MSC Opera Review
- A truly international experience
- Poolside line dancing is a hoot
- Dining rooms feature traditional seating
MSC Opera Overview
The 2,142-passenger MSC Opera is one of four medium-sized Mistral-class ships, dating from 2004 (the others are Armonia, Lirica and Sinfonia).
MSC Cruises spent more than $200 million on Opera and the rest of the Mistral class during a two-year refurbishment program in 2014–2015 that saw a nearly 80-foot-long section sandwiched into the middle of each ship. The "stretching" procedure added nearly 200 more cabins -- 94 of which have balconies. During the refurbishment, the line also took the chance to update the spa and childcare facilities, as well as to add an interactive water feature called the Spray Park to the top deck.
MSC Cruises will homeport MSC Opera in Havana, Cuba from the winter 2015-16 season -- the first mainstream cruise line to do so.
The line will operate 16 Caribbean cruises on the 2,120-passenger ship, including stops in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Mexico -- with two nights and two and a half days in the Cuban capital.
It will be joined in Cuba by a second ship in winter 2016.
MSC Opera Fellow PassengersIn the Caribbean, Opera's demographic is predominantly North American, with about 30 percent of passengers hailing from Europe. Expect the reverse in Europe. The cultural differences are fascinating and fun. You never know what response your "good morning" will get ... it might be a Texas "Howdy!" or a "Guten tag" or "Buenos Dias," "Buon Giorno" or "Bonjour." That's one of the things that make this ship special.
Ages range from families with young kids to seniors with walkers.
MSC Opera Dress CodeThere are two formal nights on a seven-night cruise; otherwise, dress during the day is casual and, at night, is country club casual.
MSC Opera GratuityMSC Cruises' oft-confusing tipping policy stipulates that gratuities are not necessary (though passengers are encouraged to leave additional amounts for exceptional service). In general, plan on leaving the industry average $10 per person, per day.
An automatic 10 percent gratuity is added to bar bills.