Previous experience with MSC Opera were excellent. The combination of ship and destination (Cuba) was the trigger to book for this cruise. What a major disappointment!! The upside were the cabins, but the rest was really a disaster. The staff - with exceptions -was not motivated and sometimes rude. The food was in general average (we - wife and I - are still suffering from a parasite and are on antibiotics) and hygiene questionable.
On the very first day I addressed one of the officers in the main dining room, when I visited the lavatory and one of the waiters came out of the toilet, didn't wash his hands and resumed service. I know that +60% of the people don't wash their hands, but it is unforgivable for waiting staff.
We could not book the vintage car excursion anymore and had to arrange it ourselves. Through Tripadvisor we booked the top ranked company. In hindsight, we were better off. MSC would have charged us €92 p/person for the tour. We (4 people) paid $80 (excl. tip) for the 2,5 hrs tour with a very good guide (Jorge), or $20 p/person. MSC, this is over charging, i.e. 368€ vs $80! The cigar and rum tour was interesting, but you may skip the Havana Club commercial visit. We had similar experiences in Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Cozumel and organized our own shore excursions with Tripadvisor as our reference.
The entertainment was lousy. The deck entertainment was - as always - very loud. The performers - if present - were mediocre. We spend many pleasant evenings and nights with the performers (Chris Clarke) in the Cabala bar on previous trips. Now the performers tried to compete, who could get us asleep the quickest. Addressing one performer to play more up beat songs, was answered with "we are not allowed to play other music here". The music was not aligned with the public, but the other way around. We had complete different experiences with the interaction between performers and public. The other bars were similar. Dull and annoying. I have never seen such limited involvement of public. MSC should really improve. The lady officer responsible for the bars was not even interested to the comments given and I assume she didn't do anything with these comments.
MSC, don't build new ships if you chase away your core public. You are neglecting the core principles to make a cruise successful, i.e. hygiene, entertainment and F&B.
The cabin was OK and clean. We did miss the amenities fellow travelers received, but all in all it was good.
The Havana Club museum was interesting but very busy and long wait (30 min.) for the tour. The cigar factory was very interesting.View All 11 Rum Museum Reviews
A very interesting tour of the Montego Bay area.View All 15 Private Tour Reviews
An interesting tour of the island.View All 209 Island Tour Reviews
We booked an taxi and paid him to drive us around the many interesting sites we would like to visit.View All 92 Island Tour Reviews