My partner and I have just returned from a cruise on the MSC Divina. Now I have cruised before on P&O from Southampton, however for my partner this was his first experience.
To sum it up this was a perfect holiday in every way, relaxing, hot and very well serviced, but to start you in a clear picture our only niggles were as follows -
1) the adults only 'infinity' pool is not adults only (we are fine with kids but this struck us as a bit of a pain.
2) some of the other guests on board were down right rude and ignorant (not MSC' fault)
3) end in Venice was spent sitting outside the terminal for 4.5 hours as coach transfer didn't leave till 1415 (again not MSC' fault, we should have booked the transfer to the center)
Okay on reflection most of our niggles were nothing to do with the line itself, more other people and our own unguided knowledge. From the start of the cruise were were happy with the processes and ship, she is a monster of a girl but beautiful More
all the same, well planned out and designed and had a very nice atmosphere when we were walking around. The cabin was also spectacularly clean and tidy, good size as well in comparison to most I have seen.
Embarkation - This to be honest is like organized chaos! Flight and coach transfer was painless and very easy as there was a representative at Marco Polo airport to greet us and get us to the transfer point. When we arrived at the terminal, as mentioned it was chaos, but it flowed well and was also painless. Instructed to drop our bags and went upstairs to check in where we could get on board straight away, all in all from airport to cabin took no longer than an hour all told. Went for lunch and ship set sail as planned, with mandatory drill done prior to slipping her lines.
Food & Entertainment - Food wise the ship had it all from the usual buffet to the traditional dining and extra charge services. We ate in the buffet for the entire week, more from a point of view of flexibility than anything else, although the menus for the main restaurants looked very nice! The menu in the buffet didn't seem to alter much, it was much of the same most days, but all hot and a wealth of choice available from the usual grill fair and some ethnic dishes. The entertainment for us was a little lax I have to say. we went to three of the main theatre shows which were all very good and had everybody seeming to enjoy themselves. During the day however and throughout the evening there wasn't a huge amount to do or get involved in, this again didn't bother us too much as we are quite happy to chill out and just have a few drinks rather than go to nightclubs and tribute acts etc. What was available we found to be good and there were plenty of areas to sit and drink.
Now Divina has been designed to carry 3500 passengers. 90% of the time you did not realize there were that many people on board. There were always areas available to sit around the pools and in bars as well as there being plenty of sunbeds. Little tip for you : on deck 18, overlooking the middle pool and in front of the funnel is the solarium, up here remains very quite for the duration of the cruise as many people do not explore this way. This is a good area to sunbath and chill out peacefully if required. There is also a large whirlpool/jacuzzi up here as well, go careful though as the ships horn is up here which is very loud and if goes when unexpected it scares the life out of you!!!!!
All in all everything was arranged well and well planned. The staff were attentive and polite and always happy to help, the tour arrangements were great and again well planned with no queuing and a seamless process. The ship as well is very well decorated and feels very stylish and grown up, which for an Italian line i was expecting some garish colors etc. More on ports below, but cruise wise was excellent and I would strongly recommend sailing with MSC to anyone. Less
Ship docks within 15 minutes walk of the town center so there is no need to purchase the MSC transfer. I had assumed that Bari was a small harbor town, however is seems to be like a small city with some great historic architecture and easy to find your way around. There are also plenty of restaurants to eat in if you fancy something. Not too much to report for this one, but well worth the visit, if anything to just have a wander.
This town is very nice. The old city is one of the best places i have seen and you can have a little swim off the key too. There are plenty of stores for your souvenirs and trinkets.
For 70 Kuna you can walk the walls which is around Â£10-Â£15. I would highly recommend visiting here, again just for a wander but there are plenty of things to do if you want to.
Istanbul is thriving, busy and very very hectic. We visited the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. The Blue Mosque is very impressive and although not very blue in my own opinion it is worth a visit. Hagia Sophia is an old mosque/church which is now a museum, this is very good! and again very historical and informative. Grand Bazaar was very busy but well worth a visit and if your any good at haggling then its a great place to get some bargains. Be careful though as there are a lot of people trying to sell you things on the streets, just be polite if not interested and if your area then haggle.
AMAZING! Ephesus is a brilliant site to visit and they have only uncovered around 25% of the old town. We were amazed to find so many building still 'in tact' so to speak. All of the current site has been very well looked after and kept together, the history as far as the Ottomans and Romans are concerned is interesting and it is well worth a visit! Izmir is a large coastal city which we didn't explore.
This is the post for Olympia. Katakolon itself is very small and very quaint, if you want to have a wander here you can get from the ship to the center on foot within five minutes. We booked a tour to go with MSC to Olympia, the transfer etc was good and all well arranged. The site itself was however a little bit of a let down for us, especially after visiting the Acropolis in Athens. Its not very 'together' so to speak. A lot of the site is now just stones on the ground which in comparison to the Acropolis is a shame as this site has been worked on and slightly restored. Worth a visit if anything to hear the history of the site.