Our first Weight Loss Cruise!: MSC Poesia Cruise Review by Indiana Pete

MSC Poesia 1
Indiana Pete
Member Since 2007

Overall Member Rating

Our first Weight Loss Cruise!

Sail Date: October 2009
Destination: Transatlantic
Embarkation: Venice
Having thoroughly enjoyed several previous cruises, including trans-Atlantic "repositioning" cruises, we booked a 17 day repositioning cruise on the Poesia without a second thought. In researching the port itinerary for the trip we came across numerous reviews on Msc generally and the Poesia in particular - practically everyone of which was strongly negative. We sailed in October 2009 and, with negative reviews spanning the period from May of 2008 (launch date) through September of 2009, went sought refuge in denial - "It can't possibly be as bad as they say", "They must have improved that by now" and so on. Denial of course, turned out to be wishful thinking. I cannot think of a single negative comment contained in other reviews that we would not emphatically endorse although that is not to say that everything was bad. The ship itself was and is excellent and our balcony stateroom was on a par with other carriers we have experienced. Cabin housekeeping and service likewise were More both excellent and, if these items were all a cruise offered, we would rate this a four or a five. Unfortunately, every other aspect of the package was somewhere between mediocre and downright awful.

We like to walk, especially on sea days. If your pleasure is to treadmill at $30.00 per hour then the Poesia might be just what you are looking for. The Promenade Deck (deck 7) was available on just one day of the trip. Every other day parts of it were closed off for bunkering the lifeboats, washing the deck, painting and other obscure maintenance tasks. In any event the, the deck does not go completely round the ship and requires either a repeated U shaped walk or cutting through the rear stairwell to complete each circuit. The Jogging Track on deck 14 was a travesty. By 7:00 am it was so littered with sun-chairs and bodies, staking their claim for another day of cancer cultivation, that it was impossible to walk around without having to step over such obstacles or waiting while a deckhand, with a fresh stack of sun-chairs, threaded his way between the broiled bodies. Unless you are a tour fan, don't rely on Msc providing any assistance whatever on the port stops. No information in the daily sales promotion sheet delivered to the cabins, no maps, no list of features, no restaurants, no highlights, nothing at all except a flat "No." to any question asked about off ship activities. Moral: Expect to be treated like a second class citizen if you intend to do your own thing in port.

Worst of all however, is the entire food service management or, more accurately, mismanagement. Wrong orders, room temperature milk for cereals, strange 15 to 20 minutes total lapses in service, slow water refills if you were one of the lucky ones that received water in the first place, undrinkable coffee, uncooked potatoes, meats that seem to actively fight back, salads awash with half a cup of water and on and on. Soups were generally passable to good and we did have one good dessert. Msc is a proponent of Fixed Dining - that is to say, you are expected to dine with the same folks every evening for the duration of the trip. All we typically wanted was a main course choice and possibly a dessert. with eight people on the table debating their wine choices and then discussing each of the five or six courses that seemed necessary to their existence, dinner typically took two hours and was simply an appalling experience. The only alternative to this zoo is "Slices of Pizza" from the buffet that is otherwise shutdown for the day. After three seemingly interminable nightmare dining experiences in the restaurant, we opted to live on pizza for the rest of the trip. Ironically, there was an upside to the astoundingly poor restaurant operations - we both lost two pounds on the trip! Less

Published 11/16/09

Cabin review: Bal8189

We are light travelers with few clothing changes. Closets/drawer space adequate for our purpose, would be tight for the six suitcase couples. Cabin was minimally furnished but large enough spend sea days in. King sized bed was actually two twins pushed together. LCD TV with little or no programming. Bathroom suite adequate. Balcony equipped with two chairs and a small table and, although we did not use it, the full length sliding windows were nice to have. Sound insulation from corridor and adjacent rooms was excellent but there was a fair amount loud but unidentified ship noises - clunks and bumps etc. - that were sometimes quite upsetting.

Port and Shore Excursions

Funchal, Madeira (Portugal), is the major city on the Portuguese island of Madeira. We had visited here on a previous cruise and enjoyed it well enough for what it is. What it is of course, is a natural harbor on the south side of the island discovered in the 15th century as a useful staging post on the way to the Americas. It has the significant merit of being fairly clean and well kept and is pleasant to stroll through although there are few attractions beyond a mediocre cathedral and the Botanical Gardens. Further afield there is a funicular railway taking visitors up above the town and a variety of island tours from which to admire the scenery. The walk from the dock to downtown is significant.

San Juan, Puerto Rica, is the capital of this American dependency. There are two castles, on at each end of the old town, about as tedious as castles can be and in between there is nothing that a right-minded person would wish upon him or herself. As an American citizen, I am ashamed of this disgraceful blight that is on show to cruise passengers from around the world. Take one of the tours around the island, they cannot possibly be more depressing than a visit to the town.
Read 2978 San Juan Reviews

Take a tour of the island if you really want to get off at all in St. Thomas in the American Virgin Islands. The walkabout area is the town of Charlotte Amalie which is little more than a tacky slum. Cannot think of a single redeeming feature.
Read 4002 St. Thomas Reviews

Touted attractions from La Goulette include downtown Tunis, the Carthage Ruins, the city of Sidi Bou Said along with a couple of standalone buildings comprising a mosque and a church. For our taste, downtown Tunis - specifically the souk (market) - was the meat of the visit. The souk is well worth a leisurely visit, taking care to keep tabs on where you are, and offers fairly authentic array of pleasures for shoppers, sightseers, photographers and general rubberneckers. It is quite extensive and very lively. The remainder of the "attractions" listed above are pretty much in the makeweight category and generally hardly worth the cab fare to drive by them. Talking of cabs, ours collided with another car when on the way to Sidi Bou Said and tore its front suspension off. We were essentially unharmed but caught the ship as the gangplank was being wound in by the time we finally got back to the dock.

Compare Prices on MSC Poesia Transatlantic Cruises

Read more MSC Poesia cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s MSC Poesia Review >>

Compare Prices on MSC Poesia Transatlantic Cruises

Indiana Pete
Member Since 2007
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Skip X

See MSC Poesia deals up to 82% off:

October Deals
MSC Poesia 50% Loved It

6 Night Mediterranean Cruise
See all MSC Poesia Deals >>