MSC Poesia Cruise Review
Swimming and sunbathing. MSC Poesia has two swimming pools, both on Deck 13. Each pool is accompanied by two large hot tubs, and the two pool areas--"Coral Bay" and "Cayo Levantado"--are separated by a common zone that includes the Mojito Bar, a bandshell, and a dance floor. A billboard-size TV screen overlooks the pool area. (Don't bother to bring a towel--you'll find large stacks of towels near the pools.)
Sunbeds are located around the swimming pools and on neighboring areas of sun deck. These aluminum-and-nylon mesh deck chairs have built-in sunshades.
Sports. Athletic facilities include courses for minigolf, shuttleboard, and quoits on Deck 15, plus a tennis/basketball court behind the smokestack on Deck 16. You'll also find jogging track and a small gym (but who needs fitness equipment when you can hike up and down 12 flights of stairs?).
Library. MSC Poesia has a small library where you can borrow books free of charge. Selection is limited, since the collection is divided into five languages, and so are the hours. (The librarian on our voyage, a friendly young Australian woman, was also a member of the dance troupe.)
Shops. A tax-free shop with liquor, cigarettes, candy, and sundries is on Deck 6. Other shops include an MSC logo store with a good selection of items at reasonable prices, a jewelry shop, a clothing boutique, and a parfumerie. You can buy camera supplies and have images burned to CDs or DVDs at the Photo Arcade on Deck 7.
Children's programs. MSC is a family-owned Italian company, and the line makes a strong pitch for the bambini market with its "kids sail free" policy. On a typical MSC cruise, you'll find a "Mini Club" (ages 3 to 6), "Junior Club" (7 to 12), and "Teenager's Club" (13 to 17). Activities (which vary according to how many children are on board) are designed to keep the kids happy while giving parents more free time while on the ship or ashore.
Aurea Spa. Like nearly all cruise ships, MSC Poesia has a spa where you can get anything from a Balinese lava-rock massage to a haircut. The Aurea Spa even has a "beauty doctor" who does acupuncture, provides anti-stress and anti-insomnia treatments, etc.
Internet. The Cyber Café has PCs for surfing the Internet, or you can buy a Wi-Fi package and use your own laptop in many of the public rooms. Prices aren't cheap, and Internet access can be painfully slow at times, so you may find it cheaper (and easier) to use Internet shops in ports--albeit at the expense of sightseeing.
Mobile phones. On-Waves, a mobile-phone roaming service, is available when MSC Poesia is in international waters. You'll need a compatible GSM phone or PDA to use it, and the price is steep, but it may be handy in an emergency. (Tip: SMS text messages are cheaper than voice calls.)
Medical facilities. Like most cruise vessels, MSC ships have onboard hospitals that exist primarily to treat crew members but also handle passenger illnesses and emergencies. When necessary, the medical staff will refer passengers to doctors or hospitals in port for further treatment.
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