THE MSC Opera’s first journey of the 2013/14 season is officially under way, with the sleek Italian beauty having cruised into the Port Elizabeth harbour this week after leaving Cape Town on Monday.
Think you use a lot of eggs at home? The Opera has gone through 22000 eggs this week alone… and it’s all because the mainly South African passengers on board really enjoy their hearty breakfasts. Consumption is usually much less when the ship is in European waters, where continental breakfasts sans bacon and egg are much preferred.
So says MSC press officer Ingrid Roding-Tudor, who joined Bay media guests for a languid lunch in the ship’s snazzy La Caravella restaurant on Wednesday.
The cruise, which ended yesterday, also saw several passengers getting on in Port Elizabeth before the ship headed for the open seas and then Durbs.
The Opera first visited South Africa last November at the start of its first ever summer season in our waters.
This time journos were treated to a tour by Tyrone McCann, a chatty Capetonian who has spent the last six years on board various vessels in the MSC cruise liner fleet.
Tyrone pointed out chic restaurants, cafes and bars (I counted more than 10 of them) along the way, drawing attention to trademark Italian touches like public areas enhanced by a sweeping marble reception area and impressive open spaces with glass walls designed to make the most of ocean views.
Many of the crew members are Italian, just like the super-wealthy owner of the entire MSC fleet, Gianluigi Aponte. This means the ship also delivers an authentically Italian experience when it comes to food. However, it was good old South African pinotage served at lunch this time and not chianti – presumably because our lot like their pinotage almost as much as their eggs!
You can however enjoy endless espressos at the ship’s cafes or indulge in hand-made Italian gelato at its ice-cream parlour. You can even take Italian lessons while on board.
Lunches and dinners are no different, with plenty of Italian touches on the menu, including in the form of fresh linguine and Florentine-style poached eggs – yes, eggs! – on toast.
Cruising does represent a good-value holiday option to South Africans as accommodation, meals and entertainment are included in the MSC fare, and under 18s travel for free. For itineraries visit www.msccruises.co.za