My husband found this cruise on Travelocity at a very good price. We have been on 13 cruises but never with MSC. At such a great price, we thought we would give it a try. Boarding the ship in Miami was a breeze. Embarkation was swift and orderly even though the staff wasn't exactly the friendliest. This should have been our first sign of things to come.
Once on board, we noted how dated and in need of repair the ship was. My 8 year old son pointed out loose tiles in the shower and that the air in our cabin wasn't working very well... my 8 year old who never notices anything. I don't mean to be petty, but I am going to be petty here... Every other cruise line we have been on, we would get a towel animal and a little chocolate left on our pillow at night. Not on this ship. Our room steward was attentive and kept our cabin clean, but we missed the little "above and beyond" measures that we had come to expect as the normal standard through other cruise lines.
The dining hall our first evening was a complete disappointment. It felt as if it was their very first time doing anything! Toward the end of our meal, the head waiter for our area made to over to introduce himself and it was a complete game changer. From that moment on, he made a point to seek us out for each meal. He guided our wait staff in making certain our drinks were kept filled and our food made it to us hot and delicious.
The entertainment crew on the MSC Armonia was the absolute best we have ever seen on any cruise we have been on. I am not sure how many hours they put in on their performances but you can tell they work hard to perfect their routines. Each night before they would go on, the ship's cruise director and his team would warm up the crowd with giveaways and hilarious antics. I do not know what these staff members get paid but it is not nearly enough! Everything else just seemed way too crowded to enjoy.
Our first port of call was Jamaica. We had to tender to shore. You had to stand in line to get a ticket to take the tender to shore. They passed out tickets through number 25 or 26. My family and I were able to make it to shore on the number 9 tender. I have heard conflicting stories about what number they stopped calling tenders at, but what can be said is that not every passenger was able to get off of the boat that day and experience Jamaica. It was not a good day. I think if they had run out of rum on board, there might have been a mutiny.
Grand Cayman was, well, Grand Cayman. overpriced, hot, and busy. Costa Maya was very nice once we left the port and hired a taxi outside of the port gates to take us to Chacchoben for the day. Very nice and relaxing... and about half the price the cruise line wanted for the same tour.
The day spent at Ocean Cay is a nice day if you enjoy swimming and the beach. I do not. My husband and children LOVED it. They love sun, sand, and water. Me, not so much. Would I ever sail on this ship again? No. Would I ever sail MSC again? I am not sure. I will be doing much more research and reading reviews before booking my next cruise.
Typical Cruise ship interior room. Very loud at all times. I am not certain why. At all hours, we had people running around in the halls around us being very loud waking us up in the middle of the night and we could never figure out our phone in order to call the front desk. Though it isn't like they would do anything. It was also very warm and stuffy in our cabin.