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sailawaybellaluna

MSC Opera - Tell me what to expect!

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Posted (edited)

Hello fellow cruisers!

 

I just booked the MSC Opera for my family for next summer, June 2020. It'll  be my husband and I, our two children (they'll be 4 and 10) and my parents traveling. We love cruising - this will be my 26th but first on MSC. 🙂

 

That being said, we've never sailed on MSC and I'm not seeing very much recent information on the Opera!

 

Here's what I'm expecting so far: the cruise won't be geared towards Americans, numerous languages will be spoken, and the ship will be a little older and smaller. I'm okay with all of these things. Our kids don't go to the kids club, so I'm not worried about that.

 

But any recent feedback on the condition of the ship? How is the food? Restaurants? Live music? Shops? Room Service?

 

Will we be sorry that we booked this particular ship? 

 

I'm absolutely enamored by the itinerary - it's all new ports for us, and I love the schedule! Venice - Kotor - Sea day - Mykonos - Santorini - Cefalonia - Bari - Venice. The oceanview cabin, Fantastica experience was a great deal ($2300 for four of us), but I'm a little concerned at how tiny the cabin appears! Unfortunately no balcony cabins were available for four people. Only a suite, Aurea experience which was nearly double the cost...

 

I'd love any opinions or feedback on this ship! I have plenty of time to cancel and get my deposit back, but like I said, I'm pretty excited about the ports. Just want to know what to expect.

 

*Also curious how the dining works? We're slotted for early seating (6:30pm) - are we able to request a private table for the 6 of us? How do I go about doing so?*

 

Thanks so much!

 

Edited by sailawaybellaluna

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Hi there - I have sailed with many cruise lines and whilst Royal Caribbean is not my favourite, I would rather do Rhapsody of Seas sailing to and from Venice on 30th May 2020 for one week, than the MSC Opera.  I enjoy MSC  and have sailed on most of their ships and have other trips with MSC pending.  In particular,  I have sailed twice on the Opera, last sailing last October.  It was not our choice, our ship was changed from the Armonia to the Opera.  We we really couldn't wait to disembark!!

 

I can honestly say the only thing we/our child enjoyed was the kids club and the family disco!  However, I note that you don't use the kids club! 

 

In comparison to their other "newer" ships such as the Splendida, Meraviglia; for us there just not much to do on the ship.  Added to this I imagine the port days will be short and excursions expensive.  The itinerary looks good for MSC Opera but not that dissimilar to the Rhapsody.  

 

I can only suggest having a good look at the deck plans, if you haven't already done so, for a comparison.

 

In answer to your question about room service, as you have fantastica breakfast will be included.

 

 

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Panamapd ... I really have to inquire as to why you couldn't wait to disembark the Opera??

 

Please tell ... what was so bad?

 

How was the entertainment ... night life ?

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We also are new to MSC (NCL is our line of choice) but have sailed on the MSC Divina and recently on the MSC Opera.   For the price we paid we can say that we certainly got our monies worth but would we sail her again then the answer is sadly no.

 

The crew to a man/woman were fantastic and the itinerary, like yours the main reason to sail to such fantastic places at a really low cost.  It is a really old ship and it shows, the food in the main was passable but not really cruise food (just in our opinion).

 

The dining room staff will sort you a table with no problem at all.  We started with a request for a table for 2 then met some friends so changed to 4 then again to six and the staff could not have been more helpful.

Our Fantasia cabin was  small but then again we could have paid the extra to upgrade.  Our main gripe was the entertainment which was the worse we have come across and one of the joys of cruising for us.  We had bubble blowers, sand sculptures and other poor efforts in the theatre but admit the Dirty Dancing show was well worth the effort of going.  Most bars/areas had dance lessons (we would go to bed with 1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3 still in our heads lol.  

 

If your just interested in a ship to take you to fantastic places, with an amazing crew at a really low price then like us take it.   If you are looking at 4/5 star luxury cruising then I would look at another of MSC ships  

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22 hours ago, panamapd said:

Hi there - I have sailed with many cruise lines and whilst Royal Caribbean is not my favourite, I would rather do Rhapsody of Seas sailing to and from Venice on 30th May 2020 for one week, than the MSC Opera.  I enjoy MSC  and have sailed on most of their ships and have other trips with MSC pending.  In particular,  I have sailed twice on the Opera, last sailing last October.  It was not our choice, our ship was changed from the Armonia to the Opera.  We we really couldn't wait to disembark!!

 

I can honestly say the only thing we/our child enjoyed was the kids club and the family disco!  However, I note that you don't use the kids club! 

 

In comparison to their other "newer" ships such as the Splendida, Meraviglia; for us there just not much to do on the ship.  Added to this I imagine the port days will be short and excursions expensive.  The itinerary looks good for MSC Opera but not that dissimilar to the Rhapsody.  

 

I can only suggest having a good look at the deck plans, if you haven't already done so, for a comparison.

 

In answer to your question about room service, as you have fantastica breakfast will be included.

 

 

 

Thank you for chiming in! I'd love to hear more about why you couldn't wait to disembark! Was It that you felt bored because there wasn't a lot to do?

 

That itinerary for Rhapsody is a good one, but we sailed her last year out of Venice! Add to that, I can't travel in May because my children are still in school...

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16 hours ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

By "booked" do you mean you have paid a non-refundable deposit already? 

 I have paid a fully-refundable deposit...

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Hi all - As stated before we have sailed with other lines and also MSC.  We had originally booked the Armonia as we had sailed on her before she had been "stretched" and were looking forward to seeing what the changes were.  We were then told that the ship had switched to her sister ship - MSC Opera.  We had also been on the Opera before and was in no hurry to book her again and were really annoyed that it was take it or lose our £300 deposit.  So, naturally we had to take it!  We then thought at least it was the same ports/oceanview fantastica and hopefully good weather (it was't!).

 

We are easy people to please but the ambience/vibe/dated decor of the ship was lacking in comparison to all the other ships we had sailed on.  Entertainment differs for other people but for me it would involve - on a port day - :- coming back to the ship/take part in a dance class put on by the entertainment team/use the hot-tubs or spa/afternoon tea/quiz/have something to eat/see a show/see something impromptu/go to the theatre usually early and later if the show was good and coherent/see a fashion show/listen to a classical quartet/see a film/have a couple of cocktails/ice-skating show/aqua theatre show...... Naturally I wouldn't expect all of this with the MSC Opera as we had been on her before, but basically  for us it just felt like it was a vessel merely to travel from one port to the next!

 

We have done a similar itinerary to the one you are looking to do and had looked at how much time we would have in Santorini.  I think MSC offered 7am to 3pm so that would entail a huge rush to get our child up in time/breakfast, tender, get up to Oia, get the funicular down and try to have a bit of sightseeing there.  Added to this, with such an early departure we would not get to see the fabled sunset.  In the end we sailed on the NCL Jade.  It was a similar itinerary to MSC but with longer times in port and infinitely more choice of restaurants/bars/activities plus a view of the bridge!  

 

Obviously it is up to you what you choose.  Also I don't know you financial situation but for the price you quoted, unless it included flights from the USA/Canada(?) and was for the six of you; I personally wouldn't do it!! 

 

If you haven't done so already, have a look at some of the video footages and read other reviews.  Some people do love MSC Opera and will refute everything I have stated!!

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, sailawaybellaluna said:

 I have paid a fully-refundable deposit...

 

Since your deposit is fully refundable, I'll point out some possible pitfalls to be aware of. The two things that MSC gets 'dinged' on consistently are quality of food and quality of service. The customer is not always right. When there are no glitches, it's lovely. When problems arise they can be time consuming to solve.

 

Obviously, this is a nice itinerary and I do think sailing MSC in the Mediterranean might actually make the entire experience more authentic. What I would offer as caution is to pay attention to ship docking times in comparison to other cruise lines. When we were booking our 10 day out of Venice, MSC was cheaper than RCL, but we ended up going with RCL because MSC port times were shorter, more crowded, and they didn't always dock in the prime locations. 

 

Let's take Santorini for example. You really want to be the FIRST ship into port if possible. The donkeys and cable cars can get backed up for hours. In other words, if your the last ship into port, it could easily take you 2 hours to just get off the ship to the top of the hill. Also, check to see how many ships are in port with you for each itinerary you are comparing. Santorini with 2 ships is an entirely different experience than Santorini with 7. Same would be true for Mykonos as that is also a small isle. Kotor is another tender port, but I don't think Kotor can handle more than two ships comfortably.

 

When we were planning, I made a spreadsheet of arrival/departure times for every single ship sharing a port with us and made our decision based on that. We would have booked MSC because it was so much less expensive, but ended up selecting RCL based on port schedules. This is just something to consider in your planning.

 

With that said, I don't see any reason why your family can not have an amazing vacation on this itinerary, and like I stated above, sailing MSC in the Med might actually be a very nice change. 

 

Hope this is helpful, 

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On 7/17/2019 at 9:35 AM, panamapd said:

Hi all - As stated before we have sailed with other lines and also MSC.  We had originally booked the Armonia as we had sailed on her before she had been "stretched" and were looking forward to seeing what the changes were.  We were then told that the ship had switched to her sister ship - MSC Opera.  We had also been on the Opera before and was in no hurry to book her again and were really annoyed that it was take it or lose our £300 deposit.  So, naturally we had to take it!  We then thought at least it was the same ports/oceanview fantastica and hopefully good weather (it was't!).

 

We are easy people to please but the ambience/vibe/dated decor of the ship was lacking in comparison to all the other ships we had sailed on.  Entertainment differs for other people but for me it would involve - on a port day - :- coming back to the ship/take part in a dance class put on by the entertainment team/use the hot-tubs or spa/afternoon tea/quiz/have something to eat/see a show/see something impromptu/go to the theatre usually early and later if the show was good and coherent/see a fashion show/listen to a classical quartet/see a film/have a couple of cocktails/ice-skating show/aqua theatre show...... Naturally I wouldn't expect all of this with the MSC Opera as we had been on her before, but basically  for us it just felt like it was a vessel merely to travel from one port to the next!

 

We have done a similar itinerary to the one you are looking to do and had looked at how much time we would have in Santorini.  I think MSC offered 7am to 3pm so that would entail a huge rush to get our child up in time/breakfast, tender, get up to Oia, get the funicular down and try to have a bit of sightseeing there.  Added to this, with such an early departure we would not get to see the fabled sunset.  In the end we sailed on the NCL Jade.  It was a similar itinerary to MSC but with longer times in port and infinitely more choice of restaurants/bars/activities plus a view of the bridge!  

 

Obviously it is up to you what you choose.  Also I don't know you financial situation but for the price you quoted, unless it included flights from the USA/Canada(?) and was for the six of you; I personally wouldn't do it!! 

 

If you haven't done so already, have a look at some of the video footages and read other reviews.  Some people do love MSC Opera and will refute everything I have stated!!

 

 

 

Thank you for your thoughtful response and expanding why you didn't enjoy the Opera! Interesting that you were originally meant to take the Armonia. That was our original plan for sailing to Cuba in April, but that's been canceled thanks to the president...

 

Honestly, I can see from the videos and reviews that the ship is quite dated! My primary concern honestly is the size of the cabin - it appears absolutely tiny, especially for my family of 4 who is more used to sailing in a balcony cabin!

 

We don't really partake in entertainment on board - usually just the casino to play the slots for an hour or so and we always enjoy eating in the main dining room. But that's good to note as my parents usually do like to go to the shows. 

 

As far as costs go, no the cost does NOT include airfare for the six of us. Our home airport is LA (arguably the cheapest in the US outside of JFK to fly from internationally), and flights alone will be between $700 - $1100/each for the peak of summer...

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17 hours ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

Since your deposit is fully refundable, I'll point out some possible pitfalls to be aware of. The two things that MSC gets 'dinged' on consistently are quality of food and quality of service. The customer is not always right. When there are no glitches, it's lovely. When problems arise they can be time consuming to solve.

 

Obviously, this is a nice itinerary and I do think sailing MSC in the Mediterranean might actually make the entire experience more authentic. What I would offer as caution is to pay attention to ship docking times in comparison to other cruise lines. When we were booking our 10 day out of Venice, MSC was cheaper than RCL, but we ended up going with RCL because MSC port times were shorter, more crowded, and they didn't always dock in the prime locations. 

 

Let's take Santorini for example. You really want to be the FIRST ship into port if possible. The donkeys and cable cars can get backed up for hours. In other words, if your the last ship into port, it could easily take you 2 hours to just get off the ship to the top of the hill. Also, check to see how many ships are in port with you for each itinerary you are comparing. Santorini with 2 ships is an entirely different experience than Santorini with 7. Same would be true for Mykonos as that is also a small isle. Kotor is another tender port, but I don't think Kotor can handle more than two ships comfortably.

 

When we were planning, I made a spreadsheet of arrival/departure times for every single ship sharing a port with us and made our decision based on that. We would have booked MSC because it was so much less expensive, but ended up selecting RCL based on port schedules. This is just something to consider in your planning.

 

With that said, I don't see any reason why your family can not have an amazing vacation on this itinerary, and like I stated above, sailing MSC in the Med might actually be a very nice change. 

 

Hope this is helpful, 

 

Thank you for your helpful response! I appreciate it. Here are the port times:

 

Kotor: 2pm - 8pm  I've never been here so I'm not sure how a late arrival time will impact us? 

 

Mykonos: 9am - 2am the following day. Honestly, this was a big hook for me - I loved the idea of staying partially overnight.

 

Santorini: 8am - 3pm. Not as much time as I'd like. That being said, we usually get back onboard around 4pm to shower, and get everyone ready for dinner, but this means all aboard will probably be 2 - 2:30pm. A short day for sure. We've been wanting to rent a house in the Greek Islands for a future family vacation and couldn't decide which island we preferred, so we kind of looked at this cruise as an opportunity to get a glimpse of the differing ones. Unfortunately, this day is quite short and we won't enjoy the sunset or dinner there...

 

Cefalonia: 9am - 4pm

 

Bari: 7am - 1pm

 

The other cruise I'm considering is the MSC Orchestra and for $400 more, my family could get a balcony cabin, which is definitely what we prefer. The itinerary is:

 

Venice

Bari

Katakolon

Mykonos

Piraeus

Sarande

Dubrovnik

Venice

 

It's also a fantastic itinerary, but we've been to Greece twice the past three years, hitting both Katakolon and spending an extended period of time pre-cruise in Athens as well. We've also done Dubrovnik. However, I'd love the opportunity to visit Albania and Bari...

 

Would switching from the Opera to the Orchestra be worth the balcony cabin while at the same time forfeiting several new ports for our family? This is what I'm trying to weigh at the moment...

 

Thanks for your input!

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