MSC Divina Cruise Review by rongoldner: Not For the American Cruiser
Overall Member Rating
Not For the American Cruiser
Let me start by saying that I was part of a large group and had no choice in selecting this ship or cruise line. The port of calls is what held our interest.
At our first day get-together (about 3 hours on board) I soon learned how bad service was going to be. I decided not to have a drink (that was being passed around as part of our org's welcome party) but a simple glass of water. I was told by the bar tender that I would have to buy a Â½ or 1 ltr. Bottle of water. From there on, it goes downhill.
At dinner the wait staff will only take your order if you order all courses up front. You better know what dessert you want before you have your appetizer as that is what the waiter 'insists' upon. Now, you finish dinner and ask for coffee with that desert; they don't serve it. You are told to go to another deck and buy a cup at the coffee bar! Meanwhile, coffee and water are free and available at the buffet. Oh, and if you want water at dinner, you have to buy it too. More I don't suggest the water package as it is too many liter bottles and the savings is insignificant and you won't use it up if you tried! Overall the food in the dining room was awful. One of their 'always available' items is a steak that is on par with the quality of a steak served at a mall food court. When I didn't eat mine past one bite, instead of the waiter asking if he could get me something else, he just took it away and said nothing.
The buffet, where we had breakfast and dinner offered the same items every day. Only one very small area labeled as Ethnic changed their lunch offerings. The pastries were okay but nothing exceptional. And, here too you had to eat what they wanted to serve you. For example, my wife wanted tuna salad one day. Well, it was only offered on a roll as a sandwich. The person serving it would not put plain tuna on a plate. So, we ordered the sandwich with the intention of removing the tuna from the bread except the server kept mashing it into the bread. It wasn't a language barrier, he was doing what he was told and that is to do as instructed by management, not the customer!
The Divina is a huge ship that is not designed well in my opinion. If you are at the bow on level 6 and need to go to the stern where the dining rooms are, be prepared to go up and down stairs. The Villa Rossa dining room is also on 6 but there is no straight path to it. At mid ship you must go up to 7 and then back down to 6 ridiculous. If you are a jogger, be prepared to push people out of your way as the 'jogging' deck is packed with deck chairs and people milling all around. When taking elevators, be prepared to run. Why? There are usually 4-5 elevators per bank but the door close button works great so most times when a crowded elevator reaches your floor someone on the elevator immediately hits the door close button and you usually miss it unless it opens right in front of you. If you hate cigarette smoke, this cruise line is not for you. It's everywhere. Instead of having totally separate rooms for smokers, they split the rooms but their venting system cannot keep the smoke out of the non-smoker's side. As for bar snacks, potato chips anyone?
We pre-booked our excursion on-line while in Dubrovnik to receive the discounted rate. Well, we were informed the night before that it had been cancelled (not the ships fault as there were warnings that this could happen). However, when we went to the ship excursion desk to book a replacement we were told we would have to pay the on-board price which was about 25% more.
Housekeeping was terrible. After a few days we realized that our water glasses left on the desk next to the ice bucket were not being replaced. They were just putting paper covers back over the used glasses. The bath robes they give you to use (which are never changed) are removed from your cabin on the last night.
This cruise line is in for a rude awakening when they bring the Divina to Miami this fall. Expect to read about coffee riots in the news (oh, by the way, they don't offer decaf). Management runs the ship for the benefit of the cruise line not the cruisers. They have no idea about service. Now, I am only speaking for the regular side of the ship where we booked the top price cabin. I did not book in the Yacht Club level. However, we met someone who booked the YC as we were embarking. We actually met up with her at disembarking. We asked how her side was and all she could say was that she was headed to Barcelona for another cruise with MSC and she dreaded it.
We found being on an international ship intriguing with all of the different languages. Europeans can be very pushy and rude. People will cut in front of you and push you out of the way. Don't worry about being an 'ugly American', just push right back and stand your ground while saying 'esscusa'.
Thank goodness we ended our vacation back in Venice at a wonderful bed & breakfast where the owners understood service. Less
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