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Cruise Ship Information

MSC Cruises (Italian: MSC Crociere S.p.A.) is a division of Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC). MSC is an Italian shipping company devoted to the cruise market with headquarters in Geneva. The company, whose capital is wholly Swiss, employs 15,500 people worldwide and has offices in 45 countries.

Originally founded as Lauro Lines by Achille Lauro, the company entered the cruise business in the 1960s, operating two ships, the Angelina Lauro and MS Achille Lauro, both of which met fiery ends. After the Angelina Lauro burnt in the port of St.Thomas in 1979, Lauro Lines, also known as Flotta Lauro, met with bad times, now operating just one ship, the Achille Lauro. In 1985, the Achille Lauro was hijacked by members of the Palestine Liberation Front, and the much-publicised event further dropped passenger numbers. In 1989, Flotta Lauro was purchased by Mediterranean Shipping Company and renamed StarLauro Cruises. In 1994, the Achille Lauro caught fire and sank. In 1995, the company name was changed to MSC Cruises.

MSC Cruises claims to be the third largest cruise operator in the world, after Carnival Corporation & plc and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. with a 6% share of all passengers carried and cruise revenue in 2012. Yet, because MSC Cruises has no stakes exchanged on the market, it has no obligations to issue its budget certified by independent parties, which therefore it does not; as a consequence the data MSC Cruises releases about itself are not verifiable.

Atmosphere on board

Catering to a mostly European passenger base, the 1,566-passenger, 58,600-ton, MSC Armonia entered service in 2001. MSC Armonia boasts many of the features typical of contemporary cruise liners, including two outdoor pools, health and fitness center, spa, beauty salon, 10 bars, four restaurants, disco, theater, cabaret, casino, Internet Cafe, simulation golf range, video arcade and children's playroom.

Family with Kids/Teens

Available for children aged 3-12, free of charge, is the kid's club run by qualified entertainment staff who arrange activities from painting to board games and group games.

Whilst the kid's club is only available at certain times of the day, a programme of activities is on offer from early morning to early evening to keep children entertained.

With children’s programs available daily from the children’s centre, activities are divided into two categories:

Mini Club, for children from 3 to 6 years

Junior Club, for children from 7 to 12 years

Whilst parents are away from the ship on excursions, the Mini Club remains open. Additionally for parents ashore or involved in activities on board the ship, the Children’s supervisors will also take the youngsters to the buffet or the ship’s restaurant for children’s meals from the dedicated Children’s menu.

Past Passenger Programs

17 Nani, located outside the Spa forward of deck 11, is the location for the kid's club on board MSC Armonia. Staffed by specially qualified members of Armonia’s animation team, it has areas designated for arts and crafts, movies, Playstations and a soft play area with ball pit and little slide.

The room is for use by children attending the kid's club only and opening times are detailed in guest's daily newsletters.

Fitness And Spa

The ship's MSC Aurea Spa, open from 9.00am to 9.00pm and located forward of deck 11, includes the ship's fitness centre, beauty salon, sauna, Turkish bath and relaxation room.

The thermal suite which includes two scented Turkish bath steam rooms, a sauna, tropical rain showers and relaxation area with heated ceramic loungers opens from 9.00am to 8.00pm and costs around €16 per session or around €49.50 for a pass for the cruise duration.

The spa also has massage rooms offering a range of treatments examples of which are as follows:

Bali Wellness Package (€90 booked pre-sail, €138 booked on-board). The wellness package comprises of a Bali Massage, facial treatment and daily pass to thermal suite with aromatherapy.

Complete Massage Package (€195 booked pre-sail, €363 on board). The complete massage package includes a Bali massage lasting 45 minutes, a Bali massage with foot reflexology lasting 45 minutes, a Bali massage with lava stones lasting 45 minutes and a 20 minute Bali head massage.

Food & Dining

Marco Polo, located on deck 5 with room for 718 passengers, is the larger of the ship's two main dining rooms.

It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast and lunch are both waiter service open seating whilst for dinner guests are allocated a set table and fixed dining time of either early or late dining (usually 7.00pm and 9.30pm although this is subject to change dependent upon the cruises sailing itinerary).

The breakfast menu served from around 7.00am to 10.00am offers a selection of eggs cooked different ways, omelettes with a variety of fillings, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, cold meats, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals, pastries, bread, cheese, smoked salmon, tea, coffee, hot chocolate and fruit juices along with a special of the day.

For Lunch (served from around 12.00 to 2.00pm) a three course menu is served of Starters (such as fish soup, cheese croquettes, Greek salad), Main Course (for example beef fillet with rocket lettuce and pecorino cheese, clam linguine, roasted scorpion fish with saffron rice, hamburgers and fried calamari), a Special Dish (such as oven baked pasta with cheddar cheese or Chilli con carne) and Desserts (including a selection of fresh fruit or, for example, mini chocolate parfait, apricot tart or ice cream).

Dinner consists of a seven course menu, examples of which are as follows:

Starters:

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad

Vegetable and Pasta Soup

Mains:

Seared fillet of salmon

Pasta with shellfish served in a tomato sauce

Cheese and basil risotto

Smoked ham glazed with pineapple

Escalope of turkey

Baked eggplant with parmesan

Desserts:

Cheesecake with fresh fruit and coconut sauce

Rum baba with custard

Tiramisu

Ice Cream

Fresh Fruit

Vegan choices are also offered (such as vegetarian strudel and Boca burger) whilst 'always available' options include soup, Caesar salad, pasta Bolognese, chicken breast, beef steak, or salmon served with French fries, baked potatoes, or vegetables of the day.

Entertainment

Teatro La Fenice has seating for 557 guests, and spans decks 5 and 6. It is home to MSC Armonia’s shows ranging from singers, classical music and jugglers to shadow puppeteers and acrobatic gymnastics.

Two shows are performed each night to cater for early and late seating’s in the ship's main dining room and last for around half an hour.

Due to the ship's multi-cultural passengers the shows tend to largely feature musical or visual acts.

Fellow Passengers

Anyone who has not experienced accommodation on a ship will be surprised to discover that this is a wonderfully delight accommodation experience. You are invited to double cabins for two or family cabins, upgrades, well equipped suites and Mano Shipping’s luxury liners, Royal Iris and Royal Iris, include cabins of various standards - for you to choose.

Tipping

 

Our recommendation

All in all the ship was very clean and tidy but the food was not very good, not to the standard we are used to on cruise ships. The entertainment seemed to be based around couple off dozen people wanting to get up and take dancing lessons day and night and again the theatre shows were very poor based on a few girls and boyss dancing on stage Not very well I might add. To say that MSC have just spent so much money on this ship it was not very well stabilised compared to other ship,s. The staff were very nice across the ship but I think that €8.30 per person per day gratuities is a bit too high I know we could have taken this off our bill and give our own tips out but we then thought it would not be fair on behind the scenes staff so paid it. For the price we paid it was a nice break but don't think we will book another MSC cruise