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MSC Opera Review

4.0 / 5.0
303 reviews
See all photos
Editor Rating
Very Good
Adam Coulter
U.K. Executive Editor

The 2,150-passenger MSC Opera is one of four medium-sized Lirica-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.

The result is a ship that looks and feels contemporary, despite its advanced years. MSC has really thought about what ship would fit best for this Cuba itinerary, and has gone to great lengths to give it a Cuban feel in terms of entertainment and cuisine, as well as some well thought out shore excursions.

Opera does have its limitations, however, not least the crush at peak hours at the buffet and the lack of dining options.

The ship has been homeporting in Havana, Cuba from the winter 2015-16 season, and stays two nights and two and a half days in the Cuban capital, which means you can get a real feel for the city, enjoying its nightspots and -- if you're feeling adventurous -- venturing out to discover other parts of Cuba during the day.

Opera also stops in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. Opera was joined by sister ship MSC Armonia in winter 2016.


Fun-filled ship with top-notch entertainment, great food and great kids' facilities


Limited dining options

Bottom Line

With two nights and two days in Havana, this is a real opportunity to discover the Cuban capital


Passengers: 2142
Crew: 800
Passenger to Crew: 2.68:1
Launched: 2004
Shore Excursions: 270

Fellow Passengers

Opera's demographic is predominantly European, mainly Italian, French and Spanish with a handful of Brits. The line does not operate the "People to People" program, which allows U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba, so there are no Americans onboard. The cultural differences are fascinating and fun; one thing they all have in common is they are there for a good time and the partying goes on till late. You also never know what response your "good morning" will get ... it might be a "Guten tag" or "Buenos Dias," "Buon Giorno" or "Bonjour." That's one of the things that make this ship special, and also means announcements in at least five different languages; sometimes more.

Ages range from families with young kids to seniors with walkers.

MSC Opera Dress Code

There are two formal nights on a seven-night cruise; otherwise, dress during the day is casual and, at night, is country club casual.

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More about MSC Opera

Where does MSC Opera sail from?

MSC Opera departs from Naples, Marseille, Palermo, Barcelona, Genoa, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bari, Rome, Civitavecchia, Bodrum, Piraeus, Piraeus, and Laviron

How much does it cost to go on MSC Opera?

Cruises on MSC Opera start from $99 per person.
MSC Opera Cruiser Reviews

Great Destinations

We just finished a 7-day Mediterranean cruise onboard MSC Opera. This was our sixth cruises overall (three on Princess and one on Carnival) and second on MSC since last December.Read More

10+ Cruises

Age 60s


In closing, MSC is always going to be our favorite preferred cruise line, but I am inclined to not recommend this ship. The ship itself isn't up to the MSC standard we have become accustomed to.Read More

6-10 Cruises

Age 60s

So much better than the reviews here

We have sailed with MSC before. The choices out of Dubai are limited so having booked this and having read the reviews I was honestly not expecting much.Read More

10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Average ship

In fairness to MSC we found the ship itself to be much better than many of the reviews on here.Read More

6-10 Cruises

Age 60s

MSC Cruises Fleet
MSC Lirica
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