We departed Venice on Sep 27 and returned to Venice on Oct 8, visiting Bari,Pireaus,Yalta, Odessa, Istanbul,Katakalon,and Dubrovnik enroute. Port visits were too short (4 to 6 hours) to really enjoy them. Excursions were generally good except in Odessa.
Food in the dining room was generally average although the pastas were outstanding. Dining room policies/service was awful. First of all, they do not serve coffee in the dining room at lunch or dinner, nor will they serve water unless it is purchased from the bar. The waiters are overworked, undertrained and unsupervised. There are no wine stewards, so the waiters spend the first 45 minutes of the meal period taking and serving drink orders. Our waiter served seven tables with 36 passengers. His assistant waiter was so untrained she had never opened a bottle of wine before, and had to ask a passenger how to do it.
We were never served a first course appetizer sooner than 45 minutes after sitting down, and the entire meal service usually took two hours. We were in the early seating for dinner ( 6 p.m.) and the maitre'd would try to rush us out starting at 7:45 so the dining room could be reset for the 8:30 sitting, but in no case had we been served dessert by 7:45, and in one case we hadn't even been served the main course yet.
Food in the Deck 11 cafeteria was just plain terrible. It was so bad relatively few passengers chose to eat there, unlike most other cruise ships which have crowded cafeterias. It almost seemed as though there had been a conscious decision to force people to use the dining rooms by having such poor selection and quality in the cafeteria.
Entertainment was poor compared to Royal Caribbean/Princess/Carnival standards but the OPERA was a fairly small ship.
Embarkation procedure was better than usual but debarkation was slow. We had to be out of our cabin by 7 a.m. but couldn't get off the ship 'til after 10 a.m. Procedures for excursions were good.