msc lirica cruises ship photos and cruise review

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msc lirica cruise ship photos
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MSC Lirica Facts & Figures
Owner/Operator:MSC Cruises
Year built:2003
Builder:Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France
Former names:-
Gross Tonnage:65,591
Length:274.9 m (902 ft)
Beam:32 m (105 ft)
Passengers (normal):1,984
Passengers (maximum):2,366
Crew:760
Service speed:20.8 kn
Sister Ships:MSC Opera
MSC Lirica Photo Gallery
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MSC Lirica Interior Photos
Lirica Lounge Le Bistrot Restaurant Pool Deck Broadway Theatre
© 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer
Lord Nelson Pub La Pergola Le Cabaret Lirica Lounge
© 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer
Beverly Hills Bar Coffee Corner La Bussola Pool Deck
© 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer
L'Atmosphere L'Ippocampo Restaurant Main Foyer L'Ippocampo Restaurant
© 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer
La Bussola Restaurant Pool Deck Cabin Corridor The Blue Club
© 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer © 2003 Bart de Boer
From the ShipParade Archives: MSC Lirica: Splendido!
Amenities, decor, charges and services have changed since this article was written Text & Photos © 2003 Bart de Boer

Built in France at a cost of € 270 million, the 59,058 ton MSC Lirica was delivered to her owners Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) on March 24, 2003 and has proven to be an instant hit during her first summer season on the popular weekly Western Mediterranean run. It was in Barcelona, Spain on a sunny September morning that I was given the opportunity to visit MSC Lirica and see for myself how MSC is doing things differently.

MSC Cruises started operations in 16 years ago and has grown to a fleet of four very different ships, ranging from the vintage 1952-built MSC Monterey to the very popular MSC Melody. Crowning the MSC fleet will be MSC Opera, sister to MSC Lirica, entering service in the Mediterranean very soon. Since its inception, the line has been offering an upbeat cruise experience for a modest price, emphasizing its Italian heritage and catering to a mostly pan-European crowd. Traditionally, MSC Cruises has been very popular with family with kids and therefore entertainment on board is virtually non-stop. Apart from the Mediterranean, MSC is also active in U.S. waters, offering winter cruises from Ft. Lauderdale, while one fleetmate traditionally spends winter in South America.
MSC Lirica arriving at Barcelona on September 26, 2003. Photo © Bart de Boer MSC Lirica arriving at Barcelona on September 26, 2003. Photo © Bart de Boer MSC Lirica arriving at Barcelona on September 26, 2003. Photo © Bart de Boer MSC Lirica arriving at Barcelona on September 26, 2003. Photo © Bart de Boer MSC Lirica arriving at Barcelona on September 26, 2003. Photo © Bart de Boer
MSC Lirica follows in the footsteps of her popular fleetmates by offering the same Italian shipboard flavor, albeit on a more elegant level. Her beautiful interiors are crafted by the best Italian designers and exude the "Dolce Far Niente" feeling without ever going over the top. Despite the fact that Lirica's service staff is very international, she flies the Panamian flag and the company is run from Switzerland these days, my ship visit made it very clear that this is the ultimate new Italian passenger liner. "Splendido!"

MSC Lirica has 8 passenger decks, all named after famous Italian composers, joined by no less than 4 stairwells which make it very easy to find your way around. The ship's interior designers, Italy's Studio di Jorio, have applied a modern, fresh "one-style-fits-all" approach to MSC Lirica's public rooms, which is rather refreshing in a time where many cruise lines seem to revert to "entertainment architecture". One good example of that approach is the robust Main Foyer, with its shiny two-deck high atrium and inviting wood-decked Coffee Corner on the upper level.
MSC Lirica Main Foyer with Reception Desk. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Main Foyer. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica shore excursion office. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica coffee corner on the upper level of the Main Foyer. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
MSC Lirica grand staircase in the Main Foyer. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica's three deck high Main Foyer. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Lord Nelson Pub. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Le Cabaret. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
Instead of having a few mega-sized public rooms, MSC Lirica has been designed to offer something for everyone. The most intimate room is the striking Lord Nelson Pub, tucked away below the Broadway Theatre forward on Verdi Deck. The tartan carpeting in aqua and burgundy, combined with opulent wood paneling make this a very inviting late night spot and a prime spot to watch sports games on large flat screen tv's.
MSC Lirica Lord Nelson Pub. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica's Lord Nelson Pub. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Le Cabaret. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica L' Atmosphere. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Beverly Hills Bar. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
One deck up, on Puccini Deck amidships, you will find the elegant Le Cabaret. Large windows provide a view of the Promenade Deck outside, while the circular granite dance floor will attract its share of dance fans. The color scheme is a little daring but works out very, very well. I really like the neutral dark blue carpeting, offset by wild "rug" inlays that go well with the orange chairs and couches and the very tasteful artwork. At night, Le Cabaret is the place to go for ... well ... cabaret! If the name of the band here (Piky Wiky!) is anything to go by, things definitely heat up at night here!

Another small room is L'Atmosphere, perched in between the Casino and the Photo Gallery on Puccini Deck. While similar in size and layout as Le Cabaret, L'Atmosphere exudes a totally different atmosphere with its green and red color scheme. The designers should really be complimented for creating such a different feel here. L'Atmosphere is used as the ship's piano bar, offering soothing sounds and mellow melodies nightly.
MSC Lirica Le Cabaret. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Beverly Hills Bar. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica L' Atmosphere. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Beverly Hills Bar. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
Back down on Verdi Deck is the very stylish Beverly Hills Bar, done in a beige and blue color scheme. In fact, the Beverly Hills Bar is an integral part of the Rodeo Drive Shopping Arcade. I like the novel approach of incorporating shops into an entertainment space and the result of this works really well. The Beverly Hills Bar seats 250 and offers nightly dancing to the sounds of "Duo Fantasy". As the room opens onto the ship's main dining room, it is also a very popular place to come down and enjoy a pre-dinner drink.

MSC Lirica is definitely a family-oriented ship, with amenities that will appeal to a wide range of guests. She is also a warm-weather ship, dividing her time between the sunny Mediterranean and Caribbean waters. During the day, many of her guests will find the way to the huge Sun Deck, appropriately called Le Piscine. Actually, there is not one, but two nicely-sized pools complete with separate kid's wading pool, plus numerous Jacuzzis. On sea days, this is the place to see and be seen, with pool games and music galore.
MSC Lirica Le Piscine pool area. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica La Canzone del Mare Pool Bar. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica ample deck space. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica twin swimming pool. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
MSC Lirica miniature golf. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Le Piscne pool area. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Le Piscine. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica bird's eye view of the giant pool deck. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
MSC should be applauded for bringing in the most original lounge chairs afloat - they just cannot be more Italian! Forward of the main pool is the La Canzone del Mare Pool Bar, which in my opinion would have looked better if the standard plastic furniture would be replaced by something a little more substantial. One deck higher is another prime sunbathing spot, overlooking the action on the Pool Deck, topped by an expansive, more quiet sun deck at the base of the mast. All the way aft, next to her funnel,  MSC Lirica even offers a miniature golf course and golf putting nets.

Guests on board MSC Lirica dine in two sittings in either the L'Ippocampo Restaurant or the La Bussola Restaurant, both offering the same food and service. L'Ippocampo is located all the way aft on Puccini Deck and is surrounded by windows on three sides. However, the low ceiling and the fact that tables are quite close together make this restaurant feel rather cramped. Entrance to the L 'Ippocampo is by means of a long marble arcade with tables and booths on both sides - not the perfect setting for a festive dinner if you ask me! My tip: ask for a window table in the aft section.
MSC Lirica L'Ippocampo Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica L'Ippocampo Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica La Bussola Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica La Bussola Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
Far better is the huge 628 seat La Bussola, located on Verdi Deck. With the engine casing dividing the room in half, the restaurant does not feel half as large as it actually is. The decor is "splendido" and the room feels airy and bright by day and should look very elegant at night with its burnt orange and burgundy color scheme. And is it me, or are tables a little further apart here?
MSC Lirica La Bussola Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica La Bussola Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Le Bistrot Buffet Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica La Pergola Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
Last but not least we have a look at MSC Lirica's casual dining areas. There is both an indoor and outdoor cafe area up on Vivaldi Deck. The indoor buffet area is called Le Bistrot and looks like a cross between a Paris brasserie and Raffles with its wicker chairs and polished wooden floors. The result is very pleasing, not in the least because of the huge wall of windows that line the whole room. If the weather is right, you can head out outside to La Pergola, a fantastic outdoor eating and entertainment area at the base of the funnel. A huge white canopy takes some of the burning sun away, while large buffet tables and a very nice open air bar serve up food and drink most of the day. However, I am sure La Pergola would be even more spectacular with teak flooring and more imaginative furniture.
MSC Lirica L'Ippocampo Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica La Bistrot Buffet  Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Le Bistrot Buffet Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica La Pergola Restaurant. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
Time for some entertainment! At night, MSC Lirica is literally buzzing with activity. No room for party-poopers here! After dinner, there is usually a show in the two-deck high, 713-seat Broadway Theatre. Done in the true theater fashion with seats sloping down gradually, this room reminds me of the theaters on some of the ocean liners of the sixties. Needless to say, sightlines from any of the seats just cannot get any better.

Gaming action can be found in the large Las Vegas Casino which doesn't look like anything Las Vegas has to offer. In fact, I found the room to be a little boring. One nice thing is the open plan design that connects the casino with the arcade. Located a little out of the way on Scarlatti Deck is The Lirica Lounge, the ship's secondary show lounge. Done in a beautiful color combination of purples and pinks with matching artwork, this large room looks elegant yet inviting. The bar is semi-circular and perched way back in the room on the port side, while stage and dance floor are large enough to host the smaller production shows.
MSC Lirica Broadway Theatre. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Broadway Theatre. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Broadway Theatre. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Broadway Theatre. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
All the way up on Rossini Deck, well outside the reach of sleeping guests, you will find The Blue Club. An appropriate name for this spectacular disco, done in a daring combination of blues and greens and surrounded by walls of glass that provide a wonderful view of sea and sky during the day. At night, things are heating up considerably when The Blue Club plays host to the younger dancing crowd. Seating 255 guests in rather cramped conditions (seats are really close together) this room positively rocks, even if I only had a look at it during the day. With its large stainless steel dance floor, the huge bar and the video wall, The Blue Club is easily voted the most trendy hangout on board.
MSC Lirica Lirica Lounge. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Lirica Lounge. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Lirica Lounge. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Blue Club. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
Looking at the Daily Program, the number of evening activities on board is virtually endless. One example is Latin Night. It all starts with a "Viva Espana" flamenco show in the Broadway Theatre after dinner, followed by the "Conquistadores contro Indios" party in the Lirica Lounge and is topped off by an outdoor Paella Party in La Pergola. For those not yet tired by then, there is still the Brazilian Party in the Blue Club. On another night, you can enjoy the "Le Moulin de Pigalle" production show, while the teenagers head for the "Boys vs. Girls" contest. Now, who said cruising is for older people only?
MSC Lirica Lirica Lounge. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Blue Club. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Blue Club. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer MSC Lirica Blue Club. Photo © 2003 Bart de Boer
What MSC Cruises does very well is to provide an upbeat Italian cruise experience for a crowd that is looking for an active, fun-filled vacation. You might think twice about choosing MSC Lirica if you are looking for a quiet, cultural, clean-cut cruise. But if you are able to let your hair hang down, socialize with people from all over Europe and generally take life a little less serious for a week or so, I'm sure a cruise on MSC Lirica will leave you with many cherished memories. She is a magnificent ship, that much is clear. Or, as the Italians would say:"Splendido!"
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