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Patrick Donovan

Age: 37

Occupation:Office Manager

Number of Cruises: 8

Cruise Line: MSC Cruises

Ship: MSC Poesia

Sailing Date: 2012-08-5

Itinerary: Copenhagen to the Baltic Sea

Great cruise!!!!

If you like italian food, you're in for a treat. But don't expect American style steaks and twice baked potatoes at dinner. They do have a so called "minute grilled" steak on the menu, for the "always available" options, but it's not recommended. Also, I wonder why the restaurants had a daily salad on the menu, with "choice of dressing" when there was never a choice, and the salad had already been prepared with oil and vinegar? There was plenty of dressing choices in the buffet on deck 13, but that never made it down to the restaurants on deck five and six. I mentioned this in the customer satisfaction questionnaire. But the service was fast!

The restaurants onboard are as beautiful as the rest of the ship, but they are quite crowded when full, very little space between tables. The waiters are very nice and effective, but VERY busy, could be that they were lacking staff on our particular cruise, as the rest of the servers never seemed to be as busy and stressed as in the restaurants. In cabin breakfast is european style, and so don't expect bacon and eggs. The buffet is very good at all times! Plenty of choices, always hot, very nice salad bar and always clean and inviting.

Do try the L'obilisco speciality restaurant, it's worth the extra 24EUR charge and is just amazing. We also tried the Japanese speciality restaurant, and that is also recommended, even at the extra charge. The portions are large, and so be careful how much you order! Gala night is not to be missed! And do remember to go the midnight buffet, it's stunning!

We had a category 12 balcony room on deck 12, forward. Very nice room, beautifully appointed, nice lighting, good large bed. We had a connection room, and so there was no sofa, just an armless chair, and the table is a bit too small for having breakfast in the cabin. There was plenty of closet space, and the bathroom was usual cruise ship size. Our cabin steward never introduced himself, but kept the cabin in pristine order at all times. There was VERY little vibration or movement on the ship. Going to bed at night meant that you could hardly feel that you were on a ship. VERY well done indeed... As deck 12 is directly below the pool deck, some running, moving of sun beds and stuff can be heard. But we didn't experience that as anything major.

They are good at making activities that don't include a lot of talking. Due to the mix of nationalities onboard, all things have to be said in five languages. The entertainment staff had some great fun activities in the Pigalle Lounge every night. We enjoyed dance lessons, fun games, bingo, etc. but don't expect standup comedians or the likes as on American based ships. That just won't work here. There are so many Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Scandinavian and so on among the passengers, and they don't all speak or understand English. That being said, they really did some creative and fun stuff. The southern Europeans are less inhibited than Scandinavians and all joined in on the dance floor. Lots of laughs.

Absolutely don't miss Saint Petersburg. We took the full day tour to the city, the Hermitage and the Cathedral of Spilled Blood, at a cost of 116EUR per person, which also included a nice lunch of salad, soup and beef Stroganoff, all complete with Vodka shots. They will take you to a souvenir shop on the way, but don't buy anything there. Wait until you get to the market right in front of the Cathedral of Spilled Blood. There you can get the same stuff, much cheaper from the little stands, and you can also negotiate with the sellers. Stockholm, Tallinn and Kiel are nice cities, take a walk around, have a nice lunch, and look around for yourself, unless you have something specific on one of the tours that you just gotta see!

We had a wonderful trip! Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze, a mere 10 minute wait to board, after a five minute check-in procedure. Nice service all over, the drinks are fabulous, and the ship itself is simply immaculate! Just beautiful touches everywhere. Nice art, top quality upholstery, many options for dinner, drinks, relaxing and so on. They have lots of people polishing brass, glass, marble and steel all the time. Everything was simply spotless at all times! Never had problem finding a sun bed, even on the best sunny days of the cruise. They do very few announcements, as they have to be done in five languages. The ship never really felt crowded, even with a full complement of 2550 passengers.

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