Cruise Wonderland >> Ship Visits >> MSC Opera


Date: 2012/06/24
Port: Southampton, England
Berth: City Cruise Terminal (Berth 101), Western Docks

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Unless otherwise specified, information in this article was correct at the time of publishing in June 2012.

About MSC Opera

Click on the picture for the virtual ship tour:

About the Visit

MSC Opera Arrived in Southampton MSC Opera at City Cruise Terminal City Cruise Terminal

Mediterranean Shipping Company is one of the world's largest container shipping lines, which started the cruise business in 1989 by acquiring StarLauro Cruises and subsequently renamed it as MSC Cruises. This privately-owned Italian cruise line is nowadays the fourth largest cruise operator in the world, having twelve ships with one more under construction.

In recent years, sailing regions of MSC Cruises' ships include the Mediterranean (year-round), Northern Europe (April to October), as well as the Caribbean, South America, the Middle East and Africa (October to April). Currently no itineraries in Asia Pacific have been introduced yet. Thus it was only my first time to be onboard a ship of this cruise line.

One month before my travel to England, I requested for a ship visit on MSC Opera by sending an email to the Media Relations Department of MSC Cruises (UK). The person-in-charge soon gave a positive reply and provided two places for me and my friend.

On 24th June, MSC Opera arrived in Southampton in an early and cloudy morning, mooring at City Cruise Terminal. Her last port was Bergen and next port would be Ijmuiden/Amsterdam. During the entire summer she would offer a number of sailings to Northern Europe and the Atlantic coast, in which Southampton and Ijmuiden/Amsterdam acted as double homeports. Passengers could choose to embark and disembark at either of these two cities.

We arrived at the cruise terminal at 10:00, half an hour earlier than the scheduled time. It was our first time coming here, and it looked similar to other terminals in Southampton. At 10:30, a long queue with around 100 people started to appear in front of the gate, probably because it was Sunday today. Some passengers also waited for early embarkation at the same place. This resulted in a short period of chaos. The check-in processes were longer than expected but still went smoothly.

Eventually we received our visitor passes, which should be different to those of other people as the word "journalist" was printed on them. After passing through the security check, we came to another waiting lounge and found our group. When all the group members were here, the staff led us to the gangway for embarkation at around 11:00.

Our group was first guided to the highest deck. The tour began from the Byblos Discoteca at Deck 12 aft, followed by the open decks, and other public rooms between Deck 11 and Deck 13. Then we went downstairs for all the remaining indoor facilities on Deck 7, Deck 6 and Deck 5. For details about the ship's amenities, please refer to the virtual ship tour in the previous section. It was, however, a pity that we were not able to see any of the cabins.

The guided tour lasted for 45 minutes which was shorter than the original plan. We were a bit disappointed in having insufficient time to stay at each area and take pictures. Besides, too many people in a group made us difficult to hear what the staff said. MSC Cruises should limit the number of visitors on a single day. Hope the arrangements would be better in the future.

After touring around the ship, a complimentary lunch was served in the La Caravella main restaurant on Deck 5, from 11:45 to 13:15. Then we proceeded to the Caruso Lounge, forward of Deck 7, for a presentation with Q&A time. Tea and coffee were offered here. The event came to an end after that, and we disembarked at around 14:30. MSC Opera set sail from Southampton at 16:00.

Last but not least, we would like to thank Isabella Shadaya and Lee Moult from MSC Cruises (UK) for arranging the visit, which enabled us to know more about the facilities and daily programmes of MSC Opera. We wish to have the opportunity to go onboard another ship of  MSC Cruises' very soon, and also hope to see the ships coming to Asia in the near future.

City Cruise Terminal
Visitor Pass
City Cruise Terminal

Embarkation Le Vele Cafeteria Presentation in Caruso Lounge


A sample lunch was prepared for the visitors. We could order among a number of choices for appetizers, salad, soups, pasta and rice, main courses, cheese and desserts. It was interesting to note that the menu was written in six languages (English, Italian, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese), just like most of the signs and notices onboard.

This was my first time to taste the food onboard a MSC Cruises' ship. The dishes were quite different from those American or British cruise lines, in which a regional Italian style was featured. They are generally acceptable but not surprising. An exception was the pastas, which were varied and therefore worth trying. Food presentation was quite plain with few decorations. Wines and mineral water were free for this lunch, but they would be charged for meals during a normal cruise.

The Indonesian waiter who served us was friendly, yet too busy to look after so many guests. Moreover, the tables were very close together, resulting in a slightly noisy environment. Private conversations and movements became rather difficult.

Lunch Menu


Appetizer (1)
Seafood Cocktail: Baby Shrimps, Scallops
and Calamari served with Pink Sauce

Appetizer (2)
Speck and Kiwi Fruit Rosette
on a Pineapple Carpaccio
Fish and Shellfish Soup with Basil-Scented
Fresh Tomato served with
Roasted Homemade Garlic Toast
Salad of the Day
White Wine & Mineral Water
Pasta (1)
Linguine sautéed with Clams served with Extra
Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic, Chilli Pepper and Parsley
Pasta (2)
Gigli with Tomato Fillets and Basil
Main Course (1)
Roasted Scorpion-Fish Fillet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Mediterranean Herbs served with Saffron Rice Pilaf and Sautéed Snow Peas
Main Course (2)
Baked Leg of Pork in Madeira Wine
Sauce served with Roast Potatoes
and Green Beans wrapped in Bacon
Dessert (1)
Apricot Tart
Dessert (2)
Coconut Cream Cake


Daily Programme

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