We are British and in our sixties. This was our 18th cruise; the 9th with MSC. We have always enjoyed the cosmopolitan experience that is indicative of this Italian line. The main national groups on this cruise were British, Dutch, German, Italian, French, Spanish & Portuguese. The multi-national aspect does not bother us, apart from the tedium of public announcements in 6 languages! This was our second sailing aboard the Opera and overall, despite disappointing weather, we had a most enjoyable and satisfying cruise.
ITINERARY - Southampton (UK) - IJmuiden (near Amsterdam, Netherlands) - Guernsey (Cannel Islands - missed due to inclement weather at this tender port) - Vigo (Galicia, NE Spain) - Lisbon (Portugal) - Getxo (near Bilbao, Basque Country, NW Spain) - Le Havre (Normandy, N. France) - Southampton.
EMBARKATION & DISEMBARKATION - Superbly fast, friendly & efficient. This is helped by the fact that on this route the ship picks up and drops off passengers at most ports - therefore, it is never having to load/unload everyone at a single terminal.
Balcony Cabin, Deck 9, Midships, Port Side. A little too small and the depth of the Balcony was very narrow - only room for two out there on whicker chairs (plus table). Bed comfortable and storage very adequate. Only one chair in cabin at dressing table. Use of mirrors helps to give feeling of more room than there really is. Tastefully decorated and in very good condition. Bathroom consists of tight shower (plastic curtain), sink & loo.Deck 9 is better than 10, as the latter is under the pool deck and buffet, with subsequent noise. Deck 9 is also cheaper!If you want more space, you need to go up to a mini suite, forward on deck 11 (risk of a lot of rock'n'roll) and a lot more expensive.