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MSC Sinfonia Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
705 Reviews

Great ship, wonderful itinerary - horrible food

MSC Sinfonia Cruise Review by jayintx

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2017
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Stateroom

We had spent 5 weeks in Dubai and Southern Africa and saw this 21 day itinerary from Cape Town to Venice as an attractive way to travel to Europe.

The ship is older, but has been refurbished and cabins added a few years back. We found the ship to be immaculately clean, well maintained and attractive. We sailed in an outside cabin (non-obstructed view) and this is where the wonderful begins! Our cabin appeared to be a little larger than normal on the ship's map, but imagine our surprise when we discovered it was actually 2 rooms! The first room had the bath and a sitting area with a sofa underneath a starboard facing window. Upon opening the interior door, we found ourselves in a bull bedroom with a forward facing window and a complete set of additional closets, drawers and desk. This alone made the cruise one of our favorites!

Our itinerary was Cape Town - Walvis Bay, Namibia - Dakar - Gran Canaria - Tangier (weather forced us to detour to Gibraltar instead, but it was a great port) - Malta, Dubrovnik and Venice. Plenty of sea days also.

Entertainment in the evening and was varied and very good to excellent. Everything from classical music to pop, plus 5 productions shows and a number of other singers, impressionists. In fact, every night was exceptional (except one - a magician and shadow artist who was mediocre at best) and we never missed a show. Stephen was our cruise director and was top notch. I would not hesitate to sail with him again.

The enrichment series was well done and interesting and I found it a pleasant and informative way to pass many mornings. Stephen also gave 3 of these, and I have to admit they were the most entertaining of the series.

Embarkation was simple and quick and our cabin was ready 1/2 hour early. Same in each port. Gangways were clearly marked and it was easy to leave and return. The ports were good and well spaced out. We were given 3 shore excursions as part of our cruise fare, and again confirmed why we always book our own private tours. Gibraltar was well done and interesting and the group size of 16 really helped the enjoyment factor. Great guide and good stops. The other 2 however, Malta and Dubrovnik, consisted of 40 people which missed the best sites in both cities in our opinion and provided only a modicum of information for 2 spectacular locations. We did our own arrangements in the other ports and had much better experiences.\

Service was 5 star at all levels, from officers to the Cruise Director staff, to the hotel staff, bar waiters, shop attendants, cabin stewards and food service workers. I cannot say enough good things about these folks. Our Captain was extremely visible throughout the cruise, and was even on the gangway at disembarkation to bid us farewell.

Now for the food. Alas, but for a cruise with such amazing features it could have, and should have, been better. We were at early seating and our waiters were exceptional, but they could not make up for the mess that was the menu. Usually there were 3 menu items, plus a pasta dish. The recipes were a mess, with ingredients that did not work together, meats that were tasteless and so tough that you couldn't chew them and desserts consisting of sponge cake with a variety of "different" toppings. (Have you ever had blueberry cake that was red?) In 21 days, I managed to lose something like 15 pounds. On a cruise! If it hadn't been for the decent breakfasts, I would have been constantly hungry. We have cruised her sister ship, the Armonia, in the past and did not have this experience.

In total, we definitely enjoyed the cruise - our cabin was a major contributor to that satisfaction, but the entertainment and the ship itself were most enjoyable. If it had not been for the inedible lunches and dinners, I would have given her the highest rating.

jayintx's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Stateroom
Cabin O2 pm me

A 2 room cabin reminiscent of a suite, with a separate sitting room and bedroom, 2 large ocean view windows and duplicate closet, drawer and desk facilities. Even 8 power outlets!

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Cape Town

Spent a week here before the cruise. Beautiful place with many things to do.

Las Palmas (Gran Canaria)

Lovely place. Hired a taxi at the port and visited most of the island.

Rock of Gibraltar

Good, small group tour. Great guide.

View All 103 Rock of Gibraltar Reviews

Too many people, too little information.

View All undefined undefined Reviews
City Tour

Too short a time in port, and with 40 people on the tour no time to do anything in depth. Much time spent at the granary museum and the maritime museum when there are much more beautiful and interesting things to do in the town.

View All 134 City Tour Reviews

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