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Vince Pearce

Age: 55

Occupation:Healthcare Manager

Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: MSC Cruises

Ship: MSC Opera

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Europe

What an enjoyable cruise!

Embarkation very well organized. We arrived at Venice airport at 11.30am and after clearing customs arrived at the port at approximately 1.00pm and following the registration formalities which took about 20 mins, we were on the ship about 1.45. We were given refreshments by MSC staff while we were waiting and could not have been treated better. We took up the wine/water option at 99 euros for 7 bottles of wine and 7 bottles of water (choice of different red or white wnes) which you could choose from each night, which I thought was excellent value for money particularly when you are expected to pay $25-$45 average per bottle on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean - Well done MSC.

The ship was beautiful. I have sailed previously on Galaxy, Constellation, Legend Of The Seas, P&O and Festival Ships and the understated luxury on this ship compares favorably.

You don't get the silly art auctions etc of the American ships and the food was overall better than that served on other cruises. The soups, pasta, risotto, pizzas, bread (even hamburgers) and ice cream were the best I have ever tasted. Overall this was easily the best food we have experienced.

The house coffee was quite drinkable, but if you wanted a cappuccino or latte then this would cost 1.3 euros (90p)in the bars and was excellent. Iced water, coffee and tea were available most of the day free of charge. Drink prices were very reasonable with daily specials available.

On the 1 week cruise we had 2 formal nights and one semi formal night and the staff in the dining room were superb.

The ship itself was spotlessly clean and the cabins likewise. Sheets and towels were changed every day sometimes twice a day.

Ports of call were fantastic - Venice (say no more), Bari (simply beautiful), Katakolon (picturesque), Kusadasi/Ephesus (superb),Istanbul (terrific) and my personal favorite Dubrovnik (must go back)

The minus points - only a few really. The ship is definitely aimed at the Italian market and the entertainment reflects it. The shows are not up to the standard of Celebrity etc but nevertheless they are quite good. The bands in the lounges are very latin oriented - fine if you like that sort of thing. The best live act was Los Paraguay os who sang in different venues throughout the day and were superb.

All announcements were in 5 languages and took forever. These really are small points and most people would not worry about them.

Service on the ship is the best I have experienced. The staff couldn't do enough for you and the American lines need to take note of this.

After my experience on the Opera you can keep Celebrity/RCI and the others I will be using MSC in future - much better value and food that is far in front of other cruise lines. One final plea to MSC slightly improve the entertainment and it will be perfect.

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