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We were looking for a last minute cruise deal in the Caribbean for a family of 5 and this fit the bill perfectly. The price was well within our budget and were even able to upgrade to an unobstructed window cabin for very little extra. One huge benefit of this cruise was a special offer to add a third person to a room at no extra charge. This was an excellent value for a seven day cruise. Embarkation was a breeze and the rooms were ready when we boarded around lunch time. After unpacking in the cabin we went down to activate our cruise cards. One negative of this MSC Cruise was the tiny help desk, long lines and the feeling we were not understood when we asked questions in English. Half a star was knocked off for the time lost in help lines over the week and the difficulty in communication. The ship was a good size and we really enjoyed the international flavor of sailing with cruise-mates from 30+ other countries. We did not mind the PA in several languages. Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latvian, Tagalog, Indonesian etc.. could be heard every day. It was fun for us. Day one was at sea and after my family realized the shopping presentations were nearly a complete waste of time, we focused on relaxing and having fun. Our cabin steward, Michael Quitorio, was excellent! He took great care of us for the week and we could not be more pleased with his service. Same was true for our servers at the assigned dinner, Surya and his assistant Wency were excellent! The quality of the food at dinner varied greatly, from some of the best prime rib and Lava Cake we had ever tasted, to some of the not so tasty Italian night selections where it seemed Chef Boyardee met Stoffers and decided to cater the event together. The great news is, if you don't like what you ordered, you can always order from a standing menu of other selections. The always offered French Onion soup was very good and the strip steak more than acceptable. Of course there is always the buffet at the fantail if all else fails. We are not big drinkers so we did not spring for one of the overpriced beverage packages. A minimum of three premium drinks per person per day was the break-even point we calculated to make the beverage package worth the price. I ordered a $6.00 glass of wine occasionally at dinner and had a cocktail on other days and felt this was a much better value for us. Our teenage daughters enjoyed several of the "mocktails" as well. Concerning cocktails, another half star was taken off for a negative experience I had at one of the lounges. An Old Cuban was a cocktail offered at one of the lounges. While passing thought another, I asked for one and was laughed at by the waitress and was told a Cuban was a sandwich, not a drink. I got up and went to bar and asked the bar tender, he had said he had never heard of it and asked me for the ingredients. I was eventually served what tasted like a virgin Hemingway. A simple search on google could have saved them from the embarrassing review and lowered points. Later, I did find the Bacardi Lounge with excellent live music and actual Old Cubans on the cocktail menu. The buffet for breakfast and lunch was fine. There was always a varied selection of foods. Unlike a previous review, we did have coffee and juice available 24/7. The water and juice glasses are small. The desserts at the buffet lacked distinct flavor for the most part in my opinion. The fruit was always fresh and available. The entertainment was as varied as the menu. It was great most nights with two nights of outstanding performances and one night when armature cruise staff took over that was not so great. Usually family friendly but a bit "burlesque-ish" on one night with lots of derriere flashed. We departed the ship at all the ports. Roatan was the first and we decided to venture out on our own. After being harassed by a gauntlet of men following us and pleading for our patronage, and eventually cat calling after my daughters when we rejected their advances, we found a simple beach close to the port and hung out for a while. Having lived in Africa for several years we were not shocked by this, however for the less well traveled this might not be the most pleasant of experiences. It was super unprofessional on their part. Someday they will likely get a clue about customer service or suffer the economic effects of its lacking. I recommend going on a prearranged excursion or hiring a taxi or a guide on this island. We purchased an excursion to the Mayan Ruins in Costa Maya through Trip Advisor and Costa Maya Tours. It was awesome and I highly recommend both. Brian, our guide spoke excellent English and a fun and informative time was had by all. Cozumel was, well, a cruise port island. My opinion is due an excursion or stay on the boat. We ventured out, over paid for a bunch of tourist junk, and went back to the boat. The vendors were nice to chat with and friendly. We did purchase some tasty Mexican vanilla, but I probably could have done that online for nearly the same price. Grand Cayman was great. We overpaid on the last minute MSC deal to bus us to Seven Mile Beach, the public portion, without much around as far as amenities. I would recommend taking a taxi to one of the many resorts and hang out there, or save yourself a few $ and take the bus to one of them if you have the time. As far as the beach itself, it was awesome and by far the favorite of my teenagers! They all spent the entire afternoon snorkeling and having fun, even my one that normally does not like the beach had a great time. They all want to go back. Next day was at sea, and then the next morning back at port. Disembarkation was the easiest of any of our previous cruises. Would we go again? Absolutely! Pros- A great value (if you avoid the expensive packages) a midsize ship with an international flavor. Overall more than acceptable food and entertainment. Excellent cabin steward and wait staff. Good choice of ports and excursions. Cons-Long lines at help desk, at times less than clearly understood at help desk. Lack of an onboard laundry room for guests. Inconstant quality of service by some staff.

Great- for the price

MSC Armonia Cruise Review by Avionu21

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Stateroom – Fantastica
We were looking for a last minute cruise deal in the Caribbean for a family of 5 and this fit the bill perfectly. The price was well within our budget and were even able to upgrade to an unobstructed window cabin for very little extra. One huge benefit of this cruise was a special offer to add a third person to a room at no extra charge.

This was an excellent value for a seven day cruise. Embarkation was a breeze and the rooms were ready when we boarded around lunch time. After unpacking in the cabin we went down to activate our cruise cards. One negative of this MSC Cruise was the tiny help desk, long lines and the feeling we were not understood when we asked questions in English. Half a star was knocked off for the time lost in help lines over the week and the difficulty in communication. The ship was a good size and we really enjoyed the international flavor of sailing with cruise-mates from 30+ other countries. We did not mind the PA in several languages. Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latvian, Tagalog, Indonesian etc.. could be heard every day. It was fun for us.

Day one was at sea and after my family realized the shopping presentations were nearly a complete waste of time, we focused on relaxing and having fun. Our cabin steward, Michael Quitorio, was excellent! He took great care of us for the week and we could not be more pleased with his service. Same was true for our servers at the assigned dinner, Surya and his assistant Wency were excellent! The quality of the food at dinner varied greatly, from some of the best prime rib and Lava Cake we had ever tasted, to some of the not so tasty Italian night selections where it seemed Chef Boyardee met Stoffers and decided to cater the event together. The great news is, if you don't like what you ordered, you can always order from a standing menu of other selections. The always offered French Onion soup was very good and the strip steak more than acceptable. Of course there is always the buffet at the fantail if all else fails. We are not big drinkers so we did not spring for one of the overpriced beverage packages. A minimum of three premium drinks per person per day was the break-even point we calculated to make the beverage package worth the price. I ordered a $6.00 glass of wine occasionally at dinner and had a cocktail on other days and felt this was a much better value for us. Our teenage daughters enjoyed several of the "mocktails" as well.

Concerning cocktails, another half star was taken off for a negative experience I had at one of the lounges. An Old Cuban was a cocktail offered at one of the lounges. While passing thought another, I asked for one and was laughed at by the waitress and was told a Cuban was a sandwich, not a drink. I got up and went to bar and asked the bar tender, he had said he had never heard of it and asked me for the ingredients. I was eventually served what tasted like a virgin Hemingway. A simple search on google could have saved them from the embarrassing review and lowered points. Later, I did find the Bacardi Lounge with excellent live music and actual Old Cubans on the cocktail menu.

The buffet for breakfast and lunch was fine. There was always a varied selection of foods. Unlike a previous review, we did have coffee and juice available 24/7. The water and juice glasses are small. The desserts at the buffet lacked distinct flavor for the most part in my opinion. The fruit was always fresh and available.

The entertainment was as varied as the menu. It was great most nights with two nights of outstanding performances and one night when armature cruise staff took over that was not so great. Usually family friendly but a bit "burlesque-ish" on one night with lots of derriere flashed.

We departed the ship at all the ports. Roatan was the first and we decided to venture out on our own. After being harassed by a gauntlet of men following us and pleading for our patronage, and eventually cat calling after my daughters when we rejected their advances, we found a simple beach close to the port and hung out for a while. Having lived in Africa for several years we were not shocked by this, however for the less well traveled this might not be the most pleasant of experiences. It was super unprofessional on their part. Someday they will likely get a clue about customer service or suffer the economic effects of its lacking. I recommend going on a prearranged excursion or hiring a taxi or a guide on this island.

We purchased an excursion to the Mayan Ruins in Costa Maya through Trip Advisor and Costa Maya Tours. It was awesome and I highly recommend both. Brian, our guide spoke excellent English and a fun and informative time was had by all.

Cozumel was, well, a cruise port island. My opinion is due an excursion or stay on the boat. We ventured out, over paid for a bunch of tourist junk, and went back to the boat. The vendors were nice to chat with and friendly. We did purchase some tasty Mexican vanilla, but I probably could have done that online for nearly the same price.

Grand Cayman was great. We overpaid on the last minute MSC deal to bus us to Seven Mile Beach, the public portion, without much around as far as amenities. I would recommend taking a taxi to one of the many resorts and hang out there, or save yourself a few $ and take the bus to one of them if you have the time. As far as the beach itself, it was awesome and by far the favorite of my teenagers! They all spent the entire afternoon snorkeling and having fun, even my one that normally does not like the beach had a great time. They all want to go back.

Next day was at sea, and then the next morning back at port. Disembarkation was the easiest of any of our previous cruises.

Would we go again? Absolutely!

Pros- A great value (if you avoid the expensive packages) a midsize ship with an international flavor. Overall more than acceptable food and entertainment. Excellent cabin steward and wait staff. Good choice of ports and excursions.

Cons-Long lines at help desk, at times less than clearly understood at help desk. Lack of an onboard laundry room for guests. Inconstant quality of service by some staff.
Avionu21’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Stateroom – Fantastica
Cabin O2
Great cabin, read the other reviews for cabin details. One comment, I am 6 foot tall and 185 pounds and found it difficult to shower without getting tangled up in the shower curtain. Other than that, I will focus on our unique situation. If you are traveling with minors you must have one adult assigned per cabin. Not wanting to bunk with teens that sleep til noon and stay up to the wee hours, we put the three of them in one room and we took the other. We asked the steward to put the beds together in our room, but apparently he could not make it into a single bed, so we spent the week living a bit like Rob and Laura on the Dick van Dyke show. Annoying. With my wife listed in one cabin, and me in the other, room keys became a bit of an issue. We asked the help desk to allow my wife to have room access to both rooms and they stated that was prohibited, an extra card for another room was also not allowed. We were a bit upset about this situation until we figured a work around. Our kids pre-paid "smile cards" for on board purchases acted like the cruise card for room access as well, so they had duplicates of their room keys. A bit of card swapping and the problem was solved. A note on the kids pre-paid cards, the funds deposited on them are non-refundable, and if you link it to a debt card, they draw from the debit card first leaving your repaid portion untouched. After more time in lines at the help desk, we were able to have the changes taken off the pre-paid portion, again annoying.
We followed the advice on "Trips for Travelers" by Gary Bembridge on what to pack for the room. Items we packed that we really liked were charcoal deodorizer packets for the less than well ventilated bath room, non-surge protected power strips with usb ports, and the cheap plastic over the door shoe holders for holding stuff we might want each day. A dry erase marker for writing daily plans and notes on the mirror was helpful as was the magnets to hold the literary on the wall. We did pack 2, two way radios for communicating with the girls. Being a nerd, I downloaded the iNavX app on iTunes and tracked our cruise using this great nautical moving map app, no wifi needed. I thought I would have more time to read and watch movies but never really did except for a few hours of reading pool side. We took advantage of the free room service on several occasions. A note about saving and packing food for excursions, we were told no food allowed on shore in Mexico.
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