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91 Havana to Cuba Cruise Reviews

Me and my husband planned for a cruise vacation for the first time with MSC Armonia to Cuba and Caribbean. We have booked the suite room with aura experience. The cabin design is really bad and the service too. Our room has balcony which ... Read More
Me and my husband planned for a cruise vacation for the first time with MSC Armonia to Cuba and Caribbean. We have booked the suite room with aura experience. The cabin design is really bad and the service too. Our room has balcony which was not designed good. The balcony metal divider fall down on my husband head and he got hurt on his head plus this Apple mobile broken because of that. After paying so much we got a room like this and the customer service and supervisor with the cruise director all were not bothered about this accident. We spoke to them personally and they said we can give you a another room that’s it. They told my husband Dr said you are good so not to worry. They not even apologize to us not even given us any credit because of their cruise cabin design we suffered. Cruise director and the head supervisor told us we will give you the credit for the mobile which broken because this accident but they lie to us we didn’t got any money to repair my mobile nor customer service get back to us for this accident. I wont suggest any one for this cruise. They don’t care if their customer even die. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We decided on this cruise as a sudden addition to our bucket list - Havana (Cuba), St Marteen, Antigua, Madera - all in one sweep. Getting through Havana airport was an exceptional experience and one not to be glamorised in any way. We ... Read More
We decided on this cruise as a sudden addition to our bucket list - Havana (Cuba), St Marteen, Antigua, Madera - all in one sweep. Getting through Havana airport was an exceptional experience and one not to be glamorised in any way. We arrived at the ship quite late went through the obligatory photograph, not much in the way of a welcome, collected our cards then straight to our cabin and bed. Next day in Havana was pretty good - we did our own thing, a morning and afternoon tour is separate old American cars for a lot less than the ship organised tour. We then spent a day at sea before arriving in St Marteen, again our own thing - a short walk into town then a bus to Maho beach where we were delighted to lots of low flying landing aircraft and got severely sandblasted by a big 757 taking off, culminating in a dip in the Caribbean sea before another bus ride back to town and a walk around the shops. Off to Antigua, it was Sunday and everything was closed so really a wasted day, all that was on offer was a taxi tour around the island. Now 6 days to cross the Atlantic, when the weather was good we could sun bathe and swim but as we sneaked further north the weather changed and we were forced to stay inside with limited options on suitable activities. At a certain time during the day there was only one internal bar open for the serving of coffee and naturally it was full. Funchal was next and not much to say here but a Sunday and not much open, then off to Malaga and some terrible weather through the Straight of Gibraltar with very high seas and extremely strong wind rendering damage to the ship and meaning we arrived late, then again some very high winds onward to Alicante again arriving late. To be fair the ship handled the rough weather well and was relatively smooth. The disembarkation at Alicante was an absolute disaster. We were told to gather in the theatre and consequently only received instructions in German, I checked the queue it was moving and getting shorter so without waiting for whatever non information was to be forthcoming decided to join the queue and get off the ship. As we had a balcony "Fantastica" cabin we were allocated the L'Approda restaurant. The menu was quite restricted and indeed required us to order McDonalds style chips every night. We were offer an option of a backed potato but only if ordered the previous evening - when it arrived it was just about cooked, not soft and fluffy or hard and inedible but certainly not fully cooked, similar can be said of a chicken kiev, only just cooked, not totally as would be expected with chicken. There were complaints made by other diners to the Maitre'd about the limited menu which was basically met with a shoulder shrug. The table waiting staff were very very attentive and friendly, I cannot say a bad word about them. We were on a drinks package thankfully. The printed cost of a "Gin and Tonic was 6€, this was the price charged in some bars, inothere the charge was for a 'Gordons' @ 6.50€ plus tonic???. On an occasion I ordered a @Vodka Martini and my wife a Bellini, the waiter returned with a Martini and advised that Bellini's were not available?? I returned my drink and my wife advised him that Bellini's were available as a cocktail, he returned with the Bellini and a vodka and water - agh, third attempt say me receiving a Morgans and coke???? - it was now so late I had lost the will and went to bed. I had little reason to approach the reception desk - thankfully - when I did to advise them of a potential medical problem I was met with an "I don't care" shoulder shrug. When it came to closing my credit card I was advised to return to the desk no less than three times. so not at all impressed with the unfriendly reception staff. The entertainment team worked very hard to keep guests amuse and some of the evening antics in the Piazza di Spagna were hilarious, This bar needed more staff to deal with the number of revellers as at times it was very difficult to get a drink.The theatre shows were of a high standard but way to high brow and classical themed, there were a few more light hearted entertaining evenings and the contortionists were incredible. A cruise once done not to be repeated, a class of ship that I shall avoid in future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We just disembarked from this cruise and we feel SCAMMED. Be ready for subpar service, a rundown ship, a truly awful excursion selection (and team) and a terrible schedule. Communication is at a minimum on the MSC Armonia - we ended ... Read More
We just disembarked from this cruise and we feel SCAMMED. Be ready for subpar service, a rundown ship, a truly awful excursion selection (and team) and a terrible schedule. Communication is at a minimum on the MSC Armonia - we ended up being booked on a WeightWatchers cruise. Be careful booking with MSC, the WW participants were kind - but imagine if they book a less hospitable cruise takeover. Overall, we were expecting a luxury Caribbean cruise line and instead non-WW guests were treated as an afterthought by staff. Furthermore, delays are not explained, arrivals and departures change on a whim, and you never truly know what you signed up for. Expect to be nickle and dimed every step of the way including a bill of over $200 for having your room cleaned, extra charge for tequila (even with the unlimited drink package), and fees for the internet package (THAT DOES NOT WORK). The excursions. Bad bad bad. The on-board excursions staff are rude. The excursions themselves are overpriced. Our tour in Havana was government sponsored propaganda with a guide who could barely speak English. The taxi drivers spoke better English than him. We ended up getting an amazing private tour the next day - riding in a 50s convertible isn’t worth the extremely high price. The ship itself is old and small - not a big deal, since that’s all that the Havana port can fit. The entertainment was bizarre. Sometimes we’d go to an event and it just wouldn’t be happening. This could be because more than half the ship was WeightWatchers and doing their own private events. It made nightlife quite boring. We would arrive to empty rooms where events were supposed to happen. One night, at midnight, the disco had all the strobe lights going while the house lights were on and no music was playing. Again, bizarre. Oftentimes, we’d arrive to the musicians playing to an empty room - I attribute this to the WW cruise diverting passengers and attracting a crowd less inclined to enjoy the nighttime entertainment. Most people took this cruise to go to Cuba - which is what MSC advertised. First of all, most (non-restaurants) places in Cuba close around 4-5 PM. Disembarking the ship by 3 means you have very little time to explore on your first day. Furthermore, Cuba (a Catholic country) is closed down on Sundays, so don’t expect any more on your second day. So the second half of your time in Cuba is minimized because a lot of shops and museums are closed. Some positives, our waiter at dinner was attentive and kind - but when we ate elsewhere the service didn’t match. The bartenders will also make you wait, even when no one else is at the bar. Our room was kept clean. Always plenty of seating on the open decks. It’s obvious that this cruise line isn’t aware what Americans enjoy, and has a very long way to go until I would ever recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We sailed the Divina and found everything fantastic so we sailed the Armonia and found it the same. The food is superior, the entertainment is very good and the overall experience of MSC is wonderful. We have booked the Meraviglia from ... Read More
We sailed the Divina and found everything fantastic so we sailed the Armonia and found it the same. The food is superior, the entertainment is very good and the overall experience of MSC is wonderful. We have booked the Meraviglia from NYC on October 28th and expect to have a great cruise, even though we have seen all ports before, we did it for the wonderful MSC experience. We like the European atmosphere and a truly international crew. We like the pizza bar, we like the prosciutto, and the great steaks. The decoration of the interior is beautiful and luxurious. We have been cruising for over 40 years on many lines and ships and find MSC to be our favorite. The experience is awesome. This last cruise was wonderful. The ports were great but the hightlight was Havana, Cuba. We were in Havana in the early eightys and were ancxious to see the changes. What a difference. We toured both days and went to the Topicana Night Club in the eavening and had fantastic time. We highly reccomend it. Being Black Members, we like the perks, gifts, and attention given us. Thank you MSC See you in October. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, especially for Cuba. We had 3 chances to go ashore at Havana and it exceeded our expectations. The cabin was nice with large window and our cabin steward was excellent at all times. We had ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, especially for Cuba. We had 3 chances to go ashore at Havana and it exceeded our expectations. The cabin was nice with large window and our cabin steward was excellent at all times. We had breakfast and lunch in the self=service restaurant, no problem there, except it was always so crowded. Our evening meal was in the Caravella restaurant. Our waiter was excellent, but seemed to be rushed off his feet looking after several tables at once, hence there was often a big delay and long wait for the food to arrive. The starters and desserts were reasonable but the main courses were not very good. I had to look at the menu several times and just decided on a starter as the quality of the food was very poor. We ordered wine with the meal every night and duly signed the receipts. Fortunately, we kept the receipts, because on getting a print=out of the bill, three times we had been charged in excess of the wine we had ordered and signed for. Each time we had to go and queue at Reception for it to be resolved and always without an apology. I also had a tour added to my bill which I had not booked, this was duly removed. If I had left checking the bill to the last day, there would not have been enough time to rectify it, as there were queues of people waiting at reception. Also, the practise of reserving sun beds still carries on. it was very difficult to get a sunbed as so many were reserved with towels on them. The dress code was not adhered to. On the "Select" nights, most men still wore open neck shirts and I noticed two men wearing baseball caps back to front. Do people not like to dress for dinner anymore !! I have travelled with Cunard, P & O, Fred Olsen and Maritime Cruises in the past, all were excellent. We did enjoy the cruise generally, especially the entertainment. The Opera group were brilliant, both for the operatic shows and the "west end shows". All were brilliant vocalists and a pleasure to watch and listen to. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Review - Cabin 9004, MS Opera I approached this cruise with some trepidation, I’d read dozens of negative - some scathing - reviews of the MS Opera here on Cruise Critic. I figured that there were more than fifty negative reviews ... Read More
Review - Cabin 9004, MS Opera I approached this cruise with some trepidation, I’d read dozens of negative - some scathing - reviews of the MS Opera here on Cruise Critic. I figured that there were more than fifty negative reviews for a ship that carries over two thousand passengers a week, I’d brazen it out. I was pleasantly surprised. My cabin steward was cheerful and friendly, despite working stupidly long hours. My cabin was always spotless, serviced morning and evening. I read complaints that the MS Opera was looking tired and poorly maintained; I saw no evidence of that. Instead I saw crew members tirelessly painting and polishing the ship. Similarly, I’ve read negative comments about the waiting and bar staff. I’ll deal with them separately if I may., Waiting staff in the main dining room and buffet - I could not fault the waiting staff in either. They were always attentive and eager to serve, with a smile, even the most challenging passengers I experienced. Bar staff - a slightly different matter, in the bars I visited - and I tried most - the staff did their best to service customers although, to be honest, a few more bar staff would have not gone amiss, particularly at the ‘Spinnaker’ bar on the pool deck on ‘sea days’ or sailaway parties. Service improved markedly when more senior staff appeared on deck. On occasion I sent cocktails back, as there was little evidence of the purported spirits I have also read criticisms of the food. I tried the buffet restaurant, the burger and pizza offerings, while I enjoyed dinner and breakfast most days in the ‘La Caravella’ restaurant, on a Deck 5 at the aft of the ship. Some have complained about cold food, I never experienced that, and while the portions weren’t huge, there was always the opportunity to ‘top up’ - the ‘Caribbean Selections’ offered would be three prawns/shrimp or scallops - tasty but not exactly filling. Towards the end of the cruise several diners on my table ordered multiple main courses. I can, however, recommend the ‘Eggs Benedict’ at breakfast time in ‘La Caravella’. Back to the burgers and pizza, no complaints there, several people I spent time praising both - while they sitting writing lists of complaints about other features of the cruise. Entertainment - the evening shows in the theatre range from cheesey (Dirty Dancing), worthy (Opera and violin recitals) through to exciting (flamenco) and bizarre (acrobats). Daily entertainment in the pool area near the ‘Spinnaker’ bar was ‘Hi Di Hi’ type games during the day, while in the evenings the ‘bands’ were overly loud, it was difficult to hold a conversation anywhere near. On board internet is expensive, but it worked most of the time, there were times of increased contention when response times became unacceptable. Reasonable, but could do better. Overall, while others sat comparing MSC unfavourably to Royal Caribbean or P&O, I quite enjoyed the ship. Yes there are areas that could be improved, but most travellers had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We originally chose this cruise for late 2019 purely on its itinerary but they cancelled it on us. We then had to search and rebook, having to bring the trip forward as well as carefully choosing a cabin on a deck that would have a good ... Read More
We originally chose this cruise for late 2019 purely on its itinerary but they cancelled it on us. We then had to search and rebook, having to bring the trip forward as well as carefully choosing a cabin on a deck that would have a good view from the balcony close to a lift which would be near the buffet restaurant as my wife and I have difficulty walking. We were downgraded to a lower deck at the other end of the ship. The corridor had a serious sinkhole under the carpet which tripped me up. The corridor also had steps under the carpet due to differing heights of the floor levels. We could not have a move as the cruise was fully booked. No discount for being downgraded. The breakfast restaurant had one broken toaster for one piece at a time. (they only cost $20!) Toast was not fresh as they left slices baking under a heat lamp which baked them so hard that I broke a tooth which I later lost. They took no responsibility. Coffee mugs had stained cracks and chips. I'd only been to the dentist the week before! To say the balconies were spacious is ridiculous as the chairs were so big there was no space to get on to it. (Just over a metre deep!) OK for children. The cabin was tatty and needed repairs which I was able to do myself being an engineer. The evening tour in Cuba was good and the shows were also good though the volume between singers and instruments controller was upside down. (Kid's!) Overall our worst cruise due to being messed around. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My EXCELLENT rating of this adventure is not indicative of luxury, rather a unique opportunity to experience Cuba and to do so aboard a mega-yacht. This was our third Cuban trip in six years. Booking this ship/itinerary allowed us to visit ... Read More
My EXCELLENT rating of this adventure is not indicative of luxury, rather a unique opportunity to experience Cuba and to do so aboard a mega-yacht. This was our third Cuban trip in six years. Booking this ship/itinerary allowed us to visit locations we had not seen previously and would have had difficulty getting to on our own. The Variety Voyager could be classified as an expedition-style ship (Galapagos, Arctic, Antarctic) in some ways, but I suggest it's contemporary, sleek flair places it in its own category. This was our first time aboard a large scale yacht although we have cruised more than 45 times aboard ships of all sizes and in all parts of the world. The booking experience was simple; we received all information promptly. Our flight to, and pickup at, Havana airport was efficient, as was embarkation (and seven days later) disembarkation. Service on board was without fault. All staff and crew were helpful and friendly. Buffet breakfast/lunch had enough choices to keep it from being repetitive. Dinners were from a menu with several courses and choices. Passengers wore comfortable warm-weather clothing throughout the day and evening. Some wore a nicer shirt, top, dress for dinner but it isn't required or necessary. We chose to pack light and never felt underdressed. Captain Constantine, Hotel Manager Stefanos, George, Marina, Christian, Vick, Vilim and their fellow staff/crew were attentive, pleasant and helped us to enjoy our adventure. It would not have been the same without them! Please see cabin comments below. This mega-yacht is a UNIQUE way to travel. It is not meant to be a cruise ship experience. In fact several passengers had never cruised. It is a relaxed atmosphere onboard with enough space to spread out if necessary. The décor is clean, contemporary and attractive. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have done 35 cruises with 6 different cruise lines and over 700 nights at sea, and this was the first and last cruise with MSC. WHAT A DISASTER! Our safety and health were seriously at risk with MSC. On every other cruise every ... Read More
We have done 35 cruises with 6 different cruise lines and over 700 nights at sea, and this was the first and last cruise with MSC. WHAT A DISASTER! Our safety and health were seriously at risk with MSC. On every other cruise every guest getting on the ship and at every port, also at the entrance to all the restaurants, had to have hand sanitiser on their hands, NOT MSC. Hygiene was shocking. I dropped the food tongs on the floor accidentally and one of the staff picked them up and put them back on top of the food!! Guests and staff were allowed to handle food and return it back for others to take. Guests were also allowed to smoke right next to food service areas by the pool. With regards to safety, the lifeboat drill was a total fiasco, and all they seemed to care about was for the photographers to go round taking photos of guests wearing their lifejackets that they could buy, even though the guests were told not to wear them for the drill. We did not hear any instructions regarding the abandon ship procedure, and there were definitely not enough staff instructing guests on not to use lifts and to ensure they were directed to the correct muster stations. Our balcony door was broken and allowed to rattle all night for the first 10 nights, keeping us awake, and only after numerous complaints for it to be repaired they eventually came and bodged it. There were also several extra large shattered windows around the ship that were not repaired the whole time we were on the ship. MSC advertised a ‘Power Walking Track’, this was a lie, no track and the deck where it was supposed to be just cluttered with sun beds. They advertised broadway style shows and spectacular shows. Entertainment was well below standard, even the main theatre shows did not have live bands, just music backing tracks. It was the worst entertainment we have ever seen, what a let down. Food was well below standard, buffet selection very limited and food was not hot and the worst we have eaten anywhere. We had stomach upsets for the entire duration of the cruise. Service was exceptionally poor and staff just could not care less. There were a lot of people ill on the cruise, which was not surprising as the food and hygiene was shocking. NEVER AGAIN WITH MSC, What a total waste of money. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I cruised the Montego Bay-Havana itinerary with my husband and three twenty-something children. We're from Colorado. We've traveled a lot together and are avid sightseers. We took this cruise mainly to visit Havana. Our ... Read More
I cruised the Montego Bay-Havana itinerary with my husband and three twenty-something children. We're from Colorado. We've traveled a lot together and are avid sightseers. We took this cruise mainly to visit Havana. Our cruise passengers were about 1/3 North American, 1/3 South American and 1/3 European and other. All ages were on this cruise, from tiny infants in arms to elderly people in wheelchairs. There were many family groups and fewer couples. I had expected an international and child-centered passenger list, which I thought would be charming, but instead felt chaotic. If you're mainly interested in sightseeing and view the cruise as a means to get from place to place, you might be unhappy with this cruise. If you view the cruise as your primary entertainment and visiting the ports as secondary, you'll probably like it. This is a party boat -- loud music, pastel blender cocktails and Brazilian beachwear is the atmosphere. If you're taking this cruise because you're part of a family group or can't afford a more upscale cruise and you're concerned about the party atmosphere, I'd recommend spending the extra money on a balcony cabin. You'll have a quiet place to hang out that isn't claustrophobic. We did that, and it was a lifesaver. Other random observations: The ship seemed really clean and we were 100% healthy the entire cruise without being picky eaters. Our cabin steward and waiter in the dinner dining room were smiling, hard-working people. The other crew members we encountered were more of a mixed bag. The dress code in the dinner dining room isn't enforced. There were beautifully dressed diners and diners wearing sweats and cut-off short shorts. Shopping is hugely emphasized on this cruise. If you shop as a passtime rather than to acquire stuff you need, you'll probably like this cruise. The pool bars are an organizational disaster. Even if you bought a drink package, you have to get bottled water or soda at a bar. The bartenders do everything, from making pastel blender cocktails to handing out water and soda, and each item has to be rung up on a computer. The bars are mobbed during the day. As a result, you have to wait 20 minutes to get a soda with lunch. It would be so simple to have a few pop-up stands at peak times to hand out the bottled drinks. MSC really needs to work on this problem. Another problem is long lines to disembark for shore visits. Shore visits are surprisingly short (pay attention to this detail if you're a sightseer). The long lines subtract valuable time from the already short shore time. There's also rampant line-cutting. I saw entire families cut the line, which I'd never seen before. Finally, cost. This cruise is like flying on Frontier airlines. You pay extra for EVERYTHING, drinks, wi-fi, excursions, gratuities. It adds up, especially if you're taking your children. You might be better off paying a higher cost up front if more items are included in that cost. I hope this info helps you make a decision about your next cruise vacation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Chose this cruise for the Havana Stay and that didn’t disappoint but MSC Opera did! The ship looks good, clean and well kept public areas. Our cabin was ocean view fantastica experience, cabin was small but had plenty of storage ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the Havana Stay and that didn’t disappoint but MSC Opera did! The ship looks good, clean and well kept public areas. Our cabin was ocean view fantastica experience, cabin was small but had plenty of storage space, bed was comfortable (still not sure fantastica means.) Dining - breakfast in dining room and in buffet both poor - cold eggs, cold bacon and the same everyday. Dinner - in main dining room service was good Rene & Louis did their best, but the quality of the meals was disappointing... every salad was serve soaking wet, moussaka had no aubergine, spicy Carribean pork had no flavour (considering one of our ports was Montego Bay you think they could have pick up some seasoning.) Only the fresh pasta and pizza dishes were well prepared and tasty, but on last day there were no dried chillis - and when asked the servers in pizzeria just shrugged. Service - most of the staff looked exhausted and they seemed very overworked (I’m an experienced cruiser and have spoken to staff on other cruise lines, yes I know they all work hard) but, we were told of 14 hr days, with few days off during a nine month contract. So service with a smile happened very rarely. Entertainment- I found the stage shows to be okay, the acrobats were very good. Considering that they needed to make it appealing in any language. Activities - the amination team dressed up and jumped around a lot. We enjoyed the jazz style guitarist. Spa - had 2 steam rooms, 2 saunas but they were both for male and females ? Not idea why not for single sex use. Spa services overpriced as usual. Gym equipment old, and poorly maintained. No I would not go again, food offerings poor, no wow factor. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We took a cHavana cruise on dec 2018 starting and ending in Havana. As the trip included new-years eve it was very expensive. As we entered the ship we immediately understood that it was a big mistake - you will see why: 1. ... Read More
We took a cHavana cruise on dec 2018 starting and ending in Havana. As the trip included new-years eve it was very expensive. As we entered the ship we immediately understood that it was a big mistake - you will see why: 1. Onboarding The ondoarding process is all on paper, No sea-pass or Card that is actiavted once you are registered. That has to be done on a Kiosk - so you have to queueu. We had booked a Wellness package with a bootle of champaign on the first day and water every day in our room. Of Course it did NOT work. The Steward did not know what that was and argued that it would NOT be part of the package. After goind the the documents we luckily had printed and two days of discussions we had been granted it. OK, that is not important one migth think, but why dod you have to argue for items that hed been sold? 2. Cleanness The cabin was dirty, bathroom full of hairs (we had to clean it) and there had been no soap or shampoo. The buffet area is very, very veeery dirty - I mean dirty!!! The flow is flled with French fries, sodas, water - all Kinds of stuff. You Need to clean your shoes when you leave the buffet. 3. Size of the cabin The cabind are very small, the balcony is 4' x 10' so that only 2 persons can sit on a chair. Having regular breakfast here is very difficult as the small table provides space for two cups and two plates only . 4. Food This is one of the worst parts. Niot only that they do NOT use any seasoning it also is either warm or cold. A medium steak is well done and dry. The bread was rotten - you could NOT eat it 5. Entertainment If you are used to modern Entertainment - bad luck for you. You will be listening to east-europe-trying-accent Songs or classic opera. That is basically it. If you are lucky you have a fairly good salsa band in one of the bars. 6. Complaints. You may try - it will not change anything and the staff will avoid you. We felt sorry for the People that performed as they had been frustrated by their Management. Summary: We paid a hell lot of money or the worst cruise ever. I have lost 6 pounds, had lack of sleep and can only warn you: If you are used to NCL, RCCL or Celebrity do NOT take MSC!!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Not really impressed with MSC Opera, so I would not recommend it to any of my friends. “Anytime Dining” means 8.30pm – any other time seemed to be an inconvenience (fortunately we were not assigned to one of the two sittings for ... Read More
Not really impressed with MSC Opera, so I would not recommend it to any of my friends. “Anytime Dining” means 8.30pm – any other time seemed to be an inconvenience (fortunately we were not assigned to one of the two sittings for evening meals – 15 minutes late and you are turned away). Average staff member was good, but the more senior ones have the poorest customer facing skills. Best avoid the Maitre d’ and his second-in-command in the fifth deck restaurant who both have severe attitude problems towards their customers. Some good meals served, but mostly average and very small portions. Carvery in buffet area good. The picture of the burger shown above the counter bears no resemblance to the inedible pile of stodge served up. Only four running machines in the gym – one of which was out of order much of the time. Constant nagging to buy additional packages and massages. Coffee poor across the ship poor, except for the speciality coffee shop on the 5th deck. Can take a long time to disembark The balcony cabins seem to creak when the boat is in motion. Toilet flush was intermittent. An erroneous charge of nearly 100UKP on our credit charge bill was removed after waiting for nearly two hours. No apology; just advised that the bill had been corrected. In fact, “sorry” does not seem to be in their vocabulary even when a member of the crew rams your ankle with a large trolley. One member of the Excursions team simply ignored us as we spoke in English. You must pick a room away from the noisy pool deck and nightclub – we were lucky here. Look after the table football ball – there is a 30 Euro fine if you lose it. Whilst it is obviously challenging to get any internet service whilst at sea, it is pointless paying for other than the basic social apps service – no signal and interruptions prevent you using your allowance. The other liners we docked against just looked so much smarter........ Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Saw this 2 week cruise as a deal before Christmas. Unusual itinerary so decided to go. Where to start!? We flew to Cuba on Air Europa, via Madrid. Never again...a party plane, with duty free booze on sale, with the obvious results and ... Read More
Saw this 2 week cruise as a deal before Christmas. Unusual itinerary so decided to go. Where to start!? We flew to Cuba on Air Europa, via Madrid. Never again...a party plane, with duty free booze on sale, with the obvious results and no interference from the crew...they hid! Opera was a huge disappointment. Multi lingual, very noisy, and lots of other nationalities, Spanish and Mexican especially, for whom it seemed this was their first cruise and who were determined to enjoy everything on offer to the detriment of other passengers. Corridor noise was an on-going problem. Evening theatre entertainment was spoiled by constant noise. The volume level around the ship was higher than on any others we have cruised!! Opera itself was hugely expensive...ships tours extortionate, alcohol for sale on board was 3 times the prices ashore! Everything on the ship seemed geared to getting money...tips expected, and asked for, everywhere. The staff rarely cracked a smile...there was an on-going challenge to make the security guards at the head of the gangplank grin just once...failed! Reception was hopeless---it took 5 visits and 2 safe changes before a working one was produced. Food in the restaurant was often cold, repetitive and orders were mixed up, with the staff then arguing that the meal presented was what we had ordered! The buffet was a permanent scrum, with hand sanitiser occasionally available. Milk, coffee, butter, menu items, ran out and were not replaced, despite officers walking around supposedly checking for potential problems! Time and motion did not exist. What other ship has the captain trying to sell ship's tours on his midday report? The ship picks up and puts down people in all ports visited. And it took 3 different safety drills to get one lot of a new intake of passengers to attend. On previous ships we have been aware of recalcitrant non-attendees being brought before the captain, and in one instance thrown off the ship! Basically this is an Italian ship, with a multi-lingual crew, (impressive, but generally unhelpful),who operate to a Mediterranean standard. The shows are geared to a multi-lingual audience - one 45 minute slot each night for pure opera and 2 singing and dancing shows. That means no lectures, no bridge, no singles support, no quizzes etc etc...anything which necessitates a specific. language. There were about 20-30 other Brits on this cruise,and they all said "never again". Having cruised over 40 times with various companies, we have learned our lesson, and will now avoid MSC generally Write another review Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Beds are comfortable and the room was very clean. Elias who was our cabin steward was very friendly and helpuful. Too bad the rest of the cruise crew had a terrible attitude, they were all super rude. The food at the buffet was ok, but ... Read More
Beds are comfortable and the room was very clean. Elias who was our cabin steward was very friendly and helpuful. Too bad the rest of the cruise crew had a terrible attitude, they were all super rude. The food at the buffet was ok, but they don’t serve a lot of options. The restaurant food was terrible, bland and small servings. The staff at the restaurant was super rude, and had a terrible artitude, up to the point we avoided asking for things. If you have a food intolerance forget about this cruise, they don’t take questions about what they are serving. We traveled with 3 adults on wheelchairs and they had a lot of trouble moving with them around the ship because cleaning carts blocked the hallways and we got yelled at when we tried to move them. One of the elevators did not work for almost 2 days and that one was the one we could reach. We asked for assistance and they completetly ignored us and they told us “we didn’t need the service” I wouln’t recommend this cruise if you have trouble moving arround. The entertainment was poor, and we could hear the music in our cabin until 1 am. Overall I think this cruise was way too expensive for the service and quality of meals. I wouldn’t recommend this ship to anyone unless you want to pay to get yelled at. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
First time on MSC and from all the reviews I had read I went in with low expectations. Embarkation was a nightmare. There were long lines that moved very slowly and there were large groups of very noisy people cutting in the line and ... Read More
First time on MSC and from all the reviews I had read I went in with low expectations. Embarkation was a nightmare. There were long lines that moved very slowly and there were large groups of very noisy people cutting in the line and pretending they did not speak English so they didn't need to explain themselves. Immigration and security was very slow and we even saw one of the officers asking the check in team to keep things slow as security was taking a long time so there were lines everywhere. The ship itself is old but has been quite well maintained although it is showing a little wear and tear in some areas and they have a tendency to try to mask funky smells with very strong sickly sweet floral scented air freshners. We did encounter a few maintenance issues like one of the public bathrooms not having water and water dripping from the ceiling in one of the cabin corridors. The cabin was one of the positives as it was a nice size and we were expecting it to feel small but it was very reasonable in size and we liked the decor. Shower was a little cramped and they still have shower curtains which is a shame. Dining was ok at the restaurant in the evening. As we tried the buffet for lunch and were not impressed, we had dinner at the restaurant every evening. We got a table for four but were by ourselves every day which we did not mind at all. Our waiters were friendly and fast. As most of the tables around us were either empty or half full the service was fast and efficient and food was normally always hot although quality and variety were sometimes lacking. As we had never done a new MSC cruise we did not know the type of food they served. It was just ok for us although at least we tried new things as we feel that most cruise companies tend to offer the same type of food through their fleet. However we did miss the quality in the food that other companies offer and that this one seemed to lack. We had a basic drinks package offered when we booked our cruise so that was a bonus as we normally do not get drinks packages. The package did not include a lot of choices but they were enough for us and we were especially glad to be able to have good expressos at the coffee shop. At the buffet the food was pretty bad in my opinion and breakfast was just ok but a little repetitive. They could have tried to at least vary the pastries and bread offered so there was some variety. The only food we liked in the buffet were the pizzas. Entertainment was also one of the positives. Although the shows were nothing fancy and the ship performers (evening shows) were not very good, they actually had some good side entertainment which they included in most of the shows such as a good tenor, an excellent mesosoprano, and other acrobatic performers from Russia and Mongolia. They made the shows enjoyable. The opera singers also performed in other bars throughout the ship a few times which was nice. We aren't really people who sit at bars listening to music so we cannot really comment on the musicians that were around the ship. They also had some good Cuban music one evening which was nice. Overall there were not that many activities offered compared to other ships I've been on but no complaints. Announcements in 7 different languages was a little bit of a pain but understandable due to the number of different nationalities on board. Now the service...that was the biggest negative for me of this ship...most members of staff are not very friendly and looked bored or annoyed most of the time. Security members getting us in and off the ship were sometimes even rude. They didn't acknowledge anyone, didn't even say thank you or welcome back or anything. Or at least answer the guests when they wish them a good morning. I believe that they may be understaffed so everyone has to work a lot so they are tired but that is definitely not the guests fault so at least try to be friendly. Bar service was slow at most bars and the staff went as far as ignore us completely even though we were standing there waiting to be served for a long time. The buffet waiters and bar service were the worst. Most of the time there were no waiters getting drink orders and when they were there, they took a long time to bring drinks and most of the time the beer, water or soft drinks were warm. We chose this ship and company because of the itinerary so we enjoyed the ports although we did not do any shore excursions offered by MSC. Getting on and off the ship in port was ok except in the Cayman Islands as we had to tender and that was very badly organized. Firstly they announced that the ship would leave at 2:30 pm when on the internet they always said 3 pm and then the last tender was at 1:30 pm which meant lots of people were scared to book tours outside the ship so as not to be late. We had booked a tour long in advance and were lucky enough that they are used to these changes and guaranteed they would get us to the last tender on time and they did so we really enjoyed our day. But we really waited a long time to get on and off the tenders which was a pain and definitely due to bad organizational skills from the MSC staff. Disembarkation was a little better although the immigration and security in Cuba takes so long we were inevitably in a long queue again. Suitcases were ready for pick up and taxis were available in Havana although we did have to walk a while after leaving the port as police in Havana doesn't allow the taxi drivers to pick up passengers in front of the port unfortunately for them and us passengers. I have another MSC cruise booked for next year on one of their new ships so I am hoping that service and food is better. I am willing to give them one more chance to change my mind. Another big negative for the MSC company is that they do status match for frequent passengers meaning that if you are a Top tier member in another cruise company they match your status...HOWEVER...they only do this for some nationalities and mine wasn't one of them so I was very disappointed and hope they change this very soon! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Went on this cruise because I wanted to see Havanna,Mexico and Jamaica. It was my first cruise, and I rely enjoyed this way of traveling! We had everything we redden on board! What I did not like, which i recon is the same whatever ... Read More
Went on this cruise because I wanted to see Havanna,Mexico and Jamaica. It was my first cruise, and I rely enjoyed this way of traveling! We had everything we redden on board! What I did not like, which i recon is the same whatever cruise you do is this: The food waste in restaurants was a shame to see, also thinking about all the poverty we saw ashore. There should have been solicitations on that in the restaurants! Also thinking about MSC`s partnership in UNICEF. I know that this is a hard task, but there are some hotels etc. that have done something about it. Like guest paying for the food waste etc. Also saw a lot of very tired and overworked staff in the restaurants. Long hours, heavy lifting and a lot to do. This two are th main thing I found very sad about the cruise. Also experienced the the estimated hours and real time for the excursions could vary in a couple of hours. That's too much when you have to plan your day. We also had to visit the doctor on the ship, she was great. The only thing we miss was that she should been licensed to document days of sickness. Travelers need that for getting replacement for lost holidays. Finally, when the bill came, we got a lot of "extra service payment". I checked it out, and did find out that it we voluntary to pay, but yo put it on the bill, without explanation on the bill. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We cruised with this company on the MSC Armonia in September this year. Although we had noted some bad reviews about this ship, we decided to give it the benefit of doubt and have a go. WELL WHERE DO WE START. Embarkation – An ... Read More
We cruised with this company on the MSC Armonia in September this year. Although we had noted some bad reviews about this ship, we decided to give it the benefit of doubt and have a go. WELL WHERE DO WE START. Embarkation – An absolute farce. We arrived at the port at 3:30pm after a night stay in a local hotel. We were told to leave our cases at port side but would not be allowed to board the ship till 6pm. We were therefore told to have a look around Havana for the next few hours carrying our rather heavy hand luggage. After a couple of hours sweating our cobs off we became very frustrated, went back to the ship and had to demand to be let on the ship. Eventually we got on board at 5:30 to be told we couldn’t go to our cabin till around 7pm as they were still being prepared. We therefore had to sit up on deck and wait. So to the Cabin (when we eventually got there) – Clean but dated and fairly small with a shower (curtain type) that you can barely swing a cat in. Plenty of cupboard space but we still had to leave about half a suitcase full under the bed. TV adequate. Marco polo Dining – Disgusting – We only used it once on the whole 14 night holiday. Poor quality food that was shunted one course straight after the other. Quick to say the least. We were in and out within 35 minutes. No offer of Coffee or cheese board etc. Buffet Restaurant – We used this all the time after the dining experience. Can be busy with average food quality. Europeans don’t like queuing, so expect to be barged about a bit. Drinks – Very expensive plus they put a 15% service charge on everything they sell. Laundry Facilities – Well what a money making Scam this is. Unlike other Cruise companies, these don’t have laundry facilities on decks. When I asked the reception if they could supply an Iron so we could spruce up our case creased clothes, we were told they don’t have them on board for safety reasons BUT it is OK to use hair straighteners and hair dryers. Upshot of that one is you can use their on board ironing service at seriously escalated rates. Be prepared to add a couple of hindered Euros to your tab if you want to have ironed clothes. BIG HINT ON THIS ONE – There is an electrical shop about ¾ of the way up the main street in Havana that do a lovely range in Irons and fairly cheap as well. Theatre – Acts are colourful but very amateurish. Singers and Duos in the Deck Bars - wouldn’t I suggest get in to the preliminary stages of our X Factor. Excursions – Very expensive but I have to say, these made the holiday. With regards to the vintage car tours in Havana. You get plenty of time in this port so I would recommend sort your own out prior to going on holiday. Web site is https://www.oldcartours.com/classic_car_tours_in_cuba You will find you only pay half the price and they’ll drop you back off at the port or any other place you want. WELL WORTH IT. On Board Staff – Reception Staff have their moments and can be helpful on the odd occasion. Buffet Staff are always busy but polite and our Cabin Lad was exceptional “ Wyann” ( if that’s how you spell it). Get a job with a different cruise company mate, you`re too good for these lot!!! DISEMBARKATION – We found this to be fairly organised and quick which is about the only Plus for them. Now for the big question – Would we use MSC again – NO!!!!! – Would visit the region again but not with this company. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
What an amazing wonderful experience. We did the Caribbean cruise. This was our first ever cruise. We chose MSC as We were attracted to the destinations that other cruise company’s didn’t do. I read the reviews and was a little ... Read More
What an amazing wonderful experience. We did the Caribbean cruise. This was our first ever cruise. We chose MSC as We were attracted to the destinations that other cruise company’s didn’t do. I read the reviews and was a little nervous but there was no need. It was a wonderful experience, staying in a five star hotel that took us to amazing places. Staff were wonderful, and ok you might have to queue or wait for a drink during busy times but the bar staff knew what they were doing and would get to you in turn, often serving 2-3 people at a time. Some people were rude which rightly didn’t get them served any quicker. I enjoyed visiting all the different destinations although short visits but the excursions gave you an overview of the place. Also enjoyed the days at sea. Ship would be fuller but the atmosphere created by the pool entertainment team was great. I would definitely use MSC again although would try a different ship and locations as that’s what we like to do. I am also curious to try one of the bigger cruise companies to see if they are as good as people say and worth the extra money, personally I think it’s difficult to beat this experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Not even 3 stars level, fraud with shore excursion, German description of the beverage package completely wrong, old and for passenger number clearly too small ship (German version below / Deutsche Version weiter unten) The ship ... Read More
Not even 3 stars level, fraud with shore excursion, German description of the beverage package completely wrong, old and for passenger number clearly too small ship (German version below / Deutsche Version weiter unten) The ship The MSC Armonia is comparatively old. The ship was built in 2001 for Festival Cruises as MS European Vision and was taken over by MSC after Festival’s bankruptcy. It was renovated in 2014 and extended by about 20 m. Due to the renovation you can hardly see the high age of the ship, at least not in the interior design. Only some of the elevators are a bit rickety and have worn buttons with hardly readable lettering. By the way there are 4 elevator areas instead of the usual 2 or 3 (which is probably related to the extension), but nevertheless you still often had to wait a long time and some of the elevators do not reach the pool deck. There is no atrium and also something like a Royal Promenade / Broadway does not exist. The fact that the ship is rather old can mainly be seen from the overall design. For example, there is only one deck with balcony cabins. Positive: In the rear area the ship is much less built up than many modern ships, there one can get over outside stairs from deck 11 to at least deck 8 (or 7...) and you can find quiet places there. For breakfast a relatively small outside area behind the buffet can be used (or you could just go one or two decks lower). There is also a semi-open area (covered with an awning) with a bar in front of the buffet. The pool area is relatively spacious (because of the extension). There are two main pools, two whirlpools and a large children's paddling area. Nevertheless, the pools and also the number of sunbeds in the shade* are not nearly sufficient for the large number of passengers (approx. 2600!) on a rather small ship. There is no solarium (covered pool area) on this ship. This problem was also exacerbated by the outrageous behavior of many fellow passengers (keyword “Chair Hogs”, see also below), which was completely ignored by the MSC employees. The cabin My cabin (a standard outside cabin on deck 8) was by far the smallest I had on my 30 cruises so far. For a single use it was sufficient, but with the normal two occupancy you probably constantly step on each other's feet. The bathroom was also very small with a tiny triangular shower corner separated only by a curtain. But the cabin was functional and elegantly furnished - and always top clean - thanks to my cabin steward Mohamad! Service I chose MSC for this trip exclusively because of the interesting route and the comparatively low price with a very moderate single cabin surcharge. So far I have cruised mainly with Celebrity, Princess, NCL and Royal Caribbean. Altogether I had to find out that MSC does not come close to these cruise lines from the entire service level. The friendliness of the staff (apart from those with whom one had constant direct contact, i.e. cabin steward and head waiter as well as a few bartenders) was far below from the standard on American cruise lines. For example, nobody welcomed the guests when entering the buffet restaurant (no "Good Morning!", no "Welcome!", no "Enjoy your breakfast!" ...), nobody said goodbye to them (no "Have a nice day!", no "Thank you!", no "Good bye!"). When going onshore or coming back the boarding pass was accepted without any greeting (no "Enjoy your day!" or "Welcome back!") and without the slightest hint of a smile. The service at most bars (especially at the pool bar and at the Il Girasole) was listless, sluggish, very slow, not very friendly and often disinterested. There, one was sometimes left standing for minutes while something was rearranged or the counter was cleaned unhurriedly. One could also place the order with the waitresses directly in front of the bar. They were always friendly - but it wasn't any faster. But there was very good, always friendly service in the White Lion Pub and at the casino bar. Numerous small things, which are of course included in the above mentioned American cruise lines, are only available at MSC for an extra charge (e.g. ice cream or water for dinner in the main restaurant), if you haven't booked a beverage package (yes, strangely enough you also need a "beverage" package for the ice cream!). Even for the access to the upper sundeck there is an extra charge, which I feel is outrageous! Food The meals served on board were among the worst I've had on all my cruises so far. The choice in the main restaurant was rather below average, there was often risotto as well as some pasta dishes (which were qualitatively quite good), but e.g. very rarely steak (and that was then abysmal: quite thin, very dry and chewy). Also it was delivered (very) well done on both occasions despite explicit order medium. The meat showed that MSC was mainly concerned with the price and not with the quality. Filet mignon, lobster, surf & turf were not available at all (without additional payment), although these are all classics on other cruise lines. Just to compare: at Celebrity there is New York Steak available as a daily alternative. At MSC Armonia there is also no specialty restaurant. The offer in the buffet restaurant was still much worse! For breakfast there was exactly the same every day. At lunch time and in the evening there was hardly any meat to choose from (mostly only chicken and at best a roast, at any rate no steak) and the selection of vegetables and fruit was also extremely modest. If you wanted a piece of fresh pineapple, you had to order a cocktail. At the buffet, pineapples were only available from the can. Altogether the fruit offer in the middle of the Caribbean was rather poor. During an earlier voyage, MSC had praised itself several times in the on-board newspaper for having a pizza baker on every ship. Surprisingly, both the pizzas served on the Splendida and now on the Armonia were the worst I have ever eaten: very thinly topped, bone dry and at the same time tough, and largely tasteless. Every Philippine assistant cook on an American ship creates much better pizzas (and that even without any Italian roots). The most insignificant McDonalds somewhere in the outback would be ashamed of the burgers (wretchedly thin and wishy-washy) and French fries (floppy) served at the MSC Armonia. Beverage package with wrong, deceptive name and completely incorrect (German) description I had booked the "Premium All-inclusive" beverage package as well. The description on the German website is completely wrong. It starts with the name: all premium drinks are excluded (and the package is far from being "all inclusive"). On board / in English this beverage package is only called "All inclusive drink package" - and there is also a "Deluxe all inclusive drink package". Only the latter corresponds to a "Premium" or "All inclusive" package to a large extent, even though not really everything is included there. The German description of the "Premium All-inclusive" beverage package promises "... a large selection of open wines (by the glass), beer...". Of course, you can argue about when a "large selection" starts. I would have expected approx. 10 different white and red wines each. At MSC the " large selection" consists of the choice between two white wines, one rosé and two red wines. With the white wine one could choose between an Italian Grillo and a (probably also Italian) Chardonnay. The Chardonnay was clearly below average, the Grillo practically undrinkable. Everyone who only wanted white wine got the Grillo without asking. With beer one had the "choice" between Heineken in a small glass, Heineken in a large glass and Heineken in a small bottle. I found this restriction particularly outrageous, as there was a whole series of other varieties of beer (all in 0.33 - 0.355l bottles) at exactly the same price of the Heineken bottle of 4.80 EUR (+15% tip). After a long discussion about the obviously faulty German description of the beverage package with a receptionist, with the deputy bar manager and finally with the chief bar manager (all very nice), my "not at all premium and not really all-inclusive" beverage package (internal code, e.g. on the boarding pass: 431) was upgraded to the "Deluxe all inclusive drink package" (code 421) free of charge. With this package you get almost everything included: Beer of other varieties than Heineken, e.g. Stella Artois from Belgium, Red Stripe from Jamaica, Dos Equis from Mexico, Cristal and Buccanero from Cuba. With wine, you can actually choose, although the choice and quality is very much behind that offered at NCL or Celebrity. There were mainly unknown Italian wines (of which no one convinced me) and a few international ones. MSC even managed to select a German Rieslings that doesn't taste at all – although there are a lot of excellent German Rieslings to choose from. In the end I mostly drank Californian Chardonnay (Woodbridge). With the 421'er beverage package you can also enjoy a good rum (after all, you are in the Caribbean!), like the 7-year-old Havanna Club or the 8-year-old Barcardi. There were also two kinds of single malt whisky: Glenlivet and Bowmore, while the Macallan was not included in this package either. Entertainment / Shows The theatre shows were really great. Here MSC can almost keep up with the American companies. Absolutely no comparison with the incredibly lousy offer at the cruise company with the stupidest ship names of all time (Mein Schiff #). TUI Cruises could even learn here something from MSC - or even better they could ask their parent company RCI (RCCL, Celebrity). At MSC there was apart from the main show (performed at two times to fit the two meal times) also an alternative show in between (9:15 p.m.). Among others there were two incredibly good singers (he tenor, she mezzo-soprano), who performed classical music at several gigs - opera arias among others, may sound boring to some, but they were really great. If a large opera house, like the Scala in Milan, would engage these two, this house would absolutely not have to be ashamed of it! However, I have to deduct one point here because I had booked two consecutive (one week each) cruises and the show program was exactly repeated in the second week. If a cruise company (as not uncommon) offers two routes alternately, it is obvious that many guests book both routes (back to back) - especially since this was already offered here from the outset as a combination cruise. In such a case I expect a show program for two weeks. Also the musicians in the bars and lounges showed an appealing performance. The offered pool activities were rather not my thing - but that is a matter of taste. Fraud on a shore excursion The fact that the shore excursions offered by cruise companies are almost always completely overpriced is well known. But I have never experienced anything like this time at the MSC: During a shore excursion booked through MSC I feel very betrayed - I'm sorry, but I really can't express it any other way. A few days before the cruise I booked the shore excursion MTB42 (German title “AUSFLUG TO THE MAYFIELD FALLS”, from Montego Bay) via internet. For the booking decision the description displayed on the German website of MSC was of course decisive for the purchase. I booked the trip because of the promised following experience elements: - Jeep trip - Guided hike along the river (with information from the tour guide) - Climbing / swimming in the river Unfortunately I had to find out during the trip that the first two points did not take place at all: - Instead of a jeep (as booked) the trip took place with an old, rickety, shabby bus of Chinese origin. - Apart from the short descent from the parking lot to the starting point of the (inside the) river hike, there was only the return (a few hundred meters) from the end of the river hike to the starting point along the river bank as a "hike", but without any explanations. As the wrong excursion description is still on the net weeks after my multiple complaints, the suspicion arises that this is not a mistake but a deliberate act. Since a jeep tour is usually considerably more expensive than a simple bus trip and the guided river bank hike did not take place, I demanded a corresponding refund from MSC. For a half day excursion by bus with only one stop the excursion price would be completely unreasonable. I would never book such a thing! 6 weeks!!! later MSC promised a 50% refund, but another two weeks later I still did not receive the money. Port times / Last tender In some cases, berthing times in the ports were significantly shorter than they could have been with reasonable planning. With a slightly higher sailing speed the departure could have taken place much later or the arrival correspondingly earlier. I found it particularly bad if the last tender boat had already sailed a whole hour or even 1.5 hours (Belize and Roatan) before the scheduled departure time of the ship. Even with the really long tender trip in Belize, half an hour before the ship's departure would be completely sufficient (tender trip time about 15 minutes - and since local tender boats are used here, no time is necessary to board the lifeboats again). Example Roatan: Arrival of the ship according to the daily planner at 7:00 a.m., actual arrival at 6:00 a.m., but the first tender boat did not leave until 8:00 a.m.! What is this about? Departure of the last tender boat was again already at 3:30 p.m., although the departure of the ship was scheduled for 5:00 p.m. (journey time of the tender boat less than 10 minutes). The distance to the next port Costa Maya was 166 nautical miles, arrival there 7:00 a.m.. This results in an average speed of less than 12 knots. With this section it would be theoretically even possible to leave only at 10:00 p.m. (last tender 9:30 p.m.) and to arrive nevertheless the next morning punctually. Second example: George Town, Grand Cayman: last tender boat already at 1:30 p.m.!, departure at 2:30 p.m., 332 nautical miles to Cozumel, arrival there at 10:00 a.m.. With an average speed of 20 knots (unfortunately this old ship cannot do more than 21 knots), a departure 3 hours later (or a corresponding earlier arrival) would have been possible. I cannot avoid the impression that the effective mooring times are deliberately artificially shortened in order to make it as difficult as possible to organize individual or local shore excursions. Fellow passengers One of the biggest problems of an MSC cruise are the fellow passengers. If you travel with an American cruise company, the majority of the passengers are usually US-Americans. Of course, there are also always some Canadians, Australians and British. Experience has shown that these people are almost always very polite, extremely considerate and friendly (ok, perhaps apart from the typical Carnival clientele) - and they are almost always ready for a small talk. On an MSC ship most of the passengers speak Italian, Spanish or Portuguese and are not only from the mother countries of these languages, but also from the former colonies. On this trip there were numerous Argentinians, Mexicans and Brazilians. Attempts of a Small Talk almost always fail, since one cannot presuppose even elementary English knowledge with these compatriots. Compared to the US-Americans, whom I have learned to appreciate as pleasant fellow travelers, these people are much more ruthless (jostle often, reserve sun beads the whole day without ever using them...) and they are always very loud, especially since they also like to appear in large groups. It can happen that you wake up at 2 a.m. (or at 4:30 a.m.!), because there is a loud palaver in the corridor in front of the cabin (the soundproofing wasn't the best either). After two weeks on the cruise, one is simply annoyed by their constant loud chatter! Some of these passengers apparently haven't been taught the basic rules of elevator use yet. There is a lot of pushing into the elevator although not all people wanting to get out have left it yet or they get into a downward moving elevator although they want to go up (and with that the elevator gets uselessly clogged). Other points Compared to American ships, little attention is paid to hygiene. There are the usual stands with hand disinfectants, but often the dispensers were empty and the passengers are never asked to use these dispensers. The captain read a few words in 5 languages from a sheet at the captain's reception, but otherwise he did not make any of the usual announcements (ship position, route, weather, events...). Fortunately, there were also no bingo or similar announcements. But the announcements of the cruise director e.g. after every theatre show in at least 5 different languages were extremely annoying. The info page in the on-board TV was largely unusable. On the maps there was no information about the distance already covered or the distance still open, no display of the speed, the display of outside temperature, air pressure, wind force and wind direction did not work (it was allegedly always exactly 20°C with a wind speed of 0 knots). The usual functions for displaying the on-board account or for booking excursions were not available here either. All clocks on board were constantly 12 minutes ahead - which is certainly not dramatic, but a sign of general carelessness. Flight package Only in the afternoon before the departure an email came with the hint that the Cuba entry card (Visa card) is available at an MSC booth near the check-in counter at the airport. There we were told that we don't have to pick up our suitcases in Havana ourselves, instead they would be taken directly to the ship. At the airport in Havana stood then directly after the immigration a representative of MSC, who informed us that we must pick up our suitcases ourselves and bring them to the bus. A bit chaotic. The fact that MSC uses the worst airlines in the world (Ugh! Disgusting! Condor* and the hearsay even worse Air Europe) rounds off the overall picture. They even print the Condor flight on their departure information sheet as "MSC flight DE 2185". * Ancient and correspondingly unreliable aircrafts (the aircraft used for the outbound flight had to be quickly repaired on the apron shortly before takeoff; the Boeing 767 used on the return flight with the identification D-ABUZ is more than 27 years old!), cheapest apron parking position in Frankfurt still behind various cargo aircrafts with correspondingly long bus journey and eternal delay in baggage reclaim, extremely narrow seat spacing (30"=76cm!!), very narrow seats (17"=43cm), extremely thin and correspondingly hard upholstered seating with garden center quality at best, poor on-board catering without any choice (two warm meals with a choice between 2 or 3 dishes each are usual on routes of this length), no normal selection of drinks (without additional payment), extreme pettiness regarding the luggage (even hand luggage is weighed). Condor is also probably the only airline in the whole world that even has the brazenness to charge extra for the in-flight entertainment program (9€)! At Condor you don't feel treated like a guest, but only like a case of transportation. After my internet booking request I was informed that there are no more flights from Frankfurt and that I would have to fly with Air Europe from Düsseldorf via Madrid. For me, this would have meant a night on the train both on the way there and on the way back and, of course, a much longer and more complicated journey overall. A short internet search showed however still free places on the Condor flights (as mentioned above also very badly, but nevertheless nonstop), whereupon I made my cruise reservation dependent on the additional reservation of these flights, which then suddenly was confirmed very fast. Probably the Air Europe flights are cheaper. Condor is a miserable low service airline, but by no means cheap. Due to the numerous points in which MSC has remained below my expectations and of course above all also due to the deliberate deceptions on their German website I will rather go in the future again with American cruise lines. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- German version / Deutsche Version: Nicht mal 3 Sterne Niveau, Betrug bei Landausflug, Beschreibung Getränkepaket völlig falsch, altes und für Passagierzahl deutlich zu kleines Schiff Das Schiff Die MSC Armonia ist vergleichsweise alt. Das Schiff wurde 2001 für Festival Cruises als MS European Vision gebaut und nach deren Bankrott von MSC übernommen. Es wurde 2014 renoviert und dabei um ca. 20m verlängert. Aufgrund der Renovierung sieht man dem Schiff sein hohes Alter zumindest bei der Inneneinrichtung kaum an. Lediglich einige der Fahrstühle sind etwas klapprig und haben abgenutzte Knöpfe mit kaum lesbarer Beschriftung. Es gibt übrigens 4 Fahrstuhlbereiche statt der üblichen 2 oder 3 (was wohl mit der Verlängerung zusammenhängt), wobei man aber trotzdem oft lange warten musste und zudem mit einigen der Fahrstühle nicht aufs Pooldeck kommt. Es gibt kein Atrium und so etwas wie eine Royal Promenade / Broadway schon gar nicht. Daß das Schiff schon älter ist sieht man auch eher am Gesamtdesign. Es gibt z.B. nur ein einziges Deck mit Balkonkabinen. Positiv: Im hinteren Bereich ist das Schiff weit weniger zugebaut als viele modernere Schiffe, man kann dort über Außentreppen von Deck 11 bis mindestens Deck 8 (oder 7...) gelangen und findet dort ruhige Plätze. Zum Frühstück konnte man hinter dem Buffet einen relativ kleinen Außenbereich nutzen (oder eben ein oder zwei Decks tiefer gehen). Außerdem gibt es einen halboffenen Bereich (Sonnensegel) mit Bar vor dem Buffet. Der Poolbereich ist (wegen der Verlängerung) relativ großzügig. Es gibt zwei Hauptpools, zwei Whirlpools und einen großen Kinderplanschbereich. Trotzdem reichen die Pools und auch die Anzahl der Liegen im Schatten* nicht annähernd aus für die große Zahl an Mitreisenden (ca. 2600!) bei einem insgesamt doch eher kleinen Schiff. Ein Solarium (überdachter Poolbereich) gibt es auf diesem Schiff nicht. * Dieses Problem wurde auch durch das unverschämte Verhalten zahlreicher Mitreisender (Stichwort Chair Hogs, siehe auch weiter unten), welches von den MSC Angestellten völlig ignoriert wurde, verschärft. Die Kabine Meine Kabine (eine Standardaußenkabine auf Deck 8) war die mit weitem Abstand kleinste Kabine die ich auf meinen bisher 30 Kreuzfahrten hatte. Für eine Einzelbenutzung war sie ausreichend, aber bei der normalen Zweierbelegung tritt man sich wohl ständig gegenseitig auf die Füße. Das Bad war auch sehr klein mit einer nur durch einen Vorhang abgetrennten, winzigen, dreieckförmigen Duschecke. Die Kabine war aber zweckmäßig und elegant eingerichtet - und immer top sauber - Danke an meinen Kabinensteward Mohamad! Service Ich habe MSC für diese Reise ausschließlich wegen der interessanten Route und wegen des vergleichsweise günstigen Preises mit sehr moderatem Einzelkabinenzuschlag gewählt. Bisher bin ich hauptsächlich mit Celebrity, Princess, NCL und Royal Caribbean gefahren. Insgesamt musste ich feststellen, daß MSC vom gesamten Service-Niveau her nicht annähernd an diese Kreuzfahrtlinien heranreicht. Die Freundlichkeit des Personals (abgesehen von denen, mit denen man ständig direkten Kontakt hatte, also Kabinensteward und Hauptkellner sowie einigen wenigen Barkeepern) war weit entfernt vom amerikanischem Standard. So hat z.B. niemand die Gäste beim Betreten des Buffetrestaurants begrüßt (kein "Good Morning!", kein "Welcome!", kein "Enjoy your breakfast!" ...), niemand hat einen dort verabschiedet (kein "Good bye!", kein "Have a nice day!", kein "Thank you!"). Beim Landgang wurde die Bordkarte grußlos (kein "Enjoy your day!" oder "Welcome back!") und ohne die geringste Andeutung eines Lächelns entgegengenommen. Die Bedienung an den meisten Bars (insbesondere an der Poolbar und an der Il Girasole) war lustlos, träge, sehr langsam, nicht besonders freundlich und oft desinteressiert. Dort wurde man teilweise minutenlang stehengelassen während in aller Ruhe etwas umsortiert oder der Tresen saubergemacht wurde. Man konnte die Bestellung auch bei den Kellnerinnen direkt vor der Bar aufgeben. Diese waren immer freundlich - aber schneller ging es dadurch auch nicht. Sehr guten, immer freundlichen Service gab es aber im White Lion Pub und an der Casino-Bar. Zahlreiche Kleinigkeiten, die bei den oben erwähnten amerikanischen Kreuzfahrtlinien selbstverständlich inklusive sind, gibt es bei MSC nur gegen Extra-Bezahlung (z.B. Eiscreme oder Wasser zum Dinner im Hauptrestaurant), wenn man kein Getränkepaket gebucht hat (ja, seltsamerweise braucht man auch für das Eis ein "Getränke"-Paket!). Sogar für den Zugang zum obersten Sonnendeck wird extra kassiert, was ich als unverschämt empfinde! Speisen Die an Bord servierten Mahlzeiten waren mit die schlechtesten, die ich auf all meinen Kreuzfahrten bisher bekommen habe. Die Auswahl im Hauptrestaurant war eher unterdurchschnittlich, es gab häufig Risotto sowie einige Pastagerichte (die qualitativ durchaus gut waren), aber z.B. nur sehr selten Steak (und das war dann grottenschlecht: ziemlich dünn, sehr trocken und zäh). Auch wurde es trotz ausdrücklicher Bestellung statt medium im ersten Versuch bei beiden Gelegenheiten (sehr) well done geliefert. Am Fleisch konnte man gut erkennen, daß es MSC beim Einkauf hauptsächlich um den Preis und nicht um die Qualität gegangen ist. Filet Mignon, Hummer, Surf & Turf gab es nicht einmal (ohne Zuzahlung), dabei sind dies alles Klassiker bei anderen Kreuzfahrtlinien. Nur zum Vergleich: bei Celebrity gibt es beim Dinner als täglich verfügbare Alternative New York Steak. Bei der MSC Armonia gibt es auch kein Spezialitätenrestaurant. Das Angebot im Buffet-Restaurant war noch sehr viel schlechter! Zum Frühstück gab es jeden Tag exakt dasselbe. Mittags und abends gab es kaum Fleisch zum Auswählen (meist nur Huhn und bestenfalls mal einen Braten, jedenfalls kein Steak) und die Gemüse- und Obstauswahl war auch ausgesprochen bescheiden. Wenn man ein Stück frische Ananas haben wollte, musste man sich einen Cocktail bestellen. Beim Buffet gab es die Ananas jedenfalls nur aus der Dose. Insgesamt war das Obstangebot mitten in der Karibik ziemlich dürftig. Bei einer früheren Reise hat sich MSC in der Bordzeitung mehrfach dafür gerühmt auf jedem Schiff einen Pizzabäcker zu haben. Erstaunlicherweise waren sowohl die Pizzen, die damals auf der Splendida serviert wurden, als auch die jetzt auf der Armonia, die schlechtesten, die ich je gegessen habe: sehr dünn belegt, knochentrocken und gleichzeitig zäh, sowie weitgehend geschmacksfrei. Jeder philippinische Hilfskoch auf einem amerikanischen Schiff bekommt wesentlich bessere Pizzen hin (und das ganz ohne italienische Wurzeln). Für die Burger (erbärmlich dünn und labberig) und die Pommes Frites (nur labberig), die auf der MSC Armonia serviert wurden, würde sich noch der popligste McDonalds in Hintertupfingen schämen. Getränkepaket mit falschem, täuschendem Namen und völlig unzutreffender Beschreibung Ich hatte das "Premium All-inclusive"-Getränkepaket mitgebucht. Die Beschreibung auf der deutschen Webseite ist vollkommen falsch. Das fängt schon mit dem Namen an: es sind nämlich sämtliche Premium-Getränke ausgeschlossen (und "All inklusive" ist es schon mal gar nicht). An Bord / in Englisch wird dieses Getränkepaket auch nur "All inclusive drink package" genannt - und es gibt dort auch noch ein "Deluxe all inclusive drink package". Nur letzteres entspricht weitgehend einem "Premium" oder "All inclusive" Paket, wenngleich dort auch noch nicht wirklich alles inklusive ist. In der deutschen Beschreibung des "Premium All-inclusive"-Getränkepaketes wird "... eine große Auswahl offener Weine (glasweise), Bier ..." versprochen. Darüber, ab wann eine "große Auswahl" beginnt, kann man natürlich streiten. Ich hätte je ca. 10 verschiedene Weiß- und Rotweine erwartet. Bei MSC besteht die "große Auswahl" aus der Wahl zwischen 2 Weißweinen, einem Rose- und 2 Rotweinen. Beim Weißwein konnte man zwischen einem italienischem Grillo und einem (wohl auch italienischem) Chardonnay wählen. Der Chardonnay war deutlich unterdurchschnittlich, der Grillo praktisch ungenießbar. Alle, die nur Weißwein verlangt haben, bekamen ohne Nachfrage den Grillo. Beim Bier hatte man die "Wahl" zwischen Heineken im kleinen Glas, Heineken im großen Glas sowie Heineken in einer kleinen Flasche. Diese Einschränkung fand ich besonders unverschämt, da es eine ganze Reihe weiterer Biersorten (alle in 0,33 - 0,355l Flaschen) zum exakt gleichen Preis der Heineken-Flasche von 4,80 EUR (+15% Trinkgeld) gab. Nach einer längeren Diskussion über die offensichtlich fehlerhafte deutsche Beschreibung des Getränkepakets mit einem Rezeptionisten, mit dem stellvertretenden Barmanager und letztendlich mit dem Chef-Barmanager (alle sehr nett) wurde mein "Überhauptnicht Premium und nicht wirklich All-inclusive"-Getränkepaket (interner Code, u.a. auf der Bordkarte: 431) in das "Deluxe all inclusive drink package" (code 421) kostenfrei upgegradet. Mit diesem Paket gibt es dann tatsächlich fast alles inklusive: Bier auch anderer Sorten als Heineken, z.B. Stella Artois aus Belgien, Red Stripe aus Jamaica, Dos Equis aus Mexiko, Cristal und Buccanero aus Kuba. Beim Wein darf man dann auch tatsächlich wählen, wenngleich die Auswahl und Qualität doch sehr sehr hinter der von NCL oder Celebrity zurückbleibt. Es gab hauptsächlich unbekannte italienische Weine (von denen mich keiner überzeugt hat) und einige wenige internationale. MSC hat es sogar geschafft, unter all den hervorragenden deutschen Rieslingen einen auszuwählen, der überhaupt nicht schmeckt. Am Ende habe ich meist kalifornischen Chardonnay (Woodbridge) getrunken. Mit dem 421'er Getränkepaket kann man auch mal einen guten Rum (man ist ja schließlich in der Karibik!) genießen, wie den 7-jährigen Havanna Club oder den 8-jährigen Barcardi. Es gab auch zwei Sorten Single Malt Whisky: Glenlivet und Bowmore, während der Macallan auch bei diesem Paket nicht inklusive war. Entertainment / Shows Die Theatershows waren wirklich großartig. Hier kann MSC fast mit den amerikanischen Gesellschaften mithalten. Absolut kein Vergleich mit dem unglaublich lausigem Angebot bei der Kreuzfahrtgesellschaft mit den dämlichsten Schiffsnamen aller Zeiten (Mein Schiff #). Da könnte sich TUI Cruises sogar mal was bei MSC abschauen - oder besser gleich ihre Muttergesellschaft RCI (RCCL, Celebrity) fragen. Bei MSC gab es außer der Hauptshow (zu zwei Zeiten aufgeführt passend zu den zwei Essenszeiten) auch meist noch eine alternative Show dazwischen (21:15 Uhr). U.a. gab es zwei unglaublich gute Sänger (er Tenor, sie Mezzosopran), die bei mehreren Auftritten klassische Musik vorgetragen haben - u.a. Opernarien, klingt jetzt vielleicht für manche langweilig, aber die beiden waren echt klasse. Wenn ein großes Opernhaus, wie die Mailänder Scala, diese beiden engagieren würde, müsste sich dieses Haus absolut nicht dafür schämen! Einen Punktabzug muß ich hier aber doch vornehmen, da ich zwei aufeinanderfolgende (je einwöchige) Kreuzfahrten gebucht hatte und sich das Showprogramm in der zweiten Woche exakt wiederholt hat. Wenn eine Kreuzfahrtgesellschaft (wie nicht unüblich) zwei Routen immer abwechselnd anbietet, liegt es nahe, daß viele Gäste beide Routen buchen - zumal dieses hier so bereits von vornherein als Kombinationskreuzfahrt angeboten wurde. In einem solchen Fall erwarte ich dann auch ein Showprogramm für zwei Wochen. Auch die Musiker in den Bars und Lounges haben eine ansprechende Leistung gezeigt. Die gebotenen Poolaktivitäten waren eher nicht mein Ding - aber das ist Geschmackssache. Betrug beim Landausflug Daß die von Kreuzfahrtgesellschaften angebotenen Landausflüge fast immer völlig überteuert sind, kennt man ja. Aber so etwas wie diesmal beim MSC habe ich noch nie erlebt: Bei einem über MSC gebuchten Landausflug fühle ich mich ausgesprochen betrogen - tut mir leid, aber anders kann ich das wirklich nicht ausdrücken. Ich habe einige Tage vor der Kreuzfahrt via Internet den Landausflug MTB42 (AUSFLUG ZU DEN MAYFIELD FALLS, ab Montego Bay) gebucht. Für die Buchungsentscheidung war natürlich die mir auf der deutschen Webseite von MSC angezeigte Beschreibung kaufentscheidend. Ich habe den Ausflug wegen der versprochenen folgenden Erlebniselementen gebucht: - Jeepfahrt - Geführte Wanderung am Flussufer (mit Informationen durch den Reiseleiter) - Klettern / schwimmen im Fluss Leider musste ich während des Ausflugs feststellen, daß die ersten beiden Punkte überhaupt nicht stattfanden: - Statt einem Jeep (wie gebucht) erfolgte die Fahrt mit einem alten, klapprigen, schäbigen Bus chinesischer Herkunft. - Außer dem kurzen Abstieg vom Parkplatz zum Ausgangspunkt der (Im)-Flusswanderung gab es als "Wanderung" nur die Rückkehr (wenige hundert Meter) vom Ende der Flusswanderung an den Ausgangspunkt entlang des Flussufers, dies aber ohne jegliche Erklärungen. Da die falsche Ausflugsbeschreibung auch noch Wochen nach meiner mehrfachen Reklamation unverändert im Netz steht, drängt sich der Verdacht geradezu auf, daß es sich hierbei nicht um ein Versehen sondern um Vorsatz handelt. Da eine Jeeptour üblicherweise deutlich teurer als eine simple Busfahrt ist und die geführte Flussuferwanderung nicht stattfand, habe ich eine entsprechende Erstattung von MSC gefordert. Für einen Halbtagesausflug per Bus mit nur einem Stopp wäre der verlangte Preis jedenfalls vollkommen unangemessen. So etwas würde ich niemals buchen! Der deutsche MSC-Kundenservice hat nach 6 Wochen!!! eine 50% Rückzahlung zugesagt, aber weitere zwei Wochen später das Geld immer noch nicht überwiesen. Liegezeiten / Last Tender Teilweise waren die Liegezeiten in den Häfen deutlich kürzer als sie bei vernünftiger Planung sein könnten. Mit einer geringfügig höheren Fahrgeschwindigkeit hätte die Abfahrt deutlich später oder die Ankunft entsprechend früher erfolgen können. Als besonders übel habe ich es empfunden, wenn das letzte Tenderboot bereits eine ganze Stunde oder gar 1,5 Stunden (Belize und Roatan) vor der planmäßigen Abfahrtzeit des Schiffes fuhr. Selbst bei der wirklich weiten Tenderfahrt in Belize würde eine halbe Stunde vor Schiffsabfahrt völlig ausreichen (Tenderfahrzeit etwa 15 Minuten - und da hier lokale Tenderboote zum Einsatz kommen ist auch keine Zeit zum Wiederanbordnehmen der Rettungsboote notwendig). Beispiel Roatan: Ankunft des Schiffs lt. Tagesplaner um 7:00 Uhr, tatsächliche Ankunft gegen 6:00 Uhr, das erstes Tenderboot fuhr aber erst um 8:00 Uhr! Was soll das? Abfahrt des letzten Tenderbootes war wiederum schon um 15:30 Uhr, obwohl die Abfahrt des Schiffes erst für 17:00 Uhr angesetzt war (Fahrzeit des Tenderbootes dabei weniger als 10 Minuten). Die Entfernung zum nächsten Hafen Costa Maya betrug 166 Seemeilen, Ankunft dort 7:00 Uhr. Dabei ergibt sich eine Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit von weniger als 12 Knoten. Bei diesem Teilstück wäre es theoretisch sogar möglich, erst um 22:00 Uhr loszufahren (letzter Tender 21:30 Uhr) und trotzdem am nächsten Morgen pünktlich anzukommen. Zweites Beispiel: George Town, Grand Cayman: letztes Tenderboot bereits um 13:30 Uhr, Abfahrt um 14:30 Uhr, 332 Seemeilen bis Cozumel, Ankunft dort um 10:00 Uhr. Bei einer Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit von 20 Knoten (mehr als 21 Knoten schafft dieses alte Schiff leider nicht), wäre eine Abfahrt 3 Stunden später (oder eine entsprechend frühere Ankunft) möglich gewesen. Ich kann mich des Eindrucks nicht erwehren, daß die effektiven Liegezeiten absichtlich künstlich verkürzt werden, um das Organisieren von individuellen bzw. die Buchung von lokalen Landausflügen möglichst zu erschweren. Mitreisende Eines der größten Probleme einer MSC-Kreuzfahrt sind die Mitreisenden. Wenn man mit einer amerikanischen Kreuzfahrtgesellschaft fährt, bestehen die Mitreisenden üblicherweise zum größten Teil aus US-Amerikanern. Natürlich gibt es dort auch immer einige Kanadier, Australier und Briten. Diese Leute sind erfahrungsgemäß fast immer sehr höflich, ausgesprochen rücksichtsvoll und freundlich (ok, vielleicht mal abgesehen von der typischen Carnival-Klientel) - und sie sind fast immer auch zu einem Small Talk bereit. Auf einem MSC Schiff sprechen die meisten Mitreisenden italienisch, spanisch oder portugiesisch, wobei sie nicht nur aus den Mutterländern dieser Sprachen kommen, sondern auch aus den ehemaligen Kolonien. Auf dieser Reise gab es zahlreiche Argentinier, Mexikaner und Brasilianer. Versuche eines Small Talks scheitern fast immer, da man bei diesen Landsleuten nicht einmal aller elementarste Englischkenntnisse voraussetzen kann. Verglichen mit den US-Amerikanern, die ich als Mitreisende schätzen gelernt habe, sind diese Leute sehr viel rücksichtsloser (drängeln gern und häufig, reservieren Liegen den ganzen Tag ohne sie je zu benutzen...) und sie sind immer sehr sehr laut, zumal sie auch gerne in großen Gruppen auftreten. Da kann es einem schon mal passieren, daß man um 2 Uhr Nachts (oder auch mal erst um 4 Uhr 30!) aufwacht, weil es ein lautes Palaver auf dem Gang vor der Kabine gibt (die Schallisolierung war auch nicht die beste). Nach zwei Wochen Kreuzfahrt ist man von deren ständigem lautem Rumgeplärre einfach nur noch genervt! Einigen dieser Mitreisenden hat zudem anscheinend noch niemand die Grundregeln der Fahrstuhlbenutzung beigebracht. Da wird mit Macht in den Fahrstuhl gedrängt obwohl ihn noch nicht alle Aussteigewilligen verlassen haben oder es wird in einen nach unten fahrenden Fahrstuhl eingestiegen obwohl man nach oben will (und damit wird der Fahrstuhl dann sinnlos verstopft). Sonstiges Im Vergleich zu amerikanischen Schiffen wird wenig auf Hygiene geachtet. Es gibt zwar die üblichen Ständer mit Mitteln zur Handdesinfektion, aber oft waren die Spender leer und es wurde zu keinem Zeitpunkt zur Benutzung aufgefordert. Der Kapitän hat zwar beim Kapitänsempfang ein paar Worte in 5 Sprachen vom Blatt abgelesen, sonst aber keinerlei der üblichen Durchsagen (Schiffsposition, Route, Wetter, Ereignisse...) vorgenommen. Zum Glück gab es aber auch keine Aufrufe zum Bingo oder ähnlichem. Dafür waren die Ansagen vom Kreuzfahrtdirektor z.B. nach jeder Theatershow in mindestens 5 Sprachen ausgesprochen nervig. Die Infoseite im Bord-TV war weitgehend unbrauchbar. Auf den Karten gab es keine Angaben zur bereits zurückgelegte Entfernung oder zur noch offenen Strecke, keine Anzeige der Geschwindigkeit, die Anzeige von Außentemperatur, Luftdruck, Windstärke und -richtung hat nicht funktioniert (es war z.B. angeblich immer genau 20°C bei Windgeschwindigkeit 0). Die anderswo üblichen Funktionen zur Anzeige des Bordkontos oder zur Buchung von Ausflügen gab es hier auch nicht. Sämtliche Uhren an Bord gingen konstant 12 Minuten vor - was sicher nicht dramatisch ist, aber ein Anzeichen von allgemeiner Nachlässigkeit. Anreise Erst am Nachmittag vor dem Abflug kam eine Email mit dem Hinweis, daß es die Kuba-Einreisekarte an einem MSC-Stand in der Nähe des Check-In-Schalters gibt. Dort wurde uns mitgeteilt, daß wir in Havanna unsere Koffer nicht selbst abholen müssen, stattdessen würden diese direkt zum Schiff gebracht. Am Flughafen Havanna stand dann direkt nach der Immigration ein Vertreter von MSC, der uns wiederum mitteilte, daß wir unsere Koffer doch selbst abholen und zum Bus bringen müssen. Alles etwas chaotisch. Die Tatsache, daß MSC für die Anreise die übelsten Airlines dieser Welt verwendet (Pfui-Teufel-Condor* und die dem Hörensagen nach noch miesere Air Europe), rundet das Gesamtbild ab. Dabei geben sie den Condor-Flug auf Ihrem Abreiseinfoblatt sogar noch als "MSC-Flug DE 2185" aus. * Uralte und entsprechend unzuverlässige Maschinen (bei der für den Hinflug verwendeten Maschine wurde kurz vor dem Start auf dem Vorfeld noch schnell eine Notreparatur vorgenommen; die auf dem Rückflug verwendete Boeing 767 mit der Kennung D-ABUZ ist mehr als 27 Jahre alt!), allerbilligste Vorfeld-Parkposition in Frankfurt noch hinter diversen Frachtfliegern mit entsprechend langer Busfahrt und ewiger Verzögerung bei der Gepäckausgabe, extrem enger Sitzabstand (30"=76cm!!!, sehr schmale Sitze (17"=43cm), extrem dünn und entsprechend hart gepolsterte Sitzmöbel mit bestenfalls Gartencenterqualität, miese Bordverpflegung ohne jede Wahlmöglichkeit (üblich sind auf Strecken dieser Länge zwei warme Mahlzeiten mit einer Wahl zwischen je 2 oder 3 Gerichten), kein normales Getränkeangebot (ohne Zuzahlung), extreme Kleinlichkeit beim Gepäck (sogar Handgepäck wird gewogen). Condor ist außerdem wahrscheinlich die einzigste Airline dieser Welt, die sich erdreistet sogar für das Bordunterhaltungsprogramm extra zu kassieren (9€)! Bei Condor fühlt man sich nicht wie ein Gast behandelt, sondern wie ein Transportfall. Nach meiner Internet-Buchungsanfrage wurde mir mitgeteilt, daß es keine Flüge ab Frankfurt mehr gibt und ich mit Air Europe ab Düsseldorf über Madrid fliegen müsste. Dies hätte für mich sowohl auf dem Hin- als auch auf dem Rückweg eine Nacht im Zug bedeutet und natürlich eine insgesamt viel längere und umständlichere Anreise. Eine kurze Internetrecherche zeigte aber noch freie Plätze auf den Condor-Flügen (wie oben erwähnt auch sehr mies, aber immerhin nonstop), worauf ich meine Kreuzfahrtbuchung von der Zubuchung dieser Flüge abhängig gemacht habe, was dann plötzlich auch ganz schnell ging. Wahrscheinlich sind die Air Europe Flüge billiger. Condor ist zwar eine überaus erbärmliche Low Service Airline, aber keineswegs günstig. Aufgrund der zahlreichen Punkte, in denen MSC unter meinen Erwartungen geblieben ist und natürlich vor allem auch aufgrund der vorsätzlichen Täuschungen auf ihrer deutschen Webseite werde ich zukünftig lieber wieder mit amerikanischen Anbietern fahren. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our first time on an MSC ship having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Cunard & Princess. It's safe to say they do things a bit differently on MSC but this cruise was a lot cheaper than our previous ... Read More
This was our first time on an MSC ship having previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Cunard & Princess. It's safe to say they do things a bit differently on MSC but this cruise was a lot cheaper than our previous cruises and the itinerary was unique and the main attraction for this holiday. Overall it gave us value for money, especially the pre-booked drinks package and photo package although the wifi package was a bit expensive and we still had a poor reception. I would say most guests were Italian and Spanish with a high number of Germans and South Americans. About 5% British and no Americans that I was aware of. It was quick and smooth to actually embark onto the ship early afternoon. The problem for me was that you then had to wait until early evening before the rooms are ready. I have never come across anything like this before. The rooms are normally ready when you embark, certainly by mid afternoon. Not ideal after a long travel day! The ship is very old by modern standards, it has no atrium, no speciality dining areas, small pools and just your normal basic choice of bars (Pool bar, pub, piano bar, coffee etc) and a nice small theatre. The ship has been stretched (cut in half and added a bit in the middle!) but it doesn't flow very well getting around the ship, no big spacious areas (apart from top deck!) and everything felt a bit cramped inside and around the outside decks. I don't think this ship has long left for modern day cruising. The ocean view cabin was OK. A family of four in any cabin is always going to be a tight fit but we managed. It was clean, the beds were comfortable but not good for English speaking TV. Again, because of the age of the ship there are not many balcony cabins and I don't think any are available for a family of four. We had the early sitting for evening dining which was at 7.15pm, quite late compared to other ships but this suited us. The late sitting of 9.15pm sounded very late to me but maybe that is just a British thing. The food was OK, nothing special and lacked any wow factor. I felt the portions were small so on a few occasions I ordered either 2 starters or 2 deserts. The main dining room was also open for breakfast and lunch with a quite limited menu available. Keep an eye of the opening hours as they do change on different days. We never did the upstairs buffet in the evening but it was good for breakfast and lunch with a decent amount of choice, Like most ships, the buffet area got very busy at peak times. Their pizza station was a big hit at lunch times. The entertainment and activities on board the ship was very basic and is obviously aimed at it's main passenger nationalities. Coming from the UK and being very much in the minority on this cruise, it wasn't really our thing. We were quite happy just sitting back and relaxing while enjoying our drinks in the various bars but the theatre productions, the singers and games round the pool just weren't for us. The Cuban party on the top deck was a nice evening, as was the White Night. The pools were small and used mainly to just cool down. The Jacuzzi's had a funny smell that put us off a bit. A game of crazy golf was as good as it got. The level of service overall was a bit mixed. It was very difficult getting a drink round the pools. Whether you tried to get one via the waiters/waitresses or by going to the bar yourself, you had to queue up a lot. You could also have the same problem in some of the bars in the evening and sometimes in the main dining room. I felt the main problem was that they just didn't have enough staff. All the staff were working hard but just struggled to keep up with demand. Maybe that is why this cruise seemed so much cheaper than previous ones, less staff, less costs for the cruise company. I might be wrong but I also felt a lot of the staff were new to the ship. The dining room staff really struggled the first few days but did improve as the cruise went on. I don't know if they have a high turnover of staff but they certainly need to employ more staff if they want to keep all their passengers happy. The staff tried to be friendly but a lot of the time they were just too busy and stressed doing their job to spend time with passengers. The photography team were more relaxed and were all very friendly. They would chat to you about anything and always made time to talk to our children. Dress Code - Well, there isn't one really. Before the cruise we spent a lot of time researching into the ships dress code and theme night details so we were prepared for the itinerary. We shouldn't have bothered. The "suggested" dress code for each evening on the daily planner was just ignored by most passengers and we were very much in the minority on the gala evenings when we did dress up. I was amazed to see people in the main dining room in shorts and flip flops on a gala night. No one was turned away. It was the White Night evening that seemed to be the most popular when it came to the dress code. Otherwise it was shorts, t-shirts and flip flops all the way. Maybe it's a cultural thing but disappointing all the same. The main attraction to this cruise was very much the itinerary. The only ship that currently gives you a lot of time in Havana and then calling at the excellent ports of Cozumel, Belize, Grand Cayman and Jamaica make this a cruise well worth doing. (We never docked in Honduras). Our children never want to go to the kids clubs and prefer to spend their time with us (which is nice!) They love cruising but said they preferred the other ships we have been on to this one. (fair!) Another problem on this cruise that seemed to make it more chaotic (and probably more stressful for the staff) was the large number of people constantly embarking and disembarking. You could do this cruise as a 7 or 14 night cruise from Havana so obviously you get a large turnover of passengers every 7 days in Havana. What I didn't realise until on the cruise was how many people embark and disembark in Cozumel as well. When we returned to the ship the second time around in Cozumel we had to queue for over 45mins just to get back onboard it was that chaotic. Meanwhile, the NCL ship at the side of us with twice as many passengers all just casually walked back on board their ship without any problems. PORTS - HAVANA - The main attraction to this cruise. It was great to spend so much time exploring this fascinating city. We booked a tour with a local company for our first day to help us get our bearings. It was outstanding and much cheaper than anything the cruise ship could offer. I would love to come back here. Maybe spend some time outside Havana as well. MONTEGO BAY - We were told before our arrival there was a state of emergency due to unrest in the city and to keep to the tourist areas. We had arranged a tour with a local company to take us to Bob Marley's Nine Miles museum and then we went to a beautiful beach in Falmouth. Need to come back here again too! GRAND CAYMAN - We did the ships Dolphin & Stingray City excursion. The whole family loved this. It was amazing but not cheap. Come prepared for buying expensive photos! COZUMEL - This is a great place. We did a lovely beach club on our own for our first visit and then when we returned we did the ships VIP Save a Turtle trip which is one of the best excursions I have ever done. Make sure you book well in advance for this as there was only 14 places available when we did it. We also visited a very interesting Mayan village. I would love to come back here again. Lots to see and do on such a small island. COSTA MAYA - Not a great place really. You get off the ship and walk into a port that was modern but had a fake feeling to it which had been created by the cruise companies with lots of (overpriced) shops, bars and restaurants. We got a taxi to the beach but they are struggling with a lot of seaweed on the beach and it was very cramped. We cut our loses and went back to the ship. I won't be coming back here again. BELIZE - We split up here. Me and my youngest daughter did the ships horseback ride in the jungle (which was fantastic) while my wife and eldest daughter just did a small tour round Belize City calling off at a rum factory amongst some of the attractions. A very enjoyable day had by all. HONDURAS - (Port cancelled due to swells making it unsafe to tender) Ever since this ship crashed into the port and making significant damage, the port authorities have asked the ship to tender. I'm not sure of there is a bit of politics going on between the port and the cruise company but the swells didn't seem that bad. Some of the Italian passengers were not happy and organised a protest in the reception area. It came to nothing, no compensation or any sort was received (unlike other cruises I have been on) I think the title for this review sums it all up. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We have cruised with many companies and this has been the worst. Nothing to do with the places we visited - Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Cayman Is and Jamaica, they are all amazing. The booking itself was stressful and I needed to send ... Read More
We have cruised with many companies and this has been the worst. Nothing to do with the places we visited - Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Cayman Is and Jamaica, they are all amazing. The booking itself was stressful and I needed to send emails to various departments to get anything resolved - who puts a family of four two decks apart on different ends of the ship??And on the ship many staff are breathtakingly rude, the ship is old and needs to be retired, the food is not up to any other cruise we have done including the waiters, the entertainment is shockingly poor - 1 Quiz a week!? Bingo once maybe twice a week, it’s dance lesson after dance lesson after dance lesson in all the bars and some very dodgy singers. One night they had karaoke and it was heaving and we were all having a nice time so instead of letting it carry on, they stopped on the dot for the dodgy singers and everyone left. Went once to the theatre - way too small, the acrobatic duo is not very exciting when they can only get three feet off the ground and if they have anything decent you have to pay extra. Internet is not unlimited, my husband still needs to work while we are away and it has cost us a fortune to keep topping up, other companies do have unlimited packages. Room much smaller than we have ever been in, not enough room to unpack for two weeks. Everything is penny pinching, going back to RC in the future!! Also try and do your own excursions when possible, so much cheaper and you can go at your own pace, not theirs. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The excursions, terrible and very expensive. We have not been able to enjoy a "Caribbean beach". The ones we were taken to were so artificial and crowded. We returned from the excursions, organized by the same cruise, and the ... Read More
The excursions, terrible and very expensive. We have not been able to enjoy a "Caribbean beach". The ones we were taken to were so artificial and crowded. We returned from the excursions, organized by the same cruise, and the restaurants were closed, deplorable. You had to queue up for over half an hour to finally get a piece of pizza, or a hamburguer. Meal times not adapted to the different nationalities. There were times when, except for the pizzeria, everything was closed. Security measures, countless, both to get on and off the ship, especially in Havana. The boat, clean but very simple. The service, correct without more. I did not like anything. Very expensive for the service offered. They had spoken to me very well of MSC but in this cruise, which would be to show off, they have crashed, counting on the opinion of other fellow travelers who had done more cruises with this company. Without a doubt, I will try not to travel with MSC, if I have alternative Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My first cruise in June '18 - booked late - within 3 wks of departure, through Iglu. Travelled with my sister whose husband was unfortunately unable to go with her due to illness - hence late booking, Sister is seasoned ... Read More
My first cruise in June '18 - booked late - within 3 wks of departure, through Iglu. Travelled with my sister whose husband was unfortunately unable to go with her due to illness - hence late booking, Sister is seasoned 'cruiser', having been on at least half a dozen - one of which had been with MSC in the Med. Having read various reviews both before & after, I have to say I was more than happy with this cruise - my first. Ignoring TAS ('Trip Advisor Syndrome') I would recommend this cruise to anyone. Fantastic Western Caribbean/Central American itinerary, esp.commencing & ending in Havana (on my 'bucket-list'). I had always wanted to go on a cruise but had some concerns about it possibly being a tad stuffy or too formal (Captain's table etc). Another misconception was that It might be claustrophobic & possibly boring. No worries there either. We had cabin 9244 (Oceanview Fantastica) which was surprisingly spacious & definitely worth paying a little extra for the ocean view - so great to wake up to a new & interesting vista each morning, Kept spotlessly clean. Plenty to do onboard & I particularly enjoyed the various dance tasters like Kizomba, Bachata, Merengue, Salsa etc. Would have appreciated talks/historical & background info on the ports of call or perhaps film nights but I can appreciate that this could prove difficult given the multi-national nature of the customers. I really liked the mix of all ages & also nationalities, & trying to resurrect my poor Spanish & Italian language skills. Although we were some of the few Brits on board, all the other ones we met were truly lovely & great company - especially at our restaurant table, Although the Pool deck was usually busy & active there was no shortage of quiet & restful nooks & crannies where you could relax, both inside, in one of the many air conned spacious lounges, or on deck, in both sun or shade. Only negatives were with the booking process itself but perhaps allowances should be made as it was so last-minute. Was bombarded by unnecessary emails - swamped with a bewildering amount of often conflicting information. This is an area that really needs to improve - website & booking process both. Probably wasn't helped by the fact that we were using 3rd parties such as Iglu so scope for confusion increased greatly eg hard to remember who you were meant to be dealing with ie pre-booked excursions with one outfit but had to pre-book drinks packages with another. Have to say that we sometimes read/were told (on the phone) conflicting, or downright inaccurate information. This is the only area that seriously needs to improve in my opinion. It proved a real disincentive to me as a potentially keen cruise customer. Having successfully negotiated my way through this administrative nightmare, I really felt as though I needed a holiday! But these gripes apart - no 'whingeing Pom' here... Couldn't fault another thing. Food excellent - both in Restaurant & Buffet. Literally something for everyone & very easy to eat healthily too. Very impressed that the restaurant gave Healthy Choices recommendations with calorific values & nutritional information. (Not to say that I necessarily followed these ;-) Could even have porridge (my favourite) for breakfast, bearing in mind this ship has a mainly Mediterranean clientele. Overlooked it for the first few days as it's described as 'Oatmeal' (in the American style) on the English menu so I had imagined muesli or similar. One small thing - Buffet coffee (in all-inclusive) often pretty cold but this improved towards the end of our stay. Authentic Italian freshly baked pizza from Pool Deck's Pizza Bar was a huge hit with everyone & was certainly delicious when I tasted it. Staff & service pleasant, attentive & helpful but not intrusive. They all work so hard - this really should not be underestimated. I saw some downright offensive & completely unreasonable behaviour towards the staff on a couple of occasions - which were handled beautifully. It really beggars belief what some people decide to complain about - bitterly to the staff (eg the pool being 'far too quiet very early in the morning' & 'why was nobody swimming in it then?'). If you are determined to be miserable I'm sure you will succeed, but then I wouldn't bother going on a cruise if I were you. My first, and I certainly hope not my last, MSC Cruise. Highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I chose this cruise as it offered great value for the solo traveller. I found the ship to be very clean and well presented and well equipped. The staff are so friendly and professional and a great laugh. There is a good variety of dining ... Read More
I chose this cruise as it offered great value for the solo traveller. I found the ship to be very clean and well presented and well equipped. The staff are so friendly and professional and a great laugh. There is a good variety of dining options and plenty of choice at a 4* hotel standard. The drinks inclusive package offers exceptional value for money in a way that is more relaxed than on other liners. The entertainment is very good on board and in terms of value for money you won’t find better. Most of the ports were really nice with plenty to see and do. I can’t thank the staff enough. I was so impressed with the standard of service and friendliness on board. It was great to see people from all over he world enjoying dancing together. The entertainers are a great crew too. Full of energy and enthusiasm. It never ceases to amaze me how people compare a cruise like this to Caribbean Princess. There is no comparison the princess costs far more than double. In terms of value a real down to earth holiday pleasure I’d choose Armonia every time Read Less
Sail Date June 2018

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