The absence of a towel animal on my bed each night isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I know that some people use this as a benchmark for judging the quality of the cruise. First, I must reiterate that in spite of some of the oddities of the Lirica experience, we did enjoy the cruise. In the grand scheme of things, the negatives weren’t enough to ruin our cruise or make us suffer. We just avoided what we didn’t like and survived quite nicely. In fact, we met some very nice people on the cruise, enjoyed a delightful itinerary and had a good time.
I don’t like the “it’s European” excuse for the drawbacks of this cruise. That’s really an insult to the Europeans and the passenger. MSC claims that the service is like that of a fine Italian hotel. I couldn’t agree less. To achieve that reputation, they really do need to replace those indifferent, dour-faced head waiters and maitre d’s. That would be a good start. Some spice in the food would help as well.
The ship is gorgeous and clean with an understated elegance throughout. We loved the comfortable, relaxing public areas. Our stateroom(9111) had the smallest shower that we have seen on a ship, but both of us managed to flex and contort to reach the extremes of our bodies.
I would recommend this ship with reservations. If you are looking for outstanding dining, this isn’t the ship. If you must follow a bland diet, this ship is ideal. The ship is different, but it confirms my philosophy that there is a ship for everbody. I will definitely try the other MSC ships for comparision, but if I had to choose between the Lirica and another ship on the same itinerary and the same price, I would have to think long and hard.
NB -*Do not book cabin 9111 or any cabins in that vicinity unless you are an early bird or a sound sleeper. The ice machine is across the hallway and everyday at 6:45 am, the room stewards started filling up their ice chests. Sometimes, we thought that it was a block of ice in there that required a pick as the pounding seemed rather excessive.
* Be aware that the category 6 staterooms on Deck 7 are not 140 square feet. They are very small, but they usually cost more than the 140 square foot inside stateroom. Keep this in mind if you book a guarantee in a lower category. You could be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Next time: photos from the MSC Lirica