On a random visit to our Travel Agents to check out something different for a holiday in February we were offered an attractive cruise deal with MSC Lirica to UAE. This included two extra nights stay in a four star hotel in Dubai with transfers between both, on board spending money and an attractive drinks package, so we set out on this cruise with an open mind having previously had three previous excellent enjoyable cruises with P&O (1) and Princess (2). We were not to be disappointed with our choice.
Well of course, just like you are doing now, we read the cruise reviews to see what we could expect and would wish to make the following observations following earlier comments:
Yes, check-in procedures were very slow due to large passenger numbers arriving at the same time, but we were immediately allowed on to the ship and had access to our rooms at 10 o’clock in the morning.
Yes, the ship is dated and tired looking but the cleanliness throughout could not be faulted. There were more than enough staff cleaning, tidying and keeping the ship spotless.
Yes, the Cruise Director was very tiring which his introductions in four different languages but the overall entertainment was of a high standard, the best we’d experienced anywhere. The Hollywood musicals show was very good and The Michael Jackson tribute was superb although I was expecting more from the Frank Sinatra experience on the last night. The Assistant C D made a point of mixing and meeting with us and should be promoted to CD immediately.
Yes, the shore excursions are limited but we would highly recommend using the free shuttle bus to the Oceanic Hotel in Khor Al Fakkan and ensure you pay a very small sum for a sumptuous lunch. Well worth having.
Yes, some of the staff appeared disinterested and were not overly eager to be polite and helpful but we found our restaurant waiter (Wira) and cabin steward to be exemplary. Extra waiters could however be employed in the bar areas though to cut long waiting times.
Yes, the food is not what we are used to but we were on an Italian ship so had to adjust accordingly. There was plenty to eat although with first sitting in the restaurant it meant we were hurried on two nights to finish up quickly and leave ready for the next sitting to arrive.
This précis is not intended to be derogatory as overall we enjoyed ourselves immensely and had a lovely break. Every-one we spoke to appeared to be having a good time with few complaints amongst them. We met some fantastic fellow cruisers who we shall keep in touch with in the future. Without being pedantic our one small gripe arrived on the very last day. Along with one other couple, we were due to be picked up by mini bus from our luxury hotel at 6.30 am and driven to the airport for our onward journey. At 7.00 am and no sign of any transport or information to the contrary we had to hastily make our own arrangements to ensure we arrived in good time for a 9.30 am flight.
I will be contacting MSC for an explanation, would I cruise with MSC again, Yes, maybe but only if I get a satisfactory response. I would be happy to answer any questions if you will be travelling on this ship soon.