My boys 14 & 11 were with me on our 9th cruise on MSC Lirica on Dec 27 for 11 days. The ports we visited were really interesting especially Cartagena, Colombia, which looks like old Spain and is truly charming. Panama was dull because we went to Puerto Porto which was a waste of time. We should have gone to Panama City for the same distance. Costa Rica and Roatan were super days. Cozumel is all but gone because of Wilma and is quite pitiful. Gone are the docks most beaches and shops . What a shame!!! MSC Lirica is very simple in appearance with no big atrium or large room to gather. For the New Year's cruise decorations were minimal and unimpressive. Hard to believe it was a holiday cruise It really did not feel like one nor waS THIS STRESSED BY CREW They threw a dollar store mini center piece on each table which was real tacky and ugly . Either do it right or don't bother!!!
ThE CABINS ARE CLAUSTROPHOBIC and really teeny tiny -smaller then RCCL Carnival Costa Or NCL. I challenge anyone from being able to shower without the shower curtain up their butt. What a nuisance!!!
The food was very tasty but lacked fancy presentation . Desserts are nonexistent except for fruit/ice creams and the rare cake. Pastas are good but I was disappointed in the few veal dishes I associate with Italian cuisine. Service at dinner was ATROCIOUS as our waiter never got our order straight!! Dinner took very long and this from people who demand you be at your table at 8;15 sharp or they would not serve you. Our first meal ,first course took 1.5 hours to arrive. WHAT A JOKE!!! In general the Crew is distant and not too friendly with non Italian it is their ship and they make you know it.!!!You will hear "Italian style 1000 times a day and that gets really old too. We get it stop harping. Truly it is not any better than American or any other style and actually the contrary.
Entertainment is either super or real mediocre. If you dare walk out of a bad show be prepared to be severely told off by the very rude cruise director about what he considers inappropriate behaviour!!! His joke about having to rush off to catch a water taxi was repeated every night for 11 nights and got REALLY OLD AND OBNOXIOUS. He personally told me(bumped into him in the elevator) I did not speak English I spoke American and therefore he could not really understand me. I corrected him and said I believed I spoke Canadian (according to HIs definition) since I was not American. VERY RUDE AND CONDESCENDING.
Service on board ship was mediocre at best. They never really tried to help(reception dining room or excursions) just made excuses to brush you off!!! The excursion people had little info on the ports and were not helpful except to scare me out of going anywhere on my own. Croc to force you to take their tours.
Would I go back on MSC yes if the price were right. Do not expect too much and you won't be disappointed. I liked the ports but what made our vacation is the great people we met and with whom we visited everywhere by renting our own guides and busses -much cheaper and more fun!!1 Hats off to Drew, Val, Jack and Amy and all our Mexican Friends and Puerto Rican friends who made our excursions memorable. We had a blast and laughed all day!!! In spite of my criticism of the ship I really enjoyed the cruise. If it is really cheap go for it on an MSC cruise. I hope they correct some of their mistakes and make cruising with them more enjoyable.