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6 MSC Cruises MSC Poesia South America Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise having never been to South America before. The itinerary suited us i.e. Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil together also the dates. This was our 7th cruise and first time with MSC. Despite reading some poor reviews ... Read More
We chose this cruise having never been to South America before. The itinerary suited us i.e. Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil together also the dates. This was our 7th cruise and first time with MSC. Despite reading some poor reviews because of the above we decided to book. We flew via Heathrow to Buenos Aires on an 18 year old 777 with British Airways BRUTAL It took 2 hours to clear B.A. airport as all the flights from Europe and many from North America arrive around 8 in the morning. Spent one night in a small boutique type hotel in BA which was very good. As we had to check out of our hotel at 11.00am we went straight to the port as embarkation was due to begin at 12.00 only to find around 2000 people had arrived before us. 2.5 hours later we finally got on board. Initial impressions of the ship were good. Cabin nice and clean and general appearance of the ship was very good. We had a balcony cabin on deck 7.Buffet lunch that day comprised hot dogs, Pizza and burgers. A sign of future meals to come! The biggest let down on this cruise was the food. This was true in both the self service cafeteria and dinner in the MDR. Service in the MDR was good but the food was very poor. We had the inclusive drinks package and wine was good and plentiful when dining. The ship looked as if it was pretty full but together with 1 German couple,1 French couple and a single woman from South Africa everyone else was from Argentina. During the whole cruise we only heard 3 announcements in English although this did not really bother us. The entertainment was very much geared towards the Argentinians for obvious reasons but was still very enjoyable. The live bands at night were excellent playing a few international songs but mainly Argentinian. Everyone up dancing even people in their 80s. One thing we did notice was that most Argentinians do not drink. Bar service was therefor very quick. Overall the crew were excellent but if you are looking for them to say hello every time they see you then forget it. Again not an issue for us. On the first day we had to visit guest relations to clarify a few things. The girl on the desk was very helpful and gave us complimentary passes for the VIP sun-deck and also for priority boarding of the tenders when they were used to visit some of the smaller ports where we could not dock.This was a great asset as the queues to disembark looked horrendous. As a rule we do not normally do organised ships excursions preferring to do our own thing. We did however go on the Rio de Janeiro trip which was very good although due to low cloud at Christ the Redeemer that part was very disappointing. Disembarkation in Buenos Aires was terrible although not MSC's fault. We were off the ship and picked up our luggage in 30 mins. Once outside the port gates thousands of passengers were standing like penguins in Antarctica.. There seemed to be no real taxi queuing system. Cabs would appear and drop people off but no-one seemed to be getting in one. After about 20 mins we crossed the main road with 3 suit cases, turned left walked for about 300 yds, turned right and stopped by chance outside a government building where there was a taxi marshal. Within 2 minutes he had hailed us a cab and we were on our way. I think most of the other passengers are still probably at the port gates. Would we book MSC again? It would not be our first choice as we prefer smaller ships like Azamara. ( Just back from the Azamara Quest last week) Different class but you only get what you pay for. Overall we had a great time but please MSC get a grip on the food situation both in terms of choice and quality. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We chose the cruise because of the dates as there were seven of us. There was not a lot to commend! the cabins were decent and in general staff helpful but this ship fell apart on so many other things: Smoking allowed in the casino ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the dates as there were seven of us. There was not a lot to commend! the cabins were decent and in general staff helpful but this ship fell apart on so many other things: Smoking allowed in the casino (so last century), poor higher management who talk down at you if you arrive late to dinner (no English announcements), just to add no announcements in English if something changed, food quality and meals of a down market standard, they were poor, crowded outside public areas, dirty pools, dirty tenders, dirty pool due to the volume of people, poor bar areas and by the pool really slow service. Although check in is good, we found one of the cabins on arrival was occupied by somebody else, keys are left on the bed and they went into the wrong room, OK mistakes happen, but try rectifying somebody elses mistake!, it took at least 3 visit to customer services, what a waste of time! We enjoyed the itinerary and it was only the fact that there were 7 of us that ensured we enjoyed ourselves. MSC, NEVER AGAIN. I have been on other ships and difference was night and day. To finish on a positive disembarcation was fast. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Never thought a cruise will be such as awfull as this. 80% Seniors and zero organization: - Not enough shadow for 10% of passangers outside while full sun. - No care for making people follow rules and not take all chairs and ... Read More
Never thought a cruise will be such as awfull as this. 80% Seniors and zero organization: - Not enough shadow for 10% of passangers outside while full sun. - No care for making people follow rules and not take all chairs and tables at shadow while they didnt use it, and while old people had nowhere to seat but "deck sun chairs" under full sun. - Lack in response of stealed stuff while they have cammeras everywhere. - Hyper lack on organizing boat tickets to go to the beaches (four or five bridges long lines of people at 7 am), while they sell you prior expensive bad packages to go offboard on first turn. - Too cold conditioned air inside, at any public space. You could difference such as 20ºC form outside and inside. A lot of people got colds or got sick including me. - Food was good at buffet but mostly fat like: cream, butter, and too much oil and flour. Healty food i found was rare withuout mentioning vegies, fruit and cereal... want low cream milk? then you'll have to pay extra for it. Bufet juices are all artificial. - Ship and boats spread black and brown stains at sea, without mentioning whole black smoke by engines. - Crew... always smiling... but if you stared a little just... watching them, you would see they are all the same doing different things at anytime. Several times i asked some of them, do you ever sleep?! Not all of them anwered, but i know some did just for a couple of hours. - Yes, it is slave work but i have nothing better in my country, if you dont like it they fire you. "Ship rules under who knows what wokr and human rights." - Last night i saw the captain eating a piece of pizza at the bufett... Think if i had known all the things i readed after arriving (didnt have internet because it was a joke the price) mabye i wouldnt be here. - Arriving, all things they said they will do to take care of our lougage like data and unique numbers id and coulours for organize and find your stuff, never happened. Lucky you if you could find your stuff in a mess... and I could have taken anyones stuff without any control. Going off the ship and off the port was all a mess too, no matter if you where a baby, and old woman with walking stick or a guy with wheel chair. Sorry my english. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
The cruise itself was very nice. Cabin was clean, the menu and service were very good. The entertainment was varied including jugglers, acrobats, magicians, singers and an attempt at stage production. The staff was polite and attentive. ... Read More
The cruise itself was very nice. Cabin was clean, the menu and service were very good. The entertainment was varied including jugglers, acrobats, magicians, singers and an attempt at stage production. The staff was polite and attentive. The public areas were very clean The truly disappointing aspects of the cruise came at the beginning and end; the exact times you would think MSC would like to make a good first impression and lasting final impression. The embarkation at Santos port was disorganized and confusing with poor signage and little cruise ship guidance. It was like being at a busy bus/metro station during rush hour on a Friday evening while carrying a weeks worth of luggage. The luggage drop off was extremely disorganized with multiple lines converging on unclearly marked drop areas. Amazingly the luggage did make it aboard the ship. With many passengers being in the 60 to 80 year range, the scene was very stressful.There was very little guidance provided by terminal staff or MSC staff in the staging of embarkation. The cruise was 2 hours late in departure from Santos. The 'Loading of Passengers' was not well staged and lines of several hundred metres were common. The disembarkation at the termination of the cruise in Santos was a disaster. It was not safe and took over 2 hours to conduct. The ship arrived 4 hours late; yet passengers were called to sit in a crowded lounge (Zebra Lounge) staging area to await instructions regarding disembarkation. This waiting lasted 2 hours in a lounge designed to seat a fraction of the passengers in the area. Elderly passengers sat on the floor or on the stairs awaiting information without water or comfort. When a manager was called for assistance, the response was that all staff were busy at reception and that all passengers were to remain in the lounge area. It must be noted that staff in the staging area was accommodating and helpful to the elderly. What was obvious was a management absence in the area. There was no one to give direction to staff. Management was not available. Clearly the management responsible for the organization of disembarkation had no contingency plan for a 'ship running behind schedule' or for addressing the related complications of passenger crowding in the disembarkation staging areas. For the comfort and more importantly safety of passengers MSC management must review these polices, procedures and practices. The disembarkation procedure was unsafe for all and a health hazard for the elderly.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We had a family vacation time during the Christmas week, departing from Santos - Brazil heading to Montevideo / Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina)... Our expectation (we had a group of 5 balcony cabins to our family) was ... Read More
We had a family vacation time during the Christmas week, departing from Santos - Brazil heading to Montevideo / Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina)... Our expectation (we had a group of 5 balcony cabins to our family) was to have time to relax and enjoy the trip. To make short a long history, we waited for approximately 5 hours to get on board in a very crowd area (even considering that was Christmas time, the waiting time was not reasonable). By the time we finally entered the ship, we had only a few minutes to get to our cabin, pick up the life jackets and proceed to the meeting point. It is not necessary to say that after the emergency exercise all passengers went to the restaurant at the same time to grab some food (considering that the majority of the passengers do not live in the departing city and spent several hours to arrive there before the check-in). Again another patience exercise because the restaurants had no space to everyone and it was a very bad "welcome aboard" message. After this first "lost" day, the trip was reasonable until the stop in Punta del Este, where we noted several (dozens of) mosquitos in our balcony and in the surrounding areas (we had a cabin on the back of the ship, near the external stair). We asked for plague control and a very polite man came to our cabin with an electronic raquet used to kill mosquitos and killed the insects inside our cabin and also the ones located in the balcony - but not the ones in the other balconies near or the mosquitos hidden in the stairs area, even after we alerted him about it. The result was that we were not able to use the balcony after this point of the trip. To conclude our "not so happy trip" the arrival in Santos, Brazil had the same situation we faced during the check-in... You were requested to leave the cabin at 8 AM because they need to clean the cabins to the next group of guests (perfect!) but we stayed inside the ship until 2 PM without access to food or drinks, except if you want to open a new account and proceed to a new check-out before leaving the ship. This is not reasonable and MSC must think a way to allow the passengers to pay the last drinks/ice creams, etc in cash or to sell special vouchers for use during this period. I know the company will say the year end time is complicated and the delay was related to the immigration offices but I would say it does not sound reasonable, because in a previous trip using another ship of MSC in the same itinerary we did not face the same situation... Additionaly, another ship that was doing exactly the same route apparently had no problems with delays... Our group were the last one to leave the terminal. I would suggest MSC to check the procedures again and try to improve the boarding and departing in this port. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I confess. I disliked immensely my previous cruise aboard an MSC ship. In the hopes of discovering that MSC in So Am has improved, I hopped aboard the Poesia since I was already in the departure port (Buenos Aires) and it was only a 3 ... Read More
I confess. I disliked immensely my previous cruise aboard an MSC ship. In the hopes of discovering that MSC in So Am has improved, I hopped aboard the Poesia since I was already in the departure port (Buenos Aires) and it was only a 3 night cruise with a single port layover in Punta del Este. Besides, I needed to go to Uruguay anyway so I booked the cruise at the last minute through the US office of MSC. I paid $756 for a balcony guarantee for solo occupancy. Embarkation would have been quicker if the cruise terminal didn't lose electrical power during the process. That might not be MSC's fault, nor could MSC be blamed for a separate line for AR Immigrations after checking in with MSC. On none of my approx. 65 previous cruise check-ins do I recall having to form a separate Immigrations line apart from the cruise line check in line where the required docs were submitted and processed. However, after waiting in the passenger terminal for my number to be called so that I could get to an MSC check-in desk, then waiting in line at the check-in desk, then waiting in line at the Immigrations desk, I was not in the mood to be told by the ship's photographer that I had to wait in another line to be photographed. To his surprise and apparent dismay, I ignored him and proceeded to walk past the others waiting to be photographed. I boarded the bus taking passengers to the ship. On the short ride to the gangway, I noticed that, despite my request when I booked for a large table at second seating dining, my cruise card did not indicate a dinner table seating assignment. Upon boarding the ship I found myself near the reception desk. When I asked about a dining room assignment I was told, albeit it apologetically, I had to go to the meeting room on deck 6 to get one. Despite it being no fault of my own (after unpacking) I was required to wait in another line for about 20 minutes to get a dinner table assignment. I figured nothing with MSC had changed. That turned out to be only partially true. I made my way to my cabin. No one assisted me. My cabin was standard although smallish for a balcony (I would guess about 160 sq ft). The flat screen TV was small (about a 16 inch screen), too small for decent viewing from the bed. The pillows were horribly lumpy. I ran into my cabin attendant and asked if down pillows were available. I also asked for my ice bucket to be filled. After a quick unpacking and waiting to get my MDR seating assignment, I set off to explore the ship. It is handsomely decorated. There are quite a few large lounges (5?), but only one specialty restaurant - a Japanese one with an ala carte menu that did not look worth trying. I didn't spend a lot of time in the lounges and I never saw them fully occupied. This was due in part to the fact that I retired relatively early and also because of the large contingent of kids aboard the ship (the kids sail free promo works well in So Am). From the little I got to observe of the lounge acts and theater stage shows, the entertainment provided was quite good. I caught part of 2 shows in the theater and the singing and dancing especially of the ship's company was fine. Good costumes and production values for the shows. The animation team were most visible at the pool organizing games and dance lessons. The small library was open only a couple of hours each day. There were no English language, non-fiction books. Most all books in all languages were paperbacks that appeared to be left by former passengers. The dance company captain that manned the library when I was there confirmed as much. The tiny card room on this 3200 pax ship contained 6 tables. Apparently bridge games, if they did exist, were conducted somewhere else. TV programming was okay. They actually contained the So Am Fox or ESPN channel that broadcasts Monday night football. The welcome aboard buffet lunch was poor. This was a harbinger of things to come. The food in the buffet and dining room was simply bad. If I had received this level of food in any Buenos Aires hole in the wall at any price, I would never revisit the place. An indication of the type of "cuisine" that was served was that at the first night's dinner, the sauce for the risotto was identical to the sauce served on the few slices of flank steak. The exact same sauce for both dishes. And both were bad. The food was unacceptably poor in all venues at all times. That was the salient feature of my cruise experience. I am not exaggerating. My Argentine table mates concurred. This is especially unacceptable for a line that touts dining as the premier event aboard an MSC cruise (as MSC does). I attempted breakfast at the buffet on the first morning. I arrived as soon as it opened. The fried eggs were already cold. The bacon was fatty. The sausages of poor quality. The melon and papaya were very good, but there were no berries. The fruit juice was artificial and tasted worse than koolaid. I headed to the MDR. At least the smoked salmon was good. That and the cured ham that I had at a subsequent meal were really the only dishes that tasted good on the entire cruise. At another breakfast in the MDR, my eggs Benedict came hard boiled. At one dinner "roast piglet" (cochinillo asado per the menu) turned out to be the very same baked pork carved at the lunch buffet earlier that afternoon. When I pointed this out to the maître 'd he conceded that "asado" was a misdescription, but attempted to correct me by noting that the buffet carving was lamb. As I departed a head waiter ran after me to further explain that, in fact, the buffet carving was roast beef. Whatever it was, it was identical to the non-asado served at dinner (pork). As bad as the food was, the service by our dining room waiters was worse. It got to the point where I had to excuse myself from the table and seek out the maître d. He apologized and explained that our waiter had just boarded after a long flight from Indonesia although I fail to see how that would excuse his obvious lack of experience. He spoke practically no English or Spanish. Most orders were taken by pointing to the menu. He didn't appear to be observant when one of his patrons sought his attention. When asked to recommend a sweet wine, he suggested a heavy cabernet sauvignon. Orders were taken in haphazard order and the courses likewise served haphazardly so that some patrons had finished dessert before others had received a first course! I had never experienced this kind of MDR dining. In part this circus was due to the failure of the dining room mgmt to enforce the rules about arrival to the room on time. Inasmuch as this was So Am and dinner is served late, the first seating began at 8:15 (10:45 for the second seating) and the dining room doors were supposed to close at 8:30. Patrons at my table arrived as late as 9 and were seated. This detracted from a polite, shared dining experience. Combined with the bad food, it made dining totally unsatisfactory. My cabin attendant was able to obtain one new pillow that, while not down or feathers, was a little better than that which was initially furnished. He neglected to refill my ice bucket the 2nd day of the cruise. When I attempted to speak with him about the location of a lounge, he was unable to properly engage, looking away as if not paying attention to me. I turned and walked away and didn't see him for the remainder of the cruise. Disembarkation was swift as I was self assisted and first off. Buses brought us from the gangway back to the terminal. There was no custom process to speak off. We simply were directed to a line for passing street taxis which were hailed by a couple of locals who helped load the bags. This was an improvement over what my previous taxi mafia experience had been. The cabs operated on the meter, although my driver told me this was the procedure just for locals coming off a 3 day cruise. The cruise ships with longer itineraries and international passengers had a different lineup to get cabs, entrance to which was still controlled by the mob. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
MSC Poesia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.4
Family 3.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 3.0
Service 4.0 3.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 4.0

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