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39 MSC Cruises MSC Poesia Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

Embarkation: As this was a repositioning cruise, passengers embarked at multiple locations during the cruise: Marseille, Genoa, Valencia and possibly other ports. We embarked at Genoa and, in part due to not being a full ship ... Read More
Embarkation: As this was a repositioning cruise, passengers embarked at multiple locations during the cruise: Marseille, Genoa, Valencia and possibly other ports. We embarked at Genoa and, in part due to not being a full ship changeover, it was a quick process. Ship: MSC Poesia was a nice ship. Built in 2008, it does not have a Yacht Club section. Two main Dining Rooms and one Speciality Sushi Restaurant, along with the usual Deck 13 Buffet. Two swimming pools, two pairs of outside jacuzzis. The ship did not appear full and this seemed to be confirmed by the number of cabin upgrades people had received, us included. Cleaning took place frequently, staff seen with vacuum cleaners on their backs and brass work being cleaned. Unfortunately, this was offset by food and beverage staff not checking for glasses and plates of food left around the decks and the ship generally… Cabin: We had received a double upgrade from an Inside to a Balcony. We were pleasantly surprised to find our Balcony was pretty much midship on Deck 9. Compact balcony with two chairs and a footstool, comfortable main cabin area and usual, compact shower room. Soap dispenser by the sink, shampoo and shower gel dispenser in the shower. Cruise Card validation: One of the reasons for the speedy embarkation is that you are expected to register your credit card at an automated machine (there were a few around reception and shore excursions etc). There were instructions in each cabin about how to do this. One the first evening, we made three attempts to register our preferred credit card at one of these machines. These were all unsuccessful, without clear messages as to why. So I felt that I had to register a debit card, not my preference, as MSC operate this strange system of taking a fixed amount from a debit card and then you, the guest, having to collect any outstanding credit from them in the ship’s currency on the last day – more on this later… The debit card did register successfully and I also followed the process to say it was to be used for both cabins in our party. Lifeboat Drill: Disorganised summed this up. We collected our life jackets and attended our muster stations. We both had our cruise cards scanned by personnel at our muster station. So it was puzzling when my partner received a letter to our cabin next day, stating that he must attend another drill as he had not attended the initial mandatory drill. When he called Guest Services and pointed out that he had attended and his card had been scanned, this was accepted at face value. But if they are saying people who have taken part did not attend, how likely that they have identified passengers who did not attend? Food: I was very disappointed with the food on board. Portions were very small and the food quality very low. Steak did not make an appearance once during a 19 might voyage – except with food and beverage staff touting for guests to pay Euro 18 for a steak main course. I think there may also have been a similar offer for lobster. Generally, I mix and match between buffet and restaurant for breakfast and lunch, depending on how much time I wish to allocate to that particular meal. So, on day 2, I decided to try out the restaurant breakfast. What a strange thing that was. I went to the restaurant and asked for the menu - no menu. MSC Poesia do this hybrid thing of serving teas and coffees and fruit juice drink (not 100% juice, the cheap, watered down version laden with sugar) and then expect you, the guest, to visit the buffet area within the restaurant. I don’t regard this as a restaurant breakfast and the tables in the Fontane restaurant are set quite close together, making it a challenge to manoeuvre around other guests between your table and the buffet area. I decided not to waste my time with this version of buffet breakfast. So off to the zoo of deck 13 buffet. One of my guilty pleasures on a cruise is Bircher Muesli. MSC’s version was laughable. It appeared to consist of any cereal (but generally not muesli), with some diced fresh fruit (not the iconic grated apple) in a thin yoghurt. Such a disappointment. I tried the restaurant version of lunch, again MSC’s version was a rather strange combination. You go in to the restaurant to be seated. As MSC’s passengers are a wider mix of nationalities and languages than many other cruise lines, I politely asked to be seated with English speakers. The waiters blithely asserted that ‘all’ passengers can speak English. So not the case. Time and again tables of 8 guests sitting in stony silence, as they had no common languages between them. This is such a shame and MSC appear in total denial about this issue. One of the pleasures of a cruise is meeting new people and having enjoyable discussions about ports of call etc. This is such a missed opportunity on MSC. Yes, I appreciate it might require a little more thought in terms of seating people, but I am sure it could be done. So, having got to your table (and woe betide that you ask for a table of two to avoid that language issue – even in the first 5 minutes of service we only managed a table on our own twice in the whole cruise) I found the waiters seemed to hold back from providing menus. Why? Because once again, this was a mix and match seated restaurant buffet hybrid and it seemed that the waiters hoped you would just go and avail yourself of the buffet rather than them having to serve you. As at breakfast, the same issue of the tables in the Fontane restaurant being set quite close together, making it a challenge to manoeuvre around other guests between your table and the buffet area. Dinner was one of two sittings, 6.30pm or 9pm, at allocated tables in one of the two main dining rooms. The five people who had booked via the same Travel Agent were all seated together – this did resolve the language issue as we were all from the UK. A couple of days later a Canadian lady asked if she could join us, having first been sat with Spanish speakers, who quite forcibly told the waiter they would only accept Spanish speakers at their table. The wait staff then sat her on a table of Russian speakers, so she was very isolated. It seemed a common theme during the cruise was it being run for the ease of MSC and the staff, not for the benefit of the paying guests. MSC is the only cruise line I have travelled with, where chilled water is not provided in the seated Dining Rooms. I can only guess that this was done to maximise Bar revenue. As UK guests, we found that we had an inclusive drinks package of mineral water, American (filter) coffee and tea at Lunch and Dinner. This package stated it was for UK and Irish guests. Australians on the next table were most put out at having to pay for mineral water. I was also astounded to read claims in the Daily Programme about how MSC Cruises were the only line to have received a top environmental award. How can that be when they are massively overusing single use plastic bottles for mineral water – due to this refusal to provide chilled water for Restaurant Lunch and Dinners? Another issue there seemed to be problems with was language. Our waiter was from Spanish speaking Honduras. Whereas on most cruise ships he would only have needed to learn English, on MSC he needs a good understanding of six main languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. It soon became clear that his English was not as good as you would have hoped, with incorrect starters arriving etc. This, despite all of us guests trying to help by pointing out the specific item in the menu. To be honest, it would probably have helped to have all menu items numbered and order just like a Chinese or Indian takeaway… You remember I mentioned that all UK and Irish guests had an inclusive drinks package for American (filter) coffee and tea at Lunch and Dinner? So, we get to the end of the first Dinner and ask for American coffee. Instead, our Waiter tries to upsell us to the chargeable Cappuccino and Lattes… Why, because it turns out that there are NO facilities for coffee or tea in the Main Dining rooms on Decks 5 and 6. For him to provide the included coffee and tea the Waiter had to go to the Buffet on Deck 13 and get it, just as any guest would. How ludicrous. Unsurprisingly, the hot drinks were often lukewarm due to the journey involved. So now on to the zoo of the buffet on deck 13. It took a few days to discover that actually, this was a very large buffet. This was because often they closed the back half of the buffet and thus reduced the choice. So, we tended to go early in the opening hours when all sections were open and sit right at the very back of the ship, where the buffet area was noticeably quieter. Getting hot food was a challenge. It was displayed on the buffet in huge containers and just did not seem to keep warm for any length of time. It was very much a case of seeing that something was almost finished and watching for the fresh version to be bought out to ensure hot food. Then, whether you could find accompaniments that were also hot was somewhat of a gamble. Sometimes you could wait 10 minutes at an empty food station, to see if they had run out of that item or it was being replenished. Also, the food was not displayed in an appealing fashion. I have eaten in nicer works canteens. Guest Services / Reception: We needed to visit Guest Services on a number of occasions. Generally, we found they seemed to have been more trained in conflict resolution than customer service. Better customer service in the first place would have significantly reduced the need for conflict resolutions skills later. Having ended up registering a debit card initially (against both our cruise cards), due to problems with registering my credit card (I later concluded this may have been due to the debit card entry showing it was taken by MSC Marseille – my credit card company were instructed to expect transactions from Genoa onwards – not from Marseille which was a previous port) my partner then received a letter calling him to Reception. It seems the automated system had not registered that the debit card credit was against both cards – so this had to be adjusted manually. At the end of the cruise there was a credit and due to this one small initial debit card registration (a day later my credit card did accept), on the last evening we had to queue for one and a half hours to receive our credit back in Euros – the on board currency. During this time, we both saw a white uniformed officer come and view the lengthening queue on a number of occasions, and just go away with no obvious action being taken. Shore Excursions / Chargeable Port Shuttles: The presentations about Shore Excursions were not very informative. It was easier to just go to the Shore Excursions desk and collect the brochure with more detail. We did not do any of the Shore Excursions – they seemed lacklustre and expensive. We were quite happy to do our own exploring in port. It did seem that MSC used more commercial ports than some other lines. This meant you were sometimes some distance from where the ship docked to getting into the local town. This was an excuse to sell over-priced Port Shuttles. Malta was for the Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) bus - Euro 20.00 Palma – Euro 12.99 Valencia – Euro 12.99 Casablanca - Euro 19.99 Ilheus - Euro 10.99 Despite the assertion in the Daily Programme that some of these Shuttles would involve a 20 minute drive, we always managed to walk into town in around 30 minutes. Sometimes (Valencia), the Port provided a free Shuttle bus to the edge of the port (quite a distance in itself) – this was conveniently not advertised. Entertainment: I have already mentioned the issues caused by being having multiple language guests on board. In the theatre every evening, all announcements in six languages became very tedious. Some quizzes and both the questions and the multiple choice (usually three) answers all shown on screen in the six main languages. So why did the Cruise Director feel it necessary to delay the process by reading out questions and possible answers in full in each of the six languages… It was painful and caused events to endlessly over run. It seemed the on board performers only had two main singers and the dancers were different – it seemed more strutting and striking a pose than the sort of high quality shows I have seen on other cruise lines. Many of the production shows had the most un-flattering outfits. There were also a couple of aerialists, some acrobats and a duo of contortionists (so old fashioned). It was also the peculiar way these alternative performers were somehow shoe horned into production shows in the most inappropriate ways. I also found the music for the production shows strangely discordant. For a repositioning itinerary such as this was, with 10 sea days (five single sea days and the five days to cross the Atlantic) – I thought the entertainment low key and very basic. On other lines, I may have been running from one event to another. On this ship, thank goodness for Kindles… The Library was such a disappointment. Very small, obviously needing to cater to the different languages on board. Hardly any non-fiction books, mostly extremely well worn books that look to have been left by previous guests. I did not take a single book out of the library, most unusual for me. Spa area: We were disappointed to find that we need to pay an eye watering Euro 310 (including the 15% service charge) for the two of us to access the sauna and steam room for the whole trip. We have always found at least one no charge sauna or steam room on every previous cruise, but on Poesia they were set up and carefully guarded. For that significant cost, you had access to three inside jacuzzis with five loungers (the ‘relaxation’ area), two large steam rooms (one of which never got above 30 C so was barely warm enough to sit it) versus the other steam room which was consistently at 44 C and two small saunas. By comparison, friends have recently returned from a P & O cruise told us they paid around £100 for more facilities for both of them for a two week cruise. At least having access to this grandly titled Spa Thermal Area helped us occupy our time, especially on sea days. There was an ongoing issue with the jacuzzis and one of the steam room the whole voyage. Eventually we were compensated fairly, but it required persistence and I would have much rather all facilities were working as they should have been. Conclusion: On day two or three, there was almost a mutiny in the theatre when the staff ran a promo video about MSC’s Masterchef at Sea TEN times on a loop while we were waiting for the show to start. Then, just before the show there was a glossy MSC promotional video all about MSC’s 300 years of experience (but much of that was with freight, not cruise passengers). It showed numerous officers in their white uniforms picking up towels and putting them back on passenger’s loungers etc. This was so far from reality – we saw very few officers. In fact, all that video did was make me frustrated – MSC management are in denial if they honestly think that the contents of that video reflected the experience of the average guest on board. For me, it was all the missing things. I go on a cruise to be made to feel special. MSC did NOT make me feel special at all, on the contrary, it seemed that many things were being done for the convenience of the ship’s operations, not for the best guest experience. What was missing, some very strange things: Hardly any clocks on board – we only found two in public areas. Very basic telephones in the cabin – no means to leave a voicemail when trying to contact someone in another cabin. A much lower number of rest rooms (toilets) than I have ever found on a ship – it could take many minutes to get to one. Captain’s daily announcement – nothing for the first week, then taken up by the Cruise Director for a while, then suddenly stopped. No omelette station in the buffet. No standard coffee and tea in the Dining Rooms (despite providing it within inclusive packages for Lunch and Dinner). No list of TV channels in the cabin – when I requested one and asked also about what channels were available in English – I was told it was against procedures to provide this information to guests! Displayed navigation map did not appear until a good week into the voyage. Lack of information about points of interest – nothing about passing the Cape Verde islands during our 5 day transatlantic crossing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This sailing was a repositioning from South America to the Mediterranean. Embarkation in BA was well organised taking only one and half hours from arrival at the cruise terminal to reach our cabin. One case was already there and the other ... Read More
This sailing was a repositioning from South America to the Mediterranean. Embarkation in BA was well organised taking only one and half hours from arrival at the cruise terminal to reach our cabin. One case was already there and the other arrived a couple of hours later. Neither was damaged. Correct protocols were followed for the emergency drill and the exercise was more professional than experienced on our previous MSC cruise. The ship was stunning; impressive in the quality of fittings, use of colour, design and ongoing meticulous maintenance. This was a transatlantic crossing but sailing was a pleasure with little sea movement. We were, perhaps, fortunate not to experience severe weather conditions. Our cabin was well presented, roomy with adequate storage facilities. It was cleaned daily and towels replaced following each use. Pool towels (one per passenger) were available in the cabin. Staff throughout the ship were friendly, smiling and willing to interact and be involved. Bar staff made the effort to remember faces and even orders from day to day. Reception staff were particularly genuine in their assistance even when under heavy guest pressure. Dining rooms (2 on the Poesia) were attractively presented with many smaller rather than larger passenger groupings. Staff were all smartly dressed with name badges and dinner menus were offered in correct languages. Restaurant management did make the effort to seat the same language groups together other than for the lunch and breakfast sittings in Le Fontein; those meals were offered both plated and buffet but the room was consistently crowded and noisy. Our preference was to use the top deck cafeteria. We did not use the speciality sushi restaurant. Due to the large Argentinian passenger component, both dinner sittings were later than normal. Dinner food quality deteriorated through the duration of the cruise. Compliments abounded as we sailed in South American waters but as the transatlantic segment started, it was almost like a change in chef. Food was dry, some undercooked and generally tasteless and bland. Vegetables were consistently overcooked and the selection of desserts pathetic. Our waiter confided that preparation was aimed at the Argentinians who were recognised as not wishing upmarket dishes so the balance of passengers had to endure downgraded meals. At times, the buffet/cafeteria dishes were an improvement on the MDR but were not consistent in terms of heat and succulence. Breakfasts were disappointing offering little variation in the selection and presentation. Selection of wines from pre purchased drinks packages seemed to present a problem with differing views as to which selection was available under which package; our waiter needed to refer us to a much folded grubby piece of paper from her pocket to validate selection - not particularly professional. The availability of wines (and other premium drinks) disappeared through the cruise as MSC were clearly not restocking. Entertainment was boring and conducted mainly in Spanish. Theatre shows varied in quality and, again, dialogue tended to be Spanish. Much of the music in bars was latino themed as were dance lessons and practice. Excursion enhancement talks were provided before each port but the presenter/guide was readily distracted by her personal interest areas and could have added greater practical value, particularly for independent travellers not using ship excursions. Her ability to respond to questions was not good. The organisation of ship excursions left much to be desired with the excursion staff struggling to get the large number of noisy clamouring passengers segregated into correct groupings and off the ship. There were frequent mix ups between designated excursions and passengers generally disembarking. Although an international cruise, by far the majority of passengers were Spanish Argentinians and little effort was made by the Cruise Director (an Argentinian) and the entertainment team to address other language groups. Indeed we found the preponderance of Spanish somewhat overwhelming which would deter us from considering other repositioning cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The reason for this cruise was because the first cruise we did on the MSC Sinfonia from Venice to Durban was excellent. We thought it will be similar on a longer cruise like the Poesia and booked it already on the Sinfonia. We have not ... Read More
The reason for this cruise was because the first cruise we did on the MSC Sinfonia from Venice to Durban was excellent. We thought it will be similar on a longer cruise like the Poesia and booked it already on the Sinfonia. We have not visited the countries as per the proposed iternary, hence the reason to select this ship and route. We were very disappointed that the amount of English speaking guests were so few, we expected a English cruise but was bombarded with Spanish people Spanish presentations, Spanish excursions, Spanish shows, and we as English speaking persons really were not looked after or allowed to engage in activities due to the language barrier. The food was good as expected. The waiters during lunch was so slow everyday that it was uncomfortable and the never brought correct food as ordered. The dining in the evening was way too late for normal people , and we had first seating, resulting in being unable to attend any shows, since it started too late. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The food in both the buffet and the dining rooms was marginal. The entertainment especially the guest entertainers were terrible with the exception of Guillermo Guido. The disembarkation in Buenos Aires was a disaster. People were pushing ... Read More
The food in both the buffet and the dining rooms was marginal. The entertainment especially the guest entertainers were terrible with the exception of Guillermo Guido. The disembarkation in Buenos Aires was a disaster. People were pushing others out of the way, ramming others with their suitcases and cart . No direction from management. It took four hours to get off ship. The excursions with the exception of Funchal were poorly organized. The tour guides were weak in English and knowledge of their jobs. For Rio it took two hours to get from the ship to bus. So well recommended and such a disapointment. Very poorly organized . It was kind of like working with a company that is going bankrupt. This was a 22 day cruise From Venice to Buenos AIres. Of 5 cruises this is the worst, I will not use MSC again.I sent an extensive critque to MSC. Hopefully I will receive some kind of response. There appeared to be a bad relationship between service crew and management level personnel on ship. Not a happy service crew. One very bright spot was the clinic. Serbian Dr. Jelena Putnik took very good care of my unexpected lung infection in three visits. She was knowledgable and patient friendly. She was a real gem. Clinic was very well organized. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We did the 22 day cruise from Venice to Buenos Aires and loved the ship and all the lovely spaces with tons of lounges and chairs to sit and enjoy a drink. We found the staff to be very nice and helpful and friendly. We had read ... Read More
We did the 22 day cruise from Venice to Buenos Aires and loved the ship and all the lovely spaces with tons of lounges and chairs to sit and enjoy a drink. We found the staff to be very nice and helpful and friendly. We had read reviews that Guest Services were not helpful but we found them to be extremely helpful when we had questions or requests. Our one major complaint was the food - both in the dining rooms and the buffet area. The beef was usually tough and overcooked. Steak was a joke - it was very thin and tasteless as was most of the food. It was not tasty at all. We had read the pizza was very good but we found it tasteless and poor. No flavor at all as well as most of the pasta dishes. Everyone we spoke to felt the food was poor in the dining room and the buffet. We would not cruise that ship again because of the poor food. When we ordered eggs "over easy" they were practically raw and inedible. The toast was hard as a brick and cold. The bacon was very tasty. The portions in the dining room were not large but you could order as many items as you wanted and we thought that was good. A lot less waste. The veggies were always overcooked and the taste was totally lacking. The bread and rolls were very good and were offered from a large basket with a good selection and a good way to serve to cut back on waste. I did enjoy the gelato that was served at one of the outside bars near the pool. Service was hit and miss in the dining room for the open seating for breakfast and lunch. Our cabin attendant was the best we have ever had ('Rosita). We don't usually tip extra on top of the daily service charge (10 euro per day per person) but we did give Rosita extra and also our 2 servers in the dining room that we had every night for dinner. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our 4th MSC cruise and 12th cruise in total, so whilst not cruise experts we are able to compare our experience with previous trips. Although this ship is almost 10 years old, she is in pretty good shape and certainly provides ... Read More
This was our 4th MSC cruise and 12th cruise in total, so whilst not cruise experts we are able to compare our experience with previous trips. Although this ship is almost 10 years old, she is in pretty good shape and certainly provides a luxurious environment. We had a balcony and our cabin was in pristine condition and cleaned efficiently and effectively on a daily basis. The bathroom was a slight let down as it shows signs of wear and tear and we did have an issue or two with the plumbing, which was quickly rectified. We had arranged first sitting for dinner and had the services of two very welcoming and friendly waiters. Unfortunately we had an issue with one of table guests (we weren't alone!) and asked to change to the later sitting. Happily we had the same waiters and our dining experience was not effected and in fact, the attention of our waiters was probably better than on previous cruises. The menu was variable and of sufficient portions that we often felt we had over-eaten. Any suggestion that the food was cold and bland doesn't resonate with our experience. The entertainment attracted a mixed reaction from us. Some of the theatre shows were not for us, but that is to be expected when the ship is catering for an international audience. We felt that there was an leaning towards the tastes of the Italians (I accept this is an Italian ship) and the French. On one occasion the artist spend a considerable time conversing in Italian and French during her show and left those not fluent in those languages feeling rather disengaged. Other shows were better, although oddly enough the most enjoyable was an "X Factor" style show performed by the crew and not the professional dancers/ singers. On previous ships there has been a wide variety of entertainment in the bars and lounges, catering for all musical tastes. We found this sadly lacking on this ship and never really found a venue that appealed to us. We recalled an excellent singer and guitarist on two previous cruises who played 60's, 70's and 80's music which had the audience "rocking", alas a mild foot-tapping was the best we could muster on this occasion. Another disappointment was the bar service, which we have always found to be highly efficient. We usually found that by the second night the staff were familiar with the order and addressed you by name, not so with this trip. Whilst one particular waitress seemed to enjoy organising photo shoots for guests, she overlooked the fact that other guests were sitting awaiting her attention for drinks orders. A smile and a wave to try to encourage to do her job was met with a glare that suggested she has more important tasks to deal with. On one occasion we sat for 20 minutes before anyone approached our table for an order and often patience led to us adopting the "British way" and approaching the bar ourselves. Whilst this seemed to bring disapproving looks from the waiting staff, it did ensure that we got our drinks. The trip from Barbados to Tenerife meant we were at sea for 5 days and fortunately the weather was excellent which allowed us to lie on deck and enjoy the sunshine. However, you had to have your wits about you to secure and retain a sunbed as the usual practice of reserving beds with towels form early morning was clearly in evidence. Happily the deck staff seemed wise to this and did remove towels from those beds where it was clear that they were not being used, but really have a thought for your fellow passengers and don't be so selfish. You can't blame MSC for the weather and on our final full day we called in at Marseille where the heavens proceeded to open and we got drenched. However, at that port MSC will sell you a ticket for the shuttle bus from port to town and it costs about 15 euros per person for a return. If you walk about 400 yards up the road there is a free shuttle into town, which does still operate contrary to information online. I have no doubt that we will choose MSC for future cruises as they generally provide a good service and whilst not everyone can be satisfied all of the time, the trips are interesting and usually very reasonably priced. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise due interesting itinerary, but foods, wines, front recepcion atention, were very low quality and manufacturing. For example, we complain about the wines, as others passangers did. About the food, poor quality of ... Read More
We chose this cruise due interesting itinerary, but foods, wines, front recepcion atention, were very low quality and manufacturing. For example, we complain about the wines, as others passangers did. About the food, poor quality of meat, fish, and others. A dish of lamb, were 8 small pieces sizes 1 cm x 1cm, 4 of them inedible. A course of " "cocido a española", was a stew , a steak was a piece of mm of thick, overcooked and inedible. Fish was returned due bad smell. We do not understand why you desing a lot of balcony, and the clean of this area is not in the routine. The balcony were in poor condition, the windows of the door were dirty, the chairs were so dirty, so we cared with our clothes. We clean ourselves, in other to enjoy it. You do not wait, that we must do the job of your personell. We do not like to complain, on aboard. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
The cabin,waiters and bar staff are excellent...............they do their utmost to make you happy.However after experiencing the food in both the formal and buffet restaurants with unappealing food and complaining to both reception and ... Read More
The cabin,waiters and bar staff are excellent...............they do their utmost to make you happy.However after experiencing the food in both the formal and buffet restaurants with unappealing food and complaining to both reception and officers of the ship not one of the management acknolowged or responded to our complaints..........in other words your complaints fall on deaf ears.!!!!!!! Also when we arrived at Genoa airport speaking to other passengers found out that 4 weeks after we had booked direct with MSC they had purchased better grade cabins at 50% lower rates than ourselves direct with MSC.As a Silver Voyagers Club Member I find this dis-respectful and very annoying. Will have to re-think any future cruises with MSC as food on MSC Preziosa was very good. Next cruise in February is with NCL in South America so it will be interesting to compare. MSC are a difficult firm to deal with and once you have booked it is very difficult to make changes Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I have been at the MSC Poesia before so I knew what to expect in terms of condition of the ship. The Poesia is a very elegant and beautiful ship. I had booked the fantasia category and I had a very nice balcony cabin on the 9th floor. ... Read More
I have been at the MSC Poesia before so I knew what to expect in terms of condition of the ship. The Poesia is a very elegant and beautiful ship. I had booked the fantasia category and I had a very nice balcony cabin on the 9th floor. Cabin attendant from Brasil was efficient and friendly and kept my cabin always in pristine condition. From my point of view the following areas were excellent and deserve five stars: 1) Food in all restaurants. The chef Salvatore did an excellent job with his team. He was always around at the buffet restaurant monitoring that every thing was good taken care of. This is very good, because we had the feeling that somebody cares and it is doing his job properly. 2) Friendliness of the crew and people working in different areas. Specially the shore excursion ladies made a very good impression to me and were very helpful. 3) The music group Musica in Maschera, which performed beautifully although too short. If I recall properly their performances were each about 30 minutes. 4) The library had a good selection of books in several languages. It appears that hundreds of books have been donated to the MSC Poesia. Who ever did this, THANK YOU. 5) Presentations in Spanisch about the different ports. This presentations were done by an Italian who moderates in Italian TV. Those presentations gave us a good idea of what to expect at the ports of call and were more focused on single aspects without trying to cover every thing. There were also presentations on other languages. However I have found that other presentors could improve their offerings focusing more on the particular port and not covering the whole country. Many of those presentations became too superficial due to this, because, in the limited time, it is impossible really to provide a good inside on a whole country. 6) Hair dresser and spa offers were imho quite good and had reasonable offers. 7) The itinerary was very good. There are other areas however, which need improvement. The main issues for me were: 1) No availability of TV reception in any language during the first days of the cruise. This only improved once we have approached the European continent. Having been on many transatlantic crossings before, I have never experienced this on previous voyages. 2) Available on inside system were movies, which could be seen on the cabins but they were not free of charge. I believe, and many other passengers have pointed this out, this was a mistake from the hotel director. He should have inmediately made available those movies free of charge. After several days of the cruise, finally one movie per day was made available at no charge but even those movies kept repeating after some days. This is an important aspect, because we were on a transatlantic with many sea days and not every body found the activities of the animateur's team an alternative to spend the day. 3) Other music entertainners on board were rather limited with their repertoire. There was a duo of tango players, which played every evening the same songs. As much as I like tango, after 20 days of hearing always the same, I was glad, I did not have to hear them again. In general the musicians with exception of Musica in Maschera, made a very amateur impression. Many passengers, who once in a while took part on the karaoke activities provided a better performance. A flamenco dancers on one evening provided a substandard flamenco show. 4) Maybe the most important negative comment from my side is that there is absolutely no way to provide feedback to the hotel director about any issue. He was never around. This in general a problem observed at MSC Cruises. I wonder why their managers do not actively are around to talk with passengers. Not always feedback is negative. Many of us would like to be asked, how is every thing? Maybe in some cases when something can be improved, this will be done on spot. In other cases, maybe improvements are not possible, but we as passengers would like to hear the explanations. 5) A final negative comment hast to do with our final port Warnemünde. This charming small town does not seem to be prepared to handle thousands of passengers arriving at the same time. On the day we arrived, it was almost impossible to get a taxi (few taxis and many drivers not working on sunday!) and buses were blocking the access for taxis. Also even though the train station is next to the port, it is not easily accesed with luggage or from people with mobility problems. I am not sure which are the possibilities of a cruise line to influence changes in these areas, because it depends of the city administration. But maybe cruise lines are asked about their opinions like we cruisers are asked about ours. In that case, it would be good if MSC explains our concerns to who ever is responsible of those issues. My advice to fellow cruisers would be to preorder a taxi if you arrive to Warnemünde and if you need one. In summary, this was a very good crossing. I have enjoyed it a lot and I am thankful to those people who have contributed to the nice experience. I am rating this time with four stars. I would love to give MSC cruises one day 5 stars. Maybe on my next cruise? I have already booked to more cruises with them.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have gone on cruises with other cruise lines before and never had such an experience as we did on this MSC cruise. The hygiene level of the crew needs to be improved. At the buffet service alone I never saw a clean cloth used to ... Read More
We have gone on cruises with other cruise lines before and never had such an experience as we did on this MSC cruise. The hygiene level of the crew needs to be improved. At the buffet service alone I never saw a clean cloth used to wipe down the tables when people left the tables and others sat down to eat. It had gotten to the point that I would wipe the table down before we would eat on it. This was the most disturbing aspect of this cruise line. Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene, I can't say it enough times. Please educate your staff. As far as their TV service goes, this cruise line caters to non English speaking. Other than the BBC station there is nothing on the TV that is English speaking. When asked the reception desk why we would told to rent some of the movies that are offered. Mind you there is a rental fee attached. Ridiculous! Our shower soap dispenser was broken. We asked for a replacement. It didn't arrive. So we then took the top off and removed the liquid soap as we needed it when we took showers. After about 5 days it was replaced. Even the excursions the ship sponsored were rushed. We had a 7 hour bus excursion in England and we were only in the port of England for 8 hours. Talk about DRIVE BY photos from a bus !!!! I should have known there was going to be issues with these excursions because every time I called MSC or emailed them (still waiting for responses for emails I sent before we left), none of the reps had concrete answers to any of the questions. Not a cruise line I would recommend to anyone other than someone I didn't like. Do not plan on going with this cruise line again, even for free. You live and learn. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was an 18 day cruise with an extra 5 days in Germany. This Cruise Line had no idea of how to treat Customers. The Reception Staff was rude with whatever question you had. We lost 2 nights of sleep crossing the Atlantic because ... Read More
This was an 18 day cruise with an extra 5 days in Germany. This Cruise Line had no idea of how to treat Customers. The Reception Staff was rude with whatever question you had. We lost 2 nights of sleep crossing the Atlantic because something had come loose in the ship's bulkhead and was banging so loud every few minutes. We reported it to Reception the first night only to be told they "were the normal ship noises for rough seas". The second day around 4:00 p.m. with the same banging going on, once again I called Reception who told me the same thing. I asked them to send a ship personnel from Maintenance up to listen to this. Once the guy got there and heard it, he was shocked because something was seriously wrong. It did not get fixed until the next day so we lost 2 nights of sleep. Would you believe then Reception asked if the problem "that didn't exist" got fixed!! The Buffet Staff were not helpful at all. One friend had broken her food and was using a walker that you can sit down on. She asked for a teaspoon for her tea and Staff would not go get one for her Instead they just pointed to where she could go get one. I wanted hot chocolate one morning and asked the guy at coffee area. First of all he sneezed into both hands and without wiping off or washing them, he pulled out 2 packets of hot chocolate while I was hollering at him not to touch them without washing his hands first. Then he proceed to walk down to all the clean coffee cups and move everyone of them with his germ full hands. It turned your stomach. They used the previous customer's napkin to wipe down the table - more germs!! Our cabin girl was pretty good but because they had so many rooms to clean, we went two days waiting for our bathroom trash to be emptied. Makes you really wonder how good the cleaning really is. The food on this ship was not good. Most of it was a lot of items thrown together and called something. No filets, no lobster, etc. The best dish I had was risotto and that was in the dining room!! The pizza station upstairs would not cook you a pizza with ingredients that you wanted. They would only fix their daily schedule and while it was on some type of a warming counter, it was always cold unless you could get a pizza just coming out of the oven. This was the same for the other side with burgers, hot dogs and french fries - always cold. One evening we were waiting for a fresh pizza to come out as there was nothing in the dining room I could eat, when all of a suddeen there was all this flurry in the pizza station. We kept an eye and the pizza maker was now making beautiful cheese and pepperoni Calzones and special order pizzas. I went up and asked if we could get a Calzone, she hesitated and said they were for the Officers. REALLY???? We have to eat cold pizza and the Officers get specially made pizzas and Calzones?? We finally shamed them into giving ua s Calzone to split and it was delicious. This shows you where their priorities are - the Staff and NOT THE PAYING CUSTOMER!!! I would never recommend MSC Cruises to anyone and we will never cruise with them again, no matter what their itinerary is. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
MSC Poesia Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale November 2012 As we flew out over the sea to make our turn and descent to Barcelona we could see ahead of us the Poesia fresh from a dry dock visit and her Bigger sister the Fantasia which were both ... Read More
MSC Poesia Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale November 2012 As we flew out over the sea to make our turn and descent to Barcelona we could see ahead of us the Poesia fresh from a dry dock visit and her Bigger sister the Fantasia which were both due in port together, Fantasia heading out later on her Transatlantic to Brazil. As we headed out of the airport to find our bus we met Peter and Marian who it turned out live just 8 miles away from us. As we came down towards the port we could see Fantasia turning around in the basin prior to mooring up, Poesia was stationary in the channel waiting for her turn also before mooring up, Fantasia had moved alongside as the bus drove down to the port terminal building and Poesia was close behind. Due to the fact that the ships had only just arrived there was a wait of over an hour while the crew set up the boarding desks and the free tea, coffee and cold drink stations, we were given a boarding number and had a further wait of around 30 minutes. Soon it was our turn to head to the check in desks and we were on our way onto the ship after about ten minutes. As we stepped onto the promenade deck of the Poesia we were met by one of the crew who showed us to our cabin and it turned out he was out cabin steward as well, the first cruise we have been on where that has happened a nice touch MSC. During the whole voyage the crew appeared to be happy and smiling and apart from the ships officers were the first to say hello or good morning or evening etc. We took our carry on cases to our Starboard side Balcony cabin 10108 on Deck 10 which was very roomy including a two seat sofa and it also had lots of storage space and a decent size safe, we then headed off to find the buffet and a bar to book the Allegrissimo packages for the trip, we booked them at the bar that is just inside the entrance to the buffet and ordered our first drink of the day. Because the Poesia had left Genoa the previous day there had been a Lifeboat drill carried out there, now being someone who never reads the daily paper on the first day of a cruise until the evening we missed some vital information! There was an issue that arose over the Lifeboat drill for those embarking in Barcelona in so far as that no announcements were made and many people missed the drill including ourselves, MSC had decided that printing the time in the daily paper would be adequate and it read as “somewhere around 5-45pm” I kid you not. We headed back to our cabin having gone to the theatre for the drill but being too late for the demonstration we were turned away, we headed back to our cabin in order to finish sorting out our cases by which time the Fantasia was preparing to leave Barcelona, it made quite a sight as she slowly slid by Poesia with Horn blowing which was reciprocated by our ship. We had received a letter about the Lifeboat drill for the next day that we were to attend but with no time given, having contacted customer services about the next days Lifeboat drill one person thought it was 4-30pm, another did not know and eventually a third person managed to find out the time. We headed to the theatre Lifejackets in hand thinking we would possibly be on our own! How wrong could we be there were over 100 people there, after the demonstration and everyone putting their Lifejackets on we were taken outside to our assigned Lifeboat. I hope MSC have changed their system of thinking that people embarking on a different day will read the paper and make sure announcements are made but at least for any future cruises with them we know to check, lesson learned. Soon we were off on our own journey heading to Casablanca where we went to see the Hassan 2 Mosque, Sam’s bar from the movie Casablanca and the old market. Madeira for the second time was the next stop where we took the Hop on Hop off bus before heading to the Cable Car. The next Five days were at sea, the first three out of Madeira with the sea quite choppy and the ship moving around somewhat side-to-side and the weather mostly overcast. Once we reached the Caribbean the sea state became more stable and the weather vastly improved. The Poesia is a very clean and well-presented ship with no in your face colour schemes the public areas were immaculate as was our cabin, our favorite drinking place on the ship was the Zebra Bar with its ship wide views and great colour scheme. The Il Palladio Restaurant Dining room waiters were very hard working and nothing was a problem for them always smiling and making sure the four of us had our drinks topped up. The food for Dinner was very good apart from one meal as was the food at lunchtime. The food in the Villa Pompeiana buffet was also very good with a lot of choice of various foods from different countries, if you timed it right you could miss the queues. There is one pay extra restaurant on the Poesia which is the Kaito Sushi Bar. For the sun worshippers the back of the Disco on Deck 14 is a great place although you have to carry your own sun bed up there each day but it is certainly worth it for the great views as well as the sun. The shops on Poesia are very well stocked and there are plenty of them. The theatre shows consisted of a mixture of dance routines with acrobats included and singing and also on a few nights’ opera singers. Entertainment throughout the rest of the ship was very good. The Animation team as MSC call the people who run the daily Quiz and other shows were exceptional especially the madcap Claudio and were always hard working and doing their best to keep people entertained. One disappointment was the Mini Golf, which was lived up to its name Mini! With just 3 holes, in order to play you had to go to find one of the animation team usually in the Zebra bar on deck 6 to obtain clubs and balls, which was somewhat baffling as other cruise lines have them next to where you play. The pool areas seemed to be well attended each day once we had got to the sun but we tend to leave those for people with families and look for a quieter area of the ship. The other places visited included Bridgetown Barbados where we spent the day at the Boatyard the French owned island of Guadeloupe where we toured the town and markets, St Thomas for a second time where we visited Blackbeard`s castle and grounds and Freeport Bahamas. The Poesia is an elegant classy ship that is spotlessly clean throughout with a great crew and great food, there are many bars to choose from for a drink and one of the best things we purchased was the Allegrissimo drink package. We are looking forward to our next trip with MSC on the Opera to Norway in June and on the Divina in November on our second Grand voyage/ Transatlantic cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
The interior of the ship is nice; cabin adequate; theatre, dining room, cafeteria, bars are all tasteful. The problem is poor, COLD food; for a newish ship why it is not fitted with adequate heating for the food heaven knows; everything ... Read More
The interior of the ship is nice; cabin adequate; theatre, dining room, cafeteria, bars are all tasteful. The problem is poor, COLD food; for a newish ship why it is not fitted with adequate heating for the food heaven knows; everything was cold from the breakfast right through; cold fried eggs, ready made omelettes,bacon,toast is thin sliced bread hard & cold. What makes it worse is the food is brought out cold from the kitchen; a new container of food would be brought out at lunch eg sweet & sour and it was barely luke warm. The only food I ate hot for two weeks was the porridge & soup in the buffet served from the same heating container. The salad bar was really good so we skipped lunch and had a big salad at 4 to 5 pm. There are good supplies of food all day unlike many other cruise lines where if you miss afternoon tea you have to have pizza but a good choice runs right through to the evening buffet unfortunately it is COLD. The dining room was the same; I got really annoyed one evening & asked the waiter to take my meal away as it was inedible & asked him to tell them in the kitchen that I was really fed up with cold food & his reply was "they are Italian", I am unsure what this meant! The staff in both the buffet & the dining room are poorly trained or supervised. The buffet is not tidied while in use eg tables cleared but not wiped & no spilt food swept up. I enjoyed the evening meal as we had good company at our table & some of the laughter was at how bad the food was!! Poorly cooked,presented, served & cold. We took out an all-inclusive drinks package when we got on board for 20 euros each per day(which we have never done before) as we had so many days at sea & only short times in port; it proved to be very good value & would recommend it. The theatre shows were mediocre; the dancers need to spend alot more time practising so they are in time. The entertainment in the bars is REALLY good; two good groups & two singers who alternated hourly & an animation team who worked so hard & were pleasant to everyone & danced constantly. We do not take ship`s excursions but were not provided with any port information (we have found the same on Costa). They just refuse to give you any help whatsoever! TV in the cabin was the worst we have ever had. Only CNN & Euro News in English before we set off across the Atlantic then no reception so a film a day was put on free of charge (normally 5 euros!) but the film would suddenly stop of its own accord & the only way to watch was to start the film & again & slowly! fast forward to where you were; this happened so many times; it was supposed to be state of the art system!! We have tried many cruise lines & some obviously are alot better than others & as we did not pay alot for this cruise we enjoyed the lovely weather & some aspects of it but it is definetly the worse food we have experienced. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I started to cruise in 1965 with Home Lines on the SS Oceanic. It was just a week's cruise to the Bahamas, but it was the start of a love affair that went on for many many years. After Home Lines retired, I tried Pacquet Line on ... Read More
I started to cruise in 1965 with Home Lines on the SS Oceanic. It was just a week's cruise to the Bahamas, but it was the start of a love affair that went on for many many years. After Home Lines retired, I tried Pacquet Line on the MV Renaissance on a fabulous 3 week cruise out of Los Angeles and through the Panama Canal down into South America and ending up in Ft. Lauderdale. Next came Costa, then Festival Cruises and Celebrity. For my 41st cruise, my cousin, who had cruised with me on Festival and who has been on several cruises with Princess, and I decided on the MSC's Poesia. We chose it mainly for its itinerary. Barcelona Spain, Casablanca Morocco, Fuchal Maderia Portugal, Barbados, Guadeloupe, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Bahamas and ending in Ft. Lauderdale. As well, I just love being at sea and having 5 days for crossing was wonderful for me. The MSC's Poesia is a beautiful ship, and is typical of many of the cruise lines. It was clean and the crew (Cabin Stewards, Wait Staff, Bartenders, Entertainment) were fantastic. Cabins are a bit small (we had an inside on deck 14 forward) but it was great to just be able to walk about 10 steps and be on the deck just above the pool. The entertainment in the theatre was good, however, the seats were very uncomfortable with very little leg room and because of a bad back and knee, I just couldn't sit to watch a show. Only saw one and it was excellent. There is one seat on the starboard side about 5 rows down that didn't have a seat in front of it and this is where I would seat when playing Bingo when it was held in the theatre. As well, seeing that the cruise was comprised of many nationalities, it is difficult to put on "variety" shows when everything needs to be translated into many languages. Speaking of a bad back and knee, I would suggest that if you have problems in walking great distances, don't get a forward cabin as all of the food locations are in the stern areas of the ship which meant walking back and forth 6 times each day to just eat, let alone go to any of the other areas of the ship. I'd suggest that if you need assistance in boarding and leaving the ship that you make arrangements with the line to have wheelchair assistance. On disembarking from the ship for one tour, we disembarked from deck 6 and the descent down was very steep and one gentleman who used a walker throughout the entire cruise had a very hard time getting off. I believe the staff should have indicated to him that he could be given an alternative of getting off from a lower deck where those in wheelchair were taken to get off. I met several other individuals who found the descent very difficult, including myself and the same held true for getting back onto the ship, up a steep grade. Tours -- I knew I should have trusted my voice of experience and booked tours either with an outside company or just taken a chance and got off the ship and hopped a cab (after negotiating a price with them) to see the sights. The tour we took in Casablanca was an absolutely terrible experience. The tour was to have been 4 hours in length and was supposed to leave at 1 p.m. After stopping in the late afternoon at a local market (where I'm sure the cruise tour gets a cut for the purchases made by the passengers) we were told that once we were finished in the market, we could just go back to the bus. Well, imagine coming out of the market, in the dark, and finding that your bus is nowhere to be seen, but that there are throngs of people lined up to catch the local buses. I've been in Hong Kong and New York where there are many people but Casablanca was horrific. People were everywhere and not finding our bus was an awful feeling. Finally, the tour guide showed up and indicated that we had to follow him a little way to the bus. It wasn't a few steps and my knee and back just ached trying to get back to the bus. They also wanted us to stop at another place but the entire bus said "no". We'd all had enough. We were supposed to be back to the ship in time for 6 p.m. dinner. However, we didn't return until just before 7 p.m. We immediately headed to the dining room hoping we could get dinner -- we didn't want to wait on ourselves as we were all exhausted and thankfully our waiter let us order our dinner even though we were late. The young entertainment staff on board did an excellent job of involving people in various games, etc. They are to be commended as it difficult to get such a diverse group of people involved in various activities. Both the female and male members of this group danced with many of the people who did not have a partners and played many hilarious games, which we enjoyed up in the Pigalle Lounge. Duty free shopping -- not a bargain at all. On many of my other cruises, the various shops sold affordable items at great duty free prices. Whether it was because this cruise was starting in Europe and Euros were the price used for drinks and items sold in the shops, to a Canadian, I found them very very expensive. Many ships today sell costume jewellery such as chains, rings, earrings, etc. at a very inexpensive price. The prices are usually in the $15 to $50 range for these items. However, there were no inexpensive jewellery items to be had. Even kids T-shirts were in the $19 Euro price -- ridiculous! Everything that was for sale was for the big expensive named brands and cost many many Euros. I'm sure that there are individuals who can afford to purchase these items, but in many cases I didn't see many big sales take place. Staff looked bored as they stood there every day and barely selling anything. They had a Market Bazaar nearly every day, but always put out the same items out, i.e., if it was purses, it was the same purses, jewellery -- the same. Plus the prices were expensive. I saw a Guess purse that I liked and it was $165 Euros --now translated into Canadian was around $250. We have a Guess store in one of our malls and I saw this same purse on sale there for $145 Canadian! Some rings that I liked were priced at $3500 and $7800 Euros -- no way would I spend that much money. As well, several passengers came down with the cold/flu while on board. Now, most of us know that what one really needs for a cold are Tylenol or cold meds that we buy over the counter. There were no pills like this available in the shop. A tablemate had a cold and wanted some cold meds and found none were available in the shop, so he went to the Medical Clinic but was told that it would cost him approximately $75 Euros -- unbelievable to get something! Recreation on board -- you had to go several decks down to get the putters needed to play mini golf and there really wasn't a full walking track. Deck 14 indicates that it is a walking track but it isn't a full one and as well, try walking on a sunny day when the deck is loaded with sunbeds -- impossible. There were 2 pools and a kiddie's pool (which was rarely used by any kids). The 2 big pools were also very difficult to get out of. As I previously said, I have a bad back and knee, but love the water. Getting in wasn't as difficult, but getting out was difficult as there was no shallow end and trying to get my leg up the ladder was very hard and once I slipped and fell backwards. Another lady while I was in the pool had the same problem and had to take a break once she got her foot up on the ladder step. She also indicated that she had knee problems. Many of the pools I have been in on board other ships always had a shallow end with regular stairs and a hand rail to get in and out of the pool. With the sunbeds, the area was so crowded you had difficulty getting around and I've never been on a ship where you had to sign in and out towels either! TV on board - yes, I didn't come on a cruise to sit and watch TV - however, I do want to see what is happening in the world. For the 5 days that we needed to cross the Atlantic, we did not have TV. No signal, yet somehow, they got the news for the various papers, that they charged for, but no signal for the TV. They gave you a free movie! Also, no movie shown at night on deck as advertised in their brochures. Now to the food. I read many of the reviews prior to booking this cruise ship and thought that the food couldn't have been that bad -- boy was I wrong. This was the main complaint that was heard over and over on the ship. Where to start? Drinks --alcoholic and non -- very expensive and the fact that you had to pay for tea and coffee and water was another non-impressive thing. You could buy a package, however, don't purchase it before you leave, because it was offered at $3 euros per day cheaper than what was offered pre-cruise. As well, you couldn't purchase a package for the "cabin". Each person had to purchase the "same" package or you couldn't buy it. This wasn't fair. First if you each purchased a package that included wine, it meant that you each had a bottle available to you at lunch and dinner. That's 2 bottles of wine and in our case, we only wanted one glass, but were told we had to take a full bottle. If not consumed, what happened to the rest of the bottle? Plus, if your travelling mate doesn't drink alcohol, why should they have to pay for this big package? Many people indicated this fact and were not happy about it. Buffet area -- the food never changed from day to day -- always the same choices, except sometimes, you'd have a different choice of fruit but nothing else really changed. The same held true in the dining rooms. There were the same items rotated throughout the cruise. You'd ask for something to be cooked med rare and in many cases, you'd get well done. If you sent if back, you'd probably get it done med rare but by that time, your table mates would be ready for dessert! So many of my previous cruises, when shrimp or escargot were on the menu, it would be a real treat -- however, on this 15 night cruise, shrimp were offered twice and you got 3 small and I mean small shrimp, whereas on other cruises you get 6 large size shrimp. The escargot was deep fried and all chopped up -- if you got three you were lucky -- again, usually 6 given. There was also no coffee or tea available after dinner. We were told this was the European way, but we had a gentleman from France and he said coffee and tea should have been made available. We were told that there were 2 gentlemen who made such a fuss that there whole table were offered tea and coffee after their meal. The food was also very bland compared to many other lines. If this is the European way -- it's not for me and many others who were sailing on this trip. The individual in charge of arranging the tables also needed to learn that you just don't put foreigners, who do not speak your language, together. We were fortunate in that we had the greatest tablemates! My cousin and I were placed at a table with a lady who lived in Ft. Lauderdale and as well she had travelled on the Poesia before and was shocked with the food and many other things. We were then joined by two sisters from Ireland who were absolutely delightful. Then several nights later we welcomed a Frenchman and his American wife to the table. They were so happy to join us because they had been placed at a table where the people did not speak any English and wouldn't even acknowledge them! They had travelled previously on different lines on transatlantic trips and were also not pleased with the line. But needless to say, we were more than pleased to welcome them to our table and we all became great friends and will keep in touch. It was also suggested by many that the daily newspaper put into your cabin each night be done before 10 p.m., so that people could make arrangements regarding meeting people for various things that were going on the following day. It all should be done prior to the first dinner seating. Just a suggestion. The Captain and the officers were rarely seen and as this was a longer cruise, it would have been nice to have seen them every once in a while. When you did see some of them, they rarely smiled or acknowledged anyone - it would have only taken a smile and a nod of the head but this appeared to be too much. When I travelled with Home Lines, it was an all Italian crew from Captain down and there always was a smile and a nod which made you feel great. MSC could learn from this as they advertise that this is an Italian line. We also heard from cruise staff that things would change once they began their Caribbean voyages. But this certainly wasn't of any assistance to us. If you don't mind paying for tea, coffee, and water, don't mind bland food and the same food day in and day out, expensive alcoholic drinks, poor communication re tours, etc. then go ahead and sail with MSC. However, I for one will not cruise with them again, unless things improve. They are considered to be a mid-priced cruise line, yet they nickel and dime you on so many things that by the time you add up all the extras, you could have sailed with another line, at a lower price, and one that you know provides much better amenities and much better food and service. Several people have indicated that they will be writing to the line, to let them know how they felt about this particular cruise with the hopes that MSC will improve. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I was wondering about the very different reviews for the Poesia. Some people love it and others have been highly unhappy. I was not too thrilled about it either. I talked to people they actually booked a cruise the year before to see and ... Read More
I was wondering about the very different reviews for the Poesia. Some people love it and others have been highly unhappy. I was not too thrilled about it either. I talked to people they actually booked a cruise the year before to see and experience the ship before they booked the transatlantic cruise. They've been saying if it would have been anything what we experience here today we would not have done a 15 day cruise. So I guess the ship has seen better times and service. The ship is crowded, long lines and a crew what is highly aggressive and overworked. This ship is too small for 3000 people. We did find friendly people too. Kathrine. Now if you wanna go on this ship you better like pasta. Cold. The dining room was very interesting too. Our waiter didn't really want to deal with us at all. First I thought that is just his personality until we had some higher ups on the neighbor table. He knew exactly what to do and how to act. So I guess he just didn't care to much about us.One day we had a nice meal.Duck. It was a rubber duck. How I knew it was duck? Because it was served with the feather's still in meat. I didn't know meat could be that tough. I did take a picture from this bird. If you don't belief it I can email it. The room was nice and always clean. Somewhat small. There was only one chair in the room. So you could not really spent a lot of time there to read or do whatever. I like to drink pina colada so I bought this coupons where you get 12 for the price of 10. This pina colada was so lousy that I actually refused to take that much sugar in for such a lousy drink. Now lets go to the pool. You want to lay in the sun? You better get up around 5 or 6 in the morning and put your towel on one of the chairs or there is none. This deck was so filled up with people you had a hard time to walk through. There is one event what really made me unhappy. You can check your account balance online, and one night I found a charge on my account for a charity organization. So MSC is thinking my credit card is just like their buffet if you want some more you go and help yourself. No. The hole experience was just different from that what I expected and more important payed for. I think they tried how far they can push it. It is a business and they have to make a profit but there is a fine line between making a profit and a rip off and if you are on a cruise like that it is your vacation and your money. I recommend to stay away from MSC and go to a more enjoyable company. And than again. I wanted to cross the Atlantic ocean on a ship and I did. So it was not that terrible. We meet nice interesting people from all over Europe. Interesting conversations and we did not gain any weight what I usually do on every cruise. I didn't loose any either. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We actually had 2 different cabins Grade 11 for two loops of the Caribbean then Grade 12 suite foe the transatlantic section. Some of the recent negative reviews have commented on a lack of cleanliness- I can only say they must have been ... Read More
We actually had 2 different cabins Grade 11 for two loops of the Caribbean then Grade 12 suite foe the transatlantic section. Some of the recent negative reviews have commented on a lack of cleanliness- I can only say they must have been on a different ship to me. Admittedly two of the adverse reviews were from Inside cabins who will have paid the lowest price. The whole ship was being continuously cleaned. Food not being warm- I had this fear from a cruise on Magnifica when it had just been introduced. This time totally unfounded food was hot at both breakfast and dinner. Admittedly we do not use the cafeteria(we referred to it as the "smash and Grab" mainly because of the lack of manners of people grabbing food as if they were never going to eat again). Entertainment- I do not like the animators but you don't need to get involved but lots of people do. Bands were a little disappointing Pigalle very latin Ok if you are a good dancer I am not. Zebra Good for first 2 weeks when there was a band plus the duo as make weight. On transatlantic we lost the band which was when we needed more rather than less musical options. Jazz singer Ok the Jazz saxophonist good. Pianist and classical trio were what you expect. Ships appearance great, A bit full second week but that was spring break when there was bound to be a higher proportion of children- what do you expect. Lets be realistic it is not Cunard or Regent or even P and O but you are not paying those prices. My only real problem was that on the first week the line had sold 1200+ to a group Holistic Holidays at Sea who took over parts of the ship and dining rooms. Even the library did not exist as it became a shop for their propaganda. Overall we had a good experience and it was value for money. The contrast in opinions on reviews cause me to come to the conclusion that some of the very negative reviews expect to pay for a fiat but get a ferrari. Yes I agree terminal 4 at Port Everglades is no more than a dismal shed and that US immigration supplying only 3 or 4 people does mean that is a mess but is that the cruise lines fault. No more than waiting 90 mins to clear immigration at Miami Airport. That does make me wonder whether US citizens would tolerate that in another country. Yes the late arrival for reasons unknown on 17th did put pressure on the discharge process as people had planes to catch and the worst elements of Human nature came to the fore Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
BACKGROUND We are British, in our mid sixties with a dozen cruises to our name and have sailed with MSC on eight occasions, four in the last 4 years. This most recent experience was with two back-to-back cruises: a) West Caribbean; ... Read More
BACKGROUND We are British, in our mid sixties with a dozen cruises to our name and have sailed with MSC on eight occasions, four in the last 4 years. This most recent experience was with two back-to-back cruises: a) West Caribbean; & b) TransAtlantic Repositioning via East Caribbean & West Mediterranean Whilst the line has its shortcomings, we are attracted to MSC because of its stylish ships, Italian cuisine, exciting itineraries and overall value for money (outside of the high season). Having published reviews of the Poesia and her sisters before, I did not wish to repeat myself, but rather to draw a broad comparison of our experiences. MSC has a very international following and generally has 20 to 30 nationalities aboard each sailing. On these cruises the primary groups were: West Caribbean - American, Canadian, Various European - Families; TransAtlantic - American, Canadian, British & Various European - Mature/Seniors. EMBARKATION & DISEMBARKATION Embarkation At Fort Lauderdale embarkation is always pretty good (4*), whereas in Italy there continues to be much room for much improvement. Disembarkation After West Caribbean - Ft Lauderdale - Shambles - 2* After TransAtlantic - Genoa - No Problems - 4* Disembarkation from the West Caribbean was no doubt hampered by there being seven huge cruise ships (each with 3000 or more passengers) disembarking at the same time, so I guess the Customs and Immigration resources in Ft Lauderdale were somewhat over-stretched that Saturday morning. We got off okay, but were unable to get near a taxi to go into town, so we gave up and re-boarded the ship. State Room Balcony Cabin 10245 at the rear - Average - 3* We were upgraded at no additional cost to a cabin in the same position on the deck above, because 9227 was not available. Incongruously, whilst normally costing more, the cabin was smaller. Further, there was more noise and vibration at the back of the ship in 2012 over 2010. Fruit Bowl was replenished daily. Bathrobes supplied on all cruises with balcony cabins. Pool/Sun deck Areas - Decks 13/14/15 The pool areas on both sailings were well frequented, but for the West Caribbean it was heaving! However, it was spring school break week in Florida, meaning there were lots of families. We were relieved to be able to hide away from the madding crowds by keeping to our balcony. We generally find that the deck areas on repositioning cruises are comfortable, but on high season cruises in Europe and the Caribbean these areas are best avoided if you do not have children with you. Internal Public Areas All the MSC ships we have sailed (large and mid-sized) are very similar in their contemporary design, apart from different coloured decor. A distinctive aspect of all MSC ships is the clean, modern, Italian style of the decor, with lots of sparkling mirrors and brassware. The Poesia showed minor signs of wear and tear since we were last with her in 2010, but nothing significant. However, the gleam was not as spectacular on this cruise vs our previous experiences - there did not seem to be quite the same visibility of cleaners. A criticism of all this class of ships (Musica Class) is that the Bars are all situated with thoroughfares going through them, so there is nowhere to have a quiet drink or to listen to music without a general hubbub passing through. Similarly the Lounges where cabarets and entertainments take place are large and noisy, with music/singing competing with passenger laughter/conversation taking place under somewhat low ceilings - the result is a bit of a cacophony! On each of the ships in the class there are two Main Dining Rooms (MDRs) - Deck 5 & Deck 6. IMO Deck 6 has the better table layouts, furnishings, noise barriers and general ambience. Do not be afraid to ask for a change if you are unhappy. The Buffet Restaurant (self-service cafeteria) is on Deck 13 - very large, utilitarian and noisy. Crockery (melamine) and cutlery are functional (to put it kindly) and are a contrast with the tastefulness to be found in the MDRs. The Premium Restaurant is situated behind the cafeteria and doubles as an extension to the Buffet, except in the evenings when the serveries are partitioned off. This restaurant lacks ambience as it is under-utilised as a premium restaurant - it has a capacity of over 200 but on all ships when we have dined there, there has been no more than a dozen diners. It needs promoting. IMO they should award meals here for winners of games, quizzes and competitions. It would cost little and would be far more appreciated than the silly plastic MSC logo prizes that are dished out by the Entertainments Teams. Having introduced people to the fare, they may be more inclined to pay to return there later in the cruise (or on their next cruise) and to tell others about it. The cost of $20 is reasonable. On Musica Class ships there is an Oriental Restaurant at extra charge - Sushi on Poesia - in each case delightfully appointed, but sadly under-frequented. We have found the choice limited, the quality unexceptional and a sorry lack of atmosphere. The Photoshop this time around was extraordinarily good - much improved on previous MSC cruises. The photo team was active, but not in your face - Portrait Work Superb (excellent Romanian team, especially the females) - 5*. Apparently, from January 2012, MSC have taken over direct control of this activity - previously sub-contracted to a third party. Pricing is now more competitive. Dining Dress Code - MSC advocates 3 dress codes - publicised in the Daily Programme: Casual: Gents - Sports Shirt, Trousers/Jeans; Ladies - Dress/Trouser-Suit or Sports Outfit; Informal: Gents - Jacket & Trousers; Ladies - Informal Dress or Trousers & Blouse; Formal: Gents - Tux, DJ or Dark Suit & Tie; Ladies - Dressy Outfit, Formal Gown or Cocktail Dress. On all cruises, generally women seem to make more effort than men. Further, we found Informal & Formal dress code were adhered to much more diligently on the TransAtlantic sailing rather than during the West Caribbean one. On all recent MSC cruises we have been disappointed to find a minority that attended formal functions and gala dinners inappropriately attired - its an insult to all those who do make the effort. On Poesia in 2010 the Buffet was not open for Dinner, but now a modest offering is availabl - MSC bending to demand! We were surprised at how many people preferred this casual setting for dinner - not our choice at all. Dinner Sittings - There are two sittings running simultaneously in each of the MDRs. Timings differ according to the nature of the cruise (amount of ports of call) and the region of operation. This time the sittings reflected the proportion of sea to port days - sittings were later for the West Caribbean week (5 port days and 2 sea days) than on the TransAtlantic cruise (7 port days and 8 sea days). On South American cruises the sittings are much later, reflecting the cultural differences of the clientele. Cuisine - Whilst ostensibly an Italian cruise line, MSC seems to offer different approaches according to the markets being served. They also seem to change their minds from season to season! Poesia 2012 - Caribbean & TransAtlantic - A choice or combination of Stars & Stripes (American) or Pseudo Regional Italian (Pseudo because only 3 or 4 courses, and the main course being Meat or Fish & Two Veg - not the true Italian way) - International alternatives - quality generally pretty good - 4* Highs & Lows: Fish disappointing; Meat great, Cheese outstanding, Galas excellent. Salads were swimming in oil - don't be afraid to ask for your dressings on the side. We also found the desserts generally disappointing. We have always found MSC's vegetarian offering very limited with little choice. In fact their provision of vegetables is not overly generous at the best of times, so I recommend having salad most nights to get your greens! Alternatively, whip up to the buffet as well! We have long enjoyed the quality of MSC's breads - a great choice changing daily, freshly baked and very fattening! In the Caribbean and TransAtlantic from West to East there is unlimited iced water, coffee and iced tea at the table at all meals without charge. Elsewhere on MSC, you have to pay for it - a source of disproportionate objections by English speakers! North Americans and Brits travelling on MSC's Mediterranean routes may have difficulty coming to terms with the Italian style of menu - compared to the normal three courses of an American/British meal you get 6 courses: Starter/Salad, Soup, Pasta/Risotto, Main (Meat or Fish), Cheese, Dessert. No courses are obligatory, but all are relatively small, so you eat no more, but it is probably better balanced and more easily digested. Food Presentation is not MSC's strong point. We have found wine, beer and soft drinks packages on the Caribbean and West to East TransAtlantic routes pretty good - better to purchase in advance to avoid the 15% service charge applied to onboard drinks purchases. Also available, but not publicised, are half-litre carafes of house wine (US$9 / 7 Euros in Europe + 15%) - a reasonable alternative. Breakfast in the MDR - In the 9 years we have sailed with MSC I cannot recall a change of breakfast menu! However, there is a good selection and everyone should be satisfied with the choice; although on this trip it did get a bit samey after 23 days! What comes out from the kitchens can be pretty mediocre in quality and presentation - in particular, boiled eggs were frequently sent back for being either overcooked or undercooked. Rating - 2.5* Lunch in the MDR - In the past we have been very satisfied with the offerings on MSC, but on this trip it wast pitiful - the same standard menu was offered every one of the 23 days of the two cruises with about five choices of mains, plus an extra dish of the day that got repeated weekly. The quality was unexceptional and the presentation poor. 1* RESTAURANT & BAR SERVICE Dinner Service - a far higher level of service is enjoyed in the MDRs for dinner than other meals: West Caribbean - 3.5*; TransAtlantic - 6* - we changed tables and restaurants and were so lucky to land a truly great table for 8 with superb service from the Head Waiter, Silvio from Italy, our Senior Waiter Suweda and his bus boy Tega, both Indonesian. They immediately became aware of individual preferences and dietary considerations; they were respectful, attentive and efficient, whilst displaying a happy and pleasing sense of humour. They were quick to replace or change anything that was not to someone's liking. MDR Breakfast & Lunch Service - When one knows and experiences good to exceptional service at dinner, it is a mystery to me why this cannot be replicated at other mealtimes. It just seems that they can manage formal/set seating at dinner, but cannot cope with open seating at other times. Worst of all, they didn't seem to care, unless you were lucky enough to be seated with a waiter you knew - he might then put in professional effort. I suspect that waiters are not concerned to deliver good service to people who are not on their dinner tables. This is not an issue exclusive to MSC - we have encountered it on Cunard and Princess too. My rating - 2*. There were often long gaps or waits between courses; frequently the waiters brought two or more courses at the same time; the food was too often cold; and it was usually difficult to gain a waiter's attention. Bar Service - Generally we found this good - consistently 4*. However, we are not massive users and more frequently used them for the occasional beer or cocktail, soft drink and excellent coffee. I must particularly commend one of the bar stewards in the Rendez-Vous Bar - Nataliya from Ukraine was excellent - always bright and cheery, great personality and sense of humour, always remembered our names and our orders - 6*. Entertainment & Activities Theatre Shows - We can remember shows aboard MSC ships that were really very good, and of course the theatres on board are as superb as ever. However, the quality of show has declined, even taking into account the challenges of putting on events for a multi-cultural audience. Singers, dancers and other artistes were all rather average. On Poesia 2010 there was an exceptionally good Cruise Director fronting the shows, Anna - we were sad to learn she was no longer with the ship. This year the West Caribbean sector was co-presented by an American man and Italian woman. The man signed off after that week and the lady carried on across the Atlantic. In Barcelona she was replaced by another Italian lady. The performance of all three was unexceptional - 2*. Evening Entertainments - these have changed little over the years and are rather down-market for our liking. You can expect to find 'fun and games' such as 'Mr Made in Italy' and 'Grease' in the show/cabaret lounges in which the fattest, oldest, loudest and ugliest members of the audience are induced by the entertainments team to come out and generally demean and make fools of themselves to the amusement of those watching - not our cup of tea! There is a wide range of music of various genre played live in the various lounges and bars, although the acoustics and audience chatter do not lend themselves to good listening. The exception is the classical music in the atrium, which is rather lovely to listen to and watch. On this cruise there was also a Swiss-Canadian gentleman of 95, Egon, a retired professional musician and long-term paying guest of the ship, who delighted passengers at 4 pm each day, with his exceptional talents on the grand piano in the Atrium. Overall rating - 3*. Activities Programme - the intensity of this of course depends on whether or not one is in port, but there is always something going on. However, the adult entertainments are frequently rather childish and whilst I have no objection to some fun, I do wish they would put on something that contained more enrichment. On Poesia in 2010 the entertainments team was predominantly German and they came over as rather dour at times, but this year it was the usual collection of Italian gap year students, who whilst putting their hearts into their job, did come over as though they were entertaining a group of 12 year-olds - not mature and senior folk, many of whom had a lot of world experience! We participated in the 'World Champions Quiz' put on by the Italian entertainments team with stereotypical Italian organisation! They had immense trouble, when on numerous occasions the participants challenged the answers offered. However hard they tried to make us behave like compliant children, the participants were having none of it. Hilarious - but we came second, so it couldn't have been that bad! Overall rating for Activities: 2.5* Cocktail Parties - The Captain's Cocktail Party is, I regret, a bit of a sham these days, primarily due to the volume of people on these large ships. It is good that guests can enjoy their 'cocktails' (a choice of cheap sparkling wine, one type of cocktail or non-alcoholic fizz) in any of the bars and lounges, before going into the theatre (past the optional photo opportunity) to witness the parade of officers and a halting welcome speech in 5 languages by the Captain. There is little opportunity to mingle and no chance to chat with officers, so I do wonder what its all about! There are cocktail parties for repeaters and there is an end-of-cruise reception, held in the big lounges, but they are just events with low quality drinks, where the captain and a couple of other officers turn up, make a standard speech and sell photo opportunities with the captain - not sociable and pretty meaningless really. The best part is getting dressed up! Overall rating: 2*. Health & Safety Lifeboat Drills - On each of our recent MSC sailings the passenger emergency drills have been held on the day of sailing in one or other of the public lounges or theatre. Each venue is typically attended by 500 or more passengers of all nationalities. Instruction is given by means of a public announcement in each of 5 languages. Crew are on hand to demonstrate how to put on a lifejacket. Following the Concordia disaster we were keen to see whether MSC had upped its game in this important coaching for passengers. Sadly, IMO, it hasn't - there was a lack of leadership in our muster station and passengers commonly and discourteously talked over the public announcement if it was not in their own language, thus impeding the learning of others. Many people didn't bother to put on their lifejackets or did not do so correctly - there was no intervention from crew members. There was no notable understanding of what else to do in the event of an emergency, other than to proceed on foot to a muster station and put on a lifejacket. There was no explanation as to what to do if you found yourself at the opposite end of the ship to your muster station. There was no explanation as to how disabled and infirm passengers should proceed when the lifts were out of bounds. Or if information was given, I never heard it! We were told that it is not mandatory for passengers to attend these drills - they are invited and encouraged, but there is no roll-call or other mechanism for ensuring attendance. We put these points to the Guest Relations Manager and the Officer in charge of safety, but it seemed that they were listening with closed ears. Overall ratings: West Caribbean - 2*, TransAtlantic - 2.5*. The improvement on the second 2012 sailing was due to the better behaviour of passengers, rather than the performance of the crew. Hygiene - One of the great concerns of any cruise ship is the risk of infection spreading through the vessel. They cannot control the exposure of passengers to illness prior to boarding or at ports of call. They cannot ensure hygiene observation and practice by passengers or even crew members. So IMO ships need to be unapologetic in the promotion of good practice. MSC ships have hand sanitation dispensers on boarding and at the entrance to restaurants, but not enough and sometimes we found them empty. Cleaning around the ship has previously been meticulous on MSC, but less visible on this cruise. Cleaning of our cabin was adequate, but not as thorough as on previous sailings. Sadly a particularly nasty chest infection and rasping sore throat manifested itself and a great many passengers were laid low by it. The discomfort was exacerbated by the AC and no doubt this helped its distribution too. I suffered for 9 days, while my wife and sister were still suffering two weeks after the cruise ended. Friends reported a similar lingering problem. There is an ambiguous policy regarding smoking. There is a designated smokers lounge on each ship and part of one of the show lounges is given over to smokers. Smoking is permitted on certain parts of the sun decks. Elsewhere it is 'discouraged', meaning what? We had several dog ends land on our balcony! I suspect that due to MSC's massive European clientele they prefer to sit on the fence. (Continental Europe still has a much greater propensity for smoking than is the case in USA and UK). Perhaps most telling overall is that in 2010 the Poesia received a 100% rating from CDC's health and cleanliness ratings (U.S. Public Health Service), whilst in 2012 it had dropped to 94% - quite significant. My overall rating - 4*. Guest Relations Since we first sailed with MSC in 2004, we have found that an ongoing inadequacy has been the way in which Front Desk or Reception staff handle the problems and queries brought to them by passengers. It used to be the case that all staff were Italian and where they were faced with a difficult situation they would be inclined to say 'No understand' in what seemed a rather brusque and discourteous manner. This invited a lot of complaints and over the years MSC has engaged a more international team of linguists for the Guest Relations Dept that can hold some sort of dialogue in up to 5 languages. We have noticed in our recent sailings a number of South Africans that can at least hold a sensible conversation in English. However, whilst they may have linguistic skills they do not necessarily have very good people skills. Further, one must wonder about the management behind the Front Desk crew. We continue to find the response from Reception, when faced with anything other that a straightforward question, to be unhelpful. They tend to be defensive, obstructive and evasive. We certainly found this on Poesia, especially on the 2012 cruise. I wont go into details of our issues as these are the subject of a formal complaint. However, let me say we were not alone in finding the Guest Relations Dept difficult to deal with. I am sympathetic to the cultural problems of an Italian company working in a complex multi-national market place (something that American & British lines are less challenged by, as there is a general expectation that everyone has at least some skills in English). However, I suspect that MSC Cruises, as just a relatively small part of the huge Mediterranean Shipping Company (operating one of the world's largest fleets of container ships) is compromised by their corporate standing. They are just a minnow seated within a vast industrial operation, not particularly focussed on the leisure and hospitality business, which of course is what cruise ships are all about. Maybe there is a mismatch in the corporate culture which leaves the organisation insensitive to the need to put people and customer satisfaction truly at the centre of its business. Itineraries & Excursions We choose our cruises, primarily for the interesting itineraries, always wishing to visit new places. However, the Poesia in 2012 was a little disappointing. It was only our second time in the Caribbean and we had wonderful memories from 2005. This year all the Caribbean ports of call were new to us, but most we found totally ruined by mass tourism and too many cruise passengers - especially Cozumel, Roatan and St Maarten, where up to 18,000 passengers disgorged themselves at once onto tiny islands. We were pleased to arrive in European waters where, despite mass tourism too, the destinations could manage the volumes and offered more sophistication and substance. We generally prefer to do our own thing at ports of call, either just strolling around the town or picking up local excursions - of course much cheaper than ships' excursions. On this trip I took a ship's excursion from Cozumel to Tulum (okay), whilst elsewhere we joined up with friends and either pre-arranged private tours by car with driver guide, or picked something up at the port. My reviews for the first 8 ports of call on this trip (Key West, Cozumel, Roatan, Montego Bay, San Juan, Sint Maarten, Antigua & Madeira) are featured in the Port Reviews section of CruiseCritic. However, the system will only take 8 ports, so the remaining reviews are covered below: Malaga & Granada - Again we have visited Malaga a number of times before, so on this occasion we prearranged an excursion with Barcelona Day Tours (Top-Day Tours Group) to La Alhambra in Granada. It is vital to prebook a trip to Alhambra, as timed tickets must be reserved in advance. We got up a small group through the CruiseCritic Roll Call and hired a small coach (14 passengers). Our guide, an English lady named Debbie, was absolutely superb and she handed over to a Spanish Guide within the World Heritage Site, who was also excellent. This proved one of the best excursions we have ever done and would recommend both Alhambra and Top-Day unreservedly. Rating - 6* Alicante - We met up with my brother who lives on the Costa Blanca. We spent most of the day just relaxing / drinking coffee / lunching in a quaint cafe in a shady square just off the sea front. The port provided a shuttle from ship to dock gate, from whence the downtown area is easily walkable. A stroll along the harbour front is enjoyable, particularly at the weekend when the locals are promenading. Sta Barbara Castle on a hill above the city centre dominates. There is a local bus tour that includes the castle (too steep to walk unless you are young and very fit) - fare €7.00 (approx. UK£6 / US$9). Rating - 3.5* Barcelona - I hate it when a ship docks in such a magnificent city for just 5 hours. We could have dashed in and grabbed an hour in the Ramblas and Old City, but having been before we gave it a miss. A taxi to Parque Guell would have been wickedly expensive, so we gave that a miss too. A stroll along the moll in bright sunshine was enjoyable and our highlight this time was to watch the huge MSC Splendida slip into port before we sailed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was the worst cruise we ever experienced,4 persons.Same menu daily,quality very poor with cafeteria buffet serving hot dogs, burgers,frozen french fries for dinner.The ship has a lot of smoking,disregarding the right of ... Read More
This was the worst cruise we ever experienced,4 persons.Same menu daily,quality very poor with cafeteria buffet serving hot dogs, burgers,frozen french fries for dinner.The ship has a lot of smoking,disregarding the right of nonsmokers.Reception desk is incompetent and unaccomodating.Overall the cruise ship did not care much about the welfare of passengers.  Entertainment  was very poor with shows averaging 30 minutes or less in the theater.The crew reporting to the cruise director were quite annoying and overall uncaring. The pillows in the stateroom were very uncomfortable,filled with straw. Dancing was very poor because musicians were taking extensive breaks every hour.Drinks overall were very expensive,averaging 11 to 14 dollars each. For us this was first and last cruise on MSC. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Beautiful ship, very friendly staff from booking in at Southampton,to the maintainance men who always said hello. Breakfast and lunch,as good as other cruise lines. the evening meal was tasty, but the presentation was not very good,it did ... Read More
Beautiful ship, very friendly staff from booking in at Southampton,to the maintainance men who always said hello. Breakfast and lunch,as good as other cruise lines. the evening meal was tasty, but the presentation was not very good,it did improve as the days passed. The entertainment was excellent, I particularly liked the Opera evenings, but there was something for everyone. The tours were not particularly good and were expensive, as were drinks on board. A tin of cola cost E 3.15 and there was a service charge on every drink of 15% However, I did enjoy the cruise ,and it will not stop me cruising with them again We called at one of the islands of the Azores. Another lovely place. Very clean.I did not particularly enjoy the tour we did to two lakes. It was expensive for a short bus ride. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
My wife and I booked this cruise to celebrate birthday/retirement & 45th wedding anniversary. It was paid for by visa debit card. When we arrived at Southampton, we were asked for a credit card to cover our onboard account. I offered ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise to celebrate birthday/retirement & 45th wedding anniversary. It was paid for by visa debit card. When we arrived at Southampton, we were asked for a credit card to cover our onboard account. I offered my debit card, which was refused as they said that I had to use a credit card.I told them that I had not brought a credit card and was told to go into Southampton and find a cash machine. Not a great start to our cruise. It did not get any better. Food on board was average. Selection of food was repetative in dining room and buffet. Staff on board. The dining room staff were ok but the buffet staff were surly and unhelpfull. Drinks. A total ripoff. Double the price of other cruise lines. Ports of call. Port transfer charges at all destinations. Some clown,in their wisdom,had us docking for two days,in Bermuda over a weekend,when everything was closed. Upon arival in New York,on day one,we looked at the city skyline for five hours from the deck of the ship before we were allowed to step onto American soil. On day two, we were turfed off the ship at eight am,and bussed to the airport by nine am,for our flight home at seven pm.Thus we had to spend our second day in New York at the airport,as MSC washed their hands of us as soon as they possibly could, when all that was needed was a holding area for our luggage to enable us to spend the day in the city. Staff. Most of the staff were unhelpfull and unfriendly.If we passed them on the stairways,they walked by as though we were not there. At the buffet they pushed in front of paying guests to get served This is totally opposite to what we are used to with other cruise lines. Entertainment. The evening shows were of good quality but pathetic quantity. By the final evening the show had been reduced to twenty five minutes. I presume that this was to force people into the bars for the rest of the night so they could wrench even more money from our ever thinning wallets. The daytime entertainment during the four day crossing was very childish,even for children,of which there were none present. Disemarkation. As stated above,this left a lot to be desired.this was not helped by the attitude of staff as I paid off my onboard account. I was informed that my card, which was refused at the start of the cruise, was perfectly acceptable,thus leaving me wondering why they had caused me such grief at embarkation. Upon our return home we checked our paperwork for our next cruise,and to our horror found that it is with MSC. We wrote to Readers Offers,who we had booked through stating all our complaints and requesting that we be refunded our deposit for the next cruise and excused the trauma of the next cruise. This request was passed on to MSC who refused our request. I can only assume by their complete disregard for our views and feelings that they are struggling to fill their ships through the British market and are worried that they may have to sail with an empty cabin,as we heard many of the British guests complaining about almost everything. Roll on July. Our next criuse with MSC will be over. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We booked MSC cruise because of its itinerary. I was not expecting much from this cruise line due to its negative reviews. We embarked at Kiel and the procedure was smooth and we were on board in 15 mins. The ship is sparkling clean and ... Read More
We booked MSC cruise because of its itinerary. I was not expecting much from this cruise line due to its negative reviews. We embarked at Kiel and the procedure was smooth and we were on board in 15 mins. The ship is sparkling clean and beautiful. Our inside cabin is bigger than some of the other cruise ship. The set back was the pillows and wool blankets. Pillows were awful and felt lumpy. Blankets were woolly which I am allergic to. We had perfect weather from Kiel to New York. There were about 800 Germans on board so pool deck were full as it was hot and sunny. Entertainment were opera singing, acrobat, string quartet and dancing. We enjoyed the acrobatic show but not the singing and dancing. Food got better as the cruise progress. I have no problem finding something to suit me as I prefer salad and fruits. There were lots of complaints about the plastic cup that they gave us at the cafe. All beverages tasted awful!! These were replaced with melamine cups on the second sector of the cruise. We joined a shore excursion in Lisbon visiting the holy site of Fatima. This was quite good but the lunch included were tastless. On the 4 sea days from Azore to Bermuda, there were not much entertainment at the pool deck beside a few childish games. I miss the movie theatre on other ships as MSC do not provide recent release movies. The T.V. show is limited to CNN, ESPN and some old movies. The only advantage of ESPN sport channel was able to watch AFL live games especially the final live game at 0130hr. On the second sector from New York to Canada, the weather became cold and rainy. After leaving Charlottetown for Halifax, the weather became rough and the sea is choppy. The captain decided to bypass this port so we ended up with 3 sea days. Unfortunately, MSC is not generous to compensate us by giving us a free drink at the bar or a little souvenir. My positive comment of the ship is the Medical Centre. I had a fall and grazed my shin. The nurse dressed the wound and gave me some dressing without any charges!! My friend had an injection due to sea sickness and the bill was only 7 euro. I don't think I will cruise with MSC again due to its limited entertainment. I will be embarking on a 18 nights cruise on RCCL to Aust. and N.Zealand 2 weeks after disembarking from MSC. It will be interesting to compare these 2 cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I read previous reviews and started to worry.No need.An absolutely beautiful ship.Excellent staff,even at the unfairly slated reception.Food ranged from o.k to very good,never fantastic but certainly never bad.The choice at lunch in ... Read More
I read previous reviews and started to worry.No need.An absolutely beautiful ship.Excellent staff,even at the unfairly slated reception.Food ranged from o.k to very good,never fantastic but certainly never bad.The choice at lunch in particular was very extensive.If you couldn't find something you liked, then there must be something wrong. Most people we spoke to got some sort of "deal".We ourselves paid £456 each for a 14 night cruise.Incredible.To make up for cheap headline prices,M.S.C do try to recuperate by charging on various items.The drinks are rather expensive,as are the photo's,and excursions,but no one is forced to use any of these services. There is always room for sun-bathing on M.S.C Ships as they don't clutter the decks with climbing walls e.t.c.The evening shows are of an excellent standard if a bit on the short side.The music in the various lounges is also of very high quality.We thought the day time activities could have been a bit more extensive and varied particularly given the number of sea days on a Transatlantic trip.Daytime entertainment seemed to consist of either quizzes or holiday camp type knobbly knee competitions.A film show,cooking demonstration,or port lecture might have been nice. The Gym hasn't the biggest range of equipment,but has fantastic views at the front of the ship.The pools and Jacuzzis are fine.The Balinese massage is great but expensive so wait till they have offers on port days.The specialist Italian restaurant L'OBelisco isn't really worth the extra charge, the food is good but the portions very small.The cabins too are quiet small,but are nicely decorated,and have everything you need in them. One tip if you do ever go on this ship, is to take a proper cup with you, they use plastic cups at the 24 hour drink station and they just don't taste the same as proper cups. A great tip at a great price.If you ever get an offer go for it, and don't worry about the critics,there are undoubtedly people who go on cruises simply to find something to moan about. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Booked 2 balcony suites on the Atlantic cruise from Ft.L to Barcelona March 6 to March 22.We did not expect luxury when boarding M/S Poesia, even the vessel is new in the fleet.2 weeks in the same restaurant at the same table, with the ... Read More
Booked 2 balcony suites on the Atlantic cruise from Ft.L to Barcelona March 6 to March 22.We did not expect luxury when boarding M/S Poesia, even the vessel is new in the fleet.2 weeks in the same restaurant at the same table, with the same waiters, looking at the same guests around you is not recommendable. MSCs promotion of the Fantastic Italian Cuisine was very difficult to see. There were two alternative rest. Sushi and Italian. The food were below average and not even worth the Dollars you paid extra. The Sushi were empty every night. Unbelievable MSC does not skip it for a steak rest.The food in the main restaurant and buffet lunch on deck 13, were the lowest standard we ever experienced on a cruise vessel. The taste like a staff rest/canteen. During 14 days I enjoyed the main course twice. We send several dishes back and had another option, but no improvement.The Indonesian staff were the sunshine in the "cafeteria" why we kept the spirit to the end.We prebooked Italian wine packages at MSC before the cruise, having no idea about the quality.We could choose between 20 bottles. Dont take that package.Tipping: We were lucky to check our account after the first night cruise. Without notice they added 12 $ per person per night. For two suites 4 adult and 2 children 68 $ per day, 1.088 $ in total.I had several discussions with the staff before they accepted to take it of our bill. The Reception and Accounting staff were the most unproffessional we ever experienced Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
I waited a long time to try cruising and so pleased that MSC targeted the Australains last year. We became a number of 1700 Aussies or so out of more than 2200 passengers...or numbers something like that! MSC were testing the waters so to ... Read More
I waited a long time to try cruising and so pleased that MSC targeted the Australains last year. We became a number of 1700 Aussies or so out of more than 2200 passengers...or numbers something like that! MSC were testing the waters so to speak. They provided welcoming service, that didnt disappear throughout the 18 nights. We were entertained by young italians, teaching us sushi making, ice carving, cards, italian lessons, book club, games, dancing and lots of laughter. Our spacious cabin was with a huge porthole but no balcony. I like the fresh air so plan on a balcony next time. Not complaining but it was our first cruise and you learn these things. We were also in the middle of the ship and so movement and rocking was negligiable, even when we safely avoid the hurricane and detoured away from The Bahamas. Bonus, we had fun in Boston USA instead. It is a multi cultural ships. Yes you do hear messages many times over in 5 languages... but if I didnt speak Italian on an Italian ship, I am grateful they communicate to me in my language..as would be the other nationalites on board. I am not Italian... I'm a Maltese / Australian. I appreciated the European class, and flavours of the world. If I wanted what I had at home, I could stay at home. Travelling on such a large ship gave me a peaceful experience... I could be as busy or as relaxed as I choose. Or as we choose... I did have my husband along. We were never bored, never felt like we were on top of everyone else (except at the buffet...and we quickly worked out that no one misses out as there is more than enough food), we never tired of each other and we were stimulated by everything around us. On board, you have choices of the library in arm chairs or taking the book away to your cabin or deck chair (sun or shade). Bars galore, all with different ambiances. Restaurants or buffets with tasty variety... fresh, raw cooked or fried, gelati bar is a must... variety for everyone. In fact one could eat for 20 hours a day. On our holiday I lost 8 kgs, but the choices my husband made at meal times gained him 8kg... so it is what you make of it! One thing I like about cruising is that you set your own time for anything you want to do. You can make friends with other passengers or not.. The best thing is that MSC gives you the option. I also appreciated being cleaned up after, no cleaning, no cooking, no washing... the hardest task is reading the daily newsletter to see tomorrow's port, excursion choices, weather, activities and deciding what to wear. I would recommend and have this company to others. We are getting deals of two for one in Australia if you book in advance. Really great value for money. I can only wish they bring their ships down under so we don't have the excessive airfare that goes with it Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
MSC POESIA, Kiel to New York, September 2010 Background I have deliberately left it a few weeks after disembarking to post anything because I didn't want to write simply on impulse. To avoid it influencing my opinions, I have also ... Read More
MSC POESIA, Kiel to New York, September 2010 Background I have deliberately left it a few weeks after disembarking to post anything because I didn't want to write simply on impulse. To avoid it influencing my opinions, I have also left it until the last few days to read some of the other reviews and posts here about MSC in general, and about Poesia in particular. We were a party of four ... my wife and I along with my wife's sister and her husband. Although we travelled together, we had booked separately and had different cabins on different decks. Lest anyone write us off as inexperienced, I should point out that between us we have many hundreds of nights cruising with a variety of lines including, but not limited to, Princess, P&O Aust., P&O U.K., NCL, Holland America and Celebrity. This was the infamous "bait and switch" cruise. The cruise initially marketed heavily in Australia as an Atlantic crossing, departing Venice aboard Magnifica. After we had booked, everything changed. The actual cruise ended up with an almost entirely different itinerary on a different ship, departing Kiel aboard Poesia. Many cancelled their booking at the time of the switch but others, including us, stuck with it in the belief that the cruise probably still offered a decent deal at the price. Perhaps as a result of the change of ship and itinerary, some of the (reportedly) 1,800 or so Australians aboard this cruise may have approached it with a slightly negative attitude. Whatever the reason, right from the outset there was a discernible mood of dissatisfaction evident when overhearing or engaging in casual conversation aboard the ship. Dwelling on negative aspects doesn't accomplish much or provide meaningful information for prospective cruisers. I'll try to be balanced while relating our experiences but unfortunately there's no denying that for us, the negatives significantly outweighed the positives. Some general things we liked Poesia is a beautiful ship. It is modern, well-maintained and generally spotless throughout. It rides comfortably, even in moderately rough seas. We found it quick and easy to learn the layout of the ship and to find our way around. Our cabin (Deck 11, inside) was quiet and comfortable. We loved the big, fluffy towels. Some staff were polite and attentive and made us feel valued. We had many pleasant conversations with some of the drink waiters, particularly some of the Romanian girls. Our cabin staff was excellent as were a good many of the other "junior" staff we encountered. The ports of call, despite having changed from the original Magnifica cruise, were still very enjoyable. The decision mid-cruise to bypass Bermuda due to hurricane Igor was entirely sensible and the substitution of Boston as the alternative was an excellent choice. The free soft-serve ice cream served daily outside the entrance to the buffet on deck 13 was an unexpected and very welcome bonus. The extended buffet operating hours. Apparently (according to a crew member we spoke to) we were the first to have the "new" buffet system offering longer opening hours and a bit more flexibility than had previously been the case. Nice big theatre with plenty of seating. Not having to turn up an hour early to get a seat for the show. Vegemite sachets available in the buffet. They must have been expecting us! Some general things we didn't like but could possibly live with The tickets may have been inexpensive but make no mistake, this is not a cheap ship. Many things seemed unreasonably expensive compared to other cruise lines. For example, photographs were €19.95 for a basic, single A4 size print which equates to around $AU28.00. Similarly, a small bottle of beer varied between €4.50 (around $AU6.30) and €5.50 (around AU$7.70) depending on the brand. Even a simple, small soft drink (Pepsi as there didn't seem to be any Coke available on this ship) cost €3.30 (AU$4.60). Add the mandatory 15% service charge to all the above and you'll understand why "happy hour" took place ashore whenever practical. I guess the concept of a queue or waiting your turn is lost on some people. Fair enough, this was an Italian ship ... but there was a huge contingent of non-European passengers onboard. It became easy to quickly identify the Americans, British, Australians, New Zealanders or Canadians. They were the ones who did not elbow their way into the lift before you could get out. They were the ones who didn't push you out of the buffet line to snatch the last fried egg. I guess this happens to some extent on other ships, but in this case the crew not only turned a blind eye but in several cases were guilty of inconsiderate behaviour themselves. Perhaps cruise lines should do a little research and think a little more about cultural differences and sensitivities when marketing their cruises. Different nationalities don't always play well together. It proved impossible to have a sleep-in in the mornings as the cabin staff start work around 6.00am. Banging their service trolleys against walls, they sounded like a herd of elephants wearing steel clogs trying to stomp their way into the cabin through the ceiling. A note to MSC ... if you're going to have steel stairs and uncarpeted walkways in the crew areas, perhaps try issuing soft-soled shoes? Our soap dispenser in the cabin didn't work. This was reported to the cabin steward. It was fixed four days later ... and worked for one whole day before failing. My sympathy goes out to our long-suffering steward. Without prompting he assured us every day that he had reported the fault but that the maintenance staff were not doing anything. Forget "movies under the stars" The big screen up on the pool deck showed nothing but a 24 hour repeating loop of advertising until day 10 of the cruise. When the weather turned a bit dull they eventually advertised a free movie on the TV in the cabins. It was "Iron Man 1" ... but the cynic in me suggests this movie was chosen only to promote the fact that "Iron Man 2" was available on the pay TV system. Yes, that's right ... to watch a movie in your cabin will cost you €6.00 (around $AU8.50). I told you this wasn't a cheap ship ... no opportunity to gouge another dollar is missed. Even if I had wanted to fork out the €6.00 to watch a movie in my cabin, I couldn't because the interactive part of my interactive cabin TV never worked. I mentioned this to the cabin steward who apologetically said he had reported the problem many times on the previous cruise and had given up trying to get anything done about it. We reported it ourselves to the passenger services desk ... twice. We never received the promised follow-up and it was never fixed Even watching the precious few "free" TV programs available in English became impossible after mid-cruise as the satellite system "broke" and wasn't restored until we arrived in the US. At first we found the entertainment was of an excellent standard, and although the standard remained high throughout the cruise, the repertoire eventually became depressingly repetitive. The classical musicians and singers were very talented and did a commendable job with some of the operatic classics ... but in the end it just became more of the same old same old. The production shows were very good ... but again, by the time we got to the end of the cruise we had seen the same performers many, many times over with only the most minor variations in their routines. The entertainment in the various lounges brought "repetitive" to a whole new level. The same musicians in the same venue doing exactly the same numbers every night ... after night ... after night. You could just about set your watch by what song they were doing at any given time. If you decide it's all a bit much and you want to remove or vary the automatic gratuity added to your account daily so you can do your tipping personally, expect to jump through a few hoops. The process seemed to be deliberately made as difficult as possible ... no doubt in order to discourage people from doing it. We were originally told it couldn't be done until later ... and later we were told to make an appointment. Eventually we were given the third degree about why we wanted to vary things and had to provide a formal, written request. Our four biggest complaints - the deal breakers Attitude Despite our having requested early sitting for dinner and our cruise documents showing we were on early dinner sitting, after embarkation and checking our cruise cards we found ourselves on late sitting. This in itself was disappointing as we're normally early risers and used to eating our evening meal around 6.00pm. When we sought out the Maitre d' to explore the possibility of changing to early sitting we were appalled at his attitude. He loudly stated that "everyone wanna da early a sitting ... you come another time" ... and basically shooed us away. Inexcusably rude. When my wife's cruise card decided it no longer wanted to open our cabin door we went to the customer service desk to ask them to please reprogram it. Instead of assistance we got a lecture. We copped a tirade blaming us for everything from demagnetizing it by putting it next to our credit card (a complete myth in case you're interested) to telling us we weren't using the door lock correctly (ignoring my explanation that my card still worked perfectly). These are just two specific examples. We encountered similar attitudes from many of the more senior crew. While junior staff such as waiters and stewards were polite and obliging, the same couldn't be said for their supervisors. Incredibly, some of the worst attitudes seemed to come from people whose job it was to provide "passenger service". On a number of occasions we were made to feel like we were simply an inconvenience. Organisiation (or the lack of it) What kind of inspired organizational skills does it take to have our cruise documents, luggage labels and dockets for transfers from Hamburg to Kiel delivered to our cabin two days after the cruise had departed? Embarkation was a debacle and unfortunately proved to be something of an omen for things to come. We were dumped (by the MSC organized transfer) at the terminal in Kiel and it wasn't until almost four hours later that we were finally able to board the ship. The terminal staff offered no information, advice or assistance whatsoever. Pretty much everything requiring any degree of organizational skill ended up being a disaster. Probably the best/worst example was the day we arrived at Boston and had to go through US immigration. The US authorities had set up on the stage in the theatre and the idea was that passengers would be called to the theatre, seated in manageable, numbered blocks where they would wait briefly until their block was called whereupon they would be processed by the authorities. A simple enough process, but Poesia still managed to mess it up. Instead of calling individual decks as had been published, they managed to call all passengers from both decks 10 and 11 to go to the theatre all at the same time. Decks 10 and 11 are where the vast majority of passenger cabins are located on Poesia, so the result was well over a thousand passengers all queued up waiting to get to the theatre. The queue extended from the theatre at the front of the ship all the way back to the dining rooms at the rear of the ship ... then doubled back again through the ship to the middle stairway and up onto the next deck above. When a man ahead of me in the queue remarked to a relatively senior member of the entertainment crew who was directing people that they shouldn't have called everyone from both decks at the same time, the response was "Ha ... it was worse last time ... I suppose you think you can do better". See the previous item ... "attitude" It took us almost two hours standing in that queue to reach the theater ... and we were around the middle of the eventual queue. When we finally reached the theater we were processed quite quickly ... but a little bit of thought and common sense would have avoided all those people standing uncomfortably and unnecessarily in a massive queue for all that time. It didn't end there either. At the theater exit, MSC crew members were recording the cabin numbers of everyone who had been processed. Despite the fact that all cruise cards had both a magnetic strip and a bar code, this was being done manually ... one person calling out the cabin number to another person who would tick it off on a printed list. This process was so slow that on several occasions I observed the incoming queue was halted and the US immigration officials sat on the stage chatting among themselves, doing nothing while the queue to exit the theater was slowly cleared. For goodness sake MSC buy a portable barcode scanner and a laptop. Now, this may seem like a somewhat longwinded gripe about something which ultimately isn't that important ... but it illustrates precisely the sort of pervasive organizational incompetence which seemed endemic on Poesia. Dining What can I say. Almost every aspect was a huge disappointment in almost every way. On the first night of our cruise we turned up at the dining room for late sitting at the appointed time of 8.30pm. The dining room eventually opened 15 minutes later at 8.45pm. The dining room felt crowded and noisy. It seemed to take forever before our waiter took our order and the overall impression was frenetic and under-resourced. When the food finally arrived it was uninspiring and barely warm. It was well gone 10.30pm by the time we finished and indigestion ruled that night. We are normally dining room people ... preferring that option for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Despite our experience the previous evening, we decided to go to the dining room for breakfast on day two. My wife ordered smoked salmon and I ordered two fried eggs and two pieces of toast. These were items straight off the menu, nothing out of the ordinary. It took an hour and a half as well as a "what's happening" to the waiter before we got our meals. Unsurprisingly the eggs and toast were stone cold. Nothing if not determined, we fronted up at the dining room for lunch. It was the same story. An interminable time before our order was taken and an interminable time before the food was delivered. In fact, my sister-in-law's Greek salad never arrived. We simply gave up on it and left after two hours. We don't blame the waiters. I believe the problems are systemic. I simply don't think there was enough staff to cope. Our waiter seemed perpetually in motion but could never keep up. Getting his attention for something like another glass of water was like winning the lottery. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it either. One night there was a prawn dish on the menu. Bizarrely the prawns were piping hot but still in their shells, complete with heads. This required manual peeling with the inevitable messy and burned fingers, but only around half the tables in the room were lucky enough to get finger bowls ... and whether or not anyone on the table had ordered the prawns didn't appear to relate to whether the table got a finger bowl. On another occasion a couple joined our table for lunch, arriving 30 minutes after we'd arrived. They had their order taken, all three courses delivered and devoured and had left the table before our first course had even appeared. The buffet was not very much of an alternative. The food was uninspiring and hardly varied from the first day of the cruise to the last. Food was rarely more than luke warm unless you managed to arrive just when a fresh batch of something appeared. The only upside was the pizza ... especially on those few days when they decided to make the four cheese variety. Smoking This, more than anything else, would prevent us from ever cruising with MSC again. Most cruise ships have a number of designated smoking areas. Usually these are part of the casino and the promenade deck on one side of the ship. In contrast, smoking areas on Poesia include (but isn't limited to) the following areas: Open decks (7 and 13), port side Bar del Poeti, deck 6, port side Cigar room, deck 7 Royal Casino, deck 7 Pigalle lounge, deck 7 Pirana bar, deck 13 (except for the bar counter) Mojito bar, deck 13 (except for the bar counter) Pool, deck 14 port side What this boils down to is that vast areas of the ship are given over to smokers. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the smoking policy is almost universally ignored and appears never to be policed. Smokers just lit up wherever they wanted to with apparent impunity. One of then most annoying aspects of the smoking "policy" was that the spacious "Pigalle Lounge", where many mainstream activities are held, is a designated smoking area. We simply couldn't go there. Not even to watch things like the passenger talent show. It was almost impossible to find a smoke-free spot to sit and relax in a lounge without becoming a passive smoker or, as in my wife's case, risking an asthma attack. This is simply unacceptable in this day and age. Conclusion Would we cruise with MSC again? ... not a chance, but readers should keep in mind two things. Firstly, this was our experience. Other passengers may have had a different experience ... perhaps better, perhaps worse. Other MSC ships may be different. Secondly, this was our experience and isn't just a whinge. We are experienced cruisers. And based on this experience we KNOW that we can get much better value for money from other lines already operating in the Australian market. Having now read many of the other reviews on this site it is clear that many of the problems we experienced have been around for quite some time. It seems MSC just aren't interested in improving ... but until they do, they probably have little chance of success in the Australian market. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
MSC Poesia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 3.0 3.4
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 3.5
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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