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MSC Opera Review Eastern Caribbean Feb. 26-March 5

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Well, here’s my cruise review, as promised!

 

 

If anybody’s been reading my posts, I made it clear I believe you catch more flies with honey, and I can’t say whether the honey was thicker from MSC Opera or from me … either way, my friends and I had a marvelous time! I even learned that honey over fruit salad is delish!

 

We four – Susan, Debra, Olivia and Benita, that is -- were in adjacent rooms, ocean view on Deck 9, and treated wonderfully. It took our room steward, I Wayan, all of half a day to figure the most important thing in our cabin was the ICE supply! But watch out for the hump in the floor near the stern in the corridor – it’ll make you look like a fool on a daily basis!

 

The best thing I can say is that this cruise was well worth the money. MSC Opera is new and beautiful and constantly being polished and shone … my evil twin took over and forced me to touch the brass stair rail every time I passed someone with a cloth!

 

Value? I bought a cup of coffee at the Atlanta airport on the way out that was $1.39; the wonderful cappuccinos from the Aroma Café were only $1.50. Nostro Azzurro, the Italian beer on Il Patio (the Deck 11 outdoor restaurant), was $3.20 and went wonderfully with the Magherita pizza at lunchtime. I couldn’t understand why Opera even NEEDED a hamburger/hotdog station on Il Patio.

 

The Internet, at $6 for the first 10 minutes and 60 cents a minute thereafter, was expensive but necessary for me. If you can afford to wait, research the Internet Cafes in the ports of call.

 

The friends we made were wonderful, even when we had to mime most of the conversation with newfound Austrian, Italian and German friends. Finding subjects in common was an interesting process; talking to so many international companions was a real treat and eye-opener. I’m from South Africa originally, and so many people had been to my hometown, Durban, that the subject was the ideal ice-breaker.

 

The best-kept secret? The stern decks, where nobody hangs out, where the wind is non-existent and deck chairs abundant. Just don’t hang out there from 9-11 p.m., because that’s when they hose down – or up – the decks and you get an unexpected cold shower.

 

The greatest treat? A glass of fresh orange juice at Il Piscine, the pool deck, served by Florin, who has to be the sweetest waiter on the Opera with the smile of an angel – he’s Romanian.

 

The worst part? Trying to find a deck chair on Il Piscine. People obviously were out at the pool at the crack of dawn, reserving chairs with a towel – for all day! Opera needs to find a better system so that the turnover is better. In Marietta, Georgia, we boot cars that park too long!

 

Another minus: Trying to find an elevator that took you everywhere you needed to go. Not all elevators go to all floors, so we had a fine time exploring the ship.

 

The official photos were extremely well done, but costly, of course – about $10 to $20 each. On the bright side, NOTHING was ever hawked; you simply knew stuff was available.

 

We closed the disco, Byblos, most nights; unfortunately, not too many people hung out there. We paid $3 for a Bailey’s and coffee at Byblos. And discovered that the mysterious dancer with the spiked platinum hair was the fantastic magician in Il Teatro at the next night’s show!

 

The dinners in L’Approdo were excellent every night, and the risottos were exceptional, as were the salads and the different breads served nightly. Entrees were always awesome, but -- people, you do not HAVE to eat it all. Really. Most nights I settled for three of the five courses and actually came off the ship weighing less than when I embarked. The wine selection was affordable, varied and enticing, and at a table for eight we took turns providing each night. The waiters were attentive; we started with Massimo at a table for six at the aft windows, and he even swathed Olivia in a cute pink tablecloth when she got cold! We moved to an interior table for eight to be with our new cruisecritic friends, and waiter Gianluca was great, too.

 

We four ate in the Caravelle just one night, at the captain’s table. It was the second formal night and the Baked Alaska parade was exciting; the dessert, wonderful, and the company great. The reviews of Caravelle haven’t been that great, which is why we opted for L’Approdo, but we had a great time; I guess it’s job security to ensure the captain’s table is well cared for! Lunch and breakfast in Caravelle were both excellent.

 

A tip: If you want enough time to make the shows, you may want to do the early sitting, because we were seated at 8:30, second sitting, and it was a close call making the shows most nights. But that was probably our fault; because we were having such a fine time conversing with what was definitely the most entertaining table in the restaurant. Imagine: a leisurely dinner from 8:30 to 10:45; it was wonderful. On the positive side, we didn’t have to rush back from ports of call.

 

Try to make high tea 4-5 p.m. at least once, the treats were divine; the music by the Paraguayan trio was soothing. They were great on Il Patio at lunchtime, too, and Olivia shared the stage.

 

Extracurricular activities: I lost at the geography trivia miserably; Ambassador Moffatt gave an interesting, if stilted, intellectual lecture on the future of Africa one afternoon in Caruso; the baseball greats on board were personable and accessible, and it was wonderful, thanks to our new friends BEPSF/Brian and Gail/Tuggers, who invited us to their balcony suite sailaway party, to be able to take tons of photos with the players and to socialize.

 

The small showers that some have complained about were not that much of a challenge, and bathroom supplies included soap, shampoo, tissues, shower caps and mending kits. Toilet paper dissolved in a heartbeat, but I suspect that has more to do with sewer maintenance than MSC being cheap.

 

I’m running out of adjectives. If I don’t say anything about the ports of call, forgive me; it’s because we were on board for the cruise, not the ports! But I’ll be happy to answer any questions about the ports. I didn’t take any of the MSC-arranged excursions, but there was always something interesting in port.

 

If I can make one final recommendation, it would be to be friendly, always – to the staff, to the crew, and to the other passengers. It’s entertaining, rewarding, it can be funny, and it made our cruise truly special.

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If I can make one final recommendation, it would be to be friendly, always – to the staff, to the crew, and to the other passengers. It’s entertaining, rewarding, it can be funny, and it made our cruise truly special.

 

Hi Benita,

 

You are SO right!!

I hope I find you and your friends at my table sometime!

 

How nice to read a fun, positive review by someone who has such a great attitude.

 

I always find it amazing, the number of people on board who insist on being whiny, grouchy, and chronic complainers.

On a cruise ship, each and every person working on that ship is there for ONE reason, to make your holiday as good as it can be. Very few people live their day-to-day lives with the level of comfort and service to be found on a cruise ship, even the "budget" ones.

So, enjoy every moment, and don't let any small problems (come on, we all know there are rarely any large problems on a cruise) get to you.

 

It's people like you and your friends who make cruising worthwhile! For me, a large part of the cruise experience is meeting new friends, and enjoying a lifestyle I don't (who does?) have at home.

 

Thank you for your wonderful review!

 

Kyle

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Thanks Benita for such a positive critique of the Opera. We are sailing on the 2nd April transatlantic cruise and I can"t wait. I too believe that one has to have a positive attitude and life generally is what you make it. Must be a Durban thing. I was also born there,now live in Vancouver. When is your next trip? Mary:)

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Benita - Thank you for a very entertaining read and the positive news!

So pleased that all 4 had a good experience.

 

Will be with Mary on 2nd and for certain now the days wll seem ever longer!

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Mary, the next trip is as soon as I can make it! The waiters Sylvester and Bapoo on Il Patio were from Mauritius, along with about 20 others, and loved the fact we'd been neighbors; one of the ship photographers was South African, and all the officers I spoke to had been to South Africa. E-mail me, we'll talk more!

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Mary, the next trip is as soon as I can make it! The waiters Sylvester and Bapoo on Il Patio were from Mauritius, along with about 20 others, and loved the fact we'd been neighbors; one of the ship photographers was South African, and all the officers I spoke to had been to South Africa. E-mail me, we'll talk more!

 

Benitad,

Nice to read your very welcom review,like the review of Rotterdam.

It is so important to see every silver lining.

A few years ago I was with the MSC Monterye,to Durban.

Starting in Genua.

The ship very old ,the food deepfrozen,But it was such a wonderfull voyage!

A lot of South African people aboard,coming from their stay in London.

Every authum the MSC makes this trip,via the Red Sea,Seichellen.

,Mauritius and Reunion,Madagaskar.

Once in my lifetime I am going as a repeater,but than to

Capetown.

Bye,greetings from Holland.

Eternity Cronestein

 

P.S. you can find me on the sterndecks (favorite)

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I'll post a link to my photos by tonight or tomorrow, en dan kan u geniet, as we say in South Africa.

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Ha Benita,

Ek is nooit gewees in jou land nie (so,.... that is difficult !!!:rolleyes: ).

But offcourse we hope to go there sometimes.

Groetjes (ook) uit Holland.:D

Henri.

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I have just read your review and looked at the fabulous pictures you took for the umteenth time! You have the attitude that lends itself to having a great time - a warm and sincere smile can cover any language barrier. I am taking the QVC cruise this coming January - don't think there will be many internationals there and am looking forward to it soooo much. I have read so many reviews they are a blur in my head but yours put all the negative ones in perspective.

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