December 11 Opera - Grand Cayman and Other Stuff

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Oakville, Ontario
421 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
From previous posts, you will have noticed that some passengers on this sailing were disappointed that the Opera did not stop at Grand Cayman, whereas other ships appeared to be anchoring and starting the tendering process. I am not a navigation or weather expert, but I was outside on deck when the Captain made his decision to turn around and I can personally say that there were very very strong winds blowing and, in my opinion, I appreciate the Captain's decision to keep people out of the tenders and to turn the ship around. Safety "trumps" Sting Ray City any day of the week, and I am relieved that there was not a tragedy on our ship or on the other ships to support my opinion. By the way, the Captain did hold a super cocktail party later that evening lasting many many hours with generous and free drink offerings. Thanks, MSC.

With respect to our overall experience, my wife and I were extremely pleased given the price and our expectations. The plusses and minuses of the cruise have been well expressed by others, but I wish to add that I appreciated the respect given to me as a passenger - I was not constantly being upsold, cross-sold or pressured to buy things or otherwise spend money on board. All options were presented to me and I chose without feeling pressured. (One of my favourite purchases was the 7 bottles of wine package for $91. Excellent value for a well thought out variety of Italian, French and California reds, whites and a rose.)

Another observation. As a non-American, I met numerous American travellers who were polite, educated, well travelled and well spoken. They were in the majority and added great value to my enjoyment of the cruise. Unfortunately, there were also some Americans on board who truly fit the definition of "ugly". Ship's passengers come from all parts of society, and reflect all parts of society. We should all be careful not to stereotype passengers based on their country of origin.

And lastly, even though I love to eat and ate a lot, I was amazed by the number of obese passengers on board. There is truly an obesity epidemic and I am convinced that the long term health implications will be significant and negative.
1,868 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Glad you enjoyed your cruise! How was your cabin...and the pesto?

Yes, I know what you mean and it is sad, not because of looks, but because of the inevitable health problems. My husband says we must do away with buffets! Things may have changed over seas, but as much time as we've spent in Genoa (mainly) I don't recall seeing one buffet. Please someone, correct me if I'm wrong.

Merry Christmas everybody!!!
785 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
I also was on deck and the weather was not bad. The waves where not that bad. As far as the cocktail party goes, there was no notfication that they where having a cocktail. So only a few people knew about it. I asked the 45 people who where in my group and nobody knew about it. Royal Caribbean and Carnival stayed and tendered in.
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Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
6,879 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by rcicruiser
I also was on deck and the weather was not bad. The waves where not that bad. As far as the cocktail party goes, there was no notfication that they where having a cocktail. So only a few people knew about it. I asked the 45 people who where in my group and nobody knew about it. Royal Caribbean and Carnival stayed and tendered in.

Royal Caribbean and Carnival no doubt have a lot more experience with tidal/wind conditions at Grand Cayman. Their ship's call there every week for years now. My guess is this was the first or second call ever for OPERA at Grand Cayman and the Captain didn't want to take a chance. It is his judgment call and you have to respect that based on his experience (which might be limited at this particular port). I can assure you his objective was not to piss off the passengers, but safety.

Can't comment on the cocktail party. Sometimes you just have to be at the right place at the right time!

Oakville, Ontario
421 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Interesting comments from RCIcruiser - we were both on deck and yet we saw the weather situation differently. I guess one thing neither of us got to see was the weather when it was time to tender BACK from the mainland! By the way, RCICruiser - at the cocktail party, I had my drink and then had yours... (just kidding!)
Toronto Canada
1,092 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Oakville, RCI cruiser just has one of those negative attitudes about everything to do with this cruise. We had many with the same attitude on
the 4 Dec cruise. Having been on a couple of tenders that should never have left the ship in the past I can always live with the captains choice.
And yes it may be okay going over but you never can tell on your return.
On my last visit to GC on Celebrity we had a real problem getting tenders into the island and later in the day we had to go to the other side of the island
for pickup of the people who made it to land. The Disney ship pulled in and
pulled out again so they wouldn't take a chance... So MSC is not the only
line not taking chances. I am glas you enjoyed yourself as did I the week
before it is all your expectations and ability to go with the flow.
1,868 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Just a thought. My daughter and her husband were on the Grandeur the week of the 11th. They enjoyed GC but they said tendering was very rough. It was my son-in-law's first cruise and he couldn't believe they were getting into those boats with the motion going on. And my daughter slipped but didn't hurt herself...she laughingly said she almost flattened one of the guys helping her on. Maybe the captain got those kinds of reports and, with a lot of older (sorry if you're not) passengers, decided that it just wasn't worth the risk.

It was the same week....was it the same day?
98 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
I was on deck also when we were in Grand Cayman. The wind was whipping, the waves were white capped and the ship was rocking pretty good. I wasn't at all shocked when they decided the conditions weren't exactly perfect to attempt their first tendering experience in their innaguaral Grand Cayman call.

I was at the pool deck later when I heard the announcement about the cocktail party loud and clear. Some people even applauded :-)

785 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Well I guess only the people who where on the pool deck heard the annoucements because it was not annouced where we where. A member of the cruise staff even told them that the annoucement was not heard all over the ship. Yes I do have some negative comments about the cruise since my group of 45 where all TA. So if a TA has a problem and bad service and bad food do you thing that they should sell that product. The president of the cruiseline showed up at the pier on the return because of the problems and comments from the passengers. As far as the weather in Grand Cayman, I guess my idea of rough weather is different than others. Yes the Captain of the ship was new, but that was there 3rd captain that they have had on the ship since it came out in July.
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98 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
Well they made an announcement at the pool deck. Maybe they didn't make the announcement in cabins because they are going for less announcements in staterooms.

The crowds of people the length of deck 6 between the casino and coffee bar didn't seem to have trouble figuring out that the waitstaff with free glasses of champagne between 5 and 8:30 spelled free cocktail hour(s) :-)

Most paying customers I talked to had a good time and many TAs complained about trivial little things like plastic cups and salt packets at the buffet all week. I am in the non-complaining TA category. I had fun and felt the positives FAR outweighed the negatives. If I want hot!hot!hot and 18 meals a day and nickel & diming drink hawking there is always Carnival and RCCL.

Rick Sasso (MSC President) wasn't there when the ship got back because of complaints on the sailing. He WAS there because it is what he is doing every Saturday when the ship is in port. He was also on the ship when we left on Dec 11 and also there the weekend before. Nothing at all with being hands on until they work out the kinks.

I was also bummed about missing GC, but it wasn't exactly sunny and calm. The RCCL and CCL ships have done that tender operation hundreds of times. This was the first time for the Opera and probably a good call not to risk it.

10 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Hello Oakville - I guess you are just one of those lucky, lucky people who don't struggle with their weight. For those of us who do, it shouldn't come as any surprise when we are observed and commented on. Too bad you couldn't keep your comments and observations on the subject of the cruise itself vs the fat people you noticed. I too was on the December 11th sailing of the Opera and was also not aware of the cocktail party after missing Grand Cayman.
Ostrava, Moravia, Czech Republic
538 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
Oakville - I wanted to thank you for sharing your impressions and great honesty with us.

Knowing MSC as I do when I read SOME of the comments posted on these boards by SOME travel agents I would not trust them to book me a bus ticket to travel around the corner.

Everytime I read those WONDERFUL WORDS "I will not/never sell this cruise line to my clients" I rejoice and give thanks.

Maybe in time Mr Sasso will come to his senses and realise that it is futile to pander to the biggoted and he should concentrate and devote his attentions to his true market.
19 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
maybe you should stick to rci. you made a comment that MSC would not be a premium cruise line until they get larger ships. Most premium lines have SMALLER vessels and its a proven fact that the smaller the ship the better the food and service- not the COMMON mass market lines that your handel suggests