My husband and I were onboard the MSC Sinfonia which departed Durban on 22 February for The Portuguese Islands and Madagascar. This was our 3rd MSC South African cruise and by far the best – I can even go as far as to say it could have been the best cruise I have been on and I have been fortunate to have experienced P & O, The Crystal line, Regent Seven Seas and Louis Hellenic .
All our South African Cruises have been onboard the MSC Sinfonia with the exact same cabin (1219). The previous 2 cruises we had Captain ..... whereas this cruise we had Captain Scarpato and what a difference. The crew have always been friendly but this time they seemed genuinely happy. The Captain was approachable – on the Gala Evening as he left theatre he was “mobbed” by a group of ladies who wanted to have their photo taken with him – he allowed it with a smile! The Captain on the previous 2 cruises would definitely not have allowed this – he was not approachable at all.
We were also fortunate to have Captain Scarpato as we made it to all 3 of the destinations on the itinerary – this is the first time we have made it to all the destinations – first year went to Maputo and Portuguese Island and missed Bazaruto and second year just the Portuguese Island NO Madagascar. My colleague was on the MSC Opera which departed 21 February to Portuguese Island – they were not able/allowed to disembark at the Portuguese Island a day earlier so in effect paid for a cruise to Nowhere as the Portuguese Island was their only port of call . I am fully aware that weather plays a part in being allowed to disembark and do realize that the Captain’s are responsible for many peoples lives but do believe Captain .... was/is too cautious. By not being able to disembark, MSC is saving a lot in Port fees – we the clients are not offered any compensation for the disappointment!
I would like to commend the following crew members for making this cruise so much better than previous cruises – Captain Scarpato, Lee-Anne Mill, Elzani Fourie and all the Dream Team (unfortunately, I didn’t get all their names), Pun from Sheilagh’s bar and our cabin attendant Amini (not sure of the correct spelling cabin 1219), the reception staff were also a lot friendly and more helpful. Most of the crew mentioned have been on our previous cruises and did not make the same impression as they did on this one, I can only assume that under Captain Scarpato they are a lot happier! The entertainment during the day was most enjoyable especially the Italian lessons. We also love the choice of newspapers on offer on a daily bases.
Unfortunately, the MSC Sinfonia isn’t coming back for the 2014/15 SA season as she is going to be revamped and additional cabins added. This is sad as my husband and I have really enjoyed our time spent onboard her and not sure about additional cabins. Also, what about some new routes – I see that for the new season MSC Opera is only doing one Cape Town – Namibia trip and this is a themed cruise, which is really disappointing as would like to do this route. One can only do Mozambique and the Portuguese Islands so many times! Hopefully a second boat will be in the 2015/16 season and have more trips ex Cape Town and 5 – 7 night cruises.
To all the crew on board the MSC Sinfonia (22 February – 01 March) a BIG Thank you for making this cruise so special and we hope to see you again.