My sister and I are just returning from the Eastern cruise. I have been on many cruise ships over the past 15yrs. On a scale of 1-10 I would personally rate this as a 1 or 2. This is why? The ship is new and nice but compared to others lines there is much to be desired. We listened to latin music 24/7. We did not have a choice of clubs as they were all Latin music. Excursions were of horror, considering that the normal ship provides 15-25 to choose from this cruise we had 3-5 to choose from. Notice on there web site that no excursions are listed ( there is a reson for this). We were told as we neared our 1st port of San Juan that due to the seas we would not be able to port for an additional 3 hours. We sat for 3 hours in the water until 9:30pm. The water was calm during this time frame, most everything was closed when we arrived. When we ported in St. Thomas, we were on the back side of the island docked beside a tanker. All other ships were docked on the front side of St. Thomas. St Croix excursions were also of bad timing. We arrived at 7a.m (when everything opens at 9am) and we left port at 2pm. As we talked with other Americans concerrning the Opera, we all came to the same answer. We would not take another MSC cruise line. Food was also of poor taste and quality. I found many of the waitresses and desk attendents to be rude. The price was cheaper for us and in the end we got what we paid for. In the future I will pay the additional fee and cruise with a line that appreciates Americans being on there ship.
I am well aware of what cruising is all about including the ability of a ship to enter port. Maybe you should read more reviews on MSC cruise lines, I dont think we were the only people out there that did not enjoy this line of cruises. Respect goes both ways in life! Life is wonderful just not on MSC cruise lines.
Also did the eastern itinerary on this line and thought it was absolutely the worst of 11 cruises I have been on. I have cruised on 2 of the Europen lines and can honestly say that different culture excuse does not apply to this cruise line. This is a horrible cruise line and it has nothing to do with being an American and not being open to other cultures. That is a lame excuse for poor service. The ship is absolutely beautiful but there is no substance. You definately get what you pay for on this cruise line. Buyer beware. Dont expect Bloomingdales quality at Kmart prices.
I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad time. I just returned from a week on the Opera and it was nothing like what you described. The service was excellent and very friendly. We received immediate upgrades and really thought our cabin was great. The music ranged from the Latin music on the patio, jazz, ballroom, technopop,classical to opera--depending on which club you went to. I already knew what the excursions were before I booked and I studied up on them so I knew exactly what to expect, given our time frames. For example - we arrived in San Juan on a Monday night when many things were closed according to the local custom. We did however, roam around the Plaza Colón for a couple of hours and were able to browse shops and have a great Puerto Rican dinner. We also stopped by Señor Frogs on the way back to the Opera. We didn't have to be back to the ship until 1 AM but we went back early and found a really nice Flamenco show going on at the pool followed by a beautiful midnight buffet. In St. Thomas we were docked next to the Holland Cruises Zuiderdam in Crown Harbor which was very nice and away from the huge crowds near the St. Thomas Harbor. This is the newer area where there is a lot of new construction going on to enhance Crown Harbor port. It will be beautiful when it is finished. We had lots of time for a good tour of the island as well as shopping. We even had time to go over to St. John but we passed. St. Croix was merely a visit to the beach for me. I got up late that day so it was my own doing that I didn't really have the time to find someone to cart me all over the island sightseeing.
Everyone I spoke to loved the Northern Italian cuisine offered on the Opera and those who are the meat and taters type appreciated those alternative offerings on the menu. There were other passengers who loved the items on the "healthy" menu and vegetarian menu too. I met a lot of people from all over on that ship and all comments were positive on the food (even the breads and pizza - so fresh!)
Although it was unfortunate that you had a bad experience, perhaps your input and that of others has initiated a lot of improvement on the Opera. Art Sbarsky from this CruiseMates website was traveling on the Opera and he appeared to really enjoy it. Check out his bio --I hope he writes a review. Should be interesting considering his background.
This was my 50th birthday gift to myself and 3 girlfriends went with me (2 of us are from the US and the other 2 were from Mexico and S. Africa respectively). We all would travel on the MSC again and again. But...like you.....if I have a bad experience on a cruise or in any other thing I do in my life ---I would avoid it! ---D
I must admit I am a huge MSC fan and have been since my first cruise with them on the Melody in the Caribbean. Sailed 2004 on the Lirica on the Panama Canal cruise and could hve stayed aboard for the next cruise with greatest pleasure. On 2nd April we will be aboard MSC Opera transatlantic and have to say cannot wait. It will be 18 days of heaven if it has NOT changed.
We have found every member of staff that we have encountered willing to do anything to help and please the guest.
The food has always been varied and of a high standard.
The standard of clealiness has been outstanding.
The accommodations are excellent - and on Lirica (and have been told this is true of Opera) the clever use of mirrors makes the rooms seem much larger.
The entertainment has always enjoyable and the animation team Have in the past been a great crowd without ever being intrusive or pushy.
The musicians have been so very varied from latin to opera and all of excellent outstanding.
Lirica was a beautiful ship stylish simple elegant and from all the photographs we have studied Opera seems very similar.
Our most fervent wish is that MSC never change from the quality product that we have enjoyed in previous years. I am in e-mail contact with a number of people from around the world, all of whom have cruised with MSC and were really happy with the experience and will certainly - like us - be back again and again.
I'm really sorry you didn't enjoy the Opera; my friends and I went on board keeping in mind that it was an international experience, and we found the waiters and the crew friendly and helpful at all times ... well, OK, except for the first day, when we were shepherded out of L'Approdo while the waiters were preparing the restaurant. But we understood they were busy, and teased the assistant maitre d' about it mercilessly afterward. He became a friend, and even saved my place card from dinner at the captain's table.
We had a wonderful time, and so did at least a half-dozen of our newfound friends, who actually decided to stay on board and do the Western Caribbean route, back-to-back.
I'd say that really reflects on the great time they had. As for our experience, we arrived in the ports of call early most times.
JackieL based on our experience the other nights are classed as "Informal" or "casual". There were a number of ladies who still wore less dressy cocktain gowns whilst others wore simple day gowns. Men tended to wear trousers with a long sleeved open neck shirt. There were some gentleman who prefered to wear collar and tie and lightweight sports jacket.
Our motto is - we are on a holiday - it is a special occasion and it is down to us ro make it just that!
The Eastern Caribbean has two formal nights, and those are Sunday and Thursday. It's very dressy, and most people attend Il Teatro or visit one of the dance clubs after. As for the rest of the cruise, it's what you make of it, although I will say that most people were very fashionable. A tip ... wear the really good-looking dress on the first night; it probably won't fit by Thursday!
I just returned from the 26 February Eastern Carib cruise. I found the ship, food & service to be on par with what I've had on HAL & Cunard and above that of RCCL & NCL(DAWN 12/30/04 cruise).
The entertainment was Continental to appeal to the various nationalities onboard - as far as "latin "music - yes some was mixed in but hardly that is all that was on offer. It may be strange to hear a Croation band sing American Standards but in the Cotton Club each evening it happened & the dance floor was packed. In the piano bar the Italian pianist had an Italian accent......in Byblos(disco) the Euro mix was better than hearing rap all nite - all ages were up dancing on the Opera(not so on NCL Dawn)
After about 50 cruises on various lines...I found the Opera refreshing.
Are there any religious services on board the Opera? We are traveling over Easter and am wondering if there will be any services available.
Do the dinners all take place in different dining rooms-another words once a person is assigned a table that is where you are for the whole week? Would it be important to fax over a request for a dining room as others say they did? Is one dining room better than the next?
There are religious services and a chaplain on board, so you certainly will be able to get your Easter service in.
Tipping is optional; we did because we appreciated how our servers and cabin steward went out on a limb.
We liked the L'Approdo restaurant, because it was cosier, but we heard no complaints from Caravelle. We enjoyed dinner in Caravelle at the captain's table on the second Gala night, but who can judge overall service from eating at the captain's table? I certainly don't think the wait staff is going to neglect THAT table!
While your dinner seating is constant, you can choose to eat at any table in any of the restaurants for breakfast and lunch. Below is the link to our cruise photos if you'd like to see them; as you can see, we had lots of fun. (You'll probably have to copy and paste in the address bar.)
the captain puts his pants on one leg at a time, i am sure service was just as good at the other seating areas as it was at the "captain's", all things considered, the passengers should receive better service then the "captain's", the passengers pay the "captain's" salary and the passengers throw a few extra tips to the staff, i don't think the "captain" tips the staff, do you?., by the way how much extra does it cost to sit and break bread with the "captain"
I understand your sentiment, believe me. The invitation simply appeared in our cabin ... after we'd paid the cabin steward, the maitre d' and sundry staff, etc. (JOKE!)
I don't know how it happened; we didn't pay anything extra at all and we were NOT any kind of VIPs. But it was certainly the icing on the cake for us.
We took our three teenage daughters on their first cruise this past February (2005) on the Opera, and they loved it, especially chocolate croissants each morning and afternoon tea virtually every afternoon. The oldest of the three, who was 18, got hooked on bingo(!), mainly because the disarmingly charming and witty Paulo called the numbers and shared funny, marvelous anecdotes. He also offered afternoon chats on Italian history, which were informal and wonderful. The staff went out of their way to pamper the girls, who felt very self-conscious about all the fussing over them -- for the first day or two! It didn't take long for them to graciously accept all the attention. Our waiter, Antonino, had daughters of his own back in Italy, and he adored ours, bringing them extra cheesecake and ice cream after each meal, remembering their special likes and dislikes, and greeting them warmly when he saw them during the day.
We liked to have our before-dinner drinks in a certain lounge, and found a wonderful staffer, Florian, who quickly learned what we liked and had it waiting for us each evening, as well as special 'virgin' concoctions for the girls. All of this without ever asking.
The price was right for all five of us to travel, and we weren't expecting Neiman-Marcus for Walmart prices. The decor was relatively spartan, as we expected for such a reasonable price. But the breads were wonderful, as was the risotto course each night at dinner. Soups were a mixed bag, as were some of the fish dishes. But the iced tea was brewed, excellent and always available, and the girls raved about the freshness of the pizza, which was also available most hours of the day and night. My husband and I like European style breakfasts, and there were a plethora of Italian cheeses to choose from in the buffet line, lots of fresh fruit, wonderful breads and Italian coldcuts.
The staff were gems, and I daresay that by the end of the cruise, all our staff had exchanged email addresses with us and remain in loose contact with us still.
Costa Atlantica 3/03
Celebrity Century 11/03
HAL Oosterdam 3/04
Celebrity Century 11/04
MSC Opera 2/05
Celebrity Constellation 11/05
Celebrity GALAXY 1/06
NCL Norwegian Dream 2/06
Celebrity CENTURY 4/06
Celebrity Summit 9/06