Dubai Debacle: MSC Lirica Cruise Review by covebud

MSC Lirica 1
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Dubai Debacle

Sail Date: March 2012
Destination: Europe - British Isles & Western
Embarkation: Dubai
We booked this cruise thinking it would be great to sail through the Suez Canal and also see Dubai in the process WHAT A MISTAKE

Our troubles started on the day we were to board Lirica which was Sunday the 11th of March 2012 after a great 4 days in Dubai we hired a limo to take us from our hotel to the port in Abu Dhabi where the ship was to depart that evening
When we get to the port there is no ship
We are advised by an MSC representative there that the ship is in Dubai and has been since Friday using some silly excuse of the winds were too strong to enter Abu Dhabi port funny there were a lot of container ships and tankers in port that must have sailed in the windy conditions
The staff at the terminal then explained we are to be bussed back to Dubai and we have to wait in the terminal (WHICH WAS A BIG WHITE TENT) until one was arranged
Hours later without food or drink (THE CRUISE COMPANY DIDN'T SUPPLY ANY AND ALL THE SHOPS WERE CLOSED) we are bussed More back to where the ship is this 2 hour trip to the ship has turned into a marathon we are hungry tired and getting very annoyed at what seems to be a poor start to our cruise
Its now almost 8:00pm in the evening when we arrive at the ship and we board with little fuss on entering the Centrum of the ship we are expecting a staff member to escort us to our cabin as per the MSC brochure all we get is some member of staff who points to the lift well and says its down that way
We eventually find our cabin (number10067) and are very pleased with it a lot of space for packing case and clothes a walk in wardrobe a full bath lots of mirrors and a beautiful balcony the cabin steward introduces herself to us and every thing looks like its going to be ok


We have arrived on board too late for Dinner, as we were first seating at 6:00pm so we decide to go to the buffet for something to eat the choice was very poor with chicken sausages hamburger mince or some type of noodle dish I never did figure out what it was as well as a couple of salads this food was Luke warm and the worst selection I have experienced on any ship
I know we can have pizza so I go to find the pizza bar, which is located, by the pool area I order 3 pieces and go back to the buffet
Not so im afraid the crust is horrible with rubbery cheese and very little pepperoni on it and completely tasteless (would have made a good sole for a pair of shoes)

Oh well at least we can have a coffee I walk up to the drink station and look for cups to my dismay there are horrible blue soft plastic mugs on the rack they look like something we would have given our granddaughter to drink from when she was1 year old
So I make the best of it and pour 2 coffees you have to taste these drinks to understand how bad they were all you tasted was the cheap plastic
Weleft in disgust

So we decide lets go have a drink and drown our sorrows along with our hunger pangs we walk around the ship and find a nice bar called the Lord Nelson at the front of the ship and there is a sign at the entrance saying smokers welcome in this bar (YIPPEE)
I know a lot of people don't like smoking but to find a large bar on a ship where us outcasts can go is quite a shock
We sit down and order drinks which we sigh for and get our receipt as we look at it we see there is an item on it saying 15% service fee we ask our waiter whether this is the gratuity he receives and he tells us it is a tax imposed by MSC on all drinks whether they be alcoholic or not

Now hold on a minute didn't we pay all taxes when we paid for this cruise
It turns out that MSC imposed a tax on all beverages on their ships which we think is double dipping as you are paying 6-10 Euro per drink already the waiting staff don't get any of this money it goes into the cruise lines coffers

Don't get me wrong the Lirica is a beautiful ship classic Italian style which is tastefully decorated in both cabins and public areas it s staff on the whole seem to be very good at their jobs and try to do their best by the passengers but there seems to be a policy by the company to rip every cent possible out of all the traveling public while on board

The dining room was nicely set out and our head waiter did his best to keep us happy but there is where all its good points end the food on most evenings was inedible and after having one or two bites from the plate was sent back uneaten the waiter would order us something new but it always came back the same quality I must point out at this point that this is the first cruise I have ever completed and walked off weighing less than when I boarded 2kgs the steak was tough the pasta tasteless all the fish dishes were saturated with oil 2 prawn dishes on the cruise were sent back not only by us but nearly every person in the restaurant at the time as they were off still we couldn't go and eat in the buffet it was worse

The shows on the ship were pretty good except for the violin virtuosos who appeared 4 time during our cruise 1 show was perhaps the limit that they should have been on the production shows were professionally done and the singing was a very high standard we especially liked the contortionists 3 Chinese girls who were the finest I have ever seen the only down side of the shows was that all the announcements were done in 6 languages thank goodness English was usually the first one but we had been warned before booking this cruise that MSC do this on all their ship so we knew what to expect

This was going to be one of the highlights of the cruise and was the major reason we and many other passengers had chosen to do it but like everything else important on the ship the company got it all wrong again we had noticed at the ports of call before Suez that the ship was not giving out maps of or making available any information on the stops except to push their tours so you were getting off for the day with no relevant information on what to do and where Togo while in port
This was also the case with Suez
We had sailed with Celebrity through the Panama Canal 2 years ago and had so much information given to us including a certificate to say we had transited the canal with our names and dated having loved this we foolishly thought MSC would enlighten the passengers in the same way (WRONG)
We were lucky they even told us we had entered the canal with no information about the bridges or towns along the banks the history of the waterway or even how long it would take to get from one end to the other
This upset many people who had sailed just to go through the canal

Dubai, Muscat, Salala, Aquaba, Barcelona, Lisbon, Southampton, Hamburg
Dubai a must see great place to visit and stay

Muscat a beautiful city with an impressive mosque

Salala not sure why we went here should have stayed on ship and saved the taxi fare into the city not worth visiting set price with driver get him to write it on paper and sign it before going as they try to charge you more to get back to the ship

Aquaba Jordan purchased a tour to Petra one of the gems of the cruise a beautiful ruin made famous in the third Indiana Jones Movie well worth seeing and the meal at the hotel was definitely 100% better than on the ship only 1 regret 4 hours was not enough time in Petra

Barcelona port facilities close to La Rambla can walk into town in 15 mins bus Touristic leaves from port gates excellent stop

Lisbon Portugal another fine European port hop on hop off bus waiting when we got off ship beautiful food excellent restaurants friendly people and safe to walk around even late at night

In finishing this revue I would like to say that there is something seriously wrong on this ship with staff berated in front of passengers which I had never seen before on all my cruises the staff are unhappy and many said they would not be sighing up for another contract they have a odd policy of moving staff every 10 days from bars to other parts of the ship which I find strange as you tend to get a good rapport with staff who are with you the whole cruise
We never received an apology for the inconvenience of the first day until we complained to the public relations manager that we had not even been on board and had to pay the 12 Euro in gratuities which she dropped off the bill we never received an offer to repay the cost of the car to Abu Dhabi as we found out that a lot of the passengers who flew out from England had been notified of the changes to the Itinerary before leaving home on the Friday the company had our mobile and email address but we never received any messages to inform us of the changes so much for public relations

Published 05/05/12

Cabin review: 1110067

Cabin 10067 midship excellent cabin good location plenty of wardrobe space and draws walk in wardrobe full bath plenty of room full lounge nice balcony lots of floor to ceiling mirrors

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