Fort Lauderdale Stories and Tips

Cruise overview pt. 1


MSC Cruises and the MSC Poesia.

Nick and I cruised on the MSC Poesia. We did a chartered cruise instead of a regular cruise. The cruise was booked exclusively for the Monsters of Rock cruise. The cruise featured several dozen 80’s metal bands in concert. So some of the traditional offerings of this cruise, such as High Tea were not offered on the sailing. I am doing separate entries on the cruise itself and the Monsters of Rock experience. This is an overview of the cruise.

Let me start out by saying that some of the things I didn’t like about this cruise may have something to do with the fact that I was doing a charter.

MSC Cruise Line.

MSC Cruise line is a lesser known cruise line in the US, and are more well known in the Mediterranean. They have 11 ships in their fleet and have the newest ships of all the cruise line. Their ships are more mid sized and smaller ships. They are more along the lines of tradition cruising that the mega ships such as NCL’s Epic or RCCL’s Oasis of the Seas. Think Titanic! Not that is necessarily a bad thing. But let’s just face it; if the Titanic were sailing today it would the kind of ship that does the year round 3 and 4 day Caribbean cruises. They do not offer many of the big trappings of the major cruise lines.

This is the second year they have been award Porthole Magazines for the best Onboard International Experience. They were the only cruise line to be awarded the Golden Pearls for their quality management and environmental practices.

I was a travel professional for 11 years. Travel agencies have their preferred vendors. To get to be a preferred vendor there were many things to consider other than commission structure. Concerns such as how issues are handled when they arise, what clients say about the cruise line, and how well the cruise line makes the experience easy for clients (boarding passes, check ins, excursions, etc). In 11 years I have never worked with an agency or know an agency that has MSC cruises as a preferred. After cruising with them, I know why.

MSC Poesia.

Facts:

*maiden voyage..2008..godmother Sophie Loren
*89,600 tons
*2550 passenger capacity
*987 crew
*13 passenger decks
*Panamian registered
*3rd of the Musica line

Just to give you an idea of how that compares to the Oasis of the Seas….that ship carries 6296 passengers, with 16 passenger decks, 225,282 tons, and 2165 crew members (the Poesia passengers is about the same as the Oasis crew!)

Our cabin.

In order to make our rate cheaper, we decided to have roommates. So we had a quad cabin with an ocean view. We had 2 single beds on the bottom and 2 on top. Our room mates gained access by ladders. We had asked twice to have our beds put together. But finally figured it was better since there were 4 in a cabin not to have that configuration. Our ocean view was obstructed by the back end of a lifeboat. We could still see the ocean but most of their ocean view cabins are obstructed. The cabins are very small at about 157 square feet. That is in par with most cruise lines for inside and ocean view cabins. If you have never cruised and you have visions of the large cabins on the Love Boat…it was a TV show. You are there to shower and sleep.

We have a shower with a small vanity. There is an in room safe. I didn’t bring my blow dryer since cruise ships always have them. It wasn’t until the second day that we found the dryer. It was in the vanity drawer in the bedroom..just where I would look for it. There is a mini fridge, and you are charged for any items taken. There was a wet spot in front of the door the whole time. There are two outlets in the room. When you have 4 people with laptop and phone chargers, it is quite a mess. There is a TV in the room and for this cruise all we will got was heavy metal videos and constant reminder of what was going on, on the cruise, and next years upcoming cruise. We were on the 8th deck, and it is quite despite the fact the ship had been taken over by a bunch of head bangers. They do not have towel animals like most other cruise lines.

Dining.

Again just for comparison..the NCL Epic has 22 resturants..the Poesia has 3. They have Kaito sushi and L’Obelisco which is French alcarte. The only free dining is Villa Pompeiona, which is buffet. OK….this arrangement worked well for our cruise since we grabbed dinner in-between concerts and concerts were going all day. But lunch and dinner consisted of hotdogs, hamburgers, and pizza and a salad bar. That was it. Nothing really healthy except for a salad. Oh, they did offer a garden burger which I ordered the first night and it took 20 minutes to get it. Dessert was only offered in the evening. And the food was just not that good. Breakfast did better offering more of a variety including pancakes, French toast, waffles, eggs, omelets, etc.

There are no midnight buffets of chocolate..Italian..or Asian..like most other cruise lines. Except for the buffet of hotdogs, hamburgers, and pizza! They do have room service. They have very small glasses for tea and juice. They do have a soft serve machine going at all times.

Bars/lounges/entertainment.

They have 16 bars on this ship including one in the buffet restaurant which wasn’t quite as busy as the others. The bar by the pool was always busy and there was always a wait. They did not have anyone coming around to collect drink orders anywhere. Oh and if you have cruised on a real cruise ship, you know how other cruise lines have a soda card for those who drink lots of soda? Not these guys. A soda will cost you $4.50 just like a beer or mixed drink! Since this was a group we did have the option to order a drink package, but the idiots who ran the cruise messed ours up and we never got it.


They have 5 bars and clubs. The main theater is the 1240 seat Carlo Felice Theater. It is a two level theater and quite beautiful. The have an open floor and seats and you can get a great view of the stage no matter where you’re sitting. For our cruise it is where the two headlining acts, Cinderella and Tesla performed. For a regular cruise it would be where the main show would be offered. Drinks and food are not allowed in this venue. Pigalle is absolutely the worst bar. It is like the place they send you to punish you. The ceiling is very low. When we saw Faster Pussycat perform, the lead singer, Tamie Down was holding onto the ceiling and bass player, Danny, who is quite tall, kept bumping his head. The lighting here is very low. When trying to make our way to the stage I kept running into chairs which given the fact I was in 6" stiletto heels on a moving ship..wasn’t a fun time! Apparently even the Monsters of Rock (MOR) people thought it was the worst place to be since our friend Danny told us Faster Pussycat was asked to be back on the ship next year and would be upgraded so they didn’t have top play in the Pigalle. You’re pretty much standing at this venue or sitting at the bar except for the few seats that I was tripping over.

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