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Like many Americans, I have always wanted to see Havana, mostly because we weren't allowed to travel there. When that changed, I started making plans to find a cruise that had a overnight stay there. The Armonia sailing was 7-nights with an overnight in Havana for less than 5-night sailings on other lines that didn't even include an overnight stop. Having just taken my first MSC cruise last December on Divina, and enjoying that one, I decided to go ahead and book. I'm glad I did because I fear that the powers in Washington will again close travel to Cuba, which would be a real shame. I hadn't been on a ship this small since my first couple of cruises, but I still managed to stay lost half the time! I really like the personal feel of the smaller ships. I'm not a fan of ships so large that you don't even have the time or energy to explore. With having only one sea day, I knew that a small ship would be perfectly adequate. Yes, the buffet is small. No, there's no separate adult-only pool area. But the inside cabin was large enough for my adult daughter and I. The shower was extremely tiny with the result that the shower curtain kept getting pushed out of the way and water soaking the bath mat (we are not super-large women). But it certainly not anything that would keep me from booking the ship again. I didn't not get a drinks package. DD isn't much of a drinker so we figured we wouldn't come close to getting our money's worth. I stuck to mostly beer during the day and wine with dinner. DD had a few frozen drinks. For such a small buffet, the selection was decent. I tend to not eat from a buffet for lunch, so usually had a burger or pizza with both being quite good. Dinner in the MDR was just OK. Nothing really great but nothing that I felt I didn't want to finish. I would've preferred another sea day, as I've been to the other ports multiple times. But I always get off the ship, and since DD hadn't sailed in over 6 years (since her honeymoon), she wanted to get out and do things. But, of course, the real purpose of this cruise was to see Havana. It was everything I'd hoped for. Beautiful architecture juxtaposed with crumbling infrastructure. Gorgeous, classic cars that, on closer look, appeared to be held together with bondo and paint. Good food; friendly people. I loved it and would go back tomorrow if I could. Actually, since I don't have any cruises booked between this October and the next, I've just spent all morning researching and pricing sailings to Cuba for next April or May. I'm just afraid that the travel window to Cuba will be slammed shut and I won't be able to return. So, if you're an American interested in Cuba, I highly recommend that you book now and go as soon as you can because we don't know what's going to happen in Washington. We did ship tours in all the ports except Havana. I typically do not do this, but we wanted to climb Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica, so booked that. Then, DD's husband wanted to buy excursions for us in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, so we did the amphibious bus in Grand Cayman, and the Best of tour in Cozumel. I'd rate both about 3-1/2 stars. For Havana, I booked all our tours with Strawberry Tours. I booked a classic car tour for Saturday afternoon and reserved the entire car (they hold 5 pax) for $99, which was less than MSC wanted for one person. We had a Barbie-pink Chevy convertible. The driver didn't speak much English, but they do point out that you're getting a driver, not a tour guide. If that's what you want, you can add that person for an extra charge. After the ride, we walked back to the ship (only getting mildly lost), showered and changed, and went for a quick dinner (it's open seating on this evening). Then back out for our "free" Nightlife tour. We went to three different bars and had a Salsa dance lesson at the second. It was a fun way to spend the evening. Drinks ranged in price from 3 CUCs to 6. Back to ship before midnight where we all went up and had pizza before bed. The next morning, we did a 3-hour walking tour of the old city, visiting 4 different public squares. It was very hot out there! I personally would've preferred a more leisurely walk with more time to stop and take photos and then less of a history lesson standing out in the sun in the squares, but our guide did try to keep us in the shade when possible. Overall, for the 2 free walking tours, it was a real bargain. I believe I tipped the guide 10 CUCs for the bar crawl and 20 CUCs for the walking tour, which involved a lot more information. I would certainly book with them again.

MSC Armonia to Cuba 5-13-19 7 nights

MSC Armonia Cruise Review by NCTribeFan

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Cuba
  • Cabin Type: Interior Stateroom – Fantastica
Like many Americans, I have always wanted to see Havana, mostly because we weren't allowed to travel there. When that changed, I started making plans to find a cruise that had a overnight stay there. The Armonia sailing was 7-nights with an overnight in Havana for less than 5-night sailings on other lines that didn't even include an overnight stop. Having just taken my first MSC cruise last December on Divina, and enjoying that one, I decided to go ahead and book. I'm glad I did because I fear that the powers in Washington will again close travel to Cuba, which would be a real shame.

I hadn't been on a ship this small since my first couple of cruises, but I still managed to stay lost half the time! I really like the personal feel of the smaller ships. I'm not a fan of ships so large that you don't even have the time or energy to explore. With having only one sea day, I knew that a small ship would be perfectly adequate. Yes, the buffet is small. No, there's no separate adult-only pool area. But the inside cabin was large enough for my adult daughter and I. The shower was extremely tiny with the result that the shower curtain kept getting pushed out of the way and water soaking the bath mat (we are not super-large women). But it certainly not anything that would keep me from booking the ship again.

I didn't not get a drinks package. DD isn't much of a drinker so we figured we wouldn't come close to getting our money's worth. I stuck to mostly beer during the day and wine with dinner. DD had a few frozen drinks.

For such a small buffet, the selection was decent. I tend to not eat from a buffet for lunch, so usually had a burger or pizza with both being quite good. Dinner in the MDR was just OK. Nothing really great but nothing that I felt I didn't want to finish.

I would've preferred another sea day, as I've been to the other ports multiple times. But I always get off the ship, and since DD hadn't sailed in over 6 years (since her honeymoon), she wanted to get out and do things. But, of course, the real purpose of this cruise was to see Havana. It was everything I'd hoped for. Beautiful architecture juxtaposed with crumbling infrastructure. Gorgeous, classic cars that, on closer look, appeared to be held together with bondo and paint. Good food; friendly people. I loved it and would go back tomorrow if I could. Actually, since I don't have any cruises booked between this October and the next, I've just spent all morning researching and pricing sailings to Cuba for next April or May. I'm just afraid that the travel window to Cuba will be slammed shut and I won't be able to return.

So, if you're an American interested in Cuba, I highly recommend that you book now and go as soon as you can because we don't know what's going to happen in Washington.

We did ship tours in all the ports except Havana. I typically do not do this, but we wanted to climb Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica, so booked that. Then, DD's husband wanted to buy excursions for us in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, so we did the amphibious bus in Grand Cayman, and the Best of tour in Cozumel. I'd rate both about 3-1/2 stars.

For Havana, I booked all our tours with Strawberry Tours. I booked a classic car tour for Saturday afternoon and reserved the entire car (they hold 5 pax) for $99, which was less than MSC wanted for one person. We had a Barbie-pink Chevy convertible. The driver didn't speak much English, but they do point out that you're getting a driver, not a tour guide. If that's what you want, you can add that person for an extra charge. After the ride, we walked back to the ship (only getting mildly lost), showered and changed, and went for a quick dinner (it's open seating on this evening). Then back out for our "free" Nightlife tour. We went to three different bars and had a Salsa dance lesson at the second. It was a fun way to spend the evening. Drinks ranged in price from 3 CUCs to 6.

Back to ship before midnight where we all went up and had pizza before bed. The next morning, we did a 3-hour walking tour of the old city, visiting 4 different public squares. It was very hot out there! I personally would've preferred a more leisurely walk with more time to stop and take photos and then less of a history lesson standing out in the sun in the squares, but our guide did try to keep us in the shade when possible. Overall, for the 2 free walking tours, it was a real bargain. I believe I tipped the guide 10 CUCs for the bar crawl and 20 CUCs for the walking tour, which involved a lot more information. I would certainly book with them again.
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Cabin Review

Interior Stateroom – Fantastica
Cabin I2 9505
The cabin was surprisingly roomy. I had expected something similar to my only RCI sailing on an old, small ship where you could barely turn around in the cabin. Once we requested from Argy, our cabin steward, to have the beds split, there was plenty of room. As noted, the shower was really tiny, and if you're only of "average" size, you'll end up with water on the floor, which is not that big of a deal.
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