MSC Armonia Cruise ShipMSC Cruises
"Having enjoyed as a family of 3 an Eastern Med cruise on the MSC Armonia in a balcony cabin in 2014, we decided to take a Western Med cruise mostly because there were 3 ports we had not previously visited, namely Marseille, Mahon and Cagliari.
Unfortunately balcony cabins were not available at the time of our booking so we opted for an outside cabin, what a shock. Compared to the balcony cabin on our previous cruise the cabin was tiny with a fold down bunk above the double bed., a terrible arrangement. The worst cabin we have had on any cruise, and just about suitable for 2 people only. There was a rail missing from one bathroom shelf, I found it below the washbasin, so placed it in sigh thinking the attendant would have it refitted, but no, it went back below the washbasin. I should have brought a screwdriver. Tissue dispenser never had a tissue in it.
We had no sooner boarded the ship than it was announced that the ship would be going to Cannes instead of Marseilles, disappointing but in view of high winds (~100k/h) that had been forecast for at least 3 days. Was looking forward to see the old port area and had no interest in Cannes so stayed on board.
We departed from Cannes an hour behind schedule headed we thought for Mahon. We had known that 60k/h wind were expected in Menorca but thought nothing of it, winds of this speed should not be a problem especially since Mahon is such a sheltered port. There was a bit of a sea running that night and it seems some passengers were feeling unwell. At 10:00hrs on the Monday (25/4/16), when we were supposed to be arriving in Mahon it was announced that we would not be stopping in this port but would continue Caliari arriving as scheduled on the Monday. This was outrageous since my GPS showed that we were already off the west coast of Sardinia. The ship chugged around in a circle for the next 22 hours. The pools and Jacuzzi's were empty and the mini golf closed....great. I suppose it saved MSC a few pennies in harbors fees, but I'm sure many passengers some of which had travelled from distant lands were equally disappointed to have their holiday spoiled. (Mahon harbor was not closed to shipping on 25 April according to my research. Perhaps since the ship was stretched it is less able to handle well especially in cross winds?)
Cagliari was was OK, Valletta which we had visited several times before amazing, Messina not worth visiting, and Civitavecchia OK if you want to make a whirlwind trip to Rome (we didn't as we had done this the previous year with Costa).
Since the ship was stretched (adding some 200 cabins) the buffet restaurant has become completely overcrowded making finding a table for breakfast a challenge. The theater has introduces 3 showings in place of the 2 on our previous trip,a booking is now also required in the theater. The family went on 2 occasions but were not too impressed.
On our previous Armonia Cruise we were in the La Pergola restaurant but on this trip we were in the Marco Polo. We had booked the Allegrissimo drinks package unfortunately the wine was no longer of the earlier standard and in my view undrinkable. The Marco Polo restaurant was by no means as pleasant as the La Pergola and the quality of the meals has fallen through the floor.
Some of the people manning reception were found to be completely unhelpful. When I went to pay for car parking in Genoa I was told I couldn't pay until I received a note in the cabin. Why not????
The rest of the staff on board were mostly very helpful as was one lady I spoke to in reception.
MSC Voyagers Club (ex?) member"
- Holiday details: Apr 2016
- Advice: If you have to cruise on this or any other MSC Mistral-class ships get a balcony cabin or better still choose a different cruise company.
Did you find this review helpful? Yes
"This was my first cruise, and I enjoyed the experience with MSC Armonia. The staff were always very helpful and friendly in all areas of the ship, direction boards with a 'you are here' red spot was useful to find your way round the ship. The variety of food was vast, fresh fruit available in the buffet and vitamin bar daily. The food in the restaurant wasn't so good though,very strange combinations and the staff although very attentive and pleasant, didn't seem to understand the language enough to explain how the menu 'worked'
The bars were generally pleasant to sit in, the smoking bar was, I think, I appropriately placed as the entrance to the theatre meant going through it, but there is an alternative route from the deck above, discovered by accident after 2days!, maybe it should have been more obvious.
Range of drinks available very good, non alcoholic cocktails too as well as a good selection of children's 'cocktails/shakes'
Buy a drinks package in advance, it is really worth it.
Daily activities were great for the first half of the cruise, but seemed to dwindle towards the end of the cruise.
The shows were excellent,the team of about 13 entertainers, dancers etc performed every night in different combinations, each show was different, costumes spectacular and all entertaining. The entertainment team were totally 'mad' in a good way, and worked very hard to include everyone, some activities may have been perceived as a little infantile, but we were on holiday and it was always entertaining, if you didn't want to participate it wasn't compulsory!
The cabin was a good size once it had been converted to a twin room, a little cramped as a double! Shower was bigger than I had expected and the level of cleanliness was excellent.
Swimming pools were always clean and there were always plenty of sun beds available..
Generally a good first experience of cruising."
- Holiday details: Dec 2013, Booked Independently
17 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Took a 14 day cruise from Venice to Tenerife. waiters-tresses kind and friendly. First week had balcony room which was lovely and spacious, second week the cabin was small and the shower was tiny. mostly Italians who are rude and selfish. the entertainment crew were like a bunch of 10 years old. The language barrier was aimed at Italians, Germans and french. on leaving the ship to wait for our taxi we were dumped of a bus not knowing if we were in the right place or not with numerous other passengers who were like headless chickens as to what to do next. where as a member of the crew to assist us would have not been to much of an issue."
- Holiday details: Nov 2013, Booked Independently
5 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"We spent 7 days on the Armonia.
A beautiful ship,well staffed who were all helpful.The food was good with plenty of opportunities to use the Buffet which provided a variety of food.
Entertainment was appropriate and good and the Excursions were well organised though a little expensive.Our cabin was clean, modern and well maintained.The price for a massage was exorbitant 30 mins turn out to be 20mins for 35 euros
Overall we enjoyed our experience and we would recommend to our friends and families.Its good value for money."
- Holiday details: Feb 2013, booked with Travelbag London
- Advice: consider cost of excursions
18 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Check in at Sharm El Sheik was smooth although they were not happy when I insisted on being given a receipt when they told me that they needed to retain my passport.
I had an inside cabin which was smaller than on Fantasia and Splendida, but adequate although a large person might have a problem with the size of the shower 'cubicle' as it was very small.
All areas of the ship were very clean and well maintained and a big plus was that smoking was only allowed in one bar, the casino and on deck.
The food was typical MSC i.e. good quality and choice with Italian overtones.
As with all MSC ships the cabin stewards, restaurant and bar staff were exceptionally helpful and friendly which is more than can be said for the reception and excursion staff.
I think that all MSC reception staff are trained say no to all requests for information or help and from the amount of incorrect information that I was given by the excursion staff it became apparent that they had not read their own literature!
I only went on two excursions, the first a half day excursion to Hurghada which consisted of a 40 minute drive from Safaga across the desert. We were then dumped for 2 hours in a hot, dirty shopping street to be pestered by shop owners while the guide sat in the coffee shop drinking coffee.
The second was to Petra and was a complete disaster. It was supposed to be a 9 hour excursion with lunch in a local hotel.
We got on the bus on time for our 2 hour journey and then sat their for almost 1 hour before we set off. We were then told that the duration had been reduced to 8 hours which meant that we had lost 2 hours before we had set off and effectively meant that we would only get 2 hours in Petra itself.
The guide then decided to have a 20 minute stop for toilets which reduced our time in Petra even further. In the end we only spent 1.5 hours in Petra at a cost of 150 euro's per person.
We were told that there was no transfer bus available in Eilat but that it was only a 15 minute walk. It was in fact a45 minute walk and we found out later that teh port authority had laid on free transfers to the city!
A word about visa's. There was total confusion (believe me this is an understatement) among the MSC staff about visa requirements for each port visited let alone each country. I bought mine at the airport when I arrived for £15, took less than 2 minutes and had no problems whatsoever. Most of the other passengers relied on MSC who were completely clueless and ended up charging them 22 euro's for the same visa which they did not realise was required to exit the country.
Most flights from Egypt to the UK take off after 17.00 hours however passengers that had traveled to Egypt independently were expected to disembark at 10.00.
When we pointed this out we were grudgingly allowed to stay on board until 13.15 but be warned you have to ask for this and be 'persuasive'
There are no days at sea and because of the duration of the tours (up to 14.5 hours) there were only 2 formal nights and 5 informal nights. This also applied to seating with fixed seating on two nights and open dining for the remaining nights."
- Holiday details: Nov 2012, Booked Independently
- Advice: Stay away from reception if possible and be prepared for long days on board if you do not go on excursions as apart from Sharm and Eilat the ports are not worth visiting
23 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"we recently spent a week on board, our party consisted of myself and my wife in one basic cabin and my 15 year old daughter and her friend in another .
we found the ship very clean and tidy ,the staff very efficient and pleasant ,and we loved the ports of call
i would concede that the food wasnt great but it was possible to find something to suit all tastes,one night in the main restaurant we chose all eight courses and just left any that we didnt like ,
i note that people complain about the pool areas but the decks above were cooler and less crowded , despite the boat being full we all ways found a sunlounger and a table at mealtimes , the biggest downside was that other brits seemed hellbent on finding fault but for the price we thought it was a great holiday (and yes we have cruised on various ships before)
so my advice would be get a deal with flights and transfers , get off the boat and explore ,and pay for wine and beer packages before hand in the cruise terminal as they are good value , oh and fellow brits pay your tips !!"
- Holiday details: Jul 2012, Booked Independently
19 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"My family just returned from a one-week cruise that began in Venice and went to several Greek islands. What a huge disappointment (after having taken a cruise on the MSC Splendida earlier this year that was excellent). The ship itself was just OK (two adults and two teen-age children crammed into a room that was about half the size of the room just two of us had on the Splendida) with mediocre facilities. The pools were always crowded (two pools on the Armonia for 2000 people and five on the Splendida for 4000) and we ALWAYS had to wait, sometimes up to 10 minutes, to find a table for lunch or breakfast at the buffet.
But wow, the worst thing was the other passengers. What an amazing bunch of selfish, rude and loud people! Mostly Italians, who shocked me with their awful self-centered behavior, rushing to be the first in and out of elevators, shoving to the head of lines, etc. The cruise is touted as international, but it is very much dominated by rude Italians and some Germans.
The buffet food was lousy for the most part, boring and of mediocre quality. The dining areas weren't kept cool enough (awful to sit there sweating at dinner). The quality of food at the dinners was better but again, well below what we expected based on our previous cruise. Even the waiters on the Armonia were less efficient. The only "excellent" rating I gave was for the man who cleaned our room -- he was terrific and very polite and efficient.
Also beware about the onshore visits: on two or three occasions, the ship arrives in port at 7 a.m. and leaves several hours later, meaning you have to get up really early and you don't have much time at all (even in a great place like Athens) to spend ashore. In Santorini, the documents say you arrive at 15:30 and leave at 22:30 but in reality, the ship arrives at 15:30 and you have to take smaller boats to the island and then the last boat back to the ship leaves at 21:00. So what seems to be seven hours on land is really closer to 4 1/2.
I can't say we've given up on MSC because we know from our first experience that it can do a fine job but this certainly left a sour taste in our mouths."
- Holiday details: Jul 2012, Booked Independently
- Advice: Take another cruise line. We saw plenty of other ships that seemed to go to the same destinations for the most part.
- Good For: Beach
11 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"This ship is truly awful! It is the 9th Cruise I have been on and this was the only disappointment I have ever had with a cruise ship. I cannot overstate just how much I would recommend you avoid going on this ship. It seems to cater mainly for Italian and German families and they are noisy and overpowering. MSC sell it as an 'international ship' - It falls well short on international standards. I was with 3 other couples from the UK on my table and they were all well travelled - everybody agreed it was their worse experience by a mile. Even allowing for some minor points like a lack of attention to the enforcement of hygiene, too much smoking on-board, no coffee or tea making facilities in your room, the over riding bad point was the food! Kindergarten canteen stuff in the Buffet, with little choices, lack of quality and poorly presented and tasteless food - only the evening sit down meal was passable! Entertainment was 'holiday camp' standard and rowdy. Staff looked and were miserable and hardly saw a smile from them.
I will NEVER travel MSC again! Lot's of other good quality ships with other lines. MSC with marketing this ship as 'international' are only destroying their 'brand' as even if they have better ships I would not give them another chance after this cruise."
- Holiday details: Jul 2012, Booked Independently
- Advice: Don't go on this ship unless you like a lot of noisy Italian families and awful food!
22 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"went from venice to rio brazil. 6 euro charge unexpected but got together with other brits and got it reduced to 3 euro. 15% service charge on drinks made purchases expensive.Ship very clean and service at dinner very good. Rest of the time a bit hit and miss. Staff too busy talking to help passengers. Very unhelpful on transfer from ship to airport. Expected to leave ship at rio at 8am and spend day at airport,flight out at 11pm. Only offered expensive tour when alot of people conplained. They say you get what you pay for but this company have a lot of hidden extras that can load an extra couple of hundred pound on holiday. Told cannot bring drink on board but Italians seem to have no problem bring as much beer and wine as they want on board. Overall disappointed at hidden prices but not a cheap holiday as it would seems.."
- Holiday details: Oct 2010, cruise, booked with cruise nation
- Advice: dont bother
16 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"Booked cruise with Cruise nation of Swansea. A 17 day cruise from Venice to Rio Brazil. The tickets never arrived until a few days before departing to the airport and in the form of an e-mail attachment. On arrival at the ship we were given the original tickets, it was then that we discovered that their was a 6euro per person per day service charge which was non negotiable and would be deducted from our account on a daily basis. This charge was apparently for passengers convenience to prevent individual tipping.
Food: Poor quality meats over cooked, fish dry and taste less. Buffet choice the same every day and more like a school dinner hall than a cruise ship, tea time a joke the same sandwiches each day cheese and ham and a roll of a lettuce leaf and tuna mayonese. Tea or coffee was only served at breakfast and tea time lunch was cold water only. Evening meal no water on table but a bottle which you bought never ever coffee after meal.
Staff in buffet halls were rude and unhelpful and a request for help to locate something like the spoons or the butter was met by 'over there' and a wave of the arm in the general direction, their main function seemed to be to clear the dishes as soon as possible whether you were finished or not.
Entertainment: Very little and amateurish the show in the night at 2145hrs lasted 40 minutes at most. During the day the entertainment consisted of childish poolside games. For the passengers who were not sun worshipers their was nothing I read 5 books!!
All drinks including water except at breakfast and tea were at a cost.
To sum up : It was the worst cruise we had been on and probabley the worst holiday.
I would not recommend an MSC cruise to my friends and we would never go on one again."
- Holiday details: Sep 2010, cruise, Booked Independently
- Advice: Don't bother choose another cruise line
25 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"What a wonderful cruise ship with pleasant and friendly staff from all over the World. The ship is in excellent condition and is clean, well decorated and very very well maintained. The service all through the ship is 5 Star. Do not miss the theatre as most of the acts are professional and the shows are good.
The entire cruise from Venice / Dubrovnik / Corfu / Pireaus / Argostoli / Kotor and Ancona is fabulous. Do not miss the sailing into Kotor as it is more beautiful than words could ever describe.
Do not be fooled into thinking you need to speak Italian as all of the staff speak English.
One thing to watch if you fly into Bologna is that you will disembark on day 8 at 8am and are suppost to transfer direct to Bologna airport thus missing a day in Venice. However, we managed to get our whole coachload to agreee to a later transfer which gave us a morning in Venice and then transferred back to Bologna at 12H30.
You can then check your luggage into storage at the airport and get on an airport bus for EUR5 to Bologna town to see the City and sights. The buses run every 15 mins and it is well worth the EUR10 return to see this city rather than staying in the airport for hours!"
- Holiday details: Jun 2010, We paid extra to upgrade to All Inc, booked with Ideal Cruising
- Advice: Excellent Cruise Line and Destinations
- Good For: , City Breaks
28 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
"I went on this cruise with my 7yr old son, my partner, his parents (dads 70th bithday) brother, sister in law and their 2 children who are aged 8 and 10, and it was the best holiday ever, and I have travelled a lot before.
As it was my first cruise I really didnt know what to expect but it was absolutly amazing and went way beyond my expectations.
Went from Venice, then to Greece and other Italian locations, Croatia and Montenegro which is a world on its own, very stunning.
The 5 course meal in the evening was to me personally out of this world, and should be given michellin stars!
Was sat by window, eating whilst looking out over the med and seeing the red sun setting.....very romantic!
As soon as we boarded we was met by smiling staff, very helpful, and they all spoke good english, even the ones who wasnt that good tried their best.
Good for all ages, prob not the best for bristish children to be in kids club as its 98% italians!!
But they do have crazy golf and swimming pools, jacuzi's and other fun things to keep them entertained.
Breakfast is lovely, choice of continental, english, cereal and fresh fruit, lunch time is nice, served from 11 till 2, so if you leave the ship at all for excursions you have plenty of time to fill up.
Ship is immaculate, real massive, still got lost after a week! Drinks are quite pricey and you have to pay a service charge, but it isnt the end of the world really, as the cruise itself is so lovely it makes up for all that, you can buy drink packages so it does work out to be quite cheap in the long one if you like a drink or 2! Def recommend to anyone I meet, come back very miserable on Monday just gone as one week was not enough and I wanted to stay. Weather was to die for, so most of time was spent sunbathing by pool!"
- Holiday details: Jun 2010, All Inclusive, Booked Independently
- Good For: Beach
14 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes