I wish I had seen this site before I booked (I wouldnt have). Last year Royal Caribbean to Russia and Scandinavia - brilliant! Saw this one in the newspaper and liked the thought of going to Norway, bit dubious about Italian line, so asked ROL our agents if it would be as good told "yes they are about the same" - what a lie. I wanted a luxury cruise - I got a holiday camp and a very bad works canteen, and was expected to pay 14 Euros a day + 15% service charge for everything.
Food - largely inedible, ended up with grated carrot and cheese mostly. Used self service because prefer to - huge mistake - but paperwork said first sitting, card said 2nd!!! No fresh food available, or local produce, right in the middle of one of the largest fishing grounds going and ours was cheap frozen fish. Fruit only in the morning and very small selection. Juice only in the morning, yogurt only in the morning. Pasta and pizza in excess.menu never change and noticed same food repeated and things made up of left overs from the day or meal before, weird cold salad dishes - broccoli, we expected food like on the Royal Caribbean, not bad works canteen. Also restaurants closed regularly and no food available from last sitting till 11.30 when a few rolls were produced and handed out by a waiter (tiny rolls). Ended up dreaming of vegetables and fresh fruit (both of which were in very short supply)
Hotel - had stayed night before in the De Vere in Southampton - really nice, made what came next even worse
Embarkation - suprisingly good - very quick which cant say for Royal Caribbean last year - only thing that was better though
Children - grown up but would despair of the very Italian kids club, and hate to think how much drink would have cost for my boys + 15% on everything
Excursions - good,one brilliant at Flam - hotel in Voss food just like on Royal Caribbean, other cruise line passengers would probably not accept anything less - we on Opera were over the moon, fresh salmon (several dishes),potatoes (did not see one on Opera that wasnt fried), and hot cooked vegetables which did not appear on the Opera. Also mousse, jelly, cream and proper cakes, not nasty frozen ones as on the Opera.
Entertainment - dont find people changing red hats funny! Amauteurish, expect more when paying over £1100 each for a cruise.
Stateroom - ok, small, clean but no fun things like towel animals or choccys on the pillow.
Service - what service, 1 english tv channel.1 night no broadcast went to reception told satellite signal not strong when it is obviously a tape no action taken by staff. Got the 7 Euro service charge taken off - 15% ridiculous when most staff nearly chuck the stuff at you, got fed up with being pounced on every time I sat down by a waiter/waitress trying to sell drinks
Conclusion - Never again with MSC, I feel like I havent been on holiday, and the experience has overshadowed the lovely places we went to. Has put me off cruising again, but if I do it will be with the Americans or on a British line.
I was right to feel dubious about a very Italian line but was mis sold by my agents. It was like Butlins(circa 1963) on sea, but without the entertainment. Also sorry to go on but the shops, expensive,not relevent to the occasion and with no connection to the countries visited, and not exactly humming with cstomers in fact whole Opera experience comes under the heading CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!