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MSC Poesia

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Top 5 most helpful reviews

Rating summary

  • Food

    3
  • Entertainment

    3
  • Cabin

    4
  • Crew

    3
  • Price

    4
  • Value

    4

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Anonymous

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MSC Poesia

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  • Overall

    4
  • Food

    5
  • Entertainment

    3
  • Cabin

    4
  • Crew

    3
  • Price

    4
  • Value

    5

"The Great Escape?"

Jul 2011

This was our first cruise and we had a ball! The ship is magnificent, the cabins, even with restricted view because of a lifeboat outside the window, was delightful. The food was fantastic and the crew directly involved with us (cabin crew and waiters) were top class. Having said this, there were a number of negatives which we would prefer to have avoided. The first was the many hours it took for the crew to get us on board. The departure hall at Kiev was a disaster area and all the MSC staff involved were unfriendly and short tempered. We had taken the website advice of arranging our boarding passes on the net but this made not one iota of difference - it took us hours to get on board - it was a total shambles! The next was the aggressiveness of the security staff who policed the re-boarding after the excursions. We had to be x-rayed to make sure we were not carrying any alcohol on board. MSC makes such a huge profit selling beer, wine and spirits that they jealously guard their monopoly over supply. All alcohol is impounded when one boards and is only returned the night before final disembarkation. The security staff seemed to be seconded from the Mossad and one had the impression that they were forbidden to smile. Talking about the alcohol on board, notwithstanding the fact that one was expected to tip around Euro12 per day per person (more about this later) one was slugged a hefty 15% on all purchases. One was encouraged to buy alcohol packs of beer, wines and mineral water at exorbitant prices. The wine quality was below middle of the range but the prices were exceedingly high. Another gripe was that there is no indoor cinema and if one wants to watch a movie on one's cabin TV set, one is charged an unrealistic price. One would think that on a ship this size, that they could provide a cinema. I guess they make too much selling the movies to the cabins. The TV itself becomes almost non-existent when crossing the Atlantic. MSC has not yet invested in satellite TV, or if they have, it doesn't work. Having briefly raised the subject of tipping, I must mention that MSC get their passengers to pay their crew. It is quite blatant. One is required to agree to have one's ship-board account debited by an amount of around Euro12 per person per day. On a 21 day cruise this adds up to a lot of money. At the same time, one is advised that one is not allowed to give any tips. We, along with an extremely large number of other passengers, wrote to the chief purser and advised him that we declined permission to add these gratuities to our account. After a few reminders, we finally received a letter from the Accounts Department confirming that no gratuities would be debited to our account. This opened the way to us making our own minds up as to who we were going to tip and this certainly included the cabin crew and the table waiters who were outstanding. The rest of the crew were mediocre and went about their business in a very impersonal manner. Also, every time there were announcements, including commentary in the theatre, this was done in five languages and this was extremely tiresome. Our biggest gripe was the excursions. We strongly recommend that you DO NOT book any excursions with MSC. It all started with the connection between Hamburg and Kiel. MSC was charging around $90 per person for the journey whereas the public bus, virtually from door to door, cost Euro17 for the two of us. Fortunately we had booked some of our excursions ourselves over the internet and these were a great success at a fraction of the price. Unfortunately we also bought some through MSC. One of these in particular was a disaster - the trip to Rouen from Le Havre. Our bus left the ship almost three hours late and by the time we arrived at Rouen, our guide tried to fit a whole day excursion into two hours. The result was disastrous and resulted in many complaints, in writing, to MSC. After an absolute riot at the purser's counter, MSC agreed, near the end of the cruise, to refund a small amount of the excursion cost to the unhappy participants of that particular excursion. As the amount of the refund was an insult, we refused to accept it and MSC said they could do nothing more as they were only the agents of the tour company. They suggested we write to MSC when we returned home to Australia to see if we could get any where with their Australian representatives from whom we had purchased the excursion. We have, since then, tried to contact them directly and through our Travel Agent. MSC has completely ignored 'phoned messages, the Travel Agent and five letters from us. This was a disgusting dereliction of their responsibility to us and we are still extremely unhappy with our treatment. Having vented these complaints above, I must end by saying that our overall impression was nevertheless very good and we would sail with them again. We are now, however, more informed of what to avoid. We would have three tips, though: 1. Do make sure that you book your excursions from home, over the internet. Much cheaper, more flexible and much more fun. 2. Give them written advices to the effect that they may not add gratuities to your account, notwithstanding anything that you will find in the small print. They cannot enforce this. This gives you the freedom to give gratuities where you feel they have been earned. 2. Unless you really enjoy lots of alcohol and money is no object to you, try to avoid their booze packs. Rather sneak some alcohol aboard at the end of one of your excursions, in a Coke bottle! We look forward, with great anticipation, to our next cruise - even if it is with MSC!

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  • Cruise Name: MSC Poesia
  • Destination: Trans Atlantic
  • Sailed: September 2010
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