A bit underwhelming but a relaxing vacation nonetheless
MSC Lirica Cruise Review to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Review summaryThis was my first MSC cruise experience. It was ok. It was affordable and family friendly so no major complaints. I will just state the comparisons I noticed (and remember) to my other cruises in this summary. One difference is the cruise card activation stations, that's new to me and they were smaller than I had imagined or perhaps seen on a video clip. Another difference is there is only one beverage service at main dining and no coffee to eat with dessert (after dinner). When I asked for a second drink, it was with a bit of pushback but I persisted. I did not purchase a beverage package since I'm a travel agent and took advantage of a promotion for included beverages as a promotion. A waitress at one of their bars told us if they didn't want to get us another drink, get their name and let them know. Overall, the staff just seems new. They don't seem to know much about cruising. The ones I asked stated they had about 2 more months on their 10-month contract and I would think after 8 months, they would get the hang of it. The dining staff had a clear head waiter and assistant but the assistant wasn't prioritizing our drinks and helping the main waiter with our food; it was more brown-nosing. For example, on RCCL I am use to my table being manicured throughout dinner. I took a photo of my un-manicured table (see below). This happened once at a lunch dining. One of the elevators mid-ship did not go on the 8th floor, my floor. So we would ride up to 9 and walk down to 8 but this was only a few times so not a huge deal. The spray park would close with windy weather, but I had to seek out the lifeguards under the tarp of the hot tubs to ask why. They never walked around or paid very close attention to guests in the water/pool area. Their lounge chairs are awesome as you can fold them over your face so as not to get sun in your eyes. This was quite a lovely feature! The baby club had posted times with a side note that times could change at any time. When it did cancel, they didn't update the door, we just waited outside 20 minutes and realized they weren't going to be showing up. The baby club was only 1 hour and with the registration only 1 employee, you maybe got 40 minutes before you needed to head back for pick up. They have a pager they give to parents and they page you if the child isn't adjusting or they need you to come back so that is a nice feature. The kids under age 12 receive an identifying bracelet via barcode at embarkation; another nice feature. Some of the staff also had pagers, like our housekeeper, Luc. He was great, but once he found out I spoke his native language, his English got worse; how convenient. :) The Internet is not unlimited like RCCL. And if you don't buy more BEFORE it runs out, the price quadruples so buy it before it ends. Guest services told me to buy it once it ends, big mistake and lesson learned. The spa was quite pushy. My mom took advantage of a massage and a hairdo on day 2 and by day 3 or 4 they were offering discounts on spa services. Now, I understand why they were so pushy. Hold off and get a deal if you're interested in the spa. It's very European, the food, the people so go with it. There is a presence of prepubescent girls topless and topless tanning. This doesn't bother me, but it may some so be aware. Although storage was fully adequate for us, we learned of additional storage in the room (shelves behind the mirror over the desk, including the safe). It was on an angle, don't know why we didn't think to look behind the mirror. There was also a shelf above the mini-bar that my toddler discovered about day 4 or 5. It was on her level, so she used it. I did have an issue with the photo shop. They have a no return policy unless a defect. I had a defect and they said that they would just reprint. So it's actually a no return policy. What makes me comment on this is that when I pointed it out to the manager, he became clearly upset with me and threw the reprint pictures at me in front of my daughter and elderly mom. Guest services had no interest in my complaint either. But this incident involved 2 employees (photo manager and senior guest service rep, both of Italy), so I won't let it deter my entire viewpoint of MSC. As far as the status match on the voyager program, it's great but I didn't notice any special treatment and most of the staff didn't know what it was really. I was a Silver member on this cruise and I met up with a Black member with his family and there was really no difference, maybe aside from embarkation. I just expected it to be a bit different. But I will try a different class of ship by MSC before I make a decision on the brand. My next MSC ships are Poesia then Meraviglia and Grandiosa. After 4 MSCs, I will know if I can continue cruising with them but so far so good!
Food and Dining
Beverly Hills Bar
Quick and friendly service, always inviting us to relax and have a seat, unless grabbing water on the way off boat.
They were closed and when I asked for a bottle of juice THEN they tell me they were closed but didn't bother to direct me to another location to grab a juice. I had to seek out myself.
La Bussola Restaurant
Food was ok, the wait staff was inexperienced. Even the lobster tail I purchased extra was just "OK".
Coffee Corner Bar
Staff was great and friendly but they didn't have decaffeinated coffee. Luckily, the barista was so good, he made a cool kid friend ice coffee imitation that my daughter loved!
My daughter ripped a box and the sales lady told my mom that now she couldn't sell it and gave a sad face as if she would get fired for something a little kid did. Only part of a box was ripped, so just mark down the price and someone will buy it. Unfortunately, my mom felt guilty and bought it. Don't guilty people into buying.
They sent us bus tickets to enjoy the sites even when we didn't ask for it. We would only be charged if used and so this was a great feature! I would give 5 stars but the excursions were just OK and the Venice excursions were too long, didn't accommodate our flights (in or out) so we had to arrange independently.
My mom loved her massage.
I had a conflict and could not speak to anyone other than the senior reception representative who was not receptive to what I had to say nor would she let me finish before interrupting me.
Pools were cold, salt water. There is no incline/decline just one depth for the deep/adult size side and one depth for the kid size side. The spray park was chlorinated (I hope) water.
My mom was quite pleased with her hair
Only 1 staff member in baby club (under 3 yo) and 1 computer for check in and check out. Not as organized as it could have been but my daughter liked all but 2 drop offs.
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Bring magnets to have the daily itinerary available to all. I forgot mine this time, so used my packing tape that I had on liquids to post it on the wall -- and it worked!