Western Mediterranean 7 day cruise
Looking at all the negative cruise reviews for this company we expected the worst on MSC Lirica, there was four of us booked for this cruise two couples. Everyone makes and expects different from there holidays and if you want fish and chips, and a Billy Connelly type show? Go to Blackpool or Skegness because this is not the cruise for you. However if you want to try different cuisine and entertainment, we had a fantastic week aboard MSC Lirica.
FOOD This is not a 24 hour eating and drinking cruise however I consider myself a big eater and found plenty of time to eat and drink until my 18 stone figure was full. Breakfast started at 0630 and the menu and service was more than ample, my choice was always a full English with eggs cooked in any way you require it finished at 1030 hrs. The buffets started at 1030 and went on until the evening meal, both the buffet and evening meal were fabulous with burgers chips, pizzas, pasta all away up to a full roast. There was a midnight buffet until 0200 hrs they pulled out all the stops on this one to soak up the drink you had consumed.
DRINK We chose to take the drinks package that cost £33 per day, this gave us peace of mind and you did not have to worry about how much you drank through the day, We would return from a day on shore and have a couple of cocktails followed by beer and shorts. As an example of the cost for the four of us in the round it was approximately 25 euros each time, a bottle of wine at the evening meal was 20 euros, a beer and 3 bottles of water at the meal was close on 10 euros. Everyone drinks different amounts so this is something you need to work out, it worked well for us if we were not on it we would have thought twice about having three or four drinks in the afternoon. (when the buffet is open there is water, ice, coffee and tea free for you to use at will).
STAFF AND CREW Say as you see and I can say with honesty we never met one crew member that did not smile and put themselves out to be polite. Reading other reviews I thought I was with the wrong company they were an absolute pleasure from the officers to the cabin cleaners.
TIPS AND GRATURITIES The was a bone of contention MSC take 7euros per person per day automatically, however on the MSC web site and your tickets it says tipping is to your discretion and voluntary. I believe in tips for service you receive and how you are looked after, I therefore went to see the purser on the first day and was told it was MSC policy to take the 7 euros and there was no discretion. After showing the purser the tickets I was told this is the British side of MSC and not the European policy, I wanted to pay half of the automatic money for me and my wife and the other half or more I would tip at my discretion. Not happy with this the purser said they would take advice from higher and get back to me if there was a problem. At the end of the week they had took the full amount, not happy I took the MSC page I had printed off that said it was voluntary and showed my ticket. They halved the amount of tips. (After getting to know the staff I asked do you just get only your wages of MSC or does everyone get a separate packet with tips received from passengers? The answer was I get $200 per month nothing extra.) IF THIS IS TRUE ARE WE THE PASSENGERS TIPPING FOR SERVICES RECIEVED OR PAYING THE MSC WAGE BILL.
DRESS Shirt and trousers was ample for the evening meal. On the gala night shirt tie and jacket was the normal dress, very few in dinner suits. The ladies in general wore evening dresses not to the floor.
I hope this helps future MSC cruisers, we had a great week and the ship is gleaming clean.