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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
As I read through several of these reviews, I'm scratching my head, but okay, I'm going to post MY EXPERIENCE as best I can and hope that folks understand that not only am I a person whose character can be selective (not snobby) ... Read More
As I read through several of these reviews, I'm scratching my head, but okay, I'm going to post MY EXPERIENCE as best I can and hope that folks understand that not only am I a person whose character can be selective (not snobby) and want quality for my hard neared dollar. Also, since there is not a lot on this site about this specific line and this specific ship, not trying to deny other people THEIR experience, I have to share because what I have read is far from and light years away from what we experienced. Let me start by saying that this cruise, taken in 2019, was planned since 2012 because I wanted a high-quality cruise experience for my now deceased mom's landmark 80th birthday. Since I didn't want to cruise Viking (thought it would be too stuffy for my mom's likes), MSC became the choice because their itineraries were exactly what I wanted. I lost my mom in 2015 so my BFF (a gay man..trust me, this will matter in the review) and I decided to celebrate our moms' in spirit since he lost his mom also and make this a couple of days prior to the cruise on land/excursion beginning in Barcelona and after the trip on land as we flew to London at the end of the cruise before coming home to the states. Flew into Barcelona from San Francisco (via Delta Airlines) and stayed a couple of days in Barcelona at a nearby Best Western (a friend works there and we received excellent service from them as well). The port city of Barcelona was PERFECT since disembarking from there helped make what could have been much more difficult, much easier. Barcelona is a busy, well-organized port city, that was the case, but it was a great choice on our end. That's where our trip began. Food: We were initially overwhelmed by all of the options for food and drink, which MSC Sinfonia seemed to dominate like an Italian aunt that wanted you to feel at home in her house. The option we purchased including beverages in our cruise package was smart, since this cost can be quite substantial to your cruise, and while we didn't choose the highest level liquor package, we did pick all you can drink coffee/tea/soft drinks/wine and cocktails (selected with quality liquors but not the Hennessey-level booze...didn't buy it because we don't drink all THAT much and can pay for those beverages as an aside). Great food, including a diversity of tastes and flavors, for all meals and snacks of the day, were fantastic. Not all were with an Italian taste but there was plenty of Italian-based tastings and we were very satisfied; because we are Americans, we also appreciated the pizza/pasta/sandwich bars along with the burger/hot dog and fries bar; they have fresh gelato as well as a Vitamin/Smoothie with fresh fruits bar and when you can get avocado and pineapple in a smoothie in the middle of the Mediterranean, I'm there! There was literally enough good healthy food along with the corrupt stuff you don't want your kids to eat, but being on vacation allowed everyone to be happy. While there is a breakfast buffet with enough options culturally to satisfy pretty much every country on the planet. But my travel companion found that if you get to the areas where you'll typically find pizza and burgers at lunch, you can get your omelette/pancakes. I loved to sleep in so I didn't get much of this but it was nice to know it was an option besides the over abundance of bacon and eggs or oatmeal and yogurt (greek yogurt). And that's another thing...they had delicious oatmeal. I was trying to be good with all the food goodies on board and didn't feel like my doctor would kick my bottom when I see him next visit. The coffee barristers and bartenders made our tasty drinks and pretty much to taste for us. I didn't have to ask for my tequila to be a specific one or have my drinks made in any way. Their bartenders know exactly what to do and how to make drinks. For the dinner/fine dining dinner option, we had My Choice dining as part of our package, allowing us to eat at a time of our choice and since we dine on the later side, we mostly sat without anyone else at our table (you're thoughtfully placed with others but it's not weird like putting a single couple or couple with a large family). We became to know the servers and the Dining manager was a professional maitre'd and could have worked at any of the 5 star restaurants we're used to going to in the US. Excisions: The opportunities and options were fantastic. From the choices of the well-thought out excursions, which were fairly priced and surprisingly well-organized to get folks on and off the ship efficiently, allowed us to make choices on how we wanted to live on the ship on our own. We were on a 12-day/11-night Mediterranean cruise, out of Barcelona, with stops in Malta/Corfu/Katalion/Herkalion/Pireaus/Civitavecchia/Genoa/Marseilles and back to Spain. What a GLORIOUS cruise this was. For myself and my friend to cruise for the first time, we were thoroughly overwhelmed. We experienced every opportunity on this ship that adults without children can experience, and we did visually see families enjoying themselves, so even if we can't speak as a family, as two single adults traveling together, we can both cheer for this cruise and this specific excursion. The Ship: There were lots of things to do, both on and off the ship from shows, to televisions everywhere to watch sports and have a beer or cocktail/coffee/tea or soda...public spaces, a casino (and you do get your winnings); of course traveling in early Spring as we did wasn't a guarantee of great weather but we did fortunately have sunny days and it was amazing. We were all able to sit outside and enjoy the wonderful Mediterranean sunshine. Fresh foods every day (fresh fruit for Americans that live in California is a huge deal and for me, as a New Yorker that lives in California now, as I said earlier, this was supposed to be a mom celebration...and baby, I LOVED my Momma....as did my friend. I even had a bout of bronchitis and he a bout with gout, so we visited the ship's doctor and even that experience was top-notch (needed antibiotics and received in an IV drip so I could fly and ended up continuing my trip without even having felt like I was ill). They had a photo studio where you can purchase pictures and capture everything from wedding to family portraits. In fact there was a wedding/reception/honeymoon on board the boat if I can properly recall. Their Staff/Crew: We were treated with wonderfully, energized joy by the MSC crew. It was like a Welcome Party. The preparation to have you get on-board starts with your obtaining a cruise card, which is basically your on-board, ID card, charge card and access card. Makes keeping your valuables safe painless. My plan was to relax and spa since we took advantage of the Aurea Spa package, which allowed us to obtain massages and add-on other purchased pampering. Again, since this was supposed to be a mother-daughter thing, I was looking forward to a facial and other treatments. These are on the pricier side, but considering their estheticians are the same quality of major spas in international cities, the price point wasn't out of reach or not something worth reviewing. They have a full service hair salon on board as well as treatments from acupuncture to various massage methods. MSC makes sure folks understand that it's not an unlimited financial card because your ability to have fun, responsibility both fiscally and emotionally are always gonna be front of mind. They have all types of shopping and other fun things to do, so even if you're not born rich, they treat you well and with car. We even met a couple from Perth Australia who told us that they've been cruising for years and they love Sinfonia even though MSC has newer ships. They described it as "old-stool' cruising and I understood what they meant. Being American, you can have some Disney-styled cruises (too child-attentive/better for families) or too Viking-esque (potentially too snobby and stuffy even if luxuriously appointed). We wanted to be treated like Viking, with party options that were not too immature). MSC hit the bill OUT OF THE PARK for us. To add to the other points: My friend is a gay man over 50; he was VERY happy and because he also blogs for LGBTQ entertainment, he plans on doing a piece on this experience...which I'm whole-heartedly rooting for because it was more than deserved. Also, I saw lots of disabled people: seniors with canes and wheelchairs in families and couples; a disabled athlete in a wheel chair; a family (it seemed since there were 2 visually impaired people in the group). We saw sign language used and when it came to language barriers, there were none....They have a talented, multi-linguist staff and their tours which were conducted in many cases in multi-languages, were just another impressive action because their folks speak multi-languages. I was impressed. A special shout-out to: Adrian (Dining Services); Shubert (Bar Services); Melray (Buffet Manager); Anthony (Stateroom Attendant), Irina (Spa Services) and all the servers on Sinfonia. You made us never forget you and we WILL BE BACK! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because it was suggested by our travel agent in the USA. We truly regret not having read the reviews of this cruise ship before our trip. The ship is the oldest of the fleet. Common areas are remodeled but the rooms ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was suggested by our travel agent in the USA. We truly regret not having read the reviews of this cruise ship before our trip. The ship is the oldest of the fleet. Common areas are remodeled but the rooms (at least our inside cabin), were old. The ship is not that big so there are not that many amenities. Theatre performances are average. Variety of music is OK throughout the cruise ship but the worst feature of MSC Sinfonia is the food: they only have one medium size cafeteria on the top level so you have to wait in line to get a table for breakfast. They will sit you with other people and kids you don't know, so expect no privacy. The buffet is awful. Very low quality of food and always overcooked. No egg making station. They only offer sunny side up eggs covered in grease. Cheeses and cold cuts are bulk from the wholesale market (not from Italy, of course), and they offer the same food every day throughout the whole trip. The only option for breakfast is to go downstairs to the main dining restaurant where you can get a separate table for yourself. There you can find also the same buffet (with the same low quality of food), and a la carte menu. I decided to choose my breakfast from the menu but they could only prepare a plain omelette from it. The rest of the items from the menu (like orange juice, yogurt, bread, butter, fruit, etc), were already placed at the buffet so the waiter just kept pointing his finger for me to get up and get my food from there. So then.. I asked the waiter: what is the point of having a printed menu if the same food is offered at the buffet? He only laughed. Dinner at this same restaurant was also a joke. One night they featured "carpaccio" as an appetizer. We ordered that and they brought just a regular, cheap, cold cut with an artificial red color. Funny thing is that we saw the same fake carpaccio the next morning at the breakfast buffet. The Italian risotto was also another huge disappointment. Overcooked. It really looked like a vomit in a small portion. We have been on other cruise ships with way better food quality. Our favorite always is Celebrity Cruises. Perhaps, they should send the MSC chefs on a fam trip on board a Celebrity cruise. They might learn lots of of new dishes and see how they prepare and present the food. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I chose this cruise based on the itinerary and time of year. My boyfriend doesn’t enjoy travelling when there’s tons of tourists, and hates the heat, so this trip seemed perfect. We’ve cruised before on Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. ... Read More
I chose this cruise based on the itinerary and time of year. My boyfriend doesn’t enjoy travelling when there’s tons of tourists, and hates the heat, so this trip seemed perfect. We’ve cruised before on Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. After our Norwegian trip, we said it was the worst cruise of our life... we were wrong, it was the msc sinfonia. I’m assuming it was because it was winter, and a smaller ship, we had a lot of movement, all throughout the day and night, I was very seasick. We even had to reroute at one point due to bad weather conditions. But obviously not the cruise lines fault. The first thing to comment on, the typical “washy washy” staff on cruises didn’t exist, just hand sanitizer stations that I rarely saw people use. Sooo, I got sick, then my boyfriend got sick, and by the end of the 10 days, I’d say about 90% of the ship was sick. It was absolutely disgusting. We went on an excursion in Rome and the hour long bus ride was full of everyone coughing. You can only protect yourself from germs when other people do the same, which wasn’t the case on this cruise. Our room was good, larger than previous cruises, but the shower was terrible, I’m a small person, and I just decided to shower with the curtain open because I couldn’t even raise my arms to shampoo without the shower curtain being stuck all the way up my body and arms. Also, even with the curtain closed, it leaked all over the floor. We tried to explain this to our room steward but he barely spoke English and didn’t understand us. The food: I’ll start with saying my boyfriend and i are both chefs. We were obviously disappointed. We choose to cruise because of better food than a resort, but in this case, I’ve had better food in places like Cuba and Mexico. I was counting down the days to get home so I could cook us a real meal. Breakfast was probably the best meal and that’s not saying much. There was no egg station, but we found out later in the outside patio there’s a chef that makes omelettes... but only ham and Swiss. Lunch and dinner was pretty boring, usually two types of pasta, some vegetables and a carvery station(usually pork) And always over cooked. You had to follow staff around to ask for butter because it was never left out in the open. There was an extreme lack of fruit on the cruise, possibly because of the time of year but the only fruit that was constantly there was apples, pears and oranges. We had dinner in the main dining room At the beginning of the cruise. We kept leaving hungry, and by the time dinner was done the buffet was closed. There’s no 24 hour food options at all, not even snacks. So we started eating at the buffet before dinner, until we realized that they serve the exact same food in the buffet. So we stopped going to the main dining room entirely. End of story, if you’re a foodie, do not go on this cruise. Embarkation was seriously confusing. You get into the terminal and they look at your paperwork, say ok good to go and I was like “what were done???” and the guy said yes keep going. We then went onto the ship and security saw our paperwork. A few more steps and another person asked for paperwork, then they shove a camera in your face and take your picture right where you’re standing. Then you’re swarmed by the people selling drink packages. Have a drink here cause it’s the only time you’ll get any juice without having to pay for it. Embarkation was smooth just walk off when they call your colour and cheer that you’re finally getting off the worst cruise of your life. The cruise activities were seriously lacking. Without being able to sunbathe, there’s absolutely nothing to do. I took to watching tv, but there’s only 1 English movie channel, that plays the same stuff over and over, or the news. We played board games but that was probably the most exciting activity they offered. We will not be going back to msc, and as avid travellers, our business will be with Royal Caribbean from now on. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our first cruise with MSC. We have cruised 15 times in the past with Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. Overall, we were pleased with this cruise. Accommodations were comfortable, the food was good, and the staff were ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC. We have cruised 15 times in the past with Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean. Overall, we were pleased with this cruise. Accommodations were comfortable, the food was good, and the staff were very friendly and helpful. The destinations were amazing. The simple decor was nice compared to some of other lines like Carnival. Embarkation and debarkation were refreshingly easy. They have some incredibly talented performers for the shows and we enjoyed them all for the most part. However, we really didn't understand why every show had a "strip joint" element to it. We had My Choice dining so the first day we went to the dining room we were assigned to and picked the time we wanted to eat each evening. The first night we were not happy with our table location (next to loud service station), but they gladly changed it for us and the rest of our meals were great. The menu lacked options and you do have to pay more if you want lobster or steak for gala night, but the food was good and we enjoyed it. The prime rib was thinner than any we have ever had so you might want to order two entrees if you choose that. Also, beware that you have to pay for water as well as any other beverage. The staff were very nice, but we missed the shows that other cruise lines put on. The buffets were adequate, but there was not much variety. The hamburgers were high school cafeteria quality, but the fries were good. Also, there are no frozen yogurt machines and the gelato station was never open. The pizza was great, but there were only three varieties. We found the Buddha Bar and Irish Pub made the best drinks. The casino drinks didn't have much alcohol. Also, they are more generous with vodka in drinks than rum so my husband quickly learned to love Moscow Mules. The gym does not have enough treadmills so I had to wait in line for a machine every time I went. Although putt putt is located on the top deck, you have to find the mobile entertainment stand (on deck 6 in one of the bars which rotates constantly) to check out the equipment or to borrow games. We didn't try the pools because it was too cold outside. We had to pay for shuttle services to reach the port on several occasions so be prepared for that additional cost. It ranged from 12.99 to 15.99 per person for a round trip. There are lots of bars to hang out in and they have fun themed parties every night. Most of them start after 11 so we didn't make it to any of them. The staff were very interactive with passengers and we really enjoyed talking with them. Ports: To reach the port in Barcelona you will need to take the blue bus located at the Columbus monument which is a block from the Drassanes metro station. The bus is $3 euros per person. Valencia: You can pay for a shuttle to reach town, but we chose to take a taxi directly from the ship to the aquarium. We also bought our aquarium tickets online ahead of time. Taking the taxi saved us a couple of dollars. We walked around the aquarium area afterwards and then walked back to the aquarium to catch a taxi back to the ship. Palma de Mallorca: We walked off the ship and caught a bus #1 (3 euros per person) to the city center. Then we walked to the cathedral. We walked around for a couple of hours and then took a taxi back to the ship area and went on an excursion we had booked on our own. We had a great time hiking and exploring a cave. Malta: We did not get to dock here due to rough seas, but we did get to Messina that evening at 5 pm and stayed until 2 pm the following day. Messina: We had a lovely dinner in town. You were able to walk right off the ship in this port. We also enjoyed walking around a cathedral and shopping in some of the stores. The following day we went on MSC's excursion to Taormina. We highly recommend this tour. Taormina is beautiful and we loved walking through the city and walking around the ancient theatre. There is a cost for that. If you have children under 18 there is a very reduced fee (or maybe free?) but you have to have their passport to show them in order to get the discount. Citavecchia: We took MSC's excursion to Rome on your own. So much fun. The Coliseum and ruins are within walking distance. I bought a package ahead of time to go into the Coliseum and Palentine/Roman Forum. We chose 1 pm for our time to go into the Coliseum and that worked out perfectly. Livorno: We took MSC's excursion to Florence on your own. We had a wonderful time walking around. Genoa: No excursion. Just walked around the city. We didn't need a shuttle this day. Marseille: We had to utilize the ship's shuttle for 15.99 per person. From the drop off point, we were able to walk to the Basilica de Notre Dame. It was wonderful. We also had a wonderful meal in town. Barcelona: We took a high speed train to Girona to see the cathedral where some Game of Throne scenes were filmed. One of the best things we did on the whole trip. We booked the Renfe train tickets ahead of time. Once we got to Girona, we were able to walk to the cathedral and old wall. This is an amazing place even if you're not a GOT fan. We loved every minute of it. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was a chance to break up a Scottish winter, which it did. The weather was great the destinations were superb. The ship was a complete let down . The embarkation some 10hrs late due to problems with the ship. A promised free meal ... Read More
This was a chance to break up a Scottish winter, which it did. The weather was great the destinations were superb. The ship was a complete let down . The embarkation some 10hrs late due to problems with the ship. A promised free meal consisted of I roll and 1 hot drink. We had to spend the next day in port while the ship was fixed causing us to miss one destination. The cabin was clean and comfortable. Dining was a nightmare people scrambling for a table and food that at best was ok. The entertainment patchy and the activities were ok if all you wanted to do was learn the samba. Service was surly or unhelpful most of the time , the exception being the cabin staff. In the main service is poor and I would inform reception that you do not want to be charged a daily service charge . The drinks come with a 15% service charge anyway . The ship offers a shuttle bus at most ports however these are expensive and they will not tell you about any allternatves The port of disembarkation had a taxi and partial bus strike which had been on the news for 3 days MSC said they were unaware of it and basically it wasn't there problem .This resulted in elderly and infirm people being dumped at the port with their baggage in the rain and expected to get on with it. If you think MSC might be for you please THINK AGAIN . Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for the amazing price, itinerary and length of stay on board. We did not read any of the online reviews when we booked the cruise, so we was really disappointed in reading all the negative reviews the day before we ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the amazing price, itinerary and length of stay on board. We did not read any of the online reviews when we booked the cruise, so we was really disappointed in reading all the negative reviews the day before we set sail. If we did we would not have booked. Let me say, this cruise was fantastic for the price we paid £280 for 10 days. Yes £28 per person per day. The ship is very nice, it’s an older ship but is still a good cruise ship. We did go through force 7 rough seas and the ship hardly rocked. In the past we have been on many MSC cruises including the new mega ship MSC Seaside, all have been good. Our cabin looked new and very clean cabin 7110. We did book an inside cabin but they upgraded to outside at no charge. All the bars were good. Bar staff are very friendly especially Vic and Askar from Mauritius, that really looked after us extremely well. The ship was full occupancy and there was no waiting time for drinks at all. I was so impressed I tipped the bar staff on last night. We booked the drink easy package, although a bit annoying that all the nicest cocktails wasn’t allowed so I had Heineken lager, wine and cocktails of the day. Made the most of it though as it was all you can drink. The theatre shows was fantastic and definitely not to be missed. The dancers were fabulous especially the girl dancers from England. All the shows were great but the London’s Calling was the best. They did “candle in the wind” for Princess Diana, my eyes filled up, great show guys. We met some great guests onboard from USA , Holly & Bobby and Marli & Dave that made our cruise extra special. Unfortunately due to the weather in Malta we could not go there but MSC gave us a refund 100euros compensation which we used on the photo service. In all what a great cruise and better than staying at home which costs us more. Thank you MSC for ai great cruise “PING” Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I liked the itinerary and it fit my timeline for my trip to Europe. The price was also very good. Disembarkation was a disaster due to a taxi strike and rain in Barcelona. MSC should have provided more transportation to the airport for ... Read More
I liked the itinerary and it fit my timeline for my trip to Europe. The price was also very good. Disembarkation was a disaster due to a taxi strike and rain in Barcelona. MSC should have provided more transportation to the airport for its passengers. I had a terrible time getting to the airport (Uber would not come downtown after an Uber car was set on fire on Friday and a few drivers were beat up!!) and I worry about older passengers with more mobility issues having had an even worse experience than me. Overall the service, food and ports were very good. The cabin had some water damage of the wall beside the shower and a number of passengers complained about sewer odours emanating from their bathroom facilities. There could have been more entertainment and activities for us. A number of buses used for shore excursions were older and unappealing in their interiors. Some of the tour guides could have used a speaker system e.g. the lady in Taormina. I was disappointed in the lack of communication when the Sinfonia was many hours late into Barcelona; we all communicate with our mobile devices nowadays and electronic communication from the company would have been helpful. But the disembarkation fiasco was the straw that broke the camel's back, as they say. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise because I had travelled on MSC Armonia to the Carribean in February 2018 and it was excellent in all areas. The cruise on MSC Sinfonia to the Mediterranean was terrible. I waited for one hour at the airport for a rep. ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had travelled on MSC Armonia to the Carribean in February 2018 and it was excellent in all areas. The cruise on MSC Sinfonia to the Mediterranean was terrible. I waited for one hour at the airport for a rep. to arrive and got more and more stressed. The emergency number did not answer and when the rep. eventually arrived he did not speak English. The wi-fi on board did not work. The staff at Guest Services were incompetent and not prepared to help. Their main objective was to get rid of passengers as quickly as possible. One was particularly rude to me. I obtained what I was entitled to only because I screamed the ship down as well as an officer. My main exercise and entertainment were queuing at guest services to try to sort out in vain all the problems!! The ship arrived back at its final destination more than 10 hours late because of the rough seas and I missed the flight I had booked through MSC. I was told to sort out another flight myself !!! Unbelievable. The transfers to the airport to fly back were so badly organised that I reached the British Airways check-in desk 2 minutes before it closed. So I nearly missed my flight. And to add insult to injury, I was so late that my suitcase was not put on the plane and I arrived home without luggage !! Having said that, my interior cabin was clean, well-equipped and comfortable. My cabin attendant was charming and very helpful as well as all the bar staff, waiters and waitresses. The entertainment team did a good job with stretching an aerobics every morning, lots of dance lessons during the course of the day. Unfortunately, nothing was organised for New Year's eve apart from dancing in couples, no disco, so for solo travellers like me, it was a very lonely time an I went back to my cabin before midnight I will not travel again with this cruise company. I sent them a 3-page long detailed report by e-mail on Sunday 14th January and today (Wednesday 16th January) I still have not had an acknowledgement. Nearly 2 weeks later, I still have not had an answer. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We are seasoned travelers who have experienced Norwegian; Royal Caribbean, Viking River and many other reputable Shipping lines. This Ship is old and the worst service we have ever experienced on any Ocean/ River Cruise Company. You ... Read More
We are seasoned travelers who have experienced Norwegian; Royal Caribbean, Viking River and many other reputable Shipping lines. This Ship is old and the worst service we have ever experienced on any Ocean/ River Cruise Company. You are forced to buy a Drinks Package (Even for Water) and the Wine selection was absolutely pathetic quality and value. AN ABSOLUTE RIP OFF!!! The Restaurant experience was one star rating - Awful food The Buffet was the worst we have ever experienced - It was like eating in a Pig Pen. The food was poorly presented; cold and lifeless. Everyone we sat with at Dinner complained about the Ship, the service and the food. Room Service was pathetic - Breakfast in your Cabin was cold Toast / Croissants and Cold Coffee or Tea. No Hot Breakfast. The staff who were 90% Philippine were poorly trained and had problems with the multitude of languages including English. If you asked for White Wine you were lucky if you got a glass of Rough Red or water. I got sick on the cruise and ended up in the Ships Hospital for treatment by the Doctor's Death from Romania. The were sticking intravenous drips injected with drugs into me for their diagnosis of Viral Pneumonia and I just kept getting worse from their treatment. In Tenerife they arranged for me to see a REAL Doctor at an emergency Hospital with the sole aim of getting me off the ship. The Doctor examined me and ran several tests; Blood Tests and X Rays and told me to stop taking the medications the Ships Doctors were forcing into me as they were the wrong medications for me. He advised me that I did not have Viral Pneumonia just a severe Head Cold and Lower lung infection and prescribed the correct antibiotics and support medications and he advised the Ships Doctors that I was fit to continue our journey. The MSC Sinfonia Doctor's Death were treating me with the incorrect medications and they made me pay in excess of $2,000 for their inexperienced and incorrect diagnosis / treatment. My wife and I were verbally abused by the Ships Doctor when we questioned why we were being off loaded in Tenerife and the associated costs without any prior consultation with us. To top it off several excursions were cancelled and we arrived into Disembarkation Port "Barcelona" 10 hours late and had to pay for another set of airfares to London and it has taken 2 x months to get a credit payment - the Customer Service Departments are rude and abrupt with customers. Travel with MSC at your own RISK - Sinfonia "The Ship From Hell" Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Earlier in 2018 a deal on the MSC Magnifica caught our eye, for 5 nights over the Christmas period, however when looking further we also found a longer cruise on the MSC Sinfonia. 10 nights, departing Barcelona on the 19th December worked ... Read More
Earlier in 2018 a deal on the MSC Magnifica caught our eye, for 5 nights over the Christmas period, however when looking further we also found a longer cruise on the MSC Sinfonia. 10 nights, departing Barcelona on the 19th December worked out not all that much more money, so we decided to go for the longer cruise particularly as we’re currently having building work done so Christmas at home was not a possibility. Our travel agent packaged the cruise with a 2 night pre-cruise hotel stay, flights and the All Inclusive Deluxe drinks package and we were good to go! As this was such a long cruise I won’t go through a day by day account, and will just pick out some of the highlights. Barcelona is a city we’ve visited many times as we’ve completed numerous Mediterranean  cruises, and on the Western Med itinerary it’s as certain as taxes and death. We enjoyed our time spent at the Barcelona House hotel – it’s location is very central, just off La Rambla and the Placa Reial with it’s bustling restaurants and grand architecture. Ship Profile MSC Sinfonia is the second oldest in the current MSC fleet (MSC Armonia is slightly older) and was originally built for Festival Cruises. At just over 58000 tonnes and a passenger capacity of 2163 she is small compared to the mega ships we see being launched in recent years. As a comparison, the current world’s biggest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas weighs in at 228000GT and can hold 6680 passengers. All of the Lirica class cruise ships (Sinfonia, Armonia, Opera and Lirica) went through the ‘Renaissance Programme’ in 2015 which added extra cabins and altered public spaces. The previous lounge above the theatre was removed and cabins added, with a new lounge in the new mid-section and an extended dining room, plus children’s spray park. We sailed on MSC Lirica before the stretch, and MSC Armonia after the stretch, and it is somewhat difficult to tell that this has been done as the design flows well and the new public spaces are in keeping with the original design. On embarkation morning we took a steady walk down La Rambla and caught the cruise bus at €3 each which took us straight to the terminal where MSC Sinfonia was docked – we were the only ship in port which made things very easy. The usual check-in procedures commenced, and we were the first passengers to be onboard at about 12.45pm – one of the benefits of the MSC Voyagers Club black card is priority boarding. Cabin Our forward facing cabin on deck 9, cabin 9001 was spacious and a different layout to other ocean view cabins we have had. There was plenty of storage space for the duration of our cruise, and our cabin steward was friendly and efficient. The configuration of the cabin worked really well. There’s no escaping the ship is showing her age in places but is kept very well. The shower was small in comparison to Meraviglia and Seaview with a shower curtain rather than enclosure; the bathroom is looking dated however cleanliness is the most important thing in my view. I should also add that the hairdryer was one of the old fashioned on the wall with a hose type and not much use for anyone with thick, long or afro type hair! The window over the bow offered excellent views when sailing in to ports, and one of the highlights has to be the sail in to Valletta’s Grand Harbour. Our itinerary for the cruise was port-intensive, with only one sea day. That’s actually pretty perfect for a ship of this size, however one draw back is that the bow thrusters to help steer the ship in to it’s berth made the room shake. The noise woke us up every morning – not great as we’re usually late to bed. Our table mates had cabins midships and didn’t even know we were docking, so it goes to show why location can be everything! Dining Excuse the length of this paragraph, but food is a major part of the cruise holiday experience, so naturally it will be longer! On our first day, we headed to the main dining room, Il Galeone on deck 5 for lunch. On the older MSC ships we have noticed that the main dining room offers a hybrid buffet and a la carte service at breakfast and lunch. Presumably this is to take off some of the pressure from the main buffet on deck 11 which was not extended during the Renaissance project. You are shown to a table by a host, and then asked whether you would like to order from the menu or to use the buffet. Drinks service is via the waiter. The buffet options are generally the same as those on deck 11 with the exception of burgers / pizza which is not available, so for cruisers who enjoy buffets I’d recommend using this option as it avoids any hassle trying to find a table. This concept does have some drawbacks though. The a la carte menu selections seem to be much smaller with often only one option per course. This is somewhat surprising, however soups, salads etc are available from the buffet section, as well as a daily carvery selection with fresh vegetables. We found that the lunch service could be very slow and actually quite chaotic, and in our ten days only went for lunch three times, one of which was Chirstmas Day. Don’t get me wrong we didn’t go hungry (is it possible to?) but compared to the MSC ships we have sailed on we found this worse. On our third and final trip to the restaurant we were sat for ten minutes before a waiter asked if he could help us. We hadn’t even had a menu at that point! That being said, the Christmas Day lunch service, where the buffet in the MDR had been removed and it was pure table service went much better. We were seated with a couple from the UK and a lady and her friend from Hungary, who by chance we had met on our previous Christmas cruise on the MSC Fantasia! It’s a small world hey! For our evening meals we were allocated table 504 in what would have been the corner of Il Galeone restaurant prior to the stretch. Our table for 6 on the first sitting at 6:30pm consisted of ourselves, two gentlemen from the East of England and a couple from Brisbane, Australia. We’ve not shared a dining table for two years and were somewhat apprehensive that we might not all get on. All I can say is we hit it off like a house on fire and have made good friends! Thank you to our four companions for all of the laughs over the cruise. Dinner service took around two and a quarter hours each night so it was a massive relief that we all got on so well! Our waiter Maharta was very friendly and knew his job, however we wonder if he perhaps had too many tables to look after and this is what caused service to be slower than you would expect. His assistant, Jonathan was also scarce meaning that drinks service in the restaurant could be slow. Maharta was fantastic in asking each night what wine we would prefer the next evening so as to have it ready for us and try and speed things up a little. The food at dinner over the week was of a very good standard. Portions as ever could be a little on the small side but well presented. We’d highly recommend anyone with an appetite orders two appetizers, or an appetizer and salad as well as their main course, or extra vegetables. The food highlights of the cruise for me have got to be Ramon Freixa’s Duck Royale which we first discovered on our honeymoon, the pan-seared duck breast with currant and chilli sauce, the veal shank on Med night and the Indian butter chicken on Christmas night was the perfect antidote to all of the rich food! In addition to the main dining room and buffet, the Lirica class ships also serve food in the pub located on deck 5 forward. Shelagh’s House is an ‘Irish Pub’ with a range of beers including Guinness and Murphy’s. The food on offer includes club sandwiches and a roast beef platter. This makes a great lunch option if you’re too late back from an excursion or sight seeing, or if you just fancy a light bite. Service I’m not sure if ‘service’ is the right heading to use but I just wanted to touch on how we found the onboard experience. We know we have been spoilt with cruises in the Yacht Club, and we knew that the experience would be somewhat different with fewer crew to assist more passengers in bars etc. In all honesty, the service and customer experience from that perspective was absolutely fine. I’ve read numerous reports of cruisers who say they wouldn’t go with MSC unless they could go in the Yacht Club. There was absolutely nothing wrong in terms of wait times or attentiveness. During the cruise we were really lucky to meet with Juli who we had met on another cruise on MSC Fantasia, as well as Vickee, Ketut and others from MSC Magnifica and also Melissa who was on her first contract. As many of you will know, MSC announced a change to the drinks packages last year, and now these are in play with the simultaneous running of the old drinks packages it has caused confusion, and this is completely understandable. We’ve now completed twenty cruises and therefore know what we are entitled to based on our drinks package code. Unfortunately this period of confusion lead to a number of occasions where the bar man advised the waiting staff the drinks we had ordered were not on our package, when we knew full well they were. Entertainment The shows on the Sinfonia were very good, with some excellent performances. One advantage to fixed dining and a smaller ship with more limited facilities is that you find yourself going to more of the shows than on the big ships with lots to see and do. Highlights have to be ‘Paris after Dark’ a dance show based on the city of love – amazing tango and popular routines, and of course a Can-Can dance. The opera gala was also excellent, with a live pianist and violinist to accompany the singers and their renditions of favourite opera songs such as Nessundorma and O Mio Bambino. The staff show is also not to be missed as regular crew members take over the entertainment with dancing, singing and music. The main party bar, The Manhattan Bar, is the place where you would find the Animation team causing havoc with a multitude of party games in between music from a live band playing dance music and typical pop party hits. We also really enjoyed pre and post-dinner cocktails in the Buddah Bar, which is the ship's mixology bar offering a range of standard and crafted cocktails. As it could be cold during the day, the activities that would usually take place around the pool such as dance classes and stretching were also held in this bar. Overall Opinion The cruise was a solid 4 stars out of 5. The issues that we experienced did take off some of the shine, but the overall friendliness of the crew, the fun we had in the evenings made up for those shortcomings. There’s no escaping the fact the ship is smaller and therefore activities and options are limited, but you can only be in one place at one time. We have another cruise booked on the MSC Opera, which is in the same class. We’ll have then completed a cruise on each of these ships, and we both feel that after that we wouldn’t book another Lirica class unless the price and itinerary were very attractive. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
I must start by saying we usually cruise with princess cruises and were very nervous about this cruise after reading copious amounts of negative reviews online. But I have to say they were all misleading! We embarked in Barcelona at ... Read More
I must start by saying we usually cruise with princess cruises and were very nervous about this cruise after reading copious amounts of negative reviews online. But I have to say they were all misleading! We embarked in Barcelona at approx 11 am and as MSC do multiple embarkation points on their cruises (Genoa being the main one) we were one of only 30 people getting on so were checked in and onboard within 10 minutes!! Our cabin was on deck 8 and it was spotless and baggage was delivered before 2pm. The mattress was thin but not unbearable and they have blankets and not duvets. I made sure to contact the Maitre D on the first day to arrange our seating for dinner as my husband does not like to sit with others (he is hard of hearing and hates having to repeat 'PARDON?' every 5 seconds). So we got the 2nd seating in the Il Covo resteraunt on deck 6. Food was lovely with lots of options and most importantly it was all HOT. The wait staff were very friendly and could speak passable english (unlike all the reviews I read) with the exception of the head waiter Jose who was a little too friendly and got a bit creepy with wanting to hold my hand and tell me how lovely I was. The buffet area is nice and spacious with lots of seating. I never once had a problem finding a seat for breakfast or lunch but I suppose that all depends on what time you go to eat. The food is not very hot and not many hot options but for a buffet not bad. There is a pizzeria that serves pizza until Midnight every night. This is the best pizza I have ever eaten at sea and there are normally 3-4 options to choose from. There is also a grill area that does a fast food style menu. Fries, hotdogs, burgers,again the best I have tasted at sea and are served until 9.45pm. The pool area is often busy as this is where all the entertainment is during the day, including pool games, dance lessons, aerobics classes and dance shows and I must say I loved every minute of it. Pool towels are given out with a ticket stub as you will be charged 20 euros if you do not return it. They are a garish orange colour which reminds me of a certain budget airline but they are plentiful as you can sign out as many as you want. There are many theme nights onboard including Italy night, White night, Flower power night, Carnival night, which include lots of dancing. The onboard entertainment team called animators are fantastic. In particular on this cruise Roberto and Tiago made my holiday with all of there cajoling and laughter. Every night was party night and unlike on all the princess cruises I have been on ALL the passengers were getting involved and having lots of fun. Please bear in mind that while there were a few younger people on this cruise the majority were mid 40's and over so it must be a european thing because even though the demographic on princess is pretty much the same you get nowhere near as much passenger participation on princess.Which is a shame as it enhanced my cruise so much that I have already booked again with MSC. Now up until now I have stated what MSC do better than princess but I must admit there are some areas that they are not up to the same standard. The atrium area on the sinfonia is basic, more like a hotel lobby but I have seen their newer ships online and it looks like they have gone all out on those. The food in the buffet has lots of fruit, salads, breads but only a very small selection of hot food normally only one or two dishes to choose from and they were not very hot. The dessert selection was also quite small. I know its not a big thing but the seating in their lounges and bars looked lovely until you tried to sit in them...rock hard seats, not exactly something you can sink into. As it is a mostly italian speaking demographic the library onboard is limited with english titles but I took my Kindle so was prepared for that. All in all though a thoroughly enjoyable cruise that I will repeat in the not too distant future as they are more competitively priced than Princess. My 12 day cruise cost £579.00 and the next 7 day one is costing only£379.00 so I think MSC has new members to add to their fan club! Read Less
MSC Sinfonia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 1.0 3.7
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 3.6

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