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Old 02-21-2005, 06:41 AM
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The MSC Opera set sail on its inaugural Caribbean cruise with a number of enhancements for American customers. They range from food products and cabin amenities to service refinements. Bob Keesler, vp hotel and marine operations for MSC Cruises USA, said the company has made major strides in preparing to host more US customers this winter in the Caribbean. For example, MSC sent containers with products like American cuts of meat and even Sweet N'Lo (an artificial sweetener) to Italy to stock the Opera for its Atlantic crossing.

And, this season for the first time, MSC Cruises will provision its Caribbean fleet from a Florida warehouse using many US suppliers. Previously, the line brought in containers from Europe. Most important of all, Keesler told Seatrade Insider, the company has carried out 'a lot of work with the staff in understanding American tastes, wants and needs, everything from washcloths in the bathroom to ice in the cabin.' All this does not mean MSC Cruises is giving up its European flavor -- far from it. The line markets itself in the US as 'Premium Class -- With a True Italian Signature' and, along with adding US products, it has in fact increased regional Italian dishes, wines and specialty drinks.

MSC Cruises will continue to polish its on-board product. 'In many ways, we have a race with no finish line,' Keesler said. 'We'll never be done when it comes to improving our service. I'm very pleased with our progress over the last year.'
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Old 02-21-2005, 06:41 AM
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The MSC Opera set sail on its inaugural Caribbean cruise with a number of enhancements for American customers. They range from food products and cabin amenities to service refinements. Bob Keesler, vp hotel and marine operations for MSC Cruises USA, said the company has made major strides in preparing to host more US customers this winter in the Caribbean. For example, MSC sent containers with products like American cuts of meat and even Sweet N'Lo (an artificial sweetener) to Italy to stock the Opera for its Atlantic crossing.

And, this season for the first time, MSC Cruises will provision its Caribbean fleet from a Florida warehouse using many US suppliers. Previously, the line brought in containers from Europe. Most important of all, Keesler told Seatrade Insider, the company has carried out 'a lot of work with the staff in understanding American tastes, wants and needs, everything from washcloths in the bathroom to ice in the cabin.' All this does not mean MSC Cruises is giving up its European flavor -- far from it. The line markets itself in the US as 'Premium Class -- With a True Italian Signature' and, along with adding US products, it has in fact increased regional Italian dishes, wines and specialty drinks.

MSC Cruises will continue to polish its on-board product. 'In many ways, we have a race with no finish line,' Keesler said. 'We'll never be done when it comes to improving our service. I'm very pleased with our progress over the last year.'
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Old 02-21-2005, 12:40 PM
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Can someone who has recently gone on a cruise on the MSC Opera comment on how you found the experience. We are going on an Eastern Carribean cruise and would like to read more reviews - any Canadians who can comment? Just two reviews are currently posted and I would like to know how others found the experience on the Opera.

Also, any tidbits of advice would be appreciated. Thank you in advance!
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Old 02-23-2005, 11:48 AM
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My husband and I are about to sail on the Opera on the 26th of February. We have been on 38 cruises so we have a lot to compare to. We are looking forward to this one. We have read many reviews, some great and not so great, so we are anxious to see for ourselves. I think we will thoroughly enjoy the experience. Will share some feedback when we arrive home.
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Old 03-01-2005, 11:44 AM
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I would be very interested in hearing about your experience and perhaps emailing you for further details. I will check for your post in early March and I hope your cruise was wonderful.
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Old 03-02-2005, 08:12 AM
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Geri: Saw your post on the Dave Koz cruise forum and thought you might like to know that Warren Hill has a Smooth Jazz charter (his 3rd year) on the HAL next January. I thought it would be tacky to mention on the Dave Koz posts, but since you live in Florida you might want to go to his web site and check it out, as it sails from Port Canaveral.
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Old 03-03-2005, 06:45 PM
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I am a Canuck and my wife and I sailed on the Opera on December 11 on the Western Caribbean route. In short, it was a super cruise for the money and I would sail again with MSC in a heartbeat. I appreciated the respect as a passenger - no continual hard sells and cross sells to buy evertything from tanzanite to god-knows-what-else. The food was great, especially the seafood, and the shows at night were the best we have ever seen. Standing ovations, no less. Want more details? Just ask.
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Old 03-05-2005, 06:02 PM
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Oakville, that is great to hear. I am sailing on the Lirica in a couple of weeks and can;t wait to see the changes they have made since the last time I sailed her.

Tom
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Old 03-06-2005, 07:54 PM
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Hello to the writer from Oakville:
Glad to hear of your experience. I would love to hear more details as we are leaving in a few weeks - Eastern Carribean. How formal did you have to go? How many nights were more formal? Any helpful hints or other ideas of areas on board that you would recommend?
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Old 03-07-2005, 12:07 PM
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First - how formal? There were at least two occasions where formal dress was appropriate. I think there was even a third time I chose to put on a tie; maybe it was for pictures with my wife or for a cocktail party. But, just how formal is formal? There were about 70% suits, 15% tuxes and 13% other, meaning sport jackets with or without ties. The other 2% - just don't ask! The degree of formality was not important. It is all about the enjoyment of a touch of style. Doing something a bit different. Personally, I am one who hates dressing up and I don't do it at work. But for me, it is very different on board a ship. It is FUN; something to do at the end of a tough day sitting on the beach or around the pool. Have a go at posing on the marble staircase for the ship's photographer. Don't like the picture? No problem, don't buy it. But I will be willing to bet that you will want to bring at least one picture home.

More suggestions?

1. The wine package - if you are a wine drinker, the combo of three reds, three whites, a rose and seven bottled waters for $91 is superb value.

2. The buffet in the evening - if you just don't feel like going to the dining room, the same food is served at the buffet.

3. The entertainment - this is my personal order. See every show and listen to every group that performs on board! Get ready for knock-your-socks-off European styled entertainment that got regular standing ovations.

4. Finally - start your cruise BEFORE you leave home. Do some pre-cruise shopping. Have a cruise warm up party. Have fun from the moment you leave your front door until the final "luggage scrum" when you leave the ship. And don't stop there. If you have multi hours of wait time at Fort Lauderdale airport, jump on one of the city buses that stop there and sightsee until the end of the line.
 
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