My wife and I have just returned from a super 9 day cruise on MSC Opera. We were a little wary before we went in view of adverse comments on this site. We needn't have worried.
Yes, we met the moaners, but these mainly seemed to be those who said "XXXXX Cruises had much better entertainment, cabins, food, prices, staff" etc. So why weren't they still travelling with XXXXX Cruises? Because they had beer money and champagne tastes that's why. We were attracted by what seemed a very sensible price for the cruise and so were they. Yes, the drinks on MSC Opera were expensive plus a 15% service charge, and there was a daily service charge, but when you look at the whole package (unless you want to drink all day and have an expensive bottle of wine every evening at Dinner) the package was good value. We'd paid £70 for parking at Southampton on a previous cruise with another line, but parking was included with MSC.
The ship was immaculately clean, the organisation excellent, food was fine (except most of the English expect 'English only'). Be a bit adventurous, you Brits, it can be fun! Entertainment was superb (of course they do it better on XXXXX Cruises). In case you think that we viewed the cruise with rose coloured glasses don't get excited about afternoon tea - you have to dunk tea-bags and the curled sandwiches were British Rail circa 1950 (although we were told by someone that the Elegant Tea was really good and in a different class.) The public announcements were muffled gobbledy-gook (and that's just the English version) delivered by the British Rail employee who had prepared the sandwiches.
Anyway, overall the MSC Opera was a really good experience and if XXXXX Cruises can provide the equivalent AT A SIMILAR OVERALL PRICE then I'll consider them as well.