I just returned from a 10 day eastern sailing on MSC Lirica and let me first say that if you are used to Royal Caribbean, Carnival, or NCL you are in for a big shock because this is not your typical American cruise line. I was rather disappointed in many aspects because I felt like if the ship wants to do business in America and market to Americans then they need to change the way they deliver their product. I feel MSC dropped the ball in some areas and preformed well in others. The ship is such a "hit and miss" you never know what to expect day to day.
Embarkation: We arrived at the port in Ft Lauderdale around 1:00pm and we were in our room around 1:15pm The staff will take you right to your cabin when you board which is new to me and a nice touch.
Public Rooms/Cabins: This ship is spotless and the crew is always cleaning something on the ship. The pool deck is huge for a ship of this size. The rooms are tiny and the shower is a joke it is so small that you have to shower with the shower curtain open or it will attack you. The balcony rooms are larger and have a stand-up shower/tub
Staff: My first concern was the body odor from the staff it was so bad that we had to move tables to get new waiters at dinner and it seemed to be an issue with most of the staff during the ten days,It seems that MSC does not provide its people with a hygiene class most of them smelled so bad. You will find yourself asking "does anyone speak English on this ship" it is very hard to understand the crew and about half of the other passengers are from Europe so all the PA'S are done in five different languages which seems fine at first but gets old fast. I felt that the staff tries to make and effort to help it just didn't seem to take sometimes.
Dining: My biggest grip is with dining is the meal times because the breakfast buffet closes at 10AM which is crazy to me since I like to sleep in and food is not available until 12pm. Lunch runs from 12pm thru 3pm so if you get back from an excursion at 3pm forget about lunch and say hello to the horrible room service. I spoke to the hotel manager and he said that I could order room service during the period of 10-12 however room service is a joke in itself it consists of bread with some mayo or fruit and you have to pay for drinks at bar prices if you get them from room service and I don't mean bar brinks i mean ice tea or juice ABSURD! Dinner is a total hit and miss, the food was O.K not bad not good and you never knew from one day to the next one day was good one day was bad . The Prime Rib was good and the lobster was good but the veal was bad and so was the pork. The dessert menu only has one or two items on it and dessert was only great about three nights out of 10. One item I forget to mention is the cups in the buffet they are so small like little shot glasses when you want some tea or juice you need to take like five or six of the little glasses so it is a good idea to bring some plastic cups from home (you will thank me later)
Shore Excursions: I tried to book on-line prior to leaving however this is not an option with MSC so when you get on the ship you can fill out a form and drop it in a box and the tickets are delivered to your room. I booked the ATV adventure which was great.
Value: All and All it was a good value for a ten day cruise with great ports however I would not cruise with MSC again nor would i recommend them to any family or friends. I think this is an non American cruise line with a mediocre product that is more focused on its European guests, I would rather sail on RCCL, Carnival, NCL or other American brands for the price. If your looking at MSC over a typical American line from the US I feel that you are better off paying a little more and going with the traditional American brand.