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Opera Jan29-Feb05

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I was on the Jan 29-Feb 5 cruise of MSC Opera to San Juan, St Thomas, St Croix, and Nassau.

This was my 21st cruise. My past most favoured lines were Home Lines and HAL when they were still Dutch. My theory re crusising is that you are only in your stateroom for sleeping and changing clothes so I always go for the cheapest inside I can get.

I went for a package deal from Encore Tours ( a Canadian Co.) on a fly cruise package from Toronto Canada. Fare was discounted and priced Canadian $ at par. Flight was regular Air Canada Toronto Fort Lauderdale return. Cabin was Cat.3 inside on deck 8.

Embarkation--best I have ever had score 100%

Ship elegant and gleaming clean for entire voyage--score 100%

Diner 1st night usually not so good--excellent best ever for a 1st night--score 100%

Dining room L'Approdo deck 6 table 30--waiter and busboy--service excellent score 100%

Stateroom--small, twin bed elegantly decorated lots of storage space great uses of mirrors, safe, stewardess excellent score 100%.

Bathroom excellent but for shower stall tiny unusual taps score 40%

Took Breakfast and lunch in Le Vele cafefetria deck 11. Breakfast complete assortment for both European style and American style breakfasts. Contrary to previous posts scrambled and hard boiled eggs and toast were available. Outstanding coffee. Excellent service. Score 100%

Lunch good selection of hot and cold dishes, deserts, salads, breads etc good service. Score 100%.

Diners in dining room, 1st sitting as requested. Appetizers great variety excellent, Soups, including always one cold one, outstanding, salads good, pastas excellent, entrees excellent, deserts good variety and generally very good, bread/rolls good but almost always the same.

Entertainment-floor show every night good but not as outstanding as Home or Hal. Lack of 1st run movies. New concept, ( hard to score) in the very energetic Annimation Team complaints that there were too much of them and that they were too loud. Some people would have liked a little peace and quiet at the pools for even a short time.

Cruise Director--weakest link in the whole cruise, current one not suitable for the N. American market if MSC wants to succeed in this market he must be replaced with someone who has, at least some knowledge of the ports of call. Score minus90%

Score excursions-very overpriced and badly organized. Score minus90%

Ports of Call--San Juan 7pm -2am??? score minus90

St. Thomas 7am- 5pm--ship docked not in regular cruise port but the old naval base. No instructions from cruise staff as to how to get to town (it turned out to be only a $3.50 pp. taxi cab ride). No briefings on ports by C.D. prior to arrival. Score 75%. St Croix--only cruise ship going there has to dock in Fredersted ( do to depyh of water) 14miles from the old Danish capital Christenstad Time in port 7am-2pm. Score 40%. Nassau 12 noon 7pm best port not enough time Score 75%

Ship's best cruising speed appears to be only 21-22 knots which I suspect is not enough for this itinerary hence the shorter time in port

Shops--unable to buy anything with ships name on it--no ball caps, T or golf shirts coffee mugs etc. Liquor and tobacco shops adequate, jewellery shop too high end for this market. Clothing shop too high priced and too Italian for this market. After the Cruise Director the weakest link in the operation score -40%.

A Roman Catholic Chaplain is carried on board attendance at Sunday Mass was 400- 500 and daily Mass 40-50 this is definetly a plus to the operation score 100%

Passenger mix 50% U.S. balance made up of Brits, Germans, Italians and Canadians. Age range balanced across the ages. Fort Canadians who frequently feel overwhelmed by Yanks on the cruise ships this mix is a plus for us.

Ships decor elegant Italian and at 58,000 tons not so large that you get lost and people you meet you can encounter again.

Disembarcation--best I have experienced--score 100%

It would compare to the 2 cruises I had on Rotterdam V before the Carnival ownership.

Would I recommend her to my friends yes. Would I go with her and MSC again yes. Overall great value for the money spent.


Posts: 41 | From: Kingston,ON,Canada | Registered: Jan 2000 | IP: Logged

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Thanks for the review and the ports o' call info, Mikie ... this is our itinerary on Feb. 26. What did you find to do at the ports?

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Thanks for the info - this will be very helpful!



Disembarcation: Are folks allowed to remain in their staterooms until their group is called?

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Mys strong suggestion is that you do your own thing. San Juan is difficult because of the time of day and shortness of the stay. I would engage ( with a small group if possible) for a tour of old San Juan and the luxury hotel district. These are well lit up and you can see things. In the other ports there are lots of Taxis and mini vans that you can get good deals on just outside the dock security perimeters again you can do better if you can get a small group together.

In St. Thomas it is best to take a taxi at $3.50 pp to the main street; there you can get call kinds of deals for 2 hour island tours for $15.00pp--competition here (away from the dock) is fierce.

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No you must vacate staterooms by 07:30. Based on return flight times you are assigned colour coded departure cards and a specific lounge to wait in until your colour is called. It works well.

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