Our Christmas Cruise on the MSC Divina
This was another fabulous cruise with MSC.
With the MSC Divina being a new ship, and all the pomp and circumstance of her arrival, we were very excited to be cruising on her.
Our embarkation was fairly smooth. The terminals kept going down while everyone was trying to get logged on. We had the number one card for embarking and it was only a few minutes before we were sent to the ship.
From the moment we entered the Divina we knew she was special, all of the beautiful woodwork and the marble everywhere. Then there was the most beautiful atrium I have ever seen in any ship we have been on, those beautiful stairs shining at you as if they were the sparkle of a young child’s eyes.
We decided to go to the buffet since our cabin wasn’t ready yet. There were only a few people in the buffet when we got there and the amount of food that was there was amazing. There was a large salad bar, a fabulous Italian station, every kind of cheese you could ever imagine, and any kind of fruit you would want. I can’t really speak for any other food in the buffet because this was as far as I got, I was to full.
Shortly after we finished eating our cabin was ready so we dropped our hand carried luggage off and went to explore the ship. We were gone about an hour and returned to our cabin where half of our luggage was waiting on us. While putting the items away another piece of our luggage came, this meant that only 1 piece was still missing, which finally got to the cabin about 7pm. We met our cabin steward Augustus, whom kept apologizing for the missing luggage. We seemed to be the only ones not worried about it. We knew it would show up.
During our stay onboard, Augustus would prove to be one of the main highlights for us every morning. He always met us with a smile and a good Morning or good afternoon and on Christmas day he met us with a “Salam Natale”, Merry Christmas in Indonesian. Augustus went far beyond what any cabin steward has ever done for us. He is such a great person and a great asset to the MSC.
At dinner the first night we were in the Black Crab restaurant deck 6 and part of our group was at a different table so one of the people at our table talked to the Maitre’d to have us moved so that we could all sit together. The second night we were in the Black Crab deck 5. We were put in a corner of the dining room and it was the most miserable dining experience I have ever had in my life. There was a family of about 30 people in the same corner we were in and the adults were too busy drinking and having a good time to worry about the children that were fighting and running wild. The poor waiters were working feverishly but they couldn’t in any way satisfy this group of people. They would change tables and then yell at the staff because their food wasn’t in front of them and what they did have was wrong. I really have no idea how the waiters didn’t just lose it completely and stop serving them. The head Matre’d and the asst. Maitre’d spent most of the night there trying to help out. The service we received was minimal because of this but I was not upset over this because I saw how hard the wait staff was working just to try to keep everything straight. Needless to say we requested a change in our table for the rest of the cruise. We saw our waiter from the night before when we went to breakfast and he was a lot different then. He apologized profusely about the service the night before and we kept telling him not to worry we understood what he was going thru. I really don’t know why people feel they must ABUSE the wait staff when they are on a cruise. I personally saw many times that this happened to the wait staff. These people work so hard to make sure you have a great holiday and the entire time they may not have talked to their family in months.
The food in the dining room was superb. Did I try new foods on the ship, yes, did I always like it, no, but I can honestly say that the food I did order and ate was always superb.
On the 22nd of Dec. we had our Cruise Critic meet and greet. They posted it in the daily program for us which I thought was really kind of neat. Kathleen from the Hostess department came to answer any questions that we had and any concerns. She was very informative with her answers and when we would see her about the ship she would always stop and talk with us. She really made us feel special.
There were 3 themed nights onboard, the “Italian night” where they had you wear Red, Green and White, the 60’s, 70’s 80’s night, and the “White Night.” I just wish they would have let us know before we boarded about it so that we could have planned for it. But now that I know this I will plan on it for my next cruise.
We like to play trivia on the ships and our trivia time was made extra special by the entertainment team. Steve did a fabulous job and Jose was so funny and made the trivia fun.
Our ports of call were St. Marteen, San Juan, and Great Stirrup Cay. Our disembarkation was very smooth and effortless. I never had a wait of more than 4 or 5 minutes except when we were tendered to Great Stirrup Cay. They had tender boats that held 450 people so it took a few minutes to load everyone.
The night of the Captains Gala my husband and I were given the honor of being invited to join the Captain for dinner. I have been on many cruises and this was the first time I had dined with the Captain. I have to say that this was the highlight of our cruise. I was seated to the left of the Captain and a friend of ours was seated to the right. After dinner my husband informed me that being seated to the direct left of the Captain was the highest honor you can be given. I am still in awe just writing about it.
Our disembarkation in Miami went off without a hitch. It was one of the smoothest disembarkations I have ever been thru.
Were there problems on this cruise, sure, the main one was that there were a lot of kids onboard and parents that didn’t want to control their kids but with that I must say that it was only a handful of kids that were acting up all the time. The pool deck also gets very slippery when it gets wet but there are crew up there trying to keep up with it and using a squeegee on the floors constantly, but with 1200 kids onboard it is hard to keep up. One of the problems was that the bowling alley never worked. They told us at first that a part was on order for it and that they would get it running as soon as possible. They got it working one night and the next morning we went to bowl and it wouldn’t turn on. There were many upset people over this.
One of the main problems I saw on this ship was the way the cruisers treated the staff. They were rude, crude and nasty to the staff and very abusive. The crew went so far above and beyond the call of duty for everyone on the ship. A smile and a “Hello” did more for this crew then any of us will really know.
Will I cruise on MSC again, Oh yeah in a heartbeat. This is one of the finest cruise lines I have ever been on. Keep up the good work MSC!!! Hope to be back on for the November 1st cruise.