MSC Lirica Dec 7 - 18, 2006
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 few had 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 on 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.
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.
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.
Over all we enjoyed the cruise and most likely would cruise with MSC again.