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MSC Opera Review

MSC Opera
MSC Opera

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MSC Opera
4.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
to book


Fun-filled ship with top-notch entertainment, great food and great kids' facilities


Limited dining options

Bottom line

With two nights and two days in Havana, this is a real opportunity to discover the Cuban capital


Passengers 2,142
Crew 800
Passenger to Crew 2.68:1
Launched 2004
Shore Excursions 250
Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic UK Managing Editor

MSC Opera Overview

The 2,150-passenger MSC Opera is one of four medium-sized Lirica-class ships, dating from 2004 (the others are Armonia, Lirica and Sinfonia).

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MSC Cruises spent more than $200 million on Opera and the rest of the Mistral class during a two-year refurbishment program in 2014–2015 that saw a nearly 80-foot-long section sandwiched into the middle of each ship. The "stretching" procedure added nearly 200 more cabins -- 94 of which have balconies. During the refurbishment, the line also took the chance to update the spa and childcare facilities, as well as to add an interactive water feature called the Spray Park to the top deck.

The result is a ship that looks and feels contemporary, despite its advanced years. MSC has really thought about what ship would fit best for this Cuba itinerary, and has gone to great lengths to give it a Cuban feel in terms of entertainment and cuisine, as well as some well thought out shore excursions.

Opera does have its limitations, however, not least the crush at peak hours at the buffet and the lack of dining options.

The ship has been homeporting in Havana, Cuba from the winter 2015-16 season, and stays two nights and two and a half days in the Cuban capital, which means you can get a real feel for the city, enjoying its nightspots and -- if you're feeling adventurous -- venturing out to discover other parts of Cuba during the day.

Opera also stops in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. Opera was joined by sister ship MSC Armonia in winter 2016.

Fellow Passengers

Opera's demographic is predominantly European, mainly Italian, French and Spanish with a handful of Brits. The line does not operate the "People to People" program, which allows U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba, so there are no Americans onboard. The cultural differences are fascinating and fun; one thing they all have in common is they are there for a good time and the partying goes on till late. You also never know what response your "good morning" will get ... it might be a "Guten tag" or "Buenos Dias," "Buon Giorno" or "Bonjour." That's one of the things that make this ship special, and also means announcements in at least five different languages; sometimes more.

Ages range from families with young kids to seniors with walkers.

MSC Opera Dress Code

There are two formal nights on a seven-night cruise; otherwise, dress during the day is casual and, at night, is country club casual.

MSC Opera Gratuity

Adults, which are classified as aged 12 and over, pay 10 euros per night; children (classified as aged 2 and over) pay 5 euros per night; kids aged two and under pay no charge. A 15 percent service charge is added to bar bills and spa treatments, with the exception of prepaid All-Inclusive beverage package. Worth noting: as the ship returns to Havana, you have to pay for another 15 euro visa which will be added to your onboard account.

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Aida Deck
Otello Deck
Rigoletto Deck
La Traviata Deck
Norma Deck
Turandot Deck
Tosca Deck
La Boheme Deck
Minigolf Deck

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More about MSC Opera

Where does MSC Opera sail from?
MSC Opera departs from Abu Dhabi, Ancona, Barcelona, Bari, Cape Town, Dubai, Durban, Genoa, Marseille and Venice.
How much does it cost to go on MSC Opera?
Cruises on MSC Opera start from $174 per person.

MSC Opera Member Reviews

Sail Date: Jun 2019
It has been widely reported in the papers about the MSC Opera accident in Venice. An extremely unfortunate event due to a mechanical failure....Read More
Sail Date: Apr 2019
The reviews on MSC Opera are not as bad as some people would lead you to believe. I think probably it's a 3 star overall....Read More
yakety sax
Sail Date: Feb 2020
It had a very good itinerary of destinations, at the right time for our plans. The destinations were great. The ship was very clean and comfortable. The food was awful. Very little selection, very slow service,...Read More
Sail Date: Aug 2018
Ship: We already knew in advance that the MSC Opera is an older ship in the fleet and was extended in 2015. Unfortunately, the public areas seem to have been disregarded during the extension....Read More

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