Hi there! Why haven't you registered yet?? You are missing out on our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY! Register Now!
My family and my brother's family were on the Lirica 12/27-1/3/09. Overall we had a good cruise...not fantastic... but definitely enjoyed ourselves.
Our teenagers did do their share of complaining of boredom and lack of food in the evening. Then they discovered room service! They asked for 6 brownies and received 6 covered plates with huge brownies on each.
The staff we encountered were super friendly with a "good morning, madam" or a "Happy New Year" everywhere we went. Our wait staff were charming and polite. We had 6 kids in our party and they were very accommodating and patient with them. We knew to arrive on time (within 10 minutes) to our 5:30 seating or the doors would close. This was only difficult the first night as we had the Muster Drill at 4:15pm.
The ship is beautiful and clean. The cabins are small but have adequate storage. Our ocean view cabin had a large picture window that was kept clean and clear. The room steward and stewardess (they work in pairs) were very efficient and discreet. I rarely saw them but they always left our room clean and well stocked.
The Western Caribbean itinerary didn't really thrill us but we had already done the Eastern twice and wanted to take the kids somewhere else. The tender process was tedious and unorganized. Next time, I would book our excursions with them in order to get priority times.
With regard to the entertainment, we enjoyed the theater shows the most. The dancers have unbelievable strength and talent. It was like a small scale version of a Cirque de Solei performance. I also liked the entertainment staff arranged activities such as the Cha Cha lesson and the Elvis songs challenge.
I will continue later with more of my review and some comparisons that we noted as opposed to the Royal Caribbean and Princess cruise lines. I have to break away to continue the laundry that piled up over our 9 day vacation.
The sail away was anticlimactic with no special fanfare whatsoever. I kept looking for the steel drum band...nothing...not even a group on shore to wave us a goodbye. That was a bummer.
The food was well presented and contrary to what I have read, the steaks were not over cooked. My sons order Filet or Sirloin nearly every night. They enjoyed it. I had the Filet Mignon and although it was thin, it was tender and juicy. We ate in the dining room every evening except one. Our wait staff asked each day if they would see us tomorrow. We had purchased the wine package and thoroughly enjoyed the selection of wines on the list. If any of our Pinot Grigio remained, it was chilled and brought out for us the next day. The desserts were tasty with the creme brulee, tiramisu and white chocolate torte being some of our favorites. The baked Alaska night was done up right with big parade. It was the best Baked Alaska that I have ever had!
We purchased 3 pictures from the photo shop for $20 each. The photographers were professional, fast and friendly. Our family photo was touched up to soften our imperfections. That is a nice touch that we would pay extra for back home.
Lounger hogs do not exist on this cruise because they have lounger police! Pool deck assistants help set up your chair and assist you with the somewhat complicated contraption. They watch their section of the deck and close up unattended seats and remove the towels.
I love that we never encountered drink pushers...not on the pool deck, bars, lounges or theater. They were around if you needed them but never pushy.
The New Years Party was well planned. Nearly every passenger crowded the pool deck to watch all the entertainers take part in the show. At midnight there was a free champagne toast, a big balloon and confetti release, and a 2009 sign lit up the front of the ship. The midnight buffet was full of pastries, cheeses and other appetizers.
Drink prices on MSC were decent. $5.50-$6.50 for cocktails and $3.50 for beers with gratuity already worked in. I loved the Martini bar and Coffee bar. They always served the drinks with bowls of peanuts, trail mix, olive/pepper mix (that I am still craving) and/or potato chips.
After all these good experiences, I must admit that we will not likely return to MSC. There were several negatives that made me wish that I was on board a Princess ship.
We really missed Movies Under the Stars and the fresh water pools. I also didn't like the single file system of the buffet lines. I like the stations on Princess and Royal Caribbean. The food, buffet and dining room, was not as good as Princess or Royal Caribbean. The entertainment options were not as varied as RCCL or Princess. I missed real piano music without synthesizers. The times in port were crummy...often too short to enjoy our excursions without rushing. This was made worse when our tender ticket numbers were 20 and 22...basically the last bunch. I could go on and on about how lousy the tender process was but some of the problems are because passengers cut and don't abide by the rules. This is no fault of MSC...just rude passengers.
I am open minded and love meeting folks from all walks of life and cultures. However, I did grow weary of the cruise director giving all previews or credits in 5 languages. Otherwise, the multi cultural experience was a plus. I loved watching how different cultures enjoy family meals, games, beach activities, etc. We are all different but in many ways much the same.
Like my little sis, I thought the staff on board the ship was always friendly and helpful. I'm glad we didn't encounter some of the nasty people referenced in other posts. However, I too will probably not sail MSC again.
I couldn't believe there was no place on board to watch the college football bowl games. Our hometown Cincinnati Bearcats played in the Orange Bowl and I looked forward to watching the game on the ship. Needless to say that didn't happen and the onboard version of ESPN didn't give a hoot about US college football...not when there was a good cricket match to cover!
Entertainment options were few. The shows in the Broadway Theater were good...but after that not much to do and our kids were bored. I am not interested in hearing Alessandro singing Barry Manilow songs in Italian. The flip side of that was there was always an available seat in any bar or lounge on the ship and it was easy to have a conversation without shouting over the music or crowd noise.
I agree that food after 8pm is hard to find. The good news is I didn't gain any weight on the cruise. I generally skipped lunch, but the breakfast buffet in Le Bistro was fine and our dinners in the L'Ippocampo restaurant were very nice. Always plenty of fresh fruits and the breads were delicious.
A comment for any fitness minded cruisers. The gym on the Lirica is small and the operating hours are only 8am to 8pm. When we sailed, 2 of the 3 treadmills were out of order. If you are a runner like me you will be disappointed because running on the deck is not easy either. The track requires you to run up and down steps on each loop.
I thought the entertainment staff was OK, not great. The quest to find a queen for the Sea King was fun, but other days were spent quizzing the capitals of countries around the globe...BORING!
If you are looking for a relaxing cruise, the MSC Lirica is a fine choice. If you are looking for fun and entertainment or if you have kids, look elsewhere.
Caribbean Princess 12/05
Jewel of the Seas 1/05
Carnival Fantasy 4/01
Great reviews!! Thank you both! Well, we aren't into the entertainment stuff, last cruise never went to one show. Don't watch any television on holidays... don't work out... blah blah... anyways, thanks a bunch, can't wait for our nice relaxing cruise!
I feel better having read the Lirica review. I do love great Italian bread! Were there any prizes awarded for the capitals of the world geography quiz? Maybe you left because you were bored. If there's a good prize, I'll participate.
They always gave out MSC logo stuff such as a tie skull cap, picture of the Lirica or a back pack. One time I did see them give out cheap champagne. Nice touch but nothing to get me to get off my butt and participate.
Prizes - my son won a cap in the ping-pong tournament. For the capital quiz they gave out mouse-pads.
I'm drooling thinking about the baked alaska. Saw the parade but our waiter was so slow dining time ended before deserts made it to the table. Oh well - that gives us a reason to cruise again soon (likely with another line!)
HAL Alaska 07
Carnival Liberty Med 06
Carnival Holiday 05
RCCL Enchantment 04
Carnival Fascination 03
NCL Star Hawaii 03
RCCL Enchantment 02
Disney Wonder 02
Celebrity Century 01
Disney Magic 00
Premier Big Red Boat 99
Celebrity Meridian 91
Chandris Galelio 89