If you are contemplating taking a cruise on the OPERA read this first. I just came back today from a 7 day cruise Jan 29th-Feb 5th 2005 and I must say that this is the most disappointing cruise I ever made (last 7 years). This cruise line will not be around if the attitude of their personnel does not change in the next few months.
On the positive side, getting onboard was quick and easy. The ship is new thus very clean. However many things need a special attention from the top management of the company. I have already given these infos to the hostess of the Opera but I do not know at what stage these comments are going to get lost
1 The magnetic card they provide you to enter your room shows your room no. All hotels and other places that use this system do not show the room no because should someone lose their card , the room could be emptied by whoever should find it.
2 The first morning I went to get a drink from the orange juice fountain on the top deck. It smelled and tasted like it was part orange juice mixed with grapefruit juice. I tried to bring this up with the personnel on the deck but nobody seemed interested. I got in touch with the assistant maitre D later on and explained to him that it could be very dangerous for people who have to take pills with grapefruit juice. He didn't seem to be aware of this but he said that it was impossible that they would have grapefruit juice in the orange dispenser. We were having this discussion beside some people that were sitting at a dining table and they told the asst maitre D that they also were sure that there was at least part of the mixture that contained grapefruit juice. He just walked away. The following day, I went to the Maitre D himself and explained to him the same concern and that I had been in the main dining room where they served real orange juice. He just told me ''then if you want real juice, you just have to come down to this dining room and get some'' I was only trying to be helpful and this is the way you get treated by top management of the ship what can you expect on the way down the ladder. Later on during the week, we did have real orange juice. I am not saying this was done by the ship people, but someone should have the open mind to accept that there is a possibility that there could be a mistake made by someone and take note to correct it
3. The attitude of the waiters is arrogant in many instances. Several times, I returned the food that arrived cold and as soon as I would do this, their attention becomes nil to our needs. They start talking between themselves in Italian about the different guests not knowing that some people will not volunteer the fact they understand Italian. On Thursday noon, there was meatloaf on the menu and when the other couple asked it the meatloaf was made with beef or pork, the girl said that she didn't know and didn't feel the need to find out. 20 minutes later the couple had not been served anything, so they just left. In case you want to know, it is important to know if the meatloaf is made with beef or pork IF YOU ARE JEWISH. When you go to the dining room for breakfast or lunch and you see 8 waiters chatting between themselves and no one comes to serve you because the waiter that serves your table is gone to the kitchen and it seems that only he can serve you coffee or a glass of water, it gets me mad. Saturday morning, I dared to ask one of the other waiter to serve me a cup of coffee and when I took a sip, it tasted exactly like the water that you drink from the faucet in our room CHLORINE
I told the waiter that it tasted awful and he replied to me that I should drink Expresso.
4. When you get onboard your ship, you are completely cut off from the rest of the world. You have 2 preacher channels but not one single news channel so that you know what is going on in the rest of the world. . It would be nice to have at least one location on ship where you could see a news channel CNN, FOX or whatever during the day.
When you get up in the morning, if you happened to be before 6:30 you cannot get any food. Coffee (if you can call it that) is served only on the open deck. It it is windy and cold like it was this week you are out of luck. I wonder what happens to people who are hungry in the middle of the night.
There are no Laundromats on any floor. The only way you can get some clothes cleaned or ironed is thru your services. At $1.15 for a pair of socks and 4$ for a shirt, it turns you off.
The casino is opened only certain hours of the day. You can't play blackjack between 6.30 and 8.30 at night even when you are at sea There are many complaints from the blackjack players about the special rules made by the operating company that stack the odds in their favor. The only place I have seen this in North America is on that ship. The rooms are very small 9 X 15 but that I can live with if the price is advantageous At both St Thomas and Ste Croix, you are stationed at the complete opposite side of the other cruise ships. A 30 minutes ride across the island in the case of Ste Croix. That I can also understand since they are the last kid arrived in the block. BUT..... In St Thomas we got off the ship and we were told there would be buses to take us to town or the other side of the island where all the other major ships were. We got on the bus and halfway between the ship and the town the driver stopped and told us we all had to pay $4 or get off the bus and walk the rest of the way. If we would have been told before getting on the bus that there would a charge of $4 it would have been acceptable but everyone onboard felt that we were being hijacked by the driver.
The food on the top deck is very ordinary and lukewarm at best. I asked for a pepperoni pizza and no kidding there was only 6 little slices of pepperoni on a 12 inch pizza. If you like pasta, you will be happy for 7 days.
On Saturday we were sent to the 12th deck and told to be there for 7:30. We got off only at 10:30. Again I am willing to accept this because MSC has last priority at all ports
I am planning a cruise for next year for the whole family and you can be sure that MSC will not be on my list of options
I met 3 travel agents on the ship that told me the same thing and one of them told me there is travel magazine evaluator that was also onboard and that he felt the same way.
If you intend to have a wonderful experience when you take a cruise, consider Carnival, Celebrity, Sun Princess, Royal Carribean instead .
I strongly would recommend MSC to send their top management on other ships with an open mind attitude to see how American and Canadian people like to be treated. If they are planning to make headway start with Carnival and then when they want to get more money for their rooms, move on to the Princess line and see how people are pampered there instead of being treated like they know nothing about cruises ships..