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MSC Armonia

3 of 8 MSC Cruises ships

A medium sized vessel of Superior rating. Built in 2001. Carries a maximum of 2965 in 783 cabins, 379 of which have ocean views. Four cabins have wheelchair access.

Cabins are medium sized with outside cabins being spacious with frindge, air conditioning and minibar.

There are two show lounges, a library and a casino on board.

28 Reviews

Traveller Rating

  • Excellent
    14
  • Very Good
    8
  • Good
    3
  • Average
    1
  • Poor
    2

Review Overview

  • Cleanliness
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Service
Gillian Markwick
7 years 3 months ago
This was our third cruise with MSC and unfortuantly one of our worst cruises .We waited for two hours to be picked up from the airport and eventully had to arrange our own transport.to the ship.

The food on the ship was not of a high standard and lacked variety , and on many occasions was only lukewarm.The waiting staff where poor compared to other ship staff,slow at times, wrong meals delivered rushed at other times

Where have all those friendly smiling staff gone?

Information from the tour operaters on board was confusing at times

The cabin staff where good as is usually the case.

We left some personal items in the cabin safe and attempted to contact the ship through their agents at the airport (Venice)one hour after we left ship

The ships personel did not bother to go and check our cabin, We had to make extensive enquiries when we got back to the UK through the MSC office their

The missing package was eventually found with two of the most valuable articles missing?

We will not be using MSC again. very very dissapointed





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Bill And Marilyn
7 years 8 months ago
This ship was very clean. We saw staff working all the time.

We had an outside cabin without a balcony. The cabins were small and compact with enough closet space .The bathroom was especially small, and it was difficult to turn around in the shower or to keep the water from going out on the floor. This could present a safety issue.

The wait staff in the dining rooms were friendly, but did not speak English very well and were a little inexperienced. They appeared to hurry us through dinner as they had to set up for the second seating. The servers at the buffet often ignored us. They talked and laughed among themselves and were not helpful at all especially when we were trying to reach for food at the back which was hard to reach.

Staff at the excursion desk made several mistakes and we almost missed one of the excursions since they forgot to process our request.

As for the excursions, we had a lot of disappointments. They were very expensive and for the most part they often mixed several different language groups in the same bus so we had to hear the same explanations given over and over again in the different languages. Rome was especially disappointing. The tour guide brought us late to the Coliseum and we did not get inside. She then tried to show us pictures from a book so we could see what we missed. She did not accompany us inside the Basilica. She lost several of us on our way to the Trevi Fountain. She led us into a demonstration which was very disturbing to young people in the group. We felt that MSC should choose these tour guides more carefully.

Entertainment in the Fenice Theatre was excellent and we enjoyed the shows each night after dinner. The entertainment in the Armonia lounge on the 7th floor left a lot to be desired unless you were willing to make a fool of yourself.

We felt that the food was the kind you would find if you went to an all -inclusive vacation spot. There was plenty of it but it was not always high quality. Lunch in the Monte Carlo with service was very superior to the Buffet .
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Sammy
8 years ago
The meals on this ship reminded me of school dinners. We were not allowed water at the dining table unless we were prepared to purchase it. We had previously cruised with MSC and now found that it had definitely deteriorated. It was not recognised that we were previous customers as we were not invited to the repeaters cocktail party. We are both disabled and I had no help offered with my mobility scooter on coaches which appeared to be a free for all.
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Patricia Dixon
8 years 6 months ago
Our cabin was fine however the cruise had sold over 85% of its occupancy to Brazilian tourists and the cruise was only aimed at this sector. Virtually all announcements were not made in English so we were unaware of what was happening on most occassions. We paid $110 for a trip were not droppped of in a good part of town and were told to make our own way back they were not going to take us and had to pay again. Also the entertainment was poor I travel on many cruises and feel that this was the only one that didnt care a about customer satisfaction. Dress codes were not adhered to people eating in swimwear and the likes. The cruise was sold to many nationalities but was only prepared to cater to the majority share which was very sad it spoilt our holiday. The cabin and restaurant staff were lovely and most helpful the only ones on board who were. I complained to MSC Armonia twice as they have not had the courtesy to respond to me at all. If you take the cruise and have any problems dont expect any form of response as I have found they will not acknowledge you. Patricia
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Alan
8 years 9 months ago
As a first time cruise , we were a little dubious, given the reviews for this ship.We could not have been more pleasantly surprised.
The booking in proceedure was a bit of a chore,but once aboard , and after being shown to our cabin (on deck 10 with a balcony and a BATH!!)we soon settled in .
We sailed out of Venice with the sun going down and the church bells ringing(how romantic is that),and the ships tannoy system playing opera, UNFORGETTABLE!
If you like good food , you will love this ship.You are spoilt for choice , whether it be in the two restuarants , or in the self service diner on the top deck.
The waiting staff cannot do enough for you,they are quick and efficient,and always willing to advise about the food and wine.
As this ship is staffed by a mix of nationalities ,some were not greatly versed in English,but all are very friendly and we managed to get by.
The cleanliness of the entire ship is unbelivable , there were even staff whose sole job was cleaning the stairways all day/night.The towels in our cabin were changed TWICE a day , and sheets were changed daily.Our cabin steward , who incidentaly came from Bali(?)made sure our cabin was always spotless.
The entertainment at night was of a high standard , the "acts" were different most nights , including singers (One wonderful tennor),an unbelivable trio of young female contorsionists who made me wince, but at the same time amazed me , some very good dancers , and a brace of resident male singers.Now for the only "Gripe". The daytime entertainment was geared mainly for our european cousins , and as the "Octoberfest" (yes I know they hold it in September)was upon us , Oompah bands ruled the deck bars.With much singigng and clinking of Steins of beer.If leiderhosen is your thing ,you will be spoilt.
We met some wonderful people , some of which will be friens at home .Try this ship , or any other of the line , you will not be dissapointed

Alan & Chris.
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Recommended
Brent Collins
9 years 8 months ago
I'd like to share a few things I wish I'd known in advance.
1) The amount of actual time on shore was limited. Many might find the times ashore as rushed. Trying to get to the Parthenon and back in just a few hours was quite an adventure.
2) Musical tastes are quite subjective but it seemed to me that the synthesized keyboard music and the whole MOR choices (Lionel Ritchie!)left much to be desired. Las Vegas lounge stuff. The same could be said of the evening performances...plenty of enthusiam but not that good. Those who went to the shows did enjoy them however.
3) The big surprise was that the food was only so-so. We expected to experience some good Italian cuisine but found the food's quality on the level of a good cafeteria.
4) A ship this size guarentees that when you go to port that the areas you visit will be major tourist areas and definately on the beaten path.
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Andrew R
10 years 8 months ago
I have to agree with most of the reviews above - the Armonia is a fantastic ship and very well appointed. This was my first cruise, so I didn't really know what to expect (but got loads of information from the Masseys' web site): http://www.magwa.co.uk/armonia/armoniaphoto.htm

On-board entertainment was a bit disappointing - the shows in La Fenice were uninspiring (unless plate spinning floats your boat!) but some acts were quite humurous (possibly unintentionally!). The entertainment in the Moulin Rouge piano bar wasn't to my taste - the entertainers there seemed a bit jaded. But we enjoyed the Cha Cha and Merangue lessons - after you have learnt the basic steps just watch out for the magic word 'Cambio' (change partners!!).

The boat had a very wide range of nationalitites on board - mostly Italian and German - but a healthy proportion of Brits, and they were all very friendly.

Dining in the Marco Polo was a great experience - the waiting staff were very efficient and friendly, and the food was very varied, high quality and lots of it!

We had a fine itinerary of ports of call (Venice, Bari, Corfu, Santorini, Athens, Olympia and Dubrovnik). Although not really scheduled to stop long enough at Venice for a tour of the city, we managed to get a few hours there by taking a Vaporetto from the cruise terminal round to St Marks Square, then walking back to the ship - lots of fun, and squeezed in a Gondola trip too! Bari was disappointing - not much of interest, but the other stops more than made up for it.

Don't do the expensive organised tours, unless you have money to burn or a mobility difficulty. With the exception of Olympia, all of the ports can be visited under your own steam, as long as you like walking and don't mind taking local buses, taxis, whatever. as a case in point, the Athens trip was 46 euros, I think - but you only have to walk a mile from Piraeus port to the metro and take a 60 cents ride to get to the Acropolis and Plaka. If you are a student, use your NUSD card to get into the Acropolis for free (and save 12 euros!).

Santorini and Dubrovnik were the high points of the cruise for us - both unmissable and fabulous weather for the time of year.

Only minor niggles about the ship are that the TV didn't work too great (not much on the info channel about the ship), and the 'quiet' areas of the ship were often invaded by kids.

But all in all a really great trip, and thoroughly recommended. Oh, and by the way, thankyou to Travelsphere for arranging an impromptu sightsseing trip to Bergamo when we had four hours to kill between disembarking at Venice and getting our flight from Milan.
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Recommended
Keith Battery
10 years 8 months ago
Magnificent Ship, excellent hard-working staff but sadly MSC = Mediterranean "Smoking" Cruises.
If you are a smoker or don't mind it a bit, you will have a great time.
If you either hate and/or are physically affected by smoke like me then avoid.
Only the restaurants and limited areas are non-smoking, most of the excellent bars are 2/3rds smoking, you just can't get away from it!
Other gripe, no dress code in the sauna/spa, anything goes for some of our european cousins.
A very professional product spoiled by a very old-fashioned attitude to health & comfort/safety.

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Steve And Anne
10 years 9 months ago
Had a fantastic holiday on the Armonia following a week's coach holiday also with Archers. Got on boat in Venice and loved every minute of it. The food, variety, availability, quality,presentation and service were all excellent. The British were in a minority - around 2500 passengers of whom 300 approx. were English speaking (incl. USA, South Africa, Australia etc).
My only tiny complaint would be that we were told to take formal clothing for the gala nights so packed up dinner suit, posh frock etc. and really not necessary as the vast majority wore smart dresses for the ladies but any suit or even shirt and tie for the men. It would have been nice if everyone had made the effort or we hadn't been lead to believe it was necessary to carry all the extra clothing round with us!
The cabin was an inner, lower deck for two people and though small was well set out, spotlessly clean (serviced by staff twice a day with fresh towels etc) and very comfortable.
The pool area could get busy with everyone jostling for sunbeds but we never had a problem finding a spot somewhere.
All in all, a wonderful holiday - we met some lovely people and can't wait to travel on the Armonia (or one of the other Crociere ships) in the future.
Highly recommended
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John & Michelle
10 years 9 months ago
This was our first cruise and certainly won't be our last. We can honestly say it was one of the best holidays we've ever had. Thanks to people who have previously commented for all their advice and especially to Magsy.

As many people have already commented in details on this cruise, we'll try to add something new.

Flights

The MSC price is supposed to include return flights from the UK but we booked late and were told we'd have to pay a supplement. It rocketed from £70 each to £250 each because it was the Venice Film Festival and flights on the Sunday were very busy. So we flew Ryanair instead which (apart from excess baggage) actually saved us money overall because not only were the flights very cheap but we also got a rebate on the cruise price.

We'd heard all sorts of things about Ryanair but the flight was very pleasant. Be warned though that Ryanair only allows you 15 kilos of hold baggage instead of the usual 20 although they do allow you 10 kilos of hand baggage instead of the usual 5 so it's worth putting shoes etc into a hold-all. With packing jackets and stuff for a second week we were 10 kilos overweight which cost us £45 each way but even so it was still much cheaper than if we'd used the MSC flights.

Ryanair flies to Treviso which is a very small airport about an hour away by coach. The coaches are timed to connect with the flights and are very cheap. You buy your ticket in the arrivals hall. Make sure you've got a few Euros when you arrive).

The journey was pleasant and you arrive at the bus station in Piazzale Roma. Because we were early the shuttle buses to the terminal hadn't started so we got a taxi. It's only about half a mile but cost us 12 Euros (including baggage) but he dropped us right by the check-in point for the baggage.

Embarkation

The procedure has been explained by other people but you should know that the "number" that's used to call you forward is a little label stuck on the part of your ticket that they give you back.

There's no point in getting to Venice too early as embarkation doesn't start till about 1.00. If you get an early flight best is to get to the terminal, leave your luggage and then check in. Keep your hand baggage to minimum. Then go into Venice using the shuttle boat from alongside the terminal building and go back to the terminal later.

Cabins

We had an outside cabin on deck 9 which was very comfortable and there was loads of storage space. They serve complementary tea and coffee to your cabin so we had tea in bed every morning. Remember to ask for cold milk though and it's worthwhile keeping a few extra tea bags from breakfast if you want a second cup.

Food

Absolutely fabulous especially if you like Italian food which we do. When we had lunch on board we usually ate in the Marco Polo which is much more civilised than the crowds in the buffets on deck 11 although the standard there was very pretty good. The meals in the Marco Polo were excellent. There's a pretty good choice and you can pick and choose from the menu in any order. The service was excellent.
We followed someone else's advice and always asked for a glass of iced water as opposed to the expensive bottled water. They feigned surprise but after the second day they brought us the iced water without being asked. Some of the wines are a bit pricey but the local wines are very good and pretty good value (about 14 Euros) and there's also carafe wine at 6 Euros for half a litre.

Meal sittings

In an ideal world there'd be room for everyone to eat at 8.00 but there isn't so there's a choice of 7.15 or 9.30. Although we'd asked for first sitting we were given second sitting which was far too late for us so we asked the Maitre D to change and it was very easy. We used to go to the show after the meal which was fine for us.

Clothes

I agree with Steve and Anne's comments but from the other viewpoint. The literature does recommend that men wear a jacket and tie for "informal" evenings and dark suits or DJ's for formal nights but I don't go on holiday to wear jackets and ties so after checking with Magsy (thanks again) I decided to take a blazer for the formal nights and to wear casual for the other nights. This turned out to be good advice as almost all the men wore open-necked casual shirts on the ordinary nights and some did so on the formal nights as some people hadn't brought a jacket at all. I have suggested to MSC that they change their literature to recommend casual for most nights.

The ship itself

The ship was spotless. The staff were very friendly and nothing was too much trouble for them. It got very busy round by the pool and, yes, people do reserve sun-beds with towels but one English guy sorted that out. He found a bed with only a pool towel on it and called out "is anyone using this bed?" In the absence of a reply moved the towel and got on it. I tried this the following day and a young Italian lad said "no" so I moved the towel and got on. It turned out that he was supposed to have "reserved" 4 beds for his family and (although I couldn't understand a word) they were slagging him off something rotten when they got back (although not me). I just carried on with my crossword. This might be a bit more difficult if people have left things other than pool towels.

I used the gym once. It's well-equipped and useful for getting rid of some of those excess pounds.

Photographs

You get your photo taken many times and they put them up in a gallery. At 19 Euros they are incredibly expensive. We bought one posed portrait taken on a formal evening which was OK but quite honestly I think that our own photos were as good. There was a guy in Dubrovnik who took your picture on the city walls with a digital camera and then put it in a picture postcard. This was 3 Euros.

Onboard Entertainment

We went to the show every night. The standard was reasonable although some nights were better than others. It's nearly all visual which was fine. We didn't go to the disco which didn't start till pretty late. The animation team worked hard although some of their stuff was in pretty poor taste. My only complaint was that the sound from the day time activities by the pool is broadcast on speakers along the whole of the sun deck so you couldn't get away from it by going to the other end.

TRIPS

The organised trips were very expensive and, thanks to the advice from previous posters we only booked on one, to Olympia. We regretted it though, partly because you spend so long listening to the guide that you don't see much but mainly because our coach was about 50/50 Spanish speaking so the guide had to say everything twice making it even worse. If you're reasonably capable of finding your own way round we'd recommend doing your own thing following advice of previous posters. They also give you maps of each place but reception staff know nothing about public transport (e.g. public buses from the ports to the town centres) so it's best to check.

Quite a few people preferred to stay on board in some places and it's very nice and quiet when everyone's gone.

Santorini

We followed other suggestions and decided to get the public bus up to Oia. If you do this it's best to try to get an early tender as time is quite limited and there's quite a queue for the cable-car up to the town. The bus journey was an adventure in itself. The so-called "bus station" is just a yard where loads of buses arrive. The timetable is at best an approximation and worst a joke as although buses to Oia are pretty frequent they just seem to come and go when they want. Don't bother asking the man in the office about times as he'll just quote from the timetable and we missed one bus by listening to him and going for a drink only to find that it had been and gone in the mean time.

We had 25 minutes to wait for the next one and sat in a shady shelter with a few other people. What we didn't realise was that loads of people were waiting for the bus on the other side so when the bus arrived there was a mad rush. You can get on the bus at either end and we found ourselves between the two. We decided to wait for the next one as the driver said it would only be about 10 minutes to wait.

10 minutes later another crowd had gathered and there was the same rush. Although I haven't played Rugby since my school days very many years ago my experience as a front row forward was invaluable as we dived for an entrance and got on. None of this "after you" stuff this time!

Oia is beautiful but a real tourist trap and they know how to charge. If you have a drink in a bar high up overlooking the bay (beautiful view) walk past the first few as it gets cheaper further along.

There were loads of people at one end waiting for the sunset with special cameras etc so we decided to get the bus back beforehand. We waited for ages and more and more people came so, as Michelle didn't fancy a repeat performance in the scrum, we decided to share a taxi with another couple. The taxi cost 17 Euros to the cable-car which was well worth while as it was getting dark by the time we got back to the ship.

Other ports of call

Other people have described them in great detail so the only thing we'd add is that there are two types of taxis at the ports. Some want to be booked for the day and they take you to all the good places and wait for you. You pay when you get back (so we were told by an experienced cruiser we talked to). The other kind are ordinary taxis which will take you to the town, or Metro or whatever. It's impossible to tell which is which but the day ones seem to be nearest to the ship. At Corfu the drivers of the all day cabs directed us to the other ones. You can get a bus to the town from outside the gates if you want.
In Piraeus it's about a 20 minute walk to the Metro. There would have been no problem getting a taxi but when I told a driver that I was going to walk he claimed it was 5 kilometres to walk when I said no! If there's a few of you it's probably best as it's only 5 Euros. It's incredibly cheap into Athens by the Metro and if you know your way around it's pretty easy.

Dubrovnik is fabulous. Because they were expecting bad weather (which actually didn't happen) the ship didn't anchor off the old town but in the main port a couple of miles away so we didn't disembark on tenders. The company laid on shuttle buses to the old town (5 Euros return). The town is fabulous and you can see everything you want in plenty of time. People who paid for the trip were very rushed.

We could write loads more but reckon that you'll have switched off by now so we'll finish by saying once again that MSC is a great company, the Armonia is a great ship and we can't wait for our next cruise.
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