So there it was - Monday, the 26th - my date for boarding the MSC Opera. We travelled to Southampton Central by train, and got a taxi to ABP Southampton, where we found a massive queue to get on the ship. The lines weren't very organised (I couldn't really find where to join on), but this was not a fault with MSC and rather with Associated British Ports, so I am not taking points off for this.
When we got on, we got a bite at the indoor buffet (there was one outside, too, but it was a bit of a merky day in Southampton, thus making it more advisable to use the indoor buffet). The food was of higher quality than RCCL's offerings and there was a nice variety of sauces. In addition, the decor of the room felt cosy, and it was a well thought-out dining area. Lots of other areas felt very good visually, as well, including the coffee shop.
Entertainment was a bit deadbeat, with a few musical acts and little else. There was little variety in the music. I saw a country act in the activity agenda, but this was at the Sottovento Pub, a smoking area during the evening. I'm not too keen on people smoking in my vicinity, so we didn't go. The arcade had a few games that I saw interest in, but one of them I wanted to play, Dragon Ball Z, was broken. Ouch.
The decor was really nice, but the bed was a bit uncomfortable and the television channels were mixed up.