December 2012 Destination:
My wife and I (age 41) and our two children ages 5 and 7 did the 4 day cruise from Cape Town/PE/Durban in December 2012 and we were all 1st time cruisers. We are South Africans. We went on the boat with an open mind and to be honest, disembarked feeling rather disappointed. Overall we expected more but here are my thoughts: Despite all the horror stories, the embarkation procedure took about 1 hour to get on board and that was quite acceptable to me. We stayed in two balcony suites adjacent to each other and they opened the divider between the two, which was very useful for us. South African sea waters do get quite rough so drink your tablets – it helps. For me the biggest disappointment was the food. It is mass produced, bland, tasteless, pre-cooked and often cold and definitely not 5 star. The waiters are super efficient and work like clockwork. However, if the menus stay 98% the same for 4 days in a row you feel disappointed. The same with the outside restaurant which served More
oven cooked pizza every afternoon. Also in respect of the quality, at breakfast e.g. the bacon was over fried to the point of being inedible, so I rather opted for fruit salad and cereal from a box. The buffet restaurant on the 11th floor La Terrazzo smells – rather avoid it. Otherwise the entertainment, pool, gym etc is all quite nice and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it. My saving grace was the balcony suite because I could sit there and read a book whilst the sea quietly rolled by– indeed very relaxing .I see they advertise these specials at R7480 for two adults for a 4 night cruise. However, we paid R23,000 for the two balcony suites, and add another R2000 for drinks plus plane tickets and you see yourself quickly spend R30,000 in 4 days. Also the drinks are very expensive and 4 cans of Coke sold for R100 and that also included a 15% service fee. For that amount of money there are ten times better holidays in South Africa. Just go to the Arrabella or the Le Franschoek hotels for starters. I think if you are from the lower middle income groups WHO LOVES EATING BUFFET and you would like to stuff your face with food and get a 2nd, 3rd or 4th portion, then this is definitely for you (and there were quite a few on the cruise). Then R7480 is probably well worth it. If however, you like fine dining and don’t want to feel like you are just a number and someone is constantly trying to sell you something like photos, shore excursions, spa packages etc then rather go on a smaller cruise. The MSC Sinfonia is very much about numbers and high volumes of passengers. Sorry I won’t do it again. Less
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