Number of Cruises: 30
Cruise Line: MSC Cruises
Ship: MSC Lirica
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
It ain't Carnival but it ain't Holland America either. This is a wonderful ship with a wonderful staff but it isn't quite tuned to what American cruisers are used to.
Think of it as a nice moderately priced European hotel with mostly European guests and it might be easier to grasp what they are doing. Europeans don't expect explicit instructions as to how to do this...go there...see this or buy that. Expect announcements in five languages and bingo games are beyond description. Having said all that, you can't help but love the music including Italian ballads and American standards sung in a strong Italian accent (halloo dolee, itz so neece to hav u bak!) Outstanding musicians and vocalists in every respect.
The food is fair. Pasta everywhere is naturally great, desserts are o.k., fish is usually overcooked but beef is always as ordered. The service we experienced was attentive and friendly. Everyone wears a tux -- even room service at 7 am.
The lounges are gorgeous but some are seriously under utilized and a couple are mobbed on a regular basis. Lots of public spaces on this ship. We had a balcony cabin with a bathtub (?), king size bed, couch, large balcony and a ton of storage and closet space.
Entertainment is European I guess. The jugglers and magicians aren't my style but the dancers and singers were great. The itinerary is wearing with 7 ports in 8 days and 3 days at sea. I've seen them all before and knew what to do and what not to do but the information they provide is pretty limited and they don't give you the sales pitch for certain "approved" stores. Very good choice of tours at typical prices in all ports.
Bar prices are a little odd. Dewars is $3.90 unless you have it with water then its $4.60 because its a "cocktail". They are however much more reasonable than I'm used to and there is no 15% add on service charge. Tipping in general is never mentioned -- do what you want is the motto. All questions are answered politely and promptly but don't expect much advice or direction. It's possible that we Americans expect being told what to do in these situations. Embarkation was as simple and speedy as I've ever seen. One advantage to being in the minority was debarking! Long lines for Non-US Citizens and walk up to the desk and right out for the rest of us.
I will look forward to sailing with them again. Of our dining group of 4 couples, all strangers, (one Britisher, one fluent in Italian, one Hungarian) it was agreed that we all probably would do it again.