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Freeborn - Answered a Question by Janes Smith (31 Jan 09 12:01)

We sailed on Armonia in October 2006 and found the food very good indeed, especially the Italian varieties - pasta and risottos daily were outstanding and there were very good Italian regional main courses. We're MSC fans, having sailed 3 times on Opera and once on Armonia - although the brand isn't as good as Celebrity, with whom we've cruised a lot, we would definitely sail again with MSC and the food is one of the major reasons!

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BLYTH - Answered a Question by Janes Smith (31 Jan 09 11:54)

MSC Cruises has introduced throughout its fleet a “Clean Air” policy, which will allow both smokers and non-smokers to enjoy their holidays on board in mutual respect. After the introduction of the ‘Clean Air’ policy, the trials of the extensive smoke-free zones have received general approval of passengers. We have eliminated smoking in all areas where non-smokers and smokers would have shared the same spaces. We assigned a few rooms where smokers are welcome, but the majority of indoor spaces are now non-smoking. On all MSC vessels, smoking is therefore only allowed indoors in the Cigar Rooms, the Casinos and in one dedicated lounge. Passengers can also smoke outside, on one side of the sun deck, but no smoking is allowed in cabins or on balcony cabins. The rest of the ships is therefore totally smoke-free, for the benefit of non-smokers. Thanks to the Clean Air Policy, MSC Cruises has therefore managed to satisfy both smokers and non-smokers by having a 90% smoke-free ship.

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Morton - replied to BLYTH (31 Jan 09 13:02)

May I ask if this is your considered opinion based on experience or a quote from an MSC company document? I only ask because the official line and reality can be poles apart especially on the touchy subject of smoking. It is one of the few points that could ruin a cruise for me[I'm anti] and I think actual knowledge of the ship is called for here. Your answer is couched in 'press release/brochure' terms so do forgive my questioning you.

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Morton - replied to BLYTH (31 Jan 09 13:26)

Just read the reviews. Have a look at MSC Fantasia submitted 30th Jan. I know it's not the same ship but it's the same line. That is why I would like to know if Mr Blyth has experience of the Armonia so Janes-Smith can be sure.

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Blyth - replied to Morton (01 Feb 09 10:26)

There is close on 300 cruise ships so no we can't be on all what we try to do is to help given the experience built up over quite a number of different cruises. The info I passed on is yes the company policy which should be enforced on all their ships, now the review Wilba quoted was from the Fantasia but if you use this site you will see there are a number of good/bad reports from a number of past passengers on the Armonia but none I have so far read mention an issue with smoking. You now know the policy if it is an issue then you should compalin to the ship's Captain not the Master, the ship's Captain is responsible for disciplinary issues concerning the staf and ensuring they are doing their duties properly and if they are allowing passengers to smoke in an areas not designated they should advise them accordingly. I always take a copy of the info from the brochure with us and luckily we have never had a serious issue and by the end of this year we will have completed 20 cruises from San Francisco to New Zealand; from Caribbean to the Med. Have a look at the reviews on the Armonia and see what the variations are from the worst to the best by different passengers. I hate the idea that someones cruise is spoilt by the few and like to think the problems can be dealt with there and then and not a bad review when the passengers come home. Hope this helps... Bill.

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Dodd - Answered a Question by Janes Smith (31 Jan 09 13:26)

If your at all confused by the smoking status on MSC, go to reviews MSC Fantasia 30th Jan.

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thompson - Answered a Question by Janes Smith (02 Feb 09 20:19)

Hi, cruised on the armonia 2 yrs ago and loved it, no complains at all, food superb, entertainment great, we then went on the orchestra last year and loved that too, cant compare to any other cruise though. my only tiny complaint is that it is very multi-language so every announcement takes forever, but i would definatley do another msc cruise, hope this helps, julie.

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Lines - Answered a Question by Janes Smith (02 Feb 09 22:34)

All I can say is good luck on the Armonia. We went on this ship last year from Dover and were glad to get off for a good meal. The evening food was simply disgusting. If I were you I would cancel on go on Princess or Ocean Village. These two lines are fantastic and we wouldn't touch anything on MSC again with a barge pole. Have a great trip and take a suitcase of decent cheese and other snacks - you'll need it!

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Chapman - replied to Lines (04 Feb 09 21:59)

What - Do not go on Ocean Village - it is worse than MSC by far! If you want to mix with people who have not bothered to change out of their vest and pants since breakfast and are happy for a 20 minutes self service meal for their evening meal, and quite happy to have babies crawling around in nappies in the main bar at 8.30 pm - fine - not to mention the smoking virtually everywhere. I would rather not go on a cruise again if I had to go OV! and don't think that you can escape to James Martin's restaurant as that is not much better. Unfortunately our food and service was extremely poor on Musica in November to Rio (however it was greatly improving by the last couple of nights - it was actually hot and started to resemble proper food - apart from pasta/risotto which was superb). The ship and cabin was excellent and we found the entertainment fine (little irratating during the day round the pool but you could always move away) - think they need to decide if they are going to attract the British market. Embarkation/Disembarkation - well like them all they've had your money and your time is finished!! The ports of call are fab - but as previous comment - complain pleasantly if you can find the Maitre'd, Purser or anyone else in authority - they all seem to disappear. Just say you are not paying the set gratuties and you may actually get to speak to someone.

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Lines - replied to Chapman (05 Feb 09 07:17)

Oh dear, I am sorry that you had a bad experience on the Ocean Village. Admittedly we did go on it during the very first season so how times must have changed. What a pity. The way Mrs Chapman describes the Ocean Village is exactly what we experience on MSC Armonia. People did come down to dine inappropriately dressed and even the waiters commented to us that some of the people had obviously never eaten in a restaurant before. We were obviously very unlucky but, in the future, we are cruising on no one else other than Princess or P & O. Happy cruising to you all.

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