By Sheree Bykofsky
The fall has always been one of my favorite months for traveling and this year, eager for a European experience, I opted for a cruise with MSC Cruises. Until recently, MSC was known solely as the second largest container ship company. MSC Cruises is now the fastest growing cruise-ship company in the world and their aim is to provide a true multicultural experience. So in late October, I waved goodbye to the beautiful Manhattan skyline and said hello to the open seas and my spacious stateroom that would be home for the next two weeks.
One of my favorite parts of cruising is being rocked to sleep each night and as I fell asleep on my first night at sea, it was no exception. I found my bed to be quite comfortable, although I did bring my down pillow from home and was glad I did. When I awoke the following morning and slid open the door to my large balcony, I was greeted by the cool sea breeze and the bright sun streaming through three fluffy clouds. I knew that as we headed south, the weather would only get warmer and with stops in Florida, Jamaica, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico I was excited by all that awaited me. During the days at sea, I was able to explore and enjoy the many amenities and activities offered aboard the MSC Poesia.
With 1,275 staterooms that can accommodate a total of 3,013 guests, the MSC Poesia is gigantic. But even more impressive is the stunning beauty of the ship. And that can be attributed to the elegant taste and talent of the owner’s wife, Mrs. Aponte. The Apontes spared nothing to create an elegant environment that is filled with Italian marble and other luxurious materials—all placed with an artist’s eye to create a nouveau Italian art deco ambiance. Its tastefully decorated interior offers passengers an elegance that is sophisticated, soothing and exciting.
The MSC Poesia, however, is more than just beauty. Onboard you will be immersed in a true multicultural experience—you will meet people from Italy, Gibraltar, Australia and many other countries; you will hear all of the world’s languages spoken and, with Italian lessons offered daily in the Zebra Bar, you can leave the ship speaking a new language.
Zebra Bar Passengers looking for activities beyond learning Italian need not worry. The entertainment crews work tirelessly to provide nonstop fun, games and exercise for energetic passengers—I won both a Poker tournament and a trivia contest—and for those that are interested in musical entertainment you can enjoy the performances provided each night in the Atrium where musicians play stringed instruments. The soaring central atrium is designed with circular sweeping designs that create the illusion of a magical underwater paradise; with only a glass floor beneath their feet, the musicians and opera singers appeared to be standing on crystal blue water.
If you need to relax, you might enjoy resting in a lounge chair beside one of the sparkling pools. There you can spend your time reading, swimming, or simply soaking in the warmth of the sun. With an array of massage options, such as theBalimassage, and other beauty treatments, the spa offers you the opportunity to both relax and pamper yourself. Like the rest of the ship, the spa is absolutely beautiful. I would, however, avoid the thermal treatments except for when the ship is empty—it seems that everyone wants to unwind in the sauna, Turkish bath, or Whirlpool and, as a result, this area can become crowded.
It’s possible to create a culinary adventure onboard the MSC Poesia as you find the foods that delight, but on this ship one can really eat lightly and not come home with an extra ten kilos. The green salad, soups, stuffed baked potato and simple pastas and pasta sauces are all quite good, and the desserts are superb. If you’re interested in eating at a restaurant that is not included in the package, I highly recommend trying the food at the Japanese restaurant, Kaito. It was delicious.
Yes, overall you can find better food on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, but what you won’t get on other cruise ships is the complete multicultural experience.
For passengers who enjoy smoking, you can enjoy a Cuban cigar, perhaps partnered with a glass ofCognac, in the Hitchcock Lounge, while theatre enthusiasts can take in a show in the Carlo Felice Theatre. A fitness center is available for those who like a good workout and there is even an internet café should you find yourself wanting to get online, but know that whatever pace you set for yourself at sea, it is easily accommodated aboard the MSC Poesia.
If you’ve enjoyed big American cruise lines and you are looking to recreate the exact same experience you have already had, MSC Cruises may not be for you, but if you are new to cruising or you are a world traveler who has already visited all the usual places and you are now ready to try something new, MSC may just be the cruise vacation you are seeking.
And please remember that millions of planes and ships safely transverse skyways and seas every minute of every day. There is no reason that a freakish tragedy should affect one of the world’s most fabulous industries. Every day counts. Don’t live in fear.
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