Departure A total mess! We got sent up 2-3 stairs , tough with luggage an two small children, to a waiting hall. The place was OK, and they served sandwiches and drinks. Then we were allowed to join the queue, and it was v-e-r-y long. It took for ages, I really don't know why, because when we finally arrived at the counter we got checked in really fast. I think the whole thing took about an hour and a half.
It's an older mid-size ship without thrills.
It's a glitzy vessel and it's kept very clean at all times, but it's a little dull at the same time since the different venues look very similar. A real strength is the logical lay-out of the ship, it's easy to find your way around. The lifts (elevators) are many well distributed and well functioning.
Our inside cabin looked like the rest of the ship and it seemed large enough. Cruisers are advised to bring their own bedding, since all you get is a sheet, a rough blanket and a pillow made of shredded foam. It was hard to believe that we were on a cruise ship.
If you love Italian food then this is the place to be. With a single exception this was the best food we ever had at sea.
It's almost all about the dancing company. They are good at doing their thing, but that's about it.
A joke. The cabin attendant kept running into our cabin when we were there against our will. He would not leave, so we had to use violence to get him out of the cabin. A couple of things in the cabin was out out of order, and when it just didn't get fixed after a number of days we had to move up the hierarchy do get the job done. My wife got so upset that we asked to get a new cabin attendant, and the second one was just fine, no problem at all.
Unfortunately ( in my opinion) MSC has a conservative view of dining that leaves you with one and the same restaurant, one and the same table, one and the same time at night and one and the same waiter for the entire cruise. What if you don't like it? Well there is always the buffet. And that's just the way it went. We got a table in a corridor between the kitchen and the main area. The waiter was a complete jerk. He had no interest in taking our orders in spite of an empty restaurant. Apparently they get commission on the drinks that the guests order, so he refused the serve us water like we're used to. We called for the supervisor, and after ages of waiting and a lot of fuss we finally got our water. As a clear sign of his dislike the waiter brought it lukewarm. The next three -four days we ate in the buffet restaurant. Towards the end of the cruise we returned, and the situation had picked up. The head chef came around to ask about our opinion about the restaurant. The waiter was putting pressure on us to give him a positive valuation in our guest survey. I told him to read this review on the net. He told us that he would not get any salary unless we gave him a top mark -creepy!
In the buffet restaurant the food came out fairly well, but the crew members in the area around the tables in this restaurant tried to avoid work at any cost. At times I would try to make my way to the out door section with my hands full. Fellow passengers would help me by opening the door, but the restaurant staff positioned at the door would not open the door for me.
For other functions on the ship you just had to shop around to get the help that you wanted, and hope for the best.
What seemed to work well was the safety. The captain changed the route due to stormy weather with rough weather conditions like high waves. This means that we got to Puerto Rosario instead of Agadir. The ship always arrived on time in the different ports.
On Lanzarote people returned to the ship to have lunch due to the limited lunch hours. The problem was that the crew didn't expect people to do so, and in their eager hunt for alcohol the re-boarding took one and a half hour since only one of the gangways was in use.
This is perhaps the most important detail of our cruise since we travel with children. The down side of cruising with MSC is the lack of order and the language issue.
The times seemed to change the whole time without notice, and the language used was Italian which our kids do not understand at all.
Some of the guidance was translated into English, which helped a bit. If there was no Italian children around the staff would conduct the sessions in English, and that worked out much better.
As for the staff and the activities it was very good indeed- our kids loved it.
Armonia has a mixed crowd dominated by Europeans You can expect people to be polite but not so talkative, but even so there are some opportunities to practice different languages. Most people were old or in the upper middle age. The entire ship only contained 36 children.
Value for money
-Absolutely! We only paid about €400 for a family of four people. On top of this they beg for more money as usual. That brings us to the final question; would we go with MSC again? Well, for a similar price most certainly, but at the regular price I would choose another cruise line- any other cruise line.
The CabinOur inside cabin looked like the rest of the ship and it seemed large enough. Cruisers are advised to bring their own bedding, since all you get is a sheet, a rough blanket and a pillow made of shredded foam. It was hard to believe that we were on a cruise ship.