MSC Armonia

MSC Cruises

Ship information

MSC Armonia

About MSC Armonia

MSC Armonia has been sailing in the Caribbean for several years, but until recently, it primarily targeted Europeans; now it's drawing a North American crowd as well.

A decently sized ship at about 2,500 passengers, MSC Armonia is smaller than most modern mega-ships and feels cozier than you'd think. Similarly, despite it being an older ship, the decor feels comfortable, rather than passe; imagine a high-end chain hotel that's become pleasantly worn-in over the years.

One of the best things about MSC Armonia, especially for social cruisers, is its passenger makeup -- a real melting pot of the world, with dozens of nationalities represented and a plethora of languages heard onboard. No matter where anyone is from, though, everyone is onboard to have fun.

Cruisers have a real appreciation for the relatively small-scale size of the ship, which allows you, the crew and other passengers to get on a first-name basis quickly. Participation in group activities (from poolside aerobics to dance competitions) is overwhelming and the theater is packed at night.

MSC Armonia is also a particularly kid-friendly ship, packed with kids' clubs that benefit from brand partnerships including Chicco, the Italian baby care brand, and Lego, the well-known toy block manufacturer, both of which resulted in the creation of five separate onboard child care centers, kids' and teen clubs.

For those who want to cruise on a ship surrounded by English-speakers, it's worth noting that all the announcements onboard are made in several languages (English, Italian, French, Spanish and German), which can get tedious at times. That said, English is the first language on MSC Cruises ships and we never had difficulty communicating. Crew quickly learned our names and even our favorite coffee and drink preferences. Special requests were handled with aplomb, and we found service to be quite friendly, if sometimes slow.

Cabins

MSC Armonia has 12 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

3 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

3 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

3 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

2 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

2 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

2 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

2 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

9 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

Theater
Teatro La Fenice, on Decks 5 and 6, features six separate shows each week with two performances each night to accommodate both seatings in the ship's main dining room. But, since MSC Armonia carries about 2,500 passengers at a time and the theater holds just 557 people, it can sometimes be a struggle to find a seat. For popular shows, some passengers end up standing or even sitting on the steps.

Because so many different nationalities and languages are onboard, shows tend to be heavy on music and spectacle and range from dance and acrobatic acts to musical revues. Other shows include cabaret acts and concerts. The shows are a not-to-miss activity each night, with everything from strong-man acts to takeoffs on hits, such as "Dirty Dancing" and "The Addams Family," which sometimes went off-script hilariously.

Teatro La Fenice is also used for daytime entertainment, such as a Master Chef competition, during which passengers, both children and adults, have fun competing, just like on the TV show. It's staged once during the cruise.

Daily Fun
Daytime entertainment options on MSC Armonia are numerous. Active options include morning stretching classes and aerobics, as well as dance lessons in either the Armonia Lounge or Bar del Duomo. Soccer tournaments and other sports take place in the Sport Center at the back of the ship, on the top deck.

More sedate options include trivia, arts and crafts sessions, bingo and other games in either the Armonia Lounge or Bar del Duomo.

The business center on Deck 6 is used as a movie theater. Usually, during the day, a family-friendly movie is played, with a more adult-themed movie at night.

At Night
MSC Armonia is not an early-to-be ship; instead, passengers are ready to party late into the night. The Bar del Duomo and Armonia Lounge both play host to several well-attended evening activities, such as dance lessons with the entertainment staff or late-night bingo. The Red Bar on Deck 6 hosts a pianist most nights, with passengers listening to music while sipping a drink.

For a ship of around 2,500 passengers, the casino -- Palm Beach Casino on Deck 6 -- is relatively small. The atmosphere of the casino is pleasant and open, with windows letting in natural light during the day, as opposed to the usual dark design of casinos where you never know what time it is. A semicircular bar in the forward corner looks out onto gaming tables and slot machines. Nonsmoking gamblers will be pleased that smoking isn't allowed.

MSC Armonia Bars and Lounges

The White Lion Pub (Deck 5): The English-style White Lion Pub is located between reception and the Teatro La Fenice, and is most heavily used before and after the theater performances.

The wine and cocktails are the same as elsewhere on the ship, but the menu offers many more beer options, including Newcastle Brown Ale, Amstel and Murphy's Irish Red on draught; more than 20 beer varieties in bottles; and a handful of beer cocktails.

You can also order a few complimentary snacks here, such as spinach and artichoke dip and chips, to go with your drinks. Live music and a nightly trivia quiz are quite popular with passengers.

Cigar Room (Deck 5): Adjacent to the White Lion Pub is the simply named Cigar Room, the ship's smoking lounge. It's decorated in wood paneling and offers small clusters of leather armchairs and couches, seating 10 with plenty of standing room.

Bar del Duomo (Deck 5): This lounge features live entertainment and dancing later in the evenings. Red semicircular couches and tables and chairs surround the stage and a small, black-and-white marble inlaid dance floor. It was often packed for predinner cocktails and later in the evening.

Seating at the back of the room is quieter, although it can be difficult to chat depending on the type of act that's playing. Featured activities, such as the "Majority Rules" game show and dance competitions with the theater cast, bring plenty of people out later in the evening.

The Red/Rum Bar (Deck 6): This classy little cocktail bar, branded by Bacardi, features specialty mojitos and a pianist in the evenings. An enormous blown-glass light fixture -- which is stunning in presentation as well as size and (presumed) weight -- dominates the space. The bar is open to the corridors on each side and because of that has a lobby-ish feel to it, with chairs arranged around small cocktail tables and people milling about. It gets very busy in the later hours of the evening.

Armonia Lounge Bar (Deck 7): MSC Armonia's show lounge offers nearly double the space of the Bar del Duomo. This is where the secondary acts that don't play in the Teatro La Fenice are shown, as well as dance classes and the like. Passengers will find late-night cabaret, live musicians and bands, with music ranging from Latin classical guitar to European pop and dance music.

During the day, you can also find books, board games and decks of cards to play with in a corner of the lounge.

Il Lido Bar (Deck 11): The ship's pool bar is open from 8 a.m. until late into the night and serves the ship's standard list of cocktails, wine, beer and spirits.

Starlight Disco (Deck 12): The Starlight Disco is the late-night dance venue onboard. Situated at the back of Deck 12, it's quiet during the day but offers nice views over the stern of the ship. Typically, the younger passengers onboard convene at the disco around 11:30 p.m., when the ship's DJ sets up to spin tracks, and the dancing goes on well into the night. The venue is open from 11 p.m. until the wee hours of the night.

MSC Armonia Outside Recreation

Pools
MSC Armonia has a single pool deck (Deck 11), with two pools -- one family and one adult. The two whirlpool hot tubs in between are not big, but there is plenty of room for loungers, and the shaded areas along the outside of the pool deck have both tables (near the bar) and loungers for those who prefer to stay out of the sun.

An enormous colorful, interactive water feature called the Doremi Spray Park is aimed at the children onboard. The area around the Doremi Spray Park truly feels expansive -- almost to the point of dwarfing the pools -- and it's hard to imagine it getting crowded.

Recreation
Forget about over-the-top features that newer ships all seem to sport. MSC Armonia has pretty low-key recreational offerings. Apart from the pool deck and Doremi Spray Park, passengers can entertain themselves with shuffleboard, Ping-Pong and an enclosed sports center on Deck 13 with a multipurpose court that has basketball hoops.

The sports and activities on Deck 13 are generally open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., and equipment can be borrowed from 9 a.m. to midnight. Ask attendants near the pool or at the reception desk for gear.

Sun Decks
Apart from the main pool deck, there is only one additional sun deck, located at the forward end of Deck 13. The Top 13 adults-only retreat is tied in with the MSC Aurea Spa onboard and entry costs $15 per person, per day. The space offers comfortable loungers, showers, whirlpool baths and a dedicated wait staff. You can rent cocoon beds -- pod-shaped wicker, rattan beds with a mattress and pillows -- for $40 per day.

MSC Armonia Services

Many of Armonia's services are located toward the forward end of Deck 5. Shopping (jewelry, clothing and accessories) is clustered around and just forward from reception, also on Deck 5. Moving toward the back of the ship, you'll find the photo gallery, shore excursions desk and the internet cafe, where you can purchase Wi-Fi packages.

The cost of Wi-Fi packages is based on usage. When connecting to Wi-Fi onboard, you can stop and start your session whenever you need to use the internet -- and whenever it's available. As on most cruise ships, access can be spotty. An unlimited internet package costs $199, while a standard internet package for two devices and a 3,000MB limit is $99.

A small corner of the Armonia Lounge is carved out for books in multiple languages, plus games and puzzles.

There is no self-service laundry, but laundry service packages are available. A 20-item packages costs $35.

Dining

Food onboard MSC Armonia is hit or miss, though plenty of passengers seemed happy enough with the offerings. One would assume that Italian food would be the star of the show at meals, but overcooked pasta on more than one occasion and sometimes flavorless sauces were a disappointment. Dishes, such as an excellent vegan burger served at lunch, were happy discoveries.

Pizza, available at the buffet or as a delivery to your cabin, was a passenger favorite, as was the gelato bar.

There's also not a wide variety of dining options, with just two main dining rooms (one of which is for suite passengers only), a buffetand one specialty dining venue.

With advance notice, passengers with special dietary needs are accommodated with no problem. MSC Armonia carries prepackaged gluten-free products, such as snacks, cookies, croissants, sponge cakes and muffins.

Free Dining

Marco Polo (Deck 5)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D)
Marco Polo, seating 1,060 passengers, is the larger of the ship's two main dining rooms. Tables seat from two to six diners, and seating areas along the outside wall are a combination of built-in bench seating, normal table and chair setups and semicircular booths that seat six.

Breakfast and lunch are both waiter-served and open seating. For dinner, passengers dining in Marco Polo are allocated a set table and fixed dining time (early or late seatings are timed to coincide with the two evening shows in the Teatro La Fenice theater) at 6:15 p.m. or 8:45 p.m.

Breakfast offers eggs cooked to order, bacon, sausage, smoked salmon, cold cuts, cheese, fruit, yogurt, cereal, pastries, bread, tea, coffee, hot chocolate and fruit juices. Lunch features a three-course menu made up of starters (soup, cheese croquettes, Greek salad), a main (typically steak, pasta and fish dishes -- hamburgers are always available and the vegan version is better than average), a daily special and desserts.

Dinner offers at least three courses, as well, plus an always-available menu with options that include Caesar salad (chicken optional), grilled chicken breast, steak or salmon dishes served with French fries, baked potatoes or the vegetable dish of the day. Specials could be anything from roast pheasant to red snapper.

Vegan choices are also offered and most special diets can be catered for onboard, but MSC advises cruisers to notify the line of any special dietary needs when booking their cruise.

La Pergola (Deck 6)
Meals: B, L, D
La Pergola, the second main dining room, seats 340 people and has open seating from 6 to 9 p.m. but is reserved for Aurea and Fantastica Suite passengers only. La Pergola offers the same menu as Marco Polo.

La Brasserie (Deck 11)
Meals: B, L, D
La Brasserie is MSC Armonia's buffet cafeteria set up at the back end of Deck 11. It holds just 290 people, so it can get crowded. La Brasserie stays open from 6 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. There's also a 24-hour coffee, tea and water station inside La Brasserie.

For breakfast, the buffet offers both continental and cooked food, with all the usual options. In addition to the savory options, there are also sweet breakfast items, such as pancakes, waffles and crepes.

Lunch and dinner options include a salad bar, cold cuts, a carvery (for roasts), pasta and other hot dishes -- for example, curries or beef stroganoff -- along with fresh fruit, ice cream and a selection of cakes and other desserts.

Il Girasole (Deck 11)
Meals: B, L, D
There's plenty of protected outdoor seating in Il Girasole, just forward from La Brasserie. This nicely situated spot serves up hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, fruit and desserts buffet-style and also has its own bar. Waiters patrol the area to serve drinks, but service can be slow.

Gelateria Italiana (Deck 11)
Meals: Gelato
Gelateria Italiana's hours vary quite a bit and you'll have to look in the daily program to see what they are each day. It serves up different flavored gelato and chocolate and vanilla soft serve ice cream in cups or cones.

Room Service
Meals: B
For Aurea- and Fantastica-level passengers, complimentary breakfast is included with your cruise fare.

Fee Dining

Surf & Turf (Deck 6); $35 per person, plus a la carte options
Meals: D
Located in the space carved out of the back of the La Pergola suites-only restaurant, Surf & Turf serves exactly what its name says: lobsters, steaks and classic sides that pair with them.

The cover charge includes a choice of appetizers, such as crab cakes and pork belly, entrees (filet mignon and lobster tail, rib eye, lobster thermidor) with two side dishes and desserts.

Should you have room for more food, you can order extra for reasonable prices.

Reservations are highly recommended.

Caffe San Marco (Deck 6); a la carte specialty coffee
Meals: Snacks
On the second level of the main lobby, Caffe San Marco serves extra-fee hot coffees, iced and frozen coffees and chocolate drinks, as well as free biscotti and pastry items. You'll also find alcoholic drinks, such as espresso martinis. The cafe is typically open from 6 a.m. until midnight.

Vitamin Bar (Deck 11); a la carte
Meals: Juices
The Vitamin Bar offers drinks made from fresh fruit and juices with the option to add additional vitamin boosters. Drinks costs just a few dollars, and hours vary day by day.

Room Service; $7.95 delivery fee and a la carte pizza
Meals: B, L, D
A hearty breakfast, such as omelets and pancakes, is available and comes with a $7.95 service charge, as do lunch and dinner orders (though this fee is waived for any passenger who has booked the Fantastic or Aurea Experience).

The standout item is pizza, which is delivered to your room in a pizza box, just like at home. Pizzas are available from noon to midnight and cost between $6 and $9.50.

The menu also includes soup, sandwiches, salads, pasta, chicken, a cheese plate, a fruit plate and the dessert of the day. Room service is available 24 hours a day.