MSC Poesia Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern
Ship: MSC Poesia
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Large Group
Reviewed: 6 years ago
THE MSC DIFFERENCE
General Comments. For those of you who may not be familiar with MSC Cruise Lines. It is an Italian privately family owned cruise line. A subsidiary of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (hence the MSC) which is the largest container shipping company that operates in the Mediterranean region, and much of the world. I will attempt to highlight some of the difference throughout this review for you.
The Embarkation Process seemed to be somewhat fast, and then somewhat slow. The initial check-in phase of the process when rather quickly, while the actual getting aboard felt rather lengthy, but then I did arrive around 10am for an estimated 11am boarding time, so all in all I guess you to be fair and honest, the process was rather typical to others.
Ships appointments were exquisite. Never had I seen so much marble and gold plating before to not be on a luxury cruise line vessel. But then where is the best place to get marble but Italy. Additionally who would always see someone with a cleaning rag just wiping things down. I must say that it was a very clean ship. One of the best I've seen in that department.
The Stateroom Accommodations, while somewhat typical from the standpoint of size, seemed to me to be nicer, and in much better condition than I was expecting for a vessel of her age. I thought the Braille room number signage outside each of the staterooms was a neat touch and tells me something about the companies approach to trying to accommodate everyone's needs. One thing that would rank her down overall was the lack of overall balcony rooms available on this ship. "Peosia" is one of MSC oldest ships, which had only a limited number of balcony staterooms. While many would have said the Multi Lingual announcements made were a distraction, I was always amazed to see the cruise director step to the stage before a show performance and make the accouchements in five different languages as if each was her native tongue. It was kind of entertainment in itself! I must admit it gave me the opportunity to actually see just how bad my German was.
MSC Cruise Lines - while I admit, sometimes maybe has a different approach to customer service, than what I might choose. I need to bear in mind, that they are different. If you want to judge them against "their competition", you can't stack them up next to Royal Caribbean, Princess, or Even Carnival for that matter, because first and foremost, THEY ARE NOT A NORTH AMERICAN CRUISE LINE.
MSC's closest competitor would be Costa, or P O. While most "cruise folks" have never even set foot on one of these vessels, let alone sailed them. So you really need to understand that MSC, is actually forging new ground by being the first foreign cruise ship company, that has really placed itself not only to cruising in the North American Marketplace, but actually having committed one of its vessels in a mostly full time year round basis "Poesia" here in the United States (Port Everglades) otherwise known as Fort Lauderdale. Should we should certainly give them credit for that!
The Poesia offers sailings to the Caribbean, as well as in the fall repositions in New York to do Canada and New England Fall Foliage sailings. The next big difference is price point! MSC's closest rival in the "North American Market" pricing arena would have to be Carnival. And this would be bad how? Well their low prices as well as their "KIDS UNDER 12 SAIL FREE" is a huge magnet for folks especially with families. They buy the voyage on MSC not knowing anything at all about the Cruise Line. There are some very distinctive differences that people just plain don't realize. Not BAD Differences! Just Differences, which oftentimes causes MSC some very huge challenges, which usually their passengers get very wacked out about!
The first complaint I hear more than most, is that they are unresponsive to complaints. Fact is, they are not that different from North American Cruise Lines. They operate very much in the same way that a land based hotel property would in say Italy. Once you have made your complaint, fine, they heard you and it will be directed to the appropriate person(s) for further possible action. North American cruise lines do the very same thing. However, as they are Americans (for the most part themselves) will all too often make the complaining passenger feel they have taken a special interest in their problem, but does it get rectified any sooner. No! is the simple answer. Whereas if you make continued or repeated complaints about the same issue they will give you their ear once again, on MSC they are going to inform you that they have heard your complaint and have forwarded your issues onto someone who can do something about it! Sorry folks, it really makes no difference whether you are sailing MSC, or NCL or any other cruise ship, your problem takes time to resolve. You have relayed your plight to someone, now get on with your cruise! So many times when cruising, I see people failing to relinquish their woes and they now focus in on the problem so bad, that it jades the entire rest of their voyage (and anyone in close proximity to them as well). When one really needs to get over it, and get on with your cruise!
The next common complaint I hear coming from disgruntled passengers, is there isn't the same amount of things to keep their children occupied on board. This is a very true observation. The Children's programs on MSC are not as elaborate as you find on Disney, Royal Caribbean, Princess, or even Carnival. But they are once again on par with their true competition Costa, and PO. However, I must say that there is one comment I have heard from time to time that is an unfair characterization. Being that MSC doesn't offer adequate evening time supervision for their teen (oldest) aged program facilities. Well folks neither do North American Market Cruise lines after dinner either!
Food and Service of the wait staff. I very much enjoyed the genuine Italian Cuisine found in the formal Dining Room and especially the changing each night of the featured dishes from various Italian regions. A comment I heard from others on the ship was their feelings that crew is very standoffish, which is often misconstrued as their being either inattentive or even rude. You must bear in mind that the crews on every MSC cruise ship is European trained. That means especially at dinner, when they bring you something and ask if there is anything else, don't plan on seeing them until everyone at the table is finished and they come back to clear the entire table at the same time. That is the European manner (efficiency model) of large event table service. They are not going to hover over you, asking you several times just during the soup or appetizer if everything is ok. Also, for those of you have not ever been to Italy. Desert whether cake or otherwise is served with a large desert spoon. NOT A FORK. If this really presents a major problem for you, just flag one of wait staff and politely ask for a fork, and they will get one for you! Just do it quickly before they get away! When it comes to dinner time in the formal dining room, each night's menu will feature a different region of Italy that the recipes will come from. Also please don't embarrass yourself by complaining out loud that your food was not up to the usual Italian standards, if your measure of standards comes from your weekly or monthly visit to OLIVE GARDEN, which isn't Italian Food.
So often is the situation that people here in the United States are accustomed to "going things alone" and purchasing their entire cruise vacation on line, without the benefit of having anyone KNOWLEDGABLE to assist them with product information. They have simply made a purchased based on (typically) PRICE. Then, you arrive at embarkation, and something small goes wrong (like it always does for me too) like not being able to bring something on board (when it was fine on the other cruise, or I saw someone else take that aboard), or I was made to wait for two motor coaches to get here, or I didn't get my luggage till 9pm that night. There's always something that goes not totally right. It's OK, it happens to us all. Just don't HOLD ON to that bad feeling and let it overrun your cruise adventure as so often people allow!
Lastly, (this is directed at basically all of the cruise lines) I really get so tired of hearing people complain about the on-board entertainment, particularly in the form of the show performances. Once again, people have a tendency to rate the cruise ship performances to "Broadway" performances. Yet again, let me spell out the subtle but important differences between what you will see on a cruise ship vs. the New York Broadway Show. First let's talk price. How much did you spend for your last Broadway Performance (just for the show itself), compared to your FREE show on board the ship! That's what I thought, a big difference huh? Next how large was the stage area for your last performance, and oh yeah, by chance was it moving (or actually constantly in motion)at all? Assuming one has not over indulged prior to the show! You have to give an appreciation to the fact that the on board cruise performance is merely just another form of entertainment offered on the cruise, and was not the only thing you went to take in on your cruise. Ok, so now hopefully you too will remember everything we have said here, before you race to the trip adviser or cruise critic message board, and slam some cruise line for their off "off Broadway" review.
My overall ranking for "Peosia" is Good. From the standpoint of value for your cruise dollar I have to give it and MSC very high marks. I certainly would recommend MSC to any potential cruisers, and especially to families, or anyone who is on a strict budget. Kids UNDER 12 SAIL FREE (just pay govt. taxes), when they sail in a room occupied by at least two adults over the age of 21, while children 12-17 are generally only $99-$299 depending on the precise sailing. This pricing policy applies on all of their sailings, NOT just select dates or times of the year, so for family and value conscious it is a good deal.