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MSC OPERA-not too bad for a bargain!

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My wife and I were on the 1-15 sailing of this ship. Based on the earlier reviews I had rather meager expectations.But I kept telling myself that for a 7 day cruise for well below $500 per person, it would be OK just to get away from the routine and spend some time without a lot of distractions, even if there were going to be a few hassles:) I did see a marked improvement over earlier comments about the food and overall service on this ship. Embarkation was very simple. We were on board in less than 20 minutes after arriving by taxi at the terminal. We were escorted to our cabin on the 10th deck-an inside one, that was small but managable. The bathroom was a bit cramped, but a lot roomier than my RV!

The room attendant was very efficent in keeping it nice and tidy. We had attentive waiters in the main dining room and the food was satisfactory at every meal. The morning breakfast buffet on the 11th deck was convenient and had a fair assortment of breakfast fare, including fresh pineapple, and fruit juices as well as good coffee. We normally had lunch at either the pizza buffet on the patio or from the grill on the other side of the deck.One annoyance is that there was an almost constant line of up to 20 or so waiting for cheese pizza..no toppings! I observed on a couple of occasions that some Italian passengers bypassed the line, chatted with the cooks and got their pizza with toppings, no less, and managed to get them before those folks who patiently stood in line:mad: This was very annoying to some folks...but oh well!

Most of the passengers were about 65 or so, based on the bargain prices that appealed to the Fla. retirees, There were lots of Europeans aboard (mostly Italians) that appeared contented. The bar staff does need to be furnished with the right mix to make a decent Margaritta however...none of the half dozen I got at poolside were decent, even if the price was. The "animation team" of young entertainers/hosts were a bit too lively at times when many of us would not have preferred to be blasted by their chants over the PA during their poolside games. But I am sure that some of the younger crowd did enjoy them.

The entertainment in the main theatre was OK, the standard fare of : dancers, jugglers, an illusionist, comic, an Italian tenor, and a violinist. Their acts were more in tune with European tastes, but MSC is an Italian line and make no bones about it. We spent little time in the casino, but it appeared functional.

The port stops were nothing special, with the stop in St. Croix a real mess with work on the pier and not much to see.We did not partake of their excursions. They seemed pricey....don't they all :)

The gym/spa area was rather small, with only 4 treadmills and stationary bikes. They did have a nice steam/sauna room nearby (seperate sex only;) )

I enjoyed them, and they were seldom used.

Overall I was satisfied with our experience, although I chatted with many who were not.But you might expect that as it was a sold out cruise. For the price I would do it again, but not at the price I have paid for NCL or Carnival, though they're not my favorites. As the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for." I can see these folks could find a niche in the US market, but not without some "growing pains". You could do a lot worse for a cruise on a budget price......but then again, I'm not too hard to please:)

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Glad you enjoyed the cruise as I did on Lirica, I agree with everything you say except that the pizza is different on Lirica, plenty of different toppings and no line that I ever saw.

It wasn't the greatest Pizza in the world but it was Ok-ish.

The Margerita pizza was round, the others were oblong cut into slabs, with Onion, Artichoke,Ham,etc as well as the Cheese and Tomato.

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