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I just returned from the 26 February sailing on the MSC Opera - it was a great week
I am a veteran sailor with cruises on Cunard, HAL, NCL & a few lines no longer sailing.(almost 50 cruises in all)
The ship is smaller than todays mega ships with only 1700 passengers(there were 1500 onboard this sailing). The ship is only one year old & looked as if it was brand new. The cleaning & upkeep was non stop no matter where on the ship I went. Even in the crew areas it was immaculate!
Embarkation was a breeze - I arrived at 3:30 pm & walked right onboard ....I was escorted to my cabin on 7 Deck. The cabin was smaller than a HAL standard but a better layout than NCL DAWN (and certainly more comfortable). The bathroom was fine except for a small shower - I simply left the shower curtain open.
I toured the ship before dinner & found the lounges to be nicely appointed & with a wide range. Coffee Bar, Piano Lounge, Show Room, Disco & my favorite ...The Cotton Club - a lounge with a great combo & dance floor. What I really liked is the scale of the rooms - nothing too big, nor crowded , all in pleasant tones.
I ate dinner in The Carravalle Dining room at second sitting. It is the larger of the dining rooms but was just as pleasant. A great Italian waiter & assistant saw to all our needs in a very professional & fun manner. The wine steward was exceptional & saw that my glass was full at all times!!!!
I did have lunch & breakfast in the smaller dining room & also enjoyed it there. The buffet at the pool was a standard & well run restaurant. THE PIZZA AREA WAS GREAT!!!! As an afternoon snack I enjoyed a different slice each day.
I did get my haircut onboard & it was fine - just watch out for the extra charges for “treatments” that you do not ask for & are not told about.
The spa area is quite nice...locker room , steam, sauna & relaxation room.. The pool area is great(much nicer than NCL Dawn).
I did not attend any shows but most people said they were great.....the bands onboard were provided a variety of music & it showed in the # of people on the dance floors each evening. Even the disco had a lively crowd through the nite(as opposed the NCL Dawn this past New Years where the nite club was dead, the dance floor empty & nothing but rap being played all nite).
I found the food to be just as good as HAL & Cunard and better than NCL DAWN. Certainly the European sevrvice was above the standard cruise lines. The evening buffets were very nice & well attended - the final buffet was great fun!
The Pros -
Service, food, ship design, size & entertainment. The ship was immaculate!!!!!!!!
I had to change my cabin due to the noise from the kitchen on deck 6. I ended up on deck 9 & was fine. Housekeeping was very nice & arranged for my luggage to be transferred.
Some of the Pool Staff, Outdoor Restaurant Staff & Piano Bar area need to learn from their counterparts in other areas of the ship. These areas were slow all week in providing service.
Would I go again...in a second....MSC has some some aspects of the old Home & Sitmar Lines in a contemporary ship. So if you like Italian / Continental........go for it.
Last edited by Rotterdam; March 7th, 2005 at 08:54 PM.
I will now look into a late 2006 sailing with them......hoping to do the Rio cruise on the Insignia in Feb 06 followed by the RSVP cruise with Princess in Oct 06.....going oh so broke.
If MSC is anything like Sitmar...then I must try them.
MSC is the closest I've come to Home Lines & Sitmar. Sitmar & Home Lines were excellent at what they did. MSC is very good! Oh the pasta & pizza...the deck parties at nite were great fun...I loved the mix of European & American passengers.
The officers & my waiters were Italian. There is an International crew but the service was quite good.
The ship is wonderful...I posted on the MSC board how much I liked seeing the ocean in most venues.....
Go see Galen in the Cotton Club...only problem with the man is that he did not have Makers Mark for my Manhattans...but otherwise I'm off to Bulgaria to meet his family!!!
For me I would go on MSC again before other mass market lines...they are not perfect but oh how I love Italia!!!!!!!
Did you get to the Cotton Club - Galen from Bulgaria was a fun & great bartender,,,,,,
Nope - while you were in the Cotton Club, I was in La Cabala making eyes at Christian from Romania...
I brought our pal Gail down there for a pre-dinner cocktail one evening. After he brought me my drink, I turned to Gail and asked her what she'd like.
Her reply was "I'd like to be gay so I can get some service!"
Oosterdam Feb '04 RSVP Western Caribbean; Amsterdam Sept '04 Alaska - Glacier Bay; MSC Opera Feb '05 Eastern Caribbean; Oosterdam Sept '05 RSVP Alaska - Hubbard Glacier; Noordam Inaugural Feb '06 Caribbean; X/Mercury May '06 - (the 2/11ths cruise); Noordam Jan '07 Caribbean - The CC Reunion Cruise; Volendam Nov '07 - Panama Canal Seafarer; Eurodam Prelude & Inaugural - July '08 Rotterdam-Copenhagen, Norwegian Fjords/British Isles; Noordam Jan '09 Caribbean: "Voyage of the Good Nuts"; Ryndam Sept '09 Southbound Alaska Cruisetour; Zaandam March '10 Circle Hawaii "Voyage of the Macadamia Nuts"; NoordamFeb '11 Southern Caribbean "The Wedding"; Eurodam, December '11 Eastern Caribbean; Queen Elizabeth, Jan '13 - Westbound Panama Canal, Grand Princess, Feb '14 - Hawaii
Laura - Its funny you mentioned too many sea days.
I always keep myself busy(sometimes in a deck chair with my eyes closed).
Years ago(in the 1970's) I sailed the Rotterdam V & Oceanic many times - they were about 40,000 tons & 1100 passengers - a third smaller than the Opera - & I loved the size of those ships. The Opera may be bigger but the space ratio is so good you don't realize the # of people onboard.
Other than the QM2 I won't be sailing on those mega ships. I hope MSC won't go mega liner on us - in the meantime I plan on returning to MSC.
Long cocktail hours, great pizza, fun entertainment & oh yes those Italians, Bulgarians...and long days at sea to get to know then all.....