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9 Venice to Transatlantic MSC Cruises MSC Sinfonia Cruise Reviews

Poor customer service information we were due to start sailing from Venice on 23rd of November 2019, instead we were put on a coach travelled 2.5 hours to Trieste without prior notices Buffet restaurant not enough capabilities so often ... Read More
Poor customer service information we were due to start sailing from Venice on 23rd of November 2019, instead we were put on a coach travelled 2.5 hours to Trieste without prior notices Buffet restaurant not enough capabilities so often have to queue for sitting at breakfast and at lunch. Choice of food poor and not nicely cooked. The buffet restaurant is cramped and if wanted omelette one needs to go to get it from the outside kitchen , this is very poor arrangement as on windy days it's hard to push open the door to go outside . We were given a very noisy cabin on deck 10, 1103 just below the kitchen galley on deck 11. On some nights we could hear trolly rolling and crashing. These cabins should be deleted if MSC has any thoughts for customer comfort and well being. Even in the main restaurant the service can be half baked. And the food pretends to be fine dinning but in reality it is not that tasty. Will think twice before going on a MSC cruise Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
MSC Sinfonia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.7
Enrichment 1.0 3.7
Service 4.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 3.6

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