Our experience on MSC Sinfonia first departure Genoa Dec 27 2018 and stayed on for the next cruise total 21 days
I have done over 7 cruises now on Holland America, Princess, and Celestial. Asia, Panama, Europe, Caribbean, Cuba, Mexico Riveria.
The boarding process seemed to be a shamble, we had to stop at at-least 5 different locations
We were told the cabin card would be awaiting us in our cabin after 2.00pm, we found the cabin card in the unlocked cabin, we then had to load credit on the card at a special re charge station.
We were surprised at the lack of personal security as our cabin number was on the card, if we lost the card anyone finding it would know which cabin, they could access.
Unfortunately, we boarded in Genoa Italy, while we expected a lot of Italians, we were not prepared for the culture shock associated with Italian people, their rudeness and loudness.
We realised that there would be a lot of children and teenagers on board, but they seem to be out of control with no parental checks and no staff monitoring their behavior. Playing in elevators and running around in the late-night disco is common.
We observed 1 group of teenagers at breakfast that appeared as if they had not been to bed and their behavior was that akin to addicts coming off a high.
Smoking and non-smoking areas do not seem to matter, people were allowed to smoke where they wanted to.
Possibly as much as 15% of the passengers were English speaking, most signage is in English only, but the majority of guests do not speak English, while we were prepared for every announcement to be in several languages, we found many non-critical announcements and social activities to be only in Italian, even the call for excursions were mostly in Italian, leaving us confused on where to go. This appeared to improve on the second cruise.
The in cabin TV only had 3 or 4 English speaking channels BBC world news, Hong Kong TV news, an American news and a movie channel, showing the same 5 movies over and over with the words demonstration?? Going across the screen.
The behind bar staff, restaurant staff and cabin staff were excellent, however as on many cruises the table waiting female staff (in bar areas) fall well short of expectation.
The Cruise line wants to align itself with the TV series Masterchef, well they really need to look at this alignment, the buffet food fell well short of expectation of any cruise we have done, at breakfast the bacon was always overcooked, the fried eggs were always under cooked and the omelets were unrecognisable. At the lunch buffet asking for carved beef or ham made me feel like Oliver twist “please sir can I have some more” butter was never put out at lunch time we always had to ask for it. The general seated dining food in the evenings was only just acceptable with some ingredients (mainly the meats) were of low quality.
Free cordial soft drinks from the buffet area were only available at breakfast, the all-day hamburgers and fries were disgusting, they clearly tried to unsuccessfully imitate a major leading burger chain.
The ice cream booth service is very poor at 1.00 pm, 1 day I waited over 20 minutes for someone to arrive to serve, I asked a passing officer he said wait, about 15 minutes later someone finally arrived, in the mean time about 10 guests gave up waiting.
A few of the shows were not of the standard we have experienced on other cruises but others were very good, the Cruise director? compare was very hard to understand.
The ship itself leaves a lot to be desired, the ship has been extended by several meters in length. 1 corridor on deck 7 is split. To access part of the corridor one has to go up to deck 8 walk along to the next stairs or elevator then go back down to deck 7. The elevator in 1 place only goes from deck 5 to deck 9 so to get to deck 11 (pools and buffet) so to get to deck 11 you get out expecting to get the stairs to deck 11 but no--- the stairs only go to deck 10, then you have to go along a corridor to another stairwell. Once in a corridor there was no indication which was forward or aft, port or starboard.
If you want to go to deck 5, (dancing reception etc.) 1 elevator that you take to deck 5 finishes up between 2 restaurants in order to go forward or aft (dancing, reception etc.) you have to walk through the restaurants, they may be full or closed with the doors closed.
On at least 5 occasions the toilets would not flush, every time we rang reception, we were told they were aware of a general problem. Often there was a strong sewage smell in part of our corridor.
I assume the ship was extended to accommodate more passengers, the issue here is the buffet and the theatre weren’t altered to handle the additional capacity.
The trip was like a hop on hop off bus journey with passengers getting on and off an most ports of call, this became a huge issue when due to bad weather we had to divert to another port, luggage and people had to go ashore and board in tender boats. This caused people to need transport back to their assigned port and the ship to wait for passengers, to be bussed in from other ports. All this while shore excursions were trying to leave; the whole thing was a total disaster as the buses couldn’t turn because people waiting for transfers wouldn’t move out of the way of buses trying to turn around. Tempers became very high. We were given a 100 euro on board credit. I believe we were told a lie regarding weather issues, I checked internet for the actual weather for that day and it was not that bad, a day later we had to miss a port due to technical non-safety issues.
I heard people that were checking out after the first cruise say to reception stating to reception in loud voices “the worst holiday ever”.
The bar staff were the only saving grace for the whole cruise, I think if we didn’t enjoy a drink, we would have been very unhappy.
the bathroom was very small only enough room in cabin to squeeze past the bed