We boarded the older unfancy SINFONIA HOP ON HOP OFF Ship in Civitivecchia/Rome for the winter Med itinerary which included Malta and Greece. We read all the luke warm reviews and decided to go ahead and try this different cruise lines, whom were the only one to have this itinerary in the winter. I am glad this wasn’t our first cruise. There were plenty of English speaking pax aboard from all over. LOTS of families with younger kids. (actually too many kids) Embarkation was uncrowded and fast...until I was denied boarding for papers not in order. My husbands papers were correct but I had to return ashore to Check-In to have a pass the agent missed stamped. Not a great start. All the stewards were great throughout cheerfully moving through their 20 cabins. The comforter was too heavy for me so I was brought a blanket. We liked having less passengers on board. Our Oceanview Cabin 8140 had good storage. Showers are ridiculously small and shower curtain attacks you. Yet water pressure was very good. Outside OV cabin windows and many lounges were exceptionally dirty affecting photos. We missed having the travel map on TV showing the ship’s current location.
Excursions were average but well run. One of our Greek ports was cancelled due to weather. I mean wild wind and waves that loosened the lines, straps and covers on the life boat below our floor at midnight. After we called reception to report major banging and clanging there was crew fixing the problem within 15 minutes. They quickly scheduled an alternate port with nice weather and offered excursions which were enjoyable. Routing and Two other ports were swapped due to this same storm hanging out. They handled it well.
Most of our disappointments were with the food. No alternate dining and everything seemed to have been created and prepared as economically as possible. Boxed milk, powdered gravy, having to request butter every time,etc Menus did not reflect ports or different country specialties. Very Small portions and unimaginative. Many orders were mixed up or mistakes were made by our wait staff. Good ice cream and sherbet. They offered steak and lobster options for added $20-30 a few nights, but that missed the point of a different dining atmosphere. Many passengers moved to the Buffet permanently for more choices of items and portion and less disappointment.. I didn’t think the Buffet was too small. North American Fantastica pax receive free bottled water from their package .Frankly I don’t know how you’d survive without that unless you had a Beverage or Bar Package. We drank a LOT of water. Went to two shows and they were OK. The itinerary made this trip worth it, but there was just no “WOW” factor in this whole cruise experience. Don’t think we’ll do MSC again. We avoided the 3 “Elegant” Dress Dinners. We thought having cruised with Costa and Norwegian and both being similar in price that they we’re a better value.
Great steward. Lots of storage. Good shower power but shower WAY too small. Need more English on TV. More room to move if you split the beds. Ask for your type of pillow. If comforter too heavy ask for a blanket. VERY DIRTY WINDOW.
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