We booked with an internet agency who we could not fault for their organisation. We had decided on MSC Armonia. Although it said 4 restaurants we have been more used to having a couple of restaurants that although you pay extra for it enables you to have maybe a "special" meal. Our first night in the Marco Polo restaurant was spoiled by a very rude arrogant and impatient Italian waiter. we met two lovely couples at the table whom we were introducing ourselves to each other. This waiter was intent on getting our orders in to the extent that while my husband was talking to the couple on his right the waiter took mine and then said I will just order the same as you to which I replied No, please wait. He did the same to the other two ladies. The food was practically thrown at us and no sooner had we put our cutley to the side of our plates they were whisked away and the next course thrown down. This continued to the end of the service. The Maitre 'D did come and speak into his ear but this did not make any difference. Needless to say this was a massive put off as we have never been treated like this on any other cruises we have been on. The second night we spoke to the Maitre'd who then arranged that all six of us be moved to the other side of the restaurant. This waiter was not removed from the restaurant and by all accounts continued to act in a disgraceful way. I and the other thought the quality of the food very poor. I have had better food and display of food at pubs.
This was another factor of the disappointment. The risotto was stodgy and tasteless and the consistency of rice pudding. Risotto is supposed to be a speciality of the Italians, this was not! The main courses were also a disappointment and the desserts no better. One of the couples whom we met was celebrating a 25th Wedding anniversary. We mentioned this to the Maitre'd, he didnt seem interested but did manage to pass our table and stop and congratulate them just before we were due to leave the restaurant. On other cruises we have experienced a better lack of interest in the cruisers and if there is a special "something" a little gesture i.e. desserts with congratualtions written on plate or even a complementary glass of fizz, MSC did nothing.
The entertainment on board was also poor. We had a couple who played guitar and an electronic organ, who managed to clear the room. The band were good but were not on long enough. We were second sitting which by that time they were starting to finish off their evening!
The entertainment on deck during the day was very juvenile, kicking a football through the legs of 6 chairs, this was for adults only and no children were allowed to play!!!! The other entertainment on the deck was "The Italians doing what they do best, showing off". This came under the umbrella of dance lessons which was more of a "look at me". Oh and then came the 1st of the days Bingo session!! This was translated so many times that it was so boring, at night they also played bingo! it was dire!!
The Casino did not generate any interest or atmosphere and we only visited twice! Usually this is a big part of our Cruise experience and our holiday gambling time. The guys on the bars did not remember what you drank which was again very disappointing not only for us but for them as they were not left extra tips. On any other cruises we have gone on the waiters and barmen make a point of knowing your name, where you generally come from and most importantly remember what you drink. This does not happen on this ship.
The cabin was nice and spacious and it was lovely to have a balcony, the rooms are very well sound-proofed although we diud have a French person next door who was intent on letting us know that he could hear even a murmur who felt it necessary to come to our cabin and push and threaten my husband, he also claimed that we had woken his baby, who as it turned out was 10 years old and did not waken up. The joys I suppose of cruising, there is always One (or two if you count his screaming wife!)
Overall the Italians and others on the ship did not bother us at all, in fact I can safely say they did not even feel the need to be friendly and try and interact with us. Thank goodness the couple we met at our table from South Africa and Sweden made our cruise worthwhile. The overall feel from the six of us was that we will not be sailing again with MSC on any of their ships. We will stick to the ones we know we can trust, Royal Carribean, P & O, Princess.
Our advice would be is to leave MSC to the Italians, they want the ship to themselves and their children. As British people we consider ourselves to be considerate and polite unlike the passengers on board this ship who are rude, arrogant and pushy. Never again!!