My next disappointment, unless you cruise with the express intention of loosing weight, was the food. Actually, it was an enormous disappointment. Overall, the food was bland and the portions miniscule. For example, one evening I ordered Chicken Cacciatore. What I got was a baked chicken thigh - no sauce, no flavor - just a baked thigh on a plate. To add insult, the thigh had to have been purchased from a preserve for pygmy chickens. How about the Duck a l'Orange? What I received was a slice of duck skin, but this time with sauce. The Risotto was a pile of starch - being served at every multiple course dinner. Deciding to try the top deck buffet as a means of avoiding the main dining room for breakfast and lunch, I was again disappointed to find similar conditions. The breakfast juices were nothing more than highly sugared powdered drinks. To label them as juice is outright fabrication. The toast could have doubled as roofing tile. Any meats were dry and typically tough as an old buffalo. The lettuce for salads was always deeply submerged in water. The salad dressing was watery and had no flavor. I will stop with the culinary disappointments list to keep this critique from becoming voluminous. Suffice to say I made it a point to find a snack while ashore especially enjoying the tours which crossed meal times without food being provided by the ship.
After numerous days of being held prisoner, my last experience aboard was not surprising. According to the ship's bulletin, the breakfast buffet was to start at 6:00 am on the day of disembarkation. Arriving in the hallway to the buffet at approximately 6:15 am, my ears were greeted with loud and very angry voices. A ship's officer was preventing passengers from entering the buffet as, according to him, it was not to open until 6:30 am. Ultimately, the crowd surged past him into the buffet. When I finally turned the corner and entered the buffet - I had absolutely no desire to impede the progress of the crowd which had formed behind me - there stood the same officer with his fists and eyes raised to the ceiling sobbing, "It's not my fault." One would rightly conclude it was highly fortunate that we never encountered a true emergency while at sea. Although I do wonder why anyone was in a hurry to get anything other than some coffee and perhaps some yogurt - the yogurt was terrible even though I digress. I have to suspect that whoever was responsible for buying the ship's food loved cheap without giving any regard to quality.
Overall, I would recommend a Northern European/Baltic cruise to anyone interested in experiencing the ports-of- call offered on this cruise. It would be wonderful experience, just do not do it aboard the MSC Opera, otherwise your experience will be tarnished. There are simply too many other ships and cruise lines available