An inside view of MSC Opera
On the 14th of august 2012, I had the opportunity to visit MSC Opera and I was really curious to what the ship looked like. Most ships I have visited so far are Costa ships, also Italian but very much American orientated. I knew MSC is much more known for their sophisticated, charming interiours so I was really keen of seeing one of their ships.
The main antrance to the ship is of course the central Atrium, spread through two decks so not too big. Central piece of this atrium is the split staircase, in soft cream and gold colouring, in front of the large mirror. A mozaic floor and plants give the space a totally different atmosphere then the atriums aboard the large Costa ships I visited before. A duty-free shop is situated next to the atrium, as well as of course the reception desk, shown below.
The largest space aboard MSC Opera is definitely the theater, located at two decks, but without the usual balcony. The entrance of the theater, called the Teatro dell'Opera, is at Otello Deck (6). The theater is shown below.
There are two main restaurants aboard, the largest is located at Aida Deck (5), and is called La Caravella. It is a partioned restaurant, consisting out of several smaller dining area's so it keeps some intimacy. The second main restaurant is located one deck higher, overlooking the ships stern at Otello Deck (6). This restaurant is called L'approdo and some nice decorations at the walls are themed by bygone oceanliners. The L'approdo restaurant is shown below, followed by a detail of the decoration.
Of course, a ship the size of MSC Opera also feautures a buffetrestaurant, that has also some nice decorations and looks quite sophisticated. The restaurant is called Le Vele Cafetaria and is located at the stern of the ship on Tosca Deck (11). The bar of the restaurant is shown on the next picture, topped by large decorative statues.
At the same Tosca Deck, close to the ships two central swimming pools and lido decks, is also an outside restaurant called Il Patio. Although it is very close to the mostly busy lido, it still looked as if t still has some relaxed atmosphere, not overrun by the excitement closeby. The bar is topped off by a large parasol, creating some shades seating.
Of course, it is also possible to have a drink just next to the busy lido, when you just have enjoyed a swim in one of the pools. This drink can be ordered from Lo Spinnaker Bar, located just forward of the large lido. Just above the bar, a small deck of sunbathing space is topped by a waterfall flowing down the wall.
The ships main lido deck has two rather large swimmingpools, both having a seperate part for younger children. In between the pools are two whirlpools situated for some extra relaxation. Around the pools is a vast sunbathing space in a busy but very friendly style. Just towards the stern, an overhanging skybridge gives a nice view of the lido deck, and it's also from where the next picture was taken. Today, it seemed that a lot of passengers were not eager to leave the sunny decks for a tour of Amsterdam, they definitely preferred some relaxation aboard. Maybe that's just one disadvantage of the port of IJmuiden, that on hot, sunny days an hour in a tourbus to Amsterdam is sometimes just not that desirable when these two great swimmingpools are looking just as nice. The outside decks can also be used for some sporting activities, these is a miniature golfcourse, a jogging track and of course the possibility to play shuffleboard.
I was rather surprised by the ships discotheque, because it hardly looks like one. It mostly is looking just like a friendly decorated bar at one of the highest decks of the ships, La Boheme Deck (12), overlooking the stern.There is a dancefloor, of course, but it doesnt seem to be the central focus. This said, it still looks like a great place to be at night and on the dancefloor it seems there is a nice amount of space to spent your late-night hours. The Byblos Discoteca and dancefloor are seen below.
In comparisment with the gymnasiums I have seen aboard the ships of Costa, the one at MSC Opera is rather small and situated overlooking the bow at Tosca Deck (11). Besides the gymnasium, there is a beauty parlour, a picture of this space can be seen below the one from the gymnasium, a steamroom, sauna and the MSC Aurea Spa.
The MSC Opera also gives you a chance to prove your luck in the Montecarlo Casino, a not too large space on Otello Deck (6). Sadly, the pictures I took here are not of the quality I want them to be, so I can only asure you there really is a casino onboard... The ship also has two main lounges, the largest is the Caruso Lounge, shown below on the first page. Here is also a small stage and dancefloor in addition to the Byblos Discoteca. The Caruso Lounge is situated at the most forward part of the ship at Rigoletto Deck (7). One deck below, on Otello Deck, the other main lounge is called the Cotton Club. Centerpiece here is a large piano and this space really has more a clublike ambiance.
When you rather avoid mass-market cruiselines and their glittery Las Vegas styles cruiseliners, but you do want to sail onboard a ship that has lots to offer for the passengers, the Lirica-class ships may be just the thing you want to try out. Their style is truly European and especially Italian, in a very friendly admosphere. Nothing on board is too big, that gives an intimate feeling. It is said of this class of ship, that it is amazing how many public rooms there are aboard, especially considering the number of passengers carried.