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Magwa

MSC Armonia Photos

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All my MSC Armonia photos are now online in various galleries indexed here. The menus, daily programmes, port info will follow tonight.

 

Pam

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As always a fantastic job Pam. Knew we could depend 100% on you.

Really looking forward to THE menus!!

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Hi Pam!

 

Great photos. To be honest ARMONIA looks visually as dull as diswhater inside - despite having the same layout, LIRICA and OPERA look infinitely more attractive and even MISTRAL did not seem nearly as dull as ARMONIA from Raoul's photos. This ship and her sister seem to represent Katzourakis at their blandest. Hopefully in the future MSC will add a little visual excitement to the interiors of ARMONIA and SINFONIA.

 

Interesting to see that the dinner menus don't seem to have changed. I expect that, at least for the US-based cruises, they will probably be revised, not only to be more in line with Anglo-American tastes but also perhaps to have more choices (and a bigger food budget). I've wondered ever since MSC announced their new US management team, offices, etc. if this basically means that they will have two different products, one in the US and one in Europe - I guess that remains to be seen.

 

I certainly don't mind Italian-style Italian food (as opposed to Italian-American which is rather different) but the choices on some of the menus do seem a bit limited - not that there aren't many choices, just that I get the sense that each night they have certain ingredients they use, and each dish is a different combination of them. On the first night, there are green beans both in the pasta and the salad, and on the Captain's Gala night, there are no less than three dishes involving croutons! Even if it's just a coincidence, it says "cheap". And on the last night they offer "substitute caviar"... Is that like a substitute teacher?

 

Oh, what's a diplomatic cake? Please don't tell me you didn't try it ;) ...

 

Anyhow hope you had a great cruise and looking forward to your review. Obviously MSC is a company that we all should be watching very closely now, and I would certainly like to try them, even if someone at MSC is just a bit too fond of green beans and croutons ;) .

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and on the Captain's Gala night, there are no less than three dishes involving croutons!

 

I'll reply to the rest later... but this is an example where people need to understand the translation:) It does say croutons 3 times.. but they are not the same by any means. With the soup yes, the little tiny squared things.. with the pate, these are toast type thin fingers or squares/triangles, and with the beef, it is suet. Just the way the Italian translates, definitely not the same item in all 3 dishes.

 

Green beans, one hot in pasta, one cold in a salad may have been entirely different too. I didn't have either of those dishes, so can't comment in this particular instance. 'Green Bean' doesn't mean anything in particular to me, other than a bean that is.. well, green:) I think however in the US, a Green bean is a 'runner bean' [as we call them] or a string bean? But it could be a dwarf bean, broad bean, french bean & others. Maybe MSC need to distinguish more on the menu, but the waiter is there to ask, what type. It probably varies too, depending on what produce is available.

 

The menus weren't the same & not at all 'cheap' Doug. The food, taste & presentation was very good indeed. One or two things were not to the liking of some, but that was because they had never had Parma raw ham before & ordered to 'try'. Did have a laugh over my dessert the first night.. I'll relate from elsewhere:-

 

The first evening.. [i rarely have dessert, but often cheese & biscuits or fruit]... I ordered just the cheese & biscuits, and the waiter asked if I'd like some fruit with it. Thinking he meant with the cheese plate I said, yes please just a "few grapes or whatever". He laughed commenting on the "whatever". Anyway the cheese arrived with raisins:) So we smiled and had a bit of a giggle at the table with my grapes being the "whatever" as raisins. Anyway once the plate had been cleared he then brought me a plate of fresh fruit. LOL! Full of my grapes! various melons, kiwi, pineapple, all cut up, delicious. We laughed. Thereafter I had the cheese & fruit every night bar one. Different fruit each night all nicely prepared. Nothing exotic, but nice mixes and very freshly cut. The waiter never had to ask what I wanted after the 2nd night.

 

OK, Diplomatic Cake. It's often on a menu here. I didn't eat it, but Dave did.. I'll ask him to give a description in the morning. It's a sort of 'heavy', madeira type with bits in [fruit etc & sometimes liqueures], can vary a lot. usually served with cream or ice cream on top, can be heated too. I suspect it's just a different name.

 

I guess it is going to be a MSCUSA v MSCEurope scenario, but I hope not too much. Americans need to learn to like other food too. What's the point of an Italian ship if all the food is going to be turned into US dishes, much like the Italian chain restaurants in the US which do not seem ime to have much 'Italian' other than names. Like American burgers over here, they're not in the slightest 'American', just given the name.

 

Substitute Caviar, is roe from any other fish than a sturgeon. You are not up on things!;) It comes under the 'fish friendly' [or whatever the equivalent term for being 'environmentally friendy' is]; have to preserve those sturgeons.

 

Armonia's decor is not *that* bad! Perhaps I should have played with the photos a bit! Compared to Lirica, yes she is a bit dull; but had I not seen how lovely Lirica's decor is, I would have though Armonia was fine. The quality of the soft furnishings, carpets, curtains, upholstery on Lirica, in public areas & the cabins are definitely superior, but that doesn't make Armonia that awful.

 

Pam

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I'll reply to the rest later... but this is an example where people need to understand the translation
I guess I failed the translation test then :) .

 

with the beef, it is suet.
Suet as in the stuff tallow is made out of?

 

Green beans, one hot in pasta, one cold in a salad may have been entirely different too.
I suppose so. I assumed that they were the same. I was just flipping through the menus and it was interesting how many times the (presumably) same ingredients showed up in different dishes on the same night.

 

I think however in the US, a Green bean is a 'runner bean' [as we call them] or a string bean?
Yes. I always prefer to use "string bean" as that's much more specific, but in the US a "green bean" is a string bean or what you would call a French bean (like the French haricot vert, literally, "green bean").

 

The menus weren't the same & not at all 'cheap' Doug. The food, taste & presentation was very good indeed.
I guess they just need a better translator then. Mind you I wasn't saying that the food was cheap, just that the menus made it sound that way. I have had too many experiences where the food does not match the menu description but usually it's the opposite (food sounds good on the menu, turns out to be awful) ;) .

 

OK, Diplomatic Cake. It's often on a menu here. I didn't eat it, but Dave did.. I'll ask him to give a description in the morning. It's a sort of 'heavy', madeira type with bits in [fruit etc & sometimes liqueures]
Ah, I think I have an idea what sort of cake that is... Rather like a fruitcake, or the Italian pannetone?

 

Anyhow, odd name for a cake.

 

I guess it is going to be a MSCUSA v MSCEurope scenario, but I hope not too much.
For one thing, if it is, and then Americans start going on the European cruises, they probably won't be too happy.

 

Hopefully whatever quality improvements they implement can be made across the board, and cultural adjustments made separately.

 

What's the point of an Italian ship if all the food is going to be turned into US dishes, much like the Italian chain restaurants in the US which do not seem ime to have much 'Italian' other than names.
LOL... If you think our "Italian" food is bad you should try our "Chinese" food!

 

Truth be told I'd much rather have real Italian food than Italian-American (American pizza tends to be particularly awful, with a thick, soft crust, horrible rubbery cheese, and lots of grease).

 

Substitute Caviar, is roe from any other fish than a sturgeon. You are not up on things!;)
I had a feeling they meant that... Lumpfish roe is especially popular as a cheap alternative to caviar. (I don't know if it's any more eco-friendly, but it's much cheaper than the real thing.)

 

Still, "substitute caviar" just doesn't sound appetizing. Actually, I gather that most of the food was better than it sounds. At least for the cruises targeted at an English-speaking market, I hope they get a better translator.

 

Armonia's decor is not *that* bad!
Not bad, just bland. And you know how I hate bland ;) . It certainly wouldn't bother me but clearly LIRICA is a much more attractive ship.

 

Anyhow thanks for the speedy reply, looking forward to your review.

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Pam

Many thanky for all the time and effort you devote to making factual information available.

 

We were delighted to have chance to study the menus and they made the mouths water.

 

As you know I am worried that the "new" management of MSC will make changes where none were necessary and ruin a good product. Although one could detect changes in the menu they were not too drastic.

 

Since we have no intention of eating every item on the menu we are never concerned to see the apparently same ingredients appearing again on same menu. Like you we understand they can be very different in reality. That said there are enough choices there to be able to select a very varied and delicious meal.

 

Perhaps one has to accept that different nationalities have different likes and dislikes and have experienced fine dining aboard the Italian MSC to be able to really criticise!

 

At least Armonia has not gone down the plastic/neon/tinsel route and that must be a bonus!!

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Pam

I am going to be very naughty here :-)

From some of the comments I heard on Melody and Lirica if the menu was accurately translated many many passengers would not be able to tell the difference between a borlotti, cannellini, piatellini, l'occhio, ceci, kenya, butter or haricot bean (just a few examples) from the reading!!

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Guest Anorak33

I am interested to know if MSC change their menus from Euro to US what it will be on a Genoa to FLL transatlantic sailing.

 

Maybe they will use the 17 days transit to change the Menus?

 

Does anyone have any idea?

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From some of the comments I heard on Melody and Lirica if the menu was accurately translated many many passengers would not be able to tell the difference between a borlotti, cannellini, piatellini, l'occhio, ceci, kenya, butter or haricot bean (just a few examples) from the reading!!
Then that's the passengers' fault. Personally I think I'd find the menus much more appetizing if they were properly translated.

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BUT Doug.............it is "THE PASSENGERS" who are on the cruise that are paying the money and reading the menu thus it is their opinion which counts!! :-) :-) Will you "Ignore" me now? :-) :-)

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Doug you posted

 

 

 

Personally I think I'd find the menus much more appetizing if they were properly translated.

 

 

Well Doug I am with you on this one 100%, bad translation shows a sloppy and non-caring attitude all round or at least a lack of competence.

 

Let's face it MSC only have to get some reasonably literate native english speaker to read those menus and he/she could sort it all out in a morning.

 

I am not sure that MSC know what they are taking on in the US market where passengers are used to near perfection in many facets of their cruise experience.They won't travel on MSC again if its not as good as maybe Princess or HAL who have set the standards over the past few years in the massmarket cruising stakes.

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Well, Claire,

I think that when somebody takes a MSC cruise is mainly because he wants to try something different from his/her usual cruising experience, and maybe the imperfect translation of the menus is part of the thrill.

 

I do not think an American going to France, Germany or Italy expects to find perfect English translation on the restaurants menus (actually in most restaurants they will not even find an English translation).

 

Should anybody look for near perfection in his cruise, which to me seems more like he is looking for the experience he is used to on the American lines, then why choose an Italian line?

 

Have you ever thought that what is a near perfect experience to an American could be disappointing experience for a foreigner?

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Earlier this year on Lirica there was a 100% accurate translation in the title of a dish under the entrees "Beef Pudding". From the table alongside came the comment "A pudding made from Beef must be disgusting -- I am not having that". Enough said on that topic I think.

 

Sloppy? I think not. The waiters on MSC are top class professionals providing brilliant service and happy to help out those who are confused and bewildered

by linguistic idiosyncracies. Possibly it is deliberately intended to break down barriers and get rid of "stuffed shirt" or "toffy nose" ideas and engage people in the art of conversation.

 

However I do respect that every single person has the right to their own opinion even those who have never sailed with and do not intend to ever sail with MSC.

 

Perhaps those who have experienced more than once and are happy with MSC and its little failings which add to its charm should be allowed to continue to enjoy the uniqueness of the product its typical "italian" style and not have to accept change to satisfy others - who already have sufficient to suit their needs.

 

A "Perfect" CRUISE!! No way there is no such thing. Perfection is an impossibility and anyone who believes otherwise shows only that they are ready to accept the less than perfect.

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The most important (for me) reason I travel is to learn more about other people and their countries and customs. The next reason in line would be "adventures in eating"! I love to try things and would not be put off because of a translation error. One night on the Lirica, I was mistakenly given a menu written in Italian. I was merrily going through it commenting to the 5 others at the table that I had NO clear idea of what I would be eating that night. They had the English menus and probably thought I was a bit off. When the waiter came to take the orders and looked over my shoulder, he whisked the menu out of my hands and apologized. I told him it was OK and I was looking forward to the "surprises" that night. What's the worst that can happen? If you don't care for what you have ordered, the wait staff is more than happy to replace it. I am not a big eater and for the first few nights the waiter seemed very concerned that I didn't clean the plate and always asked if I didn't like the dish and would prefer something else. In restaurants at home, I have often been disappointed in what I feel is a much better description of a dish vs what is actually served. I'll take a good chef over a good writer/translator any day!

 

Happy sailing!

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BUT Doug.............it is "THE PASSENGERS" who are on the cruise that are paying the money and reading the menu thus it is their opinion which counts!! :-) :-)
I guess so. When I do try MSC (which is bound to happen sooner or later as, truth be told, I find their product very attractive), then it will be my opinion which counts ;) .

 

Well Doug I am with you on this one 100%' date=' bad translation shows a sloppy and non-caring attitude all round or at least a lack of competence.[/quote']I never said anything about a sloppy and non-caring attitude or a lack of competence did I?

 

All I said is that I think the menus would sound more appealing if more properly translated.

 

I am not sure that MSC know what they are taking on in the US market where passengers are used to near perfection in many facets of their cruise experience.
I think MSC know exactly what they're taking on - or even if MSC in Italy don't, Rick Sasso most certainly does, as he helped set those standards when he was with Celebrity.

 

And I think MSC should do very nicely in the US market (they've certainly got my attention - oops, wasn't that a Premier slogan from a few years back?). With better-translated menus :) .

 

Anyhow, sorry that one comment set off such a big controversy here... Certainly not intended!

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People forget that there are some things for which there is just no translation. Sloppy? No.. I can well imagine what a real Italian would think of some of the attempts in the US at an American translation into Italian... much the same as some of the French on menus... sometimes quite comical, but that's all part of it. The menus are not there to read as a perfect script for Americans.. I was quite able to fully understand what I would be getting. There are no words for some things. Imagine putting a translation of Haggis on a menu.. no-one would eat the stuff.

 

Bit like the French Toast scenario, & the daft woman who went bananas because she didn't get the covered in syrup US style type. When in Europe, I am not quite sure why she thought she would.. If she was unaware that there are other types of French Toast, then she should have politely asked for pancakes, or just got on and eaten what she had ordered. Like my raisins... I do know some who would have ranted & raved at the poor waiter because they thought they should be getting grapes, unaware they were coming in the next course. After a rant any waiter I suspect would not bring the next plate as the ranting passenger might then erupt thinking he was being belittled.

 

Nocaper the same happened to me... I sneaked a peek at the husband's menu and when the waiter took the order I gaily pointed and tried a few words for my choices... nothing clicked with him.. until I had finished, gave him the menu & said, 'My Italian lesson for Today':) He looked inside the menu & started to apologise, I said no need... while I was laughing, so we all ended up so. Such things break ice... why the heck does everything have to be perfect. Thereafter he checked the menu before giving it to me each night to ensure it was English.

 

Doug, it's actually 'Diplomat Cake' not Diplomatic:).. not that that should make any difference. It is not as heavy as fruit cake, nor like Italian Pannetone [of which there are many types too]. Dave just said it was nice.

 

Tallow? Thought one made candles out of that?;) Suet dumplings sit atop a beef stew, but often in some well to do restaurants here they are flattened and placed beneath prime beef/steak.

 

One should be perfectly able to understand an MSC Menu.. just as one should be able read a French one, regardless of one's origin. If one doesn't know, one asks, part of the waiter's job.

 

Pam

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I am not sure that MSC know what they are taking on in the US market where passengers are used to near perfection in many facets of their cruise experience.They won't travel on MSC again if its not as good as maybe Princess or HAL who have set the standards over the past few years in the massmarket cruising stakes.

 

Near Perfection? Not on Princess or HAL, they are Mass Market, even if classed as premium, but that is subjective. I doubt anyone would get near perfection on any line.

Anyway I don't see the relevance. Princess & HAL cater purely to Americans with a 'little piece of floating America'. Nothing wrong in that, it that's what one wants. Not all do.. some do not want to see anything at all American when they go on holiday, whereas others are scared to set foot off shore unless they are guaranteed not to meet any foreigners & not to hear any foreign language. Each to their own.. so there are different ships for & lines for everyone.

 

Some want to float around the Med 'in America', others wouldn't dream of doing so, they want to float around in it 'in Europe'. I am glad there is a choice, I enjoy all, some more than others.. but I would NOT want all lines to be the same, dishing out the same food, carrying out the same activities etc etc

 

Pam

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People forget that there are some things for which there is just no translation.
True, of course. I do think that they could probably have done a better job translating the menus, but anyhow, I think the translation discussion has pretty much run its course and is going in circles now. Sorry I even brought it up :) .

 

Bit like the French Toast scenario, & the daft woman who went bananas because she didn't get the covered in syrup US style type.
Imagine what would happen if French Toast Woman bought a ticket for a football game outside the US ;) ?

 

If MSC are really serious about entering the US market in as big a way as they make out, they will have to make some cultural adjustments though - with things like American French Toast going on the menu. If they want to remain a niche operator that's a different story of course, but indications are that they don't.

 

When in Europe, I am not quite sure why she thought she would..
Presumably because she simply assumed that French Toast in wherever she came from (in the US) was the "right" way to make French Toast. I doubt that she even ever considered that French Toast in France (or anywhere else) is not made with American white bread and bathed in maple syrup.

 

Doug, it's actually 'Diplomat Cake' not Diplomatic:).. not that that should make any difference. It is not as heavy as fruit cake, nor like Italian Pannetone [of which there are many types too]. Dave just said it was nice.
Well, the menu says Diplomatic Cake - I guess it really isn't that well translated then ;) .

 

I guess I will just have to go on MSC and try it anyhow.

 

Tallow? Thought one made candles out of that?;) Suet dumplings sit atop a beef stew, but often in some well to do restaurants here they are flattened and placed beneath prime beef/steak.
Yes, tallow is made from a fat called suet, which apparently is also used in cooking, which I wasn't aware of.

 

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, suet is:

 

1. a. The solid fat round the loins and kidneys of certain animals, esp. that of the ox and sheep, which, chopped up, is used in cooking, and, when rendered down, forms tallow. (Occas. applied to the corresponding fat in the human body.)

 

b. Hunting. The fat of deer. Obs.

 

2. attrib., as suet-chopper, dumpling; suet affection, a diseased condition of the fat surrounding the kidneys; suet-brained a., stupid; suet crust, a form of heavy pastry made with suet, esp. used for meat or fruit puddings; suet face, a face of a pale complexionless appearance; hence suet-faced; suet-headed a., stupid; suet pudding, a pudding made of flour and suet and usually boiled in a cloth.

Presumably on the menu, suet means "suet crust" or "suet pudding".

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Doug

Pergaps MSC should put pictures on the menu to help those who are bemused and confused by words/translations :-)

Personally I subscribe to the theory that it is the food alone which is delicious and appetizing. Words/translations on the menu are just a guide an outline of the pleasures that lie ahead!! A menu or at least the human imagination can indeed "stimulate" the appetite but what appears on the plate is what counts.

 

I think Pam was more than well aware of the dictionary definition of "suet" !!

I have never experienced a "tallow" pudding but imagine it might be at least disgusting if not inedible. The reverse is true of a "suet" pudding whether it be sweet or savoury (although neither features high on my list of favourites). That is the difference between "tallow" and "suet".

 

I believe that "suet" was not mentioned on the MSC menus - it was the translation to "croutons" which got the whole thing going!! Would have been even wose if the menu stated on "tallow crust" which appears to be your choice. :-)

 

In my experience the TOP restaurants in the world cannot be bothered with translations on menus. They describe the food as they see fit and you either accept or take your business elsewhere. One famous english chef was renown for throwing people out of his restaurant if they dared to order their steak in a particular way e.g. medium, well done, blue. He claimed he was the chef and he KNEW how steak should be cooked!! Guess what ? There was and still is a 3 months waiting list for a table at his restaurant.

 

If you really are attracted to the MSC product then get aboard now whilst it is still at its BEST, charming and unique even with its failings and alleged bad translations!

.

Do not wait till it is possibly reduced to another "run of the mill".

"americanised" cruise line. Remember "CHANGE" does not always mean "BETTER".

 

Barry :-)

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Pergaps MSC should put pictures on the menu to help those who are bemused and confused by words/translations :-)
Like a cheap Chinese takeaway ;) ?

 

Actually I think at least one cruise line (Celebrity IIRC) actually have (or used to have) each individual dish checked up against a photo to make sure the presentation was correct!

 

Personally I subscribe to the theory that it is the food alone which is delicious and appetizing.
I tend to disagree - a description of something that's unflattering can certainly kill my appetite to eat it.

 

I think Pam was more than well aware of the dictionary definition of "suet" !!
You have to remember this is a public message board. Even if Pam wasn't, not everyone reading might have been :) .

 

To be honest I didn't realise that suet was used in cooking, it certainly didn't strike me as the sort of thing one would want to eat.

 

Anyhow I've had enough of the suet discussion personally.

 

I believe that "suet" was not mentioned on the MSC menus
Indeed it was not. The whole suet thing was really just chatter between Pam and I, maybe I should have done it privately!

 

One famous english chef was renown for throwing people out of his restaurant if they dared to order their steak in a particular way e.g. medium, well done, blue.
Strikes me as a bit arrogant... Not everyone likes their steak cooked the same way and there is no "right" or "wrong" way to cook a steak IMHO. That's why most restaurants ask! But, each to his own...

 

Anyhow I do not think that the chef de cuisine on any ship would throw a passenger overboard if the passenger asked to have his steak cooked a certain way ;) .

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