She might be a child of the 21st century, but MSC Lirica is seasoned enough to remember the days when cruise ships were smaller, designs were restrained (think muted colors, with plenty of marble and pine wood accents) and the notion of speciality restaurants was in its infancy (read: you won’t find any here). So where new cruise ships these days have four, five or more restaurants in addition to the main dining room, Lirica has just four places to eat: La Bussola and L’Ippocampo, main dining rooms each with set evening meal times and assigned seating (the same menu is served at both); Le Bistrot, a self-service cafeteria; and La Pergola, an al fresco grill by the pool.
The cruise ship has a European vibe on account of MSC Cruises' Italian heritage. Your fellow passengers will be predominately Italian, but with plenty of French, Germans and Spanish, and also a peppering of Americans, British and various other nationalities. It’s the United Nations minus debates and assemblies. And thankfully announcements are kept to a minimum, though all onboard communication is available in at least four languages.
MSC Lirica has 132 balcony cabins but most of the accommodations are either inside (no window) or with an ocean view (a window that doesn’t open). The layout is slated to change November 2015, when she’ll have undergone a “stretching,” — a process that entails cutting the vessel in half, inserting a 79-foot section and welding it back together again.
When she re-enters service on November 9, 2015, the cruise ship will have 193 more staterooms (79 inside, 82 oceanview and 32 with balconies), as well as a new spray water park, dedicated teen area and more boutiques. In addition, 60 oceanview staterooms will be converted into rooms with balconies. The capacity, based on double occupancy, will have increased from 1,590 to 1,976.