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Review: MSC Opera

Cruise - Ocean Cruise

Day Visit to MSC Opera

  • By SilverTraveller Alan-Fairfax

    83 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • Jul 2012
  • Inside
  • Special occasion
  • Solo

141 people found this review helpful

As I stood in the departure lounge of Southampton’s Mayflower Terminal the rain was pouring down making everything look very dismal. That is, with the exception of the ship we were about to board that stood out as a light in the gloom. I was looking at the white hull and superstructure of the MSC Opera. MSC Opera is home based in Southampton for the summer season offering cruises of 7 to 12 nights duration around Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Built in France at a cost of $266 Million Opera entered service in May 2004. At 830 ft. long, 94 ft. wide and weighing in at a little under 60,000 tonnes this ship by modern standards fits into the medium size of cruise liner. Carrying a maximum of 2,200 guests attended by just over 700 crew this gives a reasonable guest/crew ratio.

Boarding was swift and efficient and after passing through security we entered the ship on deck 6. The first thing you notice is how light and airy the ship is, decorated in light pastel shades with contrasting carpets and drapes. These are enhanced by shining brass and sparkling mirrors.

First stop was L’Approdo Restaurant. This is one of the main dining rooms but is primarily for passengers occupying suite accommodation. All passengers can dine here but if not occupying suite accommodation reservations are required. The area looked delightful, dining chairs in light wood contrasted with mauve seats and backs which in turn contrast with white tablecloths. The whole room looked a perfect place to sit and enjoy a meal at leisure.

Next was La Cabala Piano Bar. A small bar with a highly polished grand piano where you can sit and while away the time listening to a background of piano music.

Moving on brings you to the Monte Carlo Casino. The first thing I noticed as did the majority of people in my group was the smell of tobacco smoke. This is one of the areas on the ship that allows smoking and which some may find off putting but others a blessing, being able to smoke without having to go out on deck during inclement weather. Smoking is also allowed in one of the other bars.

The Cotton Club is another entertainment venue which is set up for a regular group to play. The seating is set up as settees and semi arm chairs with a small dance floor for those feeling energetic.

The main entertainment theatre is the “Teatro dell’Opera”. Colour coded with blue seats and a dark pink carpet the colour scheme works very well. Situated at the forward end of the ship it has tiered seating with room for 713 guests. Here guests will see the main production shows and spectaculars. The sight lines are good so a good view should be possible from all seats.

The Caruso Lounge on deck 7 is a particularly nice entertainment venue to be. With large picture windows, comfortable arm chairs and settees this is the place to spend an evening with those new made friends and enjoy a drink and chat. This venue also hosts bands and cabarets.

As already mentioned the weather was horrendous with high winds and pouring rain which was a great pity as I wanted to explore the open decks more, especially the pool area which is so important to many people when at sea for a day or several days. There are 2 pools both of which are a good size and deserve the title of swimming pools and are separated by 2 whirl pools. Lots of sun bathing space with numerous sun loungers which due to the weather were unwanted. We were assured that the reservation of sun beds is not allowed and will be dealt with by the crew. At one end are tables and chairs so that you could bring food from the buffet and eat in the sun.

On this same deck is the light and spacious La Vele Buffet Restaurant with a very good selection of meat, fish, pasta and vegetarian dishes with salads to accompany. We had coffee here and found the seating very comfortable. So easy to come from the sun bathing area if you feel like a break for a coffee or light meal.

The cabins on board vary in size from 140 sq. ft. to over 300 sq. ft. All are well appointed with satellite/interactive television, radio, mini bar, safe and that all important hair dryer. Starting with inside cabins and progressing through outside view, balcony and suites all were in line with what you would expect from a modern cruise ship.

We had lunch in the La Carravella Restaurant. Dark wood chairs contrasted with beige seats and back panels. Gold drapes at the large picture windows complimented by blue and gold carpeting this really did have a touch of elegance. Would the food be as good as the décor? On most ships visits you have a choice of usually 3 different options in each category but this was different. The menu given was the normal lunch time menu and the selection was vast with up to 7 courses had you been so inclined and that did not include coffee. I started with Mixed Seafood, followed by a Fish and Shell Fish soup, Linguine sautéed with Clams, Roasted Scorpion-fish fillet with Saffron rice and sautéed snow peas, and Apricot tart to finish. It was fabulous and all washed down with several glasses of a light fruity Chardonnay. After this it was coffee in the adjourning lounge. On a cruise this restaurant would operate in the evenings on the normal 2 seating’s of 6pm and 8.30pm.

There are many areas that I have not mentioned and did not visit due to the lack of time available. There are numerous lounges and bars, spa treatment rooms, a gymnasium and many more.

This is a ship that with its white hull and superstructure topped by the dark blue MSC funnel looks what it is, a modern well designed cruise ship. The majority of people on board, about 60% will be Italian, the other 40% consisting of French, Spanish, English and Scandinavian. The cabins are similar size to many other cruise ships as are the alternative entertainment lounges. What struck me was the size of the pool deck and the 2 swimming pools. The lunchtime menu was vast and a credit to the cruise line. This is a ship that will suit families and adult couples. I certainly enjoyed my day on board but the time went too fast not allowing me to see many of the venues. With one of the newest fleets afloat there is something for everyone who is looking for a good cruise at a realistic price.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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