Built 2002, Chantiers de l'Atlantique St. Nazaire, France
Tonnage 58 625 GT
Length 251,20 m
Width 28,80 m
Draugth 6,80 m
2 223 passengers
2 223 berths
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 31 680 kW
2 azimuth pods
2 bow thrusters
Speed 20,8 knots
MSC Sinfonia was built in 2002 for Festival Cruises as European Stars, their third (and last) newbuilt ship. The European Stars and her sister European Vision were essentially enlargened versions of Festival Cruises' first newbuilt ship, the Mistral. Festival Cruises were one of the first companies attempting to offer a "pan-European" cruise experience, but the company was not wholly successful and in early 2004 they went bankrupt. When Festival Cruises' ships were placed for sale, the expanding Italy-based MSC Cruises purchased both sisters, renaming them MSC Armonia (ex-European Vision) and MSC Sinfonia (ex-European Stars). Since then the ships have remained in service with MSC Cruises.
I sailed on the MSC Sinfonia in May 2009 on a Western Mediterranean cruise, hoping for a European cruise experience as (supposedly) MSC Cruises has taken over the mantle of a pan-European cruise line following the demise of Festival Cruises. In this respect I was somewhat disappointed as the onboard product was heavily aimed at Italians and Spaniards, at the expense of us North Europeans. But enough of that.
According to Douglas Ward, the author of Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising, the MSC Sinfonia's interiors are "decidedly European Moderne" with "clean lines" and "minimalism in furniture design". I'm not sure if I agree on the decor being neither European, nor moderne, nor minimalist. There is clear moderne influence in places, but on the whole this is not, in my opinion, moderne. And while the decor is certainly less ostentatious than on many ships designed for the North American market, it's hardly minimalist. But as said, that is my opinion and you can draw your own conclusions from the photographs below.
Click on the individual images to view larger size.
|The radar mast as seen from the forward sun deck on deck 13. The ship was dressed overall for the call at Naples, the location of MSC Cruises' head office. 29 May 2009.|
|The funnel lit by the setting sun while en-route from Valencia to Ibiza. 25 May 2009.|
|The bustling sun deck on deck 11, photographed from 12, facing forward. 25 May 2009.|
|Another Buddha Bar shot. The baby grand piana was, as far as I could tell, decorational, as all the music "played" came from a tape (and more often than not, had no piano parts at all). 28 May 2009.|
|The fountain on the reception area on deck 5, photographed down from deck 6. 25 May 2009.|
|Manhattan bar on deck 5. A pleasant enough space (except for "Volare"), but who on earth picked the 80s-esque colours for the furniture? 28 May 2009.|
|Finally, a bonus image: Tendering in Monaco on the morning of 24 May 2009.|