We booked in December last year. What attracted us most of all were the destinations and the deal was a total steal! However leading up to the cruise we were reading the reviews and were working ourselves into a state of panic, thinking maybe we should have gone with another company. The worries were totally unfounded, as the cruise and the whole experience were very good!
We are a couple with no children and we like travelling independently. This was our first mass tourism exposure. Everything worked well - embarkation was seamless, destinations were really as good as we thought they would be - only two tenders, both worked superbly well; food - well, how can people complain?... You will not go hungry on that ship, that's for sure! Breakfasts at Marco Polo we excellent with a choice of however much or little you wanted to eat on that particular morning. Eggs were done to perfection - poached, fried, boiled. Brasserie breakfasts were a little bit of a zoo, not fault of staff or food, simply unlucky to have had a group of 700 strong Austrians on board with us, who mostly behaved in my opinion like they owned the place. Lunch served in the Brasserie or the restaurants again very good. Always a choice of salads, pastas, burger bar, hot dogs, pizzas, cold meats and cheeses, roast of the day. Coffee and tea stations were always well stocked with a good selection of teas and complimentary water. Dinner we had at La Pergola. First sitting was our first choice, however we found it a little early at 18:00. Especially when we were sailing out of Venice at exactly the same time and bearing in mind that coming from the UK it would only be 17:00. Towards the end of the cruise we changed that to second sitting and worked better for us. Dinner choices were fabulous every night. Something like 7 courses to choose from and again you can eat as much or as little as you chose. Selection every night had an entre, soup choice, salad choice, pasta choice, about four or five mains, cheeses, sweet menu and ice creams. The waiters were so obliging, they just couldn't do enough - always courteous and polite. Really super! There was a wine list with bottles starting at about 20 Euros and 5 Euros per glass. 1 Lt bottled water with the service charge only cost 2.89 Euros - now how can people complain about that price for a restaurant sitting?..
One thing we didn't like was the entertainment. But then if you can enjoy the beauty of sunsets and afterwards relax with a cocktail or two in the piano bar, who needs a show every night! We didn't go for any drinks packages. Yes it's probably worth it if you are travelling in a group and want to socialise with a glass in your hand in the evening, or useful for families, or if a holiday is not a holiday unless you've had a few. Otherwise, breakfast juices and water, coffees and teas are inclusive anyway. At lunchtime you are mostly off board at a stop destination, where you can enjoy local drinks at rock bottom prices ;-) Wine and water at dinner are comparable to UK restaurant prices and for example Martinis and Margaritas start at something like 6 - 7 Euro, very reasonable and beautifully done and presented!
All of the public areas on Armonia were spotlessly clean. Staff very helpful at all times. We loved the disco lounge which was unused. It was quiet with soft music tinkling in the background, on the 12th deck with large windows all around - sunsets from the were stunning!
Pools were ice cold, but lovely that they use sea water. Plenty of loungers in the sun, nobody went without, however if you want to sit outside, but want the shade claim yours early. Our Austrian friends were booking 4 loungers at a time - two in the shade and two in the sun and then going off to enjoy their drinks package in the bar for the afternoon...
Plenty of towels for the pool area and again everything is kept clean and organised.
We will not hesitate to book with MSC again!