Our first MSC Cruise; definitely not our last!: MSC Poesia Cruise Review by okroxyk

MSC Poesia 5
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Our first MSC Cruise; definitely not our last!

Sail Date: March 2010
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We booked our cruise in January for a March 17, departure. We were able to secure very good rates and this is the main reason that we chose this cruise line. This was my third cruise, my son,Ted's second, and his girlfriend Karin's, first. After reading the on-line reviews of MSC cruises, I must say we were quite concerned, as they appeared to fall well below average in all areas of cruising. We decided to keep an open mind and judge for ourselves. And, if nothing else we were leaving the Pacific Northwest weather behind! How bad could it be?

We stayed in Ft. Lauderdale for two nights prior to our cruise. We stayed at The Hampton Inn and it was super. Check in time was 3:00 p.m., but we flew in at 6:00 a.m., so we went to the hotel to leave our luggage. The desk clerk rearranged his reservations so that we could get our room right then and there was no extra charge. They have a great, complimentary, breakfast buffet every morning from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and we totally More enjoyed that. Everything from ham and eggs, omelets, cereals, pastries, toast, and make your own waffles. Coffee, tea, juices, and milk. It was a fantastic way to start the day.

We had originally booked inside stateroom guarantee, with no specific cabin assigned. Imagine our joy at discovering that we had been bumped up to a cabin with a huge window and great view for myself, and Ted and Karin were bumped up to a balcony! What a great way to start. Embarkation was fantastically quick and easy. We arrived around 11:30 and were in our cabins by 12:30. We had the option to carry our luggage on, which was never offered on our other cruises and it was very reassuring to have everything with us. We had a lost luggage issue on our last cruise and that did scare us a bit. (We also were able to leave the ship first at disembarkation and carry our luggage off. This was great as we had an early flight. We were off the ship and on our way to the airport by 8:00 a.m.) Upon embarking, the lunch buffet was a few minutes behind, as the U.S. Health Department had boarded and was doing an inspection. The Captain made an announcement after they left to apologize for the delay and to thank the crew for passing with a 100% grade. The food was very good, hot, and plentiful. The selection was wide and varied. It continued to be completely wonderful throughout our trip.

Our cabins were immaculate, the service was great, everything was restocked and completely cleaned twice a day. I found the cabins and especially the bathrooms to be slightly larger than on other cruises. The flat screen TV's were great, and we had in room movies available and regular TV programming (limited) and this was a great plus! The prices for mini-bar items were slightly lower than most, as were the cocktail, beer and wine prices in the lounges and dining rooms.

As for the dining rooms, we found the selection to be fantastic, and looked forward to checking our choices daily. The food was wonderful, service was very good, and we didn't have any communication issues. Even if you do, a little patience works wonders. As Americans, we are used to having unlimited food available at all hours day or night, and that did take a little getting used to. We found ourselves adjusting quite nicely, and really enjoyed using complimentary room service(available 24 hrs. a day)for appetizers and snacks on the balcony. Snacks were also available in the duty free store and that was nice. There were self serve ice cream cones poolside all day, every day. Karin even took plates of snacks from the buffet, back to her cabin, as she has low blood sugar, so we had more than enough to eat!

What can you say about the Caribbean? It was everything and more than we could even imagine. The beaches were spectacular, the people very friendly, and the prices good. We sampled the local food in every port and it was fantastic. We did not book any excursions because we wanted to be free to explore on our own. Not only did we have more freedom this way, we actually saved money as taxi's and shuttles are very inexpensive, and all of the activities are available on shore once you leave the ship. All of the shopping and beaches are easily accessible and nearby.

A quick summary: Food, service, cleanliness, amenities, activities etc. all receive an A plus from all three of us. If there were any negatives, perhaps it is the announcements being done in five languages. Or, the fact that you have to open your cabin door to really hear them. This ship is designed with a center bulkhead, so you have to circumvent that at times to get where you are going. Not really a big deal if you remember ahead of time. Other than that, we can't really think of any thing else, so we would definitely cruise with MSC again. Less

Published 04/04/10

Cabin review: 058133

Larger than usual, larger bathroom, very quiet, very nicely stocked, great black-out drapes. The view was through the lifeboat area but was still a good view. Large closet, lots of drawers, large vanity with cupboards in bath.

Port and Shore Excursions

We did not explore Nassau itself. We opted to go to Paradise Island, and it was fantastic. MSC didn't offer this as an excursion so we took a taxi to the resort and bought day passes. I was a little skeptical as it was pretty pricey, $110.00 per person, but as it turned out, it was well worth the price. As a 57 years young lady, water parks are not usually my thing, but this is a fantastic experience. The first thing we did after taking a lot of pictures was to rent a locker and put everything except our towels in it. You don't even need your cover-up, it'll just get in the way. Let me say right away that the food leans towards amusement park quality and is very pricey. We did not go inside the resort to try those restaurants because we were in swim wear, and it might have been better. We snacked and opted to have dinner on the ship. Next, we went down the water slide that goes through the middle of the sharks tank! Seeing them up close and personal is amazing. We then discovered the lazy river and it was probably one of our favorite things of the entire trip. Floating in a tube, keeping cool, and than come the rapids! Very exciting, but not so strenuous, so that just about any one, any age can participate. It was so much fun that we did it twice. Ted and Karin also rode some slides that I deemed a little too much for me, so I waited for them at the beach and swam and sunbathed. There were so many swimming pools and beaches inside the resort, that I couldn't count them, and they are all available with the day pass, as are all of the slides. There is entertainment and music everywhere, which lends a nice flavor to it.

Read 5044 Nassau Reviews

We walked around town and did a lot of sight seeing. The historic sites are very interesting. Also, a lot of shopping. Great stores with great deals. The people were very friendly and helpful. We ate dinner at 'The Tijuana ' right on the water by the cruise terminal. The food was fantastic and very plentiful. We only had a short time in San Juan, so we didn't get to explore as much as we would have liked.

Read 2976 San Juan Reviews

St. Maarten is a fantastic and beautiful place to visit. We left the ship and did some shopping. We found the prices quite good and you can shop for everything from alcohol and cigarettes, to clothing and diamonds. Be sure to check the custom requirements before purchasing alcohol and cigarettes as there is a limit to what you can bring back. We received a different answer to this question in every shop we visited. After we had our fill of shopping. we went to the beach. It cost us $10.00 for two beach loungers and $5.00 for an umbrella, plus they through in a third lounger for free.They were very nice and came back a couple of times to rearrange the umbrella so that it kept the sun off of us. The water was spectacular and the temperature was approx. 85 degrees. Be sure to use your sun screen. People were burning in very short times. Watch for the local ladies that come around selling goods. We purchased additional beach cover-ups as we discovered that when you leave the ship in each port, everyone wears swim suit and cover-up. You don't need anything else. Also, one lady came around selling an aloe beach massage. It cost $25.00 for Karin's neck and back massage and $10.00 for my foot and leg massage. It was fantastic, laying right there on the beach and getting a massage! She used fresh aloe from stalks that she carried with her. There was a restaurant and bar right behind us, so we went up there for lunch. We sat a counter that was open to the outdoors and faced the ocean. The bacon cheeseburgers were delicious as was the fresh Mahi. We tried beers from Jamaica and Trinidad. It was a really glorious day.

A very authentic port to visit. We thoroughly enjoyed it, although the people were a little less friendly overall. There was a tent city shopping mall just off of the cruise terminal, and that was fun. We took a taxi ($6.00 ea.) up and over a mountain to the beach. This is a very good trip for picture taking from the viewpoints, but not a ride for the faint of heart. I kept my head down and my eyes closed all the way! The road is just over one and a half lanes wide and it is a two way street. Need I say more? We ended up at Cane Garden Bay and it was breathtaking. The water was perfect and the beach was clean and uncrowded. Same as before with the chairs and umbrella. There were a couple of gift shops here and a restaurant which we opted not to eat at. There was a restroom and it was surprisingly clean. After we came back to town we walked all over looking for something to eat. Restaurants seem to be few and far between. We finally found 'Pusser's Pub" on the main street of town, about half a mile from the ship,and it was outstanding. It's like an old Pirate's tavern and has a fun atmosphere. Good drinks and great food. The service was really good also. Don't miss this place if your in Tortola! We thought that Tortola was similar to what you see in movies, and therefore just what you expect, from driving on the wrong side of the road, to chickens running around everywhere. We would definitely return.

Read 1239 Tortola Reviews

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