Our third cruise with MSC in the past 12 months. Two words for the experience – consistent and good.
MSC Sinfonia is the sister ship to Armonia which we sailed on in August. Although the differences are subtle we all felt it was like walking on to the same ship. Not a bad thing. Just an observation.
The itinerary was Genoa, Villefranche Sur Mar, Palma, Mahon, Olbia, Salerno, Genoa. We were supposed to got to St Tropez but bad weather forced at sto at Villfranche instead bit what a nice surprise. Time spent in each port was ok.
Embarking at Genoa was easy. We stayed in the city for a couple of nights first but you the airport is only a 15 minute ride from the port so you could easily arrive the same day.
Sinfonia was a great ship and even though it was busy with lots of children (half term across Europe) we found the ship generally coped quite well. There were inevitable times when the numbers stretched the buffet queues or theatre capacity but a little planning makes it easy to find some quiet space away from people if that’s what you like. We enjoyed sitting in the nightclub on deck 12 during the day, quiet and almost no one else there! As always with MSC the ship was always clean and well cared for. The ship is easy to find your way around although not all the lifts and stairwells access all floors.
We booked a Balcony cabin described as a suite. I can honestly say it was the largest cabin we have ever stayed in and for 3 of us it was fantastic. Much bigger than the balconys on MSC Musica for example. The only downside was the noise from the pool deck which is directly above. This wasn’t an issue during the day but of an evening you could hear people waling (or running) around and at 7am every morning the noise of the sun beds being put out! Cabin was clean and serviced twice a day. Lots of storage space and large bathroom with bath and shower.
Food in the main dining room and buffet was generally good quality; we only had one bad dish. Like all buffets on larger ships it was manic at times but with careful planning you could find a seat easily. Drinks were reasonably prized and generally comparable to the ports we visited. We bought the DoReMi kids drinks vouchers (28 Euro for 10) as they allowed you to have all soft drinks including non-alcoholic cocktails, smoothies and ice cream.
Service on MSC can be a bit hit and miss, particularly in the bars but Sinfonia was the best we have experienced on our 3 MSC cruises. Dinner service was excellent and friendly English speaking staff made us really welcome.
Our 14 year old made lots of international friends (again) so there’s yet more email and skype traffic than ever before. Joking apart teenagers are well served on MSC and the ships provide a safe environment for them to get together, have some fun and leave mum and dad to enjoy the sun.
Other passengers were (and always are) a mix of Europeans from all over the continent although on this occasion dominated by German speaking guests (it was the same last October but not in August). This meant the entertainment and deck parties were more aimed at German speakers and staff tended to great you in German initially.
Excursions are expensive as a 14 year old pays adult prices on MSC. The best was a shuttle bus to Veitri near Salerno where we paid just Euro 9 and the town laid on a free tour and even an operatic show!
Disembarkation worked really well and the terminal staff did a great job looking after our baggage while we walked round Genoa. They even booked us a taxi back to the airport when we were ready.
Overall a great cruise. MSC wont be to everyone’s taste but for a family looking for a relaxed cruise in the sun we feel they are hard to beat. Well done MSC and thanks.