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Lilabell

Lirica 2/4/05 Panama Canal Review

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We would like to give a review on our cruise of 2/4/05. We will try to break down by category vs day to day activities. This way if someone isn't interested in one item they can skip by. Please remember this is our experience and may not be the same that someone may have experienced already or even on the same cruise. Alittle about us and how we came about MSC. We are both from the USA, middle 50's, working as an electrician and medical field/catering field part time. We have only taken 2 other cruise (RCCL & Celebrity)and have not cruised for 10 years. We picked Panama Canal to be our primary spot to cruise.Our travel agent picked MSC, Holland & Tauck. We picked MSC for the size ship and Italian flair adversied. Please note MSC was not told to us to be a budget line as some on this board have addressed. Our expectation with MSC were: clean ship, courteous staff and edible food. As a surpise for my husband I booked Bellini Deck,cabin # 10036. First time we had a balcony.

EMBARKMENT/DISEMBARKMENT We were told by MSC to be at the port by 3 for 4:00 pm boarding. We went a day earlier and stayed at Sleep Inn (free airport p/u and port drop off) We had to check out by 12 so we took their 12:00 shuttle. We arrived at the port at 12:30. To our amazement we were in our room at 1:00 pm! Extremely easy check in. They had oj in the port and many people to welcome you. Several lines for US citizens and 4 for non. You were handed the first of the daily programs there. When you board a crew member brings you to your room which is a nice touch. We immediately booked our spa treatments and excursions. Disembarkment was just as easy. You need to be out of your cabin by 8:00 am and wait in a common area,Ship cleared by 9 and we were off within 1 hour. They get you off by "color luggage tags" depending on how soon you flight is etc. We were the 4th color out of 7. Very smooth.

When you board a buffet lunch is from 12:30 to 5:00 pm up at LeBistrot. Le Bistrot Pizzeria, Deck II offered pizza same time frame.

MSC LIRICA She is definitely as beautiful as her Godmother. Elegant,warm and inviting with a lot of class. No crazy teal/purple/orange fabric here. Warm hues, brass very very elegant.

OUR CABIN - Bellini Deck #10036. While we can't compare to other balcony cabins since this is our first, it had more than enough room. Walk in closet with 9 or so hangers that also held pants. Two large doors that opened with shelving. Vanity area with drawer and large mirror that hid safe and hairdryer with diffuser. Bath with tub, shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath filled daily. We each had a white terry robe. This was replaced whenever we wanted with a fresh one. No smoke smell in room.

DAILY PROGRAMS are dropped in your cabin at night.Ours arrived around 9 or so and gave you everything you needed to know about the following day including your excursion time and meeting places. We were very happy only 3 or 4 announcements were made through the entire cruise so you need to be on top of things.The program also gives you time frames for lounge acts/music, meals times,showtime, and general entertainment activities. Extras were at the reception desk along with news. All in several languages.

Health Center We ended up with a "spa" tab vs bar tab. We immediately booked our days at sea with massges on boarding so we would get the days/times we wanted. We picked a "package" of 45 massage, 60 min stone massage and 30 min localized massage for 267.00 USD. Reg massage is 120.00, stone 130.00. They also have various hair, wax, nail packages.

GYM/RELAXATION/STEAM/SAUNA We didn't use the gym but there were 3 treadmills, bikes and various weight equipment. It is beautifully located in the very front of the ship with glass walls. All you see is ocean. Just wonderful! Every day stretching was offered (free) yoga $$ pilates $$ The sauna/steam area were separated by pink tile (woman) blue tile (men) Both with locking lockers (pick up key at desk in health center) shower. We used the relaxation room almost every day. Located next to the gym it also offered glass walls with an unbelievable view along with dark wicker lounges. Soft music played in the back ground. The only down fall to this is when your in total relaxation and someone enters from the gym, the loud up beat music from the gym blares into the relaxation room. The manager asked us how we like to area and before we could mention the transfer from the gym they said "I know the music". Unfortunately, to enter the relaxation area you have to go through the gym.

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EMERGENCY DRILL Held 1st day at sea at 10:00 am. Usual formality. Non eventful. CHARGE ACCOUNT was set up at embarkment port area. Picture taken and card immediately handed to you. We submitted a charge card for our on board charges. A preliminary bill was given to us to review around 4 pm the last day and a final slipped under the door during the night. We were charged for 2 bottles of water the last day which we did not consume. They were set up for the next cruise so they credited us with no problem. PASSPORT SURRENDER Say goodby as soon as you board they take it.Not wild about that considering the countries we were going to with only a ship card for id. Although I always, and would recommend, take a photo copy of our passports along with 2 pictures, licenses, credit cards and bring them with us whenever we travel. We just took the copies of the passports when we left the ship. ROOM SERVICE 24 hours We used it a couple times for a continental breakfast 7:30 to 10 and late night tea. Sorry, forgot to mention we had a fully stocked fridge in our room too! They also had club sandwiches, chicken caesar salad, cheese platter, fruit platter, fruit, soup and desserts. VERY PROMPT service. Within 10 minutes of order. PORT INFORMATION brochures were given the night before giving history, gastronomy, shopping and general info. Some maps were supplied also.

EXCURSIONS They added a few since the mailing our the shore excursion book when we received our tickets. There were quite a few offered but we only took the ones we felt would give us the history and culture of that area. We took: Costa Maya - Bacalar.Unfortunately, this was canceled after waiting an hour in the lounge due to Mexico and the tour people not agreeing to $$. So we just went into the port. Shopping, pool with swim up bar, small outdoor restaurant/bar, show were available. Not so bad considering the cancellation. PUERTO LIMON - Rainforest Aerial Tram Tour full day (8 hrs) with lunch provided. 1 hour bus to rainforest. Boarded gondola style tram that fit 6 (2x2) and guide. Highest point is 120'. Very peaceful and quiet however, didn't see any animals except a couple of birds! Buffet lunch in an open air restaurant with local favorites. Because we were one of the first to board and exit our guide brought us on a walking tour while we waited for the others. Very nice and informative. Bring a raincoat as it does rain! They have a little gift shop with raingear, t's and coffee. PANAMA CANAL - GATUN LOCKS & CANAL ZONE tour 2 1/2 hours. Since we had a balcony we watched from there as our ship went through Gatun locks. On the other side of the canal a RCCL was going through just about the same time as us. It was really cool to see that. We pulled into Gatun Lake.Unless you book an excursion they don't let you off the ship. You can book the yacht club experience but you pay 35.00 pp USD to sit and listen to a band with some shopping stalls. Since you tender back and forth we would recommend you book an excursion and afterwards spend some time at the yacht club and browse. Not worth the 35.00 alone. Also the "swim" area wasn't much of anything. On our tour our guide brought us back to the lock we just went through and gave us the history on how it all works. Amazing to say the least! We also toured the former canal zone area where thousands of Americans lived. Very pleasant guide. SAN BLAS Only the Kuna Indians Tour was available. You will see them living in thatched roof dwellings, hammock style beds. Barefoot small people but very friendly. Colorful dressings and they love to have their picture taken for one dollar. All the children seemed to have a green bird on their head! You tender to this also. Once you arrive on Porvenir island you can get your own dugout canoe and guide probably for less but this tour also brought us to Nalunega where a dance was performed. We were then give an hour to walk off by ourselves to shop. We located a "museum" which was interesting. All had carvings to demonstrate daily life of the Kuna's. They are know for their Mola Tapestries which are truly beautiful. You can bargin with them. We then took off for Yarkindi a sacred burial place where landing was not allowed and then finally Wichubala for more shopping. We then tendered back. CARTAGENA PANORAMIC TOUR AROUND BAY. 2 hours We boarded a Spanish Galleon Replica for a wonderful relaxing tour around the bay. Very informative guide, soda, water and a bag of goodies were given to us once we were underway. There are tours to the city itself but were discouraged by MSC to go on our own. Once we came back we went to the little port area. There we picked up our Columbian coffee and went over and waited in line for the phones. They also offered internet and fax. Cost to US was .50 cent per minute.You pick up a number and go into that booth. Once your done they tell you what you owe. Called back home. Clear as a bell!. No fuss no muss. Long line though. Some of our cruise mates said the city tour was very stressful with the locals really really pressing for purchase. OCHO RIOS SHOPPING EXPEDITION & EXCHANTED GARDENS. Since we've been to Jamaica two already we opted for this tour. Otherwise we would definitely recommend Dunn's Rive Falls or for a more quite time rafting the Martha Brae. Evidently the Enchanted Garden use to have a hotel which closed 5 years ago by the government. Money matters, again. The garden is truly beautiful with a few falls. Also we were brought into an area where we could feed the birds (peacocks, pheasants, parrotts) for a "donation" to the keeper. IN GENERAL we felt for what we paid it was worthwhile. We learned so much about the areas and culture and that's what we were looking for.

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MEAL TIMES When we booked we requested the 1st seating which was 6:15 and a table for 8. We really wanted to meet others as we didn't travel with anyone else. 2nd seating was at 8:30 pm When we checked into our cabin a card with the seating and restaurant was there. We did get 1st seating as requested and La Bussola Restaurant. LA BUSSOLA offered very warm hues and truly was beautiful. We did take a look at L'Lppocamp Restaurant and that had blue chairs and a little different layout. DINING EXPERIENCE The first night was utter kaos and very noisy. We weren't quite sure if this was going to settle well for the next 10 nights nor did our tablemates. Actually the lovely couple from England was on board for the prior cruise and said they were on the other side of LA BUSSOLA and experienced the same thing. You could definately see that the restuarant was understaffed. They were literally running. We figured it was the first night and things would settle down. Our Italian waiter introduced himself, very polite. My background is Italian so I got to use what I knew of the Italian language. They seem to like to hear it too. Please try to make every effort to at least say hello and good night in Italian to the crew. The HEAD WAITER came over the 2nd night and asked how things were going. In a nice way we all stated we were not getting the food we ordered and getting food we didn't order. The next thing you know the Maitre D' was over at our table. Wonderful man. He said that he had both seatings evened up but the first night the people that requested the first seating and got the second formed a hugh line and started complaining. The Maitre D' said he tried to accommodate everyone. By doing this he said about 1,300 people were at the first seating! He did say it was his mistake and next cruise he would have to stick to his guns. Also he said our waiter was new and not broken in just yet. Unfortunately, not only the passengers, but the waiters and rest of the staff were given a disservice. The next night the head waiter took our order and everything was fine. The next night the head waiter took our order and he took didn't deliver the food we ordered. With this we turned a negative into a posiitve and looked at it as an adventure on what we would get. I have to say most often than not our food arrived as ordered. We really felt bad for the staff to be put under this much pressure. We suggested either more staff or possibly having some tables arrive 15 minutes later so the waiter can come up for air. It is very difficult to service that many people sitting down all at once with being understaffed. All the dining room staff were extremely polite and wanted to do whatever they could to please the passengers. At least the staff we spoke with. We also suggested it would be nice to have some nice Italian background music playing and on formal nights maybe a strolling musician while dining. FOOD Ahhhhhh the food. In general it was quite good. The menus were different every night. Always available were grilled chicken, sirloin steak, ceasar salad. The menu consisted of a choice of 3-4 appetizers, 1-2 salads, 3 soups(usually one served cold), Pasta/Rissotto, 4 entrees (usually a fish, meat(red,veal,pork,chicken) and 2 others, dessert 3-4, gelato, cheese and fruit. The pasta and risotto were excellent! Done al dente as pasta should be. Veggies were all over cooked though. Out of all the meals we had in the dining room only 1 was sent back to my disliking. Beef Wellington. Unfortunately they added a slice of ham (as in cordon bleu) and it really was not to my liking. They quickly asked what else I wanted and before I blinked I got the broiled lobster. As I've read on some of the threads the lobster was not good. Well they haven't improved it. It was truly overdone. But that was just me. Others did like the Wellington so he was more of a personal dislike. In general, the meals were good and with a great variety. Service was prompt, polite. They wanted everything to go well and did whatever they could to make it better. I just think they need more staffing. BREAKFAST was buffet in LeBistrot from 6:30 to 10. Early bird coffee at 6:00 in La pergola. Since being in Italy several times, we were so looking forward to their breakfasts of cold cuts, cheeses, pastries. Breakfast served was a variety of fruit, cereals,oatmeal, scrambled eggs, bacon, various cold cuts, sausage, hard boiled eggs, grits, home fries (always cold) muffins, pastires, toast,english muffins. I'm sure I missed something so please forgive me. We are very outgoing so we established a good contact with a few of the waiters there. We asked one nice gentlemen doing the toast for well done english muffins. Well after that first day he would actually see us coming in the line and have our english toasted well as we approached him! Also for breakfast is the grill La Pergola for sunny side up eggs, omlettes, bacon, sausage, croissants, rolls. Coffee and tea were served by serving cart or you could go up to the corner and get some from the waiter. There truly was something for everyone.

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LUNCH was also buffet style or you could go into the dining rooms. Except for 2 days we went buffet. Again fresh fruit, cold cuts, hot soup and 4 or so hot items. Salad and fixin's and a carving station. ALSO AVAILABLE was the grill area which had hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and either chicken/pork/veal cutlet. Across from his was an open pasta station. GRILL AREA was open from 12 - 2 and 5 to 8 pm. It would amaze me if someone couldn't find something they liked. It was truly a big variety for all meals. ENTERTAINMENT Every night in the Broadway Theatre there was a show. We went to all except a couple. We thought all were entertaining. Lasted about 1 hour. Andrea our cruise director made the announcements in 5 languages. From there we head to the "oldies" events in Lirica Lounge. The Dovells (Bristol Stomp, Can't Sit Down) performed 2 nights. They were absolutly terrific and got the whole place jumping. Other oldies tunes were played by a couple other groups and soloist the other nights. We are early to bed early to rise people so after 11 we bagged except one night. Carnival Party under the Stars. Because we knew about this we brought our feathered masks and beads hoping they would have a Mardi Gras. Boy did they! What was really nice they had masks, streamers, whisle blowers, hats for everyone. A couple days before the party they had "costume" making sessions during the day so a couple dozen people made their costumes out of crepe paper. Some pretty wild ones too! Music was by Unit One a Caribbean style music. They also played daily on Deck 11. It was really fun and everyone was enjoying themselves. A hugh conga line formed. You could see the Italian officers smiling away shaking their heads at the same time but they could see everyone was really enjoying themselves and that's what pleased the crew the most. OTHER OFFERINGS were at the Piano bar with Duo Vlad (piano and violist), International music by Trio International and our "favorite" were Marco & Stefania in the Beverly Hills Bar, True Italian sung music for dancing. We usually caught the 5:30 to 6:30 session. Beverly Hills Bar is just outside La Bussola so it was a nice start to the evening. We liked them so much we purchased a CD 20.00. DAYTIME OFFERINGS There were several, especially when we were at sea, offerings for people during the day by the pool. The usual dance sessions, minigold, ping pong tournaments. POOL AREA 2 pools with wading area and 6' deep each with 2 jacuzzi's in between. Salt Water. Very clear and clean. Lounges were very nice with little tops to cover the sun. Rolled up long blue towels were set out on the chairs in the morning. Extras available around the corner. Music played in the background but not the crazy hot hot hot stuff. The only annoying thing for us was when Mr. TY gave the step class, stretching classes. He was very loud. We just avoided the times he was there and had a nice relaxing experience. One mention about the pool. Each night around 4:30 for about an hour the crew put back the lounges and secured them. Unfortunately for us, it was extremely noisy with them dragging them back and forth over our cabin #10036. This was not the fact for some of the cabins on Bellini. We must have just been in the "securing" area and heard it all. We turned this into a positive on the days we took a nap. It was our wake up call! BINGO was played nightly at 8:15. One game card. Only lasted 15 minutes This was also done in 5 languages. It was actually pretty nice as we all got to learn our numbers in various languages. 55 in German was quite the talk of the bingo people. CASINO We are not gamblers so we really can't comment on it except it was very very smokey. I guess that's another reason we avoided it like the plague. SMOKING while I'm on this it really wasn't a bother as I thought it would be. Cabin did not even have hint of smoke smell and as long as we stayed on the port side of the ship we were ok. LIBRARY/CARD ROOM good selection of books to lend out.Bridge, cards being played alot DISCO barely anyone there the one night we went up OPERA CONCERT They were truly wonderful. Great voices. Performed by 2 passengers RELIGOUS SERVICES Father Cleo performed Catholic Mass and Ash Wednesday Service. Collection taken up for Catholic Relief Fund for Tsunami Victims. Andrea said MSC Lirica would "match" it. That was quite nice of MSC. Also, Jewish and Protestant Services MEETINGS Friends of Bill W and Dorothy were avilable. SUPERBOWL well it's the first time I "watched" it by internet. Refreshing for the scores. Hey, Lirica made the effort to accommodate it's passengers. They didn't have to. Nice gesture. CHILDREN'S CLUB Only counted about 6 kids on board MOVIES were offered on the TV in your room. Usually 3 with subittled MOVIE SHOW in Lirica lounge. After the 5th day they began showing movies in the Lirica lounge. It was nice to get out of the sun for a bit. This was done at the suggestion of some passengers. As always, MSC did their best to please.

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Well now that I have been a hog I only have a few last remarks. Was this a good cruise for us? Absolutely. Would we recommend MSC? Absolutely but only for the select. This was nothing like our other 2 cruises but it was what we were looking for. All our expectations were met and then some. Crew and staff were very friendly (except security. They never did response to a hi or thank you). Everyone made us feel welcome and did everything they could to make us comfortable. If something went wrong for any reason you could see them doing whatever they could to correct the problem. We made a special effort to ask the passengers we met how they liked it. Everyone we spoke to said they enjoyed the relaxed atomsphere, stated it was a "different" experience. How boring it would be for us to cruise and do the same thing. But that's just us. As this review is just us. We went with very basic expectations. I think because we have only been on 2 cruises we really didn't have anything to compare it to. But I don't think MSC is anything you can compare it to. It is a unique experience. While I know from this board not everyone is happy with MSC we were. If anyone would like specifics on excursions, entertainment etc we would be more than happy to response. We have only "touched" upon some things and I know we forgot many. Probably the things we didn't participate in. Thanks for listening and Happy Crusing!!!

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All I can say is what an outstanding review. Thank you for taking the time to do it! Makes me want to consider a MSC cruise right now!A quick question, your review of the entertainment says the shows were entertaining. If I have to sit through one more "Hooray for Hollywood/Broadway/60's-70's-80's" I think I might fling myself overboard. I've hear that because of the multiple languages onboard MSC shows are different. How so?

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Thank you. Our hope is that the review will help people make a decision about MSC. We booked our cruise way before finding this board so we went in kinda blind trusting our travel agent. First be prepared that the cruise director (Andrea in this case) verbalizes in English, Italian, German, Spanish and French. The first night he asked how many Americans, Germans etc. The largest % were Americans way over 50% then Canada, Sweden, German, England and a few others.After awhile you learned to tune out to all except your language. The standing entertainment was DGM Dancers 2 men 6 woman were at all the shows we attended. Simple routines then with the theatre in the very front of the ship it was a little less stable for dancing. Costumes, especially Mardi Gras, were attractive. A toned down Las Vegas style. In the few couple shows we saw I think they could have used a little more background scenery. Duende Flamenco, 2 men 3 woman Flamingo dancing. I was not impressed. But as a former dancer and only 60 miles from New York City Broadway, I have a tendency to expect more. Each night was titled. 1st Tropical Variety Show. A welcome by all the artists. Nice. 2nd Music Awards with DGM dancers, Flamingo, Jane Edwards (vocalist) and Michael Roncallia didn't go to that one 3rd Jane Edwards Show with Silio's Band. Didn't go but was told she was a delight to hear. 4th Witness of the impossible with Magic Martin and DGM dancers. Magician was fantastic. He actually gave a little "learn magic" at one of the lounges later on in the cruise. Quite interesting on how things are so deceiving! 5th Flamenco Fantasy. Because we didn't care for the flamingo dancing we didn't go to this one. 6th night Holber Show. I believe this was the ventrilaquist (? spelling?) He was French and hysterical. He brought on "Oscar" his bassett hound dog. I don't know how but he made his lower jaw move as he talked. 7th Welcome to America. Didn't go. Same performers DGM ballet, Jane Edwards Michael Roncallia. 8th night An Italian Journey FANTASTIC! The best one. Wonderful music, cafe style scenery. The Venetian Mardi Gras costumes were really beautiful in themselves. 9th Amulet Oriental night with usual and Duo Antaris featuring the Iron Man. He was a jugglar. Used steel balls weight 40 pounds. 10th Moulin De Pigalle usual artist plus the entertainment team good also. Last night was a Farewell Show. Everyone that performed during the week do so that night. Andrea and the music the first few shows were quite loud. Someone yelled this out and the following shows and announcing were toned down a bit. We also went to the theatre in the afternoon to hear the 2 tenors. How could you be on an Italian cruise line and not have opera! As I said it was entertaining and only lasted about an hour. If you chose not to do the theater there was always the Lirica lounge, Beverly Hills Bar,. L'Atomsphere Piano Bar, Le Cabaret lounge and La Pergola for your listening pleasure. The Blue Club Disco usually opened at 11 with music by a DJ. We feel MSC Lirica provided for everyone's taste and time frame. Hope this helps a little.

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Thank you for a very informative review. We're leaving this Saturday with the same itinerary as yours. We just got our docs last Thursday and after perusing the shore excursion list, I was glad to read your comments. I'm trying to decide whether to book them thru the ship or independently.

 

We're on the first sitting for meals in the L'Ippocampo restaurant. It sounds like a good variety of food. Is there a midnight buffet every night? The entertainment on our cruise should be country/western oriented, as that is the theme. We'll provide some of our own entertainment, since most of our group of 22 are country line dancers.

 

We also have a balcony cabin, but we're up in the nosebleed section on the Rossini deck. We shouldn't have to worry about noise above us!

 

I understand that the gratuities are passed out the old-fashioned way - in envelopes on the last night, instead of being automatically added to your bill. Is that correct? It sounds like we'll need a good supply of $1 and $5 bills for drivers, guides, photos at San Blas, etc.

Will

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Thank You for such a wonderful informative review. Now I'm really starting to get excited about our cruise in one month!

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Great to read all the above and wealth of helpful information - and to know that more and more people are enjoying the MSC experience.

 

PQ - Hope that every moment of your cruise will be equally good - and do not forget you are welcome here anytime you choose. Would be our pleasure to have your company.

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Track2

 

Your welcome! Could you pack my in one of your suitcases? Your restaurant is a little different set up from La Bussola. I only peeked in but got the impression it's a bit smaller. When you walk in there is a long row of bench seating w/chair on the other side. This may be more quiet. Don't worry about a view, they close the window treatments.To the rear is more open.If you get a chance for breakfast or lunch go in as they have the shades up and it's truly a beautiful view. Yes there is a buffet each night as follows: 1st Snack, Flambe, Ruzfio,Cheese snack,Pastries,Asado,Galley Tour(LaBussola),Tropical(this was the big carnival party one),Oriental,Magnifique,Snack.They were all at 11:30 at LeBistro Deck 11.We only went to one and it was outstanding.A passenger said the Cheese snack was just that. Tipping is the last night. You should have 2 large envelopes in your room and they have smaller extra ones at reception. I brought one from home.I purchased them in Italy last year and thought it was a nice home touch. They had a talk about this actually stating to give your waiter the $ and he would tip out the busperson.We chose to tip our busman personally. He had our coffee and hot milk before we even asked.Not sure what the waiter tips him out at but wanted to be sure he go enough.Tips to cabin steward and assistant and Head waiter. As far was 1's & 5's there is a bank on board that will swap a 50 or 100. Do bring 1's for San Blas as they usually don't have change even for a 5 but that could be their way of trying to bring up the price. We only had a couple ship photos taken and were not satisfied (blinking,notsmiling) so we didn't purchase. What we did purchase,on our ship account, was a DVD of our cruise. We saw it on our TV that from embarkment to disembarkment they videoed "our" cruise. Video is 19.99 DVD 5.00 more. We are not big picture takers so this was ideal for us.Fun to see all our new friends! If I can be of any help with excursions, please reply. While they may not be the one's we were on, we spoke with several people on theirs so it may help. Sure you don't want to pack me away?

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Thanks so much for the great review. We leave on Saturday with the same itinerary. I was beginning to worry since it is a relatively new line. But you have put my mind at ease.:D

Micki

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HI LILABEL,

THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT REVIEW. MY HUSBAND AND I ARE SAILING ON 3/20/05 AND AFTER READING YOUR REVIEW LOOKING FORWARD TO OUR TRIP. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE POLICIES ARE ABOUT BRINGING A BOTTLE OF ALCOHOL FOR OUR CABIN? DO THEY SEARCH YOU LUGGAGE FOR THATWHEN COMING ON BOARD? tHANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT INFORMATION.

ORTRUD

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Hello Lilabell,

I would like to appologize for misspelling your name on the last posting.

I hope you can forgive me. We are sailing on the March 20 Cruise, have late seeting and hope we get a larger table in order to meet new friends. When I asked about seeting at a larger table I was told that many tables are for two only and it is up to the Maitre'D. is it very difficult to change seeting?

Thank you,

Ortrud, (not from Rahway NJ anymore, living in Florida now.

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Hi Ortrud,

 

No problem with the name! It is actually a nickname my mom had for me in my younging years.

 

We had 2 carry on bags and they were not searched when we boarded. Boarding was a breeze but not sure about the alcohol being taken on.

 

As far as dining room seating, if you have late (2nd) seating you probably won't have any problem. We asked for a table of 8 and got 6 which was quite nice. Be very careful with the tables for 2. Most of them are along side the bus area for the waiters and very very noisy with plates, orders etc. They have several tables of 4 & 6 in La Bussola where we were. If you are in the other dining room it is smaller and there is an area out of the way from the waiter stations. If you get on board early enough, I would check out the table your assigned to. We were left a card in our room with restaurant and table#. If you don't like the location then ask to have it changed. We had an unusual (I hope) circumstance where the Matire 'D tried to accommodate everyone possible on the 1st seating and it was very over crowded and under staffed. Actually, the 2nd seating had tables open according to a few people we spoke with and they had excellent service. Hope this helps.

 

Please feel free to ask any questions. I'll be checking in and out every couple days.

 

Lilabell

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Hi Lilabell,

Thank you very much for your promt answer. Your trip-review was so good that we don't have any other questions at this time.

Take care and thank you, Ortrud

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HI LILABEL,

THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT REVIEW. MY HUSBAND AND I ARE SAILING ON 3/20/05 AND AFTER READING YOUR REVIEW LOOKING FORWARD TO OUR TRIP. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE POLICIES ARE ABOUT BRINGING A BOTTLE OF ALCOHOL FOR OUR CABIN? DO THEY SEARCH YOU LUGGAGE FOR THATWHEN COMING ON BOARD? tHANKS FOR ALL THE GREAT INFORMATION.

ORTRUD

 

Bring a bottle on board is no problem. I just got off the 2/15 Lirica trip to the southern Carb. I had 4 bottles of wine and the other couple with us had 2 half gallons of scotch. The key is keep the booze in your cabin, don't show up at the pool or dinner with a flask, normal common sense stuff. Our cabin girl knew we wanted a drink before dinner and she made sure there was always a fresh bucket of ice in our cabin. I would say wrap it well and put it in the middle of your suitcase. If it's in a carry on, that gets x-rayed and someone might want to know what the quart of liquid is or it may roll out on the floor.

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