MSC Opera was hands down one of the best cruises my family and I have ever taken. Not to mention the great value.
We booked the cruise in a guaranteed cabin (level 1) and were bumped to a level 4 room (inside state rooms). Our travel agent, while trying to keep the family cabins together, inadvertently split the family onto different sides of the ship (who would have known that 9207 and 9208 weren't close to each other???). We spoke with housekeeping about the situation and they quickly remedied the problem by moving my parents to an empty cabin on the same side of the ship I was on. :)
Our cruise started in Fort Lauderdale, went to Key West, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and the Roatan Islands. I purchased 2 shore excursions. The one in Grand Cayman was called the Cheeseburger Snorkel. It was an awesome trip that explored a local ship wreck site and a coral reef that was in front of the Burger King. The snorkel ships captain was a riot and very knowledgeable. My father and I had a blast. The second excursion we purchased was for the Roatan Islands. This was our first stop in Honduras, and we explored the butterfly and botanical gardens. My daughter liked the little shops we found...especially when one of the locals gave her a little Honduran doll to take home!
The rooms are smaller than those on Carnival, but there is ample storage space (including beds that sit higher off the floor so that your luggage can be stored beneath the bed). The bathrooms are small (as they are on most ships), but I found the shower best suited for someone my 3 year old daughter's size. Each night I had what I affectionately dubbed the shower curtain wrestle. My mother solved the shower space problem by not turning the water on full force and leaving the shower curtain opened. I wish I had thought of that one!
On our first morning aboard, we met Bappoo, one of the wait staff in the Patio Restaurant. Bappoo found us a table and then told us if we came to his side of the ship for breakfast and lunch, he would take care of us....and take care of us he did. It soon became a joke that if we got up to fill our iced tea or coffee glasses you had to watch out for Bappoo. He would rush to meet your every need. In fact, on our last day at sea, my daughter dropped her spoon. Before I had even noticed her picking it up, Bappoo had replaced the dirty spoon with a new one. Now that is service!
The food aboard was excellent. There were plenty of choices that ranged from Hamburgers and hotdogs to Ethnic cuisine. The deserts were good, but not the overly sweet ones we Americans are often used to. The risotto served in the restaurant each night was to die for!
The entertainment was top notch...not the ordinary bad lounge singers you normally see on board a cruise ship. The magician was very good as were the gymnasts. The animation staff was AWESOME! Each night before the shows, the animation staff would come up with a new way to entertain the audience. One night, they followed passengers looking for seats in the theater around, and quietly slipped into the seat they were about to sit down in. Needless to say, it really surprised everyone...including my father who they played the trick on!
Like I said before, this was an outstanding cruise and I will definitely look to MSC to book further cruises!