The ship visit was in Southampton, unfortunately living in Liverpool and not being able to drive, a 5 Hour train journey is required, so I decided to go down on the Monday and stay overnight in Southampton. I stayed in the etap hotel, which is a sister chain to Ibis, the hotel was basic but for one night at £39, it was value for money. The hotel is right over the road from the station and by the main shopping centre.
The MSC Opera was built in 2004 at Chantiers de l’Atlantique, the same yard that build the Normandy and Queen Mary 2, So has true Atlantic pedigree. She accommodates 2,000 passengers and has 740 Staff. As the last vessel in the Lirica class her sisters are MSC Lirica, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Armonia. She has 4 restaurants, 6 bars and 2 pools. MSC is a true European Cruise Line with its customers coming from across the EU.
The day started at Southampton’s City Cruise Terminal, where we where process through security and welcomed onboard the vessel. In total there was around 25 people on the tour, which included a mixture of new cruisers, regulars and travel agents.
The tour was conducted by one of the cruise lines social hosts, who walked us around the various areas onboard, he provided an interesting insight into how each of the lounges, bars and restaurants worked when the vessel was on a cruise. My favourite room being the Disco, looking out over the back of the ship. The outside area ‘Il Patio open Restuarant’ was a great area next below the funnel.
MSC Opera has an excellent theatre with 99% of seats having unobstructed views (a few seats at the back are slightly obstructed). We were also shown some of the cabins; an inside double, outside double and outside twin. All other cabin grades were full. These rooms are decent sized, with large bathrooms.
Afterwards there was a short question and answer session, where you can ask questions about MSC’s cruise products across the fleet and offers available. Following this we were taken to the dining room for a six course lunch, wine and soft drink where also available.
The food was amazing, I had a delicious soup and the sirloin steak was the best I have ever had. MSC also has amazing real Italian Ice Cream which I recommend!
Overall I think the ship looks great and I would definitely recommend it, if the effort that was put into the ship visit is matched by the cruise you will have an excellent time.
MSC has 11 vessels, and MSC Opera is currently operating on cruises out of Southampton Exploring Northern Europe, the Baltics, and a new cruise sailing to Amsterdam, La Rochelle, Bilbao and La Coruna. Check www.msccruises.co.uk if you are interested.
MSC has a very interesting all-inclusive package, which can make the cost of the cruise much more defined from the outset, and I think it is an interesting concept, one which I will write about in a future blog post sometime next week. We have also posted additional pictures from the day on our Facebook page so have a look.
The MSC Staff were really helpful and interesting, I would like to thank them for the great day 😀
MSC Cruises – www.msccruises.co.uk