After years of my friends and sister (all with many years cruise experience) trying to get me to on a cruise I finally gave in on the 13th july 2013 and sailed on MSC Divina. We sailed from Venice and getting on the ship and to our room was easy even though I am a quadraplegic and completely confined to a wheelchair and have no balance at all. Our room was for three people (me and my two sisters),we had two singles and a pull out double sofa bed which our cabin boy attended to every evening and put away every morning. All beds were comfy and room was very spacious and clean with a large balcony.
Our emergency evacuation drill resulted in us being told that yes we had used the lift this time from deck 11 to 7 for the life boats BUT in a proper emergency my sisters would have to try give me a piggy back down four flights of stairs as the lift would be out of bounds !! Yes you read that correctly , it would probably have been easier to throw me over the side of the balcony to land on top the lifeboat which was below !!
We had requested second seating for our eveing meal to be with four other friends but were given first sitting so had to use the buffet on the first evening. Well we had difficulty first of all trying to find something we liked (we are not fussy honest) and then what we chose was cold. We were disappointed and hungry when we left.
Theres no midnight buffet , usually they are putting out fresh food at this time as I have been informed so we had a cup of tea and went to bed.
The amount of time spent in ports is very short. Sometimes arriving at 10.30am and leaving again at 3.30 - 4 pm. Getting on and off the ship was easy and well organised and the staff were very helpful.
The staff in the black crab restaurant and in the Divina bar were very friendly and helpful. we took the allegrissimo drinks package and easily passed the 21 euros a day each we paid with the coffees , ice creams and cocktails and bottled water. we didn't go crazy either and weren't greedy. If you are a big drinker then it is worth doing.
The service in the black crab restaurant was VERY slow , the food not what we liked so ended up quite a few times with chicken and chips for our main. the rissottos and soups were good. No coffee offered at the end either.
Most staff around the ship looked unhappy but it makes you feel sad then , you think they don't want to be there.
we wanted to go deck 18 for the adults only (payable) but there was no lift for the wheelchair so ended up on deck 16 which was quite quiet. Around the pool during the day was like butlins (YMCA , the conga etc) quite a few people seemed to really enjoy it though. Not for us . We spent one afternoon there and had people striding over our beds, not what we wanted when they were wearing budgie smugglers !! Waiters for drinks service were very scarce and had to go get own drinks most times.
Most on the cruise would just push in front and leave us stood there with the wheelchair and refuse to let us in . sometimes they were only going up or down one floor too !! we were starting to consider piggy backs at one point . we decided to stoop to their level and just plough in to them , this seemed to work but we did get a few dirty looks.
We went to the casino and was very surprised to see children as young as eight in there , not playing the games though , just with their parents.
The ship was very nice , well maintained and clean. It was just the food and the ignorant people really. we had a good time and enjoyed our own company , did get excited one evening with the promise of a 60-70-80's disco , which lasted about 40 mins then went back to european line dancing , birdy song type disco. At this point we had to leave.
I think I will try cruising again but not with MSC and hopefully get a better result. going to try NCL or Royal Caribbean.