MSC SINFONIA - PRE-CHRISTMAS
I cruised on the MSC Sinfonia with a friend from 16-25th December. MSC get a lot of bad press, but you have to remember what you're paying and not compare them to other cruise lines which cost a lot more. Also, it's a European ship, with people of all different nationalities. Everything is announced in several languages, but they try to keep it to a minimum. That said, there were a decent proportion of English speakers from various counties. I love being on any ship. I decide to have a good time on every cruise, and that's what I do. I have been on large ships, small ships, several different cruise lines, in different price ranges, and enjoyed them all. Wanting to cruise in December, but stay in the Med, there were not a lot of choices. MSC Sinfonia had an excellent itinerary 9 nights, 7 ports at a reasonable price. The Sinfonia is a medium sized, older ship, with approx 2,000 passengers. It is nicely decorated and I felt at home. The advantage of this size ship is you never have to walk too far to anything. We took an outside room, as balconies were much more expensive and I don't like insides. The room was small, but nicely decorated. There was only room for the beds, a dressing table, mini-fridge unit and a couple of stalls. There was no armchair or sofa. The safe was hidden behind the mirror and it took us a while to find it. A sticker on the mirror would help here. The bathroom was small and clean and did the job. There was a shower curtain rather than door. The ship was nicely decorated for Christmas and there was a lovely atmosphere. We had a great table of 9 for dinner, all English speakers, and really enjoyed our evening meal get-togethers. The food was average, nothing to write home about, but we didn't go hungry. Portion sizes were all over the place, sometimes enormous and sometimes tiny, but you could have a second portion. The buffet is a little small, with a large covered and heated area outside. This is not ideal in the winter. That said, at peak times, they had a system similar to the main dining room, where you wait (never more than a few minutes) and are then seated. You never had to hunt around for a table with food getting cold in your hands. It worked very well. We were lucky to have warm sunny weather for the whole cruise, and several people were sunbathing and in the pools (outdoors). The shows every evening were very good, better than I have seen on previous MSC cruises. They also had a pair of resident opera singers, who gave a couple of performances, making a change from the usual song and dance shows. The entertainment staff put on lots of activities (indoors), such as bingo, quizzes, Master Chef at Sea and other games. People really joined in, making for a great atmosphere. The highlight was Christmas Eve dinner, with a special dinner accompanied by free sparkling wine. Later there was a Carol concert by staff and guests and they broadcasted the Pope's Christmas Eve Mass live in the theatre. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable cruise, on a non-luxury, but very pleasant ship.
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