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mollie jo

Armonia September 9

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I was desperate for info on this ship before we sailed so I wanted to share my thoughts.  I will probably do a formal review as so many of them are bad; I want to give the other side.  I am 57 and my husband is 62.  We live in Tennessee and have been cruising since 1984.  Have sailed many times on many lines.  We booked this cruise of course for Cuba and did a status match to gold with our Carnival Platinum.  Sailed Fantasmic, inside cabin, with all in package.  Embarkation was quick and smooth and no one looked at our 1:30 arrival time, and we were on board a little after noon.  First impression was it reminded us of our very first cruise on Royal Caribbean's Sun Viking.  We found the ship small, old, and elegant.  Loved it immediately!  As Americans,  it was a real treat to see and hear people from all over the world.  The captain actually told how many passengers were from each country one night.  Announcements were given in the three most spoken languages,  English, Spanish, and Italian.  Occasionally French and a few others at the shows. 

 

I had read where A/C was not working in cabins and parts of the ship, but I'm pleased to say ours worked perfectly.  We like a dark, cold room to sleep in, and it was.  I did talk to one gentleman on the elevator and his was not working the first 2 nights.  I cannot imagine!  Some halls and walkways were warm or hot, but public inside areas were comfortable.  Our room was a little smaller than other inside cabins on other lines, but storage was even better.  Loved all the drawers and the space behind the mirror with the safe.  Bathroom was fine except for the shower which was extremely tiny and the blow dryer which was not powerful.  Bring your own.  Cabin Steward did a fantastic job.  No towel animals though.  Kind of missed that. 

 

As mentioned, we had the all in drink package and it was perfect for us.  We do not usually buy a drink package because the cost has never justified the amount of alcohol we usually drink, but we loved having a package.  We drank specialty coffee, got bottled water and juices anytime we wanted, an occasional coke, which we seldom drink, along with any cocktails we wanted.  All without ever signing a thing!  I ordered several frozen virgin cocktails with a double shot of rum on the side and was never questioned.  Poured it in right at the bar.  We drank the Chardonnay at dinner which was fine, and had either Long Island Ice Tea or Vodka and Cranberry other times.  Bartenders never once asked us to upgrade our package and always served us with a smile.  They learned what we drank and would ask if we wanted another one before we would ask and called us by name.  Coffee is available at some bars and they would smile when I ordered, "American coffee, not too strong, with milk."  I did tip dollar bills some times, but not always.  I will say one afternoon after being on shore we went looking for a drink and the only bar we could find open was the pool bar.  All bars are not open 24/7.  But I never once saw an intoxicated person and no one carries around a tray of cocktails trying to get you to buy one. 

 

Daytime activities included lots of dance lessons and trivia.  I did see one Italian class and my husband participated in a ping pong tournament.  I tried two of the dance classes and enjoyed them. But on sea days we usually find a place in the shade on deck and read or find a place inside and play cards.  There are lots of nice places with tables and chairs to play cards or other games inside.  Our favorite was the Pub which had a bar and snacks.  If you want a lounger outside in the shade, every deck has a door you can exit at the back of the ship that has a few lounge chairs.  Secluded, quiet, and peaceful.  I loved the shallow side of the two pools because you could lay down in it and cool off.  It was only about a foot deep.  The splash pad was nice but there were not a lot of kids on our sailing.  I saw 2 hot tubs but did not get in them.

 

 

 

 

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We saw 5 of the shows.  10 Dancers, 4 singers, and several talented acrobats.  My favorite was "Time of Your Life," based on Dirty Dancing, and The Abyss.  Theater was usually pretty full, but can't imagine not being able to find a seat.  We usually went about 15 to 20 minutes early and were always either on front row or close to it.  French Follies was all in French.  Missed the Italian one.  Adams Family was a bit strange, but the two male acrobats were amazing.  The last night they brought representatives up from all areas of the ship.  Saw so many of the crew we had interacted with throughout the week.  They also did a  glow in the dark "Thank You" in every language spoken on the ship.  Nice touch!  

 

Out of the live musicians, we only really spent time listening to the Sax player in the coffee shop.  He was amazing!  

 

Several movie selections every day but we did not attend any. 

 

Past guest party, which we attended because of status match had a nice band and cocktails. Cruise Critic Party was very nice with snacks, cocktails, and cake.  We were given free pictures from both of these events.  Theme party about every night, but we only attended White Party.  Lots of fun and most everyone actually wore white.  Great participation! 

 

Casino was small.  One roulette, 2 blackjack, and couple of 3 card poker, and a nice selection of slots.  No Craps.  What I loved most was it was non-smoking except for a very small part with a few slots.  That meant no smoking at the tables.  Casino was never really busy but we had a lot of fun there and met some great dealers playing roulette and blackjack.  I never expect to win on slots but got good playing time and fun bonuses when I played.  

 

The ship does have some odd navigating to it.  We usually take the stairs, but there were a couple of places where the stairs stopped and you had to take the elevator to keep going up.  Because of this we found ourselves walking less and taking the elevator more, but they were almost always quick.  Another odd thing was we changed time zones 4 times during the week.  Every other ship we have been on stays on ships time, which is whatever time zone you leave on.  

 

We did not enjoy the food.  Tried many different things but did not care for most of it.  Ate in dining room 4 nights and service was excellent, but we just nibbled on our food.  Desserts were dry with little flavor.  Food is not that big of a deal for us on a cruise and we certainly did not go hungry.  Others seemed to be enjoying it.  It is definitely European...Gelato instead of Ice Cream (loved pistachio), Speck Sandwiches for late night snacks, and water is bottled in Italy.  We toured Italy a couple of years ago and noticed a lot of similarities with the food. 

 

 

 

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These ports we have been to many times, but I will post what we did.

 

Roatan:  Booked Victor Bodden to take us to West Bay Beach.  We love it here.  The captain announced that morning that the current was rough during the night and we would dock an hour and a half behind schedule but we would stay longer to make up for it.  Victor keeps up with this and it did not effect our tour. We actually liked staying later.

 

Cozumel:  Mr. Sanchos all-inclusive.  Have not been here in years.  Beach is nice but we decided we like Paradise Beach better.  More shade.

 

Costa Maya:  Just got off and went to Bird Aviary.  Loved it.  Had the place to ourselves.  Went back on the ship after and had the pool to ourselves.

 

Key West:  Little White House and Hemingway's House, both very interesting.  Hit a couple bars, back on board for a nap!  Lol!

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This line and certainly this small ship is not for everyone.  For example, I would not recommend it to my late 20's niece and her husband, but for us it was great.  We have been on the mega ships and yes they are nice but we didn't miss many of those things.  It has a whole different vibe than any other ship we have sailed.  Laid back, no pressure, no pushing to buy things or have your picture made.  Staff and crew, including the captain were great.  We were disappointed when Cuba was cancelled but because we had our airfare booked, we decided to go ahead and go and we are so happy we did.  We travel a lot, and are usually ready to come home after a trip, but we were not ready to leave the Armonia.  

 

Was the ship perfect, or course not.  Vacations are seldom "perfect." There are times when a problem must be brought to management's attention, like A/C not working, and I have done it, but not often.  I have come to the conclusion that some people will complain not matter what and actually look for things to complain about.  We look for the good in every trip we take, and make the most of our experience because we know how blessed we are to travel as much as we do.  Some of the reviews I have read on the Armonia were unjust in my opinion.  Research before you book a trip and make sure it is a good fit to meet your expectations.   

 

I hope this helps those who are booked or are thinking of booking the Armonia.  I sure hope I get the opportunity to sail on her again.

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Thanks so much for your review. DH and I sail on Monday on the Armonia. We read some of the not so good reviews but choose to book anyway. We like laid back cruises and are not demanding people so think based on your review it’s good fit for us. We actually prefer the smaller ships, quiet spot and good book suits us just fine! We are really looking forward to our cruise ..... 

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Thank you for review. We were on 09/09 cruise also. Thoroughly enjoyed it. I did write a review a few days ago but it has not been published it.  Everything was positive for us. 

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We were also on the 9/09 cruise.   We booked 16 days before sailing because of the great prices.  We were a little worried because of all the negative reviews, but had a fabulous time.  We thought the crew was one of the best we've had (45 cruises so far).  We also enjoyed the food and service in the dining room and buffet.  The shows were a mixed bag, enjoyed 3 of them, 3 not so much.  Our balcony cabin on deck 9 had a great AC.  There were a few on our deck that had problems the first night, but the issues seemed to be corrected.   We loved the ship and look forward to sailing on Armonia again.

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I usually don't comment on review threads, but I wanted to get on this sailing last minute also.  There were some really great deals, even on air and hotels, but I couldn't make it work.  Thanks for letting me know I should have tried harder.

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Thank you for the review, we are sailing on Monday. Packing day today. I’m really looking forward to these cruise.

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Since the Armonia will be coming to Tampa, can you give some examples of entrees in the MDR. I haven’t sailed with MSC but kind of interested in trying the Armonia.

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2 hours ago, sunonfire said:

Since the Armonia will be coming to Tampa, can you give some examples of entrees in the MDR. I haven’t sailed with MSC but kind of interested in trying the Armonia.

We will be sailing tomorrow for the first time on MSC and the Armonia.  While searching these boards for information, I found the following excellent thread. @Beamafar has pictures of most of the menus along with lots of food pictures.  The link starts with room service breakfast. Keep on scrolling down for lots more.

 

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I hesitate to comment any more on the food and I'm glad someone posted the link to Beamafar's review.  I read it several times before we sailed.  Great info.  Tried omelets at buffet and dining room...both were overcooked, I ask for a little onion, and it was so full of onion, I could not eat it.  Red Snapper in the dining room was so bad my husband could not eat it, and he loves most fish.  He did try another kind on the buffet one night, don't remember what though and said it was good.  I had the lobster ravioli, pappardelle with scallops, and one more pasta dish with beef, again can't remember name....ravioli was okay, only ONE scallop in pappardelle, but it was good, and the beef was just not flavorful,  asparagus was overcooked, shrimp cocktail undercooked one night, but okay another night. Prime Rib was good, but New York Strip not so good.  Tried a hamburger one day for lunch, it was good, fries piping hot, and Pizza we tried was good. Both are available every day. I had one salad with chicken and mandarin oranges that was really good in the dining room.  Don't let my opinions about the food keep you from booking this cruise.  You may like it.  For sure you will find something you like.  Service in the dining room was excellent.  We loved ours.   

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I'm just home from the 9/13 sailing and will post my comments later this week.  I did not receive a pic from the Voyagers club party but did from the CC M&M.  Saw it in the photos and it was good, but I don't spend money on pics.  I would've liked to have had that one.  Oh well!

 

Had some crew members recognize me from my 5/13 sailing!  I don't know how they do it!  They've seen so many other faces over those intervening months!

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