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238 MSC Cruises Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

It was a maiden voyage. However, everything was terrible. They don’t care about Americans. TV for 21 days every language but English. Closet door fell off twice. Evevators always not working. Shows were repeats and they wouldn’t let ... Read More
It was a maiden voyage. However, everything was terrible. They don’t care about Americans. TV for 21 days every language but English. Closet door fell off twice. Evevators always not working. Shows were repeats and they wouldn’t let you see it twice. No activities to do. Food was TERRIBLE both in dining room and buffet. Buffet was closed most of the time and the and the water or juice machine was always broken. To much Opera shows. Everyone was complaining about nothing to do. I line at the reception desk was people with complaints. Also, on the dinner menu in the dining room they charge if you want lobster or special items. I’m not talking about the specialty restaurants. I came off losing weight. Also, everyone was sick on the ship with colds. AC didn’t always work and lots of the bathrooms were out of order. WORST CRUISE Gym had no scale to weight yourself. Also, HOT TUB by the pools - should be called cold tubs. It was like ice water. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Have been on 17 cruises with 7 different cruise lines Embarkation: Spouse required wheelchair assistance. Had to wait for a long time before we received the assistance, then only taken to ramp to get on ship. We embarked after the ... Read More
Have been on 17 cruises with 7 different cruise lines Embarkation: Spouse required wheelchair assistance. Had to wait for a long time before we received the assistance, then only taken to ramp to get on ship. We embarked after the mandatory safety drill. After we took showers & dressed the next morning I opened the door at 9:45, to find a note that the safety drill for those who missed would be at 9:30 – too late. We never received a notice for any other safety drill. Dis-embarkation - Ship docked at 1:00 AM. Left ship at 9:30 AM but had to STAND in warehouse for an hour waiting for luggage to be made available. Dining: Main Dining room - Fixed dinner time was inconvenient. Food in restaurant was limited and mediocre. First time in 17 cruises that I saw extra cost items on dining room menu (which would have normally been served on the other lines without cost). Beef and lamb was frequently tough and had much gristle. Food was often cold. Shrimp was served uncleaned as main course. It would have been difficult to find smaller shrimp for shrimp cocktail. Waiters were poorly trained and could not describe menu items. Did not offer tea or coffee. When requested and received, refills were not offered – had to constantly ask. Saw no attempt at training or mentoring waiters. Buffet - limited selection, hot food mostly cold, Main buffet closed for dinner after third day leaving smaller buffet with even more limited selection. Condiments not available or hard to find. Buffet was closing down long before end of dining time. Dining hours shortened as cruise progressed. Ice and beverage machines frequently broken or empty. Juice mostly watered down. Public Rooms – Ship was very glitzy. Lighted stair treads in atrium were distracting and dangerous. Many mirrors a problem with some really easy to walk into (People did). Most seating in public areas was uncomfortable. Elevators were frequently broken. Major plumbing problems – Public rest room toilets were frequently clogged and dirty water on floor. Ship does not have space suitable for lectures or meetings for moderate or large groups. Covered pool was nice. Dance floors small and limited. Billiard table in very small library area-Really? Entertainment – Production shows were large and good. They ran 4 production shows during 21 day trip, repeating several of them. Guests were discouraged from seeing them twice. Other shows were OK, but there was no show at all on one night. Not enough variety, mostly opera. Entertainers in other venues were pretty good. Fitness & Recreation – Lots of recreation possibilites for children and young adults – not for us. Service – Had a billing error which took two tries to get corrected. Called desk to report toilet not flushing – line was busy and got a message that they would call back. Call never returned. Almost always a long line at reception. Personnel at desk not knowledgable. Received wrong information to questions. Onboard Experience – TV stations offered were limited, with no real time TV during atlantic crossing. Port talks generally not re-broadcast. Promised live TV upon entering Caribbean, did not return for 3 more days. No ships camera. Information was very limited. Dining room menus were not posted. Newspapers were available in one lounge only. English language papers were limited to two British tabloids and sometimes the NY times. Only one copy was available. Disembarkation and embarkation at ports was very slow. Long lines developed frequently even in the middle of the day. Ramps were frequently VERY steep, a real problem for people with limited mobility. Line is trying to bring back classes which were eliminated by all the cruise lines long ago with "Yacht Club". When a person holding a “Yacht Club” sign leads people past the line of people who have been waiting a half hour (line barely moving) to get back on board, it breeds resentment. In general, the management attitude seemed to be that the passengers were a necessary evil for the re-positioning cruise. Only one enrichment program. For a ship this large and a cruise this long there should have been several more. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I looked forward to the maiden voyage on a new ship and we love the transatlantic itinerary, MSC handled the change in starting point from Venice to Trieste very well. The crew did not seem adequately familiar with the ship and we went ... Read More
I looked forward to the maiden voyage on a new ship and we love the transatlantic itinerary, MSC handled the change in starting point from Venice to Trieste very well. The crew did not seem adequately familiar with the ship and we went thru 4 different waiters in four days in the dining room. The cabin was tiny for a "mini suite" and there was very limited storage space. The pool and water slide and zip line will be great for families with young kids but there was almost no shaded outdoor seating available nor was there anywhere that a continuous loop could be walked without passing into and out of the ship several times. The dining preparation was disappointing (fish not tasting fresh, beef being tough, etc) and took a long time to be served. The pizza in the buffet was a highlight. Tried two of the specialty restaurants found one decent, the other not so much. Made a reservation for 8 only to be told, on arrival, that they only had seating for 6!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Embarkation was terrible - we waited for the passengers to go ashore before staff arrived and opened the desks - 1 yacht club, 2 Priority Boarding and 2 desks for the remainder (majority) of passengers. No announcements. People began to ... Read More
Embarkation was terrible - we waited for the passengers to go ashore before staff arrived and opened the desks - 1 yacht club, 2 Priority Boarding and 2 desks for the remainder (majority) of passengers. No announcements. People began to queue, the queues were long and people began to get irate, shoving to the front of the queue. MSC need to organise this better and have more staff on hand. Once on ship quickly directed to our room, luggage had arrived and cards were on the bed, the card was not showing our all inclusive package, so down to reception and into another long queue. The card was quickly changed, why MSC are so bad on admin. I don't know. No time no for anything to eat or drink as the announcement goes out for safety drill. After the first day we had a fantastic cruise. Ship is very classy and roomy and kept immaculately clean. There are plenty of bars each with it's own character. There are 3 pools and 8 hot tubs. There was always plenty of sunbeds if you moved away from the main pool areas. Cabin - our inside cabin was very spacious with a comfortable large double bed, chair and coffee table, dressing table with large mirror above it, 2 electric sockets, hairdryer in drawer, large double wardrobe, one side hanging space the other half shelves and half small drawers, 2 drawers in the dressing table and 2 drawers in each bedside cabinet (take extra hangers for long cruises). The bathroom was a good size with shower with glass doors, shower gel and shampoo provided. Food and drink - Breakfast could be taken in Buffet or MDR. MDR also had a buffet section. Breakfast selection was excellent. We could always find a seat quickly in the buffet. Only tried MDR once for breakfast but didn't like waiting for the service when there is so much to do in the day. Lunch in the Buffet was equally good selection wise and seating, we generally only ate salads and sometimes the fresh roasts so can't say what the remainder of the meals were like. I especially like the system in buffet for drinks, there is a call button on each table which links to wristbands worn by drink servers, so no trying to catch someones attention. Lunch in MDR was a mix of buffet or menu service by waiter. Dinner - on our cruise was still the 7 courses. Appetizer, Salad, Pasta or Risotto (terrible risotto - like rice pudding), Main 3 choices, dessert, cheeseboard. You could mix and match this as you liked - sometimes I had the appetiser the fish from the main and then a meat main. Steamed vegetables and chips were always an option as was an "always available" selection of dishes. Overall the quality and variety of the food was very good, sometimes excellent and sometimes not so good - but you could always send back and change with no problem. Getting drinks in the dining room was never a problem, my husband always had beer and the waiter was more than happy to keep him supplied as his glass emptied. Theatre seating is excellent but the shows are a bit repetative, same people in different costumes. They only last 30 mins. We were selective and didn't go to everything on offer. Plenty of activities during the day if you like that sort of thing. Staff Service - We received excellent service throughout our cruise. All crew members we passed or came into contact with were friendly and chatty, bar staff quickly became familiar with your drinks. Disembarkation was very well organised and we were quickly onshore locating our luggage. I wouldn't hesitate to cruise with MSC again Arrived at Ports either on time or early but due to bad weather could not stop at Buzios (tender port). Only used one excursion (Rio) which turned out to be good value for money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Chose this cruise for the Ports of call, and the price. We have cruised with MSC before so to an extent we knew what to expect. However, the food was even more hit and miss than we have had before. Some of our fellow passengers ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the Ports of call, and the price. We have cruised with MSC before so to an extent we knew what to expect. However, the food was even more hit and miss than we have had before. Some of our fellow passengers behaved in an incredibly arrogant manner - and unfortunately, and when it occurred, it was tantamount to intimidation and bullying at times and I encountered this directly aimed at me although other people did suffer similar. The ports were great. Most of the trips were good. The cabin was as good as we could expect - it was a balcony and very nice. The gym should have more equipment than it has - there was sufficient space for more equipment. In the bars the service was good, apart from one occasion, I was given a different drink than I ordered - they were hoping I wouldn't notice, as the bar tender actually had to fetch another bottle, and it was easier to give me something similar - but without advising me. It looked the same but tasted different. Would have preferred for the entertainment team not to have nightly Bingo in the main lounge. I dont play Bingo - but that is not the issue, the issue for me was that each number was presented in each language (and generally I don't mind the multiple languages announcements) but for bingo, this meant it seemed to go on for ever! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Cruised from Venice to Rio over a 3 week period. Had been to most of European ports before, but chose this cruise for the stops in Brazil. Unfortunately had to miss Fortaleza due to strong winds, and it rained most of day in Buzios. ... Read More
Cruised from Venice to Rio over a 3 week period. Had been to most of European ports before, but chose this cruise for the stops in Brazil. Unfortunately had to miss Fortaleza due to strong winds, and it rained most of day in Buzios. Overall we liked the ship having a comfortable balcony cabin, although the wardrobe space was a bit small. The ship was in good condition, but there were some signs of wear and tear. The main let down was the food in the main restaurant which often got to the table Luke warm, and once was actually cold. The service in both the main and buffet restaurants was hit and miss. The entertainment team worked very hard and provided good varied things to do and take part in. There were also lots of dance classes. The evening shows were mostly very good and varied. There were bands duos and singers in all the bars who in the main could actually sing and play. The gym was much too small for the size of ship, with queues to get on the equipment on sea days. We would go on this ship again for the right itinerary and price. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This is not going to be long winded but I feel the need to voice my opinion which is absolutely POSITIVE...not always shared by MSC cruisers on CC. How you rate your cruise often depends on expectations and attitude to dealing with any ... Read More
This is not going to be long winded but I feel the need to voice my opinion which is absolutely POSITIVE...not always shared by MSC cruisers on CC. How you rate your cruise often depends on expectations and attitude to dealing with any shortfall. You choose your cruise, you pay for it, you pack, you go. Remember though to have a good time and this is impossible if you are going to grumble because " on ...... you didn't have to pay for water at dinner " or " on ..... coffee was served after the meal ". Every cruise line does things differently, if you have a 'must have' list check it out with your cruise consultant/cruise line before booking...most questions are answered somewhere online and once onboard focus on the positives as usually there is no turning back once you've sailed! MSC is very affordable as cruises go, the ships are attractive, stylish ( Italian!), cabins are comfortable and the space well organised. On our transatlantic voyage service was very good all over the ship, crew were most pleasant and ready to interact with guests, food was abundant, varied and palatable. The whole ship was spotlessly clean. Although coffee wasn't served in the main dining room after dinner ( we knew beforehand} an excellent Italian coffee can be found in most of the bars. Evening entertainment was also varied and enjoyable and during the sea days we were never bored: stretching, aerobics, tai chi, handicraft classes, dancing classes, quizes, lectures, tennis, squash, cards, library, board games, pools, jacuzzis, table tennis, table football.... There was a dedicated guests relations consultant for English speaking passengers who could be contacted either in person or by phone for any queries ( rather than using the reception desk ). The Master Stefano Aiello would make daily announcements regarding our navigation across the Atlantic and was often to be seen walking through the ship greeting passengers and having a chat. We had a thoroughly good time, feel we got excellent value for money and will definitely be cruising MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
The food in both the buffet and the dining rooms was marginal. The entertainment especially the guest entertainers were terrible with the exception of Guillermo Guido. The disembarkation in Buenos Aires was a disaster. People were pushing ... Read More
The food in both the buffet and the dining rooms was marginal. The entertainment especially the guest entertainers were terrible with the exception of Guillermo Guido. The disembarkation in Buenos Aires was a disaster. People were pushing others out of the way, ramming others with their suitcases and cart . No direction from management. It took four hours to get off ship. The excursions with the exception of Funchal were poorly organized. The tour guides were weak in English and knowledge of their jobs. For Rio it took two hours to get from the ship to bus. So well recommended and such a disapointment. Very poorly organized . It was kind of like working with a company that is going bankrupt. This was a 22 day cruise From Venice to Buenos AIres. Of 5 cruises this is the worst, I will not use MSC again.I sent an extensive critque to MSC. Hopefully I will receive some kind of response. There appeared to be a bad relationship between service crew and management level personnel on ship. Not a happy service crew. One very bright spot was the clinic. Serbian Dr. Jelena Putnik took very good care of my unexpected lung infection in three visits. She was knowledgable and patient friendly. She was a real gem. Clinic was very well organized. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We did the 22 day cruise from Venice to Buenos Aires and loved the ship and all the lovely spaces with tons of lounges and chairs to sit and enjoy a drink. We found the staff to be very nice and helpful and friendly. We had read ... Read More
We did the 22 day cruise from Venice to Buenos Aires and loved the ship and all the lovely spaces with tons of lounges and chairs to sit and enjoy a drink. We found the staff to be very nice and helpful and friendly. We had read reviews that Guest Services were not helpful but we found them to be extremely helpful when we had questions or requests. Our one major complaint was the food - both in the dining rooms and the buffet area. The beef was usually tough and overcooked. Steak was a joke - it was very thin and tasteless as was most of the food. It was not tasty at all. We had read the pizza was very good but we found it tasteless and poor. No flavor at all as well as most of the pasta dishes. Everyone we spoke to felt the food was poor in the dining room and the buffet. We would not cruise that ship again because of the poor food. When we ordered eggs "over easy" they were practically raw and inedible. The toast was hard as a brick and cold. The bacon was very tasty. The portions in the dining room were not large but you could order as many items as you wanted and we thought that was good. A lot less waste. The veggies were always overcooked and the taste was totally lacking. The bread and rolls were very good and were offered from a large basket with a good selection and a good way to serve to cut back on waste. I did enjoy the gelato that was served at one of the outside bars near the pool. Service was hit and miss in the dining room for the open seating for breakfast and lunch. Our cabin attendant was the best we have ever had ('Rosita). We don't usually tip extra on top of the daily service charge (10 euro per day per person) but we did give Rosita extra and also our 2 servers in the dining room that we had every night for dinner. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our 38th cruise, but first on MSC. It offered tremendous value for money, a good itinerary and an escape from the cold British weather. We sailed from Genoa, Italy to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, spending 2 days in Genoa at the outset ... Read More
This was our 38th cruise, but first on MSC. It offered tremendous value for money, a good itinerary and an escape from the cold British weather. We sailed from Genoa, Italy to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, spending 2 days in Genoa at the outset and four days in Rio before flying home. We visited Portofino under our own steam together with a trip on a narrow gauge railway prior to sailing and did everything Rio had to offer before returning home. We applied for Status Match with MSC which was a real boon, half an hour from hotel to stateroom on board! Disembarkation was equally effective. The ship was big, extremely clean, our inside cabin was spacious and well looked after by our steward. Food was excellent in both MDR and Buffet. Previous reviews of Preziosa have criticised cold food, poor service and lack of seats. In my experience none of those factors remotely applied. Remember, this is an Italian ship, not US or British so expect differences!! Entertainment in the Theatre was generally good. 11 out of 14 shows were reasonable, 3 not so. Languages were 6 in variety for introductions but English was always first and all the crew spoke English. Service and Excursions were good, Activities variable. I would definitely use MSC again, in fact we are going from Italy to S Africa next year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Restaurant food very mediocre - poor quality and presentation. Vegetarian option attrocious. Not good to have to sit with the same people for dinner for 23 nights. Need dine around option. Far too much queuing for everything. ... Read More
Restaurant food very mediocre - poor quality and presentation. Vegetarian option attrocious. Not good to have to sit with the same people for dinner for 23 nights. Need dine around option. Far too much queuing for everything. Drinks packages very questionable. Speaker - Hugh Mitford possibly the worst speaker I have ever heard - not surprisingly his lecture series was cancelled. Generally would only rate MSC as a 3 star cruise. Cabin - balcony suite good. Would not recommend MSC. Boarding at Venice was dreadful - MSC need to do a time and motion study - we had to queue three times to in fact do the same thing. You then have to queue to have your card endorsed for drinks package - why cann't this be done when you purchase the package? We had to wait for 2 days to get the light changed in the bathroom, which did not work. Disembarkation process good. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Convenient travelling back home to South Africa from Europe. We have cruised with MSC on a few occasions and have always had first class service. The Service and quality of food on this particular Cruise was dumbed down for some ... Read More
Convenient travelling back home to South Africa from Europe. We have cruised with MSC on a few occasions and have always had first class service. The Service and quality of food on this particular Cruise was dumbed down for some reason. We want to Cruise with MSC again and will do so if MSC can ensure that this will be the last time they dumb down the Service and Quality of food and all other Cruises will be at the Standard we have come to expect. Please find here a list of comments – there are a few more but these did concern us more than others and probably contributed to some of the sickness on Board. Buffet Bar: The Restaurants didn’t appear to be bacteria-free and sadly this didn’t seem to concern MSC Personnel. Hygiene: MSC staff continually handling food with bare hands. MSC Staff using only one glove and handling food with bare hand – fingers sticking into food etc. MSC Staff dropping cutlery on the floor and replacing it in the serving trays and tables etc. without cleaning the cutlery or having it washed MSC Staff picking their noses while serving food. Carvery, Ill Galleon: Pork underdone – blood oozing out when MSC personnel attempted to carve the joint on Hot Plate. Pork was sent back to be cooked correctly – hot plate was turned off and Gravy was left at side of Hot Plate. Blood and congealed fat and pork debris was left to go cold on Hot Plate. After one hour Pork was returned to contaminated Hot Plate which was switched on when Pork arrived. Just prior to Pork being returned to be carved, MSC personnel scooped up blood and congealed fat and debris with hands and dumped it in a container at the side of the Hot Plate. Pork was ordered to be carved and served by slicing along the sides as it still wasn’t cooked properly. Gravy was cold and brought to the attention of the Ship’s Doctor who was in the queue – she informed MSC personnel that the Gravy was stone cold; - MSC Personnel placed it on the Hot Plate – the Ships Doctor said, "it was a disgrace" and she was "fortunate that she ate most of her meals in the Crews quarters". Passengers handling food with bare hands and returning uneaten food to be served again – MSC personnel did take away the complete tray of food on a few occasions but the practice of handling food by the Passengers was never addressed. Passengers refusing to disinfect hands prior to entering Restaurants. Service in ILL Galleon Restaurants at Breakfast and Lunch was poor: Had to take cutlery, cups and saucers etc. from other tables to prepare the table we were sitting on. Unnecessary Queuing up was a problem caused entirely by MSC personnel resulting in Passengers getting frustrated. MSC Personnel can tell us how warm the Sea Temperature and Ambient Temperature was, they could tell us the Sea Depth, Wind Speed and the Precise position of Ship in four or five different languages etc. etc. but NOT one of them could tell us why the food was continually served cold and what the temperature of the Soup and Gravy was. According to research carried out by other Shipping lines; 90% of all food poisonings happen when correct temperatures are not kept. There was NO food thermometer visible in ANY of the eating places - In 24 days at Sea I never once saw a food thermometer - all other Passengers I spoke to also commented on this. Maybe contributing and instigating the poor hygiene on Board was a money making scheme by MSC - MSC will be able to give us the precise reason of the poor hygiene. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Main reason for taking this cruise was to visit Indian Ocean Islands Due to engine trouble after seven days at sea we had two hours of daylight on shore in Seychelles two sea days later we had four hours of daylight onshore in Mauritius. ... Read More
Main reason for taking this cruise was to visit Indian Ocean Islands Due to engine trouble after seven days at sea we had two hours of daylight on shore in Seychelles two sea days later we had four hours of daylight onshore in Mauritius. Complaints to customer service desk fell on deaf ears. Food in main dining room was good but not consistent, service was good but erratic at times with all guests not receiving correct course at same time Wine & drinks packages very complicated and geared towards the company choosing drinks of their choice ( usually cheap Italian wine and poor quality spirits ) Cabin service was good and kept clean with fresh towels every day, shower was very small with plastic curtain Evening entertainment was average, there was plenty of deck games to join in or watch. Sun loungers were easily come by embarkation and disembarking at ports was a shambles, loudspeaker communication was chaotic and often unclear. M.S.C would not be our choice of cruiselines Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The cruise was the culmination of our 40th wedding anniversary celebrations, and was particularly appropriate as apart from the start in Venice, and end in Durban, we had not been to any other destination on the cruise. However, whilst ... Read More
The cruise was the culmination of our 40th wedding anniversary celebrations, and was particularly appropriate as apart from the start in Venice, and end in Durban, we had not been to any other destination on the cruise. However, whilst in general it was most enjoyable, it was let down by some lack of attention to detail, and admin problems, especially at embarkation, where there was some sort of problem which took a couple of hours to resolve, but we were not INFORMED as to what was happening. Drinks packages seemed to be a particular problem. There is no excuse for the pathetic salt and pepper pots on the table, which were generally blocked, and you had to screw the top off to get salt out. Certainly below standard. The ship generally is looking a bit "tired" now, stained carpets, fittings loose, rattan furniture fraying. Excursions seemed expensive - I booked a private excursion to Petra at a much more competitive rate. The best thing was the almost total lack of children on board!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The middle eastern ports of call appealed to us and the fact that the cruise went along the East coast of Africa. We have already done the voyage along the west coast of Africa. We also looked forward to going through the Suez Canal as ... Read More
The middle eastern ports of call appealed to us and the fact that the cruise went along the East coast of Africa. We have already done the voyage along the west coast of Africa. We also looked forward to going through the Suez Canal as that was a first time experience. WE were disappointed in the excursion to King Solomons mines as we were given the impression we would visit a kibbutz but instead were just driven around one. WE have been on several MSC cruises in the past and were disappointed in the quality of the food on this cruise. We used the main restaurants whenever possible, only using the buffet on the pool deck when returning from an excursion too late to use the formal diningrooms. Fresh fruit became less and less and near the end of the cruise we were told that the kitchen had run out of biscuits to have with the cheese. The meat from the carver was hacked rather than sliced. Service at open seating times was frustratingly slow and one was shunted from one member of staff to another, It was almost impossible to find someone to order something from the bar like a cappuccino at breakfast. The waiters at the evening meals were top class and did their best to accommodate our needs. The seating in the theatre is absolutely terrible now that there is the row of loose chairs in front of fixed bench seats. Embarkation was a nightmare and we were never told what caused the delay. Other than that the running of the ship was excellent. Pronunciaion of staff doing multi language quizzes was so bad that one didn't understand the questions. The bridge classes were great and the presenters very helpful. Documentaries were very interesting. we requested a small table at first sitting for dinner and it took 3 moves before we were finally allocated a nice table. the room we were offered at the hotel in Venice was below par in the annex but the breakfast was good. we weren't offered to start the trip from Cape Town and had to find our one way to get to Johannesburg for the flight to Dubai. this obviously made the journey much longer and baggage could. not be booked straight through. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We did this cruise because of the itinerary and timing, having done the return trip via the W. Coast 4 times before - but never on the Sinfonia. We had been told that she was a nicer ship than the Opera, but did not find that to be the ... Read More
We did this cruise because of the itinerary and timing, having done the return trip via the W. Coast 4 times before - but never on the Sinfonia. We had been told that she was a nicer ship than the Opera, but did not find that to be the case. The good stuff first: Cabin. We had booked an Aurea Suite and were not disappointed - best position and cabin (and bed) we have ever had - spacious and comfortable and, as always, the cabin attendant, this time Putra, was superb. He could not have done more for us. On moving in I needed WAY more hangers, within minutes he was there with a huge stack of wire hangers. I could have kissed him! As far as the cabin was concerned I only had one gripe: when we had high winds for 2 days there was a lot of eerie whistling down the passage and no way to stop it. Entertainment. The entertainment was wonderful - very high quality and varied. Loved it all - BUT the high volume at times was painful to the ears and the visibility from some seats was nil. But they know that. The Operatic concerts were briliant. The Spa. We so enjoyed the massage that was included that we went for 2 more each, superbly executed. Bad Stuff: Food..... we didn't starve BUT I could count on one hand meals we enjoyed. The buffet was very disappointing, the Il Covo ditto - BUT as usual, the dining room service in the evening was outstanding. At lunch time, not so... The loud, screechy "music" in the buffet sent me running out - thankfully the pizza and burger bar on the deck was there to fill in. Pre-dinner entertainment. We were on anytime dining and would have liked a longer cocktail hour with music - but that stopped in the bars at around 6pm so we had to have a drink without until going to the Il Covo at 6.30. Sunbeds - with 'reserved' towels on them unattended for hours - unpoliced as usual. Sad that the lovely pool is now a spray park (unused) but I suppose it would be busy and noisy on other itineraries. So - this is not really a complaint. We enjoyed the cruise very much despite the above and made many lovely friends. The service was excellent as always. We did not take part in many of the activities but appreciated having a formal Duplicate Bridge arrangement set up and thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment. It would have been better if there had been more music in the bars. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My husband and I were on the MSC Sinfonia in October 2013 from Genoa to Cape Town (West Coast of Africa) and decided it would be fun to go from Venice to Durban through the Suez Canal (East Coast of Africa) in October 2017. We booked ... Read More
My husband and I were on the MSC Sinfonia in October 2013 from Genoa to Cape Town (West Coast of Africa) and decided it would be fun to go from Venice to Durban through the Suez Canal (East Coast of Africa) in October 2017. We booked through the Johannesburg MSC office in July 2016 for October 2017 and got an excellent price. We loved our previous cruise. We have only ever cruised with MSC and being South African with our weaker currency, we don't have the luxury of doing regular cruises through the Mediterranean or Caribbean. As a result we can't compare ships. Our only comparison would be between the Sinfonia Oct 2013 and this one. Due to some of the less favourable reviews, we went arrived in Venice with low expectations. Boarding was a bit of a fiasco, but not due to the fault of MSC. The Italian port authority's system went down and there was a lengthy delay. That over, we got on board and quickly found our spotless, spacious cabin on 10th deck. We were very happy with it and quickly settled in. Knowing the ship, we were easily able to find all our old favourite haunts. From then on, our cruise was absolutely stunning. The weather was great. Of the 23 nights, one was rough. The entertainment was much better than 2103. The service at dinner was so much slicker and quicker than 2013. It was pleasure to have Umah and Matthew as our waiters. Our cabin steward Iriki was perfect - unobtrusive, polite and always there. Every single day of our 23 nights on board, Iriki sorted our cabin twice a day. MSC, he's a keeper. The food was fantastic. Some of the highlights included the Hungarian Goulash which was delicious; the pasta cooked by the Italian chef was really good. The lamb stew, curries, roast pork and beef were all good. The variety of vegetables, vegetarian options, loads of fruit, bread and desserts all added to the 2-3kg weight gain I came home with. One of my absolute favourites were the muffins at breakfast. They tasted exactly as my late Mom-in-law used to make. I had one almost every morning for the entire cruise! The activities were varied and fun. You could get involved or not - it was your choice. We went to one of the dancing lessons (the jive) and still try and do it from time to time, laughing our heads off as we go! We went to most of the evening performances and some of the day lectures. We went on three excursions which were busy but served their purpose. If you don't like crowds, then it may be better to arrange your own excursion, but we pretty much knew what we were in for, so were ready for the whole experience. The route through the Suez Canal was fascinating. It was such a look into a different world. Coming down through the tropics and over the equator was such a treat. The days at sea were restful and invigorating. We slept, we read, we just relaxed and because we ate more than usual, we went to the gym for an hour every day. The gym is fantastic. I loved it. After gym we would swim and then shower and relax. After a hectic year of work, this holiday ensured we were completely rested. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
In October 2016 my daughter and son-in-law told us about their intended cruise in October 2017 - they investigated the different options, but soon found that the southbound cruise (Venice to Durban, South Africa) offers the best value for ... Read More
In October 2016 my daughter and son-in-law told us about their intended cruise in October 2017 - they investigated the different options, but soon found that the southbound cruise (Venice to Durban, South Africa) offers the best value for money. We were intrigued and immediately started planning towards our once-in-a-lifetime cruise vacation! Being practically virgin travelers (we only did a few 3 and 4 night cruises from Durban previously and were never overseas as a family) we made a few mistakes in planning our trip. The major mistake was making use of a South African travel agency. Although we received excellent service, they could not assist us - as Namibians - in specific visa queries. We decided - as embarkation would be on a Saturday - that we would take an extra week's vacation to visit Italy. This was our second 'mistake' - as Italy has no embassy in Namibia and we would have had to travel to Pretoria to obtain our Schengen Visa, had it not been that the Italian Embassy in Pretoria visited their Consulate at the beginning of August. Although we saved a lot on airplane tickets, by waiting for the embassy to come to Windhoek we were stretched for time to obtain our Israel and Jordan visas. In the end we received our passports (without success with the Jordan visas) less than 24 hours prior to our flight - an unnecessary stressful situation! However, we had a wonderful six days in Italy prior to our cruise. We spent two nights each in Rome, Florence and Venice and thanks to extensive planning we had the most wonderful time and memories to last a lifetime. We managed to visit the highlights in each city and even paid a visit to Pisa and Volterra. Embarkation in Venice was somewhat confusing at first. In hindsight I am convinced that it was due to the many different nationalities and as soon as everyone understood the numbers in which embarkation took place, everything went smoothly. Because it was such a long cruise we did not experience the usual congestion at the guest relations desk because there was ample time to register your credit card later. We were able to visit our cabins immediately to collect our cruise cards and make use of the bar facilities while the remaining guests were still embarking. We planned our cruise in great detail. We made use of various packages: the all-inclusive drinks package proved to be our best decision as we have enjoyed a large variety of cocktails, wines, beers, specialty coffees and ice cream. We purchased a spa package which included a Bali massage that we all enjoyed but in the end we made very little use of the spa facilities. The laundry packages worked out well and the internet package enabled us to make contact with our family and friends at home - we could send pictures of our ongoing trip and could join in the celebrations on the day my son got engaged back home while we were in Jordan. Although MSC warned us that we could be without internet connection for a few days while at sea, it was kept to a minimum and we could connect whenever it was necessary. My children also purchased a photo package but have no idea what to do with their 100 enlargements now! (Only joking!) From the start we decided to do a shore excursion in every port because we were going to visit countries where we never were before and very likely will never visit again. We planned to accommodate most of our different needs into one shared excursion per port and everyone of them was very well organized. The excursions which included lunch were of a very high standard and we really enjoyed the different cultures portrayed through their meals. Due to engine problems we lost a few hours at sea and our Mauritius excursion was two hours shorter than planned. Although we were refunded a percentage of the excursion, we were very disappointed because the one facet of the tour we looked forward to the most, could not occur. Although we went on the cruise without our Jordan visa, the excursion desk was extremely helpful. They were able to establish that we really did apply and pay for the visa and therefore Jordan granted us a visa and we could visit Petra - an absolute highlight of the cruise! (Thanks again, Joline!) Both couples decided on the Fantastica experience - we booked a seaside cabin and our children an inside cabin and we were equally satisfied. We were also extremely satisfied with the outstanding service rendered by our cabin stewards. We experienced overall friendly and efficient service. All employees seemed satisfied - some of them were nearing the end of their contracts and were looking forward to visit their families and homes, but most of them already planned to return for their next contracts. With the wonderful weather we have experienced, sunbeds were often not enough - at least not in the shade. However we realized that we should get up earlier in the mornings or otherwise just be happy to sit at the various tables - no problem there! We tried a variety of meal options: once we had breakfast delivered to our cabin, a few times we opted for the breakfast in the bistro. Dinner was a variety of carefully prepared restaurant meals (fine dining) and the buffet restaurant. Sometimes we even had hamburgers, pasta and pizzas - and we were very seldom unsatisfied! Shopping on board was probably too inviting - the shops and displays were a feast for the eyes and with regular special offers also a huge temptation! The average age of the travelers was 70 - which made us (in our fifties, and my children in their early thirties) the youngsters! It was a very relaxing trip but still with so many opportunities to participate in activities, which we never even did. We spent hours in the swimming pool and had numerous conversations with mostly fellow Afrikaans-speaking guests. The various theater shows were of outstanding quality. We enjoyed the company dancers and performers and were especially impressed with the opera group. Disembarkation in Durban was smooth and efficient and we made use of the MSC shuttle service to the airport. I can recommend the southbound cruise without any reservations! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
You can't argue with the price for this 21-night cruise from Cape Town to Venice, with return flights included in the price. It was a good value for money cruise. Would I go on the MSC cruises again? Most probably not because :- 1. ... Read More
You can't argue with the price for this 21-night cruise from Cape Town to Venice, with return flights included in the price. It was a good value for money cruise. Would I go on the MSC cruises again? Most probably not because :- 1. The problem with the food. Simply put, the food was awful, boring and repetitive in both lunch and dinner. The worst food in my 50+cruises so far. Part of cruising is about enjoying and appreciating a diversity of food cultures. I didn't come across any passengers who appreciated or enjoyed the food. One passenger commented that "he eats for survival". This neatly summed up what we thought of the food on the MSC Sinfonica. The good thing was that I lost weight after this cruise. 2. It doesn't cost anything to smile or to say "good morning, hello, or good evening". Simple things like this could make a difference to how passengers feel about the services. Unfortunately, these simple things were not there on the ship. It just gave an impression that the staff were not interested in their jobs: serving and helping passengers to enjoy their cruise experiences. 3. We were charged 3 Euro for a bottle of water in the restaurant for dinner, and the reason for that (or for the change from providing free tap water) was beyond comprehension. This was the first time in my over 50+ cruises that drinking water needed to be paid. Out of principle, we (7 of us) brought our own water from the buffer restaurant upstairs to the restaurant for dinner. Some passengers also did the same. 3. On the plus side, the entertainment was good in comparison, especially the broadway shows. I always enjoy cruising, as it gives me a comfortable feeling of being "at home". Being able to sample a variety of food is one of the attractions with cruising. Sadly, it wasn't the case with this MSC cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Drinks were ship, ship is great and we'll maintained, staff were brilliant and very helpful. However the food was terrible and I was embarrassed for the staff who had to serve this rubbish. Currently on Rhapsody Of The Seas and there ... Read More
Drinks were ship, ship is great and we'll maintained, staff were brilliant and very helpful. However the food was terrible and I was embarrassed for the staff who had to serve this rubbish. Currently on Rhapsody Of The Seas and there buffet is like fine dining compared to MSC. You need to live your game in this reason. Stephen Foster would have to be the best Cruise Director we have encountered in 30 Years of cruising. He is so wasted in that position and should be on the stage full time. Shore excursions were interesting and informative considering the history we encountered. Probably would cruise again but food would have to show a massive improvement to reach the level of other cruise lines we have travelled on over the years. Sinfonia is a nice ship and it's owners need to sharpen up their game to be competative in this industry. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We were looking for a relaxing cruise that was value for money. This cruise fitted the bill rather well... but don't expect great food or "modern" entertainment and activities. The drinks vouchers were good value for ... Read More
We were looking for a relaxing cruise that was value for money. This cruise fitted the bill rather well... but don't expect great food or "modern" entertainment and activities. The drinks vouchers were good value for money. We bought the coffee, cocktail and "all drinks" packages. The cocktail package didn't make much sense: the "all drinks" package was more versatile and costs less. If we bought the vouchers again, we would get the wine package (bottles of wine and water). It would have been more efficient if the drinks vouchers were loaded on the cruise card: carrying paper vouchers was cumbersome. PORTS OF CALL / EXCURSIONS Most of the ports of call were very good (Valletta was our favourite, Walvis Bay / Swakopmund was average, while Dakar was disappointing). The unplanned stop at Gibraltar was a pleasant surprise. The Dakar MSC excursion (Goree slave island) was not value for money: our bus travelled about half a kilometer from the ship to the port entrance and then broke down. We walked the 200m to the train station entrance and waited an hour and a half for our ferry (it was almost an hour late). The tour guide gave almost no information on Dakar or Goree Island. Most of the information came from the curator of museum. This was very interesting, but relatively short. We then walked to another history museum approximately 500m away, with no further guidance (all the installations were in French). SHIP The public areas in the ship appear a little worn out (seating, table tops and carpets), but were spotlessly clean. CABIN Our cabin was comfortable with sufficient space, although the clingy shower curtain was an irritation. Our cabin attendant (Ferdinand) cleaned the room twice a day and was always helpful and friendly. The beds were less firm than we are used to, but the spring mattresses did the job. DINING Our dining experience was the highlight: our dining companions were wonderful, the service attentive (Adi and Ashwara from Indonesia) and the food ranged from merely average (bland and repetitive) to very good (some of the meat and vegetable dishes were very good). The soups and risottos (a staple of an Italian cruise line you would expect) were awful: the soups were always watery and devoid of identifiable ingredients (including the chowder) and the risotto used the incorrect rice night after night and were stoggy. The seafood was generally very food (especially the fish), but the prawns were undercooked (causing diarrhea in our dinner companions) and were not deveined (as is the norm in South Africa). There were limited vegetable side dishes, and the vegetables always tasted as if they had been frozen (watery and tasteless). The best vegetable dishes were baked (such as the delicious aubergine / tomato / cheese bake). The wine and spirits selections became limited within the second week of the cruise: Aperol and Bells Whiskey had run out early and were not replaced. Amarula liqueur ran out for one week in the middle of the cruise. Some of the South African wines ran out, but were replaced by Italian ones in the Canary Islands. The buffet meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) were acceptable but generally uninspiring. Vegetable dishes were invariably quiche-like dishes. BARS The Shellagh's Bar has a separate smoking / cigar room that seats approximately 15 people. This was always empty, with patrons smoking in the open areas of the bar (on the starboard / right side). The staff told us that the port / left side was the "non-smoking" area. The only problem was that the lounge does not have doors separating these halves (or to the rest of the ship) nor separate air conditioning systems. So there was no difference between the smoking and non-smoking sections. I raised this with Guest Relations, but was told this was "normal". Smoking laws in South Africa or western nations prohibit this. This would be fine if the products available there were available elsewhere in the ship, but they were not (two types of beer on tap were exclusive to Shellagh's). ENTERTAINMENT / ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES The majority of cruisers were over 60 years of age, originating from South Africa (+/-40%), Germany (+/-25%), France and Italy (the latter two based on the languages used in announcements). We met other English speakers from the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand. There were exactly 17 children on board (out of less than 1900 passengers). The under-50s segment was a really small one. The entertainment therefore catered well for this older multi-cultural passenger make-up. For the few of us under 50, the entertainment and activities mostly missed the boat (excuse the pun!): it included music from the 1950s - 1970s (with a sprinkling of Adele and Michael Buble), classical music (generally very good), opera (also good), origami lessons, foxtrot / cha-cha / salsa dancing, etc. The shows also included Cirque du Soleil-type acts and dancers performing "Moulin Rouge" and other types of show-dancing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We enjoy the repositioning cruises as gives one time to settle. However compared to previous Northbound cruises this cruise had minimal stops. Looking forward to the East Coast Northbound. The food both in the buffet and dining halls has ... Read More
We enjoy the repositioning cruises as gives one time to settle. However compared to previous Northbound cruises this cruise had minimal stops. Looking forward to the East Coast Northbound. The food both in the buffet and dining halls has deteriorated and very repetitive. Take breakfast in the dining hall as the choices are far better than the buffet offering. The shows and presentations have also been done at least 3 times before. Service in both dining halls and bar/entertainment areas excellent. Cabin steward not good, constantly had to request further toilet rolls, towels etc. Was the best embarkation and disembarkation of our 9 cruises so far, even though disembarkation in Venice is generally a nightmare! Rather get accommodation in Mestre or Tessera - much easier access and more reasonable. Good wine in the dining hall generally runs out after 2.5 weeks, so advise you order all your wine and put away early on during the cruise. We will continue to cruise on MSC as generally they offer good value for money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Embarkation: The lines were very long and the signage was minimal. It was difficult to figure out which line to line up in and what to do. Some people also just skipped the lines and did not line up properly. This was not managed well. ... Read More
Embarkation: The lines were very long and the signage was minimal. It was difficult to figure out which line to line up in and what to do. Some people also just skipped the lines and did not line up properly. This was not managed well. Once we were inside the hall, the process was smoother and we did not wait in line too long there with check in. Ship: Ship interior seemed old and outdated, but overall singage of where to find certain areas was good. The public bathrooms appeared to not always be clean and could use a bathroom freshener inside the stalls. The theatre is awkwardly designed as it was difficult to see if you had people sitting in the chairs ahead of you. Dining: The food was very bland. Our servers were good but at times when you asked for something specific they were confused. For example, one night I ordered a quesedilla from the menu and asked for no cheese and the waiter said ok. Once I received the quesedilla it had cheese inside of it. I asked again for another one with no cheese, but once again received one with cheese. The food quality was very poor. The quesedilla consisted of processed cheese, shredded carrot and lettuce. It seems like the chefs do not really know what a quesedilla actually is. It was also served with marinara sauce (pasta sauce) for dipping and not salsa. We were very disappointed with the food. During the Middle Eastern night, the falafal main came with only two small pieces of falafal, althoug it was a main. The waiter apologized that it was so small, obviously not his fault. The beef we were served another time was very fatty and very salty. The food never seemed to have any flavouring but seemed very bland overall. It seemed that many corners were cut with the quality of the food to save some money. The buffet always seemed to have the same items every day. There did not seem to be much variety. The hot dog was very cold and never served warm. However, we did like the pizza selections and the gelato. The fruit and the desssert was also very good, especially the tiramisu and the pistachio parfait were our favorite. We would have like to see healthier options available. The salad bar seemed sparse and it would be nice to see some spinach and other greens. Also for the oatmeal in the morning, there were no bananas, cinnamon, berries, or crushed up walnuts as we have had on other cruises. It was just clumped up old raisins that you could put on your oatmeal. The tea selection was great and the cappucino in the La Baroque Cafe was very good. Water at the filling stations was of very good quality, although you need to make the signs on the water stations bigger to advise people not to use their own water bottles but the glasses for refilling the water bottles. The sign was very small and staff did not remind passengers of the rule even when walking right by the passenger using their water bottle. It was not very sanitary. Towards the end of the cruise, many people had a cold and were coughing everywhere, I would recommend more hand sanitizer stations. Lysol disinfectant sheets in the gym, as the spray and paper towel that were there did not seem to be utilized. Many passengers who were using the gym did not clean their equipment right after use and the girl in the gym (supervisor) did not enforce the rule. The equipment was very sticky and there was sweat all over the machines. More signage for that please and the gym supervisor needs to take on a more active role to enforce the equipment cleaning rule and not just stay outside the gym area, socializing with the spa staff. Two times, passengers were using the treadmill wearing sandals and there was no one there to advise them to wear proper shoes. The gym did have good equipment, and I loved the mats with suggested workout routines printed on them. Entertainment and Activities: Entertainment was ok, nothing spectacular. I did not like that the MSC female dancers wore such skimpy clothes and the male dancers were almost always fully dressed. The dance routines were great, but the thong outfits are a bit much. I thought it was very distasteful and inappropriate. I felt at times that we were all watching a striptease show and not an actual dance show. The port talks were not detailed enough and some misinformation was given as well. The Italian language classes were fun. There did not seem to be much going on and the activities seemed rather boring and not engaging. I would also have liked to have the captain do a morning announcement as we did not see or hear from the Captain very much. Service: For the most part it was ok. No one seemed to want to go above and beyond. We only saw our cabin steward a few times and were never asked if everything was ok in the cabin. We noticed that the items in our mini fridge were disappearing and asked our cabin steward were everything was going, and he said he was taking it to replace items in other cabins. I don't understand why he never explained this process to us in the first place, but just sneakily took the items away. We never heard more than a hello from him. Cleaning service was ok, again nothing spectacular or above and beyond. At times, it seemed that the carpet was not vacuum often. The staff we saw in the halls who walked by us, rarely smiled or said hello. The dining service staff was good. Ports: We did not purchase shore excursions. We thing tht Dakar, Senagal was not a good selection for a port stop as there was not much to see and do. The port itself was very chaotic. We did enjoy Malta and Dubrovnik the most. We would have liked to have stopped in Tangier, Morocco and were disappointed that it was cancelled. Overall, we had an average time on the cruise. We were mostly disappointed with the food. We would maybe use MSC cruises again, if that was the only option. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and as a convenient way of getting to Europe. The Sinfonia is not to the same standard as the Opera which we have cruised on, on two occasions. There is too much pork served at breakfast and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and as a convenient way of getting to Europe. The Sinfonia is not to the same standard as the Opera which we have cruised on, on two occasions. There is too much pork served at breakfast and lunch. Buffet in the main dining room with a full menu service is rather strang? If people want buffet, there is a whole restaurant dedicated to that style of eating. The evening meals were very good and the services was excellent, where one has a chance to get to know the waiter that serves the same table each night. The entertainment arranged for the cruise was very good. The cruise director was an excellent entertainer, singing, dancing, magic, mime and presenting enrichment shows. The captain was also seen on occasion walking the ship and acknowledging the passengers. When disembarking in Venice, he was present in the farewell party and was shaking hands with each passenger, which was a great experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Exceptionally good value for the cruise. The ship was well maintained with the exception of the cabin air conditioning which was contaminated and resulted in upper respiratory tract infection. There was the usual problem of people ... Read More
Exceptionally good value for the cruise. The ship was well maintained with the exception of the cabin air conditioning which was contaminated and resulted in upper respiratory tract infection. There was the usual problem of people reserving sun loungers for long periods of time but not using same, this needs to be addressed by MSC crew. The cabin was adequate but the shower was too small. The cabins on MSC tend to be smaller than other lines but that reflects in the price of the cruises.The cabin steward was OK but charged to the mini bar for water that was not provided by him. Our waiter in the restaurant was exceptionally good, but the quality of the food in all restaurants was inferior to previous cruises with MSC. The entertainment on board was excellent and has improved compared to previous cruises. I was on the Sinfonia 18 months ago and several of the presentations were repeated this cruise (Court cases) The on-line booking with touch screens was a significant improvement. The credit card authorisaion was good although there was some issues with the internet connection (CPT) The service staff on board were efficient and friendly There was a significant improvement on embarkation process in CapeTown Shore excursions were good but a little expensive. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
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