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Sail Date: July 2013
Myself and two kids age 16 and 21, just returned from a wonderful, 7 day Cruise onboard the Divina. There were very few Americans on board, but all of the ship employees spoke some English. My son enjoyed the teen club, Graffiti's, ... Read More
Myself and two kids age 16 and 21, just returned from a wonderful, 7 day Cruise onboard the Divina. There were very few Americans on board, but all of the ship employees spoke some English. My son enjoyed the teen club, Graffiti's, even though all the kids were from non-English speaking countries. Everyone speaks some English so he did just fine. Here are the pros/cons of our MSC Divina Cruise: PROS: We chose MSC because the ports of call were wonderful. We arrived in Istanbul and visited for several days prior to Embarkation. Istanbul is a fascinating city, Izmir as well. We loved Olympia too. Bari is quaint and easy to walk around on your own, Dubrovnik beautiful, but Venice is a bit overrated and expensive. The Ship is beautiful and spotless. Our Balcony Cabin 13185 was good sized and very clean. Our cabin attendant Andrianiaina Tovo Jean Marcellin was friendly and did an excellent job cleaning up our cabin twice a day while we were sightseeing and eating dinner. The Dining room food was delicious with different menu choices. We loved the relaxing 6 course meal. Americans get 7 coupons for water bottles at dinner but everyone else must pay for the water at 2.50E per liter. Our Dining Room waiter, Ardinata, was friendly and professional. The buffet was good too but often too crowded at peak lunch and dinner times. The buffet had free water, coffee, tea, milk all day and juices at breakfast. Shows were excellent especially the Michael Jackson Tribute, Pirate Show, and Egyptian Show. It was fun to hear the emcee greet the guests in almost every language on board. CONS: Embarkation was long and hot. We boarded in Istanbul not Venice. There were not many passengers boarding there, maybe 150. The line was long and moved slowly and the port building was not air-conditioned. It was very frustrating to start our trip this way. Maybe the Venice and Bari Embarkations are smoother. The port stops were short. Made it very rushed at each port. We did two MSC Excursions. The first, Katakolon - 'Olympia and Shopping', was very good and Olympia is worth the visit if you like ancient history. However, the second, 'Venice - Gondola Ride, St. Mark's Square Tour, and a Museum', was definitely not doable in the time at port. What made it worse was that our tour guide had English and Italian speaking folks in her group. The time spent translating into both languages wasted a lot of time. We ended up running through the Doge's Palace Museum in order to get back to tender boat to the ship. We did two private tours through 'Tours by Locals.com' at Dubrovnik and Izmir. Both guides met us at the port exit and had us back to the ship on time. These private tours were not much more expensive than the ship excursions, so I would recommend them. There was a sporadic sewage smell on our hall and in our cabin. The smell came through the air-conditioning and the crew always gave us a different reason for it. It always went away. Debarkation was confusing. Prior to the cruise, MSC in the US said if we took our own bags (since so few folks disembarked in Istanbul), we could take our time leaving. Our pickup service was not until 10:30 so we planned to leave around 10:00. Then onboard, we were told we must be out of room by 8:00. Reception then said, no, we needed to checkout of our room by 7:00. When I got upset they agreed to let us stay in our room until 8:30. We were told to pick up passports at 9:30 but the passports did not arrive on ship until 10:30. Very disorganized and unclear. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise very much and would choose MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
It was our first cruise and we are already keen to book the next one. We did the one week cruise out of Istanbul and really enjoyed the ship. It is clean, beautiful and has a wide range of services that we enjoyed. We though the food was ... Read More
It was our first cruise and we are already keen to book the next one. We did the one week cruise out of Istanbul and really enjoyed the ship. It is clean, beautiful and has a wide range of services that we enjoyed. We though the food was pretty good, we were in the Villa Rosa restaurant, and a good range of options. Drink prices were same as a restaurant so really consider the drinks packages, we got water and beer tickets which worked well but one of the couples we ate with had unlimited which takes the pressure off if you do't want to bother keeping track. The restaurants are good, and serve breakfast which as a much more civilised option than the buffet. We used the buffet for lunch as it was open when excursions got back, the food was varied, some very good, some pretty mediocre. The people were unbelievable, it was like they had never been fed before. You can get heaps of food, but if you don't want to feel like you are feeding time in a zoo then use the other restaurants as much as possible, the Black Crab and Villa Rosa have free breakfasts. The shows were excellent and there is a good range of bars with different atmospheres. Our cabin was first rate, and the staff were just wonderful, always obliging and happy to assist and there are plenty of them. Be nice to them and you will get first rate service with a genuine smile. The shore excursions were mixed - Dubrovnik do you own thing, Venice was mediocre so choose, do your own thing in Bari, Olympia was very good and Ephesus was easily the best guide and itinerary we have ever had and we have done a lot of travelling. The cruise itself is cheap and with a little planning - drink coffee and water in the buffet where its free, etc. you can choose how much you spend. If you just use a bit of thought you won't spend that much extra. Overall we felt like millionaires yet didn't spend a fortune. I love the MSC experience and our next holiday will probably include a cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Having read all the reviews on MSC Divina before going, we felt it useful to give our perspective as well, albeit from a first time cruiser slant. Embarkation: This route is circular, and it appears you can embark at most stops, although ... Read More
Having read all the reviews on MSC Divina before going, we felt it useful to give our perspective as well, albeit from a first time cruiser slant. Embarkation: This route is circular, and it appears you can embark at most stops, although the majority of people embark in Venice. We (and about 300 others) embarked at Istanbul, where everything seemed well organised, and we did not have to queue for long. Our luggage was by our cabin within an hour. However once on board (including staff perceptions) everything is tailored towards an assumption that we embarked at Venice; this is not detrimental, you just notice it in conversations and the way the daily guides are written. There does seem to be some benefit though; when we were in Venice, the check in desk was much more chaotic, with longer queues and some confusion for embarking passengers which we could avoid since we were only in transit. At disembarkation we were able to get up/leave our cabin later than Venice passengers as there were less people to manage. Moral of the story: If you can be flexible, board at a quieter port. Ship: The ship was spotlessly clean and very impressive to look at both on the outside and inside. There is a you tube video (found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AKMfVJxGv8, and having skipped through this before embarking, we can confirm it looks exactly like this. One slight niggle we had was the number of areas insider where you could smoke; it seemed that every lounge/bar had a smoking area and a non-smoking area, but since smoke drifts, the non-smoking areas quickly smelt of smoke. This was particularly irritating given that there is a designated Cigar Lounge for smokers to use. Room: We had a balcony room. This provided all that we wanted, and the balcony was well worth the money, as the views were great, and gave somewhere outside to sit away from the crowds. Dining: When we booked we already KNEW it was an ITALIAN ship. Therefore, even though we are British, we were not expecting to have tea or coffee offered after dinner, and the food would be more tailored towards the Italian/Mediterranean palette. Thus, everything about the food MET OUR EXPECTATIONS. Thus to anyone moaning about this, you should have done your research and if you could not cope, should not have booked in the first place! Rant over… Complaints about the food not always being piping hot, however, are valid. The service in the restaurants was really good, and a couple of times when I did not like something they changed it to another meal. You can also request to tailor the meal e.g. can I have the potatoes from one option with the meat from another. Service in the buffet needs some work, as I did find the staff got our drinks orders wrong at least twice. The range of food in the buffet for breakfast and lunch was good (I am a fussy eater) and I thought fair for the price we paid on the cruise. Not 5* perhaps but I always left full and with a smile on my face. Drinks: tea, coffee and fountain juice drinks (be warned these tasted like syrup) were available all day from the buffet. All drinks in the restaurant had to be paid for, and were limited to wine/beer/water/basic soft drinks. If you wanted cocktails you had to buy from another bar and carry in yourself. We bought the Allegrissimo package at 23Euro per day. This worked out at great value, since we calculated that we spent on average about 32Euros per day each without even trying (and we don’t drink much, so most of this was soft drinks, fresh squeezed juice and iced tea, virgin cocktails and a glass of wine for dinner. There is an added bonus that you can get scoops of gelato too which was wonderful. If you book in advance you also avoid the 15% service charge, which soon adds up). Service Servicing of our room was faultless. The room is cleaned in the morning, and the bed turned down in the evening, and had no complaints with the quality of the work, with towels replaced as required, clutter tidied, glasses replaced etc. Port & Shore Excursions We took part in one MSC-arranged excursion, to Ephesus from Izmir. The tour was an English and Spanish mixed tour, so the tour guide had to deliver everything in two languages. It was impressive that she could do this, but did make the tour drag, meaning that we didn’t get as long as I would have wanted to look at each site (i.e. the end of the tour was a little rushed). The main reason why we avoided the other excursions was that, in our opinion, they were a little too expensive for what they offered. Both Dubrovnik and Bari are very accessible by local transport (bus for 15Kuna (2Euro) in Dubrovnik, and a 15 min walk in Bari). Similarly, for the main tourist sites in Istanbul, you can get the tram from a stop 300 yards from the port to Sultanahmet for only 3TL. Travel to Embarkation Port - For Istanbul, the prices quoted by taxi drivers are at least twice what they should be, so ask for the journey to be on the meter. Disembarkation Disembarkation was relatively smooth, once again helped by doing so at a ‘quieter’ port. We were clearly notified of what time we needed to leave our room (8am), and our luggage was easily identifiable inside the cruise terminal Summary We really enjoyed the cruise; the ship was as expected, and the main reason why we chose this particular cruise (the ports we docked at) did not disappoint.   Read Less
MSC Divina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.3
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 1.0 3.2
Service 4.0 3.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 5.0 3.7

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