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Peggy Hall

Age: 62

Occupation:Homemaker

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: MSC Cruises

Ship: MSC Poesia

Sailing Date: 2009-11-10

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

All in all, it was a pleasant experience. It is not a luxury cruise line and the food and service reflect this. However, it is a good value for the price and much better than our previous experience on Costa, another Italian cruise line. The ship is new and beautiful and it seemed that everyone made a real effort to cater to the North American tastes and preferences, usually quite successfully, I thought. I heard complaints about food and service from others in our travel group, but I didn't experience any problems with either.

The food was usually good and varied, with a Red, White, and Blue alternate dinner menu, featuring American basics, like pot roast. I thought that was a very nice touch for their first cruise out of the States. The food was not elaborate but, again, was much better than that on Costa. There were a few misses, but most of the selections we chose were good to very good, with a few excellents. The big midnight buffet was a bit disappointing and not at all like the productions of old, but they are pretty much a thing of the past on all moderately priced cruises. They are very wasteful and not in tune with the "green" philosophy of the modern ships. The fruit and vegetable and bread sculptures were amazing, but the food was very ordinary.

The stateroom was a bit small, but adequate. We had the smaller balcony cabin and a few extra square feet would have been nice. There was adequate storage space for clothes and luggage, so not too difficult to navigate. The shower was exceptionally tiny and a problem for larger folks.

The nightly entertainment was very good. The programs were short, about an hour or less, but the performers were very energetic and talented. Excellent Italian female and male soloists! The costumes were elaborate and the there were many costume changes. We really enjoyed the performances and didn't miss a single one. As for the other on-board activities, they were the usual--poolside games and contests, crafts and bingo, dance lessons and trivia games. The casino was small, but adequate. It got too crowded in the evening and could have been bigger for over 2,000 passengers.

We took only one excursion in Ocho Rios and it was fine. We went to Dunn River Falls, Fern Gully, and the Coyaba Tropical Gardens. All were enjoyable and quite beautiful. The tour guides were good and the bus was air conditioned.

We had a 5 day cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Grand Cayman and back to Fort Lauderdale. Our small group had a good time and found it to be a pleasant experience. None of the four of us had any serious complaints and I think it was a successful first entry into the North American market for MSC. The Poesia is a beautiful ship and the crew was very helpful. We found the service to be very good, though others apparently had some problems. The ship is amazingly clean, as were the cabins. I heard no one complain about that. I would recommend this cruise and this ship.

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