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12 Marseille MSC Cruises MSC Divina Cruise Reviews

We chose the Divina because it fit our schedule, and also because of the price. We did have some concerns about our first MSC cruise, and were advised by our travel agent to “keep an open mind” – something that we soon came to ... Read More
We chose the Divina because it fit our schedule, and also because of the price. We did have some concerns about our first MSC cruise, and were advised by our travel agent to “keep an open mind” – something that we soon came to understand. But despite some minor irritants, the overall cruise experience was nevertheless enjoyable. Embarkation in Marseilles: We chose to take the city bus to the port gate, and then rolled our suitcases to the dock. Although the route is straightforward, it might not be the best choice for the mobility-challenged, as it is a bit of a hike. Because MSC allows passengers to begin their cruise at a number of different Mediterranean ports, there are fewer people to process at each stop. The two-step check-in was painless – we were able to hand over our bags directly to be loaded onto a conveyor belt, then sat in the waiting area for a brief time before our number was called. Once we boarded, though, we had to run a gauntlet of staff members eager to “up sell” passengers with the usual drink, restaurant and spa offers – a practice that continued for the first few days of the cruise. Meals: I realize that food is subjective, and having taken almost a dozen cruises so far, we are usually quite satisfied with the on-board offerings. In terms of variety, quality, and presentation, we felt that the Divina fell short of expectations – although the meals in the main dining room did improve as the week progressed. For example, where other cruise lines offer “made-to-order” egg stations at breakfast, the choice on MSC seems to be from a tray of cooked eggs that looked less than appealing. And after witnessing the chaos in the buffet, we retreated to the Black Crab dining room where both buffet and à la carte breakfast is available during limited hours. We discovered – too late for us, alas – that hamburgers and similar fare are available in the sports bar at lunch. Stateroom: Our 11th deck stateroom (11084) was the highlight of the cruise, mainly because of the deep balcony complete with a lounger. The storage is adequate and the bed is comfortable; about the only quibble would be the small TV; however, we were delighted to discover that CNN was one of the available channels. Service: This is another area where MSC does not seem quite up to par. We did not meet our cabin attendant until the one and only time, half-way through the cruise, when he came to turn down the bed. There was no means to contact him with specific requests. When our toilet tissue supply ran dangerously low and our repeated calls to room service were met with a busy signal, we finally had to take matters into our own hands and proceed to raid a service cart near the other end of the hallway! I am not faulting the housekeeping staff as it appears to be a management issue. And as one other reviewer has mentioned, MSC seems to have done away with facial tissues in the bathroom – not a biggie, but an indication of either cost-cutting or lack of attention to detail. Front desk: I won’t go into detail here, other than to say that the folks at the front desk resolved to our satisfaction an issue relating to a group of young passengers who were the subject of a number of complaints. Itinerary: This cruise was port-intensive, with no sea days, which was just as well considering the number of passengers and their often loutish behavior. The ship was forced to skip Valencia because of an impending storm; when the captain announced - at dinner time – that the closing of the port meant a detour to Barcelona, a loud cheer resounded through the dining room (at least among the English speaking passengers – leaving others with puzzled looks until the announcement was read in one of the three or four remaining languages). Debarkation: This is an area where MSC really shines and a first for us. Passengers were provided with a briefing on the entire process, including how to fill out and attach luggage tags. Upon arrival at the port of Marseilles, passengers were divided into groups according to colors that corresponded to the luggage tags, then escorted to the exit by a crew member at the appropriate time. All things being equal, the cruise was a success. Would we sail MSC again? It will depend on a number of factors, but I think we might consider a different ship and itinerary, as the cruise line does provide good value – as long as one keeps an “open Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The service on board is ok as long as you are not requesting anything. If you are not in the yatch club or apeeding a lot of $$$$ on extra you will not recieve anything. Here are some example: - my daughter found a metal tack in ... Read More
The service on board is ok as long as you are not requesting anything. If you are not in the yatch club or apeeding a lot of $$$$ on extra you will not recieve anything. Here are some example: - my daughter found a metal tack in her chicken, their only reaction was to replace the chicken lno other excuse, letter of excuse - the bar by the pool is often out of cold draft beer, if you want a beer you need to buy bottle more expensive - the buffer is only offering water and coffee, juice is only available during the breakfast - restaurant and bar often out of sodas - have to wait to get out of the ship (docked) because only one exit is open or because the decide to put everyone on hold the exist excursion using the same exit at the same time This cruise was my u in e yeard and 3 rd with msc.... MSC never again Karl Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose the MSC Divina cruise in the Mediterranean because of its unique itinerary for a seven night cruise and because of the opportunity to have a choice of ports from which to embark. Both of these were different from the other cruise ... Read More
We chose the MSC Divina cruise in the Mediterranean because of its unique itinerary for a seven night cruise and because of the opportunity to have a choice of ports from which to embark. Both of these were different from the other cruise line's offerings and paid it off. Also, since we were flying from Los Angeles to Europe, we wanted to see as much as we could each day, so no days at sea was exactly what I was looking for. We chose to board in Marseille since my husband wanted to spend a couple days in Paris prior to the cruise. As for the cabin, we paid for an inside guarantee with the "Fantastica" experience and were very surprised to be upgraded to a mid-ship balcony. Although the ship is a bit dated, it was very clean, the service was excellent across the board and the balcony cabin was very roomy. Our cabin attendant - I Putu Kertajaya, was excellent, and honored our requests. The itinerary included Marseille, Genoa, Civitavecchia (for Rome), Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca, and Valencia. We were fortunate weather-wise with only two days of rain and good weather for the rest of the ports at the end of May, and to have calm seas. Previously having sailed many times with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Disney, and Carnival, I was curious about what differences would exist with MSC, so I read many Cruise Critic reviews. I learned that there would be differences from the above mentioned cruise-lines in the food and entertainment offerings so I was not surprised to find this to be the case. Both the buffet and the dining room menus have less entree options. Also, our "Fantastica" level of service included water bottles at meals in the dining room, (we found out late into the cruise) all who had not paid for this had to purchase water at lunch and dinner in the dining room just to get a glass of water with the meal. We were accustomed to being served free water at lunch and dinner in the dining rooms prior to this experience, so this was an unusual difference for us. Also, the entertainment in the theatre was not innovative or inspired and had the nightly repetition of the same talent, unlike others we have sailed with, but I was aware this would be the case from the reviews I had read. A variety of styles of music and dancing could be found in the lounges for those who enjoy that. The ports were all very pleasing and we explored most of them on our own taking trains and buses with the exception of two ship's excursions. Since people were embarking and debarking each day on this itinerary, it was hard to get a Cruise Critic meeting or Meet & Mingle party together. Also, with no days at sea, time was limited. We received a note in our cabin that the meeting date was cancelled, but then rescheduled for dinner in the Asian Fusion (new) Galaxy lounge/restaurant. This was a delightful sushi dinner with two ship's officers and just four of us Cruise Critic members. It was a very special evening for us on the ship and the two officers were extremely friendly and personable. This was one of the highlights. We had a really good week with the knowledge that this experience would be different in terms of food and entertainment. If you are accustomed to the cruise-lines mentioned above or the luxury lines, you will have a good time IF you are aware of differences and change your expectations...it's all in the expectations and this was a great daily itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and because we wanted to try a European line after having cruised over 25 times on the mainstream American lines. Here goes: First: this itinerary allows passengers to start and end the cruise in ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and because we wanted to try a European line after having cruised over 25 times on the mainstream American lines. Here goes: First: this itinerary allows passengers to start and end the cruise in any of the 7 ports. So the embarkation process was quick since we didn't have to deal with all 4200 people getting on at the same time. Second: the ship is absolutely gorgeous! Real marble, beautiful lighting, every nook and cranny was more attractive than the next! Stateroom: we had a rear-facing balcony . The room had so much storage space and was very well appointed. But, no robes unless you asked for it and, they wanted to charge us for them. As for the balcony, it was huge and contained both chairs and lounges. Problem was, we hardly sat outside because the fellow passengers were smoking on their balconies and the smoke wafted into ours. That was horrible . We made several calls to the concierge but they were evidently powerless to do anything. Food: very good in the main dining room. Beautifully prepared and very tasty. The portions were small which was fine with us, and you could always ask for more. By the way, they do not have iced tea so we resorted to ordering a bucket of ice and hot tea and made our own. Entertainment: the production shows were the best we have ever seen on any cruise line. The performers were unbelievably talented . The choreography, lighting and costumes were better than first rate. The orchestra was also fabulous! There was always music in the public areas and lounges so anywhere you went, you were entertained. Staff: everyone we encountered was well-trained, accommodating and eager to help. We are not demanding passengers but we witnessed several rude, demanding passengers who were handled with patience and finesse by the staff. Now, for the bad: this cruise line allows children to travel free. We have nothing against children. But, the parents left the children unattended to run around, pushed them in strollers into passengers who were trying to walk in public areas, and it was absolute chaos to get from one place to the next. There was an absolute disregard for fellow passengers. I even witnessed a baby crawling on the floor in the buffet, who was about to be trampled by people with full plates of food. I swooped him up and handed him to his mother to avert what could have been a tragedy. . . The mother didn't seem to care! Yes, not MSC's fault but, if the "children travel free" policy remains, we will never travel with MSC again. In addition, they definitely need to make sure that passengers don't smoke on the balconies. At least, put up " no smoking signs" ON each balcony .. and then enforce it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
A Med cruise seemed attractive, as seemed the price. The experience was of living in a big city. Very slow embarkation, a process repeated at every port, i.e. every day with airport-style security on leaving and returning. Despite the ... Read More
A Med cruise seemed attractive, as seemed the price. The experience was of living in a big city. Very slow embarkation, a process repeated at every port, i.e. every day with airport-style security on leaving and returning. Despite the excellent staff, mealtimes were often a stressful time. We could never be certain that a table would be available in the only restaurant open to us but we knew for a fact that the self-service buffet would be crowded, no seats, no tables, sometimes not much choice. There was always a feeling of imminent chaos as the restaurants were not able to plan for numbers ashore, new passengers and those remaining on board. Restaurant table meals were beautifully presented and served in pleasant surroundings. The menus looked exciting but the meals turned out rather bland. Our drinks package was adequate but disappointing. Our deal gave us up to 6 Euros for drinks but anything slightly more interesting was at least 6.50, so the package was largely worthless. The Californian Cab-Sauv red was actually pretty good, however, and there was a range of budget cocktails but anything other than lager was off package. Entertainment was done by accomplished artistes but each show looked & sounded a bit like the previous one. The cabin was fine, the housekeeper was discreet and skilful, nice linen and towels, fairly quiet. A balcony is only any good if you are in the sun, which was not often, we found, but that's the itinerary, not the ship's fault. Our main gripe was the dishonest way MSC presented shore visits. They promoted their own excursions but by omission, misdirection and wilful deception managed to keep the free transfers and shuttles a well-guarded secret at each port. In Palermo we followed a line under large sign for "SHUTTLE BUS", only to find after 30 mins it was an 18 euro tour, not the free shuttle which was hidden behind a building beyond it. The same stunt was pulled in Valencia, where the free city bus took you to the bus-stop for the 1 euro 50 trip to the city, but only if you avoided the MSC staff attempting to lure passengers on to another 12 euro trip to town. 12 euros isn't a lot , but if you are a family of 4...? Overall the big downer was the vast population of passengers tied to timetables for visits, shows, eating and drinking, getting on and off, all happening at the same time for everybody. This will be our last cruise on a big ship. The central activities were over-eating and over-boozing, but that's not really what I had in mind when I booked. Gala nights were spotty as most passengers preferred to stay casual, almost as if they were on holiday..! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Cruised with MSC Divina on 23 day Caribbean cruise. That is how it was sold to us. However, we later found out it was two cruises in one, returning to Miami after the first 10 days. On the second leg, everything was duplicated. The ... Read More
Cruised with MSC Divina on 23 day Caribbean cruise. That is how it was sold to us. However, we later found out it was two cruises in one, returning to Miami after the first 10 days. On the second leg, everything was duplicated. The entertainment, the trivia quiz, the jokes .. simply everything. This severely detracted from the enjoyment of the trip. When highlighting this to the company on our return, they couldn't have cared less. They appear to think it doesn't matter. But it does. It is simply not good enough. We paid top dollar going from New Zealand for this experience but we got a lot less than everyone else. Be careful. It is not all as it seems and complaining or raising issues falls on deaf ears. I don't often complain about things but all travellers should be cautious so you are fully aware of what is going on prior to going on holiday. Our holiday was spoilt unfortunately. Yours doesn't have to be! Food was OK but the buffet is like a trough. Black Crab restaurant was OK though, although sometimes service was poor as there was a mix up in who should serve us. Cabin attendant was a delight. That was the best rating of the tour. Shore excursions were very overpriced for what you received as you could get similar from walking off the ship and talking to the locals. First and last on MSC. Other lines much better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We were looking for a cruise that fit our schedule in mid July as we would be in Geneva. We chose MSC cruise out of Marseille as it seemed like a good way to introduce my husband to the cruise experience, with a new city each day. We ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise that fit our schedule in mid July as we would be in Geneva. We chose MSC cruise out of Marseille as it seemed like a good way to introduce my husband to the cruise experience, with a new city each day. We stayed in Marseille for a couple of days prior to embarkation. City is “gritty” and “edgy” as the reviewers have said, but it also made us a little anxious. We did however, visit some museums which were excellent, and also spent a day in Aix en Provence which was brilliant. The trip from Marseille (downtown) to the cruise port was about 25 minutes in taxi and no trouble getting there. The MSC staff was helpful and there were very few people, so boarding was very fast. We boarded and were able to access our room immediately. Let’s start with all the good things we found about this particular MSC cruise: 1. The food was excellent. Wherever we ate - the cafeterias, the dining room, the other eateries on the ship- the food was all top quality. We had absolutely no complaints about the quality of the food. We had bought a drinks package prior to boarding, and this I found reduced the annoyance of having to pay for each drink, or the service charges. You should know that NO beverages other than coffee,tea and plain water (not bottled) are included in the all-inclusive so you should get some sort of package if you want to enjoy your cruise. Our drinks package allowed for glasses of wine almost anywhere except our room, all alcoholic beverages, juice (except freshly squeezed we learned on the first day), and canned drinks and mineral or bottled water. It also included specialty coffees and gelato. For us this was great. 2. The cabin was large, clean, and comfortable. No complaints about the cabin itself. Good choice for us but the aft is noisy with the wake of the ship so if you don’t like that noise than it won’t be for you. 3. Itinerary. This cruise has a great itinerary and is interesting for those who like history. It goes to Genoa, Rome, Palermo, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca and Valencia. We left from Marseille but you can choose other cities for departure. People seemed to get on and off at different sites. Mostly you are sailing at night - you get wonderful views of the ports as you sail off in the early evenings, and again views when you arrive in the mornings. Quite lovely. We did not book excursions with the cruise line because all of them left too early in the mornings for our taste (9 am or so). We did a little homework and for those cities where the ports were close we just disembarked and made our own arrangements. 4. Entertainment. It was all very good including the shows at night. The piano bar had some wonderful singers and a piano player. Very enjoyable. Some other considerations you might find helpful from our experience. 1. Check with the reception desk at the very beginning of the cruise to determine what is included with your card and to make sure that if you pre-ordered anything, it is included on your card. You need the card for everything, including getting off the ship so keep it safe We found the staff to be relatively nice but not particularly helpful or forthcoming with information. We did a lot of “asking questions” at the reception desk because we just didn’t know about certain things - like at the beginning of the cruise “how does the drinks package work? What is included”? We weren’t provided with much information - we eventually found someone who offered us a map of the ship - on day 5, which would have been most helpful on day 1! 2. The “steward” definition on this cruise seems different from my experience on Carnival, where the Steward helped you figure things out and was there to help. In our case we barely saw the Steward, he didn’t introduce himself and when we did ask questions he was unable to answer them. This could be a cultural thing so I wouldn’t put too much into it as it didn’t ruin the cruise or anything - it would just have been nice. 3. There was no concept of line-ups, for lunch, for disembarkation, for waiting for the elevators. This could be a little annoying when we were trying to get back to our room after an excursion, or when the restaurants were busy, but again, we just assumed it was different customs so we did our best. 4. The night prior to arrival in two of the ports - Valencia and Mallorca - we received a notification in our room that if we wanted to go into the city on our own we had to pay a 12 Euro fee for a shuttle. There was no option. We didn’t know this. Had we known, we might have booked an excursion where we wouldn’t have to pay the 12 Euros (each). This information should have been given to us earlier. 5. This is a big ship. It is complicated to get around and there is not always staff to help you figure things out. A little exploring should help, but it is definitely a challenge! This isn’t good or bad - just something I wanted to share. 6. The seated dining experience was not something I enjoyed. The tables were packed together as close as possible - and I mean just barely enough room between some of them to squeeze by. We were a couple, and were assigned to a table of six. I don’t know if you can ask for your own table but I would have preferred this. Even so, the fact that we were so many people packed in together was not a good experience. The service was not especially great either, and people did not seem to dress up for the occasion. We subsequently chose to only use seated dining three times out of the seven nights. It was also very disagreeable that staff were coming around to your table to “sell” you drink packages, or dinner packages. This is something that should not be done. 7. A few last thoughts - the cabins have both North American and European outlets. There aren’t that many though so an extension or extra outlet comes in handy. The shower has a cord for hanging wet clothes. There is a hair dryer that works well. There is a mini bar/fridge you can use with space for a few things. In the mornings I would go for my coffee (a quick trip with no fighting for elevators) and bring it to the room to sit on the balcony. Very lovely to watch the ship arriving. The decoration of this ship is themed on the Italian movie times of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Interesting posters everywhere to see. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I booked this cruise to spend time with my two daughters, the youngest just graduated from college, and my sister-in-law. This was the first time we all cruised together, and was looking for a fun "girls' trip". We really ... Read More
I booked this cruise to spend time with my two daughters, the youngest just graduated from college, and my sister-in-law. This was the first time we all cruised together, and was looking for a fun "girls' trip". We really wanted to do a Mediterranean trip, and the price, dates, ports fit our bill. We booked a "suite", cabin 9001 Aurea experience, because it was more cost effective if we all stayed in the same cabin. After confirming our trip, I started to read reviews here about this ship, and started doubting my choice. This was my 17th cruise, but first on MSC. I started dreading my decision from all the negative reviews, but decided to suck it up, and since my family is pretty easy-going (I'm the spoiled one), and it was too late to back out. My husband and I cruise usually twice a year, and a lot of my decision-making is on this site and other reviews. But, I'm going to say, for now on, I'm going to be taking future reviews with a grain of salt. I've never written a review, but here it goes... Embarkation and Disembarkation- Rome (Civitavecchia)- We came in a day earlier and stayed at a charming B&B. We arrived at the port at around 11:30am, and it was a breeze to get on the ship. Took no more than 20 minutes. Disembarkation- we left our bags out the night before, and left the ship about 8:30am. I'd say it was about 30-40 min from the time we left the ship, grabbed our bags, and hailed a taxi. Totally painless experience. I will recommend arriving to the ship around 11ish am, because it seemed more chaotic around 2-3pm, but we were already sipping on wine at that point. Cabin- we were in cabin 9001, at the very front of the ship. No balcony, but a panoramic window. It's categorized as a "suite", but it was more of an oversized cabin. My sil and I slept in the two twin beds, and my girls slept in the pullout couch. The twin beds were comfortable; the pullout couch is what it is- a pullout couch, but the girls were fine with it. There was plenty of space for the four of us. The bathroom was surprisingly big, and included a bathtub! I've never had a bathtub in any of my other cruises. There are plenty of outlets, including 2 US standard plugins, and a USB port. Our room steward was on top of every need, and was very discreet. My only complaint about the room is, being in the very front, it is VERY noisy when coming into port. From about 4am (if we ported around 7am), every groaning of the ship, dropping of anchors,etc, was heard in our room. But I just put a pillow over my head and went back to sleep. The girls, because their pullout wasn't as sturdy as our beds, tended to rock more with the ship. Dining- The dining was fine here. Did it knock my socks off? No, and I'm super picky. But I could find something on every menu, whether at the buffet or MDR. And I don't understand everyone's gripe about finding seating at the buffet. We never had a problem. Before we even perused the offerings for food, we found a table, threw one of bags on it, then filled our plates. The MDR offerings were decent. I agree with other reviewers that portions are smaller, but who cares? It was enough food, and if we wanted more, we'd just ask. We had a lovely woman waiting on us, Francelly, and she did everything to make our dining experience wonderful. We did have one night with another waiter, didn't catch his name, and he was dreadful compared to Francelly. So, if reviewers got him, I'd understand their bitter review. Entertainment- went to three shows and enjoyed them. Service- Another thing I disagree with other reviewers. The service was awesome. Everyone was willing to help, even guest services was very accommodating. Ports- LOVED THEM ALL! Bottom line- I think the reviews I've read about this ship did not reflect my experience. Were there snafus? Absolutely, but I've had them on ALL cruises I've been on. Would def cruise MSC Divina again, and look forwardto experience her other ships! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Because on this ship everybody can board/disembark at every port there was no queue when we embarked. When we got on we weren't told anything apart from the fact our key card will be in the room. We then felt a bit lost. We went to ... Read More
Because on this ship everybody can board/disembark at every port there was no queue when we embarked. When we got on we weren't told anything apart from the fact our key card will be in the room. We then felt a bit lost. We went to our room where we got our cruise news info. We had a balcony cabin at the rear which was quite roomy. Our cabin attendant was friendly. Bathroom was a decent size and no wet shower curtain, it was a door. The attention to detail on this ship is amazing. It looks very stylish. Lots of bars on board, all with their own different personality. Even the buffet looks stylish. Reasonable amount of choice. A Pasta station, Pizza station, regular buffet, Vegetarian and an "Ethnic" station but I think they mean more Asian food. The main restaurant is efficient. Portions are quite small, European size but very tasty. We had a table for 6 but managed to get this changed after 2 days for a table of 2. They don't have very many tables of 2. We used the gym most days and it was very big and had excellent equipment. The entertainment is fantastic. They do a theatre show every night with amazing singing and dancing. One night is an opera singing night too. The official language on board is Italian but they also do the announcements in French, English, Spanish & German. We did the behind the scenes tour which was reasonably priced compared to other companies. It was such an interesting tour, we really enjoyed it. This is our first time with MSC and would definitely use them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Well firstly the on board entertainment/activities was very poor from the last cruise I was on...the entertainment does not last long for people who don't do excursions...I got very bored on the ship...there is it enough music and ... Read More
Well firstly the on board entertainment/activities was very poor from the last cruise I was on...the entertainment does not last long for people who don't do excursions...I got very bored on the ship...there is it enough music and dancing at the pool area....some scheduledscheduled activities didnt even take place...the entertainmet staff is not engaging enough... The casino system is very bad with the ticket system ...one would think that money would be loaded onto your card..and like myself who was could unaware lost 60 euros cause i didnt print a ticket....and the casino couldn't even tell me who then took the ticket out of the machine ...I'm sure the casino staff are very aware of this over site and has collected many unclaimed tickets for them selfs...this ship is just about marketing on board to make me money off passsagers and less worried about the passengers enjoyment....the rule that all passangers sharing the all inclusive drinks package is a total indecation of this...my cabin partner was not a drinker so why do both need to make the purchase, I find that totaly unaceptable and gready of MSC to make more money... .other than that the ship itself is very good and the food is great.....and the lack of staff understandings English is not a good thing Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
A Cruise trip is a dream come true for many of us, especially those from the Asian countries since they are not, exactly, economy. Apart from the cost of Cruise Trip, which can amount to $280 a day for a couple, you have to reach the ... Read More
A Cruise trip is a dream come true for many of us, especially those from the Asian countries since they are not, exactly, economy. Apart from the cost of Cruise Trip, which can amount to $280 a day for a couple, you have to reach the embarkation point of the Cruise on your own. Other costs include daily trips to shore for sightseeing as the ship docks on a new location every day. The total cost on a Mediterranean Cruise, for a couple, works out to: Cruise cost = $2000 (seven day trip) Cost of reaching the port of embarkation(France)= $ 1850 Daily trips to shore for sightseeing= $700 Taxi + last day shore stay = $ 150 Wifi + drinks on ship = $100 Tips on ship(compulsory) = $140 TOTAL about $ 5000 Cruise ships are floating cities offering you every kind of facility in the form of Drinks, Casinos, Stage Shows, Pools, Jacuzzis, Shopping and every other form of temptation imaginable. There is a bar at every corner with irresistible cocktails beckoning you to try them out. Our ship was huge, with a crew of 800, management claimed to be preparing almost 20,000 meals a day. The worst part is the food. The buffet halls are open 20 hours a day and every kind of fruits, salads, pizzas, breads, hundreds of type of dishes, sea food, puddings, cakes and anything else you can think of is on offer from around the globe. It is impossible not to give in to the temptation, however hard you may try. It is no brainer, therefore, that despite all precautions, all of us put on 2-3 Kg of weight within the first two days. All the food at buffet counters is on the house. Despite all these temptations, by day two we had realized that we needed the skills of a fox to survive in this jungle full of traps at every step and if I did not watch out I would be disembarking with none of my clothes fitting me. Obviously, some strategy was required to ensure one does not pay for unnecessary things and at the same time make full use of a host of facilities being offered in the package. So we worked out a routine to do all of above, and more, as follows: We got up at 6 AM, there being no arrangement for tea in the cabin, one was expected to go up to 14th floor buffet hall to get it, a prospect hard to follow early in the morning. So we brought two satchels of tea+ milk from the dining hall in the night, heated two cups of water in our room with a tiny rod that we always carry with us, and had a nice cuppa ready in a few minutes. (tea served in the entire western hemisphere is always lukewarm, perhaps they like it that way). Water bottles are available at €3, (even the first bottle in your room is charged), but you can always fill up the empty ones in the buffet hall. We got ready and headed for the gym located on top floor of the ship by 6.30 AM. Gym is located in the forward most portion of the ship and it gives a heady feeling watching the ship sail right from the front. Completed our cycling and treadmill routine by 7 AM and then we headed for the Jacuzzi hall located right outside, which opened at 7. At this time there are few people and these huge Jacuzzi pools, which can take up to 10 people each, at a wonderful temperature of 370C, were just what the doctor ordered. After half a hour in the Jacuzzi pools, we came out, fully charged, and headed for the Buffet Hall for a fresh fruit feast (Phalahar). Despite all temptations, refrain from eating anything else. Go back to your room for a bath and getting ready for the day’s excursion. Then head for the buffet hall again by 8.30 AM or thereabouts, depending on what time will your ship dock. Now is the time to enjoy your breakfast. Best take a round of the entire buffet hall before you choose, as there are 10-15 stations to choose from, and if you fill up from the first few ones, you will invariably regret it later on. Sadly, you will notice many of the travelers wasting a lot of food, but we don’t want to emulate that, do we? You would want to go for local sightseeing in whichever town the ship has docked. One way is to book an excursion organized by the ship. These have to be pre booked. These trips are expansive at around € 60 per person. They take you in buses and halt at one or two predetermined places only. The other way is to come out of the dock and look for a 4-6 seater taxi. This is a much better and cheaper option, if you are in a group. Sometimes you can’t walk out as the dock gate is far away or you are not allowed to walk. In such cases, the ship organizes ferry services to a convenient point (on payment, of course, at € 10-12 a pop). Then you can make use of Hop on-off buses available locally or again hire taxis to go around. Since you have to be back by around 4 PM, you will never get enough time for local sightseeing. The best option is to choose a couple of places to spend time on and take a drive through the rest (better to do your homework before starting on your cruise trip). After return to the ship, take a cup of tea at the buffet hall, take a shower and get ready by 7 PM and come over to the lobby bar for a drink(not cheap by our standards, a glass of beer costs around € 5+). Some of us, lucky ones, were provided with a coupon booklet which gave us a limited choice of free drinks. Do try some of the cocktails offered, they look enticing. The evening shows commence at 7.30 PM. They are performed by professionals and are a treat to watch. These shows finish by 8.15 PM and then you can come back to the Bar or go for Dinner. All the lobbies are full of stalls selling perfumes, watches and other knick knack imaginable. There is also a huge Casino on board, many times offering you free coupons to nudge you to get going. With nowhere else to go, it is not difficult to give in. All this can get pretty heady as all the décor around the lobbies is five star and beyond. This is especially true for those who have been exposed to such environment and luxury for the first time. For dinner you either go to the buffet hall or head for one of the fancy restaurants where you are pre allotted a seat for a sit down dinner at 9 PM. If you choose the fancy restaurant route, it will take more than an hour and a half before you can finish your dinner. Also, wine or water etc., will have to be paid for at these tables. Too bad if you don’t like the dish served to you. It is no brainer, therefore, that after the first day none of us went back to that table. I suspect that, except for some stuck up guys coming to dinner in formal clothes, striking business deals, no body went back there. Some days Captain of the ship, or his Deputy, must have been the only guy having his dinner there. Speaking of the Captain, we were invited to have our photograph taken with the captain, so we all decked up in formal clothes and landed up at the appointed place. I perceived that the Captain should feel honored to have his photograph taken with a person of my rank and standing, but that guy was even more stuck up than me and he hardly glanced at the guests and stood around looking at the sky with his female secretaries fussing over him. This looked somewhat akin to a coop full of hen, with a single bossy Cock. Imagine the temerity of these guys, they wanted me to pay for this photo! I rather thought it should have been the other way around. While on the ship, avoid the temptation to shop even if watches, perfumes etc. are available at a fake discount of 30%. Best time to socialize and make friends is over a drink around the pool after you return from the sightseeing or just before and after the stage shows. Be warned that there are huge queues everywhere, especially when you enter the ship or are leaving the ship in the morning. What is surprising is that there was always a big queue at the reception. You have to wait a long time to resolve a query or get to get a question answered. If it is deliberate, I couldn’t fathom the reason. They ask you to deposit € 250 at the beginning of the cruise on your card issued by them. This card is also used for exit or entry to the ship, our passports having been retained by them on arrival. All your expenses are done through this card and deducted from your deposit. Tips are also deducted every day at the rate of € 10 per person. Parting is always a painful process but the cruise organizers seem to have undergone special training to make it more so. We were to dock at 1 PM on the final day. They asked us to deposit our luggage by 11PM the previous night. This caused us immense discomfort. It is difficult to fathom the reasons for such a wise step. To top it all we were asked to assemble at 2.10 PM for disembarkation, we all reached the assembly point, waited till 3 PM and when nobody turned up, we all just walked out of the ship. It looked kind of weird. All in all you can have a fairly good time despite these minor hiccups. Language is a barrier on European tours, all announcements are made in, at least, four languages. Preferably, best to travel in a group, you don’t feel lost and it is cheaper as well. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I booked this cruise after my 1st choice was on MSC MELODY i had to cancel. MY travel agent was no help is choosing another one! GETTING TO SHIP I travelled by RYANAIR the day before so i could watch the CHRISTENING! The next day ... Read More
I booked this cruise after my 1st choice was on MSC MELODY i had to cancel. MY travel agent was no help is choosing another one! GETTING TO SHIP I travelled by RYANAIR the day before so i could watch the CHRISTENING! The next day after breakfast i got a\ taxi to the ship which was quite a distance! EMBARKATION I arrived at the port at the port at 10.30am a lot before the time stated but others were there in 2 lines(no idea why or what for!!) We finally found out it was to drop off our bags. then to check-in where somehow i got PRIORITY as i had a classic card(which i later found was out of date!!) I boarded the ship as the cabins were no ready i had buffet lunch which was quite good. CABIN After lunch i looked at my cabin( i was not even shown where it was!!) It was an inside on deck 10. Quite large with a queen sized bed,mini bar,shower,safe, a\chair and pouffe and plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. RESTAURANTS I had asked for 1st seating but was given 2nd so had to queue to change it. It was VILLA ROSSA restaurant. Apart from that there is only TEX MEX which is a small charge, and GALAXY DISCO but AT 24 EUROS AND ONLY A FRENCH MENU i did not bother!! there is more choice if you have a YACHT CLUB SUITE.the food was quite basic and not a great choice especially for desserts. No TAP WATER! so had to buy BOTTLED WATER despite it being in your cabin and in the buffet! PORTS OF CALL A good choice ROME(i did my own thing on a train into the city) MESSINA i did an excursion to mount ETNA which was well worth the money. MALTA i got a bus to POPEYE VILLAGE it was\a long way and only just made it to the ship in time.DUBROVNIK had to pay 10 euros for a shuttle bus only to be ordered off as some did not have their passports(why could they have not told us?) SHOWS These were very good and varied from PIRATES,MIME, PRODUCTION SHOW to a classical concert with memorable arias(i only knew one and lots of people walked out!!) IMPRESSION A lovely ship but sadly the smaller ships had more amenities like a golf course and extra charges for everything from bottled water,charge for a birthday cake! charge for coffee and ice cream. so sadly i do not think i will be doing another msc cruise!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
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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