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7 Night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise from Bari

7 Night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise from Bari

MSC Opera
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MSC Opera

MSC Opera - MSC Cruises


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

Cruise Reviews

1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We took this cruise because the itinerary was good, the price was right and it dovetailed with the end of a land tour that we took in Croatia. However, we did not anticipate that the ship would be full of Italians on Easter holiday with ... Read More
We took this cruise because the itinerary was good, the price was right and it dovetailed with the end of a land tour that we took in Croatia. However, we did not anticipate that the ship would be full of Italians on Easter holiday with their children, or that some port and shopping activities would be completely closed due to the holiday. 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. The Opera is older and smaller than some and doesn't have the staffing (#s and training ) of Holland America (HAL); however, I would compare it's overall service level to Carnival. CAVEAT : We have 175 days on HAL, so that may "color" some of these comments. THE GOOD: Embarkation in Venice went smoothly; however, we were there early and it would not have been as smooth if we arrived with the crowds because they just didn't have the staff to handle a crush of people. Also, the staff's English is often limited. This was true in MANY aspects of the voyage. The rule: Speak slowly, clearly and make sure that you are understood...Don't assume that because they smiled and nodded their head that they completely comprehended what was said. The Lido restaurant's smaller than some but is able to handle the crowds but you have to know when to eat--"earlier is better than later". The fixed seating restaurants are adequate,but there is a limited "as you wish option ". The service people are sometimes overwhelmed because the waiters handle ALL drink orders and virtually everything is a paid item, even water, coffee and tea--except in the Lido.The food is adequate, sometimes very good, sometimes just OK. There is not the selection as on HAL, and the portions are smaller; however, I never saw anyone go hungry and they seem to be happy to give you double appetizers, entrees and/or desserts. The buffet offered in the Caravelle sit-down restaurant for breakfast and lunch seems to be a little more genteel, but here again, "timing is everything" to avoid crowds. We had a balcony, which was a nice room -- bigger than NCL, but not as big as HAL. The one really funny thing is the size of the shower. If you are approaching 200 lb it's tight. Our cabin steward was from Madagascar and he did everything that was required -- promptly, efficiently, cheerfully, with no complaints. Getting back and forth through the ship requires learning which elevators go all the way to the top and which elevators go all the way down and to what facilities --until you learn this you'll have a fair number of missteps . MSC needs an orientation tour presentation for people who have not sailed with them previously. We had a number of dealings with both Recepton and the Voyagers Club. In ALL instances we were very pleased with the help the we received . We only took one excursion, because MSC excursions are expensive, but we had on board credits to use and that was one of the ways we could use them. We found that most ports were doable on our own,especially with the help of the Rick Steve's Mediterranean Cruise Ports book and the wife's able trip planning. ..It certainly wasn't due to any info that MSC provided. I may do a port-by-port review on the individual ports--time permitting... THE BAD: MSC "nickel 'n dimes" ya for everything. Especially annoying is the charges for beverages (at least for Americans)--it's kinda like paying 1 € to go to the bathroom, while ashore--very European, but annoying. Charging for gelato and cappuccino on an Italian ship is just plain WRONG. Some people were pushy and didn't do lines well...We got used to it (:-). Some kids were often out of control and their parents seem clueless or incapable of making them behave. Eating can be a rugby-style event, if you don't adjust to minimize interaction with the crowds. Entertainment is barely OK--amateur hour in some cases. Good seats are gone, unless you arrive 30 mins early. MSC ties, or is slightly below, NCL and Carnival for the lack of information on ports (though the excursions desk did print out some basic Lonely Planet maps). There are NO programs on anything historical or natural. On sea days, if it's not pool, child, silly games/sports or drinking related it doesn't exist. It seems that they only want to sell over-priced excursions. Speaking of excursions, one of the really annoying things was the fact that they charge for transportation from the dock to the town, even though when they are very nearby. They should provide some sort of Transportation or at least info on alternative methods of transportation because paying anywhere between 8 and 10 €/pp to go in from the port is OBSCENE! ! BIG problem is getting on/off ship--their system is old and slow and they don't have enough people manning the stations, even during daily on/offs. THE UGLY: Final disembarkation was an absolute mess, plus their system denied departure for a number of folks right at the last minute because it thought they hadn't settled their accounts (which they had)...TOTALLY unacceptable! ! PROS: Staff is very friendly and helpful, but ensure they understand EXACTLY what you want. Ship is very clean, rooms are nice (but showers are miniscule). Many bars, lounges and common areas are available (most with live music at nite). Room stewards, waiters and staff are friendly and helpful--willing to meet your needs (as long as they clearly understand what you want). Good ports and good weather made this an overall good cruise...So, other than the disembarking problem this maybe approaches a 3.5 star. BUT, with that problem it falls to a 2 5 star I think MSC may adjust some things to cater to American-habits when it does more sailings from the States, esp with their newer ships--who knows?? BOTTOM LINE: Will I cruise MSC again--PROBABLY?? It depends on the itinerary, price and ship--BUT, never on a major holiday, especially in Europe. "Ya get what ya pay for" and in this case It was worth every penny... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because of the great ports and we were not disappointed! We loved every place we went and had beautiful weather. We got to Venice several days in advance and took a Viator tour to the Dolmites the day before the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the great ports and we were not disappointed! We loved every place we went and had beautiful weather. We got to Venice several days in advance and took a Viator tour to the Dolmites the day before the cruise. It was incredible and I'd recommend it to anyone who has extra time in Venice and has been to Venice before. We stayed at the Hotel Papadopoli, which was very close to Piazalle Roma and easy to get to with suitcases from the airport bus. It was also very easy to get to the port using the People Mover from that hotel. The hotel is very nice. The room was a good size for Europe and the service was excellent. We never ate at the hotel because their restaurant is very expensive, but there are cheaper restaurants right across the canal from the hotel. The embarkation was OK. We waited in line for about 40 minutes, which wasn't bad. Our balcony room was nice-small, but you don't notice it with the balcony. The ship is very clean, but it was extremely crowded. The food in the buffet and dining room is not great, but the pizza by the pool was outstanding. The shows were fine-average for this kind of cruise. It was very difficult to get off the ship on the two days we had to tender-Kotor and Santorini. We had to stand in a line half-way around the ship to get off when we went to Kotor (and also Corfu, even though we didn't tender), and we got to our excursion (which we organized through Kotor Tours) half an hour late. We took a tour from Koper to Lake Bled and Lbujina (sp.). This was organized through the roll call. Lake Bled was beautiful. We paid to go up to the castle, with beautiful views over the lake. Then we went to Lbujina, the capital city. It's absolutely beautiful and has a castle above it. There is a large pedestrian area and open markets. We enjoyed it even more than Lake Bled. We hadn't organized a tour in Split. When we got off the ship we negotiated a deal with a taxi driver to go to Trogir, which is a beautiful walled town. We were lucky to be there on Easter Sunday. We were in the square in front of the cathedral with all the people with their Easter baskets. It was so beautiful. After Trogir, the driver took us to some Roman ruins outside of Split and then back to the ship. After lunch we walked to the Diocelian Palace and took a walking tour, which was fascinating. The next place was Kotor, Montenegro. Since we'd been there before and had walked through the city and gone to Perast (beautiful), we had organized a private taxi tour to the Ostrog Monastery, which is built in the side of a clifff. Since we couldn't get off the ship on time, this tour was rather rushed due to long distances. It took us almost 2 and a half hours to get to the monastery. The monastery is different from any place we'd ever been. The black-robed monks were guarding the remains of a saint. The Montenegran people are Orthodox and very religious. Then we drove for over an hour to a huge lake where we had a great lunch (included in tour) and then a quick boat trip on the lake before returning to the ship. Contact Kotour Tours for this and other tours. I can highly recommend them. The next day was on the ship. We needed this day because we'd exhausted ourselves with all the touring the previous days. The following day we got to Mykonos. There we just got off the ship and walked, which you can easily do. It's a very pretty island but very crowded and commercial. We walked to the windmills and did a lot of shopping. The following day was Santorini. After our bad experience tendering to Kotor, we decided to take the ship excursion so we could get off as early as possible and see as much as possible. We were only in port from 8 to 2, which isn't long enough for Santorini. We got to Oia and had about an hour and a half there on our own before being taken to a winery for wine tasting and a great view. Then we were return to Fia and had an hour there to shop before returning to the ship on the cable car.. We had to stand in line at the cable car for almost an hour!) Santorini is beautiful and worthwhile, even though we had been before. The following day was Corfu. We hoped to find a tour when we got off the ship, but it was Good Friday in the Orthodox Church, and tours had been suspended. We took a taxi into town and walked into the old town where we saw a very interesting Good Friday procession with a marching band and singers. The old town is pretty, but the fortresses were closed and it was very crowded! The next day was Bari and we had only 5 hours in port, so we took the MSC exucursion to Alberobello. This is a very pretty town and we found it very interesing with the trullo, ,which you won't find other places. The tour guide was not very good and didn't take us inside one, but we saw the inside of several while shopping. Disembarkation in Venice took forever. We had a transfer to the Venice airport for a late flight. We were supposed to meet at 10::30 to get off the ship, but we didn't get off the ship until 12:30. We got to the airport at around 1, had lunch there and then were able to check into our flight. MSC has its faults. They messed up by cruise card twice and I had to keep replacing it because their printer didn't work well, which held me up when I tried to get off and on the ship. Their food is not the best either. However, we are repeat customers because their ships go to great ports and the price is right. Beware of their shuttle fees. They charge more than they need to to get you from the ship to the city. In Corfu they charged 9 euros a piece when we later found there was a free bus! As I said before, the food was just OK. The service in the dining room was usally good. We were signed up for one table, but when we got to the table the couple there refused to sit with anyone else (they were Chinese), so we ended up getting moved to another table by ourselves that had better service. The buffet was always very crowded and the choice at breakfast was very poor, so we tried to eat breakfasts in the dining room, where it was partially a buffet, but we could get omelets. Most of the people working on MSC were very nice. We just had problems with the administration, as we were supposed to receive some free drinks with the package we booked, and we had to spend the first 2 days going to the reception and proving that we were sent a confirming e mail about the drinks before we finally got the drink vouchers. If I hadn't printed up the confirmation, we wouldn't have gotten anything. Then they made a mistake on my cruise card because their printer wasn't working and I had to go back to the reception 3 times before getting a cruise card that worked. The faulty cruise card delayed my getting on and off the ship. I received 2 massages at the spa which were fine. The spa on Opera doesn't have a nice thermal area (no jacuzzi), so I didn't sign up for that. The shows were OK. There was one comedian who performed twice who was good the first time and OK the second. Most of the shows were the same singers and acrobats. The acrobats were excellent, the female singer was good, but the male singer was just OK, so we skipped several of those shows. We didn't participate in any of the other activities on board because we were very busy at the ports. We will probably go on MSC again because we like their routes. Just don't expect luxury or pampering. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We decided on this cruise as a sudden addition to our bucket list - Havana (Cuba), St Marteen, Antigua, Madera - all in one sweep. Getting through Havana airport was an exceptional experience and one not to be glamorised in any way. We ... Read More
We decided on this cruise as a sudden addition to our bucket list - Havana (Cuba), St Marteen, Antigua, Madera - all in one sweep. Getting through Havana airport was an exceptional experience and one not to be glamorised in any way. We arrived at the ship quite late went through the obligatory photograph, not much in the way of a welcome, collected our cards then straight to our cabin and bed. Next day in Havana was pretty good - we did our own thing, a morning and afternoon tour is separate old American cars for a lot less than the ship organised tour. We then spent a day at sea before arriving in St Marteen, again our own thing - a short walk into town then a bus to Maho beach where we were delighted to lots of low flying landing aircraft and got severely sandblasted by a big 757 taking off, culminating in a dip in the Caribbean sea before another bus ride back to town and a walk around the shops. Off to Antigua, it was Sunday and everything was closed so really a wasted day, all that was on offer was a taxi tour around the island. Now 6 days to cross the Atlantic, when the weather was good we could sun bathe and swim but as we sneaked further north the weather changed and we were forced to stay inside with limited options on suitable activities. At a certain time during the day there was only one internal bar open for the serving of coffee and naturally it was full. Funchal was next and not much to say here but a Sunday and not much open, then off to Malaga and some terrible weather through the Straight of Gibraltar with very high seas and extremely strong wind rendering damage to the ship and meaning we arrived late, then again some very high winds onward to Alicante again arriving late. To be fair the ship handled the rough weather well and was relatively smooth. The disembarkation at Alicante was an absolute disaster. We were told to gather in the theatre and consequently only received instructions in German, I checked the queue it was moving and getting shorter so without waiting for whatever non information was to be forthcoming decided to join the queue and get off the ship. As we had a balcony "Fantastica" cabin we were allocated the L'Approda restaurant. The menu was quite restricted and indeed required us to order McDonalds style chips every night. We were offer an option of a backed potato but only if ordered the previous evening - when it arrived it was just about cooked, not soft and fluffy or hard and inedible but certainly not fully cooked, similar can be said of a chicken kiev, only just cooked, not totally as would be expected with chicken. There were complaints made by other diners to the Maitre'd about the limited menu which was basically met with a shoulder shrug. The table waiting staff were very very attentive and friendly, I cannot say a bad word about them. We were on a drinks package thankfully. The printed cost of a "Gin and Tonic was 6€, this was the price charged in some bars, inothere the charge was for a 'Gordons' @ 6.50€ plus tonic???. On an occasion I ordered a @Vodka Martini and my wife a Bellini, the waiter returned with a Martini and advised that Bellini's were not available?? I returned my drink and my wife advised him that Bellini's were available as a cocktail, he returned with the Bellini and a vodka and water - agh, third attempt say me receiving a Morgans and coke???? - it was now so late I had lost the will and went to bed. I had little reason to approach the reception desk - thankfully - when I did to advise them of a potential medical problem I was met with an "I don't care" shoulder shrug. When it came to closing my credit card I was advised to return to the desk no less than three times. so not at all impressed with the unfriendly reception staff. The entertainment team worked very hard to keep guests amuse and some of the evening antics in the Piazza di Spagna were hilarious, This bar needed more staff to deal with the number of revellers as at times it was very difficult to get a drink.The theatre shows were of a high standard but way to high brow and classical themed, there were a few more light hearted entertaining evenings and the contortionists were incredible. A cruise once done not to be repeated, a class of ship that I shall avoid in future. Read Less
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