We were very excited to sail on the new Divina after really enjoying a cruise on the Poesia in the Caribbean in March 2012. We loved the Poesia's understated elegant colors and materials, very unlike Carnival with its over the top bright colors that require sunglasses 24/7. Well, the Divina is even nicer. The nicest area of the ship is the Aurea Spa, whose walls are made with real slate stone. Stunning to look at.
Embarkation: definitely a weak point in Venice. The lines were insane and moved very slowly. After schlepping my suitcases from the people mover to the ship in 100 degree + temperatures, the last thing I wanted to do was wait in line outside. Thankfully we were travelling with an infant so we were able to get in the priority line but even this line was long. The problem is that MSC never sent us luggage tags. When we finally got the the front of the line, we were asked our cabin number and then was presented with our cruise booklet (which should have been mailed in advance)in which there are luggage tags. What MSC should do is have lines by deck number and have there booklet distribution tables set up at each line. There is only one table with all the booklets and numerous employees are trying to access the box at the same time. A bit chaotic. AS we were waiting for the booklet with luggage tags, someone else told us we cannot use the priority line. When the guy came back with our tags, the two of them starting arguing in Italian as to who can actually use the priority line. Quite amusing to see two Italians argue. It looks like ballet!
Dropping off our luggage was quite easy then we proceeded inside to check in. This was quick and easy.
The ship: As mentioned above, it is truly a beautiful ship. What amazed me is that they are already painting, fixing, etc. The ship is only on it's 4th weekly trip! I guess that's why many of their older ships look as new as the Divina. I won't go into much detail but overall the Divina is super nice. One issue: the ship was at full capacity and the elevators couldn't keep up. We used a baby stroller all the time and often had to wait for 4 elevators to find one that had room for us.
The food: We ate all dinners in the dining room, Black Crab lower level. The soups, pastas were great. Meat not great. Roast beef was very disappointing. Perhaps in Europe, they don't serve prime rib like they do stateside, but it was like brisket in gravy. Also the shrimps were overcooked and tasted very fishy as if not fresh. Breakfast was split btwn the MDR and the buffet, both good. Ditto for lunch, although lunch service is a bit slow.
The shows: we enjoyed them all, especially the tribute to Michael Jackson. Dancers were great as were the acrobats, singers not too bad either.
The crew: very friendly and outgoing. 10 out of 10
The passengers: the ship was at full capacity. One would think that people would be somewhat courteous to family with a stroller. No such luck. People pushed and shoved getting in and out of the elevators. Most people didn't even bother waiting for people to get out before they pushed their way in. You ask people to move and they simply ignore you. Not the ship's fault but disappointing just the same.
Ports of call: We did our own thing in each port. Took public transit in Istanbul and Dubrovnik, never used the ship shuttle and walked a lot. There is enough info online about each port. We walked in Bari, swam in Katakalon, walked thru the bazaar in Izmir, Blue Mosque and both bazaars in Istanbul and the old city in Dubrovnik.
Disembarkation: we were in no rush to leave as our flight was 4:30pm. We got off at 10:30 with no lines whatsoever.
In summary, beautiful ship, nice ports, ok food, great staff but rude passengers.