April 2015 - MSC Lirica to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
I really wanted to give this ship 5 stars. I had read all the bad reviews and I decided that the complaints were mostly things that did not matter too much to me. So I went with a lot of optimism and an open mind. Unfortunately there were a series of unfortunate issues that prevented us from enjoying our cruise to the fullest. I'll try to be as objective as possible because my intention is not to rant, but to inform other people that are considering this ship of what they are going to find. The Good: All the ports we visited were great, specially Croatia. Embarkation was easy. We were traveling with our toddler son and they gave us priority access, which was a nice touch. The atmosphere in the ship is more laid back and calmer than in other ships. This might not be a plus for some people, but for us it definitely is. We dislike "party ships" where everybody's purpose seems to be to get drunk and the pool area is always crowded and noisy. We prefer a more serene cruise experience. The Bad: My husband's iPhone was lost at the ship's security checkpoint when returning from the first port we visited. Long story short, he gave the phone to the security staff, we never got it back, they were not able to find it and did not have cameras pointing to the check point area. We felt they were at fault for losing the phone. We tried to bounce back from this setback and still enjoy the cruise, but then more things kept happening. From day one we noticed the carpet in our room in front of the bathroom was wet, at first we thought they had shampooed the carpet and would dry out in time, but when by the 2nd or 3rd day it was still wet, and even the cabin steward mentioned it, we realized there was something wrong. The bathroom also started to smell like a sewer, and it was getting worse by the day. The plumber was sent in, and they dried the carpet with a big fan, but the smell would not go away, so the customer service manager decided to upgrade us to a suite. We appreciated that, and thought it was a nice gesture and that we might finally bounce back from all the inconveniences and start relaxing and enjoying our vacation. But even though the suite was nicer, we were not able to sleep that night. LISTEN TO THIS! Specially if you are considering booking a suite -The suites are right below the pool/cafeteria deck and they spent all night moving furniture right on top of us. The racket was such that we thought we were being punked or punished or something. It was unreal. It was not the normal noise of people moving around, there were no passengers on this deck at that time. Finally at 4am my husband got dressed and went up to see what was going on and we found out it was the crew cleaning the deck at night and moving and tossing the furniture without a regard for the guests trying to sleep just a floor below. Next morning we complained -again- and they promised to tell the crew not to make noise at night anymore (like that is something that needs to be said, isn't that like hospitality 101?) And they didn't. For the remaining 3 nights we had on the ship they did not do it again, but by then our experience aboard the ship was already ruined. It did not help either that the people in the cabin next to us smoked in the balcony, even though it is strictly prohibited. So every time we opened the balcony doors, the smell would get into our room...agh!
The ugly: The ship is old, and it is showing its age. The black out curtains in both the oceanview and the suite had rips on them, the furniture upholstery and the coverlets are faded and/or stained, the buttons on the elevators are falling off. These are only some of the things that I remember now, off the top of my head. Our overall impression was old and outdated.