After reading some of the negative comments we (experienced cruisers including HAL, RCCL and Celebrity) prepared for the worst on our first MSC cruise. But we found our 7-day cruise with the MSC Lirica fantastic!
Our balcony suite was spacious, comfortable and had plenty of storage. We had breakfast in our cabin every day(3 or 5 euro supplement when you want more than the regular continental breakfast). Also: tasty coffee/cappuccino/tea (I guess that's the Italian influence). Good wines and cocktails (similar prices to other cruise lines). Fresh orange juice in the coffee bar (a must for me). Very friendly staff. Compliments to our cabin steward Komang Agus and his assistant (who kept our cabin super clean) and to hairdresser Mileidy Hernandez from Cuba. She did an excellent job on my hair for both formal nights. The ship also has nice shops with ample choice.
There are certainly improvements to be recommended. The (musical) entertainment was kinda boring and boarding after excursions was too slow. Also the food in the main restaurant could be better and the buffet restaurant should be open on both sides in busy times (like after excursions). Room service is only available during breakfast hours (why not 24/7?). There are many smoking areas on the ship (such as the casino). As non-smokers we didnt appreciate the ship's smoking policy.
The tinerary was very interesting:
- Hamburg (Germany). We recommend the Hop on/Hop Off bus. Bus stop is at appr. 5 minutes walking distance from the ship.
- Edinburgh (Scotland). Fantastic city. We recommend the Hop on/Hop Off bus. Warning: Don't get the private shuttle bus at the harbour in South Queensferry. They charge 15 euro (20 dollars) and assure you that you get a ride back from the city centre to the ship at 13.00, 14.00. 15.00. 16.00 hours etc. We wanted to take the 16.00 hours shuttle bus back to the ship, but they never came to pick us up. They left 30 Lirica passengers (including us) stranded at Charlotte Square in Edinburgh. It's a disgrace. All of us had to get taxis to the ship. Thanks to our fantastic taxi driver we made it back to the ship just in time!
- Newcastle (UK). Fun for a couple of hours. We took a taxi to the city centre and did some shopping.
- Harwich (UK). You can go to Ippswich, Colchester, Cambridge or London from here (train station 5 minutes walk from the ship). We preferred to stay in the lovely little town of Harwich (2 stops by train) and had lunch there.
The MSC Lirica is a rather small ship. It was clearly struggling with the heavy October winds (80-90 kph). Therefore the Lirica is not suitable for people who are prone to seasickness.
All in all we are very satisfied!! We already booked our next cruise with MSC!!!