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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 15th, 2005, 11:28 AM
fun traveler
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Default Opera is great

It appears that on the majority of the cruises, there are worldwide travelers. Yet on the MSC cruises it seems that the majority of these worldwide travelers lack knowledge of ethnic foods, especially Italian food.

Italian food does not revolve around garlic, vinegar, oregano, basil and olive oil. True, you will probably find those items accenting foods, but not the subject matter and pasta is a staple. The best critic is that sailor who gave the cab driver a few bucks for transportation to and dinner at the family home in Italy. Or someone who has had the opportunity to have casual dining at an Italian’s home. The majority of the Italian restaurants have “altered” to the expected American taste. Just how many Italians does one see eating in an Italian restaurant?

It troubles me to see so many unqualified people say the food was poor quality. One passenger complained because the bread was stale… it had hard crust. The hard crust is a critical aspect of true Italian bread; it was fresh and delicious. Three or four exotic deserts are all any cruise line offers at dinner. Other cruise lines may offer more of the simple deserts. Guess I put more emphasis on the main course. I do not recommend trying any “American” cuisine… I made that mistake; stay with the Italian food.

I have found that many of the small to mid-sized ships do not have late night buffets or even dinner buffets. Dining is a rather quite function and probably would not bother someone sleeping so room service would be a perfect solution for anyone that may be hungry after 10:00 p.m. Again, this is an option for all the smaller size ships.

One of the “front desk” supervisors lacks people skills. She appeared to be very knowledgeable about the ship, but really should not in any form of customer service. Other than her, all the ship’s personnel were wonderful and performed excellent.

If you are an American and would like to know how a minority feels, take a cruise on the Opera out of Venice. Fortunately there are a lot of other English speaking countries, so you will be able to socialize. English is one of the last languages that the instructions are given in and there is a practical reason… there are fewer people. I did anticipate that there would be more Americans, but I was wrong.

If being a minority does not bother you and you enjoy other cultures, take the cruise. I selected the cruise for the ports of call; wonderful! For the “American” thing, they did provide wash clothes and ice. My only disappointment was the night I tried American food.

If you are going to spend the money on any cruise, take the time to look for the good things, take advantage of what is offered and enjoy it.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old July 16th, 2005, 03:19 AM
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Default Re: Opera is great

Well said!

Being Italian I can confirm that actually the last trend of Italian cuisine is to serve healthy food, and not too much garlic and spices (If any) and low fat/oil.

Your comment reminded me of when in NYC years ago I went to an Italian restaurant and, while ordering to the kitchen, the waiter shouted (in Italian)…”do it the right way as these guys are Italian”… may be this anecdote can explain something to Americans complaining about Italian cuisine aboard.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old July 29th, 2005, 08:11 PM
sunrise sailor
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Default Re: Opera is great

Oh, have you neglected the other great aspects of the ship. Who cares what nationality anyone is, or what ethnic food is served, everybody has fun. All the ship’s staff and workers were excellent in their performance. The entire ship was clean and spotless. Very good variety of lounges, all could relax and enjoy themselves. More time in the ports would have been nice, but the itinerary with hours was posted before booking and they met their commitment exact. Opera is a great ship to cruise on.
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