9 Cape Town First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This was my first cruise. The ship was three hours late. you cannot fault them as the weather was. However the communication was not extremely good and a few of the people on the ground knew what was happening. They could have also ... Read More
This was my first cruise. The ship was three hours late. you cannot fault them as the weather was. However the communication was not extremely good and a few of the people on the ground knew what was happening. They could have also provided people with water given it was blazing hot in Cape Town. Only hours later did we find out there was a water station and they handed out water as we boarded but it was too late. The check in experience was quick and easy. On entering the ship their was a whoah from all of us. It was beautiful. It brought a smile on all our faces. We were greeted with an overall welcome on-board. The weather was pretty crappy on the first day and the cruiseliner could not leave the Cape Town. The Strong Winds of Cape Town (affectionally known as Die Kaapse Dokter) was causing havoc) MSC cannot be blame for this I understand but communicate effectively and have a Plan B (More indoor intertainment available as people cannot go outdoors.) I presume they also don't have customer service agents or a manager to go around and communicate this message apart from the Captain Message over loudspeakers. Its also nice if they have a senior customer service officer or someone to assist in case help is needed. All the staff tells you is go to reception is which by the way is on the 5th floor and you in the 11th floor needing assistance. They really have to work on this. They also need a Senior Customer Service agent with decision making powers available on each floor or at least One for two/three floors available during the day and on telephone at night. Example: after buying cooldrinks, as I turned around the howling wind blew them out of the hand, the barman saw it and smiled. I told him can't he exchange it for me as he saw what happened. He just smiled and said no, I then had to cough up another $16 for drinks. No one senior there with "powers" to say we saw what happened lets give it to you for free, nothing! This is what makes customers happy, the ability to help them out. There is also no communication between restaurants. The one restaurant was so full with q's around the elevators and back with extremely long lines. As we walked down to our room we noticed the 6th floor restaurant was basically empty. Surely the manager of the 11th floor restaurant or manager of the 6th Floor manager could have called each other and said I am full do you have capacity or visa versa. Again, communication. Surely the Managers of the empty restaurants could have asked themselves, where are the 2000 or so people cause we made breakfast and there is no one here. Their cabins was small but I know one don't book a cabin you book the experience. The main criticism would be the timelines. We basically had one day of Cruise of 3 days. We had to be out by 6:30 of the room which again, long Q's at checkout meant we could enjoy anything on day 3. I would advise on the last day or cruise they give people breakfast snack packs so that people can still enjoy the last day and not stand in loooong q's on checkout, breakfast and again luggage waiting. Our luggage was misplaced with many others. We handed the luggage in as requested but for someone reason it never arrived. The ground crew said it was made "hand luggage" and therefore still on board and we should have brought the suitcases with us. However their were about 200 people with the same issue so we all could not have gotten it wrong. Again no communication between whomever made the decision in the morning mark it "hand luggage" did not communicate this to the ground staff. Communication, a very important thing. The service at the bars, again long q's surely this is not for first cruise. You know you are fully booked, get some extra staff. Its very simple. The quality of the food was indeed very good, thank you, except for the Pizza place where the younger ones got bored of same pizza after two days, imagine a 7 day cruise, I will die if served the same pizza. That is the closest eatery to the pools so of course everyone will go there. its also not a good idea to have one eatery on your deck where 2000 is likely to converge on a hot day. Transfer staff from other eateries there. Get more people to come and clean up. Get more waiters to that area. It will do wonders for the overall experience. Nothing frustrates people more to walk 100 metres for a drink to wait for another half an hour for it. It will give you grey hair. Thanks, the first cruise definitely was nice taste and will definitely look at coming back. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This I think was our one and only voyage so we were lucky it was on QM2 from Cape Town to Southampton. It was fifteen days of luxury. Our cabin 12006 was super, very comfortable and conveniently situated. We could keep a watch on the ... Read More
This I think was our one and only voyage so we were lucky it was on QM2 from Cape Town to Southampton. It was fifteen days of luxury. Our cabin 12006 was super, very comfortable and conveniently situated. We could keep a watch on the bridge from our balcony and it was a very short walk to the lifts which whisked us down to the gym, the library or the spa. The small covered pool is on deck 12 so that was just a stroll away. It was a longer walk to Stairway B to get to the Brittania Restaurant on Deck 2. The 5 formal nights were just that, dress suits and evening dress, but the informal dinners were jackets without ties for the men and cocktail dresses or slacks with nice tops for the ladies. So a suit is not a necessary item to pack. My favorite was room service, available 24/7. We made quite good use of it, especially towards the end of the voyage. Now the reason for 4 and not 5 stars - both of us developed the Cunard cough and spent time confined to bed. In fact I am still not well which is ruining the second part of our holidays and necessitated trips to A&E on disembarkation. Service throughout the voyage was exceptional and nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff; I wonder how some got bad service? Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise and we were naturally a little apprehensive about how we would cope with such a long time on board. Our fears were allayed considerably by the friendliness, courtesy and efficiency of the staff. The ship was ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were naturally a little apprehensive about how we would cope with such a long time on board. Our fears were allayed considerably by the friendliness, courtesy and efficiency of the staff. The ship was immaculate at all times and the hard work put in by the crew was unobtrusive. The accommodation was most acceptable. The food interesting and tasty as well as being abundant and pleasing to the eye. The quality of the entertainment was outstanding and well orchestrated by the very professional cruise director and his team. It was difficult to make choices about what to participate in from the diverse selection provided. Although embarkation and disembarkation were a little irritating for the long waiting sessions, it is appreciated that a large number of passengers have to be handled and the processes were fairly well handled and organisation evident. All in all, this was a very positive experience and one that we would like to repeat. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I booked this cruise as a surprise for my Mum as friends of ours had done this route the year before (different ship) and had so much fun so were doing it again in 2015. I have to start by saying that I was one of those people who ... Read More
I booked this cruise as a surprise for my Mum as friends of ours had done this route the year before (different ship) and had so much fun so were doing it again in 2015. I have to start by saying that I was one of those people who said that I've got no interest in going on a cruise, mainly because I am a very independent traveller and did not like the idea of being 'trapped' in one place with lots of people that I probably won't have much in common. Boy, was I wrong. We had a blast! My fear of being surrounded by lots of people/screaming kids and not being to get away was clearly very naïve as we struggled finding our group and went for a day or more not seeing one of the rest of the group apart from at dinner which was booked beforehand. MSC Opera is pure luxury and the entire cruise together with the booking and also dealing with some administrative issues afterwards was a pure pleasure. I honestly can't fault anything. The ship is in excellent condition throughout and this was matched by all of the staff that we encountered whilst on-board. Quality and variety of the food was impressive and the waiting staff was attentive at all times. There were games/zumba/live music, a well equipped gym with probably the best view in the world, lots of sunbeds, areas to sit and just relax, people watch, read or even have a snooze. The shows at night time was London Theatre quality, very well done indeed. Thank you so much MSC. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our first cruise on a ship. It was a local promotion which was really great value for money. My review is split between good and bad things: Good things: what a fantastic way to enjoy the ocean. 3 nights was a good trial and for ... Read More
This was our first cruise on a ship. It was a local promotion which was really great value for money. My review is split between good and bad things: Good things: what a fantastic way to enjoy the ocean. 3 nights was a good trial and for us it was definitely a winner and we loved it. We enjoyed the Turkish baths and the relaxation spa area was a great breakaway from the crowds on deck 11. Food galore - so you defintely won't starve but if you are watching your weight - be warned - temptation is everywhere. The pizza is basic magherita and the other choice was vegetarion - but oh so super delicious. We loved the Buddha Bar - chilled music and some really great artists. Bad things: Stricter rules on use of the Turkish baths should be implemented. Persons under the age of 18 should not be allowed. There were noisy children running in and out of the showers and the baths which was very disruptive. We had an ocean view cabin on deck 8 - the bed linen really needs an upgrade badly - horrible pillows - you can feel the knobly sponge. The blanket was very worn out and tired and the beds were hard and uncomfortable. My husband and I are not "big" people, yet we found the shower area to be cramped. I don't know how the bigger sized people shower. We never got to enjoy the jaccuzi in the pool area - again - overun by children and certain guests just totally hogged the jacuzzi. The embarkment procedure at Cape Town harbour was totally disorganised and a long wait of 2.5 hours was not pleasant. There needs to be better signage and queue management. Several very confused passengers were trying to fathom out where to go. I did my booking on-line and thought I was specific about my request for restaurant seating but it seems this request was not actioned and then it was frustrating to get this changed once on board. Only the maitre d could change the seating arrangments and it was difficut to get hold of him. I would definitely upgrade to a suite on our next trip - yes we will defintely go on another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have never been so excited and anxious all at the same time, as I was for my first cruise! I travelled on the MSC Sinfonia and did the cruise was from Cape Town to Mossel Bay and back to Cape Town. I did all the reading and research ... Read More
I have never been so excited and anxious all at the same time, as I was for my first cruise! I travelled on the MSC Sinfonia and did the cruise was from Cape Town to Mossel Bay and back to Cape Town. I did all the reading and research prior to the cruise but the info regarding wheelchair access really was limited. I wasn't even sure how I would board the ship! We arrived at E berth just after 11h00 on the day of departure. Dropped our suitcases off first and then started the check in process. The departure and arrival's area is all ramped and wheelchair accessible. It is a working harbour, so it's like a warehouse or storage space but it's clean and it's accessible. It's a slow process as all hand luggage is scanned and any prohibited items confiscated until after the cruise. Once we went through the hand luggage check, we had our photo taken further down the passage and then you queue again to check in and receive your plastic card which is everything on the cruise! You use the card given for buying and for access to your room. This card is like gold! From the check in counter you then wait to board the cruise ship. If you in a wheelchair like me, you get to bypass the queue. For wheelchair users there's a separate entrance, which the staff help you go up. It's the same entrance which is used to load the luggage on etc. It's quite wide; my wheelchair is 70 cm's from rim to rim and then there was still space on either side. Once on board I was whisked straight up to my cabin, which I don't recommend doing as I actually needed to queue at the accounts counter. You need to link a credit card to your cruise card or load money onto it. And yes that's the most important thing, so do it first and get it out of the way. So I had to find my wingmen in the queue and wait to link my credit card. It's a slow process. I stayed in cabin 9149, which is 1 of the wheelchair accessible inside cabins. Inside cabins have no windows. Be warned. The doorway is I think 80cm's wide. On entering the cabin they had made up the 2 single beds as a double bed, which really does limit the manoeuvring space. As I was staying on my own, we had housekeeping sort out the beds, which gave me much more space to move around. The bathroom doorway is also 80cm's wide and the door opens outwards into the cabin. Bathroom has a small roll in shower, toilet and basin with easy access and grab-rails. There's a hand held shower, which is also height adjustable and 1 of those little shower chairs to sit on. I was worried about the bathroom as I wasn't sure about access and the space but it really was fine and is more than do-able. The towel rack is a bit high, as is the shelves to store your toiletries but I just used the counter space. The basin plug didn't work so well, so wash quickly! And when showering the water did tend to drain away slowly (also depending on the roll of the ship) and flowed over the little shower lip. So be careful of that. Cupboard space has ample hanging space and comes with a lowered rail. The safe is also inside the cupboard and is easily assessable for a wheelchair user. Then there's the usual stocked bar fridge, TV etc. All levels of the ship are wheelchair accessible. You just need to know which lifts go to which level and which end of the ship you are at. I got so lost, so many times! Good fun though! All the entertainment areas are accessible, that includes the different lounges, bars, disco, restaurants, shops, library, pool deck and even the upper most level which has the walking track. The pool and Jacuzzi weren't accessible from what I noticed. Be warned if you using a wheelchair, the carpets are thick and the going is not so easy, unless you have a pusher with you. Some of the doors leading outside are those really heavy doors, so some help was needed but everyone was willing. Disembarking was a bit slow but then again, there are over a thousand people all going in the same direction as you. So be patient, you'll get off. Would I go cruising again...? MOST DEFINITELY! I can't wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Lots of pluses but some significant negatives for the Queen Mary 2 on our recent trip. The good stuff first. Our voyage was a short one, only Cape Town to Fremantle, and being virgin cruisers this was a treat that we had long been looking ... Read More
Lots of pluses but some significant negatives for the Queen Mary 2 on our recent trip. The good stuff first. Our voyage was a short one, only Cape Town to Fremantle, and being virgin cruisers this was a treat that we had long been looking forward to. The ship is startlingly beautiful and we kept on finding lots of interesting new nooks and crannies. Everything on the ship was sparkingly clean -- I would love to find a hospital somewhere in the world that measures up in the cleanliness stakes. Our cabin, nay, stateroom, was fine...well designed, with excellent storage, a good little bathroom - all pristine and shipshape. The excellent bed linen seemed to be changed every other day and bathroom towels were replenished daily. We found the in-hull balcony just slightly oppressive but it was certainly sheltered from the wind and quite ok - except for a very distasteful sewage smell which I will come to later. The sun was directly overhead on our voyage but in a month or so either side of Jan/Feb it would slant in quite nicely if you were on the appropriate side of the ship for private sunbathing. Our cabin steward, Larry, was excellent and most efficient. We just loved the grandeur of the Britannia dining room with its wonderful table settings and delightful waiting staff. In fact, did we meet any unfriendly, unhelpful crew members? No, not one. Where on earth do they find all these people? The food at first seemed gluggily British but in retrospect I think that was due to our unlucky choices early on. We got smarter as the days went by, and found that copying the menu choices made by our very Cunard-experienced tablemates yielded some excellent meals. Lunches in the Britannia room are not at set tables and these proved to be good experiences - meeting four or six new people every day resulted in some lengthy, hilarious and interesting lunches with nice people and only one chap who was a clunker in the entire 14 days of lunch companions. Our regular table of six for dinner each night was a treasure trove and I suspect we were very lucky to have been assigned to that table. The Commodore Club was our favourite place, a divine piano bar right at the front of the ship with a gazelle-like Russian waitress who is supremely watchable and elegant; second place went to the library where we sat for hour-long periods in superb chairs looking out at the prow of the ship and reading or, dammit, nodding off. The public rooms are well described by other reviewers and consequently they matched our expectations. A crazy mixture of humanity comprised the complement of passengers. Before boarding in Cape Town we seemed to be surrounded by lots of old frumpies or over-tanned animal-print-wearers. But once on board everyone sorted themselves out and the frumpies obviously didn't bother dressing for dinner so I expect they would have spent most of their time in the English pub sort of bar or the casino, neither of which appealed to us, and then would probably cram themselves into the ghastly food court for their meals (24-hour hot and cold food, can you believe it) instead of Britannia. Now for the bad bits which I feel compelled to mention, in spite of our enjoyment of the voyage. We didn't leave Cape Town until the morning after scheduled departure because of strong winds apparently. But isn't the QM2 supposed to be the most manoeuvrable ship of 'em all? Maybe the ghost of the sad old Costa Concordia affected this decision. The ship obviously took it easy going up to Durban, arriving a whole day later than planned, and after leaving Durban the commodore revealed his cunning plan of skipping our Mauritius stop altogether so that the ship could trundle at leisure (and economically) across to Fremantle. Curious, but he might have been rather more frank about that decision. We had ten straight days at sea and that isn't good, even on the QM2. People were disappointed, if not furious. And the Queen Mary 2 with her much vaunted "pods" and engine efficiency failed not once but TWICE on the ten days from Durban to Fremantle. The first time was late one morning in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I was still in our room and my other half was playing, er, "golf" (yes, simulated golf but apparently rather fun) when I heard a hideous graunching noise down below and suddenly everything went deathly quiet. Emergency strip lighting came on in the passageway and when I looked out, I saw some alarmed faces peering from inside cabins which were apparently in total darkness (another good reason to have a balcony I figured). The commodore was being interviewed downstairs at the time, presumably about the wonders and efficiency of the QM2(!) and had to scarper up several flights of stairs to the bridge so his voice over the tannoy sounded alarmingly puffed. We were pleased to hear it was physical exertion, not panic, that caused his breathlessness. He assured us there was no shipping anywhere near us -- er, was THAT reassuring? About 15-20 minutes later, after lots of wobbly attempts, rather like granddad pulling on the cord of the old lawnmower to get the motor started, the huge engines kicked into life and we were off. I thought it was to be a one-off occurrence, but at about 1:52am on the night before arrival in Fremantle it happened again. This time for much longer -- it was not till about 2:45am before the constant thrum of engines could be heard after lots of "engine cord-pulling". This time they got away with it because most people were fast asleep, so there was no announcement made and most people were none the wiser on our arrival in Fremantle. I found the second failure rather alarming. The first could perhaps be written off as human error, but a second failure makes you think. I wonder if there have been previous engine failures on the QM2? Finally, we are still trying to do a memory erasure on the smell of sewage on the ship. When we boarded in Cape Town the smell in stairwell D and the D lifts was sickening and I wondered how we could avoid that area during the trip. But it disappeared after day 2 and I noticed it in the stairwell on only one other occasion. However, the smell remained overpowering on our balcony for the first few days and on lots of subsequent occasions. We always opened our balcony door with trepidation and were relieved when we couldn't smell it out there. I mentioned it to a couple of people who had been on other ships and they laughed, saying it was just something that you had to put up with on cruise ships. Oh really? I rather wish the QM2 would conduct tours of their sewage treatment facility as well as their water treatment plant, both of which must be quite fascinating operations. I must say the water on the ship was lovely -- the iced water served at table was fantastic and was nice and "soft" in the shower. It's a peculiar thing, this shipboard life, yet people go back again and again. I think that next time we would stick to a course where we were able to disembark every two or three days. And personally speaking, for my first cruise, I didn't like being away from the e-world for such long periods. The erratic and expensive satellite coverage didn't cut it for me. But....ignoring the few negatives, it was a fascinating and enjoyable holiday at mass-market prices so perhaps we shouldn't complain. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We recently joined the MSC Sinfonia at Cape Town for a 19 day cruise back to Genoa, we flew out to join the ship and flew back to the UK from Genoa. The cruise was fantastic, the staff could not do enough to make life pleasant. We had an ... Read More
We recently joined the MSC Sinfonia at Cape Town for a 19 day cruise back to Genoa, we flew out to join the ship and flew back to the UK from Genoa. The cruise was fantastic, the staff could not do enough to make life pleasant. We had an interior cabin which was snug but all all the amenities necessary. We did not spend a great deal of time in the cabin, we tended to sunbathe and swim in the mornings and then use the air lovely lounges for reading in the afternoon.  Standard interior cabin, a very good location on the ship, on deck 8 close to the lifts which was convenient for Shelags bar and the theatre. It was very quite, the shower and toilet was a bit on the small side but sufficient for our needs. From what we saw glancing in when passing other outside cabins being cleaned in the morning, the space looked exactly the same as ours, the only advantage was the view through the porthole. Given the difference in price, I am not sure that it is worth the extra. After all, we only used the cabin to get changed and sleep in. We had the fridge,TV and the same amenities as the outside cabins. The cabin staff were lovely and very helpful, bringing extra pillows as soon as requested. The decor of the cabin was a little dated, the cabins could benefit from new carpeting and perhaps light colouring in wardrobes and build in furniture as it would give the optical illusion of a larger space. I took part in the bridge lessons and then played some tournaments, we also went to the art appreciation lectures. We also played miniature golf or went to the gym in the afternoons. The menus were varied and the food was very nicely presented, the price of wine and beer was very reasonable and the choice was good. We bought quite a few cocktail packages and really enjoyed trying different ones in the evening. We were very impressed with the classical concerts and the opera singers, we really enjoyed these events. We thought all the entertainment was good, especially the dancers. We sometimes had breakfast in the restaurant and sometimes in the buffet on the top deck, we always had lunch in the restaurant and we were on the early sitting in Il Covo for the dinner. We never made it to afternoon tea or partook of the late night snacks and buffet as we always felt we had eaten sufficient wit lunch and dinner. We did not take any of the advertised shore excursions, we preferred to plan our time ashore ourselves, for instance we had the horse drawn carriage ride in Malaga which we really enjoyed. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable cruise , we will definitely cruise with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
As this was our first experience of cruising we have nothing to compare it with. We could only go by the descriptions given be Silversea and some reviews we had read. It was promised to be a 5 if not 6 star cruise, we are well travelled ... Read More
As this was our first experience of cruising we have nothing to compare it with. We could only go by the descriptions given be Silversea and some reviews we had read. It was promised to be a 5 if not 6 star cruise, we are well travelled and do have very high expectations and these were not met.I would say it was more like 4 star. We found the food bland and a little boring, with nothing local on the menu. The wine was very mediocre, although there was plenty of choice it was not high quality, even the Champagne had been changed to a cheaper one, which was not a good one. It was evident that a lot of cost cutting had been done. We spoke to lots of people who had been with Silversea before and they commented that they found a difference in the food and wine quality. Also that the cabin staff was now all (almost) Philippino. The service in the cabin was very poor, the butlers did not seem to understand our requests for replenishment of drinks, toiletries etc. Lots of the passengers were unhappy, in fact we met many that left the cruise early because they were so disappointed with it, also some of them were ill with food poisoning. We spoke to eight people who suffered from this and there were lots more. The Gym was closed for half of our cruise and the Observation lounge had a problem with the Air Con and did not smell very nice. The water in our bath came out of the taps a nasty brown colour so we did not use the bath and cleaned our teeth with bottled water. I would not cruise with them again, maybe our standards are too high. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010

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