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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My Wife & I did a 7 night cruise through Croatia & the Greek Islands. The excursions were a good option if you want to see and know the history, some were brief visits , but you will know that when you see the intinery that you ... Read More
My Wife & I did a 7 night cruise through Croatia & the Greek Islands. The excursions were a good option if you want to see and know the history, some were brief visits , but you will know that when you see the intinery that you have booked for the particular Cruise. The entertainment and shows are amazing top[ notch. Staff were helpful and obliging . If you want top class meals they are in the restaurant, you will have a set time sitting for your room, we did not have the same menu at all, it was different night for dinner. If you want to eat in the buffet, the food a similar, but for the moaning people out there, look at you options, the food was 5 star in the restaurants, and some of the buffet lunched in the restaurants was the same. Boarding and disembarking was a breeze. The only moan for me is the bar service is slow. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Normally I don’t write reviews but I feel the need to write this one due to all the bad comments I have read about the MSC Sinfonia. We flew from London to Venice, the first tips is take a Taxi (Car) from the airport to the ship, it ... Read More
Normally I don’t write reviews but I feel the need to write this one due to all the bad comments I have read about the MSC Sinfonia. We flew from London to Venice, the first tips is take a Taxi (Car) from the airport to the ship, it will drop you in the door of the terminal, if you take a taxi-boat you will need to walk with your bags for a long time depending where your ship is. Embarking was fine different will say since you don’t not get your cruise card until 2pm went your room is ready, at the time of boarding normally you will go directly to eat but since you have no cruise card the waitress are kind of lost if you have a beverage package or not Tip: print all the documentation from your ship and have it on hand with that they will be allow you to serve alcohol and non alcoholic drinks. Cabin: We had room 7030 located in the front of the ship on the 7 floor, it was a in side room with no view to outside, I agree with some of the comments here that the layout of room 7 is odd since the medical centre is the in the center of the ship you can not cross the entire level, but you get use to it not a big deal. Coming back to room, it is actually bigger that what it looks in the pictures and with a lot of storage, a small tv, mini bar, safe etc, the bathroom is small but we had no issue with it. Our room attendant was a Brazilian lady Vanessa she has great very friendly and help us with information went needed. Dining: Normally we have dinner in the buffet restaurant in some opportunities we have dinner a la carta and we have to admit that both were very good (not a Michelin Star Restaurant, but if that is what you are looking this is not your ship) and we didn’t have any issues waiting or delay normally we had Italian food since he was well recommended at lunchtime they were some stations for pizza kebabs pasta al punto. Shows: We attended all the shows, all are really good we liked a lot the MSC Crew Got Talent specially the New Zealand Team. All the Shows are a mix of Dancing, acrobatics and singing. very good 100% recommended. Ports and Excursions: Split - Croacia We didn’t use a tour the city is lovely you can walk it completely and from the port to the city centre is 10 min walking, do a bid of research up front and go for it. Santorini - Greece Again we didn’t use a tour, there is no port in Santorini soo the you need to take a small boat from the ship to the land (this is organised by the ship) the day before wake up early 7:30am and go to collect your ticket we took the boat number 1 to the land and give us some time extra. Once in land take the cable car to go up is only 2 min and the cost is 6€ p/p once on the top take a taxi to Oía is the best of the best and you will have great views of the Caldero (there is nothing to do there except shop, drink something, take an ice cream, and PLAN your next holidays) leave time to go back since you can find long queues on the cable car to back. Taxi cost 50€ return for 2 peoples. Mykonos - Greece The Cruise organise a boat from the new port to the old port the cost is 6,99€ p/p return (Take it) it might sound that this is a stupid stop from 8pm to 3am but actually it is great normally in Mykonos city centre in the morning people is in the beach and the city centre is close or lonely, the shops close around 12 midnight and the party continues in different places recommend to get lost in the streets of the city and find your way to the Little Venice, super romantic place a bit expensive but your are on holiday so you deserve it. Dubrovnik - Croacia The ship offers you a bus for 14€ p/p return to city centre but recommend not to take it, we took a taxi in the port (Taxi Kamidi +38 91 523 4248) he is a local and speaks very good English, we pay 50€ for 1 hour tour to the best places he explain us all the history of the city an was with us all the time, on return I gave him a call back and he picked us at the 5:30 from the old town and give us 50% discount on the standard rate. In the old town you must walk the wall it is expensive 25€ p/p but it a must them get loss in the old town street until you want to go back. Entertaining and Services: The entertainment team was great (this is normally the spirit of the ship) always on top of the situation in some case some of the bar of the ship were lonely due to lack of music groups but that was something solved after Dubrovnik since a new band was brought on board. Price: We pay 840£ for 2 person for the Inside Room (Excluding Tips) + 314£ for 2 person for all drinks until 6€ + 10€ p/p day for tips. With what amount you will not cruise with any other company anywhere in the world. Overall: I have to admit that I was very scare about all the nasty comments I read about MSC Sinfónica before our cruise but now I’m very happy of my 6 days cruise and if this is one of the small and oldest ships of MSC I can’t imagine how it will be The Bellissima that is the biggest. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Just returned from 10 nights on the MSC Sinfonia. I've been reading reviews for the last several months and had been very concerned for our sailing. Well I can honestly say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We had traveled in the ... Read More
Just returned from 10 nights on the MSC Sinfonia. I've been reading reviews for the last several months and had been very concerned for our sailing. Well I can honestly say, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We had traveled in the past on RCL, NOR., CELEBRITY, HA ,CARNIVAL so this is not our first rodeo. We spent 6 nights prior to the cruise in Marseille and stayed at the AC Marriott. Lovely hotel with good service and friendly efficient employees Loved La Panier, Chateau D If, and of course the port. Boarded around 2pm with no problems whatsoever. Our cabin was ready, luggage arrived, and Marco our cabin steward was fabulous--always there to help. Probably our only real peeve is the cabin. We were on the 9th deck balcony. SMALL! No sofa to sit on (bed only and a makeup stool) but we got used to it. The bed and pillows were great. You really don't need a balcony this time of year as it is really too cold to sit there. Save your money and get a oceanview. Now for the bathroom--so tiny, probably the smallest we have ever had. The shower is impossible--we are tall but not fat--even to turn around is almost impossible--forget washing your feet and shaving your legs is not even an option Food--we ate in the Covi and enjoyed the food. A decent variety offered every night and proportions were good. We learned to eat all our breakfasts in the main dininng room-. Easy to get a seat, a menu if you want to order off of and even a buffet you could select. A special shout out to Alberto, Waylands, and Keo and Alchilles. No lunches as we were on land every day. Entertainment: We loved the entertainment and thought it was well done, and quite a variety. Good singers and dancers. Most of the shows you need to reserve in advance (the night before) and it's really no big deal to do. We loved the Manhatten Bar, great servers and good pourers. Hors de ourves were served every night with our pre dinner drinks. We had transfers from MSC for 3 cities and had no problems whatsoever. So as you can tell, we enjoyed our cruise and was sorry to see it end. If I can help or answer any questions, let me know. 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
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Having had a big problem on the previous MSC cruise, we were not sure what to expect but went with an open mind. The ship is not as flashy as some of the newer ships, but makes up for it with a yacht type feel. There are fewer passengers ... Read More
Having had a big problem on the previous MSC cruise, we were not sure what to expect but went with an open mind. The ship is not as flashy as some of the newer ships, but makes up for it with a yacht type feel. There are fewer passengers than the larger ships, so no real problems with long lines. Every member of staff we met were fantastic and worked hard, I can't understand some of the reviews regarding staff; if you interact with them they will interact with you. We never had to wait longer that 2 minutes to get a drink, when you are pleasant with the waiters they can't wait to come and serve you and chat to you. The only rude people we met were fellow passengers, can you imagine the smiling service they got when they clapped there hands and demanded "COFFEE". The balcony cbin was a bit smaller than we have had on other MSC ships, with only a corner dressing table and a box stool. It took us some time to find the safe that was located behind the mirror on the dressing table; this could be improved with a notice on the mirror. The only minus points that have resulted in 4 and not 5 stars are, the Buffet; it is fer too small for the number of people. We only tried it once and had all our meals in the restaurant, this was a very good place to eat. you can have breakfast and lunch either off the menu or the self service buffet or both if you are hungry. The other issue was the seating in the theatre, though the shows were some of the best we have seen on MSC. There are couch type seats in tiers but there are tub chairs in front of them and the tub chairs are higher than the couches. This means there is a rush to get the tub chairs otherwise you will be trying to see between the people in front of you. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I cruised on the MSC Sinfonia with a friend from 16-25th December. MSC get a lot of bad press, but you have to remember what you're paying and not compare them to other cruise lines which cost a lot more. Also, it's a European ... Read More
I cruised on the MSC Sinfonia with a friend from 16-25th December. MSC get a lot of bad press, but you have to remember what you're paying and not compare them to other cruise lines which cost a lot more. Also, it's a European ship, with people of all different nationalities. Everything is announced in several languages, but they try to keep it to a minimum. That said, there were a decent proportion of English speakers from various counties. I love being on any ship. I decide to have a good time on every cruise, and that's what I do. I have been on large ships, small ships, several different cruise lines, in different price ranges, and enjoyed them all. Wanting to cruise in December, but stay in the Med, there were not a lot of choices. MSC Sinfonia had an excellent itinerary – 9 nights, 7 ports – at a reasonable price. The Sinfonia is a medium sized, older ship, with approx 2,000 passengers. It is nicely decorated and I felt at home. The advantage of this size ship is you never have to walk too far to anything. We took an outside room, as balconies were much more expensive and I don't like insides. The room was small, but nicely decorated. There was only room for the beds, a dressing table, mini-fridge unit and a couple of stalls. There was no armchair or sofa. The safe was hidden behind the mirror and it took us a while to find it. A sticker on the mirror would help here. The bathroom was small and clean and did the job. There was a shower curtain rather than door. The ship was nicely decorated for Christmas and there was a lovely atmosphere. We had a great table of 9 for dinner, all English speakers, and really enjoyed our evening meal get-togethers. The food was average, nothing to write home about, but we didn't go hungry. Portion sizes were all over the place, sometimes enormous and sometimes tiny, but you could have a second portion. The buffet is a little small, with a large covered and heated area outside. This is not ideal in the winter. That said, at peak times, they had a system similar to the main dining room, where you wait (never more than a few minutes) and are then seated. You never had to hunt around for a table with food getting cold in your hands. It worked very well. We were lucky to have warm sunny weather for the whole cruise, and several people were sunbathing and in the pools (outdoors). The shows every evening were very good, better than I have seen on previous MSC cruises. They also had a pair of resident opera singers, who gave a couple of performances, making a change from the usual song and dance shows. The entertainment staff put on lots of activities (indoors), such as bingo, quizzes, Master Chef at Sea and other games. People really joined in, making for a great atmosphere. The highlight was Christmas Eve dinner, with a special dinner accompanied by free sparkling wine. Later there was a Carol concert by staff and guests and they broadcasted the Pope's Christmas Eve Mass live in the theatre. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable cruise, on a non-luxury, but very pleasant ship. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I generally enjoyed our time on the MSC sinfonia for our honeymoon. The food and service were very good, and I liked the list of locations that we were going to. However, there was so little time to spend in many of the ports of call, and ... Read More
I generally enjoyed our time on the MSC sinfonia for our honeymoon. The food and service were very good, and I liked the list of locations that we were going to. However, there was so little time to spend in many of the ports of call, and I would recommend letting guests know if stairs or other options are available in lieu of cable cars, as we waited an hour and a half for one, and we got in line right after our excursion ended. The food in the restaurants was great, but the lunch buffet could have used a better selection. Our waiters and room attendants, Eka, Wiguna, and Luciano, were very nice and professional, and did a great job. As part of the aurea experience, I enjoyed the free massage, unlimited drinks, and priority embarkation and disembarkation. The excursions were interesting and relatively well organized. I would cruise with msc again, they are a great value for the price paid. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We did lots of research and compared prices between NCL, Royal Caribbean... MSC offered the lowest in price. the same amount of money we can get a balcony room instead a inside room with other company. so we went ahead booked with MSC ... Read More
We did lots of research and compared prices between NCL, Royal Caribbean... MSC offered the lowest in price. the same amount of money we can get a balcony room instead a inside room with other company. so we went ahead booked with MSC Sinfonia. we arrived Venice by train at 11:30am . about 10 minutes walk and found the people mover station. it took us at least 20 minutes stand in line to buy ticket for 5 minutes train ride.. got off the train. we walked 15 minutes to arrived the embarkation area. ( I think there free shuttle bus available, but the bus stop is at a open area, that means you have stand under the sun for unknown time for the bus to arrive. so almost all people rather to just walk.) embarkation line wasn't too bad at the time. it took about 30 minutes. and finally we enter the ship at around 2 pm. our balcony state room is pretty small. I think the balcony room interior size is the same of the inside rooms, except you have a small balcony. room was dated but looks clean. bath towel and pool towel are very old and rough, bedding and pillow was OK. carpets are very old and no way you will feel clean to walk without slipper... Dinner, food at restaurant was in very nice presentation. but nothing taste good. we can't finish our plate every night although its very small portion. buffet has more food to choice. but always too busy and short handed. breakfast serve same kinds of tasteless food every morning. free coffee taste really bad, but if you pay to order cappuccino it will take very long time. and they always make you share table with different groups people every morning... they have total 5 night shows out of 7 nights. the shows are the part we enjoyed the most. we have to seen many Vegas show. I would say their show can compare with that. we call it big show in a small stage... we have 2 sea days, the sea day after we visit Mykonos is 36 hours long on sea. which is too long and too boring. no activates that we enjoy to do. no good food or snacks during the sea day...we didn't join any excursions, their overpriced and the ports that we are going are very easy to go around, just need to do so research and you can save hundreds of dollars.... Split, as soon as you walk out the port, you will see public flex bus station, we got bus tickets cost $10 for 3 peoples, 30 minutes bus ride to Trogir. spent 2 hours there and had a very nice seafood lunch. and other bus ride back to split. walk around the downtown area. the tourist area is very close to the port. only 15 minutes walk to the ship... next port Santorini, disembarkation will be carried out by tender boat form ship to the shore. most people joined excursion since very short time (7 hours) at this port. I agreed that if you want to see more or if you move slower due to bringing kids or seniors. then you should join excursions. but you have to book a little earlier because they can be sold out. another advantage joining excursions is you will have priority to get out the ship to start your tour early. For those whose doesn't want to join tours like us.. pick up your tender boat ticket as early as you can, they start passing tender boat ticket at 8 Am on the sea day before you arrived Santorini. my husband set up alarm clock and we got group 4 ticket. in the morning, the ship arrived at 7 AM. we were the first cruise ship arrived Santorini. we are schedule to leave the ship at 8:30 with group 4 ticket. people who joined excursions are start leaving at 7:15. we didn't get to the tender boat until 9:15am. and we arrived the short at 9:30. as soon as you arrived the short. you will have 3 transportation options to see the town. the cable car. donkey, speedboat to oia. we paid 15 eu per person took speedboat to oia. this was also including return bus to downtown fira town. we arrived oia at before 10 am. walk around, spent 2 hours there. by 11:30, we saw thousands of people with short excursions started to walk into Oia. that's also because many other cruise ship are arrived. we catch the 12 pm bus to fira. spent about 1 hour there, then took cable car back to the shore where we catch the tender boat back to the cruise. the last tender boat to the ship is 2 pm. so it was very limited time to spent at the place. but its was good enough to see around... Mykonos, many people complaints we arrived at night time. this is a party city where has lots of shops, bars, restaurants open until late night, after a few busy walking in hot days, we were very appreciated to have nice cool night out, not much to see here. but very relax...after Mykonos, the sea day was very long and very boring.... 36 hours on sea. ..Dubrovinik, the ship offered 13 eu per person round trip shuttle bus to old town, about 15 minutes ride. if your group has 3 to 4 peoples, it will be cheaper taking taxi which plenty of them waiting at the port.... Ancona, we just walk around the town and walked about 30 minutes to see the beach. nice to see a small town in Italy. Disembarkation day at Venice, too early to get force out the ship, we have to wake up at 6:30 in the morning to be able to leave the ship at the scheduled time. conclusion, we didn't pay premium price to the cruise, so of course not everything upscale. we get to see the places that we want to see. hope this review help you design your vacations. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise itinerary and MSC itself for its affordability (not easy using the South African Rand) and itinerary. Ports of call are interesting, although the Santorini and Mykonos stops are far too brief. Mykonos is just a ... Read More
We chose this cruise itinerary and MSC itself for its affordability (not easy using the South African Rand) and itinerary. Ports of call are interesting, although the Santorini and Mykonos stops are far too brief. Mykonos is just a tease, as you are in port for only a matter of hours. We embarked at Venice, which I recommend, as the one-day stop in Venice (if you were to embark elsewhere) simply is not enough to experience Venice as it should be. The Sinfonia is one of the smallest MSC ships, which to some cruise enthusiasts may be a negative, but for me was a positive, as you feel like you can get to know the ship and some of its crew (as difficult as it is to actually get to know the crew). The trend in cruising seems to be in larger and larger ships, which seems both unsustainable and unappealing to me. However, in this cruise, the combination of excellent service, reasonable ship size, and interesting itinerary made the experience an enjoyable one. I understand that after the summer season in the Adriatic, the Sinfonia will undergo a re-fit. In terms of excursions, we only booked one formal excursion: Oia Village (Santorini). I would recommend this as it enables you to see the iconic views of the island of Thira. We were going to book the evening excursion to Mykonos, but did not. I'm glad we didn't as we simply strolled the city on our own and visited local bars and restaurants. In other ports we ventured out on our own which was a welcome relief from the planned activities of the ship. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Firstly let me give the do`s and work towards the don`ts. Always eat in the main restaurant for all meals, it`s more relaxed and less hassle. The staff are fantastic and will do anything for you. Tip them personally as it goes a ... Read More
Firstly let me give the do`s and work towards the don`ts. Always eat in the main restaurant for all meals, it`s more relaxed and less hassle. The staff are fantastic and will do anything for you. Tip them personally as it goes a long way and take it off your pre paid gratuities. We had a balcony 9086 and it was really nice and cabin lad was really good. The ship it`s self is lovely but dated, the pool deck is the biggest i`ve seen. Book your seat for the theatre or you`ll not get in. Never take the tours and do your own thing as there is plenty of people on the ports to take you where you want to go. Dubrovnik take a taxi at 13 euro or they charge 15 for the coach in. Santorini get a taxi from the town and they will give you a tour for 100 euro, so like us we had 4 people which was only 25 euro each. Bargain!!!! Mykonos was not seen as it arrives at night and your a good bit away from the port, waste of time, you need longer here, Back to the ship and the poor parts. During the days at the sea they ,dont put anyhting on down in the lower decks everything is at poolside and like us we don`t do pool side then the day becomes rather long. The buffet restuarant is so small it`s bad, crowded and the food choice is poor, even at evenings its the worse i`ve seen. The bar areas on top deck are busy and there is lack of staff and it was quicker going down to deck 5 and back up to deck 11 with your drinks. The all inclusive doesn`t include bottle beer, but you can get a pint of the same beers, strange that one. The irish bar is as much Irish as i`m welsh.. If in the main dining Adrian the head waiter couldn`t do enough for you and the other waiters were fab. Overall i`d use MSC again but on the sinfonia. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
A great mix of destinations: Venice (which we had time to explore thoroughly before departure), Split, Santorini, Mykonos (or so we thought!), Dubrovnik (a long time bucket list destination) and little known Ancona/Urbino. On our way to ... Read More
A great mix of destinations: Venice (which we had time to explore thoroughly before departure), Split, Santorini, Mykonos (or so we thought!), Dubrovnik (a long time bucket list destination) and little known Ancona/Urbino. On our way to Santorini, we were informed that strong wind was expected at Mykonos, and that we would spend more time at Santorini, but skip Mykonos, due to that - which meant two full days at sea to visit only one Greek island! Really not what we signed up for! I cannot help but wonder how much MSC saved on fuel and port taxes in the process! The cruise experience was new to us: really did not know what to expect, but we were not disappointed: great food, both in quality and diversity, plenty of drinks and good barista coffee, and too much of that heavenly gelato (the drinks package, by the way, is a must, if only for the coffee and gelato!). Perhaps the ratio of time spent on water to time spent on land leaned too much to the water side for my personal taste, but certainly taste differs in this respect - some people never even bothered to leave the ship! Beware: do not think the actual time available on land is the exact advertised time from docking to time of departure. It takes at least 60-90 minutes from docking before you can actually leave the ship, and you have to be back on board 30 minutes before departure (which in most cases means that you have to start your return 30-45 minutes before boarding time to catch a bus or tender boat back to the ship). But once on board, you can really just relax! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
After staying 3 months in S. Africa, we chose this 24-day repositioning cruise from Durban to Venice in order to go home to Europe in a relaxed way. This was a first for my wife and me (both seniors) and we enjoyed it tremendously. The ... Read More
After staying 3 months in S. Africa, we chose this 24-day repositioning cruise from Durban to Venice in order to go home to Europe in a relaxed way. This was a first for my wife and me (both seniors) and we enjoyed it tremendously. The service on the whole was very good, cabin and restaurant service outstanding. By and large the food was OK, however several times it was quite disappointing, almost inedible. The layout of the suite on the 10th deck was perfect for our needs, but a small nuisance every morning when the staff (or passengers) would re-install the deckchairs on the pool deck above us in a rather noisy way. Also the service in the Aurea area was very good. We enjoyed the evening entertainment (except the Swiss ventriloquist) and found the performers (especially Ian von Memerty) all of a high level: dancers, singers and musiciens alike. And we loved the staff show: there is some hidden talent there. Some of the cruise staff brought a smile on your face, especially Natasha van Heerden. On the whole, time in the ports was too short. Disembarkation for the excursions was badly handled initially, with long delays. The visit to the Seychelles had to be cut short unfortunately. The absolute highlight was the visit to the spectacular scenery of Petra in Jordan. Also the passage through the Suez Canal was highly interesting. The next highlight was the beauty of the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. It would have been helpful to receive more factual information on these sights, as the talks by Allison were not always reliable for facts. The daily newsletter could be used for this information, rather than filling it up with advertising for all the special deals in the shops. We concluded that we had a very pleasant 3½ weeks on the ship and were happy to have met interesting people, some of whom we shall be seeing again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We were looking for a one-way travel itinerary and chose a cruise over a one-way air-ticket. It served as a family vacation for 24 days and was worth the experience. The only thing to keep in mind when doing a long crossing is that most of ... Read More
We were looking for a one-way travel itinerary and chose a cruise over a one-way air-ticket. It served as a family vacation for 24 days and was worth the experience. The only thing to keep in mind when doing a long crossing is that most of the passengers are retired and that there are not many children on board, however the team at the Mini-Club are fantastic and have an action packed program for every day. This allowed us to have some "Mommy and Daddy" time which was a treat. Dining was good, with a new dish option every night as well as any-time pizza was always a winner with the children. The photo service is fantastic and well worth buying a photo package. The photographers were professional and friendly and produced some fantastic shots. There was a variety of daily activities and the atmosphere was pleasant. We enjoyed our time on board and will seriously consider doing it again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this, our first cruise for two reasons: 1. The rest and relaxation it would afford us and 2. the places we would get to see. We were not disappointed; every place had its own unique history and was a worthwhile visit. The pre-stop ... Read More
We chose this, our first cruise for two reasons: 1. The rest and relaxation it would afford us and 2. the places we would get to see. We were not disappointed; every place had its own unique history and was a worthwhile visit. The pre-stop talks by Alison were appreciated but not always accurate and lacked practical information for those not doing the organised Excursions. However, that said, the cruise was hugely beneficial from start to finish, with a variety of meal options and food available almost throughout the day. The coffee was disappointing in two ways - ready made was not the best tasting and although Nescafe instant sachets were alternatives, they were not always available. There was never a dull moment for those seeking activities through the day. The gym was well equipped but not monitored that well, and some fitness enthusiasts were just too enthusiastic, hogging more than the permitted 20 mins per item. Disappointingly, I had called MSC before the cruise to check whether or not the ship had a Squash Court because not of all of their ships do have. I was assured that the Sinfonia did have, only to find that this was not so. The Golf Simulator was also in disrepair. Our cabin was adequate although being one of the budget ones and well serviced. Being on the 7th deck we were situated above the Theatre so sometimes the noise of practises or late night entertainment filtered through to our cabin. We found the staff pretty helpful in general especially when we requested the opportunity of offering church services onboard. They went out of their way to provide us with a venue, sound support and media projection (although the dat projector does need upgrading).Thank-you! All-in-all it was a great cruise and our compliments to all crew who made it so enjoyable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I wanted to go over the equator by ship and the cruise line I chose was the perfect one. Plus the dates fell on my birthday .. this was awesome. The entertainment was perfect perfect. The food.. good food and for weight watchers there.. ... Read More
I wanted to go over the equator by ship and the cruise line I chose was the perfect one. Plus the dates fell on my birthday .. this was awesome. The entertainment was perfect perfect. The food.. good food and for weight watchers there.. you do have some choice. Quite a variety for all. The rooms were very clean and well kept. As for the gym and say daily workout.. it was great. The morning yoga and stretchings were great. I loved them. For those who love running/ jogging there is plenty of space to that. Imagine the morning sea breeze flushing on your face. Awesome experience. The theater was rolling with daily activities. No boredom at all. The casino.. the restaurants, the shops with beautiful prices and discounts with the latest fashions in bags and other accessories.. great stuff. The music played in the club and other pubs was great as well. Lastly the MSC staff are well trained and have good work ethics and have made my trip a home away from home. I’ll surely be packing my bags for the next trip. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Cruise from South Africa with interesting destinations. The staff were very friendly and the entertainment team great. I liked the way that the whole entertainment was involved and everyone in the team played an important role. The food ... Read More
Cruise from South Africa with interesting destinations. The staff were very friendly and the entertainment team great. I liked the way that the whole entertainment was involved and everyone in the team played an important role. The food was good as well as the bar service. Cabin was cleaned and serviced to my liking. The cleaning cabin staff did little things extra like, lying out the pajamas and making animals from the towels which was great. The shows were good, except for the classical shows which I felt was not up to the previous standard. The on deck parties were a highlight. The waiter staff in the downstairs dining room were very attentive an tried to please where they could. The captain managed the ship well. The presence of the officers at various times was good. The buffet staff both waiter and food dishing up staff very friendly and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
It was our first cruise; we thought it was luxurious and senior citizen/disabled friendly - we met old ladies who were over 80 years of age. It inspired us, as one has the idea that after 70 it would be difficult to travel on holidays, ... Read More
It was our first cruise; we thought it was luxurious and senior citizen/disabled friendly - we met old ladies who were over 80 years of age. It inspired us, as one has the idea that after 70 it would be difficult to travel on holidays, etc. but It gave us new hope for our future holidays...! Food was excellent and service outstanding. Thank you! Cabin was cleaned regularly and towels were replaced regularly. Shower curtain a bit irritating while you shower; suggestion: shower door in stead of curtain. Thanks. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly; however we have one complain about our luggage which was taken by another MSC guest after disembarkation. Suggestion: The luggage should be supervised in a better way so that every person make sure that he is collecting his own luggage and not somebody else's. Another complain about Wi-fi; I bought pre-paid data of 2GB, but I was not able to use it, as I was unsure how to go about. I went to the Customer desk and they explained to me, but it still did not work. I have wasted my money, as I did not use even 1MB. Keep up the good work. We will recommend the cruise to anybody and would like to do another cruise in the near future! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
It's good value for money. I will definitely recommend MSC to family and friends. The staff is friendly and very helpful, and really hard working. A few suggestions. Why not add custard to your dessert menu,some of the ... Read More
It's good value for money. I will definitely recommend MSC to family and friends. The staff is friendly and very helpful, and really hard working. A few suggestions. Why not add custard to your dessert menu,some of the cakes were very dry at times. The hamburgers wasn't very nice and the hotdogs very dry and tastless. The pizzas, buffet and restaurant was excellent. The coffee bar was one of our favourite spots. Implement a paperless photo option, maybe desktop stations where guess can purchase a USB and download their own photos. Prints for booked shoots/gala events only. That way you can save paper, and guess don't waste time looking for their photos in an overcrowded space. The entertainment in the one lounge was very average. There's one specific guy that don't belong on a stage at all. Back Chat was good but unprofessional at times. Toxic Candy was very entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
i chose the cruise to spend quality time with my family.I cannot stop telling people about the good restaurants and entertainment. will do these trips over and over again. telling people daily about cruising with MSC.i am glad to have ... Read More
i chose the cruise to spend quality time with my family.I cannot stop telling people about the good restaurants and entertainment. will do these trips over and over again. telling people daily about cruising with MSC.i am glad to have taken four of my family members and friends on this cruise. we enjoyed the island a lot especially the warm water stream.i enjoyed the live entertainement a lot. the casino was a big plus for me.not too shabby.those times i spend in the casino the younger ones danced the night away. the diferent pubs was of best quality. the midnight snacks made the younger generation very happy. never a dull moment.the staff was exceptional.we realised they must be tired but never heard complaints.for sure they work very hard but ajways smiling and friendly. the pools and jacuzi is also exceptional. the activities for kiddies is amazing. lots for them to do. wiill right a good review next time. will ask more people to join. one word awesome Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
After the death of my husband in October 2017 i just wanted to treat my family to a well deserved break----away from home and all its sad memories. A relative suggested an MSC cruise and i jumped at it as none of us would be expected to ... Read More
After the death of my husband in October 2017 i just wanted to treat my family to a well deserved break----away from home and all its sad memories. A relative suggested an MSC cruise and i jumped at it as none of us would be expected to do anything else but have fun. I chose the 'CRUISE to NOWHERE' due to financial constraints as i had to pay for all 7 of us. However now i realize that this was too short a cruise to really get the best experience. Embarkation was a breeze- i expected loooong queues but this was not so. Disembarkation was also not so bad. My major gripe is that when i did the booking i requested a wheelchair for my elderly father-in-law but nearer to the date of the cruise i was advised that a wheelchair will be available for embarkation/disembarkation purposes only and not whilst we were on board. He is not disabled but due to age and illnesses he is only able to walk a few meters before getting exhausted. Therefore it was my intention to have a wheelchair for his ease of viewing the entire ship. Due to this we had to borrow a wheelchair from a relative which was in not so good a condition. Our overall experience was excellent, with a few minor dissatisfaction....such as the cabin/bathroom was too small. The entertainment during the day was excellent, invigorating and quite jovial---thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on the 11th deck. - Friday evening was good only mishap was that the other bars closed when the disco started.....not good at all as there are some of us who do not enjoy frolicking with youngsters..... i would have preferred being able to enjoy the companionship of more mature passengers listening to and dancing to 'our' type of music. - Saturday evening was not so good- bars closed for +/-2hrs my youngsters getting a bit bored waiting for the disco that only started +/-11pm. I feel that the kids/teens entertainment should not have taken place here- perhaps one of the other bars could have been utilised for this.... Another point of dissatisfaction was the duration of the cruise----from Friday +/-2pm to Sunday +/- 7am. i am sure there are reasons for these times but eish! we could have done with disembarking after 2pm But like i said in the very beginning------ALL-IN-ALL IT WAS AN EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE and i would definitely love to go on a longer cruise as soon as i can afford another one ;-) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
The cruise was excellent value, and we had a lovely time. The cabins were more spacious than expected - and a balcony is the only way to go! The staff go to a lot of effort to entertain passengers when the weather isn't great. ... Read More
The cruise was excellent value, and we had a lovely time. The cabins were more spacious than expected - and a balcony is the only way to go! The staff go to a lot of effort to entertain passengers when the weather isn't great. Everything on the ship, including the shore excursions, are incredibly well-organised. And the maintenance crew are constantly cleaning the ship both inside and out - it's incredibly neat. My only complaints are that the photos are too expensive for you to get as many of them as you would like. They print them all out but then charge so much that you can only buy a few. I guess they just trash the rest, which is a real waste, considering they could just charge less so you could buy more of them. The other complaint is that, while most of the staff are incredibly friendly, helpful, and accommodating, we did meet the odd few that were actually downright rude and would even fight with guests. Luckily, we weren't confronted by anyone, but allowing this kind of behaviour does run the risk of giving MSC a bad name. The customer may not always be right, but the customer is always king - and rude staff members should undergo training to correct this behaviour. Overall, though, I would highly recommend this holiday to anyone. It's excellent value for money - especially if you have kids. The ship is incredibly child-friendly. We'll certainly be going again soon on one of the other trips offered in South Africa - and perhaps internationally. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Cruise dates were in the school holidays and suited our needs for a family holiday. The embarkation did not get off to a smooth start with very little information available regarding the MSC parking where we spent 1.5 hours in a que for ... Read More
Cruise dates were in the school holidays and suited our needs for a family holiday. The embarkation did not get off to a smooth start with very little information available regarding the MSC parking where we spent 1.5 hours in a que for the parking without any clear process. People were jumping the que and creating a lot of frustration for the people who were following the instructions from the guards. Then when we got into the security and customs process there were larger tour groups that again jumped the ques using the excuse that they were part of group, but had clearly arrived late and did not follow the process. The same thing happened with the disembarkation process for the excision to the Portuguese island. The ship made an awesome first impression once we were on board. The cabin was clean and tidy on arrival. The food was not up to the standard experienced a few years ago on an MSC cruise. No much selection with one meat and sometimes only one vegetable being available at the buffets. On 2 mornings we ordered eggs items from the menu on the table, day one had no mushrooms or waffles? day two still had no mushrooms, no smoked ham for the eggs Benedict and again no waffles? Why have a menu on the table if you don't have the items? The breakfast waiters were generally not friendly or helpful. Over all the food was very good in the evenings in the dining rooms and the waiters were friendly. Entertainment was of a high standard. General service was not good, many of the waiters and barmen did not even great and struggled to understand the orders at times. The shore excursion to the Portuguese Island was an awesome experience. We traveled with 4 kids and they all enjoyed the holiday and we will be doing another cruise in the future, but not out of Durban or with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
I first did a cruise with friends and stayed in an inside cabin which I hated. This time around I was joined by family and we chose a balcony suite which get 10/10 from me. Please make cruisers aware that they can do formal dining room ... Read More
I first did a cruise with friends and stayed in an inside cabin which I hated. This time around I was joined by family and we chose a balcony suite which get 10/10 from me. Please make cruisers aware that they can do formal dining room for breakfast and lunch as we were only aware on Day 2. Also, the Jacuzzi / Pool is always full; so we never got to spend time there. I was not invited to an event as a previous cruiser. Please inform agencies selling cruise packages to be transparent when selling. I paid for photo package in advance and could not use it with my family as the cruise agent did not explain how it works. When i went to arrange for photo sessions i was told its limited to people in one cabin.This was very disappointing and i am still waiting for my refund. Otherwise, i would like to do a Mediterranean cruise in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Our cruise was booked for our family of 4, together with 3 other couples. Two of these couples brought their children along as well. We left Johannesburg at 03:00 to arrive at Durban harbour at +-10:00, however due to protest on the ... Read More
Our cruise was booked for our family of 4, together with 3 other couples. Two of these couples brought their children along as well. We left Johannesburg at 03:00 to arrive at Durban harbour at +-10:00, however due to protest on the main highway, our detour saw us arriving at the harbour at 13:30. Fortunately the queue's had settled at MSC's harbour parking and we quickly proceeded to customs. Confused, tired and uninterested local staff did not exactly speed things up, but we managed to find our (own) way through and climbed on board the Sinfonia, albeit being called to the side. Apparently our tickets were supposed to be stamped at customs, which did not happen due to lack of interest. So, MSC staff registers each member of the family, complete with photograph and other details. They collect and retain our passports, only to hear that we must fetch them later on during the cruise. We were seriously uncomfortable with this arrangement, but had to conform. Once on board, we could relax and settle in. Our vouchers bought from MSC's website prior to the trip had to be collected and we loaded dollars onto our room card. The ship has always been in very good condition and one can see it's constantly kept that way. Well done MSC. However, the staff seems to be overworked, not as prompt, friendly and swift as they used to be. To be fair, previously they were really amazing, but this time one could sense they had a long season and were holding on for dear life... The cabin, for a big guy like myself, is small but sufficient. The layout works and with some improvisation even the shower works, but there's no room for standing around if your a family of 4. Understanding that a cruise ship such as the Sinfonia is all about numbers of people and that your cabin is really only there to host your stuff and provide a place to sleep, the cabin is really good. Shore excursions are always a treat, however MSC has REALLY overdone the admin on getting on and off the ship. One must get tags, at certain times at certain venues, on certain levels etc. If a member of your family booked an additional excursion (eg. snorkelling), then he receives more paperwork the previous night, in an envelope underneath the cabin door, complete with one tag. Now the rest of the family must (eventually) obtain their own tags (with different embarkation numbers on them) which splits the family. Waiting to board the smaller boats takes place in lounges, which cannot accommodate all passengers at the same time. This overpopulates public areas such as isles and floor areas, and the air-conditioning then becomes insufficient. To make matters worse, as we were about to get onto the smaller boat to be taken to the Portuguese islands, MSC staff advises that the picture they took of me the day before is completely unclear and I must step aside for them to try again. Again our family is split. Fortunately the delay is not long and with some uncomfortable sorries and explaining, we re-unite on the small boat. The Portuguese islands is still a treat for young and old, and the memories will last a lifetime. Unfortunately the locals from Inhaca islands' desperation to make a sale and force whatever their selling onto you dampens the fun. Not all of them speaks English, which makes misunderstandings rather uncomfortable. Police or security personnel are visible on the island, but they seem to take shelter away from the crowd. Pomene island and resort is absolute paradise! No locals on the beach either. Pity the umbrellas are really pricey. MSC's on-board entertainment is always top class and they seem to cater for the majority. Food is plentiful and tasty! One last thing that bothered me was the increasing approach from MSC to push your hand in building up a tab. I don't mean gambling, buying unnecessary merchandise etc., but being offered an alcoholic shot at dinner on the final night of the cruise, and afterwards told that my "all-inclusive alcoholic drinks" voucher cannot redeem for this. Almost $7 for that when a typical cocktail is $3,8 - $4,5. Furthermore, a 15% service charge is charged on everything, whether you are served at a table or not. Not on guys, not on. On settling our account on the final night, I observe that we have donated to some charity, without my consent, TWICE! If MSC wants to increase their charity spread then great, but you should not force it onto your customers and expect the same sentiment. The caring is great, but it must always be voluntarily... 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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