1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. MSC Cruises
  4. MSC Armonia Review
  5. MSC Armonia Cruise Reviews

46 MSC Cruises MSC Armonia Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

every cruise line has a care of duty to their staff and their guests, they must never put you in danger, they must be helpful, have patience, be understanding, use common sense, have the time to talk to the guests, have the decency to say ... Read More
every cruise line has a care of duty to their staff and their guests, they must never put you in danger, they must be helpful, have patience, be understanding, use common sense, have the time to talk to the guests, have the decency to say good morning, and above all, make you feel welcome. MSC does none of this, in fact, they do the absolute opposite, let me explain. 1, msc arranged our transfer from genoa airport to the ship by coach, after 45 mins the coach was filled with smoke, and we were stranded for 90 mins on the dual carriageway, putting the passengers in danger. 2, there was no msc rep on the bus, the driver could only speak Italian, not very helpful. 3, on reaching the ship, we had to unload our own luggage while the porters watched, we were then hurried onto the ship, only to be met by security, meanwhile on the port, suitcases were being dropped. 4, after 7 hours of having no food or drink, were offered a glass of water, really? 5, customer services did not want to know about our problems, they had enough of their own, like trying to work out how they managed to put two sisters on the wrong coach, the wrong ship, and have nowhere for them to sleep, you couldn't make this up. 6, trying to get a smile out of the security staff, or the bar staff in the starlight disco, was like pulling teeth. 7, my wife and I were on the ship for 7 days, and we only got to know 5 members of staff who took the time to make us feel welcome, joceline, Ismael, rantiasa, med;e, and maria. 8, the ship is quite small compared to others we have been on, theres not really a lot of activities to do, unless you like dance lessons, the restaurant service is quite quick, and the food is good, there was a minimal selection of excursions, our ocean view cabin was quite pleasing and very clean, entertainment was nothing to write home about, and getting off the ship was a chore in its self, I was looking forward to a nice relaxing week off work, didn't happen, my summary of the msc armonia is this, regimental, and unhappy staff, I wont be going again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Just returned from a fantastic family holiday on the MSC Armonia. The itinerary was outstanding, the highlights being the arrival and departure from Kotor, departure from Venice and Santorini and Mykanos in one very long day. Embarkation ... Read More
Just returned from a fantastic family holiday on the MSC Armonia. The itinerary was outstanding, the highlights being the arrival and departure from Kotor, departure from Venice and Santorini and Mykanos in one very long day. Embarkation was perfect. We were met by a MSC rep immediately when we cleared passport control, and on the bus within 15 minutes. We arrived at the port terminal at about 11am with embarkation not due to start until 2pm, but they let everyone on anyway with very little waiting so we were on deck enjoying lunch before noon. The drinks package is excellent value with a wide variety to choose from. White and red wine included is decent table wine, and the sparkling wine was very good. At mealtimes they would give us a bottle of wine rather than serve us by the glass which is sometimes the case on other cruise lines. Food in the buffet was excellent and varied with plenty of room to sit at most times, with fresh pizza available at all times and fresh pasta being cooked to order on deck at times. Food in the restaurant was very good also with a great choice of interesting fish dishes which is my favourite. Entertainment in the theaters was very good but limited to dancing, acrobatics and singing due to the wide variety of languages spoken on board. Plenty of activities on the pool deck to keep everyone busy if that is what you enjoy. Also, some very good parties in the nightclub. Passengers were mainly Italian families, but quite a few Brits and other nationalities and everyone seemed to get on fine together. All age groups were represented but it was a very young and lively ship. We took two excursions. Jaz Beach in Kotor was lovely but the MSC rep seemed to be more interested in chatting with the bar-staff who should have been serving free drinks to their guests at their seats. We had no drinks at all despite asking four times, and other bar-staff would not serve you at your seats as you had to be served by the MSC appointed staff who were too busy chatting. The Katamaran trip to Brac from Split was superb and well worth the high cost. The MSC rep could not have been any better and we were well looked after. The only drawback of the cruise was that service was sometimes slow or rushed. The staff were fantastic and tried their best, but there were not enough of them to cope at peak times. The restaurant staff looked after so many tables that you rarely had time to talk to them or have any relationship, and the bars on the pool deck got extremely busy. Disembarkation was very efficient but we were in the airport for 10:30am for a 4:00pm flight!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We travelled with friends as a group of four and sailed on the Armonia in July 2014. Ports were Venice ,Ancona, Santorini, Mykonos, Kotor and Split. Overall the cruise line itself is pretty average . The ports were fabulous - especially ... Read More
We travelled with friends as a group of four and sailed on the Armonia in July 2014. Ports were Venice ,Ancona, Santorini, Mykonos, Kotor and Split. Overall the cruise line itself is pretty average . The ports were fabulous - especially Kotor and Split so it is worth doing this cruise just for the destinations you will visit . The big thing on this ship is that it is dominated by large groups of Itallian famillies - so it can be very noisy at times . The noise levels in the main dining room made a conversation almost impossible . The staff are pretty average - most do not seem particularly interested in passengers. The waiters were ignorant and slapped food in front of you in the main restaurant. Cabin staff are average. The gym is well equipped with lots of CV equipment - however it is heavily used and the staff will limit usage of CV equipment to 20 minutes during busy periods . Overall you get what you pay for with MSC.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I have been on many cruises lines. Celebrity, Carnival, Princess, Costa, Norweigan, Royal Caribbean but this is my first cruise on MSC. The procedure to embark was a joke. It took almost 2 hours to get on the ship. They had 7 agents for ... Read More
I have been on many cruises lines. Celebrity, Carnival, Princess, Costa, Norweigan, Royal Caribbean but this is my first cruise on MSC. The procedure to embark was a joke. It took almost 2 hours to get on the ship. They had 7 agents for over 2000 people. The girls outside attempting to coordinate entry to the ship were rude and made most of us stand outside in the 90 degree sun for over 45 minutes because they couldn't handle the baggage properly. Getting off the ship to destinations that required tenders was even more ridiculous. It took up to 3 hours to get off the ship because they ran 4 tenders to shore. A fight almost broke out in the waiting area because people were frustrated at the extremely long wait to get onto a tender. They have no idea how to operate at ports that require tenders. If you buy a shore excursion from them, you get to exit the ship first. The food was marginal at best in the dining room. We ended up eating at the buffet which was actually better than the sit down dinners. They make their staff work 11 hours a day 6 days a week. Perhaps that's why the service was substandard, the people we talked to who worked in the dining room and the room service were not happy. I had the opportunity to talk with one of the officers who also complained about the way they treated their employees. They treated their customers not much better. Waited at the pool bar for 2 pina coladas for over 50 minutes. No one seemed to care that the service was slow, but this is not the way cruising should be nor is it the way other cruise lines operate. The entertainment was juvenile, amaturish and unimpressive. There is no coffee or tea served in the dining room as there is on every other ship. No one ever asked if everything at our table was satisfactory. There was no maitre 'd. My son got sick onboard due to people sneezing, and coughing so that put a damper on things. Went to the ships doctor and it cost $80 euro just for the visit without any services being provided. Ships Dr. was from Ukraine and complained that the United States hasn't done anything to help his country since Russia invaded it, as if it was our responsibility to save the world. The ship was outdated and we were told they were going to renovate it in a few months. This ship was nothing special and if you are english speaking avoid going on this ship. They are not very accomodating nor friendly. Everything they did they had to repeat in italian, spanish, german, english and french. I found this ship to be a throwback to the ships in the 1990's, from the ambiance to the service being just so-so. If you want a marginal crusing experience then MSC is your line. If you want something else, go somewhere else. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
As 1st time cruisers, we were very hessitant, knowing that the majority of North American cruisers are more interested on the ships amenities rather than the ports of call and the cultures that await beyond the ship. We were totally ... Read More
As 1st time cruisers, we were very hessitant, knowing that the majority of North American cruisers are more interested on the ships amenities rather than the ports of call and the cultures that await beyond the ship. We were totally amazed with this cruiseline, MSC, five different languages were spoken and everyone was European and were so friendly and interested in the ports of call. We ate in the restaurant, buffets are not a novelty unless in a hurry, and we enjoyed being waited on by pleasant staff. Language was not a problem and the food was amazing. Loved the small portions and the local Italian flavors of the day. The ship was in a different port every day ( we did not want a day at sea, no cultural experence there) We didn't use the ships travel excursions as we enjoyed going into each town and finding our own small tour escort for 10 euros. The ship was so organized and we experienced no lineups getting off or on ship. The evening shows were fun, we did not want an American broadway performance, so quite enjoyed the local talent. We did not partake in the ships drink package, as we figured we would have to have approximately 7 drinks a day to justify it, and we would rather have local drink in taverna in towns daily and order a special drink or glass of wine with evening show was less expensive. We had wine/beer in our cabin which would suffice for pre-dinner drink while getting ready for our dinner. Food was exceptional, did I mention small portions, so one could partake in all 4 courses and dessert. I am a foodie so can attest to how great the meals were. MSC was a great experience if you crave different cultures and don't expect American flair.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
MSC ARMONIA 27/09/2013  04/10/2013 Cabin 1070 Being frequent cruisers my wife and I have just returned from a cruise aboard the MSC Armonia with four other members of our family. I am writing this letter of complaint about the ... Read More
MSC ARMONIA 27/09/2013  04/10/2013 Cabin 1070 Being frequent cruisers my wife and I have just returned from a cruise aboard the MSC Armonia with four other members of our family. I am writing this letter of complaint about the appalling food and general service on board. The food choices at breakfast were limited, under cooked and cold. The toast was inedible-one of our party chipped a tooth whilst attempting to eat it. When requesting brown toast we were served with warm bread! At lunch and evening meal times the choices in La Brassiere were limited. The main meals were overcooked and tasteless. The vegetables were lukewarm with only a choice of green beans and potatoes cooked in oil and rosemary, the mash potatoes were soggy, runny, and almost inedible, properly cooked it should be light and fluffy. The salad choices were repetitive as were the cold meats and cheeses. The desserts were the same every day, there were no hot desserts available. (hasn’t the chef heard of custard) no additional cream was available to use with the drier desserts. Food in the Marco Polo restaurant was poorly presented with no garnish or sauces to enhance the dining experience. When requesting meat we were not asked how we wanted it cooked, rare, medium, well done, it was served however the chef decided to cook it. The bar service in La Brassiere and on deck was non-existent if we wanted a drink we had to go to the bar ourselves to get one and you have the nerve to charge a 15% service charge. The waiters in the Marco Polo worked very hard but didn’t have time to serve us any additional drinks after our initial request. Beer was available in the restaurant but we were not served any spirits because you didn’t serve spirits in the restaurant. Water should be free in the restaurant we shouldn’t have to pay for it. We did complain at the time and for the Maitre ‘D’ to bring the waiter to the table whilst we tried to explain was very unprofessional, and embarrassing for the table of ten and the waiter. The Marco Polo restaurant was very under staffed, whilst our waiter did his best and was a very pleasant young man, the work load was far too much, causing our dissatisfaction with the service. The bar service in the other bars was extremely slow (even when there was no one else in the bar), waiting 10 to 15 minutes before being served and a further 10 minutes before the drinks arrived. We took advantage of your drinks package which included draft beers. Murphy’s Red Label which ran out after 3 days and was not replaced, and the Newcastle Brown Ale which ran out 2 days later and this also was not replaced, which only left a limited choice of Lager Heineken and Amstel. If it hadn’t been for the company we were with, we would have disembarked on the second day. We will not be travelling with MSC again and would not recommend MSC to any of our friends and family. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
been on a few cruise lines...and overall this wasn't bad for the money.its not the same class as celebrity...but you don't pay the prices either. we upgraded to a balcony cabin...still good value.room was large and very ... Read More
been on a few cruise lines...and overall this wasn't bad for the money.its not the same class as celebrity...but you don't pay the prices either. we upgraded to a balcony cabin...still good value.room was large and very tastefully set out.the only prob being that nearly all balcony cabins are on deck 10....above is the open pool deck...and u get woken every morning about 7am with the crew moving the sunbeds around cleaning. same about 5pm in the eve..and you can hear people waliking abouy....ok at night though. if ur gona have a balcony cabin...go for the few there are on deck 12...avoid the problem.did see other cabins...they were v small and basic. food overall was good...never go hungry. but the food was never the top quality u get on some other ships....cuts of meat for eg where usually the cheaper ones.but there was lots of choices. staff were goog and ship was clean. wouldn't bother with the drinks packages they try and sell you..unless you intend to drink all day! we did take a premium wine package...for a bottle with dinner each night. wasn't worth it....they give u a booklet with the wines in it. when u come to order it...they usually say they've run out and offer u another one...annoying!! much better to choose what u wan each evening. overall I would go with them again....but only on a balcony cabin....which by the way ive never had on any other ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Date of departure: 27th September 2013 I travel with my elderly Dad and disabled son, we are frequent cruisers as cruise ships (and crews) are geared up for the elderly and disabled. We always share a triple berth cabin. We chose this ... Read More
Date of departure: 27th September 2013 I travel with my elderly Dad and disabled son, we are frequent cruisers as cruise ships (and crews) are geared up for the elderly and disabled. We always share a triple berth cabin. We chose this cruise for the itinerary - Ancona, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Gythion (we had to omit because of bad weather),Cefalonia and Kotor. All ports access to World Heritage sights - and despite reading adverse reviews of MSC were prepared to give them a go. We flew from Newcastle direct to Venice with Jet2, and had a night in Ca` Formenta hotel pre-cruise, a lovely hotel that we`ve used before. Easy to walk from the hotel to the Arsenale vaparetto stop where we picked up the public Alilaguna boat which took us straight to the port for embarkation. Embarkation time was 14.00, but we arrived early and after queuing (standing) for 30 minutes were through to check-in. Not sure who the "Priority Boarding" is for, but it certainly isn`t for elderly or disabled people, though I didn`t make a fuss at the time as I was too frazzled. Once onboard we navigated ourselves to our cabin only to find that 2 of the beds we pushed together to make a double. After reporting this 3 times, they were finally separated at 10 p.m. The cabin was just OK - very clean but nothing special about it. We could hardly see out of the windows because they were so dirty on the outside, and I object to paying almost '£100 pp more for an outside cabin, only to find that we can`t see out of the windows. The soap dispenser in the bathroom didn`t work at all, despite our cabin stewards best efforts to fix it. I asked if we could have a bar of soap instead, but this never materialised. Looked forward to getting to bed (although I have the top bunk and at nearly 60 I`m getting too old to use a top bunk!) I was horrified to find that the sheets smelled faintly of vomit. I complained about this the next day and the sheets were changed. Same thing happened, so I guessed it must be the mattress and asked at reception for a clean mattress. "Right away" they said, but that also did not materialise. I spent the rest of the week sleeping between the top blanket and the spare blanket, well away from the mattress / sheets. We always use the buffet restaurant on ships, but the food in La Brasserie was the worst food I`ve ever had on a cruise ship. It seemed that the quality of the food itself was poor, and the hot food was nearly always lukewarm. We are not gluttons,but do like to eat well when we are away - the sea air gives you an appetite! The kitchen service was excellent, but with the exception of a couple of boys, the waiter service was terrible. However, as mentioned in other reviews, the staff were overworked and looked worn out and disheartened. Although there was a hand sanitizer at one of the doors to the buffet, the machine was empty several times, and on the penultimate day we arrived at breakfast to find no machine at all. I asked where it was, and was told that there was no more hand sanitizer! Euw :( I thought that the entertainment team was fantastic. Yes, the shows were just a re-hash every night with a different theme, but the team worked so hard, and were always helpful and pleasant when met elsewhere on the ship. We also used the casino as my son is a whiz on roulette. The staff were helpful and very friendly. Ports - outstanding for me were Corfu and Kotor. In Corfu we walked from the ship towards the centre of town and picked up a horse and carriage. We then had a very pleasant 30 minute drive around both the old and new towns with full commentary from our driver for €40, which I thought was great value. Kotor is like a mini medieval Dubrovnik in a stunning setting, but I was disappointed that we only had half a day to explore. Disembarkation: We have never had to leave the cabin at 7.30 before, which I felt was unnecessary. We then transferred to another hotel, Ca` Angeli, for 2 more days in lovely Venice. To summarise: This was the cleanest and most stylish ship we have been on - with the exception of the hand sanitizers, badly let down by the quality of the food and the shortage / attitude of service staff. Our cabin steward worked very hard, but seemed to have more than the usual numbers of cabins to cover. I have written a letter of complaint to MSC, so far no reply. We would not use MSC again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We sailed from Venice in September for a week on the MSC Armonia. We were kept waiting at the airport for a while until other flights arrived then we were bussed to the ship. Check in was a bit slap dash with the left hand not knowing what ... Read More
We sailed from Venice in September for a week on the MSC Armonia. We were kept waiting at the airport for a while until other flights arrived then we were bussed to the ship. Check in was a bit slap dash with the left hand not knowing what the right one was doing. We got onto the ship and there were staff members at every corridor to show us to our cabin which was fine for our needs. This is one of the cleanest ships I have been on with lots of mirrors every one shining which is more than could be said for the outside of the windows of the cabins and public areas, all of which were filthy. The food was average unless you do not like tomato and being Italian there was plenty of that. We shared a dining room table with a couple from Manchester and the lady had the same surname as us. Not sure if that was just chance or nice planning by MSC. The bar service is the worst I have ever seen on any ship I have been on ,including North Sea and cross channel ferry's. Most of the bar staff are young and lack proper training. They are badly supervised and poorly managed and lack focus and when the bar gets busy, they panic. It was my birthday during the cruise and I got a card from the ship, so nice touch there. We were told at the end of the cruise that the ship could not moor at the terminal and we would be bussed but we did moor at the terminal. Disembarking was colour coded but they stopped using the tannoy to call the colours and this led to a shambles, We got our luggage and were herded into a car park for about a hour with coaches ,trucks and taxis dodging round people, no shelter from the sun and not very safe. We were under the care of 3 young girls who had not got a clue what was going on or what coach people were supposed to get onto. If I was to compare MSC cruises to a supermarket it would come in about the level of LIDL. I would use them again in the hope they get better organized and provide better staff training. We booked with cruise.co.uk and I must compliment Anne who dealt with us for the smashing service she gave us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
MSC Cruises oh dear, they are not great or at least this cruise wasn't. Booked flights separately and flew in to Treviso, quite simple to get to Venice Port, catch the bus to Venice (Piazzo de Roma) then the Sky Shuttle to the port ... Read More
MSC Cruises oh dear, they are not great or at least this cruise wasn't. Booked flights separately and flew in to Treviso, quite simple to get to Venice Port, catch the bus to Venice (Piazzo de Roma) then the Sky Shuttle to the port (1 euro) or you could walk instead of the Sky Shuttle about 10-15 mins. Service is pretty horrendous, staff look miserable but then again I am not surprised the way they seem to be treated. Entertainment is a joke, pretty much the same every night, the only thing that changes is the theme. Other than the show for the evening there is a casino & bars, that is it. Food in the buffet, well if you like it almost cold, and pretty much no flavour then this is the place for you. Main dining was a bit better, but still not what I would call great. Fresh Pizza though was nice. Didn't bother with the drinks package, not a big drinker but expect to pay between 3 euros for a small beer up to about 7 euros for a premium drink plus your 15% tax, the drinks package was about 23 euros per person per day, just work it out for yourself what option works for you. Coffee, Tea & Water is supplied free all day from the buffet and Juices for Breakfast. The MSC Armonia is a mid sized ship, nice and clean but dull. Oceanview cabin was an okay size and clean. Ancona is a nice Italian port, easy to get off the ship and just walk straight in. Dubrovnik is again very nice, about 20-30 min walk from the cruise port, or MSC offer a shuttle service for about 13 euros return. Corfu Town seems to be a dump but some people like it, I didn't have been much nicer places. But about a 20 min walk from the dock, wouldn't really bother with the MSC paid for shuttle if I'm honest. Gythion was a surprise, nice little port town, very traditionally greek, loved it. Tender to the dock, don't do the beach excursion offered by MSC, they charge about 13 euros per person return, taxi from Gythion is 10 euros return. Kefalonia not impressed, again a tender to dock, didn't do an excursion, Argostoli wasn't anything to write home about, Island is one of those that is probably best explored by car. Kotor completely blows Dubrovnik out the water, beautiful little old town, not nearly as crowded as Dubrovnik, nice picturesque setting, leaving the port and sailing out is like being in the Norwegian Fjords for a little while anyway. Shame you only get to spend a few hours here, would have given Corfu & Kefalonia a miss for an extended stay at Kotor. In summary MSC Cruises seem to be pretty poor, especially talking to others who have been on other cruise lines. If you are used to American ships & standards, then don't do MSC.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We booked with an internet agency who we could not fault for their organisation. We had decided on MSC Armonia. Although it said 4 restaurants we have been more used to having a couple of restaurants that although you pay extra for it ... Read More
We booked with an internet agency who we could not fault for their organisation. We had decided on MSC Armonia. Although it said 4 restaurants we have been more used to having a couple of restaurants that although you pay extra for it enables you to have maybe a "special" meal. Our first night in the Marco Polo restaurant was spoiled by a very rude arrogant and impatient Italian waiter. we met two lovely couples at the table whom we were introducing ourselves to each other. This waiter was intent on getting our orders in to the extent that while my husband was talking to the couple on his right the waiter took mine and then said I will just order the same as you to which I replied No, please wait. He did the same to the other two ladies. The food was practically thrown at us and no sooner had we put our cutley to the side of our plates they were whisked away and the next course thrown down. This continued to the end of the service. The Maitre 'D did come and speak into his ear but this did not make any difference. Needless to say this was a massive put off as we have never been treated like this on any other cruises we have been on. The second night we spoke to the Maitre'd who then arranged that all six of us be moved to the other side of the restaurant. This waiter was not removed from the restaurant and by all accounts continued to act in a disgraceful way. I and the other thought the quality of the food very poor. I have had better food and display of food at pubs. This was another factor of the disappointment. The risotto was stodgy and tasteless and the consistency of rice pudding. Risotto is supposed to be a speciality of the Italians, this was not! The main courses were also a disappointment and the desserts no better. One of the couples whom we met was celebrating a 25th Wedding anniversary. We mentioned this to the Maitre'd, he didnt seem interested but did manage to pass our table and stop and congratulate them just before we were due to leave the restaurant. On other cruises we have experienced a better lack of interest in the cruisers and if there is a special "something" a little gesture i.e. desserts with congratualtions written on plate or even a complementary glass of fizz, MSC did nothing. The entertainment on board was also poor. We had a couple who played guitar and an electronic organ, who managed to clear the room. The band were good but were not on long enough. We were second sitting which by that time they were starting to finish off their evening! The entertainment on deck during the day was very juvenile, kicking a football through the legs of 6 chairs, this was for adults only and no children were allowed to play!!!! The other entertainment on the deck was "The Italians doing what they do best, showing off". This came under the umbrella of dance lessons which was more of a "look at me". Oh and then came the 1st of the days Bingo session!! This was translated so many times that it was so boring, at night they also played bingo! it was dire!! The Casino did not generate any interest or atmosphere and we only visited twice! Usually this is a big part of our Cruise experience and our holiday gambling time. The guys on the bars did not remember what you drank which was again very disappointing not only for us but for them as they were not left extra tips. On any other cruises we have gone on the waiters and barmen make a point of knowing your name, where you generally come from and most importantly remember what you drink. This does not happen on this ship. The cabin was nice and spacious and it was lovely to have a balcony, the rooms are very well sound-proofed although we diud have a French person next door who was intent on letting us know that he could hear even a murmur who felt it necessary to come to our cabin and push and threaten my husband, he also claimed that we had woken his baby, who as it turned out was 10 years old and did not waken up. The joys I suppose of cruising, there is always One (or two if you count his screaming wife!) Overall the Italians and others on the ship did not bother us at all, in fact I can safely say they did not even feel the need to be friendly and try and interact with us. Thank goodness the couple we met at our table from South Africa and Sweden made our cruise worthwhile. The overall feel from the six of us was that we will not be sailing again with MSC on any of their ships. We will stick to the ones we know we can trust, Royal Carribean, P & O, Princess. Our advice would be is to leave MSC to the Italians, they want the ship to themselves and their children. As British people we consider ourselves to be considerate and polite unlike the passengers on board this ship who are rude, arrogant and pushy. Never again!!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Booked this cruise 4 weeks before we travelled. We still enjoyed a the "free" kids price and got a 5% discount as this was our second MSC cruise and had joined their cruise club last year. The only compromise was that we ... Read More
Booked this cruise 4 weeks before we travelled. We still enjoyed a the "free" kids price and got a 5% discount as this was our second MSC cruise and had joined their cruise club last year. The only compromise was that we couldn't get a balcony cabins as they had all been sold so we opted for an oceanview on deck 8. The itinerary was Venice-Ancona-Dubrovnik-Corfu-Gythion-Cephalonia-Kotor-Venice. Time in each port was ok with one exception, Kotor was far too short as you need longer. Venice is a great port to embark any ship. The airport is nearby and if time allows I recommend you get the water bus from the airport to the cruise terminal. It costs 15 Euro each, takes 2 hours but is a great introduction to Venice and delivers you straight to your ship. Armonia was a great ship. It is smaller than the Musica we sailed on last year but amenities were just as good and we found the smaller ship less busy and friendlier. As always with MSC the ship was always clean and well cared for. The ship is easy to find your way around although not all the lifts and stairwells access all floors.Our cabin was small. It would be ok for two people but we had our 14 year daughter with us too. Thats said it was comfortable enough and the weather was great so we didnt have to spend too much time in the cabin. Cabin was clean and serviced twice a day. Lots of storage space (even for 3 of us) but the room lacked a safe and I never got to the bottom of whether or not this was the case in every cabin or just ours. Food in the main dining room and buffet was generally good quality; we only had one bad dish. Like all buffets on larger ships it was manic at times but with careful planning you could find a seat easily. The pizza station was really popular and the guy making the pizza deserved a medal as he made pizza 13 hours a day non-stop and as fast as he made it it was eaten! Drinks were reasonably prized and comparable to the ports we visited. We bought the DoReMi kids drinks vouchers (28 Euro for 10) as they allowed you to have all soft drinks including non-alcoholic cocktails, smoothies and ice cream. Service on Armonia was better than Musica but still not 100% perfect. Bar service could be painfully slow particularly in the two pool bars, even when youve waited to order it could take up to 15 minutes for the drinks to arrive! Thats said service was friendly and English is well understood. Excursions were expensive as a 14 year old pays adult prices on MSC. The two we took were ok but the one in Kotor was excellent thanks to our guide. Entertainment on MSC is fun but not great. Passengers are from many countries so shows have to be visual in nature. Armonias entertainment team worked hard but its not West End standard. The night time pool parties on deck 11 were always fun and rounded off a good day. Disembarkation worked well. We booked a St Marks Square shuttle boat with airport transfer. This worked easily but you will arrive at the airport by 4pm so if your flight back is later this may prove too early for some (we had to wait 5 hours for our flight). Overall a great cruise. MSC wont be to everyones taste but for a family looking for a relaxed cruise in the sun we feel you cant beat them. Well done MSC and thanks.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was our first ever cruise and having read some awful reviews about MSC Armonia, I was dreading this but the price was just too tempting. Besides I had booked directly with MSC and the sales agent was really helpful and prompt in his ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and having read some awful reviews about MSC Armonia, I was dreading this but the price was just too tempting. Besides I had booked directly with MSC and the sales agent was really helpful and prompt in his response. I shot him at least 50 emails before and after booking and he replied promptly each and every time. Now on to the cruise...We had opted for the fly n cruise option. MSC executives were waiting outside Venice airport and we spotted them easily. We were asked to wait in a waiting area which was just outside the airport terminal. After about 10 mins or so we were all asked to walk to the bus accompanied by few executives. They sat us in the bus and explained to us the embarkation procedure. The transfer to the cruise terminal is about 20 min bus ride. On arriving there, they walked us through and we were told to leave our luggage and check in. Again check in was simple and quick and embarkation started in about 20 min. We wanted to visit Venice and there were people to explain to us how to get there and places to see. The ship was neat and clean. I was told it is fairly small. However it was our first cruise and I did not have anything to compare with so I cannot comment on that. Ours was an inside room; it was a bit on the small side but then we hardly spent any time in the room. It was a bit dated but neat and clean. The only thing I did not like about it was that shower area is a bit small and no matter how small you are, you cannot prevent the shower curtain from sticking to you. Apart from that, no complains. We had gone for the all inclusive option at £20 per person per day and it is well worth the money. It includes red, white, rose' and sparkling wines, more than 10 cocktails, a wide range of spirits, ice creams, fresh juices, canned juices fizzy drinks, water, smoothies, drinks from the vitamin bar. A very very wide range indeed. Besides, you do not pay the 15% service charge you would pay otherwise. Drinks are priced at the same rate at any restaurant in the UK so even if you had 3 drinks and a bottle of water, the all inclusive option is worth going for. We had taken second seating which starts at 9pm. The service of the staff especially of those in the al a carte restaurant (Marco Polo) was really good. The guy serving us was called Deyan and he was from Bulgaria. He was a star!! Such a nice guy! When he came to know we were vegetarians, he went and spoke to the head chef and from the next night onwards, we got special vegetarian Indian dinner which obviously was not even on the menu. We were the only 2 Indian passengers among 1500 on board and to be given that kind of service, we were really touched. I cannot fault those guys. They did not have to do that. There were other vegetarian options on the menu. Even in the various bars, as soon as you finish a drink, they come to you to take your next order in spite of knowing we were all inclusive. I had thought we would be treated differently but that was not the case. Their service is really good! I read people moaning about how crowded the buffet gets. It does but what do you expect during peak hours? The buffet has many options to choose from (though not that many for us) but there's fries and pizza all day. They serve pizza from 12 pm till 11 pm I think and it was good - no complains. The pool area  some people say place is a bit noisy with music playing all the time. I don't know what else to expect. It was good with music playing, for us at least. The pool is a little small and the water seemed quite cold even in Aug when the temperature was almost 30 deg or more. But that is me; I can't stand cold. There are 2 Jacuzzis and there is an attendant all the time to make sure that everyone gets the chance to use it. The entertainment  The entertainment team is pretty good. There are people on the ship who come from different countries and speak different languages so they have to make sure that it appeals to people from everywhere. They did a good job. Also the evening shows'we attended it only once and it was really good. Now to the excursions the cruise excursions are a bit on the expensive side. It's worth mentioning though that the excursions have nothing to do with MSC. I presume it has been outsourced. We took one excursion in Gythion to a beach which was for around 15 and two transfers - one in Dubrovnik to the old town for  11 and another in Corfu to the town for around 9. Old town in Kotor, Montenegro is literally few yards from the port. We did not go out in Ancona and in Cefalonia. We were having a good time on the ship. If I had to complain about something, it would be the disembarkation. We had to vacate our rooms by 8 am or so but disembarkation did not begin until 11.30. That's so many hours of doing nothing. We had slept late the previous night (wanted to make the most of our time and not waste it sleeping) and then woke up early. Then once we disembarked, we thought we will be able to get on to the bus. But we had to wait for more than 2 hours and no one to let us know how much longer it was going to be. I was getting worried as our flight was at 4 pm or so. But eventually the bus arrived and dropped us. If I had to fault anything, it would be this. Apart from this little thing, this was a fabulous holiday.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We have just returned from a week long cruise on Armonia from Venice to Ancona,Dubrovnik,Corfu, Gythion, kefalonia & Kotor. We booked direct and had seen reviews of the ship so knew what to expect. flights were booked as part of the ... Read More
We have just returned from a week long cruise on Armonia from Venice to Ancona,Dubrovnik,Corfu, Gythion, kefalonia & Kotor. We booked direct and had seen reviews of the ship so knew what to expect. flights were booked as part of the package and were with BA from Gatwick. Transfer was included but lacked information from MSC staff on arrival. It was a bare minimum welcome. A bit more info on check in/embarkation would of been helpful. Arrived after short transfer at Venice port, off loaded from coach, dropped luggage then directed to cruise terminal for chaotic check-in. Despite having done the on line check-in we queued for approx an hour in a hot stuffy terminal building with what felt liked a thousand other cruisers. There were just five desks checking-in all guests then there were more queues if you wanted to embark the ship. We opted to go into Venice. We had three hours so concentrated on St Mark's square and grand canal. Easy to find monorail gets you to water busses on Grand Canal. Water bus was expensive 15 euros per adult return on number 2 line to St Marks square. Water bus is a great way to see the grand canal. Be aware the time it takes to get on the water bus back from St Marks Square. So many tourists! Absolutely crammed but a great experience if you take it in your stride. This is your first lesson to think like an Italian! Embarkation was straightforward and we had our first of many photos taken as we stepped on board. Cabin was good, plenty of space for three and lots of storage. Very clean and In good condition. Bags took a while to arrive so a bit rushed before dinner. We had first sitting at 18.45 in La Pergola restaurant. We were seated with a lovely family also from South Wales. Not sure if that was by chance but well done MSC if it was planned. Dinner menu was good. 7 courses each night if you wanted it but we picked and chose from the different courses and there was always steak and chips or chicken as alternatives if nothing appealed. Service was extremely friendly and efficient. Our waiter was very polite and helpful. We were not impressed with the bar service throughout our cruise. With a few exceptions the bar staff were not friendly and lacked service training. Table service on the lido deck was seldom available despite there being staff that liked to hover around the bar! We did complain to the bar manager who shrugged off the comments so I complained formally at reception on day 3. We chose the all inclusive drinks package at 161 euros. Well worth it as you don't need to drink constantly to make a saving. Typically a beer was 4.90 euros, bottle of house wine 18.00 euros, sprite or fanta 2.70 and cocktails 6.50 euros. Plenty of choice and non alcoholic cocktails for children. Another advantage of the package is that the service charge of 15% is also included. Breakfast was taken on the lido deck which was busy and chaotic. Lesson two of being like an Italian in the buffet queues! Go with the flow and expect an Italian or French guest to push in or shove in front of you. Quality of food in buffet restaurant generally good with plenty of choices. There was a constant supply of pizza, burgers, hot dogs and chips each day as well from the grill. Ports of call were very good. Ancona - easy short walk from port into town. Nice traditional indoor fruit and veg market and outdoor clothes market. Dubrovnik - we took the shuttle bus as the port Is approx 30 mins from the city. 12.90 euros but efficient. Dubrovnik was very busy so we headed for the cable car trip first. Fantastic views not be missed. Dubrovnik was lovely but crowded. MSC had well marked pick up in main square amidst the chaos of dozens of cruise shuttles. Corfu - the port is a 20 minute walk from town but easy and you can't get lost. Great for browsing and shopping and locals so friendly. We got a taxi back to ship. Gythion - tender service to the shore was efficient and quick. Pretty fishing town with a few bars. We took a dip in the sea from the small beach. Kefalonia - lovely port. Easy walk to town. Look for the turtles in the harbour. Good shopping and browsing. Kotor - beautiful stunning scenery. Good tender service to shore. Tip - ignore your ticket time and jump on an earlier tender. Nobody checks tickets. Lovely old town. We didn't go on he organised excursions and were happy with the itinerary. There was plenty to see in a few hours at each port. At some ports the ship sailed quite early but we liked being able to relax on the sun deck with a drink or cocktail. In the afternoons the pool was busy but more peaceful on the upper level. We watched one show after dinner which was very visual but no singing etc as so many different languages spoken on ship. Pretty average quality but ok. Check out / disembarking was good. Luggage collection chaotic but go with the flow Italian style again. Good transfer to airport. Overall a good cruise. An experience mixing with lots of nationalities on the ship but that added to the fun and was educational too. Good for families. Not a top end cruise so go with realistic expectations and you will enjoy. We had a great holiday. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Our fifth Cruise - 3 on Ocean Village, 1 on P&O (Oceana). Not sure what to expect from an Italian line. However, as you might tell from the 'hint' above - we were totally satisfied, and would not hesitate to go again with ... Read More
Our fifth Cruise - 3 on Ocean Village, 1 on P&O (Oceana). Not sure what to expect from an Italian line. However, as you might tell from the 'hint' above - we were totally satisfied, and would not hesitate to go again with MSC. The language was not a problem at all. To be fair, we were watching our budget, and got an extremely good deal, but even at 'normal' prices, I would consider the cruise very good value for money. We booked Cruise Only, and made our own way to Venice, staying at the Albergo Marin - ideally situated, and again, very good value for money.(See Trip Advisor) We even walked to the cruise terminal - then a courtesy bus took us from there to the ship. Check in was extremely efficient. We took up the offer of a soft drinks package, but declined all excursions, as we were comfortable with making our own arrangements at the ports of call. We had a balcony suite,(first balcony experience!) and had to pinch ourselves as we sailed away from Venice - we were on the left(port?) side of the ship, so on the best side to see St Mark's Square etc - what a view! As we had opted for early sitting (18.45) we missed the meal in the restaurant first night so that we could make the most of the balcony view of Venice. Of course we did not miss out on a meal entirely, as we went to the self service Brasserie instead. Late sitting would have been 21.00, and that seemed a little late to us. Every night there were 7 courses available: Entree, Soup, Salad, Pasta, Main, Dessert, Cheese and Biscuits. I defy you to say there's nothing to your liking! Our room was bigger than anything we had had before - balcony, sofa, chair, coffee table, 2 bedside cabinets, huge bed (ok, 2 singles pushed together), walk-in wardrobe, desk, dressing table and bathroom with shower over. Concealed safe, hairdrier and mini bar. Alas, no tea making facilities for the Brits, but plenty of tea always available at drink stations. The ship is beautiful - spotlessly clean - this may sound funny, but I was impressed that never ever did I come across toilet rolls or hand towels empty in public toilets. There's a lot to be said for that! We particularly liked this itinerary: Venice, Ancona, Dubrovnik, Gythion, Corfu, Kefalonia, Kotor. A port of call EVERY day. We did our own thing at all of them - i.e. walk round, quick dip in the sea if possible, stop for a cold drink/ice cream. Back on board well before last call, then settle down on one of the numerous sunbeds to enjoy the afternoon Med sun. I'm rambling - probably losing your interest by now - so as for the rest: Entertainment - a bit corny for my liking. Lots of dancing, strength and balancing acts. A tribute act or two would have been nice. Not quite comparable with P&O and Katherine Jenkins this year! But hey, the theatre is a good space, and you csn see from everywhere. The entertainment team are good fun and work hard. Can't comment on the spa or gym - I've got those where I live and don't want to waste holiday time in them! Not interested in the casino. Staff - all are wonderful - but a special mention for the cabin steward and waiters - so friendly helpful and respectful. Tender service - extremly efficient, tickets were issued with a time, to prevent clogging up the stairwells, but we always got straight on. Very smart arrangement with gazebos and flags on quayside. Start of the school holidays, so lots of children around - thay didn't get in our way - if that's an issue for you - go in June! Overall, I hope you have gathered that we had a great time. The crunch - would we cruise with MSC again? - unequivocally (hope that makes me seem educated!) YES!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We just finished our fourth cruise with MSC. The first was in 1999 when few Americans had heard of MSC. We loved it! The cuisine, the shows, the demographics, the waiters, came together for a very European experience. Since then we ... Read More
We just finished our fourth cruise with MSC. The first was in 1999 when few Americans had heard of MSC. We loved it! The cuisine, the shows, the demographics, the waiters, came together for a very European experience. Since then we have always particularly enjoyed our cruises with MSC. But this time things were very different. The cruise we took on the Armonia was largely in the Adriatic. The ports were fine and so were the excursions. So we enjoyed that part of it. The shows are still slightly wacky, fun and decidedly non PC. Enjoyed that too. The food, however, was substandard. I have been on quite a few cruises with different companies and this was the worst. It is a deal-breaker. Presentation was lovely, dining rooms too, but most of it was either overly-salted or utterly tasteless. How can anything so pretty taste so bad? We took to eating in the ports of call or ordering extra courses to see if there was anything we would want to eat. We are definitely not finicky eaters. It was clear that MSC is cutting corners. Part of what a passenger looks forward to on the cruise is the food. Not here. Also, no midnight buffets, everything including ice cream on deck had a price (didn't used to be that way), virtually no activities onboard. Passengers were left to entertain themselves with cards and board games and an occasional dance class. I have never been on such an uninspired cruise. I used to love going on MSC cruises. Not going with them again. Uh uh. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
It was with some intrepidation that we finally decided to cruise with MSC. Several telephone calls were made to the MSC office in England in January & February but each time we were put on hold and could never get through to the ... Read More
It was with some intrepidation that we finally decided to cruise with MSC. Several telephone calls were made to the MSC office in England in January & February but each time we were put on hold and could never get through to the reservations department. In desperation we went to our local travel agent to see if they could do any better. Unfortunately they could not. They eventually made contact the day following our booking enquiry only to find that flights from Gatwick in June were not available. We did not wish to travel to Heathrow. On checking the BA website ourselves we were able to select morning flights to Venice from Gatwick for the date required and for the return. Rather than book this ourselves we went back to the Agent who booked return flights for us. Eventually cruise was booked with separate BA flights. On checking out our cruise details some two weeks later we found that Gatwick flights were then available and the timing of these were identical to those booked with the Agent. We then requested bus transfer between airport and the Seaport but were advised by MSC that all seats were already booked. We then arranged a private taxi transfer for the return journeys. The e-mail and telephone service between customer & MSC office is very poor and urgently needs to be updated to cope with enquiries. Our travel agent agrees with this. On arrival in Venice everything went smoothly although we could not check in to the ship until 2.00 p.m. We were able to put our luggage into a secure area and we set off to see some of Venice. The People Mover Monorail is about a 15 minute walk from the MSC check-in and well worth using for just a 1 Euro fare. There is a free bus from ship to Monorail but we were not advised of this. Five minutes on the Monorail and you are not far from the Grand Canal. Well worth using this mode of transport. Check in went smoothly and when we got to our cabin our luggage was there for us. All the crew were extremely polite and helpful. Having cruised on this ship about 10 years ago when it belonged to Festival Cruises and was called "European Vision" it didn't take us very long to find our way around the decks. Late lunch was available followed by afternoon tea. The drinks package at 20 Euros per day per person was well worth it and we were surprised to have a choice of wine by the bottle at dinner. The package covered most drinks as well as ice creams, tea, coffee and cocktails. The only downside of the cruise was the crowded swimming pool area, very noisy and music blaring out most of the time. About 4.00 p.m. there is one game of Bingo which takes a long time as numbers have to be called in 8-9 languages. We tried to give this a miss and take tea & scones in the buffet area. Our ports of call were varied but interesting. Kotor was the highlight of the cruise. (A jump-on jump-off bus is available at Kotor port, or taxi drivers try to grab you with high price fares, however when you walk away from these guys the price is usually halved. Another fun way to see the old city is to tske a ride in a buggy. Dubrovnik port to Dubrovnik City walls by transfer bus is not a free journey. It is now about 5 miles from the new port to the city. The return fare is 12 euros. Likewise in Corfu a transfer bus is available again for about 12 Euros. These fares are charged to your cabin account. Overall the cruise was good value for money, we have no complaints. The choice of food was excellent at all mealtimes, although breakfast can be a bit of a crush as everyone seems to arrive together. Our balcony cabin on Deck 10 was very clean & comfortable. Announcements over the tannoy were not intrusive. We will certainly consider travelling with MSC again and just hope that their communication service improves as poor communication makes for poor service.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We booked in December last year. What attracted us most of all were the destinations and the deal was a total steal! However leading up to the cruise we were reading the reviews and were working ourselves into a state of panic, thinking ... Read More
We booked in December last year. What attracted us most of all were the destinations and the deal was a total steal! However leading up to the cruise we were reading the reviews and were working ourselves into a state of panic, thinking maybe we should have gone with another company. The worries were totally unfounded, as the cruise and the whole experience were very good! We are a couple with no children and we like travelling independently. This was our first mass tourism exposure. Everything worked well - embarkation was seamless, destinations were really as good as we thought they would be - only two tenders, both worked superbly well; food - well, how can people complain?... You will not go hungry on that ship, that's for sure! Breakfasts at Marco Polo we excellent with a choice of however much or little you wanted to eat on that particular morning. Eggs were done to perfection - poached, fried, boiled. Brasserie breakfasts were a little bit of a zoo, not fault of staff or food, simply unlucky to have had a group of 700 strong Austrians on board with us, who mostly behaved in my opinion like they owned the place. Lunch served in the Brasserie or the restaurants again very good. Always a choice of salads, pastas, burger bar, hot dogs, pizzas, cold meats and cheeses, roast of the day. Coffee and tea stations were always well stocked with a good selection of teas and complimentary water. Dinner we had at La Pergola. First sitting was our first choice, however we found it a little early at 18:00. Especially when we were sailing out of Venice at exactly the same time and bearing in mind that coming from the UK it would only be 17:00. Towards the end of the cruise we changed that to second sitting and worked better for us. Dinner choices were fabulous every night. Something like 7 courses to choose from and again you can eat as much or as little as you chose. Selection every night had an entre, soup choice, salad choice, pasta choice, about four or five mains, cheeses, sweet menu and ice creams. The waiters were so obliging, they just couldn't do enough - always courteous and polite. Really super! There was a wine list with bottles starting at about 20 Euros and 5 Euros per glass. 1 Lt bottled water with the service charge only cost 2.89 Euros - now how can people complain about that price for a restaurant sitting?.. One thing we didn't like was the entertainment. But then if you can enjoy the beauty of sunsets and afterwards relax with a cocktail or two in the piano bar, who needs a show every night! We didn't go for any drinks packages. Yes it's probably worth it if you are travelling in a group and want to socialise with a glass in your hand in the evening, or useful for families, or if a holiday is not a holiday unless you've had a few. Otherwise, breakfast juices and water, coffees and teas are inclusive anyway. At lunchtime you are mostly off board at a stop destination, where you can enjoy local drinks at rock bottom prices ;-) Wine and water at dinner are comparable to UK restaurant prices and for example Martinis and Margaritas start at something like 6 - 7 Euro, very reasonable and beautifully done and presented!All of the public areas on Armonia were spotlessly clean. Staff very helpful at all times. We loved the disco lounge which was unused. It was quiet with soft music tinkling in the background, on the 12th deck with large windows all around - sunsets from the were stunning! Pools were ice cold, but lovely that they use sea water. Plenty of loungers in the sun, nobody went without, however if you want to sit outside, but want the shade claim yours early. Our Austrian friends were booking 4 loungers at a time - two in the shade and two in the sun and then going off to enjoy their drinks package in the bar for the afternoon...Plenty of towels for the pool area and again everything is kept clean and organised.We will not hesitate to book with MSC again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We planned on spending 5 weeks in Italy and then sailing home (Rome to Galveston) on the Mariner of the Seas. We booked time in Venice, Naples, Sorrento and Rome during that time and then found this cruise to Greece and Montenegro at a ... Read More
We planned on spending 5 weeks in Italy and then sailing home (Rome to Galveston) on the Mariner of the Seas. We booked time in Venice, Naples, Sorrento and Rome during that time and then found this cruise to Greece and Montenegro at a very reasonable price. After reading some of the reviews and speaking to our travel agent, we were somewhat concerned about the negative comments made about MSC in general and the Armonia specifically. This is our impression of the trip. We embarked at 12:30 PM in Venice and it may have been the easiest boarding we have ever encountered. The staff was wonderful, the process was well managed and it took less than 20 minutes before we were actually led to our cabin. Other lines could learn something here! Lunch was served, we took time to walk around the ship and returned to our cabin to find our luggage already in the room. This was around 3:00 pm. We actually had time to unpack prior to the lifeboat drill (jackets required) and still had time to change before dinner. All of this was a first in our cruise experience, and a pleasant one at that. Meals were our concern, mostly because of the reviews, including the water and language issues. It is apparent that most of the negative reviews are from American travellers who have never truly immersed themselves in the culture of another country. We had no problems whatsoever, the food was very good, the entertainment was first class and we were always seated with English speaking guests when possible. We received a large mineral water each day which was more than enough for dinner, and were able to get all the drinks we needed at breakfast and lunch. Complaints about the cost of water were puzzling. They charged Euro 2.70 for a large bottle which was comparable to, and in cases less expensive, than we paid in most restaurants in Italy. Our waiter, maitre d and captain at dinner all spoke passable English and were professional, friendly and competent. The menus were better than the Mariner on most days, and the portions were just right. The wine prices seemed to be on a par with most other cruise lines, as were the soft drink prices. I would rate the food in the top 25% of all cruises we have taken (50+). We chose the cruise for the ports. In order: Ancona, Italy Corfu, Greece Santorini, Greece Piraeus, Greece Argostoli, Greece Kotor, Montenegro We never book ship excursions, so I cannot comment on how well they are run, but people we spoke to on the ship had only positive things to say about them. If there was one issue, it was that we had short times in port, but we did a LOT of ports and were able to visit everything we desired while there. One definite positive was the late arrival and departure in Santorini. We were able to get to the top of the mountain (the girls via donkey, and the boys via cable car)and take the bus to Oia for the sunset. We had plenty of time to explore both Thera and Oia and the sunset is one of the world's great wonders! We were the last ship in port, and everyone else left without having that opportunity. This alone was the worth the price of the trip. Ancona was a pleasant surprise, and you can see the old city on foot without a tour guide pretty easily. The same can be said for Kotor -what a beautiful setting. We made arrangements for travel to Athens, only to discover that the city was closed because of the arrival of the German Chancellor, but the Acropolis was open, so we spent the day there and at the new museum in the city. All in all, the ports were what we expected and we couldn't have been more pleased with the experience. Now about the ship. Again, there were some negative reviews, most of which we found to be totally inaccurate. First, the ship was spotless. I have never seen a ship this old kept this clean or well maintained. Obviously it was an aging vessel and did not have many of the "amenities" of the newer vessels, but the line could not have done a better job of maintaining the facilities. Our cabin was large enough and had plenty of cabinet and wardrobe space. Beds were a little less comfortable than some of the major lines, but still acceptable. Staff were friendly and helpful, and the bars, shops and public rooms nice in every respect. Interestingly, the library had more books in English than any other language, and has an honor system for check out - which was very convenient. The entertainment was general in nature, and held every night of the cruise. This is an older theater, and does not have the stadium seating you may be used to. Get there early for the best seats, and there is bar service through most of the show. Most was in English, even on Italian night, so we never had an issue. The cruise director spoke 5 languages, so we got to hear about the show in all of them every evening. Since my wife and her sister seemed to be in love with him, it did not appear to be a problem! Disembarkation was as well handled and easy as the boarding process. We took our time getting off, since our train to Naples didn't leave until after 1pm. It was well organized, plenty of waiting areas and the staff never pressed us. In all respects I would give the ship a solid 9 on a 10 scale. This is the caveat for MSC. This is an ITALIAN cruise line. It very much resembles daily life in Italy and adheres to the customs of the country in most ways. If you have never, and do not want to travel as a local, embracing the culture of this country and understanding the people and the cuisine, you will hate this cruise. We saw it happen. It is unfortunate, and lends credence to the "Ugly American" stereotype we have created abroad. If you understand that you are not at home, remain open to new experiences and prepare to make allowances for things you won't find here (iced tea and hamburgers come to mind), you will have a great trip at a very good price. We will sail with them again if the opportunity arises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Firstly would like to say some of the reviews leave a lot to be desired. We booked our cruise on Jan 2012. We flew from dublin to venice the day before our cruise and stayed in Quarto d'altino this was a perfect location where the ... Read More
Firstly would like to say some of the reviews leave a lot to be desired. We booked our cruise on Jan 2012. We flew from dublin to venice the day before our cruise and stayed in Quarto d'altino this was a perfect location where the train station is at the back of the hotel with train running regularly to central venice at €5 per person return journey of about 25 min. Checked into our hotel after a free hotel shuttle bus collected us from airport lunched and went on train to Venice when you come out the steps of the train station the city stretches out in front of you I must say I was awe struck at the site. We toured on foot for half a day and found fantastic little cafes off the tourist trail had a fab pizza which turned out would have fed us both but of course we had one each !!! Back to hotel to prepare for the cruise ahead ordered a taxi who arrived promptly the next day and dropped us at cruise terminal where we were quickly ane efficiently dealt with by very pleasant MSC staff the terminal building for anyone who didn't cruise before was like an airport terminal where you got a welcome drink and were treated really well on a rota basis we were left on board after going through security with your hand luggage. Once on board we were shown to our cabin immediately and it was clean and comfortable an outside cabin with a big square window which gave us a good view next time would book a balcony just for the extra space even though we only stayed in cabin to sleep. So much to see and do on board. We had booked a drinks package which turned out to be a great value we thought because oneofis doesn't drink alcohol and you had to book for both occupents of cabin but it turned out to be great because I could have icecrean , Fruit smoothies and non alcohol cocktails whice were really good.we got off at all the ports of call and did our own tours just mainly walking to where we wanted to go, when we got off in Athens we teamed up with a couple who were at our dining table and took a taxi €80 for 4 hours for 4 it was brilliant we saw all the sites and had pleant of time to explore our driver had fantastic english and a sense of humour our friend from our table it was his 60th birthday and the taxi driver took us up the hills to a cabin and we had a beer to celebrate all beyond the call of duty !! My favourite was Santorini an Kotor what spectacular views in both places and the sail into Kotor was breath taking. The staff , food and ship couldn't be faulted and would highly recommend another MSC cruise it has a real Italien feel about it if you go with the flow and are not fussy slike some of the guests you have a whale of a tim. I also took a reflexology treatment and got a complimentary back massage it was wonderful. The seating arrangement at the dining tavle for dinner was great 8 complete strangers , 3 irish, 2 english, 1 italian, 2 canadian had a ball and met up after dinner in the lounge for the entertainment our friend who was 60 had champagne and a cake ordered secretly by his wife a great night was had by all !! When we disembarked we went back to Quarto D'altino hotel with the same taxi company very good service, dropped our luggage and took train back to venice until a very late hour and met up with the couple who were at our table for the week and enjoyed a great night.On the saturday wer enjoyed a great trip on the vaporetto with a day ticket where you can hop on and off at your leasure. Went to st marks square just to say we had visited everything very expensive and touristy so we returned to the little back streets for another wonder flew back on the sunday so altogether we had 10 days away and what a wonderful experiance it all was all in all would do it all again and will be booking for 2013 shortly and most definitely with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This is the third MSC cruise we have done. Great value and this Cruise company is very friendly and helpful for wheelchair users. Some cruise companies do not allow wheelchair users to disembark at 'tender' ports, MSC will try ... Read More
This is the third MSC cruise we have done. Great value and this Cruise company is very friendly and helpful for wheelchair users. Some cruise companies do not allow wheelchair users to disembark at 'tender' ports, MSC will try their best to allow you to get off at every port. The ship itself is an older refurbished cruise ship. Although not as extravagant or big as some of the other in the fleet, it is quite quaint and very nice. The wheelchair cabins are very spacious. The bathroom has a wet floor wheel in shower with a fold down seat. The only negative is that the seat means your back is against the shower controls. All areas on the ship are accessible with a reserved area in the theatre. The restaurant food was very good as was the lunch buffet and snacks. Being small passenger numbers was a bonus when trying to use lifts or find tables or deck loungers and this was never a problem. The staff were great and I was called to reception twice just so they could see if there was anymore they could do for me. This cruise embarked at Venice. Although bridges are an obstacle, Venice is reasonable accessible for wheelchairs if you are prepared to move from section to section via the excellent and helpful ferry system and well worth the effort. The first port was Ancona, very hilly and not that wheelchair friendly but if you are up for a bit of exercise the markets were good and the produce market was worth a visit. Corfu was next, use the local bus (accessible) at the port to get to town. A bit of hill work will get you into the main town, great market area and lovely setting. Santorini was the next port, beautiful views from the ship and if you are in a wheelchair that's where I'd stay. Been here twice and gone ashore both times (for family). The gondola is accessible if your chair is under 650mm wide but once up top you can't go anywhere without continuous assistance. Athens was next. Trains are accessible and cheap but second time here and strikes both times. Paid 120 euro for taxi for 4-5 hours. missed acropolis last time with strikes so was determined this time. Got there only to find the stair climber to access the lift was broken. Paid the staff to lift me up steps to the lift. Once up top it was pretty hard going but great to see. Plaka suburb for shops and cafes was inclined but pretty accessible. Argostali was the next stop. This town was rebuilt after earthquakes so doesn't have the old age feel to it.Nice stroll along water front and head to main square for markets. Right of the port about a km to find a place for a swim. Kotor was next, an old medieval walled town. Quite small to easily move around. My daughter walked to the top of the hill which was a highlight for her. Back to Venice. I recommend MSC for wheelchair users in general and this was a nice cruise both onboard and ashore. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Just back from a week spent on the fabulous MSC Armonia visiting the eastern Mediterranean out of Venice. There are many negative reviews about MSC on this site, so I thought I'd give people considering this cruise line a different ... Read More
Just back from a week spent on the fabulous MSC Armonia visiting the eastern Mediterranean out of Venice. There are many negative reviews about MSC on this site, so I thought I'd give people considering this cruise line a different perspective from someone who really enjoyed MSC. We are a couple on our eighth cruise. We've previously cruised with Royal Caribbean, NCL & Carnival. This was our first cruise with MSC. We booked this cruise primarily because of the amazing itinerary, but also because of the great price. We got a balcony suite for about a third the cost of the equivalent on RCI. We arrived in Venice the night before, then took our hotel shuttle to P.Roma the next morning. The port isn't far and you have a couple of options to get there. The cheapest is to use the People Mover, which I think costs a euro. Unfortunately we chose to take a taxi, which cost 20 euros to really just go round the corner! You live, you learn (or not as I shall explain later!) Embarkation was very quick, very easy. Drop bags off, queue for about 10 minutes to check-in, and you're done! We'd pre-paid for the 23 euro per day drinks package and this is indicated by a sticker on your electronic room key. Disembarkation was as easy. We were staying in Venice so didn't have any issues with hanging around all day waiting for the usual late flights back to the U.K. Our balcony suite was on deck 12,. An escort takes you to your cabin. This is by far the biggest cabin we've ever stayed in, very well laid out with plenty of storage space (including a huge walk-in wardrobe!), and a comfy sofa that you can sit on without giving yourself deadleg. The large balcony is very private. The bed was also very comfortable, but is two singles pushed together so prone to separating slightly during the night. The bathroom is a fair size, with a bathtub as well as a shower. Bathrobes come included. There is a hairdryer provided, and also a room safe. All kept immaculate. T.V. is flatscreen but quite small for the size of the room. T.V channels, or lack of, are dire, but we always bring our own entertainment so this is never an issue for us....worth noting though. Cabin steward was great, like the invisible man. No smoking on the balcony, but smoking is allowed in the cabin. Muster is unusual in that you are required to wear a lifejacket. You have to hand in a card to confirm your attendance. Very well organised. There are several bars, all nicely laid out. There is a top bar with fabulous views, opens until late. There is a smoking section by the outside bar on deck 11, and in the bar on deck 5. Not obtrusive though, and there are plenty of non-smoking areas. Bar staff lack the personality of other cruise lines we've been on, but all were professional and fairly on the ball. No problems with the drinks package. Our particular package covered everything we wanted, I can thoroughly recommend, even for moderate drinkers. One criticism of the barstaff though was that at busy times, they took an age to bring orders. They don't encourage you to get your own drinks at the bar, which we usually do. We didn't use the theatre. Public areas reminiscent of a nice hotel, but no breathtaking atriums. Shopping areas are again well laid out, and the 'heavy sell' is very low-key, unlike RCI or NCL. Any dealings I had with the front desk were dealt with efficiently and professionally. To my surprise, queues were respected by everyone on this cruise, buffet queues, tender queues etc. Queues for tender tickets were quick. We took the newspaper package, where you receive a printed copy of papers from home for 12 euros per cruise, very good value. We also took the laundry package, I think it was 30 items for 25 euros (something like that) a bargain. Queues for tenders very well managed. Being from the U.K. we are able to purchase an internet 'eurobooster' package whilst overseas, which costs 5 pound sterling per day for unlimited internet access. This was worth every penny as we were never far enough away from land to lose the signal. A great way to avoid the on-board internet costs which are notoriously expensive and very slow. Gym was well equipped, you need to sign a waiver before using. Got quite busy when the ship was at sea, but usually quiet before 8am. I was most apprehensive about the dining options because I'd read in various places that the buffet is only open for 2 hours at lunch and not at all in the evening and we don't usually eat in the MDR. Well this wasn't the case at all. The main buffet IS only open for two hours for lunch, but the open air part of the buffet (which serves burgers, hot dogs, pizza etc) is open from noon until 4:30pm, and the main buffet IS open in the evening. Choices were good, but sometimes there were long queues, but as already mentioned, I didn't see any queue jumping. There is also a midnight buffet but we didn't use this. Room service very limited, didn't use this either. We noticed that there was a no encouragement to use the hygiene facilities....no staff on hand to remind you 'washy washy'. The MDR was a revelation, a great option for breakfast and lunch as well as the evening. Breakfast options excellent. We were sat with other cruisers from the U.K. Waiters were really nice. Portions were small, which is just as well, as there are several courses to choose from. All tasted really good, and the pasta courses were superb. Different options are available every evening. On this cruise, 2 evenings were formal dining. One evening was Italian gala. Quick mention about the fantastic ports: Ancona: you can easily walk straight into town. Reminded me a bit of Livorno, lots of markets on the day we visited. Corfu: Didn't get off here, but quite a walk to town, or you can pay for the shuttle. Santorini: Tendered. Although it sounds a short stop (i.e. about 5 hours) plenty of time to get the cable car and have a look around. Stunning. Athens: Got the ships' tour. Was more like a shuttle drop off than a tour, but was cheap enough so worked out fine. The day we were in Athens was the day of a transport strike, so only other option would have been private taxi. Our tablemates did this and paid a reasonable price to be escorted around. Kephalonia: Tendered. Breathtaking port. Good place to have a walk about and have lunch. Also a good option for hiring a car. Kotor, Montenegro: Walk off straight into the Old town, Again a stunning port. Another good option would be to hire a car. Venice: if you can, get a couple of days at the end of your cruise to explore this fascinating place. We will definitely cruise from here again. Note though. Our hotel in Marcon has a shuttle which we could have picked up for 5 euros. But instead we took a taxi which cost us 50 euros. Apparently this is the norm, but we did feel ripped off! To sum up, this was a terrific cruise, the itinerary is amazing, great ports. I was surprised at how much I liked MSC. We'd previously done a bargain cruise with Carnival, which we did enjoy but felt that it wasn't the cruiseline for us and I was initially concerned that this would be the same with MSC. I felt like MSC pretty much left you alone to enjoy your cruise which I really liked, I also didn't feel like they were trying to extract every last penny from me. My fellow cruisers were not the raucous bunch I was expecting, all very well behaved ? Dining was a lovely experience, food was much better than I was led to believe from previous reviews I'd read. And the cabin was a lovely space to spend lots of time reading etc. MSC doesn't have the special feel of RCI, but doesn't have the price-tag to go with it either. I will definitely consider cruising with them again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
we had sailed on msc from quebec city to ft. lauderdale 2 years ago and the cruise was excellent in all respects. in oct. we sailed from venice on armonia and the ports were great but the ocean view cabin was so small or the minibar was so ... Read More
we had sailed on msc from quebec city to ft. lauderdale 2 years ago and the cruise was excellent in all respects. in oct. we sailed from venice on armonia and the ports were great but the ocean view cabin was so small or the minibar was so large that you had to climb over the bed to get out on one side of the bed.the food was below par and i do not get the marketing idea behind charging for water,iced tea and coffee at dinner in the dining room. this was the lowest ranking cruise in our experience with several cruise lines. needless to say it was our last cruise on msc. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
The cruise left from Venice and took us to Ancona, Corfu, Santorini, Athens, Argostoli, Kotor, and back to Venice. We arrived early at Venice port, about 12.00 noon, and boarding was very quick and efficient, within minutes we were on ... Read More
The cruise left from Venice and took us to Ancona, Corfu, Santorini, Athens, Argostoli, Kotor, and back to Venice. We arrived early at Venice port, about 12.00 noon, and boarding was very quick and efficient, within minutes we were on board. We had lunch at the buffet and then went back to town, as the ship left only at 7pm. For this, it is essential to bring your passport or ID! From Venice Port, the people mover takes you to Piazzale Roma for 1 Euro. Our cabin NR. 8033 was an inside cabin in the front. Very quiet, could not hear anything from our neighbours or the ship's engine, the only noise came from the Armonia lounge below, which was quite loud, but there was not program there every evening, so it was bearable. We had the Allegrissimo drinks package for EUR 23 per day and person, and we had a lot of fun with it. For breakfast, we ordered cappuccino and freshly squeezed orange juice, instead of the normal coffee and juice available at the buffet. With meals, we always had a glass of wine (or two...), and for sundowner, we always enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine on the deck. For sure this package saved us a lot of money, highly recommended. We had breakfast sometimes at the buffet and sometimes at the main dining room. Lunch mainly at the main dining room, much nicer. Dinner always at the main dining room, late seating at 9.30pm most evenings, which was quite late (even 10pm on the Santorini day). The quality of food was excellent at the main dining room, so-so at the buffet. We did not participate in any of the organized excursions, we made our own tours: Ancona: a nice town, from the ship it was only steps to the old town. Nice walk there. Corfu: we walked into town, it took us about half an hour, this can be a hot walk. On the way back, we took the city bus for EUR 1.50. It leaves from the old port and takes you straight back to the cruise port, easy to use. The bus stop in front of the cruise terminal is inside the port area. Santorini: you need to get numbers for the tender boat, make sure you get them early, at 9am. Once ashore, we took the cable car to the town of Fira for EUR 4 per person. Nice walk in Fira. We walked back to the port, but it was not a nice walk, the path was sometimes blocked with donkeys, and it is quite smelly. I would recommend to take the cable car also for the way back. Athens: about half an hour's walk to the metro station, from there it is a short ride (6 stops) to Thissio, at the foot of the Acropolis. The metro fare is EUR 1.50 each way. Argostoli: tender boat to get ashore. If you want to leave the ship early, you need to get numbers again, but we were not in a hurry here, for disembarking at 10am it was not necessary. The tender boat dropped us off right in the center of Argostoli. Don't miss the huge sea turtles near the fisher-men's boats! Kotor: the pier is a few steps away from the old town. Very nice walk there. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Review of MSC Armonia, September 28, 2012 This is not a cruise for the average American, but if you know what you are getting into you can have a very good time. Moreover, Italian cruise lines (MSC and Costa) are often right now an ... Read More
Review of MSC Armonia, September 28, 2012 This is not a cruise for the average American, but if you know what you are getting into you can have a very good time. Moreover, Italian cruise lines (MSC and Costa) are often right now an amazing bargain, partly due to the fear caused by the resent Costa Concordia disaster, one of the worst since the Titanic. As usual, people always over-react to bad news, and the Italian lines are probably now the safest in the world due to new and stringent safety measures. For example, both Costa and MSC now have the most exhaustive muster drills you have ever seen. You are given a card to turn in at your muster station and if you don't show up you will be required to attend a make-up session. Everyone must correctly don their life jacket and show that they know where to line up for their lifeboat. Some good things about MSC: 1) You get a chance to meet folks from lots of other cultures. Americans were only about 1-2% of the cruisers on our Italy and Greece cruise and about 20% on our Caribbean cruise on MSC. The MSC Armonia cruise was about 50% Italians, 20% German, 10% French, 5% British, 5% Czech and 10% other (mostly Eastern European) countries. 2) Internet is amazingly cheap, about 12 cents per minute in a package, about 1/5 the price of American-owned cruise lines. It is also much better with speeds varying from .5Mps to 8 Mps, and very reliable. 3) Service at the front desk is better, with large separate desks for accounting, purser, and shore excursions staffed with lots of knowledgeable people. 4) Most MSC ships have lots of open outdoor space at the back of the ship on almost every floor, great for quietly getting away from poolside crowds. American ships tend to turn that stern space into cabins. 5) Embarkation and disembarkation is a breeze on MSC, much better than American ships. They have special secure places to leave your carry-on luggage while you eat, and they don't rush you off. Some negatives: 1) Italian ships have a lower space per passenger ratio, so rooms can be smaller and public space is definitely less, so that the ships can be crowded. 2) It is annoying to hear messages again and again in 5 languages, though MSC is one of the few lines with no messages in the rooms. 3) Service is a little gruff, especially in the dining room. This is partly due to the fact the Italians believe that supervisors and management can only be Italians, so there is no opportunity for advancement for the rank and file. For example, one virtually never sees non-Italian head waiters or Maitre'd. 4) Food is not as good as on the American-owned lines, even adjusting for European tastes. 5) The pools are not heated, making for some very cold morning swims. 6) There is virtually no entertainment, other than the major shows, and those are a little strange for US tastes. With passengers speaking 10 different languages, you can't really have comedians, magicians, mimes, etc., so standard shows include a hula hoop artists, jugglers, contortionists, clowns, and a very strange man dressing up in cardboard mockups of famous women's outfits (we called him the cardboard drag queen"), who was extremely popular with European audiences. However, the singers are occasionally of opera diva quality, as was the case with the female singer on this ship. 7) For similar reasons, there will be no Karaoke, trivia contests, photography classes, computer classes, galley or bridge tours, backstage theater tours, art, ice carving, etc. Specifically, our latest cruise on MSC Armonia would rate a B-, or 3 ½ out of 6 stars, compared with all of our 22 cruises. But it was nevertheless, amazing value for the money since we paid under $400 for an inside cabin including all taxes in late September. This was for a 7-day cruise which included port stops every day in Greece, Italy and Montenegro. Embarkation. Embarkation was relatively easy, with reasonable lines and only one more stop for customs after checking in. Venice is a nice place to visit before the cruise (everyone should see Venice before they die, though the amazing crowds there sometimes make you want to die). Boarding the ship, the Israeli security team was smooth and efficient. A head cabin steward met us and brought us to our room, which was a nice touch. We had only hand luggage since we had spent a few days in Venice before and didn't want to be dragging large bags all through the narrow streets and rivers of Venice. A large portion of the ship was given over to shopping stores. The ship had excellent stability and we experienced almost no rolling, even in mild-moderate waves and wind. Cabin: Our cabin steward was excellent, and constantly asked what else he could do to meet our needs. He performed almost at the level of a personal butler. The room was very plain, with almost no art, but was very well laid out. There were two 110 volt and two 220 volt European style outlets at a well-laid out desk. The night stand had no drawers, only shelves. There was an older tube style 15-inch TV with only 2 English channels. Bathroom size was ok, but with the smallest shower stall we have ever seen on any cruise ship. The shower head, pleasingly, was high enough that it could be used by non-midgets. There was no bar soap or toiletries in the cabins. Robes were only supplied to balcony and suite patrons, but our cabin steward managed to sneak two of them to us. Toilets were unusually quiet for a cruise ship; we didn't feel like we would be sucked in and blown out the side of the ship. Food: There was a restaurant for those with fixed dining, but, unlike on American or Northern European cruise lines, the waiters were not trained to get to know the passengers or their preferences. We never even met our Maitre'd and they and the head waiters seemed to serve no obvious function on this ship. Food was sometimes barely palatable to American taste, with tough, fatty meats. A few dishes (mostly Italian food such as eggplant parmiagiana, most pastas, and zuppa di past y fagioli, were home runs. Omelets, bagels, pasta stations and other staples of most cruise ships were not available. Seatings were at 6:30pm and 9 pm, late for American standards, but it worked well. The cafeteria on the pool deck served decent food, but variety was not great from day to day, except on the entrees. The ship charged for ice cream, crepes, and juices other than watered down breakfast juice. The ship only had two ice machines and one of those was usually broken. As a nice gesture they gave all North Americans coupons for 7 free 1-liter bottles of water (I guess they figured out we like cold water, but are not used to paying for it). We were well-matched with our 6 other table mates, the only other middle-aged Americans on board. Activities and Entertainment: As stated above, there were essentially no activities other than the main shows, some lounge acts, and an occasional dance class. The lounge acts wouldn't pass muster in suburban Denver. The one exception was the jazz pianist/sax players, who were truly excellent. Unfortunately, they camped permanently in the only full-smoking lounge on this ship, which was terminally uninhabitable, except for the emphysematous cruiser. The big theater, La Fenice was attractive, with a good sound system and lighting. Unfortunately, it was designed very poorly with only 300 seats, half of those with terrible sight lines. This on a ship with 2000 passengers, most of whom had to stand or leave every night. If you could find a seat, the quality of the big shows was surprisingly good, with near Las Vegas quality dancers. The male singer was ok, but Italians seem to have a surplus of truly diva-quality female singers and the MSC Armonia was no exception. Claudia was a 10, whether singing pop, opera, or show tunes. The other performers stayed on the ship all seven days and performed most nights. These included a hula hoop/acrobatics girl and the above-mentioned cardboard drag queen. Rounding out the troop were two Cirque de Soleil quality acts: 2 strongmen who performed graceful and amazing lifts and contortions and the best juggling act I have ever seen. The jugglers actually got dressed and undressed while juggling 4 pins plus their clothing. Disembarkation: Amazingly simple: just get off when you want. Lots of exits with no waits at all. Ports: 1) Ancona, Italy: Not the most beautiful city in Italy, a little gritty, but very interesting and nice that we dock right in the town. It is a popular ferry port for boats to Croatia, Montenegro and Greece. We climbed the hill to the very attractive church were we enjoyed a festival with a local choir and hiked over to Hadrian's Arch, perfectly preserved from 200 AD, and larger than the Arch of Titan in Rome. 2) Corfu, Greece: A beautiful island very walkable main city with 2 fantastic 15th century Venetian forts, a beautiful synagogue, nice Esplanade and constant games of cricket, made popular during transient British rule. 3) Santorini, Greece: Arguably the most beautiful island in Greece. The town of Oia is the one on the cover of almost every Greek guide book. The ship anchors at the "old port", 1000 feet below the cliffs that make up the island (most of the island sunk into the sea around 1500BC causing the tsunamis that helped bring an end to Minoan civilization) and the sunken part may represent the "lost" city of Atlantis. Take the donkeys (only 5 euro) up the path to the city of Fira, and then take the bus to Oia. MSC nicely arranges this stop from 3:30pm to 10:30pm, so that you can enjoy Oia's famous sunsets. 4) Athens: The ship is only in port for 5 hours, so we took the fast Metro from the port of Piraeus to Athens (a one mile walk from the pier and a 15 minute subway ride) to the Acropolis and did the free Rick Steeves iPhone walking tour of the Acropolis and wonderful new Acropolis museum. The cafe in the museum is fantastic, with good WiFi and reasonable prices with an amazing view. 5) Kefallonia, Greece: The beautiful island where Captain Corelli's violin was filmed and takes place. The main city is not very interesting, so we rented a car (much cheaper, only 25 euros, if you do it in advance) and explored the beautiful island. Very easy driving with courteous people, signs in English, and beautiful scenery. 6) Kotor, Montenegro: Surprisingly, the highlight of the trip. The beautiful inland bay of Kotor is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful in the world, a cross between San Francisco Bay and the Amalfi Coast. We took the on-off bus to little towns in the bay and it was wonderful. Don't miss this port if you get a chance to see it. 7) Venice, Italy: Venice is always wonderful, though it is much more crowded than our visit of 7 years ago. The streets are totally gridlocked with people and the constant flooding makes it impossible to move around. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
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 3.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 5.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.1
Enrichment 3.0 2.9
Service 4.0 3.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.5

Find a MSC Armonia Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click