As first time cruisers we longed to get on board the MSC Sinfonia at Durban to sail for 3 nights to Portuguese Island and back. We went as a large group of 15 including my 2 adult sons and a girlfriend. Embarkation is supposed to take 2 hours maximum. Our cruise which was 16 - 19 Dec 2011 was a nightmare embarkation process of 7 hours, yes you did read right 7 HOURS from when we stood in the check in luggage queue until we took our first step onto the boat. We NEVER went through any safety drill at all as we only left Durban harbour at 6:30pm instead of the listed time off 2:30pm. We got to Portuguese Island late.
The food is sub standard with either long queues at the buffet restaurant or surly waiters serving bad food in the 2 formal restaurants. Fish was either off or inedible. Waiters will bring both muesli AND your hot breakfast at the same time and then get huffy about getting a new hot breakfast for you.
On a positive note the cabins are lovely and well appointed but they could provide more than just some shower gel and shampoo, please provide some body lotion and hair conditioner at the very least. Phoning reception on board works well.
Excursion to Portuguese Island and Inhaca Island was fun BUT please take note, there is not 1 toilet on Portuguese Island for the more than 1000 passengers from the boat, you must trek over the dunes to a place littered with tissues, wet patches and fecal matter...... unacceptable!
This is not worth the money no matter what special deal you get. I will never go on an MSC Cruise again. We have renamed this MSC Queues's.