MSC Armonia accidents and incidents

MSC Armonia cruise ship

Former names
MS European Vision (Festival Cruises)

Length (LOA)
275 m / 902 ft

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CruiseMapper's MSC Armonia cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 2340-passenger vessel owned by MSC Cruises. Our MSC Armonia accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • ship seizure - 2004 (in Bridgetown Barbados)
  • pier collision/allision - 2018 (in Mahogany Bay, Roatan Island, Honduras)
  • illness - 2012 (flu outbreak, South America, 3 pax, 7 crew)
  • deaths - 2012 (crew), 2024 (overboard)
  • injuries/crimes - 2009 (drug bust)
  • structural - 2014 (redesigned/stretched by Fincantieri Palermo Sicily)

Between 2001 and 2004, the vessel served in the Festival Cruise Line’s fleet under the name “MS European Vision”. The MSC service started in 2004 when Armonia was joined by the sistership MSC Sinfonia (fka "MS European Stars").

02 April 2024Other Incidents

On April 2, 2024, after docking at Port Barcelona, the ship carrying ~1500 tourists, was detained.

The detention followed the inability of 69 passengers (Bolivian nationals) to disembark due to suspicions surrounding the validity of their visas for entry into the EU's Schengen area. The arrested vessel came under investigation by the Spanish National Police aiming to determine whether the shipowner was cognizant of the passengers' visa irregularities.

Spanish authorities, suspecting the visas to be fraudulent, initiated an inquiry to ascertain any potential involvement of the cruise operators.

The predicament caused considerable inconvenience for the passengers as the scheduled Barcelona Port stay was significantly prolonged and the call at Ajaccio (Corsica Island, France) was canceled. According to CruiseMapper's AIS data, the ship remained in Barcelona between Apr 2 (arriving at 03:33 UTC) and Apr 4 (departing at 11:32 UTC).

Concerned family members and friends of the detained Bolivians expressed distress and advocated for immediate action to facilitate their disembarkation.

MSC asserted to the authorities that the documentation provided by the Bolivian passengers upon boarding in Brazil (Santos) appeared to meet the requisite travel requirements. The company was subsequently notified by authorities that the visas were invalid for Schengen entry, thereby precluding the tourists from disembarking in Barcelona. MSC maintained that the company was unaware of the visa issues until notified by Spanish authorities.

The incident occurred at the end of the 18-day Transatlantic crossing ( The itinerary (March 17 through April 4, from Santos to Civitavecchia-Rome) had scheduled visits to ports in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro/Mar 18, Maceio/Mar 22), Canary Islands Spain (Santa Cruz de Tenerife/Mar 28), Madeira Portugal (Funchal/Mar 29), Spain (Malaga/Mar 31, Barcelona/Apr 2) and Corsica France (Ajaccio/Mar 3/canceled).

UPDATE: On April 11th, Spain initiated the deportation of 65 (out of the 69 Bolivians). MSC covered the flight tickets from Spain to Bolivia. However, 4 of the Bolivians (3 siblings, two of whom are minors, along with the daughter of one of the siblings) remained in Catalonia due to their family ties in the region. Their parents reside in Catalonia, and one of them holds Spanish citizenship.

13 December 2023Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On December 13, 2023, during a westbound Transatlantic crossing from Europe to Brazil, the ship reported an overboard/missing 40-year-old male passenger. Reportedly, the American man went overboard from his cabin's balcony, after an argument with his travel companion.

According to Brazilian media reports, he fell into the sea at ~5 am and was reported missing (by his companion) at ~9 am. The cabin was closed off and after the arrival in Recife, the Brazilian police started an investigation.

A search and rescue operation was not conducted.

According to MSC Cruises, the man was alone when he jumped intentionally from the ship.

The incident occurred while MSC Armonia was crossing the Atlantic Ocean during the 23-day relocation voyage from Venice to Rio de Janeiro (itinerary November 26-December 19), with call ports in Croatia (Split/Nov 27), Malta (Valletta/Nov 29), Italy (Messina Sicily/Nov 30, Naples/Dec 1, Civitavecchia-Rome/Dec 2), Spain (Barcelona/Dec 4, Malaga/Dec 6), Canary Islands (Santa Cruz de Tenerife/Dec 8), and Brazil (Recife/Dec 14, Salvador de Bahia/Dec 15, Ilheus/Dec 16, Buzios/Dec 18, and Rio de Janeiro/Dec 19).

June 2019Other Incidents

Following the US Government (June 3, 2019)-issued USA to Cuba travel ban, MSC Cruises modified all Armonia ship cruise itineraries with planned visits to Havana. The alternative ports (for Havana) on the revised itineraries were either Key West Florida, Cozumel Mexico, Costa Maya Mexico, or George Town Grand Cayman. The remainder of Armonia’s Caribbean itinerary program remained as originally scheduled.

All Cuba bookings were provided with the option of canceling the booking and changing the MSC ship/itinerary without cancellation fees. All pre-purchased Havana tours/excursions were automatically refunded (to passenger’s onboard account).

11 April 2018Ship Collision / Allision

On April 11, 2018, the vessel collided with the pier in call port Mahogany Bay (Roatan Island, Honduras) as it entered the port at a higher speed.

In addition to the hull (forward portside) damage, the concrete pier/dock also sustained significant damage.

The ship was on 7-day "Caribbean, Cuba And Antilles Cruise" (itinerary April 8-14) roundtrip from homeport Havana (Cuba) to Belize City, Roatan, and Mexico (Costa Maya and Cozumel).

Note: Actually, this type of marine accident is called “allision” (striking a fixed object) as opposed to “collision” (striking another vessel).

September 2014Structural and Technical Issues

(lengthening) In August-November 2014, during its Palermo Sicily drydock refit, the cruise ship was stretched. An ~80 ft / 25 m long prefabricated middle-section was added. The refit resulted in an increased passenger capacity (new cabins), new shops, a Water Park with slides and waterfalls. Following the overhaul, the Armonia ship re-entered service on November 17, 2014.

The list of other stretched (elongated) cruise ships includes the fleet mates MSC LiricaMSC OperaMSC Sinfonia, the Phoenix Reisen’s Albatros, the RCI's Enchantment of The Seas and the Fred Olsen's Black Watch, Balmoral, Boudicca, Braemar.

17 February 2012Crew / Passenger Deaths

On February 17, 2012, a 30-year-old female crew died in a hospital ashore after suffering a serious condition (severe fever and coughing). The woman (Fabiana Pasquarelli, of Brazilian origin) was diagnosed on Feb 15 with Influenza B pneumonia. She worked on the ship as dining room waitress.

During hospitalization at Ana Costa Hospital (Santos), she had respiratory failure and was on life support to assist her breathing.

Later, her family filed a lawsuit against the shipowner MSC Cruises. Their lawyer stated that even sick, Fabiana was not allowed to disembark the ship in call port Rio de Janeiro on the previous voyage. An anonymous crew confirmed that her treatment was delayed.

When the accident occurred, the cruise ship was on South American cruise itinerary roundtrip from homeport Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil) visiting ports in Argentina (Buenos Aires) and Uruguay (Montevideo, Punta del Este).

February 2012Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In February 2012, a flu outbreak infected a total of 3 passengers and 7 crew. All sick were hospitalized after being diagnosed with Influenza B (pneumonia). One of the crew died on Feb 17. They were all suffering the same acute symptoms – fever and coughing.

The 6 crew and the 3 passengers (a woman, a 12-year-old girl, and an 11-year-old boy) remained hospitalized and under observation. Only the teenage boy experienced Norovirus symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps).

The illness incident occurred during 7-day South America roundtrip from Santos Brazil to call ports in Argentina and Uruguay. After docking in Santos (Feb 18), local medical authorities boarded the cruise vessel for a health inspection. The passenger disembarkation process was delayed ~ 6 hours before the ship was cleared.

06 April 2009Drug Smuggling

On April 6, 2009, after docking in homeport Venice Italy, a 28-year old male crew was arrested and charged with drug trafficking (importing ~10 kilos of cocaine). The incident occurred during Transatlantic repositioning cruise from South America to Europe (Buenos Aires to Venice).

The police learned about the drugs by listening to phone calls. In Venice, the crew (of Bosnian origin) was directed to deliver the drugs to a local hotel. During the interrogation, the man stated he was asked to smuggle the drugs by another crew (working on the ship as a cook) who due to illness was disembarked in Buenos Aires. For his service, the crew was given EUR 10,000.

Three other people (also of Bosnian origin) involved in the drug smuggling were later identified and arrested in Italy.

(law news) On November 1, 2013, they were sentenced to 10 years in jail each, plus fined EUR 60,000 each.

22 January 2004Other Incidents

(MS European Vision / ship seizure) On January 22, 2004, following the Festival Cruises company bankruptcy, the ship with 1300+ passengers on board was seized in port Bridgetown Barbados. Two of the company's other vessels were also impounded - MS European Stars/now MSC Sinfonia) in Barcelona Spain (carrying 750+ passengers) and MS Mistral/now Ambassador Ambition) in Marseille France (carrying 700+ passengers).

21 July 2001Other Incidents

(MS European Vision) On July 21–22, 2001, the cruise vessel was fully chartered to serve as floating hotel for the G8 leaders during their 27th summit in Genoa Italy. Although docked in port and heavily secured by anti-terrorist units and navy vessels (including military helicopters and patrol boats), the US President George Bush decided to stay instead at a hotel located near the dock.

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