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My wife and I primarily chose this cruise for the ports and excursions, knowing full well that it got mediocre reviews, since it seemed to be the most cost-effective way to see all the different places that it visited. And from that perspective, it definitely delivered. As for the cruise itself, it wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst either. It was the third cruise we've ever been on (the first two were Caribbean cruises with Carnival, which we really enjoyed) so that's basically our only point of comparison. Since our primary reason for choosing this cruise was the ports and excursions, I'll start there. We did a 7 day Mediterranean cruise with a stop every day, and every port was amazing. I would give every one of the places we saw 5 stars, without a doubt. As far as the excursions themselves, some were better than others. Our first excursion, in Bari, Italy, was the Sassi di Matera. It was an amazing site, but the tour guide gave the tour in both English and German, so it felt like we were just getting canned commentary. It felt a little rushed while we were seeing the main site, and then we spent about an hour just in the town square while I would have much rather preferred to see more of the Sassi. Also, we had to pay to use the restrooms, which sucked. 3/5 Our second excursion was Olympia and its museum, and that tour guide was amazing. Our group was only in English so we learned a lot more, and our guide gave us plenty of time to explore the site. 5/5 Next up was the island of Delos in Mykonos. The island was awesome, but it was another German/English tour guide and this guy was even worse. His commentary was boring, he constantly stopped and had coughing fits, and he would leave us in areas of blazing sun to give long winded stories. Plus he kept getting upset at the group for stopping and taking pictures, at one point saying "what do they think, they're on vacation?" I actually wish I would have just left the group to see more of the island, because there was so much to see. 2/5 We then saw the Acropolis hill and the new Acropolis museum in Athens. This time they actually gave us two tour guides, one for English and one for Spanish, so it felt a lot more informative and the English tour guide was great. I felt a little rushed at the Acropolis hill when they gave us free time to take pictures, but there was a lot to cover after that so I guess it made sense. We ended up spending over an hour in the town square at the end though, which could have been more Acropolis time. 4/5 Next up was the stone city of Gjirokastër in Albania. The mountainous country side that we saw on the way there was amazing, and the views at the site were also amazing. Once again, we had two tour guides (English and Spanish) and our tour guide was an older Albanian man who had lived through the communist years and had some great commentary on everything. I learned a lot more about Albania than I ever thought I would and it was overall a great excursion. 5/5 The final excursion was the Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik. Our group was just English and the tour guide was great. He mixed in some Croatia history with the Game of Thrones information, so that was cool too. Plus I got to take a picture on an iron throne. The only part I didn't like was that it was such a short port day, so we didn't have time to go to an island where they shot scenes from Qarth. 4/5 Now for the cruise itself. One thing that really stood out (in a bad way) is how much MSC nickles-and-dimes you for everything. Drinks were expensive and had a mandatory service charge (even when I bought a can of soda the one night). They even charge you for water in the main dining room. For most of the ports, if you don't have an excursion, you have to pay to get to the main city area. The photos were insanely overprices (20 euros for one 8x10?!!!). There wasn't even a lot of entertainment activities on board, so most of the activities were things you have to pay for (casino, spa, shopping, drinking, buying photos, etc.). As far as the food goes, we had originally booked the earlier dining time, but they gave us the later time. When we showed them our confirmation and tried to get it changed, the unfriendly concierge said "you're bella, you don't get priority, I'll put you on a waiting list". Luckily, they switched us for the second night, but that still wasn't a fun experience. The food in the main dining room was great, although my wife has a gluten allergy and they were bad at getting food out at the same time when you have allergies (often times one of us would be done with dinner before the other one got their meal). The portions were a little small, but you can always go to the buffet later. As for the buffet food, some was bad and some was good, and the pizza was amazing for cruise ship pizza. As an American, I found some of the kids food selections funny (one night they had tortellini in a white sauce with prosciutto for the kids, which would be a fancy dinner in America). It was also a little annoying at times that the buffet didn't open for dinner until 7, since a lot of days we wouldn't eat lunch on the excursions. We had an interior stateroom, which was small but clean, and the guy who cleaned our room was great and learned our names right away. As I mentioned earlier, the entertainment was fairly lacking. On past Carnival cruises, I usually had a hard time deciding what to do because there were so many options, whereas on here there was basically the big show in the theater at night and one or two other smaller activities. I know part of it is because there are so many languages so it's harder to do things like trivia games, but it wouldn't kill them to have a scavenger hunt or something. The main theater shows were pretty good though for the most part, but outside of that I mostly just hung out in the room or at the buffet since there wasn't much else going on. The cruise director was entertaining (his catch phrase "ohhhhhh yes" was very popular on board) and it was impressive watching him switch between 5 languages on the fly. In general, it's impressive how many languages the staff members all seem to know, but at times there was a bit of a language barrier (my wife, who is also allergic to pineapples, once said "no pineapples" and was given a plate of only pineapples). We got the internet on board, which was pretty solid. If anyone plays Pokemon Go, you can use MSC's wifi and use incense to catch stuff while the cruise is moving. Plus, this particular cruise passes the Tropius regional line twice, so if you play the game, this is probably a huge detail, and if you don't then I just sound like a huge nerd right now. Disembarkation was terribly unorganized, so be ready for that on the final day and don't book a flight that leaves early since we were scheduled to leave the ship at 8:15 and didn't get off until around 10. Overall, I don't regret choosing the cruise since the ports were amazing, and despite its flaws, there were some good parts about the cruise as well. 3/5 overall.

A decent cruise but with flaws

MSC Poesia Cruise Review by scott1686

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Interior Stateroom – Bella
My wife and I primarily chose this cruise for the ports and excursions, knowing full well that it got mediocre reviews, since it seemed to be the most cost-effective way to see all the different places that it visited. And from that perspective, it definitely delivered. As for the cruise itself, it wasn't the best but it wasn't the worst either. It was the third cruise we've ever been on (the first two were Caribbean cruises with Carnival, which we really enjoyed) so that's basically our only point of comparison.

Since our primary reason for choosing this cruise was the ports and excursions, I'll start there. We did a 7 day Mediterranean cruise with a stop every day, and every port was amazing. I would give every one of the places we saw 5 stars, without a doubt. As far as the excursions themselves, some were better than others.

Our first excursion, in Bari, Italy, was the Sassi di Matera. It was an amazing site, but the tour guide gave the tour in both English and German, so it felt like we were just getting canned commentary. It felt a little rushed while we were seeing the main site, and then we spent about an hour just in the town square while I would have much rather preferred to see more of the Sassi. Also, we had to pay to use the restrooms, which sucked. 3/5

Our second excursion was Olympia and its museum, and that tour guide was amazing. Our group was only in English so we learned a lot more, and our guide gave us plenty of time to explore the site. 5/5

Next up was the island of Delos in Mykonos. The island was awesome, but it was another German/English tour guide and this guy was even worse. His commentary was boring, he constantly stopped and had coughing fits, and he would leave us in areas of blazing sun to give long winded stories. Plus he kept getting upset at the group for stopping and taking pictures, at one point saying "what do they think, they're on vacation?" I actually wish I would have just left the group to see more of the island, because there was so much to see. 2/5

We then saw the Acropolis hill and the new Acropolis museum in Athens. This time they actually gave us two tour guides, one for English and one for Spanish, so it felt a lot more informative and the English tour guide was great. I felt a little rushed at the Acropolis hill when they gave us free time to take pictures, but there was a lot to cover after that so I guess it made sense. We ended up spending over an hour in the town square at the end though, which could have been more Acropolis time. 4/5

Next up was the stone city of Gjirokastër in Albania. The mountainous country side that we saw on the way there was amazing, and the views at the site were also amazing. Once again, we had two tour guides (English and Spanish) and our tour guide was an older Albanian man who had lived through the communist years and had some great commentary on everything. I learned a lot more about Albania than I ever thought I would and it was overall a great excursion. 5/5

The final excursion was the Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik. Our group was just English and the tour guide was great. He mixed in some Croatia history with the Game of Thrones information, so that was cool too. Plus I got to take a picture on an iron throne. The only part I didn't like was that it was such a short port day, so we didn't have time to go to an island where they shot scenes from Qarth. 4/5

Now for the cruise itself. One thing that really stood out (in a bad way) is how much MSC nickles-and-dimes you for everything. Drinks were expensive and had a mandatory service charge (even when I bought a can of soda the one night). They even charge you for water in the main dining room. For most of the ports, if you don't have an excursion, you have to pay to get to the main city area. The photos were insanely overprices (20 euros for one 8x10?!!!). There wasn't even a lot of entertainment activities on board, so most of the activities were things you have to pay for (casino, spa, shopping, drinking, buying photos, etc.).

As far as the food goes, we had originally booked the earlier dining time, but they gave us the later time. When we showed them our confirmation and tried to get it changed, the unfriendly concierge said "you're bella, you don't get priority, I'll put you on a waiting list". Luckily, they switched us for the second night, but that still wasn't a fun experience.

The food in the main dining room was great, although my wife has a gluten allergy and they were bad at getting food out at the same time when you have allergies (often times one of us would be done with dinner before the other one got their meal). The portions were a little small, but you can always go to the buffet later. As for the buffet food, some was bad and some was good, and the pizza was amazing for cruise ship pizza. As an American, I found some of the kids food selections funny (one night they had tortellini in a white sauce with prosciutto for the kids, which would be a fancy dinner in America). It was also a little annoying at times that the buffet didn't open for dinner until 7, since a lot of days we wouldn't eat lunch on the excursions.

We had an interior stateroom, which was small but clean, and the guy who cleaned our room was great and learned our names right away.

As I mentioned earlier, the entertainment was fairly lacking. On past Carnival cruises, I usually had a hard time deciding what to do because there were so many options, whereas on here there was basically the big show in the theater at night and one or two other smaller activities. I know part of it is because there are so many languages so it's harder to do things like trivia games, but it wouldn't kill them to have a scavenger hunt or something. The main theater shows were pretty good though for the most part, but outside of that I mostly just hung out in the room or at the buffet since there wasn't much else going on.

The cruise director was entertaining (his catch phrase "ohhhhhh yes" was very popular on board) and it was impressive watching him switch between 5 languages on the fly. In general, it's impressive how many languages the staff members all seem to know, but at times there was a bit of a language barrier (my wife, who is also allergic to pineapples, once said "no pineapples" and was given a plate of only pineapples).

We got the internet on board, which was pretty solid. If anyone plays Pokemon Go, you can use MSC's wifi and use incense to catch stuff while the cruise is moving. Plus, this particular cruise passes the Tropius regional line twice, so if you play the game, this is probably a huge detail, and if you don't then I just sound like a huge nerd right now.

Disembarkation was terribly unorganized, so be ready for that on the final day and don't book a flight that leaves early since we were scheduled to leave the ship at 8:15 and didn't get off until around 10.

Overall, I don't regret choosing the cruise since the ports were amazing, and despite its flaws, there were some good parts about the cruise as well. 3/5 overall.
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Cabin Review

Interior Stateroom – Bella
Cabin I1 10041
The cabin was clean and well maintained. It was a little small, as expected with an interior stateroom, but it got the job done and the bed was comfy. Our cleaning guy was awesome and learned our names on the first day.
D'Annunzio Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins