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Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary. MSC aren't our first choice for cruising, however most of the reviews were okay, so we booked the cruise. Check in went extremely smoothly with no queues and easy baggage drop off. Our ... Read More
We chose this cruise purely for the itinerary. MSC aren't our first choice for cruising, however most of the reviews were okay, so we booked the cruise. Check in went extremely smoothly with no queues and easy baggage drop off. Our suite was spacious and clean, though a little dated. Unfortunately our first bite to eat was from the burger bar on deck 11 which was on a slate bun and soggy chips. Further to that, dining was extremely hit and miss. We dined mostly at the dining room for breakfast and dinner and found some of the evening servings inedible and learnt to choose very carefully. All of the staff in the dining rooms and bars were fantastic and most helpful. Our dining review does not reflect in any way on the staff. Entertainment was fun and the shows were quite good. Overall we enjoyed the cruise a lot with our only issue was with the food. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
For my wife and me, this was our 22nd cruise and our first with MSC. Overall the cruise was quite enjoyable. Here are the details. THE SHIP Many of the ships we have been on could be described as “gaudy” in the Las Vegas sense. ... Read More
For my wife and me, this was our 22nd cruise and our first with MSC. Overall the cruise was quite enjoyable. Here are the details. THE SHIP Many of the ships we have been on could be described as “gaudy” in the Las Vegas sense. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we prefer a more understated look. This ship has a comfortable feel with pleasant décor. All parts of the ship were immaculately clean throughout the cruise. We were pretty impressed by the elevators. I think we never had to wait more than 30 seconds for an elevator to arrive, and they quickly took us to our desired floor. They are large enough to hold several passengers (maybe as many as ten). There are numerous lounges and entertainment areas, most of which had comfortable seating. The lounges were never more than half full when we were there (but we tend to go to sleep fairly early). ENTERTAINMENT I was surprised that there was a production show in the theatre every night (except for the last night, when there was no show). In general, they were pretty good. One night was classical music, another was opera, and others were shows with singing, dancing, acrobatics, magic, and more. We thought the dancers were wonderful, among the best we’ve seen on a cruise ship. The acrobats were also impressive. The theatre seats, though, were uncomfortable. We sat in a different part of the theatre each night to try the seats, but it was hard to get comfortable. The seats tend to slope downwards which I found to be uncomfortable. We are enthusiastic trivia players on cruise ships, and this was handled well on this ship. They were all “video trivia” which involved showing pictures on a screen. That’s helpful in an environment where many different languages are spoken. The trivia hostess was impressive in her ability to communicate easily with participants in seven or eight languages. There were only a few opportunities to play trivia during the cruise, though. We wish there were more activities available on the ship. FOOD In general, we chose to eat at the buffet for both breakfast and lunch. We ate in the dining room in the evening for the first part of the cruise but ended up switching to the buffet for the last several evenings. The food in the dining room was fine, and tasted good, but wasn’t very impressive. On formal nights, you could only have lobster, steak or other specialties if you ordered them in advance and paid a fee. Speaking of the formal nights, I didn’t notice anyone in formal wear. A few men were wearing coat and tie, but most were dressed fairly casually. There are multiple dining rooms, so perhaps people were dressier elsewhere. In any case, we prefer casual dining, so this style was fine with us. Our favorite meal each day, and one we looked forward to, was the lunch buffet. There were numerous choices and most things were quite satisfactory. We enjoy Indian food and there were two Indian dishes at lunch each day. This was a cruise through the Middle East, but we didn’t really notice much effort to serve the food of that area. The desserts were pretty disappointing in quality. For us, that just meant that it was easier for us to stick to a healthier diet. For breakfast at the buffet, I should mention that you should get there early if you want a seat. We usually ate between 7:30 and 8:00 so there was no problem. Any later and you might need to take your food to the pool area or to your room. It’s also possible to have breakfast in one of the dining rooms. An advantage is that they serve made-to-order omelets there. We tried it on the first day but had a bad experience with rude and inattentive waitstaff, so we ate in the buffet at breakfast for the rest of the cruise. Some of our friends ate in the dining room each morning and enjoyed it. You don’t need to worry about finding a table there. CABIN We had an interior cabin and it was SMALL. However, surprisingly, there was a huge amount of storage space. There were shelves everywhere, even behind the huge vanity mirror. There were plenty of mirrors: the vanity mirror, a mirror covering the wall behind the bed, a full-length mirror, and the mirror in the bathroom. You can see yourself no matter which direction you face! I know that cruise cabins generally have small showers, but I’ve never seen one THIS small. The shower curtain clung to my body as I was trying to wash myself. If I were any larger, I might not have been able to fit. The shower provided a strong stream, but the temperature wasn’t steady—getting a bit cooler then a bit warmer. The towels were large and fluffy. The bed was quite comfortable, and the room had a stocked minibar. Our room steward Romi did a great job keeping the room clean and comfortable. OTHER The embarkation process was fast and efficient. It didn’t take long to get onto the ship. We had to tender ashore for one port and the process for that was also handled well. The internet was fairly slow, as it is on most ships, but they charge by data flow and not by the minute. That’s much better because you aren’t charged while waiting for a response from a webpage. The cost for internet is reasonable. We choose our cruises based primary on the itinerary, and then on cost and quality factors. This was our first time to visit the Middle East and we feel that the itinerary gave us a good introduction to the area. MSC did a good job for us and we greatly enjoyed this cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I am going to try to explain my experience as well as I can because my english is not excellent. We chose this cruise because of the lenght and the country visited. My son and Husband wantd to know Dubai and Abu dhabi, and I wanted to ... Read More
I am going to try to explain my experience as well as I can because my english is not excellent. We chose this cruise because of the lenght and the country visited. My son and Husband wantd to know Dubai and Abu dhabi, and I wanted to visit India. We normally do a cruise per year, and we promissed not to do anymore cruises with italian companies, but we had no choices. Our expectastions were not high and we made our mind that the most important for us woud be the countries. We also booked an inside room as our opinion is to save money for other activities. talking about savings.... when you buy a cruise I am sure sometime you get offered some packages for drinks. We normaly never buy them as we do not drink that much. We nearly got it for this cruise thinking that it was a 15 days cruise and it might be worth to get a package. NO. THE DIFFERENCE IS TERRIBLE. With a package we were asked for about 400 euros by adults + 200 euros per kid. That makes about 1.000 euros. and there is a condition that says that you can only have drinks that cost under 6euros in the menu. let say for exemple you want to have a cup of wine, but that wine cost 10 euros on the menu.... well.... it wont be included in your package. we paid for drinks an average of 30 euros per day for all of us! Teas , coffee and water are offered for free 24h. When the boat stops in a country you spend whole day out. every dinner we had our bottle of wine + water.... we saved more than 50% on the package price!!!!! Coming back to our experience, it was extremely disappointing in general. The first table we got in the dinning room was a very small table for 2 against a wall with a big column where we were supposed to sit 3. we had no choice than having dinner there that night as we would change table the day after. on that 1st night, some wines were already sold out from the menu. the table was awfully dressed, different size of cups, some mini plates for olive oil that we are still waiting to get, knives missing, some tables with plates for breads, dirty napkin... than the food arrived.... OH DEAR! what a shame! no presentation at all, portions extra minis, no taste... awfull! I have ordered some steamed salmon.... It was as dry as a shoe sole! size of the loin: 7x2cm. We thought it was the first night, so we gave the kitchen another oportunity to surprise us. Next morning: breakfast.... not that bad for the 1st breakfast. but.... it has been THE SAME BREAKFAST, WITH EXACTELY THE SAME FOOD offer during the 15 days of cruise! well.... let see what happened on the 24th of December. Christmas night. we ordered some scallops.... guess what..... 1,5cm diameter each.... and guess how many units??? 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wououuuwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! than we ordered some lobster tail. guess what...... 5cm long by 1,5cm.... my husband ordered the "Selection of international" Cheese.....yes sure, cheese were international : GOUDA. and yes it was a selection of different gouda.... but it was exactely the SAME GOUDA WE HAD DURING 15 DAYS FOR BREAKFAST! but we were lucky as instead of sliced it came cut in smal cubes. wouwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally the dessert: Pannetone (italian cake). we found strange our waiter asked us if we would like some chocolate sauce on the top of it. we finally understood why.... if you dont have the sauce you choke on! Mediterranean dinner.... we thought... good... we might have something nice. my son ordered some Gazpacho (tipical cold tomato soup from Spain). have you ever seen a soup you can eat with a fourk? IN MSC Lirica YES! (check picture). It was also soooooo spicy and hot that we could not even eat half. I have ordered some "bouillabaisse" which is a tipical french fish and sea food.... just awful as it was seemd to be done from those powder you just have to add oh water on the top.... My other picture is supposed to be a "tarte tatin". It was simply a roasted apple with some cream. Please, appreciate the decoration of the plate. It is work of art!!!!! I took a picture of the "Apple French Mille feuille". If you cant find it, it is absolutly normal as instead of the "mille feuille" I got something similar to a "yellow jelly". We all tried it, it was terrible. By the way.... the new year buffet was absolutely pathetic. poor. no qulity food. and..... THE SAME GOUDA WE HAD FOR BREAKFAST!!!! wouwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lets move forward from the food.... teen club and it´s team. I have never meat someone so unfriendly. The tean club was sometimes closing before time because the girl responsible of the activities was "tired". she was super anthipatic and not nice at all. shows were not that nice either. bored. Waiters work in hard conditions in the dinning room.There is actually NO SPACE for them to walk around the tables. Service is slow. We were lucky to have a good waiter. He was actually the only person we gave tips in the boat. Oh... by the way..... the tips.... as you might know, some cruise companies charge you the tips directly onto your account and the payment is mandatory. In MSC it is charged onto your bill thatyou pay at the end of the cuise. the good thing is that you can ask NOT TO PAY the tips. Bear in mind also that everytime you buy sometjing on the shipt you are charged 15% for SERVICE CHARGES. we have decided not to pay tips and we personally gave to people who really deserved it (our waiter, his second, and our room maid). in general we found people rude, sometime unhelpful. I cannot talk about the excursions as we did not use them. We organise our own excursions and we discover much more options by ourselves. the only thing I can tell, is that the prices of excursions on the boat are abusives. We could have taken more pictures during the cruise as the dinners were really "funny" every day, but we didi not want to spend more time with this issue. Never again with MSC! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We decided on this cruise as we did a similar itinerary last Xmas & new year with Celebrity. Don’t know where to start with MSC Lirica. Food in the dinning room was inedible. Every item ordered was either too tough, burnt or ... Read More
We decided on this cruise as we did a similar itinerary last Xmas & new year with Celebrity. Don’t know where to start with MSC Lirica. Food in the dinning room was inedible. Every item ordered was either too tough, burnt or not what was on menu. My husband and I decided to sit at a table of eight. Guests were trying to eat meat then spitting it out as they could not chew it. Veal in breadcrumbs was burnt & tough. Beef was so tough you could cut it with your knife. Lasagne was slices of pasta with a white sauce and sprinkled with spring onions. Not being a desert fan I ordered cheese. 2 small pieces of cheese with 3 grapes & a dried apricot. When I asked for the biscuits to go with my cheese was given a bread stick. Food in buffet was awful. Dried up meat etc Waiters wiping food left on tables on to floor. Watched the waiter walking round food that was dropped by guests. Pizza station had pepperoni pizza. Full pizza cut into 12 pieces with three pieces of pepperoni between the 12 slices. We asked to see the food and beverage manager who met up with 15 of the guests from all over the world. Each person representing their family. We all gave our concerns about the quality & standard of the food on the ship. He didn’t seem interested. No apology or no change in food. He did say he had compliments on the food. Don’t know who was feeding these guests as it was defiantly not the same chefs who prepared our food. We asked him to take a walk round the dinning room that night and ask guests their opinion on the food as everyone you spoke with were complaining. He didn’t appear on any of the nights. We were all getting off the ship in port to get something to eat. Ship was not very clean. Toilets were filthy with feusus over bowl, Wet floors and no hand wash. Lamps in our stateroom were thick with dust. Only thing good about the ship was the staff. Very friendly and efficient. So if your thinking of going on MSC LIRICA DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The cruise itinerary was great but after that the experience goes downhill, except for our cabin steward who was outstanding. The food was pretty awful, the front desk service worse. The quality of the food was not equal to all other ... Read More
The cruise itinerary was great but after that the experience goes downhill, except for our cabin steward who was outstanding. The food was pretty awful, the front desk service worse. The quality of the food was not equal to all other cruise lines we have sailed on...Holland America, RC, Celebrity, Carnival and Norwegian. Very few choices, limited fresh greens, veggies cooked in butter and salted, limited fruit. It was very hard to believe there was no decaf coffee and no green tea. The entertainment was good the first couple of nights but then was repeated evernight there after. The singing was good and the costumes were well done. Every evening at dinner and throughout the day there were over head announcements selling services and merchandise in the stores and that was annoying. The hand sanitizer dispensers were frequently empty which was very concerning. Very little education about the ports of call since this would be difficult in 6 different languages. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise due to the amount of new boxes we were able to tick ✅ Although we’ve spent time in Dubai before this offered overnight stays in Oman and other unusual destinations. The ship has had a fairly recent refurb ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the amount of new boxes we were able to tick ✅ Although we’ve spent time in Dubai before this offered overnight stays in Oman and other unusual destinations. The ship has had a fairly recent refurb and the cabins were very compact but very well planned and practical. This is our tenth cruise and we rated it in our top three. We had a couple of slight problems on checking in to the cruise terminal when a staff member caused queue chaos by lifting a barrier and our key card didn’t have a code for the Drinks package we had pre paid but after I had raised our concerns with the Guest Relations Manager we all felt he had addressed our complaints appropriately and it didn’t spoil our trip. Although mostly French and Italians on board there was a great atmosphere and I have to say the animation team worked very hard to achieve the fun atmosphere on board. Plenty of bars with a great variety of drink options and it was good to see branded soft drinks available in cans as opposed to watered down pump alternatives, this was a big bonus for us. There was a great choice of quality wines too and I can highly recommend the drinks package. Bar staff in the Lord Nelson worked really hard and Helda from Indonesia kept our drink orders coming smoothly and speedily, she was great. Food was good in the buffet with lots of choices and great in the restaurant for evening meals although we only went 3 times. All in all I would recommend this ship as a good all rounder but we (a party of 4) especially rated the size of the ship as it wasn’t too big (we were on the Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas earlier this year and it’s too big and too commercial) wasn’t too small but just right and we’ve all decided to do the same trip again the same time of year if it’s on offer which is something we’ve never done before so that in itself is high praise indeed, well done MSC! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We like MSC because of the wide range of people from different countries. On our trip to the UAE this December, we would say that this has been one of our best cruises. I had read numerous reviews of MSC Lirica and had low expectations. ... Read More
We like MSC because of the wide range of people from different countries. On our trip to the UAE this December, we would say that this has been one of our best cruises. I had read numerous reviews of MSC Lirica and had low expectations. Flying with Emirates was exceptional, the service and attitude of staff was excellent. Arrival into Dubai International airport was quick and efficient , no issues with immigration . Transport to port no issues. Embarkation was not as quick as we would have liked, but once onboard had a nice buffet lunch. Downsize was waiting for our luggage to arrive, thankfully it was an informal night. But it would have been nice to have been able to change out of our travelling clothes. I had pre booked all our excursions as the info received advised on receiving a 20% discount from onboard pricing. However, all trips were in Euro and seemed cheaper that what I had originally paid and they were offering discounts for booking more than one trip. However, the excursions out were value for money as we learned about culture and traditions etc. The ship was the cleanest that we have travelled on. One criticism was the hand cleanliness machines sometimes did not work and no one was really advising customers to use them. Food and drinks: We had 1st sitting, our table companions were really nice and we all enjoyed each others company. We only ate in the restaurant in the evening. The portions were not oversized and generally of high standard. If we still felt hungry, then we would go to the buffet and / or the pizza on deck 11. And for those still hungry nibbles from midnight to 2 am . Regarding drinks, I only booked two packages, both per cabin, not per person. Firstly was the coffee package: 15 cups of high quality coffee, and frozen coffee , teas and hot chocolate and secondly the 4 wines and 7 litres of water. I did not realise that we were allocated free water , so that was a bit of a waste. Having the choice again I would not book this package as the wine and choice was limited, the best two wines were an Italian rose and an Italian Merlot )Canti), the French wine was not so good. Other than that there were nightly offers on cocktails which made them good value. We thought that the entertainment in the Broadway Theatre was to a high standard, each show seemed to get better and better. If one wished to go to other decks to listen to other types of music one had plenty of choices. We did not participate in on the onboard activities as we were out on excursions and chose to relax once back on board. Service: The waiters and domestic staff were mainly from Indonesia, and India. Their service was exceptional. Nothing to complain about at all. Our cabin steward was Rias from Indonesia, she was excellent, we had clean towels twice per day. The cabin was bigger than our bedroom at home so for us it was a pleasant luxury. Ports and Excursions. This was a first time visit to the Emirates, most of the ports provided a free shuttle bus out of the port as pedestrians were not allowed to walk through. The alternative was to go on a MSC shuttle for a fee, which took you into the centre of the city. AS previously mention we found the excursion good value. If travelling in a group of 3 or 4 then one could negotiate good deals with the taxi drivers. Our favorite port of call was Doha in Qatar and would be the one place we would return to. The city is spotless. There were a few disabled people travelling and their needs were well catered for. It is noted that people become tired of hearing the seven languages when announcements are being made. However with such a diverse range of people travelling I think MSC should be applauded for this. As they cater for all languages. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the price. What we have come to realize is that what comes with lower cost is terrible customer service. Basically, when you have an issue that needs to be addressed, they really don’t care. I ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the price. What we have come to realize is that what comes with lower cost is terrible customer service. Basically, when you have an issue that needs to be addressed, they really don’t care. I have to say the cabin stuard and dinning staff were excellent, as well as Bruno, the buffet manager. But to the rest, we felt like we were an inconvenience, including the customer service desk, which is an oxymoron. They even tried to convince us that it’s normal for the toilet not to flush. Maybe she assumed this was our first cruise and wouldn’t know any better. They promised to have someone look into it but never did. So it was basically press the button 5 or 6 times and pray. The food varied from day to day; sometimes ok, other times not really. The itinerary is awesome and Oman is easily the best stop. Make sure to explore here as much as possible. We rented an SUV and stayed ashore overnight and were so glad we did. Do not miss driving up Wadi Arbaeen starting from Dibab. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Go on this cruise for the ports, not for the cruise ship experience. This should not be anyone’s first cruise. This is a cruise for adventurous, experienced cruisers. Let me explain what I mean. This is not the cruise to take if ... Read More
Go on this cruise for the ports, not for the cruise ship experience. This should not be anyone’s first cruise. This is a cruise for adventurous, experienced cruisers. Let me explain what I mean. This is not the cruise to take if you are looking for the ultimate cruise ship experience. One of the topics that united everyone I spoke to on the ship was that the ship was, "adequate/competent" at best and to be honest, I heard a few "utilitarian" comments, It is not an over the top ship experience by any means and if that is your expectation take another ship. What makes this trip really nice however is the ports and the travelers who are attracted to this trip. The vast majority of people on the ship were confident, experienced travelers who knew how to, "Roll with the punches". You could always find a group of people who had decided to walk around the port rather than take the scheduled tour. Many of the passengers were familiar with the area and contributed information that made the trip memorable. You could typically find a group of people who had identified a museum that they really wanted to go to. People had done their research and came prepared knowing what was here to see. This is very much a "learning" cruise. There is only 1 day at sea and with the exception of Dubai and Muscat, each day is a different port. If you tire easily, take this into consideration. I like a smaller ship so the size and "vintage" experience didn't bother me. There were 3 formal nights although often people just came as they chose. The dining room seems confused in some ways. I couldn't understand some the choices that were made. For example, the after dinner coffee was eliminated from the MDR and put as part of a drink package. Why would one do this in a European market? Additionally, the traditional "Surf and turf" was cut out and made available only for an additional charge, as was a, "Steak and a glass of Barolo". Again, I wondered why? Additionally, I was kind of disappointed at the limited offering of Italian wine on a ship with Italian heritage. I was looking forward to a wider selection. Overall, I found the food to be simple, straight-forward and satisfying. I was pretty surprised at the lackadaisical attitude towards to hand sanitizers. On other ships I can remember being forbidden to enter the buffet unless I used the sanitizers. On this ship the sanitizer machines were there, but no one enforced their usage. I saw a lot of bad behavior at the buffet during breakfast, people cutting in front of the queue, it wasn't really necessary, in my opinion. Embarkation/Disembarkation was really smooth, when I arrived there was no one there and I just walked on. One thing that really bothered me was the mis-information I received about the visas. My travel agent very clearly stated that I needed visas as an american citizen and it was my responsibility to acquire them. Additionally, she indicated that the potential to be denied boarding existed if I did not have them. When I arrived at the check in desk, they just started laughing and assured me that I needed NO visas to take the cruise. I received additional confirmation of this from the Immigration officer once I got on board. This needs to be clarified. Towards the end, I became somewhat annoyed at the daily "shuttle fee" for what was a short walk. It just seemed to be necessary nickel and dimeing of the passengers. The ship spends time in Dubai. There is a free shuttle from the cruise port to the Dubai Mall in the center of the city. It stops right in front of the ship and is usually right next to the big bus location. It is marked. It is supposed to come every hour on the hour but sometimes that does not happen. The alternative is the big bus hop on hop off, but that is not free. It is very comprehensive however and you can get a nice overview of the city in the first pass. You can then hop on and hop off on the second pass. You can purchase multiple cities, (I purchased hop on/hop off for Dubai, Muscat, and Abu Dhabi together). Multiple cities will give you a discounted fare. If you are OK with the subway, I would strongly suggest using the subway instead of the big bus. If walking is not an issue the subway is cheap, fast and will give you a truly birds eye view of the city and its residents. The Dubai subway is new, clean and fast. You can get everywhere the big bus takes you on the subway; you just have to walk more. There is flea market in El-Zabeel Park on the first Saturday of every month. If you can make it, go. Dubai residents are big shoppers and the prices can get out of hand. The flea market brings you back to reality. It costs 5 dirhams to enter; either cash or you can use your subway card. If you plan to travel to the Burg Khalifa observation Deck, know that there is a sunrise viewing that includes breakfast on the weekend for the same amount of money that just the observation deck costs. You can reserve online in advance. The ship spends an overnight in Muscat. Its a good choice, although I found prices in Oman to be higher than in any other port for the same merchandise. Do not miss the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. It is a gem and has its own library dedicated to the museum which should not be missed. The one thing that became arduous is that you navigate 3 different currencies. Make sure that you know what $20.00 equals in the currency that you are dealing with before you leave the ship. Additionally, if you plan to buy silver/gold, stop at the reception desk and find out the price of the day. Everything is weighed. I would take this cruise again. Even with the warts, it was an amazing, relaxing time at a reasonable price. We were welcomed everywhere we went. I learned a great deal about a different part of the world. I met like-minded travelers who don't get ruffled at the least little thing not going as planned. I met confident travelers who have seen a lot of the world and gave really interesting perspectives. It’s not for everyone, but it’s my type of travel and I enjoyed it. Pros • small ship • experienced travelers • easy embarkation • relaxed attitude • enthusiastic crew • interesting view of a different part of the world Cons • Unanticipated shuttle expenses towards the end of the trip • Mis-information regarding visas • Confusing choices in the Main Dining room • Lack of variety of Italian wine on ship Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We cruised from Venice to Dubai via the Suez Canal for seventeen nights in an inside cabin, mid-ships, on a re-positioning cruise with MSC in November 2018. We have cruised before but this was our first experience of MSC. Facts The ... Read More
We cruised from Venice to Dubai via the Suez Canal for seventeen nights in an inside cabin, mid-ships, on a re-positioning cruise with MSC in November 2018. We have cruised before but this was our first experience of MSC. Facts The passengers were predominantly Italian, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese with a minority of British. There were two European and two US electrical sockets in the cabin. There were lots of drawers, shelves and hanging space for storage. It was easy to obtain extra coat hangers and extra pillows from our cabin steward. There was good storage space under the bed for empty cases. There was a stocked mini-bar in the cabin. There was a wall mounted bottle of body wash and shampoo in the shower which was refilled during the cruise and liquid soap at the basin. No conditioner, body lotion or bars of soap were provided. There was a wall-mounted, hose-type hair dryer in the bathroom. The small TV had a limited number of English speaking channels including BBC News, CNN and Sky news. Some films were played on a loop but most were not in English. The TV had an HDMI socket which you could use to connect your devices with your own cable. There was a large wet play area with padded floor for kids on deck 11, two swimming pools with ladder access, shallow sections for kids and two small Jacuzzi’s. Pools were initially cool but warmed up as we traveled south. There were lots of sun loungers and some high back reclining chairs around the pools and on the 12th deck but often, on a sea days, these were filled. Pros The cabin was compact but clean. The air conditioning was easy to adjust and was effective. The bed was firm and very comfortable. The sound-proofing in the cabins was generally good. Theatre entertainment was generally good with a wide variety of styles ranging from slapstick to high brow classical music. Disembarkation was fast and easy. Cons Embarkation slow and shambolic with unfriendly, unhelpful MSC staff. The shower in the en-suite was extremely compact and had a shower curtain rather than a solid door. This made showering in such a small space without flooding the floor quite challenging. The service in the main restaurant was slow, unfriendly and the food was cold until we complained. Thereafter the service improved and the food was served hot. The food was generally rather bland and uninteresting. Portion sizes were generally small. Our pre-arranged restaurant coffee package was refused on two evenings. Other guests sat in our allocated table one evening early in the cruise and we had to stand around for five minutes while the staff decided what to do. We were then asked to move table for the rest of the cruise. Breakfast food in the main restaurant was never hot and service was unfriendly and slow. The drinks call bells on the buffet restaurant tables were only answered 50% of time. Buffet tables were not wiped effectively. The buffet food choice was poor and food was not hot. Hand sanitizers throughout the ship often did not work and MSC staff did not encourage passengers to use them. Waiting staff and others did not give way to guests when passing in narrow corridors. It felt like some would have knocked you down if you hadn’t stepped aside to allow them to pass. TV reception was poor/non-existent for about seven days in and around the Red Sea. It took a week to resolve an intermittent faulty lock on our cabin door. There was no warning prior to theatre shows regarding the use of strobe lighting. Passports were retained by MSC on embarkation and only returned the night before disembarkation. Passport return arrangements were a shambles with too few MSC staff, leading to huge queues. Poolside entertainment was much too loud for customers not wishing to take part. The sun loungers had very low backs which did not allow for head support. Our MSC loyalty scheme status match to Black status was not initially honoured and it took multiple visits to the loyalty desk over two weeks to resolve. We therefore missed out on some Black benefits. Loyalty staff and reception staff did not seem interested in resolving this. MSC were very poor at communicating port of call arrangements. E.g. at Salalah in Oman, the literature said a shuttle bus would take us from the ship to the "main square". We were actually dropped off at a taxi rank at the exit of the port where there was absolutely nothing to see or do other than take a taxi. There was no signage or crew direction to where we were to collect our luggage after disembarkation. We enjoyed the itinerary and the weather was very good however having previously sailed with Royal Caribbean, Princess, P&O and TUI which all offered a far superior experience; this will be our first and last MSC cruise. Many of the other British passengers we spoke to agreed with this sentiment. Read Less
MSC Lirica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.4
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.4
Family 3.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.2
Enrichment 3.0 2.8
Service 4.0 3.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 3.0 3.8

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