I have just returned from a 3 week cruise on MSC Sinfonia from Durban to Genoa which I would like to be able to say was fantastic but, unfortunately, all went horribly wrong from the embarkation procedure until the disembarkation although I must say the ship itself is lovely and very clean and the bar prices very reasonable.
Flights – we had to fly to Durban from Capetown with a one hour connection time from landing. I queried this on booking and was told not to worry as the luggage would be checked through from the UK to Durban so you only had to get yourself across the airport for a connecting flight – not so. You do have to collect your luggage, go through customs, find the next check in desk and recheck your luggage so unless you are an Olympic sprinter you will not have much time especially if your luggage doesn’t come out first.
Embarkation – total chaos, coach dropped us and the driver disappeared leaving the 40 + passengers all scrabbling for their cases from the luggage compartment underneath the coach. There were no MSC representatives to advise where our cases should be taken to for loading onto the ship. We then joined the winding queue for the embarkation procedure. Once on ship you then joined another queue to register your credit card for payment for items on the ship. Why they couldn’t do this on the registration desk at embarkation like every other cruise is beyond me.
Service – the service in the restaurant at breakfast is poor, if you ask for tea, remember to ask for it with milk as otherwise you won’t get it. It took me three more goes to get milk by which time the tea was cold. The service, however, in the evening at dinner was better, although the food wasn’t. Reception – Staff couldn’t care less if they served you or not, sighed when you approached the desk, looked at you with disdain and were rude. I thought they were there to serve the passengers, maybe I am wrong. Food – quality very poor, if you like bacon that you could sole your shoes with this is for you otherwise forget it. What isn’t used at breakfast usually turns up in a soup in the evening. The food is very much the same each day, poorly cooked and poorly presented. You had a bit of a guessing game at dinner to decide what it was you had ordered as it wasn’t easy to tell by what was on your plate. Complaints to the head of the restaurant went unheard.
Entertainment – if you like amateur, schoolboy type entertainment then fine, if not forget it. The shows were late for the second sitting passengers i.e. 11pm and the bands in the lounges not wonderful either and continually being interrupted by stupid games.
Ports of call – On all other cruises I have been on we have had a full day in port, not so with MSC. Only 2 full days in port, the rest are only half a day which doesn’t give you the opportunity to do much. The excursions are overpriced for what you actually receive.
Disembarkation – again utter chaos and the staff very rude. Basically left to your own devices. If you asked any questions you are just passed along to someone else then someone else again.
Would I cruise with MSC again – not likely! I have been on 20+ cruises and this was by far the worse. If it had been my first it would have put me off for life.