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7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Miami

7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Miami

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MSC Armonia
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Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Miami
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Ocho Rios
  • Day 4
    Grand Cayman
  • Day 5
    Cozumel
  • Day 6
    Cruising
  • Day 7
    Key West
  • Day 8
    Miami

MSC Armonia

MSC Armonia - MSC Cruises

Pros

Five kids' clubs and partnerships with Lego and Chicco make Armonia a hit with families.

Cons

The ship is 15 years old, and the food can be hit or miss.

Bottom Line

A low-cost option for a family cruise on a mid-sized ship with plenty of activities.


Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: July 2019
We choose this line and ship for Cuba and overnight stay. We were obviously disappointed but made the best of it. Embarkation was a breeze. Muster drill is a horror though. MSC needs to figure this out. I Did mention in my end of cruise ... Read More
We choose this line and ship for Cuba and overnight stay. We were obviously disappointed but made the best of it. Embarkation was a breeze. Muster drill is a horror though. MSC needs to figure this out. I Did mention in my end of cruise survey. It's outside in the heat, crammed with people and you have to have life jackets.... The ship is older but still nice. Elevator buttons need replacing and it's been stretched so sometimes you find a dead end or elevator that only goes up so high. I got lost a bit at first, would be nice if MSC would follow other lines and do a tour of ship to help ppl out ans lesrn their way around on embark day. Food- I've seen several bad reviews. I don't know where these ppl ate. We had anytime with our suite so ate in La Pergolia. All food was well presented and tasty. Mom's a veggie and still had food. She only said buffet needed more cooked veggie choices. Sometimes it did take longer but anyone whose been to Europe knows the dinning style is more relaxed than America. It's about the experience not rushing. I didn't like their eggs, tired twice and gave up but that's me. Pizza was good. I've been to Naples, Italy and has the real stuff so can say it was good. I had nearly everyday for snack or lunch. Gelato was good as well. Surf and Turf- we did 3rd night. Crab cake was to die for, 2 small lobster tails and steak... Very good and get the cheesecake with rum sauce... not to miss!! Caution... no tap water so you get charged for a bottle... also they do 15 percent discount on certain nights... The crew doesn't always understand English so if you need an answer or help, ask for someone who does... that's the only minor issue we ran into. Cruise Critic party was first rate (been to plenty of my 20 plus cruises on other lines) snacks, chocolate covered strawberries, drinks and cake. Just a note, the picture was not delivered to our cabin, I had to go to photo gallery and ask for it but got it without any problems and it's free. Spa, was great. I precooked a 30 min Bali message, 30 min facial and thermal suite day pass package. The girl did a wonderful job, asked if wanted harder or softer and was mostly silent. I knew they didn't have a place on receipt to add tips so took extra cash to give her. She deserved it. Eric, the cruise director was energetic and fun. Everyone we meet at party or when we did the pic with Captain always spoke to us afterwards when seeing us and was very friendly, including the captain. We ran into Benjamin, the international host, in Key West when coming back to ship and even though he was off duty, he still stopped to talk to us and another family. Ports- Roatan- I did the glass bottom boat and West end village excursion. The boat actually has a bottom piece that's under water level and Windows on both sides toy go down into, so kinda misleading but was better in my opinion. I got rum when shopping in village for 10 bucks a bottle. They didn't take it or saying anything so up to cabin with me it went. Costa Maya- We bought port pass. It gives entrance to bird aviary (with suspension bridges and you get a cup of seeds to feed various birds), chocolate factory/tour and tequila factor/tour plus use of pool without buying drink or food. Not in description is the 3 drinks you get as well at this one bar. Water, soda, virgin drinks or cocktails. Your choice. For 39 bucks it was well worth the price. Cozumel- I did the Jose Curveo tequila tasting and tour at Discover Mexico excursion. Very interesting and all. You taste 3 tequila with how to properly do it... then you get a full sized passion fruit margarita with pepper rim. Art museum and full taco bar (not in description again but a welcome find after all that booze) I recommend it. It was worth it, I just think MSC should work better to make sure they include everything in excursion descriptions. There was only 4 of us and I think more would have done it... Key West- you go through us customs.... quick look at passport and that's it. No questions about liquor or anything... I shopped here and then later went back out with dad to Kermit's for Key Lime pie. There's s Hemmingway rum distillery close to it if you want to do a tasting... It was free... Also, several cool shops in big building that include s buttery one and a cat/dog one if you are like me and need to bring a peace offering back for your fur baby. All in all, a good cruise with some minor issues. I would sail MSC again if we find a good price. I like traveling and Europe so had no problem with Mediterranean flair of MSC and honestly... if you go on a cruise and don't have a good time, that's on you. I've had issues and things I didn't like on all lines, but really it's a cruise. I've always enjoyed myself, regardless. Shows- we went first night, French Follies, 2nd night, Beatles tribute night (awesome but the guys were only on for 2 weeks) and The Greatest... Broadway hits... we skipped Adams Family (not interested) , Italian touch (too tired) and last night Abyss... so can't comment on those. I do have a review on MSC board under Armonia July 1st to 8th review if you want more detail of day to day or have questions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Wanted to go to Cuba but when that fell through we decided not to switch and continue. Embarkation was smooth and easy. No problem and it didn't take very long for us to get our luggage. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Wanted to go to Cuba but when that fell through we decided not to switch and continue. Embarkation was smooth and easy. No problem and it didn't take very long for us to get our luggage. We had a very nice time. Our cabin steward Walter was excellent and so very very nice. He was very good to us. We loved our cabin!! We had a balcony on deck 10 and it was so relaxing. The cabin was very spacious and always clean. I think I will always get a room with a balcony from now on> I've been spoiled. . My granddaughter, who is 8 had a good time, but decided not to really participate in the kids club after the first day. Said it was too noisy and way too many kids. She loves being around other kids but this may have been a little too much. The buffet was just so so. We ate there a couple of times but I wasn't crazy about the choice of foods. You can always get a salad though so that worked out well. Dinner in La Pierloga (sp?) restaurant was better but be ready to spend about 2 hours having dinner. Service is very good. We had room service a couple of times and it worked out ok. They got our pizza order mixed up but they took care of it and it was very good. Loved the coffee bar but I think they need to add dessert, other than cookies, to it. Dessert, other than gelato and cookies, seems to be an afterthought. The gelato was excellent and should be open for after dinner also. I loved having the dessert bar on a Carnival cruise I took, it was nice to get a little treat anytime you wanted one. MSC should think about adding something like that. The entertainment was very good. They had something planned throughout the day everyday. We always did the trivia quiz with Sarah. Enjoyed the shows. My granddaughter made it a point of having us go every night. They were entertaining and had some very good singers. Movies were played in the business center all the time. NEED POPCORN!!! My only criticism about the entertainment was their so called 4th of July celebration. You can't just wear red, white and blue have someone sing the national anthem and have that be it. With, what I was told, 1600 Americans on board. They could have done a much better job of celebrating the holiday. I think they said they were going to have fireworks but I didn't see any by 10:30 or so that night. Eric the cruise the director is a treat!!! He puts a lot of energy into his job and he's very good at it. We really enjoyed him. Did the dolphin experience in Costa Maya and the Tulum excursion in Cozumel. Both were very good. It was very nice to be able to go through customs in Key West. Went super fast so we didn't have to do anything in Miami. Disembarkation was smooth. No problems at all. Overall we had a good time. I would do another MSC cruise with a different itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
First time cruise for us. Options were everywhere - but we settled on the MSC Armonia, for..... CUBA!!!!! and well overall cost. Opting for an Oceanview room, and Fantastica level. First off.... One huge turn off for us - MSC TAKE ... Read More
First time cruise for us. Options were everywhere - but we settled on the MSC Armonia, for..... CUBA!!!!! and well overall cost. Opting for an Oceanview room, and Fantastica level. First off.... One huge turn off for us - MSC TAKE NOTE: You don't need to harass your paying customers to purchase the more expensive drink packages ($189 per person to upgrade from Easy Drink - to Premium) Neither myself nor my wife, drink enough to justify the extra expense. Yet every single time I ordered a drink that was off the "Easy" menu, I was hounded by staff to upgrade. BIG Turn-off. Ok other than that one issue, the rest of the cruise was good, there were a few notable "maintenance" items - public restrooms that were out of order, wall panels behind toilets that appeared to have been ripped out of the wall. Oceanview Fantastica - Now we were warned that the overall rooms were smaller than a regular hotel. Understatement - One queen sized bed, had just enough room to squeeze around both sides, and the foot of the bed. I think the term my wife used was "Cozy" but it was comfortable for 2 people. The bathroom, now I read ahead of time that the shower was tiny. Well that is very true - if you turn around inside you will hit the curtain which will stick to you, and of course end up soaking the floor outside the shower area. The toilet was different than we have experience before; when you flush you need to close the lid, and it sounds like a jet engine going off, on occasion, you would have to wait a couple min before it would actually flush. Storage space, we were able to completely unpack 4 large suitcases, and 2 smaller carry-on bags and still had room to spare. NOTE: if you need to charge anything - there are only 2 plugs in the room, both located on the desk, beneath the mirror. The safe, and additional storage is located behind the mirror. Housekeeping staff - These guy's were phenomenal!!!! If I had to guess - they would check on your room at least 4 times a day. Once mid morning - to make your bed, and change out towels. Once mid day to tidy up - Once early evening to drop off the Daily Planner for the next port - Once mid evening to turn down your blankets, and change out any towels. Room Service - Now here is one area that was confusing - We had been told prior to the cruise that "Fantastica" level did not pay the "$8.95" for room service delivery. HOWEVER - aside from the basic continental breakfast - we were charged for the "Delivery" charge, plus gratuities. Now the Continental breakfast was good, fill out the card, and hang it on the door before 2am, and they will deliver to you at the time slot you requested. Mind you - pay attention to the time you request vs time of arriving in port. The "Hot Breakfast" morning - was ok, nothing to write home about..... Waffle, egg's, omelet, bacon, sausage, fruit plate, with coffee, and juice. Certainly more food than we expected, but was still basic. La Pergola - The more elegant of the dining rooms - we did not have the pleasure of eating here. But was informed that it was the same fare as found in Marco Polo. Surf-n-Turf - the newest addition to the ship. $35 per person for dinner. Menu was basically just as it sounds - Steak and seafood options. Once again - we did not have the pleasure of eating here. La Brasserie - Buffet - was acceptable - a typical buffet with less than flavorful food selection - and well generally people were more rude in the buffet than anywhere else on the ship. Staff were doing the best they could muster. Marco Polo - portions were well lacking - food for the most part was quite good - but seriously 2 ravioli's served on a rather large bowl? Staff here were quite good, they were friendly, and remembered everyone's names, and generally what each of us drank regularly from the first night. Pizza / Pasta Bar - Pizza, what can I say, typical Italian fair - probably one of the best meals found on the ship. However in 7 days, I honestly cannot recall ever seeing Pasta offered. Grill - Burger / Hot Dog Bar - As one of the cruise members stated - "We are Italian, we do great Pizza, but not the best Hamburgers" I shall leave it at that. Bar Del Duomo - the center for most of the interior late night entertainment. Arrive early, else there will be no seating for you. Staff were exceptional the Entertainment Cast were good, the live band was acceptable - the singer was worth the listen, even when she was singing in other languages. Rum Bar - Serving, well mostly Rum options - but also everything else, the music was a heavy Latin flair, good for dancing, and even just enjoying a Cuba-libre - or Mai-Tai. White Lion Pub - A replica of an English pub, with a concentration on higher end drinks - think Gin and on Tap beer's (best selection on the ship) only draw back - It is adjacent to the Cigar Room. If you have any allergies to smoke, not the best place to congregate. Il Lido Bar - Pool bar - more often than not this place was busy, and the general customer was rude, and discourteous to everyone else. The staff were once again - doing the best they could to keep everyone happy, while attempting to go above and beyond. Library - A good semi-quiet place to relax during most hours of the day and night Palm Beach Casino - Small maybe 100 video machines - with approximately 5 table games (1 Roulette, 1 Blackjack, 2 others (three card poker I believe)) The only place on board that Cash was gladly accepted. MSC Business Center - AKA the movie theater. Seats about 150 people and offered movies throughout the cruise. Granted they were not first run movies, but a season or two back. Teatro La Fenice - The meeting place for almost all Excursion's, as well as the live entertainment theater for nightly shows. During our cruise, 6 nights of song and dance, 1 night a Beatles tribute band. Show's were good, not exceptional - ONE note here something we noticed, as well as several other guests noticed. Most of the singing (if not all) was lip synced. Hardly noticeable, until you do, then hard not to see it happening. Overall the work, costumes, and general planning that went into each show was worth it. Quite entertaining. Shopping - Each day there were tables setup with sales on everything from souvenirs, perfume, watches, clothing to electronics. Some sales were WOW 75% off Invicta Watches..... and loads of inexpensive jewelry for your wife, mother, daughter, or significant other. In addition - there were specialized shops, a Clothes store, Pharmacy/Perfumeria, Swarovski, Effy, a Watch/sunglasses/ electronic's shop, and of course a Duty Free shop (yes alcohol can be purchased by the gallon bottle, but you will not receive it until the last night of the cruise.) Pool / Hot tub area - ok we made the mistake of crossing through here one time. Way overcrowded when at sea. The pool and hot tub area was full of kids, as was the Doremi water park area. Mind you for the most part - the kids appeared unsupervised and were left to run rampant. Aurea Spa / Beauty Parlor - Ladies, if you want to partake in any of the optional (Cost involved) treatments - Make your appointment early on in your cruise. This place books up fast. Overall cost - comparable to any land based spa / beauty parlor.... Tip - buy products from the beauty parlor to get exceptional discounts on treatments..... ($70 hair treatment was free, after an $80 purchase of specialized shampoo/conditioner/style cream) Ocho Rio's Jamaica - We opted for a "Bamboo Rafting on the Martha Brae" an hour of a slow river relaxing ride. Couple of things to note - this is probably one of the farthest commutes offered (1.5 hrs each way) so - do not expect to get any time at the port to shop. Also the planning was lacking - once the rafting experience was over, we were shuttled to a church that was locked up tight. Then one stop "Bathroom" break at a small souvenir shop, arriving back at the port with just enough time to board before departure. Grand Caymen - Stingray City - Approximately 3hr's total - 15 min bus, 30 min boat, and about an 1.5 hrs in the water. Cayman Express crew were great, informative, and helpful, drinks were available for purchase on the boat trip, As was a single changing room/bathroom. Bring your waterproof camera, a towel, and a change of clothes - oh and plenty of sunscreen. Cozumel - We opted to self tour the island - Ernesto's Rentals - $60 a day for a jeep wrangler - one word of caution - these are well used, and abused vehicles, and not up to "American Rental Company" standards. But we were able get around the island without any problems with the vehicle. Opted for a stop at El Cedral, Playa Plancar, San Gervasio, and a Tequilaria. Eastern beaches were inundated with the Sargassum seaweed, the beaches and water were turned a dark reddish brown color, and in many places smelled of rotten egg's..... Costa Maya - Once again - we opted for self tour, specifically looking for the "Maya Healing Ritual" think of it as a themed day spa. $89 per person for approximately 1.5 hrs of uber relaxing time. First a soak in a deep heated herbal bath, with a head, neck and shoulder massage. Then to the "Mayan Sweat Lodge" for a traditional Mayan song, and some history of the practice while you relax in the "sauna" type room. Then face painting time, well ok not really, but you do a white clay mask, while relaxing and another song by the local "shaman" Then off to a cold shower, and into another deep soak in coconut milk bath (ok so it is not 100% coconut milk - it does have a coconut scent, but it is mostly just hot water bath, along with some more head, neck and shoulder rubs. Lastly, the "Hammock Massage" you will be wrapped in towels, then cocooned within the hammock. where you will get an coconut oil rubdown on your arms, and leg's, then a full back of body work over by the masseuse that is laying beneath you, using their legs and feet. OMFG it was certainly an experience.... Granted it is not completely authentic, but it is still a relaxing time that you can decompress and forget the rest of the world. Afterwards, a quick drink in the complimentary lounge chairs at the white sand beach (part of the "Healing Ritual Package" chairs were free, drinks were not) Then on to the Aviary "Aviarius" - Not the greatest for to cost, but you are right in the middle of many birds, while perched atop tower's connected by swinging bridges that zigzag over the port. The birds will come sit on your hand, shoulders, arms, head.... while you offer up some feed that is given to you when you enter their world. While you traverse the Aviary, you get a chance to look down upon the Dolphin experience. Now let me tell you this - the water that the people were waiting to swim in looked absolutely filthy, the green algae was floating everywhere. (see pic's attached) Now one warning about Costa Maya - IF you opt to stay in the port, the vendor's are super aggressive. Every single shop had someone trying to drag you inside to peruse their wares. All in all - The cruise was enjoyable, relaxing, and just what we both needed, would we opt for the cruise again, yes - but we would do many things differently.... Read Less
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