Four days of fun and sun aboard the luxurious MSC Sinfonia

BY GRAEME LUND - JANUARY 18, 2016

Imagine being confined to an area that is a little longer than a rugby field and about half as wide for four days. Imagine, once more, that this space actually moves under your feet and your room is rather small as is the shower. Sounds terrible doesn’t it? But you are so wrong because this space is a modern, luxury cruise ship, the MSC Sinfonia.

This magnificent vessel has been operating on the South African coastline for a number of years, and after recent refurbishments, is simply the most fun-filled experience you can imagine. In theory, the cruise liner is rather small but even after four days, I struggled to find my way around its eleven decks, five restaurants, three dance floors, multitude of bars, cocktail lounges and sun decks.

Yes, the cabins and suites may be small but they are very comfortable and more than adequate for the deep sleep that you will no doubt enjoy after a sunny and fun-filled day. And fun, on this ship, is the operative word!

When I booked the cruise I dreamt of lazy days, sultry evenings and being rocked into a peaceful slumber. Well, that’s not quite how it worked out because this ship does rock and it’s not because of the ocean swell.

Dinner is a glamorous affair, with white linen, sparkling cutlery, elegant waiters and at least five courses that will leave you replete and benevolent to your fellow mankind. As you wander from the restaurant, in a contented daze, you will find yourself in the midst of a cocktail lounge with live music.

Here you will stop for a minute to admire the voice of the lead singer and perhaps you will find a seat, order a cocktail or as I did, a bottle of bubbly. No sooner are you seated and refreshed than the real fun starts. 

The MSC Sinfonia has a troupe of professional entertainers, who can sing, dance, DJ and MC. They host a variety of entertainment from Bingo to a competition that involves teams, who score points by bringing everything from bras to false teeth to the compere.

If you think your evening is now complete,

think again because, soon after someone, and hopefully it’s you, shouts “Bingo”, the theatre kicks into action. Every night, for four nights, we were enthralled, rolled in the aisle with laughter, gave standing ovations and shouted for encores and it would have taken an emergency of Titanic proportions to have got me out of that theatre.

Your bed is calling? Not just yet, because the disco high on the rear of the ship is just warming up. No doubt you need a snack by now, so make sure you pass by the pizza station, which is open from morning till midnight and makes the best Italian pizza outside of Italy that I’ve ever tasted. Also, the midnight buffet, with all its delicious munchies, kicks off at, well, midnight.

Sleeping late? I don’t think so. Take your pick of restaurants for breakfasts and don’t miss the first boat to the Portuguese Island. Tropical paradise best describes this island on which MSC have built a host of yet more bars, lounges and sundecks. A buffet lunch is also available. Oh, with all my excitement about the food, I forgot to mention that it is all inclusive of the cruise cost. Yip, you can eat non-stop for 20 hours a day!

The island has magnificent beaches, warm water, beach volley ball, a DJ, beach soccer and a number of excursions that include snorkelling and visits to the historical and very beautiful Inhaca Island. The trips to and from the beach are on huge landing-craft-type vessels that make departures and arrivals from both the MSC Sinfonia and the beach easy for all but the most incapacitated. And they’re fun too!

Back on the Sinfonia, you can spend the late afternoon lounging at the pool, relaxing in the Jacuzzis or being pampered in the spa. The spa is all you would expect from an Italian-run cruise ship. Dinner starts at 6pm again and so the cycle continues for four days. I came home tired… very tired.

Now, if you’re thinking that taking children on this ship would be a similar experience to being a galley slave, then you are very wrong. Firstly, children under 18 travel for free. Yip, you can have a family holiday for the same cost as your old BC excursions. 

Secondly, this ship is geared to provide your kids, from six months to 17 years, with all the care, support and fun they can imagine. From Lego-sponsored play rooms to Xbox, Wii and even a kiddie’s water park. Moms and dads can enjoy Italian Kisses and even have a Sex on the Beach.

The MSC Sinfonia Cruises are very popular and often fully-booked. My advice is to book now for 2016 and have the time of your life. Just make sure that you have a few days to recover after the cruise!