MSC Cruise Lines, which boasts that it is "the leading cruise company in the Mediterranean, South Africa and Brazil," offers something unique in the cruise market - a truly Italian / European cruise experience. Everything from the decor to the service to the menu has been designed "Italian style."
Cruising on MSC Cruise Lines is a unique cultural experience and international adventure that you will not experience on other lines.
The transatlantic cruises on the MSC Poesia are a perfect way to experience a cruise “Italian style!”
MSC Cruise Line and the MSC Poseia
International Experience -
In 2012 alone, MSC Cruise Line attracted guests from nearly 200 different nationalities! MSC likes to boast that their cruise line is the place to explore cultures from all around the world as you explore the world together. Excursions cater to such a large audience from multiple nationalities that MSC wisely groups tours by language as well as destination. Parents will be happy to know MSC offers babysitting services during your excursions on shore.
The MSC fleet serves 35 million freshly prepared meals each year! Guests on MSC cruises feast on 115,000 meals every day. Because MSC Cruise Line is an Italian based line, guests can experience a truly international menu with European flair and a wide variety of Italian favorites.
For those who enjoy something sweet, MSC ships offer 20 ice creams and fresh fruit sorbets daily. Menus are often centered around the specialties of the most recently visited port.
Meal times are another opportunity to enjoy the international experience. You never know what country your table mates will be from. Even those who do not speak the same language can usually find common words to share in the joys of communication.
MSC offers both buffet dining and assigned-seating dining for dinner. Buffet and open-seating dining are available at breakfast and lunch. Room service and specialty restaurants are available at an additional charge.
MSC Cruise Line is the only company in the world to receive the Six Golden Pearls Award which is given in recognition of high standards of environmental responsibility and quality management. MSC has also achieved ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 Certifications for food quality and food safety.
The MSC consists of 12 ultramodern ships in 3 distinct classes which sail 158 itineraries making 3572 visits at 188 ports! MSC's staff of over 15,000 employees served 1.2 million guests in 2012 and are expected to serve 1.5 million guests in 2013 when they add the new MSC Preziosa to their fleet.
The MSC Poseia is a very impressive ship that was once the flagship of the MSC fleet. Built at a cost of over $350 million, the Poesia is nearly 1000 feet long and can house over 2500 passengers.
MSC boasts that the Poesia was “designed with the hallmark Italian flair and elegance that guests associate with the MSC Cruises.” Suites were designed to be both spacious and elegant.
Wine lovers will appreciate the comforts of the wine-tasting bar and those looking for a cocktail have multiple bars and lounges available – many with live music on stage.
The pool deck has an open air cinema. Children can enjoy the Stone Age dinosaur-themed play area while teens have their own Teen’s Club.
We found MSC prices to be significantly lower than many other cruise lines. This is particularly true for families because children cruise for free on MSC.
Our MSC Poesia Transatlantic Cruise Itinerary -
· Genoa, Italy
· Barcelona, Spain
· Casablanca, Morocco
· Madeira, Portugal
· Bridgetown, Barbados
· Pointe-A-Pitre, Guadeloupe
· St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
· Freeport, Bahamas
· Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Genoa, Italy is located on the country’s northwest coast. It is the largest seaport in Italy. The city has been dated to before the 5th century. Genoa has been called the best example in Europe of a preserved medieval city.
The Piazza de Ferrari is a simply stunning site and a must-see when visiting Genoa. History buffs will enjoy visits to the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, the Royal Palace, the Palace of Prince Doria and the 117 meter tall lighthouse which was built in the 12th century to guide ships into the port.
For LGBT travelers, Genoa has a webpage of tips for you at - http://www.visitgenoa.it/spip.php?article1107
Barcelona, Spain is a very popular stop for cruise ships. The city has been called a rich mix of modern convenience and historic heritage.
No visit to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the stunningly unique architecture of the Sagrada Familia - Gaudi's unfinished neo-Gothic masterpiece.
For a view of the whole city, be sure to visit Montjuich Hill.
Bareclona is also home to the Camp Nou Stadium - the largest stadium in Europe which holds 100,000 people.
If you plan a lot of sightseeing on your own, the Barcelona City Card offers free public transport + 280 discounts and free offers at museums, cultural venues, entertainment, leisure, shopping, restaurants, transportation and other services.
The Barcelona Tourism Board offers walking tours of the historic Gothic Quarter for about 13 Euros. Tours in English occur daily beginning at 9:30 a.m. For more information, visit http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/
Casablanca literally means "the white house" in Spanish because of its historic white walls. It is the largest city in Morocco. The most famous historical highlights of the city include the Medina, the ancient walls which predates the French protectorate, and the King Hassan II Mosque (the third largest in the world) which features the world's tallest minaret at 689 feet. The mosque can accommodate over 100,000 worshipers.
Tours are offered into Marrakech, Fez and Rabat.
Visitors to Marrakech may see jugglers, snake charmers, acrobats, magicians, musicians, peddlers and storytellers at Jamaa el-Fna Square. Several world travelers recommended Marrakech to us over Casablanca because of it's many interesting wonders and a much cleaner atmosphere.
Rabat is the capital of Morocco, home of the government and the residence of King Hassan II. Points of interest in Rabat include the Grande Mechouar Official Square, the Garden of Oudayas Kasbah and the Hassan Tower and Mosque.
Fez has been called the "most authentic Imperial city in Morocco." Points of interest include the Ancient Medina Fes El Bali marketplace.
Funchal is the 500 year old capital of Madeira – an island that sits off the coast of Portugal’s mainland. It got its name from the abundance of the fennel herb that was growing there.
The city is in the shape of a natural amphitheatre that begins at the sea and rises 1200 meters high into the scenic mountains. Its naturally protected landscape, its harbor and its mild climate are what attracted its first settlers.
The city is very pedestrian friendly with many shops, restaurants, pharmacies and local sights connected by sidewalks and well-marked street crossings. Be sure to note the art painted on the port walls by seafarers over the years.
Tours are offered hundreds of meters into the mountains on winding mountainside roads barely wide enough for a single bus. There are various viewpoints at various elevations but our favorite is Pico de Arieiro with its stunning peaks jutting above the clouds and hiking trails that seem to wind on forever.
For more than 200 years, Barbados was the heart of defense for Britain's valuable colonial possessions in the Caribbean. The USA's first President, George Washington, is said to have spent six weeks of his life here.
Tours visit sites such as St John's Parish Church which is set on 800 foot cliffs, the mile long Harrison's Cave, Orchid World, Gun Hill Signal Station, the 1650 era Sunbury house, and Bathsheba Beach with its unusual rock formations and beautiful shoreline. You can also choose to swim with the turtles or dive more than 100 feet in a submarine.
It is important to remember that it is illegal in Barbados to wear camouflage clothing of any kind.
LGBT Travelers should be warned that Barbados still has archaic anti-homosexuality laws that impose a life sentence for homosexual conduct even between consenting adults.
Guadeloupe is a French owned volcanic Caribbean island. Guadeloupe was historically an important producer of rum and sugar cane fields still cover the island to this day.
Highlights include The National Park of Guadeloupe with its dense tropical forest and its Cascade aux Ecrevisses, Domaine de Valombreuse Botanical Gardens, Deshaies fishing village, the Musee du Rhum, Des Mamelles Tropical Animal Park, and the Carbet Waterfall.
Sailing and snorkel trips are very popular as well. The official language is French but many natives speak Creole.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas has been called the "Williamsburg of the Caribbean" because of its charming Kongens (King's Quarter) historical district.
The West Indian Treasure Company houses the world's largest collection of life sized pirate sculptures crafted in copper and bronze as well as authentic shipwreck gold, coins and artifacts.
St. Thomas highlights include Coral World, the beautiful Megan's Beach, Little Megan's (traditionally nude) Beach, Blackbeard's Castle, and Drake's Seat.
Just steps from the port, there is a local shopping area with an open air flea market, a large shaded park with one of the oldest banyan trees in the Caribbean, and multiple restaurants and shops of all kinds.
Tours of nearby St John Island are also available through cruise lines and on shore from local vendors. St John is thought by many to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The neon blue waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
St John is accessible by a short but scenic boat ride from St Thomas to St John's Cruz Bay. Visit the Virgin Islands National Park for incredible swimming and snorkeling experiences including Trunk Bay - one of the most photographed beaches in the world. Lovers of history may enjoy the stone ruins of the Annaberg Sugar Plantation.
Freeport, Bahamas is known for its friendly locals and laid-back vibe.
Local highlights include the 1) Lucaya Marketplace, 2) Smith's Point with its beach volleyball and human crab races, 3) the UNEXSO swim with the dolphins, and 4) the Garden of the Groves.
Motorcycle enthusiasts will love the Hog Heaven tour where you can rent a Harley and tour the island "on a hog!"
The port is several miles from town. Senor Frogs and several gift shops are just steps from the ship. Taxi drivers will take you to town and back for around $4 to $5 per person each way but beware of unlicensed vans and cars posing as taxis. We witnessed several that gathered passengers before port security chased them off.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the "Sunshine State." Resorts, hotels and motels of all price ranges can be found along the beach and into the city.
In addition to its world-famous beaches, Fort Lauderdale is also a cultural community with excellent world-class performances at the Broward Center and important exhibits at the Museum of Art and the Museum of Discovery and Science.
Fort Lauderdale's annual boat show brings some of the world's most expensive yachts just a short distance from the World Swimming Hall of fame.
The greater Fort Lauderdale area is one of the top ten most visited LGBT destinations in the USA and the number one destination in Florida with over one million LGBT visitors in 2010 alone. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau offers a fantastic website dedicated to LGBT visitors at http://www.sunny.org/rainbow
We enjoyed our transatlantic cruise aboard the MSC Poesia.
Cruising on MSC Cruise Lines is a unique cultural experience and international adventure that you will not find on other lines.
Watch our video of the MSC Poesia transatlantic cruise -
For more information on MSC Cruises, please visit http://www.msccruises.com/gl_en/select_your_country.aspx