MSC Opera Cruise Review by margmx
- Sail Date: March 2013
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
Embarcation was fast, as most people boarded in Genoa or Barcelona. Our cabin was nice-small, of course, but with the balcony and mirrors it seemed bigger.
We chose this cruise because of the wonderful ports. We first arrived in Barcelona and only had 5 hours there, which was enough for us because we'd already spent several days there. It would be too short for someone who's never been there. Then we had a sea day getting to Casablanca. Since there are so many languages spoken on board, the number of activities is limited. We took a lot of dance lessons given in 4 or 5 different langauges. The shows were quite good, although by the end they repeated the same performers and some of the same acts.
Our next port was an entire day in Casablanca. Because we didn't want to be on our own in Morocco, we took the full-day ship's tour to Casablanca and Rabat. We very much liked the Hussein II Mosque in Casablanca. We took a long time getting to Rabat and found it interesting, but maybe not worth the bus trip.
Our next port was Cadiz. We took the Seville on your own tour, which was just a bus to Seville. We only had 3 hours in Seville and spent 2 at the Real Alcazar, which was stupendous. We didn't have time to see the cathedral. We talked to people who took the guided tour to Seville, and we actually saw more than they did becuase they took 45 min. to eat. We walked through the Jewish Quarter, and they didn't see it at all. Seville is gorgeous, and we really want to return.We were much too rushed. The bus got us back to Cadiz and hour before we needed to be on the ship, so we walked around the ramparts of the city. Our next port was Lisbon, where we took a 6 person tour with We Hate Tourism Tours. We had a rainy cold day, but we thouroughly enjoyed this tour of Sintra and Belen. At 60 Euros a person, it was cheaper and better than the ship's tour. They fed us pastries in the morning and afternoon, and we had a picnic out of the back of the van with wine and pastries with meat inside. It was raining, so we ate inside the van, but we didn't waste our valuable time on a long meal. I can highly recommend this tour, called Pirates of the Cruise Ships.
Finally, we had 2 days at sea and were able to relax. We had one day of decent weather when we could enjoy our balcony. Our last port was Genoa, which we did on our own. We took the Hop On Hop Off bus to see the entire city. It leaves right from where the ship docks. Then we went to a couple of palaces on Via Garibaldi-lovely, and then the Royal Palace, which was very impressive and reminded us of Versailles.
We disembarked in Marseille and took a taxi to our hotel, Escale Oceania, which is right on the Vieux Port. We were also very happy with this hotel. We stayed in Marseille for 3 days. The day we arrived we took a public bus to Casis, a lovely fishing village 25 minutes from Marseille. The next two days we took tours with Provence Connection. We ended up being the only ones on both tours. It was wonderful. On the first day we took their Tour 1 to Arles, Pont du Gard, Avignon, and Les Baux. That was out best tour of the entire cruise.
The next day we took their Tour 4 to Le Louberon. We went to 5 little villages in the mountains. Our favorites were Rousillon and La Fountaine de Vaucluse.
I can highly recommend Provence Connection. They picked us up at our hotel and went out of their way to personalize the tours to our interest.