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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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2011
What a disappointment.We have been on many cruises over the years, none as bad as this one. The customer services staff were unbelievably rude, the staff above waiter level were completely arrogant. 15% was added on to everything including ... Read More
What a disappointment.We have been on many cruises over the years, none as bad as this one. The customer services staff were unbelievably rude, the staff above waiter level were completely arrogant. 15% was added on to everything including water bought at the bar. On top of that, 7 euros a day per person was added to the final bill for tips regardless of quality of service. The waiting staff were dissatisfied with their treatment by the company resulting in poor service. There were passengers embarking and disembarking for two consecutive nights making us feel that our cruise was over early. One couple was in bed naked when the next set of passengers entered the cabin having been given a key. The food was appalling considering it was an Italian ship one would think that at least the pasta dishes would be good, sadly not so. The food was either tepid or over cooked. The embarkation procedure was ridiculous with some staff giving one set of instruction only to be told something completely different by another member of staff resulting in people missing pre-arranged taxi transfers. The afternoon tea was set out with blue plastic cups reminiscent of a children's tea party these needed serious checking as most had either lipstick stains or stale tea or coffee. Water in the main dining room had to be purchased as none was supplied.The destinations were good Abu Dhabi, Dubai and a couple of places in Oman and the weather was superb. The trips were a big rip off and all can be booked privately from the port when you leave the ship. Would choose the cruise again but just not with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
When we booked this cruise we were flying from Gatwick to Genoa, about 20 minutes transfer from the port. This was one of the deciding factors when picking this cruise as long transfers are really difficult for me. However, 9 days before ... Read More
When we booked this cruise we were flying from Gatwick to Genoa, about 20 minutes transfer from the port. This was one of the deciding factors when picking this cruise as long transfers are really difficult for me. However, 9 days before we travelled we got the tickets and were informed that we were now flying from Heathrow into Milan Malpensa airport - 2.5 hours transfer time to the port. Need less to say we were not impressed! It is important to point out that we booked through Virgin Cruises, so it is not clear who was responsible for the fact that we only discovered the change 9 days before we sailed. However, the change was still unacceptable. Anyway, when we arived at Milan airport we were met by the MSC rep (very friendly) who informaed us that we would have an hour wait before we left as we were waiting for another 2 people on a later flight. Finally we arrived at the port and were directed to the boat in a rather haphazard manner. We received our room cards and were informed that we would be eating in the second sitting, even though we had requested 1st sitting. We were told to sort this out with reception, which we duly did. One of the receptionist was quite rude and was very quick to point out that 'requests cannot be guaranteed'. Luckily another receptionis (Lucia) was very polite and said we should go and see the restaurant manager who would probably be able to change it for us. This we did and we were indeed changed to 1st sitting with no problems. This bodes the question why were we not given the sitting we requested to start with??? What a pointless waste of time for everyone! On the plus side, the food and service at dinner was excellent, with them very helpfully accomadating my gluten free requirements. Also the evening entertainment (although at times resembling a trip to Butlins), was very good, especially the shows in the Broadway Theatre. Also the room was much bigger and nicer than I expected, with a comfortable, large bed and lots of storage space (including a safe and lots of hanging space). There was also a hairdryer, which was v handy. Unfortunately the staff at breakfast were not so friendly, in fact pretty indifferent I would say an the choice was a bit limited and got very boring by the end of the week. The 2 excursions we did were pretty good, although v expensive, and even coach transfers out of the port were very pricey. Just as we were beginning to think it wasn't too bad though, we got our instructions for leaving the boat on the last day. Essentially we were turfed off at 9:15am and transferred to the airport...even though our flight was not until 7pm. So, 7 hours in Milan Malpensa airport - what a marvellous end to the holiday!! Needless to say the good definitely did not out weight the bad on this trup so I would not travel with them again and I would discourage others from doing so either. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
This was our first time cruising with MSC. We've previously cruised with Princess and Royal Caribbean, and had such a great time that when we found this Caribbean cruise with MSC for such a great price, we couldn't pass it up. We ... Read More
This was our first time cruising with MSC. We've previously cruised with Princess and Royal Caribbean, and had such a great time that when we found this Caribbean cruise with MSC for such a great price, we couldn't pass it up. We had decided earlier in the year that instead of gifts for Christmas, we would take our teenager daughter and son on an unforgettable Christmas cruise instead. We all had a great time. It was well worth it. We arrived at our Ft. Lauderdale Marriott hotel the evening before departure, so we had a leisure morning, and taking a walk we discovered that we were close enough to the MSC Lirica dock that we could actually walk over to the check in station...let me state right up front that my family is the adventurous, do-it-yourself type, and we didn't consider it a big deal for us to walk a few blocks to the ship with our luggage. We had packed light and our luggage was on wheels. Others might want to get the cab or whatever, but this worked fine for us. The check in process was a breeze, which I was happy about since I had missed the Express Online check in deadline, but it turned out that it didn't matter. The regular check in line was just as fast. They took our credit card info and made each of us a cruise card and we were headed to the ship, where we were escorted by a crew member right to our cabin. That was a nice touch. We had an inner cabin, which we chose because we figured that we would be spending a lot of time outside and not inside. Even though there were 4 of us, we found the cabin to be spacious enough for us with plenty of storage cabinets. The kids got the bunks, and we never had to mess with them...the cabin steward was very attentive to turning the beds up (back into the wall) for us when we left in the morning, and had them turned down for the kids when we came back at night. The cabin steward was excellent at keeping our room neat and organized for us. The bathroom was pleasantly big enough for us as well. The shower stall was pretty small, but there was always soap, shampoo, body wash, and fresh towels. We never once had to ask the steward for towels. No matter what time of the day it was or how many showers we took, the towels were always picked up and replaced. There was also a hairdryer built into the wall, which I wish I had known about as it would have saved me space in my luggage. I didn't need to bring mine. We found right away as we started checking out the ship that we could have saved our hotel lunch expense and eaten right on the ship, as there was a welcome buffet from 12:30 to 4:30 PM that we weren't aware of. We had been given confusing information prior to our cruise about mealtimes, what to wear, and we figured we would just find out when we got there. We found out that we had been given 2nd dinner seating, even though we had requested first. We went to talk to the Maitre'D about it right away when we got on board, but they just told us they would put us on a waiting list for 1st seating and let us know. They never did fix it for us. We didn't like eating late too much, but we had such an awesome waiter (Bambang from Indonesia) that it made it all worth it. He was the BEST! He had such a great attitude, smiling and laughing, joking with us and the kids all the time, that we looked forward to going to dinner and seeing Bambang. He really treated us and everyone at his tables well. He was a joy. CLOTHING: We had been told that no jeans, shorts, flip flops, or T-shirts were allowed after 6 PM on deck or in the restaurant. Being American, that's mostly what my kids wear, so we went out and bought slacks for my son, and my husband packed an extra jacket and tie for dinner. It was all not necessary. We saw people in jeans and T-shirts in the restaurant every night, and even on Gala night, when you are supposed to dress up in formal attire, there were people in casual clothing. They definitely don't enforce their rules, and as a result, we had clothes that we brought and never wore. We enjoyed getting dressed up for formal night, even though when packing for the trip we thought it was a big bother. It was fun after all. FOOD: Their food quality was all over the map! We had some really outstanding menus and awesome dishes that left us waddling out of the restaurant feeling like we had eaten a whale, but we also had some foods that were underwhelming. I used the salt and pepper shakers with a heavy hand, which was fine. The absolute worst was the scrambled eggs in the restaurant on the morning of disembarkation. Really, how do you mess up scrambled eggs? (Could NOT eat them. It was like they had stretched them out with flour or something and they were like paste, and tasted like cardboard. Awful.) Having said that, the menus for the 5 course dinner were different every night and there were excellent choices in these categories: Appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, and main entrEe. After that, of course, dessert. The portions were perfect...the appetizer, soup and salad were small enough that you didn't get too full for the main course, but by the time you ate the pasta, it was pushing it. Then the main course put you over the edge. There was always fresh fruit. My favorite new food was the chilled soups that they offered every night....Mmmm, they were truly excellent! We ate in the restaurant every night of our cruise, and of course, missed the midnight buffet because we were already too stuffed. The only complaint I had about dinner was that the assistant waiter rarely kept our water glasses filled and we were always thirsty. Eventually I asked him to fill my wine glass with water as well so I would have two glasses available. We had intended on buying some type of coupon book for the Cokes, since we knew ahead of time that soda needed to be paid for, but since nobody ever told us how to buy them, we decided to just skip it and make it a soda-free cruise for the kids and they were okay with that. We just drank water at dinner, and the coffee, juice or milk provided at the other places. We never missed the soda after all. I think we bought one Coke the whole cruise. For breakfast, we usually chose the buffet on Deck 11, since the breakfast times in the restaurant didn't always work for us. The buffet food could be generally described as adequate.... Nothing special, but there were always plenty of choices, from eggs and bacon to oatmeal, muesli, fruits, bagels and more. We decided to try the restaurant one morning for breakfast to see if there was anything different offered there, and they had eggs benedict, but pretty much everything else was the same. We often missed lunch because we were out on excursions, and found that when we returned to the boat, we had very limited selections for food by about 4 PM. Lunch had a very short window in the restaurant, from about noon to 2:30 PM. By the time we got back from a day in port and no lunch (we did snorkeling trips) we were famished, but our selection was limited to pizza, or burgers and hot dogs every single day. No variation there. We usually had a little something from there to tide us over until our 8 PM dinner. There was always coffee available, so I drank lots of coffee. We took advantage of a few of the shows in the Broadway theatre for entertainment, and they were pretty good for classical music. We actually wish we would have gone to more shows, but we ended up spending time with the kids watching movies, playing cards, working out in the gym, or just strolling on the decks. There was always music in the lounges, and various games and entertainment in the morning and afternoon. The ship was kept immaculate by the staff. We bought all of our excursions on board the first day, having done our research ahead of time at home and knew what we wanted to do. Though everyone spoke with a foreign accent on the ship, they were generally very helpful. We had a great time in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Cayo Levantado with our chosen excursions. We did the snorkeling, Sting Ray city (which was the kids favorite) and the El Limon Waterfall/horseback riding tour. We were sorry that we missed our chance to go to the private island with its white beaches, but we hadn't realized that it was an "either/or" choice. By choosing the waterfall, we chose not to go to the island. We went to Samana, Dominican Republic by boat, and from there took a bus ride into the interior of the jungle, where we got on the horses and were taken to the waterfall by Spanish speaking guides. It was raining and muddy and we got pretty dirty, but it was a great time. The horses looked like they could have used an extra bale of hay, and we were NOT told ahead of time that our Dominican guides who led us along that steep, rocky path do NOT GET PAID, but only survive on the tips we give them. I wouldn't have known, except for the fact that people started gossiping in our group about it. I confirmed with the tour guide, and it was true. I didn't have small bills, so I had to trust that the larger bill I handed out was going to be divided fairly amongst the youngsters that took care of us. So, here's a tip: Have some small bills handy for tipping at all times! Our excursion got back too late to make a separate trip to Cayo Levantado, so we could only view the white beaches from the deck of the ship, and we were sorry. It looked gorgeous. Disembarkation was the only thing that I felt was not handled well. We were kept waiting for what seemed like an interminably long time in the L'Atmosphere lounge, until our color group was called. Here's another tip: The ship can set you up with a taxi to the airport, but they charge $22 per person. We knew from our taxi ride when we first arrived in Ft. Lauderdale that the trip only costs about $13. We walked back to our hotel and called a cab from there, saving us about $75! Not only that, but when we were walking to the hotel, Bambang came walking up behind us and carried my luggage for me! What a guy! All in all, our family had a great time, the ship was comfortable, the crew was kind and fun, the price was too good to pass up, the food was plentiful enough, and we have great memories that will last a lifetime thanks to MSC. 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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