This was our 2nd cruise with MSC, having previously sailed on the Divina from Miami around the Caribbean in early 2014. We were attracted to the port intensive itinerary with no full sea days throughout the whole 14 day cruise. Embarkation ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise with MSC, having previously sailed on the Divina from Miami around the Caribbean in early 2014. We were attracted to the port intensive itinerary with no full sea days throughout the whole 14 day cruise. Embarkation in Barbados was rather unusual in that there was no one from MSC to greet us upon arrival at the Port building and none of the usual queues of people expected when embarking a cruise ship. Port officials simply pointed to the ship and told us to take our cases up to the ship to embark. Upon reaching the ship our cases were taken for screening and we had to battle with passengers trying to get on and off for excursions whilst we handed over our passports and paperwork to security. After a few minutes we were welcomed aboard and 10 minutes later we had our cruise cards and were ready to find our cabin. A good start.
The reason for the rather unusual embarkation procedures was explained to us by a waitress as we ordered our first drink on board. Only around 100 passengers were embarking in Barbados, the remaining 3,000 would embark at the weekend in either Guadeloupe or Martinique. More on that later.
The ship, its outside decks and the public lounges are all in good condition and there are a good variety of bars on board. Due to the itinerary there were plenty of loungers available and the pools were relatively quiet until mid-afternoon. We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet most days and the food was pretty good. Dinner in the main restaurant was a bit hit and miss. Our balcony cabin (11169) was a reasonable size and well maintained by our steward, although I had to request a change of bed linen after 7 days which is poor.
The majority of passengers on board were French speaking and included a large number of natives from both Guadeloupe & Martinique. I think it is fair to say that some of these passengers had little understanding of cruise ship etiquette and this did spoil our enjoyment overall. Large groups spent hours in the buffet piling up their plates with food, and putting food into bags to take ashore on trips. If you sat at a table in the bar area on the outside decks you would likely be surrounded by a large group who would move chairs so that you were blocked in, or they would talk over you to people on neighbouring tables. This behaviour could be quite intimidating. Young children were taken in the swimming pool naked – and older children were unsupervised and spent all their time running and jumping in the pool annoying the other guests. The pool attendants seemed at a loss at how to deal with this behaviour and simply seemed to give up and move away from the pool area.
Entertainment was certainly not geared towards English speaking passengers and most of the live music was terrible. Service was variable, we had a great waiter in the dining room and a few of the waiters and waitresses in the bars were friendly and efficient, but it was almost impossible to get a drink on the sun deck unless you went to the bar.
Disembarkation should have been simple as there were so few people disembarking in Barbados, but we had a really bad experience. We went to the disembarkation meeting where the lady holding the meeting had the wrong information. The following morning our key card stopped working at 7.30am when we weren’t due to disembark until 11.00am. Two trips to reception and they couldn’t resolve this! There were only 2 groups leaving the ship, 11.00am for those making their own arrangements and 13.45pm for those with MSC transfers. We left the ship at 11.00am only to find my suitcase which was left outside our cabin alongside my husbands, was nowhere to be found. We had to wait another ½ hour for them to locate my suitcase (they didn’t seem too bothered about helping us as we had disembarked) and we didn’t even get an apology.
All in all a good cruise due to a great itinerary and fabulous weather, but I wouldn’t cruise MSC again, service poor overall and English speakers were treated like 2nd class citizens. Read Less