We went on this cruise with great expectations. Wow a trip to the Mediterranean on the Divina! New ship ... Sophia Loren launched it. What could go wrong.
Notes for the future: do not cruise in the summer holidays. Rude kids. Extra rude parents. Kids put their hands all over the food.
It is a great ship in size. Perhaps too big. 3,000+ pax. Lifts were often full. Buffet on 14th deck was often full, no matter where you tried to sit. Few speak English ... mainly Italians.
Restaurants better. Service good especially when you try to speak Bahasa. But for us Aussies there were a few Aussies to talk to on our restaurant table ... they were a good mob.
Excursions were expensive. Some were good. Others were terrible. Bari we did our own thing. Katakolon we did an ok tour of Olympus. Izmir we did a tour to Efasis and Mary's house and an ambush at an artisan centre; but interesting. Istanbul and another ambush at a carpet sales place (be prepared to spend a lot of money) but the lunch and Bosporos Cruise were good. Then came the problem day ...
The second last day of the voyage the ship birthed in Dubrovnik. We were booked on tour DUB09 Dubrovnik and its old city walls. This was supposed to be a 3 tour. The tour went for 2 hours.
We registered well before the prescribed time. We were then told to follow the excursion customer service officer. However, she was lost in the crowd trying to exit the ship. My wife and I were separated and she was told to exit from another exit on the ship while I was stuck in a crowd which was not moving. This, in itself, was quite a frightening experience because I could see the Occupational Health and Safety Risk had anything untoward happened. After 40 minutes, I exited the ship and was told where the bus was. As I was moving to where the bus was supposedly waiting, my wife found me and told me the bus had departed. My wife explained to me that she advised the Customer Service Officer (CSO) that I must have been held up but the CSO said the coach has to go now! A frantic discussion occurred with several CSOs. Finally, we were told that we should catch the general shuttle bus into the Pila Gate where someone (no name given) would be waiting for us and would direct us to our excursion group. We caught the shuttle to the Pila Gate.
When we arrived at the Pila Gate, there was no CSO waiting anywhere. Then we started searching for our group both outside the gate and inside the walls. It took about 20 minutes of searching both sides of the Pila Gate before we found the tour. My estimate is that we lost 40 minutes of the tour through this and we were very lucky to find it. The MSC Divina CSO assigned to this tour refused to make eye contact with my wife or me after we joined the tour.
Once the tour had been completed and we returned to the ship, I went to the Excursions Desk. I spoke to a senior CSO and she was a very superior, arrogant and quite rude. Initially she was not very interested in hearing my complaint. After she finally relented to hear my issue, she blamed me for not getting to the tour coach on time, even though I explained that getting off the ship was impossible and a risk. This CSO then said that she was supposed to be our contact at the Pila Gate. She was not at the Gate. No one from the MSC Divina was at the Gate. She, begrudgingly, finally took down the details of my complaint, advised me that she would have to contact MSC head office and promised me that she would contact me before the end of the cruise. I am still waiting.
I have written to CS in Australia requesting a refund for the tour but it has been pushed on to headquarters so I do not expect any result.
My wife's luggage was mislaid after disembarking at Venice; before coach transfer to Genoa to embark on MSC Splendida cruise.
We approached two Divina CSO's to advise them that the baggage was missing and that we would not board the coach until the luggage was found. They did not know that our friends had advised the coach driver that they would not allow the coach to leave until we were on board. The CSO's attitudes were did you put the luggage outside our cabin on time? [We had at midnight!]; did you put the blue tag on? [I did]; did you check the blue labeled tagged bags again? [we did many times.] The CSOs walked away from us providing no further help! I then asked one of the ship's officers for help. He asked the same questions and suggested that we should board the coach. We refused! He then, at least tried to find out where the luggage was. We were then looking at green coloured labels when we noticed a bag which looked like hers. The blue tag on our bag had been ripped off. The white tag for our next cruise for the Western Mediterranean on the MSC Splendida was still on the bag.
This is really not a good look for MSC. Excursion customer service is really poor. Help with our lost luggage was non-existent.
We paid 10Euro each for the shuttle into Bari city. We then took a local tour around the old city: pretty good.
Was a bit boring after a while. Ferry smelled of diesel fumes.
Do not like being "ambushed" in a selling exercise. Not advised about the carpet selling.
Excellent guide, interesting sites.