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Sail Date: April 2014

The cleanliness of the ship was in my view impeccable. Food was very good. With multiple choices every meal with choice of restaurants. I have seen previous reports of hot dogs and burgers being a staple. This is misleading, as whilst ... Read More

The cleanliness of the ship was in my view impeccable. Food was very good. With multiple choices every meal with choice of restaurants. I have seen previous reports of hot dogs and burgers being a staple. This is misleading, as whilst they are available all afternoon and evening they are as well as the bistro and restaurant choice and the other available meals such as fresh cooked pasta and pizza. We chose the bistro most days with the choices of dish being very varied always including good salad and fruit to accompany. Dinner in the evening was a highlight, with great service. 4 nights on our cruise was black tie. This company has a clientele of many nations and sometimes announcements in six languages can become tiring, but I wouldn't change this varied mix of fellow passengers who enrich the experience for us. If there is a criticism it must be a minor one on the entertainment, which some of the singers seem to think their english is better than the reality. To be fair they are trying to satisfy Brits/Germans/Italians/French and others all in the same show. The whole of the crew were cheerful and even after 5 months in the gulf the entertainment team were in top form. We found the all inclusive package well worth it, not having this will hit your pocket hard if even a moderate drinker. The service charge is daily and billed at the end of the cruise. Our 18 days came to about £400. Trips are expensive for what you receive so we chose ours carefully and walked off the ship into town when we could.

Comparing prices with other lines I think MSC to be good value and we would go again

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Sail Date: March 2014

After waiting two and a half hours in port to board ship was given a disabled cabin which we don't need it was two single beds put together at an angle where you couldn't use some of the furnishings in the cabin for the beds blocking ... Read More

After waiting two and a half hours in port to board ship was given a disabled cabin which we don't need it was two single beds put together at an angle where you couldn't use some of the furnishings in the cabin for the beds blocking them or the mirror had to climb over bed 1 to get into bed 2, cabin was very poorly lit because cabinets had been moved to put 2 single beds together just a disaster..You couldn't even move the cabin back to its original way because the bedding was joined.....Told by reception staff not to unpack they were going to put us in a double cabin as booked by day 4 we still weren't unpacked and still no resolve about cabin then it was SORRY we have no cabin for you!!!.Luggage arrived at cabin damaged which could have happened to anybody....After dinner in the evening the only other eating place was a small area that done pizza until midnight then until breakfast it was only tea/coffee....It was set dinning times the buffet dining only opened at set times...The ship was very over powered with Italians who tend to be very rude and loud this ship did not cater well for the British food was good lot of fish....Don't think it will be MSC again for me much happier with other company's and never had the need to comment before.

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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014

I am fortunate to have family based in Dubai so have seen many of the sights already. I booked my flights independently to give me time pre and post cruise with the family. If you arrange a fly-cruise package you need to bear in mind ... Read More

I am fortunate to have family based in Dubai so have seen many of the sights already. I booked my flights independently to give me time pre and post cruise with the family. If you arrange a fly-cruise package you need to bear in mind that some of the return flights were very early and some people needed to leave the ship at 3 a.m. on the morning of departure. Would highly recommend organising your own flights to give you more flexibility and the chance to see Dubai pre and/or post cruise.

I did a similar cruise with RCI last year but wanted to visit those places I just could not fit into the itinerary then. I have travelled several times with MSC but this was my first time on Lirica - I was not disappointed. The ship was kept spotlessly clean, the staff were friendly and efficient. It was nice too that we had plenty of time in each port of call so were not rushed to see the various sights.

Embarkation went very smoothly and I was in my cabin (10061) by 9.45 a.m. and my luggage arrived very soon afterwards. The cabin was well equipped with plenty of storage and wardrobe space, a good sized bathroom, a nice balcony with two chairs and a small table. The huge bed was comfortable and there was a cosy armchair and settee for relaxing in. The safe took some finding but it was hidden behind the huge mirror! My cabin steward was first class, very friendly and efficient and he kept the cabin spotless throughout the cruise.

I did ask for my daily tips to be taken off my account and the receptionist was quite happy to do this, allowing me to tip those I thought deserved recognition for the service they gave. Do ensure your final on board account is not converted from Euros to GP Sterling (or your own country's currency) as the cruise line make a charge for the conversion.

Prior to sailing I had set up a Roll Call and we liaised with each other regularly and arranged private excursions at some of the ports. We met up on several occasions and had some fun evenings together, along with other newly formed friendships with people from various parts of the UK, Australia etc.

DINING: I opted for first sitting at 6.30 pm (felt second sitting at 8.45 pm was too late). I was on a table for 8(three couples, a gentleman travelling alone and myself). We all got on very well and had a lot of laughs together. Our waiter Wody was excellent and looked after us admirably. The food was very good with plenty of choice and it was nicely presented. One lady on the table required a special diet (gluten free) and the waiter was fully aware of her needs and meals were prepared separately for her if she could not make a selection from the menu itself. I mostly ate in the main dining room for breakfast and there was everything you wanted - cereals, fruit, yoghurt, croissants and of course the full English breakfast. The self service buffet served the same food as in the dining room but on occasions it was so crowded but it was OK for a quick lunchtime meal. A 24hr tea and coffee station was located on Deck 11 and at selected times it was possible to get pizza and pastries there too. The formal nights were not as grand as some cruises I have been on but enjoyable all the same although I felt the Gala Night dinners were not anything very special.

I had pre-booked the Allegrissimo All Inclusve Drinks Package and at £18 a day it was great value for money. It included all wines, water, soft drinks, spirits, cocktails and tea and coffee with meals and there was no 15% surcharge on any of the drinks ordered through this package.

The Coffee Corner served speciality coffees and it was possible to sit there for drinks too. This was one of the places with WiFi but internet time was very expensive and the reception was not very good at times in many of the designated areas.

ENTERTAINMENT: The shows in the Broadway Theatre were very good with singing, dancing and speciality acts. The choreography was precise and the dancers worked so hard. There were two performances each evening so after my evening meal I would make my way to the theatre for the 9 pm show. I did try my luck at the Casino but needless to say did not come away with a fortune!. There were several lounges to choose from, each offering different types of entertainment. My favourites were the Cabaret Lounge and the Beverley Hills Lounge. The entertainment staff worked so hard making sure everyone had a good time integrating with the passengers all the time. Our group did venture to the disco one evening but being of the older generation we found it a little too noisy on the dance floor so found a quiet corner and enjoyed watching others.

POOL: There were too pools and the surrounding areas were kept very clean and there were plenty of sunbeds available. It was quieter on the Sun Deck on Deck 12. Daytime activities were centred around one end of the pool deck and people could join in or sit back and watch as they chose. Again the entertainment staff worked hard to keep everyone happy. The pool water was quite cold but quite refreshing once the initial shock had worn off. Unless you like being amongst smokers you need to choose your sun bed away from the designated smoking areas (this is one reason why I did not visit the Lord Nelson Pub as it was a smoking zone)

SPA: I enjoyed a visit to the Spa and was pleasantly surprised how reasonable the charges were compared to other cruise ships I have been on but one needs to be quite firm to avoid the sales pitch they adopt In trying to get you to purchase the products after a session.

EXCURSIONS; In ABU DHABI I booked direct with The Emirates Palace Hotel for Afternoon Tea - all I can say is WOW! What a wonderful experience. Booking direct was cheaper than going on an organised excursion via MSC and I was given a leisurely guided tour of the hotel beforehand and what a beautiful hotel it is. Yes, it may be a little extravagant but the tea was delicious and served in style in a lovely setting. I could not get through all the three stages and came away with a box with sandwiches and cakes which I shared with friends back on board ship.

When I docked at Abu Dhabi last year I did the City Tour organised excursion which included a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque - it is breath-taking and anyone visiting Abu Dhabi without seeing this magnificent building is missing a great treat.

KHOR AL FAKKAN - I had read other reviews on this port and on recommendation from those several of us took the free shuttle bus provided by the Oceanic Hotel from the port gate. We spent a relaxing day using all the facilities. Beach towels were provided by the hotel and we had use of the sunbeds around the pool and on the beach. The day pass also included an Eat As Much As You Like Buffet Lunch - I have never seen such variety and it was delicious). It was excellent value at 90 Dirhams (about £15).

MUSCAT - This is another port which I have visited before - I did the organised Mystical Muscat Tour which included a visit to the mosque there the Muttrah Souk, the Bait Al Zubair Museum and the Sultan's Palace. On this occasion I met up with a friend who is now living in Oman. She took me on a panoramic tour into the mountains. We stopped for lunch at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel before going to the Marina and Diving Centre where she and her husband have a small boat - unfortunately we did not have time to take the boat out but we relaxed on board and admired the scenery.

KHASAB - One of the Roll Call members kindly offered to arrange a private tour with Khourshem Tours for a half day Dhow Cruise. This was a most enjoyable trip and it was fun to see the dolphins swimming alongside the dhow as we sped through the clear waters. We weighed anchor and were able to swim and snorkel (equipment provided). We were given free drinks and snacks on board and it was a relaxing experience and good value at 130 Dirhams each.

DUBAI - I have seen a lot of the sights on my previous visits. My recommendations would be:

The Burj Khalifa - do book in advance in order to ensure a time slot and also to save money - in advance 100 Dirhams but on the day 400 Dirhams, if you can get in. An ideal time to go up the Burj is mid-late afternoon and then you can make your way to the Dancing Fountains show (start around 6.30pm and are every half hour). A good view of this spectacular display can be seen from the balcony of TGIFridays and the meal will be a lot cheaper there than in the pricey restaurants at ground level.

I would also recommend a visit to the Mall of The Emirates to be amazed by the Ski Resort there the Dubai Mall to see the huge Aqaurium, a visit to The Atlantis Hotel on the Palm, where you can swim with the dolphins, have fun in the Water Park or just enjoy the ambience of the hotel. A Dhow Dinner Cruise is interesting and of course there are the shopping malls, the gold souk and the spice souk to wander around.

There are Hop On Hop Off Buses operating in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat but you do need lots of time to complete the whole routes as traffic congestion can be a problem in getting around. Taxis are very reasonable but do agree a price first if you want to arrange any kind of tour with the driver. In Abu Dhabi a driver wanted to charge me 150 Dirhams to go to the Emirates Palace Hotel. I did not know how far it was but haggled nevertheless and got the price down to 60. I did not realise it was not an official taxi but a private tour company. When I arrived at the hotel the driver wanted to wait for me and take me to other sights (for a fee) but I stood my ground and said I did not know how long I would be at the afternoon tea and he drove away. The taxi the hotel arranged for me to return to the port cost just 22 Dirhams - lesson learned.

Whilst on board I purchased a voucher costing 10 Euros which lasts for 18 months and gives discounts and special offers on a future cruise. MSC will be sailing from Dubai again for the Winter 2014/2015 season and they will be using MSC Orchestra for these cruises and this ship will then sail from Dubai to Freemantle (33 days cruise) on 21st Feb 2015. As children travel free with MSC and my family are keen to take a cruise we decided to take advantage of the voucher and my discounts as a previous MSC passenger and we have already booked for 4th Feb next year. I am looking forward to seeing more wonderful sights in the ports of call.

I thoroughly enjoyed my cruise on MSC Lirica and cannot wait for next year to sail on Orchestra. If you have not visited the United Arab Emirates I can highly this cruise - you will not be disappointed.

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Sail Date: February 2014

Just returned from 7night's on board MSC Lirica at Dubai. We has a great time on board. We were all inclusive so maybe that made a big difference. The animation staff were really great. They encourages all ages to get up and join in the ... Read More

Just returned from 7night's on board MSC Lirica at Dubai. We has a great time on board. We were all inclusive so maybe that made a big difference. The animation staff were really great. They encourages all ages to get up and join in the games at the poolside. There were exercise and dance classes all of which were were supported.

The meals were a bit different than PO or Royal Caribbean cruises. We managed to eat in the restaurant's and were well fed although there did seem to be a lot of fresh fish on the nightly menu. we didn't starve and really enjoyed the lovely pizza's made freshly on deck everyday.

The staff were all delightful especially the waiter's and waitress's in all the lounges. Beverly Hill lounge was our favourite each evening listening to Duo Mexico. we even manged a few dances in there.

We really don't do cruise excursion's and mainly do our own thing. When we stopped at KKor Al Fakkan the best thing to do is take the shuttle bus out off the port and walk 20 yards and you will see all the taxis. There will be a free shuttle minibus laid on to take you to 5star Oceanic Hotel. You get the use of the large pool,showers and beach sunbeds. We went for the lunch as well and cost us around 90dirhams ( £20) we are Scots and do enjoy a bargain. What a bargain the lunch alone must have been worth at least £25/£30. Plenty of fresh salads and several choices of main meals. I opt for a stir fry and had 2 chef's preparing my stir fry and adding all the ingredients of my choice. At least 20 sweets then to chose from. Great value. Once you are ready to depart hotel and head back to ship the free shuttle will drop you off at port in plenty of time to join ship.

We didn't make our last port of call Muscat due to sea being to rough to dock in port so we headed back to Dubai where we spend 2 days in port. The only down side to this was being there on Friday is their holy day and some of the shops at Kamara were closed. Kamara this is the district in Dubai where you will find all your designer handbags for a fraction of the cost. Well if the guy's take you to their secret room's. Don't be afraid to haggle with them as this is how you pay for good's. They usually start about twice the price you will get the bags for so keep going down in price and they like Dirhams best.

All in all we feel we got a great bargain on our 7 night cruise as we booked up and got free all inclusive. Ship a bit on the small side but we enjoyed the friendly staff.

Rosie @ Fred

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Sail Date: February 2014

Poor pre cruise service fom MSC UK

Quick & easy embarkation 11.30am, cabin was ready and buffet lunch provided.

Maps of the ship/deck plans not given out.

Ship, looked very clean and spacious with large ... Read More

Poor pre cruise service fom MSC UK

Quick & easy embarkation 11.30am, cabin was ready and buffet lunch provided.

Maps of the ship/deck plans not given out.

Ship, looked very clean and spacious with large mirrors everywhere but NO MONITORING OF HAND SANITIZING WHEN ENTERING EITHER THE BUFFET OR RESTAURANT

Buffet meals had plenty of fresh fruit & salad as well as a good choice of main courses & excellent desserts, sadly the hot food was warm

Restaurant meals were very disappointing again served warm and usually very greasy

Got hassled for first 2 days to buy a drinks package £35 a day approx EACH.

No information/map in the daily paper about the ports of call, apparently unless you book a MSC excursion its up to you to find out what there is to see and do

If you opt out of the automatic gratuity system it is not actually stopped until your final account is printed which means if you pay Euros into your onboard account you could end up "owing money" and get hassled by the accounts staff.

With the exception of the daily cabin staff who were so friendly and pleasant the big minus was the crew who were generally miserable and unfriendly, often spoke English for pleasantries but "no English" for complaints

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Sail Date: February 2014

On a random visit to our Travel Agents to check out something different for a holiday in February we were offered an attractive cruise deal with MSC Lirica to UAE. This included two extra nights stay in a four star hotel in Dubai with ... Read More

On a random visit to our Travel Agents to check out something different for a holiday in February we were offered an attractive cruise deal with MSC Lirica to UAE. This included two extra nights stay in a four star hotel in Dubai with transfers between both, on board spending money and an attractive drinks package, so we set out on this cruise with an open mind having previously had three previous excellent enjoyable cruises with P&O (1) and Princess (2). We were not to be disappointed with our choice.

Well of course, just like you are doing now, we read the cruise reviews to see what we could expect and would wish to make the following observations following earlier comments:

Yes, check-in procedures were very slow due to large passenger numbers arriving at the same time, but we were immediately allowed on to the ship and had access to our rooms at 10 o’clock in the morning.

Yes, the ship is dated and tired looking but the cleanliness throughout could not be faulted. There were more than enough staff cleaning, tidying and keeping the ship spotless.

Yes, the Cruise Director was very tiring which his introductions in four different languages but the overall entertainment was of a high standard, the best we’d experienced anywhere. The Hollywood musicals show was very good and The Michael Jackson tribute was superb although I was expecting more from the Frank Sinatra experience on the last night. The Assistant C D made a point of mixing and meeting with us and should be promoted to CD immediately.

Yes, the shore excursions are limited but we would highly recommend using the free shuttle bus to the Oceanic Hotel in Khor Al Fakkan and ensure you pay a very small sum for a sumptuous lunch. Well worth having.

Yes, some of the staff appeared disinterested and were not overly eager to be polite and helpful but we found our restaurant waiter (Wira) and cabin steward to be exemplary. Extra waiters could however be employed in the bar areas though to cut long waiting times.

Yes, the food is not what we are used to but we were on an Italian ship so had to adjust accordingly. There was plenty to eat although with first sitting in the restaurant it meant we were hurried on two nights to finish up quickly and leave ready for the next sitting to arrive.

This précis is not intended to be derogatory as overall we enjoyed ourselves immensely and had a lovely break. Every-one we spoke to appeared to be having a good time with few complaints amongst them. We met some fantastic fellow cruisers who we shall keep in touch with in the future. Without being pedantic our one small gripe arrived on the very last day. Along with one other couple, we were due to be picked up by mini bus from our luxury hotel at 6.30 am and driven to the airport for our onward journey. At 7.00 am and no sign of any transport or information to the contrary we had to hastily make our own arrangements to ensure we arrived in good time for a 9.30 am flight.

I will be contacting MSC for an explanation, would I cruise with MSC again, Yes, maybe but only if I get a satisfactory response. I would be happy to answer any questions if you will be travelling on this ship soon.

 

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Sail Date: January 2014

After the Christmas celebrations were over we decided we would shoot off somewhere warm to combat our UK weather. A UAE cruise fitted the bill and looking at the available cruises we had a choice of MSC or Costa. We had cruised with ... Read More

After the Christmas celebrations were over we decided we would shoot off somewhere warm to combat our UK weather. A UAE cruise fitted the bill and looking at the available cruises we had a choice of MSC or Costa. We had cruised with both companies previously but we opted for MSC as a 7 night cruise was offered rather than a 6 night with Costa, although both liners were back in Dubai for the last day. This is a great idea so you are able to see something of your departure city.

We tried to book the MSC Lirica cruise and flights but all the allocated flights were full from Gatwick. We had read of cruisers having to fly overnight and having to leave their cabins at 2.30am to connect with their flight home. We were relieved that we could fly at our convenience. We decided to fly with Emirates and fly out to Dubai on the 16th giving us one full day to explore before joining Lirica on the 18th. On closer research

Emirates offered some favourable rates, booking flights and hotels at the same time. We opted for sensible times to fly and booked 2 nights at the Rose Rayhaan Hotel in Central Dubai. We booked the cruise direct with MSC and chose cabin 9144, an outside berth with 2 single beds, midships. The next 2 weeks flew by and we obtained Dirhams and Euros from the local post office which offered reasonable rates and gave us usable cash on landing in Dubai.

Our flight, 6.1/2 hours was comfortable and we were well fed. We landed at 8.15pm and after the usual queues to get through passport control and collecting our luggage, headed for the taxi rank. A point of interest here is that the pink top taxis have female drivers and will take ladies only or escorted ladies, in their cabs. The fare with tip to the hotel, about 5 miles, was 80 dirhams approx. £13.00.

On checking in at the Rose Rayhaan we were asked if we would like to upgrade to a corner suite for an extra 200 dirhams (approx.£34) for the 2 nights. We agreed and were soon zooming up to the 47th floor to our suite which was sumptious to put it mildly. We slept well and had a buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant and were ready for a day of sight seeing. We chose the hop-on hop-off buses to see as much as possible and took a taxi to the Grand Mall to buy our tickets for one days travel 220 dirhams (£37 each). The blue route lasts 2.3/4 hours and we toured the waterfront, skyscrapers, Palm Island, the World etc and stopped for lunch at the WAFI Mall (very Egyptian) where we could change over to the red route which included an hour on a dhow on the Dubai Creek. We also visited the Museum, Spice and Gold Markets and before we realised it the day was over and it was time to make our way back to the hotel for dinner and bed. The sightseeing was brilliant with temperatures in the low 80's f, just amazing.

After breakfast the next morning we booked out and took a taxi to the cruise terminal. We arrived at about 11.00am, booked in and went straight on board and made our way to our cabin. While we waited for our luggage to arrive we explored Lirica. We had been on MSC Poesia and Magnifica and Lirica was noteably smaller but the ship was modern, clean and well proportioned. Our cabin was excellent, a 3 berth and was configured as a double which our cabin maid soon changed to the singles we had ordered which gave us plenty of space between the beds. The downside of MSC is there are no tea/coffee facilities in the cabins but without giving things away, there are ways of overcoming this slight criticism. Our shower room was adequate and not cramped and we have to add our cabin maid renewed towels etc. whether we had used them or not, sometimes 3 times a day. Likewise, our cabin was kept spotless at all times.

We had booked La Bussola Restaurant on deck 5 for dinners and we used this venue for most breakfasts, lunches and dinners. We had a table for 4 and were sat with a lovely couple from Wolverhampton who were always interesting to talk to over dinner. As we don't drink that much we didn't take up the offer of the drinks package but opted to buy a bottle of wine for dinner, it was held over to the next night to finish it, this worked well for us. We did discover that some of the cruisers that had travelled overnight had been given a drinks package, perhaps this was an extra bonus for them.

To sum up the food on board, bear in mind that MSC is an Italian cruise company so the majority of the food is Italian orientated, lots of fish, pasta etc. Also, think on the fact that Italians have warm food on cold plates, unlike us in the UK having hot food on hot plates, most, if not all the food in the restaurant is good to excellent. In the Le Bistrot Buffet on deck 11 it was very much pot luck, sometimes the food was good and sometimes not so good. The 24 hour tea and coffee station was on deck 11 just outside the buffet. At selected times there was pizza and pastries also available on deck 11. Entertainment on board was varied with something for everyone, we opted for 1st sitting for dinner (6.30pm) and went to the Broadway Theatre for the evening shows. A point here is the access to the Broadway Theatre is from deck 6 or through the 'smoking area' Lord Nelson Pub on deck 5, so if you don't like smokey smells, sit well away from the areas close to the deck 5 entrance. The shows we saw had the same backdrop for the whole week. The shows consisted of dancing, singing and speciality acts. There were different themes each night, including, Broadway hits, Temptation, The Four Musketeers, Cuore Italiano, Starwalker (Michael Jackson tritute) and Frank Forever (Frank Sinatra tribute). The shows generally were good but in our opinion deteriorated slightly as the week progressed (purely our opinion).

It should be noted that each evening we were issued with 'The Daily Program' for the next day which listed all the details, weather forecast, opening times and answers to most cruisers questions.

Gratuities on board are 7 Euros per person per night which is optional and we requested a reduction so that we could tip individually. On our mid week invoice this was not detailed but on the final invoice the gratuities were cancelled completely, so we tipped accordingly to the very deserving staff.

Excursions, we booked all through MSC and we were quite happy with all the tours. Yes, they maybe more expensive than private/taxis but if you are happy with what is offered on board, then go with it. The highlights of the excursions were the visit to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi and the dhow cruise on the fjords in Khasab (Oman ) and to see the dolphins playing in the wake between two dhows was amazing. On all the outings we went on we were offered free water and on the dhow we were offered water, fruit and soft drinks, again all free.

To answer some questions about disembarking , our flight did not leave until 2.45pm so we stayed on board until 11.00am. We did have to vacate our cabin by 7.30am.

Our summing up of our cruise and visit to the United Arab Emirates is summed up with two words, 'AMAZING and BRILLIANT'. The overall cost was very reasonable and we considered good value for money.

Wouild we do it again ? - You bet, as soon as possible.

Ken and Maureen (alias B and S)

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Sail Date: January 2014

We have family in Dubai so it is handy to visit them in January and then to tag on a week long cruise before flying home. Unfortunately RCI seem to have pulled out of the Dubai to Dubai cruise so you have the choice of MSC Lirica or ... Read More

We have family in Dubai so it is handy to visit them in January and then to tag on a week long cruise before flying home. Unfortunately RCI seem to have pulled out of the Dubai to Dubai cruise so you have the choice of MSC Lirica or Costa. With memories of the Concordia episode, we were not keen to go on Costa so it was Lirica. We had been on the ship a couple of years ago and in my review I said I would not be in a hurry to go back on it. Just shows what a knock down price can do to alter opinions!!

We did cruise only having arranged our own flights and we bought into the premium allegrissimo drinks package. We did this last time and it worked well for us. Last time we had an inside cabin on deck 9. I did not like it because of the lack of daylight and also the cabin seemed cramped. This time we booked an outside cabin, still on deck 9 having decided it was not worth the extra money for a balcony cabin on deck 10, especially as some people had said these cabins are noisy being below the pool and buffet deck. We had also asked for the sleeping arrangements to be 2 single beds instead of one king size. The cabin we booked was the same size as the inside one last time so we were rather apprehensive about being cramped again. However as soon as we opened the door we were delighted. The 2 beds were by opposite walls which gave a good clear space to move around in right opposite the window. It seemed that the cabin was a lot bigger than last time just by altering the beds configuration. The only downside to the cabin is the size of the shower cubicle which is impossibly small. Everyone complains about this. Otherwise, Sura, our cabin attendant did a good job and everything was done, towels cleaning etc. No complaints. Also there was loads of hot water in the bathroom.

We had a table for 6 in the Bussola restaurant for evening dinner, first sitting. The other 4 were all from the UK and we had a good laugh with them. The food was fine but too much to eat, especially if you had the pasta course - half as much would have been plenty. There was a good choice on the menu and they have an "always available" menu as well. We ate breakfast in the Bistro buffet at the back of the ship. This remains the absolute worst aspect of this ship. The place is cramped to the extent that all of the seats cannot be used as there is not enough space for people to move about. What it must be like in the middle of summer with children running around is too much to think about. The food is usually lukewarm, even the fried eggs first thing in the morning were cold. At least they had got rid of the ghastly blue plastic mugs which appeared when we were last on the ship and they are now large crockery ones. The food was a little better at lunchtime with a good selection of sandwiches, pizzas, pasta and other hot dishes.

We love the layout and decor of the bars throughout the ship and think they are better than any we have been in on P&O. This is Italian ambience at its best. Of course having the drinks package took the pressure off wondering what the on board account would be like!! We thought the staff were really good and service excellent in the bars and the Bussola restaurant. The ship is spotless everywhere. Full marks here. We did not bother getting off at any of the ports as we had been to most of them before so it was a real "chill out" trip. Check in at Dubai was speedy and easy, as was disembarkation. Another plus was that I never had to queue once at reception. I purchased internet wifi time. Not cheap and it was clear that they don't let you download everything as I wanted to download our usual newspaper each day. No luck on the ship but it was instant as soon as were at Dubai.

So we enjoyed the trip (apart from the buffet) and it was nice being on a smaller ship. No hassle over sunbeds, good weather and drinks. What more could you want?

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Sail Date: December 2013

My Wife and I decided to do a Cruise this Christmas to get away from it all. We flew to Dubai on the 20th December from Dublin, good flight. The Hotel overnight supplied in Dubai was excellent and we were up graded to a Junior Suite(not ... Read More

My Wife and I decided to do a Cruise this Christmas to get away from it all. We flew to Dubai on the 20th December from Dublin, good flight. The Hotel overnight supplied in Dubai was excellent and we were up graded to a Junior Suite(not sure why). Breakfast next morning and transfer/embarking the Ship was very smooth and painless. Accommodation was an Ocean View Stateroom which was first class. Everything about the Cruise was, in our opinion, excellent from the food to the all inclusive Drinks Package. I would recommend that people do one of these Drinks Inclusive Packages as drink can be expensive and the package will pay for itself in a matter of days.

This was our first Cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised. The Dining provided something for everyone, be it a casual buffet on the 12th deck or a Formal Gala sit down meal in pleasant company. We found all the food to be excellent. All staff from waiting to bar staff were very helpful and courteous. The tipping is added to your bill at the end and costs €7 per person per day. we asked to have this removed at the beginning (it was removed on the end bill) and we tipped the staff we felt appropriate, i.e. the Cabin Stewart, our main Waiters and certain Bar Staff. I believe all were happier with this arrangement.

Only two things we were not delighted with were two Ports, Kasab and Al Fackat which had nothing to see at all. in Kasab we did a bus trip supplied by MSC into town for ten Euros only to get straight back on it and return to the Ship.

One observation that we both made was a couple of individuals, one a Family and one a Couple who had previously availed of 5/7 star cruises on the Princes and Royal Caribbean lines. They complained bitterly and constantly and out everything from food to entertainment. One of these actually compared the food on the Lirica as being comparable to being the difference between your "local chippy and a four star Michelin Restaurant". Fine, if that is the case pay for the 7 star cruise and don't complain about being on a four star one! All in all, a wonderful experience and one I would recommend and hope to do again this year if at all possible.

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Sail Date: December 2013

The MSC Lirica is a medium ship, doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the mega ships but nether less is spotless and service was great.

Our teenage family tend to go for an itinary that will engage the kids and this was ... Read More

The MSC Lirica is a medium ship, doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the mega ships but nether less is spotless and service was great.

Our teenage family tend to go for an itinary that will engage the kids and this was ticked the boxes.

First the ship, seemed identical to the Opera we sailed on in August so new our way roun. This is an Italian ship so dinner is a 7 course Mediterranean affair, no steak, burgers etc but salads, pastas and seafood. With the size you do not get any speciality restaurants. For breakfast we always ate in the MDR not the buffet and was great the rest of the time we were off ship.

There is a smoking bat at the one end of the Ship.

As this was Christmas there was a great Christmas theme, however, the Xmas service was in Italian.

If the shows are vital to you cruise enjoyment, choose another line as it is very Western European, not great from a Brit point of view but not high on my agenda.

Arrived from Birmingham at around 7:30 into Dubai, immigration is slow but we will still on board for 10:00 am. The downside to this is disembarkment was at 4:00 am the following Saturday.

Dubai

Please note there is free wifi in the cruise terminal.

We arrived early so took a taxi tour. The taxis are plentiful even for our party of 7. The taxi drivers are all tour guides. Negotiate your price. Typically 500 dirhams for 6 hours, 300 for 3. We visited the deira gold souk, the creek,the magnificent park Hyatt hotel, the Egyptian themed Raffles hotel,the palace,dubathe Flamingos and finally dropped off at the Dubai Mall to go up the Burj Khalifa. Tip pre book online, save yourself a lot of money plus choose a time of your choice. The Dubai Mall is the largest in the world and includes an ice rink, an aquarium and dancing fountains!

All on board for 5:30.

Abu Dhabi

Again taxi tour 300 dirhams as the party wanted to get back for 2:00. The Mosque is fantastic and clothes are provided for women to cover up, cruise card will do as I'd, saw the Sultan's palace, the marina, the F1 circuit and Ferrari world.

Sea day ; rained all day!!!!!!!!!

Khor fakkan

Had a fantastic day at the beach at the lovely 4 star Oceanic Hotel. Take the shuttle bus out of port. Then take the free shuttle bus to the Hotel. The day pass costs 65 dirhams per adult (12 and over) and must be paid in cash. For that you get free towels, sunbed and lounges on beach or pool and a fantastic buffet lunch including non alcoholic drinks. Free wifi in hotel. Never seen so many staff in a hotel. Free shuttle return at 3,3:30 and 4.

Muscat

Boat docks at Muttrah, old part of Muscat. As this was Xmas day we just wandered around the Souks bartering for fancy dress for New Year and the fish market. Easy to walk to keep the sea on your left 10 minutes. Remember Omani Rial is currency but euros accepted as normal currency, 1 rial is 2 euros. If you prefer taxi tour again plentiful waiting to be negotiated!!!!!

Khasab

Another favourite day. We pre booked a Dhow tour with Khourshem Tours. A full day visiting telegraph and seema Islands, lunch, snorkelling,equipment and towels provided and non alcoholic drinks cost 32 euros per person. Approx 17 on board. We saw bottle neck Dolphins close up and the Coral round the islands meant some great fish. Very chilled day, the 6 hours flew by.

Dubai.

For us the kids wanted to go to Wild Wadi by the magnificent Burj Al Arab and part of the jumeirah beach hotel. Wow what a view. Tip buy one get one free vouchers form the Dubai Entertainer are available on ebay for a few pounds.235 dirhams to get in.

All in all fantastic taste of the Middle East .

 

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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 4.3
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.4
Family 3.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.3
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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