my version of the Opera 4/1

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897 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Overall, considering everything, this was a great cruise. (Aren't they all?)

Embarkation: Good- I love the fact that there are chairs with a waiting area and they call a number to allow a certain number of people to line up at a time.
Bad- People were very pushy. I actual had a couple run over me and knock my carry-on out of my hand as I made my way to and empty line.
(This proved to be the start of rudeness to come....)

Ship: Looks the way all ships should look. Classy elegant, not like a shopping mall or the Vegas strip. Very clean.

Crew/Service: Overall, just about everyone we encountered was wonderful. Smiling and ready to do anything to make our cruise just that much better. Quite a few seemed to go out of their way to say hello. Especially one particular guy who worked at the pizza station, never caught his name though.
There were exceptions which put a slight damper on our cruise.
Our head waiter was not very good. He would walk up to the table and say "U ready?" No, hello or anything. OK, then I asked on two different occasions what he would recommend. Basically, he knew zero. I even said between A and B, which would you pick...... Literally, no response. My biggest complaint, besides the very slow service when all of his other tables would end up getting their next 2 courses before we got one (we were on time, they werehalf hour late at least). Anytime we ordered or asked for something, he was never paying attention. He was always looking around the dining room like he was lost. I was a server for over three years. He was just an order taker. I should have adjusted our tips to be honest but I never feel comfortable doing this.
Highlight: Bambang. He was the assistant waiter to the table next to us and took better care of us than either of our 2. He said he was going to be promoted to head waiter on the next cruise. If anyone has him, I'm so jealous. He is the ONLY reason we didn't just order room service for dinner every night.
Side note: My parents had ordered us the honeymoon package along with a on-board credit. BC we had such a long day traveling, we did not go to dinner on the first night. We didn't know anything about them getting this until the 3rd day of the cruise. After my mom calling them every day, we finally received half our OBC by the 6th day. The 7th, the champagne. The 8th, the cake and the rest of the OBC. With the cake the assistant maitre'd came over to tell us he had our cake the first night and if we had bothered to show up, we would have got it. Then when we didn't show up again on the 2nd night......WAIT, huh? We only missed the first night. He then debated this with me for the next 10 minutes.

Cabin: We liked it, we had a balcony. This will also explain why we only made it to one show and only spent about an hour at the pool. We leave our balcony for dinner, port, and watching sailaway from the aft. That's pretty much it.

To be continued, I have more to say than I thought...
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897 Posts
Joined Jul 2005

We loved going up to the Solarium. On one of our first sea days, we pulled out chairs and tried to tan. (Well, the hubby did. It was too windy for me to control the chair) This didn't last long due to a quick shower.

Pizza was great, it was our afternoon snack every day.

I didn't have any items from the grill. My DH says the burgers were "weird". They didn't taste like beef he said.

Breakfast: Never did the dining room. Buffets were OK, bacon mostly not cooked. Sometimes you could find edible pieces. Ham had no taste. Crossaints were soooo good. French toast also.
I had one omelet and it wasn't done all the way, I couldn't bring myself to try again.

Lunch buffet: I loved the pork loin. (I read where others thought it was awful, go figure!) It seemed like alot of the pastas were still a bit crunchy....but maybe I like my pastas overcooked.

Dinners: Most entrees were pretty good. I had salmon on the always available menu 3 nights. I had the beef choice on the second night and it was good. I didn't like the turkey cordon bleu. Never ordered a salad. Soups were so-so. DH ate the chilled ones, not me. He really liked them.
Desserts: New York Cheesecake Brulee!!! So good. Every other dessert, I could have skipped those.

Drinks: We ordered 3 foofoo drinks a piece and decided no more. they just weren't very good. Plus they were expensive. Just a personal opinion.

To be continued..... (again)
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897 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
part 3

I really loved the way the ship was laid out. Very easy to find everything by the first full day. Also, ship maps were very readable.

Cyber cafe was typical slow connection, nothing unusual. Side note, there is no @ sign on the keyboards. It made emailing very interesting.

We purchased two of the coke packages the very first day. (pay for 10, get 4 free. 14 for $22). In hindsight, we should have bought one bc on the last day we had 13 left to drink.

I loved the layout and storage space to the cabin. We even ended up with one completely empty drawer that we started filling with items bought in port. We only used our suitcases to put dirty laundry in.

San Juan- Loved it. Took the water taxi and then a shuttle to the Bacardi tour. Then walked up the hill near the pier to a fort and wandered in a few shops. (watch out for the pigeons. my DH got pooed on. heehee)

St Maarten- Did the mini-boats. Awesome. Going back to the pier we took the buses which were much cheaper. $25 vs. $6 one way.

Grenada- Whole city was shut down bc of good Friday. Wasted time for us. Oh well, lesson learned. Will post that on Grenada board.

Barbados- Taxi drivers talked us into going to Blue Monkey instead of Mannie's Suga Suga like we had originally planned. Beach was very rocky, rocks hitting people in the water as the waves came in. Food was good though. Hindsight, should have stuck to our plans I think.

St Lucia- One and only ship booked tour due to it being Easter Sunday. Did the land and sea to the volcano. Great trip, sailing was awesome and the volcano great, stinky though.

St Thomas- Private charter, us and one other couple. Highlight of the whole cruise. Ike Witt charters and Captain Pat. The best.
(will address immigrations issues, I spoke with a few officers)

Cayo Levantado- DH was pretty sunburned so had to avoid the sun. Hoped from shade tree to shade tree to try to buy a few paintings. Seemed like most other private islands to me, with the exception of not being private. You pay to use their chairs and umbrellas. If you aren't big on a beach day, you will probably only be in port about an hour or two.

St Thomas issues: I spoke to a few MSC employees along with a few of the immigration officials. Basically, MSC relayed what they were told was required. The concensus seems to be, since Opera was the ONLY ship in St Thomas that day it was a good time to require detailed checking.

part 4 coming will be the end, i promise
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897 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Overall, we had a great time. I'm hoping it didn't come across as anything else. It always seems like the negatives stand out so much more bc they require more explanation.

I think our biggest issue was truly with the passengers sailing with us who didn't feel the need to wait in a line when there was a group of people wanting to get somewhere. Just not many common sense type of manners from them. On the flip side, hearing all the silly complaints was very amusing. The gentleman standing at the pizza counter saying 'what do you mean you won't ever have pepperoni?!?!" People complaining about the 5 language announcements. Would you like to be the one's that didn't understand what was being said? They should make all announcements in Italian? It was different and required a bit of patience bc it made the small amount of announcements go on a bit longer but so what??

We would definitely do an MSC cruise again. It would probably not be my first choice, but given the same scenario (good price and great ports) we would book it in a second.
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Sunnyvale, CA
401 Posts
Joined May 2002

Good objective review of a cruise you enjoyed-

Thank you-eh!
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