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   Cruise Travel - Reader Reviews

Welcome to Your Favorites, where you have the opportunity to share your travel experiences with fellow Internet Travelers around the world.

Mediterranean Shipping Cruises

m/v MSC Opera

Your Rating:Four Stars
Reviewed by:Alan Stewart
# previous cruises: 4
Date of Trip: September 17, 2004
Itinerary: Mediterranean

This beautifully decorated ship, the twin sister of the Lirica, entered service in the Mediterranean in July 2004. At 58,600 gt she carries more passengers at 1750, but she never felt crowded even with a full complement.

With the combination of great food, service, and entertainment with the reasonable cost charged by MSC, I thought it was a real bargain.

Public Areas
All the public rooms have a real understated elegance, from the smoke-free showroom, Teatro Del Opera to the Aroma coffee bar on the mezzanine above reception connected by the elegant marble and brass staircase, from the quiet Soto Vento Pub to the busier Cotton Club and Piazza de Spagna lounges. The two main restaurants La Caravelle and L' Approdo were both smoke free, designed to be more intimate like your favourite Italian restaurant.

The Le Vele buffet on the pool deck had great views from it's large windows astern, and was situated close to the covered Bistro with a grill self serve one side and pizzeria the other, all a short walk to the double pools separated by the hot tubs.

It was possible to walk around the whole ship on the top two decks with a few stairs involved and a detour round the mini-golf.

Food and Service
Lunches and dinners in La Caravelle were excellent on the whole. Appetizers, soups, pasta and risotto courses, cheese courses, and fresh fruit were consistently very good. Most of the main courses especially the fish, veal and lamb were good, although an occasional dish would disappoint, but was willingly exchanged for another. Being a bit of a carnivore I never did taste any of the vegetarian dishes that were always available. Service was excellent, provided by our very funny waiter Nello and his assistants, and even funnier wine waiter Remus. The preselected wine and bottled water package at 100 euros was a good deal in our opinion.

Although our cabin was a little on the small side, the decor and use of mirrors helped. The storage area was more than adequate and the luggage could be stowed beneath the queen size bed, a first for us. A dressing table and chair made it a tight squeeze in one corner, with the mini bar fridge and TV in the other. A fresh fruit bowl was provided by our very efficient cabin steward each day.

The bathroom was a model of efficiency with plenty of shelf space and a hair dryer on the wall. The shower was a model of functional minimalist design.

All the shows we saw in the theatre style showroom were well staged and provided an excellent variety of entertainment including a nice Flamenco show in Palma. Befitting a multilingual ship most of the acts were very international in appeal with dancers, acrobats, illusionists etc, although any singing was in English.

Our ports of call were Naples, Palermo, Tunis, Palma, Barcelona and Marseille, all of which have previously been well covered by Pam M and others on MSC's itineraries. The excursions we took, provided by the ship, were all very well organized with good guides.

The Monte Carlo casino had a nice assortment of ways to lose your hard earned cash, including plenty of slots. Probably a better way to use your spare cash was to avail yourself of the spa services which I was informed were excellent.

Who Goes
Us English speaking passengers were a definite minority, with maybe a group of 200 British, US, and Canadians. The majority were Italian, with many German, Spanish , French and Japanese. There appeared to be a couple of conferences and groups aboard, including an international choral group.

Every body appeared to get along well on board as I never saw any signs of discourse. We were extremely lucky in our assigned table mates at our table for four, we had a ball all week with the extremely up-beat young couple from the UK on their first cruise, so much so, that it appeared that a couple at the next table were wishing they were with us.

The points I most enjoyed about this very enjoyable ship: The mixed age group of the passengers including many children (it must have been a mid term break in Europe) who were all very well behaved. It certainly wasn't the geriatric care-home crowd, although at 62 I'm getting there.

The whole atmosphere on board was casual, even the Gala formal nights while quite elegant, they were not stuffy or snooty.

We met many nice people who were very friendly from the UK, US, Germany and Italy.

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