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Sail Date: February 2014
On a random visit to our Travel Agents to check out something different for a holiday in February we were offered an attractive cruise deal with MSC Lirica to UAE. This included two extra nights stay in a four star hotel in Dubai with ... Read More
On a random visit to our Travel Agents to check out something different for a holiday in February we were offered an attractive cruise deal with MSC Lirica to UAE. This included two extra nights stay in a four star hotel in Dubai with transfers between both, on board spending money and an attractive drinks package, so we set out on this cruise with an open mind having previously had three previous excellent enjoyable cruises with P&O (1) and Princess (2). We were not to be disappointed with our choice. Well of course, just like you are doing now, we read the cruise reviews to see what we could expect and would wish to make the following observations following earlier comments: Yes, check-in procedures were very slow due to large passenger numbers arriving at the same time, but we were immediately allowed on to the ship and had access to our rooms at 10 o’clock in the morning. Yes, the ship is dated and tired looking but the cleanliness throughout could not be faulted. There were more than enough staff cleaning, tidying and keeping the ship spotless. Yes, the Cruise Director was very tiring which his introductions in four different languages but the overall entertainment was of a high standard, the best we’d experienced anywhere. The Hollywood musicals show was very good and The Michael Jackson tribute was superb although I was expecting more from the Frank Sinatra experience on the last night. The Assistant C D made a point of mixing and meeting with us and should be promoted to CD immediately. Yes, the shore excursions are limited but we would highly recommend using the free shuttle bus to the Oceanic Hotel in Khor Al Fakkan and ensure you pay a very small sum for a sumptuous lunch. Well worth having. Yes, some of the staff appeared disinterested and were not overly eager to be polite and helpful but we found our restaurant waiter (Wira) and cabin steward to be exemplary. Extra waiters could however be employed in the bar areas though to cut long waiting times. Yes, the food is not what we are used to but we were on an Italian ship so had to adjust accordingly. There was plenty to eat although with first sitting in the restaurant it meant we were hurried on two nights to finish up quickly and leave ready for the next sitting to arrive. This précis is not intended to be derogatory as overall we enjoyed ourselves immensely and had a lovely break. Every-one we spoke to appeared to be having a good time with few complaints amongst them. We met some fantastic fellow cruisers who we shall keep in touch with in the future. Without being pedantic our one small gripe arrived on the very last day. Along with one other couple, we were due to be picked up by mini bus from our luxury hotel at 6.30 am and driven to the airport for our onward journey. At 7.00 am and no sign of any transport or information to the contrary we had to hastily make our own arrangements to ensure we arrived in good time for a 9.30 am flight. I will be contacting MSC for an explanation, would I cruise with MSC again, Yes, maybe but only if I get a satisfactory response. I would be happy to answer any questions if you will be travelling on this ship soon.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2014
After the Christmas celebrations were over we decided we would shoot off somewhere warm to combat our UK weather. A UAE cruise fitted the bill and looking at the available cruises we had a choice of MSC or Costa. We had cruised with both ... Read More
After the Christmas celebrations were over we decided we would shoot off somewhere warm to combat our UK weather. A UAE cruise fitted the bill and looking at the available cruises we had a choice of MSC or Costa. We had cruised with both companies previously but we opted for MSC as a 7 night cruise was offered rather than a 6 night with Costa, although both liners were back in Dubai for the last day. This is a great idea so you are able to see something of your departure city. We tried to book the MSC Lirica cruise and flights but all the allocated flights were full from Gatwick. We had read of cruisers having to fly overnight and having to leave their cabins at 2.30am to connect with their flight home. We were relieved that we could fly at our convenience. We decided to fly with Emirates and fly out to Dubai on the 16th giving us one full day to explore before joining Lirica on the 18th. On closer research Emirates offered some favourable rates, booking flights and hotels at the same time. We opted for sensible times to fly and booked 2 nights at the Rose Rayhaan Hotel in Central Dubai. We booked the cruise direct with MSC and chose cabin 9144, an outside berth with 2 single beds, midships. The next 2 weeks flew by and we obtained Dirhams and Euros from the local post office which offered reasonable rates and gave us usable cash on landing in Dubai. Our flight, 6.1/2 hours was comfortable and we were well fed. We landed at 8.15pm and after the usual queues to get through passport control and collecting our luggage, headed for the taxi rank. A point of interest here is that the pink top taxis have female drivers and will take ladies only or escorted ladies, in their cabs. The fare with tip to the hotel, about 5 miles, was 80 dirhams approx. £13.00. On checking in at the Rose Rayhaan we were asked if we would like to upgrade to a corner suite for an extra 200 dirhams (approx.£34) for the 2 nights. We agreed and were soon zooming up to the 47th floor to our suite which was sumptious to put it mildly. We slept well and had a buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant and were ready for a day of sight seeing. We chose the hop-on hop-off buses to see as much as possible and took a taxi to the Grand Mall to buy our tickets for one days travel 220 dirhams (£37 each). The blue route lasts 2.3/4 hours and we toured the waterfront, skyscrapers, Palm Island, the World etc and stopped for lunch at the WAFI Mall (very Egyptian) where we could change over to the red route which included an hour on a dhow on the Dubai Creek. We also visited the Museum, Spice and Gold Markets and before we realised it the day was over and it was time to make our way back to the hotel for dinner and bed. The sightseeing was brilliant with temperatures in the low 80's f, just amazing. After breakfast the next morning we booked out and took a taxi to the cruise terminal. We arrived at about 11.00am, booked in and went straight on board and made our way to our cabin. While we waited for our luggage to arrive we explored Lirica. We had been on MSC Poesia and Magnifica and Lirica was noteably smaller but the ship was modern, clean and well proportioned. Our cabin was excellent, a 3 berth and was configured as a double which our cabin maid soon changed to the singles we had ordered which gave us plenty of space between the beds. The downside of MSC is there are no tea/coffee facilities in the cabins but without giving things away, there are ways of overcoming this slight criticism. Our shower room was adequate and not cramped and we have to add our cabin maid renewed towels etc. whether we had used them or not, sometimes 3 times a day. Likewise, our cabin was kept spotless at all times. We had booked La Bussola Restaurant on deck 5 for dinners and we used this venue for most breakfasts, lunches and dinners. We had a table for 4 and were sat with a lovely couple from Wolverhampton who were always interesting to talk to over dinner. As we don't drink that much we didn't take up the offer of the drinks package but opted to buy a bottle of wine for dinner, it was held over to the next night to finish it, this worked well for us. We did discover that some of the cruisers that had travelled overnight had been given a drinks package, perhaps this was an extra bonus for them. To sum up the food on board, bear in mind that MSC is an Italian cruise company so the majority of the food is Italian orientated, lots of fish, pasta etc. Also, think on the fact that Italians have warm food on cold plates, unlike us in the UK having hot food on hot plates, most, if not all the food in the restaurant is good to excellent. In the Le Bistrot Buffet on deck 11 it was very much pot luck, sometimes the food was good and sometimes not so good. The 24 hour tea and coffee station was on deck 11 just outside the buffet. At selected times there was pizza and pastries also available on deck 11. Entertainment on board was varied with something for everyone, we opted for 1st sitting for dinner (6.30pm) and went to the Broadway Theatre for the evening shows. A point here is the access to the Broadway Theatre is from deck 6 or through the 'smoking area' Lord Nelson Pub on deck 5, so if you don't like smokey smells, sit well away from the areas close to the deck 5 entrance. The shows we saw had the same backdrop for the whole week. The shows consisted of dancing, singing and speciality acts. There were different themes each night, including, Broadway hits, Temptation, The Four Musketeers, Cuore Italiano, Starwalker (Michael Jackson tritute) and Frank Forever (Frank Sinatra tribute). The shows generally were good but in our opinion deteriorated slightly as the week progressed (purely our opinion). It should be noted that each evening we were issued with 'The Daily Program' for the next day which listed all the details, weather forecast, opening times and answers to most cruisers questions. Gratuities on board are 7 Euros per person per night which is optional and we requested a reduction so that we could tip individually. On our mid week invoice this was not detailed but on the final invoice the gratuities were cancelled completely, so we tipped accordingly to the very deserving staff. Excursions, we booked all through MSC and we were quite happy with all the tours. Yes, they maybe more expensive than private/taxis but if you are happy with what is offered on board, then go with it. The highlights of the excursions were the visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi and the dhow cruise on the fjords in Khasab (Oman ) and to see the dolphins playing in the wake between two dhows was amazing. On all the outings we went on we were offered free water and on the dhow we were offered water, fruit and soft drinks, again all free. To answer some questions about disembarking , our flight did not leave until 2.45pm so we stayed on board until 11.00am. We did have to vacate our cabin by 7.30am. Our summing up of our cruise and visit to the United Arab Emirates is summed up with two words, 'AMAZING and BRILLIANT'. The overall cost was very reasonable and we considered good value for money. Wouild we do it again ? - You bet, as soon as possible. Ken and Maureen (alias B and S) Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We have family in Dubai so it is handy to visit them in January and then to tag on a week long cruise before flying home. Unfortunately RCI seem to have pulled out of the Dubai to Dubai cruise so you have the choice of MSC Lirica or Costa. ... Read More
We have family in Dubai so it is handy to visit them in January and then to tag on a week long cruise before flying home. Unfortunately RCI seem to have pulled out of the Dubai to Dubai cruise so you have the choice of MSC Lirica or Costa. With memories of the Concordia episode, we were not keen to go on Costa so it was Lirica. We had been on the ship a couple of years ago and in my review I said I would not be in a hurry to go back on it. Just shows what a knock down price can do to alter opinions!! We did cruise only having arranged our own flights and we bought into the premium allegrissimo drinks package. We did this last time and it worked well for us. Last time we had an inside cabin on deck 9. I did not like it because of the lack of daylight and also the cabin seemed cramped. This time we booked an outside cabin, still on deck 9 having decided it was not worth the extra money for a balcony cabin on deck 10, especially as some people had said these cabins are noisy being below the pool and buffet deck. We had also asked for the sleeping arrangements to be 2 single beds instead of one king size. The cabin we booked was the same size as the inside one last time so we were rather apprehensive about being cramped again. However as soon as we opened the door we were delighted. The 2 beds were by opposite walls which gave a good clear space to move around in right opposite the window. It seemed that the cabin was a lot bigger than last time just by altering the beds configuration. The only downside to the cabin is the size of the shower cubicle which is impossibly small. Everyone complains about this. Otherwise, Sura, our cabin attendant did a good job and everything was done, towels cleaning etc. No complaints. Also there was loads of hot water in the bathroom. We had a table for 6 in the Bussola restaurant for evening dinner, first sitting. The other 4 were all from the UK and we had a good laugh with them. The food was fine but too much to eat, especially if you had the pasta course - half as much would have been plenty. There was a good choice on the menu and they have an "always available" menu as well. We ate breakfast in the Bistro buffet at the back of the ship. This remains the absolute worst aspect of this ship. The place is cramped to the extent that all of the seats cannot be used as there is not enough space for people to move about. What it must be like in the middle of summer with children running around is too much to think about. The food is usually lukewarm, even the fried eggs first thing in the morning were cold. At least they had got rid of the ghastly blue plastic mugs which appeared when we were last on the ship and they are now large crockery ones. The food was a little better at lunchtime with a good selection of sandwiches, pizzas, pasta and other hot dishes. We love the layout and decor of the bars throughout the ship and think they are better than any we have been in on P&O. This is Italian ambience at its best. Of course having the drinks package took the pressure off wondering what the on board account would be like!! We thought the staff were really good and service excellent in the bars and the Bussola restaurant. The ship is spotless everywhere. Full marks here. We did not bother getting off at any of the ports as we had been to most of them before so it was a real "chill out" trip. Check in at Dubai was speedy and easy, as was disembarkation. Another plus was that I never had to queue once at reception. I purchased internet wifi time. Not cheap and it was clear that they don't let you download everything as I wanted to download our usual newspaper each day. No luck on the ship but it was instant as soon as were at Dubai. So we enjoyed the trip (apart from the buffet) and it was nice being on a smaller ship. No hassle over sunbeds, good weather and drinks. What more could you want? Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My Wife and I decided to do a Cruise this Christmas to get away from it all. We flew to Dubai on the 20th December from Dublin, good flight. The Hotel overnight supplied in Dubai was excellent and we were up graded to a Junior Suite(not ... Read More
My Wife and I decided to do a Cruise this Christmas to get away from it all. We flew to Dubai on the 20th December from Dublin, good flight. The Hotel overnight supplied in Dubai was excellent and we were up graded to a Junior Suite(not sure why). Breakfast next morning and transfer/embarking the Ship was very smooth and painless. Accommodation was an Ocean View Stateroom which was first class. Everything about the Cruise was, in our opinion, excellent from the food to the all inclusive Drinks Package. I would recommend that people do one of these Drinks Inclusive Packages as drink can be expensive and the package will pay for itself in a matter of days. This was our first Cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised. The Dining provided something for everyone, be it a casual buffet on the 12th deck or a Formal Gala sit down meal in pleasant company. We found all the food to be excellent. All staff from waiting to bar staff were very helpful and courteous. The tipping is added to your bill at the end and costs €7 per person per day. we asked to have this removed at the beginning (it was removed on the end bill) and we tipped the staff we felt appropriate, i.e. the Cabin Stewart, our main Waiters and certain Bar Staff. I believe all were happier with this arrangement. Only two things we were not delighted with were two Ports, Kasab and Al Fackat which had nothing to see at all. in Kasab we did a bus trip supplied by MSC into town for ten Euros only to get straight back on it and return to the Ship. One observation that we both made was a couple of individuals, one a Family and one a Couple who had previously availed of 5/7 star cruises on the Princes and Royal Caribbean lines. They complained bitterly and constantly and out everything from food to entertainment. One of these actually compared the food on the Lirica as being comparable to being the difference between your "local chippy and a four star Michelin Restaurant". Fine, if that is the case pay for the 7 star cruise and don't complain about being on a four star one! All in all, a wonderful experience and one I would recommend and hope to do again this year if at all possible. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
The MSC Lirica is a medium ship, doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the mega ships but nether less is spotless and service was great. Our teenage family tend to go for an itinary that will engage the kids and this was ticked ... Read More
The MSC Lirica is a medium ship, doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the mega ships but nether less is spotless and service was great. Our teenage family tend to go for an itinary that will engage the kids and this was ticked the boxes. First the ship, seemed identical to the Opera we sailed on in August so new our way roun. This is an Italian ship so dinner is a 7 course Mediterranean affair, no steak, burgers etc but salads, pastas and seafood. With the size you do not get any speciality restaurants. For breakfast we always ate in the MDR not the buffet and was great the rest of the time we were off ship. There is a smoking bat at the one end of the Ship. As this was Christmas there was a great Christmas theme, however, the Xmas service was in Italian. If the shows are vital to you cruise enjoyment, choose another line as it is very Western European, not great from a Brit point of view but not high on my agenda. Arrived from Birmingham at around 7:30 into Dubai, immigration is slow but we will still on board for 10:00 am. The downside to this is disembarkment was at 4:00 am the following Saturday. Dubai Please note there is free wifi in the cruise terminal. We arrived early so took a taxi tour. The taxis are plentiful even for our party of 7. The taxi drivers are all tour guides. Negotiate your price. Typically 500 dirhams for 6 hours, 300 for 3. We visited the deira gold souk, the creek,the magnificent park Hyatt hotel, the Egyptian themed Raffles hotel,the palace,dubathe Flamingos and finally dropped off at the Dubai Mall to go up the Burj Khalifa. Tip pre book online, save yourself a lot of money plus choose a time of your choice. The Dubai Mall is the largest in the world and includes an ice rink, an aquarium and dancing fountains! All on board for 5:30. Abu Dhabi Again taxi tour 300 dirhams as the party wanted to get back for 2:00. The Mosque is fantastic and clothes are provided for women to cover up, cruise card will do as I'd, saw the Sultan's palace, the marina, the F1 circuit and Ferrari world. Sea day ; rained all day!!!!!!!!! Khor fakkan Had a fantastic day at the beach at the lovely 4 star Oceanic Hotel. Take the shuttle bus out of port. Then take the free shuttle bus to the Hotel. The day pass costs 65 dirhams per adult (12 and over) and must be paid in cash. For that you get free towels, sunbed and lounges on beach or pool and a fantastic buffet lunch including non alcoholic drinks. Free wifi in hotel. Never seen so many staff in a hotel. Free shuttle return at 3,3:30 and 4. Muscat Boat docks at Muttrah, old part of Muscat. As this was Xmas day we just wandered around the Souks bartering for fancy dress for New Year and the fish market. Easy to walk to keep the sea on your left 10 minutes. Remember Omani Rial is currency but euros accepted as normal currency, 1 rial is 2 euros. If you prefer taxi tour again plentiful waiting to be negotiated!!!!! Khasab Another favourite day. We pre booked a Dhow tour with Khourshem Tours. A full day visiting telegraph and seema Islands, lunch, snorkelling,equipment and towels provided and non alcoholic drinks cost 32 euros per person. Approx 17 on board. We saw bottle neck Dolphins close up and the Coral round the islands meant some great fish. Very chilled day, the 6 hours flew by. Dubai. For us the kids wanted to go to Wild Wadi by the magnificent Burj Al Arab and part of the jumeirah beach hotel. Wow what a view. Tip buy one get one free vouchers form the Dubai Entertainer are available on ebay for a few pounds.235 dirhams to get in. All in all fantastic taste of the Middle East .   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
The LIRICA was ok, I don't think we will cruise with them again though because their service is so inconsistent. We booked a junior suite with a balcony. Good Bits:- - Lots of staff at the airport, made finding the coach easy. - ... Read More
The LIRICA was ok, I don't think we will cruise with them again though because their service is so inconsistent. We booked a junior suite with a balcony. Good Bits:- - Lots of staff at the airport, made finding the coach easy. - Moved quickly through the queue at the terminal for check in. - After the Airport, they took care of the suitcases and got them to the right room. - Designated disabled entrance and security helped onto the ship. - A member of staff pushed the wheel chair user to our room. - There were never any broken down lifts. - the ship was spotlessly clean and the cabin steward was really helpful. - Loads of storage space in the cabin, more than we needed. - Designated disabled sun beds by the pool. - designated disabled tables in the buffet restaurant. - A few nice members of staff who opened doors for us. - Assistance provided for getting off the ship and they took care of the suitcases off the ship and onto the port. - Lots of people from lots of different nationalities on board. - Catered for as many languages as possible. - Easy transfers to coach from ship on Excursions. - Oman Excursions well organised and enjoyable. - Restaurant staff in the sit down restaurant pushed wheel chair user to table most of the time. - Security always helped get on and off ship. - Reasonable choice of duty free shops for a small ship. Bad Bits - No information or welcome from the rep on the coach. - Lifts only big enough for one wheel chair + 3 people and were very slow. - Below decks had high bumps round doors which were difficult with the wheel chair. - Some staff were very miserable and unhelpful, I.e. Trying to order an ice cream Sunday. - If able bodied people used Disabled designated tables in the buffet, no one moved them. - Attitude from Excursion desk that disabled people should either stay on ship, or if they do go off ship, they should not get off the coach, and shouldn't have more than a 4 hour excursion. We think we were told an excursion was sold out when it wasn't because they didn't want a wheel chair user on it. - Disabled sun Beds a long way from the pool. - Lack of information throughout, we were late leaving for two excursions but no one told us why. - expectation that wheel chair user should walk when out on excursions. - Food was mediocre and the buffet bar lacked choice, only catering for Italian tastes. - No Assistance in the buffet bar which meant my husband and I continually ate separately. I pushed him round and got him seated then by the time I got my food he had finished. - Gala night the majority of passengers did not dress up but were not turned away, several wearing jeans. the dress was supposed to be dinner jacket and cocktail dress. casual dress was only meant to be in the buffet. - Only one pillow each in the cabin. - No chocolates on the pillow when the bed was turned down. It was ok, we went with Thomson last cruise we did which was superb, going on Thomson again on our next cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Although i enjoyed the cruise on Lirica I would have to state MSC is a budget line and so what you would expect from Cunard is not what you get on the Lirica. The embarkation procedures leave a to to be desired with being pushed form one ... Read More
Although i enjoyed the cruise on Lirica I would have to state MSC is a budget line and so what you would expect from Cunard is not what you get on the Lirica. The embarkation procedures leave a to to be desired with being pushed form one area to another and then having people shoving packages for drinks etc in your face. Why do Aussies have their passport confiscated for the entire trip? It is demanded you hand over your passport only to discover they have no security with keeping them safe.They get shoved in a drawer. i am security conscious and to not have my passport on me is not what I would call safe. it is hammered by Australian authorities that passports should be kept safe at all times not matter where you are and from what I saw the MSC policy is not caring about safety.Then to have the passport delivered to my cabin by the cabin steward on the last day and dumped on the bed is ridiculous to say the least. I wonder how many people got the wrong passport? The meals were adequate but often not hot. The first night I had mussels and they were stone motherless cold. Yuk! I was seated at a table for two with a non English speaking person and so was not impressed at being sat behind a pole. The waiter for this table was rude and arrogant and his service manner was terrible. Eventually after gluggy risotto i complained and demanded to be shifted to a larger table for the remainder of the trip. I have to praise the head waiter Luigi for being sympathetic to my needs and realising that the service I had been given on the first day was totally inadequate. I was reseated for the remainder of the trip and he went out of his way to ensure I was getting the proper service. The meals were of European style and adequate. Many of the meals were lukewarm and the time between courses varied until at the finish were rushed through and had finished all courses within an hour. The meals lacked style and I will never order risotto again - do not like gluggy rice. The buffet was adequate but once again the hot food was lukewarm and the fried eggs at 6.45am were already cold and with runny whites. Considering the buffet opens at 6.30 this was not good enough. The head waiter here was on the ball and kept his staff on their toes. If he heard a complaint he was right on it. Salads were great and the array of sweet dishes was amazing. Fruit was there for the taking and I would grab a couple of pieces to munch on if I was going on an excursion. It was like a Coles lineup for the food but if people were disciplined in line everything was ok. My cabin was an Ocean view and was decorated nicely. It is adequate for one person but should be squashy for two. The showers were hot and good pressure but do not try to bend or move around much as the shower curtain wrapped around you and you banged elbows on the walls. the TV was an old one and it had trouble changing stations with the remote. Often we could not get the BBC, the only English Channel which gave news of happenings around the world. Then there was no reception at all and we could only get the movies which were a rehash of movies from at least 4 years ago. I initially had trouble with the daily communications being delivered in Deutsch so after the 4th time of complaining I became tetchy and this was immediately rectified. It should not have happened that many times. If you made a complaint it was not followed through especially when one of my friends was bodily tipped off a deck lounge by a German man who objected to her sitting there and then threw her handbag across the deck, and the white dressed officer did nothing when told about it and said her to complain to Reception. Really! What if she had been injured from this altercation? And as for the policy about towels. This was never followed through and I counted 30 towels left out overnight on one occasion, and not collected. This is slack and happened time and time again. Most of the staff were delightful and tried to sort out any queries.There were one or two girls on Reception who need to learn public relations skills and it seemed to be my bad luck to get one of them if I had a query. The Excursions desk personnel were lovely and helpful and Alina came on many of the excursions I was on so she could familiarise herself with tours. The complaint I would raise with excursions was that the ship need to be up to date with what is happening on shore with events. In Piraeus we did not see all of the things listed on our tour because of a marathon being run in the city. Surely there is a way of knowing what is happening beforehand so the guests are not inconvenienced. The classic answer to this was that they do not operate the tours. Not true as they use these operators exclusively so there should be liaison with them for the unexpected happening. This was my second visit to Piraeus and once agin I did not get to see what I wanted. Next time I am inclined to organise my own outings so I get value for money. Organisation on the MSC ships appears to be disjointed to say the least. I would have to say they could not organise their way out of a wet paper bag. Chaos reigned on excursion days and departments did not liaise with one another. Trying to get my club membership organised when I was already a member was horrific. Embarking and disembarking was hectic and crowded. The entertainment was ok but was often in another language so the English speaking people aboard did not know what was going on. The company on board was great but if not for the Cruise Critic members on board it could have been a boring cruise. The Aussie contingent made life interesting and i enjoyed their company talking about their past cruises and getting advice as to ports of call. Overall i would have to say the Lirica is a lovely clean ship decorated tastefully. However the owners need to aware of getting extra money from customers for hidden charges, drink packages and excursions, and I then discovered children really are not free as one parent was informing me of charges for children which are not advertised on any site. If you want a budget cruise line and are prepared for the European way of life on board then this is the cruise line for you.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We travelled on an overnight flight and arrived at Dubai just after 8am. Everything went very smoothly from the airport and embarkation at the port was very quick. We were onboard by 10.30ish. FOOD Like many other posts have mentioned ... Read More
We travelled on an overnight flight and arrived at Dubai just after 8am. Everything went very smoothly from the airport and embarkation at the port was very quick. We were onboard by 10.30ish. FOOD Like many other posts have mentioned the food isn't served hot but if you ask for it to be hot they try to oblige. Not too great a choice either but my mum being a fussy eater always still found something to eat. ENTERTAINMENT This was either a hit or a miss with the shows, a few good and not so good. The CD translates in about 5 different languages so hats off to him for that but that's where it ends. He speaks so fast we struggled to make out his English. Other than introducing the entertainment each night we never saw him once around the ship. Big thumbs down here. PORTS DUBAI Free wifi in the cruise terminal, can be difficult to get connected due to volume of people using it. Open network. Being docked starboard side we managed to pick up the wifi from the balcony. 2 little shops in the cruise terminal where we bought some cans of juice and got them boarded no problem. There is 2 free shuttle buses running to Malls. One is near the touristy area and the other is closer to the beach area. ABU DHABI Free wifi in the cruise terminal, can be difficult to get connected due to volume of people using it. Visit Abu dhabi Password... terminalad. Being docked starboard side we managed to pick up the wifi from the balcony. We took the free bus to a shopping mall. KHOR AL FAKKAN..No free wifi here but there is a duty free shop just along from where the ship docks. It sells alcohol ( I didn't see anywhere else all week) and cigarettes even cheaper than the ship. There is very little to do in this port, a small row of shops approx. 20 min slow walk. Do yourselves a favour and take a taxi to another town. Only highlight of this port was the duty free shop. MUSCAT Lots of things to see in this port. We took an hours taxi tour sightseeing and really enjoyed it. KHASAB Free shuttle bus to take you a 5 minute ride into town....This consisted of very few shops. Most people that went on the bus caught the first one back however there is an internet café, and an electrical store there that sells products at a very reasonable price. We bought 3 nine inch tablet pcs here. DISLIKES Comparing this ship to other cruise lines I really did not like the sauna room not being free of charge. I was also not happy there was no unlimited soda package for adults, just a 14 vouchers package. No one encouraging you to washy washy. Lots of people just walked straight past the dispensers. OVERALL The cruise was good enough but in comparison to other cruise lines I will not be choosing MSC in future unless there is a bargain not to be missed! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Just returned from cruise and have a lot of information to give future travelers. Booked flights with sister and husband but because msc book group seats on flight if you have different names not guaranteed to sit together. Requested rooms ... Read More
Just returned from cruise and have a lot of information to give future travelers. Booked flights with sister and husband but because msc book group seats on flight if you have different names not guaranteed to sit together. Requested rooms together but one room in even corridor and one room in odd corridor. Requested diner table for 8 got table for 3. Booked excursions with cruising excursions cheaper than msc excursions and traveled with another 2 person and not a couple of bus loads of mixed nationalities. Go to reception on arrival and ask them to remove service charge you will have to argue a wee bit but staff don't get the service charge so tip as you go. In restaurant glass of wine cost 5 euros and a bottle cost about 20 euros ask for a carafe (not advertised) which cost 7 euros plus 15% . Reception are not allowed to give info for areas visited (only there to get you to book excursions) so in Dubia shuttle to shopping mall start at 10 am.and metro does not open until 1 pm on Friday. Food was fine but not gourmet have breakfast in dinning room as nicer to get served hot food than to collect your own cool food. Room boys were great and friendly, waiters friendly but sometime get mixed up with language.Reception staff rude and not very helpful so do your homework before you go.Do not accept rooms 8001 to 8050 as above the bar and noise awful at night. . . . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2013
Previous cruises with Princess, Celebrity, Fred, and Azamara. This was first with MSC and first visit to Gulf area. Having heard many good things about Emirates the direct flight from Manchester was a disappointment. Nothing special ... Read More
Previous cruises with Princess, Celebrity, Fred, and Azamara. This was first with MSC and first visit to Gulf area. Having heard many good things about Emirates the direct flight from Manchester was a disappointment. Nothing special about the service and the seats on the 777 were rather small and uncomfortable even for normal sized people. Also not helped by the MSC block purchase system which means individual passengers are unable to pre-select seats, so it is pot luck at check in. Return day flight on new A380 was more comfortable. The flight timings produce the unusual situation of being on board the ship by 09.30 on the first day (good) but having to vacate the cabin by 02.30 on the last night (not good but accepted on swings and roundabouts basis). The ship has not enjoyed very good reviews of late so I came to this cruise with modest expectations. There is nothing luxurious or opulent about it and there is no wow factor. However it is a comfortable well maintained mid-sized ship that does what it says on the tin. Balcony cabins are a very good size. Organisation up to disembarkation on the final morning was good and unfussy. Food was acceptable. Entertainment which I rarely rate highly on cruises was a bit better than average. Drinks package is good value but let down by a lazy approach to wine selection; same very limited and modest selection every night. I thought I would be annoyed by announcements in 5 languages but MSC have the answer to this; they make very few announcements and they don't intrude into the cabin. There are two gala nights where formal dress is suggested. On the first night most passengers made the effort to dress up but for the men there were many more in lounge suits than DJ and dickie bow. On the second night the overwhelming majority reverted to casual or smart casual. The MSC laid-backed approach to communication and ensuring safe, prompt disembarkation went well south on the last morning. Cabin vacated by 02.30 as required, waited in theatre for 03.00 departure as stated, no MSC personnel in attendance till 03.15 and she scurried away when asked why there was a delay, someone else came at 03.30 telling us to get off into the hands of their transfer agents. 4 buses quickly filled up but they faffed around for another 30 minutes without telling us what this delay was about. Apparently they had insufficient capacity for all the cases, and their solution was to locate the excess in the passenger aisle. Must be contrary to all relevant legal and safety requirements but they ignored the protestations and drove us to the airport where it was even too much trouble for them to unload the cases. A formal complaint has been sent to MSC regarding their abdication of responsibility for customers once off the ship and into the hands of ill qualified transfer agents. The itinerary is potentially interesting but it is clear that tourism is in its infancy in some ports of call. The ship mainly docks in commercial / container ports with limited outlook. Tours on offer are limited in terms of quantity and quality and as with most cruise companies seem very overpriced. In view of limited information given by MSC or to be fair available on the internet the following suggestions and pointers may be helpful to others: DUBAI. Plenty to see and do. Big red bus hop on hop off does a shuttlefrom the ship to one of their stops. Comprehensive and fairly good value compared to ships tours. Traffic is normally very heavy and it will be a struggle to fit both bus routes into 1 day unless you don't get off at any of the stops. There is also a free shuttle to the nearest mall. Taxis can be picked up at the shipand seem a reasonably priced alternative if you decide there a just a small number of places you want to visit. You can't walk out of the port. Free internet in terminal. ABU DHABI. As Dubai, except that alternative shuttle is just to the port gates. Didn't see the point of this as taxis are available at the ship. KHOR AL FAKKAN. Don't bother! 2 of the 4 trips were a shuttle to a beach at exorbitant cost. The East Coast tour was, I am told, uninspiring with little to see. There is a free shuttle to the port gate. Walk on about 100 metres to the road junction and you should see local taxis and shuttles immediately ahead. They will shuttle you to a beach and back for a fraction of the ship price. I walked 2 miles each way along the corniche to the Oceanic Hotel which has free wifi if you buy a coffee or soft drink. MUSCAT. Interesting ancient port. Free shuttle to port gate from where it is an easy walk to the sea front, corniche and old town. If you prefer to ride the big red bus will again pick up from the ship. Not such good value here at 40 euros and a much more limited itinerary. Would make more sense to hire a local taxi at the gate and get it to replicate the bus route stopping as you want. The board clearly states that a 4 person taxi will only cost 7 rial per hour, about 14 euros. KHASAB. Much more interesting small scale port. Nothing here but a small town 7 minutes away. Said to be nothing to see there so surprising that MSC charge 5 euros for a shuttle service! Khasab port is the gateway to the Oman "fjords" and for many people this will be a must see tour. It is a majestic and impressive area very much worth visiting. The ships tour on a traditional dhow costs about 75 euros which seemed a bit steep to me. I took a chance based on an internet review I read before traveling that said there were local boatmen who would do the same trip at a fraction of the cost and still be very pleased with their earnings. Six of us from the ship joined forces, found a boatman and didn't even haggle when he asked for 30 rials, about 60 euros, in total. We saw every part of the fjord network, saw dolphins at close hand and swam from the boat. They were even embarrassed about being given a tip. If you want to take a similar chance you will find the small boat docking area immediately in front of the ship. Just remember you may need to approach them as they are not in your face like in most other places, and there may not be many boats available. I took UAE Dirham and Oman rials. Former is probably sensible as much more exposure to spending opportunities. Could easily have managed without rials as all Oman transactions were first offered to me in return for euros and dollars. I enjoyed this cruise with MSC. I am not happy about disembarkation but do not feel let down in any other significant way. However neither was I wowed by anything on offer. Therefore for me it was a 3.5 star experience.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
I was a bit apprehensive about booking this cruise having read a number of poor reviews about MSC. I think this cruise line is the marmite of the industry, guests either love them or hate them. However we wanted to go to Israel and Cyprus ... Read More
I was a bit apprehensive about booking this cruise having read a number of poor reviews about MSC. I think this cruise line is the marmite of the industry, guests either love them or hate them. However we wanted to go to Israel and Cyprus so took a punt. I will try to be as objective and honest as possible in my review. We had a two-day stay in Messina before joining the ship On the first night Etna erupted for the first time in over 20 years so we did wonder if this might be an omen! We were due to check in at 1500 on the Sunday and duly arrived in plenty of time at the cruise terminal along with at least 200 other guests. We were therefore quite miffed to find the terminal was closed, the Italians waiting with us, many quite elderly, were very annoyed and showed it in their inimitable excitable way. Huge arguments were taking place understandably as we were all there waiting with our luggage in 27degrees of heat. Then when the terminal was eventually opened utter chaos ensued. Our Italian friends find the concept of queuing completely alien to them and the crush at the desks was a sight to behold. From there I regret to report that things went downhill. However the good bits first. We boarded the ship to be very pleasantly surprised by how opulent the vessel was. It is an exercise in marble and glass and was gleaming and clean. A further pleasant surprise was in store when we found our balcony cabin on Bellini deck - all the decks are named after famous Italian composers which we felt to be a nice touch. We were on deck 10 where nearly all the balcony cabins are located on this ship. The suite was the largest we have experienced and really nicely set up with a sitting area, dressing table, walk-in illuminated wardrobe and plenty of drawers and cupboard space. The bathroom was another revelation with a bathtub and shower, I did wonder how one would manage in the bath in high seas but I did not get the chance to test this. What we did not know at that time but were soon to find out that, in my opinion, this vessel has a serious problem with regard to the balcony cabins on the starboard side. These cabins are all below the swimming pool deck and while this was never a problem during the day, at night it was horrendous. Between the hours of 2am and 4am each and every night we were woken to the racket of the crew working on the deck above. The noise of sun loungers being dragged along and stacked and all the other associated noises of deck cleaning made sleep impossible and we spent much of the cruise catching up on zzzzzzzs. Our cabin steward advised us that we were not in the minority with this complaint and that it was a problem on every trip. There was no point in asking to be moved as all the balcony cabins were full. Now to the really bad parts of this cruise. MSC pay lip service to hand cleanliness. They do have dispensers at the entrance of the restaurants but my wife and I were shocked to see how few people used them. On other cruises there have been members of staff at the entrance to eateries insisting that everyone complied with this mandatory simple hygiene action. There was a small paragraph in one of the daily news sheets on one day that mentioned hand cleaning and that was all. In my opinion they are asking for a breakout of the vomiting and diarrhea bug. Then there is the smoking policy, or lack of it, aboard. The entire port side of the swimming pool deck is dedicated to smokers. We just could not get away from the stink of cigarette smoke. Guests appear to ignore any smoking regulations that do exist, I saw people smoking in a number of the lounges and it put the cap on it when we would go out to enjoy our balcony only to find that the people in the next cabiin smoking on theirs which had no smoking signs prominently displayed. Our cabin had a nice flat screen TV and we briefly had the BBC world news on there. Now I don't cruise to watch the telly but it is nice late at night to turn on and find what is happening in the world. We soon lost BBC and it was eventually replaced by Sky News. There was also Euro News and CBNC finance chanel. I counted six German, five Italian and four French chanels in addition to a couple of Spanish and Portuguese and Russian chanels. There were movie chanels in various languages but the I failed to find a single film playing on the English one. Ironically those others showed English speaking films dubbed into the foreign language. Food aboard was adequate. We were allocated the first sitting in the opulent L'Ippocampo restaurant. The menu was quite comprehensive but regrettably I found it all to be rather style over substance. The service was slow with a long wait between courses and the waiters were running about like headless chickens. Twice I had the wrong food served and the waiter was quite sullen when I pointed this out. And don't get me started about the MSC policy of not having jugs of iced water on the table so you are forced to buy a bottle at 3 euros a time. In fact this was, with a few exceptions, typical of the staff aboard. One or two of the reception staff was sullen to the point of rudeness. Our cabin steward however was a gem, unobtrusive and worked hard on keeping our cabin in a shipshape fashion. The least said about the entertainment aboard the better. We watched two shows, very amateurish. In the lounges there was some entertainment but nthing to write home about. My final whinge, this company has a policy that I have not encountered before - and I stand to be corrected. On lodging the credit card with reception I was told that 250 euros would be immediately charged to the card. I cannot understand this, surely the fact that my card is with them is enough to guarantee that I am not going to jump ship without paying my bill. So in the words of Arthur Daley, this is a nice little earner for MSC. Multiply the number of cabins by 250 and invest this in the money market and they make themselves a nice little amount at the expense of their guests. And if they do this with all their ships then that amount gets even larger. Disembarkation at Genoa was a slightly better affair than the embarkation but they still managed to misplace our baggage and we nearly missed the bus to the airport. The bages were found wiht others of the wrong colour code! I hate to be negative but this was how I saw this cruise and I am sure that many on that same cruise will disagree with much of what I have written. I was so disappointed with MSC and the service provided that for the first time ever on any cruise I request that they remove the 6 euros per person per day "service charge" from my account. I was advised that this was a compulsory charge but I asked the lady to show me where on the terms and conditions of my booking did it state this and she failed to do so. We gave the entire amount deducted to our cabin steward who had done such a good job. I doubt very much that we will return. Funny thing is I love Marmite!!   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Before my cruise last month, I was so apprehensive. I had read many reviews of the MSC Lirica, nearly all of them negative to the pint of hate. So with great trepidation I boarded mid October. The 11 days went so fast, I loved everything ... Read More
Before my cruise last month, I was so apprehensive. I had read many reviews of the MSC Lirica, nearly all of them negative to the pint of hate. So with great trepidation I boarded mid October. The 11 days went so fast, I loved everything about the boat...the fact that it was 96% European speaking didn't bother me. I can communicate where little English is spoken. The cabin was spotless, my cabin staff meticulous with detail. The dining experience was fine. I dined in the dining room every night at a table with wonderful people, but all breakfast and lunches were in the buffet dining room. It is BUFFET, so what else do people expect. There is a fast rotation of food, cleaning tables, other guests taking up tables. It is a cafe buffet. The buffet on deck was the same. It's not the Ritz, but at no time does it portray to be. I like fine dining, good wine, great service and wonderful atmosphere....I didn't miss out. The 2 waiters who looked after my table and two others were very polite and hospitable. I think some people ask for too much, especially when the price is so affordable. I travelled on my own, so had a surcharge.....didn't bother me a bit. I would travel on Lirica again any day Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Just returned from a great holiday on board the lirica.I read all the reviews and was not expecting much, however I was totally taken aback at how much I enjoyed the food which was panned before but I could not agree with this the choice ... Read More
Just returned from a great holiday on board the lirica.I read all the reviews and was not expecting much, however I was totally taken aback at how much I enjoyed the food which was panned before but I could not agree with this the choice in the dinning room was great. I work in the catering industry at a 5 star level and I have also worked on cruise ships for10 years so I know the industry very well and also had Italian family with me and they thought the food was as good as it could be for the size of the ship. People forget that you are catering for a large no of people at the same time so it will never be as good as it being cooked for individual tables and a lot of my fellow British travellers expect the menu to be catered for brits alone but this is a European style and if you don't like pasta and risotto and Mediterranean style food then don't book msc.The portions are not massive but you can have 4 or 5 courses that are smaller rather than one massive portion for a main meal, if you order an appetizer a soup or risotto a main meal and desert I promise you will be full and have a great meal the way they do in the med not our usual sit down, gub a meal and leave within 20 mins. staff in the bar and restaurant were great very pleasant..(bar table service can take time at busy times).The buffet was not as great as was busy and my main complaint was food temperature which was way too low and the staff at the buffet were inconsistent but the pizza and burger station and fresh pasta station were quick and mostly hot.. Embarkation at genoa was so smooth as well, all in all very good all round and I would say for the price it was great, so if you are a snob,or want everything for nothing or you don't like European food or people then don't book MSC but if you are a reasonable person who can enjoy yourself and not expect there own personal slaves to do everything for them then and there then I would recommend this company. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Our cruise on MSC Lirica was most enjoyable. We chose the itinerary because most of the places we had not visited before. It is a beautiful ship, so clean and well kept. The nightly shows were great and always different, the musicians and ... Read More
Our cruise on MSC Lirica was most enjoyable. We chose the itinerary because most of the places we had not visited before. It is a beautiful ship, so clean and well kept. The nightly shows were great and always different, the musicians and dancers were extremely talented. The food was good and lots of choice. Keep in mind that it is an Italian line and therefore a lot of Europeans on board, not many from North America, although we were seated with 3 other couples from Ontario whose company we enjoyed each evening. The pizza served on deck 11 was fantastic and available from noon till midnight. Also keep in mind that children travel free on MSC so if you choose August for your cruise, yes there will be many children on board. We had an ocean view room which was very comfortable, even though small, it had a large window. We would choose MSC again..... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
The MSC Lirica is a beautiful ship, very quiet in it's running, but also without the creaks and groans of other ships we have travelled on. The itinerary was attractive, going to places we hadn't visited before, and overall, we ... Read More
The MSC Lirica is a beautiful ship, very quiet in it's running, but also without the creaks and groans of other ships we have travelled on. The itinerary was attractive, going to places we hadn't visited before, and overall, we enjoyed the ship and the cruise, but there were a few things that could have been better. We visited, Haifa, Zakynthos, Genoa, Civitavecchia, Messina and Marmaris. We agreed with many reviewers for this ship, that the food in the buffet is never warm, and if you don't want stone cold sausages/bacon/eggs/toast for breakfast, then the fresh fruit would be a good option! The staff were pleasant, polite and hard working. They were well supervised, and no slack was tolerated! Excursions were exceptionally well organised, and getting people off the ship and on coaches is to be especially commended. We can't say the same of the excursions, but the ship's staff did a good job. Similarly, tendering also was well organised, with no one waiting in long queues. If you want luxury, then take your own toiletries! There was not a lot provided in the cabin - tissues, body wash and shampoo. No ear buds, body lotion etc. however, although the cabins were small, they were very nice and quite well noise insulated. No noise from the next cabins toilet flushing! Plenty of cupboard and drawer space, with a hidden safe and fridge. If you want a quiet relaxing cruise, there were places on the ship you could go and get the peace and quiet, but generally the open deck areas, were crowded and very noisy. There were a lot of family groups on board who liked to party, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves! I would cruise with this company again, but it would depend on a great itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
The Lirica itself is a fine ship. The destinations were particularly interesting for us (Limassol-Haifa-Zakynthos-Genova-Rome-Messina-Marmaris),but the big plus was that we could embark from our home port Limassol which saves you the ... Read More
The Lirica itself is a fine ship. The destinations were particularly interesting for us (Limassol-Haifa-Zakynthos-Genova-Rome-Messina-Marmaris),but the big plus was that we could embark from our home port Limassol which saves you the hustle of airports/transfers/hotels. This is a good embarkation policy of MSC which allowed passengers to embark/disembark at all ports of call. Our cabin was adequate except for the shower area which was designed for Extra Slim People! The cabin cleanliness was excellent UNLIKE the public areas which were left dirty mainly due to lack of adequate supervision.(The lift buttons inside and out were sticky on all floors throughout the cruise!). The smoking policy is very reasonable respecting the rights of both smokers and non smokers alike. On board entertainment/shops was average. What was very disappointing was the QUALITY of food! Although the choice was good everything tasted the same mainly (I suspect) due to the use of inferior ingredients. The desserts were appalling!! However the pizzas and soups were absolutely wonderful! The service was below average and the passengers were left to fend for themselves. On board organisation of excursions lacked the required care and attention. The on land excursions were however well executed and of good value. All in all we enjoyed ourselves although it felt that we were cruising on a budget ship....like flying with easyjet or raynair!! No frills no pampering! At the end of the day you realise that you get what you paid for. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
We flew to Rome to embark and the embarkation process was very efficient. We soon made our way to our suite on the top deck and found the suite and the ship in general to be very clean and well presented. She's a mid sized ship which ... Read More
We flew to Rome to embark and the embarkation process was very efficient. We soon made our way to our suite on the top deck and found the suite and the ship in general to be very clean and well presented. She's a mid sized ship which is just what we prefer. There are the usual amenities (gym, sauna etc) but we don't use them. First stop was to the buffet while we waited for our luggage. There are 2 sides to the outer buffet, each serving different food. Here's the first disappointment! There were burgers, hot dogs, fries etc which were kept warm from underneath. This meant the top of the food was cold. We stuck to the inside buffet after that. This was a little better but still not too good. On sea days this became a bit of a bun fight with other guests pushing in front of you, standing blocking the aisles etc looking for a free table. The food in the restaurants was better though still not up to my standard. The potions were small and if the menu said "slices of veal", that's what you got. No accompaniments. This means having a 5 course meal to fill you up. There was no coffee afterwards and as others have said, water was charged for. No complaints with the service from the waiters and the room service. One big problem for me was a lack of enforcing of the rules. People were smoking on balconies and adjacent to the pool despite notices saying this was not allowed. Food was also taken to the pool which presented a danger when dropped on the floor. There were lots of children on board who were well catered for with kids clubs, mini golf, wiis and so on. You could even leave your kids with the team while you went off on an excursion. Unfortunately, most of the kids preferred to run riot round the ship knocking things over, bumping into people, playing in the lifts pushing every button then running down the stairs to start again. Evening entertainment was very poor with some awful singers in some lounges and decent ones in others. The theatre and Lirica Lounge were totally underused with shows lasting an average 20 minutes. We don't go in for many excursions as we prefer to mooch about in port. However we did book one excursion. Right in the middle of our cruise was an overnight stop in Haifa, Israel. One full day on Saturday and a half day Sunday. As the Saturday was the Shabbat we knew everywhere would be closed, so we decided to book an excursion on Saturday and stay on board Sunday morning. We didn't fancy an all day excursion so the 5 hour trip to Acre and Baha'i Gardens was ideal. This included the 2 places we wanted to visit and left us the afternoon to chill around the pool. On board ship, we were advised to confirm our places on the excursion. When we did this we were informed that there was a change of plan which nobody had bothered to tell us about. The visit to the Baha'i Gardens was cancelled and the trip to Acre was now taking place on Sunday leaving at 06:30 am! We couldn't cancel if we wanted as it was too short notice. That left us with nothing to do on Saturday. The staff on the excursion desk were happy to let us book another trip but that would cost over two hundred pounds extra to go to places we weren't particularly interested in. Never mind, we could always get the free shuttle bus which would take us around Haifa and we could hop on and off throughout the day. "Yes it did run on the Sabbath" we were told - sorted. So, on Saturday morning we got off the ship, walked through passport control and were told the shuttle was due to leave at 9:00 but we had probably missed it. When we got to the stop at 5 past there was no bus there. They run every 90 minutes so we decided to walk to the Baha'i Gardens and catch the shuttle from there to do the city tour. The sweat was dripping off us by 9:30. We arrived at the gardens to find only the lower most section open as it was the Shabbat! After the obligatory photos we walked back to the bus stop to find the shuttle didn't run on the Shabbat at all. And if it had done, none of the places it stopped at would be open. There was no public transport to anywhere. A taxi to Nazareth or someplace would be expensive. Apart from a few cafes in the German Quarter, everywhere else was shut so we returned to the ship and spent the rest of the day there. At least it wasn't as busy as a normal day. On the Sunday we set off for our trip to Acre and the first stop was, you guessed it, the Baha'i Gardens! The tour guide told us we would have to hurry around the Templar Halls and Acre old town as we had to be back on the ship in plenty of time. So, why was the itinerary changed without notice? It's not as though we had booked it months in advance, but a few days before the start of the holiday. MSC must have known but hadn't changed the web site. Why did MSC book into a port on a day when they know everywhere is closed? Has anybody else had a similar experience where excursions were changed or cancelled without notice? Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Where to start? Our MSC booking included flights from Cyprus to Italy with Aegean Air and we could not fault the flights. However, that is the most positive part of the trip. The transfer by coach from Milan to Genoa was OK except for an ... Read More
Where to start? Our MSC booking included flights from Cyprus to Italy with Aegean Air and we could not fault the flights. However, that is the most positive part of the trip. The transfer by coach from Milan to Genoa was OK except for an extremely miserable and stroppy coach driver! The embarkation process was reasonable and the first impression of the ship was good. Our cabin was fine and very comfortable, and the housekeeping side of things was also good. After that it went downhill. The first shock was the drinks prices, much more expensive than any other cruise we have taken before. On top of the extortionate prices came a compulsory 15% service charge. The cheapest bottle of wine was 18 euros plus 15% which took it to approximately 21 euros - and this was the basic house wine. House wine is usually fine, but it does need to be served at the correct temperature and not be 'off'! By the glass, 150ml, it was 5 euros plus 15%. Whilst there was water and ice in the self service restaurant, other than that water was charged at 2.50 euros for a litre bottle. No free water was available in any of the bars or the a la carte restaurant. We had considered purchasing a drinks package a couple of days before the cruise (the first actual information or confirmation we received from MSC was 4 days before we sailed!!)but we could not find a price without going all the way through the purchase process so we did not do it. We did however purchase a drinks package when on board because we realised it was the only way we could actually afford to have a reasonable holiday. This came at a cost of 267 euros for 5 days for 2 people!! Thank goodness we did do that. The next shock was that on top of the 15% service charge for drinks there was a compulsory 7 euro per day per person charge for 'hotel' services. We and a few other people refused to pay this, as had we known all this before booking we would not have gone ahead. We did not find this information in any of the paperwork we received, nor did we sign to agree to such a condition. From there we come on to the food. It was bland, mostly served lukewarm at best and in the main restaurant you needed binoculars to find it on your plate. The staff were OK but nothing special and if something was not available in one bar, they would not go to another to get it. Most times we had to go to the bar to get service as the staff were conspicuous by their absence. Therefore paying 15% for serving ourselves! We did not go on any of the trips but they appeared expensive for the duration. They also charged 9 euros per person for a shuttle bus at Marmaris as they quoted a 15 minute journey by road into the city centre, when in fact it was a pleasant 10 - 15 minute stroll. For those interested in spa treatments, the cost changed every day so you never knew what you would be charged and everything was 'extra'. they charged 16 euros an hour to use the sauna! It tool 36 hours for us to get an appointment with a guest relations person, they promised an investigation into the things mentioned here and also many other things just too numerous to put in this review. Suffice it to say that we would never use MSC again nor recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We boarded the Lirica at Civitavecchia to cruise to Istanbul, Yalta, Odessa, Athens, Sorrento (Capri), and Genoa. MSC traces its history to cargo shipping, and care of the ship is tops -- constant cleaning, polishing, painting, crew ... Read More
We boarded the Lirica at Civitavecchia to cruise to Istanbul, Yalta, Odessa, Athens, Sorrento (Capri), and Genoa. MSC traces its history to cargo shipping, and care of the ship is tops -- constant cleaning, polishing, painting, crew training on a regular basis, arrival always on time, and the ship is well and tastefully furnished. The ship was very smooth and quiet. It has good facilities for children, including a popular water shower over one of the pools, a youth club, and video games, such as Wii. The lounges are spacious and attractive as well as comfortable, and the library is popular as a card room, also. Embarkation and disembarkation were fairly quick and the crew was very helpful. The service by the waiters and dining staff is good; we had a sharp-looking, almost-all Indonesian staff who did a good job. The food variety and quality was generally good but not outstanding in the dining room, with two buffets, one near the pools and one fully enclosed. They are somewhat limited and not always supplied with hot food. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all available in the dining room, with good service at all three times. Dining room times are rigidly adhered to, with assigned tables for dinner and casual table assignment for other meals. One strange item is that coffee is not available at dinner. Bottled water is available but no tap water is served, and American and Canadian passengers get a free bottle daily. The entertainment was typical cruise material, lots of American music, a bit loud; good dancers and a champion juggler, a couple of opera singers (an excellent tenor and a good soprano), and a Sinatra impersonator with a German accent. The entertainment seemed to be tailored to Americans, although there were large groups of Italians, Germans, and French, plus a group of Norwegians, and all the announcements had to be made in five or six languages. The theater is well designed and decorated. The problems we had with the cruise were mostly with the excursions, which were poorly described in the literature and not always well managed. We took four of their excursions. At Yalta we visited two of the Tsar's palaces, which were described as "sumptuous" and such terms. The first palace was sparsely furnished and had never been lived in - only used for summer picnics, and it was dark and not very attractive. The second, Livadia Palace, was the site of the 1945 meeting at which Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin agreed on how to divide Europe. It was an excellent visit to a very attractive location, so that tour averaged out fairly well. We took the tour of Odessa and its catacombs, and found that good. The first real problem was Athens, where we arrived for an 8-hour visit on the Orthodox Easter Sunday, and EVERYTHING was closed and largely deserted. We had been to Athens for several days on another trip but had not seen the new Acropolis Museum, and wanted to see that, but were disappointed. We were not warned until the morning arrival that we wouldn't see anything except closed buildings, but surely the staff must have known. The next problem was in Sorrento, where we paid about $190 each for a "four-hour" tour to Capri during about a six-hour stopover. The tour description said we would be taken to the center of town, then a minibus tour followed by a walking tour to the Caesar Augustus gardens. Actually, we had a two-hour tour, with no minibus tour, and the walking tour was so rushed that it more resembled a foot race on cobblestones. The rest of the four hours was taken up by a tender ride to Sorrento, a ferry ride to Capri, and a shuttle bus to a parking lot on Capri, then the reverse after the quick foot tour, with quite a bit of waiting between each of the phases. We had no more that 30 minutes to look around in Capri on our own and shop, and we were tired after the foot race. That excursion should not even be offered if the time cannot be increased and the tour properly described. In Genoa, we took the local bus tours rather than the ship tours, and found them very satisfactory -- Genoa is a beautiful city. Overall, it was a pleasant cruise, with a couple of serious problems on the excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
Having never sailed with MSC before, I had no expectations, really. Embarkation was quick and painless, it was easy to find our cabin (which was of a decent size and relatively comfortable) however the quality of the food was rather low. ... Read More
Having never sailed with MSC before, I had no expectations, really. Embarkation was quick and painless, it was easy to find our cabin (which was of a decent size and relatively comfortable) however the quality of the food was rather low. The first meal I had on board the MSC Lirica was a plate of steamed vegetables which were soggy and soaked in melted butter - which I found rather unappealing. The buffet did their desserts well, though. The second night my parents and I were seated in the restaurant where two major issues were noted: 1. Water is not free, you must pay by the bottle. 2. There is no tea/coffee after dinner. The morning of our first port of call, Abu Dhabi, I was notified by reception that I had "appearantly" not attended the passenger drill, which I had. Other than this accusation, the staff onboard were lovely though loud at times. I was in a cabin on Deck 10, right beneath the pool deck where loud music and activities would blast until the early hours of the morning. If you intend on sailing for the action rather than the food, I highly recommend you do so.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
To start on the positive, the ship was spotlessly clean and the waiting and cabin staff were excellent. Unfortunately there are no more positives. We have cruised a number of times and this was our worst experience. The bad experience ... Read More
To start on the positive, the ship was spotlessly clean and the waiting and cabin staff were excellent. Unfortunately there are no more positives. We have cruised a number of times and this was our worst experience. The bad experience started with embarkation. The pickup at the airport was good and we arrived at the ship just after 4pm. This is a cruise who embarks and disembarks at nearly every port. At this point there were only four of us to embark. We sat for over 50 minutes in the taxi while someone was found to let us on the ship. Dining - every cruise we have been on late sitting is about 8pm not here, it is 9.15pm, so we had the hassle of moving to the early sitting at 7pm. Breakfast in the dining room was okay, as was lunch. Dinner, however, was a different matter. We are not big eaters but found the portions small and the food was usually lukewarm. I asked for a glass of water and was told they provided bottled water. At the end of the meal I was presented with a bill for 2.65 Euros. I have never paid for water on a cruise. We were allowed to take our own water in, so filled a bottle at the buffet were it was free. Another problem was that we were expecting to pay in dollars not euros. It is a little complicated because the MSC brochure states that cruises in the Antilles is in Euros but that the Caribbean is in dollars. However the brochure also states that they do cruises to the Antilles and Antigua. I suppose we should have double checked but who expects a cruise line to differentiate between the Antilles and the Caribbean? We were given very little information about ports of call and it was the Maitre'd who told us that in Martinque the town closed at 2pm, we only arrived at 11am. Guadaloupe was worse as it was not until we got off the ship we found out that everything is shut on a Sunday, although there was a small market on the quayside. When the ship docked at a distance from the main area you then had the joy of paying 8 Euros for the shuttle bus. We also discovered this was new winter cruise for MSC Lirica and was definitely aimed at the French and Caribbean market. The majority of guests were French, Caribbean,Spanish and Italian. So beware as we found many guests were rude, from not saying thank you to stepping in front when you had waited patiently for the lift. Our cabin was adequate but be warned although there is a lovely view from 9004 unless you like to be awake early this is not the cabin for you. It impossible to sleep through clanging machinery and the pods being switched on for early morning docking! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2012
After reading some of the negative comments we (experienced cruisers including HAL, RCCL and Celebrity) prepared for the worst on our first MSC cruise. But we found our 7-day cruise with the MSC Lirica fantastic! Our balcony suite was ... Read More
After reading some of the negative comments we (experienced cruisers including HAL, RCCL and Celebrity) prepared for the worst on our first MSC cruise. But we found our 7-day cruise with the MSC Lirica fantastic! Our balcony suite was spacious, comfortable and had plenty of storage. We had breakfast in our cabin every day(3 or 5 euro supplement when you want more than the regular continental breakfast). Also: tasty coffee/cappuccino/tea (I guess that's the Italian influence). Good wines and cocktails (similar prices to other cruise lines). Fresh orange juice in the coffee bar (a must for me). Very friendly staff. Compliments to our cabin steward Komang Agus and his assistant (who kept our cabin super clean) and to hairdresser Mileidy Hernandez from Cuba. She did an excellent job on my hair for both formal nights. The ship also has nice shops with ample choice. There are certainly improvements to be recommended. The (musical) entertainment was kinda boring and boarding after excursions was too slow. Also the food in the main restaurant could be better and the buffet restaurant should be open on both sides in busy times (like after excursions). Room service is only available during breakfast hours (why not 24/7?). There are many smoking areas on the ship (such as the casino). As non-smokers we didnt appreciate the ship's smoking policy. The tinerary was very interesting: - Hamburg (Germany). We recommend the Hop on/Hop Off bus. Bus stop is at appr. 5 minutes walking distance from the ship. - Edinburgh (Scotland). Fantastic city. We recommend the Hop on/Hop Off bus. Warning: Don't get the private shuttle bus at the harbour in South Queensferry. They charge 15 euro (20 dollars) and assure you that you get a ride back from the city centre to the ship at 13.00, 14.00. 15.00. 16.00 hours etc. We wanted to take the 16.00 hours shuttle bus back to the ship, but they never came to pick us up. They left 30 Lirica passengers (including us) stranded at Charlotte Square in Edinburgh. It's a disgrace. All of us had to get taxis to the ship. Thanks to our fantastic taxi driver we made it back to the ship just in time! - Newcastle (UK). Fun for a couple of hours. We took a taxi to the city centre and did some shopping. - Harwich (UK). You can go to Ippswich, Colchester, Cambridge or London from here (train station 5 minutes walk from the ship). We preferred to stay in the lovely little town of Harwich (2 stops by train) and had lunch there. The MSC Lirica is a rather small ship. It was clearly struggling with the heavy October winds (80-90 kph). Therefore the Lirica is not suitable for people who are prone to seasickness. All in all we are very satisfied!! We already booked our next cruise with MSC!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
When we first booked this cruise it was with some trepidation having read previous reviews, however we thought the discounted price was reasonable (£795 per person) so we took the plunge, we did find out that some Dutch people we met ... Read More
When we first booked this cruise it was with some trepidation having read previous reviews, however we thought the discounted price was reasonable (£795 per person) so we took the plunge, we did find out that some Dutch people we met booked for significantly less and also had a 300 Euro spending allowance on board. On the whole the ship was absolutely fine with the exception of the breakfast and buffet area where the food was abysmal along with poor service. It was plainly clear that this was a problem area as the buffet restaurant is far too small for the number of passengers using it and appeared to cater mainly for the German passengers of which there were many as the cruise started in Hamburg, generally however the food was absolutely fine in the main restaurants. We had an inside cabin on deck 9 and was pleasantly surprised at the size and layout, perhaps the mid to rear of the ship would be a preferred cabin location. Be aware of the cost of drinks (a small glass of beer 5.64 euros), coffee and service charges which amounted to 6 euros per day per person ie 10 days amounted to 120 euros also all drinks incur a 15% service charge, we wanted to enjoy our cruise but felt the on board prices to be excessive and whilst we didn't go without we were somewhat careful even so our bill was some 600 euros STOCKHOLM The City is close to the port we took the Hop on bus immediately next to the Ship for 10 euros and enjoyed a water boat tour which took in most of Stockholm and a great way of seeing the major sites TALINN for 15 euros get a taxi to the town centre and enjoy a lovely medieval walled city St PETERSBURG Due the cost and difficulties in getting a visa we took the City and Hermitage tour and Canal tour which where both excellent. COPENHAGEN Again you can walk in to Copenhagen Centre from the ship, we caught the water hop on boat a the Little Mermaid which was only a five minute walk from the ship and again a great way of seeing the City. We did hear there were problems with the hop on bus immediately by the ship. PLUS POINTS a great itinerary visiting interesting places of which St Petersburg and Copenhagen were our favourites. The ship was better than we expected, not luxury but acceptable. MINUS POINTS we boarded at Ijmuiden an obscure port some way from Amsterdam, the cost for a taxi from the airport was 80 euros the alternative was to catch 2 trains. The quality of food in the buffet was very poor for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea was the worst I have experienced on any cruise I have taken. The cost of coffee, drinks etc was excessive we compromised by having wine with our evening meal, also compulsory service charges. Generally we had a pleasant experience and would recommend the cruise if only for the places we visited Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Just returned from an eleven day cruise to Norway with one day in Amsterdam. The country was magnificent and the weather brilliant and therefore the cruise already gets 3 stars. There were only a couple of dozen English speakers on board ... Read More
Just returned from an eleven day cruise to Norway with one day in Amsterdam. The country was magnificent and the weather brilliant and therefore the cruise already gets 3 stars. There were only a couple of dozen English speakers on board which would make it a pretty lonely place if you do not travel with friends as we did. The entertainment team were fabulous and made a mighty effort to get you involved and keep happy. The ship has simple facilities, there being no extra restaurant for special occasions but the layout made it easy to find your way around & fittings were modern & in excellent condition. The food was moderate. I had hoped for at least some exciting pasta dishes but you never go hungry. The embarkation & debarkation procedures were excellent. The only real negative was the breakfasts in both the restaurant & buffet on the 11th floor. The so called hot dishes were stone cold every day. It was explained to me that their heating facilites were inefficient & out of date but that was no consolation to many cruisers. In addition the staff in the buffet were rude, condesending & arrogant. Finding you decaf coffee was a chore & non lactose milk impossible except at breakfast if you begged. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We just got back from a 4-night mini cruise and decided that unless MSC will remain the only cruising company, there is no way we are cruising with them again. Embarkation process was not that bad, a little too long and unorganised, I ... Read More
We just got back from a 4-night mini cruise and decided that unless MSC will remain the only cruising company, there is no way we are cruising with them again. Embarkation process was not that bad, a little too long and unorganised, I was mad because the online check in did not work, however since everyone ended up standing in the same lane (no matter if you checked in or not), it did not matter. Overall I can not say anything bad about embarkation, also, there is nothing positive I would point out. As we got on board (4.55 pm) we headed to get some food and drink since our rooms were not ready. Well, since there was only one place where they served some sandwiches at this time and it was closing (5.00 pm), we had to sit in a lounge and wait for emergency drill. The room (9216) was OK, close to stairs, nice, quite spacious. That was until the next morning we realised that the thermostat is not working and the room is hot. They never managed to make it work. Our cabin stewardess seemed to be nice, however only up to the point when we needed something (such as that all the documents and papers she gives us need to be in English not German, she did not get this right until the very last day). Also, for some strange reason she did not make our beds twice, however she decided to take my shirt from wardrobe, re-fold it and put it on the chair. The same with my shoes, which I had to look for every day. The food in dining room was less than average and the waiter was grumpy so we decided to eat in buffet. BIG MISTAKE. The food was horrible, during lunch and even worse during dinner. Cold, everywhere too much salt and spices. The upper eating space is catastrophic, the tables are round and since there was so little to do, everyone just decided to have a tea and block table for 8 people. Breakfast was poor, but edible and there was some orange and pineapple juice (only time during the whole day that beverage was provided). Please, do not comment " it is Italian ship, therefore food is Italian".. it is not. This was no style. Italian food is awesome, here even pasta tasted like mud. We ate salads (self made from vegetables and condiments), french fries and pizza as these were the only edible. The entertainment.. was there any? OK, the theatre was quite good, especially the artists, the singers were poor and the choreography's and stages amateur-like. Besides that, there was like 2-3 activities during a day, pretty much noting to do. Shame. Staff in general (few exceptions) was rude, grumpy, groaning and unhelpful. It NEVER happened to me that I finally opened the door (strong wind) and staff member almost knocked me over as he hurried out. Are you kidding me? I am the guest here!!! I do not blame MSC for not stopping in Helgoland, that was a matter of safety (as they said and ok, I believe), but WHY cant they come up with some alternative programme? Just a short note, that having 1 700 Germans on board also did not make my day, since the world "gentleman" probably has no equivalent in German. Last, but not least.. the disembarkation. We had to leave cabins at 8.30 am and we waited 5!!! hours in lounges with no music, no entertainment, NO INFORMATION about when we will be able to get of the ship. After we finally made it out, there was total chaos by the taxis which no one from staff cared about. We were not going to pay them anything anymore so why would they care? Overall, horrible experience. We cruised with MSC before and we were expecting lower standard than we are used to (RCI), but this was like a 2 star Egyptian hotel. Read Less
MSC Lirica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.3
Family 3.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 2.8
Service 4.0 3.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 3.0 3.8

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