By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Out & Travelin’™
While many people resolve in the first days of the New Year to eat or drink less, to exercise more, or to be more vigilant about not texting while driving, we have vowed to cruise more in 2013 – for less.
Pursuant to that goal, we discovered that President’s Day weekend is the soonest that we can get away, so we searched the web and found an MSC Caribbean journey that fits both our calendar requirements and our wallet’s limitations.
In the past couple of years, MSC, a 4.5 star Italian cruise line based in Genoa, has had more of a presence in the USA. This winter, from January through April, the MSC Poesia (Poetry) is cruising out of Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale. Although there are several itineraries, we found a good deal by visiting www.msccruisesusa.com, and checking out the Presidents Day February 16-March 2 cruise.
From $1289 per person, cruisers can upgrade to a balcony stateroom at an ocean view rate. Another option is to book a standard balcony and then be upgraded to a superior balcony, but we’re counting our pennies, so we think “buy low, sail high” is the right move. The caveat here is that prospective cruisers must be bold enough to ask for the upgrade when booking. If there is any reluctance upon the part of the operator, ask for a supervisor.
The 14-night cruise, beginning on February 16, leaves Fort Lauderdale and visits Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; Falmouth, Jamaica; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI and Nassau, Bahamas. Be aware that Jamaica is one of those countries that is not gay-friendly, so discretion is the key at Falmouth.
A couple of sea days means that you can explore the ship from stem to stern and from port to starboard, taking advantage of the antipasto and fine Italian vintages in the Wine Bar to wile away a lazy afternoon on the Caribbean Sea. In the glamorous main dining room the cuisine is superb and service is friendly and efficient. Each day features a different freshly made pasta with a variety of sauces, so be sure to aim for the “Italian” specialties part of the menu.
Shows and entertainment are decidedly European-style, and the big production numbers feature opera singers and spectacular dancers in a majestic royal-purple hued theater.
The MSC Poesia is the line’s third Musica class ship, and offers the latest eco-technology to safeguard the environment, without compromising comfort, and luxury ship amenities. Poesia promises luxury cruising at its best – it features a spectacular waterfall with bridges in the foyer, a Zen garden in the sushi bar and a serene 12,000 square foot spa.
Offering exercise equipment, a Turkish bath and steam room, the Aurea Spa might be one of your first stops onboard to rejuvenate and recover from the holiday celebrations.
The glamorous movie-star legend, fabulous Sophia Loren, is the Godmother of the MSC Poesia, which was launched in April of 2008 from Dover, UK. The deal can be secured at 1-877-665-4655, or on the MSC website. (There is a tidal wave of other discounted Caribbean cruises in 2013 on MSC, beginning on January 6th from $499 for a seven-day cruise).
Be sure to let us know at MeetMeOnBoard if you booked this particular cruise, or any of the other deals at MSC, and we welcome your comments about the cruise line.