On December 10 MSC Cruises welcomed MSC Armonia to Miami, FL, in preparation for her first sailing from the United States to Cuba. The cruise has been fitted with an onboard experience inspired by vibrant culture of Cuba.
MSC Armonia will begin sailing seven-night Caribbean itineraries year-round departing from Miami and calling at Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico, before arriving in Havana, the Cuban capital, on Saturday and staying overnight to Sunday. With only one day at sea in this itinerary, cruisers are given more time to explore these ports of call, the cruise line said.
With two full days in Havana, guests will have the chance to immerse themselves in the Cuban culture both during the day and in the evening through a variety of distinctive tours. Shore excursions will explore local highlights from music, art and architecture to classic cigar rolling, rum distilling and much more. Guests can:
- Ride in vintage American cars, a staple of the Havana experience. On this excursion, guests will tour the city in classic vehicles down the seafront Malecón boulevards and Quinta Avenida. Guests will stop for a historic photo opportunity at Plaza de la Revolución, and then head to the famous Christopher Columbus Cemetery. As the drive continues, participants will marvel at some of the city’s key landmarks.
- Sip on local rum and try classic Habanos cigars to learn about a key part of Cuban culture. Guests will visit a cigar factory to watch highly-skilled torcedors as they hand-roll Cuban cigars. Then, cruisers will head to the Havana Club Museum to learn about how freshly cut sugarcane is distilled into rum and then try some of the final product.
- Dance at Havana’s largest nightclub, the renowned Tropicana Club - Founded in 1939 in Havana’s Marianao suburb, the Tropicana Club is an iconic celebration of Cuban culture with tropical surroundings. Visitors will listen to live music and see a variety of performers in vibrant costumes, while sipping on a local cocktail and dancing the night away.
These on shore experiences are complemented by the variety of on board enhancements to MSC Armonia, including new dining and entertainment concepts and special features paying homage to Cuba.
On Saturday evenings, during MSC Armonia’s overnight stay in Havana, a highlight of MSC Armonia’s entertainment offering will be the addition of local Cuban music while in port in Cuba. Straight from the city of Havana, various musicians will join guests on board to play local Cuban music and dance the evening away.
The ship will also transform one of its bars into a Havana haven, with a wide range of Mojito cocktails to choose from, whether traditional or out-of-the-box. These include:
- Classic Mojito, made in traditional style with mint leaves, sugar, lime, club soda and rum.
- Guava Mojito, with rum mixed with sweet guava, fresh lime and sprigs of mint, topped with crushed ice and club soda.
- Cape Cod Mojito, mixing rum, muddled mint and dried cranberries, splashed with cranberry juice and topped with club soda.
- Flightless Bird Mojito, featuring kiwi with rum, muddled mint and topped with club soda.
MSC Armonia is also introducing a new specialty restaurant to its culinary line-up. The 38-seat “Surf & Turf” serves a menu for $35, where guests can select an appetizer, main course and dessert from an assortment of gourmet options.
For example, patrons can dine on an appetizer of Slow Braised Pork Belly, paired with Jalapenos, radish slaw and topped with a pineapple BBQ sauce. For main courses, the Surf & Turf offers the best of both worlds, with a 6 oz filet mignon and 7 oz cold water lobster tail. Additional entrée highlights include a Lobster Thermidor, baked in shell with a mushroom cream sauce, and the 18 oz Certified Angus Beef Bone-in Ribeye. Desserts are as varied as they are delicious with a Guava cheese cake, dressed in a warm Rum sauce, a Red Velvet Cake, and a Seven Layers Mexican Chocolate cake.
MSC Armonia’s White Lion Pub will introduce a new and complimentary menu featuring hand-helds like the befitting Cuban sandwich, a Mojo Chicken Quesadilla, an Avocado and Tuna Salad Wrap, and Spinach and Artichoke Dip to share. The pub will also continue serving a wide selection of beers, including four new additions -- Heineken, Newcastle Brown Ale, Murphy’s Irish Stout, and Lagunitas IPA.
MSC Armonia will also introduce a few items on board that come complimentary with the cruise experience. MSC Cruises is known for offering gelato at sea, and now, every creamy bite comes included with the cruise, leaving guests plenty of opportunity to try every flavor on board.
In the main dining room, guests will be able to sink their teeth into cold water lobster as part of a special seafood dish at no additional cost. And, while dining on these elevated offerings, Aurea experience guests will have the option to dine al fresco, with a reserved outdoor area, featuring the open water as the backdrop.
MSC Armonia’s evening theater entertainment has undergone a complete review, with an entire line-up of new performances introduced on board. Additionally, the shows now include dynamic, virtual sets with the addition of a central upstage LED screen to display a variety of vistas for each show. Shows include:
- ABYSS: A mermaid’s spectacular adventures under the sea.
- THE TIME OF MY LIFE: Inspired by the famous 80s film, Dirty Dancing, the show features songs, dances and a story that still captures audiences to this day.
- ADDAMS FAMILY: The famous quirky family stars in this hilarious show, inspired by the satirical and ironic portrayal of the 20th century American Dream family.
- FRENCH FOLLIES: An all-French variety show, with artists, dancers, singers that come together for an elegant and joyful show.
- THE GREATEST: Featuring the best of Broadway, guests are taken through the most iconic pieces of musical theater.
- ITALIAN TOUCH: True to MSC Cruises’ Mediterranean heritage, this show will feature Italian music and the Italian songs.