MSC Divina Cruise Review by wgheath: A nice week at sea
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A nice week at sea
We booked this cruise through a Groupon earlier this year. As the date of our sailing approached, we started looking at the reviews in more detail hoping for some useful information about the ship and shore excursions. To be honest, after reading the reviews we thought we were about to go on the cruise from hell.
We had a very inconsistent experience on this cruise. There are parts of the cruise that were absolutely perfect and other parts that left a lot of room for improvement.
We live near enough to the port of Miami so we were able to drive down on the day of departure. The Port of Miami is fairly large and information within the port is confusing and not easy to follow driving into this port for the first time. Of course this has nothing to do with the ship itself, but was part of the experience so it is noted.
We got to the port about four hours before our scheduled embarkation time. We figured we would be waiting in the terminal until the ship was More ready for the new passengers. We walked straight through security and right up to the check in desk, no lines no waiting. As we were checking in, we were informed that we had been moved to a new cabin. First thought was why were we moved, are is the new cabin the same as our original, an upgrade, a downgrade, etc. The registration agent did not know a thing about the ship all she could tell us was that we were two floors higher up than we were before. Second thought, we had already checked our luggage using the original bag tags we were provided as part of our reservation. Again, the agent did not know if or when our bags might make it to our new cabin and instructed us to go straight to guest services once we boarded the ship. While we were having this conversation, there were several other groups within ear shot that were basically getting the same information.
We went straight from the registration desk to the ship, again no lines, no waiting. After a couple of mis-steps, we finally made it to the guest services desk. We had two issues to address here. One we had no dining information and we wanted to get our luggage issue resolved. Unfortunately, the guest services person was less than helpful. She did not know the ship so was no real help. She noted our file and told us to check back after 6:00 pm if we did not have our bags. For the dining issues, she sent us to the one open restaurant on board to take care of the dining issues. We went to this dining room, which was open for lunch, and were told we were at the wrong place and sent to another location. We went to the new location and got our seating information.
After the cabins were available we found our cabin and met our cabin steward. We let him know about our luggage issue and gave him our information. He was confused about what had happened, mostly due to a language barrier. He kept an eye out for our bags and let us know when all the bags for our floor had been distributed, just after 7:00 pm. We tried to call guest services and got a busy signal several times and then ended up on hold with our call never answered. We decided to take a walk past our previously assigned cabin and found one of our bags there. We talked to the crew on that floor and they eventually found our other bag and we took both of our bags up to our cabin. No offers to help from any crew members???
From this point on, things got quite a bit better. Of course, this was a new ship for us, so we got lost often but eventually figured out the layout of the ship and by the time we returned to Miami we were getting around quite well.
The evening shows on this ship are very well produced and entertaining. They are not Broadway productions, but are better than most cruise entertainment we have seen.
The spa services offered on this ship are plentiful and were spent more time in the spa than we have on any past cruises. All of the therapists that we encountered were very professional and we feel they met or exceeded any services received near our home.
I had mentioned that there was a language barrier with our cabin steward. This was short lived and all further interactions were pleasant. Our cabin was always clean, well stocked mini bar, the ice bucket always had ice in it, and he checked with us each day to make sure we had a good day and made sure that there was nothing else we needed. He was the best cabin steward we have every encountered.
Most other staff we encountered on this cruise were very polite and professional, thought there were many times that they did not know how to assist us, they always tried their best. In many cases, this was not good enough of course. We wrote this off to the ship being new to the area and the crew members all being fairly new to the ship and the cruise industry in general. This is something that we hope MSC is working to rectify.
Dining is another area of conflicting experiences. We never ate in the main dining room, so I cannot provide any information there. The buffets were generally very clean and ready for service as expected each day. There was a reasonable variety of food available each day, but there was a great deal of repetition from day to day. The one major criticism we have is with the temperature of the food. At best it was barely warm, and in may cases it was downright cold. This was much worse when the dining room was busy as you stood in very long lines waiting to get to your food, while everything on your plate was getting colder.
The disembarkation process went fairly smoothly. We opted for the self service option. We arrived at our disembarkation lounge prior to our scheduled time and began what we expected would be a long wait. This was not the case, our announcement to proceed off the ship arrived fairly quickly. If it were not for the rude and inconsiderate passengers on the ship, everyone would have gotten off the ship with no delay. Once we got to the security area, both lines were stopped because people had left their cabin cards in their rooms so instead of moving them off to the side the security personnel were manually looking up the passengers and checking them off the ship.
We walked off the ship and straight to the customs area. We ended up as the second in line for a customs agent. We were through customs, in our car and on the interstate headed north in less than a half our from the time were schedule to depart the ship.
Overall, this was a very relaxing and nice cruise, the ship is absolutely beautiful. We are considering booking another cruise on this ship in the future. Less
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Cabin review: 13048
A very nice cabin and balcony. Our cabin steward, Sukadana Ketut, was the best cabin steward we have had on any of our previous three cruises. All of our cabin stewards have been great, but Ketut was head and shoulders above the rest.Our cabin was spacious, clean and nicely laid out. The access to the balcony was simple and easy to navigate. The restroom seemed to be a little larger than we were used to and very functional.The closed and drawer space was more than sufficient for a party of two.
Port and Shore Excursions
We went over to Great Stirrup Cay just to look around for a little while. We did not book any excursions on this stop. The beaches and facilities are nicely laid out and easy to get from the Tender Area to all of the activities and beaches.
This tour involves approximately an hour drive to and from the forest. The driver provided a great deal of information along the way and made the ride go by very fast.
The rain forest was beautiful. Due to the tropical storm activity in May, parts of the park were off limits so we were not able to make it up to the observation tower, but the driver made sure we saw plenty of beautiful rain forest.
We took the island tour which included both the French and Dutch side of the island and included Maho Beach also known as Airport Beach.
We saw several planes land and take off which was quite amazing to see while being so close to the end of the runway.
Our tour driver was very knowledgeable and made the tour interesting.
Unfortunately like most things on this cruise, there were inconsiderate passengers who arrived back at the bus late each time causing us to not be able to stop at some of the designated stops because we ran out of time.