We chose this cruise because it was good value for money. It was a very good deal and it included our flights with Emirates to Dubai return from New Zealand. We arrived 2 days before departure to explore the city of Dubai. Embarkation was smooth. We were allocated a time to embark( 6 pm) which we did. The suitcases didn't arrived till midnight which was a pain. Our cabin was an inner cabin on Bella. Good bed but they were fold up bunk beds close to the sides of the main bed and I had hit my head a few times on that. We did a back to back cruise, so after the 20 days , there was a 4 day cruise and we were given an other cabin just 3 door further up the corridor, that room was bigger and had no fold up beds above the sides.
The ship itself I think is beautiful, a nice size, not too big.
We had booked all excursions beforehand online with the MSC excursions. This way it was cheaper but also safer to be with an MSC excursion. We loved it and learned so much.
The food at the buffet was always plenty and the only thing I didn't like was the masses of people trying to get in and get a table was a nightmare, but once you found a table you need to leave a coat over your chair or it would be gone again. I once was on my own, had got myself a coffee and something else, and I just went to get something else, a quick hot chocolate from the machine and when I came back all the other stuff was taken away by staff, I hadn't even started drinking it, but I had not left my coat on the chair. We always had dinner at Hippocampus restaurant downstairs. The meals were very nice and good portions, not too big and not too small. 3 course meal and you were full. We loved our staff there, Christian from Honduras, and Alex from Kiev. I am concerned , though, that the staff is being overworked and underpaid. They were often very tired. They seem to get only 4 hours of sleep at night and maybe a couple of hours during the day. That's not much rest. Our cabin steward was Argus from Indonesia, a was very friendly and loyal and did his work really well. Always smiling and always asking how we were.
We travelled with an other couple, friends from our hometown.
I would definitely go again but not take that back to back cruise with the 4 extra days( we did it because it had an excursion to San Marino) but the people were completely different folks. Mainly Europeans that brought their whole family, kids, babies and strollers. They would very loud and often rude, pushing their way to the front of a queue like with the buffet on deck 11, it was a nightmare to try and eat there. I because sick and tired of the throngs of people. During the 20 days sailing from Dubai to Venice, we had a nice mix, quite a few Aussies, UK people, 20 NZ-ders, and some French and Italians and a lot of Germans and a handful of Dutch. It looked more like a cruise designed for your average income type people, definitely not upper class. But to us that was ok, it was a fantastic cruise and you get what you pay for. The critics I have heard review this ship are expecting a highest standard like silverline cruises for the price of a " backpackers" type cruise to put it this way, which is unfair. I think MSC Lirica is fine as long as you know if it was cheap, don't expect too much, but for us it was enough, and fine we saw a good chunk of the world. The shows were great, we went most nights. The other musicians also very good. We didn't buy a drinks package but just went and bought drinks as we had dinner. The laundry personal service for your own laundry is quite outrages expensive. It was 30 euro for a bag with 20 items, if it wasn't 20 items you got it back dirty again, so it HAD TO BE 20 items. Then it would be washed and folded the next day. Why don't they have a laundrette service where you can put in your clothes in a washing machine? My answer is: It is a cheap cruise and they have to make money somehow. Also half of the passengers all got sick with a very bad cough, that was after we had gone through the Suez Canal and came out in the freezing wind of the Mediterranean. A doctors visit on the ship will put you back 100 euros. Luckily my own doctor had give me my own anti biotics and so I was ok. But I had to visit the ship doctor for a skin condition, that was 100 euros.
But the doctor was very good. All in all, I would do this again( not the back to back 4 day cruise ) and maybe go on a different route.
Like I said above, this room had a nice size comfortable bed but it also had folded up to the sides, a bunk bed, which stuck out a bit so when I come out of bed I would forget it was there and hit my head on it, till I remembered it was there and try to avoid it. Later we got room 8177 and that wasn't there so much better.