Just come back from a 1 week cruise on Sinfonia. Journey encompassed departure at Livorno then Monte Carlo, Valencia, Ibiza, Tunisia, Sciliy, Naples, arriving back at Livorno (Florence).
Ship fantasically clean, from the cabin, corridors, landing areas, food areas, deck, lounges, reception, all perfectly clean and well represented.
Most of the staff spoke and understood English, ironically with the exception of the reception staff who did not communicate that well in English. However all staff were friendly and helpful as possible and generally very approachable and welcoming.
Now the negatives:
If you are a Brit you will probably not get on well with this cruise ship. Very geared up for its main clientele which is Italians. Nothing wrong with that but my wife and I were not aware so it came as something of a shock to find we were the only two brits on board. Main nationalities in abundance were Italians, Germans, French and Spanish.
As previously mentioned trying to cater for so many nationalities results in entertainment being a bit "vanilla", singing and dance routines being the natural compromise.
We struggled a bit with the Italian passengers culture in that they tend to jump queues, monopolise any area of the boat so that you feel in the way, allow their children to run riot, very rarely offer any courtesy to other passengers and will barge you out of the way whenever crossing paths. A couple of days into the cruise my wife and I adjusted our manners accordingly and discovered that if you take a similar tack to that used by the Italian passengers then they tend to make way for you, rather than barging you out of the way.
My wife and I are "foodies" so were somewhat surprised to discover that an Italian cruise liner did not offer fantastic food. With a couple of exceptions the food offered on board was absolutely terrible. Breakfast is divided between traditional fried breakfast or continental. Undercooked eggs (fried and scrambled), undercooked basic sausage, watery mushrooms and potatoes (boiled)!
Lunchtime buffet pretty bad too. On offer was chicken hotdog, pork burger in some sort of weak gravy, raw onions, undercooked fried chips. On balance fruit offered at lunchtime was fantastic - super friend pineapple, mango and kiwi fruit.
Evening meal formal dining was a very mixed bag. Couple of options were fantastic - scallop and leak soup, smoked tuna starter, oxtail consomme - however other than that the food was awful - examples include overcooked/tough Duck a la orange, Turkey escalope with cheese and ham (was akin to something from frozen food section of a supermarket), overcooked salmon fillet with what was described as a marsalla sauce but was like gravy granules etc. etc.
Drinks hugely expensive - 6 Euros on average for a drink be it a cocktail/spirt and mixer, beer, wine etc. Us and the Germans were the only people on board who regularly had drinks at our tables of an evening, I guess the other nationalities were put off by the high costs.
Overall very disappointing including the night before disembarking. Having not been advised of the procedure for disemarking we went to reception to discover we would need to vacate our cabin by 7:30am the next morning, that our cases needed to be outside our room by 2am the next morning. Given that our transfer from port to airport was 50 minutes and our flight did not leave the airport until 6:10pm we ended up at the airport for nearly 7 hours, so not overly well organised.
We have previously cruised with Princess Lines/P&O and I guess that cruise has become a benchmark for all others. This MSC cruise was very expensive (we spent £3,200K including tips and drinks) for a week and the whole affair was really 2* rather than the 5* we were hoping for.
We wouldn't holiday with MSC again following on from this experience as we would consider it too expensive to risk another cruise with them only to be dissapointed.