This was our 4th cruise all taken within 2 years. Previous cruise were all on Princess.
We booked this cruise in early July and booked an inside guarantee. We were pleasantly surprised when we were checking in and found we had been upgraded to a balcony, which they call a suite. We have been in either a balcony or suite and from what I understand no other line would have called this cabin a suite. The bathroom had a tub, which was very nice but a bit hard to get out of as it was very tall.
Our ports were: San Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Tortola and Cayo Levantado. We took ship excursions in San Juan, St Maarten and Grenada. They were handled very well. MSC worked at making sure that people who spoke different languages had their own tour bus and guide. We took our own tours in Barbados, St. Lucia and Tortola. We had very good drivers/guides on these.
As for Cayo Levantado there was supposed to be a $19 pp charge for the tender to the island but MSC did drop this, most likely because very fewhad signed up. There was still a charge for the buffet on Cayo Levantado but I believe this was due to the ship not doing the buffet but having the hotel on the island providing it. We only saw one couple actually eating.
The passengers were a mix of Americans, Canadians, Britons, Germans, French and Italians. And while it is true that announcements are made in 5 languages the announcement are few and far between.
MSC has instituted the Art auction and the Inch of Gold but neither intruded on the impact of the cruise. They only have one deck that has the shops and the sales people are not pushing you to buy.
The one thing that really stood out for as being different on MSC was the entertainment and animation group.
While MSC is trying to bring in Americans the entertainment was very Italian, not even European (according to the British friends we made). I think they need to make some changes there. They could also do with turning down the volume on the music.
Also the animation group was all Italian and most times it was very hard to understand what they were saying in English. It would not hurt if they had a couple of these people whom English is their first language.
We heard many people complain about the food but really the only complaint we had about the food was that in a lot of items did not have much taste, very bland. It seems that the only items with a lot of flavor were the seafood salads and the soups. But we definitely did not starve.
The ship was very pretty and the Christmas decoration they put up were very nice and not over done. Most lounges and the dining rooms all had a Christmas tree and each was decorated a bit different from the next.
There were a few children on board and did not see any problems with any even though the hours of the children’s club were very short.
The dress code for the cruise was 3 formal nights and the rest casual. Most passengers followed but of course some did not. This definitely did not detour for from our enjoyment.
Over all we enjoyed the cruise and most likely would cruise with MSC again.
This was the first cruise that I went on, and I couldn't have asked for anything more.
The service was impeccable, the cleanliness excellent and the food was, being Italian Canadian, sometimes as good as our home cooking. Never better though:) One reviewer was complaining that they had to buy ice cream. We found that if we went to the sit down restaurant for lunch, ice cream came with the meal, and therefore was free. We also found the prices at the stores on the ship to be exceptionally reasonable, sometimes much less than the price at a duty free store on land.
There were a few complaints that we had which we also mentioned to the cruise company and which hopefully, if other readers notice, will also tell the cruise ship company.
The tours organized by the ship tended to be very expensive and we found that many times, it was easier and cheaper to hire a taxi or walk in the various ports of call. The price of alcohol on the ship was also prohibitive, although many guests appeared to have somehow procured their own drinks (nudge nudge, wink wink).This may only be with our table, but we found the snobbishness of the Maitre'D and the table manager to be quite offensive, although the rest of the restaurant staff went out of their way to make our meals enjoyable.
In addition, if you are a younger traveller (under 30), you may find that, atleast on our cruise, there are not a lot of young people, although a lot of the staff are young and fun to talk with.
Finally, if you are like us and like to enjoy peace and quiet, head to the back of the ship to the Blue Lounge and the deck behind there. Although there are activities going on constantly near the pool, the back of the ship is quiet and you can enjoy the beautiful view and take in the rays of the sun. The fact that the rooms were a little small was actually nice, as we were forced to leave the rooms and meet many of our fellow passengers.
We did hear some of the other passengers complaining, but they, as the stereotype goes, appeared to be consistently cut of a certain stripe, and I am sure they would probably never be fully satisfied with anything.
I would definitelty recommend this cruise to anyone especially if you enjoy a more meditteranean atmosphere.
As seasoned cruisers, 25 plus cruises on 8 or 9 lines, we decided to try an out of the ordinary,nonpredictible,adventure with a cruise line touted as a different approach than previously sailed with lines. What an experience! I can best sum up this 11 day port hoping in the carribean as "The Cruise from Hell"!
The food was terrible, surpassed only by the snobish service staff at all levels. Obvious distain for American guests was evident everywhere. I declined the auto-gratuity encouraged by the ship & tipped well only my cabin stewardness who provided the TLC that we were accustomed to on previous voyages. I would certainly never consider ever cruising with this line again even with a full "comp" If bargain cruising is a factor in choosing a water filled vacation buy or rent a truck tube & float down the Rio Grande for 11 days. You`ll have more fun & the soggy ham sandwiches will be gormet delights in comparison to the slop served by rude waiters on the "Lirica".
Ship Lirica was extremely clean, food was good, entertainment was good, service excellent. Would definitely cruise this line again.
Outside Deck doors did not have functioning "anti-slam" closures and unfortunately I crushed my finger and had the top joint surgically removed in Jamaica. I continued the cruise. The cruise doctors were helpful, but didn't follow up with me after the operation. I guess they figured I survived and that was all that mattered???
BE CAREFUL when entering the ship's outside deck doors from outside under windy conditions as they are apt to slam.
I did write the cruise line and suggested they check and/or install anti-slam equipment, and it would be interesting to know if anything has transpired. If anyone has info about that, please post.
This cruise was only adequete. Lirica was spotlessly clean. Food was poor, esspecially in the resteraunt, which was hit and miss. Our waiters were were very nice but spoke only Indonesian so not one night did they get out order correct, steak instead of fish etc, only 3 choices for main coarse. Our head waiter was a total idiot, he pretended he spoke no english but we heard him speaking perfect english to Americans, kept bringing a silly Plastic Chicken & a pen that gave an electric shock (if you have a pacemaker, watch out).
Food on the deck grill was often cold and the lunchtime buffet was always the same, not a potatoe in sight. Salads were good. Entertainment sometimes was only OK but Italian classical singers were first class. Cabins and staff, can't fault also reception couldn't have been more helpful inspite of very rude & ignorant passengers, they did all they could for us, as Briish Airways had failed to deliver our bags to Miami, they arrived home 7 days after cruise (avoid BA at any cost, they have refused to give us any compensation) Can't pass opinion onPorts, we could not go ashore with unsuitable clothing, retail shop poorly stocked, OK if you are a lady below size 10 and men under 34 waist. Prices over the top.
Bars were good with plenty of choice of Beers and spirits, wines were pricey.
I recently was able to join a friend, last minute, on an 11 day cruise aboard the MSC CROCIERE Italian cruise ship. After reading some pretty negative reviews (after booking) I was a bit concerned. I am not sure if those folks were aboard the same ship but my experience overall was 5 star. The crew, from the director (Andreas) to our cabin attendant (Thierry) to the wonderful hostess in the Lord Nelson (Maria)were all exceptional.
The dining room was fabulous with decent food, lots of choices, including a great selection of healthy items and the servers were awesome. Each evening there was really good entertainment The ports were all gorgeous and the time allotted was just perfect. The only complaint I would offer is the price of the ship tours, of which we took none. We just hired privately and it was about 1/3 to 1/2 of the cost. I would highly recommend this cruise line.
What a great time we had on this beautiful two-year-old ship! MSC was a different experience for us and we loved it. Everything I had read prior to sailing on the Lirica was mixed, so I want to give you a good feel for our experience -- albeit from our perspective.
We started cruising in the mid-1980s and are veterans of 27 cruises on most major lines. We have cruised with Commodore, Premier, RCCL, Costa, Carnival, NCL, HAL, Celebrity and Princess -- some many times -- and we truly enjoy cruising. We lived in Naples, Florida for 10 years and cruised several times a year since the ports were so easy to access. We love good food, and we were especially looking for something different from the normal mass-market cruise this time. Since we now live in Chicago and have to fly to the port, we wanted to book a longer cruise and one we thought we would really enjoy, since we aren't cruising so many times in a year now.
The Cabin After researching MSC we decided that the international flavor of the line, the size of the ship and itsage would all be pluses. We booked about two months out, an inside guaranteed cabin. Our documents arrived about two weeks prior to departure and our cabin wasn't assigned at the time. A day before we were to leave, I called the travel agency and was given our cabin assignment -- it turned out to be an inside cabin, but an upgrade from what we booked and a handicapped-accessible cabin. This turned out to be a real plus because the cabin was about twice the size of a normal one, and the bathroom had no ledges and a huge shower. The cabin was on Deck 9 forward, perfect for going up or down.
Cabin 9052's beds were on each side of the room with tons of closet and storage space as well as a vanity and mini-bar (which we didn't use). Towels were huge and replenished as needed. Shampoo, body gel and bubble bath were in the bath, and so was a hair dryer that was good for short hair. There were not many electrical outlets, so bring a strip if you need to plug in battery chargers, etc. This was a very quiet cabin, and we got fresh fruit daily.
The Ship MSC Lirica is a two-year-old ship and the maximum passenger capacity using all berths is 2,065. Double-occupancy capacity is 1,560 passengers. The line is the second largest shipping company in the world; since it branched out into the passenger cruise business it now has seven cruise ships, with two more to come. The Lirica was designed for international sailing and I believe this is her second season in the Caribbean, along with her sister ship, the Opera. Reviews from passengers have been mixed but all agree that the ship is beautiful and clean, with a true mix of passengers from many countries.
The officers are all Italian; so are the upper echelon staff in the dining room, and the style and flavor of the ship is Italian. The captain on this voyage was Mattia Manzi and the cruise director was Andrea Olivieri. The entertainment team that he oversees was excellent. All the staffers are multilingual. The few announcements are in five languages, and so is the entertainment. The passengers on this cruise were from Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Canada, USA, Great Britain, and other countries. Menus in the dining room are in different languages to accommodate passengers who do not speak English.
Embarkation After we arrived at Fort Lauderdale Airport, we took our time, got some coffee, and then took a cab to the port once we retrieved our luggage. Since this was an 11-night cruise, we were sailing on a Thursday and returning on a Monday, so the airport was not crowded with cruise passengers. Just two other ships were leaving from Port Everglades that day and we would be the last to depart. We got to the port about 11:45 a.m., left our bags with the porters and got a number for boarding. The check-in lines opened at noon and we were among the first to be processed. The person checking us in was doing it for the first time, but it went very smoothly and we were on board in about 15 minutes. We were greeted by a staff member to lead us to our cabin and were settling in quickly. A welcome-aboard lunch was being served, but it was delayed by a surprise inspection. (A footnote: The Lirica has scored 100 on all inspections; it is probably the cleanest ship we have ever sailed.)
The Layout We decided to acquaint ourselves with the layout. We had a great map of the ship and started at the top. There are 13 decks, so we worked our way down. Deck 13 is for sunning forward, and aft is a miniature golf course. Deck 12 is an additional sunning deck and also is the walking/running track -- with eight times around to a mile (by my calculations). Deck 11 has the buffet restaurant all the way aft, with a grill on the port side and a pizzeria on the starboard side. Directly in front of that is a bar and shaded seating area, and forward of that are two beautiful salt water pools with space for sitting all around. The lounge chairs had shades on them. Forward was a place to get ice cream (extra charge) and then the gym, saunas, massage, etc., were all the way forward. Decks 10, 9, 8 and part of 7 were passenger decks. Decks 6 and 5 are public decks with lounges, restaurants and shops as well as reception etc. With the exception of Caya Levantado, we disembarked in each port from Deck 5 forward.
Itinerary The itinerary for this cruise was: two days at sea, San Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua, Tortola, Caya Levantado (private island), day at sea and back to Port Everglades. We spent a good amount of time in each port; the only one we could have done without was Grenada. Caya Levantado is absolutely beautiful -- a small island off the coast of the Dominican Republic -- and the seas were gently rolling. The day was beautiful -- a great beach day. Since we have been to all these islands, we were familiar with them. In the past we explored each of them and found places we like to return to. We like to shop and enjoyed each port thoroughly. We always walk into the town; it's great exercise and usually an easy walk. Our weather was exceptional each day except the day we were in Grenada, where it rained and we didn't care; we were only off the ship for about 15 minutes anyway. A number of excursions were offered in each port but we haven't done those for many years so I can't comment on them.
There were three formal nights; the others were a combination of informal and casual. The captain had a welcome aboard party for the first formal night and another party on the last formal night. Not everyone adhered to the dress code, but the majority of passengers did. There were very few children on this cruise; I can't comment on the facilities for them.
Dining We checked in at the dining room immediately after settling into our cabin. We had requested late seating, which we got, and we wanted to request a table for two. The maitre d' was very gracious in granting our request. We were later told that early seating was full but late seating was not. Our waiter was Windia and his assistant was Agus, both from Indonesia. Our table supervisor was Salvatore. The supervisors and the maitre d' and his assistants were very visible all the time, and service in the dining room was excellent. It was also leisurely since it was late seating, and that suited us very well.
There were certain menu items you could order each night; there was always a choice of appetizers, soups, a pasta of the day, choices of main courses and desserts. The portions were very nice -- not huge -- but if you wanted more than one thing or something not on the menu, all you had to do was ask. We rated the food overall as good. My husband had one meal that he had to send back (a pot roast -- the meat was not acceptable) but other than that, we had no problems. We tried things we had never had, and we enjoyed MSC's version of dishes we were familiar with.
We ate only two meals in the buffet (the welcome aboard lunch and one breakfast); all other meals we ate in the dining rooms. We were assigned LaBussola dining room for dinner, so we ate breakfast and lunch in the Ippocampo dining room. Both rooms are beautiful, and the service was excellent in both. The wait staff was comprised of Indonesians, Italians, Romanians, and some other nationalities. The maitre d' and his assistants and most of the table supervisors were Italian. First seating for dinner was at 5:45 p.m. and second seating was at 8 p.m. Breakfast in the dining room was served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., lunch from noon to 2 p.m. On deck the hours were a little longer, and there was afternoon tea from 4 to 5 p.m. each day.
Continental breakfast was offered via cabin service, and there was a small room service menu available 24 hours a day. Our overall assessment is that the food is good: Breakfast was great, lunch very good, and dinner was very good. We found the pasta dishes to be somewhat bland, but the beef was always prepared to our order and very tender; the lobster was excellent, as were the soups. Desserts were good (some great); the baked alaska was some of the best I ever had.
The Staff We found the crew and officers to be exceptionally friendly. They always had a smile in greeting you. The entertainment team was exceptional too. We didn't attend all the shows so we can't comment on most of them. The entertainment team had something going on each night on Deck 6, and they were lots of fun. They were out by the pool during the day. There were food demonstrations, Italian language classes, dance music for every taste, some Bingo, an art auction (not well attended), a small display of Inch of Gold (very unobtrusively). The shops on Deck 5 were nice, very low key. Drinks were not "hawked" on deck or in the lounges. If you wanted something, all you had to do was ask, but you were not approached time and again.
Announcements were kept to a minimum -- you were expected to read your daily program to find out what was going on, and when. It was very relaxing.
Miscellaneous Some additional items -- there was a $12 per person tip amount added to your bill each day. You could remove it if you chose to and tip each person yourself. We did the automatic tipping and it seemed most people did this. I did see a number of people giving extra money to their cabin stewardess or steward and some to the waiters. Tips are automatically figured into drinks on deck and in the bars. Wine packages can be purchased and glasses of wine were reasonably priced. On board Internet costs $6 for the first 10 minutes and 60 cents a minute after that. If you travel with a laptop, you can buy prepaid packages, and the ship also has three laptops equipped with Wi-Fi that you can rent. The library was on the honor system -- you could walk in, take a book and return it when finished -- and there were books in multiple languages.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions. We would sail MSC again in a heartbeat. The feel of the ship, the ambience -- all of it was just great. And taking a cruise longer than seven days was so nice. Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze. I tried to learn some basic Italian prior to cruising, and that was always received well. All in all, it was a perfect vacation for us.
MSC Cruises MSC Lirica by J ALVAREZ Western Caribbean December 27, 2005 Run, don't walk from this cruise line! While the looks of the ship are very nice, they offer little else. The food quality was poor and tasteless. Our wait staff was excellent and always offered to replace something we did not like. There is nothing to do on the ship as far as activities and we found most of the staff not interested in our questions. The entertainment was average at best and never once was the theater filled. The officers were not friendly or helpful.
Children on the ship were allowed to roam free and often unattended. My brother in law had to complain several times about them running through the halls in the early hours of the morning. The reception did not seem to care nor responded to any complaints. We saw children using the slot machines. The shops were boring and overpriced. The embarkation and debarkation were both excellent. Housekeeping was the best on any ship I have been on.