Just Cruising .. on the MSC Sinfonia

Zaytoon-Nisa Noorbhai on 28 March 2018
This year we were treated to have our annual Travel Counsellors South Africa Conference onboard the MSC Sinfonia. We cruised to the Portuguese Islands departing from Durban Port. It was a four-day cruise, held the second weekend of March 2018.

I was booked into an ocean view room, with majestic views of the ocean. This room type helps those who to tend to suffer from claustrophobia onboard. The rooms are a decent size, considering that you are on a ship. In addition, the rooms have also recently been revamped.

The Sinfonia Ship can accommodate 2679 guests onboard, housing four restaurants, four outdoor bars including an ice-cream bar and eight indoor bars including a coffee bar as well as a casino onboard. There is no shortage of entertainment as there are activities for the entire family. Even infants between the ages of 0 – 3 years have their own baby club.

On arrival at Durban International Airport, there is an MSC registration/transfer desk, allowing you to check-in to your cruise. There are transfers offered from the airport to the port at an additional cost. I arrived on the day the cruise departed and the process from leaving home (Cape Town) to getting onto the ship (in Durban) was around six hours. To avoid the rush and for those who can get some more time off work, I would suggest you arrive the night before as it does start the journey in a more relaxed manner. If you opt for this, then you can make your way leisurely to the check-in desk at the port where the ship is docked.

What I particularly enjoyed about the cruise is that there is plenty to see and do on the ship. The staff do an amazing job to keep you entertained especially whilst cruising. Each evening there is a cruise programme delivered to your cabin which details all the happenings for each age group. Another highlight were the themed dinners – I really enjoyed dressing up each evening according to the theme. One night it was Carnival and the other was Nautical. A bonus is that all the food is certified Halaal, however I was not catered for being lactose and gluten intolerant. However my maitre”D ensured that I had sufficient meals for the rest of the nights as I was requested to pre-order my dinner selection. I do commend Mr Sanang from Bali who assisted.

You get to spend one day on the Portuguese Islands. On the island, you have a choice of participating in some shore excursions including snorkelling, a dhow cruise, exploring Turtle Beach by 4x4 as well as water sports like Jet Ski, stand up paddle board, floating mats or banana boat rides, which are all at an additional charge. If you want to relax, you can swim in the calm warm waters, which was very refreshing as opposed to the cold waters in Cape Town.

As we were on conference we participated in a pre-planned team building activities (Survivor) on the island, which was amazing as we got to move and shake our bones and get our blood pumping. Before you know it, it is time to head back to the ship.

It is an early start on departure day, as you dock into Durban at 06:00 am, so we were given a beach bag which I used to pack my overnight necessities as your bags need to be ready for collection by midnight. I suggest having an overnight bag available for the last evening. I just repacked my bag at Durban airport with the toiletries and overnight clothes. I opted to have an early night and retired to bed, whilst some decided to enjoy the cruise to the max by staying up until breakfast, which opened at 05:30 am that morning.

On disembarkation, the times are staggered and the last transfer from the boat is at 07:55. I advise to book a flight departing Durban around midday or you can stay on longer in Durban for an extended holiday (which I of course) can arrange.

A huge thanks to the Travel Counsellors South Africa Head Office for an amazing conference and to get to experience the joy of cruising the MSC Sinfonia.