This was our 19th cruise and first on an MSC ship. Our travel agent told us how great their previous experience was on the Lirica 2 years ago. Well things have changed.
The major compalaint by our group of 52, plus probably at least a 100 more, was the dining time assignments. We were promised upon booking in April first seating and that was verified the day before sailing. Upon boarding we discovered we were all on late seating and were told by crew staff there was nothing they could do about it.
We believe what happened was MSC overbooked early seating big time knowing the passengers were older on this cruise and wanted early seating. In my opinion they led us on knowing if they told us up front only late seating was available, many would not sign up! Once on board we were trapped! Very poor!
The inexperienced crew did the best they could and the food was average at best! Found out all chefs but the head chef was new and from India, and the blandness of the food reflected this. Hard to find snacks or coffee available atall times.
On the positive side, this was the cleanest ship we have sailed on. The entertainment was very good, dining room wait staff and cabin service was excellent and we heard "Time to Say Goodbye" sang on the PA system upon leaving each port -- very classy.
However because of MSC's obvious dishonesty to sign us up for early seating, this will be our last MSC cruise!
There were enough things wrong on our 10 day cruise that my wife and I seriously doubt this company can stay in business for very long. I can't imagine what incentive would get us back on MSC.
The most glaring problem was the food. Cruise dining is supposed to be a grand experience. This was just a bland experience. I think they left the garlic, oregano and salt on the docks at home. The dining room food was small portioned and uninspired at best. The buffet was borderline inedible. The overall experience was like a poor cafeteria run by beginner cooks who used a lot of canned goods. There was none of the "regional Italian" experience we expected. And the wait staff didn't know much about what was on the menu, nor could they speak English well enough to support their efforts.
Communication was a problem with almost all the staff except the excursion and entertainment personnel. The higher up the chain of command you get, the less likely you are to get any sympathy or understanding. The purser (or "Bank" as it said over his window) refused to break any largebills into smaller denominations, suggesting we try the casino. That worked until the casino caught on.
The ship was clean, but felt small. The rooms were compact, and the shops seemed almost an afterthought. Besides being small, the variety of goods was small and uninspired. The shop manager on our trip told us he couldn't wait to get off and would never work for the line again.
Overall, we enjoyed ourselves, but no great thanks to the Lirica. The islands were beautiful, the ship was on time, the weather was lovely. But nobody we talked to or overheard was happy with the services on board.
We have made 46 cruises, and this cruise, by far, was the worst cruise we have ever taken.
1. The suite was very nice, plenty of closets and nice decoration. Balcony had RATTAN chairs. Every night water came all the way up to our suite, leaving nice pieces of salt between the rattan to be used for breakfast, I guess.
2. A lot of brass all over the ship, shining at all times.
3. To the contrast of the above, were the scoffed officers' shoes or sneakers.
4. No matter who you wanted to talk to -- housekeeping, room service, photo or any other shop etc., etc. -- you could only call 99, front desk, and they wanted to know at all times who you wanted and what you wanted to talk about. Every crew member was scared. During dinner, supervisors were making notes as to what the pax. wanted and what the waiter ordered, so that he could not order something more for himself. They were watching their supervisors at all times over their shoulder. VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. I did know what the waiters talked about to each other. Nearly all ofthem Indonesian, 350 of them from Bali and Jakarta alone. I have lived in Indonesia for 19 years, during that time having 6 servants and a factory with 600 employees. I speak their language fluently, could understand it, and all I picked up was that they only get 2 meals a day. No wonder they tried to get some extra. No wonder that one day a servant from Madagascar jumped overboard, that the next day a servant from India jumped overboard and then a servant from China wanted to jump, but they were able to get to him at the last minute and locked him up. The ship went in circles for over 5 hours, so we missed Cayo Levantado, Samana, Dominican Republic, and went to Nassau instead. There were no announcements regarding the 2 dead people, etc., etc., and no apologies either.
5. I requested 99 during the night some orange juice (book says room service 24 hours round the clock). 99 got me a room service guy on the phone, who told me that he could not bring orange juice, but he could come to our cabin to explain it all to me, absurd. A CONFERENCE WITH A BELL BOY AT NIGHT RE: ORANGE JUICE?
6. One night I was very sick. The doctor visited me in my cabin, gave antibiotics and told me to eat something. I asked my wife to bring me some desert. NOT ALLOWED. She had to take the desert in her evening handbag so that nobody saw it, otherwise the waiter would get into trouble.
7. 30% or so of the pax. were deaf mutes. They all went as a pack to whatever public room they were headed, leaving no room for others. To make it worse, any announcement or speech or instruction was said in Italian, Spanish, French, German and last, but not least, even English for the 15% or so American and English-speaking guests.
8. In regards to point number 5, I did visit the Head of Hotel and his assistant. They told me that this would NEVER happen again. I told them that in my opinion they had no authority whatsoever. Needless to say that never DID get the orange juice. However, the next day I got a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Ra Ra.
9. The food was terrible, hardly any choices. They did not know what a soufflee was, and thought a ceasar salad was iceberg salad with slices of cheese on top. I guess I'd better stop. One thing was funny, they report to US Customs all purchases made. So they called me and wanted to see my Custom declaration, because I bought more than the exempt $800 -- all of it was on my declaration.
10. Suggestion: MCR CRUISE COMP stay in Europe. You people have NO idea what brings Americans on board. I could not find ONE American couple who would sail with you again. Formal night 3, nearly all Americans in Tux, maybe 70% of the Europeans did not know what a Tux meant, I guess, but they all know slippers and shorts, and Italian woman all like movie stars. HOWEVER NOTHING STOPPED US AND THE OTHER PAX WE TRAVELLED TOGETHER WITH FROM HAVING A GOOD TIME. After all, there was at most times plenty of food and the shore excursions were very nice and well organized.
Our Cruise on the MSC Lirica 12-04-07 to 12-14-07
I am writing this review mostly for people that have not cruised on the MSC Lirica or with MSC cruise line to supply insight from seasoned cruisers. Over the past 22 years my wife Margaret and I have sailed on Princess, NCL, RCCL, Carnival, and Commodore cruise lines.
Our cruise departed from Ft. Lauderdale on 12-04-07 and returned 12-14-07 and we will start by reviewing the check in process or lack there of. We arrived for check in fairly early at about 12 noon as the MSC office had told us that was a proper time to arrive. The previous cruisers were still in the process of leaving the ship and there was much confusion on what to do with the arriving passengers and their luggage. It took some time to find anyone that knew what to do with our luggage but we finely did find a porter. We went into the area designated for arriving passengers and were given a number 3 and then lead to the "holding" area where we sat a long time but we did meet some veryinteresting people from Philadelphia. Finally after what seemed an eternity (probably more like 1-1/2 hours) were let into the check in area where there were like 14 lines and you just picked any line. As can be expected some lines move faster then others, and it appeared that a lot of the computers the check-in personal were using either did not work or the personnel were very unfamiliar with them. After some time in line we reached the check in lady and this went fairly well as we had pre-registered at http://www.msccruisesusa.com and that appeared to have helped a lot. Several people had trouble with their check-in due to lack of all required travel documents, or a credit card or lack of a passport, all of which were listed as requirements on http://www.msccruisesusa.com/guidaallacrociera/default.asp?guida_id=9&page_id=397 . The cruise line requires you to have a credit card on file or a cash deposit as they list this as cashless cruising, upon check in you are given a passenger card to use for all purchases onboard and to ID you upon leaving the ship or returning to the ship during your trip. The cruise line will also deduct gratuities at $12 per passenger per day to your listed credit card (more on this later). We were then allowed to board the ship. At the entrance to the gangway were the ever present ship's photographers (more on them later).
Upon arrival aboard the Lirica we were met by head steward that handed us off to a white gloved steward who took us via elevator to our cabin which is a Veranda suite cabin number 10071. The suite was very large and comfortable with a queen bed, fold out couch, chair, small but very adequate walk in closet, drawer space, bathroom with tub and shower, and very nice veranda. NOTE: there is NO smoking on any verandas on the MSC Lirica and also smoking is discouraged in the cabins -- there are like 8 to 10 places on the ship one can smoke and that is all.
This ship has truly an international clientele. Our table mates were from Sweden and a very nice couple and we were pleased to meet so many people from various countries. It is not a typical American cruise. All of the announcements are given in 5 languages and on cruises to the Caribbean English is given 1st.
The passengers on our cruise were surprisingly old, perhaps due to the length of the cruise (over seven days). There were only a handful of children and young couples. There were few single people onboard.
Because the Lirica uses a predetermined gratuity rate (12%), the staff does not try to win somebody's favor by pleasing him or her, especially in order to gain an advantage. We believe this makes the service way below what it use to be and we do not like it at all -- plain and simple put service suffers a LOT because of this policy. BUT it is used by almost all the cruise lines now. I have asked the staff if they ever get the tips we supply this way and have received many different responses but most staff say yes in a divided way with the management getting the majority of the money and the working staff getting very little. You can always tell accounting you'll do it yourself, if you don't agree with the rate or you want to recognize service individually.
Our cabin steward was the best staff member we met on the cruise, always there when you needed him and the room was always made up and immaculate. He kept things in tip-top shape, including a supply of ice and fresh fruit at all times.
The waiters and waitresses in the dining room were way below standard especially on the 1st night but after we talked to the maitre d' things got somewhat better. They only have one waiter and NO bus boy for about 6 tables and the staff always seems behind, our water did tell us that the kitchen was under staffed and that made the wait staff always behind.
Most passengers felt the food was below quality level, and that is very true when it comes to meats and desserts. The one night we had lobster it was beyond dry and there was no drawn butter served with it, it was very bad. The Italian dishes were good. The desserts are not very tasty or imaginative. One oddity -- there is no free ice cream. The menu was very limited.
I am a shopper but my wife is not and there are very few shops on the Lirica, maybe 4 or 5 and that included a shop dedicated to cameras, computers, and all things electrical and that shop was way way over priced. The liquor shop is GREAT and has GREAT bargains, the Emeralds International shops was also Great and had a wonderful staff and many bargains although you had to look for the bargains which are in watches and NOT jewelry. The clothes shop had very few t-shirts and very very few items with the ships logo. This shop was very limited. The perfume shop was also over priced
The personnel from the Photo Shop are very nice and very professional and take very nice photos but most passengers thought the photos were very over priced.
The tour desk was manned surprisingly little of the time, and the personnel at that desk did not appear overly concerned or helpful. They were not very familiar with the actual tours, and as a result were of little help. Find out about the tours in advance, this can be done by going to http://www.msccruisesusa.com/crociere/risultato.asp?periodo=12&page_id=48&anno=2007 clicking on your cruise, and then clicking on any port and it will list the tours available.
If you are looking to rest and relax on deck, near the pool, you will have a very, very hard time as there is continuing "entertainment" spewing from the microphone, whether athletics, quizzes, or games and there are deck chairs everywhere and none to spare.
The MSC information concerning ship's dress is somewhat misleading. Everyone brought way too many dressy clothes. There are only three nights requiring coats and ties, and the other evenings are informal, despite the literature calling for coats and ties almost every night.
In the casino, the two blackjack tables were invariably full, yet a third was not manned the also had two roulette tables, although we only saw one ever in use, and there was a craps table. The personnel are nice and very helpful. When we 1st. came on, there was one penny slot and 3 nickel slots, although one was out of order the entire cruise. After a day or two they did convert 4 quarter slots to nickels. My wife was lucky enough to leave the ship a winner and this is most unusual on any cruise line.
The entertainment was not to our liking so we did not attend any shows on board but our fellow passengers told us that the entertainment was not very good. First and second seating are at odd times, so that the usual procedure of flip-flopping the nightly shows doesn't work. The second show follows the second seating. If you retire fairly early, you'll need the first seating, if you want to see the entertainment. First seating is an early 5:45.
The itinerary listed was great but due to bad weather we were cut short on our stay in Roadtown (Tortola) and had to skip Cayo Levantado (Samanà - D.R.) And replace that with Nassau Bermuda.
Also this ship appeared to ride very rough throughout the cruise and I do believe it is because the Captain did not deploy the stabilizers probably to save money on fuel.
Tips Deck six is the wide promenade deck. Strangely, there are no deck chairs anywhere, and it's the only deck where the smokers can go. The chaise lounges are found by the pool on deck 11, on the track on deck 12, and on the fantails. The fantails are the ship's secret. They run from deck six all the way up to deck 12. Most people don't even know they are there.
Don't bring more than three dress outfits.
Cokes are $2.50 each but you can buy a Coke card that gives you a small discount. Mixed drinks have some odd bar prices. Crown Royal is $3.90 unless you have it with water and then its $4.60 because it's now a "cocktail".
Summary In conclusion, this ship definitely did not live up to our most conservative expectations. Our expectations were based upon the literature that MSC Lines distributed as well as our previous cruising experience. All in all we had a good time. However, there was nothing that made us feel we wanted to return. As our travel agent said "you get what you pay for," BUT with MSC you really do not.
Wonderful relaxing cruise. This was our 21 cruise. I am a young 60 my wife is 53. We had second seating dining. Our cabin was an inside on deck 9
I grade my cruises as follows. “A” Is exceptional. “B” Is good. “C” Is average. I would expect my cruise to be “C” or better. “D” Is poor. “E” Is horrible.
Ship. I grade the ship a B. It was extremely clean. Laid out well. Many lounges. We never had a problem finding a seat in a lounge. Shops were very limited in size and selections. They never hardly every announce anything.
Cabin. Would be a grade of “C. They were small only 140 sq ft. Bathroom was small. Cabin was extremely clean. No towel animals or chocolates. Some of the most comfortable beds we have ever had. Normal shower soap, shampoo and etc.
Food. Would be a “B”. But I love true ITALIAN FOOD. If you like Olive Garden food you will not like Lirica food. Pasta was extremely good. Lobster wasn’t the best. Beef was good. Veal was OK. My tablemate said the fish was excellent. Ice tea was very good. HotChocolate was to die for; it was made with hot milk. Breakfasts were good selection. We ate almost all of our meals in the dining room. We had table 106 in the larger dining room. Buffet was lacking. Best thing on buffet was stews and fruit. Breads were true Italian hard on the outside and soft in the middle. Pizza was very good. We found out on the last few days they will make a pizza to order for you. We order two with extra cheese. They were wonderful.
Entertainment. I grade this as a “B”. They had variety shows. The Tenor was wonderful and the magician was also a quick-change artist and he was fast and very GOOD. The dancers were OK. We never attended any of the poolside games. Here is where the lack of announcements caused problems. They were over before we remembered them. My wife won bingo one night. We didn’t go to bingo we just happened to be in the lounge where they played the game.
Service. I grade this with an “A”. The waiter and assistant waiter were extremely good. They never introduced themselves but they knew our likes in a matter of 2 days. Teas and bread was waiting and after the first night we never had to order hot chocolate again. Bar service is very good. We don’t drink anything except cokes. We always had someone near to get us a coke but didn’t have to keep saying no thank you to any offers for drinks. Our cabin steward was very good he came to introduce himself on the afternoon we board and asked if we needed anything. We saw him a few time after that and he met every need we had. By the Way there was never an added tip to my coke order. The tips are $12.00 per day. 40% goes to cabin attendants (your cabin is attended to by two people), 40% goes to wait staff and bartenders/servers and the remaining 20% goes to there managers like the headwaiter and etc.
Ports. I would grade these as “A”. We did Columbia, San Blas Island off of Panama, The Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Roatan Honduras and Jamaica. I loved all of the except Jamaica. Panama isn’t for a prude. Topless women greeted us as we got off the ship.
Would I go on MSC again? Yes I would. I had a very relaxing cruise.
I would grade the whole cruise as a “B”. Have I had better food? Yes I think Royal Caribbean is slightly better. Better cabins? Yes Carnival’s are larger. Better service? No MSC had the best service of all my cruises. For the money spent it was wonderful.
Just back from an 11 day cruise on the MSC Lyrica. I loved the ship -- it was extremely clean.
The shows each night in The Broadway Theater were wonderful and there was a different one each night for all 11 nights of the cruise!
There was exceptional entertainment provided by very talented people.
The live music in each of the lounges was outstanding and geared for mature people. There were many couples dancing.
Our room was nice and the cabin personnel did a great job and were always friendly.
It was a nice experience to hear four other languages spoken other than English.
Our excursions in each port were well planned and well organized.
I found the food to be good and had no complaints about the meals.
I would definitely book another trip on the MSC Lyrica!
In short if you are used to North American Cruise Lines, like Hollond America, Royal Carribean etc then you will be as disappointed as we were on a recent 18 day cruise on MSC Lirica.
All Food was poor, tasteless, over cooked and often cold or just warm.
Language barrier existed -- 5 languages used with Italian as the first. All announcements including the nightly entertainment announced in 5 langages.
When dining for lunch and breakfast often the other people at the table could not speak English.
If you didn't want to attend the formal dining night the only food available after 5 PM was room service which was very limited. The buffet dining room closed at 5 pm. The only place to get a coffee or tea in the evening was at the bar for $2.50.
For me the most important part of a cruise is the elegant dining for great food and it was not even close on the Lirica.
The best meal that I had was the morning that we returned to L.A. at Denny's which tasted soooo good compared with the previous 18 days.
Well I wanted to take the time to write a review because I did have a GOOD experience on the Lirica. I have cruised 8 times and although it was the most unbearable lengthiest embarkation proceedure EVER, we did receive a HUGE apology 3 days later, saying it was due to lack of qualified personnel at Ft Lauderdale (There were (5) 80 year olds). The MSC crew were desperately trying to assist them verbally (not allowed to do more than that) and were just as frustrated. We waited from 11:30 until 3:30 to get on board! The crew was Italian and philippine and balinese and charming and nice, yet very unaware that "the customer is always right" policy we Americans serve with. You get more bees (if any) with honey on this ship. No one knows or cares if you have a problem, unless you take the attitude of 100% calm and friendly.
The dining room was fantastic. We ate at the Bussala restaurant and every night had two or three entrees each with our 6 course meals. We were given as much of anything we wanted and since there was sucha variety of food that tempted our taste buds, we tried every entree, whether on our own or our kids. Paulo the maitre 'd, I love YOU!, Bruno the asst. maitre 'd, you get kisses and hugs! You run your dining room with excellence and Rudy was the most pleasant happiest waiter ever and always smiled. Place your silverware on your plate and they replace at every course. They know how to serve and attend to you first class. I am a critic, so I was on the watch and found that I have never had better service elsewhere, restaurant in NYC or on vacations. On the 2nd formal night we had a succulent gorgeous huge lobster tail better than I have had in bar harbour. I must say many people did not have the same experience I had, but I am an Italian food critic raised on fine dinning and I beleive their opinion is that of the average American who doesn't know real Italian food, but that only of the local pizzeria.
Captain Giacomo was charming and drove the ship with precision. It was smooth sailing even when we were in 12 foot seas one night. I actually prefer a little movement, and was disappointed that when I disembarked (easy process) I did not have the rock n roll feeling I love that helps me sleep better in my own bed.
I boarded with 7 suitcases and when we entered our tiny cabin I had an anxiety attack! I am 350 and found the space tight for anyone, especially with 4 in a cabin. We couldn't get a balcony because only 3 are allowed, yet it is twice as big! Dumb! Well I unpacked everything and successfully put away all things! I fit 4 pieces under the two twin beds! I needed the cabin to look spotless and ship-shape so I could appreciate the small scale furniture design and feel the least cramped as possible. The bathroom was a joke! As you sat on the throne your left foot rested in the shower pan and right arm in the sink. Luckily there was a shower curtain and drain on the main floor so when you showered with the hand held you could step half outside the shower without the curtain (which would stick to you like a rain coat unless you were twiggy). Clean up was a breeze and I soon relaxed and found the cabin quite well designed and efficient and even comfortable!
I saw one or two shows which were great, but since I don't like watching shows unless I know what I am seeing first, I avoided them. I go to Bway in NYC enough and although this was the only entertainment, I preferred to be free spirited and engage in conversation with the very friendly passengers of all ages. The ship's designer was stellar and I found it the easiest ship to get around yet, and not over bling-y. Classy and well designed and super clean! Super duper perfect.
Drinks on board are crazy expensive 6-8$ and soda is 2.50 a can. The soda cards and drink cards don't save you much at all and are limited, so I drank their delicious brewed free iced tea at dinner and at room service all day! Room service menu only had cheese plate, fruit plate, continental breakfast, chicken ceasar, chicken club, tuna sandwich with potato chips, and soup. That's it 24/7! We ordered it every night! I had fresh fruit (fabulous) at 7 am everyday and only went to b'kfast 2x's in the dining room. Delicious corned beef hash and lox and bagels, and every breakfast you could want, but service confusing because open seating and not our waiters always.
We laundered a formal gown and it came back in 24 hours perfect for only 4.50! There is no self laundry on the ship, so bring a laundry hamper bag (we used a huge duffel bag and kept it under the desk area as a hamper!).
The stops were good, except when we had to tender to cayman Island and Mexico. It takes 2 hours getting off the ship! The ocean was rough due to the passing storm, and they take all the tours first. Don't pay for the tours on board if you have a large group because you can get them 1/2 price in Cayman. We had a great time swimming with the stingrays, except my 8 year old who felt afraid and the 3-4 foot waves were drowning her. Go if the water is not rough because you are in the middle of the ocean on a sandbar. The 2nd stop was snorkeling in 9 ft. I had to get help as the current was pulling me away and a surfer passenger threw me life ring. I had trouble kicking with fins on and got cramps in both my legs as I tried to swim against the current. My husband and 8 year old had trouble too and went right back on the boat, but my 12 year old daughter had no problem. The 3 people on the ship were in awesome shape and to them it was like a baby pool and they made us feel so safe. It was $40 pp and they let my 8yr old go free.
In Jamaica we went to the Sunset Beach Hotel right by dock. Gorgeous beaches and spectacular kid's clubs pool, slides, and adult pool, and all you can eat and drink for $140 the whole family! What a find! Screw climbing up the water falls 2 hours away. Relax 'mon! I did this time instead. Look up Sunset Beach on internet and see how gorgeous it is!
In mexico we took a cab for 4 to Playancar Beach and snorkeled and ate on the beach. Glorious! It costs $70 for the cab all day until 7pm. They waited for us! We saw a quaint church 150 years old and ruins buildings nearby quickly and we gathered so much coral and conch shells! We bought necklaces for $1 and recommend carved wood here and also at pier in Jamaica where everything was so cheap and art work beautiful.
Well, that's my crusise review. I paid $1200 plus air fare for a family of 4 and although accommodations were tight and no babysitting after semi-lame kids club at 9:30, the cruise was a hit and I recommend going if you have class and want to be cheap! Contact me if you have questions!
A really, really bad experience. The food was awful. The service was awful. The deck chairs were horrific as was almost everthing else on this cruise. The excursions desk was never manned and the excursions to the islands started very early and did not offer any variety at all, and the tour operators were bad.
Our waiter at dinner did not really understand much of what me and fellow tablemates asked for and they were way understaffed.
Rooms I found tiny, though well kept.
Alternative to formal dining was minimal -- pizza and hamburgers.
Library was open for 2 hours a day even though most of the books were probably left overs from previous travelers.
I would never recommend this ship or this cruise line to anyone and after reading the last review by Denise & family, I cannot understand what being cheap and having class has to do with reviewing a ship. Does disagreeing with Denise & family make you have less class or does Denise & family have a lot less class by that comment? And, what does being cheap have to do in any way with enjoying a cruise ornot enjoying a cruise? I have tons of class and I am as thrifty as they come. I love a bargain BUT this ship is not a class act and it is not a bargain. It is just bad service and bad food.
we got escorted off the ship in St. Lucia after my husband got ill, which the ship dr should of been able to handle. They are rude people,only care about keeping their schedule. we were left alone with no help from the cruise line at all. No entertainment on the ship to speak of. Food so-so. will never go on this cruise line again