On a cold, rainy day in Boston in October (October 20, 2011), I ventured off for a ship inspection on a MSC Cruises ship, the MSC Poesia. I parked at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal/Cruiseport Boston and fully expected to walk over to the same spot where the NCL Dawn was docked for our cruise that we took in August. What I found was Princess Cruise Line‘s “Crown Princess” instead, so I kept walking. Parked behind her was Royal Caribbean‘s “Explorer of the Seas,” a ship I had been on for a Thanksgiving cruise two years ago and so I kept walking. After what felt like I was on my way to New Hampshire, I arrived at the MSC Poesia. The gangway up to the ship consisted of stairs, which I could see being an issue for those with mobility issues. There was a woman on a scooter who needed to get up and walk up the gangway while three crew members carried the scooter up for her. I don’t know if this is specific to Boston or how they usually have passengers get on the ship, but I definitely wanted to pass this along to readers.
As with any ship inspection, I had to provide the same government ID that I provided during registration and I received a badge to board the ship. Once all my carry on items went through the the X-ray machine, I then was able to join my group and begin the ship tour. The MSC Poesia was built in 2008 in France and she is the sister ship of the MSC Musica, MSC Orchestra, and MSC Magnifica and the third in the Musica class series. She is the first ship in the MSC Cruises fleet to be officially named outside of Italy, at the Port of Dover, Kent on April 5, 2008 by Sophia Loren. Her maiden voyage was on April 19, 2008 so she is a newer ship among many new ships sailing the world today.
The MSC Poesia is a 3,013 passenger vessel also accommodates approximately 987 crew members. With a GRT (Gross Registered Tons) of 93,300, a length of 964 feet, and 1,275 staterooms, she is comparable in size to Princess‘ “Coral Princess,” Celebrity Cruises‘ “Celebrity Constellation,” and Royal Caribbean‘s “Jewel of the Seas” so if you have seen one of these ships, you might have an idea of how large she is overall. This picture is looking back toward the Explorer of the Seas, which although slightly bigger, does give you an idea height-wise that that they are somewhat comparable in overall size. On a side note, if you don’t know about this great web site called Nautical Cities, you should really check it out. They have ship information and you can compare ships based on their sizes just like I did here instead of having to go to the individual cruise line sites to get information on specific ships.
Some of the special features onboard the MSC Poesia include alternative dining restaurants (L’Obelisco and Kaito Sushi Bar); a multitude of bars and lounges including the Zebra Bar shown here; an outdoor cinema; the nearly 13,000 sq. ft. MSC Aurea Spa; children’s splash pool and outdoor play area, golf simulator; mini-golf, tennis, volleyball, basketball, jogging track, shuffleboard, table-tennis, darts, video games, Internet cafe, Wi-Fi, and iTV. With two large pools on deck 13, Coral Bay and Cayo Levantado, you won’t miss out if you want to get a little sun or even watch a movie outside under the stars.
What did I like about the MSC Poesia? I liked how the ship felt manageable in size and although tastefully decorated, it wasn’t an attack on my senses like some cruise lines can be. The decor is subdued and carries over from the public areas to even the hallways as you can see here. There seems to be something for everyone, but keep in mind that this Italian cruise line that has been sailing in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean for some time and is well known amongst those living in Europe, Canada, and South America is a relatively new entry to the cruise market for Americans. You simply can’t compare the MSC Poesia to a ship like Royal Caribbean‘s Allure of the Seas or Norwegian Cruise Line‘s Epic because they are simply not comparable. The type of person who may go on the Allure or Epic may not want to go on the MSC Poesia and vice versa. Everything you can expect to find on a contemporary or mass market cruise line that you’ve sailed on before, you can expect to find on MSC Cruises, but maybe less of what the newer ships sometimes offer (zip lines, rock climbing walls, ice skating — you get the idea).
One other area I loved about the ship was the pool deck with the two pools. Walking out of the Villa Pompeiana Cafeteria, the ship’s buffet restaurant, you come upon Cayo Levantado. This beautiful pool has two hot tubs, but also a waterfall at the front. The deck area is large enough to accommodate plenty of deck chairs as well these little areas that are covered just off the pool. This would be the perfect area for swimming and sunning and having a drink (or two!) I’ll be putting up all of the pictures from the ship inspection on the Travel Shop Girl FaceBook page within a few days so you can see more pictures of the pool deck and much more! If you continue past this pool, you’ll come upon the Mojito Bar where you can get a drink and a little gelato as well. Then you’ll see the Coral Bay Pool area and the Pirana Bar before you continue inside to the MSC Aurea Spa. It’s safe to say that I would live on this deck!
The MSC Poesia used to spend the Winter in the Caribbean before heading back to Mediterranean and Europe for the rest of the year. She is now sailing a few Caribbean sailing in 2013 before her Mediterranean sailings in the Fall and then she’ll be sailing South America in November. Here is one of her 8-night Mediterranean itineraries:
Wed Oct 23 Lisbon
Thu Oct 24 At Sea
Fri Oct 25 Casablanca
Sat Oct 26 At Sea
Sun Oct 27 Barcelona
Mon Oct 28 Genoa
Tue Oct 29 At Sea
Wed Oct 30 Malaga
Thu Oct 31 Lisbon
Balcony cabins start at only $899, oceanview cabins start at only $769, and inside cabins start at only $649 per person plus taxes, fees, and port charges. If you didn’t know, MSC Cruises offers a great deal for families where children under 11 sail FREE!
In my next post I will cover more about public areas including the many bars and lounges, the casino, the theater, and dining. Although we did cover almost every area of the ship including the main dining room for lunch, we weren’t able to visit staterooms as this sailing didn’t begin in Boston, but in Canada and all of the cabins were occupied. But there will be lots of great pictures to see and even a few video clips so until then, ciao!