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Sail Date: August 2019
Let me say, except for the Cabin Attendant, EVERY PERSON we spoke with was VERY ACCOMMODATING AND HELPFUL! This ship is on the smaller size of Cruisers when Compared to the other ships that were in dock (i.e. Disney, RC Independance of ... Read More
Let me say, except for the Cabin Attendant, EVERY PERSON we spoke with was VERY ACCOMMODATING AND HELPFUL! This ship is on the smaller size of Cruisers when Compared to the other ships that were in dock (i.e. Disney, RC Independance of the Seas and the RC Allure, etc..) Great Ship with PLENTY of restaurants and bars! VERY MULTI-CULTURAL environment... Moreso than any other cruise I have been on. Went to Karoake two nights and there was no host and no Karoake... That was pretty disappointing... Wife was ready for me to make a fool of myself! Did not attend any of the live shows because I don't particularly care for European musicals. Purchased a Balcony Suite Cabin which was a little smaller than RC Balcony Suite but very efficient with plenty of storage. Overall the Cruise itself was Fantastic... However the Cabin Attendant WAS HORRIBLE! I will explain more about that below. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I really enjoyed this cruise. The ship was very clean, public restrooms were very well maintained. The ship is pretty small so there isn't really a lot of activities. I was part of a large group and there were activities planned by ... Read More
I really enjoyed this cruise. The ship was very clean, public restrooms were very well maintained. The ship is pretty small so there isn't really a lot of activities. I was part of a large group and there were activities planned by our group leader for us which were fun. The service and staff was amazing. Our dining staff (Keyshawn-Waiter, Jose-Head Waiter, Lord-Waitstaff) were great, very attentive. Our room steward Nestor Ching was also amazing. He saw that we liked to have ice so when we would return to our room after dinner we always found a bucket of ice waiting. The staff variety show was so funny it’s a must see, you will not be disappointed! I enjoyed the food in the main dining room except for the fish which always seemed to be dry. The buffet food was good for what it was, the pizza not so much. I'm not a big hot dog eater but I had a few from the buffet and I must say they were really good. I’m a picky eater due to food allergies so I pretty much stuck with food that I know. There's only one specialty restaurant (Surf and Turf for a set fee of $35. This was my second cruise with MSC and I'm ready to book my third which will be on the Meraviglia or Lirica. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Like everyone else we booked this cruise to visit Cuba. Despite our disappointment, we decided to make the best of it and found we enjoyed the ports and the ship itself. Embarkation could not have been easier. And going through customs in ... Read More
Like everyone else we booked this cruise to visit Cuba. Despite our disappointment, we decided to make the best of it and found we enjoyed the ports and the ship itself. Embarkation could not have been easier. And going through customs in Key West made disembarkation a breeze. The ship is in good condition for her age and the activities and food were on par with other cruise lines. Some food we liked, other things we didn’t. We particularly did not care for the desserts overall. We only saw two of the shows, but weren’t particularly impressed. It may just be there weren’t our thing because others seemed to enjoy them. The reviews about cabin bathrooms are spot on. The showers are tiny, but there is plenty of storage for your things. Overall I would sail MSC again, but would like to try one of their newer ships with more bells and whistles. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We choose this line and ship for Cuba and overnight stay. We were obviously disappointed but made the best of it. Embarkation was a breeze. Muster drill is a horror though. MSC needs to figure this out. I Did mention in my end of cruise ... Read More
We choose this line and ship for Cuba and overnight stay. We were obviously disappointed but made the best of it. Embarkation was a breeze. Muster drill is a horror though. MSC needs to figure this out. I Did mention in my end of cruise survey. It's outside in the heat, crammed with people and you have to have life jackets.... The ship is older but still nice. Elevator buttons need replacing and it's been stretched so sometimes you find a dead end or elevator that only goes up so high. I got lost a bit at first, would be nice if MSC would follow other lines and do a tour of ship to help ppl out ans lesrn their way around on embark day. Food- I've seen several bad reviews. I don't know where these ppl ate. We had anytime with our suite so ate in La Pergolia. All food was well presented and tasty. Mom's a veggie and still had food. She only said buffet needed more cooked veggie choices. Sometimes it did take longer but anyone whose been to Europe knows the dinning style is more relaxed than America. It's about the experience not rushing. I didn't like their eggs, tired twice and gave up but that's me. Pizza was good. I've been to Naples, Italy and has the real stuff so can say it was good. I had nearly everyday for snack or lunch. Gelato was good as well. Surf and Turf- we did 3rd night. Crab cake was to die for, 2 small lobster tails and steak... Very good and get the cheesecake with rum sauce... not to miss!! Caution... no tap water so you get charged for a bottle... also they do 15 percent discount on certain nights... The crew doesn't always understand English so if you need an answer or help, ask for someone who does... that's the only minor issue we ran into. Cruise Critic party was first rate (been to plenty of my 20 plus cruises on other lines) snacks, chocolate covered strawberries, drinks and cake. Just a note, the picture was not delivered to our cabin, I had to go to photo gallery and ask for it but got it without any problems and it's free. Spa, was great. I precooked a 30 min Bali message, 30 min facial and thermal suite day pass package. The girl did a wonderful job, asked if wanted harder or softer and was mostly silent. I knew they didn't have a place on receipt to add tips so took extra cash to give her. She deserved it. Eric, the cruise director was energetic and fun. Everyone we meet at party or when we did the pic with Captain always spoke to us afterwards when seeing us and was very friendly, including the captain. We ran into Benjamin, the international host, in Key West when coming back to ship and even though he was off duty, he still stopped to talk to us and another family. Ports- Roatan- I did the glass bottom boat and West end village excursion. The boat actually has a bottom piece that's under water level and Windows on both sides toy go down into, so kinda misleading but was better in my opinion. I got rum when shopping in village for 10 bucks a bottle. They didn't take it or saying anything so up to cabin with me it went. Costa Maya- We bought port pass. It gives entrance to bird aviary (with suspension bridges and you get a cup of seeds to feed various birds), chocolate factory/tour and tequila factor/tour plus use of pool without buying drink or food. Not in description is the 3 drinks you get as well at this one bar. Water, soda, virgin drinks or cocktails. Your choice. For 39 bucks it was well worth the price. Cozumel- I did the Jose Curveo tequila tasting and tour at Discover Mexico excursion. Very interesting and all. You taste 3 tequila with how to properly do it... then you get a full sized passion fruit margarita with pepper rim. Art museum and full taco bar (not in description again but a welcome find after all that booze) I recommend it. It was worth it, I just think MSC should work better to make sure they include everything in excursion descriptions. There was only 4 of us and I think more would have done it... Key West- you go through us customs.... quick look at passport and that's it. No questions about liquor or anything... I shopped here and then later went back out with dad to Kermit's for Key Lime pie. There's s Hemmingway rum distillery close to it if you want to do a tasting... It was free... Also, several cool shops in big building that include s buttery one and a cat/dog one if you are like me and need to bring a peace offering back for your fur baby. All in all, a good cruise with some minor issues. I would sail MSC again if we find a good price. I like traveling and Europe so had no problem with Mediterranean flair of MSC and honestly... if you go on a cruise and don't have a good time, that's on you. I've had issues and things I didn't like on all lines, but really it's a cruise. I've always enjoyed myself, regardless. Shows- we went first night, French Follies, 2nd night, Beatles tribute night (awesome but the guys were only on for 2 weeks) and The Greatest... Broadway hits... we skipped Adams Family (not interested) , Italian touch (too tired) and last night Abyss... so can't comment on those. I do have a review on MSC board under Armonia July 1st to 8th review if you want more detail of day to day or have questions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Wanted to go to Cuba but when that fell through we decided not to switch and continue. Embarkation was smooth and easy. No problem and it didn't take very long for us to get our luggage. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Wanted to go to Cuba but when that fell through we decided not to switch and continue. Embarkation was smooth and easy. No problem and it didn't take very long for us to get our luggage. We had a very nice time. Our cabin steward Walter was excellent and so very very nice. He was very good to us. We loved our cabin!! We had a balcony on deck 10 and it was so relaxing. The cabin was very spacious and always clean. I think I will always get a room with a balcony from now on> I've been spoiled. . My granddaughter, who is 8 had a good time, but decided not to really participate in the kids club after the first day. Said it was too noisy and way too many kids. She loves being around other kids but this may have been a little too much. The buffet was just so so. We ate there a couple of times but I wasn't crazy about the choice of foods. You can always get a salad though so that worked out well. Dinner in La Pierloga (sp?) restaurant was better but be ready to spend about 2 hours having dinner. Service is very good. We had room service a couple of times and it worked out ok. They got our pizza order mixed up but they took care of it and it was very good. Loved the coffee bar but I think they need to add dessert, other than cookies, to it. Dessert, other than gelato and cookies, seems to be an afterthought. The gelato was excellent and should be open for after dinner also. I loved having the dessert bar on a Carnival cruise I took, it was nice to get a little treat anytime you wanted one. MSC should think about adding something like that. The entertainment was very good. They had something planned throughout the day everyday. We always did the trivia quiz with Sarah. Enjoyed the shows. My granddaughter made it a point of having us go every night. They were entertaining and had some very good singers. Movies were played in the business center all the time. NEED POPCORN!!! My only criticism about the entertainment was their so called 4th of July celebration. You can't just wear red, white and blue have someone sing the national anthem and have that be it. With, what I was told, 1600 Americans on board. They could have done a much better job of celebrating the holiday. I think they said they were going to have fireworks but I didn't see any by 10:30 or so that night. Eric the cruise the director is a treat!!! He puts a lot of energy into his job and he's very good at it. We really enjoyed him. Did the dolphin experience in Costa Maya and the Tulum excursion in Cozumel. Both were very good. It was very nice to be able to go through customs in Key West. Went super fast so we didn't have to do anything in Miami. Disembarkation was smooth. No problems at all. Overall we had a good time. I would do another MSC cruise with a different itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
First time cruise for us. Options were everywhere - but we settled on the MSC Armonia, for..... CUBA!!!!! and well overall cost. Opting for an Oceanview room, and Fantastica level. First off.... One huge turn off for us - MSC TAKE ... Read More
First time cruise for us. Options were everywhere - but we settled on the MSC Armonia, for..... CUBA!!!!! and well overall cost. Opting for an Oceanview room, and Fantastica level. First off.... One huge turn off for us - MSC TAKE NOTE: You don't need to harass your paying customers to purchase the more expensive drink packages ($189 per person to upgrade from Easy Drink - to Premium) Neither myself nor my wife, drink enough to justify the extra expense. Yet every single time I ordered a drink that was off the "Easy" menu, I was hounded by staff to upgrade. BIG Turn-off. Ok other than that one issue, the rest of the cruise was good, there were a few notable "maintenance" items - public restrooms that were out of order, wall panels behind toilets that appeared to have been ripped out of the wall. Oceanview Fantastica - Now we were warned that the overall rooms were smaller than a regular hotel. Understatement - One queen sized bed, had just enough room to squeeze around both sides, and the foot of the bed. I think the term my wife used was "Cozy" but it was comfortable for 2 people. The bathroom, now I read ahead of time that the shower was tiny. Well that is very true - if you turn around inside you will hit the curtain which will stick to you, and of course end up soaking the floor outside the shower area. The toilet was different than we have experience before; when you flush you need to close the lid, and it sounds like a jet engine going off, on occasion, you would have to wait a couple min before it would actually flush. Storage space, we were able to completely unpack 4 large suitcases, and 2 smaller carry-on bags and still had room to spare. NOTE: if you need to charge anything - there are only 2 plugs in the room, both located on the desk, beneath the mirror. The safe, and additional storage is located behind the mirror. Housekeeping staff - These guy's were phenomenal!!!! If I had to guess - they would check on your room at least 4 times a day. Once mid morning - to make your bed, and change out towels. Once mid day to tidy up - Once early evening to drop off the Daily Planner for the next port - Once mid evening to turn down your blankets, and change out any towels. Room Service - Now here is one area that was confusing - We had been told prior to the cruise that "Fantastica" level did not pay the "$8.95" for room service delivery. HOWEVER - aside from the basic continental breakfast - we were charged for the "Delivery" charge, plus gratuities. Now the Continental breakfast was good, fill out the card, and hang it on the door before 2am, and they will deliver to you at the time slot you requested. Mind you - pay attention to the time you request vs time of arriving in port. The "Hot Breakfast" morning - was ok, nothing to write home about..... Waffle, egg's, omelet, bacon, sausage, fruit plate, with coffee, and juice. Certainly more food than we expected, but was still basic. La Pergola - The more elegant of the dining rooms - we did not have the pleasure of eating here. But was informed that it was the same fare as found in Marco Polo. Surf-n-Turf - the newest addition to the ship. $35 per person for dinner. Menu was basically just as it sounds - Steak and seafood options. Once again - we did not have the pleasure of eating here. La Brasserie - Buffet - was acceptable - a typical buffet with less than flavorful food selection - and well generally people were more rude in the buffet than anywhere else on the ship. Staff were doing the best they could muster. Marco Polo - portions were well lacking - food for the most part was quite good - but seriously 2 ravioli's served on a rather large bowl? Staff here were quite good, they were friendly, and remembered everyone's names, and generally what each of us drank regularly from the first night. Pizza / Pasta Bar - Pizza, what can I say, typical Italian fair - probably one of the best meals found on the ship. However in 7 days, I honestly cannot recall ever seeing Pasta offered. Grill - Burger / Hot Dog Bar - As one of the cruise members stated - "We are Italian, we do great Pizza, but not the best Hamburgers" I shall leave it at that. Bar Del Duomo - the center for most of the interior late night entertainment. Arrive early, else there will be no seating for you. Staff were exceptional the Entertainment Cast were good, the live band was acceptable - the singer was worth the listen, even when she was singing in other languages. Rum Bar - Serving, well mostly Rum options - but also everything else, the music was a heavy Latin flair, good for dancing, and even just enjoying a Cuba-libre - or Mai-Tai. White Lion Pub - A replica of an English pub, with a concentration on higher end drinks - think Gin and on Tap beer's (best selection on the ship) only draw back - It is adjacent to the Cigar Room. If you have any allergies to smoke, not the best place to congregate. Il Lido Bar - Pool bar - more often than not this place was busy, and the general customer was rude, and discourteous to everyone else. The staff were once again - doing the best they could to keep everyone happy, while attempting to go above and beyond. Library - A good semi-quiet place to relax during most hours of the day and night Palm Beach Casino - Small maybe 100 video machines - with approximately 5 table games (1 Roulette, 1 Blackjack, 2 others (three card poker I believe)) The only place on board that Cash was gladly accepted. MSC Business Center - AKA the movie theater. Seats about 150 people and offered movies throughout the cruise. Granted they were not first run movies, but a season or two back. Teatro La Fenice - The meeting place for almost all Excursion's, as well as the live entertainment theater for nightly shows. During our cruise, 6 nights of song and dance, 1 night a Beatles tribute band. Show's were good, not exceptional - ONE note here something we noticed, as well as several other guests noticed. Most of the singing (if not all) was lip synced. Hardly noticeable, until you do, then hard not to see it happening. Overall the work, costumes, and general planning that went into each show was worth it. Quite entertaining. Shopping - Each day there were tables setup with sales on everything from souvenirs, perfume, watches, clothing to electronics. Some sales were WOW 75% off Invicta Watches..... and loads of inexpensive jewelry for your wife, mother, daughter, or significant other. In addition - there were specialized shops, a Clothes store, Pharmacy/Perfumeria, Swarovski, Effy, a Watch/sunglasses/ electronic's shop, and of course a Duty Free shop (yes alcohol can be purchased by the gallon bottle, but you will not receive it until the last night of the cruise.) Pool / Hot tub area - ok we made the mistake of crossing through here one time. Way overcrowded when at sea. The pool and hot tub area was full of kids, as was the Doremi water park area. Mind you for the most part - the kids appeared unsupervised and were left to run rampant. Aurea Spa / Beauty Parlor - Ladies, if you want to partake in any of the optional (Cost involved) treatments - Make your appointment early on in your cruise. This place books up fast. Overall cost - comparable to any land based spa / beauty parlor.... Tip - buy products from the beauty parlor to get exceptional discounts on treatments..... ($70 hair treatment was free, after an $80 purchase of specialized shampoo/conditioner/style cream) Ocho Rio's Jamaica - We opted for a "Bamboo Rafting on the Martha Brae" an hour of a slow river relaxing ride. Couple of things to note - this is probably one of the farthest commutes offered (1.5 hrs each way) so - do not expect to get any time at the port to shop. Also the planning was lacking - once the rafting experience was over, we were shuttled to a church that was locked up tight. Then one stop "Bathroom" break at a small souvenir shop, arriving back at the port with just enough time to board before departure. Grand Caymen - Stingray City - Approximately 3hr's total - 15 min bus, 30 min boat, and about an 1.5 hrs in the water. Cayman Express crew were great, informative, and helpful, drinks were available for purchase on the boat trip, As was a single changing room/bathroom. Bring your waterproof camera, a towel, and a change of clothes - oh and plenty of sunscreen. Cozumel - We opted to self tour the island - Ernesto's Rentals - $60 a day for a jeep wrangler - one word of caution - these are well used, and abused vehicles, and not up to "American Rental Company" standards. But we were able get around the island without any problems with the vehicle. Opted for a stop at El Cedral, Playa Plancar, San Gervasio, and a Tequilaria. Eastern beaches were inundated with the Sargassum seaweed, the beaches and water were turned a dark reddish brown color, and in many places smelled of rotten egg's..... Costa Maya - Once again - we opted for self tour, specifically looking for the "Maya Healing Ritual" think of it as a themed day spa. $89 per person for approximately 1.5 hrs of uber relaxing time. First a soak in a deep heated herbal bath, with a head, neck and shoulder massage. Then to the "Mayan Sweat Lodge" for a traditional Mayan song, and some history of the practice while you relax in the "sauna" type room. Then face painting time, well ok not really, but you do a white clay mask, while relaxing and another song by the local "shaman" Then off to a cold shower, and into another deep soak in coconut milk bath (ok so it is not 100% coconut milk - it does have a coconut scent, but it is mostly just hot water bath, along with some more head, neck and shoulder rubs. Lastly, the "Hammock Massage" you will be wrapped in towels, then cocooned within the hammock. where you will get an coconut oil rubdown on your arms, and leg's, then a full back of body work over by the masseuse that is laying beneath you, using their legs and feet. OMFG it was certainly an experience.... Granted it is not completely authentic, but it is still a relaxing time that you can decompress and forget the rest of the world. Afterwards, a quick drink in the complimentary lounge chairs at the white sand beach (part of the "Healing Ritual Package" chairs were free, drinks were not) Then on to the Aviary "Aviarius" - Not the greatest for to cost, but you are right in the middle of many birds, while perched atop tower's connected by swinging bridges that zigzag over the port. The birds will come sit on your hand, shoulders, arms, head.... while you offer up some feed that is given to you when you enter their world. While you traverse the Aviary, you get a chance to look down upon the Dolphin experience. Now let me tell you this - the water that the people were waiting to swim in looked absolutely filthy, the green algae was floating everywhere. (see pic's attached) Now one warning about Costa Maya - IF you opt to stay in the port, the vendor's are super aggressive. Every single shop had someone trying to drag you inside to peruse their wares. All in all - The cruise was enjoyable, relaxing, and just what we both needed, would we opt for the cruise again, yes - but we would do many things differently.... Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My experience on MSC was different from what I typically experience on other cruise lines but I still had a good experience. Getting on and off the ship was very easy and quick. The staff was always friendly and helpful. It was very ... Read More
My experience on MSC was different from what I typically experience on other cruise lines but I still had a good experience. Getting on and off the ship was very easy and quick. The staff was always friendly and helpful. It was very easy to navigate the ship but sometimes you had to walk through one of the dining rooms during dinner to go from point A to point B which was a bit strange. Food in the dining room was good. I was able to try new fish I had never been offered on other cruise lines. We also enjoyed the pizza and gelato. I did miss the chairs on the lower deck which is where I typically hang out. I also missed watching movies poolside. I did not observe people being chair hogs. MSC has everyone with a scheduled excursion to report to the theater. It was very chaotic and not clear what you were supposed to do when you arrived. In Ocho Rios, we did the Brimmer Hall Plantation Tour with Beach & Lunch. It was an hour drive to the plantation. The demonstrations were interesting but rather than pull us around on a trailer they could do those near the house. The plantation itself wasn't very impressive nor was the beach or lunch. I enjoyed the Best of Caymen in Georgetown. We visited a turtle farm, Hell, and a rum store. The Best of Cozumel was OK. After the English guide presented his info, the Spanish guide then repeated it all. We spent too much time at the history museum and not enough time at the chocolate museum. At the tequila store, they actually gave everyone a taste of 5 different kinds. I did not schedule an excursion in Costa Maya. It's a nice port for shopping and hanging out. I did not attend any of the evening shows. They were all music and dancing type productions. I had put in a request online for an extension cord and distilled water for my CPAP but never received any response so I brought my own. While sailing with MSC was a different experience than with other cruise lines, I enjoyed my trip and would sail with them again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Embarkation/Disembarkation: We chose this cruise because of the overnight in Havana and because we had a very good previous experience with MSC. We were celebrating our 30th anniversary. We left out of Miami and it was the fastest and ... Read More
Embarkation/Disembarkation: We chose this cruise because of the overnight in Havana and because we had a very good previous experience with MSC. We were celebrating our 30th anniversary. We left out of Miami and it was the fastest and easiest embarkation we've experienced. Our assigned check-in time was 2:30, but since we had to be out of our hotel room at 11:00, we arrived at 11:30. We dropped off our luggage, parked the car, and walked across the street to terminal F. We had priority embarkation with our Aurea experience, but it wasn't necessary. Before noon, we were on the ship sipping a drink. we sat at the forward pool bar with the best bartender at sea, Ryan Felix! Disembarkation was just as smooth as embarkation.We were in the first group called because we chose the Aurea experience. We walked off the ship, picked up our luggage and headed to our car. We had to meet with customs the morning of Key West, so there was no customs stop in Miami. Drink Package: We had the Premium Plus package which is the most inclusive package. While we may not have drank our money's worth, and I didn't bother to do the math, it was so nice to get water, specialty coffees, smoothies, specialty bottled juices, mini bar items, and any alcoholic beverage with no worry about paying a bill. I will definitely do this again. You also save the service charge when you purchase the package prior to embarkation. An extra 15% really adds up. We gave an additional cash tip to our regular bartenders at the end of the week. Spa: After our drink, we headed to the spa to book our appointments. We each had a massage included as part of the Aurea experience and I had pre-booked the Golden Jasmine package. I definitely recommending booking spa services in advance. Even with some specials thrown in during the week, the advanced purchase prices were significantly lower. We had massages or other treatments by 4 different spa staff, and each one was excellent! The only negative I have concerning the spa is the thermal area. There is not much there and it is quite small compared to other ships. One steam room was functioning correctly along with 4 heated loungers. We usually visit this area everyday when we cruise. We only visited once on this trip. When we told staff in the spa that several features were not working they pretty much said. "Oh, well. We get it fixed and it works for little bit and then breaks down again." At least they're honest? This and the Top 13 Private Solarium are the only areas where MSC really needs to upgrade and the only real disappointment on the Armonia. My husband used the gym daily and said that it was adequate. Cabin: At 2:00 an announcement was made that we could enter our staterooms. We headed to 1225, Aurea Suite. The cabin was spacious and comfortable with a tremendous amount of storage space. We loved the walk in closet and additional cabinets. There was plenty of room to store our belongings out of sight. I still would call this a deluxe balcony, not a suite. Our stateroom attendant, Emmanuel, was excellent! He kept the ice bucket and mini bar full and our stateroom immaculate. The bed and furnishings were in good shape and very comfy. The bathroom was average, but did have a bathtub. The balcony felt slightly larger than the norm, but we wished for more comfortable chairs. The dividers rattled at night and we remedied that with a little duct tape! It is an older ship and these little things give that away. There were very loud noises from the solarium above at night that interfered with sleep. On the last day I asked one of the solarium attendants, Sean, about it and he told me that they move all of the chairs at night and clean. He seemed very concerned and said that they are to move the furniture very quietly. That night, I didn't hear a sound. I only wish that I had said something after our first night! Anytime we mentioned a concern the staff was eager and efficient in trying to resolve it. I would choose this stateroom again. I gave it a 4 rather than 5 rating because of the balcony noise and chairs and the fact that it was not a true suite. Emergency Drill: This was fairly quick and easy. We needed to carry our vests from our cabin but were not required to wear them. Guests who did not attend were required to complete it the following morning. Dining: We ate in La Pergola restaurant for dinner every night. This is the anytime dining venue for Fantastica and Aurea guests. The hostess, Brenda, was wonderful. The first evening we had dinner at 8:00. It was very busy and the tables for 2 are nearly touching. My husband has poor hearing and we could not have a conversation. I spoke with Brenda on the way out and she promised a quiet, more intimate table if we could arrive at 6:00 each night. We did and it was perfect! If you like a quiet dinner, 6:00 is a great time to eat. Our waiter was Anil. He was very attentive and efficient. He always knew to bring our bottled water and favorite wine as soon as we entered the room. He made wonderful suggestions and made sure that we were happy with everything we ordered. You are always free to order more or to change your selection if you do not enjoy your selection. The servings are smaller than on most ships serving the Caribbean, but every meal was more than I could eat! I have read complaints about both the quality and quantity of food on this ship, but we did not find that to be the case. Each meal was delicious, from start to finish. If the portions are not adequate for you, you can simply order more food. We also want to mention the restaurant manager, Gochell. Hopefully I spelled that correctly! He stopped by the table each evening to see if there was anything we needed and to ensure that we were happy with our meals and service. He was very personable and had an excellent rapport with his staff. We discovered that he will be on the Meraviglia with us in November and can't wait to see him again! Most of our meals were eaten in La Pergola. Breakfast and lunch were very good. If it was closed we ate at the buffet or had pizza. The buffet had great salad, fruit, smoked salmon sandwiches, and wraps for lunch. We didn't really eat much there. It always seemed so busy and guests served themselves. I loved the way HAL served guests at the buffet. One of the few things that can ruin a vacation is getting sick. The fewer people touching the food and utensils the better! We enjoyed the pizza, but tried the burger and fries one day and didn't care for them. The gelato was good and a nice touch on a hot afternoon! We gave dining a 4 rating rather than 5 because of the up-charge on the menu for steak and lobster as well as other items that used to be included. The regular dining room menus should be all inclusive. We also took into consideration the buffet service. Bars: The forward pool bar and staff were awesome! Be sure to ask Ryan for the world's best Bloody Mary! It really was the best one we've had! The staff will concoct just about anything you can imagine. Just ask! Some of the same crew worked at the Rum Bar in the evenings. The Rum Bar had wonderful drinks, service, and entertainment. We are early birds and light drinkers, so we didn't venture out too much at night. The San Marco Coffee Bar was also excellent. We had coffee here every morning before breakfast. They also have wonderful chocolate croissants! There is also a smoothie and juice bar located just outside the spa on the pool deck. This was often breakfast or a snack. We loved being able to grab something healthy after all of the overindulging we did! Entertainment: We almost skipped out on the shows because we had read some really harsh reviews. Don't listen to reviews!! I know that sounds funny coming from someone who is writing a review! The nightly shows in the theater were absolutely fantastic! The singers brought tears to our eyes and the acrobats were incredible. They were so good that we went twice one evening! I wouldn't miss it. It can get crowded, so get there a few minutes early. They were not taking reservations as we had read prior to our cruise. We had use of the Top 13 private solarium which came with the Aurea Experience. You can also purchase daily or weekly passes. It was OK. We love quiet and hate fighting for pool chairs, so we did appreciate knowing that we could always find a lounge chair. There was usually staff there who would get you towels or bar service. Sean was one of the attendants and was wonderful! He was eager to assist and he was such an interesting guy! There were only about 6-8 chairs in the shade at any time during the day, so it was hot! You had to arrive early to grab a spot in the shade. They need to put up some type of cover. There were only showers to cool off and handheld spritzers. Another odd thing was that we could smell sewage at times. It depended on the wind. On our last cruise with HAL, we rented private cabanas at the top of the ship. These were covered and offered 2 loungers, a table and 2 chairs with views of the water. We had an attendant and additional chairs on the sundeck for sunning. The butlers brought you beverages, food, and cold towels. They really spoiled us! We really missed this space on Armonia. As far as activities, we missed the art auctions and wine, etc. tastings that we usually enjoy on a cruise. Ports: We took this cruise to go to Cuba. We booked a private tour guide and driver for Saturday and a food tour for Sunday through Strawberry Tours . Two days into our trip, it was announced that US citizens were no longer permitted to travel to Cuba. It was very sad. I cried for 5 minutes and then decided to continue enjoying our wonderful vacation. We were shocked by the behavior of some of our fellow passengers following this announcement. They were yelling and threatening the crew. The cruise director, Miguel was physically attacked. His attacker was arrested when we arrived in port. Some passengers started a petition and lawsuit against the cruise line. We were stunned. On any cruise we know that the itinerary can be changed for any reason. It certainly was not the fault of the crew! It's just part of the deal. Cuba was a bucket list item for us and we were very disappointed, but we were on a lovely ship, eating great food, and enjoying amazing service. MSC gave each passenger a $400.00 OBC, extended our stay in Cozumel, and added Key West. That was generous and it was done quickly. I was so impressed by how well the staff conducted themselves. You could see the stress in the customer service desk staff and the shore excursion staff. They were really being abused by some guests. We only got off the ship in Cozumel. We took a cab, did a tequila tasting, and visited a few beaches. There was so much seaweed that we didn't go in the water. We like our beaches in Florida much better! We did some shopping at the port and headed back on board. We love staying on the ship in port. It's so nice and quiet! No lines for anything! Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle/ Welcome Back Party: This was the best Meet and Mingle! Miguel, the cruise director, and Carlos, the activities director, hosted. There was such a nice selection of finger foods and drinks, as well as a beautiful cake. It was nice to meet some of the staff and the new cruise critic friends we talked with online. We were glad to bump into familiar faces during our vacation. I definitely recommend that you take part if there is a Meet and Mingle on your cruise! Miguel and Carlos had a group picture taken and gave each of us a copy as a gift. The welcome back party was also very nice. There was plenty of champagne, photos with the captain, and wonderful live jazz music. The saxophone player was so talented! I'm sure that was just too much information, but I tried to answer the questions that I had before our cruise. We really enjoyed both of our MSC cruises and are looking forward to sailing on the MSC Meraviglia in November. It will be our first Yacht Club experience and we are really looking forward to it! I wouldn't hesitate to sail on this ship again! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Imran was amazing. My first cruise and they made it very enjoyable especially since we didn’t make Cuba. Food was amazing and the crew was Fantastic. We did have a couple minor issues however the staff and corporate made it right. I ... Read More
Imran was amazing. My first cruise and they made it very enjoyable especially since we didn’t make Cuba. Food was amazing and the crew was Fantastic. We did have a couple minor issues however the staff and corporate made it right. I will be traveling again on the Armonia on October 7, 2019. This will be my second cruise. Food was amazing. Someone said the Lobster was over cooked and mushy. Well over cooked Lobster is like RUBBER. SO that is a false statement. FOOD WAS FANTASTIC AND WE ARE MSC FANS. Costa Maya was probably our favorite spot. Beach excursion was Fantastic. Laid under a palm tree with Tequila and snakes. Wife and I are doing the same cruise itinerary for the most part. Honduras, Costa Maya, Cozumel, Grand Cayman. Highly recommend MSC. Small ship however made it very perfect for a Romantic experience. Will let you know how the second cruise is on MSC. Sure It will be Fantastic Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked the cruise because of the 2 days in Havana and we enjoyed the full cruise as well. We had sailed on the Poesia a couple of years ago and we liked the Armonia cruise more. The food was definitely better on the Armonia. The ... Read More
We booked the cruise because of the 2 days in Havana and we enjoyed the full cruise as well. We had sailed on the Poesia a couple of years ago and we liked the Armonia cruise more. The food was definitely better on the Armonia. The Hotel Director on the Armonia went above and beyond and most of the Senior Staff were very friendly and outgoing. Our cabin steward did a good job and we liked our cabin. A major problem I had was with the layout of the ship. I have a small mobility scooter and between different areas of the ship there are a lot of raised bars on the ground. Each time I drive over one it jolts my body and I ended up with a really painful back and really sore spasms. I had to take pain pills and muscle relaxants the whole time. I tried going on the outside deck to get from one end of the ship to the other but it was often blocked off for some reason. The doors are not automatic either and I often had to wait for someone to come along so I could go to the buffet or to get to an elevator. When I told the Hotel Director he was sympathetic and was aware of the problem. He did send me a nice souvenir to cheer me up. Can't beat the value of MSC. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We went on the 7 day RT cruise from Miami. Never cruised with MSC before and actually had pretty low expectations from the reviews, but thought we would go with an open mind because we really wanted to see Cuba and it was a good price plus ... Read More
We went on the 7 day RT cruise from Miami. Never cruised with MSC before and actually had pretty low expectations from the reviews, but thought we would go with an open mind because we really wanted to see Cuba and it was a good price plus we got the Easy drink package and WiFi for free. They will match your status with other lines, so be sure to do that before you go. We flew into Fort Lauderdale and used the ships transfer to Miami. FLL is a Southwest hub and the prices were better than Miami. We had to wait at the airport for a while before they had a full bus to take to Miami. Next time, I would probably just taken a taxi or Uber. One thing I want to note here is that the porters at the Port of Miami are extremely pushy regarding tips. Our bus driver told us the porters would pick up the luggage after it was unloaded and we didn't have to do anything. The porters made us bring it to them and put it on the cart for them and then held their hands out for a tip to "make sure it got to the cabin safely". This sounded like extortion to me and it does not make the cruise lines look very good (even though the porters are Port Authority employees). Our dinner mates were from London and they were appalled by how the porters acted. Embarkation in Miami was super smooth, walked right on the ship around 1:30 pm. This was the easiest embarkation we've ever experienced. I think it helped that they did not process your credit card at embarkation, which was different than I'd experienced before, there was a machine on board that you used to link your card with your room, again super easy, just different. This cruise was only 25% Americans so there were many languages spoken. All announcements were made in at least 5 languages. Also, a lot of people did not show up for the mandatory safety drill, which was frustrating waiting for the crew to round them up while we waiting for them outside in the heat. We had ocean view cabin 9271, it seemed similar to OV on Royal Caribbean's smaller ships. The bed was only a double, I would have liked to had a king, but it was fine, and we knew this before we boarded. The air conditioning in this room did not work very well, I had to contact customer service multiple times to get it fixed, but it did get fixed, and they sent us a bottle of wine and strawberries to apologize, which was a nice touch. Our room steward was very efficient and was friendly. A plus was that we were near the rear of the ship and there was a deck with seating close to our stateroom. We had first seating in the main dining room. Since this is an Italian cruise line, I was expecting good Italian food, but I was disappointed. My husband got the New York strip steak on the standard menu every night, he said it was very good. I got different things, but nothing stands out as my favorite. The service was ok, some nights were better than others, be prepared to order dessert with your meal. We had breakfast in the dining room and it was standard, same thing every day, nothing great. We found the buffet to be always crowded and the choices very limited. But don't miss the pizza out on the pool deck, while some of the toppings were a little crazy at times (like hot dogs, tuna, and many other oddities), the cheese pizza was great, best I've ever had on a cruise. As far as shows, we only went to one and walked out, they are kind of quirky because of so many languages spoken on board. In Cuba, the ship brought in dancers that were similar to the Tropicana, which was nice for people that didn't go on the excursion. We didn't participate in many activities or entertainment. It looked like they had a nice kids program, but we didn't have any kids with us. Overall, the staff was friendly and helpful, very much the small ship feel. They are a family owned cruise line and I got that vibe. They seem to really be trying to win the American market. They are employing experienced people from other popular US cruise lines, which seems to be helping. We only took one excursion from the ship and that was a tour of Grand Cayman, it was fine, no problems, small van with good air conditioning. We went to the sea turtle farm, Governor's beach, the town of Hell (which was disappointing, just a tourist trap), and Tortuga Rum Cake factory. We loved Cuba and were so happy we were able to experience it before the travel ban went into affect. Will definitely go back if it is lifted. Disembarkation was fine, well organized. Our luggage was neatly lined up and waiting for us to pick it up when our color was called. It is important to wait until your color is called, many people did not, so they had to stand there waiting for their luggage, which caused some congestion. We took the ship's shuttle back to FLL, which was very easy since they had crew directing people at the door going out. We went into this cruise with low expectations, but it ended up being a good cruise. We like MSC better than a couple other popular US lines. As long as they have good deals, we will be back. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
After baking this cruise through a travel company, i got access to the MSC traveler website. it wasnt working for the first 3 weeks! At one point I called them, and they nicely told me they could only talk to me after my travel agent ... Read More
After baking this cruise through a travel company, i got access to the MSC traveler website. it wasnt working for the first 3 weeks! At one point I called them, and they nicely told me they could only talk to me after my travel agent called them. Once the payment had been made in full, much of the information about the cruise disappeared from the website. 2 months before departure date, the itinerary appeared, showing the jamaica port had changed. The MSC Armonia is a smaller ship, but is clean and not overly fancy. They work hard to keep it clean and it seems to work. The staff is very helpful and attentive. We had a fantasia suite which allowed us to have dinner at the La Fogolata (or something like that) restaurant at the same table each day. I like that. We had the same table and waiters the whole cruise. Speaking of food, the food is prepared well and presented nicely. The portions are fancy restaurant portions. However, you can have additional food, all you do is ask at no charge. The variety was good, plus they have standard food you can order if the selections of the day don;t interest you. The buffet is open all the time, except from around 2 a.m till around 630 a.m. The buffet has everything from soup and salad, to pizza, pasta and burgers and also fruit and desert.. Drinks are $6 each or more, if you want something specific, it will be around $10 each. The wait staff is very nice and friendly in the bars. The fantasia suit is tight if there are more than 2 people in the room. There is a walk-in closet, with drawers and a shelf above the hanging space. There are built in shelves in the walls, hidden by doors, so there was plenty of clothing storage for 3 adults.(impressive) The bathroom is a typical size for a ship, however there is a deep tub. It would be tricky for someone with limited leg or hip mobility to get in and out. Lots of storage in the bathroom for toiletries. We didnt go to any of the shows. It looked like they were acrobats. Not a fan of those, so we didnt try to go. One night the cruise staff sang broadway hits with scenery showing behind. I guess that may have been fun, but not to my taste. We prebooked our excursions through the website, months in advance. The tickets were in our room the second morning. However, no description was provided. So, i remembered some of what was to be seen or done, but there was no info provided with the tickets. Once I went to the excursion desk to see if I needed a towel for the river rafting cruise, they guy assured me I wouldnt get wet! Its a river, so of course I would get wet. He didnt offer me the written info about that excursion, he just answered my question. The river tour on inner tubes was a nice way to spend the day, A few rapids, but nothing scary. And the tour guides were there to help even before you knew you needed help. great guys! When we booked our cruise we were to go to Montego Bay and I booked the zip line tour for my adult son in Montego Bay. I had done that zip line and it was awsome. MSC changed the Jamaica destination from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios without advising us in advance. I had also been to Ocho Rios in the past and was not impressed. Prior to MSC changing that destination, I booked the excursions. The Ocho Rios zip line apparently is not worth the money, and had it not been for climbing the falls, that whole excursion would have been a waste of time (according to 42 year old son). I think MSC should have handled this better, We went on the Deluxe Beach break in Cozumel. Don;t waste your money. The bus drops you off and tells you they;ll pick you up at a specified time. You are on your own to find the beach, a chair, umbrella or cabana which apparently was not included in the $90 purchase price. The cabana is $55 with a $25 refund. The cabana is a mattress that has a rubber covering (like a baby mattress) and 2 pillows. The top of the cabana is shadecloth and the sides untie to provide more shade. Rubber and sweat and skin or sand is not a good combination. Snorkling is limited to a very specific area and their mayan ruins in the ocean is man made out of concrete. We got one free drink and never saw the waiter again. The food was a buffet (they said it had a value of $30) and it was pathetic. Chicken nuggets, like McDonalds serves, noodles with what was supposed to be alfredo sauce, tiny ribs, pulled pork, and rolled tortilllas that were supposed to have pork and cheese inside, but did not. Drinks at the buffet included 4 juices, probably generic koolaid. In Havana, we did the Hemmingway and Rum tour. Interesting info about Havana and Hemmingway on the bus to the hhemmingway home. There was no guided tour of the Hemmingway estate, it was self led. The rum factory tour did not happen since the factories are closed on Saturday. We did go to a store where we could by rum and cigars. We also were taken to 2 bars for daquiri's Interesting and fun, but another MSC Cruise tour bus was also at the bars so it was really crowded and loud. Sunday we went on the Cigar and Rum tour. Remember, factories are closed on weekends. We did tour the Havana Club and they gave us a tour of the model of the rum factory. There were samples of rum. Then we went back to the store we had been to on Saturday for purchasing rum and cigars. We never got to see how cigars are hand rolled. Then, we went to one of the same restaurants from Saturday and learned how to blend cigars and rum into a delightful event. That was interesting. The casino is small. The 11th floor pool deck is where a lot happens. It is loud and crowded in the evening. We stayed mid-ship on the 10th deck and could hear the bass while walking down the hall almost to our room. The last night, they cleaned the 11th floor deck, and it was loud in our room. The cruise itself was nice, i was disappointed in their excursions and the way MSC ignored the changes to the excursions as described. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Like many Americans, I have always wanted to see Havana, mostly because we weren't allowed to travel there. When that changed, I started making plans to find a cruise that had a overnight stay there. The Armonia sailing was 7-nights ... Read More
Like many Americans, I have always wanted to see Havana, mostly because we weren't allowed to travel there. When that changed, I started making plans to find a cruise that had a overnight stay there. The Armonia sailing was 7-nights with an overnight in Havana for less than 5-night sailings on other lines that didn't even include an overnight stop. Having just taken my first MSC cruise last December on Divina, and enjoying that one, I decided to go ahead and book. I'm glad I did because I fear that the powers in Washington will again close travel to Cuba, which would be a real shame. I hadn't been on a ship this small since my first couple of cruises, but I still managed to stay lost half the time! I really like the personal feel of the smaller ships. I'm not a fan of ships so large that you don't even have the time or energy to explore. With having only one sea day, I knew that a small ship would be perfectly adequate. Yes, the buffet is small. No, there's no separate adult-only pool area. But the inside cabin was large enough for my adult daughter and I. The shower was extremely tiny with the result that the shower curtain kept getting pushed out of the way and water soaking the bath mat (we are not super-large women). But it certainly not anything that would keep me from booking the ship again. I didn't not get a drinks package. DD isn't much of a drinker so we figured we wouldn't come close to getting our money's worth. I stuck to mostly beer during the day and wine with dinner. DD had a few frozen drinks. For such a small buffet, the selection was decent. I tend to not eat from a buffet for lunch, so usually had a burger or pizza with both being quite good. Dinner in the MDR was just OK. Nothing really great but nothing that I felt I didn't want to finish. I would've preferred another sea day, as I've been to the other ports multiple times. But I always get off the ship, and since DD hadn't sailed in over 6 years (since her honeymoon), she wanted to get out and do things. But, of course, the real purpose of this cruise was to see Havana. It was everything I'd hoped for. Beautiful architecture juxtaposed with crumbling infrastructure. Gorgeous, classic cars that, on closer look, appeared to be held together with bondo and paint. Good food; friendly people. I loved it and would go back tomorrow if I could. Actually, since I don't have any cruises booked between this October and the next, I've just spent all morning researching and pricing sailings to Cuba for next April or May. I'm just afraid that the travel window to Cuba will be slammed shut and I won't be able to return. So, if you're an American interested in Cuba, I highly recommend that you book now and go as soon as you can because we don't know what's going to happen in Washington. We did ship tours in all the ports except Havana. I typically do not do this, but we wanted to climb Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica, so booked that. Then, DD's husband wanted to buy excursions for us in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, so we did the amphibious bus in Grand Cayman, and the Best of tour in Cozumel. I'd rate both about 3-1/2 stars. For Havana, I booked all our tours with Strawberry Tours. I booked a classic car tour for Saturday afternoon and reserved the entire car (they hold 5 pax) for $99, which was less than MSC wanted for one person. We had a Barbie-pink Chevy convertible. The driver didn't speak much English, but they do point out that you're getting a driver, not a tour guide. If that's what you want, you can add that person for an extra charge. After the ride, we walked back to the ship (only getting mildly lost), showered and changed, and went for a quick dinner (it's open seating on this evening). Then back out for our "free" Nightlife tour. We went to three different bars and had a Salsa dance lesson at the second. It was a fun way to spend the evening. Drinks ranged in price from 3 CUCs to 6. Back to ship before midnight where we all went up and had pizza before bed. The next morning, we did a 3-hour walking tour of the old city, visiting 4 different public squares. It was very hot out there! I personally would've preferred a more leisurely walk with more time to stop and take photos and then less of a history lesson standing out in the sun in the squares, but our guide did try to keep us in the shade when possible. Overall, for the 2 free walking tours, it was a real bargain. I believe I tipped the guide 10 CUCs for the bar crawl and 20 CUCs for the walking tour, which involved a lot more information. I would certainly book with them again. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The ship is not giant which I liked, not brand new but clean and in good repair Cabin was good size with king bed and unobstructed window-lots of storage space. In room fridge with beverages to buy-we didn’t but there. We had a ... Read More
The ship is not giant which I liked, not brand new but clean and in good repair Cabin was good size with king bed and unobstructed window-lots of storage space. In room fridge with beverages to buy-we didn’t but there. We had a really comfortable bed/pillows/pleasant room-service on the room was great. Shower that many have made comments on- we did not have a problem-small but just watch the curtain The spa lash pad. Servers were attentive and there were no long waits for bar service, and servers were generally very pleasant. Food- pizza very good, grill hamburgers and hot dogs, fries also very good, buffet I will give a good but leave off the very mostly because I don’t care for buffet food and the hustle around serving yourself. Seated dinner, was well served, good food not gourmet. But considering the price.... you can upgrade but we didn’t Pool area- two pools with deeper areas and section for shallow kiddie splashing-very clean. There is also a great little splash area for little ones fun. Several nice bar areas some with musicians- we liked the rum bar and Carib music. Casino plenty large and some times with lower minimum for betting3-5 dollar blackjack. Casino staff were all pleasant. We went to two evening shows and choose not to spend additional time at them. They were okay not my thing. Activities were available during the day for those who did not go to the shore. We did not partake of any spa service so I cannot comment on them. Going ashore- like many cruise ships precedence is given to those who booked through the cruise line so expect that. In Cuba we got in line an hour ahead of time with plans for a private tour and were shuffled in with those who had a msc excursion so that was nice. I am an American so used to when you stand in line you take turns..with a large group of people with different cultural backgrounds you see the differences here. People cutting in or pushing ahead. MSc staff tried to control bu there are just some who think they should take priority over everyone else and these tended to be non-Americans, sorry but that is my observation. I enjoyed the different cultures all the time except when waiting in line. We met some very nice people. In Mexico be aware people will ask for and expect tips. Ports-costa maya private beach day booked outside of cruise, very quite, very secure, small private resort- included transportation paid ahead of time and bonus no one trying to sell you stuff. This was really a great day. I spoke with someone else who did not have the same experience at another beach resort with the taxi driver demanding a $100 Tip to take them back to port at the end of the day, so play close attention when booking Cozumel-private excursion, discover dive, rum tasting, lunch and Jeep tour-nice dive,, lunch okay, tequila tasting fun but high prices. We bought but probably paid more than it was worth. The guide told us the weather was bad on the other side of the island and kept hinting that the tour would be shorter due to weather. We insisted on the tour anyway and surprise there was no rain or wet roads when we got there. So we ended up a little suspicious about a desire to cute the event short. There is beautiful ocean views and very nice to get away from the tourist area. It was so nice that we are pretty sure that my husbands iPhone decided to stay on the beach there or in the Jeep. It was time to upgrade anyway. Cuba- the reason we booked this cruise. Havana was very interesting and again we booked privately, having the same guide for two days. Don’t miss the classic cars, jazz club, local restaurants. Souvenirs seem to have pretty much set prices. We came away with Panama hats and rum. You will take a hit when exchanging American dollars for CuC. Every one treated us pleasantly and Cuba was a great experience. I would recommend this cruise to others and hope my comments help others.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary which included an over night in Cuba. We did the 7 day cruise. For starters, embarkation, was smooth with the exception of security in Miami. I had outside food with me and one guy said it ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary which included an over night in Cuba. We did the 7 day cruise. For starters, embarkation, was smooth with the exception of security in Miami. I had outside food with me and one guy said it was ok to go through with it. Then someone else stopped me and said I couldnt go through with it. We told her the other guy said it was ok, they went back aNd forth,then let me get theough with my food only to have someone else come again and say i couldnt. Get it together people yes or no. I got annoyed and threw it away. Everything else went smoothly. The crew was awesome. They interacted a lot with the cruisers.They were entertaining and put on a good show. We went to three shows and we enjoyed each one. Don't expect Las Vegas quality but it was still fun and entertaining. There were other activities like bingo and trivia. Linking room card to credit card was easy via a kiosk located on two decks. No lines. For us the music was excellent. We love salsa, merengue,bachata and there was plenty of that. Ports of call were amazing especially Cuba. No issues with disembarkation except Disembarking in Cuba took a little longer than expected. Money exchange was quick and easy at the port in Cuba. My least favorite thing was the food. We ate at the main buffet and mdr. Food was just ok. Edible. The pizza and burgers were pretty decent by the pool area. Pizza is ItaLian style not Amercan style. Which I enjoyed but wished there was more selection,toppings. One other thing I didn't like was the smell in the bathroom (balcony cabin deck 9). It wasnt always there but sometimes when toilet lid was open it stunk and shower was extremely tiny. I don't know how a bigger person can fit in there. But overall we enjoyed our cruise and would cruise on Armonia again. Service was excellent. Thank you Armonia. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I picked MSC because if the price and I’ve never sailed with them before. I chose the Fantastica room level. Embarkation was super easy and fast! You have to go to a kiosk to put your credit card on your cruise card, just explore the ... Read More
I picked MSC because if the price and I’ve never sailed with them before. I chose the Fantastica room level. Embarkation was super easy and fast! You have to go to a kiosk to put your credit card on your cruise card, just explore the ship and when you see one of the kiosk free pop on. It’s super easy and fast. Food: Food was plentiful and tasty. Mind you, buffets are buffets. The food is not piping hot by the time you find someplace to sit. The dining rooms food wasn’t piping hot either. I think I had one meal that let off a little steam and I was so happy. But despite the Luke warm food, it was all still very tasty. In the dining rooms if you didn’t like something, our wait staff would get you something else quickly. They were trying to make sure we enjoyed our meals. Our water glasses were always full of cold water too (but I think that depends on which area you get). Rooms: I had an ocean view room and it was spacious! I’ve been on 14 cruises and this was by far the roomiest ocean view cabin I had. Plenty of storage spots, if it looks like a cabinet it was. Bathroom was ok - plenty of toilet space and sink space. Shower is tiny with not so fresh shower curtain. Bring your own $1 liner and put it up. Not gross when it’s a fresh new liner trying to get close and personal during your showers. Drinks: with the fantastica package you get drink vouchers. No where on any paper work does it tell you to take the one piece of paper that says **Fantastica Drink ... to guest services. Make sure you do this on embarkation day so your literal vouchers are delivered to your state room. Those vouchers get you one non-premium drink per. I’m not a big drinker so it’s all I needed. Water: bring a stainless steel water bottle and fill up (with one of the cruise cups) with ice and water daily. Tastes great. Or use a voucher for the $5 bottle of mineral (spring) water or sparkling water. Entertainment: I’m going to be honest, the regular theater singers are not that great. If you’re easily pleased you may love it. We started skipping shows because they were poorly directed and cast. The acrobats were excellent, wish there was more of them. Examples... a single dancer or pair of dancers would have made the karaoke like performances pop, some solo songs had all dancers on stage doing nothing and that was a shame, the acrobatic parts were weaved around the staff dancers/ singers which was often distracting and off-putting. The bands/acts in the loungers were amazing! So much better, just pick a type of music you love and stay in that lounge. The onboard event staff were all super friendly and trying real hard to make sure everyone was having a good time - do the events with them. They were great. Cuba: the ship makes it seem you have to do one of their excursions in order to get off in Cuba. This is not true. As long as you are spending money on people to people activities you can get off. Customs doesn’t check that, they only want your passport and visa. The people to people requirement is more for USA citizens. If you get off the ship in Havana, directly across the street from the port is a hotel, in there they have amazing excursions to beaches and all the fun stuff not offered by the cruise line. You can take these! Get Cuban cash before leaving the terminal, there are exchange places at the bottom of the stairs with no lines. Unless you have a credit card that does not originate in the USA you need Cuban dollars for everything. Take that into account when getting your travel cash. Oh and Canadian money didn’t exchange higher than the American dollar the day we were there (people with us were not happy with their Canadian exchange). All in all it’s a small ship with some nice distractions. It’s very relaxing and clean. If you’re looking for a ship with constant activities and partying pick another ship. If you’re looking to relax and just go with a good flow, this ship is a good choice. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
MSC Armonia vs MSC Meraviglia, old vs new, small vs large, Caribbean vs Mediterranean So far this year I have taken two MSC cruises -- on the beautiful new Meraviglia in the western Mediterranean and on the nicely refurbished Armonia in ... Read More
MSC Armonia vs MSC Meraviglia, old vs new, small vs large, Caribbean vs Mediterranean So far this year I have taken two MSC cruises -- on the beautiful new Meraviglia in the western Mediterranean and on the nicely refurbished Armonia in the Caribbean (including Cuba). Both cruises were very enjoyable, and each ship has its strengths and weaknesses. This review is a brief comparison of both. The bottom line is that I prefer the newer larger Meraviglia for transatlantic and other itineraries with many sea days because of its stability and numerous onboard venues; and I prefer the older smaller Armonia for port intensive itineraries because of the excellent personal service in the dining room and public areas. The Armonia is the oldest and smallest ship in the MSC fleet. It was enlarged some years ago and was nicely refurbished more recently. Like most older ships, the cabins are a bit smaller and there are fewer balconies than on the newer ships. The fewer number of passengers on the Armonia is a definite advantage in the public areas and theater. More important, the service is more efficient and more personal, especially in the main dining room. Although the menus are comparable, the quality of the ingredients is better in the Caribbean than in the Mediterranean, probably because good meat and produce are so much cheaper in the USA (Miami) than in Europe (Genoa). The exception is fish, which was always the best item on the menu in Europe but was cooked until dry (American style) in the Caribbean. Both ships suffer from an old-fashioned buffet layout, with straight cafeteria-style lanes that make for slow going. The Armonia buffet area is too small for a ship of its (later enlarged) size, but extra dining areas have been set up on the open decks. The dining room service on the Meraviglia was disappointing not because of the wait staff but because of the enormous size of the dining rooms. My table was so far from the galley that delivery was quite slow -- I tended to order fewer courses than on other ships just to save time. Also, passengers in Europe did not respect the dining start times, but wandered in gradually during the first half hour. As a result, the Meraviglia waiters did not even take orders during the first 20 minutes, and this was further slowed by the waiters' bulky touch screen order pads. In addition, the wait staff work station for my table on the Meraviglia was located up some stairs and around a corner, so I was invisible to the wait staff during most of the meal. Last but not least, passengers on the Meraviglia are not allowed drinking water with dinner -- if you want anything at all to drink with your meal, even water, you must buy it. That would cause a mutiny in US waters. Both ships have MSC's philosophy of unbundling services and charges, to the point of having different levels of service and different fares for otherwise identical cabins. Airlines now do the same, so this is not surprising. For economy-minded cruisers like myself, this is fine. One related frustration that I experienced on both ships was that delivery of a pre-purchased drinks package (coupons) was delayed for two days on each cruise and was proffered only after a few calls and visits to the reception desks. Make sure you take your pre-cruise documents to prove what packages or services you paid for prior to your cruise. Perhaps my favorite thing about both cruises is that MSC offers reduced prices to solo travelers and very reduced prices for late bookings on some itineraries. You may get a little less gourmet dining than on some cruise lines, but the pleasure of a MSC cruise is equal to almost any of the ten other cruise lines I have sailed. In summary, MSC offers great values on very enjoyable cruise ships. Give it a try if you find the right itinerary at the right price. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We selected this cruise specifically because we wanted an overnight in Havana Cuba. This ship sailed out of Miami with stops in Honduras, Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, and Havana. Havana did not disappoint. We took a classic car ... Read More
We selected this cruise specifically because we wanted an overnight in Havana Cuba. This ship sailed out of Miami with stops in Honduras, Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, and Havana. Havana did not disappoint. We took a classic car tour around the city. It was great to see. We had been to the other stops in the past so not quite as special, but we really had fun on the Fury Snorkeling Catamaran excursion we booked in Cozumel. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise, the crew, the food/entertainment, and the excursions. We had a balcony room which allowed us to be in a more intimate dining room. The Dining Room manager and servers MADE the cruise for us! Very attentive and provided fantastic recommendations and personalized service. We found all the staff to be great. We never waited long for service and they were always pleasant. For the constructive feedback, the ship is well maintained, but it's age/size is reflected in fewer options for dinner, small casino, and small gym with no dedicated space for fitness classes. The only significant disappointment was the Honduras BFK Beach Break excursion. The time was cut in half due to tender/transport issues resulting in many crabby customers. We will look for an opportunity to cruise MSC again in the future! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise for the 2 day stop in Havana Cuba and because the price was so low. We loved the ship size, the excellent entertainment and great food. The staff was friendly and attentive and the inside cabin was the right size. For ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the 2 day stop in Havana Cuba and because the price was so low. We loved the ship size, the excellent entertainment and great food. The staff was friendly and attentive and the inside cabin was the right size. For an older ship it was in great shape and well cared for by the crew. Look forward to our next cruise on MSC. You can’t beat this cruise line for the price. Lots of activities on the pool deck. One evening they brought aboard entertainment from Havana that was excellent. The ship also had free gelato on the pool deck. Many menues with music and games thruout the ship. We attended and enjoyed all the entertainment in the theatre. The ships staff put on a variety show that was very funny and entertaining. We met many guests from around the world and enjoy talking with them and learning a little of their country. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Many people have criticised this ship, I say trust website’s summary ... more accurate than the negativity, of which there is so much we almost didn’t go. Given it’s one of the few with a Havana stopover we decided to go, and I’m ... Read More
Many people have criticised this ship, I say trust website’s summary ... more accurate than the negativity, of which there is so much we almost didn’t go. Given it’s one of the few with a Havana stopover we decided to go, and I’m glad we did. Not the most modern ship but the facilities are good, the staff helpful and kind, the cabins very comfortable and clean, the dining areas painstakingly cleaned several times times a day, and although the food was hit and miss some of it was actually very good particularly lunches with lots of healthy options like fresh and crunchy salad. This is a budget cruise and you get what you pay for. So I’d say almost 10 out of 10 for value for money and a great cruise itinerary. Favourite place we’re the stern decks, very peaceful as main pool deck could be a little noisy. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this ship because of the itinerary (specifically the two days in Havana) and the benefits for traveling with two young children. I am so glad we ignored the negative reviews of this ship. We had a wonderful time. We loved spending ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the itinerary (specifically the two days in Havana) and the benefits for traveling with two young children. I am so glad we ignored the negative reviews of this ship. We had a wonderful time. We loved spending a couple of days in Miami before embarkation. We stayed in an ocean view cabin and loved our large window that our boys sat in to see the scenery. The fold down bed worked well for our older son and the ship provided a crib for our toddler. The staff onboard were especially helpful and very friendly.The baby club and kids club were a much appreciated break for us and the boys loved playing with the legos and spending time with other kiddos. I won a massage the first night onboard and it was an excellent massage. The gym and spa areas were both clean and adequate. There are two pools as well as a splash pad for the kids. My son's favorite activities included mini-golf and foosball. There were also ping pong tables. We did not get a chance to see any of the nightly shows because of our schedules, but we did enjoy the performers that played in the bars and pool area. The Cuban show on the last night was awesome! Because we traveled with children we ate mostly from the buffet and found the food to be good. The dining room food was fine the couple of times we ate there. The pizza and gelato available in addition to the buffet were nice perks as well. Regarding the itinerary, we were on a seven night cruise while others on the ship were continuing on as part of a longer itinerary. Unfortunately we did not get to see Grand Cayman because of rough water that morning, but we did enjoy our other ports. We took an excursion to a beautiful garden and beach in Ocho Rios and to a great beach/park in Cozumel. The guided tour was informative in Havana and we also enjoyed walking around the old town on our own. We would definitely consider sailing with MSC again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it went to Cuba, having previously cruised only once with MSC on the Monterey in 2006. That ship sadly now no longer with us. The Armonia is a great ship with a smaller number of passengers, 2,400. We prefer ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to Cuba, having previously cruised only once with MSC on the Monterey in 2006. That ship sadly now no longer with us. The Armonia is a great ship with a smaller number of passengers, 2,400. We prefer the smaller ships so this suited us.The cabin, balcony, was slightly smaller than ships we have sailed with on Carnival. Our first impressions on boarding were it was a well kept ship with a friendly crew. The food was good in most eating areas and the dining room staff were excellent. The main part of the cruise for us was the Cuba visit. This was well organised and most enjoyable.We had booked the vintage car tour and the Tropicana night club. Both exceeded our expectations. We had the Wellness package which was a bit underwhelming! Communication with Spa and us was awful, and the endless amount of energy drinks sent to our cabin, overwhelming. Communication and service from the Spa need to be overhauled. Overall it was a good cruise although the Shows needed to be looked at as they were very musically repetitive.One show, The Addams Family, was so poor we walked out half way. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
A friend and I chose this cruise mainly for its price, timing and stop in Havana. We had each taken one cruise before on big U.S. ships but were not particularly impressed. Some of the reviews of the Armonia had us questioning our decision ... Read More
A friend and I chose this cruise mainly for its price, timing and stop in Havana. We had each taken one cruise before on big U.S. ships but were not particularly impressed. Some of the reviews of the Armonia had us questioning our decision but the lure of Havana was strong. All in all it was a fine trip and one we would sign up for again. We arrived in Miami the night before and had a comfortable stay and great dinner at the InterContinental near the pier. We showed up at embarkation about 90 minutes early but were boarded. (The terminal was crowded and there were lines, much like in a busy airport, but everything moved.) Our cabin and bath were very small but clean and well planned with more than sufficient storage and comfortable beds. (I am glad we opted for an outside cabin though.) Because a previous reviewer had warned about the shower curtain wrapping around legs, I brought three metal binder clips to weigh the curtain down which worked very well, even the night of ship was rocking. Our cabin was fine and the cabin attendant, Augus, a sweetheart. Every afternoon when we returned from port we found surprises: towels turned into softer sculptured animals wearing her reading glasses on her bed and my nightgown showing off dance moves I can no longer do on mine. The food on board was hit and miss. (We generally went to the buffet for breakfast and snacks and the main dining room for dinner.) Everything was okay and a few things exceptional. What made the dinner experience wonderful was our truly fabulous waiter, Islam. By the third night, I would just sit down and tell him to feed us and he would bring us whatever he thought were the best things on the menu that evening. (It worked.) I think those who didn't like the food were either ordering wrong -- like the woman who ordered a well-done strip steak -- or were expecting food cooked to American instead of European palates. (Desserts, for example, are not as sweet.) And the breads were excellent. We went to a couple shows, which were OK but not fabulous. The entertainers reminded me of school show choirs and the tech on this older ship was not as showy as on the other ships we had seen. Some of the kids were talented, however, and they tried hard. We explored the onboard shops but weren't tempted. We arranged private excursions for Havana and Grand Cayman and made short visits to Jamaica and Cozumel. (Neither of us are beach or tropics persons and we were not interested in expensive tours with a busload of people.) Havana was a delight, and Georgetown enjoyable, both because of excellent private guides. Jamaica and Cozumel were steamy and uninspiring. One thing I appreciated was the "welcome back" tent along the piers with cold towels and ice water. I especially enjoyed the contact with people from all over the world. The young men working onboard the ship were interesting, eager to share information about their home countries and general observations about ports of call and passenger trends. The other passengers were from an array of places, speaking many languages and were for the most part friendly and polite. (This is not the cruise-line for those who want to only hear English and have contact with older white Americans.) We somehow ended up with two drink packages which was funny as neither of us are big drinkers. The unlimited package came with the wifi package and probably would have sufficed as the standard table wines available with dinner were fine. Because we also somehow acquired 12-ticket packages that entitled us to cocktails, we explored the various bars. We learned different bartenders made the same cocktail differently and were amused by their observations about the drinking habits of our fellow passengers. My main concerns about this cruise are relatively trivial. First, wifi service is spotty and unreliable which can be irritating but then again this is a vacation. Second, in an effort to promote the ship's excursions in Havana (or perhaps an over-abundance of caution), I believe the information the ship's representative presented on restrictions placed on U.S. visitors going to Cuba under the "support for the Cuban people" status was incorrect. I had no problem whatsoever bringing medical supplies through Cuban customs and found the official regulations not nearly as scary as the ship's suggestions. Disembarkation was ridiculously easy and fast, especially compared to how tedious reentry to the U.S. is at airports. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
A group of 26 ladies from our hometown sailed on the Armonia for 7 days. Port stop of Cuba, price, and recommendation from one of the cruisers brought us to the Armonia. The ship was clean and the service in the restaurants and bar ... Read More
A group of 26 ladies from our hometown sailed on the Armonia for 7 days. Port stop of Cuba, price, and recommendation from one of the cruisers brought us to the Armonia. The ship was clean and the service in the restaurants and bar was excellent. The crew truly seemed happy to be there and wanted us to be happy. In terms of service, I would compare it to Azamara. We were able to go between the suite restaurant (Le Pergola) and the MDR (Marco Polo) due to our large group. The menu was the same so the only difference was in atmosphere. Much quieter and quicker in Pergola but we wanted to eat with our group at night so we ate in Marco Polo most nights. Food was better than I was expecting so I was pleased. Was it as good as Azamara and Celebrity? No, but it was good and I did not go hungry. We had $125 OBC from our travel agent but it was lost. MSC doesn’t split it between the 2 passengers. They put it on my roommate’s card and she did not spend $125. Silly us, we thought the credit card would be credited and then she was going to settle up with me when we got home. As we were exiting, my roommate was pulled over and told that OBC not used is lost. On other cruise lines, OBC from travel agents is credited back if not used. I spent money but because it wasn’t credited to me, I also lost my half. They would not move the OBC to me. Every announcement in 5 languages did get annoying but I was prepared for it. The production shows were excellent and the singers were very talented. Lots of music in several venues at night but it was all very, very loud. So loud, we ended up leaving the bars. Itinerary. Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Cuba. In our documents, it said to check in at 3:00 but we went about 12:30 and walked right on the boat. Sail away was always listed as 7 pm but at check in we were given a new itinerary which had sail away at 6 pm, Costa Maya instead of Cozumel, and arriving in Cuba at 2 pm instead of 1 pm. In Montego Bay, we booked an excursion with the ship for rafting down the Martha Brae River. It was a bit of a drive but the floating down the river on the bamboo rafts was cool however, the excursion made a stop for shopping at the small shop with no other choices around. We wasted an hour and returned at 7 which was the scheduled departure time. Bad way to end a nice trip. Grand Cayman was tendered and we arrived early at 7:30. We had been advised to wait until 9 to get off, letting the shore excursions to clear out. We went off at 9 and were at 7 mile beach at 10. Taxi took us to Calico Jacks and it was packed. Beautiful beach but way too many people. We had to be back on board at 2:30 so we left around 12:30 and back on the ship around 1:15. Would have been nicer to have a later departure. We were able to cancel our private reservation in Cozumel and planned to go to the fishing village in Costa Mayo. We were scheduled for 9:30 arrival but docked late due to high winds. We didn’t get off the boat until 11 so the group decided to just stay in the man made port. I have not been to this port in several years. It has turned into a tourist trip. Cuba, the reason we took the cruise. Guest Services contacted us and advised us that we needed to make a choice between our afternoon excursion and The Tropicana as there wasn’t enough time to do both. Disappointing. We cancelled the afternoon excursion and just walked about the old town. Going through the Visa process and exchanging money was very easy. Excursion to the Tropicana did not disappoint. Next morning, we did the Vintage Car tour and it too was an excellent excursion. Departure was organized and I was off the ship and in my car quickly. Overall, I had a great cruise because I was a part of a fun loving group of ladies. MSC was better than I was expecting and I might cruise with them again but only if The Yacht club is an option. Read Less
MSC Armonia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.7
Dining 2.0 3.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 5.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 3.0
Service 4.0 3.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.5

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