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Just returned from the best vacation of my life with the family on board the Divina (Dec 10-21 2013). I just don't get all the negative reviews, especially after enjoying such a great time on this beautiful ship. We are from Montreal ... Read More
Just returned from the best vacation of my life with the family on board the Divina (Dec 10-21 2013). I just don't get all the negative reviews, especially after enjoying such a great time on this beautiful ship. We are from Montreal and flew direct to Ft-Lauderdale the day before the cruise. Took a cab to Holiday Inn Port of Miami. From there it is a 5 minute cab ride to terminal the next day. Embarkation. Arrived to terminal at 12:15. The moment we got out of the cab the porters unloaded the luggage and we did not have to deal with it until it arrived in the room. Check in was smooth and well organized and took an hour and change. We were in our stateroom at 1:30pm. The stateroom. Ours was #13007 located on starboard side a few rooms aft of the control bridge which is on the same level. The stateroom was spotless and very nicely appointed. King bed with firm mattress, and 4 pillows of varying thickness and firmness. Turned out to be perfect for our tastes. Sleeper sofa was perfect for the kids. Decent size balcony with two chairs and table. The ship. It is spectacular. Nuff said. Dining. Buffet: Standard buffet fare for breakfast and lunch. Excellent bread, pasta (al dente, good sauces) and pizza (from scratch, thin crust, yummmm). Good fries, ok burgers, good salads. Stay away from sliced/carved meat at the buffet as it is usually undercooked and tough. Breakfast buffet needs a cook to order egg station. Stay away from buffet at dinner time unless absolutely no choice for whatever reason. The food choice is a scarce as the guests at that time of day... Try to make it to main dining room instead. Bars: good quality drinks. Most mixed drinks/cocktails were $6.75-$7.50, beers $5.50-$6.00, soft-drinks $2.50. Decent selection of wines in the $30-40 a bottle range. We did not buy a drinks package since for a party of 2 adults + 2 kids the cost would have been $132/day or $1452 for 11 day cruise for the basic Allegrissimo package!!!! Our total bill at disembarkation was $1500 and we had wine every night at supper (a bottle covered two suppers easily), including room service charges, blowing a few hundred in the casino, 4 cartons of smokes and 2 bottles of Limoncello, and keeping $200 casino cash for misc expenses on trip home. The kids were in la-la land with all-you-can-drink juice bars in the buffet, free afternoon self-serve soft ice creams by the pool and an occasional soft drink or juice we'd buy at the bars. Main dining room: We had the 6pm seating in Black Crab Lower (deck 5). The food was mostly very good. I did not have a single bad meal. You get 5 course meal (Starter, soup or salad, pasta starter, main course, desert). You can skip any of those, or order two orders of any starter, anything goes. Our waiting staff was excellent, service fast and friendly. The latest we ever left the dining room was 7:30pm and usually done by 7:15. Entertainment: The theater shows were all excellent productions, nice touch of cirque-de-soleil-ish acts. Casino: I only play hold'em poker so no comments on other games but it looked like a decent selection of slots, black jack, roulette, craps tables etc. The wifey played the slots and noted that they did not seem very generous at all. YMMV of course. Always something going in most bars with live musicians, piano etc. Children's club: EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT! First time on vacation and kids WANTED to go to kids club and then didn't want to leave. Great staff, kept kids (ours are 7 and 11) busy and entertained all day, to the point they basically passed out in bed at night. Days at sea the club is open 9am-12:30pm, 2:30pm-5pm, 6pm-11pm. Days in port club is open from 9am-11pm non-stop. Excursions: absurdly overpriced, especially for family trips so we did not book any with cruise. At any port you can hitch a taxi ride for $10-15 to the beach and another $5-10 for beach chairs/umbrellas. Add a bit more and the cab will take you to any of the excursion sites. Exception being Panama where the cabbies are rip-off artists or at least from what other passengers told us and the rates being asked by the pushers outside the port ($40 per person for 30 min drive to the canal, plus $20 extra for any other place you want to see!). If you absolutely must see the canal and Panama city, take the ship excursion. We only bought a couple of souvenirs did not leave the immediate port area in Panama. Disembarkation: Almost as smooth as the embarkation. We were scheduled for 9:15am, had plenty of time to wake up at a reasonable time, shower, eat breakfast and leave the room at 9:00am. We were guided off the ship at 9:20. We were outside the terminal building with our luggage at 10:45. 30 minutes of that was due to US Customs and Border Paranoia and Homeland Insecurity departments lineups. Oh well nothing to do about that but take a deep breath, relax and be patient... All in all a great vacation that I would repeat in a heartbeat.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This is a rather long review, with topics in the order that came to mind: Dress Standards, Yacht Club Comments, Pantheon Theatre, Shore Visits, General Comments, and finally the Americanization of the shipboard experience. Let me know if ... Read More
This is a rather long review, with topics in the order that came to mind: Dress Standards, Yacht Club Comments, Pantheon Theatre, Shore Visits, General Comments, and finally the Americanization of the shipboard experience. Let me know if you have any questions! Dress Standards A lot has been discussed about how the dress standards have—or will—change as a result of the move from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. As a male who loves to be casual (most of the time) this was of particular interest to me, and I thought I would detail my observations. Day Time During the day, anything goes. Some of the things I observed: 1. Shorts and tank tops in the main dining room, and anywhere else; 2. An Italian man in the buffet at 5:30 p.m. shirtless. He was not a pretty sight, and definitely not the norm. But, no one stopped him. 3. Men and women going to and from the pool—including elevators—in swimming suit with no shirt and no shoes; 4. Men and women at pool bars in swimming suits only. Gala Nights 1. Only about 10% of the men wore tuxedos (and most of us were 60 plus); 2. About 70% of the men wore suits, with no particular focus on being dark suits. Really, any color was accepted. Interestingly, about half of them put their jackets on the back of their chairs when eating, which tells me they don’t go out in suits very often! 3. The last 20% wore long pants with collared shirts. I saw one man wearing dark blue jeans, but most wore cotton pants that were not jeans. 4. With one exception, the women were dressed equally or better than their male companions. The exception was a man in a suit with a female companion wearing pants and tennis shoes. 5. I should mention that these are the people I saw inside the dining rooms, not just people walking around the ship. Casual Nights On the daily schedule, the icon for “casual” is a tank top, so I think the ship is communicating that casual means as casual as you want. However, the cruise director used the term “smart casual” although it was not used in the program. 1. About 80% of men wore long pants with collared shirts. 2. About 10% wore jackets. 3. About 5% wore shirts without collars. 4. About 5% wore dress shorts with collared shirts. For those unsure of the meaning of “dress shorts”, they are typically defined as “non-denim shorts made of cotton or wool, intended to be worn with a belt”. Don’t ask me to quote a citation for this definition, but for the purpose of this review, it is the definition I am using. MSC Yacht Club Experience I am staying in the Yacht Club, and most likely will again in the future. But, it is not what I expected. Frankly, it is not elegant. I think of the Four Seasons hotels as elegant; also, for example, the international first class lounges of major airlines with cross-Atlantic services. Some experiences: Opportunities for Improvement 1. Check in was quite chaotic. After arriving at the Yacht Club tent, we were quickly taken to the Yacht Club reception area for check in. The gentleman acting as head butler had such bad breath that I had to stay at least 15 feet away—this was a new experience. When waiting passengers were addressed as a group, we were not “ladies and gentlemen”, we were “guys”, as in “This way guys! I’m taking you to your cabins.” 2. The MSC advertises one butler for every four cabins. That sounds really impressive; but they don’t mention that the butler has other jobs as well. Our butler also worked as a server in the Top Sail Lounge and in the One Bar. Frankly, I am not very demanding, so this did not impact me but butlers were not always available for immediate access. 3. My cabin was OK, but not what I consider a suite; nor particularly elegant. The wall to wall shower mirror had a large crack from the top left to the bottom right. I suspect that someone grabbed onto the soap holder and cracked the mirror. Although I mentioned it to the concierge, it was not repaired. The TV was surprisingly small, with a screen that I estimate to be 19 inches. There were oOnly three 110V outlets in the entire cabin (two at the desk and one in the bathroom).The hair dryer is bolted to the inside of the desk drawer. (OK, my partner says it is a dressing table that can be used as a desk; to me, it’s a desk that can be used as a dressing table.) 4. Here is a weird thing. When we arrived, a bottle of sparkling wine was on ice in the cabin. We decided to save it for the first Gala night. But the next morning, it had been removed. "Use it or Lose it!” I guess! 5. There is no separate shower. The shower is in the bathtub, which is not jetted. My only real objection is that the base of the bath tub is very narrow. When the ship is rocking, it can be very difficult to stand up. For anyone who has difficulty with walking or balance, I strongly recommend getting a handicap room so the shower floor is flat. 6. I wish room service had a larger menu. Breakfast, for example, does offer hot meals. Also, the pizza is only offered at certain times of the day. 7. Cabin service is prompt and efficient, but again, not elegant. Dirty glasses are sometimes not removed when the cabin is cleaned. Although chocolate covered strawberries were provided in the cabin one evening, there were never any other little treats such as those found in suites of other lines such as NCL. However, the fresh fruit bowl is always kept full. And in all fairness, the treats available in the Top Sail Lounge were plentiful and delicious, with a great variety; better than the treats I have had delivered to my suite on other lines. 8. The closet is technically a walk-in closet as advertised, but I don’t think it offers extra space; it is just the lay out. Also, although the hangers are wood, they attach to the rail using the same security hooks found at Motel 6. The Good about Yacht Club 1. Within the Yacht Club, life is simply uncomplicated. The bar, pool and pool bar are never extremely busy. 2. All the employees are friendly. They are quick to smile and always want to be helpful. They make life more enjoyable. 3. “Well” drinks are free within the Yacht Club. For the rest of the ship, they are $5.75, and carefully portion controlled. “Call” drinks are $6.75, which is the same price as for the rest of the ship. All bottled wines and other alcoholic beverages are priced at the same price as in the rest of the ship. Too bad they don’t offer discounts on these in the Yacht Club; I think people would be more willing to pay, for example, $2.00 for a Bombay Safire; but when Tanqueray is free, they are less likely to pay $6.75. 4. Having said that, I think the prices are very reasonable. Of course living in South Beach, the rest of the world seems reasonable! 5. The ice bucket in the cabin is kept full, which I think is very cool. 6. Everything in the minibar is free. There is not much in it, to be honest. But it is restocked twice per day, and you can ask for more of any particular item (such as Diet Coke, bar nuts, or vodka) if you want more than provided. 7. Room service is free and available 24 hours per day. 8. As mentioned before, there are tasty treats in the Top Sail Lounge and pool bar. The variety and quality are amazing, in my opinion. It is hard to not over eat. 9. While full service breakfast is offered at Le Muse, the Top Sail Lounge offers a continental breakfast, with a variety of baked goods, cereal, fruit, cold cuts, etc. No eggs, and nothing that is hot. But, we found it quite satisfying. 10. For ship-organized tours, Yacht Club guests were given a time to meet at the YC Concierge Desk. One of the butlers then escorted the group directly to the tour bus where they were joined by other ship guests. It saved time and made things very easy. Return was on our own, but we never had a line while waiting to board. On one excursion (Panama) the seats in the front of the bus were reserved for Yacht Club, but I did not see that again. 11. This is a little thing, but I really like the shower faucets. From off to full-on is one quarter turn. 12. You get your choice of about 100 different daily newspapers each morning, printed on the ship. They don’t arrive until 9:30 or 10:00, but I do enjoy this. For some reason, most of the papers are not available on weekends. For example, the New York Times and the L.A. Times are available during the week, but not on Sunday. Also, some days, the ship is not able to get a reliable enough connection to download the papers, so you don’t get one. 13. Having complained about embarkation, I have to compliment the final departure process. We chose the option of carrying our own bags, and were scheduled to depart the ship at 7:45 a.m. We were not ready when they called for us—we were having continental breakfast in the Top Sail Lounge. When we finished, I let our butler know that we were ready. (He was working in the Lounge.) A couple of minutes later, he came and got us. He helped us with the bags and escorted us through the casino to the exit of the ship, with absolutely no waiting. From leaving the Top Sail Lounge to arriving home was less than one hour. (Yes, that was bragging since we live in South Beach!) 14. Another interesting thing about the Yacht Club. After a few days, you know most of the people staying there. This is the most I have ever learned (and enjoyed) about fellow cruise guests. You can be as private or as social as you want! Le Muse, the Yacht Club Formal Dining Room 1. We really enjoyed Le Muse, but you must be prepared for a two hour dining experience on average. Each dinner is five courses: antipasto, soup, pasta, main course and dessert. For each course, you have at least two choices, including a low calorie option. 2. Our server was awesome, and we kept coming back and always had him. Ju Marco (misspelled, no doubt) was simply outstanding. Great energy and a wonderful smile. But, he did have eight tables. If he was no so well organized, service would have suffered. Nevertheless, the pace is very Italian. Just relax and enjoy it. 3. No course is served before the prior course is fully cleared. Also, new silverware is provided for each course. 4. House wine is good, and is included at no cost. At dinner, the sommelier will try to sell you a bottle of wine, but I was happy with the house wine. If you do order a bottle, he will “vacu-vin” the bottle for overnight storage, and serve you the rest when you return. (Vacu-vin is a brand name, so that might not be the process he uses. He protects the remaining wine from oxygen contact, thus preventing its speedy deterioration.) I also thought prices for bottled wine were very reasonable. 5. In Le Muse, a different house wine is featured each night. On steak night, for example, the wine of choice was Pinot Noir, which made no sense. Before the steak was served, I asked if I could change to Cabernet Sauvignon. No problem. And two other tables immediately did the same. 6. I would love to see the sommelier provide wine pairing for each course. Or at the minimum, recommend a specific wine well paired with each of the two featured entrees at dinner. 7. Don’t expect American cuisine here. The lasagna, for example, was excellent, but not filled with overwhelming amounts of ground beef, cheese, and tomato sauce in the American style. 8. Funny story from the next table: a couple sat down and was quickly greeted by their waiter. When the lady ordered water, he said “Sparkling or flat?” She said: “water”. He said, “Yes, but sparkling or flat?” In a very irritated voice, she said “I just want water!” Although humorous, this is an excellent example of the limited international exposure of many American travelers (and limited American exposure of many international cruise ship employees). The cultural and service differences on each side of the pond can definitely be a source of servers trying to do a great job, and guests interpreting their actions as a lack of interest in doing a great job. 9. At least one day, I recommend lunch in Le Muse, with the hamburger. It is delicious! Entertainment in the Pantheon Theatre Starwalker This is a tribute to Michael Jackson, and is a “must see” if you like any of Michael Jackson’s music. Some songs were sung live, while others were lip synch performances of Jackson. But, it was simply non-stop fun. Wonderland, The Witches of Paris, and Pirates These were three different shows, but all shared some common themes. • Extravagant costumes • Four or five great performances by the same people: an Asian trio of female contortionists; two white muscular and attractive shirtless male acrobats; five funny (and fun)male black acrobats, another white muscular and attractive shirtless performer who performs on a ring; two great singers who sang either together or separately. They were all awesome, and many of the performances were almost identical to those found at Cirque du Solei shows. • Then it was all packaged in the theme of the night, with varying degrees of success. Sut Moss, Comedian Great performer. Great comedy. All the Other Shows Didn’t see them, so I can’t offer an opinion! Shore Visits I can’t tell you what excursions are better choices at each destination, but I can briefly describe our adventures and level of satisfaction. 1. Jamaica. We took the “Dolphin Swim and Dunn’s River Falls” tour. A+!! The dolphin interaction was much more than that provided at Sea World, for example. Each participant had the chance to interact with the dolphin in a variety of ways, including having the dolphin pull you a short distance while holding onto his or her dorsal fins. It was obvious that the dolphins were well taken care of. The River was beautiful. The climb was a bit hokey, but still fun. Both attractions took a lot of pictures that were available for a price. Both attractions have photographers taking a lot of pictures that will be offered for sale to you at the end of the tour. I thought they were crazy expensive—and bought them anyway! How often can you get a picture of you climbing river rapids or being kissed by a dolphin? One word of caution: the “dolphin swim” has you in the water with the dolphin; the “dolphin encounter” lets you touch the dolphin from a pier, but you don’t get in the water. Also, the water is deep, although everyone is required to wear a life vest. 2. Aruba. We just explored downtown on our own. I give it a “B+”. They call themselves “The Happy Island”, and from our brief experience, that is a good description. Everyone was friendly. We had a delicious lunch. There are a couple of attractive beaches within walking distance of the port; that can be fun. We also stopped at a very busy electronics shop and I asked the sales person for the price of an Apple accessory. He asked if I needed it immediately, or if it could wait. He then explained that it would be cheaper in the U.S., so if I could wait, I might want to. Amazing! Oh, and be sure to take pictures of the amazing lizards! The shopping options are similar to that found on Michigan Ave. in Chicago, Fifth Ave. in New York, or any other major shopping destination. All the upscale brands including Luis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, etc. If you love to shop, this is a pretty good place to do it, but not much that I thought was unique. 3. Curacao. Here, we also just explored downtown on our own. I give it an “A-“. A lot of the same shopping found in Aruba, but I thought the architecture was more attractive and interesting. Also, there were more shops to explore, as well as a large number of restaurants and bars. If I was doing it again, I would shop on my own in either Aruba or Curacao, but not both. Do something more adventurous at the other stop, such as snorkeling or taking a ride on a glass bottom boat. 4. Panama. We took the “Panama Canal Cruise” that went through 3 locks of the Panama Canal. I give it an “A”, for your first visit. This is a sort of “bucket list” item. I recommend that you bring something to read, because the trip gets boring. At the Canal, the tour bus delivers the group to a ferry, and then picks them up four hours and 40 miles later. The first lock is interesting, and there is a photographer to record the moment for you. The first hour on the ferry is interesting; the next 3 hours are just a pleasant ride down a river. You do ride by Manual Noriega’s water front home, where he is expected to spend the rest of his life. (Yes, it is a prison, and I don’t think he has a water view!) One reason we chose this tour is because of the “commemorative certificate of doing the Panama Canal Transit and contributing on the expansion of it!” I thought it was some sort of official certificate issued either by Panama or the Panama Canal. No. It is a mass produced certificate produced by the tour company and signed by the tour guide. Not even personalized; it says “This certifies that you….” While I’m glad we too the tour, we just threw the certificates away. 5. Cozumel. We took the tour that includes a combination of a visit to Mayan ruins and a beach. I give this trip a “D”. If it was separate trips, I would have given the Mayan ruins an “A” and the beach a “B”. The tour tried to do too much in too little time; as a result, there was no quality experience at all. Interestingly, the tour guides repeatedly told us that the schedule was determined by the ship and it was not their fault. Check out the schedule: a. 10:00. MSC Divin docks in Cozumel. b. 10:00 to 11:15. Fifteen busloads of tourists get off the ship and board the single nearby ferry that will take us to the mainland. This was a real mess. The tour company chartered the ferry, and put all mainland bound tours on it. Although there were several destination tours on the mainland, all tours had to begin and end at about the same time, in order to use the chartered ferry in both directions. c. 12:00. Arrive at the mainland, after a very rough 45 minute ride, with lots of people getting sick. The ferry company was prepared, and passed out plastic bags at the beginning of the trip. Many angry travelers did not realize that this ferry experience was part of the trip. d. 12:00 to 12:20. Debark the ferry, find your tour guide, and follow him or her to your bus. e. 12:20 to 1:00. Ride the bus to the ruins. The busses were very comfortable and the ride to the ruins was about 45 minutes. f. 1:00 to 2:15. Very interesting escorted tour of the ruins of about one hour, with 15 minutes for independent exploration, restroom break and shopping. Beware: the restrooms in the shopping area charge U.S. $0.50 for use. I strongly recommend getting a tour that allows at least 2.5 hours at the ruins, to fully explore the rich history, and have a little time to relax in the shopping/dining area. g. 2:15 to 2: 40. Sit on the bus waiting for the travelers who did not respect the rest of us enough to be on time. Frankly, I think the bus should have rolled at 2:16 and left them on their own. h. 3:00 to 3:30. Enjoy a wonderful afternoon at the beach, first with a relaxing, boring Mexican buffet of average quality, followed by rest and relaxation on lounge chairs and swimming in the ocean. (Sarcasm.) This was ridiculous on two levels. First, having lunch at 3 p.m. was crazy. And second, there was time only to eat lunch. In my opinion, this was a rip off. This was a waste of time. If they could not provide two or three hours at the beach, they should have omitted it from the itinerary. i. 3:35. Leave the beach for the ride back to the ferry. j. 4:45. Arrive back at the ferry. k. 4:45 to 5:15. Leave the bus, tip the tour guide, tip the driver, and follow the leader back to the ferry. Board the ferry. l. 5:30. Deadline for all passengers to be back on the Divina. m. 5:50. Ferry arrives back in Cozumel n. 5:50 to 6:15. Passengers get off the ferry and board the Divina. o. There was no time for shopping or exploring on your own. A lot of people wanted to buy souvenirs and were unable to do so. p. In all fairness however, we were not concerned that the ship would leave without us, since there were hundreds of passengers on the ship and it was an MSC sponsored tour. But, it just didn’t work. I should mention that the tour guides knew the itinerary was impossible from the beginning, and repeatedly told us that MSC dictated the schedule and they had no influence on it. General Comments on the Ship 1. Buffet. We ate there once. As a former casino executive, it reminded me of the buffets in our casinos targeted to low income guests. The food was plentiful, and enjoyable. Little innovation, but satisfying. Lots of variety. But, many guests act like they have not eaten in a while and are not sure when they will be able to eat again. I was about to reach for the last slice of pepperoni pizza when another guest reached from behind and took it. 2. Coffee. Outstanding. If you like Starbucks, you will love the ship’s coffee. You get your choice of coffee, decaffeinated coffee or instant coffee. (Actually, I don’t understand the purpose of the third option.) And of course, they have espresso, cappuccino, and other traditional Italian coffee beverages. All are excellent. 3. The Jazz Bar features “dueling pianos”, which is now pretty common in the U.S. For some reason, the ship is promoting them heavily, to the neglect of other quality entertainment. Compared to the dueling piano performers I have seen in major U.S. cities, these guys are a little below average. OK and fun, but not worth fighting to see. See them, but be sure to see the entertainment in the other venues as well. 4. Fitness Center. Equipment was in excellent condition. The aerobic machines appeared new, and worked well; however, they each had a television receiver which was not connected to the ship’s television network! I do wish they had more equipment. A lot of inexperienced visitors did not know gym etiquette and would sit on a machine between sets and talk for 20 minutes while others were waiting to use machines. After the second day, I started asking people if we could share; after shocked looks at the request, most people were good about it. 5. The Spa’s locker room, steam rooms and saunas are available at no charge to all passengers. However, the locker room is extremely small. Also, although men’s and women’s sauna and steam are separate, you cannot get to them from the locker room; you have to go through a public hallway. 6. Casino. Hey, I’m a former gaming executive! So I’m not going to donate my money to the industry. The Americanization of the MSC Divina Experience Successes Reading other reviews of the Divina in the Caribbean, I think they are quickly making adjustments to appeal to the U.S. audience. 1. Sweet-N-Low, Splenda, diet jelly and Diet Coke are available everywhere on the ship. 2. The steam room and sauna in the Spa are available at no charge. I understand that in Europe, there was a charge for access. 3. Drinking water is available everywhere. 4. After every meal, we were offered coffee, so that issue has been resolved. An earlier review indicated the request for after dinner coffee was met with confusion and a suggestion to go to a bar, which is typical in Italy. Opportunities I think these are all trivial, but I will mention them anyway. I also recognize that some of these are items that MSC does not want to Americanize, in their effort to keep the Med feel of the ship. 1. In the Top Sail Lounge, for the Continental Breakfast, sliced bread is an available option but there is no way to toast it. Also, when having breakfast at Le Muse, I ordered an English muffin. I got the muffin, but it was not toasted. 2. Diet Coke and Coke Light are treated as interchangeable. I think it is simply based on where the last supply purchase was made. But, the tastes can be very different. 3. Fruit juices offered in the mini-bar were: Morning Blend and Pineapple-Coconut. None of the traditional juices Americans expect. 4. Sparkling and flat water are treated as equally reasonable and common options for water. While it is very cool, it can confuse those guests with less experience in European dining. I think it is up to the employees to learn how to handle this, and they should not assume the guest knows it already.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
MSC Divina is a beautiful ship sailing from Miami to Bahamas and Caribbean all year round. We are travel agents and took three days familiarization cruise to Nassau and Half Moon Cay. Embarkation process was very smooth and fast. Our cabin ... Read More
MSC Divina is a beautiful ship sailing from Miami to Bahamas and Caribbean all year round. We are travel agents and took three days familiarization cruise to Nassau and Half Moon Cay. Embarkation process was very smooth and fast. Our cabin was ready and we found it much larger then we used to see on NCL ships, for example. The upper deck has two large 6 ft deep pools and one of them has retractable roof over it, plus a kids pool. There are many hot tubs around pool area as well. Many different bars around the ship serve good variety of drinks and they are reasonably priced. Two main dining rooms serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dinner sittings are at 6 pm and 9 pm. Buffet on deck 14 also serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Good size casino is on deck 6 and ready to take your donations. Main atrium stairs are decorated with Swarovski crystals. Kids club conduct various activities with children of all ages and open till 10:30 pm. It has game room with sophisticated machines and drive simulator. We did not try it but it looks very interesting. Piazza di Dogia resembles an Italian town square with bar and delicious deserts and gelato of many flavors, just like you would have it in Italy. Various performers play popular music at the piazza most of the day. There are several lounges to choose from for your late night entertainment, as well as pool parties under the stars. Entertainment crew is highly professional. Nightly shows in the theater are superb, better then I have seen on other ships. Very elaborate costumes and decorations. No food or drinks are served before or during the performance in the theater and no ruffle tickets sale going on before it, as they do it on NCL ships. Instead, the entertainment crew interacts with the public before the show, which makes it fun and not boring to wait for the start of the show. The company maintains the Mediterranean feel on the ship with lots of Italian flavors. Many European guests are on the ship and English is not always spoken widely. We have heard complains about some crew members have difficulties with English, but we never had any problems communicating with crew or other guests. Food service is well organized, however, the variety and quality of food is way below expectations. The main dining room dinner food is good, nothing special, but good. The buffet food is simply bad, poorly prepared and not seasoned food. One lunch they served Indian food that was really good, but the next day it was Spanish paella that was more like a rice pilaf. There is not much choices in the buffet at all and all dishes are bland. MSC management is still trying to find the middle ground between maintaining Mediterranean flavors in their food and satisfying an American cravings for burgers and hot dogs. There is a huge section with pizzas and pasta dishes in the buffet, but they still lacking proper flavors. They have two specialty restaurants that require reservation and extra charge: Italian and Steak House (which is pretty much Italian too). There is a late night pizzeria serving very good pizza for late night snack. Deserts are the best. No matter where you get them, any kind of deserts are delicious. And, of course, gelato. We made two stops: Nassau and Half Moon Cay. Half Moon Cay also known as Little San Salvador is a private island that belongs to Holland America. The island is equipped with everything and has beautiful long beach with two bars and a food service facility. Guests are shuttled to the island by tenders and we did not wait long for our turn. No need to carry beach towels with you, they will give them to you on the island. They have some organized activities on the beach, most noticeable is volleyball. We visited the exclusive Yacht Club area of the ship located on two upper decks in the front of the ship with bar and pool. They have 24 hrs concierge and large rooms with sofas and good size bathrooms. However, one has to be aware that rooms facing the front of the ship do not have real balconies, but instead the seating area with glass front and opening on top like a moon roof. I would not be happy to pay premium for Yacht Club room and have a balcony like that. Smoking is prohibited throughout the ship, even on balconies and casino. It is strictly enforced. The only smoking area is inside the cigar room and one small area on deck 14. We were also pleased to see that the ship security is provided by Israeli boys and girls. Our overall impression of this ship is positive (except for the buffet food) and we plan to take another longer cruise on Divina later this year. KIDS SAIL FREE all the time on MSC cruises and that makes it a very good value for families with kids. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
To set the stage - I was traveling with 2 kids (ages 10 & 11) and my husband. This was our first ever cruise and we were some what nervous but were disappointed in areas we did not expect to be disappointed in. So let's start ... Read More
To set the stage - I was traveling with 2 kids (ages 10 & 11) and my husband. This was our first ever cruise and we were some what nervous but were disappointed in areas we did not expect to be disappointed in. So let's start with the good things... CABIN: We had 2 cabins - a balcony for us and an interior cabin for the kids. We were on the 9th deck - so our balcony was not a glass wall - so was sort of useless, but not completely. The cabins were very nice and well appointed and our cabin attendant was wonderful - kept the rooms really clean, made little towel animals for the kids, and was really attentive to our comings & goings. The storage in the interior cabin was much better then that in the balcony room (They had 1 more cabinet then we did) - so things were a bit tight, but manageable. SHOWS: We only skipped 2 shows, the opera & Sinatra nights - but the shows we did go to in general were all fabulous (we could have skipped Italian night). The sets, costumes, and performances were all wonderful. BRUNCH IN THE GALAXY RESTAURANT: We pre-booked brunch here and paid extra to do so - and it was wonderful. They served us 5 appetizers before our main course - oysters, tuna tartare, smoked fish plate, frois gras, and then steak carpaccio (which we passed on because we were already so full and not huge fans of). Then we had our main course and some wonderful desserts. The service was very good, it was much quieter and laid back then any of the main dining areas and a wonderful way to spend the morning of our last sea day. EXCURSIONS: In general the excurisions were good. Our first one in St. Maarten was cancelled because the seas were too rough, so that sort of stunk. We were in PR on X-mas day - so options were limited but we went up to the rain forest and we really enjoyed it. Our last shore day was on the private island in the Bahamas, and except for the fact that the burgers were raw - it was a great day and wonderful facilities on the island. JAZZ/PIANO BAR: While the drink service was s....l....o....w - the performers were good, but most importantly they were funny and entertaining and our kids loved going there each night. And now for the bad.... FALSE INFORMATION: First of all - no one knows what the heck they are doing there and the amount of false information they give you is really just unbelievable - from booking through the MSC call center, to the people at the reception area, to everyone....(1) we were told our keys would be able to be coded to work in both rooms - they could not do that...so we had to take one of the kids keys each night so we could go in their room if we needed to. (2) we were told we could choose between first seating at 6pm or second at 8pm. We choose second - which they then moved to 8:30pm but never made a point of telling you the change in the time when you checked in and our keys just said second seating. (3) we were trying to figure out a space for my daughter to work out as a week out of the gym mid-season is not great for her. On first attempt to go to they gym we were told it was 14 an older, which is fine, when we asked for a mat for her to use or a place where she could do some basic conditioning they said they would have a manager call us back and let us know...that was Sunday afternoon. On Monday I stopped by reception to see if I could get some info and was told the manager was sick. On Tuesday night they called to ask me if I had any documentation to show my daughter was a professional gymanst - I replied, no - I just need a space for her to workout that is safer then our cabin and a mat for her to use. On Thursday they called back and said she had permission to work out - I asked if that meant to borrow a mat or to use the gym facilities and was told to use the gym. On Friday my husband attempted to take her again and they yelled at him and sent him out with a mat. On Saturday we finally got off the boat. POOLS: There are only 3 family pools for over 4000 people on the ship and maybe 5 or 6 spas. Let's just say that not only were seats hard to come by - but so was water. SLIDE: The ONE slide is a joke - not only is it often closed, but my son said you have to scooch yourself through a lot because it is so flat that you don't actually slide. KIDS CLUB: So I think the success of this is age dependent - for my kids - the age group was 7-11 and the activities were for 6-8 year olds. My kids refused to go - and I must say that I never saw a kid their age in the kids club EVER!!! So they hung out with us the whole time and they were amazingly well behaved so we still got to relax. FOOD: Disgusting!!!! The first night we had to go to the buffet after dinner to eat rolls (because the buffet food is even worse). We did figure out that (1) we should order way more food then we needed in the hopes that something would taste good and (2) to stick to simple things like steak, salmon, and shrimp cocktail. But as bad as the food was - the service was worse - and to be honest, I don't think that is the fault of the wait staff as they were putting the food on the tables as soon as it made it to them. Our 8pm seating that was changed to an 830pm seating (and the 6pm seating was moved to 545pm) my guess is because they needed the extra time to get folks in and out. So...we would sit at 830pm - if we were lucky - and I do mean lucky we would have our one and usually only drink by 9pm, appetizers at 930pm and main course at 10pm...that is right folks - 10PM!!!! So - what we did was we would order a sandwich to room service for the kids before the show and then have a light snack between the show and dinner at the bar and then finally dinner at 10pm. Many nights my kids were literally falling asleep in their plates. In general - the service on the ship was terrible - folks really had no reason to do their jobs with any sense of urgency and if it was not an interesting task (like asking people to stop smoking around the pools) they just would pretend they didn't understand you! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
WE just back form 18 days cruise on beautiful MSC Divina. We had back to back Dec- 10-2013+Dec -21-2013 Xmas cruise. I will try to put some photos if I figure out how.) WE are family of 3 with lots of previous cruises on ... Read More
WE just back form 18 days cruise on beautiful MSC Divina. We had back to back Dec- 10-2013+Dec -21-2013 Xmas cruise. I will try to put some photos if I figure out how.) WE are family of 3 with lots of previous cruises on HAL,CCL,Costa,NCL,MSC. English is not my firs language so please forgive me if you see some mistakes. We flayed day before to Miami and stayed in Double Tree Hilton DT. Very nice hotel with biggest room we ever had in budget hotel and very nice view. Big plus you don’t have to go out from there they have many restaurants and shops inside facilities. Peking Duck in Chinese restaurant was a very good start for our vacation.))) Now back to Divina. Embarkation –very fast and organized .We came 10:30 by 12: 30 we had lunch in buffet) Our room was not ready right away as on 2 previous cruises on Poesia not a big deal but we loved this perk from MSC very much. Hate to go around the ship with my carryon luggage. Cabin- we had balcony cabin on deck 10 mid ship and it was amazing! Biggest cabin we ever had . even after pulling out sofa bed we had lots of space to go on balcony and back .Sofa bed was huge as well- full size not love seat size 2 adults could sleep there no problem ) Shower doors instead of curtains ,lots of space in closet ,lots of hangers . On our 2 Poesia cruises our room was made up in no time( by ghost ?) even we would leave it for 15 min) This time on first day in sea we came back from pool at 1 pm and room was not ready.((( Room attendant knocked on the door and asked me what time she can clean up ,we told he that now it’s too late and our DD taking nap this time. After 15 min we got a note under the door asking us to let reception know when we need room to be clean. We did so on our way to coffee break and by the time we back to cabin (20 min or so ) room was ready. Never happened again in 17 days )Room was always ready right away after we leave it. Ship – I don’t know what to say. She is beautiful and very clean but…. Poesia touched us much more. Something wrong with layout. Lots of elevators but most of them hidden in corners and people go to one in the middle . you just need to go 10 steps back or forward and go on empty elevator but no ,everyone will squeeze in central one)) Public washrooms…. Really in airports they look nicer. All Bars are somehow separated and many times to go from place to place you had to go throw big crowd .Very low chandeliers in Jazz Bar be careful when you stand up if you are toll ,my Dh hit his head twice badly . Nice to have close roof pool but whose idea was to put very sleeper tiles around it??? Central pool is very nice but almost no space near stage to dance or sports. Entertainment – Best shows in sea!!! Really we watched all of them twice never got tired. What a wonderful team of singers. Don’t miss any show.!!! Entertainment team- Finally good cruise director. ) He made some mistakes – Xmas eve was not formal night it was White party ,Xmas day again 60-70-80…..really? most of the ship still wear Tax and red dresses. I talked to people no one loved the idea of 60-70- party on Xmas day. Rest of team… I don’t know …maybe ship is too big and not enough of them but team on Poesia was much better . No Marriage game no mister Pizza game ( Head of team (don’t remember name ) very rude maybe he is rude to his team as well so that’s the reason. Food- DR food had huge improvement , I would say they easy could be compare to HAL food now if not better . We even eat steak ,yes its become very nice as all other meat dishes. ))) Appetizers ,soups ,pasta dishes and don’t forget chilled soup ,specially Gazpacho ))) Buffet food- probably it’s an improvement but we missed fried calamari and arugula every day like on Poesia. (But it’s my taste not majority taste I guess ( Don’t stay in beginning of buffet go to back lots of space and lots of different food. Don’t miss Cantina de Boca Bar they have Pizza from Haven over there .yes, you have to pay $9-$12 but it’s amazing plus they serve you free appetizers with drink there. Service- We got very slow and annoying waiter on first cruise .Really I never met waiter like this….. Meter D’ had to bring food by himself for our DD so she could go to kids Club fast. (Second cruise we change table and had no problem at all. Service in all bars was very good, especially in Cantina de Boca ,really amazing staff works there. Never had any problem in any other bar . Kids Club – I have to say those people made a miracle on Xmas cruise!!!! I really wonna know who’s idea was to put 1000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kids on Xmas cruise. Did they see size of kids club????? Did they count how many kids they put on each staff member to watch??????? MSC management please come for next Xmas cruise and see what those people going trough . It’s very stupid idea to let kids sail free on Holydays. Once again I cannot thank those people from kids club enough. My DD loved every minute she spend there. Overall we had good cruise ,we got much more that we paid for. We will cruise with MSC again for sure we are Golden members now) We will not cruise on Divina probably again specially on Holydays with kids sail free program .   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Hi, not a first time cruiser, have an opportunity to compare MSC with Holland America we sailed a few months ago. Everything else being equal, I would choose HAL for my next cruise. The Divina is an excellent ship, it is new and very ... Read More
Hi, not a first time cruiser, have an opportunity to compare MSC with Holland America we sailed a few months ago. Everything else being equal, I would choose HAL for my next cruise. The Divina is an excellent ship, it is new and very comfortable, the cabin had a balcony, which was a big plus. Food was not as good as Holland America, though we were never hungry. MSC does not offer Open Table choice for dinner, rather they assign you to 1st or 2nd seating regardless of your request. We were assigned 2nd seating, though I have specifically asked the booking agent for the 1st seating. Our first night on the cruise we did not go to the dining room, it was too late for my kids to eat. MSC has rectified the situation next day and we were assigned first seating. Though I would rather avoid this kind of issue all together: this is not something one looks forward to when sailing with a major cruise company. I have two kids aged 9 and 14. My 9 year old enjoyed the activities offered by the kids club, while my teenager complained about absence of things to do in the Youth club. He ended up going there only twice, while when cruising with HAL we hardly ever saw him during the evenings. A few surprises came up at the end of the cruise: last day when arriving into Miami we were asked to vacate our room at 7AM. This meant waking up kids at 6AM - something no parent would rather do during vacation. Especially considering that our debarkation time was at 10:45. For 3 hours we were forced to spend 3 hours with our carry ons in the common areas of the ship. For some inexplicable reasons MSC requires everyone to approach their Reception desk on board the ship to settle their accounts. No idea why guests would not be able to just leave their signed copy of the bill in their cabin if they have no questions as per their bill. Big waiting lines on the morning of the arrival day. My biggest surprise came after the cruise: for some inexplicable reasons MSC has charged my credit card $200 more than I signed on the last day of the cruise (so much for being there in person!). My call to Customer Service did not yield any results, apparently all the bills and financial records are stored in the corporate office in Europe and US Customer Service is unable to help. The agent advised me to write an email to their Customer Service address, but was not able to give me any timelines or suggestions when I should be awaiting the response. Will see how this matter will be handled. But again, this is not something I was looking forward to when booking the cruise with MSC. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have a ball wherever we go. The glass is always half full as they say. that being said there are a number of things that MSC MUST do right away or they could alienate the US market and possibly have to move what is a gorgeous ship back ... Read More
We have a ball wherever we go. The glass is always half full as they say. that being said there are a number of things that MSC MUST do right away or they could alienate the US market and possibly have to move what is a gorgeous ship back to Europe (or some other locale). Boarding-It seems to be a very lengthy process to check people in. My suggestion to management would be to time the average check in time frame. We clocked most in the 10-15 minute range per couple, which is far too long when you have 3,400 people to board. We arrived at the Pier at 4PM and were finally on board at 5:45PM. Ship-The ship indeed is Gorgeous. Super clean and just stunning visuals everywhere you look. The entire ship feels fresh and new and the cabins are beautiful. Warning: Bring a bar of Soap as they only dispense body wash in the showers ( We loved the Shower Capsule). We say this because three of our friends cabins didn't have washcloths, so they were not sure what you were to use the body wash with. We had washcloths so we were fine! Food-Wow- Here's where they need to fix things and fast or they are going to be lost in the crush of competition. Try as we might, the food is just plain horrible in the dining room- No two ways about it. the service is just as bad. It's like they need to throw out the play book and start all over again. I read other reviews and I really wanted to shout- "No trust me- It's better" but alas it isn't. the buffet became our sanctuary and we lived on Pizza which is VERY very good by the way. However when you get Risotto slopped onto a salad plate ( Do you not have bowls?) Or a cup of soup where some have a garnish and some don't and some are full and some are half full or Prime Rib Entree's that resemble shoe leather - Well we couldn't get out of there fast enough. Management can't sugar coat this- They have to address it. Entertainment- Was pretty good- they seemed very poorly lit - I'd get someone with theatrical lighting experience in there. The singers and dancers are all good and this is an area that MSC truly is showing promise. We loved the Cirque-esqe touches of the shows. Musicians throughout we all great and the entertainment staff seemed to really be working hard to make sure everyone had a great time. Few other notes: Spa/Gym is really nice. Drinks are very generous size ( and strength) and the coupons you can buy at any bar are a very good deal- If you even plan to have 2 drinks a day get these it will save you lots of $$. Overall we had fun as we were with a group of friend but MSC needs to take the Chef and Maitre D to task, as their areas of oversight will ruin their ratings if they can't improve the experience.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Positives: 1) getting on the cruise and off were both a breeze as we were rushed to the front of the line and where we needed to be quickly. 2). Shore exclusion to the Panama Canal were given first few rows of the bus that took us to ... Read More
Positives: 1) getting on the cruise and off were both a breeze as we were rushed to the front of the line and where we needed to be quickly. 2). Shore exclusion to the Panama Canal were given first few rows of the bus that took us to the ferry. 3). Pool areas, top sail lounge are never really crowded so you can enjoy more space than out in the main areas. 4). Unlimited alcohol......I am not saying this is positive for all but it's a fact. 5). Comfortable beds, pillows are great, spacious cabin about 300 sf with tub and staff do a great job keeping it neat. Negatives: 1). Concierge barely understands English and they take the roomroom service orders. For example order a pot of coffee they bring a cup. They will also tell you things are complimentary and they are not. This is a real weak link. 2) Because the number of people in yacht club is small some guests are out to meet everyone so if you want space it may be hard to always do. 3). Food is nothing spectacular and most can be found in main dining room and buffet. What you get is a wait staff handling less people. The specialty restraints are even worse. Eataly looks like a chic filet and Italia has a set menu with no substitutions. Both are horrible examples of pay restraunts. I wasted my money there so you have been warned. Seriously go on the ship yourself and look at the joints on Deck 7. Nobody hardly is ever sitting in them. 4). The kids. Because it is a small area they stick out worse then the main areas of the ship. We only had a a few but it was easy to hear them in the hallways running outside the room. I am sure you will have more and it will be worse. 5). This is not Crystal so don't expect it to be. You pay twice the amount of a balcony room and half the price of Crystal. Consider it a glorified balcony with unlimited drinking.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My family (2 young daughters) have gone on two prior very successful Celebrity cruises and wanted to try something different. We read about the review son MSC but decided to give it a try (being a grand new ship and going to enjoyable ... Read More
My family (2 young daughters) have gone on two prior very successful Celebrity cruises and wanted to try something different. We read about the review son MSC but decided to give it a try (being a grand new ship and going to enjoyable ports). 1. Cabin: The cabin was beautiful. It not only meet but exceeded expectations. The queen bed was firm and beading fine and elegant. Bathroom was more than adequate (no cruise ship can say "spacious") and the balcony (unobstructed view) a great place to sit back and watch the world sail by. Out cabin steward vent out of his way to keep our cabin clean and tidy (not an easy feat with two youngsters). Our cabins was always kept with fresh towels and the bathrooms always clean.It was always a joy coming back to the cabin. 2. Food: The main dinning room was always a joy. We found the menus both encompassing and enjoyable (matching those of 4 star restaurants). Our table waiter always remember our drink preferences. The buffet was always clean, busy and never a shortage of variety. In fact the main dining was so enjoyable we saw no need to try any of the other "specialty" restaurants. We especially enjoyed the midnight fresh pizza at the buffet every night after the show, delicious. 3.: Pools and recreation: As with any cruise ship, at the days at seas the pools were always crowded and staking a chair in advance a must. Since the kids traveled free, while there was an abundance of kids it was no more and no less so crowded than other lines we have traveled. the kids club (while somewhat small for a ship this size) was very entertaining for the kids and they enjoyed spending their days there.I especially liked the fact that the kids club has a special section for dining at the buffet and that they took the kids every night to the shows. The shows among the bets we have seen so far of any cruise line.The fitness center (again while slightly small) had all the best state of the art fitness equipment. Being an Italian company and European style of cruising I found it to be more laid back and not having activities thrust in your face every hour (yet there was something always to do). I would not hesitate to recommend this cruise for any family. the staff went out if its way to be hospitable and friendly and that is what sets apart the experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Christmas on Divina. Couple in late 30's with two kids 13 and 10. Past cruises on: Costa, MSC, HAL, Carnival. WHAT WE LIKED: Very efficient and well organized embarkation, nice terminal. Elegant, clean and tasteful decorated ... Read More
Christmas on Divina. Couple in late 30's with two kids 13 and 10. Past cruises on: Costa, MSC, HAL, Carnival. WHAT WE LIKED: Very efficient and well organized embarkation, nice terminal. Elegant, clean and tasteful decorated ship. Cozy inside cabin 9013, much bigger then competitors. Buffet food was good but there could have been more choices for the main entries. Several choices of deserts, were delicious and nicely decorated in buffet and MDR. Best pizza and pastry at sea! Best midnight buffet ever! Great food and service at MDR for dinner, not to long of a wait. Great food and quick service at MDR for breakfast or lunch. Beautiful theater and amazing shows, great choreography, varieties and professionalism of dancers, magicians and acrobats. Every night, for both shows the theater was full! Andre, the cruise director did a great and professional job in organizing all the events. Entertainment Team was superb in multiple places of the ship, always funny and visible entertaining passengers – best we ever saw! Kids and teens programs looked well organized and busy. Our kids did not participate. So many choices for live music every night in several bars and lounges and also talented night guitar player at aft pool. No pushy bartenders or photographers. Several hot tubs with different temperature and jets pressure. 3 fresh salt water pools, 1 covered. Differed experience, crowd, languages and cultures. In our opinion 50/50 Americans and Europeans. Every kid on board received a gift from Santa, adults got complementary sparkling wine or martini. For returning guests there was a private cocktail party organized with captain, live music, snacks and drinks – nice touch. Went twice to reception desk and always was treated nice and problem quickly solved. No more announcements in 5 languages except for safety. Picturesque and well maintained private island Great Stirrup Cay (owned by NCL) with warm clear waters. And if you read in some reviews that food is cold, we did not observe that. We found out that the buffet was so big, and by the time you visit all the stations and finally sit, your meal is not hot anymore! Also we never experienced long waiting in MDR. Self assist disembarkation was a breeze -smoothest ever. FEW HICCUPS: Almost every beverage station at the buffet was filthy, several times cleaning staff would just walk by and not do anything about it. MSC, please supervise your employees in these areas. Fabric seat cushions not a great idea for a buffet. For a year and a half old ship almost every fabric seat cushion was dirty and stained. This can easily be fixed by exchanging with leather like cushions. Buffet table cleaning staff at dinner were wearing ugly, dark green, very long aprons, remaining butcher shop personnel. I can't understand why safety drill was conducted in bar lounge not by the life boats muster stations? Materials used in the interiors are tasteful but not durable and not high quality. Wear is already visible, surprised because it is only year and a half old ship. Water slide is designed wrong! Kids or adults stuck in the middle of the ride, this happened several times every day. Some kids were stuck and crying inside the tube! Non of the water jets / geysers around the pool ware working for the entire cruise. NOT TO ACCEPT: Constantly, in several public toilets (by theater or on top deck by water slide) we, and many other frustrated Americans observed male cleaning ladies toilets and female cleaning gentleman toilets, while occupied. Hey MSC this can not be accepted by Americans and it is not US standard, please change that since you are operating in different culture region. After midnight buffet at Galaxy Disco we observed a group of Italian officers in white formal uniforms drinking and dancing with female bartender and teens passengers! I understand they may be off duty at this time but please, MSC have them wear personal clothes NOT a formal white officer uniforms! This was very scary looking and it reminded us of Captain Francesco Schettino. Only 1 gala night per our 7 night Christmas cruise! And it was not even on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day but on 26th. Can’t understand that! Christmas Eve: themed dress code – white, Christmas Day: themed dress code – 60s-70s-80s. Hey MSC, it was a Christmas cruise and people would like to celebrate holidays formally! CONCLUSION: We can clearly see big improvements since our last MSC cruise on Poesia in 2008 and can tell that the US market seems to be very important to them. MSC is raising standards to pleased American travelers, but there is still a few subjects that need adjustment and I'm sure that they will patch them up soon. Definitely we will sail with them again and hope they will bring a second ship to the US for year round sailing soon. To all families, who want to experience something different: beautiful Divina, great food, amazing shows, not pushy staff and Mediterranean flavors is the way to go, and I'm sure you will never come back to any ordinary Carnival ship.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
MSC Divina - 21- 28 Dec, 2013 St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Bahamas private island. Miami - Parking = 0 Changed handicapped policy. Was not informed. Did not book elsewhere and was met with the $20 price gouging at the port. MSC Terminal ... Read More
MSC Divina - 21- 28 Dec, 2013 St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Bahamas private island. Miami - Parking = 0 Changed handicapped policy. Was not informed. Did not book elsewhere and was met with the $20 price gouging at the port. MSC Terminal = 10 Speedy on-board processing. MSC Divina = 9 Room 13025 - Balcony room had great views and was not right on the stairwells - Mini bar in every room - Best shipboard bathroom yet - Ample closet space (BYO Hangers!) The big clunky ones provided are not very accommodating. - Comfy, FIRM beds - Tiny clock display on phone - Close to the beautiful Sirena Pool, a fun wave pool which can be enclosed if the weather is poor. Food = 8, Good, usual shipboard fare Room Steward Service = 10 Never saw Anthony form Madagascar much, but room was provisioned well. Dining Service = 5 Good overall service. 25 minutes between courses meant a 2.5 hour dinner. Buffet Service = 10 Excellent. Bar Staff = 10 Excellent, remembers your name and drink preferences! Shows = 9 Wonderful. People "saving" seats was annoying. Pools and hot tubs = 10 Clean, many hot tubs, and Adult Only hot tubs. Pools were clean and many to choose from. More than enough deck chairs and lounges. Towel process is odd, checking out and in numerous times or be "charged" $20 per towel, but as many clean towels provided as you desire. Teen Club = 10 Couldn't keep my 13 year old boy with me. I checked in on him often and he was chatting with teens, playing basketball or soccer, swimming or movies. Adult Activities = 7 Fun dance lessons, trivia (Logo Trivia!), Bingo, too much to mention. Gym/Spa = 7 Nice new equipment. Long lines, never got to use. Running track is a joke and non-existent. Excursions = 9 Many to choose from. Decent prices. Ports = 10 Philipsburg always has great beach and food as well as shopping. San Juan is beautiful. Most everything is closed on Christmas Day. Private Bahamas Island is new and clean with plenty of beach chairs and great picnic food provided. Disembarkation = 10+++ The smoothest "Self Assist" I have ever experienced. To designated location by 7am and at my car at 7:20am, including customs!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I wanted to give back to all who helped me w/my many questions before sailing. Thanks! I can't tell you how much we enjoyed the Divina. We are anxious to do another MSC sailing! Review is a bit sporadic, but wanted to post it asap. ... Read More
I wanted to give back to all who helped me w/my many questions before sailing. Thanks! I can't tell you how much we enjoyed the Divina. We are anxious to do another MSC sailing! Review is a bit sporadic, but wanted to post it asap. -Night before cruise....Stayed at Miami Doral area hotel with $12 shuttle to port and free parking for 11 nights. Good friendly service, clean, walk to restaurants. -Took 11am shuttle, porters took bags and we were given numbered cards to board in sequence. On board about 12:15. Cabin ready. Room Steward wonderful. Asked for robes, ice, more hangars, etc. Nice size balcony with 2 chairs and stool. Flat screen TV. Could use more US channels. Plenty of storage including under bed. -Most all problems referred to on Boards and Reviews have been taken care of. The only negative I can remember that turned into a positive was that our Allegrissimo Classic code wasn't on our card although we ordered online months ago. I was told to go to the Service Desk, Deck 5. The clerk told me to go to the Restaurant. When I arrived the Mgr. personally walked me back to the Service Deck and had them change my card. After that no problems with Allegrissimo. It did seem that some of the bartenders still weren't too familiar with making some drinks, but there was always a head bartender there to help out. Really not much of a wait at all! Wines on Allegrissimo classic package were fine for us! -No rudeness encountered at all except from one bar waitress who argued loudly with our wonderful wait staff in front of us. We mentioned this to her and she came back to apologize to us for her actions. Didn't experience the pushing and shoving that I had read about. -Food: Buffet was really good with varied items. The Ethnic, cheeses and other "fancier" food items are in the back buffet. Easy seating there also. Most people just get food from front area and sit there so that area is busier. French toast, sausages at breakfast and other selections very good. Eggs and bacon not so good. Dinner items were mostly very good. There were very few items that we didn't care for. Plenty of choices though, extra and special orders also fine. Loved the lobster tails, juicy and extras offered. Shrimp cocktail good. Tiramisu and Baked Alaska ceremonies by waiters fun. Wait staff sensational. No problem getting drinks or wine at dinner table. Horseradish, hot red pepper, etc. also not a problem! Coffee was fine...No problem with cups, milk, etc. Servers walked around buffet to get drinks or coffee for us if we didn't want to go to bar ourselves. Muster was at 5pm. Sailaway first night was 7pm. We decided to skip 7pm show to watch sailaway with friends. No music at sailaway except for on the movie screen. That was a bit disappointing. Shows were the best I've ever seen except for comedian on last night. Standing ovations most nights. Lounge entertainment including dueling pianos, bands and duets were fabulous. The entertainment staff really worked hard, were friendly and we felt like friends by time we disembarked. The sheets, pillows and mattress could be improved upon. Bar staff were friendly and we never had a bad drink. However, it seemed that the newer bartenders had to get instruction from the main bartender on quite a few occasions. Not a big deal. No big delays getting drinks. On certain gala nights (3 gala nights on 11 night cruise!) there were free drinks for an hour for those not on Allegrissimo package. Pizza at buffet was pretty good. Few children on this cruise. Some still went to Infinity Pool in back of ship, but well behaved. We saw the +18 Solarium, but didn't think we needed to go there. Chairs always available at pools and nearby. They had a white party on the deck, an Italian theme night (red/white/green) and a flower 60's party. Some guests dressed up in appropriate theme. Interesting seeing flying fish while onboard at many ports. Bananas for breakfast were abundant in beginning of cruise, then "spotted" in middle of cruise and then non-existent at end of cruise. Not a big deal, but I thought this was odd. Many of my friends had purchased the drink vouchers online and this worked well for them also. Exercise - Did the Aqua Bikes and DH did regular spin class. Really enjoyed both. Also did FREE Stretch, aerobic and zumba classes...Fun. The gym wasn't that crowded so DH worked out there daily also. Infinity Pool was never filled to edge. I heard that this was because water flowed onto aft decks. Not sure about this though. Still a nice place to chill out away from main pools. We were told to be out of cabin at 7am. Breakfast from 6 - 8 buffet and restaurant. Our colored luggage tags said 9:30 so we had to wait in theatre for awhile after breakfast. Then someone came for our group, directed us to baggage carousel...Luggage came quickly. Customs took about half an hour. Dance lessons, wine tasting, astronomy seminars, trivia available. Drink servers always available, but not pushy at all. Announcements in one language except for muster. Very few announcements. Ports Falmouth - Time N Place Beach (never got there - more info on Jamaica board..If they get their transportation straightened out, this would be a good stop. We decided to just shop....the pool at Margaritaville still in progress) Aruba - Took van ($3 each) from port to Eagle Beach. Beautiful beach...Not much else there. Water cooler than in Florida! Curacao - Got prearranged taxi to Porta Mari beach to snorkel...Best snorkeling ever...easy to enter beach...Beach bar....Great excursion. Panama - stayed on ship. Cozumel - Went on Bar Hop to 4 or 5 beaches on West side with no electricity. Fabulous time...Waves like Hawaii....Fun time! I loved having port days with sea days inbetween. Thanks for a wonderful cruise, MSC! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Let me start off by saying that i had the most wonderful and fabulous time on my 3 night sailing aboard the new MSC Divina.... I arrived down at the port of miami and terminal F at around 11:30 am in the morning...went through security and ... Read More
Let me start off by saying that i had the most wonderful and fabulous time on my 3 night sailing aboard the new MSC Divina.... I arrived down at the port of miami and terminal F at around 11:30 am in the morning...went through security and check in with a breeze... I then was given a number and was told to take a seat, until they got clearance that we can board the ship. I had number one for boarding, so when the ship was cleared i was on board by 12:30 in the afternoon. I then went up to the buffet for lunch. The food was amazing...I absolutely love Italian Food so i was in my glory. All the food was presented very well, and it was delicious. Desserts were to die for. All of their breads, desserts, pastas, and pastries are made onboard the ship. You had a lot of different foods to choose from in the buffet. The meals in the dining rooms were very well presented also and delicious. I then proceeded to my cabin as they opened them up at 1:30 in the afternoon. I had an inside cabin. Cabin number 11208 on deck 11, which was in the aft of the ship. No complaints.. I was sailing solo, so the room fit me fine...It was on the smaller side but had a queen size bed, lots of storage space....two big closets, and the third was a row of drawers to put clothes in, besides the two drawers in the night tables... Bathroom was a nice size...with a nice shower with plexi glass doors that opened...It had two dispensers for shampoo and body wash. Nice big fluffy bath towels along with hand towels and wash cloths....Under neath the sink, was cabinets to store stuff in, along with shelves to put toileries on. They had shower caps in the bathroom. Also in the cabin they had given you post cards, along with writing paper, and pens, with sewing kits etc. a little perk, that most cruise lines do not give you any longer. I ate in the Villa Rossa Dining room on the first setting which was at 6PM. The dining room i liked very much, as it was a one level dining room, shaped in the round. It was decorated in red furnisheings. It was a very cozy dining room. Our waiter and helper couldn't do enough for us. Food was outstanding. And the desserts were to die for... The ship is absolutely stunning. Very clean. All the public room fabulous. In the evening, music playing everywhere you go. The pool area beautiful...Plenty of lounge chairs.. did not have to fight for one. The way they designed their pools is amazing....They have like little coves, all around the pool where the little ones can enjoy, and then in the center is where the main pool is. Lots of different sitting areas to choose to sit. They have a pool with an enclosure in case it should rain, also i belive three or four other pools. They also have an infinity pool on deck 15 aft. Entertainment is the best at sea. They had Witches, Wonderland Starwalker (which is a tribute to Michael Jackson) acrobats, on my criuise they had an inpersonator of Abba called Abbracadabor.....Each show had a standing ovation from everyone.... I went on this 3 night sailing, as i wanted to try MSC, as i never sailed this line before... I am booked on the MSC Divina again for October 2014 sailing going to the Eastern Caribbean....and i can't wait to come aboard again.....Yes MSC sold me, and i definitely will be a frequent traveler with this line...That is how much i enjoyed myself. From the Customer Service, to the Dining Room staff, to the activities director, to the cruise director, to the entertainment, to the Officers, this is a jewel of a ship and i enjoyed myself emencely. The ship has a few kinks to iron out, but people have to understand that this ship was based in europe for the first year, so they handle things a little differently then here in the states. So once the kinks do get ironed out, and i believe it will be soon, as i have read what the CEO of MSC Cruises wrote, this ship will definitely will be competing with the other lines..... Will i sail MSC again? Of course i will, as i wrote earlier i will be sailing in October 2014..... I had a relaxing enjoyable time on the Divina, and hope to sail many, many times with MSC...... Desembarkation was a breeze.....my color was called off the ship at 10:30 am went down to collect my luggage, it was right on the convertor belt, picked my luggage up, went through customs, and no lines to wait.....picked my shuttle service up ......which took me back to Fort Lauderdale airport..... Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I love cruising and have had many wonderful experiences. The Divina as a ship is very beautiful. That said, I have never heard the word "No" so many times on a cruise. Don't get me wrong, I see mean entitled travelers all of ... Read More
I love cruising and have had many wonderful experiences. The Divina as a ship is very beautiful. That said, I have never heard the word "No" so many times on a cruise. Don't get me wrong, I see mean entitled travelers all of the time and I am constantly disgusted. I am a sweetheart to the employees since they don't make the rules and are underpaid and overworked. Whoever trained them however did a terrible job. They have no answers, are not trained to be helpful, and many were quite rude. The Divina is trying to cruise out of America now, but the employees are trained to deal with Europeans. The wait at the bars was phenomenal. You might order a cocktail at a bar with five other patrons and wait 30 minutes for a vodka tonic. Thank god their security didn't catch my scope bottle full of vodka or I would have wasted a lot of cruise time on this ship. The worst incident by far though concerned drink tickets. I purchased one of MSC's packages before the cruise for 24 cocktails (12 for me, 12 for my cabin mate). When we got on the boat they only had 12 cocktails in their package. I showed them my email receipt and that my credit card had been charged. The woman who was at the concierge desk was rude and told me to buy expensive internet and to contact the main office. I told her I didn't want to spend extra money and asked her to contact the main office for me from her email. She insisted she didn't have email access. I asked for a manger and was told they were not available to help me. It took three different concierge employees before one of then admitted they had email and offered to contact the office. Two days later I was informed that my receipts I showed were correct and that I was owed 12 cocktails. The whole incident was off putting and I was treated like a bad guy or criminal for asking for the drinks I paid for. I was really nice the whole time and was extra polite hoping it would help. It didn't... The food was not as good or available after hours as other cruise lines. All in all the cruise okay, mainly because I took advantage of getting off the boat at the ports. I still would never sail with MSC again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
1. Be prepared to pay for everything as an extra. MSC has a surcharge and 15% gratuity on everything, that you have not yet paid for. 2. Beauttiful ship, very poor service and knowledge of services. The dining experience is the worst of ... Read More
1. Be prepared to pay for everything as an extra. MSC has a surcharge and 15% gratuity on everything, that you have not yet paid for. 2. Beauttiful ship, very poor service and knowledge of services. The dining experience is the worst of any we've ever had, ashore or afloat 3. Integrity and knowledge. The ship decided to levy a surcharge of $300 for my son's departure, which was a misinterpretation of the Jones Act. They lured us to the front desk while underway by telling us we had free drink coupons. The Immigrations officer misinterpreted the US Code and statutues for application of this regulation and the ports it applies to. 4. Lack of leadership. Anyone in a white jacket does not take authority of the guests. A designated adult area is advisory in nature only. There were tons of kids in every adult area and people in bathing suits and no shirt in the dining rooms. No ONE said anything to these folks. 5. Fitness - one yoga class at 4 pm per day for 10 people for 4500 people. Does not make sense. Sign ups filled up in 30 minutes the first day.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The Divina was a recent addition to the Miami Port so we decided to try it out after being offered a very generous discount to do so. My wife and I have sailed on the MSC Opera and the Symphony previously and frankly had not been impressed ... Read More
The Divina was a recent addition to the Miami Port so we decided to try it out after being offered a very generous discount to do so. My wife and I have sailed on the MSC Opera and the Symphony previously and frankly had not been impressed with the experiences, mainly due to the lack of services provided by the crew members, compared to the other lines we usually use. (we are consistent Cruisers and have amassed a history of 73 cruises to date) If anything, the cruise aboard the Divina was the least enjoyable of the three MSC cruises we have now experienced. I will say that the physical aspects of the ship are beautiful. I have read that just prior to being transferred from Italy to U.S. shores the ship was extensively renovated, and it shows. Typical of the Italian lines, it is bright and shiny, almost glitzy, but very attractive. Mirrors, sparkly surfaces, and lots of bright lights throughout the ship. We had a handicapped access, inside cabin that easily accommodated our 2 scooters, and although the beds were quite hard, we felt comfortable with our cabin. Cabin service was quite good, but we did a double take when we learned that if we wanted room service it would be an additional charge ! WOW....that was different....but it was only the start of similar surprises. It seemed almost everything we wanted beyond the basics carried an extra charge. (Want an ice cream? ....That's an extra CHARGE !) It seems like once you are aboard, it becomes an "ala-carte" experience for so many things that one would normally expect to be inclusive on a Cruise ship. Regarding Cuisine; it was our experience that the Main Dining Room offered very good service and a fine selection of choices for Dinner. The Buffets were quite a bit less attractive, and the service was not nearly as attentive. The servers did not seem to be looking for ways to assist the passengers. Once you got the attention of one, they did as requested, but don't bother waiting for one to ask if they can assist you. It generally does not happen. I believe it is a matter of training, or lack of thereof. A problem for those of us that have a mobility problem is the doorways to most of the outside decks. The doors are all manual and when the ship is underway it is most difficult for one in a wheelchair or scooter to open them. There are often passengers that will graciously open them for you, but one is virtually dependent on the good graces of others to get around on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are experienced cruisers and ignored the complainers posting prior to the cruise and we are very happy we did. First thing is you will be dazzled by the decor of this ship...very elegant and modern...each of the atrium stairs steps are ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers and ignored the complainers posting prior to the cruise and we are very happy we did. First thing is you will be dazzled by the decor of this ship...very elegant and modern...each of the atrium stairs steps are covered in stravarski crystals!! Our dining room waiter was excellent and the food in my opinion surpassed Princess in variety and quality. I love the Italian touch on the menu and sincerely hope they don't over Americanize this ship. We did not eat at the buffet too much but at the far end the food was med style and great. Excursions were excellent and we will never forget the 'monkey watch tour' at Panama on a high speed boat flying up the canal and deep into the rain forest with 3 kinds of monkeys hoping on and off the boat...The Garden pool and Dissaronno bar area at the stern on the 14th floor was great. We usually take the early seating for dining and follow up with the show and a few drinks after. The shows on the Divina were divine :) and the theatre is an amazing modern design with no bad seating. We really enjoyed the Michael Jackson show and the Abba show as well the cruise lines own highly skilled singers and dancers. There was a great variety of nationalities from Europe on board to add to the flavour. Will be booking next year on MSC for sure! Rob and Sherry Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
If you had not already heard this ship is outstanding in her beauty and in her style and her service she provides. I have to thank Mr, Rick Sasso for his hand in bring such a BEAUTIFUL ship to North America market. Thank you Sir!!!! The ... Read More
If you had not already heard this ship is outstanding in her beauty and in her style and her service she provides. I have to thank Mr, Rick Sasso for his hand in bring such a BEAUTIFUL ship to North America market. Thank you Sir!!!! The minute you enter this ship you will be amazed on the style and beauty she offers. She sparkles sparkles and yes sparkles some more.. Those Swarovski crystal stairs, simple AMAZING. My jaw dropped when I set eyes on them... The cabins are very well decorated, different colours for different classes, but very well thought out. Bars and lounges were the best I have ever seen on any cruise ships. Very stylish and welcoming to all. Entertainment in all the lounges are top notch, you must see the duelling piano is the GOLDEN LOUNGE .. They are AMAZING, fun fun fun... The theatre productions are The BEST I have ever seen on any cruise line. Take in as many as you can, you will not be disappointed.. The food , well just ok in the main dinning room( we dined in the Vitta Rossa) some hit and miss meals.. The buffet was good, sometimes crowd. Lunch buffet was the best from all others from morning to dinner. Had buffet a lot during this cruise. Make sure you walking the entire buffet you will be surprised at the selection at the back of the ship. Also is quieter back there... I can honestly tell you we had the best service on the Divina we had ever had INCLUNDING sailing on Celebrity!!! Everyone was very pleasant and friendly . Smile and a thank you goes a very long way . One issue we had on the Divina was the smoking..... We had neighbours smoking and doing other ILEGAL things on the balcony and in there cabin. Every time we passed there cabin smoke would be smelt all times of the day and evening.. At times we couldn't even site on our balcony. Issued a complaint to customer service and didn't seem to help at all.. So bad on there smoking policies!!! Have email MSC on this issue, :-) Again MSC has the upper hand in MIAMI from what I can see. MSC your doing a AWSOME job with Divina ,please keep up the good work and don't change too much of your Italian flare.. If you have the pleasure in sailing her you will not be disappointed. If you are then you made it bad for yourself., Enjoy her as she has everything beautiful to offer to you, savour and indulge her she is a beautiful ship.. Would I sail on her, are you kidding, YES!!! I also have told many friends and they have already booked there cruise on her.... MSC DIVINA MSC DIVINA MSC DIVINA!!!!!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are regular cruisers on several lines--Royal Caribbean and Costa. We now have tried MSC Divina and it was a great ship--new and the crew was very organized. Ship a bit large with 4000 passengers on board. No smoking policy most ... Read More
We are regular cruisers on several lines--Royal Caribbean and Costa. We now have tried MSC Divina and it was a great ship--new and the crew was very organized. Ship a bit large with 4000 passengers on board. No smoking policy most everywhere was great. Our cabin a balcony was as nice as on any ship we have been on-maybe bigger, more modern equipment like TV , phones, bathroom etc. The closet could use more space for drawers-or add more drawers and remove pictures in the room. A nice thing about the bathroom was a wrap-around plastic enclosure to contain the shower rather than the annoying curtains on other ship bathrooms. -Noticeable missing were urinals in the mens bathrooms which made for long lines like in the ladies rooms. Also could use more bathrooms near buffet area. -Itinerary was good with a nice selection of ports-Falmouth,Curacao,Aruba,Colon,Cozumel and back. -Lifeboat drill was orderly and done before sailing. -We were very impressed with quick bording and even quicker disenbarkation at Miami--best yet of all lines we have been on. -Food was very Italian--but you could find something for everyone. -Best yet were the shows-best we have seen for a cruise. -Loved the morning wakeup breakfast delivered to our room at no extra charge. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We just completed Christmas week on Divina. Reading prior reviews we were quite apprehensive as we are new to cruise holidays. In our opinion this was "first class" all the way. Embarking and disembarking is seamless and ... Read More
We just completed Christmas week on Divina. Reading prior reviews we were quite apprehensive as we are new to cruise holidays. In our opinion this was "first class" all the way. Embarking and disembarking is seamless and extremely efficient. From the minute you board Divina you will be impressed by the beauty of the ship and it's spotless condition., it is overwhelming. We had a cabin with a balcony, it was spacious, lots of cupboard space and the bathroom more than adequate and an excellent design. Friends had an inside balcony which was very small, for the extra cost would recommend balcony. Cabin steward Mohammed was extremely attentive to detail, there wasn't an occasion we left the room that he wasn't there refreshing towels and cleaning. Contrary to other reviews you have body wash, shampoo and face cloths in your room. As one review mentioned the only downside are smokers who disobey regulations and smoke on the balcony. This did cause some problems with allergies and although a complaint registered I think it is difficult for staff to monitor. Our food service was in Villa Rosa1st sitting. The food choices and quality was excellent. Impressed with our server who always advised on request which dishes he recommended. His choices were always perfect. I was amazed that the salmon, that was always on the menu as an alternate, was cooked to perfection. All meat served was tender and a good selection of lamb, veal, beef etc. always a vegetarian option and if you get a dish you are not happy with they will whisk it away and in seconds bring an alternate. Service excellent. Would advise buying a wine package prior to your cruise and within 7 days of travel from MSC. Those deals are not available on the ship. We purchased 10 bottles for $120, house wine and found the red excellent. The cheapest package on board was well over $200. Bar prices are reasonable. There is a 2 for 1 draft beer special in the afternoon and you can also get a selection of 4 beer for $17. There was a midnight buffet that we didn't go to but heard it was magnificent. Coffee bars, pastries, gelato and sports bar food not included in package but reasonable. Most will find that restaurant food is so good you don't need to pay extra for the other restaurants, they didn't seem well attended. Buffet was good and meets cruise expectations, very busy. This was a Christmas cruise therefore a lot of children. It was rumoured over 1000 but to be expected. For the most part kids were good but some may prefer a cruise with less children. The main pool area was always crowded. We preferred garden pool area which was quieter. There are no towels provided there which is a little inconvenient, you have to go to the other end of the ship for towels. The entertainment in the evening was unbelievable, it was Vegas style. The cirque acrobats amazing and all cast do an incredible job. Anyone you spoke to said it was the best entertainment they had ever had on a cruise. Loved the violin players who were always playing mid ship every evening, wonderful classical music. Tours ship offered were reasonable but it is easy to do your own cruise when off the ship. Our stops were St. Maarten and San Juan plus Stirrup Cay. It was raining so didn't go to Stirrup Cay, those that went didn't think it had much to offer. There were various theme nights for dress in the evenings, I had enquired about this prior to departure and told there were only 2 formal nights but this wasn't the case. It is optional but there was a white night, red, green and white night, red night and only one formal. I do feel that MSC need to enforce dress code. At 1st sitting there were always people in shorts and t-shirts, baseball caps etc. I think if you go on a cruise and wish to dress that way you should go to the buffet. Overall this was an excellent cruise and excellent value for money. PTSD only negative review would be (1) I was very surprised at the lack of hand sanitizes on the ship. With 3400 adults and 1000 children I would have expected hand sanitizes available on all staircase areas, there were none. The only place they were evident was going into a dining area. Several people were sick and I think this could have been avoided. (2) I would suggest towel service in garden pool area (3) stricter smoking regulations for balcony areas and (3) observe dress rule in dining rooms. Would definitely seek out MSC for a future cruise "Sue's cruze review" Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I could have kept this review very short and said it all in one word: exceptional. But there seem to have been so many negative reviews that something needs to be said to straighten things out. The ship itself: well let's face it ... Read More
I could have kept this review very short and said it all in one word: exceptional. But there seem to have been so many negative reviews that something needs to be said to straighten things out. The ship itself: well let's face it it's brand new so it's exceptionally clean and modern. It is well maintained and well planned. The food: After reading so many bad reviews I was ready for anything. I have to ask the question of the people who say that the food is not good; what the hell do you eat at home. There wasn't a single meal that wasn't prepared extremely well. It was cooked to perfection, even the rack of lamb, which is difficult to prepare well in large quantities. The service: OK, so sometimes there's a bit of a language problem, but that is more than made up for by the willingness of the wait staff to correct any minor problem. And hey!, they speak better English that a lot of Americans; we ended up using a taxi after the cruise with a Haitian driver who spoke very little English, and my French was just enough to get us by. The entertainment: absolutely spectacular. The entertainment on this ship by far surpasses anything I have experienced so far. I'm taking a 7 week cruise on Holland America in February and I'm going to have to bite my tongue and try not to criticize the on-board entertainment on the Maasdam. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Heads up Caribbean Cruise carriers, there is a new Master of the Caribbean. We arrived at the terminal and boarded at approximately 1:00 pm and were eating lunch at 1:30 pm. FANTASTIC. Quickest embarkation of all cruises we have ever taken ... Read More
Heads up Caribbean Cruise carriers, there is a new Master of the Caribbean. We arrived at the terminal and boarded at approximately 1:00 pm and were eating lunch at 1:30 pm. FANTASTIC. Quickest embarkation of all cruises we have ever taken including several Carnival and a couple Royal Caribbean. Our cabin 9081 was a balcony with steel lower portion under the rail. A little restrictive but still a balcony. Our cabin was well appointed, quite spacious with a safe, plenty of cupboard storage, and comfortable beds. Our cabin steward, baGuss Prabawinata was exceptional. We asked for an extra large bath towel and a fourth was provided almost immediately without question. With the feature of using your ship pass card to power lighting when you are in the cabin, a red light above your cabin door was energised when you were in the cabin so your attendant knew when to make up your room, provide ice, make towel animals (which he did nightly) all done when you were off enjoying your trip. Dinning - Buffet meals were adequate, however, as with any cruise, crowds made the experience less than fun. Variety was very good. Unless you were a very picky eater you could find sufficient choice and amount. Drink stations plus waiter service within the buffet was good. Drink packages - We were told at boarding we would need to visit customer service Deck 5 upon boarding to activate our card to get our drinks. We were pleasantly surprised to find our selection of drinks was far greater than we read online. Only a few European/ Asian/ UK beers were denoted as premium not included in the package we purchased. All drinks of the day, good quality liquors, bottled water, wine by the glass and cocktails were included. At a cost of $484 per person for 11 days one would need to ensure they consumed there share. Beers at $5 US and Vodka (Absolut or Smirnoff) $5.50 US and drinks of the day (Traveler for example or Strawberry Daiquiri) at $6.50. Also included in the drink package were specialty coffees, and gelato either in a cone or cup. Dinning continued - Lunch served in the dinning rooms was from the menu with full service was preferred to the buffet. Dinner - Our choice was late seating at 8:30 pm. We were seated in the Black Crab lower floor at a table for six. There were only four in our group and due to a mix up at booking, we were seated with another couple who provided endless entertainment to us. Always nice to leave with stories you can laugh about later. Dinner choice was always great, food was well prepared and hot. Our waiter was the best, His name is Ferry Firdaus from Indonesia. I can't find enough good words to say about his service. We elected to tip him separately for such service. He worked non-stop regardless of where he was assigned. Entertainment - The evening show was at 7:00 pm nightly in the Pantheon Theatre. These performers were top drawer and should be considered artists. The content was unique and ingenious. Sound and lighting enhanced the superbly performed routines by these professionals. If you go, do not miss the typewriter routine. The singers performances made the hair stand up on my neck. Exceptional! The other show not to miss is the Michael Jackson show, it was wonderful and ended too soon. The Wonderland show was amazing. The costumes and makeup were exceptional. The animation team about the deck kept the energy level high. Customer Service was efficient and very accommodating. Our cards became demagnetised a few times and replacement was done quickly and always with a smile. Bar Service - We got to know several bar attendants and servers who were quick and knowledgeable. The wait for a drink was never too long. The lounge entertainment included singers, duelling piano players and short performances by the theatre group which provided an excellent distraction before and after dinner and shows. We visited the disco a few times and rocked to the great variety of music provided by a very personable DJ. Pools/ Hot tubs - The main (lively pool) was always busy. The covered pool forward of the main pool provided a quieter area with ping pong and foosball tables. The equipment was available for a one half hour limit from the virtual entertainment area, a bit of walk from the tables. There as an infinity pool at the rear of the ship with hot tubs located on an upper deck. These areas were a bit a walk from the food and often less used. All pools were salt water with warm fresh water in the outdoor shower. Towels were easily available by the pool with your pass card or conveniently located on the dock during off ship excursions. Excursions - Ours were pre-booked online. We chose excursions at every port. All were well organized with no delays and we felt completely safe. Notable was the security provided by ship personnel during debarking and embarking at Colon in Panama. Onboard shopping/ specialty shops - Great buys with great variety of jewelry. The Steakhouse was an extra cost dining experience not to be missed. Bonbininia (not sure of spelling) was a freshly made light donut desert. Awesome. Suggestions for improvement: A late night adult comedy club in one of the smaller venues. An under the ship web cam. Negatives: When we arrived the baggage handlers at the port (probably not MSC personnel) demanded a tip.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
After 60+ cruises on all major cruise lines including several with MSC, we found the Divina to be one of the best overall cruises we have ever been on. I believe the length of the cruise contributes greatly to the quality of all aspects of ... Read More
After 60+ cruises on all major cruise lines including several with MSC, we found the Divina to be one of the best overall cruises we have ever been on. I believe the length of the cruise contributes greatly to the quality of all aspects of the cruise from dining menu to entertainment to attentiveness of the crew. Ports of call will not be discussed as they vary greatly and are not indicative of the quality of the ship.We found the entire cruise experience from embarkation (MSC Club members get priority boarding), to debarkation (very well organized) to be of high quality and above our expectations. Cabin - we had a veranda cabin on deck 10. The cabin was always clean and the room steward, although not often seen) was attentive to our needs and provided almost immediate room cleaning each time we left the cabin. The use of the key card to control the electricity and notify the cabin steward of your presence or absence in the room facilitated the ease of cleaning. Dining - We availed ourselves of all the dining options except buffet dinner and specialty restaurants and found the variety and quality of food to be excellent. We especially enjoyed our late seating in the Villa Rosa dining room. Although many cruisers prefer to eat and run, taking 2 hours to enjoy a 6 course meal was most enjoyable to us. If you want to eat fast why get dressed for dinner, just go to the buffet. Entertainment - We were extremely pleased with the quality, variety and amount of entertainment aboard the Divina. The nightly productions in the theater (scheduled and 7pm for late sitting and 9pm for early sitting) were excellent. Offering 5-6 different lounges with live entertainment each evening made the Divina a happening ship and most passengers were out and about till late in the evening. The new cruise director (Andre Schlemmer) did a good job of organizing events on board without being obtrusive or feeling the need for a plethora of announcements. Food - We found the quality and variety of the food both on the buffet and in the restaurants suitable for cruisers of all ages and nationalities. As MSC in an Italian cruise line pasta was not only on each dining menu, but was offered as a separate course at dinner (made fresh while you wait). Our one irritation in relation to food service was the arrangement and design of the buffet area. TV and Internet - MSC needs to update its news feeds in cabin televisions and provide more variety, but who goes on a cruise to watch TV. The Divina offers intra ship communications via your tablet or iphone at no charge which is great for families or groups. As you can see from this review we were very satisfied with our 11 night cruise on the Divina and we would definitely sail on her again (although not for a shorter duration cruise as 10 days are now our minimum).   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
After reading so many negative reviews, I became worried that the cruise would have issues. The experience far exceeded our expectations and "hit" on all levels. Our 13 year old son quickly connected with 15 other teens and had ... Read More
After reading so many negative reviews, I became worried that the cruise would have issues. The experience far exceeded our expectations and "hit" on all levels. Our 13 year old son quickly connected with 15 other teens and had a blast. He indicated that the teen counselor was great. Much of the negative reviews focused on food. The dining room was available for three meals each day, there were several alternative dining options, and the buffet was open 20 hours each day. A tip: the buffet is has many serving stations, check out the ethic and kids corners for additional selections. The main shows were very good each day. Get there early to get a good seat. We were on the 2 or 3rd row each day. On one day, a 2nd show was added during the afternoon. There were several lounges with live entertainment. Very nice. We opted for a drink voucher option and had two cocktails apiece each night. With that deal the cost was about $5 each Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our Christmas Cruise on the MSC Divina This was another fabulous cruise with MSC. With the MSC Divina being a new ship, and all the pomp and circumstance of her arrival, we were very excited to be cruising on her. Our embarkation was ... Read More
Our Christmas Cruise on the MSC Divina This was another fabulous cruise with MSC. With the MSC Divina being a new ship, and all the pomp and circumstance of her arrival, we were very excited to be cruising on her. Our embarkation was fairly smooth. The terminals kept going down while everyone was trying to get logged on. We had the number one card for embarking and it was only a few minutes before we were sent to the ship. From the moment we entered the Divina we knew she was special, all of the beautiful woodwork and the marble everywhere. Then there was the most beautiful atrium I have ever seen in any ship we have been on, those beautiful stairs shining at you as if they were the sparkle of a young child’s eyes. We decided to go to the buffet since our cabin wasn’t ready yet. There were only a few people in the buffet when we got there and the amount of food that was there was amazing. There was a large salad bar, a fabulous Italian station, every kind of cheese you could ever imagine, and any kind of fruit you would want. I can’t really speak for any other food in the buffet because this was as far as I got, I was to full. Shortly after we finished eating our cabin was ready so we dropped our hand carried luggage off and went to explore the ship. We were gone about an hour and returned to our cabin where half of our luggage was waiting on us. While putting the items away another piece of our luggage came, this meant that only 1 piece was still missing, which finally got to the cabin about 7pm. We met our cabin steward Augustus, whom kept apologizing for the missing luggage. We seemed to be the only ones not worried about it. We knew it would show up. During our stay onboard, Augustus would prove to be one of the main highlights for us every morning. He always met us with a smile and a good Morning or good afternoon and on Christmas day he met us with a “Salam Natale”, Merry Christmas in Indonesian. Augustus went far beyond what any cabin steward has ever done for us. He is such a great person and a great asset to the MSC. At dinner the first night we were in the Black Crab restaurant deck 6 and part of our group was at a different table so one of the people at our table talked to the Maitre’d to have us moved so that we could all sit together. The second night we were in the Black Crab deck 5. We were put in a corner of the dining room and it was the most miserable dining experience I have ever had in my life. There was a family of about 30 people in the same corner we were in and the adults were too busy drinking and having a good time to worry about the children that were fighting and running wild. The poor waiters were working feverishly but they couldn’t in any way satisfy this group of people. They would change tables and then yell at the staff because their food wasn’t in front of them and what they did have was wrong. I really have no idea how the waiters didn’t just lose it completely and stop serving them. The head Matre’d and the asst. Maitre’d spent most of the night there trying to help out. The service we received was minimal because of this but I was not upset over this because I saw how hard the wait staff was working just to try to keep everything straight. Needless to say we requested a change in our table for the rest of the cruise. We saw our waiter from the night before when we went to breakfast and he was a lot different then. He apologized profusely about the service the night before and we kept telling him not to worry we understood what he was going thru. I really don’t know why people feel they must ABUSE the wait staff when they are on a cruise. I personally saw many times that this happened to the wait staff. These people work so hard to make sure you have a great holiday and the entire time they may not have talked to their family in months. The food in the dining room was superb. Did I try new foods on the ship, yes, did I always like it, no, but I can honestly say that the food I did order and ate was always superb. On the 22nd of Dec. we had our Cruise Critic meet and greet. They posted it in the daily program for us which I thought was really kind of neat. Kathleen from the Hostess department came to answer any questions that we had and any concerns. She was very informative with her answers and when we would see her about the ship she would always stop and talk with us. She really made us feel special. There were 3 themed nights onboard, the “Italian night” where they had you wear Red, Green and White, the 60’s, 70’s 80’s night, and the “White Night.” I just wish they would have let us know before we boarded about it so that we could have planned for it. But now that I know this I will plan on it for my next cruise. We like to play trivia on the ships and our trivia time was made extra special by the entertainment team. Steve did a fabulous job and Jose was so funny and made the trivia fun. Our ports of call were St. Marteen, San Juan, and Great Stirrup Cay. Our disembarkation was very smooth and effortless. I never had a wait of more than 4 or 5 minutes except when we were tendered to Great Stirrup Cay. They had tender boats that held 450 people so it took a few minutes to load everyone. The night of the Captains Gala my husband and I were given the honor of being invited to join the Captain for dinner. I have been on many cruises and this was the first time I had dined with the Captain. I have to say that this was the highlight of our cruise. I was seated to the left of the Captain and a friend of ours was seated to the right. After dinner my husband informed me that being seated to the direct left of the Captain was the highest honor you can be given. I am still in awe just writing about it. Our disembarkation in Miami went off without a hitch. It was one of the smoothest disembarkations I have ever been thru. Were there problems on this cruise, sure, the main one was that there were a lot of kids onboard and parents that didn’t want to control their kids but with that I must say that it was only a handful of kids that were acting up all the time. The pool deck also gets very slippery when it gets wet but there are crew up there trying to keep up with it and using a squeegee on the floors constantly, but with 1200 kids onboard it is hard to keep up. One of the problems was that the bowling alley never worked. They told us at first that a part was on order for it and that they would get it running as soon as possible. They got it working one night and the next morning we went to bowl and it wouldn’t turn on. There were many upset people over this. One of the main problems I saw on this ship was the way the cruisers treated the staff. They were rude, crude and nasty to the staff and very abusive. The crew went so far above and beyond the call of duty for everyone on the ship. A smile and a “Hello” did more for this crew then any of us will really know. Will I cruise on MSC again, Oh yeah in a heartbeat. This is one of the finest cruise lines I have ever been on. Keep up the good work MSC!!! Hope to be back on for the November 1st cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
MSC Divina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
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 3.7
Rates 5.0 3.7

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