MSC Poesia for Easter Week!: MSC Poesia Cruise Review by carlacruz

MSC Poesia 5
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MSC Poesia for Easter Week!

Sail Date: April 2010
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 1:45 p.m., and were in our room by 2:30 p.m. Port Everglades's staff and MSC staff was equally courteous and efficient, which left us with a good 1st impression. There was a small hiccup, in that my room was reassigned from 11161 to 12142 (same balcony category). There were no escorts to the cabins like I had read in other reviews. I suppose with the number of passengers on this cruise (Easter Week), it wasn't really feasible to escort everyone to their cabins. The room was exactly like the photos we had seen on the web. We noticed that the body wash dispenser was missing from the shower. When we asked the room steward for soap, he gave us several bars. (On the last night of the cruise, our body wash dispenser was magically fixed.) Once we dropped off our bags, we headed up one flight of stairs to the lunch buffet. The lines were long, but I fully expected this all week with the number of passengers aboard. Our muster drill took place in the More Pigalle Lounge. There was no attendance taken, so we probably could have missed it without penalty.

Food: I thought the food was good, but I'm not that picky. They did have some unusual selections for American tastes like smoked herring and seafood stew with calamari, but they also had pizza, burgers, hot dogs, fries, vegetables, pasta, beef, chicken, etc. They also had a salad bar and fresh fruit. The drink selection was limited to unsweetened tea or water unless you wanted to order alcohol or soft drinks from the bar wait staff. We drank a lot of tea this week. They also had orange and pineapple juices for the breakfast buffet. We ate all of our dinners in our assigned main dining room (table 456): La Fontane Ristorante. We had the 1st sitting which was usually at 5:30 p.m. (a bit too early sometimes). Our table mates were great. We celebrated a birthday with them on the 2nd formal night. Service was slow at times. Our dinners were mostly hits, and a few misses. For example, the veal dish was very good one night, and so was the beef skirt steak. However, my mom ordered the filet steak one night, and it was overcooked and stringy (yuck!). On the 2nd formal night, I ordered the lobster, but it was a bit overcooked and rubbery. Appetizers and desserts were good, and so was the bread. Generally, their food was good, but not as good as Carnival. We certainly didn't go hungry.

Shows: We loved nearly all the shows we attended. There was juggling, beautiful cabaret singing by Mimma Barra, and Cirque du Soleil-style acts. We weren't too thrilled with the magic act though. We missed the classical opera-style show, so we only got to hear the male singer on the Thursday night show. We loved the Michael Jackson tribute! It was standing room only, so I'm glad we made it to the theater early enough to get a seat. Richard got a well-deserved standing ovation. They also introduced the rest of his entertainment team at the end of the show. The jazz trio in the Zebra Bar was excellent. Unfortunately, we only saw them on the way to the theater. The classical trio in the atrium area was good also.

Ports: We visited San Juan, St. Maarten, Virgin Gorda, and Nassau. I left my comments in the related port review section on Cruise Critic. We enjoyed all the ports, but Virgin Gorda and the Baths were a bit crowded during our visit.

Kid's Club and Shopping: My daughter (10 yrs old) has a mild form of Autism, so I usually limit the amount of time I leave her in the kids club on the ship. I was worried about the language barrier, as my daughter sometimes has trouble communicating, even at home. On sea days, I let her go in for about an hour each day and she seemed to have a good time. They played video games, watched DVDs and did art projects. She made a little mask with colorful tissue paper and poster board, but she lost it at the airport on the way home. On Easter Sunday, the kids programming director, Matteo, held a program in the theater with music videos and games involving the kids in the audience. They even had someone dressed in a bunny outfit taking photos with the kids. It was a little boring for the adults, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.

We didn't do a lot of shopping on board, but we did pick up a couple of refrigerator magnets and souvenir ink pens in the MSC Logo shop. The prices were high, as expected on a cruise ship. There were some other higher end shops on board and also a duty free shop. The held specials during the week, but we weren't interested.

Bars, Lounges, Casino, Specialty Restaurants: We don't drink, so we didn't really check out any of the bars or lounges. We also aren't into gambling, so we only saw the casino when walking through to get to the theater. We also passed by the library a few times, but it was always closed at those times. We did not partake in either of the specialty restaurants, so I have no opinion on them either.

Debarkation: Getting off the ship was just as efficient as getting on. We had to be out of our room by 7:00 a.m., so went upstairs to the final breakfast buffet. We left our bags with colored tags out the night before, and when they called our color, we debarked. We were off the ship before 9:30 a.m. We took the Go Shuttle ($10 pp) and were at the airport before 10:00 a.m. We couldn't check in for our flight until 4 hours before (11:10 a.m. for us). After I checked us in, we waited around for an hour, then had slices of pizza at Sbarro. Boarding for our flight began at 2:20 p.m. the flight was over-sold, so they bumped 7 people at the gate, offering them free tickets anywhere Spirit Airlines flies. After a slight delay, we were on our way home.

Final Thoughts: We had a fabulous cruise and wouldn't hesitate to cruise with MSC again. Their prices are reasonable and their ships are beautiful. There were a few hiccups with food and crowd control, but these can happen on any cruiseline. Announcements in 5 languages were fascinating. I had to admire our cruise director as she rattled them off without a hitch. I truly don't get the bad reviews that folks on Cruise Critic keep posting. I can't say that I have any major complaints that would cause me to "never cruise with MSC again". Maybe I'm just really easy-going, but we liked MSC, and we aren't ashamed to admit it. Less

Published 04/18/10

Cabin review: 1112142

Cabin 12142 was near the aft area of the ship. The room was a bit small, but that's to be expected on a cruse ship. The balcony was well shaded due to the overhang from the pool deck above. The buffet and pool were very convenient since it was right above us. We sometimes heard noise from above due to chairs and tables from the buffet area. We only felt mild engine vibration when docking in port. Overall, the room was just fine.

Port and Shore Excursions

Since we had toured Nassau on a prior cruise, we decided to try Atlantis for the day. There was a huge line to get off the ship, so we sat in the atrium seating until the crowd cleared. We took a taxi to Atlantis for $4 pp and went on a mission to find the casino to buy day passes. Unfortunately, by the time we found it, they were sold out already. So we went to The Dig (aquarium) and bought “Discover Atlantis” tour passes ($35 pp). The tour guide took us through the aquariums and marine habitats as well as the outside areas of the resort. The tour lasted about an hour. We explored a little more on our own, and then picked up some souvenirs before heading back to the ship.

Read 5011 Nassau Reviews

We had never been to San Juan, so when we arrived around 2:00 p.m. we got off immediately and took the free trolley to the forts. Our 1st stop was El Morro, which was very majestic with its high walls and well-worn exterior. The ramps and stairways were very steep, and we weren't prepared for the strenuous walking involved. Our 2nd stop was San Cristobal, which is a little smaller than El Morrow, but just as interesting. We missed the stop on the way, so we took the trolley through Old San Juan until it looped back to San Cristobal. The trolley back to the ship took a bit longer than we expected (near 30 min.), but we were in port until 11:00 p.m. so we had plenty of time. We even stopped by the CVS near the dock to pick up a few snacks and soft drinks before re-boarding.

Read 2945 San Juan Reviews

We’ve toured St. Maarten before so we were laid-back and took the water taxi to Great Bay. We then rented 2 chairs and an umbrella for $20, which included 5 beers or 2 frozen drinks. We ended up ordering a virgin Pina Colada, and a virgin Strawberry Daiquiri. My mom got her hair braided for $20. We frolicked in the sun and sand with my daughter for just over 3 hours, and then headed back to the ship.

We had never been to Virgin Gorda before, so I booked the ship’s excursion to The Baths. If I had known we were definitely going to anchor and tender into Spanish Town, I would have saved $28 pp and took a taxi to The Baths for about $4 pp. Oh well, live and learn?. We had to meet the tour group at 7:30 a.m. in the theater, and just before 8:00 a.m., we were on a tender to Spanish Town. After a short wait for a taxi bus, we were headed for The Baths. Our tour escort gave us our free drink coupons and advised us on physical requirements for touring The Baths caves. Mom and I were a bit worried that we couldn’t handle the caves so we just headed for the beach area next to it. After frolicking in the sun and surf with my daughter for a couple of hours, we decided we would try the caves after all. So the 3 of us went in. It was challenging, but fun, so we kept going until we hit a huge bottleneck in the middle. Apparently, there was a RCCL tour group attempting to leave the caves at the same time people were entering. Since the caves aren’t really formed for 2-way traffic, it was a disaster. Tempers were short, and crowds were growing. After a while, we just gave up, and headed out the way we came in. We never did make it to Devil’s Bay due to crowded caves. Then to add insult to injury, we had to make steep the climb back to the “Top of The Baths” for our free drinks. By the time we hauled our out-of-shape bodies to the top, we were near fainting. After guzzling our 6 oz. fruit punch, we were exhausted and ready to head back to the ship. The taxi bus ride back was not very organized, and our tour escort was nowhere to be found. We finally were able to board a taxi, and make the bumpy ride back to town. We shopped in the marina area, and then got in a very long line in the hot sun to board a tender back to the ship. Note to self: Do not book a Baths excursion during Easter Week! If we ever get to Virgin Gorda again, I hope I will be more physically fit to handle the long walk and steep climbing.

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