MSC Cuba cruise: very good port itinerary, disappointing execution.

MSC Armonia Cruise Review to Cuba

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 26

Overall rating:

3.5 out of 5
Verified Review
MSC Armonia

7 Night Western Caribbean & Cuba (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: May 20, 2019

Ship: MSC Armonia

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 9179

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

As mentioned on other sites (Cruise Critic, Trip Advisor, etc.), nobody seems to be taking this cruise for a "grand cruise experience"- let's be real- It's the itinerary. In that regard, it measures up. And let's be honest, with these ports of call, especially if you're travelling with friends, even a mediocre cruise experience can still be a good , memorable adventure.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Best hassle-free embarkation experience we've ever had- on ANY cruise line!

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Buffet was pretty good, main dining room experience was disappointing. Food quality needs noticeable improvement, service was generally good, but not without concerning glitches. Also, "Fantastica" supposedly upgraded room service was RIDICULOUSLY limited. Basically, any breakfast other than "continental" required additional charges

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Once again, pool was not up to the same standards we have had on other cruise lines.

Entertainment

3 out of 5
Entertainment was inferior to what we've had on any other lines; also NO LIVE MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT ON ANY STAGE SHOWS. (All music was "canned"-pre-recorded. There was even some OBVIOUS lip-syncing.) How about MSC charges $10 more per cabin , and hires some decent LIVE musicians.

Children's Programs

Didn't travel with children.

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Waiter service was generally good, but bar service in the main dining room was a nightly nightmare. Cabin service was OK, but not without hassles that required multiple calls to customer service. Also: There is NO WAY to contact cabin attendants or housekeeping directly from the cabins, meaning any issues or concerns have to be routed through guest services. This became a problem. We've NEVER encountered this before.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Nice ship, fairly nicely decorated/appointed, but not up to standards that we're used to. Ship seems to be well maintained. Dining room windows need cleaning.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Cabin was "cozy"- smaller than on other ships, but OK for a 1 week or shorter cruise. Too small to be comfortable for anything longer. Clean and well maintained.

Ship tip

Check your beverage package. THE MOST LIMITED WE"VE EVER ENCOUNTERED. Get a SPECIFIC list of what's included on your plan, so you can figure "work-arounds" in advance.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida

4 out of 5
Hey, it's Miami- no comment needed.

Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

4 out of 5
Really liked Roatan. Great, friendly people. Took an excursion we booked privately before sailing. (recommend you do the same). Would consider returning for a land vacation- beautiful an affordable, plenty of activities.

Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico

4 out of 5
Once again, booked a Mayan Ruins excursion privately. Good time, interesting place.

Cozumel, Mexico

4 out of 5
As time in this port was EXTERMELY limited, we resorted to the Tulum excursion offered by MSC. Worked out pretty well.

HAVANA, CUBA

4 out of 5
Glad we went, especially as the current administration is making travel to Cuba VERY difficult. Loved the people, the culture, etc. Booked a Havana tour PRIVATELY- we suggest you do the same- an MSC shore excursion is NOT REQUIRED, and you don't have to have anything scheduled for the next day. The REQUIRED Cuban visa (sold on the ship) means you can get on/off the ship as much as you like for the entire time you're docked.*CHECK THE BOX MARKED 'SUPPORT FOR THE CUBAN PEOPLE"- absolutely no hassles- nobody even looks or cares.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
One of the best, easiest disembarkation experiences we've had.
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