We enjoyed everything about our MSC Poesia carribean cruise, but do see why it might not be for everyone. Things are a little different since there are so many different nationalities, languages, and cultures that they market to. It is important to remember that what might constitute poor service in the US (i.e. "slow" service at dinner) is an expectation in Europe. So - the reviews weren't necessarily wrong, they just had different expectations. I will cover the basics next with my perspective on each one:
1. Food- This is an important part of the cruising experience for most people and we are no exception. We found the food to be excellent. The quality was the same or better than our other cruise experiences (Norwegian and Royal Carribean) We ate at the cafeteria restaurant for breakfast and lunch and found that they had lots of choices to eat light or heavy and the food tasted great. I would note that the room service breakfast menu was very light- more of a european (continental) breakfast. But we had tea and coffee delivered with hot milk (a nice touch) and then went up to get some eggs and fruit.
2. The Cabin- The bathroom was the most spacious cruise bathroom I have encountered. There was plenty of cupboard space in the bathroom and in the room. The bed was huge -king I think- which didn't leave space for a couch that I have had in other balcony rooms but there was a vanity and chair. The balcony had 2 comfortable chairs and a table and we enjoyed it very much.
3. Cabin Service- We had excellent service. Our steward asked us right away if we needed any additional pillows and when I asked for more hangers he produced some right away. He kept our ice bucket filled and made lovey designs with the sheets when folding back our bed. He did NOT make towel animals. A small disappointment but I got over it quickly. He did make interesting designs with my Sister in-laws nightgown every night.
4. Entertainment and Activities- The nightly show was excellent quality we enjoyed it a lot. The opera night was a stretch for us but we still enjoyed it! Loved the acrobatics! The activities team was wonderful. We really enjoyed the dance lessons. they took a full hour and really made sure you learned the dances. Also they offered a 30 minute stretching and 30 minute aerobics classes that were actually a good work-out - for free.
5. Spa - I spent plenty of time there- services were similar to what I have experienced on other cruises, but they didn't offer the "classes" that others have, but i didn't really miss them. I was able to pamper myself just fine. Tip- wait until the end of the cruise as the spa services are discounted by 50%, I had bought a package that wasn't that great of a deal, so she threw in an extra service for me when I asked about it.
6. Service- In general the service was fine. Some staff are more friendly than others but I found them all to be helpful when asked. Dinners were very leisurely (some might say slow)in the European tradition. I did hear some horror stories on board but didn't experience them directly - AND - I have heard service horror stories about many different cruise lines.
7. Language- All announcements are made in 5 or 6 languages - which can make the announcements long. We used the time to see if we could figure out waht they were saying. We were very humbled that so maany of the staff and most of the non-english speaking guests could speak so many languages. We are planning to buy Rosetta Stone for Spanish and learn a 2nd language,
This cabin is close to the Bow of the ship. There were no cabins at the end of the ship, so the door at the end of our hallway led out to a huge almost private deck. We thought about throwing a party there but were too busy having fun to get it organized:) It was very quiet on our floor and the location was wonderful.
We had never been here before. Walked down Duvall Street, listened to a free concert at the Church, ate at Sloppy Joe's and then went paragliding tour. Ahh, we had to get a shot of Tequila for my Sister-in-law first. We had a nice time but I would do a bit more research before going back. I am sure we missed some good stuff!
We skipped the organized excursions and found a ferry ride to the Dunn's Falls when we got off the boat. We loved it! Unless you are very timid don't pay for or take a guided "tour" at the falls. Wear your bathing suit, pay for a locker and then enjoy the challenge of climbing up the rocks on your own. The guided tours take the easiest route and you hold hands the whole way. I was so glad we said no! It was a blast. An underwater camera would have been useful. We just went back and got the camera and then ran back up the path to get pictures at the top of the falls. I think you can take a taxi and/or rent a car to get to the falls. That might have been good too, but this worked for us. We had time afterwards to go to the market and walk into town. The shop people were very sweet - not as aggressive as I have seen elsewhere and they took "no" well. We did have one gentleman who attached himself to us as a "guide" and we had a hard time getting rid of him but finally succeeded.
We went to the beach on our own. We paid $4 per person for a cab each way and they told us that you didn't have to pay for the beach loungers but that was not true. $10 to rent a lounger and $10 for an umbrella, so $23 to go to the beach, but it was nice. We did not eat but they did offer food and drinks at the beach. I think the cruise offered an excursion with food and drink included- so that might have been a better deal!
Afterward we did a little shopping- very expensive.
We rented a Jeep for $50 for the day. We should have inspected it first and done a better negotiating job, but it was very fun. We drove across the island and stopped and the ruins in the center of the Island. Looked around there for about an hour, then continued driving to the other side and down and around. Stopped at a beach restaurant, ate some wonderful tacos and nachos and drank big margaritas. We hoped to have time to swim but the beach we were at was pretty rocky in the water. Not sure if the earlier beaches would have been better. The later ones were VERY Rocky, So I think we would stop earlier if I get to do it again.