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Sail Date: November 2013
My hubby (44) and I (46), have sailed only twice before having discovered cruising only last year. We have sailed with RCI and plan to cruise twice a year now. We did not want to get hung up on a particular cruise line and wanted a good ... Read More
My hubby (44) and I (46), have sailed only twice before having discovered cruising only last year. We have sailed with RCI and plan to cruise twice a year now. We did not want to get hung up on a particular cruise line and wanted a good cruise and a bargain cruise each year. We opted for MSc as the price was good, *cheap! The itinerary was good and only a four hour flight to the sun. Having read all the negative reviews, we decided to not expect too much but to keep an open mind. I won't go into flights, transfers, embarking, disembarking etc but will try to remain factual about the ship and facilities. Apparently, this ship sailed with only 700 ish guests and can accommodate at least 1000 more so by no means full. This needs to be considered in relation to how I found things. Armonia is spotlessly clean and I thought it had a very nice atmosphere. A mix of nationalities and I think mostly Spanish with a smattering of Brits but enough to make friends with. We met some lovely people. There was no evidence of the pushing, screaming and running riot that others have mentioned. Kids were impressively well behaved but there were few on this trip. Food: Food in the main dining room was mostly very good. Service was impeccable. Five courses, pick and choose. Small portions but never cold. Soups were especially good as was the bread. I was not so keen on the buffet. However, there was an adequate choice and salads were good and varied. Hot choices not great and not very hot. My hubby however never had a problem. Maybe I am too picky. Cakes were yummy. Pizza bar was excellent. Always fresh. Also hotdogs/burgers/fries always available at next bar. You could eat for approximately 22 hours a day I think! Entertainment: We went to every show. They were good without being overly impressive. Some stand out moments included the Flamenco night (Spaniards went crackers for it) and the Can-Can. Pleased the boys! Mostly dance with some contortionists thrown in. If you want hypnotists and comedians, not for you. They work very hard to engage 5 or 6 nationalities and do it very well. Pool/Spa/Gym. Pool area was ok. Always managed to find a sunbed and yes, many reserved for long periods. Might have been different if ship was full. Pool (2) was cold salt water with 2 jacuzzis. Gym used by hubby and he said it was well equipped. Never used the Spa but they reduced prices massively so watch and wait! Bars: Loads of bars. Mostly used the "English Pub" which was as far removed from an English pub as one could be! But this was the smoking bar and was therefore lively! Other bars larger and had entertainment. Mostly stupid games, talent shows etc. and the WORST duos (they alternated loungers) I have ever heard. If you pretended they were singing that badly on purpose, they were actually funny! Staff; Amazing. They work so hard. I NEVER once felt they were being nice for a tip! They seemed to be everywhere serving, The entertainment staff worked tirelessly to engage passengers. They seemed to genuinely get along tohether and enjoy each others company. Cabin: Inside 9034 9th deck. Well placed to access the lifts/stairs up to the pool bar. Spacious (Bigger than RCI). Plenty of hanging space. Old tv but a good choice of channels (Movies and sky news). Bathroom adequate with perhaps the worst shower I have ever experienced. Tiny! Itinerary. Good, Agadir, Casablanca, Lanzarote, Tenerife. All ports you could walk off. However, be warned that Morocco is NOT a nice place. We walked throught the port in Agadir (as I had researched it was ok), but it was a 25 minute walk through a run down, dirty and scary area. The taxi drivers followed us relentlessly. One even followed us into town and stopped his car. I told him NO again, we want to walk and he said yes but I need to work! He had a nice expensive leather coat on though and an up to date mobile phone! Casablanca was an easier walk and took 45 minutes from where ship berthed to the mosque. The mosque was quite spectacular to see. The Canarian ports were easy to reach and Tenerife had a free port shuttle although MCs did not tell us this we spotted it. Can't comment on disembarking as we loitered on the ship as we had a mid afternoon transfer. We just strolled off when we were ready. One big criticism is the lack of hand sanitisers. Now I am not a clean freak but in a buffet? Most people did not use it. Even staff walked in and out without using it. No wonder ships go down with bugs. One minor is the seemingly spontaneous itinerary changes while the ship is actually sailing. It seems to come and go at will sometimes. And an extra unplanned sea day? Great if you had not made plans and had the all inclusive! That, by the way, is a no brainer! £20 pppd in advance. You get your moneys worth in tea, coffee, soft drinks and ice cream. The cocktails by the pool are a bonus! I would never not get one! All in all, we had a great week. We were pleasantly pleased with the ship and the trip overall. We made great friends and enjoyed mostly glorious weather. MSc? Yes I would use them again if the itinerary and the price was right without a doubt! Happy to answer any specific questions!   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
I must admit was a bit wary about going on a MSC cruise after reading views therefore went with an open mind which I am glad I did as it exceeded my expectations. We are a couple in our 40s and 50s and this was our 8th cruise having ... Read More
I must admit was a bit wary about going on a MSC cruise after reading views therefore went with an open mind which I am glad I did as it exceeded my expectations. We are a couple in our 40s and 50s and this was our 8th cruise having cruised Royal caribbean, Celebrity and Thomson previously. Everything was organised by our travel agent Barbara from cruise.co.uk including flights, hotels and transfers and she explained our booking in detail and she was very good. As our flight out to Gran Canaria was an early flight we stayed at the premier inn gatwick hotel. We were not in the premier inn directly in the terminal we were just outside the terminal. You can get a shuttle bus to the hotel for £3 but we did not bother as it is only a 5 min walk away. Hotel was clean and comfortable and surprisingly in our room hardly heard the planes. Our flight was with easy jet and no problems, arrived in Gran Canaria at lunchtime where our transfer was waiting for us to take us to the AC hotel in gran canaria. Hotel was clean and modern, not sure about the food as we ate out. Literally a 10 min walk to the port so we just walked over to the ship the next day. EMBARKATION Very organised we were given out time to embark at 1300 hours so not much of a queue at the desks. All very smooth. First impressions of the Armonia were good, nice ship not too glitzy or traditional more modern. STATEROOM Suitcases arrived within a few hours and our inside cabin was clean with loads of storage space. Not sure if we had one of the added on cabins as it was in really good condition. Flatscreen tv (think there was only one English speaking channel), safe, mini bar etc. Showeroom had enough storage for toiletries, shower gel and shampoo in containers attached to wall. Hairdryer is in the Showeroom, but if like me you have curly hair I would recommend taking your own as it takes ages and very difficult as Showeroom gets really steamy and hot. Shower was the smallest shower I have ever seen, impossible to shower with curtain shut so just pulled it back and put towels on floor. Double bed very comfy and climate control in room worked accordingly. DINING We chose second dining in the main dining room and food selection was good. If you wanted you could have 7 courses. Always pasta/risotto selection every day. Main courses usually consisted of fish/pasta/meat selection. Portion sizes were adequate and food mostly tasty, very Mediterranean style but I was expecting this as was on a Mediterranean cruise ship. Has the allegrissmo drinks package which was excellent value and would highly recommend it. Went to the buffet dining one night and the selection was very poor . Good selection in the buffet for breakfast and lunch.though. As expected gets crowded especially at sea days. PORTS/EXCURSIONS We chose to do our own thing instead of taking any excursions as there was not any that really appealed to either of us. Our ports were Casablanca (overnight), Agadir, Lanzarote, Tenerife and back to Gran Canaria. Weather was variable, warm in Lanzarote and Agadir but other destinations were cooler and overcast. Due to this was not able to sunbathe outside on sea day which was unfortunate. ENTERTAINMENT You have to prebook your chosen time for the shows in the theatre. As there is such a wide selection of nationalities on board the shows consisted of mainly dancing/non singing acts which were not really to our taste. Daytime entertainment was not very good either. The entertainment team would base themselves at a designated venue daily but think it was mainly board games. Would not want to go on a cruise that had a lot of seadays as not much happening onboard. CREW Worked exceptionally hard and were all very pleasant and professional. DISEMARKATION We were allocated a time to be in theatre and from there was told when to disembark depending on luggage tag. Again very organised and very little queues. Once off you collect your luggage if you chose to not take it off yourself from an allocated area at the port . Again very straightforward and efficient. Transfer was there to take us to the airport for our flight home. OVERALL If you are looking for a value for money cruise with fairly good food on a lovely ship I would highly recommend it. If you prefer the more sedate traditional cruise with Michelin star food then no I would not recommend it. Would we cruise again with MSC? Absolutely if the itinary was to our choice. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Some poor reviews and left me with what turned out to be unfounded concerns about to expect on this cruise. Our embarkation went like clockwork as did pretty much everything else on the cruise. We had a mini suite on Deck 12 and it ... Read More
Some poor reviews and left me with what turned out to be unfounded concerns about to expect on this cruise. Our embarkation went like clockwork as did pretty much everything else on the cruise. We had a mini suite on Deck 12 and it was fantastic. The balcony was more than adequate for two people, our bed was comfortable and tonnes of storage. Everything very clean throughout the ship. Our cabin had a bathtub and as a result headroom was slightly limited in the shower. Personally I would prefer to sacrifice the bathtub and have a larger shower. Our steward did a good job. We had a minor problem with a latch on one of of wardrobe doors which was quickly sorted out. Service in the eateries was great. I few times I had to wait a few minutes at the outside bars when they were super busy but no longer than in a bar\pub on dry land. Some people are unreasonable and expect to get served within 30 seconds, which is simply unreasonable. Overall, I thought the food was great. Heaps of things to choose from. Pizza was great. Cappuccinos also good. We didn't do any of the ship excursions. We did or own thing which is very easy to do in the Canaries. The girls enjoyed the two shows they saw. Passenger nationalities fairly evenly spread between English\US, Italian, Spanish, Germans and other Europeans. Whilst nearly everyone will have some English, not everybody will be fluent. The staff all spoke English with varying levels of fluency. Many of them will be fluent in Italian, French, Russian or Spanish. Announcements are made in ENG, ITA, DEU, ESP and FR. All passengers were well behaved with no noticeable queue jumpers or anti-social behavior. However, if you expect an American style experience or Cunard levels of food and service you may be disappointed. What MSC offers is fair value for money. Read Less
MSC Armonia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.7
Dining 2.0 3.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 5.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 3.0
Service 4.0 3.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.5

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