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MSC Lirica Berlitz Review

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Berlitz Rating:

Families With Children
Ship Beam (ft/m):
Ship Builder:
Chantiers de l'Atlantique (France)
Ship Cabin Current:
110 and 220 volts
Ship Cabins (for one person):
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Ship Casino (gaming tables):
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Ship Cruise Line:
MSC Cruises
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Ship Elevators:
Ship Entered Service:
Mar 2003
Ship Former Names:
Ship Hot Tubs (on deck):
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Ship Original Cost:
$266 million
Ship Passenger Decks:
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Ship Passengers (lower beds):
Ship Propulsion:
diesel (31,680kW)/2 azimuthing pods
Ship Registry:
Ship Self-Service Launderette:
Ship Size:
Mid-size Ship
Ship Size Range (sq ft/m):
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Ship Wheelchair accessibility:
This is a stretched, Euro-style, informal, family-friendly ship

MSC Cruises - MSC Lirica

Overview: MSC Liricais best suited to young adult couples, solo travelers, and families with tots, children and teens who enjoy big-ship surroundings and facilities, and passengers of different nationalities and languages (mostly European). The decor has many Italian influences, including clean lines, minimalism in furniture design, and an eclectic collection of colors and soft furnishings that somehow work well together without any hint of garishness.

The Ship: MSC Lirica, sister toMSC Opera, was the first of a pair of new-builds for Mediterranean Shipping Cruises (MSC), Italy’s largest privately owned cruise line. The ship’s deep blue funnel is quite sleek; it has a swept-back design. The ship is fitted with an azimuthing pod propulsion system.In 2015 the ship underwent a ‘chop-and-stretch’ operation, which added an 82ft (25m) mid-section, almost 200 additional cabins, more public rooms, entertainment facilities, and new shops (but no additional elevators), and more exterior deck space, home to a large waterpark for children. Families with children will also find special kids’ areas equipped with Chicco® and LEGO® products, and an energetic multilingual youth activity team.Inside, the layout (and passenger flow) is quite good with the exception of some congestion points – typically when first seating passengers exit the dining room and second seating passengers are waiting to enter.An abundance of real woods and marble are used extensively in the interiors, and the standard of the fit and finish reflects MSC’s commitment to high quality.Facilities include a large main showlounge, a nightclub/disco, multiple lounges and bars, an Internet center, a virtual reality center, a children’s club, and a shopping gallery named Rodeo Drive with stores that have an integrated bar and entertainment area, where you can shop, drink, and be entertained all in one convenient area. The Las Vegas Casino offers blackjack, poker, and roulette games, together with an array of slot machines. There is also a card room, but the integral library is small and disappointing, and there are no hardback books.The ship is designed to accommodate families with children, who have their own play center, youth counselors, and activity programs. Anyone wheelchair-bound should note that there is no access to the uppermost forward and aft decks, although access throughout most of the interior is very good and there are also several wheelchair-accessible public restrooms. But passenger hallways are a little narrow on some decks for you to pass, when housekeeping carts are in place.Some things that passengers find irritating: the ship’s photographers always seem to be in your face; the telephone numbering system to reach such places as the information bureau (2224) and hospital (2360) are not easy to remember – single digit numbers would be better. Gratuities are extra, even though bar drinks already includes a 15 percent service charge added to all drinks/beverage orders.

Accommodation: There are several different price levels for accommodation, depending on grade and location: one suite category including 132 ‘suites’ with private balcony, five outside-view cabin grades, and five interior cabin grades.All cabins have a minibar and personal safe, satellite-linked television, several audio channels, and 24-hour room service. While tea and coffee are complimentary, snacks for room service incur a delivery charge of €2.50.Accommodation designated as suites – they are not true suites, as there is no separate bedroom and lounge – has more room, a larger lounge area, walk-in closet, wall-to-wall vanity counter, a bathroom with combination tub and shower, toilet, and semi-private balcony with a light but partitions that are partial, not full. The bathrobes are 100 percent cotton. However, the suite bathrooms are very plain, with white plastic washbasins and white walls, and mirrors that steam up.Some cabins on Scarlatti Deck have views obstructed by lifeboats, while those on Deck 10 aft (10105–10159) can be subject to late-night noise from the disco on the deck above.

Cuisine/Dining: There are two dining rooms: La Bussola Restaurant, and the smaller, slightly more intimate L’Ippocampo Restaurant, located one deck above. Both have large ocean-view picture windows at the aft end of the ship. There are two seatings for meals, in keeping with other ships in the MSC fleet, and tables are for two, four, six, or eight.La Pergola is the most formal restaurant, offering stylish Italian cuisine. It is assigned to passengers in accommodation designated as suites, although other passengers can dine in it, too, on a reservations-only basis. The food and service are superior to that in the main dining room.Other dining options.Casual, self-serve buffets for breakfast and lunch can be taken in Le Bistrot Cafeteria, which is also open for 20 hours a day, for sit-down, served, but casual, dinners each evening. For fast foods, there is also a grill and a pizzeria, both located outside, adjacent to the swimming pool and ship’s funnel.Coffee Corner, located on the upper, second level of the main lobby, is the place for coffees and pastry items – as well as for people-watching throughout the day and evening. Although there are windows, the view is not of the ocean, but of the stowed gangways and associated equipment.

Entertainment: The Broadway Theater, the main showlounge, is located in the forward section. It has tiered seating set in a sloping floor, and sight lines are good from most seats. The room can also serve as a venue for large social functions. There is no separate bandstand, and the shows work with recorded music, with little consistency in orchestration and sound balance.High-quality entertainment has not, to date, been part of MSC’s offering. Hence, production shows and variety acts tend to be adequate at best. The Lirica Lounge, one deck above the showlounge, is the place for social dancing, with live music. For the young and lively set, there is The Blue Club, the ship’s throbbing, ear-melting disco.Additionally, live music is provided in most lounges by small groups and solo musicians.

Spa/Fitness: The Lirica Health Center is located one deck above the navigation bridge at the forward end of the ship. The complex has a beauty salon, several private massage/body treatment rooms, plus a fitness center with ocean views and an array of cardio-vascular equipment. There’s also a thermal suite, containing different kinds of steam rooms combined with aromatherapy infusions, available at extra cost.The spa is operated by the Italian company OceanView, with European hairstylists and Balinese massage and body treatment staff. Gratuities to spa staff are not included, but left to your discretion.

Berlitz Guide © Apa Publishing 2015

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