Crippled MSC Opera limps back to Southampton!

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#21
3,985 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
At least they all have a superb evening...ie not pouring with rain, which would have made it even more miserable for the passengers getting off Opera.

The ship in the webcam capture is not Opera...she is the brand new AIDAsol
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#22
Scandinavia
81 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
MSC Cruises is issuing all passengers with a credit voucher for the whole amount of the 10-day cruise valid until December 2012.
Seriously??? I get that s%!t happens, but a credit voucher? What a poor response to a bad situation!

MSC should be ashamed.
#23
Southampton
326 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by Girl_from_Ipanema
Seriously??? I get that s%!t happens, but a credit voucher? What a poor response to a bad situation!

MSC should be ashamed.
I don't think MSC should be ashamed, they should be congratulated for trying to put right a wrong.

Yes, it's unfortunate that the cruise ended like it did, no-one ever wants to have their holiday ended like that, but these things happen, and I'm sure that other people have been in a similar situation before with cruise ships breaking down.

My wife was on Oceana a while back and their cruise was ok, but the next cruise had problems with engines. People forget these ships are forever to-ing and fro-ing from port to port, and at some point something mechanical will break no matter how well maintained they are.

I'm sure that there have been cruises where there have been problems with the ships that have been dealt with behind the scenes without the passengers noticing..

MSC will be having to pick up the tab for all the problems, like several days of lost revenue, a complete loss of cruise, a replacement cruise for people, so could cost up to about $10million. Though, I imagine that the insurance company will pick up the tab for this.

In the same situation, yes I'd be a bit naffed off the cruise ended like it did, but at least I'd take comfort in knowing that we were still safe, and also that in the future, I had a holiday already paid for!!

ScrozUK
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#24
CDN in Surrey, England
16 Posts
Joined May 2011
We were on the cruise so have first-hand experience on how it was handled. We weren't scared and felt safe, which is the most important thing and were pretty understanding of the situation... but read on. Communication from staff was very poor. We had no power, running water or toilets for a few hours before the first announcement was even made. The captain didn't make one announcement and many complained that he wasn't once visible. The fact that we were being towed to Stockholm and disembarking was reported on news sites several hours before it was communicated to us, which it was eventually at 11 p.m. when we were already sleeping and had to have our bags out before 8 a.m. Luckily the cabin power came on when they made the announcement.

The major problems for us really occurred on disembarking. The morning of disembarkation we received a letter advising us that we would be on a charter flight at 5:20 p.m. to Stansted. Perfect! No problem, no complaints. We have a 6-month-old infant with us so we were happy we were on an earlier flight. Our cabin neighbours received the same letter but their flight was leaving at 11:30 p.m. (we were in balcony suite cabins).

We then saw that we would need a tender to get to port. Two medium passenger boats were floating, waiting for us. After another hour or so an announcement was made for ALL PAX to meet at the meeting place indicated on their letter to disembark. 1800 people trying to get to one deck at once is a bit chaotic. We couldn't understand while they didn't get people to assemble by either flight time or our luggage tag colours.

Everyone went down and about 90 minutes later they started disembarking people by luggage tag colours, which were by nationality. It was approximately one hour between each colour was called so we all waited and waited. We inquired as we were supposed to be on a flight at 5:20 why were weren't getting off sooner but they didn't understand the question (we asked a few people at reception). Being in the mixed group of nationalities (i.e. Canadian), we were the last group off the ship - 7 hours later after 7 p.m.

When we got to the airport it was pure chaos. We had obviously missed the earlier flight and our cabin neighbours who were supposed to be on a later flight were already gone on an earlier flight. There were several hundred people in line waiting to check in for our charter flight and only one airport agent open to do so. The line was so big it extended the entire terminal. They eventually got a few more people to check people in but there wasn't one MSC person who was visible or made themselves available in the airport. There were flights leaving for Stansted, Bournemouth and Amsterdam. We were trying to inquire about hotels on arrival in Stansted but there was no one from MSC to inquire from.

At the airport after 4 hours of waiting in line (with a 6-month-old) we finally checked in and went through security... and continued waiting and waiting. By approximately 3:30 a.m. we were told we would be getting a hotel room in Stockholm and the flight would finally leave the following afternoon (May 17). Everyone had to collect their luggage, which took over another hour and go to the hotel. A wonderful Canadian lady found someone from MSC and demanded some better treatment and then another young guy was available. We saw a few passengers who had collapsed in the terminal, requiring medical attention - as they had last left their room at 11:30 the previous morning and were exhausted and many were frail or elderly and there were a few of us with infants and young kids.

Our travel interruption insurance kicked in once the flight was delayed until the following afternoon as we would miss our connecting flight and we made our own arrangements from there. I can't comment on how the repatriation took place after 4:30 a.m.

Our biggest complaint was the poor communication and organization. I completely understand that it took massive organization to get the logistics in place but it was handled pretty poorly.

Oh, I should also mention that there were several staff members disembarking at the same time as the passengers. They were put on much earlier tenders than we were and since I didn't see them at the airport I can only assume they got on one of the earlier flights.

I will plan to write a more thorough and balanced review of the cruise once we return home.
#25
Oxfordshire, UK
29 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Bit of a worry as we were meant to be on the Opera this week but rebooked for June as DH couldnt get the week off work in May afterall..never thought i would be grateful for my original holiday plans being destroyed..
#26
So. Cal
318 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
sea2sky... I agree that is really poor handling.. I am also concerned about the handling of passengers who were suppose to board on May 17 and had already arrived in London by the time they were notified... some of these passengers have flown from other countries and have to make other arrangements for the week they planned on being on the cruise... to give passengers a voucher for a future cruise is unacceptable!! they should be offered a refund so they can make other arrangements for the week..
I realize that these situations sometime happen but the way they are resolved is what makes a huge difference...
We were considering the 8 night cruise on the Opera in July and just about to book when this happened. I am waiting to see how it all gets resolved before I consider booking.
#27
Scandinavia
81 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by scrozuk
I don't think MSC should be ashamed, they should be congratulated for trying to put right a wrong.
They tried to put right a wrong while preserving their revenue. At a minimum the cruisers should've been offered their choice of a refund or a credit towards a future cruise.

If I had been though that experience, I can assure you it be a very long time before I'd be ready to take another cruise, and I doubt I'd cruise with the same line.

Unfortunate for MSC, but the cost of doing business.
#28
CDN in Surrey, England
16 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by scrozuk
I don't think MSC should be ashamed, they should be congratulated for trying to put right a wrong.

ScrozUK
Kind of easy to say if you weren't there.

If you had been handled that way, especially the last 24 hours, you would certainly feel that MSC should be ashamed. I completely understand how these things can happen and they did do somethings right but unfortunately communication was extremely poor and the disembarkation process and repatriation was unnecessarily done very poorly.

We were pretty relaxed and not bothered until the last 24 hours of the experience. Even not having toilets or running water with a baby wasn't a big deal. I didn't even complain when all there were was buns and slices of cheese and cold meat for dinner.
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7-day Western Caribbean - March 2006 - NCL Jewel
14-day Mediterranean - May 2010 - Oceania
11-day Baltic - May 2011 - MSC Opera (lost power for 3 days in the middle of the Baltic and needed to be towed back into ARN)
11-day Mediterranean - October 2012 - Costa Pacifica
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9-day Baltic - dep Copenhagen - July 2016 - NCL Star
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#29
Bolton..UK
193 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
I feel sorry for the people who can't go on their cruise now that must be really disapointing at least the one's on the ship had a few days . . . . .hope it's ok for Sept ..well that's something else for me to worry about now
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#30
115 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
So I am on the May 17 Opera cruise. I arrived in Southampton with my wife and infant at 1:30am on the 16th to get a fax from reception that "our vacation has been cancelled" - no other info. They told us check-out was at 11am.

Couldn't sleep that night at all....next morning I went to the dock and MSC people were there. They were a bit disorganized, but were trying to help.

MSC has taken care of us quite well given the situation. We were put up in a Southampton hotel for 2 nights, and now 1 more night in a Gatrick hotel to fly out to Genoa tomorrow. They upgraded us from an inside Cat 4 room to a balcony Cat 9 room on a new cruise. Paid all hotels and meals, and well as private car transfers and the flights. They are returning us to LHR when the cruise is over. We also got a 30% credit voucher to use on a future cruise.

The replacement cruise is not what we wanted at all, and we have lost 3 days vacation, but given the situation I think they have done okay taking care of us. Anyway I'll post a full review of the new cruise (Fantasia) when we return.

Amazed this is not in the news more.....
#31
So. Cal
318 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
adamsommer.... So happy to hear that MSC is taking good care of the passengers that were suppose to be on the May 17th cruise Please let us know how it all went, when you get back.. Thanks
#32
Southampton
326 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by Sea2Sky
Kind of easy to say if you weren't there.

If you had been handled that way, especially the last 24 hours, you would certainly feel that MSC should be ashamed. I completely understand how these things can happen and they did do somethings right but unfortunately communication was extremely poor and the disembarkation process and repatriation was unnecessarily done very poorly.

We were pretty relaxed and not bothered until the last 24 hours of the experience. Even not having toilets or running water with a baby wasn't a big deal. I didn't even complain when all there were was buns and slices of cheese and cold meat for dinner.
Apologies that you had a bad experience been repatriated back to the uk, I just assumed that in this day and age if improved communications and experience that msc would have had a better recovery plan than they did.

What happened sounds totally awful, not what you would expect service wise. I had been wondering about trying an msc cruise but considering how badly they dealt with this after something went so badly wrong, I'll think twice.

My main point I was making before I learnt about the poor handling of pax by msc was that at the very least msc were offering a full credit voucher for a future cruise. In light of what did happen I'd be pushing for some extras, especially those wh fell ill while waiting at the airport and also famiies who have very young children as well.

I hope you have all recovered and that this hasn't put you off cruising. I'm sure by the time you go to go back on msc that they'll have the ship fully sorted.

Scrozuk
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#33
Netherlands
68 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by Sea2Sky
I will plan to write a more thorough and balanced review of the cruise once we return home.
Please do! We were on the Opera, too, and I think we saw you waiting in the lounge all that time with such a sweet baby! Unbelievable they left you there for such a long time. We were in the lilac group and were almost the last to leave the ship. We also had a horrendous journey home. It took 33 hours from the moment of actual disembarkation to opening the front door of our house (we live in the south of the Netherlands).
We haven't heard anything from MSC yet, but our TA (who also dealt quite inadequately with the situation) told us that they will inform us about some sort of compensation within four weeks.
I don't need the compensation so much, but I would like some sort of apology! Those queues and the chaos at the airport...unbelievable.
#34
115 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
I am writing this from the Fantasia, which is the ship MSC sent us to from the UK when the Opera was canceled for the May 17 sailing.

I sure hope we get more compensation than they have indicated. Our perfectly planned 10 day cruise has ended up as maybe 5 decent days, 2 of which we had nothing to do. The other 5 were shuffled between hotels and airports.....MSC has been trying, but they need to give us more than a 30% credit voucher. We should get a full refund or at least 4 of the 10 days (4/10 of our original fare) refunded as we paid for a 10 day cruise and only got a 6 day cruise. Plus, had to deal with their lack of organization and all the moving from one hotel to another every night.

I will say the Fantasia is a nice ship, and I would give it an above average review if MSC would take care of us properly for all the trouble. I would cruise with them again, but only if they show proper management here at compensate all of us in a fair manner (to me that is a 40% refund of our fare since we lost 4 of 10 days, the promised 30% credit voucher, and a shipboard credit from the cruise they did send us on)....I think that is fair.

Anyway, I will post all the details when I get them as well as a full review when we return to the states next week.
#35
Southampton
326 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by adamsommer
I am writing this from the Fantasia, which is the ship MSC sent us to from the UK when the Opera was canceled for the May 17 sailing.

I sure hope we get more compensation than they have indicated. Our perfectly planned 10 day cruise has ended up as maybe 5 decent days, 2 of which we had nothing to do. The other 5 were shuffled between hotels and airports.....MSC has been trying, but they need to give us more than a 30% credit voucher. We should get a full refund or at least 4 of the 10 days (4/10 of our original fare) refunded as we paid for a 10 day cruise and only got a 6 day cruise. Plus, had to deal with their lack of organization and all the moving from one hotel to another every night.

I will say the Fantasia is a nice ship, and I would give it an above average review if MSC would take care of us properly for all the trouble. I would cruise with them again, but only if they show proper management here at compensate all of us in a fair manner (to me that is a 40% refund of our fare since we lost 4 of 10 days, the promised 30% credit voucher, and a shipboard credit from the cruise they did send us on)....I think that is fair.

Anyway, I will post all the details when I get them as well as a full review when we return to the states next week.
I think at the very least you should get 50% credit voucher seeing as you have only had half of your original intended cruise.

Am sure all cruise companies make their mistakes, the real judge of how good they are is how well they respond to it and how they correct it.

ScrozUK
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#36
115 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
I hope so too. I am having my agent push as much as possible.

They gave us a 450 euro shipboard credit, but did not tell us until the final night of the cruise, so we had 350 euro to spend in only 4 hours....it was "use it or lose it" so we bought a bunch of cheap jewlrey...would have been nice to know this at the start of the cruise so we could have used it for excursions.

MSC has serious communications issues. They have told us nothing. I think they are trying, but I agree a refund of some sort is in order. Ill post once I hear anything.

Does anyone know what those on the previous Opera cruise recieved (the ones that got off in Stockholm)?
#37
melbourne victoria australia
320 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
I am just home after our nightmare holiday. We arrived in Southampton on the morning of Sunday 15th after travelling about 40 hours. In the afternoon we saw on the television that MSC Opera had broken down but was expected to be towed into Southampton and would be leaving as scheduled on the 17th. On the Monday we went into Winchester arriving home later in the afternoon. I received 2 emails from friends, one in Germany the other New Zealand. Both were saying how sorry they were we had had our cruise cancelled. We checked with reception to see if there was a message for us from MSC but nothing. We were in a group fly/cruise booking from Australia, 16 in total and not one of us had heard a word. Emails were sent and people were contacting MSC but not a word, it was a complete communication breakdown. Let me stress, we were well aware the electrical breakdown was a most unfortunate stroke of bad luck but here we were stranded and noone wanted to know us. Eventually after many irate phone calls on the morning of embarkation we had a 10am teleconference in the board room at the hotel with Lyn Clarke who I understand is the CEO of MSC in Australia. We were offered a 6 night cruise on Poesia and 4 nights full board at a London hotel plus 30% discount off the full price of another cruise to be taken by the end of 2012 or our money back. We had little option other than to take the offer, some with work committments and others personal committments. The cruise took us to Zee Brugge, Kiel, Oslo, Copenhagen then Kiel again. The only port out of these that I had researched was Copenhagen so we had no idea what there was to see in the other ports or how to get around to see them. In Kiel we had a mass embarkation of Germans who obviously take advantage of a long weekend cruise. I must state here I have nothing whatsoever against Germans, in fact I am married to one, but these were mostly young people who had come to party with little respect for people who may have been sleeping in the early hours of the morning. We only had half days in the ports so saw very little. We had no members cocktail party and the late dining changed from 8.15 to 9pm with the theatre show at 11pm.

On our 2nd visit to Kiel we disembarked and they put us on a bus to Hamburg airport, we only knew of this arrangement the night before. At this stage we had no idea where we would be staying in London and all our attempts to find out were met with "I don't know". As was the case in Southampton there was still a complete breakdown in communication. We were met at Heathrow airport and taken to our hotel 10 minutes away. Our "Home" for the next 4 nights was to be the Holiday Inn transit hotel, completely remote from any shops transport etc unless we were inclined to pay approx 40 pounds a day on buses and trains. Added to this we were told the ones who booked a twin room would have to have one sleep on a couch!, a problem we resolved with the hotel ourselves. After much complaint and negotiating by the wonderful Maggie Lee MSC agreed to foot the bill for transport to enable us to get into London etc and they said they would look into moving us to a hotel in central London. It seems the Chelsea Flower Show was responsible for every hotel being booked out which the locals found strange as they told us they have sufficient room for all the extras for the Olympic games next year.

The main complaint from our group was the unproffessional way it was handled. We were left up in the air until the last minute at each stage of our travels which we all found extremely stressful. It certainly turned out to be the holiday from hell and once I get over the jet lag I will be, along with the other 8 couples, airing my feelings in no uncertain manner to MSC. Some of you will know I have been a great fan of MSC and have recommended them to a lot of people. Purely because of the way they so rudely treated us I doubt if I will ever cruise with them again which is such a pity as their ships are so lovely. I am deeply offended by the offhanded treatment we received as are the others in our group.
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#38
804 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
My commiserations to all of you who were treated so badly when your cruise was cancelled. The whole thing must have been a nightmare, especially for those who had flown in from Australia specifically to cruise the Baltic. Misty, I know how long you had been planning and looking forward to your time in St. Petersburg (and the other ports). I do hope MSC enables you to visit St.Petersburg and fulfill your dream - in my eyes that would be the only fair compensation.
I had been thinking of booking an MSC cruise to Africa - but at the moment I can not really imagine myself doing so. I´ll be waiting with my fingers crossed for all of you to see how MSC deals with compensation for this very unfortunate experience.
#39
Central Coast, Australia
13 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
I was supposed to be on the May 17 cruise and believe me, it was not handled well by MSC. We had travelled from Australia and were never officially notified by MSC that the cruise had been cancelled. We were offered another cruise which turned out to be nothing at all like we had imagined. The lack of communication was appalling.
#40
115 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
"Lack of communication" is a great summary of MSC.

I signed the paper accepting another cruise and a 30% voucher towards a future cruise, yet have heard nothing about the voucher. I hope they don't forget about this.....at the very least they better give us the voucher that we were promised when we signed the form accepting it as compensation along with a new cruise (that is a contract/legal obligation, correct?)...

I am also hoping for at least a 40% refund of our cruise fare, as we paid for a 10 day cruise and only got 6 days.

If anyone hears anything from MSC please let me know!