MSC cruises made headlines earlier this week with the relaunch of the MSC Armonia. The ship set sail on the 18th of November from Genoa on a 10-day cruise to the Canary Islands. About2Cruise has been covering this ongoing story.
“I’m very proud of what we and our partners at Fincantieri have achieved with MSC Armonia. Not only is she smarter and more spacious, but we have given her a new lease of life that will appeal to experienced cruise travellers and first-timers in equal measure. This is why we call her ‘the ship that suits you’” stated MSC Cruises’ CEO, Gianni Onorato.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW ARMONIA
No expense has been spared and the refurbishment is part of MSC’s newest scheme, the Renaissance Programme. The other ships placed in the Renaissance programme for dry-dock are: MSC Sinfonia – 12 January to 16 March 2015; MSC Opera – 2 May to 4 July 2015; MSC Lirica – 31 August to 9 November 2015.
The Armonia holds 1,566 passengers, making it cosier and more intimate than the new builds of today. There are now 786 cabins with more balcony cabins than before the refurbishment. Amenities in all of the smartly decorated staterooms and suites include a flat-screen TV, minibar/fridge combo, a personal safe that is located behind a vanity mirror, a hairdryer and a bathroom with shower and toilet.
THREE MSC EXPERIENCES
Passengers can choose from three different experiences onboard the Armonia which are tailored to their needs. The ‘Bella’ offers what is considered standard cruise service and amenities. The ‘Fantastica’ contains added perks of luxury and the ‘Aurea’ throws in complimentary spa treatments and free refills on beverages.
There are numerous options for dining onboard the ship. The main restaurant on the Armonia is the Marco Polo, which has open seating for breakfast and lunch and serves a number of international dishes for dinner. There is also an Italian restaurant that is more formal, La Pergola which is available by reservation.
A buffet is open 20 hours a day for those that want casual dining and a variety of cuisines. There are a number of lounges that make for a great escape to sit back and relax after an exciting day at port.
ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT
Children will be enthralled by the special areas for them that have been designed by family-friendly companies such as Chicco® and LEGO®. The swimming pool has added a Spray Park with water jets, slides and other aquatic attractions.
Enjoy unique entertainment at the La Gondola theatre which features performances of plays, cabaret shows, magicians and other interesting shows. Live music is also played in some of the bars onboard.
At the Atlantica Spa there are many treatments available from relaxing in the steam room to massage treatments from MSC’s experienced staff. A good aromatherapy session with chamomile and eucalyptus can be just the thing to remove stress and the Rasul chamber is highly recommended too.
For those who want to get some exercise on the ship, there is a gym with all the latest equipment and a view of the ocean. Outside of the spa, there is a rock climbing wall as well as a basketball/volleyball court.
Examples of itineraries planned for this ‘newest’ member of MSC’s fleet include 7 or 9 night winter sailings to the Canary Islands. For the summer months 5 or 7 night itineraries in the Mediterranean will be available with ports of call such as Ajaccio, Spezia, Marseille, Palma de Mallorca, Valletta, Messina and Salerno.
The most highly anticipated sailing for The Armonia is their Grand Voyage scheduled for the 25th of October 2015. This 20-night sailing is far from the typical repositioning cruise. Departing from Spezia, Italy the ship is planning stops in Europe that include Marseille and Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Malaga and Cadiz.
Then it is off to the Canary Island ports of Arrecife de Lanzarote and Santa Cruz de Tenerife before cruising the Atlantic to Salvador, Buzios, Ilhabela and Santos, Brazil.
She will remain in South America for the winter 2016 with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 night sailings before making a 19-night turnaround back to Italy on the 14th of March.
Written by Veronica Shine