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I chose this cruise mostly because of its reasonable cost, and that it would be a new Cruise Line. MSC made it more enticing to try them with their Status Match Program. Though benefits differ from cruise line to cruise line; they are generally an incentive to be loyal. Knowing I would get "top tier" treatment made it easier to try something new. I flew into Fort Lauderdale and took an UBER to the cruise port. (approx $50 with tip). I arrived at about 1 pm without any problems. When I got to the cruise port, they quickly whisked away my luggage, and when I entered the building they had a wheel chair for me immediately, none of the long waiting I have experienced on other lines. Once on the ship, it was the normal glitz and sell of drink packages, specialty dining, and spa experiences. All of which can easily be ignored. . . except child registration if you have one to those with you. I was traveling solo. I had put in a minimum bid for an upgrade from interior to oceanview. I got room 8003 with a forward facing window. The room looked out over a deck in the bow of the ship. The deck, though rarely used, was public, and people could see into my room. My only bad experience was here: my card would not open my room. I asked a steward to let me in and was told he would need to get his supervisor. I asked how long and he told me 5 minutes. It turned out to be 45, and my bladder was not pleased. After being let in, I was told I would need to go to reception to get a new card. (I could have done that in the first place). Getting a new card was quick and easy. The buffet was typical buffet with salads, breads, a meat option, and many other choices. A special dessert area had fruit, eclairs, and other pastry items. There was a beer and soda station for those with a drink package, or who wanted to pay i presume. There was also coffee, and lemonade, and the regular "bug juice" choices. The Pizza, is the best of ANY cruise line I've ever experience and of at least better than found in 40 of the United States. (Yes, I'm a New York Pizza snob) It has its own area, labeled Pizza and Pasta, I never saw Pasta there. The cruise critic event was one of the nicer ones I have attended. They provided cocktails, a cake, a group photo, and introduction to the senior officers. All very nicely done. We were a smaller group than I have often experienced, and that was actually very nice as well. Bella puts you in assigned dining in the main dining room: I was at a table for six, only three of us ate there regularly. In general the food was just fine and there were a variety of choices. If you like your steaks rare, don't order one in the main dining room. You have your choice of medium to very well done. Various temperatures in between, and they will attempt to meet your desires. Bottled water served at room temperature or pelligrino were offered on the first night. You almost have to beg for tap water. (which is iced). As we all had drink packages it wasn't an issue, and it was random whose card the water was charged to. The food was good, though probably not exceptional. Excellent shrimp cocktail, available every evening. The French Onion soup was not smothered in cheese, as Americans expect it, but good. Sometimes you just have to try something new, and maybe you will find it to your liking. If not, they will happily bring you something else. Surf and Turf: a limited menu, but the filet mignon was available very rare. three choices for each course of the meal. several "side dish" aka vegetable options. I was allowed to go off menu and order sorbet for dessert. The easy drink package is not usable in the surf and turf, and tap water is not available. (This is a perk with a "black card," otherwise it is $35 + 15% gratuity). Drinks are extra. There is a music and dance review nightly. (yes all 7 nights) Makes sense due to the fact that passengers speak many many languages. Spoken entertainment would not work. My favorite was: Time of my Life, (it included highlights from Dirty Dancing of course) a variety of dances and singing. They were not spectacular, but very good. Better than my Carnival Experience, not as good as some of the mega ship Broadway productions, but as good as any of the smaller ship entertainments I have seen. In addition there was a review presented by the Cruise Staff Crew which was outstanding. There is a movie theater (the business center. . . I have no idea). There were at least two movies daily: Rocket Man, The Avengers End Game, Aladdin, Lion King, Toy Story 4, and several others. Despite my intentions, i never saw any of them. We had four ports of call scheduled: Falmouth, Jamaica, where it was too rough to land. Georgetown, Grand Cayman, which is a tendered port. Costa Maya, a port we had to cut short and thus many excursions were cancelled. We docked with the protection of the Allure OTS, and the NCL Breakaway. The latter ship could not make the port itself. We left early so that we could be protected from the bulk of the waves by the Allure OTS. The final night we were at Ocean Cay. In addition to the stage production there is a light show on their lighthouse. Quite interesting. Much better for the environment than fireworks, with a similar exhilarating effect. I enjoyed this. I did not go ashore for the parade and evening camp fires, but I could see them from my room. Unless you count dance lessons, and morning exercises as enrichment. (for which there is a valid argument). I did not observe that there were any enrichment activities. There were only the where to shop lectures. I Would love to have lectures on the history / culture of the ports of call, and this is a common complaint of mine. The service was excellent. I never stood in a line, My steward provided for my requests: a top sheet, and ice twice daily. He kept my room very neat, though I didn't give him much to do, I did take a daily nap, and he remade my bed at fold down time. If I requested extra towels, they were there when I returned. If he was anywhere around and he saw me returning, he would unlock my cabin for me and hold the door. (I walk with canes, so this was more useful than for an able-bodied person; for anyone is was courteous and convenient). Dinner for 6 could take up to 90 minutes, but when we were three, it was faster. As the week went on our waiters learned our drink preferences and were ready for us. The CREW This was one of the friendliest crews I have ever experienced. Must be something about being a small ship. (I had a great "crew experience" on the Norwegian Sun in Alaska, as well). These crew members went above and beyond. They danced with cruisers, they stopped to speak with us in the hallways, or in the ports, and they learned many of our names. They presented their own show near the end of the cruise. It was head and shoulders above anything I've seen crew members do on other ships. It was its own show, some serious, some parody, sometimes funny, always entertaining. I was very very impressed by these extravaganza as well as my interaction with the crew. Trivia: also known as a pub quiz was offered a couple of times per day. Progressive Trivia was at 10 pm. In the English Pub. . When our minds are beginning to become mushier. So much fun, but probably difficult for non English speakers. I know that reviews I have read in the past have gone to the extremes of worst cruise ever to best cruise ever. A cruise is essentially what you make of it. I had a wonderful time mostly because of the people I met on this cruise, and the care provided by the crew.

First time on MSC, The MSC Armonia. Friendliest crew EVER

MSC Armonia Cruise Review by skipperanne

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2020
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Interior Stateroom – Bella
I chose this cruise mostly because of its reasonable cost, and that it would be a new Cruise Line. MSC made it more enticing to try them with their Status Match Program. Though benefits differ from cruise line to cruise line; they are generally an incentive to be loyal. Knowing I would get "top tier" treatment made it easier to try something new.

I flew into Fort Lauderdale and took an UBER to the cruise port. (approx $50 with tip). I arrived at about 1 pm without any problems. When I got to the cruise port, they quickly whisked away my luggage, and when I entered the building they had a wheel chair for me immediately, none of the long waiting I have experienced on other lines. Once on the ship, it was the normal glitz and sell of drink packages, specialty dining, and spa experiences. All of which can easily be ignored. . . except child registration if you have one to those with you. I was traveling solo.

I had put in a minimum bid for an upgrade from interior to oceanview. I got room 8003 with a forward facing window. The room looked out over a deck in the bow of the ship. The deck, though rarely used, was public, and people could see into my room. My only bad experience was here: my card would not open my room. I asked a steward to let me in and was told he would need to get his supervisor. I asked how long and he told me 5 minutes. It turned out to be 45, and my bladder was not pleased. After being let in, I was told I would need to go to reception to get a new card. (I could have done that in the first place). Getting a new card was quick and easy.

The buffet was typical buffet with salads, breads, a meat option, and many other choices. A special dessert area had fruit, eclairs, and other pastry items. There was a beer and soda station for those with a drink package, or who wanted to pay i presume. There was also coffee, and lemonade, and the regular "bug juice" choices.

The Pizza, is the best of ANY cruise line I've ever experience and of at least better than found in 40 of the United States. (Yes, I'm a New York Pizza snob) It has its own area, labeled Pizza and Pasta, I never saw Pasta there.

The cruise critic event was one of the nicer ones I have attended. They provided cocktails, a cake, a group photo, and introduction to the senior officers. All very nicely done. We were a smaller group than I have often experienced, and that was actually very nice as well.

Bella puts you in assigned dining in the main dining room: I was at a table for six, only three of us ate there regularly. In general the food was just fine and there were a variety of choices. If you like your steaks rare, don't order one in the main dining room. You have your choice of medium to very well done. Various temperatures in between, and they will attempt to meet your desires. Bottled water served at room temperature or pelligrino were offered on the first night. You almost have to beg for tap water. (which is iced). As we all had drink packages it wasn't an issue, and it was random whose card the water was charged to. The food was good, though probably not exceptional. Excellent shrimp cocktail, available every evening. The French Onion soup was not smothered in cheese, as Americans expect it, but good. Sometimes you just have to try something new, and maybe you will find it to your liking. If not, they will happily bring you something else.

Surf and Turf: a limited menu, but the filet mignon was available very rare. three choices for each course of the meal. several "side dish" aka vegetable options. I was allowed to go off menu and order sorbet for dessert. The easy drink package is not usable in the surf and turf, and tap water is not available. (This is a perk with a "black card," otherwise it is $35 + 15% gratuity). Drinks are extra.

There is a music and dance review nightly. (yes all 7 nights) Makes sense due to the fact that passengers speak many many languages. Spoken entertainment would not work. My favorite was: Time of my Life, (it included highlights from Dirty Dancing of course) a variety of dances and singing. They were not spectacular, but very good. Better than my Carnival Experience, not as good as some of the mega ship Broadway productions, but as good as any of the smaller ship entertainments I have seen. In addition there was a review presented by the Cruise Staff Crew which was outstanding.

There is a movie theater (the business center. . . I have no idea). There were at least two movies daily: Rocket Man, The Avengers End Game, Aladdin, Lion King, Toy Story 4, and several others. Despite my intentions, i never saw any of them.

We had four ports of call scheduled: Falmouth, Jamaica, where it was too rough to land. Georgetown, Grand Cayman, which is a tendered port. Costa Maya, a port we had to cut short and thus many excursions were cancelled. We docked with the protection of the Allure OTS, and the NCL Breakaway. The latter ship could not make the port itself. We left early so that we could be protected from the bulk of the waves by the Allure OTS.

The final night we were at Ocean Cay. In addition to the stage production there is a light show on their lighthouse. Quite interesting. Much better for the environment than fireworks, with a similar exhilarating effect. I enjoyed this. I did not go ashore for the parade and evening camp fires, but I could see them from my room.

Unless you count dance lessons, and morning exercises as enrichment. (for which there is a valid argument). I did not observe that there were any enrichment activities. There were only the where to shop lectures. I Would love to have lectures on the history / culture of the ports of call, and this is a common complaint of mine.

The service was excellent. I never stood in a line, My steward provided for my requests: a top sheet, and ice twice daily. He kept my room very neat, though I didn't give him much to do, I did take a daily nap, and he remade my bed at fold down time. If I requested extra towels, they were there when I returned. If he was anywhere around and he saw me returning, he would unlock my cabin for me and hold the door. (I walk with canes, so this was more useful than for an able-bodied person; for anyone is was courteous and convenient). Dinner for 6 could take up to 90 minutes, but when we were three, it was faster. As the week went on our waiters learned our drink preferences and were ready for us.

The CREW This was one of the friendliest crews I have ever experienced. Must be something about being a small ship. (I had a great "crew experience" on the Norwegian Sun in Alaska, as well). These crew members went above and beyond. They danced with cruisers, they stopped to speak with us in the hallways, or in the ports, and they learned many of our names. They presented their own show near the end of the cruise. It was head and shoulders above anything I've seen crew members do on other ships. It was its own show, some serious, some parody, sometimes funny, always entertaining. I was very very impressed by these extravaganza as well as my interaction with the crew.

Trivia: also known as a pub quiz was offered a couple of times per day. Progressive Trivia was at 10 pm. In the English Pub. . When our minds are beginning to become mushier. So much fun, but probably difficult for non English speakers.

I know that reviews I have read in the past have gone to the extremes of worst cruise ever to best cruise ever. A cruise is essentially what you make of it. I had a wonderful time mostly because of the people I met on this cruise, and the care provided by the crew.
skipperanne’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
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Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Interior Stateroom – Bella
Cabin I1
i had an ocean view with Bella Experience. My room's window looked out over a deck at the bow of the ship. The deck was not private, and people could see into my room if they looked closely. . or at night if my lights were on. Fortunately it was not a commonly used deck. It was delightful. ( from the deck plan I believe this room is normally Fantasica, however I bid the minimum upgrade from an interior) Many with Guarantee interior also had ocean view staterooms. The room was small, however large enough for me (a very large woman) to move around. There was plenty of storage space for one, and enough for two. I would have liked more hangers, but not necessary, i could put my shirts in a drawer. Lots of mirrors. The bathroom was the smallest I've ever experienced. (The shower smaller than in the NCL solo cabins). Fortunately there were drains in the floor, so keeping water in the shower was not necessary. Very economical use of space. There was a shower curtain on the shower in the interior and oceanview cabins, a "glass door" in balcony cabins.
My steward was great, I requested ice two times / day. Also I requested a top sheet, as I was often too hot to be under a duvet with a quilt. My room was cleaned twice a day. Using the sign meant it was always ready when I returned.
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