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A money-saving New Year’s resolution – cruise more, spend less.

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By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Out & Travelin’™

Photo courtesy MSC: An Aurea Spa client enjoying a Zen moment | The MSC Poesia underway.

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.

The Poesia’s Theater offers grand Broadway and European-style variety shows. Courtesy MSC.

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 Poesia’s Godmother Sofia Loren at the launch in Dover UK with the inaugural Captain. Courtesy MSC.

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.

  • Dennis Witting

    If you have never been on the Posia b3fore, be prepaired for alot of confusion, bland food, and unhelpfull crew.we spent 12 days on her, and could’nt waite to get off. check the internet about the ship first and see what the passengers had to say about it.

    • Don Church and Tony Schillaci

      Hello Dennis,

      Thank you for your comment. We appreciate your input.

      How unfortunate that you had a bad cruise on the Poesia – just the opposite of what we experienced. It might be a good idea to put your thoughts in writing, and let MSC know the specific complaints that you have. For example, more about the ‘confusion’, specific dishes that were not to your liking, and names or locations of crew members who were unhelpful.

      There is no doubt that the cruiseline is in business to keep their passengers happy, and will be more than willing to listen to what you have to say.

      Here’s hoping that MSC will get another chance to make you happy. Cheers, D and T

  • Joe Ridky

    I am a frequent cruiser, but have never been on an MSC ship. However I have heard from a number of other gay friends/cruisers similar complaints about MSC that are consistent with what Dennis reports above.

  • Mike

    I can’t give my opinion on MSC because I am unfamiliar with them. My partner and I have gone on over 25 cruises and don’t know much about their product. All of our friends who cruise are also not familiar with them. Their ships look beautiful and their prices are always competitive but knowing so little about the cruise line I’m reluctant to sail with them. Hopefully I’ll get to try them out someday soon. I’ll let you know!

    • Don Church & Tony Schillaci

      Hi Mike, Thanks for commenting on our article about MSC. It’s greatly appreciated by us and
      we hope you get to experience these absolutely first-cabin ship some time soon! Meanwhile, check out our most recent story on Meet Me On Board, “Cruising to Sicily?
      ‘Due Amici’ will help you discover the authentic Sicilia” Best, Don & Tony.

    • Don Church & Tony Schillaci

      Hi Mike, Thanks for commenting on our article about MSC. It’s greatly appreciated by us and
      we hope you get to experience these absolutely first-cabin ships some time soon! Meanwhile, check out our most recent story on Meet Me On Board, “Cruising to Sicily?
      ‘Due Amici’ will help you discover the authentic Sicilia” Best, Don & Tony.