Excitement as we see the ship docked in the harbour from our airplane,we get off the flight and make our own way to the ship 'MSC Opera should be an easy task for a fluent speaking Italian, so it was, but did it in English. Catch the 'autobus' to 'Piazza Roma' then take the 'people mover' to the 'porto' great!. We purchase 2 single tickets to Piazza Roma and find out that there are 2 different carriers ATN and ATC, ATC being the slower of the 2 and ATN being the express, ATN 5 euros and the ATC we learned later is the cheaper one. But 5 euros each is not bad, 25 minutes later we are in Piazza Roma and looking for the People Mover, it was literally 50 yards and just around the corner. Cost 1 euro and 3 minutes later we were at the gates of the port. We walked into the port and went to the reception tent that MSC had set up near the gate. We were picked up by bus and taken to the ship, easy peasy. Total cost 12 euros for both of us, a Taxi would have cost us 45 euros and that was a 7 seater to share with others. Profiteering if ever I saw it!
Check in, I'm not looking forward to at all, but no, it was a dream, nice and easy and slick. 'Tickets Please'...Credit card swiped, photo taken, passports checked, cards issued get your complimentary welcome drink of OJ and get on board we were done in 15 minutes. Had a good look at the outside of the ship...looks good I thought, that will be the Italian styling!
Obligatory boarding photo on the way..'smile please' beautiful. Through security and at last we are on board! first impression...well kept and very nice and clean..we read about the impeccable cleanliness prior to travelling, they were not wrong. Hmmm lots of mirrors everywhere. Off to the room...
Got into the lift, marveled at the diminishing reflections, there are lots of me and the wife in the lift overhead mirrors too! got off Deck 10...
Ah! here we are Starboard side..room 1092 that's a fair walk down the corridor, its not a problem, we dumped the luggage and left it to the handlers. After several of my futile attempts to get us into the room, my wife stepped in and after only one go, gets the door to work! 'ah! yes.. you have to offer it the bar code' she says cool as a cucumber..I go in after her, still muttering under my breath, stupid door!
WOW! the room is small, very clean, but small, bathroom is the same, packing them in like sardines came to mind!
Wife says 'we are only sleeping here...so its big enough', tested the bed for bounce..superb, good quality, nice and firm, really looking forward to some good sleeping, interestingly..another massive mirror on the wall opposite the bed...'mmmm interesting' I said! 'forget it' wife replied. I got the side next to the sliding door for the balcony, curtains were very nice and a blackout curtain coordinated with the decor, which was tastefully done, typical Italian styling again, I thought! I tested the sliding door and went out onto the balcony, the size was in keeping with the rest of the dimensions, but what a super view looking over the rooftops of Venice, I'm going to enjoy this I thought to myself! Does the TV work... switched it on..looked for my welcome screen...darn they don't do one...only way to keep track of your spends is to ask for a printout at reception every time you need it! Off to the restaurant..
We made our way to the restaurant and viewed the array of food (this is the measure of how good a cruise is for cruisers) We got some very negative reports from CC about the food having an Italian flavour about it. The reports were TOTAL RUBBISH. The food was excellent, yes there were 3 different types of pasta (2 normal and 1 specialty)..all hand made on board, but that was where the Italian theme ended, the rest of the food was a typical Mediterranean diet. Including cuisine for the Burger and chips brigade, with cheese and ketchup, naturally! (yes I tried one and yes it was nice, it had real meat in it!)
Free water, tea and coffee 24/7 in the open restaurant, but do not expect the same in the dining rooms they do charge for all drinks in them.
The staff were very attentive and helpful and seemingly very friendly, we just loved the fact that were truly from around the world they were very interesting. Do not ask them to get you a drink as they are not allowed to, unless you pay for it! Had my fill of food...back to the room...
We got back to the room, Oooh look the luggage is there already, we observed..another few futile attempts to get into the room...'my card is not working' I say to my wife, she takes it from me, spins it around and makes it work..'that's how you do it' she says! grrrr don't you just hate it when that happens? still muttering under my breath I deal with the baggage. My wife sets about unpacking the cases...'right' she explains, 'these top shelves and the top 4 drawers are filled with my stuff the bottom 2 drawers are yours' and then 'There's not enough hangers so I've stacked your shirts on top of each other so you will need to look under them to find the one you need, you have 3 hangers and I have the rest' (good job my 11 days of clothes and suits only merit 3 hangers and 2 drawers, I thought to myself)(3 Dress shirts, 4 short sleeved shirts, 7 T shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, 11 pairs of socks, 11 underpants, 1 swimming shorts,3 dickie bows, 2 ties. 3 belts, 2 braces, 1 dinner Jacket, 2 Pair of dress trews, pair of jeans and a wool cardigan! cuff links, watches and tie pins.Oh! and a pair of dress shoes.) 3 hangers and 2 drawers, my wife is a magician! I put cases into cases and stored under the bed..'et Wallah! no cases'
We will move onto the rest of the review when I have time to write it up!