MSC Opera – Blackout & Mutiny, High Drama on the Baltic

The good news is that the events were more like the Carnival Splendor than the Titanic.  No one died. No ships were lost to icebergs.  Nevertheless, there was high drama, bordering on the operatic, on the cruise ship MSC Opera on its voyage from Southhampton to the Baltic last month.   There was a blackout, the ship adrift,  a passenger mutiny and the detention of the ship by the authorities.  Now that the ship is back in service, it seems worthwhile to take a look at the unsuccessful cruise.

As the curtain rises, the cruise ship MSC Opera arrived in early May in Southampton for its debut call on the port.   The ship sailed on May 7th on a ten day cruise in the Baltic with 1,700 passengers aboard. On May 14, day seven of the cruise,  the ship went dark.  MSC said that there was a mechanical  failure, which cut power to the ship’s engine’s and hotel service.  The ship drifted for almost three days,  before tugs arrived and towed her into the Swedish port of Nynashamn near Stockholm. In the mean time, there was no lighting, heating, hot food or drinks. There was also no running water and the toilets were not functioning.  The 1,700 passengers where not happy.  There are reports of a passenger mutiny, which appears to have been quelled, at least in part,  by free drinks.  When the ship arrived in Sweden, the passengers were given vouchers for the cost of the cruise and flown home.

After two weeks of repairs, the Opera returned to Southampton to begin another cruise only to be detained by British authorities for “for safety code violations.”   Last Friday the ship was finally allowed to sail.

Coincidentally, while the drama aboard the Opera was unfolding, seven smugglers were convicted and sentenced to a total of 84 years in prison for attempting to smuggle 35 kilos of the cocaine into Dover last year by cruise ship.  The cruise ship  – the MSC Opera.

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4 Responses to MSC Opera – Blackout & Mutiny, High Drama on the Baltic

  1. One hopes that these reports are the subject of meetings at all cruise line marketing departments. The overblown hype that is put out gives the impression to passengers that nothing ever goes wrong on board cruise ships. Nothing could be further from the truth. With the socialist thinking of Europeans they expect everything done for them and indeed marketing plays on that. Once something does go wrong then the passengers are entitled to a full clear explanation from Command NOT bovine scatology from the Cruise Director (CD). It is a good idea to have statements prepared in the Standard Operating Procedures Manual (SOPM)for these situations and make sure all Staff keep to the SOPM. There have been several incidents recently of CD’s behaving like total nautical clowns.

    Good Watch.

  2. Carole Jamieson says:

    As one of the passengers I was dismayed at the problems experienced on this trip. OF EVEN GREATER SIGNIFICANCE IS THE MISMANAGEMENT OF THE SITUATION. The lack of information and consultation was what really angered the passengers. The breakdown was an accident, the failure to discuss it and the repercussions of it was a deliberate decision. A delegation attempted to arrange a meeting with the captain and/or senior officers to discuss concerns but to no avail. This alone is significant as a serious fault in the system. It is my opinion that handled differently and significantly better the outome would have minimal distress and far less hostile passengers emerging from this experience. Onshore assistance and information promised for disembarking passengers never materialised and the hordes of passengers sent to Allendra airport stood in queues for in my case three and three quarter hours before being checked in. There was no provision for the elderly or those with young children and water and panini were provided only after discussing our plight with the airport manager. One english passenger was knocked over at one stage and another eldeerly woman collapsed and was attended by a paramedic. At one stage I counted 247 people still ahead of us in our queue which was one of three. On asking the airport manager whether more staff could be brought in to assist he replied that there was no one else available at all. He said he had not been advised by MSC of the magnitude of the situation ubtil 45 minutes before the first charter airplane arrived which is just another huge failure. After queing from 8.45pm our promised 2.00am flight was cancelled and we were taken to a hotel arriving at 3.30am.
    The whole thing was a complete nightmare.The paper pushed under our cabin door advising that we would receive a voucher for a replacement trip to be taken before December 2012 is a joke. Now three weeks after the end of the trip no voucher or any other communication has been received. There has been a debit to my Visa account for onboard and tour charges without an explanation or breaakdown of this amount.
    I have applied to MSC for a full refund and will comment again when I have had a reply.

  3. CAROLE JAMIESON: This is not my Blog and it would be most kind of you if you would please consider sending this comment to mine at This weekend I wrote a Post which included a reference to the MSC Opera behaviour. Thank you and thanks Rick.

    Good Watch.

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