MSC Sinfonia Cruise Review by Charlie Mitchell: Never again
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Charlie Mitchell said: Our cruise from Genoa to Durban, South Africa began with a 6 hour wait on the dock after a 3 hour coach trip from Turin (a last minute change to our original booking)for the ship to arrive, and be serviced. The embarkation process was absolutely shambolic with no information given by any MSC staff member. The fast track process the Company offered online to get you aboard more quickly was a total waste of time. Whether you did it or not made no difference. You just joined the queue like everybody else. The ship itself was fine, the waiters were on the whole very good, as were the bar staff. They seemed pleased to see anybody who could afford to buy a drink in any of the bars! My friends and I have been on many cruises in the past and this ship has got to be the most expensive ever, not only in the bars, but everywhere else on board and we organised our own shore excursions at a quarter of the cost of the same being offered by the ship. Come 11pm the ship was More
like the Marie Celeste, nearly everybody was in bed either through lack of adult entertainment or depression through not being able to afford a drink. The same applied to the Casino where you would expect a little action. The only people in there on most nights were the lonely croupiers and the odd couples playing the slot machines. They looked as bored as we were. This was probably due to the high minimum stakes at the tables.
In the MSC brochure it states that for cruises in the Caribbean, North America and South Africa the currency onboard is the US dollar. We were being charged in Euros. One passenger checked his onboard account via a ships computer and found his bill was in dollars. Following his complaint to the head of accounts, these computers were unavailable for some 5 days through "technical problems". When they were activated it was not possible to use them to check accounts. Some 200 passengers were so angry about this that a petition was signed and 2 South Africans represented the group at meetings with the ships management. MSC argued that the cruise was originally due to sail along the East coast to South Africa, where the currency would have been dollars, but because of the possible dangers from Somali pirates it was re-routed along the West coast, where all prices were Euros. As a gesture of good will they promised a 5% discount off our bills, later amended to our bar bills, later amended not to include the very, very rare 2 for one drinks. This offer was derisory. Who said pirates were only in Somalia !
Entertainment in the theatre was good, but elsewhere it was spoilt by the childish loud antics of the ships animation team, who should all have walked the plank and given us all some peace. These people would be better suited to children's parties than their pathetic attempts of trying to entertain adults. Another rip off was the shuttle bus from the dock into Cape Town at 8 Euros each. We were advised to take this as it was "quite a distance" before you got out of the dock to any local transport, so 4 of us paid the 32 euros. The bus was full and we were told the next one was a 45 minute wait. A local dock worker said we could walk it in 10 minutes, which we did. Not having used our tickets we asked for a refund when we returned. The unhelpful and aggressive accounts office onboard refused and said we would have to write to head office in Naples. We later found out that a taxi for 4 would have cost £5. All in all a very disappointing and expensive time. The initials MSC would be better read as Money Syphoning Company. Would I travel with them again? About as much chance of me being elected the next Pope. Less
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