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We selected this cruise because we liked the itinerary and the dates fitted in with our other holiday plans in Italy. We had not cruised with MSC before and had reservations because of dining times being fixed and because some online reviews said food was not good, staff were not particularly pleasant, multi-language announcements were annoying, other guests and children were noisy, etc. We decided to book MSC's Aurea "experience" to ensure we could get away from the crowd a bit. *** Passengers' age profile was much more like the general population than we had experienced in our previous few cruises, with lots of young families, teenagers and couples of all ages. We guessed that about half were Italian, with substantial numbers of French, Spanish and Germans, and a significant number of Japanese. We hardly heard British voices at all; there seemed to be more Americans and Australians. Everyone was pleasant and lots were open to being chatty. We thoroughly enjoyed the international atmosphere. But is worth noting that in signage and other aspects, English was the second, and sometimes even the primary language on the ship. We found Poesia to be well laid out and very attractive throughout, impeccably clean and well maintained, and more spacious than we were expecting, with no significant problems getting seats in bars, deck loungers etc. Staff (predominantly Indonesian waiters, cabin stewards, chefs etc - others mainly European, particularly Italian) were extremely pleasant and helpful. They quickly addressed us by name and anticipated our needs - eg preferred drinks, favourite tables. All spoke English. We greatly appreciated having Aurea experience privileges, including drinks package, use of the quiet and uncrowded Deck 16 Solarium and the Spa, genuinely flexible dining arrangements, and priority embarkation, disembarkation, and tender access. If we decide to cruise again with MSC we would book Aurea automatically. Entertainment was generally good, some of it of high quality. In the evening, there were often 5-6 different music options around the ship. The theatre shows ranged from just about OK to excellent. Staging and costumes were always pretty impressive. Some ensemble dance sequences were a bit contrived, but most shows had inserts with very good acrobats of various styles. There were a number of music venues where dancing was potentially a feature. We never visited the disco, but of the other venues, dancing only took off regularly in numbers in the Pigalle Lounge. On the first couple of evenings, there was lots of scope there for couples dancing but as the week went on, the entertainment team gradually organised most of the time for line/unison dancing, which too much limited the options for couples to do their own thing. MSC's documentation mentions formal/gala nights and other "themed" nights. On the gala nights, most female passengers dressed up. There were just enough tuxedos for those wearing them not to feel too much out of place, and a significant number of men in suit and tie. Most other men wore a tailored jacket and open shirt, or more often just a "good" shirt. The first night of the cruise was the "60s/70s/80s" night and most people either had not come prepared or did not realise, so that rather few passengers were "in theme". The "White" night was later in the week and better supported. We had read about MSC having an "Italian" night. On our cruise, there was instead a "Mediterranean" night which was reflected in such as special dinner menus, staff dressed up, and mass singing of Italian national anthem at dinner, but there was no advice in the daily bulletin about any particular way to dress. Food in the dining rooms was very good. The buffet restaurant was often crowded; choice was good and quality was acceptable but some food was not particularly hot. We had the non-premium drinks package. We regarded it as good value, with enough choices for us in most respects. However, restricting beer choices to Heineken seemed unreasonably restrictive, and one of the red wines was pretty undrinkable. There were some negatives.. The ship had a pervading atmosphere of promoting a quite loud fun experience, facilitated by a large, engaging and enthusiastic entertainment team. In particular, one of the two pool deck areas was almost permanently noisy. This would not suit everyone, and we were pleased to be able to retreat to the Solarium whenever we wanted to. [However, despite us approaching 70, we had quite a bit of fun by dipping in to the organised dancing and other activities when it suited us.] It was a feature throughout the cruise that signage and information were not always good enough. For example: we needed to be very much on our toes to spot the several fast lanes available to Aurea passengers at embarkation; we did not realise where some public toilets on the ship were located until late in the week; we had to ask customer services what were the arrangements for priority Aurea access to tenders, and when we and others went to the correct assembly point, a member of staff came and tried to insist that we go somewhere else instead. MSC port transfer arrangements seemed best avoided if possible.. For example, the return boat shuttle from the port to Mykonos town was 6.90 euros, but the same ferry boat company contracted by MSC offered a more frequent walk-on 2-euro-each way fare from the same quay. The MSC Dubrovnik return bus shuttle was 13.90 euros per person, but we avoided waiting for buses and having to get to and from fixed pick-up points by jumping into taxis that took the two of us to and from where we wanted with no waiting, for 15 euros. There was no MSC information that a short walk from the port in Katakolon took you to the train station, with a 10 euros return fare to Olympia. (Of course, you needed to watch return timing) Multi-language announcements were inevitable given the clientele and we were fine with them, except that at theatre shows, the cruise director lapsed into lengthy rambles in Italian, interspersed with a just words in English, French, Spanish, German, etc. This meant lengthy and annoying delays before the action started. We though the same few words ought to have sufficed in all languages. On several occasions, coffee and tea were tepid when they arrived for cabin breakfast, and it was simply impossible to infuse tea. (Following request, hotter replacements would arrive reasonably quickly) **** None of the negatives impacted significantly on our week. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, and we would book again with MSC if the itinerary and dates suited us and if the pricing of the Aurea experience was acceptable.

Enjoyed our first cruise with MSC

MSC Poesia Cruise Review by 24LC

16 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2017
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom – Aurea
We selected this cruise because we liked the itinerary and the dates fitted in with our other holiday plans in Italy.

We had not cruised with MSC before and had reservations because of dining times being fixed and because some online reviews said food was not good, staff were not particularly pleasant, multi-language announcements were annoying, other guests and children were noisy, etc. We decided to book MSC's Aurea "experience" to ensure we could get away from the crowd a bit.

***

Passengers' age profile was much more like the general population than we had experienced in our previous few cruises, with lots of young families, teenagers and couples of all ages. We guessed that about half were Italian, with substantial numbers of French, Spanish and Germans, and a significant number of Japanese. We hardly heard British voices at all; there seemed to be more Americans and Australians. Everyone was pleasant and lots were open to being chatty. We thoroughly enjoyed the international atmosphere.

But is worth noting that in signage and other aspects, English was the second, and sometimes even the primary language on the ship.

We found Poesia to be well laid out and very attractive throughout, impeccably clean and well maintained, and more spacious than we were expecting, with no significant problems getting seats in bars, deck loungers etc.

Staff (predominantly Indonesian waiters, cabin stewards, chefs etc - others mainly European, particularly Italian) were extremely pleasant and helpful. They quickly addressed us by name and anticipated our needs - eg preferred drinks, favourite tables. All spoke English.

We greatly appreciated having Aurea experience privileges, including drinks package, use of the quiet and uncrowded Deck 16 Solarium and the Spa, genuinely flexible dining arrangements, and priority embarkation, disembarkation, and tender access. If we decide to cruise again with MSC we would book Aurea automatically.

Entertainment was generally good, some of it of high quality. In the evening, there were often 5-6 different music options around the ship. The theatre shows ranged from just about OK to excellent. Staging and costumes were always pretty impressive. Some ensemble dance sequences were a bit contrived, but most shows had inserts with very good acrobats of various styles.

There were a number of music venues where dancing was potentially a feature. We never visited the disco, but of the other venues, dancing only took off regularly in numbers in the Pigalle Lounge. On the first couple of evenings, there was lots of scope there for couples dancing but as the week went on, the entertainment team gradually organised most of the time for line/unison dancing, which too much limited the options for couples to do their own thing.

MSC's documentation mentions formal/gala nights and other "themed" nights. On the gala nights, most female passengers dressed up. There were just enough tuxedos for those wearing them not to feel too much out of place, and a significant number of men in suit and tie. Most other men wore a tailored jacket and open shirt, or more often just a "good" shirt. The first night of the cruise was the "60s/70s/80s" night and most people either had not come prepared or did not realise, so that rather few passengers were "in theme". The "White" night was later in the week and better supported. We had read about MSC having an "Italian" night. On our cruise, there was instead a "Mediterranean" night which was reflected in such as special dinner menus, staff dressed up, and mass singing of Italian national anthem at dinner, but there was no advice in the daily bulletin about any particular way to dress.

Food in the dining rooms was very good. The buffet restaurant was often crowded; choice was good and quality was acceptable but some food was not particularly hot.

We had the non-premium drinks package. We regarded it as good value, with enough choices for us in most respects. However, restricting beer choices to Heineken seemed unreasonably restrictive, and one of the red wines was pretty undrinkable.

There were some negatives..

The ship had a pervading atmosphere of promoting a quite loud fun experience, facilitated by a large, engaging and enthusiastic entertainment team. In particular, one of the two pool deck areas was almost permanently noisy. This would not suit everyone, and we were pleased to be able to retreat to the Solarium whenever we wanted to. [However, despite us approaching 70, we had quite a bit of fun by dipping in to the organised dancing and other activities when it suited us.]

It was a feature throughout the cruise that signage and information were not always good enough. For example: we needed to be very much on our toes to spot the several fast lanes available to Aurea passengers at embarkation; we did not realise where some public toilets on the ship were located until late in the week; we had to ask customer services what were the arrangements for priority Aurea access to tenders, and when we and others went to the correct assembly point, a member of staff came and tried to insist that we go somewhere else instead.

MSC port transfer arrangements seemed best avoided if possible.. For example, the return boat shuttle from the port to Mykonos town was 6.90 euros, but the same ferry boat company contracted by MSC offered a more frequent walk-on 2-euro-each way fare from the same quay. The MSC Dubrovnik return bus shuttle was 13.90 euros per person, but we avoided waiting for buses and having to get to and from fixed pick-up points by jumping into taxis that took the two of us to and from where we wanted with no waiting, for 15 euros. There was no MSC information that a short walk from the port in Katakolon took you to the train station, with a 10 euros return fare to Olympia. (Of course, you needed to watch return timing)

Multi-language announcements were inevitable given the clientele and we were fine with them, except that at theatre shows, the cruise director lapsed into lengthy rambles in Italian, interspersed with a just words in English, French, Spanish, German, etc. This meant lengthy and annoying delays before the action started. We though the same few words ought to have sufficed in all languages.

On several occasions, coffee and tea were tepid when they arrived for cabin breakfast, and it was simply impossible to infuse tea. (Following request, hotter replacements would arrive reasonably quickly)

****

None of the negatives impacted significantly on our week. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, and we would book again with MSC if the itinerary and dates suited us and if the pricing of the Aurea experience was acceptable.
24LC’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom – Aurea
Cabin B3 14024
Our cabin was very attractively decorated with good use of space, albeit it was a bit smaller than our previous experience with Celebrity and Thomson.

It was impeccably clean.

The location was a quiet short corridor, convenient for Spa and Solarium.
Alfieri Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews