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33 Africa Family Cruise Reviews

We booked this trip for my 40th birthday, we were so excited, the kids could not wait. We have family members who have been on cruises and they were telling us about all the choices of food and you will eat so much. Well unfortunately our ... Read More
We booked this trip for my 40th birthday, we were so excited, the kids could not wait. We have family members who have been on cruises and they were telling us about all the choices of food and you will eat so much. Well unfortunately our food experience was anything but great in fact it was utterly disappointing. The first evening we dined in the restaurant, the portions was very small and not really tasty. The second evening we tried the buffet (if you can call it that), even more disappointing, there was no carvery, no seafood in fact the only meat for the evening was minced meat with peas and potatoes, which tasted awful. We boarded the Friday morning at 11, luckily a lot of people told me to pack the kids swimsuits in my hand luggage and it was a great day so they could start swimming right away. When I enquired about towels I was told by the pool attendant that it was in our rooms and that the rooms will only be ready by 2 the afternoon, so my kids had to sit in the sun to get dry. The afternoon's menu was burgers, the most awful burger I have ever tasted and pizza, which was only cheese and tomato and if you were lucky every 4th or 5th one had ham and olives on. The kids entertainment area was also nothing like the pictures they have on their website, my kids kept asking me where all the games was that was on the website and I could not answer them. The Saturday evening they watched a video and some kids fell asleep during on the cold tiles, as there wasn't even a rug on the floor. The cabins was about the only thing decent on this trip, small but at least tidy and clean and the cleaning staff was always friendly. Overall this was a very disappointing 40th birthday trip for me. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have been on MSC cruises about 5 times already.Most recently on January 2017.We've noticed a clear drop in standards and cutting of corners. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. The housekeeping and restaurant staff ... Read More
We have been on MSC cruises about 5 times already.Most recently on January 2017.We've noticed a clear drop in standards and cutting of corners. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. The housekeeping and restaurant staff were excellent as usual. Special mention to Luke, the server on pooldeck.Always service with a smile. This where the compliments end. It seems like the only time we have access to a la carte menus on this ship, is at dinner nowadays.If theres one thing i hate, it is havving to stand in long ques waiting for food or being denied access to the a la carte restaurant altogether because the ques are too long.This happened to us on the first day.As result of their buffet policy,this resulted in long ques inside and outside their restaurants, resulting in chaos.As a result,we had to wait a half hour outside, children and all.When we did get access, the variety on offer was poor, judging by previous cruises. We decided to make this last trip all about the kids.And therefore was extemely dissapointed with lack of childrens activites onboard.There was absolutely nothing,and considering that the kids pool was closed throughout becuase of wind, they should have compensated for this. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Embarkation was a nightmare, even having paid for "fast track". The process was totally disorganised and unprofessional. The staff started out being surly and downright rude. The cabin was comfortable, but we had to request new ... Read More
Embarkation was a nightmare, even having paid for "fast track". The process was totally disorganised and unprofessional. The staff started out being surly and downright rude. The cabin was comfortable, but we had to request new linen as the duvet cover supplied was ripped and didn't close. The food was edible, but certainly not Master Chef quality (as advertised) - the breakfast buffet was boring and food was not catered correctly for the number of passengers on board. Passengers did not stick to the "no food in the pool area" rules, and the crew did nothing to correct this, probably because there were so many people on board and tables and seating were problematic. Service improved, but I found our waiter a bit crude - folding a napkin into the shape of a penis for the young girls travelling with us. This is not acceptable behaviour!! The on board entertainment was acceptable, but nothing spectacular, which is what we were expecting. We made the most of our holiday,but I will definitely NOT be making use of this cruise line again. I felt like I was in a mall for 4 days - noise pollution and overcrowding was the name of the game. MOST DISAPPOINTING!!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I booked this cruise through Groupon about a week or so before departure date at a price I thought was quite reasonable. I won't go into the frustration from MSC Johannesburg offices of not answering their phones and giving incorrect ... Read More
I booked this cruise through Groupon about a week or so before departure date at a price I thought was quite reasonable. I won't go into the frustration from MSC Johannesburg offices of not answering their phones and giving incorrect information - that's another story. Embarkation - We flew down from Johannesburg and I had booked a shuttle service from King Shaka airport to Durban port. When we arrived at the port, there were hundreds of people waiting in line and I thought we would be waiting for hours. As it turned out, shuttle service allowed us to 'jump' the queue into the terminal. However the terminal queues were also very long with some people skipping under the metal banners to get to 'someone' they knew. We got onto the ship at around 11:00 or so. Once on the ship, we were guided to the outside area on Deck 12 where we bought some cold drinks and were told cabins would be ready at around 13:30. True to their word, it was 13:00 when an announcement was made that the cabins were ready. We made our way down to our cabin on deck 7 and on our way, we were asked if we wanted to take up the drinks package and were told it was 'worth it'. It wasn't... each voucher was for a drink up to the value of US$4.00 and as I drink white wine, a glass of the most expensive on their menu was only US$3.25 - so I lost out on the remaining US$0.75c every glass of wine I had. There was no refund if you didn't use the entire voucher. But we only realised after forking out US$57.00 for the voucher pack. And whilst on that subject, when we saw our final bill, they actually charged us US$65.55 for that book of vouchers! We were literally on our way off the ship when we realised this. Total rip-off! On arriving at our cabin, it was an outside ocean view cabin - 7055. It was what we expected - small, compact, not a lot of space. Big queen size bed which turned out to be very comfortable. Window was basically a square porthole which didn't open. We were one of four consecutive cabins which had a semi sea view (only a net in front obscured the view a little) others to the left and right had lifeboats and no view. Fellow Passengers - we had chosen a week when there was a large contingent in the form of a Women's Group on board and to be honest, when there is this type of 'corporate' entity aboard, it's more or less all about them and they kind of 'took over'. The one day we had sunshine and the pool area was packed, the DJ played mainly songs that appealed to them. That needs to be looked at. Luckily we found a quiet spot in Top 13 - deck 13 - but there is an extra charge for using the sun loungers and towels. Having paid for this service, I would have expected waiter service at least but if you wanted drinks, we had to run downstairs to deck 13 and stand in a queue at the bar. Restaurants - on checking out the layout of the restautants on the ship - I thought - good - there are at least two restaurants that we could visit but we were assigned dinner at only one of the restaurants - Il Galeone - so we didn't get to find out what Il Covo was like. We were given 1st sitting on booking which suited us but on check-in, we saw on the cruise card that we had been allocated to 2nd sitting which started at 20:45 - much too late for us to eat. However, when querying at Reception, we were told we could check with the Maitre 'D to see if it could be changed. We decided against this as one of the under Maitre 'D told us that the first sitting was totally full and totally chaotic. La Terraza Buffet - was not keen on the set up, the cleanliness, the queues, the food - uggh! It seemed that they thought that pizza and burgers was a fitting choice for lunch - no toasted sandwiches on offer. There were a few salads, but very basic. Staff - reception staff were offhand and sullen. Waiters in the formal restaurant for dinner - non-smiling, slightly offhand at first - they came right on the last night when we gave them a tip. We heard that they had been working non-stop for seven months and this was probably the reason for their attitude. I feel for them - but again - sorry... I am paying good money for decent service. The only one who stood out amongst the rest was Muli our cabin steward. He was always very friendly when we saw him and I realised when we tipped him the night before we left that their salaries were pretty meagre as his eyes nearly popped out of his head. Excursions - the plan was for the ship to moor off Portuguese Island. We arrived there on Tuesday morning. We had decided that we would go onto the island on the Wednesday as we thought the majority of passengers would go off on the first day. An announcement came over that the captain had looked at the weather (Tuesday) and unfortunately it wasn't possible to go onto the island and that he would relook at it the following day. I am not the captain of a ship but the weather was absolutely glorious, the sun was splitting the sky and not a cloud to be seen anywhere. However, we thought maybe the weather changes in the area quite quickly. But the entire day it was beautiful. The next day Wednesday however - and the day after - Thursday - the weather had turned and it was raining and windy and the sea was very choppy. Needless to say there were a lot of unhappy people. We could easily have had time on the Tuesday to go onto and return from the island on that day, My hubby - cynic - commented that if people were kept on the boat, a lot more money would be spent... Activities - Bingo - on the two days we were stuck on the boat, we joined a game of bingo and I was surprised to learn that we had to pay for it. US$40.00 for three cards of bingo. Again a rip-off. Activities - Casino - smoky, area with children passing and even some children being allowed to go right into the casino area. We tried a couple of machines and none of them paid out anything. Another rip-off. Activities - Shows - we only went to one variety show and one quiz - pretty basic to be honest, but they tried hard. Overall experience - I would rate this a 2.5 star ship - it was definitely a step up in terms of décor that we experienced many years ago on a similar trip - in those days it was an MSC Starlight Cruise but the overall experience was not up to scratch. We have done a 7 night cruise around the Med on Norgwegian Epic and that was way too big for us (4000 passengers) but at least there was a variety of shows and restaurants to choose from. Disembarkation - each floor etc was put into a specific time slot for disembarking - it went reasonably well except that we waited for about an hour after our 6.30am slot to leave. Trying to find luggage in the terminal once you are off the ship was relatively easy if not a little worrying as anyone could pick up your suitcase - there was no security around and even if there was, who is to say that suitcase is yours. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We boarded in Port Louis Mauritius for an Indian Ocean cruise. Itinerary was good - perhaps would have preferred an extra day in Reunion at the expense of one of the three days in Madagascan Ports. Staff/ crew were exemplary. The ship ... Read More
We boarded in Port Louis Mauritius for an Indian Ocean cruise. Itinerary was good - perhaps would have preferred an extra day in Reunion at the expense of one of the three days in Madagascan Ports. Staff/ crew were exemplary. The ship condition was good but equivalent to the 7 previous ships we had been on - it did not warrant the 'luxury' hype it was given. It had recently been extended and capacity increased. This was probably why it was free dining as opposed to the traditional two sittings. There were times that the restaurants could not cope - waits for tables were too long, waits for food were too long; we were served ice cream in warm bowls and food that should have been hot was tepid at best. I cannot remember the Gala Dinner. Another loss was the theatre. I completely disagree with a previous reviewer who thought the show lounge was an adequate replacement. It was not! It was actually on a thoroughfare to two other venues, it was too small, the sightlines were atrocious - an embarrassment to the high quality performers. The gym was [free!] and well equipped but it was too small. The ethos on board seemed to be to make as much money as possible - there were 9 opportunities each day to pay extra food, there was no 'free' food after 22:00, there was no midnight feast, tea coffee and water was not freely available [it should have been] Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I paid $20,000 for this trip. What I got was 1. An extremely tiny room 2. An RV sized bathroom 3. A prepaid beer/wine program at over $500 that would not provide me with more than one drink at a time because my wife (not on ... Read More
I paid $20,000 for this trip. What I got was 1. An extremely tiny room 2. An RV sized bathroom 3. A prepaid beer/wine program at over $500 that would not provide me with more than one drink at a time because my wife (not on the program) might take a sip. This is both rude and childish. 4. Room service with a scowl. 5. Only a tiny area in the onboard store featuring notions and drug store items. If you forgot something...tough. 6. No ATM on board and no provision for those going on tours to stop at an ATM. We had to skip a tour in order to find an ATM. Many people were really angry about this. 7. Tour guides who could barely speak English. 8. Far too many poverty tours: come see the poor people. 9. Dining was excellent, though the portions are small. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I had previously been on 2 Royal Caribbean (RC) cruises as company incentives & relished the idea of spending the December holidays with my family on a return cruise from Durban to Reunion & Mauritius. NO COMPARISON aboard the MSC ... Read More
I had previously been on 2 Royal Caribbean (RC) cruises as company incentives & relished the idea of spending the December holidays with my family on a return cruise from Durban to Reunion & Mauritius. NO COMPARISON aboard the MSC Sinfonia! What a pity! My kids, 7 & 9, swam all day in the small & crowded 2 pools, played soccer, attended the excuse for a kiddies disco and spent a fortune on the Foosball and other coin machines for kids. No respectable soft drinks- package i.e. Pay upfront, get a plastic 500 ml cup and refill as often as you like, a la Royal Caribbean. My hubby purchased a couples massage special ($499) which comprised 1 x 45 minute dual massage, 2 x facials and 4 x entries to the often crowded thermal suite, open to both males & females. Unlike RC cruises, that offer surprise spa specials on an almost daily basis, the MSC Aurea Spa offered the same " specials" every day for the duration of the cruise. Ho hum! The spa massage rooms are fully lit (no dim lighting to set the relaxation mood). My husband & I also had the displeasure of our 2 Balinese therapists chatting to one another throughout the session. The sentiment is that these ladies were going through the motion of the massage without giving any consideration to the needs of the clients i.e. Asking where they should concentrate more effort, if we had any medical conditions or injuries etc. The session ended with both therapists trying to sell us products, with mine even venturing to sell me the answer to my cellulite! Thanks a million! My cellulite is the last thing I wanted to think about on my cruise! That issue should remain the concern of the other 353 days of the year! Needless to say, I was super- conscious of this "problem" around the pool area for the rest of the cruise :-)! As I did not enjoy this massage, I gave the spa another opportunity to redeem themselves by booking a second massage for the princely sum of $84 for a 45 minute session. I took the liberty of guiding the therapist to the knots on my back, neck & shoulders and found this experience more rewarding. The sales pitch at the end of the session was the only damper. Hubby found the gym a good place to vent and reported the facility adequate. Sun loungers on the pool decks were in abundance, yet, even though guests are requested to NOT reserve loungers, by 8 AM, the game of 'find-a-lounger-win-a-prize' would begin as every lounger was booked (sometimes 8 at a time by 1 person) with a towel, book, hat etc. The art of booking four in the sun and four directly behind to cool off, by the family "booker" was mastered. The fact that 99% of loungers were booked, with only a handful of guests in sight at 8 AM was due to the fact that the late- night Pasha club party-goers & casino frequenters went back to sleep or headed for a leisurely breakfast. Shady spots were like hen's teeth & in the sweltering heat; the fights & spats that ensued were worthy of WWE awards! Try as we might, we were unable to secure a cabin with a balcony and had to settle for a room with an outside view. The cabin had a double bed with 2 pull- down bunk beds for the kids. Add 2 ladders, a dresser, bar- fridge cabinet, cupboard with hanging space & drawers a tiny bathroom with a compact shower, basin and toilet unit, cabin- fever was the order of the day after 11 nights. You HAVE to truly love the people you are sharing a cabin with to survive! We saw a few early departures in Mauritius of families & half of a few cabin-sharing couples whose relationships took a knock! Sadly, with child- rearing needing a major brush-up for some parents on board, there was the daily and incessant stampeding of kids' feet up and down the corridors at night, well in to the wee hours of the morning, as children played hide-&-seek etc. Adult admonishment in every form, had no effect, and after about night 8, you are able to sleep through the pounding :-)! Food on the MSC Sinfonia was plentiful and tasty. There was something for every palate. Compliments to the South Indian Chef on his fantastic array of curries! The crew looked tired? disinterested? and gave the impression of not really wanting to be onboard. The entertainment Dream Team tried there best, but there efforts were lost among the other surly staff. No nighttime baby- sitting services meant that hubby and I could not enjoy the cruise offering beyond 10 PM. All in all, a long and drawn-out cruise. Suggestions if you wish to take this cruise in future: 1) book a balcony cabin 2) only share with people you really love! The budget- sharing on offer is not worth destroying friendships 3) take walkie-talkie type devices to communicate with your cabin members 4) go hungry :-) 5) plan your land excursions prior to embarking on the cruise as cruise excursions can be costly 6) brush-up on your foreign languages or just learn to thank the crew or compliment them verbally. The response and change in their attitude is heart- warming! 7) take sea-sickness medication for your kids. Adults get free tablets at Reception, but children must have a doctors consultation to get a suppository ($67 later!). Antihistamine cream for mozzie bites in Reunion and Mauritius. If you are sensitive to salt water (from the ship's pools), shower frequently. Cortisone cream if prone to eczema. 8) take washing powder or plenty of light clothing and underwear! Laundry services are expensive. Insecticide - bed bugs & dust mites were a HUGE issue. We stripped our own beds and fumigated regularly as this was not done, even on request. 9) DON'T book loungers! It's ugly and disrespectful. It takes one person to start the domino effect of change. Good Luck! 10) Kindle, factor 50 sunscreen, big hat, manicured toes, lots of dollars for fabulous onboard shopping and a good dose of the Chill-factor! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011

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