My adult daughter and I spent Christmas Week on the Poesia sailing from Santos Brazil to Punta Del Este Uraguay, Buenos Aires (over night) and Montevideo. Over all we enjoyed the cruise, but there were positives and negatives.
Getting to Santos: We took a bus from the GRU airport in Sao Paulo to Santos. It was a little confusing to find the right bus company ticket office, but with the help of a kind stranger, we did so and after redeeming the voucher for the reservation I made on-line, the man in the office actually escorted us to the bus stop. After a 2 hour drive in a comfortable, air conditioned bus, we arrived in Santos and took a taxi to the pier.
Embarkation: Embarkation was generally a mess for most passengers. There were long lines in the heat to drop your luggage and then longer lines to check in. However, it was quick for us because MSC matched my RCCL Diamond status making me a Black member so we could use the suite line to drop our bags and had a special check-in line.,
Itinerary: Our first port was supposed to be Punta del Este on Christmas day, but they switched the ports so we were in Montevideo instead. Not much was open, but we were able to get a city tour at the pier which was interesting. We enjoyed our 2 days in Buenos Aires. We took an historical walking tour in Buenos Aires and visited the Boca district on the first day and went to a Gaucho party the 2nd. If we did it again, we would have gone to Tigre. Punta del Este, was our last port. It is a beach destination for the wealthy and has little of interest other than expensive shopping. Note: All the Poesia's tours were only in Portuguese so we cancelled the one tour we had purchased prior to sailing.
Ship : The ship was clean and in good condition. Our cabin was adequate; but storage was limited. The staff were very friendly and helpful.
Food: As always the dining room was much better than the buffet. Portions in the dining room were small, but there was a lot to eat if you ordered all 6 courses.. The pasta and risotto were generally excellent. The other dishes ranged from poor to excellent. The dining room staff worked hard to accommodate my daughter's picky eating habits. The buffet was okay for breakfast,and had excellent fruit at each meal, good salad and pizza, but was pretty bad otherwise.
Misc: Our fellow passengers (primarily Brazilian) were friendly. The perks for being a Black member were very nice. They included a fruit bowl, champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, a free dinner in the speciality restaurant, robes and a chocolate ship.
Issues: The primary issue was communication. Over 95% of the passengers were Brazilian and little effort was made to accommodate passengers who did not speak Portuguese. All announcements other than the safety drill were only in Portuguese until I said something on the 5th day because I was told to wait for a tender announcement which I knew I would not be able to understand. All activities were in Portuguese although they did Do the Mater Chef quiz in both Portuguese and English when we asked to join. Some notices sent to our cabin were in Portuguese even though our cabin was identified as English speaking. In addition we ere not told of the itinerary change until we arrived at the ship. Another issues was that the shows all started 15 to 30 minutes after the scheduled time. They did have a "pre-show" which consisted of one or 2 men repeatedly doing an activity such as dropping things to try to get audience members to pick them up, but I felt they should indicate that on the schedule.
Disembarkation: The ship was about an hour late getting into port so disembarkation was delayed. Our flight from Sao Paulo was not until the evening so we stayed aboard until about noon (another Black perk.) After leaving the ship, we were able to find an English speaking taxi driver who took us on a tour of Santos for a couple of hours and then dropped us back at the bus station for our return to Sao Paulo.
Bottom line: We would do a similar cruise if the itinerary and price were right, but it would not be our first choice.. However, the other English speaking passengers we spoke to on the last day indicated that they would not take another MSC cruise.