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27 MSC Cruises New York (Manhattan) Cruise Reviews

We booked this trip one year ago on the MSC Seaside. When we booked there were various “packages” available. We choose Aurea experience which included the deluxe package which became the Premium drink package. During the year MSC ... Read More
We booked this trip one year ago on the MSC Seaside. When we booked there were various “packages” available. We choose Aurea experience which included the deluxe package which became the Premium drink package. During the year MSC changed their packaging but we didn’t change our booking. I give you this background so you can fully appreciate the misadventures we have had. The first issue was embarkation- over 3 hours to get on from curb to the ship. An hour an a half of it outside in the cold schlepping our bags the whole way . Now I am not lazy but we had our 80 year old mother with us who walks with a cane. There was no where for her to sit and we had to deal with our bags and hers - making for a lot of maneuvering. Once finally in we went to get wheel chair assistance only to find out there were people who had been waiting over two hours already . Mom was so tired she just wanted to get on board so we proceeded to the priority embarkation (black card status privilege) to line up for another hour and a half. Again no seats or refreshments. Then for the first time ever we waited another 1/2 hour to get up the boarding causeway . There was a number of travel agents in for the day for a cruise ship tour and so we couldn’t go on if they were coming off . We made sure each agent was aware of the issues - probably offsetting any goodwill gained in the tour. Eventually a MSC staff said there was another walkway at the back of the ship but by then we were actually almost on the gangway. Our next issue was that the alcohol package we booked wasn’t on our card at all. We tried to discuss this with guest relations but they said nothing they could do. The bar and catering manager finally quasi fixed it but only gave us a classic package rather than the premium we had under our original booking . I am so We are now on day three of the trip and have had the port cancelled due to a delayed sailing on account of weather . So I don’t blame MSC for the onboarding - that sounds like a port authority and port agent issue. I don’t blame them for the weather - we all know that no one controls that. But........when a company of this size refused to honour the contents of their contract there are bigger issues at play. I have also now found that they have charged items to my account that were not signed for - with again the horrendous guest relations comment of - well I guess they forgot to get you to sign . With absolutely no remorse they said they would put a note on the file. At this point I am ready to remove the daily gratuity charge to offset the additional charges I am getting hit with (those known and those unknown) however I know that hurts those staff that have no ability to change this sucky situation. So instead I feel a review to warn people about this situation is better . By the way we are seasoned travellers and my husband is a cruise agent so it is not like we don’t know what we are doing . My advice at this point is to avoid this cruise line until they get their act together . Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We Arrived in New York 21st overnighted then Boarded next day Saturday. No Luggage labbles available/supplied until the Bus has arrived at the dock & we had waited over 20 minutes. Boarded the Poesia & escorted to our Cabin on ... Read More
We Arrived in New York 21st overnighted then Boarded next day Saturday. No Luggage labbles available/supplied until the Bus has arrived at the dock & we had waited over 20 minutes. Boarded the Poesia & escorted to our Cabin on Deck 12 (Balcony). First couple of days experience "passable" but the continual 5 languages begun to annoy. ENGLISH (1748 english speaking passengers)LATIN(OK it is a Latin Ship) GERMAN ( I know that most Greman schools teach German as a second language)FRENCH & SPANISH. The Impression we obtained (along with numerous other passengers was that ANNA (Cruise Director) liked the sound of her voice & desired to show how clever she is. Food, passable but SO REPERTICOUS absoluteley no variation to Breakfast & lunch in the Buffett Diner poorly cooked presented & the variety appalling. Crusie Shows NO LIVE BAND IN THE THRETER; no intrduction of the EXCELLENT PERFORMERS. On the final night supposed to be HIGHTLIGHTS OF THE CRUISE not one singer no dancing no crowd involvement ect ect ect. Tours good but very much over priced $98 each to see the town & canal we did it by Taxi $25 each WHY THE ENNORMOUS PRICE HIKE. Staff distant did NOT show ANY Hospitality to Passengers & seemed to be allocated one task,ie pick up dirty plates that is ALL I DO do not suggest I should pick up dirty glasses. Service Charge "NOT NEGOTIABLE" $12/day/passenger. If Passengers chose to "tip" individual Staff can"happen" but the service charge WILL NOT BE REMOVED UNTIL AFTER CLOSE OF BUSINESS LAST NIGHT. 0545 morning of arrival over 250 lined up trying to sort out Service Charge ect. Why can not the accounts be closed say 8.00pm last night & the ability be given to sort out questions during the last night. MANY OTHER CRUISE LINES OPERATE THIS WAY; no it seems to be TOOO HARD FOR MSC besides THIS IS THE WAY MSC OPERATES PASSENGERS DO AS WE SAY. It almost seems in good Faulty Towers style: MSC would run a very happy contented problem free cruise if it was PASSENGER FREE. & believe me my family will contribute to making MSC PASSENGER FREE. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Our cruise on the MSC Poesia turned out to be one of our best ever. We were concerned about the many negative reviews we had seen prior to sailing, but were pleasantly surprised! THE FOOD: It's about what you'd expect on any ... Read More
Our cruise on the MSC Poesia turned out to be one of our best ever. We were concerned about the many negative reviews we had seen prior to sailing, but were pleasantly surprised! THE FOOD: It's about what you'd expect on any cruise. More Italian and Mediterranean dishes(which was a plus for us).Some items are never seen on other lines. Buffet food could have been warmer. Cruise food is cruise food-and at over 1000 meals per hour,it's very good. MSC was BETTER than I expected on FOOD. Pasta dishes tremendous. Don't miss trying a dining room lunch. STAFF: They were great! Always seemed happy, no long faces observed. Eager to help and please. No language problems. ROOM: Maybe a bit smaller than balconies that I am used to, but OK. They need to add some shelving over the TV area for books and things. A few clothes hooks on the wall too. The view in AFT cabin is spectacular. THE SHIP: Cleanest ship I have ever been on. Space on deck was tight, but never had trouble getting a space. Daily paper could use more local info on Ports (taxi and beach recommendations for example, like Princess does) Entertainment- Again, about what you'd expect. Very good. Magician great. Summary: We really enjoyed the European feel to this cruise. The multiple language messages were infrequent, and not bothersome. We will do MSC again-the next time without the concern about negative reviews. We had a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
The MSC Poesia is a beautiful ship with well appointed high end decor. It is fastidiously clean. Some of the crew members ( the cabin crew, the dining room waiters and some of the servers in the lounges were pleasant and put their hearts ... Read More
The MSC Poesia is a beautiful ship with well appointed high end decor. It is fastidiously clean. Some of the crew members ( the cabin crew, the dining room waiters and some of the servers in the lounges were pleasant and put their hearts and skills into their jobs, but the majority did not. I will never cruise with them again and hope that this review will keep others from making the same mistake. MSC's management focuses on what is best for their business and their employees. They have no respect for the cruisers. We felt like we were treated like cargo. Some of the examples are as follows. We booked a 14 day cruise to Canada and New England. In reality it was two seven day cruises as, aside from the ports of call, meals and entertainment were duplicated. The entertainment was low budget and lacked diversification. They had a staff of dancers and singers which they used each night. They also had a juggler, a magician and an acrobatic act. Week 2 did not even have the juggler nor the arobic act. Boring and cheap! And... the cruise director was nothing more than a translator. She opened each show with a welcome message in about 5 or 6 languages. Do you have any idea how annoying that is? She was aloof and lacked any interpersonal skills. She had no clue as to what a cruise director can do for an audience. She was merely a figurehead. The lounge entertainers were talented. We did enjoy them. The cafeteria was open until 10:00AM for breakfast in the morning. If you got there at 10:01, they closed the partitions right in front of you and then began mopping the floors while you were still eating. On the 8th day, they closed the cafeteria at 9:15 without sufficient notice to anyone. There were hundreds of us trying to get at least cereal, but they did nothing. We were just out of luck. Getting coffee, tea or icewater was supposed to be a 24 hour item, but you were hard pressed to find a coffee spicket that had coffee in it. There were many crew members in the cafeteria but most were busy talking to one another in some other language. If you needed them, you had to interupt them. They obviously never been told by management that their job was to serve the cruisers. Without us, they would not have a job! When we got to ports, they would tell us to meet in a certain lounge at a specific time. The tours never left on time. We would have to sit around and then when they were ready they would walk us up and down stairs through halls; many of the people were exhausted. The meeting place never corresponded with the disembarkation deck. If it was in the middle on deck 5, why did we meet at the other end on Deck 7? This happened every time. Then they would have us walk off the ship on a long gang plank that was steep and difficult to navigate, especially when wet. People in wheel chairs and with canes had to use the same plank. It was extremely dangerous. In our last port, Newport,RI, we were due to disembark at 12:30.( Why not 8:00 or 9:00 AM?) They couldn't anchor well and consequently we were not able to get off the ship until 3:00 PM. We had to wait for the tenders to go back and forth so we were 2 hours late for our tour and had no time to stay and shop or walk the town. I heard from a reliable source that it happens there all the time and they have been advised by many people to remove the port stop and stay an extra day somewhere else. All they did was aggravate everyone. And, again, they made no changes to the cafeteria schedule, so when lunch came and went we were all in lounges waiting to go ashore. When we returned, they were already closed. They said they would open again at 6:30. They could have at least left out some sandwiches or fruit. There was no thought to our needs, just their schedule. The tender drivers were "hot dogs". They banged into the piers and had no idea how to tie up the tender to the pier. At two ports we had conversations with the town tour guides who said that it happens all the time and that the other cruise ships want nothing to do with them. When it is reported to the MSC management, they relied with, "we speak italian". They will not discuss it with them. They are an accident waiting to happen, On my last morning I was told to be in the lounge at 9:00am. My other 6 friends and family that I was travelling with were getting off at 7:30 am. They would not let me change my color to exit with them, nor vice versa. I and my 96 year old Mother sat at the appointed spot until 11:00am before they allowed us to disembark. There was no communication as to why they were not letting us out. Finally at about 10:30, after we had been waiting for an hour annd one half, they sent a crew member out. He was a real jerk. No one in authority was evidently brave enough to face all of us. He laughed and joked about who he would call next. People were angry enough without sending this jerk out. He had no respect for what we were going through. I have never heard or seen such angry people. Cattle, that's what it felt like. The bathrooms were not marked well and were very far apart. Many times the closest bathroom was up or down a floor. I will never travel with them again and would like to warn anyone against it. They do not know nor want to "serve" people. They see us as things that need to be moved, just like cargo. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
STAY OFF OF MSC CRUISE LINES ESPECIALLY THE POESIA This cruise lines is the Wal-Mart of cruise lines. Let me start off with the standard disclaimers, we have cruised over 37 times on most all lines. We really like Princess, Carnival, and ... Read More
STAY OFF OF MSC CRUISE LINES ESPECIALLY THE POESIA This cruise lines is the Wal-Mart of cruise lines. Let me start off with the standard disclaimers, we have cruised over 37 times on most all lines. We really like Princess, Carnival, and NCL. We just took this cruise to see the fall foliage and New York City as we are southerners and this sounded like a great itinerary. The cruise left New York on October 11th 2011 and traveled to Halifax & St John Canada along with Bar Harbor, Maine - Boston, Newport RI, then back to New York than onward to Florida and then the Southern Caribbean. Let me take it by steps. Embarkation -â€" Our cabin was changed from Deck 11 to Deck 12, Why? Well deck 12 really sucks, the noise from the pool/buffet deck is never ending. There is absolutely no insulation on this ship, you can hear every noise from above clearly in your cabin. The rooms, if you have a connecting door, you can hear every word in the next cabin. The line was a little long but it moved along quite nicely. Went aboard had a buffet, which was only OK. Our room as I have said was really the PITS. Food -â€" I have had better Italian food at Pizza Hut, all the pasta dishes were absolutely the worst you can ever imagine. The choices were about the same each night at dinner and there was nothing very special on the menu. When we finally had lobster, it was badly done and most of the dishes were returned half eaten. Breakfast and lunch at the buffet were gross and not worth the trip unless you wanted a salad. Captain's cocktail party was champagne and potato chips, real class. Off the ship at stops -â€" The Captain of this ship does not know anything about cruise ships. We were following the Caribbean Princess to each port, they are a 4500 passenger ship, when we started to tender they were completely off loaded and we had only launched 2 boats to shores. Either he is too cheap to use more launces or just to dumb. At Newport we anchored late (again) and only had 6 launches by 2:30PM we were to be back on at 4:30PM, what a screwed up mess, no one on this ships staff know SH**. No wonder Italy lost the war with Navy people like these idiots. On Board -â€" The Casino is small and the slots are very old and either pay out in tickets, which the next machine won't accept and you must cash in, or tokens. The slots are really set for no big winners, in 2 week we saw only 2 people get any money, than a cashier had to argue with them about paying off, thinking they fixed the slot. Smoking -â€" The first week was great, mostly English speaking people (75%) and most people did NOT smoke. It was rare to ever smell smoke anywhere on the ship. WOW, was that great. On our return to NYC on the 29th the complexion really changed. Mostly German, French and Italians and you could not breathe clear air ANYWHERE. People walked around with ashtray in the hands, really -â€" we saw it several times. I guess since a carton of smokes was about $15, they felt they need to smoke up. Everything and everybody smelled of smoke. Be warned. Staff -â€" Room stewards were great, very attentive, always kept the room clean and extra towels and pillows on hand. Dining room Wait staff, ours were competent and delivered the food on time and were concerned whether we liked or disliked the meals. Customer Service staff, with the exception of Drew, who was Canadian, the rest were surly almost to the point of being rude and could not have cared one wit about the service they provided to the guests. They truly lack any skills at customer service, which goes along with the ships officer's attitudes and skill levels. In summary, STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM MSC CRUISE LINES spend your vacation money at any other cruise line or book a land tour before you ever book this cruise line. I really should have taken to heart the bad reviews I read before this trip, don't make my mistake and take this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I have been on several cruises and this was the worst cruise I have ever been on. There was no safety muster, MSC has no regard for passenger safety. There was sewer in the cold water on the 3rd day out and MSC never alerted the ... Read More
I have been on several cruises and this was the worst cruise I have ever been on. There was no safety muster, MSC has no regard for passenger safety. There was sewer in the cold water on the 3rd day out and MSC never alerted the passengers of this health hazard. When we called it in, the said they were having a "technical difficulty" and not to drink the water. After talking with other passengers we found out that they also had sewer coming out of their shower heads and in their faucets. MSC never notified anyone of the danger. Later in the day the water was clear but was completely saturated with bleach. Still no notice to passengers. There was a sewer smell in the hall every morning. This ship should have returned to port with those kinds of problems, especially after putting all the passengers in danger. On top of that the food was awful! You would have thought that an Italian Cruise line could at least make good Italian food. Every thing was over cooked and over salted. We were glad to go to port so we could get some decent food. Ship staff does not speak much English and are arrogant and rude. Entertainment was awful, I have seen better at my daughter's junior high school play. Embarking and disembarking was disorganized and made many passengers angry. Quebec was especially a disaster, making senior citizens and disabled people stand in the rain because the crew could not get it organized. Complaints fell on death ears. STAY AWAY from MSC Cruises!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
After our smooth flight to New York, my wife and I began our MSC 7 night cruise with a rather painless check in. While walking to the ship I was impressed by the new appearance of the ship. Everything was clean and freshly painted (ship ... Read More
After our smooth flight to New York, my wife and I began our MSC 7 night cruise with a rather painless check in. While walking to the ship I was impressed by the new appearance of the ship. Everything was clean and freshly painted (ship looked new). Upon entering the ship I was greeted by many ships crew welcoming me (barely speaking English) wanting to escourt me to my room. My wife an I stopped by the Excursion representative and discussed excursions (again with a person the barely spoke or understood English). We managed to make it to our room by ourselves and again i was impressed by the cleanliness of the ship. Upon arriving at our room it was very small in comparison to our other cruises aboard Princess and Carnival, but it was nice. I guess that is where things began to go down hill. To be brief. The Excursions we booked to Halifax, St john, and Boston were outstanding. Our guides were great! Bar Harbour we took the tender to shore and did some shopping, exploring, and dining. Newport, Rhode Island was hell. The time in port was only 5 hours. It took 3 hours to be tendered to shore which left only 2 hours for shore. Crew told us the weather was to bad, high winds. I checked my Accuweather App and the winds were 6 mph, sunny, temp high 40's. I do no know what bad weather is. While waiting on the tender all paid excursion guests were escorted to the rear tender door and rapidly tendered to the dock. I guess those who pay get off boat and all others wait. Food, let's face it is a real enjoyment of cruising. Food was horrible. It reminded of cheep cafeteria food. The formal evenings was no better. A REAL LET DOWN. Lastly I only met two friendly crew members. A young lady at the excursion desk spoke good English, made eye contact, smiled every time i saw her on the ship. Our room Steward was also very friendly. Needless to say this was a cruise I will never forget, but will work hard to forget. I will not be visiting an MSC Cruise Ship again and would not recommend MSC to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Just returned this afternoon from a 10 day New England/Canada cruise with MSC: The ship is beautiful & clean, the food was good. This was only our second cruise but the comparisons between Princess and MSC were glaring. #1] This was a ... Read More
Just returned this afternoon from a 10 day New England/Canada cruise with MSC: The ship is beautiful & clean, the food was good. This was only our second cruise but the comparisons between Princess and MSC were glaring. #1] This was a European line, each time an announcement was made it was made in 5 different languages (tedious to say the least) #2] In ten days we (party of 4) did not speak with one staff person who had English as their first language. It was almost comical in the dining room. #3] Breakfast in the dining room was awful and we ended up eating at the buffet each morning (Breakfast in the Princess dining room was luxurious). #4] Upon leaving our 3rd port (Quebec) we ran into an awful storm in the North Atlantic and our Halifax stop was cancelled. Okay you can't control the weather we understood this, though very disappointed, but there was NOT one concession made for that part of our itinerary being missed. NOTHING. How about a complimentary glass of wine that night? They had our $$$, we were very disappointed. Due to this storm we sailed from Monday night to Friday morning with no stops and no extra activities were offered. Really?. Tedious. #5] Cabins were nice, smaller than Princess, the pillows were awful I have stayed in Motel 8's where I've had better pillows. They were made from chunks of foam rubber stuck in a case. #6] Embarkation for excursions were so disorganized it was a wonder anyone got to where they wanted. Poor communication. Hurry up and wait. #7] Our cabin was kept spotless. Kudo's to the room stewards. #8] Guides on our port excursions were wonderful. #9] Final embarkation in NYC was so disorganized and folks so on edge we saw two fights!!! We picked this cruise because it went round trip started in NYC ended in NYC and this meant we didn't have to fly. Sorry MSC probably will not be cruising with you again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Just returned this afternoon from a 10 day New England/Canada cruise with MSC: The ship is beautiful & clean, the food was good. This was only our second cruise but the comparisons between Princess and MSC were glaring. #1] This ... Read More
Just returned this afternoon from a 10 day New England/Canada cruise with MSC: The ship is beautiful & clean, the food was good. This was only our second cruise but the comparisons between Princess and MSC were glaring. #1] This was a European line, each time an announcement was made it was made in 5 different languages (tedious to say the least) #2] In ten days we (party of 4) did not speak with one staff person who had English as their first language. It was almost comical in the dining room. #3] Breakfast in the dining room was awful and we ended up eating at the buffet each morning (Breakfast in the Princess dining room was luxurious). #4] Upon leaving our 3rd port (Quebec) we ran into an awful storm in the North Atlantic and our Halifax stop was cancelled. Okay you can't control the weather we understood this, though very disappointed, but there was NOT one concession made for that part of our itinerary being missed. NOTHING. How about a complimentary glass of wine that night? They had our $$$, we were very disappointed. Due to this storm we sailed from Monday night to Friday morning with no stops and no extra activities were offered. Really?. Tedious. #5] Cabins were nice, smaller than Princess, the pillows were awful I have stayed in Motel 8's where I've had better pillows. They were made from chunks of foam rubber stuck in a case. #6] Embarkation for excursions were so disorganized it was a wonder anyone got to where they wanted. Poor communication. Hurry up and wait. #7] Our cabin was kept spotless. Kudo's to the room stewards. #8] Guides on our port excursions were wonderful. #9] Final embarkation in NYC was so disorganized and folks so on edge we saw two fights!!! We picked this cruise because it went round trip started in NYC ended in NYC and this meant we didn't have to fly. Sorry MSC probably will not be cruising with you again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Easy Embark Easy Disembark. Great Ports of Call. English, German, & Spanish speaking passengers were friendly. French Pas singers were pushy & were butting in line everywhere. We rented Cars at most ports. Budget Rent-a-car was ... Read More
Easy Embark Easy Disembark. Great Ports of Call. English, German, & Spanish speaking passengers were friendly. French Pas singers were pushy & were butting in line everywhere. We rented Cars at most ports. Budget Rent-a-car was great service & value, average excursion price for us was about $20.00 each person vs. Poesia Excursion at $80.00 each person. Bad experience at Quebec, 2 days in port. We purchased cruise shuttle tickets advertised as Hop-on-Hop off each day until 4:30 pm. We bought a 14 day Cruise package. When we came back to eat on the ship and go back out for the afternoon, we were herded into the back of a line of new cruisers with suitcases and no boarding passes. We should have been able to go on an off the ship as we did all other days. It was cold and started raining, no crew members around, when a passenger ask for a crew member to explain why we could not go on and off the ship with our boarding pass, he was chest-bumped by a Canada Customs Agent and threatened to take him to jail. A call was made to the ship an no crew members came out to take care of us for about an hour. During that time we got soaking wet in 50 degree weather with the wind blowing. Finally after an hour 2 crew members came out and directed passengers with boarding passes to go straight to the ship after passing through two Airport Style luggage screener. I suppose the crew retreated to the ship when it started to rain and the customs people forced everyone to stand in line. This also caused Passengers getting boarding passes to be delayed also. Don't buy INTERNET TIME. It is only accessible in the middle of the ship in a SMOKING Lounge. I bought 300 Minutes and used only 10. Ended up making $100.00 worth of Ship Telephone Calls because of lack of E-mail. Cabin Steward & our Dinner Waiter were great. Menus were the same every night. The Lobster was Awful, tasteless and soggy, revolting! I got tired of the same meals. Maybe under a different Captain (he was arrogant), Different Head Chef, Different Cruise Director, the ship might be a good bet. What's the deal with the French? Entertain Staff was great in the Lounges, 2 ladies and 5 or more men. Frederico seem to be in charge and he and the others were GREAT!. Beautiful Ship, Great Rooms, Plenty of Elevators, and much of the spa is available at no extra charge. We would sail on the Poesia again if the price was right. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Poesia Review Just back last week from the 14 day New England/Canada cruise.....wow....remember the movie "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly " with Clint Eastwood.....well this could be called "The Good, The Fair and The ... Read More
Poesia Review Just back last week from the 14 day New England/Canada cruise.....wow....remember the movie "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly " with Clint Eastwood.....well this could be called "The Good, The Fair and The Poor" with MSC. As a background, my wife and I have been on 19 cruises so have a working knowledge of various cruise lines and what they offer and have really loved all the cruises we have been on even this one........but.....some things on MSC could be improved just as some things on other lines could be improved.....of the 2300 passengers more than 1500 were from North America...only 11 Italians...wow.....got that from the front office.... THE GOOD.....the ship is beautiful with all the marble and the way the ship is laid out......it is well maintained and clean......the cabin steward and assistant were very efficient and did an excellent job of looking after us.....the dining room waiter and helper were also very good....the ship handled well in rough seas and the 110 km winds off the coast of Nova Scotia......getting on the ship went without any problems and a staff member showed us to our room which some of the other lines do not do.....we went straight to our room as got on after 2pm so did not rush up to the buffet for lunch...the 14 day itinerary and the price were excellent....something you do not see too often for a balcony cabin...dinner seating....we ate at a table of 8 and we all instantly gelled as a group...many enjoyable dinners together...that also was a plus as of the 4 couples, two were from Canada and two from US...and as a plus we were all English speaking....apparently the cruise line does make an effort to seat different languages together but we did hear of unhappy customers but not us...key card holder was a great idea when you went into your cabin....put card in slot...lights go on....take card out when leaving lights go off after a few minutes....great idea THE FAIR.......LANGUAGE....most of the staff members had a limited knowledge of English....you could talk to the cabin staff or the dining room staff and really not know if they knew what you were saying.....we found out that MSC does not offer language training to their staff.....one would think they would if they want to make inroads to the NA market...I guess when the ship is in Europe there is also no communication with the passengers as most of the staff are Indonesian....the SHIP OFFICERS.....well you would wonder where they were or what they did....they were never around to talk to or see....they were introduced at the first show in their crisp white uniforms....all male except for two females and never hardly seen again....if you had a problem they were not there and we sure could have used them a few times as you will read later on.......the FOOD... first seating at 5:30 and second at 8pm ....as on all ships there were some good dinners and some poor ones.....you could always find something to eat....was quite surprised that the Italian fair was not really that exceptional considering it is an Italian line.....there were two sides to the menu for dinner....the Italian side featuring a part of Italy and the Stars and Strips side.....there was always an appetizer, a salad, soup, a pasta dish and a main course....then usually only two desserts to choose from......we would mix and match from both sides of the menu....sometimes if not sure of the main course we would order two different ones and then taste both and take the best one.....breakfast was the usual stuff but it was hard to find anything freshly cooked as was like a cafeteria in large warming trays.....there was a sign saying you could get fresh cooked eggs but it was hard to get that organized...no toaster to do fresh toast...plates all plastic, same for cups....pepper, salt, mustard, relish....all in little pouches like a fast food restaurant.....lunch the same but they sometimes had a carving station....no sandwich station anywhere to be found for the 14 days......lunch items same in large warming trays to pick from...more fish items than on other cruise lines for lunch......the dinner buffet was their idea of 'anytime dining'.....we tried it twice and really should have gone to the dining room.....same style as lunch and breakfast...and no carving station which you might have expected for dinner.....the salad bars for lunch and dinner were good....if you wanted a snack between say 4pm to 6pm there was nothing...the place was closed...poor for us as sometimes we wanted a snack with drinks in our room as we did not eat until 8pm.....coffee and water....well you had thought this was a new idea for them....it was a 24 hr station...which they seem to promote as a big idea....water was served at the dining room table but you could tell it was new for the staff.....rarely did they come and refill the glass unless you asked...wine and beer standard prices approx about $5.....ENTERTAINMENT.....the major shows were around 6:30 or 8:30....lasted for about 40/45 minutes which is short....mostly dance items and magic, acrobatics...things which language did not play a part....there was some singing in English...music was all canned...no ship band for backup....we usually like to go to the show after dinner but could not on this cruise as we had the late seating...most of the bars had some sort of entertainment....dancing??? well good if you liked Latin music otherwise you were out of luck....then there was what they call the "Animation Team"....if you like lots of clowning around shows and goofy stunts there were there every night...for about an hour and half....got pretty boring after 14 days of that stuff.....the animation team is the MSC's version of the entertainment team and cruise director on other cruise lines.....for example one night was advertised as a "70's Grease night" so we went up to dance to 70's music....not.....the animation team were there with goofy stunts and no 70's music....there was a conga line ....the cruise director..."Anna" was the worst we have ever encountered.....she did nothing and could not be found about with the customers....all she did was basically introduce the show and close the show in 5 languages....she looked pretty but had no personality ....the language thing was neat for the first few days but after 14 days got to be a pain.....we did notice one person, "Tyler" a Canadian, who was just hired to try to cater things to the North American tastes and try some ideas that work on the other cruise lines....this is a good thing if MSC wants to make inroads to the NA tastes.....the animation team members, in my opinion, were "stuck on themselves" ......they also had members assigned to the bars to get single women up and dancing, something not usually seen on other cruise lines.....if you were single you might like to have an Italian guy dance with you.....some bars were smoking bars which we stayed out of as we could not stand the smoke......the casino had few 1 cent or 2 cent machines which are popular on other lines....I think in the whole casino there were only 5 one cent ones.....most 25 cents and up....and they were tight machines.....the gym looked nice but we did not use it...usually went for long walks instead......the shops were like high end shops found in Europe....and prices higher than NA mainstream tastes....MSC runs all the shops, they are not sub-contracted out like other lines.....POOLS.......frigid.....they had little signs telling the temperature....how about swimming in 11 Celsius or 52 degrees.....never went once but would have liked to.....why not heat them????...would have been a nice touch....people were in the hot tubs most of the time if on deck and wanted some water to be in......do not remember any outside activities that we went to...maybe there were none?? there was a large outside TV screen but only showed commercials which was weird.....and on the TV the movie channel showed old movies, really old movies.... TV service was the world service of CNN or ESPN and a cartoon channel and TNT I think .. THE POOR......there were a few things that really stood out when compared to the other cruise lines.....lets start with the TENDER service....one would think they never had done it before......how about leaving about 1000 passengers standing on the wharf in Newport in the dark at 7pm with a cold bitter wind and only a few tenders working....stood in line for an hour and others much longer.....and then have to wait to get on the ship also as they only had one entry point and with the scanner watching for illegal wine bottles....there were no officers in sight and no apology from anyone later saying we could have done better.....and no one organizing the line or offering help...it stretched for a city block...handicapped passengers stood in line with all the rest of us....no staff out offering help in the dark......one would have thought that they would have known that all the tours arrived back at the same time and have a bunch of tenders waiting for the customers....getting off the ship was not very efficient either.....people who had bought "ship tours" waited for up to two hrs to get off while at the same time they were running tenders for people who had just tender tickets.....usually people who have ship tours get off sooner...not here.....SCANNER.....never saw more than one entry point when we were off the ship....major "bottle neck" and long lines to get on ....2000 people trying to go through one door....they seemed really keen about catching people with a wine bottle.....staff at the door not very smiley.....PORTS.....well MSC seemed to get all the poor berths or were the last one in to port.....maybe because Holland America and Princess have been there lots of time in previous years....for example....in Quebec City the ship was at an industrial wharf behind a big cement factory and you got off and on in a dirty, gravel, somewhat paved parking lot.....they had set up big white party tents.....had to walk a long way to town or pay for a bus they had arranged.....while Princess and HAL were right in the real port area and the town was right there.....in Newport.....Princess was there before us and got the good tendering spot while MSC got the pooer area and had trouble with the anchor....funny thing we left before Princess the night before...figure that out.....In Sydney.....HAL had the port berth....MSC had to tender.....so the list goes.....something was going on here with no real explanation from anyone.....there was never a map of the port handed out either...TIME ZONES......wow what a goof here........left NYC on Eastern Time......then went to Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown...all on Atlantic time....but the ship did not change time....kept us all on Eastern time so times were all screwed up.....most ships would have gone to local time....not MSC.....people had arranged tours thinking we were in port at 9am....but it was really 10am local time.....what a disaster.....even the people with the organized ship tours were left scratching their heads on this one.....not a hint of apology from the ship's officers...but that was not unusual anyways and they were not to be found.....same thing on the way back....left Quebec on Eastern time and went to Saint John on Atlantic time but the ship still kept on the wrong time zone again....PUBIC RELATIONS......they probably need an North American PR person on staff to advise them ....the staff did not mingle with the customers or try to help out ....maybe they did but in 14 days we never talked to anyone except the new "North American Cruise Director" ....on most cruises we have been on we usually talk to 4 or 5 of the officers....MEET and GREET....what a joke here.....the Cruise Critic group had about 25 people who met in the disco.....apparently the organizer had trouble getting the room weeks before the cruise and when we met for an hour not one officer came to greet us or tell us about the ship and there was no effort to supply coffee or a cookie....other lines go out of their way here to show support.... SUMMARY......in spite of the poor section noted here we still had a good time, and depending on the itinerary and price, would cruise with MSC again but would know beforehand the limitations and pluses of MSC after sailing with them the one time for 14 days......as a side issue....we met up with a couple from our town and this was their very first cruise and they thought they "had gone to heaven"....so it shows all of us come from different perspectives....... Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
After reading many rather negative reviews about MSC on Cruise Critic I had doubts about trying the line but I liked the itinerary of the October 8, 2011 MSC Poesia cruise to New England and Canada and booked. I was very pleased with all ... Read More
After reading many rather negative reviews about MSC on Cruise Critic I had doubts about trying the line but I liked the itinerary of the October 8, 2011 MSC Poesia cruise to New England and Canada and booked. I was very pleased with all aspects of the cruise experience and while the ship is very European and while the MSC cruise experience is somewhat different from what most North Americans have come to expect I enjoyed the trip and would certainly recommend the Poesia! The ship was nearly new. It was very beautiful and had a very "upscale" look. It was immaculate! I found the staff to be friendly and helpful. Some of the service staff had some problems understanding English but all tried hard to please. The food was very good and while portions were not large there were many courses and one could order as much as one wanted. Indeed menus and announcements were in four or five languages but this created no hardship and added interest and "a continental flair" to the trip. The wine, beer, and cocktail packages available offered libations at the lowest prices I have ever seen at sea and bar service was excellent. Laundry and spa treatment prices were very reasonable. While sailing in North American Waters there is no charge for the use of the extremely fine spa (steam rooms, saunas, indoor whirlpools and relaxation areas). Cabins were of decent size and nicely decorated. The entertainment was exceptional and there was music of all kinds to enjoy all over the ship all night long. On the October 8th cruise there were people of many nationalities and many seniors but people mixed well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. At the Captian's cocktail parties MSC was VERY generous with the drinks. Staff did not pressure guests to buy but were always near at hand to serve. Some areas of the ship did seem a little congested at times, but I think this is to be expected when a cruise sells out. One friend had issues with her room being noisy and MSC staff worked with her to ensure she was satisfied - until another room in her category became available they gave her the use of a balcony room and for half the cruise she basically had two rooms to use. The cruise was remarkably well priced ... and I believe that for the money most guests paid they received an exceptional cruise experience. MSC has different pricing policies when sailing in Europe but in North American waters I would say they are very competetive. As on Celebrity I was met on boarding by MSC staff who took my hand luggage and escorted me to my cabin. In port attractive marquis awnings were set up at the entrance to the ship along with MSC flags and potted plants which provided a most attractive arrival/departure point. Smoking was only allowed in some areas and was not a problem for me - a non-smoker. Provisions were made for people with handicaps and disabilities, and one guest was on board with a guide dog. Staff were extremely helpful when guests needed assistance entering or leaving the tenders. Special staff were always available to assist North American passengers. I would recommend The MSC Poesia and the Canada/New England cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We booked a Fall Foliage cruise with another couple on the MSC Poesia embarking on October 8, 2011. The embarkation was smooth and efficient and the lunch was just what we needed. We found it refreshing to be among so many different ... Read More
We booked a Fall Foliage cruise with another couple on the MSC Poesia embarking on October 8, 2011. The embarkation was smooth and efficient and the lunch was just what we needed. We found it refreshing to be among so many different nationalities on board as opposed to Caribbean cruises with whiny parents and their disruptive children. Although repetitious, announcements in five different languages was neat to hear and sometimes hilarious to decipher. We booked this cruise despite the numerous whiny review comments about the food, language difficulties, staff attitudes, etc. I don't know what planet these people are from, but we loved the crew, staff, entertainment, food, and activities. Pro: Disabled cabin was nice. large, and accommodated a large handicap scooter. The room staff were friendly and always provided us with whatever we needed including placing my door key in the room when I would leave it in the door. Dining staff were a joy and we enjoyed their humor. The meals in the dining room were always hot and tasty with a nice European flavor. There always were steaks and salmon for the American palate. The buffet/cafeteria always had bacon, eggs, bagels, yogurt and cereal for breakfast and reasonable entrees for lunch. The salads, particularly the Cesar salads were perfectly, lightly seasoned and with very crisp Romaine lettuce. Activities were mostly trivia type games and a whole lot of cruisers played cards. We booked our own shore excursions and were never disappointed. We were aware that some staff did not know much English, but a friendly smile always brought out the best in them and they generally were able to understand what we needed to know. On the humorous side the restroom identification took alittle getting used to. Many cruisers had difficulty deciding if the human symbol on the door was a man or woman since it was difficult to determine if it was a suit jacket or dress. I finally determined that if the room was green, it was a "Mens" room. The floors literally sparkle. The evening entertainment was interesting since they had to cater to so many languages, they had a variety of silent entertainment including some wonderful surprise acts in quick change, juggling, and acrobatics. Enjoyed most of it. Con: On two ports they wouldn't provide a "ramp" exit from the ship and the scooter had to be carried, while I walked off. Some placement of the lounge furniture impedes travel in a scooter without moving the furniture. One evening we were served cold fish jello, which is the only way I can describe it. Should have been aspic. It was not good, Likewise, the lobster on the first leg of the cruise was cooked too long and was dry and tasteless. I had the lamb chops instead (yummy). The TV in the cabin took some getting used to but they did have CNN and HLN. All in all we met several French Canadian, German, Spanish and Italian cruisers and had a wonderful time. I would not hesitate to take another MSC cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was my first MSC cruise. I had taken 15 cruises before this one. Cabin: Small,inside,but ok for me. No hair conditioner or body lotion. Bed hard. Very lumpy pillows. No chair-just a stool. No choc. mint on pillow at night. ... Read More
This was my first MSC cruise. I had taken 15 cruises before this one. Cabin: Small,inside,but ok for me. No hair conditioner or body lotion. Bed hard. Very lumpy pillows. No chair-just a stool. No choc. mint on pillow at night. Food: Hit or miss. Very inconsistent-for example I had veal scaloppini one night and it was great,another night it was terrible. Some food good(even great),some bad(so bad I could not eat it),and some just average. Filet mignon,prime rib,most veal dishes,most pasta dishes,tiramisu-very good. Pizza very bland with little tomato sauce. Most food lukewarm not hot. Lunch and breakfast menus for the most part were the same each day-even in the dining room. I found the food in the dining room to be better than the buffets. You had to ask for spoons a lot. Activities: Could have had more scheduled. On some sea days no activities available in the early afternoon for a few hours! Liked the trivia team events. Loved the Italian lessons(Nina was a great teacher!). Entertainment: Evening shows in main theater were enjoyable. Variety acts-singers,dancers,acrobats,magicians. Some classical music. Later-10:15pm show done by the entertainment staff was usually very enjoyable. Entertainment staff quite good-some of them Tyler,Nina,Rafael,and one Francesco knew me by name by the end of the cruise.Organization: This is one area that MSC needs to improve besides food. For example,on boarding the ship in New York,they did not have enough luggage tags. Also Lack of communication at times,especially waiting for tenders. Restrooms on public decks difficult to find. Personnel: Cabin steward great. Dining stewards great. Some shore excursion staff people rude. Entertainment staff I thought quite good. Only saw Cruise Director at evening shows. Reception people I found nice and helpful-especially a gal named Roberta. Passengers aboard ship: Lot of Americans and Canadians. Some Europeans. Very few well behaved children. Nice meeting my Cruise Critic people who attended my Meet and Greet event. My dinner companions-Linda,Pamela,Cathy,Betty,and Bill were nice and great company. And a nice guy Jim,who I met at breakfast one morning,and was surprised to see on my 7 hour shore excursion to Boston the next day. Bottom Line: I did enjoy overall this cruise,with some irritating things tho. Would I take another MSC cruise? A Big Maybe-if the price was really good and the itinerary was good too! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Over the past year, I have read many negative reviews re: the MSC Poesia. My wife & I disembarked on Oct 22, 2011 in NYC from a 14-day R/T NYC to Quebec, Canada. on the beautiful MSC Poesia. We have been on more than 40 cruises ... Read More
Over the past year, I have read many negative reviews re: the MSC Poesia. My wife & I disembarked on Oct 22, 2011 in NYC from a 14-day R/T NYC to Quebec, Canada. on the beautiful MSC Poesia. We have been on more than 40 cruises including Celebrity, RCCL, NCL, Costa, HAL, Carnival and Homes and we happily add MSC to the list. * I cannot identify with any of the negativity that has been previously-expressed on these boards.* The embarkation went exceptionally smooth and we were on-board in less than 15 minutes. We were met by a staff member who took us directly to our cabin- something that we have never experienced before. The Poesia is a beautiful ship and its elegance is displayed throughout. The ports of call were all enjoyable and the overnight stay in Quebec City allowed us the time to explore this wonderful city. The 14 -nights of sailing R/T from NYC was perfect for us since we live in New York and did not have to endure the hassle associated with airports. All the staff members we encountered were outstanding and courteous. Our cabin stewards, Wayan and Delvin, who serviced our cabin were always eager to please. The cabin was always stocked with fresh towels and ice with impeccable house keeping skills .They were fanatically thorough in the way they made up the beds each evening ( they actually mitered the sheets right in the center- we have never seen this before). They always had a smile on their face whenever we saw them ( which was VERY often since they were always cleaning and vacuuming in the area). The beautiful lounges and bars were the happening places, with the Zebra Lounge and the Il Pagalle Lounge having something going on most of the time. The various bars and lounges had different bands playing in the evening and the members of the Entertainment Team danced with the passengers from time to time. The Entertainment Team was phenomenal. We tried to attend most of the activities as well as participate in them. This was exactly what we were looking for in a cruise. We got to know most of the Team while participating in most of the activities and won many of the very nice prizes. We not only participated in "The Ideal Couple Game",we actually won the title of "The Ideal Couple". Although the shows in the Carlo Felice Theater were different than those we experienced on other ships, they were always very entertaining. We found the shows to be colorful, exciting and professional in everyway. The taste and presentation of the food in the buffet restaurant were A+. The Il Palladio restaurant's decor was lovely and the food was absolutely delicious. The food choices were exceptional and prepared perfectly. If we did not like the Italian choices, we always had the option to choose from the Stars and Stripes side of the menu. Let's just say that we never went away hungry. Bravo to the Chefs! Our waiter Silvio, was wonderful. He went above and beyond in order to make our dinner experience very pleasant. I was quite impressed with the diverse language skills of the staff and their ability to translate the various messages into as many as six languages, both accurately as well as quickly. As I have stated previously, our cruise aboard the beautiful MSC Poesia was one of the best cruises we have ever experienced. It exceeded our expectations. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise with MSC. I hope MSC will consider returning to New York City in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I was a little concerned when I read many negative reviews. But I was very happy with the ship, food and everything else. Really good service and food. The rolls where the best I have ever had and the pasta was out of this world. ... Read More
I was a little concerned when I read many negative reviews. But I was very happy with the ship, food and everything else. Really good service and food. The rolls where the best I have ever had and the pasta was out of this world. The servings in the dining room where small and I really appreciated that. I agree beef dishes were lacking, I did not have the lobster but the shrimp cocktail was heavenly. Their soups also were great. The buffet was also very good and there was items for every taste. The only criticism I have is the deserts were not sweet- but I think that is the European influence. The free soft serve however was a very nice touch It was fun having all the different nationalities and I felt I was on a world cruise. It is not a Carnival Cruise and I was glad it wasn't. We had not problems in any of our ports and had pre booked all our excursions except one. All were very good and timely. The room was fine and it was nicely taken care of by our cabin assistant. The ship is very beautiful and I would use than again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
I read the many critical reviews but booked 3 consecutive cruises totaling 23 nights for a relatively low price anyway. I am writing my first cruise review after taking 10 cruises because my great experience and belief that some of the ... Read More
I read the many critical reviews but booked 3 consecutive cruises totaling 23 nights for a relatively low price anyway. I am writing my first cruise review after taking 10 cruises because my great experience and belief that some of the criticisms are dated. MSC must have worked on some of the points people criticized it on based on my experience. My embarkation was on 10/22 in NYC. The ports visited were Halifax & St John in Canada, Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport, NYC, Ft Lauderdale, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ft Lauderdale again, Key West, Bahamas with disembarkation in Ft Lauderdale. The first 19 days were booked as one cruise but it was divided into a 7 day Fall foliage Canada/New England cruise and a 12 night re positioning that included the Western Caribbean ports. The final 4 nights were booked as a separate cruise and stopped in Key West and Bahamas. There were many wonderful sea days. I did notice a few differences from the other (American style) cruise lines I've been on. First, the passengers on the first 19 days of my cruise were overwhelmingly European. In addition, they were Europeans who eiter didn't or wouldn't speak much English. They spoke mostly only German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, French etc. This is very different than my other cruises where all of the Europeans I met were fluent in English. The Dutch travelers on the cruise were the exception. This was a plus for me most of the time and a little irritating other times. The ships officers, managers, and ship excursion leaders were just a little laid-back for my taste but always spoke English, paid attention and resolved any issues I had. The entertainment was phenomenal and was broken into 4 parts. One part was the evening show in the big theater. The expected dancers, singers, and jugglers were present with acrobats, illusionists and opera singers added. The second part were the classical musicians that played in various venues throughout the ship. The third part were the multiple bands with a lead singer that played a wide range of contemporary, Latin and other music in the 3 big lounges. The fourth category were my favorite and is what sets MSC apart in my opinion. MSC employs a big team of young entertainers, called an animation team, that organizes everything from games by the pool to a regularly scheduled audience participation show. I've always seen games by the pool but nothing like this group that worked all day to dance with you, make jokes, put on costumes and just create a good feeling for the cruisers. The food was fantastic and many meals were some of the best I've had on a cruise ship. A little less choice but better over all. The midnight buffets called Le Magnifique and Neapolitan are not to be missed. Fresh made pasta, the best salad and desert bars I've seen as well food from all parts of Italy with Italian favorites always available made the food stand out. Mexican, Chinese, Indian and other foods were regularly part of the buffet. The burgers, hot dogs and pizza were superior. Coffee, hot and iced tea, juices, and water were available in abundance. Free ice cream by the pool was available most hours. No one can ever argue that it is not one of the most beautiful ships out there. I am certainly going to cruise again with MSC and met many on the ship that are repeat MSC cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We were a bit apprehensive to book with MSC after reading several negative reviews. But the deal was too amazing to pass up for our balcony cabin and so we went with low expectations. This was our 11th cruise in the past 5 years, and ... Read More
We were a bit apprehensive to book with MSC after reading several negative reviews. But the deal was too amazing to pass up for our balcony cabin and so we went with low expectations. This was our 11th cruise in the past 5 years, and we've travelled most with Princess, but also Costa, Norwegian, Holland America and Celebrity within this time frame. I am pleased to say that our recent experience on the Poesia was fantastic. We sailed from New York to Fort Lauderdale (2 days) and then returned to Fort Lauderdale after 10 days in the Caribbean. The ship had sailed from Quebec, and several passengers ended their trip in NYC, so the ship was not very busy until we boarded more passengers in Lauderdale. Our embarkation was the best ever, but mostly because there was a small number embarking in NYC. There was some confusion over the timing to board and whether or not we could get off again once on board. This was not a problem for us as we were exhausted after 2 days hiking around NYC, and we were happy to board by 7pm and not get back off. The Ship: the Poesia is a beautiful ship, still very new, with some lovely finishing. What impressed us most were the lounges. Although they are not laid out well for large crowds to see a "show" on the stage/dance floor, they are well laid out for groups of all sizes to socialize. The Zebra bar quickly became a favourite place. The buffet area could do with a few layout improvements (many passengers did not realize there was an additional section and the main sections were crowded), but other than that we certainly had no issues. The ship had a sadly underutilized outdoor screen—room for improvement here. The Activities: The "Animation Team" (the cruise director's staff) were the best group I've ever sailed with. Full of energy, they were dancing with everyone and encouraging participation in the party atmosphere. Never have I seen so much activity in the lounges—sometimes it was difficult to find a seat! And what a treat not to feel like I'm on a ghost ship after 10pm. With announcements in 5 languages (English, Italian, Spanish, French & German), this multi-lingual group managed to include everyone. They were great actors and entertainers in their own right. The trivia for movie theme songs was hysterical. Evening Entertainment: we caught the tail end of a Big Band cruise, and we enjoyed the sessions we attended. Never have I seen so much dancing which is great to see. The theatre shows were excellent. We've yet to see "fabulous" ship's dancers, but the ones on the Poesia made a nice frame for the variety acts between their sets. The female singer was one of the best I've seen, and the evening of Opera was a nice cultural surprise. The show for the 2nd seating diners was at 6:45, leaving time after dinner for the Animation Team activities. Excursions: we did not book any tours via the ship, and some were cancelled due to weather conditions or for lack of participation. The ones offered were fairly typical. I do note that no diving excursions were offered, and we did comment on this to the line. With our first stop in Cozumel (practically the Caribbean diving capital), we were amazed not to see one here. Luckily we were able to make our own arrangements. The Cabin: we had a balcony cabin on the 12th deck, mid-ship. It was fairly typical of any cabin we've been in. The flat screen TV was dark to view from some angles, and the channel choices were few but did include Spanish and Italian. The movies were mostly pay-per view. But that's not why we're on vacation—we can watch TV anytime at home. We believe our room steward, Samsul, lived in the hallway. We'd try to sneak out of the cabin for 10 minutes, only to find he'd been there and gone, waving his magic wand. He asked us every day what else he could do for us. Amazing service. In addition, there were many staff in the public areas polishing glass and brass, keeping the ship very clean. The public toilets could sometimes use an attendant, but I blame the messes there on my fellow passengers and I'm continually amazed at the lack of courtesy by some. Dining Room Service: most of the complaints we'd read seemed to stem around food and service. We prefer anytime dining option if available, but selected the late seating. We were very lucky to have a waiter from Bali (I still cannot pronounce his name) with a great sense of humour and who could speak excellent German to the Swiss people at our table. Our water glasses were attended to regularly, our tea & coffee choices were remembered, and anything else we needed was brought swiftly. On our last morning, we ran into a travel agent who complained that their waiters reached across people to serve them (not quite the French service on Cunard lines). Gasp! The Horror! This happened to us every night, but because our round table was against the wall and was partially a booth—many of the tables were like this. Our waiter asked for our dessert choice with our meal order, but was quick to bring an alternative if desired later. If there was substandard service on board, it certainly wasn't in our section. The Maitre d' was actually useful too—only the second one we've found. And best of all was that they had casual nights—how refreshing to see jeans and t-shirts allowed on occasion. We saw a variety of interpretations for formal nights, it certainly wasn't stuffy. The Food: here we had our lowest expectations. Maybe there are just too many North Americans expecting the same meals they order at their local Olive Garden or Appleby's? Every night featured meals from different regions in Italy, along with a "Stars and Stripes" menu for those who prefer the bland and boring. I don't know what people are complaining about!!! I had 2 of my best meals ever on this ship: the Osso Buco melted in my mouth (I didn't even need the knife) it was so tender, and my Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola sauce was so good, my mouth is still watering. Although I've seen more selection on some of the other lines, I never ventured to the "every day" menu once—I always found something to tempt me. I would like to have seen an extra dessert choice, but the gelato was always a good backup. We did not try the specialty restaurants, but some tablemates raved about the Sushi restaurant. The buffet was fairly typical, with some unusual salad bar choices at lunchtime. I think MSC did a fair job of finding items to appeal to all nationalities. Again, if people are complaining about the food, I don't know why. With Princess offering up 24 hour buffet service, it's hard to compare/compete with that—you do need to be aware of the buffet open/closing times. MSC doesn't don't put out a huge midnight spread daily (who needs that anyways), offering late night appetizers by trays in the lounges instead. They had a self-serve ice cream cone station from 1-5pm daily, which I took too much advantage of. And for only $1.50, you could have a gelato at the Poolside Mojito Bar. I do wish they'd had a late night cookie though. Oh well, if that's the only negative I can find, I'd say it was a pretty darn good cruise. The final bill: when we boarded, we were each asked if we would like to donate $1.50 to Unicef (it did not simply appear on our bill like others have suggested). BTW, this is not a daily rate. The daily tipping was $12 each. The wine prices were reasonable, and the ship offers drink packages which we took advantage for with beer and cocktails. The cocktail of the day was $5.50 and it was $6.95 for mojitos, martinis and margaritas, etc. Packages gave you about 2 free drinks. As I said previously, tours prices were typical. So I hope I've given you a good glimpse of our very positive experience with MSC. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend them and would definitely go back. I seldom take the time to write a review, but felt I really should—remember those who have bad experiences are quick to vocalize their complaints and those with good experiences often keep quiet. And be sure to try the Osso Buco and be the envy of the other diners at your table! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
embarking day.. well we embarked without incident walked in to terminal checked our baggage an proceeded down the entry way to terminal check in whats this!! No LINES!!! I can hardly believe what I am seeing we will not be lead like a herd ... Read More
embarking day.. well we embarked without incident walked in to terminal checked our baggage an proceeded down the entry way to terminal check in whats this!! No LINES!!! I can hardly believe what I am seeing we will not be lead like a herd of cattle, awesome!!! we get our sail and sign card walk up the gangplank and onto the most sophisficated atmosphere, there is a trio playing on the platform and hardy anyone around about a dozen people sitting an enjoying the music we are directed to our cabin unfortunately sent the wrong way not much English is understood by our guides we finally ask some one and they pointed us to the correct location we reached our cabin, it is about the size of an inside cabin on carnival but we do have a balcony we arrived with 5 suitcases and managed to empty them and put ever thing away, alt-ho the drawers are awfully small and shallow but we managed, I bought my trusty shoe hanger so we can put the little items in it so as not to use up the drawer space, we decided to go have something to eat as it was dinner time when we boarded what no lines again, are we on the right ship!!! we ate dinner came back to cabin found out we missed the muster drill it was held while we were eating dinner, take mental note of where we are suppose to go Muster station, we got back to the cabin and unpacked and while unpacking knock on door, it was Brian from Canada who I had been in touch with on cruise critic introduced ourselves and we made arrangements to meet at 9 pm at the reception lobby, we finished unpacking and pushed our suitcases under the beds so we would have more space, and then headed downstairs, we met Brian and then the 3 of us went on a tour of the ship to see where things were, Brian turned in early as he had been up since 5 am and we went to the front of ship and sat to wait to Leave NYC. about 1 am the ship backed out of its docking space and proceeded to pass the statue of Liberty no matter how many times we pass her coming in and going out its just something you have to see we went back to our cabin and we watched the verrazano bridge from our balcony it was pretty windy and cold out so it was a short time out there, then we came in and settled down for the nite as soon as my head hit the pillow I was done for. Day 2 we had ordered room service for this morning very simple menu not much in the way of choices a little disappointed but that was ok for we would eventually get up to the breakfast buffet, just need coffee and something to tie us over as with 1 bathroom and two women it does take time to get ready, went to breakfast we wound up in dinning room at not the buffet it was very quiet in there not many people we were a bit surprised, we did some more exploring and wound up back in cabin to watch some TV. Lunchtime came we went to buffet what NO lines no fighting for glasses, dishes, tables, where is everyone oh maybe they went to the dining room I suppose, so after lunch we went and listen to some music and waited around for Karaoke Brian joined us we have a 5:30 dinner seating so we went back to the cabin to get ready for dinner we met our waiters still can not pronounce his name but he remembered ours, brain got his tabled changed so he was sitting next to us at another table, Dinners I must say have been quite good and filling and not at all like the reviews I had previously read on the boards every thing was quite tasty and served hot and plenty of it, so I do not know what the posters were talking about as what ever we had was of good quality and service was very good!! and we had a nice couple from California and a second couple from NY at our table for 6., Day 3 well today is Halloween Anna and I decorated our cabin door and the inside of our cabin with decorations, our steward must think we are crazy heheh, we also asked him to divide our beds as they were queen size and we wanted more moving around space, when we came back form lunch he did but he just divided them in the middle so Anna and I decided to rearrange our cabin we moved our beds to each wall so now we can have a dance party in the center of room and not trip over each other, well we are getting ready for the costume party tonite we are going in costume to Dinner and the to the party afterwards, they decorated the zebra room with all Halloween themed decorations it was party cool to see that they would be celebrating Halloween, we went to Dinner I dressed as Cruella Deville and Anna as pirate wench, I think we were the only 2 dressed in costume for Dinner did not really look around much as every one was busy eating dinner, we found out today that the ship only had between 500 to 600 passengers on board they all got off in NYC and the rest were departing in FT Lauderdale the ones we picked up in NYC with ourselves were doing the Panama cruise and we were picking up about 1800 to 2000 in fort Lauderdale, we were on a ghost ship so it was such a great 3 days with no crowds and no waiting for anything. we went to the Halloween party there were about 20 people dressed in costume we did a parade through the zebra room and winner was picked Darn it not Me, and I worked so hard to do the make up and hair but the satisfaction of it all, was in all the clubs the waiters and waitress wanted pictures with us so it was a lot of fun posing with them and through out the nite the other pax said I should have won and I was a winner in their book which made me feel good, after 2 hours of putting on the make up and doing my hair in back and white dye, we had fun, we went to the show and the whole entertainment group who were also in costumes came over and applauded me and Anna and took pictures of us it was a fun nite. day 4 Ft Lauder dale well we disembarked I had a altercation with the cab drivers I had an address to a UPS store as I wanted to ship the costumes home and not carry them back with us as My suitcase would be either over wieght or one to many to bring home, did not want to take the chance of extra charges now with the new baggage laws airline have, so I asked on cabbie if he knew where the address was and he acted like he did not understand so he took my paper to another cabbie next to him and he shook his head no now they are in a double Que and it was 3 deep and other passengers were getting into the cabs so I walked to the front of the que as the second driver pulled up the the next driver in Que, I asked the third driver to take us to ups store and then he played stupid and asked the second driver who we already had a problem with, that kept shaking his head no, So then I got really Mad and there was a sheriff's deputy standing there directing traffic next to the third driver so I walked up to her and told her I was trying to get a cab to UPS did she know where it was located and she turned and jump all over the 2 cab drivers and told them if one of them did not take us where we wanted to go they were out of the port area for the rest of the day boy she was like a Drill Sargent and they moved, the only thing is this jackass took Us the long way there and the fare ran 18.00 as we wound up taking the public bus back for 3.00 and its only a 10 minute ride and his was 20 minutes he took us the long way there!! I have found that the cab drivers in the port areas do not like to take fares unless they are going to the airports or hotels so they can pick up other fares to come back as this has happen to me in Miami a couple of times also. and another thing they learn to speak English real fast when an law enforcement person is called upon then they know where the place is you want to go, you need to be aware of the games they play!!. well we got back early and went back to the ship and just took the day easy my blood pressure was at its limit that day lolol. day 5 sea day uneventful day just bummed around did the casino spent way to much money but was there for 3 hours, we met with the other people we had met on cruise critic to try and finalize any tour plans and to meet each other after chatting on cruise critic for the last 2 month, had Dinner at 5:30 went to the show then came back to Cabin to watch the election results. day 6 Cozumel Anna and I choose to do a Beach Break everyone else went Shopping we went to the Cozumel Hotel and resort its a bout 3 miles from the cruise ship terminal it was 30.00 for day pass all you can drink and eat free wifi and the waiters were very friendly Anna and I were the only ones on their beach it is a scuba diver hotel mainly, but it looked to be a really nice quiet place to do week stay at we did not use the pool area we just laid under the palm trees and took in the Divers coming in from their adventures and had a Mexican buffet lunch a a few Margaritas and just relaxed I took a couple of pictures, then headed back to ship as we had to be back by 4:30 was a very short stay in Cozumel Day 7 we decided to brave the pool deck, we found deck lounges without any trouble compared to other cruises we could never find an empty lounge chairs we sunbathed for about 40 minutes a little something nice about these loungers they have a sun visor attached which was pretty nice, we stayed till it was just to hot to sit out there so we decided to take showers and go to a late lunch, lunch was also a nice surprise we got a table quite easy and did not have to stand in buffet line, but that goes to say we were there 45 min before they closed it down we have found the buffet pretty good, I have been going to the salad bar nice selection and the buffet seemed to be a nice variety of salads and meats etc. they did serve Free ice tea for this cruise, as I have read in the other posts that they charge for ice teas they did not start serving the ice tea till the second day, do not know if complaints were made or what because on all the drink menus had Ice tea for 3.95. so do not know if this will be the norm for the American Itinerary, coffee and hot water and tea was ready available, But ice tea was not a charge with buffet do not know about the dining room as we drink water with our dinners I must also add that we have been to the dining room every nite and every thing that we ordered and ate was just wonderful good selections they had American fare and then signature Italian, and everyone plus myself and my friend we were happy with the food served and the wait staff who called us by our first names an remembered who drank coffee or tea or none at all, polite and eager to attend our wants and needs day 8 puerto limon Costa Rico today was very overcast storm and rain through out the night no sun today and we went on our banana plantation tour which was a combination of canal boat ride and no SUN today so no beach stop, today we took some photos of animals we seen on canal not much to see! we had a nice day with Eduardo and his driver we were out for about 4.5 hours and saw some really nice views from top of a hill looking at the port area tomorrow is Panama stop, had a nice dinner with our companions and laughed alot, dinner was awesome we had a late lunch so was not very hungry, in for the night to watch a movie and get a good nites sleep, more tomorrow day 9 Cristobal panama arrive to overcast day looks to be a dreary day and a storm coming in, Anna did some shopping and I found a wifi hotspot at the Radisson in port so did not have to travel far, This was a port I was not impressed by we could have passed it by and never missed a thing it will go on my list with Belize and Roatan been there done that will never do again, the port did have Casinos small ones, public bathrooms in casinos if in needed off the ship, not a port I would go to far away from other then ships tours day 10 Cartagena Colombia had breakfast with our Canadian friends this morning in the dining room, I opted to stay on board , Anna went shopping with them in town, I pack some things this morning since we only have a few days left, going to the buffet for lunch will nothing happening on board very little activities, I think after being on board and watching everything I have decided this will most likely be my first and last cruise with this line, like other posters you really get tired of hearing every I mean every announcement done in 5 different languages there were over 144 nationalities on board and some were rude and nasty and pushed their way into Buffet lines and interrupted your conversations at the information desks when it was your turn and accounting desks, with out even a excuse me phase, or sorry, just plan RUDE started packing my clothes I will not need for the next 4 days trying to get my bags compacted for flight home since I will have to pay for them on flight trying to get them down to one checked bag, got to work a miracle since I did not buy anything this trip I should be ok almost time for lunch so I will make my way to the buffet and add more later tonite.went to dinner and after dinner we went to the zebra lounge and watched the pax learn a line dance was pretty funny then went to the pigalle lounge and watched the animation entertainers do a slapstick comedy show people were standing in front of us so did not see to much left and came back to our cabin. decided to order room service for tomorrow morning menu limited hope the weather is nice so we can sun bathe tomorrow as it is a sea day day 11 sea day started out with going to Bingo pretty reasonable charge, 3 cards for 20.00 they only play 2 games one straight Bingo and one black out, the straight paid 80.00 and black out was 1000.00 met Anna for lunch I almost died laughing I had to contain my composure for what we experienced at the lunch buffet the one day I did not carry my camera!! it was in deed a Kodak moment!! I found us a nice table by the window and placed our silverware and napkins and put my filled plate down, Anna was still in buffet line so I went to get our ice tea when I came back there was a European lady at our table in slippers, bathrobe and her hair all in curlers at our table, just what I wanted to look at while eating lunch, I could not believe she had the nerve to come to lunch dressed and looking like that and the buffet was completely full and we could not move anywhere else every time I looked at her I want to die of embarrassment, I did not want anyone to think she was with us!!! this cruise was 80 per cent seniors with alot of scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, the average age was about 75 so that explained why limited activities on board unlike NCL, Carnival this cruise line seems to be geared to the elderly generation which is great for them but not for me!! the ship rolled up the carpet at 11.00 pm and there is nothing going on anywhere but to go to bed or the disco and some of the younger folks said it was not a happening place either debarking day we met the people we met here on cruise critic for breakfast in dining room had nice breakfast exchanged emails went our separate ways Anna and I went to the reception area to await our color codes to be called we left ship about 9:45 no line to get off we asked a transportation person about getting to air port which was the lesser fare shuttle or cab he suggested cab so we went to the Que again stood in line for our turn I ask the sheriff who directing the pax how much a cab would cost to airport, which is less then 4 miles away she told us it was 15.00 for trip no limit on people 1 to ever how many you can get in cab which would hold 4 people but we were 2, got loaded in cab and started out of port when we were on the road he asked us if we got a price for the cab and I told him we were told 15.00 he shook his head no and said 10.00 each I argued but got fed up up with his attitude and just wanted out of his cab the meter was running during the whole trip when we got to the airport the meter read 12.40 so I said to him oh so we only owe you that amount!! he started up with me again and said 20.00 I should have grab one of the airport police and turned him in I SUPPOSE, BUT WE WERE JUST TO AGGRAVATED TO FIGHT so I handed him the 20.00 and told him NO TIP!! good bye Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
The old adage, if it's sounds too good to be true it is...applies here. Pricing is very attractive. You get what you pay for. We travelled only two hours to port embarkation which was very convenient. Embarkation was smooth ... Read More
The old adage, if it's sounds too good to be true it is...applies here. Pricing is very attractive. You get what you pay for. We travelled only two hours to port embarkation which was very convenient. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. The ship was absolutely beautiful and spotlessly clean. Itinerary was wonderful. Cabin and table stewards were as attentive as ship's policies permitted. Few cabin services available on other lines are available on MSC. There was confusion among passengers as they arrived in their cabins because no direction was given to turn lights on in cabins. Cabin key card must be inserted in a slot to utilize power. Power shuts off two minutes after removing the key card. Great idea but instructions would be nice. Food was an absolute disaster whether in the dining room or the buffet. Entertainment was unusual. Shows were short, stage design lacking with the same entertainers performing every show but in different time slot of show. Theater was lovely. Excursion management was dreadful. Excursion and reception staff were inflexible and borderline rude. While well trained in policy they sure don't have a clue as to what good customer service entails. Disembarkation was relatively smooth except that we were told we would disembark around 11 only to be alerted at 9 am that all departing passengers had to leave the ship immediately resulting in sitting on our luggage in a cold, windy drizzle to wait for our transportation home for two and a half hours. I wrote to the cruise line the day we returned and have yet to hear back. Have also posted on the MSC USA Facebook site with no response and to witness mine as well as other's negative comments deleted from the site. Interesting customer service tactic??? Having read other reviews, I don't want to repeat the same issues already covered but want to caution folks who may be considering this line. It's a bare bones, no frills, bargain basement experience. You won't be treated in the manner other cruise lines extend. Best part of the cruise was meeting many other wonderful cruisers from other parts of the world. We were all brought together through conversations about the disappointing cruise experience which fortunately led to more pleasant conversations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our second cruise on MSC and our 21st cruise overall. We previously sailed with friends many years ago on "Symphony" doing MSC's 7-day Western Mediterranean itinerary out of Genoa, and the experience was an ... Read More
This was our second cruise on MSC and our 21st cruise overall. We previously sailed with friends many years ago on "Symphony" doing MSC's 7-day Western Mediterranean itinerary out of Genoa, and the experience was an enjoyable one. With a prior satisfactory experience on MSC and wanting to cruise the coast of New England and Canada during the fall foliage season, this itinerary originating in New York was made to order, and we booked the "Autumn Along Atlantic Shores" cruise on July 12, 2010. The itinerary called for sailing round-trip out of New York City on October 2, for 14 nights with ports-of-call in Halifax, Charlottetown, Corner Brook, Quebec (overnight), Sydney, Bar Harbor, Boston, and Newport. Because we live approximately 90 miles north of New York City in the Hudson River Valley region, a big plus for us was the fact that air travel was not involved in traveling to the port of embarkation. Anyone who has struggled with hand scales to make sure the suitcase is under 50 pounds, or has had to pay extra charges to the airlines for that second checked piece of luggage can appreciate my wife's attitude regarding packing for this trip. She was totally cavalier in selecting clothing for this trip, and as long as the suitcase zipper could close, into the bag the item went. Four suitcases, two carry-ons, a camera case and a huge shoulder bag later, we piled into the limo and we were off to Pier #88 in Manhattan. Although we did not receive luggage tags until we arrived at the port, completing the information took little time and checking in was quick and easy. Upon receiving our cruise-card, we noted that we were assigned first seating for dinner when we had requested second. We boarded the ship, and although we were not escorted to our stateroom, ship's staff were available at key locations to assist us in finding our cabin which we accomplished with little difficulty. Our luggage arrived within minutes, and while my wife started her unpacking, I went down to inquire about changing our dinner time to second seating. I went to the designated area, received a number much like those at the supermarket deli counter and was told to wait in a lounge where I would be paged. The system works smoothly evidenced by the fact that within a few minutes I was paged and stood before the maitre'd making my request which was granted with a smile and a "Welcome Aboard." Because we saved on plane fare, we decided to splurge and we upgraded to a Balcony Suite (#15012) located forward on Deck 15 (Alfieri Deck), starboard side. Some of the amenities specific to a suite stateroom on Poesia include a tub in the bathroom, a small wardrobe for hanging clothes, and fresh fruit daily. Our cabin stewards were excellent, and with the exception of running out of facial tissues a couple of times, we could not find fault with any of the services they provided for us. However, just a short time ago we came off a 7-day cruise on Adventure of the Seas on which we had booked a Junior Suite. Perhaps our expectations were a bit high after that experience, and in both of our opinions, the "suite" on MSC could not hold a candle to the "junior suite" on AOS. The cabins are essentially comparable in terms of square feet, but the layout on Poesia made maneuvering around the cabin very awkward and created a feeling of "smallness." The large mirror and glass shelf opposite the bathroom door is a waste of space and only serves to make the passageway much too constricting for easy flow of traffic. My wife and I only utilize the shower when we travel, so having a tub, for us, is a waste of space which we would have preferred to have added to the living area of the cabin. Availability of a wardrobe for hanging clothes is a definite plus, but in this case, the position of the chest of drawers reduces the amount of usable space because the distance between the wardrobe and the interior wall is very small. The only clothing that would fit in that space were my slacks, and even then, they became crushed and wrinkled over time. Not much of a benefit. A peculiarity of having the suites located toward the bow is that the cabins are subject to pronounced "shuddering" in heavy seas. At night while sleeping, this shuddering created a sensation very much akin to having someone wake you up by shaking you vigorously on the shoulder. Until we got used to the sensation, it made for some very restless nights and dark circles under the eyes the following morning. Overall, it is our candid opinion that the extra amenities associated with booking the suite were not worth the increase in fare. What really surprised us were the meager offerings afforded through room service which, by the way and along with housekeeping needs, must be requested through the reception desk. This is probably done in order to expedite dealing with five different languages on board, although it does make for a certain measure of inflexibility. Case in point: at one point, we wanted some crackers and an assortment of cheeses to enjoy with wine I had purchased through the in-cabin wine package. I tried calling room service and instead found myself talking to reception. When I made my request, the response was that it is impossible because it is not listed on the menu found in our cabin. I responded that since it is available at every lunch and dinner as a dessert plate of cheeses, grapes and nuts, it must be available in the kitchen and could she please check with room service to see if it could be made available. Again, she responded that it is impossible because it is not listed on the cabin menu. Like I said, "Inflexible." Unless one is sick, neither lunch not dinner is available via room service as the directory found in the cabin clearly states the following: "We respectfully advise our Guests that Lunch or Dinner cannot be served in the cabin." However, available 24 hours/day is a very limited menu of the soup of the day, a "Mozzarella Caprese," a platter of sliced seasonal fruit, a couple of different salads, and your choice of tuna, shrimp, chicken or egg salad sandwiches. The room service menu also offers a Continental Breakfast available from 7:30 - 10 AM, except for the day of disembarkation. Although delivery is prompt, little can be said in a positive vein regarding the quality of food delivered. Rolls were stale, toast was literally ice cold and would not melt butter, and orange juice was not fresh but resembled a thin orangeade much like Tang. Mention of the wine package above calls to mind just how disorganized this ship can be at times. We prepaid for two wine packages using the online services available via MSC's website; one package for delivery to our cabin, and a second package for delivery to our dinner table. Bear with me because this takes some explaining. After unpacking, I called room service (#99 on the telephone keypad not knowing that, in fact, I was talking to Reception) and explained that I had vouchers for wine delivery to my cabin. I requested 2 bottles of white wine and 1 bottle of red to be delivered along with an extra ice bucket. After a pregnant pause, I was informed by the voice on the other end of the phone that they didn't provide that service. I needed to go to one of the lounges and obtain the wine from a bartender. Into the elevator and down to the Zebra Bar I went with vouchers in hand. All I received from the bartender was a confused look and an indication that they didn't provide that service either. If I wanted wine for my cabin, he said that I needed to go to Reception. Down to Deck 5 where I waited in line at Reception with four others for someone behind the desk to become available. The Reception Desk is well-staffed, so time passed quickly and again with vouchers in hand, I approached a staff member. After explaining that I was trying to redeem vouchers for wine, I was informed by this staff person that Reception doesn't do that. For delivery of wine to the cabin it was necessary to contact Room Service. Now I'm back to square one and my patience is beginning to wear thin. I explained that it was a room service request that started me on this merry-go-round in the first place and that I did not intend to repeat the process. After consulting my account information on her computer, she verified that I had, in fact, prepaid for the wine packages, and only then did she seem inclined to assist me in the procurement of our wine. The young lady dialed room service herself and ordered 2 bottles of white, 1 bottle of red and an extra ice bucket to be delivered to my cabin. However, the story is not quite over. A few minutes after returning to my cabin, there was a knock on the door. I opened the door to admit a steward carrying 3 bottles of red wine and neither white wine nor extra ice. When asked, the steward said that he could only deliver red wine to cabins... not white. My response was that that was absolutely ridiculous and I showed him the package details and my vouchers. I signed for 1 bottle of red, and sent him back to room service with the other 2 bottles of red. Believe it or not, it required 3 additional trips to Reception before the situation was resolved and only then through the capable assistance of a young lady named Charra. If it were not for her efforts, I think I would still be waiting for that white wine. I will spare you from more tedium, but the situation was not much better at dinner that evening when I tried to redeem a prepaid voucher for a bottle of wine, a component of the second wine package we had ordered online at the MSC website. Our waiter, Ferry, looked at the coupon as if it were the first time he had seen such a thing. Finally, after bringing the Assistant Maitre'd to the table, the situation was rectified, and it was only through the graciousness of our table-mates that we were not embarrassed to death by the attention being directed to our table. Hardly the best way to begin a 14-day cruise on a ship that touts itself as being "graced with Italian hospitality and warmth, ..." I can only assume that the overall confusion on the part of staff may have come about because I had used the MSC website to order and prepay for our wine packages. I say this because, subsequent to our fiasco, I spoke to others who had ordered a wine package while on board and they reportedly had no similar problems. We had also ordered and prepaid for our excursions via the website, and with the exception of having two of them cancelled once onboard, there was no similar confusion with the excursion department as there was with the bar and beverage department. Tickets for the excursions were accurately printed and efficiently delivered to our cabin. Of minor inconvenience is a policy that stipulates that if the excursion is prepaid via the website, then the credit for the cancellation can only be granted by the website. No shipboard credit is available and one must wait until they have returned home to apply for the credit. Seems like a rather cumbersome process to me, but I'm sure there's some rationale for its practice. Where the excursion department falls short, in our opinion, is in the communication of information and the execution of the individual excursions. The daily bulletin delivered to the cabin in the evening lists the various excursions scheduled for the following day and the meeting places for participants to gather beforehand. We booked an excursion for each and every port of call on the itinerary, and not a single one departed on time...not one. Every one was delayed by at least one-half hour, and one departure was 40 minutes late in leaving the lounge and exactly 65 minutes late by the time the bus was pulling out of the lot. One glaring example of miscommunication occurred in Bar Harbor where we signed up for Tour #BHB12, "Grand Tour of Acadia & Bar Harbor." The literature on the website and also available onboard at the excursion desk describes this tour as having a duration of approx. 4 hours. Since the tour left the dockside at 11:05 AM, most passengers on the bus assumed that we'd be returning between 3:00 - 3:30 PM providing plenty of time to explore quaint Bar Harbor before the last ship's tender at 5:15 PM. However, as 4:00 PM came and went, some passengers approached the tour guide and driver to inquire as to when we'd be returning to Bar Harbor. It was then that the tour guide informed us that our tour has a standard duration of 6 hours...and always had been such. Realizing our dismay at the news, she called her office seeking clarification. According to her, the office was under no instructions to customize the tour for a length of 4 hours. Subsequently, the tour guide and driver collaborated to modify the length of time at remaining venues in order to get us back to the ship in time for the scheduled departure. The last tender was scheduled for 5:15, and we arrived back at dockside by 5:05. As it turned out, we were not the only tour operating with inaccurate information as we observed from our veranda tenders operating for an additional 40 minutes before all passengers were back aboard. We met our scheduled departure time of 6:00 PM, but not without a lot of scurrying by a competent and efficient crew to secure the final tender and gangplank. Many posters have made comments, both negative and positive, regarding the breakfast and lunch buffets at the Villa Pompeiana on Poesia and I don't think it necessary to iterate comments regarding quality of food, presentation, and crowded conditions in this venue. Enjoyment of food and the dining experience is relative to one's value system, and our evaluation of the various experiences can not be accurately translated and applied to what the reader values. Suffice it to say that my wife, who reads cookbooks like others read novels and is extremely adept in the kitchen, avoided the breakfast and lunch buffet on Deck 13 unless it was absolutely necessary. For her, the entire experience was disconcerting and made her very uncomfortable. For breakfast, we would either go down to the main dining room, or she would order coffee and orange juice from room service and I would go to the buffet and get a hot bagel and cream cheese for her and bring it back to the cabin. I, however, am not bothered by buffet lines, and would go to breakfast on Deck 13. To those who might enjoy buffets and are not bothered by crowded lines in confined spaces either, I offer the following. Once selecting your food items, proceed to the L'Obelisco A La Carte Restaurant located further aft on Deck 13. There you will usually find available seating, a quieter locale and a pace much less frenetic. For lunch, we found the Sushi Bar to be a quiet and elegant place to dine, and although we incurred an charged extra for this venue, we felt that it was well worth the price. Preparing meals for between 2500 and 3000 passengers is no easy feat, and the ability to provide quality meals that are appealing in their presentation and pleasing to the palate requires both talent and skill. Unfortunately, in our opinion, the food preparation staff on Poesia came up short in this regard and the best descriptor we can use to indicate the quality of food and service in the main dining rooms is "inconsistent at its best." Some of the food presented was absolutely delicious, and some items were at the opposite end of the spectrum and deplorable. Some specific examples of Poesia's shortcomings include, but are not limited to the following: French onion soup with the consistency of canned Franco-American gravy; Creme Brulee that was extremely grainy in texture and lacking a sugar crust top, but instead was presented with what appeared to be a sugar syrup; rigatoni pasta with Bolognese sauce in which the sauce was obviously burnt and bitter tasting; what was tagged on the menu as "Chicken Piccata" was served with a brown mushroom gravy instead of a reduction sauce of lemon, butter, capers and white wine; fillet mignon that was tough and difficult to cut (how is that even possible?); risotto completely undercooked (some grains of rice even crunched) and with a consistency of paste, and finally, breakfast pancakes under the heat lamp for so long that the edges could not be cut with a fork. I could continue, but I believe I've included enough dining room faux pas to justify our conclusion that food preparation is not one of Poesia's strong points. Quite simply, in our judgment at least, the hype presented in the menus does not match the reality of the plate placed before us on the table, and we found the overall quality of food served on Poesia to be disappointing. Just as with food, music appreciation is also very subjective, and what one considers excellence, another might consider nothing but noise. That said, we especially enjoyed the guitarist, Carlo, who performed in the Zebra Bar, and also the Ottawa Band, who provided dancing music, again in the Zebra Bar. As for the production numbers in the Carlo Felice Theater, the only term that accurately describes our reaction to the quality of the entertainment is "sophomoric." We attended the following shows: "Euphoria", "Sam", Exstraordinare", "Follie Barock", and"Atlantis," and except for the changes of costumes, the shows seemed to follow a common formula: Lavish costumes worn by "dancers" who, while waving their arms in time to the music, merely moved to various stage positions and posed for a few moments while acrobatic performers a la' cirque d'soleil did their thing center stage, and somewhere within the flow, a duo of synchronized dancers would emerge who could not maintain the synchronization. When a knife throwing act came on stage during the "Atlantis" production, that was when the level of ludicrousness reached a new high, and we left the theater. As we were leaving, quite fasiciously my wife made the comment that all that was needed for a revival of the old Ed Sullivan Show was for a dog act to appear on stage. With all that I've indicated above, it may seem paradoxical to state that we had a good time on this cruise. We must have enjoyed ourselves because the 14 days passed very quickly, and as they say, "Time flies..." We were aboard a sleek, well-kept floating hotel visiting interesting ports-of call in the company of fascinating, vital people while enjoying the magnificent scenery of New England, the Maritime Provinces of Canada, the St. Lawrence River and Quebec. However, a cruise experience is more than a clean ship and a great itinerary. It is the sum total of what passengers encounter while aboard including stateroom amenities and service, entertainment venues, bar and beverage service, quality of food, and most importantly, whether or not passengers are made to feel confused, frustrated, needlessly inconvenienced, or unappreciated. In our minds, there is no such thing as a "bad" cruise. It's just that some cruises are better than others. For us, the number of shortcomings we experienced on MSC Poesia has established a new benchmark at the low end of the spectrum. At the time we booked this cruise, we approached friends who had never cruised and proposed that they join us on Poesia. In hindsight, we are grateful that they had a conflict in their calendar and were unable to join us because we firmly believe that if this were their first cruise experience, it would probably also be their last. Will we cruise again in the future? Most definitely,...Yes. Will we sail with MSC again? ...Possibly. Will we sail again on Poesia? Most definitely,...No. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
The category 12 stateroom is advertised as a suite. This cabin is no larger than a verandah cabin on Holland America. Beautiful cabin, high on deck 15...but it is not a suite! Entertainment on board was good in the lounges, ... Read More
The category 12 stateroom is advertised as a suite. This cabin is no larger than a verandah cabin on Holland America. Beautiful cabin, high on deck 15...but it is not a suite! Entertainment on board was good in the lounges, considering they were all Italian, and did their best to translate the songs into English. The show every evening in the theater was another disappointment. The stage was very small, and lacked any appearance of being a production set. They projected images on a screen, and had a catwalk with stairs on both sides, as the only prop for every show for 12 nights of the 14. The dancers were very good considering they didn't have much of a stage setting to work with. The entertainers on the other hand left a lot to be desired. In my opinion there was not enough variety. Every night you had a dance routine and then it was followed by a circus act or a opera singer. No other type of entertainment was available. This type of entertainment got real old-real quick. Dining on board was just average. The food in the dining room lacked presentation. It was good, but nothing to brag about. The buffet was adequate, good selection everyday, properly served, and made a good appearance. Shore excursions were available as advertised. The only complaint I heard were from guests that bought them from a travel agent prior to sailing. There was some confusion a the tour desk concerning these pre-paid tours. A couple we meet had to purchase the tours again, and were told to take it up with their travel agent and credit card company. No effort was made by the cruise line to rectify this situation. We had no children traveling with us, but listings in the daily program always addressed what was happening and available for children. Staff was very helpful, considering the language barrier. Most spoke very little, if any English. They did do their best to accommodate the guest. Service was adequate...They did nothing over and above in order to make you feel like a valued guest. I guess with 3200 passengers on board. There is only so much they can do to pamper you. This is my first cruise on board a larger ship. We normally sail on smaller ships (1400 -1600 guests) so we expected a little more personal service, especially when your booked in their best (suite) stateroom. It didn't happen! Holland America keep those smaller ships in service - - - were coming back! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We have been back for a week and I have been formulating thoughts of our cruise. First off, we did meet with a group of Cruise Critics while on board and had a great time, especially meeting Musicus who is on-board for an entire year. A ... Read More
We have been back for a week and I have been formulating thoughts of our cruise. First off, we did meet with a group of Cruise Critics while on board and had a great time, especially meeting Musicus who is on-board for an entire year. A true gentleman and quite entertaining-make sure to hear him play the piano! I will try to do a break-down of different aspects. Remember, these are MY thoughts...even my husband disagrees with me as he saw some things differently than I did. TRAVEL TO PORT: We took a red-eye on JetBlue out of Long Beach CA airport two days before our cruise to give us time to see the city. We much prefer sight-seeing before a cruise rather than after. We like this Long Beach airport as we love flying JetBlue plus it is easy to get to and maneuver around. The only issue is that you board the planes from the tarmac, rain or shine. The red-eye was my first...don't know if I would like to do it again. It put us into NYC at 6:00 AM. We had pre-paid a private car service, "1-800-LimoRes" for pick-up and got great service. Right on time and picked us up at the curb right outside baggage claim - ask for "Yogi" - you will not go wrong. Tell him he was recommended by the crazy group of four on their private tour that wanted to go have NYC style pizza and Red Velvet Cake. HOTEL: We elected to stay at the Fort Lee Double-Tree in New Jersey, right across the George Washington Bridge. Great price, great rooms. They had a special that included breakfast every morning plus shuttle service into Manhattan both days we were there. We had to walk just two blocks to catch GreyLine tour and to see Times Square. EMBARKATION: Took place at terminal 88 at the Manhattan pier. Easy access, no problems. We were there early around 11:30ish. Cabins were ready for us. No one greeting you with Champagne at that point, nor directing you to your cabin but no problem for us. SHIP OVERALL: The ship is beautiful!! Very classy, sleek and modern. Loved it. The lobby has a three story waterfall with a "floating" piano on the stage over the pool at the bottom. The Library was very nice, beautiful leather chairs although I couldn't ever seem to get there when a person was on duty. Game/Card Room was lovely and almost always filled. Zebra Lounge was wonderfully decorated. Lots and lots of marble everywhere...stairs etc. Did make for some slippery moments when the ship was in rougher seas. I know of at least two people with broken limbs resulting from falls on our trip. Pool area was lovely but as we actually has some snow flurries on this trip I did not utilize it myself. The pool area has a HUGE big screen monitor on the 14th deck...very cool. CABINS: We were traveling with friends and had adjoining balcony cabins 12132 & 12134 Leopardi Deck. Cabins were spacious and we felt they had good storage, although I heard one complaint in that area. Beautifully decorated (loved the large floor-to-ceiling mirror on the wall opposite bed-opened up the space and, well, use your imagination..wink..wink. Enough room under the bed to put suitcases. Lots of drawers. The closet was a bit tight as it opened into the bathroom door but we made it work. Cabin was located at mid-section VERY near elevators. Unfortunately we were also located near a crew door for pulling luggage in and out and also under the Cafeteria which has wooden floors. Heard a LOT of heavy banging from the kitchen and the scrape of chairs early in the morning when Cafeteria opened. This was definitely an issue for our light sleeping friends. Balcony and windows were washed almost every other "at Dock" so were kept very clean. NOTE: The hairdryers are in the drawer at the desk with a large mirror - very convenient. There are two settings - Min & Max. I have very curly hair and need a high setting to straighten my hair and keep it from frizzing. This blow dryer did not do the trick for me...I had a bad hair day most of the trip and had to use lots of product. WIFI/INTERNET: FAST!! My have-to-work-all-the-time husband LOVED it! An advantage of being on a newer ship. Had a connection right in the room. Be aware that it is right under the flat-screened TV so you need a longer cord than normal to run out to the desk area or balcony. Also, be aware that if you are on a B2B cruise as we were, you purchase time credits for each LEG...this was not disclosed and created a bit of a problem until it was figured out. Tech people were very helpful with any issues that arose. The pricing was expensive as always. ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: We love shows. Did NOT love the first night show on this cruise. Most of it was hokey and almost embarrassing to watch. Had some sort of Animation Team that was just plain silly. Because of this we never went back...we did hear from some folks that it got better?? The other entertainment in the lounges was hit and miss. The first week they had a classical Trio that was wonderful and their lounge was always crowded. The second week they had a Big Band theme and had the Grammy-nominated Les DeMerle Orchestra...fantastic! Went several nights and danced. Some of the other lounges were just okay for me. Not bad..just ok. A highlight of the first week for us was the talent show. Great...better than the theater show...only problem it was HEAVILY attended. Should have been in the theater but wasn't. Held in the Pigalle (pronounced Pig-AHL) lounge and there were people standing...too bad. One issue...by Canadian law only one bar on a deck is to be opened while in their waters. This created a problem; when we tried to sit in one lounge we were actually herded into another. We moved and found no place to sit so came back in what could only be called defiance on our part...and we were not alone. We did not attend any activities save for an Italian lesson class. There weren't many...a few dance classes and Bingo. PICTURES: This too was hit or miss. Some took their time to get a good picture while others were so obviously irritated at having to spend any time it was apparent on their faces. Look for the photographers with special lighting and backgrounds. YOU tell them what pose works best for you. The ones on the staircases look like they would be great but the lighting is harsh. Ladies, you won't like it. Take your own camera there. The gangplank pics and such were taken so fast most of mine were taken with closed eyes. ANNOUNCEMENTS: Yes, they were in four languages...did not bother us. The announcements were not intrusive and we did not mind. My husband speaks a bit of Italian and it was fun for him to see what he knew. He even went to the Italian lessons offered on board. SERVICE OVERALL: For the most part liked it. They are unobtrusive, not in your face pushing drinks. They walk around so that you can easily order but are not hovering. Our room steward was very nice and friendly...room was always clean and neat. I tipped him extra when we got to our cabin at embarkation and had my requested extra pillows waiting that evening when we returned. Had one towel animal the entire cruise...cute but not important. No candies on the pillow. Ice in the buckets every day. Of the 13 night cruise we only saw him about 5-6 times but was always available when we needed him. Service in the spa was nice...more on that later. Dining Room staff was attentive but not overly so. Had to ask for water more than they saw I needed it. More on Dining Room service later. ITINERARY/SHORE EXCURSIONS: Wonderful. We were on B2B cruises..left NYC and went to Halifax, Sydney (twice) Boston, Charlottestown (PEI), Quebec City overnight and were supposed to go to Newport but the fog rolled in very heavy and could not tender in. Wished we had Bar Harbor the second week instead of the "double" Sydney. They are contracted with an outside service. The tours with lunches scheduled are not the best. They get you in and out fast and the food can be hit or miss. We were told that the ship sent people on ahead before choosing a route and set up the dining choices; if the line can't get the on-board dining room food right I'm not sure how they pick the offerings on land. NOTE: If you book your excursions on the Internet BEFORE the cruise, please realize that you will not get a refund on the ship should they be cancelled. You have to make a claim and receive a refund several weeks later. Since this happened to us twice (one a cancellation because the tour was not filled and once because of fog)we are still waiting for our refund. Shore excursions were expensive BUT we did get back an hour late on one of them and the ship had to wait. So there is the lesson on that.... DINING ROOM: Ahhh, here is what you've been waiting for isn't it? There are two Dining Rooms, one on the 6th deck (Ill Paladio) where we dined and the Fontane on the 5th deck...very pretty with comfortable seating. Now the food is where my husband and I differ..even our traveling companions had different opinions. I found the food to be just plain boring. No surprises, no special gourmet-type offerings..and, in some instances, just not good. I will admit I am a picky eater. Now, I didn't starve, far from it...lots of food but not what Americans have come to expect of cruising here. The menu was quite ingenious though...they had sections listed for the American palate with their conception of what good ole' American food would be. Then they had an Italian fare section and a standard, every night sort of offering...you could mix and match however so could get the best of all worlds. While my husband enjoyed the food, he did admit that it wasn't what he would expect of a cruise. Their meat offerings were Flat-Iron steaks or some other cut that was typically chewy. When you read that info on some of the other posts...believe it. One night in the Dining Room I ordered a langostino lobster and a shrimp dish and that is what I got. They were served the true Mediterranean way..the ENTIRE carcass (antennae and all) laid out. I spent 15 minutes carving up these critters just to get a stringy piece of a lobster "thread" of meat. Our friends accused me of ordering bugs for dinner...but that wasn't the issue..the taste and lack of offering was. Another night I ordered the chicken. NO KIDDING...I was served a Denny's-like broiled boneless chicken thigh with no spices or dressings of any kind, along with overcooked cubed carrots with a smattering of peas mixed in and four roasted potato pieces. Not even parsley to dress it! It literally looked like I was getting a frozen dinner laid out on a plate and it tasted about the same. Suffice it to say, we stayed out of the Dining Room for most of the second part of the cruise. It just wasn't good enough to make the effort. The one bright spot was the "compulsory" Flaming Baked Alaska...it was probably the best I have ever had and I am not a fan of this dish. I did have Salmon one night and it was good but had bones. They did offer a lovely fresh salad of arugula and cabbage with fresh Parmesan cheese..quite tasty..I had it almost every time we were in the Dining Room. One thing also that you should know..I am not a stranger to Mediterranean food. I grew up in a Middle Eastern household so am familiar with this type of cooking...it is good, fresh food. This was not it. Consequently, because we did not frequent the dining room as much, I cannot tell you if Lobster was ever served. They did not have Fillet Mignon that I ever saw. I tended to stay away from the pasta dishes because I have a problem with garlic. My husband (who actually has spent a month in Italy staying in real Italian homes) said they were good but were cooked "al dente" which he likes very much..not the mushy pasta that we tend to like here in the states. The desserts were okay..not the rich desserts that we have here but were light and fluffy. There was not ever one good piece of chocolate "Milk Cake" if you know what I mean...I missed that. Their version of Creme Brulee was more like custard with some maple sauce poured on top...no crusty top. The service as stated was good. For some mysterious reason, after the second night where I asked our server to fill both the wine glass and the water glass with water because I could not get them to come back to fill them in a timely matter, my glasses were both "downgraded" to smaller ones. When I asked why, I got two different answers...one: "We broke them and that is all we were given" (I kid you not) and the second; "another table stole ours". Whatever..at least I had water. It was just funky...but as we are pretty-easy going it was not a huge thing. Some people though had major problems and we heard a LOT of complaining. We were second seating so did not ever go to the Midnight Buffet. CAFETERIA: We found that cafeteria more to our liking. There was the obligatory roasted rosemary potatoes-quite good (although only once did they have mashed potatoes), salads, pizza, rolls and their "mystery" salads made from the previous evenings offerings, mixed together and given a name-weird. Breakfast consisted of the normal eggs and bacon (eggs runny and bacon barely cooked but that was my issue) pancakes, french toast, waffles, potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, etc. Like I said, we didn't starve..it just wasn't what we have come to expect on a cruise. Coffee was excellent and was very consistent. Tea was harder to come by...you had to comb through the offerings to get what you wanted and if you are a caffeine-free tea drinker bring your own...you can't find it. One bright spot were the hamburgers...very good and tasty..tasted home made. Pizza was quite good. I had an eggplant lasagna that was to die for..very, very good. Desserts were the same here...nothing to sink your teeth around but it kept me from gaining a huge amount of weight so maybe it was a blessing! The Cafeteria was open every night EXCEPT on Gala nights when they served only pizza until later in the evening. One note: The non-Americans are not really worried about standing in a buffet line...do the same..jump in and out and go around. Acceptable and don't get upset about it. This ship is marketed to the French, Italian and Germans...when in Rome... Moving around the buffet can be challenging. Some spots are tight and when people get into a large crowd their IQ's tend to drop ten points. They tend to linger in the aisles and you have to watch or you will get pushed around. Finding eating space is difficult especially at prime hours. Do yourself a favor and move just past the cafeteria dining room to the back of the ship in the area of the L'Obelisque dining room. The air-conditioning works better there and no crowds..you just have to walk a bit to the restroom. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS: Since the food was not up to what I would consider gourmet in the Main Dining Room, I just couldn't see spending more for the specialty restaurants serving bland food. SPA: They offer Balinese type massages and facials. I am a facial gal so love them and as I have never had a Balinese facial before decided to try one. This was like none I have ever experienced. It was rougher and harder...but I really liked it. Felt good and I have seen results from it just this week. Be aware that it is not gentle but was pleasing in an odd way. They do not try to up sell you any products. I did not have a massage but the staff were pleasant and they offer specials on the "at dock" days so I got a 60% discount that night. ALSO, be aware that they will not charge tips to your card...you must bring cash to tip. I had to go back the next day to tip my facial lady...I wish they disclosed it. Their reasoning was that they didn't want you to feel obligated, so.... TIPPING POLICY: They do make you feel obligated. MSC tipping is high...$12 per day per person...on a 13 night cruise that was almost $300. I heard it took an act of Congress to get it changed which you MUST do before they charge your card..after that, all financials go to Italy and it is a mess. I talked with one Australian man on board who was on for three weeks. He went in to change the tip amount to $50 a week and said he was rudely treated and told..."you Australians are all alike" ... whether this was true or not I could not tell you..it what was told to me by the person involved, but he did get the tip lowered. EMBARKATION: Easy-set your bags out before 1 AM and you pick them up on the dock OR you can get a choice of taking your own luggage off BUT you are sternly warned there will be no help to you if you choose the do-it-yourself route. If you set your bags out, you are given tags with a color code. We took our sweet time getting off after they called our color. Once we decided to leave, we didn't have to hunt around a bazillion bags. For the NYC port, be forewarned that if you decide NOT to use the NYC porters you are rudely directed to a LONG, winding trail to the customs window rather than their fastrack. Our same driver from LimoRes again picked us up and gave us a leisurely tour of other NYC city highlights, where we stopped for NY pizza and a Bronx delight - Red Velvet cake before heading back to JFK and our JetBlue flight back to Long Beach. ONE MORE THING...If Americans are thought of badly throughout the world..there may be a reason..we can be quite rude and ignorant. Some of us can be thoughtless and downright stupid and I saw instances of it on this trip with behavior that was quite unbecoming. It made me sad for the people on the receiving end that are trying to do a very hard job, separated from their families for months at a time. This is an example of an actual episode that I personally witnessed: The morning that we were to tender in at Newport Rhode Island, the fog was so think you could not see off the end of our balcony. We were blowing the fog horn every minute and when we finally stopped and dropped anchor an announcement was made that we were waiting for the fog to lift so tendering could begin (it never did). An American lady with a midwest accent stopped one of the cruise assistants (Italian) who was handling the tender assignments and began to berate her loudly for "trying to drive the boat in the fog when the captain can't see anything." This American lady could not understand "how the Captain could see where he was going and that she knew last night we should not have been going anywhere because we might bump into something in the fog" She would not let up. The poor crew member was gracious and apologized, while saying the Captain knew best. I wanted to take the lady aside and explain sonar and radar and how submarines get around but it would have been in vain. It was unbelievable but sadly, it was just one of the stupid things I heard on that cruise. Well, thanks for letting me run on with this. Like I said, these are MY opinions..others have different ones and that's ok...that is what makes the world go around. Would I ever go on MSC again?? You betcha..the price was great, I have foreknowledge about what I'm getting into and I would have a big lobster dinner on shore before heading back to the ship! We made two stops in Sydney..the first time through we went on a walking tour of the city on our own - pretty unexceptional although there are some pretty homes close by the terminal. The terminal itself has a lot of shops, with internet service and fax machines available. There is also a large auditorium where the locals sell their hand-made products. Get a picture with the three-story violin at the terminal. Everybody seemed to head for the nearest pharmacy as a lot of people had colds...and it was crowded. A few blocks down is another one...take an extra minute and go there..much less crowded. Also there is a "dollar" type of store there. I was so cold that I ended up buying a pair of thermal underwear...best buy of the cruise for me! The second time through we had a tour of the Bras D'Or lakes on Cape Breton Island...home to the Alexander Graham Bell museum. The museum was interesting but the scenery will take your breath away-the Fall colors were spectacular. You will understand why he choose to make this area his home for 37 years - which you will NOT see as it is still owned by his descendants. The lunch was a little thin here but overall a nice tour. This is the tour that was an hour late getting back to the ship. I wish that we had been able to stop in Bar Harbor on this cruise instead of two Sydney trips. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
MSC Poesia Review New England & Canada Cruise October 16-29, 2010 Interior Quad Cabin # 10003 Second Seating Dinner Table #602 Palladio Restaurant Our First MSC Cruise - A GREAT VACATION VALUE While finalizing our ... Read More
MSC Poesia Review New England & Canada Cruise October 16-29, 2010 Interior Quad Cabin # 10003 Second Seating Dinner Table #602 Palladio Restaurant Our First MSC Cruise - A GREAT VACATION VALUE While finalizing our October Princess cruise we saw a flier for the MSC Poesia. Seeing fall colors in New England/Canada and visiting Quebec was appealing and the MSC cruise was about half what we would have paid for Princess. We loved the MSC cruise. Note to Princess Cruises - we still love you and we'll be back on your ships. You're still my favorite. MSC Cruises - Company Background: Most of us have never heard of, nor sailed on, MSC cruise ships. MSC Cruises is a subsidiary of the privately owned Mediterranean Shipping Company, the world's second largest container shipping company. It's the youngest and fastest growing cruise line growing from handful of cruise ships in 2006 to fourteen ships by 2012 including two with four-thousand passenger capacity. MSC Cruises = an International Cruise Line: MSC markets to numerous nationalities, so many cultures and languages are represented on-board. Announcements and menus are in five to seven languages. This diverse group of passengers can be exciting and interesting, but it may be a turn-off for those accustomed to North American ships. MSC cruise ships have a decidedly European, cosmopolitan feel. The Ship MSC Cruise ships have an Italian influenced European look -- understated elegance and quality furnishings. The Poesia is a beautiful ship with expansive public areas. It's well laid out and has many banks of elevators. The elevator doors close quickly; take care not to be pinched by the doors. Interior cabins are a bit wider than on Princess ships so it's possible to walk between the floor bed and the stored ,wall-mounted bed. The shower is larger than on Princess and has a convenient, hand held, adjustable spray. But storage space in the cabin is very limited = less than on Princess ships. MSC Poesia is an exceptionally clean ship earning a perfect score of 100% on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) inspection reports. I've never seen such rigorous and effective cleaning of a cruise ship. Bed linens are laundered at least every other day. Hand sanitizers are everywhere and all soap and towel dispensers in public restrooms are filled and in working order. Passengers are encouraged to use a paper towel to avoid contact with handles to open the restroom doors minimizing spread of germs. The Poesia has set new, high standards for ship cleanliness. Kudos to MSC!!! Food: Some passengers expect every food item to be identical to what they eat in the USA. They don't realize European food is different. Pasta is firm "al dente" and beef is lean and tends to be tough. I've had Florentine steak at a fine restaurants in Italy; it was lean and tough. I prefer more tender beef that is flavored with fat so I did not order the steak Florentine. Passengers who don't realize the food is European can become "ugly Americans" loudly complaining about everything. My wife and I were embarrassed by their behavior and avoided them. We rated the food as good to very good. I had one fish fillet that was too salty, but all other meals were good. Service at our dinner seating were excellent. Dinner and service at the L'Obelisco restaurant was superb. We ate most breakfasts at the cafeteria and all lunches in the dining rooms. We enjoyed conversations with passengers at meals and became great friends with our dinner partners. It was a great experience. One last point, written reviews and complaints by the handful of "ugly Americans" were actually helpful. This lowered our expectations so much before the cruise that we were pleasantly surprised the "complainers" got it all wrong. It was a great cruise experience; we'll be back on MSC Cruises. Entertainment - Worth the Cost of the Cruise: Entertainment on American cruise ships focuses on Broadway type shows, singers, musicians, comedians, lectures, etc. International cruise lines cannot feature language specific entertainment such as comedians or lectures. Entertainment on the Poesia was exceptionally diverse and extremely good. The singers and dancers were very good. Mimma Barra is a phenomenal singer - a young Barbra Streisand with the voice of an angel! There were two male gymnasts who exhibited incredible grace, balance, and strength. Their ability to support complete body weight from their neck or their hand twisted behind their back was amazing. Two female gymnasts exhibited flexibility and feats that seemed impossible. And a young man on a unicycle defied gravity and exhibited amazing balance. In addition to entertainment in the theater, there was music, singing, dancing, etc. throughout the ship and a big band! The exceptionally diverse, excellent entertainment was worth the cost of the cruise. Shore Excursions: We went on private tours arranged by Cruise Critic members and several of the ship's excursions. All were excellent. The ship's tour guides were very good and when the excursion included a meal, it was excellent food at a very nice restaurant. Wine Tasting: We've attended wine tasting on many ships. The person conducting the session is sometimes arrogant and doesn't share much information. We had met the Sommelier at dinner in the L'Obelisco restaurant and were impressed with him. Mr. Luigi Di Fiore is a delightful man. He's passionate about wine and extremely knowledgeable. Wine tasting with him was a great experience and we learned a lot. I would highly recommend attending his wine tasting event. Embarkation - Disembarkation: Fast, efficient and all personnel were helpful and pleasant. Areas for Improvement on the MSC Poesia: The most notable problem with MSC is communication. It is difficult to get information from the MSC website. The information we obtained before and during the cruise was often incomplete or wrong. Go to the front desk and ask three different people the same question. You'll get three different answers. I asked for instructions on how to connect my computer to the ship's WIFI. The first instructions were wrong. I went back to the desk and got different instructions. I could connect to the internet, but the instructions were not correct. I gave up on using the ship's internet and took my computer to shore. I visited the gym and was told that my shoes did not qualify as "athletic shoes". I pointed out that I use these shoes in a gym every week. The gym sent me to the reception desk. They had no idea nor definition of what an athletic shoe is. I insisted on meeting with the manager of the spa and gym. She said my shoes were fine for use in the gym. The problem is that the ship has a requirement to use "athletic shoes" in the gym but they don't have a definition of what an athletic shoe is. We made a reservation for dinner in the L'Obelisco restaurant. When we arrived, there was a sign in front of both doors to the restaurant stating "CLOSED". The restaurant was dark with no lights nor evidence of people. We walked past the "CLOSED" signs, through a pitch dark room, and discovered there were lights at the far end to enjoy a great meal. UNTIL MSC POESIA CORRECTS THE POOR/FAULTY COMMUNICATION WITH PASSENGERS, YOU NEED TO BE ALERT TO PROBLEMS ARISING FROM INCORRECT INFORMATION WHICH COULD AFFECT YOUR CRUISE VACATION. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
MSC Poesia - Not For the American Market? We cruised the maiden New England voyage for Poesia September 22-Oct 2, 2010, choosing it based on a one-day fantastic price offered on the internet for a balcony (Category 8)... at less than ... Read More
MSC Poesia - Not For the American Market? We cruised the maiden New England voyage for Poesia September 22-Oct 2, 2010, choosing it based on a one-day fantastic price offered on the internet for a balcony (Category 8)... at less than eight hundred dollars, before tax. As we soon found out ... you only get what you pay for ... and there are striking differences between American-based cruises lines and European ones such as MSC (an Italian line). Knowing that we wanted to do a New England/Canada cruise, we booked first and read the Poesia reviews on Cruisecritic.com later .... finding out that the ship had its share of flaws ... and then some. Hits were ship's dEcor, certain, selected types of foods, and destinations. Misses were a good portion of the food served, cabins, shows, billing (mandatory donation to UNICEF), and "monopolization of" tourist/public transportation at ports. For people who have cruised on other domestic/ competitive cruise lines, this cruise would be a disappointment and viewed, at best, as a "budget type of cruise". Read on ... Ship design and layout: Poesia (pronounced PO-Z-A), circa 2008, is an attractive ship with some very nicely decorated common areas that compare favorably to other 90K+ton ships. This ship makes generous use of marble in the common areas. Cabins however, are very small. Our 161 sq. ft balcony was very tight, offering only a 31 sq. balcony and less than needed storage. Had we not packed our clothes on wire hangers (temporarily removing the ship's bulky plastic hangers), we would have had to store some clothes in our suitcases. The bathroom too is small with a ridiculously tight shower. Where the ship did have a design advantage .... lots of elevators ... more than on any other ship we have sailed, and these too were fitted with beautiful marble. The formal dining rooms (stacked over each other on decks 5 and 6) did not have the high ceilings that other ships have, giving them a less than grand appearance. Villa Pompeiana (buffet area on deck 13) while very striking, was laid out cafeteria style (very few stations) requiring cruisers to wait on long lines. The design of the line area in front of the food was so tight that it was very difficult to pass through, if one wanted to skip the line. Many used this tight area to walk from one area to the end of the buffet causing people to constantly bump into each other. This ship did have an extra seating area at the back of the ship, which had a more limited buffet. However, this "secret" area became well known to all aboard only three days into the cruise. Since it was at the back of the ship, it had a beautiful panorama of the sea. Overall, the crew did a great job of cleaning up the plates, which helped with the crowds and table availability. The multi-story theatre was set up just like a regular theatre and had no blocked views. Seats however were uncomfortable, being tight and short. Acoustics and stage areas were fine. That was not the case with the quality of the shows (reviewed below). This was the first cruise ship we have been on that did not serve drinks in the theatre since its layout prohibited that. Deck 13 pool area is fitted with two small rectangular pools and saunas above each pool. On the only good sea day during the very stormy weather that dogged the whole cruise, decks chairs were only partially filled due to the cooler outside temperature. The deck chairs, were very uncomfortable, with a fixed setting, but had a separate screen that fit over the head to avoid the sun. This ship had an enormous amount of lounges and bars scattered throughout. Some intimate and some very large like the deck 6 "Zebra" bar which become a popular venue and the main hub for people to gather. Deck 13 gym was on the small side, and had mostly stair step, treadmill, and bicycle machines with very few weight bearing machines. Unlike other ships, there was no one in the gym to help out guests. It looked like the gym staff really worked in the adjacent spa. MSC has a policy of making everyone using the gym to sign a release form and getting a clearance sticker posted on their cruise cards. They were also picky about the type of shoes that exercisers wore. If they didn't like the shoes, you could not get in, even if your shoes had rubber soles. Guess they didn't want the fake wood floors to get marked up. Food: The food was one of the major flaws of this ship, although there were occasional pleasant surprises. Being of Italian-American heritage, I found that most things Italian were pretty good. The pastas and risotto were very good, although the chef had a passion for red sauce made out of cherry tomatoes. White (Alfedo and Asiago cheese sauces), Pesto were also very good. Pasta cooked al dente. The buffet had some Italian specialties like soppressata salami and an occasionally prosciutto (ham). After a few dismal served breakfast and lunch meals in the main dining room, we faithfully went to the buffet for all these meals thereafter. This is the first time that we experienced poor cooking and service in a ship's main dining room for breakfast and lunch meals. Breakfast buffet had the standard items, but too little fresh fruit. More canned fruit than fresh. Among the better items were great hash brown cakes, good small link sausage, grilled tomatoes, rolls, croissants, scrambled, boiled and on occasion, fried eggs. Bacon had a funny taste. Sliced salami and cheese as well as ricotta cheese was always present. Coffee was hit or miss ... all out strong one day, weak the next. You couldn't recognize the diluted "orange drink" as OJ and the pineapple juice was a better choice. Juice must be a primo expensive item in Italy as you were not allowed to pour your own, but had to take the small glasses of filled juice from the trays. Lunch buffet was filled with all types of seafood, vegetable, and meat salads as well as a decent lettuce bar with all types of fixings to make on your own. There were always several meat dishes (including a carved to order), good pasta dishes and the star of the lunch buffet .... several types of pizza .... REALLY GOOD PIZZA... hot and fresh. Desserts at the buffet were dismal. Thank god that was not always the case with the dinner (served) meal. We took our Dinner in the Le Fontaine Room, deck five, aft. We had a table of eight people ... really nice couples from CA (LA), PA, and NJ who hit it off and had great conversations each evening. Our servers, ADI and TunTun did a great job and could not have been more accommodating to every request. Unfortunately the dinners were hit or miss, and towards the end more miss. In general, the quality of the meats, particularly steak (strip, fillet, flank steak) were the worst that we have every experienced on any ship (tough and stringy). Other meat selections were mostly overcooked and dried out (as was usually the case in the upstairs lunch buffet). If you like good cuts of meat, cooked rare, this is not the ship for you. We did manage to have a good veal Osso bucco, the first night, and my other half had pretty good fish on most nights, but towards the end of the trip, the fish came out overcooked. Rack of lamb, a table favorite had a strong mutton taste. Rolls and other bread goods were of ok quality, but not as good as on other ships. Salad-wise, they offered a great Caesar salad with sliced parmesan every night. It was a staple for me. Soups were good, but too much emphasis on bean and lentil ... heavier soups. Except for excellent cheesecakes, and very good gelato, the desserts in the dining rooms did somehow disappoint. Only on one night (out of ten) was shrimp cocktail offered. On our second to last night the ship finally brought out the lobster. This was a very well kept, guarded secret by our Asst. maitre d' DILO who refused to admit that the ship would serve lobster, right up until and including the evening before. What's the big deal letting people know that lobster would be served the next night??? Any of the 13 other ships we have been on always told you a day in advance that lobster would be served. We were served a half of a small whole Mediterranean lobster ... without the claw. It was well prepared, offered with drawn butter. Overall, I would say that only three out of the 10 dinner meals we had were acceptable. A poor batting average. Towards the end of the cruise there was one Midnight Buffet that was a beautiful sight to behold. Lavish salads, cold cuts, shrimp, desserts too numerous to list were presented along with beautiful carvings of food (not ice). The unfortunate thing about this buffet is that too few people knew about it and only a small fraction of the ship showed up. Only if you read the very cramped newsletter that day would you have seen the obscure one-liner about the 12 am buffet. The Cruise director failed to mention it that night at the theatre show, and hence it was very empty. What a shame. I am sure that many guests would have come if they had known. Alternative dining: We tried the Japanese restaurant for Udon/tempura soup which was good and reasonable. The other alternative restaurant (on deck 13 ... during the day was the end part of the buffet for breakfast and lunch) was empty and closed down night after night. Maybe the menu seemed too similar to that of the main dining rooms or the fact that it was the buffet room each day was turn off. We didn't bother with it or the $25 pp surcharge. Entertainment: Entertainment on this ship, ranging from the nightly shows in the main Theatre, to the lounge music, to the disco ... was a major let down, with minor exceptions here and there. The shows in the main theatre were a major disappointment. The worst we have seen on any ship in 14 cruises. We are used to seeing "Broadway type" of professional productions on ships, with live bands. Per se, the ship has no major band, as other ships do. There were some two and three piece combo's that played in the theatre (and other areas), but mostly the music that accompanied many of the shows is taped. The theme shows had dancers who mostly walked around and flailed their arms. While the dancers had nice costumes and the shows some decent sets, overall they had very poor dancing skills ... this was a shock. These dancers really needed the skills of a good choreographer. What saved the shows were acts interspersed during the main shows--- wonderful acrobatics, aerialists, a great tenor (Aurelio Gabaldon), a soprano (Rosita Tassi), bicyclist, a lariat specialist, etc. and a great pop singer, Ms. Massa who also was accompanied and sometimes drowned out by loud, canned music. Dancing music in a number of lounges was pretty good, but the disco music played on the night we were there was dismal. The place was empty. We could not believe that there were no comedians aboard, but maybe that had to do with the fact that the main market has until the recent transatlantic voyage right before ours had Europeans passengers. While the cruise director Anna was certainly lovely, we only saw her in the theatre each night when she introduced each show. She was one of those directors that was not seen around the ship at other times. Finally a word about ship's activities. Since we had four sea days, a generous amount, activities were important. Unfortunately, unlike other ships, there usually was only one (sometimes two activities per hour). A lack of things to do was very apparent. The ships daily newspaper was also pretty poor, not well laid out and had mostly boilerplate items (e.g. times each restaurant opened and closed). We also felt deprived of world news. The TV in the rooms mostly was older movies, ESPN and dozens of stations saying "no signal". On the few occasions that CNN played, it was in a foreign language and only for a few hours. Unlike other ships there were no printed excerpts from the NY Times or any other forms of news. Embarkation/Debarkation: For both embarkation and debarkation, Poesia had problems, preventing smooth entry to and exit from the ship. We arrived for embarkation at 11:30 am, only to find out that MSC had computer problems requiring customers to wait up to two hours in the entry hall. We finally got on board at 1:30 pm. At least they offered bottles of water and some fruit drinks to help pass the time. For debarkation, we chose to carry off our own bags to make our 10:50 am train from Penn Station. For some reason MSC required all people doing a carry off of their own bags to meet in the Zebra Room at 7:00 am . This room is in the front of the ship. The exit turned out to be in the very back of the ship. So for what took over 45 minutes, waiting in long lines, etc., there was a parade of guests walking through the entire 6th floor with their bags. Wouldn't it have been better to let individuals go directly from their cabins to the exit? It was probably a ploy to get the many guests who chose this option out of their rooms by 7 am. Excursions: MSC offered several excursions for Sydney, Halifax, Charlottetown (P.E.I.) as well as Quebec and Newport. All excursions offered were much higher price than on-land options offered by companies not under control by the ship. As it turned out in both Halifax and Charlottetown, MSC "monopolized" most forms of transportation including the double decker buses, trolleys and amphibious vehicles such that these were not available to the public or ship guests who walked off looking to use them ( at the much less published rate on the internet). Even worse, while you could book these excursions at the ports, off the ship, you had to pay the ship's higher price. For example the ship charged $49 for the "hop on/hop off" bus in Halifax. You could book it outside of the terminal for the same $49, but this bus normally charges $29 for the same service to the public, as posted on the internet. (Review of ports below). Billing --- Mandatory Donation to UNICEF: Halfway through the trip, MSC sent all guests a bill for the entire cruise that included the $12/day service charge (p.s. competitive cruise lines charge $10/day). Since their computer could not show future post dates, everyone's bill showed $12/day for 9/27, five times. The bill also included for each passenger a $1.50 charge for a donation to UNICEF. Apparently, MSC donates to this organization and automatically charges ... without passengers' knowledge or approval ... this donation and then passes it off as a donation from MSC. The lines for billing adjustments were humongous and there were many passengers engaged in heated disputes with the accounting department. Further, due to weather problems the afternoon tours for Rhode Island were cancelled, and passengers were online even at the last few hours of the last morning on the ship to get refunds. We got dinged for an extra beverage charge we did not make, but had to let it go because we would have never made our train connection if we had to wait on the line to get it corrected. When we did have the time to wait on line days prior to correct mistakes, the accounting department tried to blow customers off by saying they would take care of the mistakes. Savvy customers demanded a copy of the corrected bill before they walked away. Port Reviews: Sydney - Nova Scotia: We did not book any excursions, on the ship or off and just walked around the town. A local church was offering $20 (cold) lobster dinners. On the second to last night the Captain Giacomo Romano spoke before the show and indicated that he was not sure why the line visited Sydney, as there was nothing to see. On this we agreed with him. That was not the case for the other, much more interesting ports. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: We really wanted to do the Hippo (Amphibious) Boat, but this was completely tied up by MSC until 4:30 pm, the time we were due on board. So we walked to the visitor's center and met up with another couple and rented a taxi for a four hour tour of the island. The taxi's rent for $50/hour in PEI. This turned out to be great option and for each person it came to $62.50 (tip included). The ship's comparable tour, which covered fewer sights, was $119/person. We traveled to Green Gables (site inspired by Lucy Maud Montgomery's famous novel), the Dalvey Mansion (home to one of Kentucky's richest oil men and two his two daughters who were considered the richest two women in the world at the turn of the century), ancient churches, and a full tour of the town, boardwalk area. Etc. Great tour by Doreen, our cab driver! Quebec: Docked in old town, directly beneath the Chateau Frontenac, we took the ($2) funicular up to the upper town and booked a two hour bus tour at the visitor center directly next to the Chateau. This cost $37.50 pp. We saw many of the city's sites, before returning to the lower section and walking the cobblestone streets lined with shops and restaurants. To do it right, cruisers really need an overnight in this port and two days of sightseeing. This is a stunning city, reminiscent of Europe in architecture. Worth coming back to see. Halifax: This is a great cosmopolitan city that had equally great sights to see. Outside of the terminal we gathered a group of five and booked another four hour tour (costing $45/hour). In addition to an extensive city tour showing us the major universities, beautiful parks and homes, we visited two major places, the Citadel (underground fortification) and Peggy's Cove. The latter is a good 30 minute drive out of town and offers a spectacular ( do not miss) site to view huge granite formations on the ground and the light house perched on the treacherous shore, where four hundred years earlier, a ship ran aground and all perished, except a child, Peggy, for whom the site is named. We also saw, less than a mile away, the memorial site to the Swissair 111 plane crash of September 1998. For only $37.50 pp with tip, we got a terrific tour with a tremendously knowledgeable tour guide (Mr. McGee). We beat the $79 price charged by the ship. Newport Rhode Island: For the first time in nine days we woke up to glorious sun and decided again to do our own tour. Our research showed that there was a public bus ( "RIPTA") leaving from the visitor center, close to where the tender boats dropped us. This public bus tours a good part of the island, passing by all the famous mansions, open to the public. We decided to go to the MARBLE House, at the very end of Bellevue Street, where most of the Mansions reside. It was built as a summer house for Alvah Vanderbilt in the late 1800's by her husband, whom she later divorced. Alvah, a famous suffragette, spent $11 million decorating the house over the next 20 years. Like its name, the house is made of marble on the outside and has lavish marble fixtures on the inside. We made it to the tea house at the back of the property, where we could view the famous "cliff walk" that encircles all the mansions, just as the skies opened up and it began to rain heavily. Unfortunately the rain and rough seas caused the ship to cancel all afternoon tours. We made it back; glad we got to see at least one of Newport's grand mansions. Our cost for this self tour was $6 pp for the bus and $14 pp for the Mansion (with an excellent recorded anthology on a tape machine which allowed us to do the self tour, easily). Again this was much cheaper than the ship's tour of one mansion. Summary: All in all, we did manage to have a good time, enjoyed the ports and the four sea days that were interspersed. Because this ship is below the standards of others we have traveled on, we just kept reminding ourselves just how little the cruise cost, always remembering ... "you get what you pay for". We were pleased that we did all the tours on our own, saw a lot and saved beacoup bucks over the ship's excursions. Finally, I don't think we were alone in our opinions of this ship. On the second to last night at the show, the ship's Captain decided to appear again with his senior staff and engaged the audience with some questions. When he asked the Italians how they liked the ship, there was a roar of clapping. When he asked the Americans, very little clapping was apparent. In quite an Italian manner, the captain raised his arm up and said ehhh! shaking his head as if he already knew the ship was not a big hit! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
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