by Sherry Laskin Kennedy
Counting down the miles as I drove from my home to Port Everglades, I was anxious to begin my 10-night southern Caribbean cruise aboard the MSC Lirica. Walking into the terminal at 1:30PM enabled me to just miss the embarkation crunch. I breezed through registration and was onboard within ten minutes. As guests enter the Lirica’s lobby, as on all MSC ships, they are greeted and escorted to their staterooms by a white-gloved staff member.
I am in cabin 10010, a mini-suite of over 250 sq. ft. There is more storage and closet space than I have seen on any ship, ever. My stateroom has a walk-in closet with a built-in bureau. As you walk into the cabin, on your left are floor-to-ceiling cabinets flanking a mirror and glass shelf. More storage. There is the triangular desk over which is a huge mirror which cleverly conceals more storage and a safe. Near the sliding veranda door is credenza which houses the mini-fridge and two more storage cabinets. Even the two night stands have sizable storage compartments. The veranda is a very nice size, with two faux-wicker upright chairs and a smoked-glass table; perfect for having my morning coffee.
Right after a very painless muster drill (one of the advantages of a 59,000 ton ship with only 780 cabins) it was time to become familiar with my new, albeit temporary, home. Starting at the top and working my way down deck by deck, I have to say that this is a very uncomplicated deck plan. There are four, count ‘em…four elevator banks. For someone who may have trouble walking, you are never far from an elevator.
Moving ahead to dinner, my table is comprised of five more solo travelers. Comprising a mélange of nationalities, there are three men and three women. In the male category is a Swiss banker, a Lithuanian-America (haven’t learned his occupation yet), and another man who excuses himself for not speaking because only knows German. The female contingency consists of a young woman from Provence who is somewhat fluent in English, a recently retired Italian-American Florida transplant from New York, and myself. Once again, I have been randomly seated with group of strangers who could easily resemble characters in an Agatha Christie novel.
After dinner, four of us made our way to the Broadway Theater. A troupe of very skilled precision dancers and operatically trained singers entertained us for over 45 minutes. Definitely a smaller scale compared to the mass market mega-cruise ships, but never a dull moment and very crisp performances. I am actually looking forward to tonight’s entertainment…something I have become very jaded about attending on other cruise ships.
Just before midnight, waiters are passing through the lounges with trays of small snacks; little sandwiches and slices of Italian bread with different cheeses. Each evening, the late-night treats will feature different Chef’s Specials. I was looking for the 24-hour coffee/tea stand which I found on Deck 11, La Pergola. More on this lovely sheltered outdoor eatery later.