This was the first time that I went on a cruise and without a doubt this was one of the best holidays I ever went on.
This review may be a bit long but thought that since there not many reviews about Sinfonia in SA I thought that it be useful for new cruise members.
I went with my wife for our honeymoon. We set sail on the 17 Dec 2010 to Maputo and the Portuguese Islands. We booked a suit cat 11 with a balcony (cabin 1217).
This was horrible-We arrived at the harbour at around 10:30am.
-We had to stand in a long line to check in our luggage. Luckily we were somewhere in the middle. This took about 90min.
-After which we went to the boarding area, took our picture, registered and collected our MCS cards and stamped our passports before entering. This took about 45min which was not to bad.
MSC had a special line in which you could get a fast pass and avoid standing in the line. However this was at a price and it would set you back about R450 per person if my memory was correct. I think the whole Embarkation would be better if the followed the Disembarkation process.
MSC should have had check-in times depending on cabin category. eg Cat 10-11-check-in from 10am, Cat 7-9-Check-in from 11am ect. This would have avoided people standing for about 3-4 hours.
Checked in to our Rooms:
This was not as good as I expected. We were escorted to the lift after which we were dropped of in Deck 12. We were not walked to our Room but luckily it was not to difficult to find it. I'm not sure how the whole ship is but all the even number cabins are on one side and odd on the other.
-Room was not as bad as I thought.
-Would have been nice if it was a bit bigger especially the shower/bathroom which does not have enough space for 2.
Other than that I thought the room was beautiful.
-The balcony was the best part of the room. My wife and I could go to the balcony when ever we wanted and relax in the balcony area and admire the beautiful views without been disturbed or worrying about other people.
-Room was always cleaned 2 times a day.
- The Itinerary was left my our cabin stewardess every afternoon. This comes in handy planning the next day.
I would definitely recommend the restaurant over buffet any day.
-I think that if we paying for a holiday we should be served instead of standing in long lines. Food I thought was good.
-I am sure the food was definitely worth it and not a problem if you eat meat. There is a place in deck 11 that serves burgers, hot dogs, chips.
-The buffet is also in deck 11 and they generally have what ever is in the restaurant and a few other options.
Being Vegetarian, it was a bit difficult.
-My wife and I could never have more than 4 out of the 7 course meal as not each course had a veg option. Don't get me wrong most of the things provided for veg were good especially the soups and pastas.
-I was not very impresses with the main course though. I think there was an Indian chef and the main course somehow ended up being Indian food. Being Indian I love Indian food however this was far from my liking. The desserts were the highlight and most cases were absolutely delicious.
-Our waiter met our expectations and provided a good service. By night 2 he was used to us.
I forgot to tell you something important..on the first day prior to boarding the ship I spoke to one of the officers and requested if it was possible to have a table for 2 as I was on honeymoon with my wife. The lady said I should speak to the Matron d. We did not get a chance to speak to the Matron d as he was unavailable. When it was time for dinner we were escorted to our table in the Galeone II. To our surprise we saw that the number on the table was alted and we had a 2 seater table:) A day latter we found out that the officer we spoke to on day 1 arranged with the matron d for a 2 seater table. This was very kind of her and made my wife and I feel special.
Lunch and dinner-food very similar except lunch time there are no seating arrangements so you may end up sitting with other people. Same goes for breakfast.
If you love eating you would Love the cruise.
Listen to this:
Early bird Tea-6:30am
Breakfast-7:30-9am Restaurant/7:30-10:30am Buffet
Lunch-12:30-2:30pm Restaurant/12:30-3:30pm Buffet / Some time pizzeria was open were you could eat pizza for free
Afternoon tea at 4pm
Dinner:6:30pm Seating 1 and 8:30pm Seating 2
Mid night snack (11:45pm)
-The ship is very beautiful
-Possible to get a bit lost and confused especially in the beginning. Should be able to find your way. Maps on every floor/ask for directions
-2 pools are big enough to take a dip and laze...gets quiet busy during the day. Suggest you go for a early (7am) or late (6pm) swim/dip.
-The duty free shops are bit expensive. I suggest that if you want to buy anything wait for the last day as you will get big discounts and some things go very cheap
-SPA: Top class. I suggest you go on one and treat you and your loved one. There was a partner special that included a 45 min bali massage for both you and your partner which is in a beautiful room that had a view of the ocean. The package also included a 1hr entry in the thermal suit which allowed you access to the rest of the spa facilities. My wife and I had a SPA treatment on Day 4 and it was out of this world.
-I found the cruise director to be very funny. He was there in all the shows I went for. He gives after 3pm (Comedy Show, Show on history of Cruising and MSC and a show about different types of scams).
-If you want a more lively show then every evening you had dancers/artists performing (different themes). My wife and I found the shows a bit vulgar and after show 2 (night2) we were bord and did not go for the rest. We preferred using this time to explore the ship and relax and spend time in the bar lounges (entertained to live music) after which we would go to the late event.
-I really think they should have a age restriction on the night shows as the girls dancing did not wear much cloths and danced as if they were performing a strip show without them taking off what little cloths they had.
-There is also a Bingo show from night 2 were the cruise director and Bingo boys would keep you entertained for an hr.
Other events-Miss Sinfonia, Mr Sinfonia, Talentless stuff show ect
The club was cool-found that it abit quiet at 11pm (open time) gets more busy from 11:45pm. If you going to go then go after mid night.
-Found price of drinks to be reasonable
-Expect to pay a similar price at a local bar/restaurant
-Try the drink of the day. It at a discounted price. Some of the other cocktails are really good. Me and my wife do not drink much but having a few cocktails and relaxing in one of the lounges with live music is something worth while.
-Plan your next day the night but don't spend to much of time doing this
-If you don't like the first few night time shows don't waste your time going for the rest of the shows
-The SPA is a must otherwise you won't do justice to the cruise
-Try make friends with the staff and your waiter/cabin steward
-Communicating in English may be a problem at times but try to have patience
-The pictures that are taken on the trip are a rip off-1pic is $18 and 3 is $36.
-Explore as much of the ship as possible. Getting lost is part of the Excitement
-If you going to shop remember to buy on last day to take advantage of the discounts
PS PLEASE don't forget to take sea sickness tablets. I was lucky I didn't get sea sick and only took 1 tablet on the return trip. I heard a lot of passengers were sea sick. From what I heard the sea can me rough at times especially when coming back to Durban on the last day.
Was quick-very well organised. Took about 20min as they went by colour category which was determined by your cabin category. Wish they followed the same process for Embarkation.
Anyway I think that is more or less all the advice I can give. Overall the cruise is fantastic with a few minor hik ups. Don't have to high expectations and you will definitely enjoy it. Hope that this review helped you.