After booking this cruise with MSC I read a few reviews which made me feel I had made a big mistake.
Gladly I can say that my own experience of MSC Lirica was very positive.
All the crew were very friendly and helpful and I never experienced any of the problems which seem to have effected some other passengers. The restaurant and bar staff were always very keen to help and I never felt we were being rushed in any way.
The balcony suites are very clean, stylish and well cared for. In addition, they are larger than the ones I have seen on many P & O ships. The beds are also very comfortable and the baths in ther rooms were double the size of my previous ones on a P&O Ship.
None of my family had any serious issues with any of the food on board either. The ship is run by an Italian comapany so you have to expect that some of the food will be Italian or at least European.
My daughter used the kids club most of the days on the cruise and enjoyed it. They have a varied programme for the children which includes going to the evening shows in the theatre.
The evening entertainment was generally of a high standard. Of course, the entertainment team had to cope with dealing with at least 4 different national groups on board (British, German, Italian and Spanish), and I thought they did a good job of it.
The in-cabin TV service needs to have more TV channels in English. Also having the same 6 films on the movie channel for 3 weeks is not good and needs to be improved.
On our cruise about 50% of the 1700 passengers were German or Austrian and this seemed to cause a few problems for some of the British guests. People have to appreciate that Germans are different to the British, as are Italians and Spanish. If you don't like mixing with Europeans, then book cruises with other companies who cater for purely British tastes.
As for saying that Germans are ignorant, well I can safely say that I also met some very ignorant British passengers on the ship and their sole purpose on the cruise was to complain about everything.
I am unsure why someone claiming to be a passenger on the same cruise is saying that many of the goods bought in the on-board shops is fake. All the items we purchased were genuine and very well priced.
Like some other passengers I was also effected by the decision not to go to Abu Dhabi. I did check this out as I heard all the rumours that were being floated around. The Abu Dhabi port authorities stopped the ship going to Abu Dhabi and it had nothing to do with MSC saving money.
All I can say is that my family had a very positive experience aboard MSC Lirica and I wold certainly book another cruise with them.
I think if you go on holiday with a positive attitude and are willing to mix with other nationalities, then you will have a great experience. Some people just want to complain and they could do that just as well by staying at home.
MSC are not Cunard (and don't charge Cunard prices) but they are improving all the time.
In summary, a great cruise which was enjoyed by the whole family.