Being a tea drinker often requires constant requests from waiters no matter where you are dining. That held true on the MSC Lirica. It took forever to even get tea and rarely did anybody come around with more hot water or tea. This isn’t surprising for tea-drinkers, but coffee drinkers usually get several offers of coffee refills. In the first place, we always had to ask for coffee and tea at breakfast and lunch. Nobody initially asked about drink preferences other than juice at breakfast. Iced tea is complimentary, but you do need to ask for it. You will have to ask for refills as they are seldom offered. In fact, if you want any kind of beverage, you will have to ask for it.
It seems that MSC should be interested in increasing their revenue by simply asking guests at the dinner table if they would like a drink. Nobody ever asked if we wanted anything to drink and that includes iced tea. We asked for a carafe of wine and only once did the server ask us if we wanted wine for the evening. We had the wine the first few days, but quit ordering it after a few days. That wasn’t because we didn’t want it, but more because we simply forgot until too late to order. There doesn’t seem to be a wine sommelier or any type of beverage server to take orders for wine or alcohol. However, we occasionally saw a cocktail server with a tray of drinks.
Our dinner servers were much better about bringing around coffee with dessert, but that was after we asked. We usually had to ask for refills and cream for the coffee. I learned to check the label to be sure that I had half-and-half rather than the non-dairy creamer. It’s nice that they offer this alternative for those who are lactose intolerant.
Bars and Beverage Spots
There are several pleasant places to have a drink throughout the ship. The Coffee Corner offers a variety of specialty coffees and teas. There are drink specials and two happy hours everyday. The happy hour arrangement is an odd one. Happy Hour takes place in Beverly Hills and Lord Nelson Pub(smoking pub) between 5:15 o 6:15 and then 7:30-8:30. Considering that the first dinner seating is 5:45 and the second seating starts at 8:00, these are very strange hours. Drinks prices at happy hour are $5.50. There are other drink specials: Daily cocktails – $5.70, non-alcoholic cocktails -$3.10, Daily coffee- $4.90 and the Vitamin Bar daily special – $3.50.
There is no automatic gratuity added to the price of the drinks. Drinks do come with three dishes of snacks: olives, potato chips and a crunchy mix with a few nuts included.
Captain’s Cocktail Party
At the captain’s cocktail party, a variety of drinks are served in the Lirica Lounge. The bar itself is closed, so unlike on other ships, it was impossible to order your drink of choice. On the serving tray was champagne, gin martini, Manhattan and a non-alcoholic punch. I tried the Manhattan, which was very watered down. No wonder the guy sitting next to us had a stash of empty glasses on the floor next to his chair. There are two captain’s cocktail parties, but the second on this cruise had fewer participants than the first one. We finally heard the captain speak for the first time at the farewell party. There had been no announcements or public appearances by the captain before this.
Next time: The Entertainment on the MSC Lirica