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Chose this cruise for the Cuba itinerary. Of course we missed out on Cuba but decided to stick with this particular itinerary due to the many accommodations/plans that could not be broken. I'll start with the most positive thing. The absolute best things about this ship are the kids clubs. My 6-year old daughter raved every night about her days onboard, and now [a month later] she still regales us with stories from her magical 7 days. Cannot say enough about the Mini and Junior Clubs. Staff was excellent! Now, the not so good stuff. First-time cruises may think this ship is beautiful/amazing...and normal. I assure you it is not. Ship is old and small, which makes the layout a bit strange when navigating around the ship. You need to literally pass through every room/bar/library/dining room to get to the next area, which means if the purse store is closed (it was never open), you'll need to go to the other side of the ship to walk through a random bar to get to where you're going. They are almost always out of silverware or glasses, and never was there at least one or two juice machines that wasn't out of order. The food was universally pretty terrible, as cruise ship food goes. We found the buffet lacking variety, and it was peculiar when we saw/had the exact lobster bisque from the buffet later that night in the main dining room for dinner. The bisque was terrible I might add--runny and not at all the consistency of a typical thick/creamy bisque. I could go on and on about food specifics, but typically on a cruise you can always find something good to eat. Of course we did, but this was much more of a challenge on the Armonia. The part that was disconcerting was that we got the distinct feeling that waitstaff/bartenders seemed keenly aware that the food sucks. I can't properly convey the tingling spidey sense that told us this, but if you think I'm kidding or biased somehow then I encourage you to read lots of other reviews and pay close attention to how they rate Armonia's food. The excursions were misleading, and I'm not sure whether this is an MSC thing or the tour companies they use. ATV'ing with my son was a huge disappointment. You must share one ATV, which leaves me curious what would happen if you went on this excursion without a partner. Would they pair you with a stranger just to make double occupancy on each bike?? My son got to drive for maybe 10 mins because they failed to let us switch halfway through the trails. The Jamaica culinary experience leads you to believe you'll actually cook some cultural delights. You will get a hair net/apron/gloves but I assure you you will NOT cook a damn thing; you'll watch the [very hospitable] staff cook. You will NOT make jerk seasoning; you'll mix ketchup with a dash of hot sauce--no I'm not kidding. We upgraded to a balcony room. And while I understand that not all balconies are created equal, ours was terrible. I complained by phone the very first day that there was no AC. They sent a guy. I then waited in line for 40 mins to complain in person at the desk. They sent a guy. Our cabin steward witnessed the temperature each day and used our phone to call. They sent a guy. By the third day I was done complaining cuz....vacation. We were told to keep our windows/doors/curtains tightly shut and drawn the entire time because the outside elements (heat/humidity) were the cause. Really? The heat caused it to be hot? Wait, are you sure? For you first timers, balcony rooms are to be used to relax on your balcony. There aren't many things better in life than to throw the curtains back and experience the sites and the smells of the port in a glorious new city each morning and the sunset each night after dinner with a cocktail and your partner. Or a book. Or nothing at all. This was terrible, and I took pictures and documented my wife and daughter sleeping on top of the covers each night. All you wanna do when returning from excursions in the 100+ degree heat is relax and have a nap in a cool room. How do I know it was terribly hot and miserable you ask?? Well, I booked 2 rooms. My teenage sons had an interior cabin, and their room was lovely!! That should NOT happen. I put them there because they're loud and boisterous and they don't deserve a peaceful, luxurious balcony room; they of course don't care one bit and only want to be left alone with their pizza/french fries. My wife and I weren't supposed to be jealous or pissed because their inside cabin was nicer than our upgraded balcony. But I was patient and non-confrontational because after all, we're on vacation. The last day I finally decided to wait in line to basically hear what MSC would say about our experience. I've never been so pissed at a response. We were told that it was our fault for not standing in line each day [for 40 mins]; that calling the front desk and reporting to [and watching] our cabin steward use our phone to do the same, not to mention reporting the continuing problem to at least 3 of the technicians dispatched to our room was not enough. It was our fault that they refused to hear what we'd all been telling them since day 1. And so I calmly explained that if they refused to budge to at least take the sting out of our miserable experience, I would have no choice but to reduce our gratuities drastically. They looked us dead in the face, knowing this would only affect the cabin stewards (for 2 rooms) who did absolutely nothing wrong, and refused to rectify the situation in any way. My wife and I ended up reducing our gratuities specifically so that MSC would know it was on them, but we took care of the cabin stewards on our own. I doubt I'll ever even consider MSC [certainly not the Armonia] ever again. You've been warned.

Old/small ship; seasoned cruisers should avoid at all costs

MSC Armonia Cruise Review by rmb1971

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom – Fantastica
Chose this cruise for the Cuba itinerary. Of course we missed out on Cuba but decided to stick with this particular itinerary due to the many accommodations/plans that could not be broken. I'll start with the most positive thing. The absolute best things about this ship are the kids clubs. My 6-year old daughter raved every night about her days onboard, and now [a month later] she still regales us with stories from her magical 7 days. Cannot say enough about the Mini and Junior Clubs. Staff was excellent!

Now, the not so good stuff. First-time cruises may think this ship is beautiful/amazing...and normal. I assure you it is not. Ship is old and small, which makes the layout a bit strange when navigating around the ship. You need to literally pass through every room/bar/library/dining room to get to the next area, which means if the purse store is closed (it was never open), you'll need to go to the other side of the ship to walk through a random bar to get to where you're going.

They are almost always out of silverware or glasses, and never was there at least one or two juice machines that wasn't out of order. The food was universally pretty terrible, as cruise ship food goes. We found the buffet lacking variety, and it was peculiar when we saw/had the exact lobster bisque from the buffet later that night in the main dining room for dinner. The bisque was terrible I might add--runny and not at all the consistency of a typical thick/creamy bisque. I could go on and on about food specifics, but typically on a cruise you can always find something good to eat. Of course we did, but this was much more of a challenge on the Armonia. The part that was disconcerting was that we got the distinct feeling that waitstaff/bartenders seemed keenly aware that the food sucks. I can't properly convey the tingling spidey sense that told us this, but if you think I'm kidding or biased somehow then I encourage you to read lots of other reviews and pay close attention to how they rate Armonia's food.

The excursions were misleading, and I'm not sure whether this is an MSC thing or the tour companies they use. ATV'ing with my son was a huge disappointment. You must share one ATV, which leaves me curious what would happen if you went on this excursion without a partner. Would they pair you with a stranger just to make double occupancy on each bike?? My son got to drive for maybe 10 mins because they failed to let us switch halfway through the trails. The Jamaica culinary experience leads you to believe you'll actually cook some cultural delights. You will get a hair net/apron/gloves but I assure you you will NOT cook a damn thing; you'll watch the [very hospitable] staff cook. You will NOT make jerk seasoning; you'll mix ketchup with a dash of hot sauce--no I'm not kidding.

We upgraded to a balcony room. And while I understand that not all balconies are created equal, ours was terrible. I complained by phone the very first day that there was no AC. They sent a guy. I then waited in line for 40 mins to complain in person at the desk. They sent a guy. Our cabin steward witnessed the temperature each day and used our phone to call. They sent a guy. By the third day I was done complaining cuz....vacation. We were told to keep our windows/doors/curtains tightly shut and drawn the entire time because the outside elements (heat/humidity) were the cause. Really? The heat caused it to be hot? Wait, are you sure? For you first timers, balcony rooms are to be used to relax on your balcony. There aren't many things better in life than to throw the curtains back and experience the sites and the smells of the port in a glorious new city each morning and the sunset each night after dinner with a cocktail and your partner. Or a book. Or nothing at all. This was terrible, and I took pictures and documented my wife and daughter sleeping on top of the covers each night. All you wanna do when returning from excursions in the 100+ degree heat is relax and have a nap in a cool room. How do I know it was terribly hot and miserable you ask?? Well, I booked 2 rooms. My teenage sons had an interior cabin, and their room was lovely!! That should NOT happen. I put them there because they're loud and boisterous and they don't deserve a peaceful, luxurious balcony room; they of course don't care one bit and only want to be left alone with their pizza/french fries. My wife and I weren't supposed to be jealous or pissed because their inside cabin was nicer than our upgraded balcony. But I was patient and non-confrontational because after all, we're on vacation. The last day I finally decided to wait in line to basically hear what MSC would say about our experience. I've never been so pissed at a response. We were told that it was our fault for not standing in line each day [for 40 mins]; that calling the front desk and reporting to [and watching] our cabin steward use our phone to do the same, not to mention reporting the continuing problem to at least 3 of the technicians dispatched to our room was not enough. It was our fault that they refused to hear what we'd all been telling them since day 1. And so I calmly explained that if they refused to budge to at least take the sting out of our miserable experience, I would have no choice but to reduce our gratuities drastically. They looked us dead in the face, knowing this would only affect the cabin stewards (for 2 rooms) who did absolutely nothing wrong, and refused to rectify the situation in any way. My wife and I ended up reducing our gratuities specifically so that MSC would know it was on them, but we took care of the cabin stewards on our own. I doubt I'll ever even consider MSC [certainly not the Armonia] ever again. You've been warned.
rmb1971’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 3 to 6
Ages 7 to 9
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom – Fantastica
Cabin B2 9211
Small and no/very little AC.
Tormalina Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

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  • ATV Adventure
    Better description necessary. Went with my son, who was really excited to be of age finally and drive his own ATV. But you must share one ATV, which leaves me curious what would happen if you went on this excursion without a partner. Would they pair you with a stranger just to make double occupancy on each bike?? My son got to drive for maybe 10 mins because they failed to let us switch halfway through the trails. Guides were great, and I don't know if MSC is to blame for the poor description or not. I would've gladly paid extra for my son to have his own ATV. That was the whole point!!
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  • Culinary Tour
    The Jamaica culinary experience leads you to believe you'll actually cook some cultural delights. You will get a hair net/apron/gloves but I assure you you will NOT cook a damn thing; you'll watch the [very hospitable] staff cook. You will NOT make jerk seasoning; you'll mix ketchup with a dash of hot sauce--no I'm not kidding. Best part of the tour is the ride and the guides. Very knowledgeable and made the ride very pleasant.
    View All 10 Culinary Tour Reviews