Jump to content
wardmav1

Opera 3/19 Review

Recommended Posts

MSC Opera Review

March 19 – 26, 2005

 

My husband and I booked this cruise after reading many reviews and searching for a vacation that wouldn’t break the bank. Our prior cruises were aboard Royal Caribbean twice and Princess once. This was a great vacation. First, we weren’t working, didn’t have to cook, clean or make the bed. Second, we were together.

 

We had a great time! Below are some highlights.

 

Ram: A category all to himself. Ram was one of the waiters in Le Vele (the buffet restaurant). He found us on the first day, showed us to a table and assured us that if we sat in his section each day he would give us the best service possible. That he did. He spotted us when we came in, got our drinks and reserved a table for us before we were even through the line. Ram seemed to have a rather large following, as his section was always full, and he had a good rapport with many passengers. He took the time to get to know us and even noticed when we missed breakfast or when I wasn’t feeling well. Ram was top notch! I recommend looking for him on the first day and sitting in his section the entire cruise.

 

Dining: The food was about as good as any other cruise line; you can’t expect “superb” when a kitchen has to cook for so many people. Our waiter wasn’t overly friendly, but adequate. The assistant waiter appeared to do the brunt of the work load, yet always had a smile and was eager to make our dining experience enjoyable (more sauce, an extra dessert…). Our wine steward also took care of our water glasses. He was pleasant and didn’t mind stopping to talk to us, both in the dining room and in the various lounges. My husband enjoyed the pasta course, which could have been an entire meal in normal circumstances. The desserts were delicious, especially the ones that the Maitre D’ cooked at his station in the dining room.

 

Entertainment: The nightly shows were the best that we have experienced onboard. The juggler was talented and funny. The magician and his wife (I think she is his wife) were enjoyable. The variety shows kept your interest. It was also nice to see the entertainers walking around the ship. In addition, it was nice to see the Captain around the ship. He could be found in some of the lounges and even in the buffet dining room. We got to meet him at the Captain’s cocktail party, where he took the time to talk to us for a minute. That was really nice, considering we look younger than we are and sometimes are not taken seriously.

 

Spa: My husband got the Balinese massage treatment. All week he was going back and forth between getting it and not getting it. Finally, on the last port day, the spa discounted all massages by 25% (the biggest discount) swaying him to go ahead and get it. He said it was magnificent.

 

Room: Sufficient. There is plenty of storage and enough room for two. The bathroom was equally sufficient, minus the shower which was tiny.

 

Tipping: I really liked that tips weren’t forced upon us. In fact, being able to tip at my discretion, made me want to tip the people that I interacted with daily more generously.

 

Pool: The pool lounge chairs were so comfortable and it was refreshing to have the flip top to shade your eyes from the sun, making reading so much more enjoyable without the sun coming in over your sun glasses. I would have loved to have smuggled a couple off for our house. If anyone knows where to purchase them, let me know! The animation team was always at the pool, which was entertaining, but they were ALWAYS at the pool. (If you know what I mean)

 

Ports/Roatan: This was the only island that we booked an excursion. We went horseback riding, which we booked through http://www.BarrioDorcasRanch.com. This was so much fun. After we were finished with the ride we arranged to stop at Fosters and enjoy the beach for a while. The other ports were Key West, Cozumel and Grand Cayman. It was nice not to have a trip jam packed with excursions. We leisurely walked around the shops and the areas near the pier.

 

Other: It was nice to be able to buy a drink and not have to worry about having to get a second job when you got home in order to pay the bar tab. Drinks were extremely affordable and there weren’t a lot of shops luring you to the register to spend money, which helped keep the final bill lower than a cruise aboard a different line. The casino was quiet as well, which was good because it didn’t call you in. We found all of the staff to be friendly. There were lots of “hello’s” and warm smiles.

 

While this was a great trip and we wouldn’t mind sailing with MSC again (as long as the price stays low), there were a couple of… I don’t want to say negatives because they didn’t affect our overall cruise experience, rather minor inconveniences.

 

Room: We were below the Il Patio, pizza side. This is where they held the special lunch buffet and midnight buffet several nights. Let’s just say they have to set up and clean up several times a day, dragging tables across the floor. Not a big enough annoyance to make us request a room change, instead it became a joke for us. However, if you are a light sleeper you might want to make sure that you are not directly under the Il Patio.

 

Dining: There wasn’t that much of a selection for people on the South Beach diet. Granted, I knew that I would splurge and eat desserts and a couple of pieces of pizza; however, there wasn’t a huge assortment of vegetables on the buffet or at dinner. The salad lettuce and toppings weren’t that appealing either. You could get an omlette for breakfast at the grill, but it was cooked on the grill, and the insides weren’t warmed because the eggs cooked too quickly on the hot grill. This complaint could be due to the fact that there were so many other things that I don’t eat at home that were just calling my name making the healthier choices pale in comparison. :)

 

Itinerary: Our arrival and departure times from Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Roatan were not the same as they originally scheduled. Like I said, nothing that would ruin our vacation. In fact, we enjoyed being in Cozumel at night.

 

This was by far our most relaxing vacation. We went into the cruise with the mindset that we were going to relax, not plan a lot of things and enjoy having time off to spend with each other. That is exactly what we did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the review, I am considering MSC for next March. One of my concerns was food selection for people of the South beach Diet. I don't worry about my diet too much while on vacation but I do try to avoid alot of extra carbs where feasible. Seems like all that Pasta would be a real temptation. How were the entrees? did they have SB friendly selections? How were the desserts?

 

Where there very many kids on board? We travel with our 2 children 5 & 7 and want to make sure they will have fun as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We don't have any children and we didn't see many kids on board either. We were surprised by this because it WAS Spring Break. We did see the kids club with the MSC staff a couple of times eating pizza, but other than that we didn't see many children in your age frame.

 

As for SB...there were usually one or two sugar free desserts at the lunch buffet and at dinner, however, they were not "enriched flour" free. The entree's always had a good meat choice, such as fish, beef, veal or lamb (the fishes were always delicious) but there was mostly meat on the plate. The vegetable choices were always potatoes and several times carrots. The vegetables were definitely lacking, including the salad. The lettuces were wilted and not many toppings. The breakfast quiches always had a thin crust. There wasn't any vegetable juice in the buffet dining room for breakfast and it wasn't one of the options listed on the dining room breakfast menu. I indulged in some of the things that are definite no-no's, but avoided the pasta course and ate only one or two rolls. I did eat dessert, the cold soups, a couple of slices of pizza and french fries on the last day. I only gained 2 pounds-which I have easily taken off by doing a phase "1.5" since we have been home. Hope this helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, we did a Carnival Cruise and they were very low carb friendly and I still gained 5 pds!!! But I really didn't worry too much about what I was eating. I did eat salad and always ordered extra vegetables (usually brocolli) with dinner.

 

I do enjoy eating desserts while I am on vacation. Where the normal desserts very good, i didn't think the ones on Carnival were very good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They had about 3 good normal desserts the whole week. Cherries jubilee, baked Alaska, and Banannas flambe. Besides that the desserts were not that good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The cheesecake was the best ever. :D Although, not very carb smart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read on an another review that the Tiramsu was to die for!!! Did you try it? This is my most favorite dessert and I try it where ever we go. There are a couple of great Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas that make an awesome Tiramsu as well as the Italian Pavillion in Walt Diseny World. I would love to try Tiramsu on an Italian Cruise. Carnival's version was not very good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was the first cruise we have taken. All I have to say is that if this is representational of the cruising experience we are sold. Since I have nothing to compare it to my observations are follows:

 

 

Boat-impeccable clean. This was a concern of mine given the recent outbreaks of illness on there crafts. The boat was so stable that you never knew you were moving.

 

 

Staff – Transparent! I have read other reviews here and feel that they misunderstand the roll of service personnel. To make sure what you ask for is attended to expeditiously and this is exactly what the staff did. From room service to waiter, bar maid to room maid, they were courteous and efficient. Kudos to Nicole our house keeper.

 

 

Food – Fine. Actually I felt the simpler meals were better then all the flambé and thermador. I lived in Italy and for the most part the food is simple wholesome and healthy as it was on the boat.

 

 

Ports. All were samey samey. Except Roatan which I will visit again and spend a week. This place is a pearl and we should have spent more time there.

 

 

Improvements – Less noise on the pool deck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nestor01,

 

 

I just cruised the Opera 3/19-3/26 and I completely agree with everything you said. The highlight for me was the service personnel. And yes, too noisy at the pool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My one experience:mad: with MSC was in 2002-an 11 day Caribbean cruise on the Melody, an out of date, well worn ship with substandard facilities (the gym was a closet sized room with 2 pieces of equipment). The food was marginal at best and the public service announcements were in 5 languages:eek: , a continuing annoyance,:) HOWEVER, for the price, the cruise ininerary was spectactular and totally enjoyable. We are Caribean fans and would gladly give a try with the newer MSC ships, if the prices were competitive with the online prices I have obtained for deals on other cruise lines. Unfortunately they are not comparable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'v gota agree about Ram. He was excellent. He would fold napkins into boats and vests and stuff for the kids even if they had him do it 5 times a meal.

Did you ever notice the other servers in the buffet watch what he was doing as if they were trying to learn?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Explore the Night. Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win win a free cruise for two with Azamara Club Cruises!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Community Contests
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×