An Msc Poesia sampler cruise was to dip a toe hesitantly into the world of Italian cruises again, as we had had a really dire experience on a rival Italian line. Embarkation was speedily accomplished and we were welcomed aboard and shown, along well lit, wide corridors, to a lovely balcony cabin. It was well laid out, nicely furnished in shades of navy, with ample wardrobe and drawer space. The bed was comfortable, but could definitely have done with more pillows and some cushions. The bathroom was small with a tiny, curtained shower, supplied with generous dispensers. Nice fluffy robes were supplied, but no slippers or shower cap. We went to have a cafeteria lunch which had good choices, though a poor salad selection, and which served excellent pizzas and pastas as you would expect. Dining was in one of 2 main dining rooms, with well spaced tables and prompt service. Menu choices were good, though again, salads and vegetables were the weak element. We were pleasantly surprised to have acceptable house wines offered at a modest 7 euros for a large carafe, and that wine list and bar prices were lower than on many cruise lines. Day time activities were limited with few takers, and were enthusiastically organised by a multilingual team. Announcements, again, multilingual, were not as intrusive as on other European lines, and were speedily dealt with by the friendly Cruise director and her staff. We found Poesia's evening entertainment to be of a high standard, with full shows, alas to pre-recorded music, in the lovely, comfortable theatre. It was interesting to have a cabaret of very European, high quality acrobat and juggling acts on the final evening. Throughout the ship were several comfortable lounges offering live music, from opera, jazz, and classical to dance music for most tastes, plus a very trendy disco sited well away from cabins, and a delightful nightclub with secluded corners for those who just wanted a quiet drink. We think MSC offer a very good European experience cruise in elegant, comfortable style.
Cabin 10002 right at the very front of the ship was very quiet with a metal fronted balcony. It is stroll to the lifts and cafeteria areas, but handy for the dining room and theatre.
Bruges is a lovely city of quiet canals, museums and cathedral with a welter of comfortable cafes and tempting chocolate shops. It is a city eminently suited to strolling, so equipped with a map, you can wander for hours. Bruges is easily reached from the port of Zeebrugge, by taking the tram into the nearby town of Blankenberg, then the train into Bruges centre, both at the cost of a few euros.