Having read all bad reviews about Lirica and, on the contrary, good reviews about other MSC vessels Melody and Rhapsody I wonder how a cruise line service and quality can change so much from old to new ships: Isnít the management the same?
I hope it is only a matter of staff training and situation will improve.
We were on the Jan.26/04 sailing of Lirica. We can echo that bad experiences described by others. The Captain is the same as on our sailing on the Melody 4 years ago (good experience) and many of the crew are the same. The Melody used to do this itinerary so I can't imagine what their excuses could be. I would avoid them at all costs.
I know more than half of the passengers will disagree with me, but we had a very nice cruise and so did the couple we traveled with. I guess we were just lucky to have Sebastiano as a waiter who made our cruise so much more enjoyable. He was the best we have ever had. He went beyon just waiting on us . He was a friend. I will admit this line needs some help. I wish I could just talk to someone who would listen. I think It was a build up of things that bothered most people. Key West was the last straw. We made the best of everything and had a good time. We found everyone to be very friendly and helpful except Linda the American host. She seemed to not want to be bothered with our foolish questions. Most passengers didn't realize that this was a value cruise and were expecting a lot more like Chocolates on there pillow. I loved it but did my homework before we chose this line and knew what to expect. I loved the Italian music and atmosphere. Too bad so many others hated it so much . We are working on a very extensive review.
We were on the Feb. 28th sailing and a GREAT time. We took a ship sponsored shore excursion in each of the ports with the exception of St. Barth's. I will give you a quick review of each.
SAN JUAN-Rain forest tour. Great tour. We had already been to the El Morro Fort and Old San Juan. If you have never been to San Juan I would recommend that you take the city tour instead. We had a great rour of the El Yunque rain forest but the city tour would probably give you a better taste of Puerto Rico. Be sure you see El Morro. It looks as though the city tour doesn't take you there but it is very close to the ship.
ANTIGUA-Historical Antigua. Average tour in fact the low end of average. Nelson's dockyard, in which I was most interested, was a BIG dissapointment. I read a lot about it and it ended up being little more than a bunch of old buildings filled with gift shops, bars, motel rooms and restaurants.
GRENADA-Island tour-Great tour-Got to see much of the island and learn about the agriculture (spices), saw some nice scenery, history, etc.
ST. LUCIA-Soufriere-Great tour. We went by catamaran to the samll town of Soufriere which is close to the famous Pitons. We stopped at one beautiful harbor where you could swim or walk around and shop. On the boat, they had good music and some dancing, plus drinks. You had to pay for mixed drinks and beer. Driving through the volcano was a worthwhile experience. The drive back was hair raising. Narrow winding roads over changing elevations-fun and pretty. On the way back, we stopped at a small fishing village do some shopping at a local market.
ST. BARTHS-no ship sponsored tour. Right at the pier, you can get a van with about 4 other people for a tour of the island that lasts for about an hour. The tour costs $12.00 per person. The vans will be lined up and waiting for you and separating you by language. I was impressed with the island but the guide we got was close to worthless. This, I think, was just the "luck of the draw". She gave us nothing about the history, we never got out of her car. She gave us a very poor 45 minute tour of what is a very pretty island. I gave her a cheap, obligatory $2.00 tip (for my wife and myself) which was $2.00 too much!!! I would recommend the tour but just hope you get a good guide.
TORTOLA-The Baths of Virgin Gorda-Great tour. 1/2 hour uneventful boat ride to the island of Virgin Gorda. You then get on a modified pick up truck (the bed has been modified to hold about 20 passengers) that takes you across a small part of the island to the baths. After a short orientation talk you walk down a steep, but manageable, trail for about 200 yards. You may then enter the baths or go to a beach. We entered the baths (bunch of large boulders that you crawl in, over, around, and through to get to the next beach.) A really fun and different experience. The baths led to one of the most beautiful beaches that I have seen. Nice sand surrounded by huge boulders. Here we had an hour or so to go swimming or snorkeling. We then had a 1/4 mile walk back to our meeting place where complementary rum punch and soft drinks were available. We returned to the ship the same we we arrived.
NASSAU-The Pirates of Nassau- Average tour. The tour didn't start until 2:00 P.M.. We went to 2 forts, and went through an interactive pirate museum where they had a replica of part of a pirate ship. I felt the tour got a little long-maybe it was the time of the day. We had more fun in the moring, on our own. Bought a few things at the famous straw market (an easy walk). We took a cab to the famous Atlantas Hotel and Casino ($4.00 each one way). You can also get there by water taxi for $6.00 each round trip. Well worth the cost.
Some of the tours do get sold out early so once you make up your mind be sure that you get them booked. You don't learn the exact departue time and duration of the tour until the night before. One of them left at 7:20 A.M. Hope this helped. HAVE FUN!!!!!!!
I sailed on the 10th March, 11 night Panama Canal on MSC Lirica. This is a beautiful ship, with freindly helpful staff. Great food, drinks and service. The only negative thing I encountered was hearing how rude some Amercians were to the staff, I was shocked as to how rude some of them were. Thes staff work very hard, long hours and i made friends with quite a few and will be keeping in touch. Had a great time and would return in a flash.
Thanks for the encouraging word. We Americans certainly earn the title "the ugly Americans" Just read some of the comments.
I was on the Jan 15th sailing and will go again on May 4th. The January sailing was the first US sailing, was not without problems, but certainly not enough problems to ruin a vacation. How could the lack of a photographer ruin a vacation? They tried hard and we enjoyed.
I understand there were a few "teething" problems on the first US cruise in January, but I believe most have these may be rectified, they now take photos as you embark, which I beleive some people had complained did not happen in January ? I did meet some very nice Americans, and had an interesting conversation with an older gentleman from Nevada, who had been stationed in the UK during the second world ! I have visited the US a few times now and have always found the people to be very pleasant, which is why I was so shocked by some of the behaviour I witnessed on board the Lirica. I am envious of you embarking on another cruise with Lirica in May, I would love to be returning to her so soon and meet up with the friends I made with some of the bar staff. Hope you have a great time.
We were on the January 26 th sailing and we had our picture taken when we embarked .I have no idea why that person said what he did because we were on the same sailing as he was and found some of what he said to be untrue. She was a beautiful ship and we had a wonderful time.