January 2016 - MSC Armonia to South America
"Extremely disappointed "
I am from Switzerland and I moved to Brazil a year ago. My fiancee and I had booked this cruise several months before in order to show a little bit of Brazil to my family (coming from Switzerland to visit me).
When we arrived, we were offered a "welcome lunch" for which we had to wait 20 minutes in a queue to put food in our dirty plastic plates. Then, it was hardly possible to find a table to seat and in addition, the food was awful...
I took an hamburger at the buffet and the meat was literally green. At the beginning, there was no descent food for my fiancee who's vegetarian. Just a few waiters understood Portuguese and it wasn't better for English.
My family had already been on an 6 days MSC cruise in the United Arab Emirates (MSC Lirica) and my fiancee to a 5 days MSC cruise in South America (MSC Orchestra) so they expected a certain quality. Unfortunately, everyone was shocked by the service and, mostly, the food... It was eatable but not any special. It seemed that the crew didn't like brazilian guests so we began to speak in english and they were suddenly extremely kind with us. We later spoke about the food with the Food & Beverage Manager (who was vegetarian as well) and he took special care of my fiancee and things got a tiny bit better.
The trips offered were EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE!!! $60+ for a trip operated by MSC while you find the same trip on shore for less than a 90 réais (+/- $20). (prices per person)
It was a 4 days (3 nights) cruise but in fact, it was a 2.5 days cruise because we had to LEAVE the cabin at 7.00 AM and leave the ship at about 9.00 AM.
We expected to relax and rest on this ship, instead, we disembarked more exhausted than when we embarked.
CONCLUSION: your experience on this ship might be better in a cruise out of Brazil but I don't recommend you the MSC Armonia because there wasn't too much things to do onboard. I also recommend you to choose longer cruises (5 nights minimum) even if the price will be a little higher, I believe that the number of night has a lot of influence on the quality experienced onboard. (more night = better experience, less nights = stressful and no time to rest).
I hope my review will be useful. Feel free to ask me questions.