Before I start my review, I’d like to share a little background about myself. I was born in Germany and lived there until I was 21, so I am well familiar with European customs etc.
My husband and I enjoy cruising. We have sailed on Royal, Disney, Carnival, Celebrity and Norwegian.
We chose the 7-Day Northern European Cruise on MSC Opera because of itinerary and price.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
Easy, fast and comfortable. We enjoyed having beverages available when getting on the ship. The MSC tents and flags were a cute touch.
Compact and very clean. Our interior cabin was located on the 14th floor. Very convenient to the pool and bar area. Cabin service was done in the mornings and evenings. Our steward did a wonderful job. Storage space was just enough. Luggage could be stored under the bed. The shower is very compact and might not be comfortable for larger guests. Shower gel and Shampoo are available in the shower.
We opted for the Fantastica Experience, which includes complimentary In-Room-Dining. We ordered coffee, croissants and juice every morning. All was delivered on time and fresh & delicious.
We truly enjoyed breakfast in the Main Dining Room every day. In addition to a menu, which features the same items daily (eggs benedict, pancakes, waffles etc.) there is also a buffet. The buffet features the best bread selection we have encountered at sea, European breakfast meats and cheeses, fresh fruit etc. On the hot side there is a omelet station, a daily selection of potatoes, sausages and scrambled eggs. Coffee is being served at the table. At times coffee service can be a little slow. In addition to the Main Dining Room, breakfast is also offered at the buffet, plus there is a gluten free option in one of the coffee bars. Nice touch.
For lunch we stuck with the buffet. There was always a wide selection of dishes available catering to the multicultural guests on this sailing. A variety of burgers and pizzas were offered as well. The salad bar was just wonderful and we also enjoyed the pre-made delicious little sandwiches. We found the food to be tasty and fresh. Beverage service was once again a little slow.
We loved our daily dinner experience, which was truly European. Our service team was very friendly and efficient. By dinner night #2 they already had our drinks waiting for us. Water service is included if you booked your cruise through the US. Otherwise you will have to purchase drinks, including water, coffee or tea. The food selection changed daily and was always interesting and delicious. Definitely not what you would find on American lines. Dishes included lamb, veal and of course pasta and risotto. Bread was once again outstanding, so were the desserts. Dinner is a very relaxed affair, so expect to dine for 2+ hours. Families and friends gathered over food, wine and cocktails and truly seemed to enjoy themselves. So did we. Note that beer and wine are available in the dining room. If you prefer a cocktail, make sure to bring it with you.
Here things get a little interesting. Bar orders need to be placed with the cocktail waiters, not the bartenders. We wish we would have known this from the beginning. The moment we figured this out it was easy. Cocktails were well presented, tasty and appropriately strong. All coffees were wonderful. The wine and beer selection was nice and of great quality and value. We loved the little nibbles, like chips, nuts or olives, which were served alongside our beverages. Very nice, high end touch.
We were thrilled not to be bombarded with the Electric Slide, Hip Hop etc. on a daily basis. Pool music was more chill. There were daily games in the morning hours. For the rest of the day guests were able to entertain themselves. No hairy chest contests etc. What a relief! Daily shows were Vegas style and consisted of dancers, acrobats and singers. They were very enjoyable and always had one or two breathtaking moments. Think upscale variety show. Live music was offered in all lounges. Genres definitely catered to music popular in the 80s in Europe. It would have been nice if one of the lounges would have offered a little fresher take on music. The disco is a beautiful space, but was visited very little.
Only disappointment of the trip. Appointments cannot be made pre-cruise, so we made one the moment we got on the ship. The spa doctor seemed a little flighty and actual made our appointment for the wrong date. When we showed for the appointment we thought we had, we were told it was not available. The staff tried to help and was able to get us in for an hour later. When we showed back up our couples massage room was given away by accident. Again, the staff tried to help and was able to create a make shift space for us. The massages were good and the staff was nice, but after the initial experience it was hard to relax. We will not use MSC Spa services again.
We would go back on a MSC Cruise in a heartbeat. (we are actually already booked for one to go to Cuba this December.) If you enjoy a true European experience, with people from all over the world, this might be the right fit for you. If you are expecting to find the same as on Carnival, Royal etc. you will probably be disappointed and frustrated, as food, beverages, entertainment and service are different and you will not be surrounded by English speakers at all times.
We found the MSC Orchestra to be in top shape. It was very clean and well maintained. The pool deck, including pools, was deep cleaned almost every night.
Hopefully this review is helpful to some. We are looking forward to our next adventure on MSC.