Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Giantfan13

Just off the Sinfonia

Recommended Posts

We recently completed a Mediteranean cruise on the Sinfonia.

 

It was our second MSC cruise but first in Europe. We had a decent enough time, with 8 ports in 9 days which was exhausting.

The ports we visited were Valencia, Mallorcia, Malta, Messina, Civi, Livorno, Genoa, Marseille. If I can supply any helpful info on any of these ports don't hesitate to ask. All I can say is it seems like a blur, as one port led into another, but I'll do my best. next time I take notes.

 

Our cruise experience was different to say the least. There were only about 100 Americans on the ship and it was our first real exposure to Europeans and their culture. There were good things and not so good things. I think our biggest complaint was the lack of friendliness of the staff. They rarely volunteered a good morning, a good day to anyone unless you initiated it. We had a waiter for 10 days who never knew our names, never smiled at us, just took our order and did his job. Is this a bad thing, just doing your job, depends on what we like. After this cruise we did a RCCL cruise across the Atlantic and it was night and day different as far as friendliness of the crew. Even our contacts with the other passengers, again, mostly Europeans, just wasn't as pleasant as I thought it would be. I held a door open while I was going thru and the people right behind just talked thru without a thank you or even an acknowledgement. I walk with a cane and was almost trampled trying to get on a HoHo bus in several ports by people rushing to get on, at all costs. Also, while the food was good, the portions are very small considering what we are used to. My DW had fish and chips one night and what she got amounted to 2 fish sticks and some fries. Also, there is NO coffee or tea after dinner, something we did desire. We also disliked how it seemed MSC always seemed to dock in the furthest part and always seemed to have a shuttle for 10-15 Euros to get you to town. Doing some research helps knowing which ports are walkable and which have free shuttles. 

But there were also good things. We found the shows pretty good as they were mostly visual with a lot of acrobatics. The ship dancers were quite beautiful and their dancing was wonderful. There were two opera nights, which we weren't fans of, but we went and enjoyed the marvelous voices of the singers. Embarkation was very good as well as disembarkation. All announcements are made in 5 languages. Some of the cruise staff who were in charge of entertainment were quite funny with mostly visual things. Although the staff was robotic, the service was good and dinner usually took about 75 minutes. Food was decent enough, but we only eat fish so we cannot comment on other dishes. But our tablemates also seemed to enjoy most meals. 

What also surprised me was how the ship was booming at a late hour. Most American cruises, by 11:30 the ship is almost deserted, not here, every lounge where there was music had loads of people dancing away. 

So we had an experience and if we decide to do another MSC cruise, we will be better prepared for different cultures.

 

Cheers

Len

Edited by Giantfan13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Giantfan,

Thanks for the information.  We are on Sinfonia in April for a 12 night cruise.  This will be our 2nd MSC cruise, 1st being Seaside in August.  Seems you experienced the same as many other reviews that I have seen.  We are going with an open mind and expect to learn a lot from the international passengers. (we experienced some of that on Seaside, as there were many international passengers)

What type cabin did you have, we are in a suite, but the pictures I've seen look as though it is the size of a balcony cabin on RCL or Carnival.

Thanks, Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rick

 

We had an inside cabin and it was fairly comfortable.

 

Just funny abut some things. Like we must have had the only cabin door that was decorated, on the entire ship. I guess Europeans don't go in for that. 

 

Also, the elevators were extremely fast. Never really had to wait more than a few seconds. But beware, those people waiting to get on will get on before the people getting off. Courtesy is thrown out the window. 

 

Also, did not see one mobility scooter. Don't know if they are banned on these ships. Lot's of baby strollers in the hallways though.

 

Cheer

Len

Edited by Giantfan13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Len,

We had similar experience on Seaside, since we were on vacation, tried not to let it bother me. Just head to the bar for another drink!!

As for the scooters, not sure what the requirements, etc. are in Europe, thank goodness we are not there yet.

 

Have a great new years!!

Rick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Sound overall you had a pretty good experience

We are doing close to the same cruise in February.

Did the ship feel very crowded \Could you find quiet spots?

Was there much smoking on the ship?

I have read a lot about culture shock

I was wondering what port you embarked from

How was the Esperance having multiple ports with people embarking and debarking.

I have read a lot about pick pocket in Europe. How comfortable did you feel.

Did you feel like you had to be on guard all the time?

Thanks for the review. I'm sure I will have some more question soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, rikitikitavii said:

Len,

We had similar experience on Seaside, since we were on vacation, tried not to let it bother me. Just head to the bar for another drink!!

As for the scooters, not sure what the requirements, etc. are in Europe, thank goodness we are not there yet.

 

Have a great new years!!

Rick

Thanks Rick, you also

 

Cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Bases5 said:

 Sound overall you had a pretty good experience

We are doing close to the same cruise in February.

Did the ship feel very crowded \Could you find quiet spots?

Was there much smoking on the ship?

I have read a lot about culture shock

I was wondering what port you embarked from

How was the Esperance having multiple ports with people embarking and debarking.

I have read a lot about pick pocket in Europe. How comfortable did you feel.

Did you feel like you had to be on guard all the time?

Thanks for the review. I'm sure I will have some more question soon.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Bases5 said:

 Sound overall you had a pretty good experience

We are doing close to the same cruise in February.

Did the ship feel very crowded \Could you find quiet spots?

Was there much smoking on the ship?

I have read a lot about culture shock

I was wondering what port you embarked from

How was the Esperance having multiple ports with people embarking and debarking.

I have read a lot about pick pocket in Europe. How comfortable did you feel.

Did you feel like you had to be on guard all the time?

Thanks for the review. I'm sure I will have some more question soon.

You didn't say if you were also on the Sinfonia. If so, there ARE several great spots if you want some 'quiet time'. Ourselves, when we cruise, we love to sit on the Promenade deck away from the crowds, but alas, seems MSC doesn't' do chairs there. But, again, this is our secret; on every deck, in the back of the ship, you can sit out with hardly anyone ever there. There are lounge chairs there and we sat out there almost every day, when we could. At night was the best.

As far as smoking. They do have areas for smoking, but we found, and saw, many people smoking anywhere and anytime, as long as they were outside. Rules are made for others, I guess. 

WE boarded in Barcelona with about 300 others, and YES it is sort of strange to see baggage in the hallways every night and life boat drill announcements made every day. You can tell the newcomers as they don't know where to sit as of yet, in the dining room, but you just get used to it. I believe the main port was Genoa where about 1000 boarded. it was our next to the last port and up until then the ship wasn't crowded at all, but after Genoa, it was packed wherever we went. Where there were seats in lounges, not any more. Lucky we were almost done by then so it really didn't bother us too much. 

As for pickpockets, I had read some much about Barcelona being a pick pocket paradise, we were extremely careful. It was a concern, but after a while, we felt much more comfortable, but we did try and avoid large crowded areas. Always better to be safe rather than sorry. 

One area which we were annoyed, MSC seemed to always dock furthest from the port so they always had shuttle buses ready, for, what we felt was a pretty heft cost-some 12 Euros PP some 14 Euros PP. Do your homework and there are several ports that have free shuttles into town, you just have to walk a bit to get to them.

 

Anything else I can help you with, it would be my pleasure. 

 

Cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the reply Len

 Yes we are sailing on the Sinfonia as well. We are also getting on/off in Barcelona. 

Did you stay there or did you go directly to the ship. We fly in the morning of the cruise at about 9am. I was wondering how early could we board the ship?  Were taxis easily found and do most understand a little English ?

 Looking at the deck plan and pictures I believe I've seen the areas on the back of the ship you spoke about.

 We are on deck 9 near the back of the ship. It looked liked we could walk right out the back of the ship to a large balcony type area,  Glad to here they have chairs there.

 This will be cruise 30 something for us but never to Europe.

How was the dress of fellow passengers,  Did the men wear suits every night or will nice dress slacks and a nice shirt due most nights, Also how about the lady's dress.  Crossing the pond we were trying to trim down the luggage a bit.

thanks again for the feedback.  Your the first post I have seen in awhile about the Sinfonia and Med. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's funny, I'm from the UK and there are things that mainland Europeans do that irritate me (barge into the lifts, don't queue, aren't quite as well mannered) - but the one thing I do like on MSC is the lack of 'Americanised' service - which can sometimes come cross as false - everything isn't always wonderful, and the crew surely can't be having a 'super' day every day!

 

Different strokes for different folks, as they say. Thanks for your thoughts on your cruise. Doesn't look like you were put off.

 

Did you notice any issues due to the age of Sinfonia (I've a bit of a phobia about sailing on older ships for the cosmetic stuff)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/26/2018 at 8:43 PM, rikitikitavii said:

 ... What type cabin did you have, we are in a suite, but the pictures I've seen look as though it is the size of a balcony cabin on RCL or Carnival.

 

 

We've twice had a suite on Sinfonia;  yes, they're about the size of a regular balcony cabin on larger ships.  However, in our experience, the cabin steward had less cabins to attend to and had more time to give better service.

 

If you're on deck 12, go all the way down the corridor to the front of the ship;  there'll be a door at the end.  It brings you out onto the front of the ship.  Not advisable to go out when at sea (too windy and exposed), but a terrific viewing spot for entering/leaving ports.

 

Cap'n ... we were last on Sinfonia in Nov 2016 and she was in great nick.  She'd been 'stretched'  in 2015, so had been given a complete overhaul.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beamafar, Thanks for the tip, we are so ready, I booked this trip in January 2017, because of the itinerary, so been a long time coming.

 

Captain, I agree, if I worked seven days a week I would have several bad days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just back this evening, we joined on the 19th in BCN - enjoyed the cruise but had a few little niggles I'll put in to a review in the next few days. Found all the staff friendly, and that if you smiled at them, they would interact - they're humans afterall and probably putting up with lots of whinging from others...

 

There were some mobility scooters onboard, though not many. 

Food was generally very good in the evening although it took our table of 6 over two hours most nights, wine service slow. MDR lunch was very limited and the hybrid buffet caused chaos

 

Most cabin doors on deck 8 were decorated, with a few xmas decorations - not OTT though 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Bases5 said:

Thanks for the reply Len

 Yes we are sailing on the Sinfonia as well. We are also getting on/off in Barcelona. 

Did you stay there or did you go directly to the ship. We fly in the morning of the cruise at about 9am. I was wondering how early could we board the ship?  Were taxis easily found and do most understand a little English ?

 Looking at the deck plan and pictures I believe I've seen the areas on the back of the ship you spoke about.

 We are on deck 9 near the back of the ship. It looked liked we could walk right out the back of the ship to a large balcony type area,  Glad to here they have chairs there.

 This will be cruise 30 something for us but never to Europe.

How was the dress of fellow passengers,  Did the men wear suits every night or will nice dress slacks and a nice shirt due most nights, Also how about the lady's dress.  Crossing the pond we were trying to trim down the luggage a bit.

thanks again for the feedback.  Your the first post I have seen in awhile about the Sinfonia and Med. 

 

We were on deck 8 around mid ship and it was great to just walk out onto the rear deck and basically have it all to ourselves. You need the rest room, just a short hop back to your cabin.

 

We never arrive day of the cruise. Just too many variables and why risk it. Plus we have never been to Barcelona and wanted to see some of it. We stayed at a hotel on Las Rambles. We did a red eye arriving in Barcelona at 7AM. Got to our hotel about 9 and they had a room ready for us. We never go to sleep then, so we wandered all around this wonderful area, had lunch, and early dinner and was in bed by 8PM. Next morning the hotel got us a taxi to the port and we were on board by about 11:30.

Our taxi driver spoke no English, but the hotel told him where to take us. From where we stayed it was a short 10 minute taxi ride. We thanked him paid by credit card and required no tip.  

As or the dress we were also concerned about that and asked a few questions on this board before we traveled. I would say the dress is a bit more dressy than most American cruises, in that there were no floral shirts, but most night, men  dressed casually but women tended to be a bit more dressy. We had early dining which was at 6;30 and late seating is abut 9 or 9:30. After finishing eating the ship really starts to get active. where most American ships, by 11 or so, the decks are clear and the lounges mostly done, here, the party is just starting. 

I would say, bring darker color pants and wear them several times. We had 3 formal nights on our 10 day crusie, but we do not do formal anymore and many also felt that way. I would say there were more tuxes than you might see on an American ship but no where want it used to be ages ago. 

 

Cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Captain-John said:

It's funny, I'm from the UK and there are things that mainland Europeans do that irritate me (barge into the lifts, don't queue, aren't quite as well mannered) - but the one thing I do like on MSC is the lack of 'Americanised' service - which can sometimes come cross as false - everything isn't always wonderful, and the crew surely can't be having a 'super' day every day!

 

Different strokes for different folks, as they say. Thanks for your thoughts on your cruise. Doesn't look like you were put off.

 

Did you notice any issues due to the age of Sinfonia (I've a bit of a phobia about sailing on older ships for the cosmetic stuff)?

John

 

Overall, we usually sail 'older' type ships so we really don't look and really don't care about many minor things. Some deck chairs were in need of tender care, same for some of the railings on the deck, but if that's why you won't cruise on a certain ship, tell them, I'll take their place.

Ship was fine, food was decent enough, service was good and shows were also fairly good (short, but good). Sun was shining most days, so what more could you ask for.

 

cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Beamafar said:

 

We've twice had a suite on Sinfonia;  yes, they're about the size of a regular balcony cabin on larger ships.  However, in our experience, the cabin steward had less cabins to attend to and had more time to give better service.

 

If you're on deck 12, go all the way down the corridor to the front of the ship;  there'll be a door at the end.  It brings you out onto the front of the ship.  Not advisable to go out when at sea (too windy and exposed), but a terrific viewing spot for entering/leaving ports.

 

Cap'n ... we were last on Sinfonia in Nov 2016 and she was in great nick.  She'd been 'stretched'  in 2015, so had been given a complete overhaul.

we attempted this maneuver several times but the door was always roped off due to high winds.

 

cheers

Len

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Giantfan13 said:

we attempted this maneuver several times but the door was always roped off due to high winds.

 

cheers

Len

 

We were in cabin #1201 (right next to the exit door) for the repo from Venice to South Africa;  I used to bring a chair from our balcony out onto the front deck and sit out there reading (though it got scary once when the winds picked up!)  We stood out there when sailing through the Suez - it was a fantastic spot for this.  We did the same when departing the port of Messina - again, a wonderful experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Giantfan13 said:

 

We were on deck 8 around mid ship and it was great to just walk out onto the rear deck and basically have it all to ourselves. You need the rest room, just a short hop back to your cabin.

 

We never arrive day of the cruise. Just too many variables and why risk it. Plus we have never been to Barcelona and wanted to see some of it. We stayed at a hotel on Las Rambles. We did a red eye arriving in Barcelona at 7AM. Got to our hotel about 9 and they had a room ready for us. We never go to sleep then, so we wandered all around this wonderful area, had lunch, and early dinner and was in bed by 8PM. Next morning the hotel got us a taxi to the port and we were on board by about 11:30.

Our taxi driver spoke no English, but the hotel told him where to take us. From where we stayed it was a short 10 minute taxi ride. We thanked him paid by credit card and required no tip.  

As or the dress we were also concerned about that and asked a few questions on this board before we traveled. I would say the dress is a bit more dressy than most American cruises, in that there were no floral shirts, but most night, men  dressed casually but women tended to be a bit more dressy. We had early dining which was at 6;30 and late seating is abut 9 or 9:30. After finishing eating the ship really starts to get active. where most American ships, by 11 or so, the decks are clear and the lounges mostly done, here, the party is just starting. 

I would say, bring darker color pants and wear them several times. We had 3 formal nights on our 10 day crusie, but we do not do formal anymore and many also felt that way. I would say there were more tuxes than you might see on an American ship but no where want it used to be ages ago. 

 

Cheers

Len

  Does the Sinfonia have interactive TV in the cabin to check your account?

Do you need to make reservations for the main show's?

If so can you do that on the TV.

Do they provide diner menus at the dining room for reviewing?

Do they provide daily program guides in your stateroom to review daily advents. (Not sure what MSC calls them)

Did you check out the casino,  Was it smoky and did they offer much in table games?

Thanks in advance for all the information!!!

 

 By the way I don't like flying in the day of either but I had a brain fart. I booked the day before and forgot all about the time difference and the lengths of the flight.

When I went to change it, the penalty was all most as much as I paid for 1 flight so we stuck with the original  reservation.

The one good thing is it's a direct flight and gets in a 8:30 am so we have that much going for us.

 We are staying post cruise and checking out Barcelona 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Bases5 said:

  Does the Sinfonia have interactive TV in the cabin to check your account?

Do you need to make reservations for the main show's?

If so can you do that on the TV.

Do they provide diner menus at the dining room for reviewing?

Do they provide daily program guides in your stateroom to review daily advents. (Not sure what MSC calls them)

Did you check out the casino,  Was it smoky and did they offer much in table games?

Thanks in advance for all the information!!!

 

 By the way I don't like flying in the day of either but I had a brain fart. I booked the day before and forgot all about the time difference and the lengths of the flight.

When I went to change it, the penalty was all most as much as I paid for 1 flight so we stuck with the original  reservation.

The one good thing is it's a direct flight and gets in a 8:30 am so we have that much going for us.

 We are staying post cruise and checking out Barcelona 

 

Tv isn't interactive

No need to reserve most of the shows, only two on our 10 day cruise needed it

Dinner menu is put up after lunch, but if you have an allergy you can see it the night before

Casino is small, it was pretty smoky, think there were 5 or 6 tables

Daily Programme is delivered the night before

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, 1fifthavenue said:

Tv isn't interactive

No need to reserve most of the shows, only two on our 10 day cruise needed it

Dinner menu is put up after lunch, but if you have an allergy you can see it the night before

Casino is small, it was pretty smoky, think there were 5 or 6 tables

Daily Programme is delivered the night before

Just curious. What is a hybrid buffet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Captain & Giantfan, 

just wondering, because pizza in Seaside was so good. Is there pizza on the buffet, or is it al a carte?

We don't mind small ships, there are two older out of West Palm, old Costa Classica and Carnival Celebration, we do often as weekend getaway. Both about 45k tons, built late 80s, early 90.

 

Thanks to all for the comments, looking forward to the ship and Mediterranean ports!!!

 

Rick

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Bases5 said:

Just curious. What is a hybrid buffet?

Hi Base, sorry that explanation isn't the best, will put more in my review, but basically you go to the MDR to be seated, then have the choice of just a few items on the a la carte menu or a buffet. The waiters don't know what you're doing, who is having what etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, rikitikitavii said:

Captain & Giantfan, 

just wondering, because pizza in Seaside was so good. Is there pizza on the buffet, or is it al a carte?

We don't mind small ships, there are two older out of West Palm, old Costa Classica and Carnival Celebration, we do often as weekend getaway. Both about 45k tons, built late 80s, early 90.

 

Thanks to all for the comments, looking forward to the ship and Mediterranean ports!!!

 

Rick

 

 

Hey Rick, there's two types of pizza on the buffet during the day, up to the usual standard of MSC so very good. The restricted choice was a bit annoying though, as some days it was Margherita or cheese foccaccia 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, rikitikitavii said:

Seaside would have 4 or 5 for lunch and dinner, and 2 at breakfast.

Well yes but Seaside is much bigger, and has a lot more buffet space... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...