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We chose the cruise for the itinerary, particularly the Suez transit, and the fact nearly all ports were firsts for us, as was MSC. The ship was very clean and extremely smooth, cabins adequate though shower curtain in bathroom was extremely annoying as it sticks to you due to the tiny area! Had two days to explore Dubai before boarding then overnight on board too so crammed in lots of sights, nice to be berthed close to the old Creek, very interesting with the boats busting up and down. Embarkation was smooth and was nice to be moved straight to Black tier due to our status on Royal Caribbean, gaining us some nice benefits including a four course lunch with wine, bottle of fizz in cabin and chocolate covered strawberries to name a few! Surprised to find that fellow passengers who had cruised with them many times got no rewards however, wouldn’t inspire my loyalty! Sadly missed Sir Bani Yas due to weather but Muscat was beautiful, the Grand Mosque was one of the highlights of the trip, luckily we arrived very early when it was quiet. Exciting five days at sea with security guards patrolling due to piracy threat and then into Eilat, the only slightly disappointing port, snorkelling not as good as expected. Petra was fabulous, took the ship trip which we thought was very good value and the lunch was superb. The walk in and out was hard but rewarding and far more to see than expected, we got a good overview in the time we had and scenery was beautiful on the journey too. Suez transit did not disappoint, watched from start, at sunrise, to finish. Wonderful experience and one to tick off the bucket list. Once we were in the Med it was like a second cruise, weather cooler and off every day so a busy last week. We missed Athens due to the weather but I personally preferred the alternative of Corfu, Kotor was amazing and we completed the climb up to the monastery at midday which nearly killed us. Split was interesting, yes they have their own currency but so do we, wasn’t a problem. Concluded the trip with two days in Venice which was lovely, covered most of the city with a 48 hour bus and vaparetto pass, very impressive public transport. The two days in hotels were just right, all done as a package from Cruise 1st. The food.....uninspiring, bland and unimaginative. If, as we were told, the executive chef is Italian then he should be ashamed of himself, never saw a leaf of basil once! I would at least expect my dining room meal to be better than I could cook myself and 60% of the time it wasn’t. As for not providing jugs of water on the dining table I have never heard of such a stupid rule, we just took a bottle of water in every evening but a great way to alienate your customers. The pastries, cakes and puddings were very nice but in general service wasn’t great in the restaurant or buffet. Pizza was excellent but only four types over 20 days... Evening shows with dancers were brilliant, as were musicians round the ship though opera singers a bit screechy. Other entertainment was childish, hysterical and noisy, must be an Italian thing. Very little trivia and the constant six language announcements make you lose the will to live after a while. It was nice to have such a wide variety of nationalities on board though. Onboard speaker Alison Hypher was exceptional, just what you need on a cruise with such a varied itinerary. She struck the perfect balance between historical fact and useful information, could not recommend her highly enough. The coffee shop was nice, reasonably priced with friendly staff, and I did like the outdoor area at the back of the buffet to sit and eat. I got the impression that service in general is take it or leave it, senior staff tend to avoid eye contact rather than say hello and was surprised to see staff smoking or drinking in public areas. Did not like the smoking in the pub which permeates far beyond. For the price we paid this was a fantastic adventure but I feel MSC could improve vastly in the areas mentioned.

Great itinerary, shame about the food!

MSC Lirica Cruise Review by Difromsalisbury

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Middle East
  • Cabin Type: Fantastica Oceanview Stateroom
We chose the cruise for the itinerary, particularly the Suez transit, and the fact nearly all ports were firsts for us, as was MSC. The ship was very clean and extremely smooth, cabins adequate though shower curtain in bathroom was extremely annoying as it sticks to you due to the tiny area! Had two days to explore Dubai before boarding then overnight on board too so crammed in lots of sights, nice to be berthed close to the old Creek, very interesting with the boats busting up and down. Embarkation was smooth and was nice to be moved straight to Black tier due to our status on Royal Caribbean, gaining us some nice benefits including a four course lunch with wine, bottle of fizz in cabin and chocolate covered strawberries to name a few! Surprised to find that fellow passengers who had cruised with them many times got no rewards however, wouldn’t inspire my loyalty!

Sadly missed Sir Bani Yas due to weather but Muscat was beautiful, the Grand Mosque was one of the highlights of the trip, luckily we arrived very early when it was quiet. Exciting five days at sea with security guards patrolling due to piracy threat and then into Eilat, the only slightly disappointing port, snorkelling not as good as expected. Petra was fabulous, took the ship trip which we thought was very good value and the lunch was superb. The walk in and out was hard but rewarding and far more to see than expected, we got a good overview in the time we had and scenery was beautiful on the journey too.

Suez transit did not disappoint, watched from start, at sunrise, to finish. Wonderful experience and one to tick off the bucket list. Once we were in the Med it was like a second cruise, weather cooler and off every day so a busy last week. We missed Athens due to the weather but I personally preferred the alternative of Corfu, Kotor was amazing and we completed the climb up to the monastery at midday which nearly killed us. Split was interesting, yes they have their own currency but so do we, wasn’t a problem. Concluded the trip with two days in Venice which was lovely, covered most of the city with a 48 hour bus and vaparetto pass, very impressive public transport. The two days in hotels were just right, all done as a package from Cruise 1st.

The food.....uninspiring, bland and unimaginative. If, as we were told, the executive chef is Italian then he should be ashamed of himself, never saw a leaf of basil once! I would at least expect my dining room meal to be better than I could cook myself and 60% of the time it wasn’t. As for not providing jugs of water on the dining table I have never heard of such a stupid rule, we just took a bottle of water in every evening but a great way to alienate your customers. The pastries, cakes and puddings were very nice but in general service wasn’t great in the restaurant or buffet. Pizza was excellent but only four types over 20 days...

Evening shows with dancers were brilliant, as were musicians round the ship though opera singers a bit screechy. Other entertainment was childish, hysterical and noisy, must be an Italian thing. Very little trivia and the constant six language announcements make you lose the will to live after a while. It was nice to have such a wide variety of nationalities on board though. Onboard speaker Alison Hypher was exceptional, just what you need on a cruise with such a varied itinerary. She struck the perfect balance between historical fact and useful information, could not recommend her highly enough.

The coffee shop was nice, reasonably priced with friendly staff, and I did like the outdoor area at the back of the buffet to sit and eat.

I got the impression that service in general is take it or leave it, senior staff tend to avoid eye contact rather than say hello and was surprised to see staff smoking or drinking in public areas. Did not like the smoking in the pub which permeates far beyond.

For the price we paid this was a fantastic adventure but I feel MSC could improve vastly in the areas mentioned.
Difromsalisbury’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Fantastica Oceanview Stateroom
Cabin O2 8204
Very comfy bed. Average cabin. Shower small and annoying curtain, very basic toiletries.
Bellini Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews