17 of 17 people found this review informative
|Reviewed By: Hazell, Mountsorrel on 2nd Mar 2011|
|Cruise Line: MSC Cruises||Times cruised before: 6-10|
|Cruise Ship: MSC Armonia||Sailed: September, 2010|
|Destination: Mediterranean||Age: 46-55|
MSC Cruise to the Eastern Med Sept 13th 2010 for 7 days on the MSC Armonia.
This cruise departed from Venice and visited the following ports, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Pereaus, Kotor, Argostoli and Ancona, before returning to Venice.
Having travelled previously with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise lines, we departed on our holiday with much apprehension. We had read reviews here on this website and elsewhere that MSC were, shall we say, not up to standards of other cruise lines.
What attracted us to this particular holiday was A) Price and B) itinerary.
We got a last minute deal for £799 each, we got a Scheduled British Airways flight from Gatwick to Venice & return, transfer to the port, a Balcony cabin midship, and of course, all meals included.
We had heard so many bad things about MSC prior to travel but let me say now; most of it is total rubbish. What other cruise line would give you 7 nights in a balcony cabin with all meals included, a scheduled return flight, plus visiting some lovely places that some other cruise lines don’t visit?
The Armonia is a medium size ship, granted its a few years old but somehow doesn’t feel that old. Ok, it doesn’t have rock climbing walls, flow riders and such, but it does have plenty of deck areas with great views, plenty of sun beds, good swimming pools etc. Probably more suited to adults than children I would say.
Our room was excellent. Once on board (check-in took just a few minutes) we were escorted to our room by a member of staff, a nice touch we thought. The room was as classed as a suite; it had a large king-size bed, dresser, wardrobe, Colour TV, separate bathroom with bath and shower, and also a balcony. (Weather was great so it was used daily) I would compare the room to the same standards as on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the seas. Room service was equally as good. The only negative was that there was no tea or coffee available in the room, but we took our own travel kettle and this saved us a fortune (we could have made a fortune selling tea to our fellow English travellers!)
The crew were very friendly, considering this was to be the last cruise of the season for many of the crew as the ship was going to Brazil after our cruise and many of the crew were leaving for a well deserved break, generally the crew went about their business with a smile and enthusiasm.
The food was at meal times was average. Our head waiter was not up to RCB/Celebrity standards. He was neither helpful nor unhelpful, smiled little, but we got by. To be honest, this is what we had heard about MSC before travel so it was no surprise. BUT, consider what we paid, you have to take that into account. If we had travelled with RCB/Celebrity I would have expected a package to be twice as much!
The Itinerary was wonderful. Venice was magnificent; the views travelling out on the Armonia were to say the least, spectacular. Dubrovnik again was a delight, rather crowded with tourists but a must. Corfu was very nice, a short transfer (free) was provided into the town and we walked around the shops etc. Pereaus in Greece was also great. A short walk from the ship, we got on a horse & trap and took a tour around the City. It lasted about an hour and cost us just 10 euro’s each, but we saw some great sights. We could of course had gone to Athens but having visited before we gave it a miss. We then went to Argostoli in Kefalonia. This was a lovely place and again we walked from the ship into the small town. It was very very quiet though and most of the shops were shut as it was coming to the end of the season. There were some lovely restaurants open that seemed to be serving lovely fish dishes however!
Kotor in Montenegro however was the best place we visited. Absolutely fantastic! The scenery on arrival was spectacular, this really was the ‘jewel in the crown’ and I can see why so many people who have been loved it. We docked virtually beside the main street in the town of Kotor, (think Dubrovnik but much less crowded) We walked round the local market that was selling wonderful locally grown produce (we purchase a bottle of fantastic extra virgin olive oil for 5 euro’s!) We walked to the local beach over-looking the bay and it was marvellous. The sea was a lovely turquoise colour and was very calm. This is a place that I would love to spend some more time at and we shall definitely visit again!
Our last port was Ancona in Italy. This was a disappointment; really it was just a stop over for MSC to re stock. As it was a Sunday, many of the Italian passengers disembarked the ship, presumably as work for them beckoned.
The town centre of Ancona itself was again just a short walk away but we found virtually everywhere closed. The weather was also raining and we felt a little bored. Not much more to say about Ancona. The last day was in Venice where we had a full day before our flight home at tea time.
Would we travel with MSC again? The answer would have to be yes but the price would have to be right. For what we paid we thought it was a bargain! We also met some great people on board who like us agreed that although not up to anywhere near the standards of RCB/Celebrity/P&O etc on the food/Restaurant service side, it wasn’t that bad at all!
|Quality of Food|
|Very average, sometimes barely warm but adequate|
|Shows were not bad, the theatre was always full and overall the staff tried hard.|
|Kotor simply beautiful.|
|Room attendant was very nice, worked hard without being intrusive. Could bot do enough for you.|
|Sunbathed on the deck mainly but everybody seemed to be having fun around the pools and sorts areas|
|Yes very good, plenty of room and kept immaculate|
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