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MSC Cruises: MSC Opera

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MSC Opera Review

Introduced in 2004 as a sister ship to MSC Lirica, the MSC Opera offers the best of old-fashioned elegance—each public room has a distinctive color scheme that flows seamlessly from one to the next—and the best of modern conveniences, including an Internet café.

Though these four sleek, medium-sized ships are almost exactly the same dimensions and differ only slightly in basic layout, Opera holds almost 200 more passengers typically and has almost 100 extra cabins. Light and bright by day, intimate and sophisticated by night, the contemporary design may not measure up to the sizzle expected by those North American passengers who don't appreciate more understated European tastes.

Public rooms are spacious and uniformly elegant, with grand touches of marble, brass accents, and lots of wood. The refreshing lack of glitz is more than compensated for by the sparkle of glass and a mixture of primary and neutral colors. With most public areas on the lower two passenger decks, getting acclimated is a breeze. Near the elevator and stairway, lobbies make even vertical movement less challenging.

Space around the Lido pools feels particularly lavish, with two swimming pools and hot tubs.

More widely known as one of the world's largest cargo shipping companies, MSC has operated cruises with an eclectic fleet since the late 1980s. When the line introduced two graceful, medium-size ships in 2003 and 2004, it ushered in an era of new shipbuilding that has seen the fleet grow faster than any other European cruise line. This line is growing into a major player in both Europe and the Caribbean.

MSC blankets the Mediterranean nearly year-round with a dizzying selection of cruise itineraries that allow a lot of time in ports of call and include few if any sea days. In summer months, several ships sail off to northern Europe to ply the Baltic. Itineraries planned for repositioning sailings visit some intriguing, off-the-beaten-track ports of call that other cruise lines bypass.

No glitz, no clutter—just elegant simplicity—is the standard of MSC's seaworthy interior decor. Extensive use of marble, brass, and wood reflects the best of Italian styling and design; clean lines and bold colors set their modern sophisticated tone.

MSC adopts some activities that appeal to American passengers without abandoning those preferred by Europeans; however, regardless of the itinerary, be prepared for an Italian-influenced experience. Also expect to hear announcements in several languages.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • Specialty coffees and alcoholic beverages are reasonably priced
  • Extravagant midnight buffets are worth attending
  • High above the stern, the disco is a cozy place to sit until the volume and action crank up

Cons

  • Oddly, only the forward and aft elevators and stairwells reach all decks
  • There are no aft-facing cabins with balconies
  • Meal times are designed according to European tastes and begin late when ships are in the Mediterranean
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 730
  • Entered Service 2004
  • Gross Tons 50,000
  • Length 824 feet
  • Number of Cabins 856
  • Passenger Capacity 1,712
  • Width 94 feet

By Ema_CR

  • New

Jul 18, 2015

Venice

Before MSC Opera I was on MSC Fantasia which is a bigger (and better) ship. Overall impresion is great! Itineraries are great, time spent on shore excellent and everyone are so nice and kind. If this had been my first cruise I would probably be thrilled, but since this is my third cruise I couldn't help myself but to compare it with previous one. We were the first passengers since the ship was renovated last year, and one could say that this was a

test cruise. There were a lot oversights: mugs and cups in buffet restaurant were often dirty - every second cup was clean so it became tiresome to check every cup. Juices in the self serving restaurant were available only in the morning not in the evening and hot chocolate wasn't available at all although it was included in the price. Later we found out that staff don't bring out bags of hot chocolate or they rarely do and sometimes they make a hot chocolate in the thermos which is not warm and which has very little cocoa (color was dirty white, not brown!). Air Conditioner made being inside the ship very uncomfortable because it was very cold in bars and lobbies. Inside temperature was around 20 C, which is low considering outside temperature is much higher. I regret not bringing more long sleeve blouses, jackets etc. Most people have spoken english perfectly, but it happened that woman on reception (from Kyrgyzstan) didn't speak it very well (or almost at all) and we couldn't understand each other which was very frustrating. Except that situation (and situation on the deck by the pool) all stuff was very polite, friendly, helpful... I'm not complaining on staff, I am disappointed with the ship and a lot of oversights which now I can't remember all. Food for breakfast was the same every day; muesli was already prepared on the milk-it looked disgusting to me and I would prefer to prepare it by myself in yogurt. I drink a lot of tea (which was available all day) but I could find honey only in the morning and lemon is even harder to find. The food was often greasy (even fish!) and dinner in the restaurant was taking too long, every single day (from 9pm till 11pm!). Although maître d'hôtel came to us one evening asking us how is everything, are we satisfied and promised us faster service, nothing has actually changed. The midnight buffet was very poor: mostly vegetarian sandwiches and dessert from previous days. Great activities during the day on the 11th deck. Expensive excursions. Even transportation from the port is better to do by yourself. I had situation by the pool when pool attendant told me I can't eat fruits by the pool (which is OK, because it said on the warning board that it is forbidden). But I was disappointed he didn't say anything to other people eating around or even worse children diving and jumping in the pool (it is clearly stated that it is forbidden to dive and jump in the pool and to run around the pool) ! When I asked him about that his answer was that they are children. I don't care if they are children or not, but because of that children I couldn't swim, or sit by the pool because they splashed water a lot and got me and my expensive camera wet even on the sunbed. Not to mention that children were diving and jumping in the whirlpools! So I didn't use those either. Deck No.11 has 2 pools deep 1.8m and one big part of the deck for children (that is new). But 30% children were in their area, and the rest of them around other 2 pools. It was very noisy on 11th deck. The best part to rest is the back of the ship.

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By Judy_CR

  • New

Sep 23, 2013

Northern Europe

We visited 5 countries in 10 days, Amsterdam, Vigo, Spain, Lisbon, Portugal, Bilboa, Spain, and La Harve, France - great experience. The only problem is that we didn't get to stay longer at each of the ports, except for La Harve, France. We set up our excursion through MSC without an issue. Cons - I had ordered the beverage soda package and beer/water package online prior to our departure, but they didn't show it on our account when we

boarded. They did issue us vouchers that we used throughout the cruise. I would recommend doing this prior, since they will add the 15% gratuity to each drink you order a la carte! The ship is dated and you can see this in the rooms and lounges. We had a room with a balcony, which was a bit too small. The bathroom is real small with only a shower that you can barely fit if you are a bit oversized. I'm not and hated the fact they use a shower curtain. Pretty dated. The room was "surface" clean, however there was a stench smell in the bathroom. Especially, when you are at sea for more than a day. I don't remember this being problem with the other cruise line I traveled with before. This being our 3rd cruise, we were expecting the same quality of service that we got with Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises. NOT! We didn't like the fact that the cruise wasn't English friendly. I guess since it is an Italian ship, it was catered more to that theme. The food was mediocre. Nothing special and repeats. You are assigned sitting, first or second sitting. The menu was limited and the service was okay. One of our guest was served her mean cold. As stated, it's pretty dated. Hardly saw our cabin attendant. Our sliding door to our balcony was never cleaned until the very last night. Go figure. I guess he was hoping for a tip, which I left him one, in addition to our daily tipping charge that the cruise line charged us. We didn't participate in any. But noticed they had bingo and some dance lessons. We did excursions in Amsterdam, Vigo, Lisbon, and Bilboa. In Vigo we visited Santiago Campostelas. This was well worth the 1.5 hour trip to Santiago. I would recommend this to all Christians and non Christians. We also did an excursion to Fatima. Again, a delightful place. Bilboa is awesome. Would highly recommend the Guenhiem and Historical City tour. In La Harve, we wanted to visit the Normandy American Cemetery. The cruise ship did NOT have excursions to this place. You'd think they would set up an excursion given the significance, but I guess it's not in their purview. If you are traveling with a group of 6-8 persons, they are some private tours you can engaged outside the cruise ship, however since it was me and my husband we had reserved a vehicle and drove there. Quiet a experience. Because we were traveling with multiple persons of different languages, French, Italian, Germans, and of other origins, our excursion were translated in English. However, the rudeness when we traveled with the French or Italians of overly speaking when the tour guide was translating in English, was left to be desired. Very loud. And, they talk about the Americans! Unfortunately, MSC did not live up to our expectations. We are not hard to please, but the service overall was mediocre. The food wasn't too pleasing and limited in selection. They should have open sitting even if you are assigned either the 1st or 2nd.

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  • New

Jan 18, 2013

South Africa

CABIN 10199 The staff on boarding could speak very little English and we were sent from pillar to post regarding the on board recharging of accounts and eventually just went up to our cabin. The cabin at first glance seemed well appropriated except for the shower which was minuet (I have cruised several times before and have never seen such a small shower) what does a large person do? The hand soap dispenser was empty and remained

so throughout the cruise. The cupboards were unclaimed, the beside tables were filthy, the lamp stands, windowsill, dresser, TV and TV stand were caked in dust. The night frills, bedspreads and scatters were filthy and stank. The drinking glasses in the cabin were never washed throughout the cruise. The cabin was situated under the buffet tables and chairs, the scraping of the furniture from 06:00 to midnight was like receiving Chinese torture and we were unable sleep. We complained several times a day and were given the option to change cabins, the first was situated on deck 9 right at the end and stank of cigarettes and the door to the outside deck slammed continuously as passenger went outside to smoke. The second cabin also on deck 9 was uncleaned from the previous passengers and had pubic hairs in the bed so we had no choice but to stay in cabin 10199. With the 54 carpenters the Opera boasts are you telling me that not one could come up with a solution to the problem with sticking felt pads around the legs, or even cut up towels. Laura also told us that there had been complaints on the previous cruise about the noise and all the cabins on our floor said the same. The guest relations staff were both rude, incompetent and to be honest should be fired. POOL AREA The pool area was an absolute joke!!! How on earth does MSC expect 1700 plus pax to fit around and or in those two tiny excuses for swimming pools??? There was no adult supervision, children and adults diving in running around like hooligans. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment was a joke, how on earth could you subject the passengers to local entertainers especially in the bars that should have had their vocal cords removed it was intolerable. The DSTV did not work from day two so we were subject to the replaying of the movies over, and over, and over, and over again. BUFFET The buffet area does accommodate all passengers and one generally had stand around waiting for a table for hours. The crockery and cutlery after the second day were filthy and had to be put under boiling water ourselves in order to get rid of old food. GENERAL CLEANLINESS By day two the hand sanitizers were empty and never refilled throughout the duration of the cruise. The crockery and cutlery was disgusting, cups filthy old lipstick marks, dried remains of drinks, food on bottom of plates, we had to rinse everything under boiling water. The public toilets were a disgrace with the calibre of passenger it was no surprise I am sure many had never seen a working toilet before. GENERAL There was a shortage of certain cold drinks. The ship ran out of grapefruit. The apples sent to the room which we paid for were rotten. I would like to know what the cheapest price was that this cruise was sold for, the calibre of passengers was a disgrace, the children on the boat were intolerable, there were drugs being sold on ship and we were told that several passengers were arrested and taken off the ship in Madagascar. The majority of the staff were unable to understand or speak English. Passengers were not well informed of how, where or anything in fact regarding the island stops. We had to generally figure it out ourselves. Children were wild, drunk, noisy and uncontrolled. The staff in the all the shops excepting the Duty Free Shop were unhelpful and to be honest just down right miserable. There was not one adult area throughout the ship. I have never experienced a more disgusting, horrific, filthy cruise. I am flabbergasted that MSC has the audacity to have the amount of passengers on board they do when they are unable facilitate them in any way or means. The general cleanliness of the ship leaves one gobsmacked to say the least!!! MSC Cruises claims to be an international liner but is by no means in line with international standards.

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  • New

Jun 7, 2011

Northern Europe

Mediterranean Shipping Crooks The whole time you are on this ship you can't wait to get to land. A British man I talked to compared it to being in the army and he hit the nail on the head. If you go on this ship drink HEAVY to cope with no service and no entertainment! BTW you will pay through the nose for it! Food The food was for the most part is inedible. One morning the eggs were cooked is a dirty pan that fish (with bones in it) was

cooked in the night before and I threw up. You can only eat when they tell you it is time and if you are late by 15 minutes! YOU DO NOT EAT! Room Service you need to pay for and the menu consists of bad pizza, boiled hamburgers, and soup. The "juice" is Tang unless you pay for it. All of the food is the cheapest crap they could buy. Every meal you need to fight for a glass of water and most times you loose. There is no service and if so none of the people understand English. Avoid the buffet unless you like hospital food! TV There is only one channel in English (BBC) and two movies that loop the whole time but if it has subtitles you cant read them because the TV is two small and the volume does not go high enough to hear most of the time. Also it goes out all the time! BBC went out while in South Hampton. Cots They are not beds!!! They have COTS that are less comfortable then the ones I have for camping! Entertainment The entertainment was the worst! Unless you like country western music in sang in Dutch or comedy in Italian, or dancing the Achey Breaky Heart and the Macarena...I am not kidding! I have seen better stuff at the High school level. They have one good singer in one of their 70's style lounges other than that it was awful. I forgot if you want some real entertainment go to the smoking bar and watch the bartender yell at the staff and customers! That is funny! Casino They only have Roulette, 21, and poker for table games. The machines are from the 1980's from Vegas and some you need to put the Tokens in each pull and they do not pay. Customer Service There are only three answers at MSC if you can find a slave from a third world country that speaks English. NO, I don't know, or that is closed! I bought a cigar in the shop and the guy told me to go cut it with scissors or poke a hole in it and he had a cutter right behind him. I bought a 200 euro amber bracelet and had to fight to get a box. Checkout they made you stay on the ship in the lounge for 5 hours with your carry on bags.

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  • New

Jan 28, 2006

Eastern Caribbean

Our cruise on the MSC Opera from 1/28/06 to 2/4/06 was a truly wonderful experience. We researched MSC prior to our trip due to the unfamiliarity of the ship line. We read both positive and negative reviews. Yet, as we reviewed the negative reviews meticulously, we began to ask ourselves if the writer’s comments were likely to affect our enjoyment of the cruise. We determined they would not. Also, from the tone of the reviews, we suspected

the writer was overly particular or critical. We booked the cruise and we are so glad we did. In every aspect we found the crew to be attentive to detail, customer-service oriented, friendly, and devoted to excellence. Our inside cabin was spacious with an exorbitant amount of storage/closet space. Our bed was quite comfortable. It was fixed as a queen; we thought it would feel like two twins with the slice in the middle but somehow it felt like a queen bed. Dining was in six course meals at lunch and dinner. Salmon, steak, and other American dishes were always available as alternatives; although we always made selections from the daily menu. The cold soups were delicious-a must-try. Our waiter, Desi, was by our side to remove one course after the other immediately upon completion. We established a bond with him and it was sad to say good-bye at the end of the week. The entire crew works so hard to please. The high level of attention to cleanliness is readily apparent. We saw the common walls and stairwells being steam-cleaned on a daily basis. Signs were posted at the public restrooms to use hand towels to open the doors upon exit. Activities such as pool games, bridge tournaments, dance and language lessons, and crafts were available throughout the day. The evening shows were exceptional-Las Vegas quality. Don’t miss them. Each show is unique and creative with superb choreography offering a variety of talent throughout the week. Every passenger we spoke to echoed the same thoughts. The ports of call were also a reason for our selection of MSC. Although arriving in the evening in San Juan, it still allowed us to enjoy the flavor of Old San Juan, which is where the Opera docks. The cobblestone streets, the Spanish colonial architecture and historical city walls immersed you in the local culture. Even though El Morro, a massive fortress, is closed, the nighttime view from outside is still worthwhile. St. Martin is beautiful. We rented a car and toured the 37 square mile island. We reserved a car from Best Deal Car Rental in advance for $60 but realized upon arrival we didn’t need to. The car rental company booths are to the right, just behind the bus parking lot, off the dock. It is just a few minutes walk from the pier dock. Anyways, the car rental companies are very negotiable and fight for your business. You can easily negotiate $40 for the day. Make sure you drop your car off at the rental office rather than the separate car lot. We were told to drop the car off at the separate car lot; there is no office there. Bring your car back to the rental office, get your final papers and head back to the ship. We went to Dawn Beach, beside Oyster Pond, among other places. It was an attractive small beach. All of the beaches were small with the exception of Orient Beach. If we had to do it again, we definitely would have skipped Dawn Beach. Orient Beach was gorgeous. Plenty of water sports with gentle waters on the longest beach we saw in St. Martin- 2 miles long- and especially white sand. The colorful buildings there were also a sight to see-very picturesque. One note is that Orient Beach is recognized as a swimsuit optional beach. I thought we would be able to walk along the French Cul-de-Sac, as I had read prior to our trip, but discovered it required a short motor boat ride over, so we skipped it. We circled the western edge of the island without stops due to our concern about time. Traffic was congested in some of the towns. Mullet Bay looked beautiful. The terrain on the eastern side of the island is low lying hills where the western side is low land surrounding a lagoon. St. Martin is truly a charming island. The place to go in La Romana is Altos de Chavon. It is a must-see, regardless of your age. It is a re-creation of a 16th century Mediterranean village on the grounds of Casa de Campo resort. There are art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and souvenir shops surrounding a cobbled square. There are cobblestone streets lined with lanterns, wrought-iron balconies, wooden shutters, courtyards, and gardens. It is on a bluff overlooking the Rio Chavon. You can go to Altos de Chavon and Casa de Campo’s luxurious yacht marina for a round trip cost of $6 pp from a shuttle at the ship’s dock. The Kandela show is shown at the amphitheater at Altos de Chavon. It is colorful and entertaining in a beautiful setting. Taxis are available at the ship’s dock. The local transportation service at the dock pairs people up in the taxi according to your destination making it very easy to get a reduced rate per person. The taxi driver waits for you an hour or two or however long you wish and drives you back. We went to Bayahibe Beach for 2 hours. It took ½ hr by car. Six passengers-total cost is $52($8.66 pp plus tip) The beach was quite small; yet we still enjoyed the time there. A resident was in a motor boat offering ½ hr snorkeling in an area just offshore. We would have gone except our time at the beach was almost up. Others we met did go and negotiated $6 pp; they said the fish were colorful and that they had a great time. We were going to go to Dominicus Beach but discovered it is a private beach. Cayo Levantado is the Caribbean at its finest. Be sure to pick up your ticket for the tender early in the morning of your arrival there because you’ll want to be in one of the first tenders over to enjoy every single second. It is gorgeous. The bluest, clearest water of any we’ve ever seen with the most pure white sand on the palm-tree-lined beach. Although we did not go on any excursions there, we learned from talking to other passengers who had gone on the whale watching excursion and jeep safari that they thoroughly enjoyed it. Marco, the cruise director, said MSC has had a high satisfaction rate on all of their excursions on Cayo Levantado. I hope this information is helpful. We are sure to cruise on MSC again due to their commitment to excellence, high customer service level, exceptional entertainment, and focus on maintaining a clean ship.  

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