The 1,976-passenger MSC Lirica is one of four medium-sized Mistral-class ships, dating from 2003.
MSC spent more than $200 million on Lirica and the rest of the Mistral class during a two-year refurbishment program in 2014–2015 that saw a nearly 80-foot-long section sandwiched into the middle of each ship. The "stretching" procedure added nearly 200 more cabins -- 94 of which have balconies. During the refurbishment, the line also took the chance to update the spa and childcare facilities, as well as to add an interactive water feature called the Spray Park to the top deck.
The sleek and traditional looking MSC Lirica is tastefully designed and decorated with Italian flair. Forget about Costa-style neon, however; the ship's famed Italian architect Giuseppe de Jorio is known for creating more traditional, as opposed to flashy decor, relying on marble and brass. Most of the public rooms are small and intimate.
During the summer season MSC Lirica entertains mainly Europeans with multiple languages used onboard, so prepare to learn some Italian, German, French and Spanish if you want to communicate with your fellow passengers.
In winter, the ship is based out of Rio, offering four-night sailings to Uruguay. MSC Cruises says that around half of its crew is Italian, while the rest of the hotel crew comes from Eastern European countries and a few from the Far East.
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MSC Lirica will homeport in Shanghai from May 1, 2016, initially for two years.
During the summer time most of the passengers are Europeans, mainly from Italian-, French-, Spanish-, and German-speaking countries, but the cruise line carries guests also from English-speaking nations, such as the U.K., USA, and Australia. Europeans tend to smoke more, even in the no-smoking areas. Dining rooms are off limits to smoking.
On a seven-night cruise, there are two formal nights (though many ignored the dress suggestion and some people even wore jeans to the dining room). Otherwise, dress is casual.