This sailing was a repositioning from South America to the Mediterranean. Embarkation in BA was well organised taking only one and half hours from arrival at the cruise terminal to reach our cabin. One case was already there and the other arrived a couple of hours later. Neither was damaged.
Correct protocols were followed for the emergency drill and the exercise was more professional than experienced on our previous MSC cruise.
The ship was stunning; impressive in the quality of fittings, use of colour, design and ongoing meticulous maintenance. This was a transatlantic crossing but sailing was a pleasure with little sea movement. We were, perhaps, fortunate not to experience severe weather conditions. Our cabin was well presented, roomy with adequate storage facilities. It was cleaned daily and towels replaced following each use. Pool towels (one per passenger) were available in the cabin. Staff throughout the ship were friendly, smiling and willing to interact and be involved. Bar staff made the effort to remember faces and even orders from day to day. Reception staff were particularly genuine in their assistance even when under heavy guest pressure.
Dining rooms (2 on the Poesia) were attractively presented with many smaller rather than larger passenger groupings. Staff were all smartly dressed with name badges and dinner menus were offered in correct languages. Restaurant management did make the effort to seat the same language groups together other than for the lunch and breakfast sittings in Le Fontein; those meals were offered both plated and buffet but the room was consistently crowded and noisy. Our preference was to use the top deck cafeteria. We did not use the speciality sushi restaurant.
Due to the large Argentinian passenger component, both dinner sittings were later than normal. Dinner food quality deteriorated through the duration of the cruise. Compliments abounded as we sailed in South American waters but as the transatlantic segment started, it was almost like a change in chef. Food was dry, some undercooked and generally tasteless and bland. Vegetables were consistently overcooked and the selection of desserts pathetic. Our waiter confided that preparation was aimed at the Argentinians who were recognised as not wishing upmarket dishes so the balance of passengers had to endure downgraded meals. At times, the buffet/cafeteria dishes were an improvement on the MDR but were not consistent in terms of heat and succulence. Breakfasts were disappointing offering little variation in the selection and presentation.
Selection of wines from pre purchased drinks packages seemed to present a problem with differing views as to which selection was available under which package; our waiter needed to refer us to a much folded grubby piece of paper from her pocket to validate selection - not particularly professional. The availability of wines (and other premium drinks) disappeared through the cruise as MSC were clearly not restocking.
Entertainment was boring and conducted mainly in Spanish. Theatre shows varied in quality and, again, dialogue tended to be Spanish. Much of the music in bars was latino themed as were dance lessons and practice. Excursion enhancement talks were provided before each port but the presenter/guide was readily distracted by her personal interest areas and could have added greater practical value, particularly for independent travellers not using ship excursions. Her ability to respond to questions was not good.
The organisation of ship excursions left much to be desired with the excursion staff struggling to get the large number of noisy clamouring passengers segregated into correct groupings and off the ship. There were frequent mix ups between designated excursions and passengers generally disembarking.
Although an international cruise, by far the majority of passengers were Spanish Argentinians and little effort was made by the Cruise Director (an Argentinian) and the entertainment team to address other language groups. Indeed we found the preponderance of Spanish somewhat overwhelming which would deter us from considering other repositioning cruises.
Clean and spacious for the class. Aesthetically decorated. Lots of storage space and good shelf placement in the bathroom. Generous balcony space.
Well co-ordinated. Excellent guide (used English throughout) who interacted well with his guests. Statue was partly obscured by cloud. Sugar Loaf excursion not operational due to maintenance.View All 40 Corcovado Mountain & Christ Redeemer statue Reviews
Interesting but lacked "wow" factor. Nsarrative was Spanish and English. Guide was knowledgeable and informativeView All undefined undefined Reviews
Guide was well informed and fluent in switching languages - English and Italian. Mijas proved an excellent excursion with attractive views and interesting artisan craft shops - could have spent more time there.View All 17 Village of Mijas Reviews
a Diverse and interesting excursion. Guide was informative; narrative in German and English. Day was well paced.View All 13 Marsaxlokk Bay Reviews
As aboveView All 1 Neolithic Bay Reviews
As aboveView All 3 Vittariosa Walking Tour Reviews