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Including Mediterranean 4-day cruise in 2 week France/Italy trip

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We are spending two weeks in Southern France and Italy at the beginning of Oct (this after two weeks in Spain, Brittany and Holland) and are considering a 4 day cruise on the MCS Opera. Any experience with this ship? It departs from Genoa and ports are Corsica, Barcelona and Marseille. Post cruise we would continue on to the Amalfi coast and then north to Sienna, departing out of Florence to the US. Any thoughts, suggestions?

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    If you want a few days to relax on a fairly small ship, swim, eat, etc. it would be fine.

    Note, however, that time in the ports is very, very, very short! If you actually want to see anything of the port cities, it will be minimal! That limited time in port would be a deal breaker for me in October, when it might be too chilly to swim on the ship.

    I have been only on MSC's larger, newer ships like the Divina and loved them, but the Opera is a very small, somewhat older ship. The experience on the smaller ship could be very, very different.

    The good and bad about my experience on MSC, though it may vary on a smaller ship.

    Great: Food, service, style of ship, fabulous entertainment - the best on any cruise.

    Bad: poor layout in public spaces on our big ship.
    Kids, kids and more kids with parents who disregarded all rules, like babies in diapers in hot tubs and pools, pushing their kids in lines in front of other kids and parents, etc. It was not just one or two. It was the majority and the ship personal could not/did not control it. I love Italy. I don't mind some lack of organization, but put hundreds of kids on a ship with lax parents and it was often unpleasant.

    If they say it will be OK because they have a kid's program, forget it. They do, but on our cruise, there was no way for the staff to handle them and it was total chaos both in the kid's spaces and at their programs with parents pushing ALL the time!

    As an adult, I might go for the shows and food, but would never take a child and would know ahead of time, I might not use the pools or hot tubs.
    That said, the cruise I was on was a big ship in the Caribbean and little kids went free with two parents. It might be OK on your ship, but ask if the kids go free is the policy for that cruise, and how many are booked. The smaller ship, in October, might be more adult oriented.

    Join cruisecritic for many reviews that might have a different perspective than mine.

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    Thanks so much for taking the time to share your comments. Really just looking for a relaxing break from sightseeing and train travel, so this might do the trick, though I hadn't thought about the cooler Oct temps in terms of pool time - thanks for pointing that out!

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    The warmest region in the western Mediterranean in the Côte d'Azur. Seawater temperatures are still 24°C in mid-October. So, for a relaxing break you might consider staying for a couple of days in a beachfront hotel.

    As said, MSC is a mass-market cruise line which ranks slightly below average, comparable to Costa. In October, there will not be many children on the vessel, but expect passengers from a wide range of nationalities, including many Russians. It will certainly be more lively than, say, on a Holland America boat.

    After all, I am not sure whether a four-day cruise would be such a relaxing break. You have the procedures of embarkation and disembarkation and the port excursions.

    And now the ports of call:

    Since you will travel to Spain anyway, you will have better chances to see Barcelona than from a ship which is docked in the industrial harbour for a few hours. Same is true for Marseille (which does not rank among France's most attractive cities anyway). Remains Corsica, which deserves more than a few hours, because of its scenery. However, you find a similar scenery at the Esterel Coast between St. Raphael and Cannes - and easier to explore than from a ship.

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