We have to preface this review by stating, that we have never in our 25+ cruise travels, felt compelled to give a review on a cruise line or cruise ship. Having said that, our Caribbean cruise in February on MSC's Lirica, definitely deserves comments and a review. We are Mother/ Daughter owners of a travel agency and also great travel companions. We have over 40 years in the travel business and still are in love with travel. We feel that we have a slightly different view of travel from 2 different generations. Our first cruise, 25+ years ago, was on the SS Norway, which at the time was the largest cruise ship on the water. Since then we have been on many cruise lines and cruise ships. We had really never heard much about MSC Cruise Line, when we decided we needed to leave the cold behind and head to the Caribbean. We believe that if we are going to be able to sell and market a specific supplier, we should have basic knowledge of that product, thus began our cruise on the MSC Lirica. We have also noticed some not so good reviews on the Cruise Line and hopefully can address some of the misconceptions. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale not really knowing what to expect, but from the moment we arrived at the cruise terminal until we were shown to our cabin, it was obvious that MSC Cruises had their act together. We have never had our luggage so quickly and were able to actually unpack and go up on deck before the ship left the port. As we looked around and explored the ship, we realized that we had discovered a real diamond. First off, the itinerary was so diverse, San Juan, PR, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Antigua, Tortola and Cayo Levantado, DR, what a treat. As many trips as we have taken, Mom had never been to St. Lucia and Daughter had never been to Tortola, so we both had new places to explore. The ship itself was very reminiscent of Old World travel, beautiful wood, marble and crystal, Bella. Appassionata. Italiana, which translates into beautiful, passionate and Italian. Never have we ever experienced such a variety of cultures and other travelers from all over the world. We may not have spoken the same language but we definitely learned to communicate.
We did not see too many children on this trip, but because children 17 and under travel free, I am sure that many will advantage of this opportunity. The children we saw seemed to be having a wonderful time. We really never saw them much as they were so well taken care of. The entertainment in the theatre was some of the best we had every experienced, from the Italian Tenor, the magician, to the wonderful soprano and the juggler, etc., we were constantly entertained. With the many lounges and other amenities on board, after dinner, Mom usually went to the casino and Daughter to the Lord Nelson Pub, something for both of us definitely!
I might add that we never went hungry, Daughter was always at the pizza bar on deck at 3:00pm and both of us eagerly awaited the pasta of the day at lunch. The dining room staff was very attentive and we took advantage of the wine package at the beginning of the cruise and the wine steward was very knowledgeable. They even would bring us our iced bottle to the pool, where we would enjoy a glass while watching the sun go down. I could not review the ship properly without mentioning the spa! We normally go at least once on a trip, but after experiencing the first Balinese Massage, we booked two more! Ahh!!!!!!
We also want to mention the staff, a wonderful group of energetic people from all over, who were so friendly and fun, they made you feel like part of their family. We got off the ship still speaking Italian and gesturing with our hands, Mama Mia, Bella, and Magnifico!!
Is this cruise for everyone? If you want to be on the shiniest, largest ship on the seas, probably not, if you want to have an experience like you have never left home, with everyone speaking English NO, but if you want a wonderful adventure with old world charm, this cruise line is for you. The food could be better to suit the American palate, but ordering from the Italian menu was wonderful and they are making great strides into updating their menus to please diverse cultures. They have added some beautiful new ships which we hope to try out soon and review, but as for now, you can find us back on the MSC Lirica, soon, this time going to Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Columbia and DR. We will be by the pool with our bottle of wine and our "old, new" friends. If anyone ever has any questions on this cruise line feel free to contact us and we will try to answer them from our unique points of view.
Mom(Janet) and Daughter(Carolyn)