We sailed on the lovely MSC Divina with friends, spur of the moment, due to an incredibly low fare - so we had set our expectations accordingly. Our previous cruise experiences had been primarily mini-suites/suites on Norwegian, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Here is what we experienced March 2014 Eastern Carribean -
1. Aurea Suite check in was very fast and pleasant - we had pre-purchased drink packages and it would have been nice to have them given to us during our embarkation process instead of having to go to the Casino to get them where only one person was working (this must be improved)
2. The Aruea Suite we had was just fine, except for me, it was a bit claustraphobic as this was the first time with no balcony. I got over it fast. Our room attendant was fabulous and gave us everything we needed with a smile and before we knew we needed it. He maintained our room to perfection. I couldnt ask for more!
The bed was difficult as it was lumpy and gave us sore backs for 2 nights until we got used to it. They seperated quite oftenas well. Sheets blankets pillows towels were all fine. Ladies bring conditioner and body lotion as these ammenities are not provided in your room.
3. Dining - The buffet was hit or miss. There was always fresh lettuce but every day I had to hunt down some form of chicken. If you like pizza hambergers and hot dogs you will be happy. The desserts are fantastic! If you are looking for hot foos - walk to THE BACK of the buffet. There is more seating and more warm options than in the front. Coffee, tea, flavored water were always available at the buffet.
Formal dining - We had second seating in the Black Crab and had the most organized, best service of any cruise we had ever taken! A+ to the serving team. The menus and food on the other hand were hit or miss. The only thing that stood out was the Nutella ice cream for desert one night and a lovely full size shirmp cocktail appetizer. The lobster and steak were over cooked as on other cruise lines but edible. The entrees overall need work!
4. Pools - We opted to pay extra the frist 2 at sea days for the covered day beds. This was very nice to get away from the crowds as there is a hot tub up there and is Adults Only. The frist two days this area was pretty empty. The service on Top 18 Solarium was terrible. We wathed cups and plates be left out all day as employees walked past them. There is no bathroom facility there you must walk down three flights of stairs. But for the $30 we did get fruit skewers.
Plenty of pools and pool chairs many options! Infinity pool was out favorite towards the late afternoon to watch sunsets.
5. Entertainment - BEST WE HAVE EVER SEEN! PERIOD!
6. Some negatives - They need to get rid of those stupid drink vouchers too much paper work! Tendering system was horrible as was disembarkation - they need more organization. Bingo by the main pool - really? who wants to hear "B12" all afternoon? put it in a club somewhere? More bar staff to bring/offer you drinks. More consistency in making drinks.
7. Some Positives - Deserts, Pizza, Disco was lively, current movies on outdoor screen, beautiful ship! Mostly pleasant employees (except bar staff). Love the real formal nights and most gentlemen in jackets and slacks no jeans after 6pm - people looked LOVELY! POOLS - plenty of them and lots of quiet corners with hot tubs!
Overall - would I take another MSC Cruise? My answer has to be yes! I would like to experience the Yacht Club and see the difference. Remeber they are new to our market and still ironing out some kinks but between the price and the nice employees I would certainly join the Divina team again for another cruise - only this time i would need a balcony or suite with balcony.