Posted by: gardner310 | November 27, 2009

Visiting Yet Another Cruise Ship

It has been a long time since I cruised as a passenger and I decided to take advantage of this opportunity.  I am with a group of friends on the MSC Poesia sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to Jamaica and Grand Cayman.

My friend, Eileen, and I flew down Monday and stayed at the Ramada Cruise and Port.  I have to say that other than being well away from any restaurants and shopping it is very nice hotel.  The staff was pleasant, the room was clean and spacious, new bathrooms, a lovely pool area, free buffet breakfast and free airport and ship transfers.  I would book any client into there for the one pre-cruise night.  If I were staying longer, I would move closer to Los Olas or the beach.

We did take a cab to Los Olas Boulevard shopping and enjoy the boutiques and a cute al fresco restaurant for a glass of wine.

MSC Poesia

The ship is beautiful.  It is a year old but we are on its inaugural North American sailing.  MSC is an Italian owned company and they are one of the fastest growing, having added a ship a year since 2001.  The crew is multi-national, European and now Indonesian.  I felt right at home and got to practice my Indonesian.

Mirrored Cabin

We have a balcony cabin 11049 and it is a decent size, with interactive TV.  I could order room service, make spa appointments, and rent movies.  Didn’t do any of those things, though because we spent little time in our cabin.  There is a HUGE mirror at the end of the bed that opens up the room but it is a little scary in the morning when you sit up and see what you look like.  They have dispensers for soap and shampoo in the shower but no lotion (word of warning).

Lunch view

The pool deck has two pools with a hot tub area and 3 bars.  The buffet dining and the spa are on the same deck.  The spa is gorgeous, Balinese in style.  The gym is adequate with treadmills, elliptical and the usual weight machines and free weights.  They do need to put in a water fountain or water cooler though.

Two of my favorite areas are the Zebra Bar and the wine Bar.  One is great fun with Everything done in zebra; the other is very elegant with marble counters and leather furniture.

Wine Bar

We had a meet the people day in Ocho Rios, Jamaica today.  We did some jewelry shopping and had such a good time with the sales people we left as friends.  One owner and I discovered that we knew one of the Holland America captains in common which resulted in an excellent discount.  Thanks, Bobby.  From there we wandered down the street into the Market Place.  We were kindly escorted by Morris, one of the merchants.  This aspect of Jamaican shopping has not changed in 30 years.   The mall moves with you!  We wandered in the market place meeting the merchants and inspecting their handicrafts, some of which are spectacular.  Between Morris, Angela and Mary we had some great laughs and learned about how their economy is doing.  This particular market place is a couple of blocks from the port and the passengers are not venturing past those on the cruise corner, which are not owned by Jamaicans.  These small merchants are really struggling and they are the real people of Jamaica.  We, as tourists, should be more mindful of where we leave our money.

Morris, Our Guide to the Market

I asked Mary for a recommendation for good local food for lunch.  She said her favorite lace was just across the street in a shopping center.  I said great, what is the name of the restaurant and she My Favorite Place.  Sure enough that is the name of the restaurant and it is a tiny little place where for $10 we got beers, curried goat, home-style chicken, pumpkin rice and rice with peas.  Excellent food and a fun experience.

Grand Cayman turned into a forced march to the beach.  We did a little shopping in town but for liquor and rum cake.  Enjoyed the beach for a couple of hours and then back to the ship.

Grand Cayman Beach

The last day at sea was a bit cloudy but warm so had some time outside at the pool enjoying the entertainment.  The entertainment staff really works hard all day and night.  Richard, the director, was multi-talented and multi-lingual as well.  They had line dancing, aerobics, yoga and games on the pool deck each afternoon.  Even if you did not participate, it was good fun watching.

Our evenings consisted of eating in the dining room with our friends, visiting the casino, catching the shows and karaoke.  All in all it was a very pleasant 5 days sailing with friends.

If you are considering the MSC Poesia you  need to be aware that although it is sailing in North America, it is a distinctly European ship.  The staff speaks English on a widely varying level so be patient.  The dining room service needs to be stepped up a bit.  It was better at the end of the 5 days but still needs some work.  The dinner menu is not as extensive as on other cruise lines, although they had some interesting choices.  The wireless service is spotty and slow, not always available in the cabin even with an ethernet cable.  Bring a cable with you to avoid renting one from the ship.

It is a beautiful ship, as stated, and you will enjoy it as long as you know what to expect.

Sunset from Balcony

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Responses

  1. I have not yet been to Jamaica but the last cruise I went on was from Ft Lauderdale to Bahama, Grand Cayman, Mexico and back to Ft Lauder dale! It was gorgeous and I really enjoyed it!


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