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There are many cruise ships that sail to Havana but not all spend an over night in port. We checked the fares on all ships and MSC was the most reasonable. Plus I just had a friend who came back from this same cruise who could give me insight. Even though all the reviews said this was an old ship, it was clean and staff very friendly. It is a smaller ship and with that you do have less amenities. Since the ship was not crowded this was not too much of a problem. We did not have kids with us but there was a lego playroom and a spray pool water area for kids to play in. Other ships have more amenities for kids but this didn't concern us. Our only complaints would be the size of the shower in the ocean view staterooms. They are tiny and we hated the curtain sticking to us. The other complaint was the lack of dinner seating options. Since we were only "fantastica" level, we could not have any time dining. Apparently if we were the next level higher we could have dined any time. So we had a choice of a very early sitting around 6:15 or a late seating at 8:30. We chose the later one so we could spend more time in the ports and watch the sunset as the ship sailed away. The sittings coincided with show times but we found we were only able to eat dinner 3 times in the dining room because of our sitting time. The shows were entertaining and even though this is an Italian ship, most crew knew enough English. It was interesting hearing the announcements in several different languages. Most staff were fluent in several languages. The only excursion we took through MSC was the Tropicana in Havana. It was a bit pricey but we were glad we did. There were several busloads of MSC passengers and our seats were not bad. In fact the dancers came right down our aisle and my husband posed with one of them. We also got a bottle of rum per 4 people and a can of coke each. Several people had told us we could just take a taxi there and pay the entrance fee. It took awhile to get there and street lighting was very limited. We were glad we had booked the tour. The ship provided us with the visa forms and tourist cards which all Americans must have. The fee for Americans is $75 each. However since this ship departed from Miami, it was considered an American tour ship. This meant non-Americans had to pay a fee also but it was reduced to $40. We booked a 6 hour tour of Havana through Blexie tours which I would recommend. Our guide Rollie spoke perfect English and his uncle drove us around in his '58 Chevy. We saw a lot of Havana which is larger than we thought. Very interesting city to visit. Bring small cuban coins to use bathrooms and convert American dollars into CUC since some places do not accept American dollars. I would sail on MSC again. They also match your cruise rewards from other ships which was a perk for us.

Enjoyed Havana and its history

MSC Armonia Cruise Review by NJNCGrandma

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Cuba
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Stateroom – Fantastica
There are many cruise ships that sail to Havana but not all spend an over night in port. We checked the fares on all ships and MSC was the most reasonable. Plus I just had a friend who came back from this same cruise who could give me insight.

Even though all the reviews said this was an old ship, it was clean and staff very friendly. It is a smaller ship and with that you do have less amenities. Since the ship was not crowded this was not too much of a problem. We did not have kids with us but there was a lego playroom and a spray pool water area for kids to play in. Other ships have more amenities for kids but this didn't concern us. Our only complaints would be the size of the shower in the ocean view staterooms. They are tiny and we hated the curtain sticking to us. The other complaint was the lack of dinner seating options. Since we were only "fantastica" level, we could not have any time dining. Apparently if we were the next level higher we could have dined any time. So we had a choice of a very early sitting around 6:15 or a late seating at 8:30. We chose the later one so we could spend more time in the ports and watch the sunset as the ship sailed away. The sittings coincided with show times but we found we were only able to eat dinner 3 times in the dining room because of our sitting time.

The shows were entertaining and even though this is an Italian ship, most crew knew enough English. It was interesting hearing the announcements in several different languages. Most staff were fluent in several languages.

The only excursion we took through MSC was the Tropicana in Havana. It was a bit pricey but we were glad we did. There were several busloads of MSC passengers and our seats were not bad. In fact the dancers came right down our aisle and my husband posed with one of them. We also got a bottle of rum per 4 people and a can of coke each. Several people had told us we could just take a taxi there and pay the entrance fee. It took awhile to get there and street lighting was very limited. We were glad we had booked the tour.

The ship provided us with the visa forms and tourist cards which all Americans must have. The fee for Americans is $75 each. However since this ship departed from Miami, it was considered an American tour ship. This meant non-Americans had to pay a fee also but it was reduced to $40.

We booked a 6 hour tour of Havana through Blexie tours which I would recommend. Our guide Rollie spoke perfect English and his uncle drove us around in his '58 Chevy. We saw a lot of Havana which is larger than we thought. Very interesting city to visit. Bring small cuban coins to use bathrooms and convert American dollars into CUC since some places do not accept American dollars.

I would sail on MSC again. They also match your cruise rewards from other ships which was a perk for us.
NJNCGrandma’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Stateroom – Fantastica
Cabin O2 8186
The cabin was clean and suited our purposes. Our only complaint was the small size of the shower in the bathroom. The curtain kept sticking to you as you showered. Since this is a smaller ship the room was smaller. But since we don't spend a lot of time in our rooms,there was no problem.
Tormalina Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Beach
    Since we had already been to Tulum and seen several Mayan ruins, we opted for the beach. We took a taxi to Mahahual Beach and went to Tropicante American-Tex Mex Grill owned by Captain Steve. I emailed Captain Steve and he had 2 chairs, a table and umbrella waiting for us when we arrived. He even gave us detailed instructions on how to escape the port and all its shops. It was like a maze to get out to the taxi stand. There is no charge for the equipment but they ask that you have a drink or eat something. We had drinks and an appetizer. Most places charge you $40-50 just to rent chairs and then you have to pay for whatever you want to drink or eat. There was no pressure to purchase any more than we did and we had use of the restrooms there. Between taxi rides and food and drinks, we saved $$ but still enjoyed ourselves. Again check Trip Advisor or Cruise Critic for reviews.
    View All 328 Beach Reviews
  • Cozumel
    Since we had been to Cozumel before and toured San Miguel we took a taxi to Playa Azul. We were able to reserve chairs and a table under their canopy which not only protected you from the sun, but from bird droppings also. Again we had some drinks and a light lunch and also had use of their bathrooms. This area reminded me of Venice Beach in California with the sidewalks full of street vendors selling just about everything.
    View All 6,641 Cozumel Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Cozumel Cruise Port Review
  • City Tour
    We booked a 6 hour tour through Blexie Tours. We were met by Rollie, our, guide, across the street in one of the Havana squares. We did a short walking tour first since my husband and I had walked around several areas the day before. It was interesting to hear the history of what we had missed walking on our own. You can tour the Capital on your own with an English speaking tour guide. Very interesting. Our guide went to University and spoke perfect English. We then met his cousin who took us on the rest of the tour in his 58 Chevy. They took us all over Havana. Never realized how long and how big Havana actually is. We even had lunch at a non-government paladra.
    View All 211 City Tour Reviews
  • Tropicana Cabaret
    We had several bus loads of MSC passengers who went to the Tropicana. Our seats were decent and the dancers even came down our aisle and posed with my husband for pictures. There was a bottle of rum to share with 4 people and a can of coke each. Food could also be purchased there. When you enter they tell you there is an additional charge to bring your camera in to take pictures. Some people paid. We didn't and there was no camera police to bother you. The ride to the Tropicana took at least 20-25 minutes through many poorly lit sections of Havana. Even though the excursion cost more than if you went on your own, I felt it was worth the extra expense especially coming home around 1 AM.
    View All 70 Tropicana Cabaret Reviews
  • Snorkeling
    We booked a snorkeling tour through Roatan Ocean Adventures at the French Cay. Most people head directly towards the West Bay beach areas but roads are under construction and travel time is at least 45 minutes plus each way. This was only a 20 minute ride so we got to see some of the island which was a perk. We were picked up at the port (our guide had to wait an hour since ship's entry was delayed) but he was there. Took us by air conditioned van to the French Cay and we snorkeled for an hour. There was a surprise at the end of the tour - a privately owned cage on the island with 5-6 bengal tigers which we boated right up to. Trip advisor and cruise critic both recommended this tour. You can also tour the monkeys with this snorkeling trip but we opted not to.
    View All 282 Snorkeling Reviews