We just returned from a spring break cruise on the MSC Lirica, sailing the South Eastern Caribbean and South America. I wanted to start out by informing those considering a cruise on this ship not to change their mind by reading these reviews as my wife and I almost did. We had booked this cruise several months in advance and chose this line due the great itinerary and cost. We have cruised several different lines from Disney to Wind Star and after reading bad reviews, one after another, called a family meeting two weeks prior to departure to decide on canceling, losing our money and booking on a different Ship. From reading this review you can see we decided to stay the course.
We flew down a day early and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, airport/cruise port. They provide free airport and cruise terminal shuttles. The hotel was nice, clean and convenient. They also provide a free breakfast. We left the hotel around noon and met another family on the shuttle sailing on the same ship who also read the reviews. They too were concerned but were going with and open mind just like us. As mentioned in prior reviews the check-in was quick and flawless and we were on board and escorted to our room before 1:00 PM. We had an outside cabin with a window. There were four of us staying in this cabin as the larger suites only provide berths for 3. I wanted a balcony but didn't want to pay for two cabins. This was my first concern because several of the reviews commented on how small the cabins were. I can honestly say the cabin size never became an issue. We had plenty of storage space to completely unpack the bags and put all our clothing away. The bathroom was also adequate and compared in size to most cruise lines when booking in a similar category cabin. I will move on to the ship, it was very clean and well kept. The ship was smaller at 59000 gross ton compared to the ships coming out today. The plus to this was the ease in getting around. The only down side was the movement felt on the last couple of days as we had 12 foot seas. If you're prone to sea sickness this would probably affect you on any size ship.
We had the early seating for dinner which was 5:30 and not the 6:30 originally stated. We thought this was a little early but once we sailed and went through several different time zone changes we understood why the time was moved up. It never posed a problem with our shore excursions. There were 3 formal nights, not 2, so plan accordingly. There was only one scheduled on a port day which was a day the ship was scheduled to depart at 3:00 PM allowing plenty of time to get ready. We felt the quality of food was excellent. We did take our waiter, Virgil's, suggestions and maybe this allowed us to avoid some of the lesser desired items. We always had plenty to eat. We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffets and never had a problem locating a seat, the food was good and never appeared to be the previous night's leftovers. The room service menu is limited and could use some improvement. If you're a wine drinker like myself I strongly suggest you get a wine package. The selection is good and it will save you plenty of money. Several of the crew don't speak English but it never became a problem and wasn't a barrier that couldn't be overcome. For that matter several of the guests couldn't either but I couldn't speak their language. To sum it up it was a great cruise and MSC did a great job. I won't hesitate to cruise with them again.
I would like to make a special note about a scuba diving trip we booked as our own excursion while in the port of Costa Maya, Mexico. We booked with Maya Palms resort and couldn't have been more pleased. They are in the final stages of repair from hurricane damage but it was still a beautiful resort. If its just for a beach break or an entire week I suggest you check them out.