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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise with MSC, had been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess before. We chose this cruise for the Itinerary, Havana. We also found this cruise less expensive than other cruises to Havana. We came with our ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC, had been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess before. We chose this cruise for the Itinerary, Havana. We also found this cruise less expensive than other cruises to Havana. We came with our children and small grandchildren, age 1 and 3. First, the Ship: It is a smaller ship to be able to get in the Cuba port. We chose the Fantastica Package which put us on the 8th floor with a Window. I liked that the window had a bay and right over the bed so nice to look out in the morning with our coffee. Room was spacious, similar to most of the cruises we were on, bed exceptionally comfortable. Had frig with mini bar. We bought the Easy Package for alcohol which is worth it, included well drinks, Heineken and Miller beer, house wines, bottled water, fruit juice and cappuccino. The pool area was very nice with plenty of chairs. They had a splash pad for the kids which was same area as pool so it worked to enjoy the pool and stay with the kids. The Food: We found the food to be very good. We ate in both the dining room and the buffet. Nice variety of options for dinner. The grill was very popular. Enjoyed the pizza, hotdogs and hamburgers. I had lobster the last night which was additional $20.00, was not that great. Would probably just stick with the regular menu next time. The Service: I found the service on the ship exceptional, everyone smiling and helpful. Our cabin steward Carlos was excellent. We did not find any wait getting drinks as I saw in previous posts. The waiters in the restaurant exceptional. The SHOWS: We saw two shows that were probably the best we have seen on any ship. In Havana, a local band and dancers came on the ship and the music and dancers were exceptional. The Itinerary: We came primarily to see Cuba. The ship arrived around 2:00 pm. We had pre-booked a tour with MSC, the Cultural Sightseeing & San Jose Market. We book in advance which saved 20% which is worth it. We chose this because we had read so much about taking the MSC tour versus on your own. You do not have to do an MSC excursion but I feel this gave us a very good view of the city. We were on a bus all through the city with several stops for picture taking. Very nice large air conditioned and well organized. After the tour we stopped at the market which is walking distance to the ship. We could have stayed out till late but chose to come back after the tour. The next day, we were pretty oriented to the area and our group of 6 got in a 1955 convertible taxi for $25.00 to the city center. We walked down Obisbo street which was loaded with shops, tourists, restaurants and found this the highlight of Havana. The people in Havana are very friendly. It is a very poor country but residents can now own businesses so we enjoyed supporting the people. Overall, this was a top rated cruise Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I've sailed several times on the Divina and Seaside and was a little hesitant to sail on the Armonia due to her age. Boy, was I wrong! What a great ship! It was absolutely in tip top shape and the staff were all so friendly and ... Read More
I've sailed several times on the Divina and Seaside and was a little hesitant to sail on the Armonia due to her age. Boy, was I wrong! What a great ship! It was absolutely in tip top shape and the staff were all so friendly and helpful. Our cabin steward Jasna seem to work none stop in keeping our cabins clean and stocked. The food was fantastic and the NY Strips were thick cooked perfect. The only thing I was disappointed in was the shrimp Cocktail's. Our waiter Rony gave us great service and made recommendations that were always right on the money. The main entertainment was mostly musical's, not really my cup of tea, but the skill of the performers was top notch!! I'm more a set in the Bar and listen to a singer or small group. That's where I spent most of my time. I went to Guest Service's several times with a question or request an they handled them all very quickly. I have sailed about 16 times and for me this size ship is what I like best. I have always enjoyed RCCL's Grandeur but this may be my new favorite. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This review will be long. I am an experienced cruiser; with this being my 14th cruise. First time and last on MSC. I have cruised in the past with Carnival, Holland, Norwegian, Royal Carribbean and Windjammer. I travel frequently and ... Read More
This review will be long. I am an experienced cruiser; with this being my 14th cruise. First time and last on MSC. I have cruised in the past with Carnival, Holland, Norwegian, Royal Carribbean and Windjammer. I travel frequently and generally expect some hiccups when traveling by air, boat, or car. I would describe myself as pretty tolerant and not difficult to please. We cruised from Miami on the MSC Armonia on 4/2/19. I booked this cruise and paid in full in January 2018 and we chose the Fantastica package based on the offers with it (drink vouchers, free room service and room choices). I booked directly with MSC by phone. We choose room 7055 with the category of ocean view. Embarkation was fast and smooth. I was impressed we had very little wait time and were on our ship quickly. We were told our vouchers for drinks would be in our stateroom. Staterooms were available by 1:30 pm. That where the disappointment started. No drink vouchers in the room. Our room was very tiny. That is ok, we don't spend much time there. The problem is our ocean view window was in actuality an obstructed view. Clearly the deck plans and category is listed (and priced) as ocean view (indicated on the plans as dark green) and not an obstructed view. Armonia has installed a large net off the bottom of the 8th floor that extends down and across our entire view from our room on the 7th floor. It was clearly there for a long time. I will try and attach picture. This net made it impossible to take any pictures from our window. The bed was large and comfortable. The shower was ridiculously small, with a shower curtain that "sticks" to your body when you shower. The hair dryer was useless, not enough power to dry your hair so bring your own. Those small issues we ignored. The room view I was unhappy with so we went to the desk to voice our complaint. We initially had a long line, but a guest services agent asked us in line what she could do to help. We gave her our issues with not receiving drink vouchers. I had called about this with MSC the day before departure. My fantastica experience was supposed to include 12 vouchers per person. I guess they are discontinuing these on 3/31. Well when I purchased it was advertised. It also was clearly listed on my eticket I had just printed a week before departure as "included in your cruise". I showed this to the first agent we talked to. Her name was Nadia. She said she would take care of the issues and check back after 6pm. Long story short it took 2 days to get the drink vouchers and MULTIPLE trips to the front desk where we had to explain all over again what the issues were. First you get met by a blank stare, then "I don't see any of these issues documented", then the longer you stand there they "find it", and tell you "to come back later, another day, no rooms left etc. It took 4 days and multiple trips to come to a conclusion. At one point on day four just as we are about to leave ship for port we were contacted and told we could move to another ocean view room 7001. Thankfully I insisted on seeing before packing everything up. After waiting 40 min for someone to open the room for a look I discovered this new "ocean view room 7001" didn't even have a window in it. No door to outside, it looked just like an interior room. What a waste of time. Eventually they offered 100.00 in compensation credit. We balked because I already knew the obstructed view rooms were 100.00 less per person. I paid 200.00 more to get that ocean view that really wasn't. By that evening on day four we were told that they would compensate 200.00 total for our cabin. We were told multiple times the ship was full and no other rooms available but met a couple who told us on embarkation that they were asked if they would like to upgrade to balcony rooms. I feel we were lied to multiple times and put off in hopes we would just give up. Our rooms was kept spotless by our steward. We appreciated that. The shows I saw prior on this forum were rated as poor. We actually really enjoyed them. The acrobats and entertainment were amazing. The bands in bars and public areas were frequent and enjoyable. We really enjoyed the variety night by the crew. The pool was clean and temperature comfortable. The hot tub was a disappointment as well. There were two onboard. They held 4 people each for a ship of 2000 that was not sufficient. The last two days on board one hot tub was drained and never refilled. We did not buy any MSC excursions. We purchased our own directly from a vendor before departure. We took an old car tour while in Cuba. There is paperwork you have to fill out in advance for Cuba. You do have to pay 75.00 pp to get a visa to be allowed to disembark in Cuba. We enjoyed Cuba very much and were overnight in that port. Some confusion on if cigars are allowed back into the US. Law says yes but I saw a couple stopped when boarding by the Cuban officials telling them they were confiscating them because they were not allowed. Money is easy to exchange as soon as you get off the ship in the terminal. You can change it back again if you have any left over. Cozumel with spent the day relaxing at Chankanaab Park. 12.00 for two people in a cab to get there. Cab drivers like to gouge and charged the same ride back 15.00 for two people. Grand Caymen we spent the day at Royal Palms beach club. 2.00 entrance fee pp. 5.00 pp taxi ride there. Very nice beaches there, but you will pay 15.00 for a chair and 15.00 for an umbrella. Now, the food. I am not a picky eater. My husband is. But even I felt the food was very poor in the buffet in particular. It was often seen two days in a row. The food choices were not huge. The buffet items were often empty. The carved meats were doled out in the size for a child. The breads were good. The pizza was excellent. The grill was the staple for my husbands cruise. The dining room was better, but not a huge menu either. The service in the dining room was excellent. The buffet area was too small for the number of passengers. It was always crowded and hard to find a seat and if you did the table was dirty and you had to wait for someone to wipe it off. The staff in there seemed overwhelmed most times. We never got a visit asking for drink orders in the buffet area unless we sought one out or went and got it from the bar ourselves. Once I got a waiter for a drink on the pool deck when I stopped one. Otherwise, we had to go to the bar and get our own drinks. Other ships I have been on have multiple wait staff walking around getting orders on the pool deck. The fantastica package says free room service. Literally the only thing free with that was 3 sandwiches, 2 salads, 1 soup, cookies, brownie, fruit plate or continental breakfast. I ordered mild and cereal and my milk cam heated up in a teapot. ? The full breakfast and dinners came with additional 7.95 service charge. I didn't use it. Not sure why fantastica has "free room service" on their offer. There does not seem to be many public bathrooms on board and those we did use were not kept clean frequent enough. The most used ones definitely smelled like urine. Sinks not kept tidy and papers on the floors. Disembarkation was smooth and quick, we carried off our own luggage. All in all the ports and entertainment we enjoyed. I will not cruise with them again, due to the issues that took too long to resolve. There is no reason to book a higher level experience if they do not deliver on the benefits. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
MSC Armonia vs MSC Meraviglia, old vs new, small vs large, Caribbean vs Mediterranean So far this year I have taken two MSC cruises -- on the beautiful new Meraviglia in the western Mediterranean and on the nicely refurbished Armonia in ... Read More
MSC Armonia vs MSC Meraviglia, old vs new, small vs large, Caribbean vs Mediterranean So far this year I have taken two MSC cruises -- on the beautiful new Meraviglia in the western Mediterranean and on the nicely refurbished Armonia in the Caribbean (including Cuba). Both cruises were very enjoyable, and each ship has its strengths and weaknesses. This review is a brief comparison of both. The bottom line is that I prefer the newer larger Meraviglia for transatlantic and other itineraries with many sea days because of its stability and numerous onboard venues; and I prefer the older smaller Armonia for port intensive itineraries because of the excellent personal service in the dining room and public areas. The Armonia is the oldest and smallest ship in the MSC fleet. It was enlarged some years ago and was nicely refurbished more recently. Like most older ships, the cabins are a bit smaller and there are fewer balconies than on the newer ships. The fewer number of passengers on the Armonia is a definite advantage in the public areas and theater. More important, the service is more efficient and more personal, especially in the main dining room. Although the menus are comparable, the quality of the ingredients is better in the Caribbean than in the Mediterranean, probably because good meat and produce are so much cheaper in the USA (Miami) than in Europe (Genoa). The exception is fish, which was always the best item on the menu in Europe but was cooked until dry (American style) in the Caribbean. Both ships suffer from an old-fashioned buffet layout, with straight cafeteria-style lanes that make for slow going. The Armonia buffet area is too small for a ship of its (later enlarged) size, but extra dining areas have been set up on the open decks. The dining room service on the Meraviglia was disappointing not because of the wait staff but because of the enormous size of the dining rooms. My table was so far from the galley that delivery was quite slow -- I tended to order fewer courses than on other ships just to save time. Also, passengers in Europe did not respect the dining start times, but wandered in gradually during the first half hour. As a result, the Meraviglia waiters did not even take orders during the first 20 minutes, and this was further slowed by the waiters' bulky touch screen order pads. In addition, the wait staff work station for my table on the Meraviglia was located up some stairs and around a corner, so I was invisible to the wait staff during most of the meal. Last but not least, passengers on the Meraviglia are not allowed drinking water with dinner -- if you want anything at all to drink with your meal, even water, you must buy it. That would cause a mutiny in US waters. Both ships have MSC's philosophy of unbundling services and charges, to the point of having different levels of service and different fares for otherwise identical cabins. Airlines now do the same, so this is not surprising. For economy-minded cruisers like myself, this is fine. One related frustration that I experienced on both ships was that delivery of a pre-purchased drinks package (coupons) was delayed for two days on each cruise and was proffered only after a few calls and visits to the reception desks. Make sure you take your pre-cruise documents to prove what packages or services you paid for prior to your cruise. Perhaps my favorite thing about both cruises is that MSC offers reduced prices to solo travelers and very reduced prices for late bookings on some itineraries. You may get a little less gourmet dining than on some cruise lines, but the pleasure of a MSC cruise is equal to almost any of the ten other cruise lines I have sailed. In summary, MSC offers great values on very enjoyable cruise ships. Give it a try if you find the right itinerary at the right price. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Just finished an MSC cruise on the Armonia to Cuba...I will never be sailing with MSC again. The ship is looking "long in the tooth:" dirty stained carpets, worn finishes, and just all-around looking tired and old. Cabins ... Read More
Just finished an MSC cruise on the Armonia to Cuba...I will never be sailing with MSC again. The ship is looking "long in the tooth:" dirty stained carpets, worn finishes, and just all-around looking tired and old. Cabins didn't have enough outlets, and the crew - while generally "fine" - was not exceptional in any way. In short, there was nothing on this cruise the blew my socks off: not the entertainment, not the accommodations, not the food, not the service. Everything was just kind of "meh." The food in the restaurant was unexceptional at best, and thrown-together at worst. Buffet: way too small for the size of the ship. Entertainment, especially the shows, was mediocre compared to other cruise lines. None of the crew - including the entertainment - appeared happy to be on this cruise, and everyone was simply going through the motions. Worst: we sat on the tender boat to get back on the ship for 45 minutes because their re-boarding process is INCREDIBLY inefficient. MSC isn't ready to do battle with Carnival PLC's cruise lines or Norwegian or RC. Won't be making this mistake again...! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was the third cruise my family and I have taken with MSC. We have had positive experiences before but not this time on board the MSC Armonia. It started poorly with the embarkation process. A process that in previous Cruises had ... Read More
This was the third cruise my family and I have taken with MSC. We have had positive experiences before but not this time on board the MSC Armonia. It started poorly with the embarkation process. A process that in previous Cruises had been pretty smooth was a complete mess. The agent checking us in did not know the itinerary. Kept telling us different ports that we were not going to. Once on the boat we went directly to the room. It was an inside cabin. Small compared to other ships but I understand booking an inside cabin my expectations should be realistic. If you have more than 2 people staying in the room your items will not fit in the closet. The shower was no better, the curtain did not close all the way, water everywhere and the handle rail was broken and the handle to the water was also broken. The buffet left a lot to be desired. There was not much variety. Everyday it seemed to be roasted chicken, rice and vegetables. The Pizza, burgers, and hot dogs by far the best selections food wise. In previous ships the entertainment has been excellent but it seems like they use this ship for training or to tryout new performers because the shows left a lot to be desired. The rest of the entertainment was not great either. Other that the Newly Wed game the Cruise Director was non existent like previous ships. One worker specifically was very rude and lazy. He did not want to set up pool deck games unless there was a line of people waiting to play. He had little motivation and less energy getting people to get involved with the activities. When I questioned him about the games he got nasty and started arguing with me. I said to him part of what I payed for goes towards entertainment , his response was well I don't care I do not get paid tips. I complained to guest services and no supervisor would speak to me. Honduras stop was a mess. I understand tendering is an issue anywhere but on a 6 hour stop in Honduras it took over 2 hours to get out of the boat, leaving even less time to enjoy Roatan. Again went to guest services and was basically told too bad MSC guest that booked MSC excursion get priority too bad. There was very little to no empathy or sympathy for the guest. Not many activities for kids 10 to 13 year range. Most kids this age are past legos and coloring. Not enough activities in the sports deck for them. It wasn't all bad, our room attendant was great and the room was always clean. The bartenders on the pool deck were also very good. Very friendly and actually acted like they were enjoying themselves and liked their jobs. The restaurant experience was also great. Had a very friendly waiter and helper. It is unfortunate to have experienced this and would make it very difficult to book another cruise with MSC. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise for the 2 day stop in Havana Cuba and because the price was so low. We loved the ship size, the excellent entertainment and great food. The staff was friendly and attentive and the inside cabin was the right size. For ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the 2 day stop in Havana Cuba and because the price was so low. We loved the ship size, the excellent entertainment and great food. The staff was friendly and attentive and the inside cabin was the right size. For an older ship it was in great shape and well cared for by the crew. Look forward to our next cruise on MSC. You can’t beat this cruise line for the price. Lots of activities on the pool deck. One evening they brought aboard entertainment from Havana that was excellent. The ship also had free gelato on the pool deck. Many menues with music and games thruout the ship. We attended and enjoyed all the entertainment in the theatre. The ships staff put on a variety show that was very funny and entertaining. We met many guests from around the world and enjoy talking with them and learning a little of their country. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
To start, I would be consider myself a cruise junkie. I booked this cruise for the Cuban experience. Cuba was what I expected. Something of a visit back in time. Just a caveat, everyone seam to have a different opinion than me. Most ... Read More
To start, I would be consider myself a cruise junkie. I booked this cruise for the Cuban experience. Cuba was what I expected. Something of a visit back in time. Just a caveat, everyone seam to have a different opinion than me. Most travelers I spoke with seem to like Cuba. I didn't like nor dislike Cuba. Cuba was indeed different. I would consider myself someone who appreciate differences in cultures so the fact that it was different in many ways was enough for me to conjure up enough enjoyment to give it a passing grade. Cuba doesn't take the dollar nor do they accept credit cards. It has two types of currencies with two different values. As for the Armonia. I booked room 1106, This is a suite on the 10th deck. The first thing I noticed was if had an an obstructed view which was not advertised when I selected the room. The balcony does not have a functional handle to re open the sliding door once out on the the balcony. My wife had to leave the door partially open so she could get back into the room. I took two excursions. The dune buggy (Roatan, Honduras) tour which advertised "two" to a buggy. At the excursion we were told the excursion was oversold and 4 had to share 1 buggy. I conceded. The next day was a classic car tour "Cuba". The excursion advertise 3 to a car maximum. We were told at the start of the tour 4 had to share a car. The one absolute negative was the experience I had in the bar made so famous by Ernst Hemmingway. It was overcrowded and no regard to fire codes. I spent approximately 5 minutes in the bar and MSC tours kept bringing tourist in. It wasn't safe. I suppose MSC sanction these excursions and wonder if the're aware what their subjecting their passengers to. I didn't confront MSC staff about the issues. I simply relented. Again most the passengers seem to enjoy the overall experience. My enjoy came from the wonderful staff working so hard for my enjoyment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This is the 2nd time we sailed MSC. We have sailed many other cruise lines and this was definitely not our favourite. The ship is dated and really needs to be updated. There is a lot of sitting areas which is a plus. The buffet area is ... Read More
This is the 2nd time we sailed MSC. We have sailed many other cruise lines and this was definitely not our favourite. The ship is dated and really needs to be updated. There is a lot of sitting areas which is a plus. The buffet area is very small and not much variety in the selection if meals. The food was not very good there and it was very hard to find seating. The dining room food was much different and the food was very good and always hot. The interior stateroom was very small and the shower was unbelievably small. We had a great chambermaid and did an awesome job. I find the ship is geared toward European travelers and I believe that this will have to change if they want to become popular with the Americans and Canadians. It was very annoying to have things said in so many languages. I have been on board other cruise lines that don’t do this. We did not do any excursions so I cannot comment on these. The pool area is very large. This is a plus as many of the newer ships are getting smaller pool areas. All in all it was a very relaxing cruise but there are many things that can be improved. I hope that with the newer MSC ships, there are improvements. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this Cruise due to it being 8 days and having 2 days in Cuba. I had cruised on MSC before but my friend Ann had not. We chose a Balcony room with the Fantastica package which was great. The room was spacious though the bathroom ... Read More
We chose this Cruise due to it being 8 days and having 2 days in Cuba. I had cruised on MSC before but my friend Ann had not. We chose a Balcony room with the Fantastica package which was great. The room was spacious though the bathroom was small and the Fantastica package was perfect. It gave us the flexibility to have a great coffee from the specialty coffee area in the AM and an adult beverage at night. Embarkation was a real breeze (as long as you have your paperwork completed). We arrived at the port around 11:30 and were on the ship by 11:45. This is the fastest I have ever gotten on a ship. Upon arriving we walked around the ship a little and found an empty Kiosk to set up our account. You have 48 Hours to process your account and the Kiosks are in numerous areas so you do not need to stand in line at the 1st one you see. After getting some lunch and exploring a bit our room was ready at 2:00pm. We spent a good bit of time in the Spa as we had purchased the Thermal Package. Also we sprang for acupuncture which was amazing. Dr. Randy is the best. My friend has constant back pain due to a medical issue. After 1 treatment the pain went away and did not return the entire trip. I was in a state of complete relaxation after having it done. We wanted to bring Dr. Randy home with us. The food was good and plentiful. A couple of days we had lunch in the main dining room which was a great treat. It was quiet and the food was excellent. The rest of the trip we ate at the Bistro upstairs as we wanted to just relax and not be on a set eating schedule. As it was we ate around every 3 hours. Our only complaint is there were not enough Cream Puffs. We wanted them every day. The Bread Pudding at the Afternoon Tea was one of our favorites. The ports were all interesting. In Roaten, Cozumel and Costa Maya we walked around town and shopped as we had planned 2 excursions in Cuba. The shopping in Costa Maya was the best. I can’t say enough about how much we enjoyed Cuba. It was very clean, safe, colorful, and chocked full of interesting architecture. The excursions we took were “The Hemmingway Tour” and the “Havana Cultural Sightseeing and Handicraft Market”. They were both well run with excellent busses and guides. Of the 2 we enjoyed the Cultural tour the best” as it took you to an Art School for special needs children that was fascinating. We did not attend any of the shows but we did enjoy the Music in the Bar areas, especially Sun and Salt. They were great. Overall it was one of the best cruises I have ever taken and I have taken over 20. As the ship is older it is smaller but lovely with staff that were friendly and extremely helpful. You never feel that you are being pushed to purchase something or herded like cattle. The Armonia has a much more sophisticated feeling than all the other Mega Ships. Read Less
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