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We made the mistake of booking the cruise before checking out reviews. Had we read the reviews first we would likely have booked with another cruise line. Having said that, our experience was not as bad as other reviews might lead you to believe. We've previously cruised with both Tui and Royal Caribbean, and it's clear that MSC isn't quite up to that standard. Embarkation was a little awkward and involved a great deal more queuing than we've previously experienced on others. This isn't really an issue. The ship itself is modern and relatively clean. Plenty of bars to relax in, a decent sized gym, a very nice theatre and nice dining area. The entertainment was an eye-opener. Individual acts were very good, such as a quartet of talented gymnasts, two contortionists, a 'lazer-girl' and more. However, they filled it with what appeared to be amateur dancers. They seemed to be all over the place and it made absolutely no sense. It ruined what could have been an impressive show. A couple minutes of exciting performances from the main acts, then 5 minutes of complete chaos. Away from this, there always seemed to be something going on around the ship to keep people entertained, but we didn't take part in any of it so couldn't comment. The ships itinerary was the main reason behind us booking; Venice, Dubrovnik and Mykonos were the main ports we were looking forward to and they certainly lived up to expectation. Piraeus (Athens) was also very good and the excursion to see the Parthenon/Acropolis was excellent. However, the excursion for Olympia was poor due to the tour guide. He made everyone feel like they were at school and there was no time to explore. Probably not his fault, but not ideal. We didn't see too much of Bari. It seemed nice but maybe not somewhere you'd go out of your way to see. What really let the cruise down was the port of Sarande in Albania. How they can get away with stopping here is beyond me. We took an excursion to the beaches of Ksamil and granted, the beaches are stunning. But if you step back a few metres and you enter what looks like the hotel arrival scene from the Inbetweeners movie. No problem, everywhere is different and that's the beauty of seeing different countries. But the people made you feel very uncomfortable, and the tour guide literally dropped us off and disappeared without a word. Top that off with one of the two buses leaving 2 hours before we were told to meet at the end of the day (sums up what people thought of the place), and then being hurried on to the second bus before that disappeared off in to the distance, it just made the whole day a nervy, unpleasant experience. We'd have been better off staying on the ship. The food was European. Absolutely nothing wrong with it whatsoever, the only downside was that the menu in the buffet didn't change right through the cruise. We read reviews saying that the food was poor, but it was absolutely fine, just maybe different to what you're used to at home. Other reviews mentioned that because it's a multi-lingual cruise, the announcements and entertainment was in several languages. This is true, and if you're language is further down the pecking order you can switch off and end up missing what you're saying. The languages are no issue and it made it a better experience for us as you felt like you were on holiday abroad, as it should be. They do sting you when using the waiter/waitress service in the bar areas (€10 a time!), but you can opt out at the end, saving you a heap! We don't mind tipping, but €10 each time you order a couple of drinks seemed like daylight robbery. Would I cruise with MSC again? No. Did I enjoy the cruise overall? Yes. For the sake of the itinerary (minus Albania), you should experience it too. What other way can you easily experience these places in one week?

Not as bad as some reviews might suggest

MSC Poesia Cruise Review by brayshaw_17

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2018
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom – Fantastica
We made the mistake of booking the cruise before checking out reviews. Had we read the reviews first we would likely have booked with another cruise line.

Having said that, our experience was not as bad as other reviews might lead you to believe. We've previously cruised with both Tui and Royal Caribbean, and it's clear that MSC isn't quite up to that standard.

Embarkation was a little awkward and involved a great deal more queuing than we've previously experienced on others. This isn't really an issue.

The ship itself is modern and relatively clean. Plenty of bars to relax in, a decent sized gym, a very nice theatre and nice dining area.

The entertainment was an eye-opener. Individual acts were very good, such as a quartet of talented gymnasts, two contortionists, a 'lazer-girl' and more. However, they filled it with what appeared to be amateur dancers. They seemed to be all over the place and it made absolutely no sense. It ruined what could have been an impressive show. A couple minutes of exciting performances from the main acts, then 5 minutes of complete chaos.

Away from this, there always seemed to be something going on around the ship to keep people entertained, but we didn't take part in any of it so couldn't comment.

The ships itinerary was the main reason behind us booking; Venice, Dubrovnik and Mykonos were the main ports we were looking forward to and they certainly lived up to expectation. Piraeus (Athens) was also very good and the excursion to see the Parthenon/Acropolis was excellent. However, the excursion for Olympia was poor due to the tour guide. He made everyone feel like they were at school and there was no time to explore. Probably not his fault, but not ideal. We didn't see too much of Bari. It seemed nice but maybe not somewhere you'd go out of your way to see.

What really let the cruise down was the port of Sarande in Albania. How they can get away with stopping here is beyond me. We took an excursion to the beaches of Ksamil and granted, the beaches are stunning. But if you step back a few metres and you enter what looks like the hotel arrival scene from the Inbetweeners movie. No problem, everywhere is different and that's the beauty of seeing different countries. But the people made you feel very uncomfortable, and the tour guide literally dropped us off and disappeared without a word. Top that off with one of the two buses leaving 2 hours before we were told to meet at the end of the day (sums up what people thought of the place), and then being hurried on to the second bus before that disappeared off in to the distance, it just made the whole day a nervy, unpleasant experience. We'd have been better off staying on the ship.

The food was European. Absolutely nothing wrong with it whatsoever, the only downside was that the menu in the buffet didn't change right through the cruise. We read reviews saying that the food was poor, but it was absolutely fine, just maybe different to what you're used to at home.

Other reviews mentioned that because it's a multi-lingual cruise, the announcements and entertainment was in several languages. This is true, and if you're language is further down the pecking order you can switch off and end up missing what you're saying. The languages are no issue and it made it a better experience for us as you felt like you were on holiday abroad, as it should be.

They do sting you when using the waiter/waitress service in the bar areas (€10 a time!), but you can opt out at the end, saving you a heap! We don't mind tipping, but €10 each time you order a couple of drinks seemed like daylight robbery.

Would I cruise with MSC again? No. Did I enjoy the cruise overall? Yes.

For the sake of the itinerary (minus Albania), you should experience it too. What other way can you easily experience these places in one week?
brayshaw_17’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom – Fantastica
Cabin B2 9044
Compared to Tui and Royal Caribbean, the MSC Poesia cabin we stayed in was much better. It was modern and comfortable, and had everything you'd expect from a cruise cabin.
Leopardi Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews