MSC Opera Cruise Review by michaelborn: Decent time let down by the ship
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Decent time let down by the ship
Destination: Baltic Sea
Just returned from ten night cruise from Southampton taking in Holland and Norway.
First time with MSC and will be the last time with MSC.
Having cruised with other cruise lines I think by now I have gained a fair old idea of what these companies have to offer us and on the whole they normally give you a fantastic cruise experience from lovely prepared food to great on board entertainment, this however was not the case on board MSC Opera.
I realise that people have different tastes and to some degree different standards and especially if you are new to cruising you might not know what to expect with regards to food and entertainment etc...
First off the food: I know buffet food isn't exactly fine dining but the Opera's offering was abysmal in that the food was often poorly cooked and tasted very bland and choice was limited.
There was a grill station which served up burgers and hotdogs in small cardboard boxes in the style of a certain fast More food chain, this however is where the similarities end yes even Macdonalds was better, much better. There is also a Pizza counter as well serving 24 Hours a day, now bear in mind this in an Italian ship and it serves Pizza you would think 'match made in heaven' wouldn't you? well its not, yes they even managed to bugger up Pizza, unless you like the five for a quid that your local Iceland has on offer.
I know I'm making light of this but you really wouldn't believe that this was possible.
The food in the main dining restaurants were no better, the choice again was very limiting and when it was put in front of you it was such a disappointment as it was bland and tasteless. Out of the ten nights we dined there only on three occasions was the food okay as the rest of time it was dreadful.
This was such a pity as it is something you always look forward to on a cruise, i.e sitting with new people you have just met experiencing nice food. Thankfully the people were very nice so it didn't spoil it too much. I just hope that cruise newbies don't think that this kind of fayre is the industry standard as it clearly is not.
May I also point out that there is no signature restaurant on board so your stuck with what they have to offer.
You will always get people who say they loved the food and that anyone that doesn't must eat from fancy restaurants back home, this is ridiculous my point is compared to the competition MSC fell way short on this one. If others can provide nice fresh food why can't this company, honestly the food was rubbish.
The entertainment wasn't much better, normally the night time entertainment is often something to look forward to as most cruise lines give you high quality west end / Broadway style shows or musicals that would appeal to the majority of the passengers. Being made up of a selection of nationalities the evening shows catered more towards the Spanish or Italian guests with themed nights to represent their country.
Watching a ventriloquist say the same thing in about five or six languages kind of dies after the first ten minutes or so. I realise that all languages have to be catered for but wouldn't it be better to have shown musicals or dance shows so they could reach out to everyone?
I have never purposely sat out of the evening shows on board a cruise until this one as it was dreadful.
Regarding our destinations I cannot complain as these were our choice and on the whole they were very nice especially the Fjords, they were beautiful.
Price wise on board MSC are very expensive for drinks and other items. They do offer a drinks package which would benefit more than your casual drinker but only because the standard price of the drinks are ridiculous e.g. Cocktails work out £7.00 each, branded spirits with a mixer about £10.00/£11.00 so expensive even a can of diet Cola is almost £3.00
Service on board tends to be bit hit and miss. Just as you will come across a nice polite friendly member of staff you will come across a miserable old so and so that is about as charming as piles.
One thing to bear in mind is because MSC is an Italian cruise company it will or can be often filled with lots of people from other parts of Europe including Spain and Portugal and rather than for me to knock the people from these places it would be wise to consider this as my experience totally shocked me and the majority of British guests sailing on board.
You here of the typical stereotypes regarding how they tend to behave but up until this cruise I would have dismissed this as rubbish, it isn't! I have never come across such a rude, ignorant, ill mannered bunch of people anywhere so much so it became laughable at just how awful they were, whether you were waiting for a lift in which they would push in front of you, block the corridors so you couldn't get passed or even knock you as they barged passed you on the way to the buffet. I am by no means a snob
(down to earth Geordie that's me) but Jesus they were horrible, they didn't seem to have a volume button as well as regardless of what they were saying it was loud very loud.
This may seem a little like nit picking but judging by most peoples opinions it can make a difference to your cruise experience.
Worth noting if you are travelling with teens, unlike other cruise companies MSC appeared offer very little for them in way of activities that they will have to entertain themselves.
It may sound as if this cruise was a disaster, it wasn't by no means I did actually enjoy myself but that was down to the company I was in and the great people I met.
Would I go with MSC again? NO not in a million years.
To me this was a bit like alternative cruising (if that exists) in other word nothing like the cruise lines I have used before and I'm not on about five star luxury cruise companies either, my experience range from Disney, P&0 RCI and even Ocean Village
I only hope that anyone new to cruising doesn't think that this is typical of cruise lines as it is not and I wouldn't want anyone put off by them as there is a wealth of cruise lines out there ready to give you the holiday of a lifetime just not on board the MSC Opera!
I could go on but I have probable already depressed any reader enough by now. Less
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