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When was MSC Lirica Refurbished? Details of an extraordinary job

Alex Schwager May 03, 2022

Are you planning on cruising on the MSC Lirica soon? The MSC Lirica, one of MSC Cruises' first ships, was refurbished to meet the needs of its guests better. And this refurbishment is not something you want to miss, so we have compiled all the details on the recent refurbishment of the MSC Lirica for you.

MSC's cruise ship Lirica was refurbished at the end of 2015 after being on the sea for over ten years. The refurbishment took from August 31 through November 9, 2015, a total of about 10-weeks in the dry dock. The MSC Lirica's refurbishment cost upwards of £200 million (about $275 million). 

Read on to learn about the MSC Lirica's refurbishment in detail, as we will cover the exact changes to the deck plan comparing the old construction to the new construction. 


Aurea Spa Reception onboard MSC Lirica | 600 x 400

Why was the Lirica refurbished in 2015?

The MSC Lirica first debuted in 2003, making it 12 years old in 2015. This put the vessel long overdue for an overhaul, as about every three years, cruise lines tend to dry dock vessels in their fleets to complete a full refurbishment.

The MSC Lirica's refurbishment was done in 2015 for the following reasons:

  • Outdated and old-fashioned décor

  • Poor signage for non-European passengers

  • Limited passenger capacity as compared to newer ships


The MSC Lirica was refurbished as part of the MSC Renaissance Programme. The Renaissance Programme had multiple vessels in the MSC Cruises fleet in the dry dock between 2013 and 2016.

The program's main purpose was to expand passenger capacity and increase the number of staterooms with balconies. 

Additionally, as part of the MSC Lirica refurbishment, MSC altered much of the cruise ship to cater to their new Chinese clientele as they were expanding their ports of call to Shanghai and beyond in 2016.

MSC Lirica Refurbished Reception Lounge | 600 x 400 

What was refurbished on the MSC Lirica in 2015?

The MSC Lirica was refurbished to overhaul the inside of the ship fully. In addition to a whole-ship renovation, a 24-meter section was added to the middle of the vessel to increase capacity and better meet passenger needs.  

This means that the ship was cut in half across the ship's midsection and the two sections were separated. In the opening's place, a 24-meter section of steel was inserted. The ship was then welded back together, painted, and furnished anew to restore its overall appearance of the ship. 

The following chart compares the key changes to the deck plan on the MSC Lirica before and after she was refurbished in 2015:

In addition to adding 193 passenger cabins, 59 new crew cabins were added to the expansion and renovation of the MSC Lirica.

And of the roughly 200 passenger cabins, almost half were staterooms with balconies. 

MSC Lirica Deck | 600 x 400


Other updated amenities in addition to the cabins

The newly renovated spaces included some classically modern Italian designs. Giuseppe de Jorio designed the upgrades. He drew on marble and brass, classic Italian elements, as the main accents for his traditional style. 

The following were some of the other changes made to the MSC Lirica during the 2015 refurbishment:

  • Technology – As with most refurbishments nowadays, since technology evolves so quickly, the MSC Lirica upgraded technology across the ship to include improved CCTV and increase the number of wireless access points. 

  • Dining – An enlarged menu was created to include cuisine that would appeal to their expanded clientele. Also, the restaurant seating capacity was extended to accommodate the increase in passenger capacity. 

  • Children's areas – The MSC Lirica 2015 refurbishment also increased children's programs to five kids' clubs and added LEGO and Chicco sponsorships to bring new toys and tech to the play areas. 

  • Staterooms – The MSC Lirica added new stateroom categories, renovated all existing passenger rooms, and added close to 200 new cabins.

While the bones of the ship and its overall structure stayed the same, apart from the 24-meter addition, the feel of the vessel, its design, and its décor, had a dramatic facelift. 


Kaito Specialty Restaurant onboard MSC Lirica | 600 x 400


Updates to the public areas on the MSC Lirica

The MSC Lirica was updated with multiple features in all the public areas of the ship. 

These improvements included the following:

  • All signage was updated to include Mandarin Chinese

  • The casino was renovated

  • An expanded lineup of entertainment offerings was rolled out 

  • A new perfume shop was added

  • An Aqua Park was added, with slides and interactive water play stations for children

  • The pool deck got new canopies

  • The existing boutiques were renovated


These public area upgrades made some drastic improvements to the ship's overall feel and the amenities available to guests. 


What else can I expect from the refurbished MSC Lirica?

There are many different options on the refurbished MSC Lirica that lend to that luxurious feel one wants, all while on a budget. 

When you board the newly refurbished MSC Lirica, you can expect to find many features that are appealing to passengers of all ages, from dining options to entertainment venues. 

Some of the highlights of the renovated ship include the following:

  • Dining options from burgers and sushi to five-star dining

  • Broadway-style theatre, improved shopping, and arcade options

  • Spas (including a Turkish bath)

  • Fitness center and classes

  • Award-winning rooms

Explore the expanded menus and dining spaces, or book a massage at the newly renovated spa. Sit out on your balcony and enjoy the ocean breeze as you cruise along the open ocean. 


What did not change on the MSC Lirica?

The following is a list of elements that did not change during the MSC Lirica refurbishment:

  • The number of decks – There were 13 decks before and after refurbishment. However, all of the decks were lengthened with the 24-meter elongation.

  • The number of restaurants – While the restaurants did see a facelift and one was expanded, there are still only four sit-down dining experiences on the MSC Lirica.

As you can see, this refurbishment was a large undertaking. However, the outcome debuted a fully refurbished and modern vessel with increased passenger capacity. 


When have other MSC Cruises ships been refurbished?

In case you are exploring other vessels besides the MSC Lirica from the MSC Cruises fleet, we wanted to briefly highlight some of the recent refurbishments among the entire cruise fleet.

Several ships also underwent refurbishment around the same time as the MSC Lirica. 

In the following table, you can find other vessels in the MSC Cruises fleet that has undergone refurbishment:


Name of Cruise Ship Date of Refurbishment Total Time for Refurbishment
MSC Armonia August 31 through November 17, 2014 10 weeks and two days
MSC Sinfonia January 12 through March 16, 2015 Nine weeks
MSC Opera May 2 through July 4, 2015 Nine weeks

MSC Splendida


November 1 through Dec 31, 2017 Seven weeks and four days



As you can see, many MSC Cruise ships were refurbished around the same time as the MSC Lirica. The MSC Armonia, Sinfonia, and Opera are all sister vessels to the Lirica.

Thus, the upgrades made were all similar to the changes the MSC Lirica experienced.


In Summary

In mid-to-late-2015, the MSC Lirica underwent a refurbishment that added a 24-meter section of steel to the middle of the ship.

The refurbishment process took approximately 10 weeks and upgraded all parts of the vessel. Most notably, additional staterooms were added, including more cabins with balconies. A water park and expanded kids' programs were included in the refurbishment, making this ship an even more wonderful experience for passengers.