MSC Armonia
Ranked #68 of 133 cruise 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.


4/5
MSC Armonia MSC Armonia is rated 4 out of 5 from 28 Reviews
75% of users recommend this cruise ship
Review Overview (28 reviews)

Cleanliness 5 stars
Entertainment  stars
Food 4 stars
Staff 4 stars

MSC Armonia Reviews

3/5
3

gillian markwick cruised on March 2009
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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Tour Operator: gillscruise
Review Rating

Cleanliness
4 stars
Entertainment
3 stars
Food
2 stars
Staff
 stars

4/5
4

Bill and Marilyn cruised on October 2008
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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Tour Operator: MSC Armonia
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
3 stars
Staff
 stars

4/5
4

Sammy cruised on June 2008
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.

Tour Operator: MSC
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
1 stars
Staff
 stars

3/5
3

Patricia Dixon cruised on December 2007
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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Tour Operator: booked direct
Review Rating

Cleanliness
4 stars
Entertainment
2 stars
Food
3 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Alan cruised on September 2007
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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Tour Operator: Travelsphere

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

4/5
4

Brent Collins cruised on October 2006
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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Tour Operator: Armonia
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
2 stars
Food
3 stars
Staff
 stars

4/5
4

Andrew R cruised on October 2005
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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Tour Operator: TravelSphere

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
3 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Keith Battery cruised on October 2005
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.



Tour Operator: Dargal.com
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Steve and Anne cruised on September 2005
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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Tour Operator: Archers/Cosmos

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

John & Michelle cruised on September 2005
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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Tour Operator: We made our own way

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Abi cruised on August 2005
I thouroughly enjoyed my cruise. Although one pedantic complaint would be that it was called an Eastern Mediteranean Cruise when the seas we travelled on were: The Adriatic, The Ionian and the Agean. Although this was not a problem at all because we knew exactly where we were going.

Embarking on the ship difficult but through no fault of MSC. We couldn\'t find the way from the coach which took us from venice airport to the ship but this was the fault of our tour company, Cosmos, who throughout the whole holiday only made us go and pick up our tickets (which incidentaly they made a mess of) and organised our ...
flight which we could have done ourselves. Boarding the ship seemed to go hand in hand with having your photo taken twice and many more photos were taken aboard the ship which at first could be annoying but at the end of the holiday i saw why they did so that people have a choice of photos to choose from the ones that they liked.

We were shown to our room by a friendly member of staff and the ship was very clean. After we went to our room which was spacious we were at first annoyed to find that we had a double bed ( i was sharing a room with my sister) but we were quickly asked if we wanted the beds separated.

The food on board was excellent. The pizza and pasta on offer in La Girisole buffet restraunt was nice and the waiters there were friendly often asking how my day was. The food at night was also nice although it took me a day or two to get used to having a few small courses. I was annoyed about some of the meat looking, to me, almost raw and red but i know that is how mnay posh restraunts have it and the chefs were willing to do me my beef more well done when i asked. The staff that cleaned the room made an excellent job and me and my sister both found the way the pyjamas were folded whilst we had tea quite amusing.

The on board entertainment was excellent although we never saw a full theatre show. We spent every night in the Moulin Rouge Piano Bar (always when Edo was playing his set) and the music in La Girisole was also good)

I was frustrated by the fact that even though passengers were told that they could not save sun loungers everyone did by leaving their belongings or towl on them. Once I was thrown of what, before i lay down on it, was an empty sun lounger by an angry Spaniard who insisted it was his sun lounger even though everyone was informed they could not save sun loungers. I thought the crew should have at least tried to do something about this.

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Tour Operator: Cosmos

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Abi cruised on August 2005
I thouroughly enjoyed my cruise. Although one pedantic complaint would be that it was called an Eastern Mediteranean Cruise when the seas we travelled on were: The Adriatic, The Ionian and the Agean. Although this was not a problem at all because we knew exactly where we were going.

Embarking on the ship difficult but through no fault of MSC. We couldn\'t find the way from the coach which took us from venice airport to the ship but this was the fault of our tour company, Cosmos, who throughout the whole holiday only made us go and pick up our tickets (which incidentaly they made a mess of) and organised our ...
flight which we could have done ourselves. Boarding the ship seemed to go hand in hand with having your photo taken twice and many more photos were taken aboard the ship which at first could be annoying but at the end of the holiday i saw why they did so that people have a choice of photos to choose from the ones that they liked.

We were shown to our room by a friendly member of staff and the ship was very clean. After we went to our room which was spacious we were at first annoyed to find that we had a double bed ( i was sharing a room with my sister) but we were quickly asked if we wanted the beds separated.

The food on board was excellent. The pizza and pasta on offer in La Girisole buffet restraunt was nice and the waiters there were friendly often asking how my day was. The food at night was also nice although it took me a day or two to get used to having a few small courses. I was annoyed about some of the meat looking, to me, almost raw and red but i know that is how mnay posh restraunts have it and the chefs were willing to do me my beef more well done when i asked. The staff that cleaned the room made an excellent job and me and my sister both found the way the pyjamas were folded whilst we had tea quite amusing.

The on board entertainment was excellent although we never saw a full theatre show. We spent every night in the Moulin Rouge Piano Bar (always when Edo was playing his set) and the music in La Girisole was also good)

I was frustrated by the fact that even though passengers were told that they could not save sun loungers everyone did by leaving their belongings or towl on them. Once I was thrown of what, before i lay down on it, was an empty sun lounger by an angry Spaniard who insisted it was his sun lounger even though everyone was informed they could not save sun loungers. I thought the crew should have at least tried to do something about this.

ps: incidentalt does anyone know how/if you can contact any of the entertainers on board the ship to congratulate and thnak them for there entertainment?

email abby00uk@yahoo.co.uk if you do.

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Tour Operator: Cosmos

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Abi cruised on August 2005
I thouroughly enjoyed my cruise. Although one pedantic complaint would be that it was called an Eastern Mediteranean Cruise when the seas we travelled on were: The Adriatic, The Ionian and the Agean. Although this was not a problem at all because we knew exactly where we were going.

Embarking on the ship difficult but through no fault of MSC. We couldn\'t find the way from the coach which took us from venice airport to the ship but this was the fault of our tour company, Cosmos, who throughout the whole holiday only made us go and pick up our tickets (which incidentaly they made a mess of) and organised our ...
flight which we could have done ourselves. Boarding the ship seemed to go hand in hand with having your photo taken twice and many more photos were taken aboard the ship which at first could be annoying but at the end of the holiday i saw why they did so that people have a choice of photos to choose from the ones that they liked.

We were shown to our room by a friendly member of staff and the ship was very clean. After we went to our room which was spacious we were at first annoyed to find that we had a double bed ( i was sharing a room with my sister) but we were quickly asked if we wanted the beds separated.

The food on board was excellent. The pizza and pasta on offer in La Girisole buffet restraunt was nice and the waiters there were friendly often asking how my day was. The food at night was also nice although it took me a day or two to get used to having a few small courses. I was annoyed about some of the meat looking, to me, almost raw and red but i know that is how mnay posh restraunts have it and the chefs were willing to do me my beef more well done when i asked. The staff that cleaned the room made an excellent job and me and my sister both found the way the pyjamas were folded whilst we had tea quite amusing.

The on board entertainment was excellent although we never saw a full theatre show. We spent every night in the Moulin Rouge Piano Bar (always when Edo was playing his set) and the music in La Girisole was also good)

I was frustrated by the fact that even though passengers were told that they could not save sun loungers everyone did by leaving their belongings or towl on them. Once I was thrown of what, before i lay down on it, was an empty sun lounger by an angry Spaniard who insisted it was his sun lounger even though everyone was informed they could not save sun loungers. I thought the crew should have at least tried to do something about this.

ps: incidentalt does anyone know how/if you can contact any of the entertainers on board the ship to congratulate and thnak them for there entertainment?

email abby00uk@yahoo.co.uk if you do.

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Tour Operator: Cosmos

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

4/5
4

Alison cruised on July 2005
Well where do I start? I had a fantastic time on the Armonia – the ship, the company and the surroundings and ports of call were all excellent!

I flew out a day early to Venice – which I fell in love with and plan to return to. I left my hotel on Sunday am and made my way to the Plaza Roma bus station, no MSC busses about so hopped on a Costa coach. When I arrived at the terminal I checked my case in at the luggage building then went to the MSC building to check in. I was met by a nice young man who directed me to ...
a check in person – this was easy – they do ID cards and swipe your credit card. I then went to get a free juice and looked about for the other HT ladies – who I spotted (Ann had a HT flag!) We gazed at the Armonia – a wonderful site! It was great to meet the others so soon – thought id have to wait til 5pm at the agreed bar,

We all walked to board the ship together – nattering away! Once on board we were taken to our cabins by a friendly, helpful member of staff. I was very impressed by my cabin – a king sized double bed – and so much space, I spent a few mins just exploring the cabin, thinking how lucky I was! The mini bar is big enough to store your own drinks in. The ensuite was fine, couldn’t fault anything!

Then we all met up and went to explore the ship – very easy to get lost as its so big! We found the maitre d as we had different table reservations (but all given 1st sitting) after a chat the maitre d moved us all to La Pergola for dinner, this is the smaller of the 2 restaurants and we all felt much nicer a more relaxed one than the bigger Marco Polo. We also began hunting for Kate to say hi but missed her for the first couple of eves as she was on late dinner sitting. If you are meeting others make sure you have cabin numbers before hand!

After this I recall we explored more then we went to the welcome meeting with Nicky the English speaking hostess – Nicky was great so friendly a real star! We didn’t find any more HT people despite Anns flag waving! The meeting is really useful full of info for the week, but Nicky is about all week for info.

After this it was a rush to get lifejackets and go to the drill, which was routine, but everyone has to go. I managed to ignore the photographers! You will meet the photographers everywhere both on and off ship. The photos are good quality and you don’t have to buy. Smaller photos were 15 euros , larger ones 20 euros. I brought a couple.

I will now go through things in areas!

Dinner/Food
All excellent quality and the presentation was superb. Breakfast and lunch were either taken in the buffet where I went daily or in Marco Polo where some of the HT girls went – waiter service and a set menu. Im a really fussy eater – vegetarian going vegan who has food intolerances (egg and dairy) I went thinking id have problems but no I ate well all week! There is lots of selection in the buffet – cereals, fruit, yoghurt, toasts, cooked breakfast, cakes, juices. I took my own soya milk daily for cereal.
At lunch there was a grill, carvery meat, salads (veggies beware lots contain fish/meat so do ask!) pizza , pasta (veggie every other day!) fruit salad or cake/pud for afters.
You help yourself to juice, water or hot drinks.
During the day there are other foods out – cake hour or pizza hour!
We loved La Pergola – our waiters were brilliant – explaining the menu to us and offering me salads or vegetables without dressing. I couldn’t eat most of the veggie meals as they were not vegan so had spaghetti and tomato sauce most nights! Luckily a dish I like! I also had the vegetables of the day. One eve I fancied a change so took a tin of greek beans in which were cooked for me! Some of the HT gang had 2 main courses or puds as they couldn’t decide which to try! I had sorbet for pudding. You stay at the same table each night – we shared with a husband and wife and her mum. Don’t miss the midnight buffets the captains and gala night being the best – great for photos.

The ship
Loved it! There were plenty of bars – where we were to be found in the evening! Good choice of drinks – we did well for free champagne but did buy some cocktails! The shops were good – I brought a dress in the dress shop sale really good quality linen for 30 euros. The duty free had great offers – top brand vodka was 4euros 90 a litre!!! We didn’t use the internet, amazed I lasted all week without HT !!!
The pool area was good too – we stuck to top deck for sunbathing – you do need to grab the loungers as early as possible and get towels from the one end of the pool area. I used the gym which was quite well equipped, nice view to open sea from the treadmill. The spa was over priced in my view but good selection of treatments, I had a tour of the spa but you do get the hard sell. The thermal suite – steam/sauna looked good.

The staff
All the staff are so nice and so hardworking, the staff are very friendly and will stop for a chat, my cabin staff were quite shy so I didn’t see much of them! The animation team can be very funny – very sweet too! There are some real characters on board like Marcello the head of the casino (“ciao, ciao baby” eh ladies!) As I said earlier Nicky the English hostess is great.

Entertainment
Hmmmmm! The shows were ‘interesting’ silly at times but not to my tastes, we didn’t stay for those tending to make our own entertainment! We ended up in the bars after dinner, or had a wander round ship to chat to the staff, or browse in the shops. There was also a singles party on Monday night – we were the only ones there!!! So plenty of free drinks again, and several male staff and officers popped in to say hello! Colin and Vilma were invited to the Captains dinner one evening which was really good to get some of the HT on the captains table!

Ports of call
Will try to keep this short as im very good at waffling!!

Bari – least fave of mine nice enough but everywheres closed til 5pm. We had a wander got a drink and stocked up on drinks at the supermarket.

Corfu – very hot ½ hour walk to town, we all split up in town, I spent ages in the shops and town then walked to the fortress and back along the coast road, caught a cab back to ship. Do have plenty of cold drinks and wear a hat!

Santorinni – My fave place – we got on an early tender then braved the cable car to the top – bit bumpy but we did it! Didn’t fancy walking or going via donkey! We found the bus station and went to Oia village which I a must – so many wow views everywhere. Then we spent ages in a great bar overlooking the sea, before getting the bus back to Fira (20 mins 1 euro) The grill takeaway in the square is worth a visit!
We split up in Fira to go shopping, then I met Kay and Kay had a wow slice of cake and I found a juice bar. The sunset was amazing. On ship there is a buffet, but plenty of places to eat in Fira for a change.

Athens – didn’t want to pay 60 euros for the trip so walked to the metro ½ hour – taxis refused to take us??? We then got the metro to the Acropolis for about 1 euro 40, nice and clean, validate your ticket in the machine.
Entrance is 12 euros to Acropolis – free for students which pleased me! Its great to see but so hot – no cold water or shade at the top and was over 100! We were worn out after the climb so headed back to ship after ½ hour at the shops.The duty free at the port is the cheapest for ciggies.

Katakolon – Cheryl and me took the coach trip to the museum and Olympia – very good visit – really liked it there. On the way back we got dropped off in the town – 2 streets of nice shops and bars.

Dubrovnik – another snap happy trip for me, it is really beautiful there. We had early tender tickets but it was terribly unorganised – a free for all rugby scrum which at times was dangerous (we did complain about this) Kay and myself walked the walls – wonderful views, then found a café for a drink and I had a huge bean salad (nice veggie change from pasta!) We then did our own thing – shops for me. The tender was choppy on the return.

Venice –
We swapped our luggage tags so we were last off and stayed together! Due to this it was hard to find our cases, after this we took the MSC transfer coach to the airport (I didn’t have a transfer booked but we managed to ‘talk me on’! This took 20 mins and we left our cases at the airport left luggage 4.5 euros per item. We got a all day ticket for 10 euros and got the public bus into town – do validate any tickets before you get on a bus – 4 young girls didn’t have a ticket and the fine was 30 euros – the police were called when they wouldn’t pay!

Kay had an early flight so Cheryl, Ann, Kate and me caught the waterbus round Venice, walked round San Marco and Rialto, then I had to head for the airport. My case was 28kg – but Easyjet didn’t charge me – very lucky! I had a 21/2 hour delay, but had a drink and tried not to fall asleep! Again flight was fine. I had more hassle once back in the UK! My taxi was late then my train was cancelled – I got home at 12am! Well hobbled home after dropping my suitcase on my leg!

Conclusion – I loved it, had a brilliant week and made some great friends – Kay, Cheryl and Ann. Also Hi to Kate, Colin and Vilma. Id go again tomorrow and think MSC will take off on the British market. There are no doubt lots of things ive missed out…..thanks to the HT gang who were excellent company! If i start saving now i might get back next year!

Hope you’ve not fallen asleep reading all this! Any questions please ask via PM - thanks for reading!

Alison

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Tour Operator: Rise Travel/MSC

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
3 stars
Food
4 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Cheryl (Raych) cruised on July 2005
The Armonia surpassed all my expectations, and I had a truely wonderful holiday. I enjoyed every aspect of cruising, the freedom to be as hectic or as quiet as you wanted and to have the safety and the organisation of the excersions, or just to find your own way. I chose to have a mix of all of it as I hate to miss out on anything, as the other HTers will confirm!!
My flight and boarding went like clockwork. I met Anne and Kay at Gatwick and Alison in the cruise terminal. We arrived at the port early so had numbers under 50 for boarding, so were on ship by ...
lunchtime.They were selling wine packages etc in terminal and 3 of us purchased the honeymooners package, a snip at 38EURO It included a bottle of champagne 2 special cocktails and 6 cocktails.We worked out when we were going to use our vouchers only to find out later that the 6 cocktails were NON ALCOHOLIC, needless to say we demanded our money back, and the bar manager brought us all cocktails as compensation for the misunderstanding.
I have cruised twice before, on Thompson Topaz and Airtours Sunbird. The Armonia had the WOW factor for me. I found the ship very impressive. My inside twin cabin deck 8 was spacious nicely furnished with a modern bathroom. I didnt hear any noise from neighbouring cabins and only occasionally heard people passing.
The sailaway was my first sight of Venice and as I looked down along the Grand Canal and St Marks Square I could hardly believe how lucky I felt.
4 of us HTers had early sitting for dinner in La Pergola restuarant, which I felt was the nicer of the 2 restuarants, it was smaller and the chairs had arms, as it was not open for breakfast or lunch.I chose to take most of my other meals in the Marco Polo restuarant as I prefered the relaxed atmosphere and being waited on in lovely surroundings, AND the ice cream and sorbet with desert.
Although the food was good in the self service buffet, the fruit was delicious, it was very hectic and noisy most of the time. I found it just as quick to eat in Marco Polo and be pampered as they were never busy.
Ports of call.
Monday Bari
I walked into the old city with the other HTers in search of a supermarket.There is a fort there which you can go into, we found a cafe to wait for the shop to open at 5 oclock and had ice coffee as thats what the locals were having. We went into the new city then visited a couple of churches in the old city as these were now open.They show a video of people on excersions that day, and although I enjoyed my day in Bari I would say that the trip to visit the Trulli houses looked lovely.Very picturesque.
Tuesday Corfu
We walked to the old town which is not advisable, it is too far and too hot, get a taxi, or Kay got a bus back to port from the town. The old town is nice, good shops. Kate and I took the land train from the park 4 euros, it went around the bay the other side of town then inland past archilogical sites to a 7th century church where you could get off for 5 mins to take photos.
Wednesday Athens
We walked to metro as taxis wouldnt take us, they were only interested in getting fares all the way to Acropolis, however others that left the ship later than us managed to get taxi to take them to Metro only.The Metro was cheap and easy and very clean.Only 1.4 euros return. Acropolis hot but worth seeing if you\'ve not been before, there is also a small museum at the top which gives relief from sun, I was grateful not to be part of tour there as you would have had to stand in groups listening to guides in intense heat where as an individual you could move on or come away if you had had enough.
Again we found difficulty in getting a taxi back from metro and couldnt find where to buy bus ticket for no 843 bus. The bus driver took pity on us and beckoned us on and gave us a free ride. But I would advise never to travell on any public transport without having a valid ticket that you have to validate in machine before travel, or the buses had validation machines on them.
We saw 4 young girls get on the bus at the airport in Venice without a ticket and the police were called to arrest them if they didnt pay on the spot fine of 30euros each and he wouldnt accept any arguing about not knowing the system etc.
Thursday Santorini
I loved Santorini, a photographers dream, not at all what I expected, on approaching it I couldnt believe that this was Santorini. It doesnt look very beautiful from the sea, 2 towns of white houses along the top of a big black rock.We went ashore on our own and walked through the narrow streets of Fira the capital to the bus station and took the bus to Oia.
Very easy and cheap to do this under your own steam and we passed the tour buses heading back from Oia as we were going so when we got there it was really quiet. I dont think it would have been quite as majical with coach loads of people there all in camera shot. We had a glass of wine in a little taverna overlooking the sea, perfect.
Friday Kotokolon
Alison and I took the trip to Olympia, which I enjoyed as the countryside was pretty very green and fertile and the guide was good explaining all the piles of stones with little stories. I found it interesting as I work in a sports centre and Dean Macey the Olympic decathlete is a personal friend. The journey was about 40mins each way so I think it would be difficult to do on your own, and the coach dropped us in the small town to look around the shops for about 20mins.
Saturday Dubrovnic
I did the 2hour walking tour. The guide was very good, and people on the trips get off the ship first avoiding the rush. Dubrovnic has a lot of history and a lot of churches.We walked around the inside of the old city and went inside 3 buildings. The guide then pointed us in the right direction to walk the walls on our own and said to go half way up the spanish steps and turn right for the oldest original remaining buildings and very good photos.
Venice disembarkation
I made my own way off ship, I changed my luggage lable to a different colour, but in hind sight should have kept the colour I had and got off when told. We had to collect our bags from carousel in cruise terminal which come off the ship in colour order and if you are not there ready to collect your bag when the next colour comes along they remove your bag from carosel and place it to one side for collection.After negociation we got on the transfer bus to the airport and left our cases in leftluggage 4.5euros each bag. we then purchased a 10.5 euro 24hour transport ticket for certain buses and water buses. we took no5 bus from airport to depot to get water bus no 1 along Grand Canal to St Marks Square. We had a wander through the streets and over the canals and found a little square over the Rialto bridge where Kate and I had a 4 course lunch for 13 euros each + 4.50e for 1/2 caraf of wine and it was fantastic. Then we took the boat up and down the Grand Canal again going over to the Lido and back to the depot for the bus to the airport, it did however take 1hr each way and we thought it was going to be 1hr round trip so we were getting a bit nervous that we had cut our timing fine, All was alright and we got to the airport in plenty of time.
Entertainment
I havent mentioned much of the entertainment as we didnt bother much with it, just popped our head into see what was happening in the shows from time to time.What I saw looked very professional with lovely costumes and the dancers were good. The compare cruise director was a bit frantic he got on my nerves perhaps I missed the joke and he was supposed to be funny. The evening we looked into the disco it was very busy and everyone was having a good time. I joined in the mambo lesson one evening that was good but only lasted about 20mins. We found quiet areas of the ship to sit and talk and wind down after a buzy day, we often wonderered where everyone had gone as it was so quiet, but I think they must have been in the Casino or playing bingo or discoing, but we did find areas of the ship at the end of the week we hadnt found before. The midnight buffets were impressive, lots of photo opportunies even if you couldnt eat another thing.
All I can say is bring on the next one and if its MSC I shall be happy, and this one was so enjoyable I would even do exactly the same one again. Please

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Tour Operator: Risebiggazz@tiscali.co.uk

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

david & dawn cruised on July 2005
As this was our fifth cruise we like to think of ourselves as experienced cruisers.
We have just returned from the Geek Island Cruise on board the MSC ARMONIA.
Arrival
On arrival at Venice Airport we were greeted by the rep from MSC and directed to the coach, the coaches then proceed to the cruise terminal at Venice, about twenty minutes away. At the terminal we found this to be totally unorganised with very little guidelines on how to proceed. Eventually we arrived at a large building No 103, inside the building the same unorganised chaos continued with passengers waiting for their number to be called before they could embark the ship. ...
At this we complained to a steward and they let us board straight away.
Once on board the ship we were escorted to our inside cabin on deck 9, on arrival we found the cabin to be very well furnished and spacious compared to other cruise lines we have sailed with.
Prior to the ship setting sail all the passengers had to attend the lifeboat drill, with the staff being very helpful to assist passengers in the direction of their muster stations.
Once this was finished the ship set sail with a commentary of the landmarks of Venice as we sailed past them.
Dining
We had been allocated first sitting for dinner, which was at 7.15pm.
The dinning room we were allocated was the Marco Polo, this is very elegant, and we shared a table with four other guests. The staffs in the dinning room were very friendly and only to happy to assist.
The food was of a very high standard with a wide array on the menu.
The Buffet bar is on deck 11 and served food most of the day, offering a wide choice, but it would become rather crowded at lunchtime, so we preferred to dine in the main restaurant.
Drinks
All drinks seemed to be reasonably priced, half a carafe of house wine for Î6, wine and beer from Î3.
Entertainment
The entertainment in the evening was also very enjoyable, because there are a lot of different nationalities with many language barriers on board, the entertainment was kept mainly to dancers, jugglers or magic acts, but the shows were spectacular.
Trips
Like most cruise lines the trips seemed expensive, so we did not partake in any preferring to make our own way when we went ashore.
In Dubrovnik, and Santorini the ship supplies a tender to shore, and passengers have to obtain numbered tickets from reception, and only allowed to disembark when their number is called.
Sun beds
Like most Continental destination, the sun beds were quickly snapped up by our European cousins, with them putting their towels on in the morning then going off ship until mid afternoon.

Conclusion
We very much enjoyed the cruise, the ship was very opulent, spotlessly clean, plenty of good food, drinks at a realistic price, and we shall be returning in the near future.







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Tour Operator: MSC

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Julie cruised on July 2005
I\'ll have to keep this short unfortunatley because I\'m a terrible typist and it takes me forever , but I feel that everybodies reviews apart from one is exact and I would only be repeating what they all say. The cruise was fab.... take infomation of others reviews for excursion advice, we managed to do all on our own and its very simple and much cheaper. We found the food lovely and entertainment very good considering they are catering for all nationities. We booked a basic cabin and found it more than adequate, it was absolutely fine for the amount of time that is spent in it. The cruise was very Italian orientated ie 2000 italians and 200 English so you need to expect it.
Overall we had a fantastic time and we would certainly book again.

Tour Operator: Cruise control

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

1/5
1

Christine Jeffries cruised on June 2005
Ship was extremely clean, sparklingly.

Food, plenty of it and a choice for everyone, including fussy vegetarians (I had one with me).
As it is an Italian ship, there is a lot of pasta and Italian based food but lots of other food too. Plenty of choice.

Staff, invariably genuinely friendly, helpful, unobtrusive

Entertainment: I only saw the Magic Show but this was excellent, spectacular with lots of special effects. Also watched the animation team who did an excellent job in all sorts of areas from dancing classes on deck to tableaux -Piratical! Sometimes catching people by surprise.

Would I sail on this ship again, Yes. Tomorrow!

Tour Operator: Rise Travel

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
1 stars
Entertainment
1 stars
Food
1 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Magsy cruised on June 2005
Well, MSC Armonia, what can I say that hasn’t already been said! Perhaps I should start with what happens before boarding! When getting to the port independently you can get an MSC shuttle bus from Piazzale Roma in Venice to Terminal 103 where you first hand over your luggage in a communal cruise line luggage building. MSC signs are there and you can’t miss the bright red MSC rep uniforms. You then proceed to Terminal 103 which is behind this building and go to the first floor using the exterior escalator. On arrival your passport and tickets are checked and you are given a numbered ticket which denotes when you ...
should board. You then go to a check in desk where your credit/debit card is swiped and they take your picture!. I believe this may also be the stage when you hand over your Euro deposit if you aren’t using a debit/credit card because at this time you receive your key card which acts as your cabin key and your onboard charge card – take good care of it! You are then asked to take a seat in the waiting area and you can get free fruit juice and tea (Cold perhaps) For the smokers among you, there is a large outside terrace! Also at this time you can book the wine deal, 7 bottles and 7 bottles of water, however forget the €99, it was €118.90 on Armonia! (still a good deal!)

Numbers appear to be called in groups of 20 (I had number 39 so was in the second group) At this stage, you may need to push yourself to the top of the queue because when it was my turn, there were certainly at least 60 people ahead of me and I could see the chap in charge turning people away. That was when I realised I had to push ahead (not literally you understand!) You then proceed out of the building and bang! The first photograph posed against a backdrop! The first of dozens I might add! You then walk along the quay to the ship which is gleaming white and very impressive. I would estimate this walk to be around 300 yards. Up the gangplank and on to the ship where you are greeted and someone is allocated to take you to your cabin. At this stage I was just gazing around at the opulence before me, everything sparkling just as it remained for the duration of my cruise. You arrive at the cabin and your escort takes your keycard and opens the cabin and ushers you in, following with your luggage. One cannot help but be impressed by the cabin – almost as large as a standard hotel twin bedroom, all fitted out in very light wood. Tons of storage, a safe behind the dressing mirror, oodles of mirrors including one full length one, a TV sitting on a cupboard which contains the mini bar. I didn’t find any English channels except for one which gives information on excursions and ship safety and BBC News 24 (I didn’t look very hard!) Channel 1 is always the web cam on the prow of the ship so you can see what the weather is like before you dress! Now a little tip on using the key card! You put it in the slot (barcode facing you) and pull it straight out again (the light on the lock turns green when it works!)

The shower room is perfectly adequate for anyone’s needs. The clinging shower curtain is a slight pain but I managed to shower very comfortably and had tons of hot water no matter what time of the day I showered. Tons of space for all your toiletries both beside and under the sink and in the shower cubicle. Lots of toiletries provided, soap, shower cap, bath/shower gel and shampoo. There may have been a sewing kit but I never saw it! The hair drier is also in the bathroom, hotel type with the head attached by a vacuum style hose. I never used it so I can’t comment. Tissues are fitted to side of washbasin and a waste bin is fitted inside the cupboard under the basin. There is also an Ashtray! The noise of vacuum flushing is slightly alarming at first but you get used to it! Oh, there is also a waste bin beside the dressing table (Power points are under the dressing mirror and you will need a continental adaptor to plug appliances in) Towels are changed as soon as you use them and bedding is changed daily.

You will find a card with your dinner table number and sitting on your dressing table. Take this with you on the first night when you go to dinner. Should you find you wish to change it, you go to the Maitre D at the Bar del Duomo on Deck 5 as soon as you can. You will also find your Daily Program which gives you lots of information about what is happening where on the ship. (Each evening you will receive a program for the following day)

All of the public rooms are well furnished and lit with a lot of use of glass, crystal, chrome, steel and mirrors. I was lucky in that our dinner table in the Marco Polo restaurant was beside a giant porthole (Table 140) and there were invariably magnificent views, especially sailing from Dubrovnik, hundreds of tiny islands on a sea which was orange from the setting sun! (or was that Santorini! Or both!)

The restaurant is beautifully set up for meals, gleaming glass and tableware and crisp linens and dozens of nice young men in yellow jackets attending you. I found them to be very attentive and eager to please, without exception!

Personally I found the food exceptionally good, wherever I ate on board - a great choice and an incredible abundance! Something to suit every taste I am sure! I never had a problem with food temperature either.

Apart from the main restaurant where you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner, there is a buffet restaurant on Deck 11 (at the stern) outside and inside! On the outside beside the food counters, you will find the Tea, Coffee and iced water. This is available free all day, on a self service basis (but mostly assisted!) I also saw someone drinking milk too. Lots of different teas, all Twinings! I only saw one source of coffee but I wasn’t looking for Decaff! The two outside taps on the hot dispenser are coffee and the middle one is hot water. Do not go to the Girasole or Lido Bars on deck for coffee or tea unless you want to pay! The same goes for all of the interior bars! Afternoon tea and Midnight buffets are at the Girasole/Brasserie, midnight snacks are served in the various lounges.

Most people gravitate to Deck 11 during the day (the main pool deck, two pools and a bar at each end, lots of sunloungers, shaded areas down each side, full sun areas closest to the pools. You get a towel at a table to the side of the Lido Bar and then select your lounger. Sometimes you might find it hard to find a lounger, lots of empty ones but all with towels on! Should this happen, go to the towel boy, he will sort everything out for you. There is also a gallery sun deck area above the pool deck for serious sun worshippers!

All of the daytime entertainment takes place beside the pool at the Lido Bar so if you want peace and quiet, don’t sit near here! I found it quite entertaining! Although there were lots of children on board, I didn’t find them a nuisance at all because most were busy in the children’s club! I never saw the pools overcrowded. The pools are saltwater but there are showers between the two pools for rinsing off. This is also where the Jacuzzis are – I never once saw them being used! There is another Jacuzzi at the prow on Deck 7. I also never saw the climbing wall in use!

Disembarkation!!! Before describing this in detail, just a little bit of advice! Do take a small holdall with you because you will need one, or at least a carrier bag! You have to have your case packed and placed outside the cabin by 2am of the morning of disembarkation so you will need it for your night clothes, toiletries or even what you were wearing the night before if you are a late owl!

Do go to the meeting with Nicky the English hostess at 5pm the evening before leaving. I know of some people who didn’t go and who were subsequently in a state of confusion! This is where I met two other DE couples (both of whom were on 2-4-1)

Anyone who has MSC transfers included is called a Priority passenger and they will find luggage labels in their cabin the day before leaving. Labels have different colours which have different significance. Mine were green and signified that I had a flight departing before 4pm. You will receive a detailed note in your cabin about what each colour means. All Green label passengers had to gather in the Moulin Rouge piano bar at 8am! They also had to report back to the Terminal for 12.30pm for 1pm coaches to the airport. Once formalities have been completed (in the background) you are then asked to leave the ship and proceed to the luggage carousels on the ground floor in the terminal building. Collect a luggage trolley (free here unlike the Airport where you need a €1 coin) for your cases and either make your way to the coach departure desk outside or deposit your luggage in the MSC left luggage office for a fee of €2.50 per case. This fee covers you until 2pm. I assume that you can pay more for later collection! You can then (assuming you have some free time!) either take the free shuttle bus to Piazzale Roma or you can catch a Vaporetto to St. Marks Square (€5 I believe!) The latter option may be quicker because I believe it goes directly to St. Marks Square without stopping. The Vaporetto back to Piazzale Roma (for getting back to the port) takes around 40 minutes! Then you either find a shuttle bus or take a taxi to the terminal (€10)
I haven’t covered any excursions because I didn’t take any, just did my own thing! I did play bingo about 5 times trying to win a cruise for two people if you call within 41 numbers! It costs €10 a time! I went to 2 shows and I can honestly say they were equal to or better than I have seen on other ships! I visited the casino but didn’t have a flutter, bingo was enough! They have blackjack, roulette and poker plus lots of slot machines. The English pub was the quietest place on the ship and that is where the cigar room is too. There is live music in all the other lounges. I didn’t visit the Disco so can’t comment but I did hear it was quite lively later on at night! They also have a talent contest for budding artists!
The rules must be different for US waters but you couldn’t buy a bottle for use in the cabin. It was retained until the end of the cruise. You can however take bottles on board and cigarettes. British cigarettes are around €19 for 200 in the on board shop but remember the shops are always closed when in port, as is the Casino. The shops are fairly standard for cruise ships, nothing ultra special except for some fairly expensive jewellery. They didn’t run an end of cruise sale like I have seen on other ships.

I did visit the Beauty Salon and had a pedicure. It cost €40 but was worth it! It lasted an hour and a half! They offered lots of massage therapy including Shiatsu, stones and Balinese, but it was quite expensive, however I am sure it would have been good – will budget for it next time! They offer all the usual Beauty Salon treatments including manicures, facials, make up and hairdressing.
In conclusion all I can say is that I can’t wait to sail with MSC again! The sooner the better! No complaints from this lady!

Feel free to PM me with any questions – I am sure I have forgotten lots of things! I have also scanned some menus, Daily Programs and Port Information sheets which I will happily email to anyone who would like to see them.
PS My 4* rating for entertainment isn\'t just for the shows which I would rate 3* but includes the Animation Team in general all of whom work incredibly hard at amusing everyone!

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Tour Operator: Rise/Daily Express

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
4 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars

5/5
5

Christine Jeffries cruised on June 2005
addenda to previous report - just realised I had omitted the star rating whoops! Now added all five stars.







Tour Operator: Rise Travel

Recommended: Yes
Review Rating

Cleanliness
5 stars
Entertainment
5 stars
Food
5 stars
Staff
 stars
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