The MSC Opera is resuming revenue operations for MSC Cruises today in Genoa, Italy. The vessel is kicking a series of summer cruises in the Western Mediterranean, as the 17th cruise ship to return to service for the industry’s fastest growing cruise company.
With a regular itinerary, the program runs through October and marks the return of Tunisia to MSC’s schedule after a seven-year hiatus.
Departing from Italy, the cruise also sails to Spain and France, with visits to Naples, Palermo, La Goulette, Barcelona, Marseille and Genoa.
Upon concluding the summer program in the Mediterranean, the MSC Opera is set to reposition to the Middle East.
Starting in late November, the vessel will complement MSC’s offering in the region, with itineraries departing from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The MSC Opera debuted in 2004 as MSC Cruises’ second newbuild. A sister to the MSC Lirica, the 65,000-ton vessel was built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard, in St. Nazaire, France.
As part of a €275-million refit plan called Renaissance Program, the ship was enlarged and modernized in mid-2015.
After being cut in half at a drydock in Italy, it received a new 24-meter-long mid-section that allowed the addition of 194 extra cabins, a new lounge and also a kid’s water park, among other features.
Following the refit, which also modernized public areas and existing cabins, the ship’s double capacity was increased to 2,160 guests.
The MSC Opera was drydocked again earlier this month, as it was prepared to resume service.
During the three-week shipyard stay, it underwent routine maintenance, in addition to technical and regulatory work
Continuing the company’s restart program, the Opera is the third vessel to welcome guests back for MSC Cruises this month.
Earlier in April, the MSC Armonia and the MSC Lirica resumed service in the Eastern Mediterranean.
A fourth vessel, the MSC Poesia, is set to return to guest operations soon, launching a program of cruises to Western and Northern Europe on Apr. 30.
Photo: MSC Opera (Photo: JD Schwartz | Tribute Studios)