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1,687 MSC Cruises MSC Divina Cruise Reviews

I will start out by saying that my partner and I go on a cruise every year. We have been on Royal, Carnival, and Norwegian prior to this MSC Cruise. We went as part of a group that took up about half of the ship. The activities that were ... Read More
I will start out by saying that my partner and I go on a cruise every year. We have been on Royal, Carnival, and Norwegian prior to this MSC Cruise. We went as part of a group that took up about half of the ship. The activities that were planned for the group were wonderful and had it not been for the group we would have gotten off the ship at the first port and flew back home. 1. Embarkation - They decided it would be a smart idea to put an employee who knew nothing about computers at the check in desk and then oh yeah have someone looking over his shoulder who also knew nothing about computers. Needless to say the check in process took about 20 minutes too long. Also the ship was late in getting people off the ship so we weren't allowed to board until approximately 12:30 (always have been able to board earlier then that on other ships) 2. Getting to the cabin - Our cabin wasn't ready at 1pm like they typically are. I will give the steward some credit though because he was great the rest of the week and was one of the only good employees on the ship. Still it took until around 4pm for our cabin to be ready. 3. Food - the food in the main dining room was terrible. It was served warm and not hot most of the time, had no favor to it and the service was terrible. It was not like other ships where the waiters learn what you like and seem happy to see you. The servers dropped the food in front of you and were quite annoyed if you asked for anything. The food in the buffets was ok... same as usual. The Steakhouse on board (extra charge) was the only good meal we had. Honestly the most comical thing was that this is an Italian cruise line and the Italian food was terrible... very bland and tasteless. 4. The Bar Service - there is maybe one or two cocktail servers at each bar. Same goes for the pool. Most times you had to beg a bartender or a server to get you a drink. A lot of times we were told that they didn't make very many types of drinks at the different bars so you were out of luck. We heard sorry a lot but no one seemed to care. 5. Excursions - Please note that if you are doing an excursion it is not like on other cruise lines. The descriptions sometimes make it seem like you are on the same excursion with your friends because you are both doing the dolphin swim (one without the dolphin part) but when you get to the area for the excursion you are told they are two separate excursions. When you say you don't want to do it because you don't want to be separated... you will definitely not get your money back. you will just get told sorry. 6. Aurea Spa Suites - We booked this suite and were told that certain spa packages come with this suite. This is not the case apparently. WHY CALL IT A SPA SUITE??? We were told that they only offered that in Europe and not in America. When we asked them to make good by what we were told, we got the usual sorry but nothing was done. It is ok... they are the ones that lost out on money because we would have spent a lot of money in the spa but now they weren't going to see a dime. 7. No bar service in the theater 8. Maintenance was VERY slow to respond. 9. They apparently have no authority to make any decisions on the ship. Everything requires an email to Italy and it takes days for them to respond. 10. Saw a bartender throw a drink at a patron 11. People were stuck on an elevator for 45 minutes and when they tried to use the phone in the elevator to call they were put on hold. Finally when someone came to help the patrons were yelled at and told they were only stuck for 3 minutes (it was 45 by one guy who actually timed it). These people were given a free drink... um but they had unlimited drink packages... 12. Our bill on board was off by 2200. When we went to get it sorted out we were accused that it was somehow our fault. Ten minutes later we got our real bill printed with no apology. 13. GETTING OFF THE SHIP WAS A COMPLETE DISASTER (and we were told it was better than the week prior) All in all had a great vacation because of the group we were with but I will never step on another MSC Cruise Ship again. I have received a phone call from MSC customer service who took all this information from me and promised me an email immediately. It has been at least 3 days now and no email and no return call. Other friends have been told that they will be responded to without a month. PLEASE STAY AWAY.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
i have been with the msc since 10 years on valentines day cruising for about 15 cruises. i started with the lirica and had more fun and happines and my best experience with th msc. beeing with this cruiseline showed me how many ... Read More
i have been with the msc since 10 years on valentines day cruising for about 15 cruises. i started with the lirica and had more fun and happines and my best experience with th msc. beeing with this cruiseline showed me how many natinality could be together on one cruise ship. it is amathing how happy people can be and the carribean cruises where outatanding so was the cruise members as well. after this i wnt on the poesia and this broad make even more exitment and great evenings wonderful daily tours and a great dinner with fantastic people. the shows where outstanding and dancinbg under the stars made life even better. next ship was the devina and i entered the yacht club and feeled already when i checked in what kind of fantastic treatment i got even checking in. my own butler and the best restaurant with great shows and tratments you can expect. for me it will be always the MSC and i have to wait what kind of ship i will try next. embarking in ft. lauderdale or now miami made life more simple when you live in florida. the medical center with the dr. and nurses are more then nice, special when you feel helples and you can feel they are there for you every minute night or day. MSC you are for me the greatest even with smal complication. my cabin was the best very clean and comfortable. thank you lirica,poesia and now devina and all the cruemebers on bord including the medical team and the captain my special thanks goes on the nurse vesna and dr. dean you are been a great help and very caring always   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
The Divina is a beautiful ship. I like the staterooms. In the staterooms I especially like the folding shower doors that give extra room when you're not in the shower. Departure from Venice was very unpleasant. You have to walk, ... Read More
The Divina is a beautiful ship. I like the staterooms. In the staterooms I especially like the folding shower doors that give extra room when you're not in the shower. Departure from Venice was very unpleasant. You have to walk, dragging your luggage from the people mover to the ship. Thank goodness it wasn't raining! It's about one mile... honestly a mile. Regarding the food I always found something I liked. The "Ethnic" corner was a go to place to tasty dishes at lunch time. At breakfast, it's basic. There wasn't any fresh pineapple, and there were canned fruits everyday. And, someone has got to tell the chef that both baked beans and baked apples actually need to be baked! In both cases they were passed by the front of an oven. Dinner upstairs in the buffet is basically the same every day with really minor changes. MSC wants you in the dining room. Many passengers were upset that MSC canceled a scheduled stop in Nassau so they could have a publicity stunt with Fiat 500 cars, and have a travel agent inspection day. There was typical MSC confusion (everything goes to Sorrento, to Geneva, back to Sorrento, to Miami, and then back to Sorrento all over again) regarding the canceled day. Some passengers got off, some didn't. Everything was last minute and completely confused. But, MSC saved the worst until the last minute. After the big good-bye production on stage, after the helicopters in Miami, and after we filled out the questionnaires, MSC forgot to offload the luggage... Yes, that's right, they didn't have the luggage on the dock, it was all still on the ship in the morning. There was chaos in the luggage hall. People standing around, no luggage. Local staff could only say that they had never seen anything like this. Absolutely NO MSC staff anywhere! Luggage was coming out with all the colors on all of the carousels. People who got off first were still waiting for their luggage THREE HOURS LATER. And, I might add that's three hours of STANDING AND WAITING, for their luggage since there was no place to sit. Some passengers were telling local staff that MSC could send their luggage since they were not going to miss their flight. I waited over two hours for my luggage, which came off on the wrong carousel. I like MSC but this certainly left a very bad impression. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I have been a quite a few cruise and this was easily the worst. First the food was terrible. The dinner choices were odd and most of them tasted horrible. Two nights in a row the waiter got the order wrong. This brings me to the language ... Read More
I have been a quite a few cruise and this was easily the worst. First the food was terrible. The dinner choices were odd and most of them tasted horrible. Two nights in a row the waiter got the order wrong. This brings me to the language problem. It was almost impossible to to speak with any of the staff. Their understanding of English was atrocious. We ended up having to resort to hand signals and pantomiming most of the time. Also, back on the food, the buffet choices were basically the same thing every day, and the buffet closed at 9pm. The only food available after 9pm was pizza. I have never been on a cruise where the buffet was so boring and you couldn't get whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. The cabins themselves were very nice. However, we had a balcony room, but half the view was blocked by a large metal piece. Most of the balcony rooms had glass for the balcony view, but not our room. The nightly shows for entertainment were great, but that was all there was for entertainment really. We ended up spending most of our time playing Uno in our room. Our younger son was extremely disappointed with his kids group. He is 9 years old, and his group was 3-11 year olds. The group was geared much more to the younger children though. At 9 years old the Smurfs and Superheroes are not really his thing. He tried his best and went to a few activities, but they bored him silly. He ended up not being able to have any fun with a kids group. That was a huge letdown for him. There is probably a lot more, but I can't chronicle it all. The disembarkation and staff response was ridiculous though. I had a 1:30 flight, but didn't do early disembarkment, because I should have had plenty of time. That turned out not to be true though. I was in the 9am group to get off, but did not leave the ship until after 11am. When I was on the boat and tried to get some help from the MSC staff, they were very rude and did nothing bu blame the customs people. When we did finally get off, the staff was holding people up for tiny balances ($1 or less) on child cards. We were held up for a few minutes because our son had 2 cents remaining on his card. That is crazy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
It was nightmare for us being vegetarian - having only few choices to eat everyday. We had requested Indian vegetarian meal at the booking, but the head of the dining room person said- he did not receive any request and we were the only ... Read More
It was nightmare for us being vegetarian - having only few choices to eat everyday. We had requested Indian vegetarian meal at the booking, but the head of the dining room person said- he did not receive any request and we were the only one in the whole ship to request that type of meal ( later on we met more than 6 indian families, with same complaints, in the ship). To his credit, the head of the Dining room, did manage to cook something " Indian Vegetarian" each night for dinner, which was OK. On the plus side, the ship was nice. The staff was friendly and helpful. Most of the "Amenities' advertised ( like 4D theatre, bowling etc) are not free. We have sailed many other cruise lines and so far I had given Royal Caribbean the 'worst" rating, but from now onwards, MSC DIvina will take that place. They gave us only 8 AM to 3.30 PM in San Juan and cancelled the Great Stirrup Cay due to weather. So, we spent only 17 hours off shore in whole 7 days/7 night cruise. Rest of the time, we were stuck eating same Pizza and Pasta Rakesh Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Let me begin with my cruise experience which is somewhat limited. Prior to sailing on the MSC Divina I have sailed on the Carnival Destiny(now renamed I believe) and the Carnival Inspiration. With that being said my point of reference is ... Read More
Let me begin with my cruise experience which is somewhat limited. Prior to sailing on the MSC Divina I have sailed on the Carnival Destiny(now renamed I believe) and the Carnival Inspiration. With that being said my point of reference is Carnival so take that for what its worth. We booked the Divina for a few reasons. First and foremost we wanted to do a 7 night during the Thanksgiving week and most cruise lines where very expensive for this week. I discovered MSC when I found a very affordable rate and kids sail free(11 and under at time of embarkation). When I found that the MSC option was aboard a relatively new ship(launched in 2012) I became interested. I read many reviews and many were mixed. Considering we were taking my mother-in-law and daughter who either have ever been on a cruise before we figured how bad could it be and this might be a good "first cruise" for them. So we booked. Having just returned from the Thanksgiving trip things are still fresh in my mind. Here we go.... The Divina is 140,000 tons and looks and feels large. It took us a couple of days to become familiar with the layout but before long we were comfortable finding out way around. One obvious observation I made on day one was that the ship is kept immaculate. She's clean and very well maintained. I like the decor on board of all public places. Unlike my experience on the two Carnival ships, which had much whimsical m"Las Vegas" gaudy appearance, the Divina is tasteful and elegant. Our balcony cabin was comfortable even though there were four of us. I really liked the pool areas more on the Divina than the Carnvals as well. The areas just appeared more fresh and inviting than the dated look of Carnival. Food was better to me than what I expected from reading the many reviews. I ate at both the buffets and the two main dining rooms. The Buffets I found no problem finding things I liked. When they say MSC has the beswt pizza at sea they arent lying. I'm from Long Island originally and I know good Pizza and they could sell Pizza in NY and survive. As I mentioned we ate at both the Villa Rossa and The Black Crab restaurants. The Menu's are the same for each night. While the Villa Rossa has better daytime views due to it being at the stern of the ship, at night they close the drapes so you cannot see out anyway. I found the Black Crab decor and furniture more appealing and interesting. The dining experience aboard is somewhat different than what we're used to. They are in no hurry to rush you through dinner(or lunch). They serve each course separate and most meals will take an hour or more. Initially things like water fills or bread offerings were slow but things improved as our cruise went on. I found most selections were good. The only dish I didnt enjoy was a steak on the final night that was average at best but all other dishes were excellent including Thanksgiving night where I had the Turkey dish as well as the Lobster tail dish. Both where excellent. Overall I found the main dining room food to be on par with Carnival but the Buffet to be better than carnival. The shows each night were excellent. Very professional dancers, singers and one comedian who is Las Vegas caliber. Our favorite was the Michael Jackson tribute. Least favorite was the Frank Sinatra tribute. The Pantheone Theater is awesome! Holds something like 1600 guests and has superb sound quality. Biggest complaint I had on board was in the Sports Bar. First there was the bar tender who was from eastern Europe and a very dry "all business" attitude. I walk in on Sunday expecting NFL football on the many big screen TVs only to find two different soccer games playing. Many guests including my self were dumbfounded. The excuse we were given was there was a satellite issue. I said "Your Satellite receiver seems to pick up the soccer just fine!". Things got a little better for MNF where they got the game to display but couldnt figure out the whole Sound concept so we couldn't hear anything. Good news is for Thanksgiving we got all three games thankfully and Sound! There are many many nice bars around the ship. One ship favorite was the Golden Jazz bar with the Dueling pianos. The two pianist/singers kept it a full house every night. We purchased two 15-pack drink packages for the week and 30 cocktails between three adults were enough for us. We are glad we didnt buy the daily unlimited drink package as we saved alot going the way we did. I found the cocktails to be very enjoyable. Apparently MSC uses Israeli security(the best in the business) on-board the ship and I had complete confidence we were in good hands on board. Never did I see much presence or intrusiveness but we knew Security was assured. Our port of calls were St Marteen, San Juan and Great Stirrup Cay. St. Marteen wasnt as grand as I hoped. We booked our excursion through MSC and it was well organized but the Kayak/Snorkeling was "Fair". Now that I got a taste of St. Marteen I dont have a desire to return. At least not to the area we visited. Old San Juan in Puerto Rico is awesome! We walked Old San Juan and the El Mirro fort. AWESOME!!! Next visit to P.R. I was to see the Rain forest! Unfortunately for us we didnt get to go to Great Stirrup Cay as the winds were to great to safely tender onto the island. :-( Overall an enjoyable cruise on a very nice ship. While I wouldnt hesitate sailing on MSC again in the future, my next cruise will be aboard the Oasis or Allure of the Seas with R.C. as we must experience those ships. For anyone looking for an affordable vacation with an Italian/European taste try MSC with an open mind. You might be pleasantly surprised. Craig Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We recently came back from family cruise vacation on MSC Divina. It was not our first cruise so we were able to compare Divina with other ships such as Celebrity Eclipse, Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas. As many other people we read ... Read More
We recently came back from family cruise vacation on MSC Divina. It was not our first cruise so we were able to compare Divina with other ships such as Celebrity Eclipse, Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas. As many other people we read multiple review and peoples opinions about this company and ships and while it was lower than other companies we anyway decided to give them a try. We learned a valuable lesson to trust other’s people’s reviews, basically it was worst cruise we ever had. To begin with I will compare MSC Divina with a similar size ship of Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas: Divina has capacity of 3,959 passengers compare to Freedom of the Seas capacity 3,634 – Divina has 325 passengers more on the similar size ship real estate. There are so much more internal rooms stocked up, that in order to cross a ship from front to back without going outside on the top deck you will need to walk thru multiple corridors and elevators. I heard some other’s people opinions that the entire ship is like a “hamster walk tube” consist of multiple passages and low ceilings. Even general bar’s and restaurant area’s are so small and congested that you may start filling claustrophobic even if you never suffered from this disorder. For those who traveled on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and other big ships, probably noticed that each ship has large promenade areas with specious high ceilings, O well, not in this one! The only large and well-planned areas of the ship are decks 14 and 15 with a lot of pools and hot tubs. I have to admit that pull area is done excellent with plenty of space to accommodate many passengers, but this is only positive thing I can say about this ship. Food: Usually food on the cruise ships it’s a celebration of culinary arts and extravaganza, Oh well, in this case than MSC Divina is big exception! If you would imagine combination of fast food restaurant and school cafeteria than you would understand what kind of food they serve, and its same every day with little exception in main diner menu. MSC covers chip food under “mediterranean style” diet, which is obviously not. Try to avoid the Black Crab main diner restaurant; this is most crowded and uncomfortable restaurant. We have been sited there and immediately asked to be moved to a different place, its overcrowded with more number of table than place can comfortably accommodate. Entertainment is a bit boring, out of seven nights only about 3 evening shows were ok, other were just same thing with different decorations. This ship and her sister ships serve as floating hotels for big sport events such as soccer world cup, in 2014 they going to Brazil. Clearly ships like this was designed to be just a hotel with as much as possible rooms, but not a luxury Cruise ship. The list can go on and on, in general my advice to everyone who is looking for a cruise just avoid this cruise line. Don’t get trapped by the low price for the tickets, its will be a waste of time and money. While on the ship I spoke with many people, some novice and some were seasoned cruisers and most of them shared same opinion that they give MSC a chance and this was a first and the last time they traveled with this company.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Such a beautiful ship it's a shame it will get torn apart unless undergoing a lot of changes whilst in America, Whilst agreeing with an awful lot of what has been said in reviews which I have read I feel some people have been quite ... Read More
Such a beautiful ship it's a shame it will get torn apart unless undergoing a lot of changes whilst in America, Whilst agreeing with an awful lot of what has been said in reviews which I have read I feel some people have been quite harsh and petty with their comments. Yes the service onboard in the dinning room was a bit hectic but this was mainly due to understaffing, 2 hours 40 minutes on early dinning is far too long and puts 2nd sitting far later than stipulated but things did improve after the first week when staff got used to running around tables overcrowded a little quicker, felt sorry for some of the waiters. Paying for water & coffee in the dinning room is unacceptable which was soon realized by the management once the American visitors joined the cruise, never happened to myself before. Our cabin boy must of been invisible although he did keep the cabin clean & tidy was never to be found when needed only for a wave from the end of the corridor. Films on the television were a joke able to watch half of four films and only saw the finish of two other films due to constant breakdown during the screening, nothing to watch whilst crossing the Atlantic. Entertainment in the beautiful theatre was a big letdown, five good shows out of nineteen days cruising unless you liked opera which judging by the amount of persons walking out during these shows would suggest didn't. The cast which worked hard when appearing were very good but even their shows only lasted at most 35 minutes, shame that shows couldn't of been made to last longer with some other form of entertainer. The cruise was changed last minute which meant we never visited the port of Nassau I believe that this was due to the big show put on for our entrance into Miami harbour which was spectacular but didn't warrant us missing what ports we'd paid to see when booking. Things were all about to change after we disembarked, for the following three days when travel agents and the media got invited to a three day complimentary cruise when over a thousand were treated to top level entertainment, fireworks and no doubt better service & food, its a shame that paying cruise customers weren't treat the same, but I feel certain that MSC should of learnt a lesson if not then this cruise will be coming home earlier than they anticipated. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I have previously sailed on Carnival and Celebrity. Had a porthole on Carnival and a Balcony on Celebrity. We arrived at the Port of Miami on a coach and was literally yelled at by the luggage porter for not having tags. Our tour operator ... Read More
I have previously sailed on Carnival and Celebrity. Had a porthole on Carnival and a Balcony on Celebrity. We arrived at the Port of Miami on a coach and was literally yelled at by the luggage porter for not having tags. Our tour operator told us we would receive them at the port. I guess it was too much work to get them out of his pocket and write our cabin numbers on them. Nevertheless we tipped excessively to make sure our bags would be properly handled. Not MSC's fault but still a very poor first interaction. -BOARDING We managed to get through the checkin line and board the ship very quickly. It was just about noon and was delighted to find our cabin ready. We then headed up to the buffet which was immense and well stocked with great food. But that would be the last time it would look like that. -BUFFET The buffet for breakfast and lunch was decent to downright subpar. Dinner which starts at 630pm was the biggest disapointment. All the meat was cooked beyond dry. Sometimes the salad bar didnt have lettuce only cabbage. Not to mention the way it was setup caused confusion for the flow of traffic. There are lots of staff walking around clearing plates. There is a bar menu on each table but you have to ask someone to get items for you they never offer. There is also a selection of self service free drinks. For an Italian cruise line the pizza and pasta are barely ok. -DINING ROOM In the dining room there is either early (630p) or late (830p) seating. 830pm is kind of late for me so we often had pizza at the buffet before dinner and often after dinner when we disliked the food we were served. The lobster was edible and some spinach/mushroom patties were very good. The steak and salmon was bad enough that I didnt want to finish it. Overly salty broccoli and cold mash potatoes were other dislikes. The service was just fine. Courses were served at a good pace for us. Our assistant waiter remembered I drank Pelligrino the day before, and tried to make small talk. I was amused one night when our waiter scrapped the bread crumbs off the table onto the floor and my leg. I did see tables for two but have no idea how that could be arranged. -CASINO I did very well at the casino. The staff was friendly. I never saw a cocktail server the entire time I was there. Your room key/on board card can be used to get money at the slot machines and no tranaction fees. -LAUNDRY SERVICE I selected the express service 20 items for $40 in by 9 out by 5. I followed their ridicoulous procedure of taking the express form to the reception desk and then having someone else pickup the items at the cabin. The items were returned 2 days later after two phone calls and a visit to the service desk. To add insult to injury some of the shirts were just pressed and still dirty. At least they adjusted the price to the non-express service ($25). -ENTERTAINMENT Typical cruise ship stuff. I saw two shows Wonderland which was awesome and then a(n) ABBA tribute band which was downright awful. I am biased though. I dont care for ABBA. -EXCURSIONS I enjoyed the ports even though I had a been there done that attitude. Falmouth has nice port but dont go out the gates except on a ships excursion. We ended up in a taxi for a $20 tour, there isnt anything worth seeing in Falmouth IMHO. All the vendors are selling the same tourist doo dads. They did call you to come over but no one walked up to you. In Cayman we did the Tour and Tiki beach . Enjoyable. Tendering to shore in the ships lifeboats was not particulalrly enjoyable It was crowded, rough, and hot but we lived. In Cozumel we did the Fury Catamaran. For $55 you ride the catamaran with free beer and margaritas, snorkel for a short while and have about 1 hour at a private beach with more free beer and margaritas. Made with fresh lime juice the maragaritas were great. Stirup Cay was wonderful. Full size open air boats tendered to the island. Free lunch (burgers burnt outside and raw in the middle) was prepared in typical MSC fashion on the island. I booked the waverunner tour which ended up over an hour delayed ( 5 to 10 minutes at a time) but was so enjoyable it cancelled any ill feelings i had about waiting so long. -IN SUMMARY I am very unlikely to book another MSC cruise again. The food is mostly subpar in the buffet and dining room. The specialty restaurant wasnt enticing and I wasnt willing to take the chance. This is direct contrast to Celebrity specialty restaurants which are appealling and impressive. The staff on MSC seemed amatuer although pleasant enough. Many other reviews say how beautiful and clean the Divina is. I found Carnival and Celebrity just as beautiful and clean. Then there is talk about how Americans just arent used to European style service. The MSC Divina experience is subpar to other cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Our first booking on MSC was made with great expectations based upon the webinar viewed by my better half, who advises clients on the various cruise options one can take. We are both experienced cruisers with over 80 cruises between us and ... Read More
Our first booking on MSC was made with great expectations based upon the webinar viewed by my better half, who advises clients on the various cruise options one can take. We are both experienced cruisers with over 80 cruises between us and were so excited about trying this new ship. So excited, we invited 2 other couples to join us based upon those expectations. Let me identify the positives (which are few but important) first. The ship is very attractive and well maintained, the onboard entertainment is spectacular with high energy, and the casino is well laid out with attractive promotions to encourage activity. That's it for the positives. Now to the negatives. Let me give the MSC management some very important advice. If you expect to compete in the US/Caribbean market, against the experienced cruise lines which already know what I am about to say, you had better get your management act together in a hurry. The evening dining room service was a disaster. What should have been a pleasant opportunity to share our on-board and port experiences with friends over dinner, became an ordeal. Every meal, until the last two days, lasted over 2 and a half hours, with the staff service poorly undermanned (according to our waiter) and meals that were poorly prepared (under/over cooked on many occasions). The seating never started on time until half way through the cruise and was ALWAYS ending well after 11pm. Half the time we did not even try to have deserts since it was so late we could not make any of the late evening shows. That is not to say the waiter did not try; he did, but was also more than willing to tell us where the problems were and why the food was late, luke lukewarm and not very good. So much for the normal dinner service. Next, what MSC calls "speciality dining". First, compared to every other major cruise line, the speciality dining on MSC is not what you would expect. Second, on the Divina, their specialty dining is actually two separate dining rooms in one location. One room offers a steak menu with ala carte side dishes that are individually priced. The other room offers a fixed meal at a specific up charge of $34. That meal does not include steak and provides no options. It is fixed period. We were given a complimentary "speciality dining" meal for booking early and were not told about the distinctions between the two rooms. Our expectation was that Divina's speciality dining would be similar to other cruise lines only to find out that there was absolutely nothing in common with RCL, Celebrity, Princess or Carnival. It created a very uncomfortable situation with our guest couples who were joining us based upon our expectations. To the dining room's manager credit, he made good our what we were told to expect and what could have been a very ugly evening turned out to be very enjoyable. This was the only positive dining experience we had all week and even it started out badly. The cabin service was acceptable but we did not even meet our steward until the first day at sea. He did try but what about bar soap in the lavatory? He did not understand what I wanted so I just used the blue fluid provided and made due. The split shower doors (2) made it very difficult to get into and out of the shower if you are over 6 feet tall which I am. Most new ships have a single sliding door. The bed was comfortable but the small flat screen tv offered a minimal selection of channels. And what about the inability to broadcast the various football games on Saturday, Sunday, Thursday, and the Friday after Thanksgiving. They should have known those would be highly demanded by the American passengers. We went to the sports bar expecting to see the games and were told they did not have the correct satellite receiver to view the games. Of course, soccer, rugby and crickett were available. Really. Now do not get me wrong, I have enjoyed them, on occasion when I am in Europe, watching these games because they are of high interest OVER THERE, but Miami is not over there. They finally did get a few of the NFL games on but again this problem should never have existed in the first place. The buffet dining upstairs needs a lot of organization and physical work as well. There are a number of design "choke points" where passengers trying to get food and staff need to pass in a very tight area. They are blocked by some design lamp posts which serve no viable purpose other than obstruct passenger/staff movement. This Italian line also needs to understand that there are other food selections other than Italian which passengers enjoy. Yes we almost all like Italian but not to the exclusion of other cuisines. Queuing to disembark needs to be completely reworked. Almost all ships announce the status of disembarkation as the process moves along so people know when they can expect to leave. The first sign of a major problem was the announcement broadcast over the public address system that all departures had been stopped due to an "overload" in the terminal. That lasted almost an hour and yet when we finally got off at 11 am there were absolutely no lines anywhere in the terminal. Not at the baggage carousel and there was absolutely no line at customs/immigration. Yet we were stuck on the ship waiting for over an hour with no information as to the problem. Not the best impression to have your passengers leave the ship with. All in all, we had very high expectations, most of which were not even close to being met. If MSC does not seriously reconsider some of the points ,I and I am sure many other passengers have told them in their evaluation of the cruise, this ship's tenure in the Caribbean will be a short one.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
First off the Divina is a beautiful ship. Well decorated,very tasteful and kept as clean as possible, the housekeeping staff did an excellent job. No complaints there. The buffet waiters kept the tables clean and dishes picked up very ... Read More
First off the Divina is a beautiful ship. Well decorated,very tasteful and kept as clean as possible, the housekeeping staff did an excellent job. No complaints there. The buffet waiters kept the tables clean and dishes picked up very well. The food choices were varied and pretty good, although by the time you find a table the food was never hot, this being said it was always very crowded. They should have signs saying what way the lines go, almost every time after standing in line people would just step in front of you help themselves. The buffet hours were not good, several hours between meals, but pizza was always available. The restaurant, wow where to begin. First let me say when we cruised with carnival we always looked forward to evening dinner, it was very interactive, our waitress was always polite and asking about our day and just a very pleasant experience. Very different than MSC. very crowded, overworked staff, we had one waiter that basically did everything from taking orders,clearing the table after each course,refilling water glasses, ( which was hard to get refills) which water is the only free drink at dinner. Very overworked staff. The maitre'd was Italian as is most of the "upper management" and very rude and harsh on the waiters, yelling at them in front of the diners, we noticed this on different occasions the way they treated the staff. Not very professional.. Back to our maitre'd, night after night he would schmooze some tables around us, bringing them plates of cheese, extra bread,refill their water glasses and on lobster night actually brought them a plateful of extra lobster. Never once even stopped by our table to ask us if things were okay. Yes we are Americans and yes they were Italians..... Favoritism? It was very disappointing and maddening. We had second seating at 8:30 and we didn't get out until 10:45 11:00 every night. Not once all week did our table of 8 get served at the same time, usually several minutes between the first and last to get served. Gala evenings we were led to believe that coats and ties were required so I go purchase suits for myself and boys, only to find out people were wearing t- shirts to the fancy gala evening. What a joke, so don't spend any money For nice clothes as they do not enforce any dress codes. Our last port of Great Stirrup Cay was cancelled due to weather, so we sailed in circles for 24 hours to sail 100 miles. It would be nice if there was another port on stand by, like maybe Nassau that has docks. That would have been nice. Overall experience, hmmmmmm.....so-so. It has a lot of potential so MSC better adapt quickly to the American market or they will be going back to Europe. Unless things change from what they were on this cruise we would choose a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We are a family of four husband and wife and two adult children, we choose the Divina Yacht Club, since we have been on MSC once before in Europe. We flew in to Fort Lauderdale since we had originally had booked two balconies on the ... Read More
We are a family of four husband and wife and two adult children, we choose the Divina Yacht Club, since we have been on MSC once before in Europe. We flew in to Fort Lauderdale since we had originally had booked two balconies on the Oasis, we felt the two YC for similar price was a better choice for us. Our family drove down to Miami in a rental car, the YC check in was a tent and you were escorted to the VIP Lounge for check in ( the same lounge RCCL uses). Around 12:30 the ship was cleared and we escorted by family groups. Our rooms were 16027 and 16029 which were ready and well appointed , our butler Harrison was waiting for us. The suite is not the biggest suite but very comfortable, large couch, walk in closet, and a marble bathroom. The mini bar is well stocked. The bed is one of the most comfortable beds. There was limited tv channels, CNN, and HLN and football games were available on ESPN. We ate lunch at the Le Muse , it was a great lunch, with an excellent waiter. The Le Muse includes house wines and sodas. The ship is beautiful and clean. We had lunch at the Buffet which was large and seem to have plenty of choices, always able to find a seat. The only thing we missed is way to walk around the outside of the ship, like the RCCl Ships Muster drills were inside and painless, The Sail away was late at 7pm and beautiful. Dinner was wonderful in the Le Muse and we attended the show which was great, although I do miss live music. In the am , my daughter reported the gym was busy and she could not get a machine around 8 am. We also saw land an announcement was made there was a medical emergency. As a whole announcements were very few ( which we like). The low key atmosphere was enjoying by the family. My son found the F1 racer and he and my husband enjoyed racing each other. After two glorious sea days we arrived at Saint Martin, which turned out to be so crowded. We went to Maho Beach saw a 747 land. The beach was too crowded to be enjoyed. The next stop was San Juan were we did some shopping. We had wonderful weather. The stop at the private island was cancelled due to weather and had another sea day. Thanksgiving dinner there was a turkey dinner, which was appreciated but not a typical American turkey dinner, the lobster was juicy and wonder though. There was fresh Pizza delivered upon request to YC which was wonderful. The YC has a Top Sail Lounge which had American finger foods such as sliders. Overall we had an excellent cruises, we will do MSC again, we appreciated the low key approach to cruising and great service We never had a photo taken during dinner or at the ports. The ship was spotless and the crew seemed happy. The shows were well attended and the theater was beautiful. I did miss live music in the shows. We took the ship's paid shuttle back to the airport which was quick and efficient. The shopping on board is the usual items seem on all cruise ships. Disembarkation was one of the worst due to customs Good points::The YC The cleanliness of the ship The Beauty of ship The low key atmosphere the Shows Internet was slow but nor painful Casino Areas for improvement: Better Passenger flow Long painful waits for elevator Overall great family cruise, it had the elegance of Celebrity Cruise but had appeal for the whole family, Unlike Celebrity which the ship closed down at 8pm there was plenty to do after the show.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our second cruise, we were with a big group and MSC did nothing to make us feel welcome or valued. The previous cruise was with Carnival which wasn't perfect but had much higher standards of customer service, more english ... Read More
This was our second cruise, we were with a big group and MSC did nothing to make us feel welcome or valued. The previous cruise was with Carnival which wasn't perfect but had much higher standards of customer service, more english speaking staff and better food options. Check-in procedure is online which is fine, you print off a 1 A4 sheet with your room details but little else and you're told you don't need luggage tags, except when you get to the port and you have to chase a porter to get one and fill it in on the dockside, the tags are waxed paper so take a good biro and have your cabin number to hand! Boarding in Miami is relatively smooth, I walk with a cane so was directed to the special assistance desk, although no one asked if I needed a wheelchair or any additional help boarding or not. The cabin was okay, even though it had been recently refitted, the dressing was pretty dark and plain, browns and yellows dominated. We had a larger balcony room with a sofa at the back of the boat which was a reasonable location. There was a good sized wardrobe with hangers and a small set of drawers. The bathroom has a small toilet, and average shower cubicle, with storage under the sink. TV is small with limited channel selection - lots of spanish channels, only english channels are CNN, BBC South America and Cartoon Network. We had booked a double bed and arrived to find two singles, we rang to ask to have the bed rearranged and was told it would happen after 6pm, it took four more calls before it was finally sorted out at 11.45PM! Cabin steward was noticeable by his absence, he was more visible smoking on the outdoor stairs next to our cabin, we raised this with customer services as the smoker blew into our balcony and cabin, they said that we would have to call when they were smoking so that they could come and catch them…I thought the cruise had camera's in all public spaces… The sheets weren't changed for 3 days and we had to chase to get fresh towels. Although it is useful to know that if you leave a key in the electrics pad (the thing you slot your key into to turn on the room electrics), then the steward can't enter the room, although this wasn't the case when the sheets weren't changed. The two main dining rooms are Black Crab and Villa Rossa, we were in Villa Rossa in the 2nd sitting. The food was really hit and miss, some days good, some days truly awful and inedible….the pasta was usually raw (and I know what al dente italian style is, this was not it!). They had really packed the tables close together which made it really hard to get in and out of table some time. The buffet was worse, with really limited salad selection, everything either undercooked and almost raw or stewed to the point of breaking down into brown sludge. The lunch time buffet was really bad with poor seasoning, uninspiring dishes and a real lack of imagination in the cooking. The desserts were the same every day and really disappointing compared to out other cruise experience. There aren't really any alternative included options, we didn't eat in any of the three paid for restaurants but everyone who did was really disappointed. They make a big thing in the brochures of the gelatto, and it is nice ice cream but you have to pay for the nice stuff and the stand was rarely staffed. All the staff were pretty rude and abrupt, with the majority having very bad english or really none at all, this included the customer service staff who's english was appalling. unlike other cruises, on the MSC Divina it is really hard to get served a drink…..hunting down a waitress was the first challenge, then trying to get across the order was the second challenge, and finally waiting for the drinks to arrive (with the right order)….and then the disappointment that the majority of the cocktails were truly disgusting, pure alcohol and no finesse or skill in mixing…the bar staff need a major lesson in bar tending…. We went to one show while on the boat, the Witches of Paris, which was boring and really underwhelming. The singing was bland, the choreography was weak and the acrobatics in line with a third rate circus. Our friends went to see the Micheal Jackson Tribute which was equally bad. The one highlight was the astronomy talks and guides, our friends went to these and loved them, really informative, interesting and innovative taking advantage of the beautiful clear skies and stunning stars. The pool areas are okay, there are a range of hot tubs at different temperatures with the largest seating 10 people, so was always a bit of a gamble on getting a seat and the pools were small salty plunge pools really. You are not allowed to have drinks by the hot tub - despite everything being plastic - which was a bit of a downer. The gym is large and was well used on the cruise, there wasn't much else to do given the poor entertainment and awful food. The highlight was the excursions which were well organised, although in general they were local tours which MSC facilitates access to, and in two there were long coach journeys which weren't mentioned in the guide on the boat or website when we booked them, not sure we would have chosen Tulum ruins if we'd have know 3hrs would be taken up on a coach and boat! There were issues for people with limited mobility getting on and off the tender and the crew just didn't seem to have thought about disability awareness and were rude handling some of the elderly passengers on and off the boat. Disembarkation was a bit chaotic and we were given the wrong tags and when we went back to swap them they had run out, so was all a bit messy but we got off the boat with our luggage so I guess that's success. So in essence, bad food, poor service, and disappointing environment….   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Divina...November 2-20....Trans Atlantic...Venice to Miami This was our second cruise with MSC....first one a 14 day New England to Quebec City...and this one an 18 day repositioning from Venice to Miami.....right off I must say that ... Read More
Divina...November 2-20....Trans Atlantic...Venice to Miami This was our second cruise with MSC....first one a 14 day New England to Quebec City...and this one an 18 day repositioning from Venice to Miami.....right off I must say that “we WOULD sail again with MSC ”..that statement is for those who think that any sort of criticism is bad-mouthing the company and its ships.... We had just finished two 7 day B2B’s on the Splendour of the Seas...RCCL around Greece, Croatia and Turkey....that ended on Nov 2 so had fresh memories to compare things between RCCL and MSC....it was our first time on RCCL The Ship and Demographics..... The ship was almost sold out....apparently it had been heavily marketed in Europe and Turkey for a cruise with air package.....so according to the front desk and CD there were over 900 Swiss/Germans and 700 Turks and the rest from all over Europe and Britain....a minority were the 100 Canadians...most from a package from Sunquest...200 or so from Australia...a package with air and Las Vegas...their package was interesting as it included the 7 days before this cruise, the 18 days and then the 3 day intro with all the travel agents from USA..... and lastly perhaps 75 from USA...(an Australian review would be very interesting to read as it would highlight three different cruises on the same ship) The ship is beautiful and fairly well laid out.... deck #7 allows you to go from one end of the ship from the Black and White Lounge area in the aft to the Theatre at the bow....the others go part way so you have to go up or down stairs to deck 7....there was no way to go to the bow of the ship outside unless you were a Yacht Club customer...this is kind of a negative as it is nice to go to the bow area ......the ship is spotless and well maintained....could not believe the number of crew members we saw cleaning all times of the day and night....they also appreciated a comment that showed some interest in what they were doing...ie vacuuming, polishing, cleaning windows...etc....the bars and lounges were well designed and packed at night with lots of entertainment....each lounge had a band or singer night after night for listening pleasure and dancing if you wanted.....there were 17 of them.....probably too many but with 4000 passengers you have to have places to go at night......pools in the day were crowded as the weather was hot and sunny....far too many people would get up early...stake out their loungers, put out their orange towels and leave....and come back hrs later... it was like a contest to get the best positions...for 18 days the same people were in the same spots....the pools were nice and warm and filled with salt water....after the whole day of use the water was not as clear as in the AM....suggestion is to change some of the water as the day goes on.......currency on board was in US$....which came into effect the day we boarded...so some strain on the staff to adjust so fast....casino went from Euro to $ also....some machines still had the Euro symbols....a fun place but we thought the slots were tight......gratuities were the least expensive at $8 per day....we had a Cruise Critic group and had some meetings...if you do some digging you can find comments about that process.....Andre, the new Assistant Cruise Director attended the meetings and was very candid....which was a good thing.... Ports... Venice, Malta, Malaga, Madeira, St Maarten, St Thomas, San Juan, Puerto Rico and supposedly (Nassau) which was exchanged for an extra day in Miami....we loved all of them....sunshine, hot, and interesting places, easy to move about and sightsee....our favourite was probably Madeira....beautiful location...did the Hop–on, Hop-off bus for an overview of the area, the gondola up the Monte, then lunch and a leisurely walk about the main part of town and back to the ship.....never took a ship tour in any of the ports as we did our own thing which was very easy...most of these ports you could just walk off the ship and were right in the middle of things..... Cabin We had an aft balcony cabin....11266....quite large, full sized couch, queen bed, flat screen 24”, desk area, fridge....(mini bar), nice sized bathroom with glass/plastic doors for shower, robes, two large closets, balcony with two loungers, two chairs and a table.....excellent to while away the 18 days.....cabin steward gave great service and did little extras for us....we liked chatting to him and he appreciated it....we kept getting fruit bowls...who knows from where as there never was a note....there was a slight problem with the balcony...if you do some research you can find out why as it was under the aft pool.....there was hardly any rumble from the engines.....so fairly quiet........and no loud neighbours......sometimes smelled smoke in the hallways but apparently some nationalities were not told about the new smoking rules....signs for no smoking showed up on the balcony door two days before the cruise ended....... Dining We had fixed seating at 6pm (don’t like to wait until 8:30) in the Black Crab....deck 6....table for 6 by a window in the port aft section of the restaurant.....great table mates.....two from Belgium and two from Ontario....looked forward to going to dinner each night as had so many nice chats and laughs....sometimes this makes the cruise in our opinion.......our waiter and assistant were fantastic.....after a few days the wine, water, bread, etc was always waiting for us when we arrived......service was off and on but no fault of the waiters....it was due to back-ups and problems in the kitchen, new menus and new ways of doing things......ice water was available at the table (something new).....as we were from NA we had free vouchers for bottled water, gas or no gas....so we used them up....a nice perk...(at $3.25 natural or $4.75 for San Pelligrino) ..and shared the water with our new friends from Belgium....they thought that was great.....we had the NA wine package of 7 bottles for $85....very nice house wine.....Trebiano Rubicon and Grillo Tratt....both white.....(there are also two reds and one rose to choose from )...buy before you go on the cruise and save the service charge....also had the NA beer package at $52 for 14 bottles or cans... had the odd MGD 16oz...cost at $5 each in the bars and restaurants....Food....well that is always subjective.....in our humble opinion it was fine....when compared to RCCL which we had just come off for 14 days, we felt the food and variety was better on MSC....you could have 5 or more courses each night.....appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, mains, dessert.....who would starve?....food preparation was usually good but you could never tell....if we did not like it just asked for another course and got it really fast.....gelatto was always available for dessert so would usually order a dessert and gelato....super......beef could be ordered by cooking style now....rare, med-rare, etc....previously you could not do that.....and cuts were thicker.....had lobster one gala dinner....nice and ordered the steak also to go with it......delicious....we never starved.....Breakfast in the buffet was hectic but lots of choice.....however, the stations never changed for the whole cruise.....major problem was that fresh fruit was only at the front station which was quite the hike from the back of the buffet...... better to have a quiet breakfast in the dining room.....service was fast.......Lunch in the buffet....again hectic....and repetitive.....we started eating in the dining room as was more civilized......most stations had the same stuff day after day....there was an ethnic station and things did change there..... salad was only in the front station....again a major flaw in the design.....they should have had a mirrored design front and back....would clear up many problems as most people were rushing back and forth.....so for 18 days all was fine....the staff tried hard with all the new menus and serving style....and yes....we had coffee each night with our dessert....waiters got into the flow and got the coffee cups ready as dessert was served....never went to the pay eating venues...mostly they were empty....MSC never had any outside eating areas or barbecue which was too bad as the weather was great each day....perhaps they will do that later on the Caribbean cruises.... Entertainment I think the shows were geared to an audience that speaks different languages.... hence no comedians, English production shows etc......mainly impressive visual shows, dancing, acrobatics, juggling, physical stunts etc. with names such as “Billy Bones”, “Wonderland”, “Mime Mix”, “Il Sole Mio”, “Elvis Tribute”, “Starwalker”, “The Best Of”, “Frank Sinatra” ...some were loud and impressive with costumes and activities.....the best one that we liked was “Starwalker” which was a take on Michael Jackson music and dancing.....the theatre holds 1670 people on three levels.....so really no problem getting a seat....arrived sometimes 5 minutes before the show at 9pm.....they did two shows usually, one for late seating and one for early seating.....Introductions by the CD took forever as they repeated things in 5 languages and then sometimes 6 for all the Turks.....I wonder if they will just stick to English for the Caribbean ones. The Black and White lounge was the hub of activity after the shows....with the Entertainment/Animation crew doing their stunts.....each bar also had music...really liked the couple that sang in “La Luna”.....Shops and Shopping......lots of them...most we have ever seen on a ship.....even a candy store.....final thoughts....well for five days in a row we also had “Opera Shows”....good for some but the theatre was half empty....and the big production shows had the same stunts but with different music and costumes.....so lost some of the thrill after seeing the same thing over and over.....as there was no TV for several days there was no entertainment or news in our staterooms...some problem due to the change-over of satellite feed from Europe to North America...should have been addressed sooner than it was On/Off Great embarking in Venice....dropped off our tagged luggage and checked in....on ship in probably 15 minutes....MSC had this port down pat.....Miami....well another story.....perhaps there were problems as it was the first time...but....we were to be off the ship at 8:45 to pick up luggage but were still waiting for it 2 and half hrs later.....lots and lots of unhappy customers missing planes etc.....major concern....did not see one MSC officer trying to help out and explain the problems...I think they were getting ready to have the 3 days of Travel Agents aboard..... .....only people about were the Port of Miami helpers and employees...mainly women.... and I felt sorry for them...they did their best Summary We had a good cruise....great dinner mates, nice table location, good wine, fantastic weather for 18 days, interesting ports of call, and a new, well looked after ship.....and the food...well no one would starve....there was always something to eat and if it was not what you expected or felt was not up to snuff, just order another dish......and excellent service from our waiters and cabin steward.....what can you want! Sure there were minor/major glitches depending on your point of view...organizational skills of the senior management, luggage problems, lack of information, having to call 4 different head offices before someone could make a decision, chaos at the buffet at times, loud multi-language announcements, few English books in the library, pool lounger hogs, dropping Nassau without giving a reason, misinformation as no one really knew what was going on at times. All in all we will remember the great time as the positives outweighed the negatives. We hope MSC will address the issues that caused concern and upset for many of the passengers and succeed in the North American market. As a line they cannot put their image ahead of the things that most passengers expect. A case in point would be the fantastic arrival in Miami with helicopters, fireboats, “Fiats” and Diva sunglasses followed the next day by the disembarkation and luggage retrieval fiasco. That left most people with a bad taste and that was unfortunate as the last thing they remember of the cruise..... Thanks for reading....   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
First the bad: the food and the food service are average, at best. The dining room servers are slow, they're not engaging, they even look bored, and the food was usually meh. I expected better from a European cruise line, seeing as ... Read More
First the bad: the food and the food service are average, at best. The dining room servers are slow, they're not engaging, they even look bored, and the food was usually meh. I expected better from a European cruise line, seeing as how they place so much emphasis on food in Europe. The food in the buffets wasn't so bad, and there was lots of variety. But one usually looks forward to a nice meal in the dining room at night... don't get your hopes up. Now for the good: The ship is absolutely beautiful. There are lots of beautiful areas, lounges, pools, there's even some staircases in the main area called the Swarovski Stairs because they glitter with what looks to be Swarovski crystals. Very nice touch. The cabins are very roomy. We had a ton of people in our party, and everyone from the inside cabin to the cabin with a balcony said their cabin was very roomy. Drink specials: they have a variety of alcoholic beverage deals that you can buy before you sail or when you go on board, and they're totally worth it - even the cheapest deal includes most drinks, cocktails, and top shelf liquors. And they had a great selection of beer, which I loved. The best part is the entertainment... all I can say is wow. I'm an entertainer myself, and till now of all the cruise lines I considered Disney had set the bar very high when it came to mainstage shows. The MSC Divina had two shows per night and they were top notch - excellent singers and performers, amazing acrobatics, incredible staging and lighting... it was all just so amazing I think they are really giving Disney a run for their money. Each night our negative experience in the dining room was erased by a breathtaking show afterward. Way to go, Divina. I also have to say the navigational crew really saved us... the weather was so bad every day that we rocked and rocked and were unable to take the tenders to the private island... no problem, our crew somehow found a sunny spot, we steamed toward it, still rocking some, next thing I know we are turning around and now sailing in the direction of the wind, so the ship sailed for hours without rocking at all, and we finally got some sun and enjoyed our unexpected sea day anyway. Good job, Captain and crew! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
MSC Divina – November 23 - 30, 2013 Yacht Club YC1 Suite 15010   Embarkation: We arrived at the port at about 11:30 AM. The yacht club check-in process went quite smoothly. Upon driving up to cruise terminal F, we checked our bags ... Read More
MSC Divina – November 23 - 30, 2013 Yacht Club YC1 Suite 15010   Embarkation: We arrived at the port at about 11:30 AM. The yacht club check-in process went quite smoothly. Upon driving up to cruise terminal F, we checked our bags with the staff at the Yacht Club tent. We were then escorted through security and up to the second floor when we entered the Yacht Club waiting room. Our check-in was completed by port hostesses who verified our travel documents and established our on-board account. Within about 45 minutes we were escorted aboard by a butler who showed us around and introduced us to the concierge. (I will note that while in the Yacht Club waiting room, I did hear a few people complaining. They felt that the wait was too long and were complaining that we should be aboard already. These issued were unfounded as our e-documents did state that boarding was at 4pm so we were all extremely early and allowed to board several hours ahead of schedule.) We made one quite stop to the candy shop La Caramella, on deck 5 to see the youth staff to get our younger child safety ID bracelet issued prior to heading up to the Yacht Club. Room: As would be expected Divina is a beautiful ship kept sparkling clean by her unflappable crew. Our suite was no exception. I chose 15010 because of its location very close to the concierge lounge door. Our suite included a lovely bathroom with tub/shower combo, a pull out sofa which was roomy enough to sleep a 13 year old and a 10 year old, flat panel TV, Wii, mini-bar, balcony with 2 seats and a drink table, toiletries, bathrobes, slippers, fruit bowl, and Spumanti on ice. Throughout the cruise in the evenings we would receive additional little sweet treats like chocolate covered strawberries and macaroons. Our mini bar was restocked twice a day with; chocolate covered peanuts, salted peanuts, mixed nuts, potato chips. As well as 1 can each of Coke, Sprite, Fanta, & Schwepps. Beer in the minibar was Budweiser, Bud Light, Corona and Corona and the liquor bottles included Absolute, Gordon’s & Johnny Walker. In Room Pizza Delivery: Another item that Yacht Club receives complimentary. I believe the rest of the ship pays $8.50 per pie. The pizza arrives about 10 minutes after ordering and is fresh out of the oven hot! It is so good, and they are just like the size and taste of those you buy in Italy! Delivery runs from 6:00pm to 12:00am. Top Sail Lounge: I was very pleased to discover 1 butler and 3 Top Sail staff members that I had met this past May on the Splendida, it’s always nice to encounter familiar smiles! The Top Sail lounge serves as the main concierge area where they have a bar, plenty of tables and comfy sofas and a nice little buffet bar. The buffet bar serves continental breakfast in the mornings and light aperitifs and desserts throughout the day. High Tea is also served in the afternoons and in the evenings they have a live piano player. For us, we always bring travel games with us and we enjoy sitting here and playing games when weather is yucky or we’re just tired of running around. The One bar & pool: Located on deck 18 stern, you get there by accessing an elevator that takes you up to deck 18. The pool itself is small but not inadequate with two hot tubs alongside of it. There are plenty of lounge chairs (never a shortage) as well as plenty of tables and chairs. To your left on entering The One pool deck is the area allowed for smoking with lounges and tables. To the right, are the pools and hot tub and on the other side of those are The One Bar & buffet. The buffet serves a small hot breakfast until 11:00am and then lunch from 12:00pm to 3:00 pm. After that, they serve aperitifs and desserts. Soft serve ice cream is available in the afternoons. The One Pool area is a wonderful break from the typical ship pool chaos. The only thing that I would change is that since this is where the only Yacht Club smoking area is, it was a little annoying that lounges and tables were put up around 7:00 pm and that left nowhere to relax and have a cigarette if you were a smoker. Le Muse: This is the Yacht Club exclusive restaurant and is free seating (no early or late seating’s) and located on deck 15 aft. The atmosphere is refined and relaxing without feeling pretentious. The food is beautifully presented by a wait staff that is so attentive and friendly, they learn your preferences by your second visit. Your meal can contain anywhere from one to and unlimited amount of courses and here again, you drinks are free. Le Muse is open for breakfast, lunch & dinner at set times. Youth Clubs: Youth clubs are available for 4 different age groups. Mini Club: ages 3-6, Junior Club: ages 7-11, Young Teen: ages 12-14 and Teen: ages 15-17. Because of our children’s ages, we only used the Junior and Young Teen clubs. Mini & Junior club hours are from 9:00am – 11:00pm on port days (and yes you can leave your child in the club while you go ashore although, I would never risk that) and on sea days the hours are almost the same but there are hour long breaks for lunch at 1:00pm and dinner at 5:00pm. There are a wide variety of activities included little trips around the ship to other lounges and sports areas. On some nights they attend the evenings show. There are also several opportunities to do the Cinema 4D with the club. The staff also takes the kids to dinner each evening at 7:00pm giving adults a change at date night. In addition to regular club hours, they also have Kids Around the Clock which is their late night activities from 11:00pm to 2:00am. Note: unlike other cruise lines, these late night services are completely free – I have paid at least $10 an hour on late night babysitting on other cruises so this was quite refreshing. Young Teen club for my daughter who is 13, was a little bit of a letdown. The hours on sea days are from 9:00am – 1:00pm, 3:00pm – 5:00pm & 8:00pm – Midnight. On Port days the hours are 3:00pm – 5:00pm & 6:00pm – Midnight. That being said it is still a come and go as you wish club and the activities are much less structured. While the young teens enjoy having a bit of newfound freedom on the ship, they are still at quite an awkward stage where it is not easy for them to just join right in and a little more structure in the activities would help. Main Pool Areas: We didn’t end up using the main pools more than once but I will say that they are clean and well designed. The solarium style pool Le Serine has a retractable roof which is open weather permitting never seems to get very crowded at all. The Aqua Park main pool is just like any other main pool deck out there, overcrowded and not enough loungers. There is also a small pool located on deck 15 stern called the Garden Pool which seem quieter. We never even saw the Top 18 Solarium pool so I can’t say anything about that. Buffet Calumat & Manitou: Overall the buffet was a delight. Each day for breakfast lunch and dinner, there are a wide variety of dishes and while you may not like everything, you will definitely like something! Note for those of you with kids, the buffet cheeseburgers are the best of any cruise we have ever encountered. Aurea Spa: After boarding the ship I realized with all the hustle and bustle getting ready for the cruise, I had forgotten to get my son’s hair cut! Made him an appointment and they did a great job and of cost $12 plus a 15% tip. My husband and I also opted for a couples massage later in the week. The cost was $289 (this includes the 15% tip) and while some will say that’s high, I have paid more including tips at other resorts and on other ships. However, if I had I waited until the last day I could have saved 40% since they were running a sale for 40% off all spa services but then they may not have had an opening. If you’re thinking you can make an appointment earlier in the week and get the sale price, nope! They do keep track of when you make the appointments and the sales are for new appointments only. New MSC Onboard Smart Phone App: MSC offers Wifi that you can pay for and activate internet access for a fee. But they also have a free website called MSC Divina Traveler. Through this app you can access the activity schedules, ship itinerary, excursions, and it also has a chat feature you can use to communicate with friends through which works in real time. It’s basically a cruising social app – very helpful & useful! 4D Experience: So fun! This activity runs $7 for adults and $5 for kids. They have about 4 different short movies, and they’re really cool for the kids! Check the weekly kids club schedules ahead of time for times when they bring the kids for free. Little Things: These things are minor issues or observances that we noticed on our cruise but that in no way had any adverse effect of our fantastic cruise. The bowling in the Sports Bar was inoperable because it is programmed to accept euros and the ship is running on American currency. I’m sure that this will be rectified shortly. On arrival at the ports there were no photographers at the gangway for souvenir photos. This was really fine for us as we don’t particularly like them but I know other cruisers do. For Yacht Club passengers, there should be and express line for re-boarding at each port. While I am sure I sound spoiled asking for things like this, once you’ve cruised in the Yacht Club, you do become spoiled! MSC should print the theme nights on your e-documents. This would be helpful for those who wish to dress the part for Italian Night (red white & green), 60’s 70’s & 80’s night, White night & 2 Gala nights. In addition, MSC should print which nights are Gala nights on the e-docs. We had planned on not doing the Gala thing this time around (been there, done that). But out of respect for our fellow passengers who did want to, we also planned to avoid the dining room. But then we found out that Thanksgiving Day was going to be the second Gala night. We couldn’t imagine not sitting down for a real family dinner on Thanksgiving so that left us scrambling last minute to try to put together outfits that would be appropriate. Basically, I would have just packed for it if MSC had stated that the holiday meal would be Gala night. Again, this is not a complaint but only our experience. Overall, we were all very happy with our cruise vacation on the Divina. This was my second cruise with MSC and in the Yacht Club (sail on Splendida in May 2013) and both delivered a wonderful experience again! We can’t wait to sail away with them again!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Ship is just beautiful, huge and sparkling clean We were on the 3 night "US Inagural"..and enjoyed the fireworks and music as we sailed away My balcony cabin was spacious and decor was lovely. Entertainment was ... Read More
Ship is just beautiful, huge and sparkling clean We were on the 3 night "US Inagural"..and enjoyed the fireworks and music as we sailed away My balcony cabin was spacious and decor was lovely. Entertainment was fantastic....the usual huge MSC cast dancing/singing plus Cirque type European acrobats and performers...what a show Fly in acts Scott Record - comedy and impersonations - fantastic Abba tribute - fantastic....Michael Jackson tribute fantastic plus tons of different live duos and groups in the lounges I loved the food - huge shrimp cocktail at dinner....great new menus...fantastic food Buffet is so much improved from when I took my first MSC cruise in 2011 - it is open 20 hours a day now Not just Italian food - go back to the Ethnic Corner...check out the cheeses too..what other ship offers brie cheese and dried apricots?? Love it. They also offer orange, pineapple and cranberry juice plus ice tea from morning till 5 pm...wow :) I also loved our buffet server Mr Wayne Goode - a new hire who worked for Royal for years....what a nice guy and a real asset to MSC. I found the ship to be more fun and yes...more American :) The 9 pm dining was a big complaint with my group tho...however they have made it clear this was for this cruise only.....so I don't see the need to keep complaining. Washcloths?? They would give them if asked...I am sure they have other things to tweak. NO more 5 languages at every show...the new cruise director was cool - English ONLY Food is good ...drinks are cheap compared to other cruise lines....yes the weather was pretty rainy, we missed the private island....but there was lots to do on ship and it was great I am making plans for my next Divina cruise...thanks MSC Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I've taken about 25 cruises, and this was the worse cruise We've taken so far, the buffet was mostly Italian food, very little of everything else, if did not eat in the dining room and went to the buffet, half of the buffet ... Read More
I've taken about 25 cruises, and this was the worse cruise We've taken so far, the buffet was mostly Italian food, very little of everything else, if did not eat in the dining room and went to the buffet, half of the buffet restaurant was closed, only had a couple of different items, the second seating in the main dining room was at nine o'clock, every cruise I've ever taken, late sitting is 8.00 o'clock, they make you get out of the cabin at 7.00 o' clock on disembarkation day, in the cabin, they do not supply with wash cloth for using it in the bathroom with the liquid soap in the shower, We asked, and the steward told Us he had to get permission from the supervisor, the tv channels , which were very few, we're in Spanish, German, and French, The cabin was comfortable, except for the bathroom doors, instead of curtains, they put glass doors, once inside the shower , if you forget to hang the towel on the door, you would a hell of time to get the towel, because you can not open the right side door , curtains are a hell of lot better for this tiny bathroom because they are flexible. the only thing I really enjoyed in the ship, was the entertainment, the shows were magnificent, they had two shows daily, which Is quite unusual in a cruise, they have a lot to learn here in America from the other cruise lines, Americans do not eat Italian food every day, hopefully they will catch on, I was in the MSC Poezia, before it went to Europe, and I liked it so much, that I went and made a reservation for the first Divina cruise in America, it is a beautiful ship, but that's it,   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
As I prepared myself to embark in the new Divina, I thought I was going to relax (much needed), read a lot and have delicious meals. This is what I usually do in all the cruises. Well, I was in for a big surprise. Starting..embarkation - ... Read More
As I prepared myself to embark in the new Divina, I thought I was going to relax (much needed), read a lot and have delicious meals. This is what I usually do in all the cruises. Well, I was in for a big surprise. Starting..embarkation - Was smooth, no problem, we got to the port at 2:00PM, the ship sailed at 7:00 PM, every one was very friendly and our suitcases got to our room in less than 1 hour. I went to spent some time with my parents, which are in their 80's. so we selected the early seating for diner. To our surprise, we got a seating at 8:00PM, second seating; to aggravate the situation we were seating next to a table of 10 kids, all shouting and running all over the place.. After much complain, we got moved to the 6:00 seating, with no kids around. The Food...Not what you expect on a cruise, especially a cruise that comes from Europe, which we all know the eating experience in at the top of their list. At breakfast and lunch you sit at any table; the waiters and the helpers were confused, tired or both. We got the wrong plate twice and on the second day the breakfast was so bad, I left and went to the buffet,which was much better. From that day on, we decided to go to the buffet for breakfast. The food at the buffet was fresh and diverse. The con: too many people. Dinner was a bit better, we always had the same table and same waiter, and they were great. The food..not so good, the same thing over and over, just at a different place in the menu. The chicken was hard as a rock, same with the mash potatoes. The fish was dry and even though the coffee was free, the cappuccino was not. The entertainment...the best of all the cruises I have ever been. There were two shows a night; each night was different and fantastic, with truly professional dancers and singers. The stage, lighting etc. were amazing. I can't say anything about the casino since I don't gamble, but as a dancer, I went straight to the Black and White night club after every show...WOW! They had a band from Italy that played great music and also a Trio from Dominican Republic that was fabuloso! The music was the best ever. But also the way they did everything. This cruise has an Entertaining Team that was in charge of making sure that everyone had a great time..and everyone did. Every night there was a different theme - Italian night, 60"s, 70"s and 80's night, White Caribbean Party night around the pool (the best), dance competitions etc. The entertaining team was the best. Because of them, a group of young adults, everyone had a blast. Needless to say.. I didn't relax that much, only read my kindle the first day at sea and I didn't eat a lot..instead I danced a lot, and had the time of my life. If you are only interested in the food and the service, maybe this is not the cruise for you, but, if you are interested in having fun, this is the cruise for you. I hope I was able to help. Hopefully, Divina will change the menu and be one cruise that have it all.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Booked with a large group. Promised the moon and stars but that is hardly what was delivered. Both the agency and the Cruise line had a full year to prepare for this 1700 plus member group, that brought aboard alot of it's own ... Read More
Booked with a large group. Promised the moon and stars but that is hardly what was delivered. Both the agency and the Cruise line had a full year to prepare for this 1700 plus member group, that brought aboard alot of it's own specialty entertainment, and had alot of it's own special events seperate from the rest of the customers. I was lucky enough to get to the port early and check in was a breeze as was boarding. Since I tip well my bag arrived rather quickly to my room, were others had to wait till well after we left Miami to see their luggage which caused panic. My room on the 5th level which is the lowest on the boat with a nice big port hole window was comfortable, clean and enjoyable as it barely moved unlike rooms on higher floors. I tipped my cabin Steward the moment I arrived and said let's get this started right, we had a nice discussion of my likes , dislikes, and expectations and he delivered ontime, everytime. He therefore earned two more tips during the voyage. The ship is very large and the first thing I did was go floor to floor front to back getting to know everything and after about 3 and a half hours I had the ship memorized. General staff on board, with some exceptions, tended to be robotic, to cold, to downright miserable, and you could walk miles without seeing a smile unless you actually stopped, asked for one and humiliated them in the process. Bar tenders can be very shady, slow and arrogant, so it's best to pick a few in different locations, tip them really well right away, make a connection, and no matter what bar you are at or how busy they are they will drop everything and get to you right away even if your 4 deep in line. Our group had several very large parties and everytime they started out understaffed at the bars. MSC does not seem to get the hint after day 1 nor did they after day 6. Everything seemed as if we were lining up in a 1970's era Soviet Breadline. The Brunch is served on days at sea it costs extra but is worth every penny. The food and service are top notch and it's the only venue that is. The rest of the food and service ranged from passable to downright repulsive. I have never spit so much food back on plates in my entire life. It was a week of how not to cook and serve food. The main dining room was always slow, and the staff took 5 days to warm up to our table which was full of amazing wonderful people. The Dining Captain however met me the first night with a paper in his hand and discussed some of my special dietary needs and followed up daily to make sure I was happy. He earned a nice tip for that personal touch. The buffet while vast in size and choice provided food so bad I would not feed it to starving animals, I got so tired of spitting the food back on my plate in disgust most days I just waited to endure dinner. The staff at the buffet are very robotic and only speak with each other rarely did I see them approach a guest and speak, just lift dirty dishes away. Alot of the customer service staff and tour desk staff seemed under trained, had zero authority to make an independent decision, and while every day I got my wake up call by asking directly at the desk , on the most important day, departure day, no call at all. The entertainment staff was very nice on board and some nice shows, and the few chances I got to meet some of the professional entertainers they were delightful people and proud of their work and eager to have you see and enjoy it. They seemed to be, other than the cruise director, the hostess at the Brunch, the only ones that ever really got excited about the product they were offering. On a scale of 1 to 10 sadly this ship with so much potential has only reached a 3.5 with me. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Well here is my 2 cents on the MSC Divina 12/10/13 .What a letdown, not on the cruise but on the CC so called friends. Don’t be fooled by words it is all a false pretence. We only bonded with 4 beautiful people that were true to their ... Read More
Well here is my 2 cents on the MSC Divina 12/10/13 .What a letdown, not on the cruise but on the CC so called friends. Don’t be fooled by words it is all a false pretence. We only bonded with 4 beautiful people that were true to their word when they said that they couldn’t wait to meet others. Enough said on that. As for the cruise itself, you get what you pay for. The embarking was easy and tolerable. To my surprise there were people bringing cases of drinks on board water juices ice tea and so on. I understood it was not allowed by any means. So stock up if you plan to cruise. I purchased water on our first stop and had no problem taking it on board. The ship is beautiful, a shiny gem in all its glory. The cabin was comfortable and cleaned every day by a very attentive and polite Stewart. Plenty of storing space and not so comforting beds, I must say. Food is my expertise and here is where I am not going to be so kind. As I said before you get what you pay for, so by that let’s leave it there. The dining room food I’ll have to rate it one step higher than the buffet food. But the service was unsurpassed in every way. Thank you to all of those that made our dining experience pleasant. That entertainment was on the money. Please do not miss a show. Every single one was spectacular. The costumes and singers, dancers were amazing. The best I have seen in my 40 years of cruises. The deck entertainment was a little lacking not much going on during the day and into the evening .Disembarkment was a little frustrating and unorganized ,but that too will hopefully get better with time. If I had to rate this cruise I would give it 7 1/2 stars 10 being the best. I have expectations that MSC will iron out all the kinks with time and it can be one of the best cruise lines in the Caribbean in the near future. I for one will wait till then before I cruise her again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have just returned from the Christmas and new year back to back Caribbean cruise on the Divina. We were in the yacht club and I have to say that if we were travelling non-yacht club I would be unhappy. Boarding with the butler service ... Read More
We have just returned from the Christmas and new year back to back Caribbean cruise on the Divina. We were in the yacht club and I have to say that if we were travelling non-yacht club I would be unhappy. Boarding with the butler service was impressive as was dis embarkation incredibly quick from start to finish and only about 20 mins and straight to our stateroom. Firt impressions on were embarcation was WOW!! this is beautiful. The italian design was amazing and every time we wealked through the ship the feelin was the same. Our suite and balcony although beautiful were a little small but not a great issue. Butlers and in fact all of the staff in the yacht club area were fantastic. Theay realy took to our 18 month old grandaughter and she to them. I cannot fault the staff at all. FOOD. In the muse restaurant the food was good and the staff excellent but the desert menu was very limited and did not change at all. The main courses and starters changed daily with also a selection of constant dishes as well. The cafeteria I thought was crowded and the variety of dishes was limited also seating was hard to finf. in the yacht club area the food was good and constant and in the topsail lounge there were snacks all day and evening. DRINK in the yacht club it was all included but as soon as you leve the yacht club you have to pay, this i think needs changing. You are either Yacht club and all inclusive or you are not. I cannot see the americans putting up with that too long. first week was great but the second week there were kids all over the place running riot, this did not please us. ENTERTAINMENT. WOW!! fantastic, what amazing voices and costumes. There is a huge amount of very varied talent on the DIVINA well done in that department. PORTS OF CALL why would you schedule a stop on christmas day when virtually everything is closed? odd. On the final leg of thje journey we could not stop at great stirrups cay because of bad weather. This annoyed me quite a lot because the bridge have a far better Iidea of weather conditions and they knew that it would not be safe to tender on arrival so why go there? We had a similar incident with azamara so instead they took us to a different port where they could go alongside. I do'nt feel that they tried very hard on this ocasion. Would we go with MSC again? Probably but only yacht club. On the rest of the ship it looked over crowded and uncomfortable also expensive. They were even charging for water as passengers were disembarking.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We just returned from a seven-day sailing aboard the beautiful MSC Divina over Christmas week. As perhaps many of you reading this review, I spent the past several months reading fervently on these boards seeking out as much information as ... Read More
We just returned from a seven-day sailing aboard the beautiful MSC Divina over Christmas week. As perhaps many of you reading this review, I spent the past several months reading fervently on these boards seeking out as much information as possible about MSC, in general, and the Divina in particular. My wife, (teenage) daughter, and I have been on nearly a dozen cruises running the gamut from Princess (Coral and Caribbean), Norwegian (EPIC and Spirit), RCCL (Explorer and Imagination of the Seas), Carnival (Fascination), and HAL (Oosterdam and Westerdam), but this was our first experience with MSC. I can already say, with satisfaction, that it will not be our last, as we’re already booked aboard the Orchestra in August to visit Norway and Sweden. In addition to my family, my in-laws traveled with us for the holiday journey. Information provided before the sailing was much more sparse than on other lines, and – as regular readers know – the MSC website truly sucks. We had booked through a travel agent, so any calls I made to MSC with questions were – understandably – directed back to the TA. In the end, the pre-boarding documents are sparse. Ours only showed our dinner assignments, which were not what we had requested. If the website had been more robust, and allowed one to look at details of your booking, we might have caught this mistake earlier. As it was, it required a 30-minute wait once on board to have the maitre d’ change our seating so we could all eat together at the early seating. Other very basic information that MSC really does need to provide before sailing are dinner assignments and times (for our sailing, 1st seating was 5:45pm, and second at 8:30pm), and – most importantly – the breakdown or attire requirements for the main dinner dining. I completely packed the wrong clothes in anticipation of more than one formal night. I do, however, give MSC kudos for having “casual” night, in additional to “gala” (read formal), and “informal” (tie and jacket for men). For our sailing, we had two casual nights (first and last), one formal, one semi-formal, and three color and decade-themed nights – red, white, and “70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.” If we’d known this, we would have packed differently, as I’m sure most other passengers would, and it could have been fun. Anyway, note to MSC – improve the pre-embarkation info. We flew into Miami, not through MSC, on the day of sailing. We used a taxi from MIA to the Port, which is a great deal at $24 per carload, especially as we were a party of five. I never saw an option for an MSC airport transfer, though it must exist, as I saw them listed on our final day of departure. Again – note to MSC – provide more pre-departure information. We arrived at the port around 2:00pm and, I must admit, from the moment we saw the Divina from the causeway, we knew she was an incredibly beautiful ship. The port was busy with five large vessels, but check-in was pretty good. The sidewalk where taxis/cars drop passengers off is rather narrow, so it was confusing at first to find someone to take our bags, especially amid the growing throng of passengers. A wheelchair attendant was on the sidewalk and asked my mother-in-law if she wanted assistance. We are very happy she availed herself of the service, as the terminal is large and there was a lot of walking involved. We cleared security and waited no more than two or three minutes to check-in, which was smooth and analogous with every other cruise we have taken. We were directed to board the ship immediately, entering on deck 6 midship. P.S. The port wheelchair attendant was able to roll my mother-in-law on board, and she was able to immediately transfer to a ship steward and chair, which brought her up to her cabin. We were welcomed from several staff members but, alas, no maps were handed out. A very good, detailed, and 3-D map is available in the cabins, but a small index card-sized map (similar to what NCL does) would have been appreciated. Rooms were already ready to be occupied so we set off there directly. We had two Superior Balcony cabins on deck 10 – 10277 (double, with one of the very large 14-foot-deep aft-facing verandahs), and 10267 (a triple around the corner, furthest back cabin on the port side). It is confusing on the MSC website, and most US travel agents don’t know MSC ships and therefore can’t answer the question, but the Divina has two categories of balconies, though they are only listed as “balconies” on their deck plan. They are updating their cabin designations in April 2014, so for now, the superior cabins (which are LARGER than standard) are categorized as B-12, I believe. After April, it will be easier, as superiors are classified B3, and standard balconies are B1 and B2. This differentiation, however, is still not clearly made on the MSC website. Whatever the case, a) MSC needs to update this, and b) ASK before booking. It shouldn’t be so hard to figure out which cabins are larger than others. Aside from a Verandah Suite on a HAL vessel, these cabins were the nicest we have had as sea. Beautiful, very large, and in excellent condition. The aft double was identical to our triple, aside from the massive balcony and the fact that the sofa did not convert to a bed. In our triple room, the sofa did indeed convert into a VERY comfortable and large double sofabed. Unlike on other ships we’ve sailed, the couch flips open in a book-like fashion and is comprised of REAL mattresses, rather than thin sofa-bed-type pads. The couch is very wide and, as such, when open, people sleeping there put their heads near one arm, their feet at the other arm, and sleep perpendicular to the occupants of the people in the regular beds. It is a very nice set-up, allowing for a really comfortable mattress and leaving sufficient room to have the sofa open and still be able to easily access the balcony. The main beds were WONDERFUL – best we’ve had at sea – and easily the largest. When pushed together, it felt like a true king bed. There are two small drawered nightstands on either side of the main bed, a good-sized desk with drawers (one contains the hairdryer), a mini-bar, and a flat-plan TV mounted above the desk. Lots of storage room here and a nice layout. There is a glass coffee table in front of the couch, which neatly fits under the desk when made, and an ottoman-like chair can either stay under the desk with the table, or be used as an end table for the couch occupant(s). The cabin was beautifully appointed. The huge mirror mounted on the wall opposite the bed was at first a little jarring, but we quickly learned to love it, as it made the already large room seem positively palatial. On the left wall as you enter the cabin was a three-doored wardrobe, with a main compartment for hanging clothes, and a third door hiding a well-functioning and easy-to-use safe, and several clothes draws. The doors had rubber stoppers on them, so no loud slamming noises as on most other ships (Note to NCL and Princess to copy this.) Storage was a little tight on this ship, however, but we give them kudos for not wasting space. If anything, I could see doing away with the mini-bar and replacing that with two or three drawers, after which storage would not be an issue. The bathroom occupies the right side as you enter and I LOVE rpt LOVE the layout. It is huge by cruise ship standards and extremely efficient. A very large sink takes up one whole wall, with plenty of storage below and glass shelves built into the far side. The showers were spacious and rather than using those God-awful film curtains, they have been replaced with dual glass doors. The doors work wonderfully and can be adjusted in a myriad of positions thanks to very clever magnets. I really loved the setup and it helped keep everything tidy and livable for the three of us. There are, by the way, body wash and shampoo dispensers in the shower, as well as built in soap dishes. Our verandah was standard sized, with two aluminum mesh seats and a matching ottoman. Not huge, but very useable. The only downside we had, and which I did not realize until I studied images of Divina after she arrived in Miami, but half of our balcony was glass, and half was metal. You’ll see that as part of her elegant design, there are far-forward and far-after cabins that have metal or partially metal balcony facings, as part of the design. If I’d realized this earlier, I would have booked the cabin next to ours, to get the full glass view. Study the pictures before you book. I’ll add a small comment about my in-laws’ cabin – 10277 – as it is aft-facing with a huge balcony. As discussed on these boards, the balcony sizes very by deck on all of the aft Divina cabins, ranging from “Princess balconies” (door opens, but no place to stand) on 13, down to the ginormous 14-foot-deep balconies on deck 10. While their sizes differ, the aft cabins are NOT cantilevered, meaning they are fully covered, unlike, for example, on the Coral Princess, where port and starboard balconies vary in size and are cantilevered, allowing for true “sun porches.” I did not mind the deck being covered on Divina, but if folks are booking these in hopes of sunbathing, you will be disappointed. These verandahs, too, are furnished exactly the same as others, whereas the addition of a couple of chaise loungers would be very welcome, and still leave LOTS of room on the deck. The only downside I see to these cabins is that they are subject to collecting “smoke-stack grime,” depending on the prevailing winds. My in-laws noted that by the end of the night, their deck was often covered with a thin layer of oily grime. We tracked it down to exhaust from the smoke stacks. To their steward’s credit, the deck was washed each and every morning. Finally, other sailors have reported water cascading down from the aft infinity pool on Deck 15. I did see this water accumulate on my in-laws deck, but a) it was from the automatic deck/window cleaner which runs on a rail around each of the decks, and b) stewards came in very shortly after each pass to mop away the residue water. They did, however, report an occasional sewage smell in their cabin. They reported it to our steward. I’m not sure if they did anything and/or if the smell was from inside or outside their cabin. Our room steward, by the way, was very easy to find, very friendly, and extremely efficient. NO complaints in the service department. For those looking for towel animals, aside from one on Christmas Eve – along with a nice Christmas card – there are none. We headed up to the buffet on Deck 14 after checking out the rooms. Expecting departure-day chaos, we were very pleasantly surprised. As we quickly learned, and as noted by a few others, HEAD FOR THE BACK of the buffet area. The buffet runs the entire length of deck 14 from the main mid-ship pool, all the way to the rear of the ship. Each half has a different name, but they are contiguous. The pizza station – wonderful pizza – is at the front, closest to the pool, and there is an “ethnic station” at the far other end. Between they have a really wonderful mixture of selections. I give the food on this ship’s buffet high marks, at least for breakfast and lunch; we never had dinner at the buffet. You will see, however, the people tend to congregate toward the front, near the pizza station, while the rear remains relatively empty and quiet. We never had trouble finding a table in the rear, at any time, and our ship was completely sold out, with 1,200 children on board, 900 or which were under the age of 12. The food at lunch on embarkation day was really wonderful. As noted by others, the selection of fine Italian meats and cheese is a real treat, and without fail, every pasta dish I tried on the buffet was outstanding. One thing they do not have is a burger grill. Rather, on the front side opposite the pizza station, there is a large area with prepackaged hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and fries, but the burgers were not grilled and not to my liking. My wife, however, said they were excellent, so color me spoiled. The waiters do not bring you water or tea to your seat, but there are plenty of beverage stations at which you can easily get water or coffee all day, and a wide variety of juices in the morning and iced tea, lemonade, and flavored waters at lunch. While we were at lunch, the waiters came around and were explaining the various drink packages available on board. No hard sell, though. Nice change. They had offerings which were not on the MSC website before sailing. I’m not sure why this was, and it makes it rather confusing. We ended up purchasing a 14-voucher book for “adult beverages” at ~$80, and a 15-voucher “Doremi” package at ~$35 for our daughter, which covers soft drinks, shakes, virgin drinks, etc. We did not see an unlimited soft drink package, but neither were we looking for one. They both worked out to be good deals. Interesting enough, the wine package we bought on-line was not available on board. Again, rather confusing. We toured much of the ship after lunch, and it is truly stunning. Everything was in immaculate shape and the lounges/public areas are beautiful. It lacks the art work of, say, a Holland America ship, but it is lovely nonetheless. Speaking of art, there is no art gallery. This is MORE THAN FINE with me, as I never understood the whole art-auction-at-sea thing anyway, but I note it in case others are looking for it. I noted that the wall outside the La Luna Lounge says “Gallerie d’Art,” so I wonder if there had been an earlier gallery but it was removed when Divina arrived in North America. Our lifeboat drill was at 5:00pm. Directions were a little confusing, but we figured it out. They have people bring their lifejackets to three main stations, where they scan your key card and then do a demonstration. The drill is conducted in five languages, so it takes a little longer than on other ships, but it still wasn’t arduous. More on the language situation later. As I noted, we were able to change to early seating, which had us in the Villa Rosa dining room, in the aft section, at 5:45pm. The other main dining room is the Black Crab closer to mid-ship. As in other ships, the kitchens create a barrier, meaning that to enter Villa Rosa, you have to get to deck 6 aft, but the only way to access that is from deck 7 at the aft elevator/staircase. The same goes for the Black Crab, in that you can’t access it from the aft, and have to go forward and down to reach it. I’ve read others complain about the layout, but I have seen this, or a similar configuration, on every ship we’ve sailed, so once we figured it out, it was no problem. They have added a few signs, too, for the Villa Rosa, to help direct people. In the main dining room I had the only true down portions of our trip. The food is average at best. In addition, the dining room is loud – I’m not sure if it is the ceiling height or the configuration, but when full, the noise level is high. It was nowhere near the stadium-like levels on Carnival, but far from the quiet ambiance on Princess or HAL. We spoke to people who had the late seating, and they universally commented on the noise level, particularly as most families with young children seemed to be at that seating. We never had an issue with loud children, but rather it is the overall level. An easy fix would for them to not play, or turn WAY down, the music they play during dinner – that should help. We did not, however, have ANY problems with the service. Our server was Mayun and he was great. Yes, they are a little understaffed, but aside from some confusion on the first night, the service was excellent and Mayun was efficient, funny, and pleasant. Confusion on the first night revolved around our wine package. We had purchased the seven-bottle wine package on the MSC website before boarding. Aside from the confirmation e-mail, we received nothing to “prove” we had the package. I asked when we sat down, and Mayun said we’d have to wait for the bar. About 10 minutes later, a woman did come from the bar, looking for us, with a coupon book for seven bottles of house wine. From then on, we’d simply tell Mayun if we wanted red, white, or rose, and he’d bring the bottle. You could not choose from a menu and we were never sure exactly what was coming, but I’m happy to report that all of the wine was Italian and all of it was good. At the end of the evening, I’d give him our key card and one of the coupons, and then sign a bill marked “zero.” No problems. The menu was fairly extensive, with appetizers, soups/salads, pasta, and main dish categories. There is also a “light fare” section, as well as an “everyday favorites,” which had the same dishes every night – grilled chicken, salmon, etc. The menu is presented in a cardboard binder printed in five languages, and our server would hand it to us, open to English. Bread is brought around by the assistant waiter and you must choose, rather than being left on the table. Bread was good, but they never return for seconds, so if want more, grab it the first time around. Water is also automatically poured, and we had zero issue with not getting rather immediate refills, as noted in some other reviews. I don’t think my glass ever got below half full before Mayun or his assistant refilled it. For bar drinks, a separate waiter would come to the table at the beginning of the meal. Service was quick. If you finished that drink, the waiter will ask you if you want a refill – if you do, he will bring over a bar waiter, as I guess only they are authorized to take bar orders. Not a problem, but something to note. I won’t go into great detail on the food, but suffice it to say, some meals were quite good, while others were sub-par. It was easily on PAR with Norwegian (main dining only), and exceeded Carnival (not hard to do), but still nothing to write home about. I’ll have some thoughts later in the review, but food is clearly an area where MSC can, and should, concentrate effort. I had to keep mentally reminding myself of the very aggressive pricing MSC is offering on the Divina, so I almost have to give them a break here. Still, they could raise prices and the food quality accordingly, and they’d be poised to give Princess and HAL a run for their money. We had pre-purchased a “celebration cake” on the MSC website before we left. Nowhere on the website does it ask you to specify the occasion or when you would like to celebrate; I expected them to contact me once on board. This did not happen, but our “cake story” is memorable nonetheless. I had wanted to note my wife’s birthday, which will happen right after our cruise ends. At the first night’s dinner, we noted that other tables were presented with dessert menus, but we were not. Rather, the assistant waiter brought over champagne flutes. A few minutes later, the waiters marched in with cake, with candles, and they were playing Indonesian instruments and singing a celebration song. We soon realized they were headed to our table. The cake was placed in front of my wife, and we noted that it read “Happy Anniversary.” We all had a chuckle over that, but the point was that we did celebrate. They wished us well and then brought over a bottle of Prosecco (sweet Italian champagne) for us. It was very nice and they did not charge us for the bottle – a nice and unexpected touch. We did eat one evening at the Eataly Steakhouse, which is one of only two specialty (pay) restaurants on board. The two – Eataly Italian and Eataly Steakhouse are contiguous restaurants, but one is fixed price and the steakhouse is ala carte pricing. As noted by others, they were not crowded and they do not have the ambiance of a fine restaurant. They may, in fact, mirror the Eataly chain restaurants in Italy and New York – I simply do not know. Service was excellent and the meal was certainly better than the main dining room, but not stellar. This is a lot of real estate on board to devote to specialty restaurants. I’m not sure why they were not more heavily used – aka, I’m not sure if it is a reflection of the passenger demographic on our sailing or the less-than-spectacular menus. After dinner on the first night, we headed for the second seating of the main show, and we were soon to see why MSC is known for their wonderful entertainment. Without comparison, the entertainment on this ship was OUTSTANDING – the best we’ve seen at sea. I say it now – do not miss a single show. For all seven nights of the cruise, the entertainment team puts on a spectacular music/dance show. I can’t commend them enough for the quality and variety of entertainment. It really makes the shows on other ships look like amateurish high-school-level productions. The main theater is on decks 6 and 7, all the way forward. We watched every show from the deck 7 balcony. We routinely arrived 30-40 minutes early for the best seats, but there were always seats remaining when the show began. To my amazement, none of the late shows were completely full. I never had a chance to attend a 1st showing, so I can’t comment if those were over capacity or not. Others had complained of finding a seat on earlier sailings, but unless you were looking for a huge number of seats in a row, it was a non-issue for us. The shows were, in order, “Withes of Paris” (a French cabaret-like show), an Italian-song show, Alice in Wonderland (SPECTACULAR), an “opera highlight” show, Pirates of the Caribbean, a Michael Jackson tribute, and a Frank Sinatra tribute show. I loved them all…and I don’t like opera. The Michael Jackson show, on the surface, had the chance of becoming a cheesy parody, but rather the dancer who “played” MJ was phenomenal and had everyone on their feet. I could go on and on about the shows, but I’ll leave it that MSC has put together an outstanding cast here and deserves to be proud of the product. On the second night of the cruise, they had a “late night” comedy/magic show, at 10:45pm. It was good and family friendly. I wish, however, that there had been more such shows during the week. Oh, by the way, each show runs about 45 minutes. I read some folks complain about this, whereas I thought it the perfect length, especially when you consider how elaborate each show is. More comments on the entertainment. Aside from the main theater, there were singers and/or bands playing in all of the lounges in the evening. The dueling piano players in the Golden Jazz Bar was particularly enjoyable and a lot of fun. I enjoyed the “folk-like” duo in La Luna, and my in-laws loved the violin duo and piano player in the main atrium. One interesting note was that there was no calypso-like band playing at the pool during the day, as has been the case on every other Caribbean cruise we’ve taken. That didn’t bother me, but if you’re looking to sit by the pool and listen to reggae music, it won’t be live. Also, on the party front, if you’re looking for a big sailaway party when you depart Miami, you’ll be disappointed. The ship does not leave dock until 7:00pm, when the vast majority of people are either at dinner or the show. Again, NO issue to me, but if you’re looking for it, you’ll be disappointed. I laugh in hindsight, as we were up on the pool deck around 4:30 on disembarkation day, and a Carnival ship was leaving port. They sailed right past us, and the scale (and noise level) of their sailaway party was deafening. We stood there able to see and hear the whole party as they sailed by. As they did, an older woman next to us said, “Thank God they don’t have that crap on this ship.” ;-) Our first two days were at sea, and I really enjoyed them. As noted, our cabin was aft, and I think the location was perfect. By using the rear elevators, we easily reached the buffet, and ate in the back where there were always tables. For dinner, we took the rear elevators straight down to Villa Rose on 6 – no having to walk up and down to reach it from forward on the ship. They offer a fairly extensive list of activities during the day. As we learned in speaking to folks from different countries, the schedules vary according to your language. There are activities designed for certain languages, and rather than list everything, they tailor the daily schedule, which I thought was nice. Thankfully, and on the huge plus side, there were VERY few announcements during the day – one, maybe two. There are NOT the constant announcements about jackpot bingo, limbo competitions, spa specials, or “huge sales” in the shops. This was great! Aside from safety announcements, by the way, everything was in English, which I understand is a big change, whereas in the past (and on MSC in Europe), everything is done five times. MSC offered daily craft classes, which was a first for me on a cruise ship. My wife and daughter took a jewelry-making class and really enjoyed it. We also availed ourselves of multiple trivia games which were, as always, fun. The upper decks were very full during our three sea days, but with an at-capacity sailing, it was no surprise. I’ll note now that despite the capacity, aside from maybe one or two times, the ship never felt “that full.” We’d heard about the 1,200 children on board, but I often wondered where they all were. There are dedicated children and teen facilities on deck 15, and they must have all been there. There are three general-population pools on board (the Yacht Club has its own) – a Garden pool with retractable cover, a main mid-ship pool, and the aft infinity pool. Adhering to our theme of sticking toward the rear of the ship, we stuck to the aft infinity pool, which is lovely. I recall reading past comments with people complaining of children in the infinity pool. I never saw any signs indicating that the pool was “adults-only,” so I was not surprised to see some kids in the water. Maybe they changed this, or the adult-only designation is not clearly signed. Chairs do fill up, but we were able to get chairs every day. There was a notice in the room asking people to not save chairs if they are not going to use them, saying that items would be removed after 30 minutes if the chair was unattended. I never saw this happen and I saw many chairs saved for hours at a time. Still, everyone seemed to find a chair, so not an issue. There are also at least seven hot tubs on board – likely more – which is the most I’ve seen. There was always room available if you wanted, and some are tucked away, such as our favorite up on the rear of deck 16. The pools, by the way, are all salt water and were very comfortable, temperature wise. Towels were an issue unto themselves. I’m used to having to check-out or request towels on ships, but MSC’s policy is unique. In order to get towels, you have to go to a central “towel station” on deck 14 (there should be more than one), present your key card, and they will “check out” towels to your room. When you want replacements, you bring them back to the station and trade them in for dry/fresh ones. There are warnings, though, that you will be charged if you do not return the towels. I never figured out how, however, to return them. They hand you a paper receipt when you check them out. My only guess is that you’re to give that receipt back to someone when you finally return your towels, but in my case, the receipt was wet and falling apart before I even made it back to the pool after first checking them out. For my in-laws, they checked them out and brought them back to the cabin. Our steward took them during the evening turn down, but didn’t replace them with fresh ones, so we worried they might get charged. Adding to confusion was that during our day at Great Stirrup Cay, they provided the same orange towels in everyone’s room the night before our arrival, for use on the beach. At that point we had six towels in our room and I wasn’t sure what to do. We never got charged, so it’s probably nothing, but a little clarity would have helped. I noted in other peoples’ reviews some complaints about finding it hard to get a drink. Yes, it is true that there are not waiters swarming everywhere looking to take your drink orders, but I actually liked this. Whenever we wanted a drink it was not a problem to see a waiter and call them over, but they only occasionally walked through the chairs soliciting orders. I found this refreshing, as on Norwegian and Carnival, at least, it felt like a constant push to sell more alcohol. The same goes for the bars. Once you sat, a waiter would come over, but usually not return until your drink was empty, then politely ask if you wanted something else. There was no big sales pushes – buy one, get one free, or “you must try our drink of the day.” I liked this, but folks who are used to constant drink solicitations will be disappointed. I’m still not sure if this is just MSC practice, or if it is a reflection of the fact that almost everyone seemed to have a drink package of some kind. Waiters on other ships are earning tips for every drink served. Here, the tips were included up front, and that may explain the difference. I’m not sure. But whatever the case, I found it refreshing and, as noted, it was never a problem for us to find a waiter and get a drink. Smoking policy – MSC, I LOVE YOU. As noted by others, MSC has amended their smoking policy for the North American market, making it the most restrictive among the big cruise lines, and I could not be happier. Aside from a smoking lounge up front, one small section of deck 16, and a one-side section of deck 14, there is no smoking anywhere else in the ship, including on balconies. In seven days, I smelled smoke only once, and that was in a designated smoking area. For a ship absolutely chock-full of Europeans, this was amazing. I recall a sailing on the EPIC, also with a healthy contingent of Europeans, and my suitcase reeked of smoke upon my return home. No such problems here. Bravo to MSC for this policy. Ports of call: Disembarkation at each of our stops was straightforward and rather efficient. I’ll write separate reviews on each port separately, but suffice it to say, I enjoyed the itinerary. We booked a snorkel trip with “Captain Bob” at St. Maarten. It was, however, cancelled due to the chance of poor weather. In San Juan, which we visited on Christmas day, we took a city tour through MSC. It was efficient, with us congregating in the main theater, checking in, and being assigned a bus number based on language. We had prebooked this on-line before we left, but MSC did not publish tour times. As a further reflection on the poor MSC website, the system had registered our ticket purchase twice for both our room and my in-laws, necessitating a trip to the excursion desk to return the excess tickets. To their credit, there were no questions asked the duplicate charges were removed, but they need to fix that website. The tickets were delivered to our room on the first night of the cruise, but had no time printed on them. When I enquired at the Excursion Desk, I was told assignments are made the day before and the meeting times are published in the daily schedule, meaning you’d look at the schedule for the next day, and they’d publish a list of meeting times and places. I can understand how this is necessitated by the fact that tours are conducted in one of five languages, but it also made it harder to plan your day. Not a big issue, and if I were an Italian or German speaker, for example, I’m sure I’d be very pleased language-specific tours were even offered. Our final port day was a Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. As many people know, this is Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, which MSC rents for port days. I noted that an earlier sailing visited the Holland America private island, so it must be based on availability. We had to tender to the island, using 400-person ferries kept on the island. They announced the night before that the first tender would leave at 8:30am. My daughter and I went down early, hoping they might leave early, but they stuck to schedule. We spent about 40 minutes waiting on deck 5 for them to get everything set up on deck 4 for the tenders. Lots of other people had the same idea, so the lobby was rather full. People were in good spirits, but there were select pockets of people cutting the line (or at least what semblance there was of a line), and I’m sorry to say that my fellow Americans were the most obnoxious in this regard. When they announced we were ready to board at 8:30am, there was a near stampede. To their credit, the staff loudly announced that there were 400 seats and everyone would make it, which we did. It was an overcast, rainy morning, and the seas were a little rough, which made for a “less-than-smooth” sail to the island, but nothing bad. Following a morning downpour, the sun came out and stayed out the remainder of the day. There are lounge chairs on the beach, and despite the throngs of people coming over later in the day, there was room for everyone. This was one of the few times I felt the crush of the full-ship contingent; here, and on the last night of the cruise in the photo shop – more on that later. There are very limited activities on shore, the biggest being snorkeling. I will advise you now to not bother renting the snorkel gear. It was not easy snorkeling and there is, frankly, not enough to see to merit the near $30 price tag. Many people were VERY vocal about their disappointment and didn’t hesitate to let the snorkel staff know this. Ironically a woman who was providing her unsolicited commentary to us about how mad she was at MSC over the fact that her child was too young to snorkel, also threw a literal hissy fit while in line for lunch. We couldn’t hear it all, but she was hysterical enough that the maitre’d had to come over to calm her down. As best we could tell, it had something to do with a bag of potato chips. Really, people? You’re on vacation! Lunch was, by the way, a burger/hot dag affair at an open-air pavilion. Passable. The final tender back to the ship was set for 4:30pm. We got in line at 3:15 and it took an hour to finally board back onto the ship. This was a pure capacity issue, limited by the fact that there are only two tenders on the island and the fact that only one gangway was in use. Some people were upset, but I really don’t know what else MSC could have done here. As I’m sure many would agree, people can always find something about which to complain. The tendering was, however, a little rough, and I only mention that to caution older folks or those in wheel chairs that they may need to skip this stop. There were a lot of photographers working on the ship and we were ultimately convinced to buy a bulk-picture package, which allowed us to save all of our pictures taken during the week and then, on the final night, pick 20 we wanted (any size), along with a cruise DVD and a CD with the .jpg files of the pictures we selected. It seemed like a good idea until that final night, when the photography studio was a MAD HOUSE. Admittedly, there were tons of large families on board, so there were lots of people trying to do the same thing as us. The photography area, however, was far too small for so many people. In addition, it is along the main corridor on deck 7. The far side of the deck is closed off by the specialty restaurant, so traffic naturally channels through the photography area, which made it even more chaotic and, at times, even a little dangerous. To be fair, deck 7 is also the promenade deck so people could easily walk outside to get around the chaos, but I was frankly surprised by how few people chose to use the promenade at all. I used it a lot, and was usually by myself. The push bars on the door leading to the promenade have a red strip. I can only guess that some people thought it was an emergency-only exit. Just a guess. Anyway, it was chaos that last night and, had we not already paid for the picture package, I would have given up. One of my few gripes about the cruise involves this ordeal. We finally picked out pictures and while literally shouting above the din, I was able to explain which pictures we wanted and how many. I was told to return after 11:00pm to pick up the pictures, DVD, and CD. I planned to be asleep at 11:00pm, but I had little choice. While my family slept, I loitered until around 10:30pm, at which time I was able to get help from a woman. She had the prints and DVD ready. When I asked about the CD, I was told I didn’t buy the package including the CD. After verifying that I had indeed done that, she told me to return the following morning after 7:00am to pick it up. We had elected to do “self-assist” departure in the morning (read, walking off with our luggage) and were told to assemble to disembark at 6:30am. I explained this to the woman, who told me that “oh, that is wrong. No one gets off the ship before 9:00am. They’ll tell you earlier, but -- trust me -- no one gets off before 9:00am.” Rather than not get the CD, I gave her the pictures back and said I’d return after 7:00am, but that I was going to the Front Desk to check on departure times. Of course, going to the Front Desk on the last night of a cruise is always mayhem, with people disputing charges, etc.. I had, however, only had to wait around 10 minutes. I explained the situation, and the very helpful woman explained that we would be disembarking at 6:30am. She called the photo studio and got them to agree to deposit our package with them during the night. As soon as I woke up the next morning, I went downstairs and they were, indeed waiting for us. Disembarkation: Best ever! As I noted above, we elected to do “self-assist” departure. We submitted a form before 6:00pm on the Thursday of the cruise, and luggage tags were delivered to our cabin the following night. In the final daily schedule, they publish a list of meeting places and times based on the color and number of your tag. We were told to go to one of the lounges at 6:30am. Breakfast started at 6:00pm in the buffet or Black Crab. Everyone is to be out of the cabin by 7:00am. Given how late people were staying out on Friday, I’m curious how many actually made it out. Nonetheless, we hit the buffet at 6:00am – no problems – and by the time we reached the lobby on deck 6 at 6:25am, they were already letting people leave. We breezed off the ship and through Customs, and were in a van to the airport by 6:40am….at the airport by 7:00am. Really outstanding. I have to comment, however, on the overall departure scheme used by MSC. We were never asked to provide the time of our flights. When I looked at the list of departure times in the Daily, I noted that it was based on tour company or the location of your stateroom, with some people having a departure close to 10:00am. This may help with the flow of people, but for those people with flights, I’m not sure how this worked, and I suspect it sent a lot of people to the Front Desk to change times. Again, this system is different than any other cruise line on which I’ve sailed, but I cannot complain as it was our easiest and quickest disembarkation ever. Bravo! I apologize that this review is so long, but I hope it will help future MSC cruisers in general, and Divina passengers in particular. Below are few general observations from our cruise. Aft outdoor staircases. On both sides of the aft section, there are outdoor staircases that run from deck 6 to deck 15. This “real estate” could have easily been used to add another cabin or two, but MSC elected to use them for walkways and I applaud them. These were “express” routes for us and our aft cabin. We were able to easily shoot up to the buffet and pool, or down to the promenade with no problems. The aft elevators were nearly always available and fairly quick, but the stairs were a great way for some exercise, great views, and fresh air. On the subject of elevators, I’ve read other people’s complaints about them. The forward and mid-ship elevators were busy at peak times, and with the number of strollers on board, they were often full. That said, there were more elevators on this ship than, for example, the EPIC, which has many more passengers. There are two solo side elevators located mid-ship, around the corner from the main elevator bank, and these were underutilized. In addition, the rear elevators were – in our experience – always available, with little wait. The security staff for embarkation and disembarkation is Israeli, and they were uniformly professional and efficient. They kept the lines moving, but were obviously serious about their work. Kudos to MSC for using a dedicated, and professional, security team. Our fellow passengers: Okay, here is where the debate may begin. Yes, MSC is an Italian cruise line and, yes, they are known to Europeans. I’ve read how people are afraid that MSC will “Americanize” too much and “lose its Italian flair.” To these observations I offer up the suggestion that it is the clientele which make the ship, more so than the cruise line. In other words, MSC will not “lose its flair” so long as there are so many Europeans on board. Conversely, it will “Americanize” only so far as the number of American cruisers increases. As noted, this was a Christmas cruise and there were a HUGE number of large families traveling. A member of the Cruise Director staff told me how the sailing before had been dominated by folks aged 65 and older, whereas the average age for this sailing was closer to 30, factoring in the children. That demographic shift will surely mean that my experience over Christmas is different than someone sailing the week prior. For our sailing, Americans were in the minority, if you lump all of the Europeans together. We heard countless languages, but the main ones were Italian, German, Spanish, French (to include French Canadians), Chinese, Hebrew, English (American, Canadian, Brits, etc.) and Russian. It was a true smorgasbord of nationalities. I, personally, am fine with this, though it was an admitted huge departure from all of our other cruises. That said, there are – shall we say – cultural differences that turned off many of our fellow passengers. Mainland Europeans are far less “anal” than Americans about waiting in line and, for example, allowing others off of an elevator before boarding or joining the end of a line at the buffet. My mother-in-law walks with a cane often and on only one occasion did someone stand aside and let her exit an elevator before people piled on. Having lived in Europe several times, I’m used to it, but it was obvious that many, many Americans on my cruise were taken aback and were all too willing to share their thoughts. “How rude?!” “There’s a line here!” “Did you see me standing here?” You can get the idea. Again, this is not MSC-centric, but passenger-centric. That said, Americans were far from model passengers, with teenage children among the worst “offenders.” I hesitate to write this, as it may give the impression that I did not enjoy our cruise. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was one of our most enjoyable cruises ever, and the ship is simply stunning. All that said, fellow passengers can make or break a cruise, and if you are looking for a homogenous “Carnival-like” ship-full of people, you’ll likely be disappointed. As noted in other boards, MSC has introduced a Divina traveler app, which is only accessible once on board. I have to say that this has great potential. Wi-Fi access is available throughout the ship at very good levels – there are routers and repeaters all over the ship. It was fairly easy to access the app and create a profile (once I found the Internet Access Code on my key card). The idea is great – that you can check out the daily schedules, book reminders, check and book excursions, “friend” other passengers and send messages, look at the ship map, etc. That said, it was far too slow to actually work in any of those capacities. When it was mind-numbingly slow to load the daily schedule on my Android phone, I assumed it was my phone. I then connected through my brand-new Kindle Fire HDX, and it was no faster. I’m not sure why it was so slow, but if this could be fixed, I would have used it a lot. A great idea, but it needs work. Information: Inside the stateroom there is a thick, leather-bound information book in five languages. It contains a WEALTH of information on ship amenities, policies, facilities, disembarkation, etc. I found myself referring to this very often and would have LOVED to have had this information before we left. Referring back to my earlier recommendation that MSC improve the amount of information they make available before sailing, a very easy fix would be for them to make the info in this book available over their website. Quick win. As on every cruise I’ve ever taken, most conversations with fellow passengers on board begin with “how are you enjoying your cruise?” People usually respond with a polite “it is great” or decide to launch into a tirade of all their complaints. I did not hear a higher proportion of complaints on this sailing as on any other, but I did often hear people complain about the food (quality in the main dining room) and service (lack of bar stewards trolling the ship). I heard or participated in multiple conversations with people making comparisons to other cruise lines. Interestingly enough, I heard most people make comparisons to Celebrity and Holland America, usually using those lines are standards against with to compare (Celebrity for food; HAL for service). That is all fine and, I suppose, a compliment to MSC that the comparison was even being made, but it all brought me back to the fact that we would have been paying hundreds (probably thousands) of dollars more to sail on one of those lines, so the comparison is not fair. Sure, folks can talk about loving another line, but to make an apples-to-apples comparison, cost has to factor in. It left me often with the impression that people want to have their cake and eat it too. If MSC invests more money in food and increasing the staff-to-passenger ratio, then cruise fares will increase and true comparisons with other lines can take place. In the meantime, in my opinion, MSC is offering a great product at an outstanding price. If prices rise and people have to make straight choices between sailing on, for example, Celebrity, HAL, or MSC, then I’m confident that MSC has enough going for it to compete. In the meantime, at their current price point, MSC is undercutting RCCL, Norwegian, and even Carnival to a point, and in those cases, they are offering a superior product in many regards and represent a truly outstanding value. I thank MSC for the fun cruise we had and our holiday memories. I think with the right leadership and direction, they have the opportunity to establish a solid foothold in the U.S. market. If not, I still look forward to our upcoming European cruise with them in August. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Although a veteran of 72 cruises, this was our first experience with a "Mega Ship". It was not a particularly satisfactory experience. The ship is very attractive in its decoration, however if one is using a scooter or wheelchair ... Read More
Although a veteran of 72 cruises, this was our first experience with a "Mega Ship". It was not a particularly satisfactory experience. The ship is very attractive in its decoration, however if one is using a scooter or wheelchair the ship's design is quite problematic. None of the doors on this ship are equipped for automatic opening, and when one is trying to get outside or back in when underway, the wind makes opening a doorway extremely difficult. Our "accessible" cabin itself was lovely, with plenty room for our 2 scooters, however there is only 2 110V plugs and they are at the cabins desk area, so if one must utilize a CPAP unit or other device by the bed you must bring a 12' extension cord to power it. The doorway was not any larger then the standard cabin doors, and the passageways are quite narrow so maneuvering our scooters into and out of the cabin was difficult. The large beam that stuck out into the passageway directly opposite our cabin door made it all the more difficult to get in and out. There was also a consistent problem with cleaning carts in the passageways at all hours that had to be moved by us to get past them on our scooters. (For scooter users info, the best ships we have found for accommodating us has been Celebrity's Solstice Class. Almost all the ships doors, including the "accessible" cabins are electric and auto opening) Re meals: The quality and choices for our dinners in the dining room were quite good, and the service was very good. The Buffet meals were not so much. Very crowded and not very appetizing. Shows: Varied from very good to Poor. Did not have a show every night. Good access to the theater for scooters. Embarkation and Debarkation was quite well managed at Port Miami. Overall appraisal: Would not choose to cruise this ship again due to the crowded conditions and less then satisfactory ease of movement for scooter usage. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Having traveled with MSC on four prior cruises in the Yacht Club throughout Europe in the last two years ( and an American) I had high expectations for our first "at home" cruise, although I was interested to see what changes ... Read More
Having traveled with MSC on four prior cruises in the Yacht Club throughout Europe in the last two years ( and an American) I had high expectations for our first "at home" cruise, although I was interested to see what changes would be made. I’m sorry to report that our cruise this past week was not as good as prior. The crew seemed really beaten down, the smiles and good mornings were missing throughout the ship. The Yacht club staff was miserable and very unhelpful and unknowledgeable as to details passengers required. The food has increased in proportion size/but decreased in taste. The unlimited laundry, butler service and many other Yacht Club level perks are gone. Also, very interesting that MSC is now also selling rooms on the levels 12, 13 and 14 as Yacht Club. These people must use their keys to gain access to the Lounge and pool. The extra people did not have any effect in the lounge or pool area, but did cause an issue in the restaurant as there was not enough space for everyone. You now have to make a dinner reservation each for each evening. Dinner service was also VERY slow (over 2 hours most nights). Our waiter suggested we come to dinner at either 6 or 9. I’m not sure what happened here…but I really hope they get the kinks worked out! I would be happy to answer and Yacht club questions.   Read Less
Sail Date December 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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