Today we will be visiting the city of Naples with MSC Poesia on our 7 night Mediterranean cruise. This is our first port of call after leaving a cloudy and wet Genoa yesterday evening at 5pm.
EO Day 968 – October 24th 2016.
Naples, cruise day 2 (1pm to 7pm)
The sailing has been great so far and i’m happy to report that the folks are feeling fine, yippee. You never really know how you’re going to react to the life at sea, even though it’s been calm, i’ve seen people feel pretty awful as soon as we have left dock.
So before I get into what today had in store, let me get up to date with yesterday first. Normally I include the embarkation day in my first post of the review but this time i’m putting it here.
Embarkation was very smooth and we could get access to the cabins at 1pm which was nice. In yesterdays post you can see the photos from our balcony cabin.
MSC lunch buffet setup in Villa Pompeiana on MSC Poesia
Our embarkation day lunch was at the buffet on deck 13 in the Villa Pompeiana buffet restaurant which is the nearest the middle of the ship. The other end of the buffet restaurant is called L’Obelisco buffet restaurant and this is towards the rear, though really it is one big buffet as the items are different as you make your way along.
The photo below clearly shows where everything is setup for the lunch buffet.
As for the selection of dishes available the following photos will give you an idea from embarkation day in Genoa.
They bake their pizza all day long and they are very good.
As you can see there is a lot of food available so you won’t go hungry.
There are also two bars, one at the rear and the other the front of the buffet.
Finding a table is a challenge especially if your a large group say 6 or more. We walked up and down both sides often before finding a space for the four of us. Unfortunately the tables didn’t get wiped clean let alone sanitised once vacated meaning we often had to wipe them clear of crumbs and spills before enjoying our lunch.
Breakfast & lunch are by far the busiest times at the buffet, and trying to time it to avoid the rush is very hit n miss. The best time for quiet that i’ve found is very early breakfast and earliest to lunch.
You can find the lists for the various beverage packages at most tables if not they are at the bar. You will notice that the drink stewards are walking around alot asking you if you have a drinks package, you can ask them all about what’s on offer if you are not clear.
Beverage packages on this MSC Mediterranean cruise.
The four of us walked around the ship for a while getting our bearings before having a coffee in the Rendezvous bar. I’ll show some photos of this area in a later post.
Dinner in Le Fontane Restaurant
We enjoyed our dinner in Le Fontane Restaurant on deck 5 at our allotted 6.30pm 1st sitting. The restaurant was very busy and our waiter introduced himself but not his sidekick, who smelt like he’d just came in from having a smoke!
The first evening’s menu
Anyway, dinner was fine and we all managed to find some choices that we liked. The portion sizes are good in that you can have multiple courses and not be too full (well, I can). This is what we had…
From top left to bottom right, Petals of tomato & mozzarella fiordilatte, Nicoise salad, Minestrone all’ortolana, Risotto alla zucca, steamed fish of the day & Fillet of cod Ligurian-style.
Over the entire week, the service was just standard, nothing more. In fact due to the tables being so close, it was hard to even have your meals placed in front of you with Moni having to have her plate handed to her. This is always the case if you get to sit at a table that is on a round bench seat.
Dessert menu in Le Fontane
We had Sachertorte on the left and Delizia al limone.
The meals were quite nice indeed, good flavours all round.
After dinner we had a walk around and then some drinks in the Il Grappolo d’Oro Wine Bar on deck 7. This wine bar is between the Pigalle Lounge at the very back of the ship and Cyber Cafe or upstairs of the Lobby depending on how you like to call it.
The best side to sit is definitely the opposite to the Photo Gallery (only a few tables there) which is where the musician plays. We found his style and repertoire very good with an excellent voice.
I have many photos of the wine bar menu list, just contact us if you’d like them.
From here we headed to bed for an early night after a long day especially for the oldies.
That was embarkation day for us folks, now i’ll get into the day 2 and our arrival into Naples.
Naples, the city famous for its Pizza
Sunrise was wonderful according to Moni. She was up and in the gym just as it opened at 6am while I kept up my beauty sleep. She has photos to prove it…
At this time of day there was hardly anyone around, I wonder why 🙂
We battled the buffet for breakfast and noticed people with bags and coats. This was the moment we realised that some passengers would be leaving the ship in Naples.
It’s not the easiest to find a place to sit and enjoy breakfast at the best of times, now add to that these disembarking passengers with some of their belongings! The good news is, that you can leave your hand luggage at an office next to the guest services desk on deck 5.
I’d like to add one thing here which was very disappointing. The waiters do clear the tables but none of them actually wipe them down clean after. They simply grab the plates (often full of leftovers) and head off to the dumping station. There isn’t even one person dedicated to that cleaning job. Meaning each time you find a table to sit at it’s inevitably dirt with crumbs, wet patches from various beverages.
Breakfast was enjoyable even if the selection is considerably less than on offer from other lines.
After breakfast we enjoyed a coffee in the Rendez-Vous Bar on deck 5. Here we bought the Coffee Cuddle package for 26.45 Euro including the 15% service.
You receive a small coupon book with ’14 tear outs’ which you hand over for each coffee ordered. There’s not much saving on espresso or macchiato but a good saving when having some of the special coffee like the Mokaccino. Please note that the coupons are NOT valid for the coffees with spirit in.
This is the coffee menu on MSC Poesia with the prices.
The first glimpses of Naples was around lunchtime as we made our way towards the coast, even though we could see land early morning.
Up on deck 13 & 14 we watched as we came into the port of Naples with the active volcano of Mt Vesuvius in the distance.
We docked just ahead of schedule and we waited for the tour and rushing passengers to get off in a hurry while we enjoyed a beverage at the Mojito Bar on the pool deck.
The Naples cruise terminal looks a nice building as does the port.
Even when we made it down to get off at around 2pm it was still quite busy.
Our plan was to find a taxi and head into the city centre and have pizza at one of the best pizza restaurants in Napoli if not the world.
Once again on this cruise we didn’t book any of the ships excursions, especially with the four of us it certainly worked out cheaper as a group price. There were plenty of taxi and tour operators vying for your business and Moni reduced a cab fare from 25 to 10 Euro! That was only for an 8 minute ride mind you. I’ll upload the ships tour and excursion list at the end of my weeks review so stay tuned for that.
We got dropped off close to the world famous ‘Pizzeria Da Michele‘ which was featured in the movie Eat Pray Love with Julia Roberts eating one of the famous Margherita pizza.
At first when we arrived we didn’t know quite what was going on, were the people waiting to go in, waiting for pizza takeaway, waiting for what?
Moni asked and the young guy infront of us told us that you must first fight your way to the entrance and get a ticket from one of the Pizzeria Da Michele staff. Then you come back out and wait until your number is called.
Moni returned with number 93… they had just called 52. One hour and 28 minutes later we were sat at our table and soon ordered a famous pizza. Take a look at our photos from our pizza experience at Pizzeria Da Michele.
After experiencing Pizzeria Da Michele we decided to take a walk around town, not too long though, looking after the oldies. We stopped off at a coffee bar with a traditional coffee press only in Naples and enjoyed an espresso…
Yes it was very fine indeed. I must say that the Italians really do know how to make a good coffee (so far).
We made it back to the cruise terminal in one piece, you know, the Italian drivers and traffic can be a little how shall I put it… erratic.
The cruise terminal has a few shops and the way to the ship follows a path up, along, down and back around under and through security to the gangway just so you bypass the shops really.
Sure enough there is plenty to see or do in Naples, but with the oldies this was the extent of our time in the city this visit. Lucky for us, we will be staying in a town called Formia just an hour away which will allow us an easy day trip or longer.
Back onboard we relaxed before getting ready for dinner, waiting until the last minute to see the sunset and the city lights come on.
The advantage of having late sitting is that it allows you to have longer daylight hours for outdoor activities and especially in high summer when it stays lighter later.
Once again Le Fontane restaurant was busy and loud. We didn’t eat too much for dinner especially after each of us eating those huge pizzas for late lunch. But the menu for tonight is below followed by some photos of the dishes we enjoyed.
Top left is Timbale of smoked salmon, then we have Tuscan soup. Below that Braised beef and a plate of vegetables with the desserts of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte and some ice cream.
We followed dinner with some drinks in the wine bar listening to the music, chatting and watching people come and go.
We’d love to hear your thoughts let us know in the comments below
We’d love to hear from you, tell us about your experiences on the Poesia or any other MSC cruise ship that you’ve been on.
Have you experienced an MSC cruise? What was your opinion? How would you say MSC rates among other cruise lines? How was your Mediterranean cruise?
Looking forward to reading your comments.