Like many people we chose the MSC Armonia for its Cuba and Central America Itinerary which no one else offered particularly as on the the 14 night cruise you had over 4 full days in Havana. We read the cruise critics reviews but thought it could not be as bad as some of the reviews that had been posted BUT IN FACT IT WAS WORSE. We would recommend any one who has cruised with the likes of P & O, Princess, Holland America etc. to give MSC a very wide berth.
The problems started 6 months after we had booked and 10 weeks before we were due to sail, when we were booking another excursion we noted that our cabin had been moved from midship on deck 9 to the rear of the ship a location we would not have accepted if offered on booking. We contacted our booking agent Jetline Cruises to be informed MSC often do this and it is written into its terms and conditions, after searching the terms and conditions in the brochure we could not find it but Jetline said it was on MSC Website under its terms and conditions " sneaky to say the least ".
I was very unhappy about this change so after a number of emails direct to MSC and 2 further Cabin change each getting worse than the previous we eventually accepted Cabin 8058 in a location we still would not have accepted if offered on booking and the reason we were given for the change was " TECHNICAL REASONS ". During the cruise we found that a number of passengers had had their cabins changed and one British couple had been forced to change theirs mid cruise, and a Dutch party who had booked 2 outside cabins next to each other, were given one outside an one inside as they were opposite each other.
On boarding in Havana after a organised transfer from the Airport we had to carry our own luggage to the security check in area, it then took almost 4 hours to receive our luggage it should be noted that we were only a group of 8 on this transfer as the majority were on flights due to arrive 3 or 4 hours after our KLM flght.
No one showed us to our cabin but instead were more interested in selling excursions, wifi and drinks packages.
The ship itself although the oldest in the MSC fleet after a recent refit was clean tidy and well maintained and our cabin basic but clean and comfortable. However with the exception of the Classical Music entertainment Team, the live entertainment in a couple of the Bars and the Tendering arrangements using Local Boats in Belize and Grand Cayman that was the end of the positives in respect of our cruise experience.
Staff and Management had no concept of customer service or care and often looked upon passengers as a unnecessary inconvenience, while the food was the worst we have had to endure. I know that all companies are working to a budget but even then it should be tasty and properly cooked. On the buffet a Chef was carving and trying to serve Pork which was almost raw and swimming in a pool of blood totally unacceptable and dangerous to health. While the Gala Dinner included Tournedos but turned out to be 2 very thin slices of beef but from which joint I could not tell and I have worked in Hospitality Management for 40 years. While the Baked Alaska Parade consisted of cardboard Alaska's topped with flickering battery candle lights. MSC goes on about its Italian routes but the said the Italian food with the exception of the Pizza's was very poor.
I had pre-ordered the Wine Package which should have given me a choice of approx 20 wines but nearly everyone I tried to order was unavailable until I hit the roof and demanded to see the head Sommelier who gave me a decent bottle of wine not on the list, but the next night suddenly the majority of wines on the list became available.
We enjoyed the ports of call and the excursions particularly those booked though cruise excursions.com in the UK and the Tropican Night Club which is a must in Havana.
Words cannot describe how good this show is, its not cheap but a must while in Havana.View All 82 Tropicana Cabaret Reviews
Brilliant tour of Mayan Ruins with experienced guide, even during a tropical rain storm well worth the soaking.View All 187 Altun Ha Reviews
Tour was only average but optional visit at additional cost to a small Local Zoo and a Iguana Farm made this tour special.View All 259 Island Tour Reviews
This tour to the Mayan Ruins was outstanding and the Guide Enrico was a 6 Star Guide, guests on a tour organised by MSC stopped to listen to him and told us that they had learn't more in 5 minutes listening to him than they had in the 2 hour tour with their guide.View All 179 Mayan Ruins Reviews
The Mayan village was a re-enactment but very professionally presented and very informative, the Mexican Show was well worth seeing and very entertaining, The Tequila Tasting was OK but the price they were Charging for a Bootle farm more than you would pay in the UK for a good Malt Whisky.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Brilliant Tour but you cannot use your own Camera, so they charge you 130$ to buy your 2 Photo Disks and 2 Printed Photographs, but as its a once in a lifetime experience you just have to pay up.View All 88 Dolphin Encounter Reviews
Tour failed to live up to itinerary and included 2 hours at the beach which was not indicated on the MSC website when we booked,complained on board and received a 15% refund but really not what we expected or felt we had booked. Other British Couples who had booked in advance agreed and also complained.View All 5 Nature Tour Reviews