I’m having a love-in with a cruise line I have only visited ships of so far. MSC, the Italian company with gorgeous ships. Back in May, I visted Opera and fell so much in love I ended up booking the repositioning from Buenos Aires to Southampton for April 2012. That is straight in at the deep end! Today was the turn of Poesia. I have to confess Opera still has my heart but Poesia is utterly wonderful. It’s probably because we rushed from one place to another so had no real time to savour the fabulous surroundings, unlike on Opera. I would book a cruise on Poesia so I can experience her fully – and get the rooms we missed! MSC prove you can have have wonderful decor (and very comfortable seats!), fabulous artwork and yet not pay a fortune to experience it, even if you’re a single traveller or have a family. On Poesia we learnt more about the entertainment than on Opera, also having a question and answer session after our presentation. I was a little miffed their next offer of upgrading to all-inclusive for £1 is for new bookings only. Grrrr! However, all information sheets, daily programmes etc are printed in several languages. From today’s daily programme there are quizzes and games which look fun. I don’t do boring, which a lot of onboard entertainment can be, so if I had boarded today I’d be busy after dinner and it’s not every cruise I could be that! If you wish to use the gym you must sign a disclaimer which is an excellent idea. The dress code gets the thumbs up from me too. They have casual, informal and formal but unlike P&O and Cunard, there’s no poshing up on informal! Although with P&O’s new names, ‘Smart’ is hard to interpret. The codes on MSC are as follows:
Gentlemen – Tuxedo, dinner jacket or dark suit
Ladies – Dressy outfit, formal gown or cocktail dress
Gentlemen – Jacket and trousers
Ladies – Informal dress or trousers/pants and blouse
Gentlemen – Sports shirt, trousers or jeans
Ladies – Dress, trouser/pants suit or sporty outfit
Tank tops, bikinis, bathrobes and bare feet in any indoor or buffet areas are not permitted at any time. No shorts in restaurants for dinner.
Anyone who has ever cruised will know even when rules are made clear they are open to interpretation by some people but for only one lot of poshing up per cruise, they have my vote! The poshing up type of informal needs to be axed. The trip I recently took on Aurora was 18 nights, half of which was dressing up. That’s far too much. MSC’s sort of informal I can put up with!
It’s exactly 7 months until I take my first MSC cruise and today has made me more excited than I was already. The more I’ve seen of these ships, the more I learn and become increasingly impressed. There are good and bad reviews of MSC but that’s really no different to any other line. If people expect it to be like they’re used to, don’t bother going. If you want adventure, new experiences and a different culture on the high seas regardless of umpteen languages, what are you waiting for???? There’s an MSC ship out there waiting to amaze you!
A full review of the day and photos will be on the website in the next couple of days. In the meantime, here’s some of the beautiful MSC ships I have seen here in Southampton and on my travels to whet your appetite (including duplicates since they have many ships but I’ve only seen a handful so far).