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1,686 MSC Cruises MSC Divina Cruise Reviews

We boarded the ship in Venice, having booked a package which included flights from London and transfer to the ship. Our daughter (9 years old) is in a wheelchair. The transfers, both to and from the ship were very smooth, with MSC ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Venice, having booked a package which included flights from London and transfer to the ship. Our daughter (9 years old) is in a wheelchair. The transfers, both to and from the ship were very smooth, with MSC staff assisting us with embarkation and disembarkation. Once onboard, we were immediately taken to our cabin, a category 5 oceanview on deck 8. The cabin was very clean and comfortable with enough space for our daughter's wheelchair despite not being a disabled cabin (there are no disabled oceanview cabins on this ship which, considering its size and age, is disappointing). Our cabin steward was excellent. He came and introduced himself shortly after we settled in our cabin and took note of any requests. He was extremely attentive and very friendly. We found the food excellent, both in the buffet and a la carte restaurants. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Calumet Buffet Restaurant on Deck 14, and were assigned a table for dinner in the Black Crab Restaurant on Deck 5. Our table waiters were excellent. There was plenty of variety in the buffet restaurant which included daily specials and 'Ethnic Corner', with foods from a different country on each day. We found the crew to be generally very helpful and friendly. The passenger mix was very cosmopolitan, with guests from all over Europe as well as some from the Middle East, Japan, China, USA and Australia.Now for the niggles. We found the shore excursions to be very expensive, so we only booked 1, in Istanbul. The excursion included the Blue Mosque, Museum and Grand Bazaar as well as a visit to a carpet manufacturer. There just wasn't enough time to fully enjoy the sights. For example we only had 20 minutes in the Grand Bazaar - barely enough time to walk in and look at a few shops. At the carpet manufacturer we got the hard-sell, which I found a little overbearing. We opted for the shuttle bus service organised by MSC in Bari. We found this to be very disorganised as hundreds of people were pushing to get onto the buses and we stood no chance with our daughter in the wheelchair. We ended up having to request an MSC crewmember to come and assist us as there was nobody organising the queuing for the buses. We had a mixed experience from reception staff, with some being very helpful and others indifferent or struggling with the language. The lifts on the ship were important to us, as we were unable to use the stairs with our daughter in the wheelchair. The lifts were very heavily used and in my view there just weren't enough for a ship of this size with over 4,000 passengers. We sometimes had to wait as several full lifts passed. We did, however, discover two side lifts tucked away from the main stairwells which were not as heavily used, and ended up using these for the remainder of the cruise. Lastly, the onboard shopping proved to be a less-than-satisfying experience. The day after we embarked we went to the Logo Shop on Deck 7 to purchase a metal model of the Divina mounted on a wooden plinth. The shop assistant told us that they were out of stock and would not be available for the duration of the cruise. There was even an advert in the daily magazine suggesting that if you purchased 2 models you could receive a 25% discount, despite no Divina models being available. Also, they seemed to run out of bags to put purchases in. They seem to have a serious stock management issue.All in all though, I would say the experience was positive and we are very much looking forward to our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
My partner and I have just returned from a cruise on the MSC Divina. Now I have cruised before on P&O from Southampton, however for my partner this was his first experience. To sum it up this was a perfect holiday in every way, ... Read More
My partner and I have just returned from a cruise on the MSC Divina. Now I have cruised before on P&O from Southampton, however for my partner this was his first experience. To sum it up this was a perfect holiday in every way, relaxing, hot and very well serviced, but to start you in a clear picture our only niggles were as follows - 1) the adults only 'infinity' pool is not adults only (we are fine with kids but this struck us as a bit of a pain. 2) some of the other guests on board were down right rude and ignorant (not MSC' fault) 3) end in Venice was spent sitting outside the terminal for 4.5 hours as coach transfer didn't leave till 1415 (again not MSC' fault, we should have booked the transfer to the center) Okay on reflection most of our niggles were nothing to do with the line itself, more other people and our own unguided knowledge. From the start of the cruise were were happy with the processes and ship, she is a monster of a girl but beautiful all the same, well planned out and designed and had a very nice atmosphere when we were walking around. The cabin was also spectacularly clean and tidy, good size as well in comparison to most I have seen. Embarkation - This to be honest is like organized chaos! Flight and coach transfer was painless and very easy as there was a representative at Marco Polo airport to greet us and get us to the transfer point. When we arrived at the terminal, as mentioned it was chaos, but it flowed well and was also painless. Instructed to drop our bags and went upstairs to check in where we could get on board straight away, all in all from airport to cabin took no longer than an hour all told. Went for lunch and ship set sail as planned, with mandatory drill done prior to slipping her lines. Food & Entertainment - Food wise the ship had it all from the usual buffet to the traditional dining and extra charge services. We ate in the buffet for the entire week, more from a point of view of flexibility than anything else, although the menus for the main restaurants looked very nice! The menu in the buffet didn't seem to alter much, it was much of the same most days, but all hot and a wealth of choice available from the usual grill fair and some ethnic dishes. The entertainment for us was a little lax I have to say. we went to three of the main theatre shows which were all very good and had everybody seeming to enjoy themselves. During the day however and throughout the evening there wasn't a huge amount to do or get involved in, this again didn't bother us too much as we are quite happy to chill out and just have a few drinks rather than go to nightclubs and tribute acts etc. What was available we found to be good and there were plenty of areas to sit and drink. Now Divina has been designed to carry 3500 passengers. 90% of the time you did not realize there were that many people on board. There were always areas available to sit around the pools and in bars as well as there being plenty of sunbeds. Little tip for you : on deck 18, overlooking the middle pool and in front of the funnel is the solarium, up here remains very quite for the duration of the cruise as many people do not explore this way. This is a good area to sunbath and chill out peacefully if required. There is also a large whirlpool/jacuzzi up here as well, go careful though as the ships horn is up here which is very loud and if goes when unexpected it scares the life out of you!!!!! All in all everything was arranged well and well planned. The staff were attentive and polite and always happy to help, the tour arrangements were great and again well planned with no queuing and a seamless process. The ship as well is very well decorated and feels very stylish and grown up, which for an Italian line i was expecting some garish colors etc. More on ports below, but cruise wise was excellent and I would strongly recommend sailing with MSC to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
At half term we went on the MSC Divina for a Mediterranean cruise. It was a bit of a strange holiday for us as our eldest had gone to university so it was the first holiday without her and our youngest was on her own with us oldies. Also ... Read More
At half term we went on the MSC Divina for a Mediterranean cruise. It was a bit of a strange holiday for us as our eldest had gone to university so it was the first holiday without her and our youngest was on her own with us oldies. Also my parents who are in their 70's came with us for the first time and it was their first cruise. I apologise for the length of the review, but I didn't want to miss anything out. EMBARKATION: This went really smoothly. We caught a taxi from the airport which dropped us right by the ship and we then queued for about 15 mins to go through all the rigmarole you need to do before getting on. Quite smooth really. SHIP: The MSC Divina is a huge ship with the most amazing Swarovski staircases in the reception area with a beautiful grand piano on the lower floor. It all looks spectacular. Although the ship was huge the only place that seemed really busy was the buffet restaurant, which was very manic at times. Everywhere else was just right, except the Black & White Lounge after the main show had finished, but even then we always managed to get a seat. We usually managed to find a sunbed, usually on the upper deck. Our cabin was a good size with not quite enough storage space for 3 of us, as our daughter was sharing a cabin with us. She slept on the settee which was opened each night for her. The only trouble was she didn't have a duvet so she was a bit cold sometimes. Lovely balcony with 2 chairs and a table. FOOD: Fantastic choice of food in the main dining room, lovely presentation, but the taste wasn't really that good. I soon realized that the fish dishes were better than the meat dishes so stuck to these mainly. Pasta was always al dente. We used the buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch. It was always manic and difficult to find a seat for 5 of us. Most of the tables are for 4 people. We usually managed to find one at the back of the restaurant though. The only trouble was by the time you got to the back your food was lukewarm. The Magnifique Buffet was visually stunning, but again absolutely packed and it was hard to actually get to the food. The Black Crab restaurant itself was beautiful, but we were put into a little side room with about 6 tables in, so sometimes we felt left out when something was happening in the main area. Baked Alaska parade was the worst I've ever seen (or not seen as we were in the little room) and only lasted for about 10 seconds. We had the Allegrissimo drinks package which was brilliant. Practically all the drinks were included, and ice-cream, and it meant you weren't worried about the bill at the end. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows in the theatre were amazing. There was a tenor who was fantastic and a female singer who was so-so. The dancers were really good and there were also loads of acrobatics, tumblers etc and even a bit of a magic act. For some reason the Michael Jackson show got a standing ovation, even though you couldn't see the dancers sometimes when they just showed a whole music video of Michael Jackson and the dancers missed one of the most famous parts of the Thriller dance out! Unfortunately on the last night they just repeated parts of the previous 6 nights, which was a bit disappointing. Franco the Cruise Director was hilarious with his signature pose and you could see people during their days on shore copying him. PORTS: We didn't do any of the ship's excursions, but made our own way around: BARI: We just walked from the ship into the town and walked around the cobbled streets. There were loads of men on the rocks by the sea catching cuttlefish. This really is a beautiful town. Getting back onto the ship was a complete nightmare. We must have queued for about ½ hour. The problem seemed to be due to people embarking here and having to put their luggage through the scanners. KATAKOLON: We caught a taxi to Olympia (I think it cost €100 for the 5 of us). We had a walk around Olympia and had a run on the track. The taxi then dropped us off amongst the shops in Katakolon for some retail therapy. IZMIR: We caught a taxi, as the sightseeing bus by this time was selling tickets for the bus in about 1½ hours time. I think the taxi cost us €20 each and he took us to the various tourist places. The driver was lovely until we asked him to drop us by the clock tower instead of going into the Grand Bazaar. He kept saying he couldn't stop there and insisted on taking us into the Grand Bazaar to a certain shop where he was obviously going to get a commission if we bought anything. Not impressed! ISTANBUL: We took the advice of a previous reviewer and caught the tram to where the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia etc were. The tram was really cheap and easy to use. Just turn left out of the port, walk down the main road until you come to the tram station, then buy your tokens to get you onto the station. Get off at Sultanahmet and you can see the sights. Don't miss the Basilica Cisterns which are the other side of the main road from Hagia Sophia. We then walked to the Grand Bazaar, following the signs, which is the most amazing place if you like shopping, then caught the tram back. DUBROVNIC: By the time we got off the ship all the taxis had disappeared so we caught the ship's shuttle for €10 each, which turned out to be really handy. The last time we staying in Dubrovnic we caught the bus into the town, but it was quite a walk to the bus stop for my parents. The shuttle dropped us off outside the town walls. We then caught the cable car to the top of the mountain to see the view, after which we walked around the town. We had to wait about 5 mins for the shuttle bus back to the ship. DISEMBARKATION: We were told the night before leaving that due to the colour of label we had on our luggage, we would have to disembark at 8.00. My parents were told 8.15. As our taxi wasn't coming until 10.00 I asked reception if we could stay on a bit longer. They just said "You want to stay longer, you stay longer" (obviously in an Italian accent), so in the morning we lingered over breakfast and then sat in the reception lounge until we decided to leave. It is mainly Italians and Germans on board so all the main announcements are made in several languages, which can go on for quite a long time. The games around the pool and in the Black & White Lounge were only in Italian so it was difficult to work out what was going on sometimes, but all the staff can speak English well. On the whole we had a lovely time. My younger daughter missed her sister and didn't go to the teen club, as she was worried it was full of Germans and Italians, but she enjoyed the party dances in the Black & White Lounge. She also enjoyed being chases around by the photographers! The time in port wasn't really long enough for us, although it was plenty long enough for my parents. This really was an excellent cruise for them with only a few hours in port and plenty of time to have a nap! VIEWS OF A 16 YEAR OLD ENGLISH GIRL: PORTS: I have always loved Italy and Greece so I enjoyed visiting Venice, Bari and Katakolon. I was excited to see the places in Turkey since I had never been there before. Like any other teenager when I am on holiday I try my hardest to get a tan. When we visited Izmir I decided to wear a playsuit due to the gorgeous weather -- bad choice. I have never had so much attention in my life. I don't particularly enjoy attention and found it horrible that I even had 60+ men staring at my legs. So piece of advice, COVER UP. Also, if you're white be prepared to be ogled. FOOD: Even though I am a very fussy vegetarian I absolutely loved the food. In the buffet it is safe to say there is something for everyone even if you have the risk of being trampled on by very hungry pensioners. In the evening we went to the restaurant. Even though we were stuck in the corner with the other people who spoke English I still enjoyed my meals. There was a large variety and plenty of it. Because there are seven courses you expect them all to be small -- think again. Every single evening I exited that room in a food coma, it was wonderful. (Don't expect to lose weight). HOWEVER, my favourite night on every cruise is Baked Alaska. Usually (with every other cruise line) the waiters and chefs make a massive deal out of it, parading around the whole restaurant doing silly dances or what not, BUT no. To say I was incredibly disappointed with the display would be an under statement. They walked to some stairs (by the quickest route) stood there for half a minute and then left. Not cool. CRUISE SHIP AND STAFF: Personally I prefer smaller ships than this. There were way too many people sometimes to enjoy yourself and not enough space -- major traffic jams. The staff were amazing. A few of the waitresses were having banter with my granddad which was hilarious to witness. I did tend to get harassed by the photographers, which escalated when my mom told one of them my name. This led to me being stalked for practically 5 days of my holiday hearing him shout my name. OTHER PASSENGERS: I try my best not to judge and be nice to other people, but this holiday made it impossible. It is rather easy to know the nationality of someone either by the way they look or if you can hear them speak and know the language. I just found them all rude. I've been brought up with manners and try my hardest to stick to them, but the Italians and Germans do not seem to possess any. Numerous times I held the door for people or waited to let people past and not once did I get a 'danke'/'grazie'. They didn't go by the suggested evening wear. I do enjoy to dress up and understand that other people don't, but wearing jeans on a formal night is just unnecessary. And then for rude old people to look me up and down and bitch about me is rude and uncalled for. Also, if you are travelling with an English 16 year old pre-warn them that they will most likely not find another English person around the same age. I do love my family but I did long for company of my own age in a language I could speak. Another point, I love exercising, I always try to keep fit, as I did try on the ship. However, whenever I went to the gym it was packed with people who clearly were only there because it was something to do. There was a girl in Harems. I'd understand if it was yoga but she was on an exercise bike and she was wearing converses. I'm sorry, but if you want to stay fit, your only chance of actually exercising in the gym is if you wake up at opening time. By the way, you know that running track they say is on board, they lied. ENTERTAINMENT: Loved it! The shows were fab and Franco (cruise director) was brilliant. After the first two nights I thought I wasn't going to enjoy the shows because there were quite a few old songs and opera. But then they jazzed it up a bit and I really enjoyed them. I know it seems lame for a 16 year old to be doing party dances but I thought they were great, although it was quite hard to follow them when the instructions were in Italian, but I soon got the hang of it. If you want to ask me any questions, just state the sixteen year old. I'm happy to answer anything ? Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We were interested in a Mediterranean cruise over Thanksgiving holidays, and after doing some research, the MSC Divina became an obvious choice for the following reasons: 1) brand new ship, made it's maiden voyage in July 2012 2) ... Read More
We were interested in a Mediterranean cruise over Thanksgiving holidays, and after doing some research, the MSC Divina became an obvious choice for the following reasons: 1) brand new ship, made it's maiden voyage in July 2012 2) kids cruise free when booked with two adults 3) my mother was cruising with us, and they had a reasonable price for a single room occupant 4) great port-of-calls: Barcelona (our embarkation port), Canary Islands, Casablanca, Madeira Islands, Malaga, Rome, Genoa. We flew into Barcelona the day of embarkation, and in retrospect, we should have arrived at least a day or two earlier. There was a general strike in Barcelona, and we were fortunate to be able to arrive a day after the strike. The port was close to the airport, but since we were traveling with 5 adults and 2 kids (my wife and I, my mother, my mother-in-law and father-in-law, and my two boys ages 9 and 7), we were able to get a 1/2 day tour with Barcelona Day Tours, who picked us up from the airport, took us to all the highlights in the city (Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Las Ramblas, several Gaudi houses), and they also dropped us off at the port. The embarkation at Barcelona was OK, no major hassles, but we were VERY tired by mid-afternoon, because of jet-lag and time differences. It would have been nice to get on-board faster, especially with young children, but we waited for about 2 hours overall (we arrive by noon), and about 1 hour in line. Overall, the MSC Divina is an impressive ship, with all the bells and whistles of a newly minted boat. The cruisers were about 40% German, 40% Spanish and Italian, 10% other Europeans (mostly French) + Turks, and about 10% or less English speaking, mostly British nationals, and probably less than 1% Americans / Canadians. All announcements were translated into 5 languages, but we did not feel overwhelmed, it was fun to be amongst other cultures. Most people were very courteous, and the staff was all English speaking. We occupied 3 rooms in the front of the ship, one balcony and two inside rooms. The room was adequately sized, but the balcony wall was metallic white rather than glass, and this is the case for balcony rooms in the front and back of the ship. There was an unusual cracking sound when the ship was traveling at a higher speed, especially noticeable during the night, and we asked for an engineer to see if they can alleviate the sound, but he said it was structural, coming from the wooden frame, and cannot be fixed. I initially thought it was from the balcony doors. The bathroom was European style with liquid shower soap and shampoo, adequately stocked. I hope to comment on the following topics to help out future cruisers who might be considering the MSC line. FOOD/DRINKS: The main dining food was good, but more European, so there was an good mix of pasta / beef / veal / fish / turkey etc, but very limited in steak / seafood (no lobster/crab/shrimp nights), and the veggie selections were always good. The desserts were GREAT! The drink package is very unusual, in that water was not free. North American travelers get a free bottled water per room per day, but that is usually not enough with 3 meals to consider. So we opted for different drink packages, some with just extra water, and some with juices / soft drinks. We didn't drink as much wine or other alcohol as most of the Europeans, so we did not consider the Allegrissimo packages. Water and juices were free during breakfast in the all-you-can-eat restaurant in the 14th floor (the Calumet, I think), but strange enough, they block the same machines that off for lunch and dinner, so you end up having to buy all drinks or use coupons. It's just different from American cruise lines. Service was EXCELLENT throughout, very friendly wait staff in all sections. There were several "gala" and "formal" nights, and we did dress up for those, but noticed that they were not very well followed, maybe only about 50% of the cruisers observed the dress code. ENTERTAINMENT: We went to most of the shows during the evening, and they were all very enjoyable; talented actors / singers. The Michael Jackson tribute was the best! We also enjoyed the pool, the coordinated activities during the morning, bingo, and I rode the Formula 1 racer which was quite fun. KIDS CLUB: My boys enjoyed the Club Mini and they had great activities every day. Lots of crafts, games, Wii tournaments, and occasional group lunches and dinners. Kids have a choice of staying practically all day when the ship is docked on port. We took our kids on the excursions, but apparently you can keep the on the ship if you'd like. We had a very choppy night after the first port (Casablanca), and were told it was normal to have high winds in the Atlantic during the winter season. The boat was rocking so much that all we could do was stay in bed. Several adults in my family took pills for motion sickness which were being given by the concierge desk, and that helped a little. Strange enough, both my boys were not that affected, and they still insisted on going up to the Mini-Club, and on my way there, it appeared many other passengers were not as affected as we were. But we basically stayed in bed the ENTIRE day at sea, and didn't even get to the restaurants for any of the meals. After that one day, everything was calmer, and the rest of the trip was smooth sailing, especially after entering back into the Mediterranean. Lots of picture taking opportunities! We bought a few of the portraits, since it was not easy to get our whole family in a setting. The price was 50 Euros for about 5 pictures. I'll comment on the ports below separately. There is no option on Casablanca, which was our first port, and we took a city tour through MSC, and it was very nice, got to see an olive market, the historic portion of the city, a Catholic church (Notre Dame), and the very impressive Hassan II Mosque. Overall, we were pleased with our cruise experience with MSC, and would not hesitate to book with them again. It's different from American lines, but still a very enjoyable experience overall. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
After writing an extensive and mostly glowing review of a 7 day voyage in MSC Splendida's Yacht Club May of 201, we returned in November of 2012 for 11 days on MSC's new Divina, again in a Yacht Club cabin. The first review was ... Read More
After writing an extensive and mostly glowing review of a 7 day voyage in MSC Splendida's Yacht Club May of 201, we returned in November of 2012 for 11 days on MSC's new Divina, again in a Yacht Club cabin. The first review was written in the glow of our first Med Cruise and Yacht Club experience. Does MSC's exclusive and pricey experience stand up to a second trips scrutiny? The Ship and public spaces: Divina is virtually identical to the Splendida in layout, save the cursory changes in bar themes and color schemes. Most notably to me was the addition of a sports bar with at least 10 screens, which allowed me to watch a couple sports events that I didn't want to miss. The food menu was unique in this bar as well with pub food and beers from around the world. Nice! They have a silly two lane bowling alley in the bar as well. Fun for the kids I suppose, but at 8 Euro a game, I didn't see a single game in action. None of the other many bars stood out, but there was a general (personal?) feeling that the overall style was a bit less flashy than the Splendida. There is still plenty of shiny chrome, brass, Swarovski crystal embedded stairs etc. There is an ample Cyber cafe with a printer that, while still charging stiff fees for internet usage, they at least print at no charge. 24 hours of prepaid WiFi internet usage is 150 Euro. Wifi connection was strong across all the areas I used it in, save for, ironically our cabin! The Casino seemed much larger, spanning the width of the 6th deck. The pool areas are very nice and appeared spacious on at sea days. The spa is excellent, very well finished and the gym is huge, spanning across the entire bow on the 14th deck with excellent equipment. We ate outside the Yacht Club dining options only three times, once each at "Sacramento", the Pizza restaurant, and the Buffet. Sacramento is curious. It exemplifies MSC's lack of understanding of Americans or their food culture. All during the cruise, they promote through announcements the Mexican cuisine here, and in fact they do have burritos, Fajitas etc. yet the on ship signage promotes the Burgers and Steaks. Pictures throughout the restaurant are from what appears to be California's Gold rush era. A silly observation perhaps, but one that may cause confusion, or worse mockery by the large American contingent when the ship moves to the Caribbean in late 2014 in MSC's stated goal of attracting more US dollars. The Burgers, by the way were generous in size, but identical to what you find in European restaurants promoting USA burgers...bland, grey, flavorless pucks. 8 Euro for a large double burger, good fries and a beer. Plentiful, if not satisfying. The Pizza restaurant on the other hand was excellent! A good, 15+ pie selection, prepared with excellent ingredients in a gas fired brick oven. The pie was very good, well made with a very good, burnt in just the right places thin crust. A bargain at 5 Euro for about a 12" to 14". Great The buffet was as expected, the few items we had were not good, yet not bad, just sustenance. Walking through at least once each meal time appeared to deliver much of the same. I think it is worth calling out that every space we experienced on the ship was absolutely spotless. MSC puts a lot of effort into keeping the public spaces very clean. Even the occasional peek behind closing doors in crew areas revealed white, white, white! Nice to see. Note that this is decidedly a foreign cruise line and experience. There was but one other American couple in the Yacht Club and until we boarded the "English" bus to Rome on day 10, I can honestly say I did not hear one American dialect, and very few British. The crew all speak very good English, but you will be surrounded by passengers speaking many different languages. It was fine with us, but maybe not for everyone. The perfunctory 9:30 daily announcements in 5 different languages became a bit much however. The Yacht Club: With all that said, we must admit that public areas interaction was mostly limited to back and forth to Le Muse, the clubs exclusive restaurant. When you have access to your own pool area, lounge, concierge, and restaurant why spend time elsewhere? The Divina has a very similar configuration as the Splendida, save for fewer Yacht Club Cabins. The YC cabins that were on decks below 15 & 16 have been converted to "Aurea" Spa rooms. All of the YC facilities remain the same size resulting in what should be even more room for the remaining YC guests. And what facilities they are! The "Top Sail Lounge", on the 15th deck spans literally 180 degrees of glass across the bow. The area is very spacious, with a bar, impeccable service and excellent snacks that are refreshed throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As with all YC facilities, well drinks, beer, wine and soda and a nice cocktail list are free. Also included is a proper afternoon tea service, very professionally done. The attention to detail across the YC, but particularly in this lounge is fantastic. The YC pool area appears the same as the Splendida, save for an awning added over tables on the bar side of the deck, a nice addition. Again, snacks are offered...and did I say the drinks are included?? This area is on the top 18th deck on the bow with spectacular views The YC restaurant, Le Muse is located, as it is on Splendida on the 15th deck on the stern. Getting to the restaurant from the YC cabins results in one of two experiences dependent on the weather. Nice out? A pleasant stroll outside across the open 15th deck. Inclement weather? A sometimes slow elevator ride to deck 6 or 7, then through the crowded bars, past the shops and the regularly packed photograph area to another slow elevator ride back up to 15. Once at Le Muse, the dining experience is mixed. The service always continues the YC theme...attentive, professional, but never rushed or fussy. They get the service right in the bars and restaurant. It was only the food early on that was hit and miss. After the first three days we were quite disappointed and not looking forward to the rest of the trip at Le Muse. But after those three days, they hit their stride and the meals improved considerably. We also learned to lean towards the Italian dishes, particularly the Pastas. Make no mistake, there is no Michelin star eminent, but it was much better with a few very good dishes along the way. The cabin, as on our last cruise was excellent. Plenty spacious and very nicely finished with a nicely stocked mini bar (all contents included in the YC price). We are very happy with the 16035 YC1 cabin. As noted before, this cabin (and its twin on the starboard side 16034) are a lot wider, but not as deep as the standard YC1 cabin. This offers a more spacious room and balcony. Of course the cabin was spotless after its twice daily service. And a new feature, your daily local newspaper is included...by early afternoon, I was delivered a full size, every page of my SF Chronicle. Awesome! A note on Butler service. On our cruise last year, the Butler was so attentive, it bordered on too much. We rarely left our room without him walking up, asking if we needed anything, escorting to the restaurant etc. He was regularly in the lounge and always at the ready. For this cruise, our Butler was MIA. We met him at embarkation as he took us to our room and that was about it! It was somewhat disappointing, but the rest of the butlers and service team all made up for his vanishing act. The service didn't lack, but it was curious. Our ports were Genoa, Barcelona, Casablanca, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Fuchal, Malaga, Civitavecchia and return to Genoa. The only excursion we booked was a round trip bus ride to Rome that was clunky at leaving the port, but an efficient return amid the zoo that is the St Peters Square bus terminal. Smoking attracts a lot of attention around MSC on this board. It is prevalent on the ship, but inside areas are limited to the casino, the enclosed cigar room and an area of the Lounge in the Yacht Club. It is at a bothersome level only in the Casino. The Casino area does open above to a bar one deck above, and while there is no smoking in that bar, the cigarette smell is noticeable. The small smoking area in the Yacht Club lounge is somehow very well vented, not affecting the rest lounge at all. Another excellent cruise on MSC! They are definitely not your father's cruise line, and to us that is part of the appeal. If you want to be surrounded by English speaking neighbors, and feel as though you haven't left the U.S. while on board, MSC is likely not for you. The Yacht Club cost really isn't that much more in cost to a regular balcony cabin, and the included drinks alone make up much of the additional cost. If you want to splurge on the Yacht Club experience, this cruiser highly recommends it and will return. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We cruised in November and took in a little of Barcelona before hand due to a strike in the city, arrived at the port waited for 2 hours of general disorganised chaos and then welcomed aboard to be shown to our balcony room which was not ... Read More
We cruised in November and took in a little of Barcelona before hand due to a strike in the city, arrived at the port waited for 2 hours of general disorganised chaos and then welcomed aboard to be shown to our balcony room which was not really a balcony but more of a large porthole which was not made clear to us when booking, it was difficult to see anything unless standing at balcony, I believe the balconies above deck 9 are full glass which would have been much better.Our cruise started with the usual safety brief, I know this is mandatory but in 5 languages and every 2 nd or 3rd port this becomes unbearable for half an hour each time, we went up to the deck 14 buffet which was very busy , it was serving cold bland food mixed with people pushing and shoving to get to the food , the seating area is huge however it has to accommodate thousands and chances of getting a seat while you food is still warm is slim. Our worst experience of this restaurant was being pushed by a fellow cruiser rather than be polite enough to wait his turn for food, the service for drinks is sparse. Breakfast is also pretty poor in here.We ate in the black crab main dining room, again food is a bit of a hit and miss , not sure if any of the dishes were authentic Italian and mostly lukewarm. The entertainment inboard is not much better than silly games in the black and white bar to a man who looked like he had passed away many years ago while playing the piano in the jazz bar, although is really bad interpretation of Neil diamond was the highlight of our entertainment.Through no fault of msc we did endure bad weather whilst leaving Gibraltar into the Atlantic which caused around 2 days of the ship rolling all day and night and no chance of sunbathing,general sunbathing ares when the weather was ok we're very busy and the entertainment at poolside was truly awful.Our biggest gripe about the cruise was that our fellow guests that would just push and shove and shout amongst themselves and had no concept of queuing or indeed holding a door open for anyone , good manners does not feature ! The cruise has several ports which are accessible by car and although we paid quite a lot for our holiday our fellow mates were holidaying for a mere 200 pounds for an inside cabin, with this and a mix of general resentment from the staff to service there guests does not make for a special cruise.We tried to make good a bad holiday however the final straw was in Sacramento restaurant where the service was slow as the staff were watching the football on the tv and the guitarist decided to stop and also watch the football, our food arrived and appeared to all be prepackaged, we were served potato wedges which had a large black in edible piece in it and when I called the waitress she took it away to ask the chef what was going on and he went into a rant, arms up in the air and then gestured to us in disbelief that his food wasn't good enough, we decided to leave with the chefs eyes firmly planted on us, a real lack of customer service and disregard for the guests in every aspect.We cruised earlier in the year with celebrity from Miami and it is vastly superior to msc, great food, great people and great entertainment, msc needs to be much more customer focused and have better trained staff to compete with other cruise companies. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was our honeymoon, we had planned to travel RTW by plane, but my wife's back problems caused by osteoporosis meant that long-haul travel was out of the question. I found a special offer from an Italian travel agency (Falk Travel) ... Read More
This was our honeymoon, we had planned to travel RTW by plane, but my wife's back problems caused by osteoporosis meant that long-haul travel was out of the question. I found a special offer from an Italian travel agency (Falk Travel) who are linked to the supermarket group LIDL, where we do our weekly shopping. Booking: A bit of a nightmare, the Italians do love their paperwork, and Falk demanded all sorts of documents to be faxed to them (as if we were another agency with office equipment and spare time to match) at very short notice. I researched MSC on-line, and pre-booked the water, news and two excursion packages over the net. I further visited a High St travel agency to compare our "savings" and find out about parking at Genova. I joined Cruise Critic to ask about my biggest worry: paying on board with my Visa Debit card. MSC is ambiguous on both it's website and in it's brochures, saying only that "Pre-paid debit cards are not accepted" but credit cards are. I don't have credit cards, and didn't want to get one just for this trip. A further enquiry, by phone to the MSC UK call center (to avoid language problems) taught me only one thing: Mark - the call center operator that I spoke to - has no training, manners, people skills or any foreseeable future in customer relations. Embarkation: An easy drive, good car parking (not the MSC sponsored park, but a much cheaper one sourced on the web) courteous porters and not too many delays. Very unlike the experiences of less fortunate passengers, many of whom were flown from LGW to Nice (of all places!) and then they faced a long coach journey without food, drink or toilets after a flight delay of over 90 minutes. Needless to say, all the pre-embarkation check-in work had been a complete waste of time, but I found out (at this eleventh-hour juncture) that Visa and Mastercard were both accepted. Why was this not PLAINLY stated by website, brochures AND call-center cretins alike? I was now carrying 2,500 in cash which i had had to queue up for in Christmas rush banks - I was not impressed. We found our own cabin, no help offered, and were pleasantly surprised by it's cleanliness, relative spaciousness, equipment, furnishings and balcony view. We were further impressed by the availability, if not the quality, of an unexpected buffet lunch. Catering: Universally bland - even the Tex-Mex menu was only enlivened by the sparse and unimaginative use of jalapenos. Where was the garlic, onion, rich smoked salumi and herby tomato cuisine so praised by international chefs when talking about Italian cuisine? Lavish use of costly ingredients and skillful preparation and presentation was ultimately marred by catering down to a standard guaranteed neither to excite nor offend anyone. Talk about living in a "Nanny State", now we had to endure "nursery food". Our waiter was attentive, intelligent and charming, he should be in charge of training the others, who varied from inept, untrained and uncomprehending to downright rude and offensive (I cite the poolside drinks waiter who removed my drink while I was in the toilet, then said - not even sotto voce - "What a Disaster!" when I had the audacity to ask for a replacement). Passenger Services: Reception and accounting were not much better, I can only speak a few European languages: Three fluently and another four and a half in a broken manner. But if they don't want to hear what you have to say, they won't, and that's that! (NB never expect an apology, it's not in their vocabulary, in ANY language) The on-board newspaper was an (almost) endless source of amusement, I have kept them all as a teaching aid to show my students how badly the English tongue can be mangled. My Italian wife has done the same with her Italian copies: we still chortle about the Padre celebrating "Holy Mess" in the theatre. Excursions: The least said, the better. I only booked two: Casablanca and Ostia. The former was smelly, uncomfortable (spiritually & physically) and overpriced. Our guide was an Islamic Evangelist, but so modern-minded that he boasted of only having one wife. The latter trip (Ostia) was cancelled at the last minute due to lack of interest - with a little notice we could have made other arrangements, but hey! Overall: I agree with all the negative comments in the reviews of others who have endured - sorry, enjoyed MSC. The photographers are intrusive, the pricing irrational, the staff - with exceptions - poorly trained, and lacking in language skills. Many of them are Indonesian or from the former USSR - not the best linguistic heritage for working with a western European / American customer base. They are further hobbled by a company policy of regularly transferring crew members between vessels. A practice which stops the staff from ever building useful teams or esprit-de-corps. The Other Passengers: A great crowd with a few notable exceptions, cruising certainly makes it easy to make friends if you want to, and a large vessel makes it easy to avoid those who you find less than affable. I'm sure a few were avoiding me by the end of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This is our 3rd cruise with MSC so it can be assumed that we like there ships,their itineraries and their value for money, MSC Divina fulfilled all, albeit with a few minor niggles, but nothing sufficient to detract from the overall ... Read More
This is our 3rd cruise with MSC so it can be assumed that we like there ships,their itineraries and their value for money, MSC Divina fulfilled all, albeit with a few minor niggles, but nothing sufficient to detract from the overall experience of the cruise and the holiday. As with our last cruise with MSC this one was booked as a cruise only with air travel to and from Genoa being organised independently through British Airways finding that BA's 23kg luggage allowance provided sufficient allowance for what had been packed to see us through an 11 day cruise with a number of gala dinners anticipated with some room to spare. On arrival in Genoa it was easy to get a taxi to the port from the front of the terminal, with the charges regulated we found it cost less than 30 Euros and whilst taking a different route to that made by the local bus service to the Genoa stations it seems to be the route taken by taxis to and from the airport using a dual carriageway toll road from the airport almost directly to the port . Embarkation was as usual slightly chaotic, having been directed down a separate queue we were quickly re-directed to the back of the main single queue, despite MSC offering preferential boarding to its club members I've yet to see this actually being offered, in fact it was explained that this facility was for black card holders only, which is entirely contradictory to their stated club benefits. However, despite this annoyance boarding was relatively quick and easy. On boarding it was no surprise that the ship looked very familiar being very similar in look and style to Splendida, our familiarity proved useful as on this occasion we were not shown to our cabin but left to find our own way, which for us proved easy. An inside cabin on Deck 12 to the stern of the ship was no different to that occupied on Splendida and was satisfactory for all our requirements. Although fairly simply furnished it was sufficient for our needs, we did need to obtain an extension from housekeeping for a CPAP machine to be plugged in but this wasn't difficult to arrange. As usual with MSC the cabin was nicely kept, beds made up and turned down, towels replaced and made to look respectable every day despite our clutter. Newcomers to MSC should be aware that it doesn't offer much in the way of English speaking TV channels, Euronews being the nearest, unless your a fan of BBC Entertainment and cbeebies the bbc channel for young children! The cabin was quiet and not subject to any unusual noise or motion or smells, there was a bit of movement when in the Atlantic but other than for the use of the bow thrusters etc when maneuvering into or out port there was no significant disturbance from or awareness of the engines or propellers. I was most impressed when we met the Cabin Steward in the gangway who introduced himself and despite not seeing us come out of the cabin knew which cabin we were in, throughout the cruise Handry was brilliant and was always around with a cheery hello and good morning and shared a laugh with us every day, he's an asset MSC. It was noted that MSC appear to have changed their policy on the safety drill, as it took place prior to leaving Genoa, this seemed to go much quicker than on previous drills and was compulsory with your attendance being recorded, as usual what was slightly annoying was that not all passengers took it as seriously as they should, particularly with the still fairly recent Costa accident. A review of the cruise; The first port of call was Barcelona with a 12 noon arrival. A shuttle bus service was offered by MSC at a reasonable cost but we chose to join the queue for taxis which was fairly orderly and went fairly quickly. We took a taxi to the cable car station for around 10 - 15 Euros and took the cable car 1 way over to the harbour, it is well worth the cost of 10 Euros for a one way trip. A walk round the harbour and through town to La Ramblas where I incurred the wrath of a street performer by photographing him from a distance without paying, what a pity that Barcelona's famous street performers are not as welcoming as others as that we saw during this trip, this gold painted cowboy whistled continually to get my attention and payment. Elsewhere street performers don't demand or expect payment, Barcelona take note, this expectation will detract from the attraction. As seems usual with MSC the stop in Barcelona was limited to some 4 hours or so, what a pity for such a great city with so much to see and enjoy given the time. 2 days at sea followed, the first in the Med the second going out into the Atlantic to Madeira. Overall the Med was fairly benign, the Atlantic was calm but with a slight swell which led to some noticeable movement, nothing that I found uncomfortable in any way, more interesting! As usual when steaming along at a rate of knots there was a fair and cool wind which restricted the full use of the outdoor pools and sun decks but there were plenty of activities and locations on board to satisfy most people. Our first day at sea brought the first of our gala dinners. New Years Eve saw the second of the gala dinners, two on consecutive days, followed by our arrival in the bay of Funchal for the midnight fireworks which in a word are stunning, not only are fireworks fired from barges in the bay but also from the surrounding hills, London take note - others have pulled off your much heralded (millennium eve)'river of fire' successfully where yours didn't come off as we all expected! Having docked in Funchal we had a full day there with departure at 6pm, and on walking into town we found that a night club was not only still disgorging young celebrants but was still going strong, no fuddy duddys here then! We ignored all the taxi drivers who assured us that everywhere was closed and that there island tours where the only option, Funchal was open for business though. Funchal is a gorgeous city, the centre is compact, clean, welcoming, pretty and provided a pleasant place to enjoy a coffee and a brass band playing outside the cathedral. We walked to the cable car in town and took it to Monte, well worth visiting for the view and its church. Given the time available we didn't visit any of the gardens, the only disappointment was that the toboggans from Monte down the hill were not open and so another visit will be required. The following morning saw our arrival in a slightly damp and overcast Tenerife, up until then the weather had ranged from glorious and very warm sunshine in ports to cloudy and cool at sea, this was the first stop and first day that we needed protection from rain. As usual we explored independently and found that Tenerife was not particularly to our liking, although Santa Cruz is a obviously a shopping centre it is for that reason that it didn't float our boat. Apart from a local market which is not a tourist destination but a collection of fish, meat and fruit and veg shops and a pleasant square or two there was nothing much on offer but shops and shopping so we took a tram ride out of town to La Trinidad. This seemed as busy as Santa Cruz but it also offered a more pleasant old town with an artisan craft market, on a drizzly day it wasn't great walking round the old town but it may be nicer on a sunnier day. What I found interesting was the artisan market discovered in a square on our way back to port, well worth looking at for gifts or mementoes of a trip. Departure from Tenerife brought another gala dinner, our 3rd in 4 days, all at our table thought this was something of overkill by MSC and so was not strictly adhered to, it was also noticeable that on occasion for the gala dinners in particular there were noticeable absences from the tables surrounding us. The following morning we arrived in Casablanca and again we decided to stick with our independent exploring rather than take an organised tour or a taxi tour. If you alight in Casablanca be aware that you disembark in a working port and may have to avoid forklifts and loading trucks as we did, you should also bear in mind that to exist the port on foot involves a considerable walk. Casablanca was it was a case of set off and hope for the best. We walked into town and our first experience was a somewhat eye opening walk through the maze of alleyways and shops that made up the Medina (the Bazar Aya). Although some of what we saw in Casblanca was not what we were used to we didn't feel unsafe even wandering off the main tourist routes in order to get ourselves to the Mosque, in fact one of the surprises was coming across an entire market stopped and at prayer in the middle of the market and the road and then disappearing in all directions in a sea of people when prayers were concluded, amazing. We walked a considerable distance to find the Grande Mosque of Hassan II built jutting into the waves of the Atlantic, but the walk was worthwhile with a guided tour of the interior being offered with all nationalities being catered for by multi linguistic guides, if you make one visit in Casablanca make it the Grand Mosque; Rick's Bar which we walked past on our return journey to the port proved a disappointment and not worth making a special effort to see. The following afternoon saw our arrival in Malaga for an afternoon stop, this is much like Barcelona in that the amount of time in port was disappointing, Malaga was a great surprise being a beautiful city with lots of character and interest and nothing like the Benidorm sort of tourist resort imagined. A very warm afternoon saw us explore Malaga and in particular the inside of the Cathedral which is well worth the entry, the interior is beautiful. We found the city centre to be compact and very pleasant to walk round enjoying a buzzing atmosphere, we will be back in Malaga to explore the city and the region further as there is much more to see there. At the time of our visit the centre was full of shoppers enjoying the sales and the bars and restaurants and unfortunately we had to leave before the procession of the kings later that afternoon, what we did find though was the market set up all along the seafront. Departure from Malaga brought the final of our four gala dinners and the highlight of the flaming baked Alaska delivered as usual with music and panache. A slight annoyance at Malaga was the advertisement of a shuttle bus, what wasn't advertised was the availability of both a local service bus and a hop on hop off tourist bus within a few minutes walk of the terminal, MSC could be more helpful in providing information on all options available to passengers, particularly those not availing themselves of organised excursions. It was whilst 'queuing' - in the loosest possible sense of the word - for the shuttle bus that tempers flared among some passengers, one Italian getting himself very irate and looking close to fisticuffs, the young girls responsible the queue would be no match for irate impatient passengers if trouble broke out, MSC need to manage this situation more and ensure that queues for buses, taxis, etc are managed more and do not provide an excuse for impatient passengers to cause trouble, they should also stop their own staff from jumping the queue, on this cruise MSC staff were found to be the most adept at jumping queues to board buses. The final port of call was Civitavecchia were we spent the day wondering around town. We found it to be pleasant enough with some nice shops and a market where we bought a cheap Italian extension cable for future cruises so that was worthwhile in itself. What doesn't appear to be worth while is the tourist train which we didn't take on being told that there wasn't much to see. Our final port of call was Genoa where we found that MSC's disembarkation procedures appear to have changed to the benefit of passengers who no longer have to sit in the theatre awaiting their disembarkation, we were able to enjoy breakfast, coffee and a leisurely wander around the decks before going to our meeting point. Disembarkation itself was easy with the only point of note being the need to be aware that queuing for a taxi is not always easy with our other nationalities having different ideas as to an orderly and patient queue! Other aspects of the cruise; Itinerary - the itinerary was good, although given the coolness of the season we found that 3 sea days were bordering on too many days at sea. The ports of call rated as follows; Barcelona - great city, needs more time and a dedicated visit Funchal - very nice town, cable car a highlight, New Year fireworks were awesome Tenerife - a disappointment to us and on this showing not likely to be revisited Casablanca - an experience, one that may be repeated Malaga - great ambiance, much enjoyed, needs more time and a dedicated visit Civitavecchia - nothing special - you're better off taking the train to Rome Genoa - not to every one's taste, but worth a look if in town ahead of a cruise The weather in the main was sunny, dry and very warm, the only days that were not were the days at sea which were breezy and cool, although sunny on occasion, and Tenerife which was cool overcast and drizzly, all in all great weather. The food and restaurants - One area that did not disappoint was the food. Yes the buffet was mostly busy at lunch but we always found a table, the food offered was varied and plentiful and there was plenty of choice, although on occasion it could have been hotter, some may have a problem with melamine plates for lunch but given their service of 3000 plus it cannot really be argued with. The food offered for main dining in the Villa Rosa restaurant was varied and plentiful with 7 courses always offered from the main menu and a number of alternatives always available if none in the main menu were to your liking. I found the food to be always of good quality and always served hot, I had no problems with the food or with the waiting staff, my one issue with MSC is the use of photographers at meal times, they are intrusive and in our case extremely rude. Some people have an issue with MSC not providing free water or tea and coffee, we might expect it but it shouldn't be the major issue some make of it, if you take the trouble to visit the buffet at anytime day or night you'll find free water, tea and coffee always available, there is no requirement to pay for water or beverages on board. Entertainment- The major disappointment was the evening theatre shows which we found did not match the standards seen in other MSC ships. The entertainment team seemed non existent where as on other cruises they were in evidence in the theatre providing some pre show fun and entertainment. The shows themselves were the usual 40 minute offerings by MSC, one was a surprising 20 minutes long, hardly worth the effort of either MSC putting it on or us in making our way to the theatre! Of the shows seen the Parisian and Italian themed shows were enjoyable, the pianist I found over-rated and over-used given his headlining in two shows, the singers were good but the opera singer who had the audience on their feet in Barcelona was not to my personal liking. The Michael Jackson tribute was the best staged, although lip synched. The dancing was superb and the staging excellent. We expected more from the shows and they could have been more variety offered, they disappointed overall which is a shame as we expected more from MSC on Divina. Staff- We found the staff on board to be generally good with some exceptions being both outstandingly good and bad. The outstandingly good was Philatron a waitress who greeted us by our first names after a gap of two years since meeting her and speaking to her of an evening on Splendida, that's amazing. Also outstandingly good was the previously mentioned Cabin Steward Handry and Sery our waiter in Villa Rosa. The outstandingly bad was the photographer who whilst taking photos of our table at a gala dinner refused to take a photo of myself and my partner and I whilst taking pictures of all eight other diners at a table of nine, given that we were dressed for a gala dinner and that we wanted a photograph it surprised us that we were ignored and treated both with some ignorance and extremely rudely by what one can only hope is a rogue member of staff who has no place dealing with members of the public, MSC will be made aware of this in a formal complaint to MSC in the UK, MSC in Italy. The other area that could be improved was the ability of staff to provide information on ports and places of interest and the means of transport available to independent travellers, whilst set up to sell their own excursions it would be nice to have additional information available and not to be sold tickets for a shuttle bus when alternatives were available and were not advertised. Some ports of call with shuttle buses provided could also do with better crowd management to avoid the likelihood of arguments, the use of young ladies to manage the disembarking crowd trying to board shuttle buses in Malaga was not altogether successful when I seriously thought that fists would fly. Overall - MSC Divina didn't disappoint on most fronts, a very stylish ship, too large for some perhaps but never seeming too busy apart from on gala evenings when the communal areas mid-ships were awash with those either making their way from the first sitting ot to the second sitting. The mix of passengers on board was as usually for MSC ships, being an Italian line it is no surprise that Italians, Germans, French and Spanish were in the majority, closely followed by Eastern Europeans and a noticeably increased contingent of Brits with a fair number of Americans also on board. The on board shopping is for those with money although the duty free shop offered cigarettes at well below prices seen elsewhere both onshore and in duty free shops at ports. There are numerous bars and lounges with lots of various types of music and entertainment on offer at most times of the day and evening, the one thing it was hard to find on occasion was a quiet spot, MSC seemed to let out the library to groups some afternoons which was irritating if you wanted somewhere quiet to read. To sum up, a good cruise, an enjoyable holiday, great ports of call, most of which were new to us, the food was good and the service was as expected and surpassed. This cruise brought similar benefits to that of our previous cruise on Musica in that we were sat with friendly and amusing diners who we went on to share many evenings with on board. As with on the Musica previously we hope to maintain a friendship with new friends made on board. We would cruise on Divina again and as 3 time cruisers with MSC we would will most certainly be cruising with them again soon. We happen to be comfortable with MSC, a fact that some reviewers see as being blind allegiance to a particular line, as can be seen from my review this cruise was not without its issues but none so bad as to spoil a holiday or to prevent us from choosing MSC for another cruise. We approach our cruises with an open mind and a realisation that we get what we pay for, MSC offer style, comfort, service, good Italian food, and great itineraries on superb ships at a very reasonable price and we find that hard to be beaten by other lines. So that is my review of a cruise on MSC Divina, if you consider it blind allegiance that is fine by me but please do not criticise me on forums for making a different choice to you, after all you make your choice! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Embarkation was relatively smooth. I had heard that you could arrive 1 hour before the "actual" checkin time, however this was not the case. Drinks packages and dayspa packages were available to purchase before we got on the ... Read More
Embarkation was relatively smooth. I had heard that you could arrive 1 hour before the "actual" checkin time, however this was not the case. Drinks packages and dayspa packages were available to purchase before we got on the boat. Im not sure why I spent all the time trying to do it from Australia. It ended up being a waste of time organising drinks pacakages, as once we got on board the waiters had no idea about the type of packages we had booked! Certainly wasnt there fault, it seems that the packages that are being sold in Australia are actually different to what they have on the ship, or not common. So the translation from Australian booking agents to the ship did not work. This was for 3 of the 5 families that were travelling. They voucher booklets were handy and quite good value for sparking water and soft drinks. You could just buy the drinks from any bar with the vouchers and take them to you rooms. No issue at all. The voucher booklets were on sale on the boat at all times (near the pool area). The restuarant we were allocated was great (Black Crab). We had amazing waiters "Safwan and Wayan". Couldnt have helped us more. They were fabulous catering to our very need. Great entertaining the kids as well. Our seating was a 6pm, and you needed to arrive by 6.15, otherwise they run behind for their next service. No problems sharing wine etc with the table. We purchased a wine package. It was a waste of money, as the wine was terrible! I dont consider myself fussy at all with wine, but every bottle was like vinegar. You would be better off just buying a nice bottle or two or three on board! Every single service person on board, in particular, indonesians and phillipinos were amazing. The most beautiful and friendly people. This made the experience just that much more enjoyable. We had the same guy service our room each day (twice a day) and what a pleasure he was. He just knew our routine each day, and I loved that. I dont know how they do it with a smile each day. Buffet time was crazy busy most of the time. But we always got a seat! However, you could also go each day for lunch at your allocated restaurant. It was so much more pleasant and refined! Im not sure why we didnt do this more! Entertainment on board started quite late. Even the the discos for the teenagers didnt start until 10.30....which was a little late. After a full meal and a busy day all of our group of 15 were ready for bed by 9pm. My husband and i purchased the "steam and spa" package upon embarkation. I thought it was great, just gave us something to do every day, especially sailing days. They often ran specials about day 4 on for treatments etc so keep your eye out for these, as you can get stone massages etc half price!!! We had a catergory 9 cabin (outside with a balcony). Be sure to pay more to get a good cabin, there was nothing like sailing into a new city and watching the view first thing in the morning. We were a family of 4, husband, me, 16 year old girl and 5 year old girl. We had a great time with the cabin and didnt find it squishy, which was a suprise. Husband and I virtually unpacked and put suitcases under the beds and so it was roomy and comfy. We went to the sports bar one time to play Bowling with the kids. It turned out to be really expensive. From memory we smashed through $30AUD in about 15 minutes. There is no reason that this cant be cheaper or free!!! Coffees/Teas/Milkshakes on board were relatively fine in cost! (Cheaper than Australia thats for sure). All in all I loved the Ship, it was amazing. I loved cruising. What I didnt like about the cruise: (1) crazy buffet time (2) pushy people and people who had no concept of others; (3) the terribe wine (4) the "lost in translation" with our drinks package; (5) lack of a good place to go early evening for a drink that had some fun music Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We cruised on the MSC Divina January 5, 2013, 11 night cruise from Malaga. What a gorgeous ship! Spotless from top to bottom with excellent staff. This review is about the little details.... 1. To buy the drinks or water package ... Read More
We cruised on the MSC Divina January 5, 2013, 11 night cruise from Malaga. What a gorgeous ship! Spotless from top to bottom with excellent staff. This review is about the little details.... 1. To buy the drinks or water package or not: USA and Canadian guests receive coupons for a one litre bottle of water per day. The water package provides 14 one litre bottles---one package is plenty for two people. The tap water is potable. There is free coffee/water/ice/cold milk 24 hrs in buffet There is free juice with breakfast (although it tasted a lot like Tang) Glass of wine: approx. 5eu Beer: approx 5eu Bottle wine: approx. 20-25eu Litre bottle of water: 2.30eu coffee with dinner: 2.30eu 2. Laundry is 25eu per load. If you hang your hand washing in the shower it dries overnight---it has an excellent exhaust fan. 3. Breakfast served in your cabin is free 4. Food in the buffet and the dining room is quite good. We did not try the specialty restaurants. The buffet tends to be quite loud and crowded during peak times. 5. Entertainment in the evenings was excellent (music, singing, dancing, acrobats) 6. If you want a balcony with a glass railing you need to book category 9 or higher. Our cabin had a steel railing and I felt a little boxed in. 7. The rooms were very spacious and comfortable 8. Internet: Cybercafe using their computers--1.50eu/minute. WiFi--12eu for 60 minutes, 19eu for 100 minutes 9. Daily newspaper: 2.50eu per day for a computer printout of your paper of choice 10. Embarkation and disembarkation: very smooth. By allowing guests to board in Rome, Genoa, Barcelona, and Malaga, there is never a huge group of people. We boarded in Malaga and it looked like only about 50-100 people were boarding. We sailed right through. They did NOT take our passports as one other reviewer mentioned, so disembarkation also went quickly. 11. One negative: deceptive pricing in the spa. My daughter booked a hair cut which was advertised on special for 24eu. When it was done it cost 66eu---the shampoo and blow dry was extra but was not mentioned. 12. On sunny days the pool areas and decks were elbow to elbow crowded. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
I booked a guaranteed cabin because there were not many choice left. It was about the same price as a regular cabin. Two weeks before my cruise, I received my cabin assignment which showed two cabins. I called by MSC cruise agent and he ... Read More
I booked a guaranteed cabin because there were not many choice left. It was about the same price as a regular cabin. Two weeks before my cruise, I received my cabin assignment which showed two cabins. I called by MSC cruise agent and he confirmed that we we have to change cabins right in the middle of our cruise. This is because people get on and off at every port and MSC uses guaranteed cabins to keep every cabin full at all times. I asked him if we could have the open cabin (in the same category) and he said MSC would have to approve it. But they would not. When we got on, the check-in person said we could stay in the first cabin for our entire cruise. But three days into the cruise, a form letter was left on my bed reminding me that I would have to move. The people at the reception desk said it was "standard procedure" and common for people to change cabins in the middle of their cruise. So we had to pack all our things and leave our luggage in the hall taking our valuables with us for the day's excursion. When we re-boarded, we had to get new cards for our cabin and no one could understand why we didn't like changing cabins. The good parts - The ship is beautiful, the workers are friendly, and everyone speaks a passable English. None of the billed gratuity goes to them so if you want to leave a tip, it is best to leave it on the table and/or cabin on the last day. The cabin was nice with storage space but only has one outlet available. So you may want to bring an electrical strip. Our cruise rate was reasonable but you often get what you pay for. The not so good parts - From previous reviews, I knew the food would not be fancy but their buffet makes an inexpensive family buffet look like a 5 star restaurant. Salad, bread, apples, and oranges were always available but their cuts of meat range from pig necks to rolled and pressed turkey. Water is available at the buffet but a sign says not to fill water bottles for hygiene reasons. The buffet was always crowded even at off times and it could be difficult to find a table. In the main dining room, we had to buy a plastic bottle of water each evening, so much for being green. Our table mates, who had been on several other MSC cruises, said the food and activities had sharply declined. Even their shrimp was fishy but no one got sick. There is no advantage to the web check-in since each person is given a group number when they arrive. Activities during "at sea" days were few. One day they had shirt painting but there was only room for 7 people on a ship of over 3500. I noticed that people didn't participate very much in activities that were extra money. The casino had few people gambling, the spa was mostly empty, and not too many people were drinking alcohol. We took three MSC excursions and the buses were only 1/3 to 1/2 full even though they combined the languages (e.g., English and German). Internet cost 12 euros an hour, is slow, and the mostly empty Cyber Cafe is even more expensive. Given the large cutbacks and lack of spending with the other cruisers, it makes me wonder if MSC is financially sound. Anyway, don't book a guaranteed cabin in ANY category unless you want to move in the middle of your cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
There were 4 of us on the MSC DIVINA Yacht Club Class. We are all experienced cruisers and have been on most lines and we all agreed this is the most fabulous ship we have ever boarded. It has spectacular modern spaces kept scrupulously ... Read More
There were 4 of us on the MSC DIVINA Yacht Club Class. We are all experienced cruisers and have been on most lines and we all agreed this is the most fabulous ship we have ever boarded. It has spectacular modern spaces kept scrupulously clean. The Yacht Club is a private class with a separate conceirge, cocktail lounge, restaurant, pool and pool bar. It is well worth the extra $$. However, the whole ship is gorgeous and different. We tried all the restaurants and they were stylish; the food was good if you like a gourmet European style; it is an Italian ship. You are better off with the Italian selections as meats are smaller and thinner than in the USA. There are many courses served but the portions are smaller than American ships and not as many choices. Order more courses if you want more food. The buffet on the top deck is great. It goes on and on; you can get lost in the buffet; the food was good especially the pastries and breads. There were no more than 30 Americans on the whole ship. The guests hang out with their own nationalities so there is no interaction. The staff speaks English but most of the guests do not. Everything is announced in 5 languages. There were mostly Italians French, Spanish, Japanese, Russians; they did not dress up so much for dinner and were more casual except in the Yacht Club. The staff is very professional and tries to please. There is smoking in the LaLuna Bar, the Casino and there is a cigar club bar. This is a very European experience. We liked it; BUT very different than an American ship and you WILL be disappointed if you are not open to an entirely new experience. All the activties were very well attended; much more so than American ships. The entertainment is classical and excellent. We got off in Civitavechhia on a Sunday and only EUROPE CAR is open for car rentals one hour between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Sundays. Enjoyed all the ports and took cabs and hop on/hop off buses. We can't wait to get back to MSC Yacht Club. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
The MSC Divina is a beautiful, new cruise ship. Our balcony cabin was very well appointed and appeared spacious, the best of our 8 cruises. The wait, room & reception staffs were courteous and knowledgeable. All the entertainment/shows ... Read More
The MSC Divina is a beautiful, new cruise ship. Our balcony cabin was very well appointed and appeared spacious, the best of our 8 cruises. The wait, room & reception staffs were courteous and knowledgeable. All the entertainment/shows on the ship were top shelf, many with a classical slant. The excursions were well done, without exception, and included Casablanca, Morocco; Tenerife, Canary Islands (our favorite); Funchal, Portugal; Malaga, Spain; Rome and Genoa, Italy. There were reasons this cruise was less inexpensive than Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian cruise lines. 1. The food at lunch and dinner in the dining room was, at best, mediocre. 2. The cafeteria breakfast was crowded; had a shortages of plates, silverware or napkins; and juices offered only one morning. 3. Drinks of any sort, aside from coffee and tea at breakfast, were at additional cost, that incudes water. 4. We like coffee after our evening meal. It isn't served and was ordered from a bar/cafe arriving, inevitably, lukewarm. 4. The ship boards at every port. Over 800 boarded at Barcelona, about the same number at Genoa and hundreds at Rome. After every port departure the newbies toured the ship and swamped the common areas. 5. Reception told us there were about 200 passengers with English as their 1st language. If not with a group this can be a lonely journey. If you are from North America we would suggest Royal Caribbean or Norwegian. Well worth the added cost. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We took the MSC Divina in March 2013 to the Eastern Caribbean. They are new to the Caribbean; adding an Italian and more European flair to the market here.It is comparable to Celebrity. There were younger couples and plenty of kids (as it ... Read More
We took the MSC Divina in March 2013 to the Eastern Caribbean. They are new to the Caribbean; adding an Italian and more European flair to the market here.It is comparable to Celebrity. There were younger couples and plenty of kids (as it was Break); but mature couples, as well. We loved the ship! As older veteran sailors, we appreciate the more 'upscale' qualities of the ship. It is easy to get around for activities. Plenty of deck space, considering it's large size. The food in the main dining was very good - nice variety and very well presented. Lots of pasta and Italian style foods. The Buffet could get a bit crowded, but had fine choices. The outside day dining was fine - which is what we like, rather than sit inside for breakfast or lunch. The entertainment was first rate - with a wonderful European quality - opera night, classical violinists in the Atrium, aerialists, etc. more of the variety of performers than usual. The crew are attentive and efficient. We had a great time and are taking the Dvina again in Feb. 2015. A great ship and a fine value. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Upon first pulling into the cruise port, wow! The Divina was definitely one of the biggest and by far the most glamorous looking. The Swarovski staircases really make for a beautiful lobby. The dining was wonderful. We all enjoyed trying ... Read More
Upon first pulling into the cruise port, wow! The Divina was definitely one of the biggest and by far the most glamorous looking. The Swarovski staircases really make for a beautiful lobby. The dining was wonderful. We all enjoyed trying different cuisines. The variety of food was excellent. Buffet food was still very good for being buffet with a nice selection, which was always hot. The breads were to die for! We had a 5 o'clock dinner in the Black Crab and enjoyed every night. To order something new every night and as much as you wanted was very nice. The entertainment on the ship was great! You felt as if you were at a Broadway show for every performance. The casino was small but enjoyable. We did not utilize the private restaurants. There were 3 pools and I want to say close to 6 or 8 jacuzzis for guests to enjoy. Pool chairs of course were reserved by guests for their friends that never came to the deck. This was a little aggravating but there were plenty of chairs. As long as you got out there by 11am or so, you were fine. Everything was very clean on the ship, and I loved the Purell stations all over the ship. I would wake up early every morning and enjoy the running track around the ship and would see workers cleaning every inch of the ship, even some mornings cleaning the underneath of the wooden railings with a toothbrush!! You can tell every worker pays attention to detail and the ship looks magnificent because of it. The food service workers got to know us and we enjoyed asking them about themselves, too. Everyone you passed would smile and say hello to you. The ship was so large that at no time did we feel it was crowded with almost 4,000 people aboard. There were 5 languages spoken on the ship for general announcements, but English was dominant. It was interesting to see the Captain get on stage in the theater several nights and make announcements, himself, in all 5 languages. The ship was very cultural diversified. Port stops were extremely organized and no waiting involved! We did several excursions, and we would be assigned to meet in a particular location of the ship and all deboard together. Entrance off and on the ship were very secure, which we enjoyed. We were a little disappointed the sea was too rocky to tender to Great Stirrup Cay, but the other 7 days of beautiful weather made up for it. It was a wonderful vacation and very relaxing. I will now be a frequent cruiser. In fact, after going in March on an 8 day/7 night, we will be going in October, 2014 on the same ship, different Caribbean route. We all can't wait. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our second cruise with MSC and we mainly choose it because they offered us a great price. Before the Cruise we had a lot of contact with MSC customer services as I have a really specific diet and on the previous cruise it had ... Read More
This was our second cruise with MSC and we mainly choose it because they offered us a great price. Before the Cruise we had a lot of contact with MSC customer services as I have a really specific diet and on the previous cruise it had not been catered for. We were assured that it would be fine. When we got on board we handed the diet to Reception who knew nothing about it but said they would deliver it to the kitchens. When we went to dinner again they knew nothing about it so we had to explain it all to them. To the credit of the Restaurant than did everything they could to provide me with meals I could eat, they brought me the menu for the next night at dinner so I could say if it was ok or request something else. Everything I requested was brought to me and tasted nice. The other members of my cruise found the food to be lovely, yes at times it doesn't arrive piping hot but they are serving 3,700 people they can't get it right every time! The cabin was lovely, they come in to clean whilst you are at breakfast and at dinner. How they know when this is I will never know as they are never there when you go to breakfast and never there when you get back! They clean it so nicely and turn down the bed at night, they also left us some nice animals made out of towels. The theatre shows are fine, they are not West end ready but they are fine for something which is basically free! The Cruise director introduces the show in about 5 languages, yes, but English was always first so you could just chat through the other languages. I think people need to bare in mind this is an Italian Cruise line so to get it in English at all is lucky. Staff members are on the whole helpful. The only area we found to be awkward was reception. They problem is if you ask for something they don't write it down or tell anyone so when you come to talk about it again to someone new they have no record of what is happening. They are also quite offish, they don't seem to want to help you. I think if you have a problem speak to someone in that area e.g. housekeeping or the restaurant as they are much more likely to help you than reception. Pretty much everyone speaks very good English and they can always understand you as long as you don't embellish your sentences like we tend to do! The ship itself is always clean and tidy and there are always staff members around to help you if you need it. Finally the cost of things, drinks are expensive! They also add a 15% service charge on all drinks which are not factored in to the price on the menus but this is just the way it is. Tea and coffee are always available free in the buffet restaurant. They also add a 7 euro per person per day 'tip' for employees onto your final bill. Because we had been before at the beginning of the cruise we asked for it to be removed which they did without too much hassle. They don't allow tipping individuals which we would prefer to do and I have no idea whether that 7 euros really goes to the people who serve you. I would say that if you are easily annoyed by things such as the cost of drinks then head to a British company however if you are fine to go with the flow then MSC is really good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our first cruise with MSC, we chose it because of the price and the itinerary. Divina is not even a year old yet and you could tell as it was in tip top condition and spotlessly clean wherever you went. Our simple inside ... Read More
This was our first cruise with MSC, we chose it because of the price and the itinerary. Divina is not even a year old yet and you could tell as it was in tip top condition and spotlessly clean wherever you went. Our simple inside stateroom was clean, spacious and lovely and quiet which meant we always had a good nights sleep on the extremely comfortable bed. You can't order or predict the weather and to a degree, this did make the time onboard a bit limiting as it was too cold to use the three small pools. There was no chance of getting in the hot tubs as they were full of kids all the time and the 'Zen Garden' area at the aft end did not appear to be as kid free as it was meant to be. I appreciate that this is a Meditteranean company but I was really surprised at the lack of taste or variety in the food they offered, whether it be in the main resurant or the very crowded buffet areas. They also struggled to keep the food at a reasonable temperature, nothing was what I would class as hot. The staff needed an injection of something as, apart from a select few, they all seemd to be miserable; maybe it was the weather! The cruise director seemed to be a throwback to the cheesy eighties when he introduced the very average entertainment in the Pantheon Theatre. If it was not for the acrobats, none of the shows were worth watching really and they only lated 30 minutes. We booked excursions online before we sailed and I will not do it again. One was modified and we were told 'unlucky' you have to take the alternative! Thankfully we had taken the t's & c's along with us so we got a refund. In fact the ship owed us on the final day as they had cancelled another trip due to bad weather! Don't get me wrong, this was not a bad cruise, it could just have been better. The Alligrisimmo drinks package is the best value deal I think I have ever had but it will have to be a great itinery and price to get us back cruising with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My wife and I recently went on MSC's cruise of the eastern Mediterranean. While overall it was a great experience, there are a couple of things that everyone should know about MSC prior to booking with MSC. First, be prepared for long ... Read More
My wife and I recently went on MSC's cruise of the eastern Mediterranean. While overall it was a great experience, there are a couple of things that everyone should know about MSC prior to booking with MSC. First, be prepared for long lines. Our initial boarding took about an hour and was extremely confusing. There were no signs directing us where to go and communicating with MSC greeters was difficult as most spoke very limited English. Anytime that you are getting off the ship, be prepared to wait. MSC does not understand how to stagger everyone disembarking from the ship so you will be crowded into the ladderway with 4000+ passengers like a can of sardines as everyone tries to get off. I will say that the food on MSC is mediocre at best and often just outright terrible. Of all the meals, dinner was done fairly well, but lunch and breakfast were poor. Unless you catch the buffet at an off hour, it tends to be really crowded. The options are fairly poor (i.e. cold cuts, tiny pancakes, greasy hash-browns for breakfast), and I couldn't find a single spoon anywhere. If you elect to go to the restaurant instead of the buffet, be prepared to wait a long time for your food and deal with servers that don't speak English well. Though the cruise seems cheap at booking, get ready to pay a lot with drink packages and excursions. I had no idea what the drink packages were until they forced me to make an impulse decision as I was checking in. I elected to take the Alegrissimo package, which was unlimited drinks and often had trouble making this package worth my while. One note, when they say draft beers, all they have is Heiniken and Amstel Light (and maybe Strongbow and New Castle if you're lucky), so don't expect to find more draft beer. Kids run a muck everywhere on this ship. This seems to be a more family oriented cruise, which is fine if that's what you're looking for, but if you're on your honeymoon or a romantic vacation like we were, this is really annoying. Now on to the good. The cruise ship is amazing. They did a fantastic job keeping it clean and keeping my room clean. The cleaning lady responsible for my room cleaned it twice a day and was like a ghost. The excursions were awesome. I honestly did not have one bad tour guide anywhere we went, and the destinations were a lot of fun. The entertainment on board was phenomenal. They kept each show to about thirty minutes, which was long enough to keep me from getting bored. Most of the lounges were really nice and classy. The workout area was great. There were about 7-8 treadmills with some bike machines and elypticals plus some free weights, machines and mats to do yoga and whatnot. Overall, I would say that the good outweighed the bad with this cruise line, but if you go with MSC, be aware of these issues upfront. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We travel with our youngest son aged 9 and friends with kids, too. We already cruised on a MSC ship years ago and we didn't like therefore no more MSC cruises for us. This year anyway some friends of us asked to join them on MSC ... Read More
We travel with our youngest son aged 9 and friends with kids, too. We already cruised on a MSC ship years ago and we didn't like therefore no more MSC cruises for us. This year anyway some friends of us asked to join them on MSC Divina and we loved the idea of having cruise mates and we booked. As in April 2012 we were on NCL Jade that hasn't an indoor pool (we were lucky and we had good weather) we thought that this time it was better not to rely on weather again and MSC Divina with its huge and wonderful indoor swimming pool was perfect for us. When we arrived in Venice there wasn't any help with luggage and we had to queue a long time with our suitcases before boarding. The ship is new, clean and really very beautiful. Our cabin with balcony was ok but with our great disappointment we found out that the famous indoor pool was closed for complete re tiling... we complained but we had very poor answers, no apologies and ridicoulous stories (as a fat german man fell on the edge of the pool and broke some tiles and that they could not know before of the need for repair...the pool area has been completely tiled again-> it was not a repair but a complete makeover... LIARS!). We told we choose that ship for the indoor pool too and that it was bad anybody informed us before leaving and that a discount or upgrade or credit on board should have offered to us; but no use. The food was ok and the buffet cafeteria was open from morning to late evening. Our waiter at dinner was really kind and the cabin steward was very helpful. At booking we asked a table for the 10 of us and 1st seating for dinner and we got 2nd seating and 2 tables (not close to each other)...we complained(they have admitted that our TA made ??the request) again and then we got what we needed. We had 1 MSC shore excursion only (Ephesus) to please some of our friends but we didn't like it. The guide was polite but anything else and we had a mandatory stop at a ceramic factory and we wasted lot of time. We do love cruises and - as every vacation - there's always something that is not really nice but we know that and we never complain but it's the first time that we find repairings during a cruise and moreover in a brand new ship! And please forget the waiting time before boarding in Venice:standing in a crowd carrying our heavy luggage. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My wife and I were fortunate enough to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary with a lovely group of fellow cruisers. MSC DIVINA: Outstanding vessel - extremely plush and stylishly maintained to a high standard though there was a ... Read More
My wife and I were fortunate enough to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary with a lovely group of fellow cruisers. MSC DIVINA: Outstanding vessel - extremely plush and stylishly maintained to a high standard though there was a little lateral movement, as one would expect, at the extremities of the ship. EMBARKATI0N: Venice was a bit of a scrum as anticipated from other Reviewers - but it was very well organised. I suspect 80% of guests boarded in Venice so it may be a prudent option to embark in Bari which would allow additional time in Venice which is rather more attractive location than Bari. CABIN: We were in the "cheap seats" - Inside Cabin but it exceeded my expectations, more than sufficient space dutifully cleaned. Our cabin boy was a bit elusive but that suited us. FOOD: Self service restaurant is similar to any facility you would expect on any budget cruise or All Inclusive hotel in Europe. The food within the restaurant was adequate without being particularly appetising. I understand the need to cater for the so called European Cuisine but the faire on offer was bland. This may be a ploy to direct punters towards the speciality outlets. EXCURSIONS: The one trip we fancied was cancelled due to lack of interest so we changed to a similar trip around Istanbul. Our guide was hugely entertaining but the trip was a bit over priced. I would recommend the Basilica in Bari -absolutely outstanding. I have visited a good number of religious establishments around the world over many years but this was the best I have witnessed. ENTERTAINMENT: I have experienced a more varied package. The pianists were ok. The Sports Bar only catered (understandably) for Italian guests. The evening shows were a little short but quite dynamic. Personally I considered the much vaunted Michael Jackson show to be the weakest on offer. My wife considered the various Spa Treatments but they were hugely overpriced but we did spend a hour in the sauna which was ok. ENTERTAINMENT TEAM: I didnt engage them too much but they barely took a breather and their energy and enthusiasm could not be faulted. ` STAFF: On the whole superb - aside from one miserable waitress they were invariably friendly, patient and polite. We had a couple of minor issues which were resolved efficiently without fuss at reception. DRINKS PACKAGE: We cruised with Thomsons in January 2012 and I decided against the all inclusive drinks package. Fortunately when I reviewed my bar bill I had taken the better option as the charge was approx £100 less than it would have been had I taken up the AI offer. I deliberated beforehand but purchased the package on advice of fellow reviewers. Please "Go for it" - as a moderate drinker we more than doubled the outlay. It is important to consider that Water, Tea, Coffee and all soft drinks let alone alcoholic drinks incur a charge at all the bars and restaurants . So basically unless you are tea total and wish to spend the duration of your time on board at the self service facility opt for the 23 Euro per day package. The more expensive option offers rather more but I suspect is unnecessary unless you have a discerning palate and/or a serious drink problem. NB If you do not pre-book the drinks package 21 days before embarkation you will incur the 15% Service charge that is added to all services whilst on board. This is in addition to the 7 Euro per person per day standard charge. I did question this but accepted the terms as outlined. DISEMBARKATION: Faultless - given the numbers this was extremely well organised, simple to follow but you need to make provision dependant upon your flight time. GRIPES: None really - though I do have a conspiracy theory with which fellow reviewers may concur or disagree?. The wind whilst in Bari was strong and our proposed departure was initially delayed by one hour then another hour then postponed. We eventually left port 10 hours late and didnt, as a result, dock at Katakolon. instead we spent a full day at sea. Not a problem but I do not believe climatic conditions had improved or deteriorated in the interim period and suspect as there were no passengers due to embark/disembark in Katakolon we skipped the venue for ease or financial purposes. OVERALL: My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and were fortunate enough to meet some like minded and generous of nature people. Would I recommend MSC Cruises - Not sure as my experience is limited but - probably? Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Let me start by saying that I was part of a large group and had no choice in selecting this ship or cruise line. The port of calls is what held our interest. At our first day get-together (about 3 hours on board) I soon learned how bad ... Read More
Let me start by saying that I was part of a large group and had no choice in selecting this ship or cruise line. The port of calls is what held our interest. At our first day get-together (about 3 hours on board) I soon learned how bad service was going to be. I decided not to have a drink (that was being passed around as part of our org's welcome party) but a simple glass of water. I was told by the bar tender that I would have to buy a ½ or 1 ltr. Bottle of water. From there on, it goes downhill. At dinner the wait staff will only take your order if you order all courses up front. You better know what dessert you want before you have your appetizer as that is what the waiter 'insists' upon. Now, you finish dinner and ask for coffee with that desert; they don't serve it. You are told to go to another deck and buy a cup at the coffee bar! Meanwhile, coffee and water are free and available at the buffet. Oh, and if you want water at dinner, you have to buy it too. I don't suggest the water package as it is too many liter bottles and the savings is insignificant and you won't use it up if you tried! Overall the food in the dining room was awful. One of their 'always available' items is a steak that is on par with the quality of a steak served at a mall food court. When I didn't eat mine past one bite, instead of the waiter asking if he could get me something else, he just took it away and said nothing. The buffet, where we had breakfast and dinner offered the same items every day. Only one very small area labeled as Ethnic changed their lunch offerings. The pastries were okay but nothing exceptional. And, here too you had to eat what they wanted to serve you. For example, my wife wanted tuna salad one day. Well, it was only offered on a roll as a sandwich. The person serving it would not put plain tuna on a plate. So, we ordered the sandwich with the intention of removing the tuna from the bread except the server kept mashing it into the bread. It wasn't a language barrier, he was doing what he was told and that is to do as instructed by management, not the customer! The Divina is a huge ship that is not designed well in my opinion. If you are at the bow on level 6 and need to go to the stern where the dining rooms are, be prepared to go up and down stairs. The Villa Rossa dining room is also on 6 but there is no straight path to it. At mid ship you must go up to 7 and then back down to 6 ridiculous. If you are a jogger, be prepared to push people out of your way as the 'jogging' deck is packed with deck chairs and people milling all around. When taking elevators, be prepared to run. Why? There are usually 4-5 elevators per bank but the door close button works great so most times when a crowded elevator reaches your floor someone on the elevator immediately hits the door close button and you usually miss it unless it opens right in front of you. If you hate cigarette smoke, this cruise line is not for you. It's everywhere. Instead of having totally separate rooms for smokers, they split the rooms but their venting system cannot keep the smoke out of the non-smoker's side. As for bar snacks, potato chips anyone? We pre-booked our excursion on-line while in Dubrovnik to receive the discounted rate. Well, we were informed the night before that it had been cancelled (not the ships fault as there were warnings that this could happen). However, when we went to the ship excursion desk to book a replacement we were told we would have to pay the on-board price which was about 25% more. Housekeeping was terrible. After a few days we realized that our water glasses left on the desk next to the ice bucket were not being replaced. They were just putting paper covers back over the used glasses. The bath robes they give you to use (which are never changed) are removed from your cabin on the last night. This cruise line is in for a rude awakening when they bring the Divina to Miami this fall. Expect to read about coffee riots in the news (oh, by the way, they don't offer decaf). Management runs the ship for the benefit of the cruise line not the cruisers. They have no idea about service. Now, I am only speaking for the regular side of the ship where we booked the top price cabin. I did not book in the Yacht Club level. However, we met someone who booked the YC as we were embarking. We actually met up with her at disembarking. We asked how her side was and all she could say was that she was headed to Barcelona for another cruise with MSC and she dreaded it. We found being on an international ship intriguing with all of the different languages. Europeans can be very pushy and rude. People will cut in front of you and push you out of the way. Don't worry about being an 'ugly American', just push right back and stand your ground while saying 'esscusa'. Thank goodness we ended our vacation back in Venice at a wonderful bed & breakfast where the owners understood service. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Not long back from our first trip with MSC and all i can say it was way above expectation. Everything certain cruisers where complaining about were actually some of things i most enjoyed about the ship, i found the multitude of ... Read More
Not long back from our first trip with MSC and all i can say it was way above expectation. Everything certain cruisers where complaining about were actually some of things i most enjoyed about the ship, i found the multitude of nationalities particularly fascinating and utterly immersive, the announcements in five languages i thought was great and reflected the multicultural world we live in, while the line certainly has an Italian flare and the vast majority of passengers are indeed Italian i feel the ship had a more of an international feel about it (English is widely used and often preferred by some members of the crew)i thought the food was great and always available, The shows really were something else we were blown away by the productions on board you could tell they had spent a lot of money on them, and half an hour per show is perfectly adequate. we also found the staff the best we have come across we made some good friends with the crew and lot of exchanging of emails happened to keep in touch. we stayed in balcony Cabin 13047 and it was stunning and in a great location one deck below the pool deck. I don't wont to waffle on to much but if you were on the fence about MSC then i cant recommend it enough. We have now booked for the Armonia next year out of Dubai....let the countdown begin Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
After just completing our first ever cruise starting and finishing in Venice, all I can say is it will be a long time before we do that again. Admittedly, I was a little forewarned about the perils of cruising and I had my concerns about ... Read More
After just completing our first ever cruise starting and finishing in Venice, all I can say is it will be a long time before we do that again. Admittedly, I was a little forewarned about the perils of cruising and I had my concerns about the short shore stops and long time in a confined space but many seem to enjoy them, so I thought it was time to check it out. Here were my observations, not all negative:1. Ship - quiet spectacular interior albeit a little over the top given the clientele.2. Ship crew (captain and underlings) - no comments as I didn't encounter either. Which by the way isn't a criticism, their job is to move the ship to where it needs to go and they did.3. Ship cabin and service crew - lovely, lovely, lovely and as I found out very underpaid and kept captive on the ship for considerable periods of time. This I felt truly sad about and was at times not happy that I had contributed to this injustice. (I wondered why the initial cost of the cruise was cheap and wondered what the hidden catch was. I guess the catch is cheap labour and extensive 'other' charges).4. Clientele in queues - O.M.G no one told me how rude many Europeans are when it comes to queues. They push in, jump the line, NEVER say excuse me! Australians generally have a very strict line rule - first in line goes first. 5. Clientele at the buffet - O.M.G the breakfast buffet (AKA pig trough) was like feral time at a feeding zoo. Plates piled high with so much food of different types. Food that should never be seen on the same plate. All this repeated at dinner time. The flip side is, we've never seem so much food thrown out at clean up time.6. Clientele lift manners- O.M.G the same rude line jumping pushers displayed the same lack of manners when getting on and off the lifts. Generally the rule is you wait until the people exit the lift before getting on. You DON'T under any circumstanced barge in while people are trying to get out. And if you do so my accident, you say 'excuse me'! 7. 12 euro for 10 minutes WiFi - are you kidding me? That's blatant robbery.8. Thank goodness for the restaurant otherwise we wouldn't have eaten after the spectacle at the buffet.9. Be warned, the expensive excursions come with a side of selling. In Istanbul we did our first shore excursion and part of it was a rug demonstrations. While the so called rug demonstration was in progress, six men, who obviously worked at the rug shop started to circle us. They all looked a bit shady and I wondered what was going down. Once the demonstration was over they all descended on the unwary (us) and tried to sell us 12,000 euro rugs. Do people really wake up one day and say "lets go on a shore excursion to buy a 12,000 euro rug?".10. Forget about having a spa. The 6-8 100kg men hogging them may not feel like sharing with you. Besides, the colour of the spa water with all those men made me want to puke.11. We weren't the only Aussies on the ship with the same observations. Maybe go on a pacific cruise and just hope the same rude people don't join you. Better still go to Bali as many of the lovely staff were from Bali and the work dried up for them after the bombings. Some truly sad stories of long times away from family.Maybe I should wait to write a review, the experience is still raw! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Myself and some girlfriends took a 7-night trip roundtrip from Venice to Venice on the MSC Divina. The ship was beautiful, with many impressive public spaces. The cabins (ours was a small (very small) cabin with a veranda), were nicely ... Read More
Myself and some girlfriends took a 7-night trip roundtrip from Venice to Venice on the MSC Divina. The ship was beautiful, with many impressive public spaces. The cabins (ours was a small (very small) cabin with a veranda), were nicely appointed but exceptionally small. The smallest cabin I have ever been in on a ship. We had room for 2 twin beds, 2 tiny bed stands and one table/desk which was just wide enough to fit a small cushion under. There was also a corner book shelf. It was too small for 2 people comfortably. The verandah was also small. So enough about the ship/rooms. The food was never hot - this is a LARGE ship - 4,200 passengers I think, so I should not have been surprised to find that hot food was just not possible. At best it was warm. The food quality was acceptable, but not great. Most ships offer some food in the late evenings around midnight, which I like since we enjoy nights at the casino. When I went to find something all they had was luke-warm and old-looking pizza and sandwiches. Since I did not want a sandwich I asked just for a scoop of the tuna-fish salad. they said it was only for sandwiches. After an exasperating discussion, I finally told him to give me the tuna-fish salad sandwich, but that I would throw away the bread. Only then did he comply with a sour puss. How stupid is that???? I did throw away the bread, how very wasteful. Then let's talk about the spa.....ooh boy. That staff is in great need of some training on how to deal with people, particularly the management. We had just finished a yoga class (which we paid for by the way) and wanted to use the spa restroom. We were told by the spa manager (male), that the restrooms were only for use by clients having a massage. We asked him to make "an exception" and he was firm - it was only for massage clients - did you ever hear of such a thing?? Further, during a subsequent facial, the woman giving the facial also gave me a neck/back massage (which I did not ask for and would have preferred a facial/scalp massage) which really hurt. I told her she was hurting me, and she just continued. I'm not sure she understood English at all. Everywhere on the ship was pretty crowded, and disembarking from the ship at each port of call was no exception. Our average time waiting on the stairwells to exit the ship was 30-45 minutes - in a hot, crowded, uncomfortable standing scenario - like sardines. Awful! Also, on the main floor of attractions, think it was the 6th floor, you could not walk from one end of the ship to the other to go from place to place. You had to go to the floor above or below it to get to the other end of the ship, where the other attractions were. What poor planning. All in all, the ship was too large, too many people, and a poorly trained staff which acted often like they were bored with the passengers and hated their jobs. I would NEVER recommend this ship nor this cruise line (it was our first time on a really large ship and on an MSC ship). Stick to the American liners if you want no unpleasant surprises - we like Holland America the best. They know how to take care of their customers. Read Less
Sail Date May 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
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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