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MSC Poesia
"Poetry at Sea"

by Linda Coffman

Kid Stuff
With MSC Cruises’ Kids Sail Free program (children 17 and under as the 3rd & 4th occupants in a stateroom), a cruise is a great value for families and there were several multi-generation family groups on board during our 5-night sailing. Good news for parents who want to take advantage of a shore excursion without their children is that the Kids Club is open on port days for most destinations.

"Doremi" Club Facilities for children and teens include playrooms, outdoor play spaces, a kiddy-pool, and video arcade. Activities for younger cruisers included games, arts & crafts, sports (ping-pong, foosball, miniature golf), and even their own talent show. Teens had pizza parties and disco dancing on their schedules. Not surprising, the most popular spots on board for kids and their parents during our cruise were the miniature golf course and ping pong and foosball tables. When we did see them, which was seldom, the kids were having a blast with their staff counselors.

As a bonus, children who participate in activities earn "Doremi" cents that are awarded throughout the cruise and can be redeemed at the end for prizes.

Just For Adults
MSC Poesia's Aurea Spa gets high marks for one of the most tranquil settings at sea. In addition to a full range of treatments that range from salon services to relaxing Balinese massages and body treatments, there is acupuncture to relieve anxiety and stress, pressure point therapy, treatments designed specifically for men, and even a juice bar (pictured here). If you can't tear yourself away from the pool, the massage therapists come to you—offering poolside mini-massages. Naturally, those services all come with a price, but there is a complete fitness center (to enter, you must wear gym shoes and that requirement is strictly enforced), most exercise classes are available at no charge (there is a nominal charge for yoga sessions), and the spa facilities feature a complimentary thermal suite with saunas, steam rooms, and a hydromassage pool.

If all you want is to relax in the sun and read a book, the loungers have a feature that was new to me—a built-in cover that could be adjusted to keep your face shaded. In addition to the pool deck, lounge chairs were located in a Solarium deck and in several quiet areas fore and aft.

Cassovia Trio in the Atrium
Cooking with Rick Sasso,
CEO & President of MSC Cruises, USA

Activities & Entertainment
As a ship in MSC Cruises' Musica-class, you’d naturally expect to find music on board—and we did. From a raised platform in the atrium lobby, where the musicians varied every evening from the Latin sounds of Los Paraguayos to classical presentations by the Cassovia Trio (pictured here), to the late night R32 Disco, the music seldom stopped.

Most daytime activities were scheduled poolside with early morning aerobics, mid-day trivia, dance lessons, and crafts classes. Mixed in were silly pool games, mini-golf, shuffleboard, and ping pong tournaments. A favorite during the President's Cruise was a presentation of the president's culinary skill as he assisted in the preparation of Vermicelli With Fresh Seashells and Cherry Tomatoes.

Bingo is, of course, a cruise staple, as are art auctions, and gaming in the casino. Fruit and vegetable carving and sushi making demonstrations were also on the schedule, along with a California Wine Lecture and cocktail demonstration. Italian language lessons are as popular as the midnight buffets on week-long cruises.

As the sun began to set and everyone headed indoors, the activities and entertainment didn’t stop. The Zebra Bar was the nightly setting for dancing and themed parties where Mr. and Miss Poesia were chosen and the 50s & 60s were celebrated with a “Grease” party. Other lounges featured a piano bar, dance and easy listening music, and karaoke.

We can't praise MSC Poesia's highly energetic Entertainment Team enough. From early morning until the wee hours they led activities at a pace that we could only dream of following.

By far, the highlight of every evening was a show in MSC Poesia’s Carlo Felice Theater. Extremely talented dancers and singers performed nightly in a journey through Atlantis, Italy, Las Vegas, and even a magical toy box themed production extravaganza.

And about that lasersport clay pigeon shooting mentioned in Cruise Diva's Blog... unfortunately, it was cancelled due to wind. Maybe we'll have another opportunity to test our skill in the future.

Itineraries & More
With only one ship in the Caribbean for this season and next, MSC Cruises is offering traditional eastern and western one-week itineraries. Sailing from Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades, Eastern Caribbean itineraries call at St. Maarten, San Juan, Tortola, and Nassau; Western Caribbean ports include Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Playa del Carmen (Mexico), Key West, and Nassau.

While concentrating on traditional island ports, MSC Cruises will bypass their "private" beach day at Cayo Leventado for this season and next. However, there will be no shortage of theme cruises celebrating baseball greats, comedy, Italian culture and cuisine, and a variety of music styles.

In 2010, for the first time, MSC Poesia will offer a series of Canada/New England fall foliages cruises between New York City and Quebec (Canada) ranging from 7- to 10-nights before repositioning to Fort Lauderdale for the Caribbean season.

Some things deserve special mention and one of them in the Internet age is communication access. We travel with a personal laptop, which enables the Cruise Diva Blog to be published "live from sea" during cruises, and usually connect to the Internet utilizing ships' wireless systems. Aboard MSC Poesia we were able to go online by using an ethernet cable in our stateroom—a major convenience and almost as fast as some broadband connections ashore.

Back to Part One

Cruise Diva's "Live" Blogs from MSC Poesia:

MSC Poesia Arrives in Port Everglades
MSC Poesia at Sea
On Board MSC Poesia

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