a great view of the city. Returned to cruise terminal at about 3.30pm and had a very simple embarkation. Hand luggage had lots of drink in it but no issues boarding. The ship picks up and drops off every day so there wasn’t a huge mass of passengers waiting to board. A few MSC sales stalls (drinks packages, sushi restaurant etc. and the obligatory embarkation photo in front of a ships wheel. Not what you want after a hot day in Barcelona, but not overly intrusive. Simple walk to boat, photo then escorted to lifts to deck 13 cafeteria. We had something to eat and drink and after ½ hour made our way to the cabin where the cruise cards were waiting. Drinks were free as we just had to show cruise documentation as we didn’t have cruise cards yet. Room was very clean, king size bed, and as others have commented on, the boat was spotless for the whole trip. There were always people cleaning. Only exception was the cafeteria at busy times, but this is more a people issues than an MSC issue. New towels every day, FREE shower gel and shampoo (I only emphasize this as one criticism of the Poesia was that someone had to use more shower gel than normal to get a lather! Solution - use more it's free!!), free safe and TV with 2x English language new channels. TV also had cruise and account info. so very easy to track daily spend. All in all, the cabin was great and was in a great position. Very pleased. Some people were smoking on balconies, but I guess this happens on every cruise? Safety briefing shambolic. Quick walk to the assembly point after a demo/film in the theatre. Most people seemed to treat it as joke and announcer kept having to ask people to shut up. Cruise and Maritime’s briefing was much, much better. 2nd sitting for dinner was ideal but if you don’t like eating late then best change. Dinner started about 9.30 and finished about 11.15. Decent selection for 2 vegetarians and you could pick as many courses as you want. Basics always available – penne with sauce, vegetables etc. I don’t know how this compares to other lines, but it was similar to the food we had on Cruise and Maritime. Service was excellent. Water and drinks always available (everybody on our table of 6 was on Allegrissimo package so I guess the water would be at cost if not). Great company on our table. Young couple from Norway and 2 lovely ladies from Lichtenstein. As usual, all spoke excellent English. Very lucky with this table and we spent some time with them all during the cruise. I read on a review that somebody complained that 80% of people on the boat didn’t speak English which I find an appallingly arrogant statement. We were on an Italian boat picking up in Spain, France, Italy and Malta. What language would you expect then all to speak? Heaven forbid but you could actually try to speak in Italian or Spanish! As it is nowadays, everybody, staff included, all spoke great English so the language barrier is never an issue. All the boat staff, especially those from Indonesia, Philippines, India, and Madagascar etc. were so kind and helpful. Even those from Eastern Europe were very polite if maybe not so smiley! We didn’t encounter many Brits at all on the cruise, and I can’t say I was unhappy about this. There was never a sense of it being a booze cruise which I was weary of given the all-inclusive packages available. Day 5 - Docked at Marseille and went on the trip to Aix on Provence. Beautiful town. In general the trips are a little expensive but I booked beforehand and it was cheaper. As mentioned before, MSC transfer to Marseille is a rip off. About 16€ each or local bus for 2€. Day 6 – Genoa – Both very tired so stayed on board for the day. Really want to see Genoa at some point but you can do everything. Went up to deck 13 (pool deck) after breakfast (about 9.30) and found sunbeds very easily. When the excursions started returning in the afternoon then it inevitably filled up quickly. Usual practice of towels on sunbeds all day with nobody using them. Pool attendants don’t address this as stated in daily handout but this happens in every hotel I’ve encountered. Most of the morning I had the pool almost to myself. Very relaxing. There are two pools. One is marked as a quiet zone the other is not. Neither are quiet! Lots of cheesy animation during the day sometimes at crazy volumes. You can find sunbeds away from the noise if you want to relax but these are at the extremities of the ship so no waiter service or pool at hand. I would tone down the music personally but then I’m 50 not 18 and this is not marketed as a quiet adult cruise so you can’t complain. MSC could address the pool area and make it better for all though. Went to the show in the evening before dinner. As expected it’s a Eurovision style euro show with very enthusiastic performers. OK but we didn’t go back! After dinner we went to the Zebra bar. Very good with a couple of live acts, dancing and the annoyingly slow bingo, bingo! Open ‘til 1.30am. Good service, lots of snacks and good drinks choice. Day 7 – Naples – Went on Sorrento trip. Very picturesque. Nice trip. Boat parked next to Vesuvius. Cool! Casino in evening for ½ hour. Avoid if you don’t like smoking. It allows people to smoke so only spent a short time in there. Really should be addressed but then I’m a non-smoker. You need cash to play. Roulette (dumb luck game!), blackjack and poker tables plus lotto and fruit machines by the bucket load if that’s your thing. Soon left! Grappolo D’Oro wine bar had a good pianist/singer plus serves hors d'oeuvres if you are peckish. Did a great version of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb! Also went to Pigalle bar which had jazz band if you like it. At rear of boat so more vibration than Zebra Bar. Plenty of other bars dotted about so never seemed crowded. Day 8 – Messina – Long day as visited Messina and Taormina. Very nice excursion. Top tour guide. Mount Etna very cool! Knackered! Day 9 - Malta – Had arranged to visit friends in Valetta. Turn right out of cruise terminal. Walk 5-10 mins past tour buses, taxis etc. to the upper Barakka Gardens lift (1€) which takes you easily to the centre of Valetta. Not a lot of time in Malta (only about 5 hours) but you can visit Mdina on the bus or stay in Valetta. Love Malta! Rest of day at sea. Day 10 – Palma – Most of day at sea. As you would expect the pool deck was heaving. Not overly pleasant. Too crowded and too noisy. Stupid snow party and super loud club music for a couple of hours. Plenty of places to escape though. Should have changed dinner sitting but forgot so ate in the cafeteria. Arrived in Palma at about 9pm then went on the Flamenco show excursion. Quick tour around Palma beforehand was a waste of time. German/English tour guide was like a Stuart Hall on It’s A Knockout – so surreal! Wasn’t sure what to expect but the Flamenco show was fantastic. The performers were outstanding. Pricey though. Had some time afterwards in Palma to shop and the shuttle bus ran back to the ship until 3am. Sat in Zebra bar until 1.30 drinking silly cocktails and then went for a 2am snack! Day 11 – Barcelona – had to vacate room by midday (bags outside by 9am for collection) and sat in Zebra bar until 2.20pm disembarkation time. Chatted with our dinner table guests, lots of drinks and had lunch with a quick trip to the cafeteria. Disembarkation was very easy. Transfer to airport again via From2 was faultless and EasyJet flight was delayed again! Easy transfer back to the Best Western in the rain and collected car with no problem. 2 hour hold up on M25 for no obvious reason confirmed we were back in the UK after a great holiday. In summary it was a great trip with just a few gripes and mostly these are aimed at fellow passengers not MSC. Minus Points More time in port would be good but then that’s the compromise of visiting all of these ports in 8 days. You can’t have it all! Cafeteria is poorly laid out. When busy it is a bit of a scrum but there appears to be no Italian word for queue. Most people used the see food take food approach. Not a great experience for queue happy Brits! However food was excellent. Unsurprisingly, the food was mainly Italian (shock horror on an Italian boat!). Pasta dishes, pizzas etc. Huge salad and fruit bars, plenty of vegetarian options and the inevitable burger and chips bar which was depressingly the most popular area. Yes, the fruit juice was far too strong – undrinkable and the coffee machine always broken! General lack of politeness from other guests (in small but frequent amounts). As mentioned by others, people get in the lifts before letting you out. Why? Do they like it when I barge past them? Not one person ever thanked me for holding open a door for them. Lack of control of kids (not all of the time but noticeable). Wildly running around the boat at all hours and making the pool a no go zone. One adult only pool would be sensible. Too much photography!! – Too much and too often. Every corridor and at every meal you are pestered by photographers. Far too intrusive. Very, very annoying. Couldn’t find out what the dress code/theme nights were beforehand so couldn’t easily join in. These are printed in the daily newsletter but by then it’s too late. For info: - Day 1 – white night – some people joined in. Day 2 Gala night - some people joined in. Day 3 – casual – everybody joined in! Day 4 – Italy night - wear red, white and green. Day 5 - casual Day 6 – 60s, 70s, 80s night – hardly anybody joined in. Stupid theme. Day 7 – Gala night – some people joined in. Day 8 – casual Dress code is not enforced at all. Some people made the effort but plenty in restaurants wearing shorts etc. Didn’t spoil it for us though. On board announcements a bit too hi-de-hi!! Always trying to get you to buy stuff. Bingo bingo!! I know they all do it and why they do it, but why do I have to pay a daily service charge? Just add it to the price of the cruise!! I'm happy to pay for the service when it is this good. Plus Points Clean boat and cabin with great view. Great steward. Great service from Iglu and MSC beforehand. All documentation etc. and embarkation was a breeze. Nice too visit lots of ports. Alegrissimo package is a must have. We are not big drinkers but even the soft drinks would have amounted to more that the daily cost of the package. Getting it thrown in is all the sweeter. Service was great. Made the difference. Relaxing evenings. Bars were very civilised and enjoyable. Most relaxing. Easy to eat. It’s still tough to get a choice in the UK if you are vegetarian (I just can’t get enough of puff pastry vegetable tarts or microwaved spinach flans!!). On the Poesia we had no issues and ate very well. Didn't put on any weight due to the miles of walking on the excursions! Summary I think most problems people have is not understanding what type of cruise this is. It is not a tea dance cruise, it is definitely a family biased cruise with more emphasis on fun than formality. So in that respect it was what I expected. MSC delivered a good package at a good price. So would we go again? A definite yes, but I would maybe try a different line and a different itinerary. I would like a slightly more formal cruise with less snow foam and less kids. Maybe we will try a Celebrity cruise next outside of the school holidays. Overall there is a little too much emphasis on getting you to buy stuff rather than have a good time. Slightly takes the edge off of what for us was a very, very enjoyable trip. Take note MSC as a lot of people made a similar comment and there is a lot of choice out there. This may have been our first cruise but it certainly won’t be our last.

1st Timer Cruise Review

MSC Poesia Cruise Review by ZapCity

23 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I’ve never added anything to the forum so though it was time to pay back for all of the great info. I have found during my research for a recent cruise. It really is a great place to find out what to expect, but it’s like most sites that allow people to give opinions. If you look at trip advisor etc. every hotel or cruise boat would appear to be a nightmare, but I guess it’s because people tend to focus on the negatives. Reviews of MSC and Poesia don’t appear to be overly positive!

A bit of background. I’m basically a 1st time cruiser, so I don’t have anything to compare against. MSC might be the best or worst in the business but I can only give my opinion of what we experienced.

I decided on a cruise for myself and the wife having never been on a full cruise before. We did do the 3 day Cruise & Maritime winter markets trip a few years ago to Amsterdam & Antwerp on the Marco Polo which was great, so though we would try a full length cruise.

The main reason for choosing MSC was the ports visited and we wanted a cruise the week after our wedding. We like to visit the towns/cities and see the local sites, and as the wife has Maltese and Italian parentage we picked this 8 day MSC Poesia cruise. The ship called at Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina, Valetta, and Palma and back to Barcelona.

I booked in February with Iglu (who were excellent throughout) as MSC were offering the Allegrissimo drinks package free during February. The package also included a 2 night stay at the Silken Diagonal in Barcelona plus flights and transfers. I booked the Fantastica package and Iglu gave me a deck 11 D’Annunzio B2 balcony cabin no. 11105. This was a better cabin than was available direct from the MSC website, so I was happy with that. I also paid extra for some better flight times (via EasyJet) and the whole package came to about £2600 each for a cruise starting 26th August.

Day 1 – Overnight stay @ Best Western Skylane Hotel (£84) – Used this because of the included free car parking option. Decent but basic hotel. Poor restaurant attached and lift broken. Decent clean room and reliable transfer to Gatwick available for £5 each (return). Would use again for parking alone.

Day 2 – Flight to Barcelona for Gatwick. Delayed again with EasyJet flight (9.10 scheduled departure). Pilot put his foot down so arrived at Barcelona about 1.5 hours late to be met by From2 driver who took us to the Silken Diagonal. Very good service.

Silken Diagonal was very, very nice. Large, clean, modern room. Rooftop pool and 5 mins walk from Glories underground station and tram stop. Bought a T10 ticket which is great value. Allows 10 journeys of 75 minutes duration including tram, bus or underground for 10 Euro and ticket can be shared between you.

Visited Las Ramblas in the evening and found a great vegetarian restaurant - http://www.teresacarles.com/

Day 3 – Visited Sagrada Familia and the Gothic Cathedral and did some shopping. Back to Teresa Carles in the evening. Great day!

Booked tickets for Sagrada Familia online beforehand and had tower visit and audio guide. About 50€ all in but worth it. 20-30 minute walk from Silken Diagonal.

Day 4 - Checked out of Silken Diagonal (12 noon checkout is useful). Only a small local city tax to pay (5€ ish). Also Large shopping centre opposite including Carrefour so you can get everything you might need for your cruise (sun creams etc.).

The transfer to Barcelona cruise terminal was again using From2 driver (organised by Iglu). Scheduled for 12noon and arrived at 12:10. Very efficient.

Check in for cruise was 3-4 pm so in hindsight I would leave luggage at the hotel (I did see lots of people doing this) and reschedule the transfer for about 3pm if you wanted some more sightseeing time. We arrived at the cruise terminal and approx. 12.30 which is way too early. We checked in the luggage and got a taxi (10€) to the bottom of Las Ramblas as we had 3 hours to spare. This turned out to be a bonus as we had a nice few hours more in what is a beautiful city. You can get the cruise bus for about 4€ return which we did on our return.

I heard lots of pickpocket scare stories about Barcelona, Las Ramblas etc. but I didn’t feel any more at risk than if walking around London. We did take all of the usual precautions though as you would anywhere you go. Very comfortable to walk around the sights with just the normal street hawkers selling their generic junk. Barcelona was a real treat and a must visit city. Sit on the right of the plane when flying in a get a great view of the city.

Returned to cruise terminal at about 3.30pm and had a very simple embarkation. Hand luggage had lots of drink in it but no issues boarding. The ship picks up and drops off every day so there wasn’t a huge mass of passengers waiting to board. A few MSC sales stalls (drinks packages, sushi restaurant etc. and the obligatory embarkation photo in front of a ships wheel. Not what you want after a hot day in Barcelona, but not overly intrusive. Simple walk to boat, photo then escorted to lifts to deck 13 cafeteria.

We had something to eat and drink and after ½ hour made our way to the cabin where the cruise cards were waiting. Drinks were free as we just had to show cruise documentation as we didn’t have cruise cards yet.

Room was very clean, king size bed, and as others have commented on, the boat was spotless for the whole trip. There were always people cleaning. Only exception was the cafeteria at busy times, but this is more a people issues than an MSC issue. New towels every day, FREE shower gel and shampoo (I only emphasize this as one criticism of the Poesia was that someone had to use more shower gel than normal to get a lather! Solution - use more it's free!!), free safe and TV with 2x English language new channels. TV also had cruise and account info. so very easy to track daily spend. All in all, the cabin was great and was in a great position.

Very pleased.

Some people were smoking on balconies, but I guess this happens on every cruise?

Safety briefing shambolic. Quick walk to the assembly point after a demo/film in the theatre. Most people seemed to treat it as joke and announcer kept having to ask people to shut up. Cruise and Maritime’s briefing was much, much better.

2nd sitting for dinner was ideal but if you don’t like eating late then best change. Dinner started about 9.30 and finished about 11.15. Decent selection for 2 vegetarians and you could pick as many courses as you want. Basics always available – penne with sauce, vegetables etc. I don’t know how this compares to other lines, but it was similar to the food we had on Cruise and Maritime. Service was excellent. Water and drinks always available (everybody on our table of 6 was on Allegrissimo package so I guess the water would be at cost if not).

Great company on our table. Young couple from Norway and 2 lovely ladies from Lichtenstein. As usual, all spoke excellent English. Very lucky with this table and we spent some time with them all during the cruise.

I read on a review that somebody complained that 80% of people on the boat didn’t speak English which I find an appallingly arrogant statement. We were on an Italian boat picking up in Spain, France, Italy and Malta. What language would you expect then all to speak? Heaven forbid but you could actually try to speak in Italian or Spanish! As it is nowadays, everybody, staff included, all spoke great English so the language barrier is never an issue.

All the boat staff, especially those from Indonesia, Philippines, India, and Madagascar etc. were so kind and helpful. Even those from Eastern Europe were very polite if maybe not so smiley! We didn’t encounter many Brits at all on the cruise, and I can’t say I was unhappy about this. There was never a sense of it being a booze cruise which I was weary of given the all-inclusive packages available.

Day 5 - Docked at Marseille and went on the trip to Aix on Provence. Beautiful town. In general the trips are a little expensive but I booked beforehand and it was cheaper. As mentioned before, MSC transfer to Marseille is a rip off. About 16€ each or local bus for 2€.

Day 6 – Genoa – Both very tired so stayed on board for the day. Really want to see Genoa at some point but you can do everything.

Went up to deck 13 (pool deck) after breakfast (about 9.30) and found sunbeds very easily. When the excursions started returning in the afternoon then it inevitably filled up quickly. Usual practice of towels on sunbeds all day with nobody using them. Pool attendants don’t address this as stated in daily handout but this happens in every hotel I’ve encountered. Most of the morning I had the pool almost to myself. Very relaxing. There are two pools. One is marked as a quiet zone the other is not. Neither are quiet!

Lots of cheesy animation during the day sometimes at crazy volumes. You can find sunbeds away from the noise if you want to relax but these are at the extremities of the ship so no waiter service or pool at hand. I would tone down the music personally but then I’m 50 not 18 and this is not marketed as a quiet adult cruise so you can’t complain. MSC could address the pool area and make it better for all though.

Went to the show in the evening before dinner. As expected it’s a Eurovision style euro show with very enthusiastic performers. OK but we didn’t go back!

After dinner we went to the Zebra bar. Very good with a couple of live acts, dancing and the annoyingly slow bingo, bingo! Open ‘til 1.30am. Good service, lots of snacks and good drinks choice.

Day 7 – Naples – Went on Sorrento trip. Very picturesque. Nice trip. Boat parked next to Vesuvius. Cool!

Casino in evening for ½ hour. Avoid if you don’t like smoking. It allows people to smoke so only spent a short time in there. Really should be addressed but then I’m a non-smoker. You need cash to play. Roulette (dumb luck game!), blackjack and poker tables plus lotto and fruit machines by the bucket load if that’s your thing. Soon left!

Grappolo D’Oro wine bar had a good pianist/singer plus serves hors d'oeuvres if you are peckish. Did a great version of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb!

Also went to Pigalle bar which had jazz band if you like it. At rear of boat so more vibration than Zebra Bar. Plenty of other bars dotted about so never seemed crowded.

Day 8 – Messina – Long day as visited Messina and Taormina. Very nice excursion. Top tour guide. Mount Etna very cool! Knackered!

Day 9 - Malta – Had arranged to visit friends in Valetta. Turn right out of cruise terminal. Walk 5-10 mins past tour buses, taxis etc. to the upper Barakka Gardens lift (1€) which takes you easily to the centre of Valetta. Not a lot of time in Malta (only about 5 hours) but you can visit Mdina on the bus or stay in Valetta. Love Malta!

Rest of day at sea.

Day 10 – Palma – Most of day at sea. As you would expect the pool deck was heaving. Not overly pleasant. Too crowded and too noisy. Stupid snow party and super loud club music for a couple of hours. Plenty of places to escape though. Should have changed dinner sitting but forgot so ate in the cafeteria.

Arrived in Palma at about 9pm then went on the Flamenco show excursion. Quick tour around Palma beforehand was a waste of time. German/English tour guide was like a Stuart Hall on It’s A Knockout – so surreal! Wasn’t sure what to expect but the Flamenco show was fantastic. The performers were outstanding. Pricey though.

Had some time afterwards in Palma to shop and the shuttle bus ran back to the ship until 3am. Sat in Zebra bar until 1.30 drinking silly cocktails and then went for a 2am snack!

Day 11 – Barcelona – had to vacate room by midday (bags outside by 9am for collection) and sat in Zebra bar until 2.20pm disembarkation time. Chatted with our dinner table guests, lots of drinks and had lunch with a quick trip to the cafeteria.

Disembarkation was very easy. Transfer to airport again via From2 was faultless and EasyJet flight was delayed again!

Easy transfer back to the Best Western in the rain and collected car with no problem. 2 hour hold up on M25 for no obvious reason confirmed we were back in the UK after a great holiday.

In summary it was a great trip with just a few gripes and mostly these are aimed at fellow passengers not MSC.

Minus Points

More time in port would be good but then that’s the compromise of visiting all of these ports in 8 days. You can’t have it all!

Cafeteria is poorly laid out. When busy it is a bit of a scrum but there appears to be no Italian word for queue. Most people used the see food take food approach. Not a great experience for queue happy Brits! However food was excellent. Unsurprisingly, the food was mainly Italian (shock horror on an Italian boat!). Pasta dishes, pizzas etc. Huge salad and fruit bars, plenty of vegetarian options and the inevitable burger and chips bar which was depressingly the most popular area. Yes, the fruit juice was far too strong – undrinkable and the coffee machine always broken!

General lack of politeness from other guests (in small but frequent amounts). As mentioned by others, people get in the lifts before letting you out. Why? Do they like it when I barge past them? Not one person ever thanked me for holding open a door for them.

Lack of control of kids (not all of the time but noticeable). Wildly running around the boat at all hours and making the pool a no go zone. One adult only pool would be sensible.

Too much photography!! – Too much and too often. Every corridor and at every meal you are pestered by photographers. Far too intrusive. Very, very annoying.

Couldn’t find out what the dress code/theme nights were beforehand so couldn’t easily join in. These are printed in the daily newsletter but by then it’s too late.

For info: -

Day 1 – white night – some people joined in.

Day 2 Gala night - some people joined in.

Day 3 – casual – everybody joined in!

Day 4 – Italy night - wear red, white and green.

Day 5 - casual

Day 6 – 60s, 70s, 80s night – hardly anybody joined in. Stupid theme.

Day 7 – Gala night – some people joined in.

Day 8 – casual

Dress code is not enforced at all. Some people made the effort but plenty in restaurants wearing shorts etc. Didn’t spoil it for us though.

On board announcements a bit too hi-de-hi!! Always trying to get you to buy stuff.

Bingo bingo!!

I know they all do it and why they do it, but why do I have to pay a daily service charge? Just add it to the price of the cruise!! I'm happy to pay for the service when it is this good.


Plus Points

Clean boat and cabin with great view. Great steward.

Great service from Iglu and MSC beforehand. All documentation etc. and embarkation was a breeze.

Nice too visit lots of ports.

Alegrissimo package is a must have. We are not big drinkers but even the soft drinks would have amounted to more that the daily cost of the package. Getting it thrown in is all the sweeter.

Service was great. Made the difference.

Relaxing evenings. Bars were very civilised and enjoyable. Most relaxing.

Easy to eat. It’s still tough to get a choice in the UK if you are vegetarian (I just can’t get enough of puff pastry vegetable tarts or microwaved spinach flans!!). On the Poesia we had no issues and ate very well.

Didn't put on any weight due to the miles of walking on the excursions!


Summary

I think most problems people have is not understanding what type of cruise this is. It is not a tea dance cruise, it is definitely a family biased cruise with more emphasis on fun than formality. So in that respect it was what I expected. MSC delivered a good package at a good price.

So would we go again? A definite yes, but I would maybe try a different line and a different itinerary. I would like a slightly more formal cruise with less snow foam and less kids. Maybe we will try a Celebrity cruise next outside of the school holidays.

Overall there is a little too much emphasis on getting you to buy stuff rather than have a good time. Slightly takes the edge off of what for us was a very, very enjoyable trip. Take note MSC as a lot of people made a similar comment and there is a lot of choice out there.

This may have been our first cruise but it certainly won’t be our last.
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