The best cruise value for families w/ kids < 17 years old: MSC Poesia Cruise Review by Comrade1963

MSC Poesia 5
Member Since 2010

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The best cruise value for families w/ kids < 17 years old

Sail Date: November 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Our family of five with an 8-year-old son and 11 and 13-year-old daughters had a great experience on this cruise. The ship is in immaculate condition and everywhere we turned there were crew members polishing brass or cleaning some component of the ship.

Our cabin and bathroom were always clean when we returned, and our dining room waiter, "YoYo" was very friendly and sincere without being obsequious. He made sure we liked what we ordered or offered to bring us something else. The

menu was diverse, and the food was similar in quality to other cruises we've been on, but just as with those cruises, sometimes we loved what was served and sometimes we were underwhelmed. For example, the soups were almost always really tasty, and so were the pasta entrees, but the desserts were hit or miss. The cheesecakes were not as sweet as we expected, but then, many Italian-style desserts aren't. The Tiramisu was good and so were the pastries and mascarpone, but the apple pie wasn't More at all what Americans are used to. Entree standouts were the Thanksgiving turkey dinner, the Gala-night fillet mignon and turkey cordon bleu. The grilled chicken was really tender and the fruits and vegetables were all very good. The breakfast and lunch buffets had more than enough choices and the salad bar had everything you could imagine. All produce was unbelievably fresh to the very last day. A pizza buffet rounded out the selections and the overlapping nature of the dining room and buffet times meant there was always something to eat.

We attended every after-dinner show in the theater and enjoyed the slightly different dancing and circus-like acts with a new theme each night. The first night had a US historical theme, another night had reenactments of Broadway musicals and one night focused on famous Italian operas. Standouts were the trapeze performers, the male "feats of strength"/gymnastics act, the knife thrower and the male and female opera singers. Although there were no comedians, the ship's "animation (entertainment) team" hosted audience participation shows like the "Mr. Italy" competition and various-themed trivia contests that involved really funny skits--sometimes at the passenger-participant's expense. The classical piano/string trio played in the main atrium many times a day and was excellent.

To keep the costs down, we didn't do any excursions, but there's really not enough time to do much more than shop and enjoy the beaches or snorkel. Swimming with dolphins seems like fun until you hear the $150/person price and learn that it's 2 dolphins, 9 swimmers and a 30' pool.

One of the best parts of the cruise was the composition of the passengers. Most were an upper middle class, middle-aged or older crowd with some elementary-aged/teen kids that were all well-behaved. About half were Americans and the other half Canadians, Europeans, South Americans and Asians. It was a refreshing mix of languages and cultures all getting along together and enjoying their families, and the ship never seemed crowded.

In short, if you're looking for on-board rock climbing, ice skating and surfing or are interested in eating 8 meals a day this probably isn't the cruise for you. But if you want a good family vacation with an elegant Italian decor, no stress and lots of good memories, you'll love this cruise! Less

Published 12/01/10

Cabin review: 2102XX

Very clean cabins and bathrooms that were larger than expected. Cabins are pretty typical size-wise.

Port and Shore Excursions

Lots to do here. We spent $35 for 9 of us to ride 15 minutes to Paradise Cove where our kids enjoyed huge inflatable water toys for $12 per kid. Internet access was free here and beach chairs were $2 each. Shopping near the port was also better here than most of the other ports and prices were better.

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Good snorkeling within walking distance from the ship. Van excursions at the port cost $40/person and you only get to snorkel for 45 minutes each at two locations. Skip it and walk to $14 snorkel gear rental down the street. Our kids loved it.

We wish we had more time at this port. We shopped and swam at a somewhat rocky beach within walking distance, but there were two coast guard boats that you could tour and many other historical features that would have taken several days to see.

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Make sure you exit the port through the Jamaican tourist facility and look for the shopping walkway to the left, otherwise 50 local cab/tour operators won't stop pestering you.

Lots of offers to buy drugs here. Go to the flea market, buy some good rum at the only grocery store and head back to the boat for lunch and uncrowded pools.

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Member Since 2010
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