MSC Opera Cruise Review by SUSAN POWELL
- Sail Date: September 2011
- Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
The included travel to Southampton from Edinburgh with 2 children included a 2hour stay in Heathrow bus station in the early hours, only to be left with all our luggage at another bus station a taxi-ride away from the port - which we had to pay for ourselves, so beware.
The ship itself was lovely and the staff were very attentive. The kids club was also very good. However, if you wanted a sauna, you had to pay $100 for the pleasure of going anytime for a week. The spa was also extortionate.
Food - the dining room was lovely and being an Italian company, the menu was from a different part of Italy each night. Nothing was too much trouble, especially for fussy children. I'm vegetarian and there was plenty choice.
There was always a good veggie main dish which was hot in the buffet restaurant but the breakfast and dinner were always cold. The outside pizza/burger bars were good.
We didn't like that passengers joined and left the cruise at each port, we've never been on a cruise like that before. Also, they charged everyone for transfers to the towns from each port. Again, we've never experienced this.
Finally, the travel arrangements from Southampton to Edinburgh were ridiculous - a 12 hour wait in the port with a couple of vending machines to keep the 4 of us going, followed by a 2 hour wait at Heathrow. Then we'd be on our way home to Edinburgh, the journey taking a full 24 hours.
We explained this to the Reception staff but to no avail. We finally hired a car and got home to Edinburgh two hours before the journey supplied by MSC would even have left the Port. We gave them feedback about this and they sent us a gold card to be used on our next cruise. We think not.
Other ports - Bilbao, Coruna, Cherbourg were all fine. Getting back onto the ship at La Rochelle was awful, only a kind customs officer stopped people who didn't speak English from crushing our children as they thought they had the right to be first.
Cherbourg - great aquarium and submarine tour right beside the ship.
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