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MSC Cruises: MSC Sinfonia

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MSC Sinfonia Cruise Review

Built in 2002 for Festival Cruises and christened European Stars, the ship was purchased and rechristened by MSC Cruises when the original owner ceased operations in 2004. A sister ship to MSC Armonia, her refurbished public rooms are decidedly modern, with the exception of a traditional English-style pub.

Though these four sleek, medium-sized ships are almost exactly the same dimensions and differ only slightly in basic layout, Opera holds almost 200 more passengers typically and has almost 100 extra cabins. Light and bright by day, intimate and sophisticated by night, the contemporary design may not measure up to the sizzle expected by those North American passengers who don't appreciate more understated European tastes.

Public rooms are spacious and uniformly elegant, with grand touches of marble, brass accents, and lots of wood. The refreshing lack of glitz is more than compensated for by the sparkle of glass and a mixture of primary and neutral colors. With most public areas on the lower two passenger decks, getting acclimated is a breeze. Near the elevator and stairway, lobbies make even vertical movement less challenging.

Space around the Lido pools feels particularly lavish, with two swimming pools and hot tubs.

More widely known as one of the world's largest cargo shipping companies, MSC has operated cruises with an eclectic fleet since the late 1980s. When the line introduced two graceful, medium-size ships in 2003 and 2004, it ushered in an era of new shipbuilding that has seen the fleet grow faster than any other European cruise line. This line is growing into a major player in both Europe and the Caribbean.

MSC blankets the Mediterranean nearly year-round with a dizzying selection of cruise itineraries that allow a lot of time in ports of call and include few if any sea days. In summer months, several ships sail off to northern Europe to ply the Baltic. Itineraries planned for repositioning sailings visit some intriguing, off-the-beaten-track ports of call that other cruise lines bypass.

No glitz, no clutter—just elegant simplicity—is the standard of MSC's seaworthy interior decor. Extensive use of marble, brass, and wood reflects the best of Italian styling and design; clean lines and bold colors set their modern sophisticated tone.

MSC adopts some activities that appeal to American passengers without abandoning those preferred by Europeans; however, regardless of the itinerary, be prepared for an Italian-influenced experience. Also expect to hear announcements in several languages.

What You Should Know


  • Specialty coffees and alcoholic beverages are reasonably priced
  • Extravagant midnight buffets are worth attending
  • High above the stern, the disco is a cozy place to sit until the volume and action crank up


  • Oddly, only the forward and aft elevators and stairwells reach all decks
  • There are no aft-facing cabins with balconies
  • Meal times are designed according to European tastes and begin late when ships are in the Mediterranean
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 700
  • Entered Service 2004
  • Gross Tons 58,600
  • Length 824 feet
  • Number of Cabins 777
  • Passenger Capacity 1,554
  • Width 94 feet
  • New

Mar 28, 2017

Review of MSC Sinfonia

Richard petersen Age: 39 Occupation:Supervisor Number of Cruises: 1 Cruise Line: MSC Cruises Ship: MSC Sinfonia Sailing Date: 2016-05-1 Itinerary: Capetown walvisbay capetown The most amazing thing we have ever done so far.everything was great. Very good.the chefs must get an cook for so many hungry eaters its a gift Very cozy rooms All was cool We didnot get off but the day in namibja habour was good. It was marvalous great thanks

MSChope eveyone in the world could affort or get the oppertunity to do this its awsome.

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  • New

May 11, 2016

Capetown walvisbay capetown

The most amazing thing we have ever done so far.everything was great. Very good.the chefs must get an cook for so many hungry eaters its a gift Very cozy rooms All was cool We didnot get off but the day in namibja habour was good. It was marvalous great thanks MSChope eveyone in the world could affort or get the oppertunity to do this its awsome.

  • New

Jan 14, 2013

Cape Town-Mossel Bay-Cape Town

MSC Sinfonia was a very bad experience. The que to board took forever. We sat on the ground. No shade, no chairs, no refreshments for more than 2 hours before going into their terminal. No coffee, tea in room. Unfriendly male waiters. Worst of all was the food. No taste, no variety, just bland bland bland. I will never cruise with MSC again! Now my biggest problem is to try and convince my husband that not all cruise lines are like this.

He says never never again! Shame on you MSC cruises! Just because you are the only cruise line cruising our waters does not mean you have to treat us like this! YUK!!!!! Balcony suite was clean and nice. No coffee, tea or pen in our room? no problem there No excursions as the cruise line left late due to weather Never again! I would love to do a cruise in the Med but my husband says never again if that is what cruising is like!

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  • New

Oct 20, 2012


The ship was about 90% non british which is not a problem as we have been on the MSC Magnifica. In brief the ship was totally geared towards Italians whether it be entertainment, announcements etc. I would like to think my manners are very good but the rudeness and disrespect of the passengers was awful. We had the formal/casual dining but most turned up in jeans T-shirts flip flops, you name it. The ship was totally devoid of any atmosphere and the

shore excursions were very poorly organized. MSC have a policy of 7 euros a day per person service charge and 15 % service charge on all drinks so my 'tip' was about £140 which is scandalous. Would never go on another MSC ship.. The food was good in the restaurant but very ordinary in the buffet. The room was good and we always had a clean room by very good room guys. Absolutely awful. Nothing more to say. The shuttles to the centres were all overpriced. 12 euros for a 10 minute journey is ridiculous. We were just supporting the Italian economy.

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  • New

Mar 9, 2012

Durban to Mozambique

There is so little information on the Web about this cruise. MSC operate two ships from South Africa for the summer season. We took the cruise from Durban to Maputo in Mozambique - and had one other Port planned but due to the notoriously bad weather in our area - had to redirect. This clearly happens often. We love crusing - but all our other cruises have been international and are very different. This is 100% south african and caters for

that market - without competition. Therefore, whilst the ship is terrific, the food was of a different standard in terms of both quality and presentation. That was a disappointment. The theatre shows were excellent and thre was a lot of activity at the pool - but geared for the south african market. I dont think we would do another 'local' cruise but this was offered on a special and we did have a great time. Having since tried to find sites to log and read reviews - I have found a lot of complaints (on a local site) and decided to try and register my review where I can - to assist prospective passengers in making informed decisions. Also a word of wanring - embarkation was a nightmare. The queues and the facilities!! This needs to be upgraded (apparently there are plans) and I point fingers at both SA authorities and Starlight Cruises for this. We all boarded with raging tempers - which wasnt necessary. This ship is being redirected to Cape Town and will cruise from there. Presumably the waters will still often be rough - but maybe a little more predictable. I just hope the catering standards are addressed or their passenger numbers will dwindle and that will be sad. The crew need the income - the ship is very very nice - and the potential is there. Needs someone to take over the quality and the presentation. I was also in the formal dining room for lunch twice on a 4 night cruise - and the menu was the same. Thats unacceptable and easily addressed. I would have loved vegetables but they were rare. The soups were very good - but more than that - they need to up their game which I am sure can be done - perhaps by limiting the number of choices but improving the quality and presentation. Devilled cockrell with I forget what was delivered as a chicken drumstick with about 8 chips. Small portions = GREAT becuase there are so many. But keep it to a cruising standard. Especially where these itineraries frequently end up with ports being missed and more days at sea. Food will be focus. (For those who arent seasick - and there were many. Seems there always are.) Very nice indeed - great storage and very bright. Smallest shower ever - but so be it. Loved the theatre shows. Didnt do much else - poolside was quite afrikaans and geared to the South African market. Also VERY hot so we relocated to a lower deck with a sun lounger, in the shade - with good books. Our piece of paradise. This is NOT Europe, For a first time visitor - go and see Maputo. We took the official shore excursion which wasnt exciting - but was interesting. Much of it is within walking distance frmo the port - and there is a little tourist train that can take you around. The market is very limited and not a must see - and there are a lot of persistent hawkers. Nonetheless it is a new country/city and you should see it at least once. We got a terrific special so found it was value for money and whilst we were disappointed in the food - we were never hungry. We went to unwind and relax - it delivered! Would we do it again - same route? Same ship - no, UNLESS the reviews rave of the food.... and the new itineraries from CT are offered on another unbeatable special.

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