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This review will be long. I am an experienced cruiser; with this being my 14th cruise. First time and last on MSC. I have cruised in the past with Carnival, Holland, Norwegian, Royal Carribbean and Windjammer. I travel frequently and generally expect some hiccups when traveling by air, boat, or car. I would describe myself as pretty tolerant and not difficult to please. We cruised from Miami on the MSC Armonia on 4/2/19. I booked this cruise and paid in full in January 2018 and we chose the Fantastica package based on the offers with it (drink vouchers, free room service and room choices). I booked directly with MSC by phone. We choose room 7055 with the category of ocean view. Embarkation was fast and smooth. I was impressed we had very little wait time and were on our ship quickly. We were told our vouchers for drinks would be in our stateroom. Staterooms were available by 1:30 pm. That where the disappointment started. No drink vouchers in the room. Our room was very tiny. That is ok, we don't spend much time there. The problem is our ocean view window was in actuality an obstructed view. Clearly the deck plans and category is listed (and priced) as ocean view (indicated on the plans as dark green) and not an obstructed view. Armonia has installed a large net off the bottom of the 8th floor that extends down and across our entire view from our room on the 7th floor. It was clearly there for a long time. I will try and attach picture. This net made it impossible to take any pictures from our window. The bed was large and comfortable. The shower was ridiculously small, with a shower curtain that "sticks" to your body when you shower. The hair dryer was useless, not enough power to dry your hair so bring your own. Those small issues we ignored. The room view I was unhappy with so we went to the desk to voice our complaint. We initially had a long line, but a guest services agent asked us in line what she could do to help. We gave her our issues with not receiving drink vouchers. I had called about this with MSC the day before departure. My fantastica experience was supposed to include 12 vouchers per person. I guess they are discontinuing these on 3/31. Well when I purchased it was advertised. It also was clearly listed on my eticket I had just printed a week before departure as "included in your cruise". I showed this to the first agent we talked to. Her name was Nadia. She said she would take care of the issues and check back after 6pm. Long story short it took 2 days to get the drink vouchers and MULTIPLE trips to the front desk where we had to explain all over again what the issues were. First you get met by a blank stare, then "I don't see any of these issues documented", then the longer you stand there they "find it", and tell you "to come back later, another day, no rooms left etc. It took 4 days and multiple trips to come to a conclusion. At one point on day four just as we are about to leave ship for port we were contacted and told we could move to another ocean view room 7001. Thankfully I insisted on seeing before packing everything up. After waiting 40 min for someone to open the room for a look I discovered this new "ocean view room 7001" didn't even have a window in it. No door to outside, it looked just like an interior room. What a waste of time. Eventually they offered 100.00 in compensation credit. We balked because I already knew the obstructed view rooms were 100.00 less per person. I paid 200.00 more to get that ocean view that really wasn't. By that evening on day four we were told that they would compensate 200.00 total for our cabin. We were told multiple times the ship was full and no other rooms available but met a couple who told us on embarkation that they were asked if they would like to upgrade to balcony rooms. I feel we were lied to multiple times and put off in hopes we would just give up. Our rooms was kept spotless by our steward. We appreciated that. The shows I saw prior on this forum were rated as poor. We actually really enjoyed them. The acrobats and entertainment were amazing. The bands in bars and public areas were frequent and enjoyable. We really enjoyed the variety night by the crew. The pool was clean and temperature comfortable. The hot tub was a disappointment as well. There were two onboard. They held 4 people each for a ship of 2000 that was not sufficient. The last two days on board one hot tub was drained and never refilled. We did not buy any MSC excursions. We purchased our own directly from a vendor before departure. We took an old car tour while in Cuba. There is paperwork you have to fill out in advance for Cuba. You do have to pay 75.00 pp to get a visa to be allowed to disembark in Cuba. We enjoyed Cuba very much and were overnight in that port. Some confusion on if cigars are allowed back into the US. Law says yes but I saw a couple stopped when boarding by the Cuban officials telling them they were confiscating them because they were not allowed. Money is easy to exchange as soon as you get off the ship in the terminal. You can change it back again if you have any left over. Cozumel with spent the day relaxing at Chankanaab Park. 12.00 for two people in a cab to get there. Cab drivers like to gouge and charged the same ride back 15.00 for two people. Grand Caymen we spent the day at Royal Palms beach club. 2.00 entrance fee pp. 5.00 pp taxi ride there. Very nice beaches there, but you will pay 15.00 for a chair and 15.00 for an umbrella. Now, the food. I am not a picky eater. My husband is. But even I felt the food was very poor in the buffet in particular. It was often seen two days in a row. The food choices were not huge. The buffet items were often empty. The carved meats were doled out in the size for a child. The breads were good. The pizza was excellent. The grill was the staple for my husbands cruise. The dining room was better, but not a huge menu either. The service in the dining room was excellent. The buffet area was too small for the number of passengers. It was always crowded and hard to find a seat and if you did the table was dirty and you had to wait for someone to wipe it off. The staff in there seemed overwhelmed most times. We never got a visit asking for drink orders in the buffet area unless we sought one out or went and got it from the bar ourselves. Once I got a waiter for a drink on the pool deck when I stopped one. Otherwise, we had to go to the bar and get our own drinks. Other ships I have been on have multiple wait staff walking around getting orders on the pool deck. The fantastica package says free room service. Literally the only thing free with that was 3 sandwiches, 2 salads, 1 soup, cookies, brownie, fruit plate or continental breakfast. I ordered mild and cereal and my milk cam heated up in a teapot. ? The full breakfast and dinners came with additional 7.95 service charge. I didn't use it. Not sure why fantastica has "free room service" on their offer. There does not seem to be many public bathrooms on board and those we did use were not kept clean frequent enough. The most used ones definitely smelled like urine. Sinks not kept tidy and papers on the floors. Disembarkation was smooth and quick, we carried off our own luggage. All in all the ports and entertainment we enjoyed. I will not cruise with them again, due to the issues that took too long to resolve. There is no reason to book a higher level experience if they do not deliver on the benefits.

MSC first time cruise and last

MSC Armonia Cruise Review by SheriCruise

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2019
  • Destination: Cuba
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Stateroom – Fantastica
This review will be long. I am an experienced cruiser; with this being my 14th cruise. First time and last on MSC. I have cruised in the past with Carnival, Holland, Norwegian, Royal Carribbean and Windjammer. I travel frequently and generally expect some hiccups when traveling by air, boat, or car. I would describe myself as pretty tolerant and not difficult to please. We cruised from Miami on the MSC Armonia on 4/2/19. I booked this cruise and paid in full in January 2018 and we chose the Fantastica package based on the offers with it (drink vouchers, free room service and room choices). I booked directly with MSC by phone. We choose room 7055 with the category of ocean view.

Embarkation was fast and smooth. I was impressed we had very little wait time and were on our ship quickly. We were told our vouchers for drinks would be in our stateroom. Staterooms were available by 1:30 pm. That where the disappointment started. No drink vouchers in the room. Our room was very tiny. That is ok, we don't spend much time there. The problem is our ocean view window was in actuality an obstructed view. Clearly the deck plans and category is listed (and priced) as ocean view (indicated on the plans as dark green) and not an obstructed view. Armonia has installed a large net off the bottom of the 8th floor that extends down and across our entire view from our room on the 7th floor. It was clearly there for a long time. I will try and attach picture. This net made it impossible to take any pictures from our window. The bed was large and comfortable. The shower was ridiculously small, with a shower curtain that "sticks" to your body when you shower. The hair dryer was useless, not enough power to dry your hair so bring your own. Those small issues we ignored. The room view I was unhappy with so we went to the desk to voice our complaint. We initially had a long line, but a guest services agent asked us in line what she could do to help. We gave her our issues with not receiving drink vouchers. I had called about this with MSC the day before departure. My fantastica experience was supposed to include 12 vouchers per person. I guess they are discontinuing these on 3/31. Well when I purchased it was advertised. It also was clearly listed on my eticket I had just printed a week before departure as "included in your cruise". I showed this to the first agent we talked to. Her name was Nadia. She said she would take care of the issues and check back after 6pm. Long story short it took 2 days to get the drink vouchers and MULTIPLE trips to the front desk where we had to explain all over again what the issues were. First you get met by a blank stare, then "I don't see any of these issues documented", then the longer you stand there they "find it", and tell you "to come back later, another day, no rooms left etc. It took 4 days and multiple trips to come to a conclusion. At one point on day four just as we are about to leave ship for port we were contacted and told we could move to another ocean view room 7001. Thankfully I insisted on seeing before packing everything up. After waiting 40 min for someone to open the room for a look I discovered this new "ocean view room 7001" didn't even have a window in it. No door to outside, it looked just like an interior room. What a waste of time. Eventually they offered 100.00 in compensation credit. We balked because I already knew the obstructed view rooms were 100.00 less per person. I paid 200.00 more to get that ocean view that really wasn't. By that evening on day four we were told that they would compensate 200.00 total for our cabin. We were told multiple times the ship was full and no other rooms available but met a couple who told us on embarkation that they were asked if they would like to upgrade to balcony rooms. I feel we were lied to multiple times and put off in hopes we would just give up.

Our rooms was kept spotless by our steward. We appreciated that. The shows I saw prior on this forum were rated as poor. We actually really enjoyed them. The acrobats and entertainment were amazing. The bands in bars and public areas were frequent and enjoyable. We really enjoyed the variety night by the crew.

The pool was clean and temperature comfortable. The hot tub was a disappointment as well. There were two onboard. They held 4 people each for a ship of 2000 that was not sufficient. The last two days on board one hot tub was drained and never refilled.

We did not buy any MSC excursions. We purchased our own directly from a vendor before departure. We took an old car tour while in Cuba. There is paperwork you have to fill out in advance for Cuba. You do have to pay 75.00 pp to get a visa to be allowed to disembark in Cuba. We enjoyed Cuba very much and were overnight in that port. Some confusion on if cigars are allowed back into the US. Law says yes but I saw a couple stopped when boarding by the Cuban officials telling them they were confiscating them because they were not allowed. Money is easy to exchange as soon as you get off the ship in the terminal. You can change it back again if you have any left over. Cozumel with spent the day relaxing at Chankanaab Park. 12.00 for two people in a cab to get there. Cab drivers like to gouge and charged the same ride back 15.00 for two people. Grand Caymen we spent the day at Royal Palms beach club. 2.00 entrance fee pp. 5.00 pp taxi ride there. Very nice beaches there, but you will pay 15.00 for a chair and 15.00 for an umbrella.

Now, the food. I am not a picky eater. My husband is. But even I felt the food was very poor in the buffet in particular. It was often seen two days in a row. The food choices were not huge. The buffet items were often empty. The carved meats were doled out in the size for a child. The breads were good. The pizza was excellent. The grill was the staple for my husbands cruise. The dining room was better, but not a huge menu either. The service in the dining room was excellent. The buffet area was too small for the number of passengers. It was always crowded and hard to find a seat and if you did the table was dirty and you had to wait for someone to wipe it off. The staff in there seemed overwhelmed most times. We never got a visit asking for drink orders in the buffet area unless we sought one out or went and got it from the bar ourselves. Once I got a waiter for a drink on the pool deck when I stopped one. Otherwise, we had to go to the bar and get our own drinks. Other ships I have been on have multiple wait staff walking around getting orders on the pool deck. The fantastica package says free room service. Literally the only thing free with that was 3 sandwiches, 2 salads, 1 soup, cookies, brownie, fruit plate or continental breakfast. I ordered mild and cereal and my milk cam heated up in a teapot. ? The full breakfast and dinners came with additional 7.95 service charge. I didn't use it. Not sure why fantastica has "free room service" on their offer.

There does not seem to be many public bathrooms on board and those we did use were not kept clean frequent enough. The most used ones definitely smelled like urine. Sinks not kept tidy and papers on the floors.

Disembarkation was smooth and quick, we carried off our own luggage. All in all the ports and entertainment we enjoyed. I will not cruise with them again, due to the issues that took too long to resolve. There is no reason to book a higher level experience if they do not deliver on the benefits.
SheriCruise’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Stateroom – Fantastica
Cabin O2 7055
Do not choose this room. It is listed as ocean view. It is not. There is an net Armonia has installed that obstructs the view. It should be listed as partial ocean view. It is tiny also. The smallest of any of the 14 other cruises I have taken with other cruise line.
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