MSC Divina Cruise Review by JemIB66: Excellent cruise with just a few niggles
Excellent cruise with just a few niggles
We boarded the ship in Venice, having booked a package which included flights from London and transfer to the ship.
Our daughter (9 years old) is in a wheelchair. The transfers, both to and from the ship were very smooth, with MSC staff assisting us with embarkation and disembarkation.
Once onboard, we were immediately taken to our cabin, a category 5 oceanview on deck 8. The cabin was very clean and comfortable with enough space for our daughter's wheelchair despite not being a disabled cabin (there are no disabled oceanview cabins on this ship which, considering its size and age, is disappointing).
Our cabin steward was excellent. He came and introduced himself shortly after we settled in our cabin and took note of any requests. He was extremely attentive and very friendly.
We found the food excellent, both in the buffet and a la carte restaurants. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Calumet Buffet Restaurant on Deck 14, and were assigned a table for More dinner in the Black Crab Restaurant on Deck 5. Our table waiters were excellent. There was plenty of variety in the buffet restaurant which included daily specials and 'Ethnic Corner', with foods from a different country on each day.
We found the crew to be generally very helpful and friendly.
The passenger mix was very cosmopolitan, with guests from all over Europe as well as some from the Middle East, Japan, China, USA and Australia.Now for the niggles.
We found the shore excursions to be very expensive, so we only booked 1, in Istanbul. The excursion included the Blue Mosque, Museum and Grand Bazaar as well as a visit to a carpet manufacturer. There just wasn't enough time to fully enjoy the sights. For example we only had 20 minutes in the Grand Bazaar - barely enough time to walk in and look at a few shops. At the carpet manufacturer we got the hard-sell, which I found a little overbearing.
We opted for the shuttle bus service organised by MSC in Bari. We found this to be very disorganised as hundreds of people were pushing to get onto the buses and we stood no chance with our daughter in the wheelchair. We ended up having to request an MSC crewmember to come and assist us as there was nobody organising the queuing for the buses.
We had a mixed experience from reception staff, with some being very helpful and others indifferent or struggling with the language.
The lifts on the ship were important to us, as we were unable to use the stairs with our daughter in the wheelchair. The lifts were very heavily used and in my view there just weren't enough for a ship of this size with over 4,000 passengers. We sometimes had to wait as several full lifts passed. We did, however, discover two side lifts tucked away from the main stairwells which were not as heavily used, and ended up using these for the remainder of the cruise.
Lastly, the onboard shopping proved to be a less-than-satisfying experience. The day after we embarked we went to the Logo Shop on Deck 7 to purchase a metal model of the Divina mounted on a wooden plinth. The shop assistant told us that they were out of stock and would not be available for the duration of the cruise. There was even an advert in the daily magazine suggesting that if you purchased 2 models you could receive a 25% discount, despite no Divina models being available. Also, they seemed to run out of bags to put purchases in. They seem to have a serious stock management issue.All in all though, I would say the experience was positive and we are very much looking forward to our next cruise. Less
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Cabin review: 58152
Our cabin was very pleasant and conveniently situated. It was sufficiently spacious to accommodate our daughter's wheelchair, despite not being a disabled cabin. It was very quiet, despite being close to the lift area.
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