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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

MSC Opera - I'm in love with Italian style cruising!

In case you didn't already know I spent all of Tuesday just gone down in Southampton visiting the MSC Opera. As is the case every time I visit a new cruise ship I've put together a bit of a virtual 'pictorial' tour of the ship for you. Before you have a look at them however let me tell you a bit about my impressions of her.
I was so impressed!
If I'm going to be quite honest with you I was a little apprehensive traveling down to Southampton. Whilst I have spoken to plenty of people who have loved sailing on her I was also aware she wasn't to everyones taste. She is after all an Italian cruise ship and the Italians have a unique way of doing things which not everyone will enjoy. I also knew there were bigger, newer, 'better' MSC ships in the fleet like the Fantasia.
Well all I have to say to that now is lets have three cheers for the Italian way of doing things and if there are better MSC ships out there I for one can't wait to see them!
Start to finish she was gorgeous............
I don't know if you've ever noticed, but I've always found the best cruise ships seem to sparkle and almost shine. I know it's only the effect of the lights reflecting off all the brass and marble surfaces but the interior of the ship really was beautiful and looked really clean, modern and elegant. In fact a relaxed elegance is the best way I could probably find of describing her to you.
There's more I could, (and will be saying), but I'll save that for the pictures below.

My first view of the MSC Opera from the City cruise terminal.

This was me getting lost trying to board her and some how ending up down on the dock. Still I managed to get a nice close up of the MSC logo.

The main entrance to the casino. I'll show you the interior in a bit.


The Cotton Club. A really chilled out relaxed bar with a 'jazz style' theme throughout.


The main atrium. You only get a small idea from this photo of what I mean about the ship shining but it at least gives you an idea.


Although the ship is incredibly family friendly, (more on that later), there is still a smoking bar on board for anyone who misses getting their nicotine fix in the comfort of a pub environment.



I couldn't get my flash to work in the theatre so you'll have to use your imagination a little bit but the seats were big and comfy, there was plenty of room for everyone who may want to enjoy the show and the way the theatre has been designed there aren't any supporting pillars obstructing your view.



One of the shops just off the main atrium.




Still looking all shiny, (hmmm I'm a bit worried I'm starting to sound like a magpie now.....ooooh! Shiny! She really is gorgeous through and through though).




I forgot to check if this bonsai was real or not so the next time someones onboard can you check for me?


The cyber cafe. Not as big as some I've seen but definitely fit for purpose and with some very reasonable packages available as well.






The second 'main resteraunt'. This one tends to be a little more subdued and also has a wider range of tables for two so it's perfect for anyone on a honeymoon cruise or celebrating an anniversary. Ask your travel agent at the time of booking to request this restaurant for you.

Watch out on those nights out. There are always MSC staff around to video those drunken dance sessions and the videos are available to buy the next day, (they're also on display to everyone as well). You have been warned.



The casino. Again not the biggest I've seen but they wont shut it and the the attached bar till everyone has left, even if that means there's only one person left in there. The cynical amongst you might just say that's because they want your money but I'm choosing to call it great customer service.


Another view of the Cotton Club, (I'd forgot to mention they have a live band in there most nights).

The main atrium as seen from above. Definitely one of the more stylish I've seen.



An outside cabin. Not huge, but it had everything I'd need and it was clean, well ordered and tastefully decorated.


An inside cabin. Same size has the outside cabin but without the window. As you can see no space is wasted with the safe hidden behind the mirror.



I was so impressed with the kids club onboard. Not only was it free to use on sea days, if you wanted you could leave your kids there whilst you want off on a shore excursion and they still wouldn't charge you for it! I couldn't believe it when I heard that, it makes such a refreshing change for a cruise line not to charge you for everything they possibly can. As I said at the beginning of this post; very family friendly.




The gym. I can't say you'd find me in here much but I do like the idea of sitting on the bike and exercising whilst staring out to sea.




The sauna and steam room. Again MSC were making no extra charge for this. Bargain!



Real wooden floors, no fake lino here! Another sign of a great cruise ship I've always thought.






The pool deck. Again clean, well ordered and lots of space for everyone.





Bread animals in the pizzeria. Who doesn't love bread animals? Hats off to the chef/chefs that baked these, I'm sure the kids love them. My only complaint was they wouldn't let me order one with my dinner!


A quick view of the arcade for the older children, or any young at heart adults I suppose.

The MSC funnel. I know I'll be looking out for it from now on.



And a quick example of lunch - An Italian style salad.

Three cheese crepes with white and tomato sauce.

Leg of pork in a Madeira sauce with beans wrapped in bacon and roast potato's. Yum!

And finally cream of coconut cake with a raspberry coolie. I could of eaten that again and again.



So that's the MSC Opera. As you can probably tell by now I was certainly impressed but what have you thought?
Have you ever sailed on the MSC Opera? Did you enjoy it?
Have you ever considered MSC and if not why not?
And I suppose most importantly would you consider them now?

Happy cruising.
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