Traveled on: 06/08/2007
Reviewed on: 06/25/2007
Review: We booked a 7-night Mediterranean cruise on MSC's Sinfonia at the last minute (4 days) through The Cruise People. The price was excellent and the balcony suite was probably the best I've seen. It was a good size with loads of storage including a cleverly situated walk-in closet, robes, safe, hairdryer, mini-bar, fresh fruit bowl daily, toiletries, etc. The service was excellent and all of the staff were friendly and helpful.
The destinations; Civitavecchia, Genoa, Monte Carlo, Valencia, Malta and Tunis were great ... we chose not to take any tours and instead took either free shuttle buses, public transportation or walked. This worked for us since I had already been to most of these places and my partner has little interest in history ... also, very cheap! Since so many destinations were squeezed into 7 days, we were usually in port in the afternoon when the stores were closed, so this would not be the cruise for anyone interested in shopping.
The flight on Skyservice was very long since it went from Toronto to Venice to Rome and the return flight again had a stopover in Venice. This added three hours to the flight and then there's a one-hour bus trip to the port at Civitavecchia. Those buses were new and comfortable.
I caught a bad cold half-way through the trip which may have had an effect on my opinion of the food. The quality was certainly not up to the standard of other cruise lines such as Celebrity. However, I watched the diners at the tables around us eating all six courses at dinner and even ordering extra (a large plate of polenta!!!). On the plus side, I did lose 4 lbs!
The passengers were primarily European and most of the Canadians on board did not have English as their first language. I noticed that many people were in groups and I would suggest that would be a good idea since we felt quite isolated as an English-speaking couple. Also Europeans tend to cringe into the corner of the elevator if you get on with a big friendly "Hi, how's everyone today?" Funny, even when you speak really loudly they still don't understand!
The entertainment director repeated everything in six different languages at the show, which was impressive the first time, but then the natives started to get restless. There were some pretty good bands in the lounges.
Overall, it was a very nice trip -- nothing quite like sitting on your own private balcony early on a beautiful morning sailing into Monte Carlo (just like the rich and famous)!