We booked this cruise and flight independently so arrived after a great flight on British Airways in the afternoon, the driver of our pre-arranged Sun Transfers met us as arranged in the arrivals hall and within minutes we were on our way to the cruise ship. On arrival at the port, embarkation was swift and in next to no time we were in our cabin! A seamless start to the cruise.
We had sailed on the Armonia in 2013 and were keen to see the changes since the refit. The intimate feel of the ship is still intact, and apart from being longer didn't seem a lot different. The casino and Marco Polo restaurant are better than before and the outside areas are still impressively large for a smaller ship - pools are great if a little cool. I swam every day but only a few others seemed to venture in. The new splash area designed for kids is probably a good idea during the school holidays, but a bit of a waste of space otherwise. I am not sure how many accidents there will be with 50 kids or so running around splashing and spraying - I can see a lot of adults getting a free water skiing lesson. The disco at the top of the ship was unchanged and still great fun. The only disappointment was the lack of tables and chairs outside the buffet restaurant at the back of the ship. On our cruise in September 2013 this was our favourite area for eating breakfast and lunch in the fresh air with great views of the sea behind. Maybe it was just because this was a winter cruise? However we were really lucky with the weather around the Canaries and Madeira with good sunshine most of the time and daytime temperatures in the 18 - 23c range.
Food was excellent in the Marco Polo restaurant in the evening and the service impeccable. We were on the allegrissimo drinks package and our waiters were there constantly offering wine top ups when the glasses were approaching empty. Incidentally, I think the all inclusive drinks package on MSC is the best at sea, with good wine and genuine brand spirits and many liqueurs available, as well as water by the bottle and cappuccino coffees.
Cabin very comfortable and cabin attendant excellent. At back of ship very convenient for breakfast buffet and with great views of the sea and land as you leave port.The only downside was the small shower with plastic shower curtain that seemed to fall in love with me every time I got my skin wet!