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232 MSC Cruises MSC Divina Cruise Reviews

The Divina is a beautiful ship that is very impressive a quite large. Having sailed large ships like the Norwegian Epic, we were hoping to surpass our cruise experiences by choosing the MSC Yacht Club. Butler They advertise a butler ... Read More
The Divina is a beautiful ship that is very impressive a quite large. Having sailed large ships like the Norwegian Epic, we were hoping to surpass our cruise experiences by choosing the MSC Yacht Club. Butler They advertise a butler on hand, but that was not exactly the case. He was there if you called but Butlers should be there at your door and with you everywhere on the ship. You don't have a "personal butler", I believe there was 5 for the whole Yacht Club with about 50 rooms. Embarkation/Disembarkation The boarding process was very smooth with no lines and queues. You are the first on and off the ship as promised. Drinks The yacht club does offer complementary drinks, but there is a catch. Even though you have a card that says yacht club you can only get free drinks at yacht club venues. Absolutely obnoxious. You are only limited to a menu of drinks. They offer virgin strawberry daiquiris but they dont allow you to have alcohol in it without charge. You are better off getting a regular cabin not in the yacht club and sign up for the drink package so you can drink at any bar on the ship. Food ABSOLUTELY THE WORST FOOD. I don't know if it is good for mediterranean standards, but the food quality was horrendous. All of the meat was extremely fatty, the chicken was either rubber or too thin to realize what you are eating. Bacon should not be considered meat on this cruise. It is pure fat. There was one night that was extremely fancy and they served wonderful food by a recognized chef. I don't understand why that is not possible every day, at least for the Private Yacht Club Restaurant Le Muse. The placement of the restaurant is also ridiculous. The yacht club pool, bars, lounge, concierge, and rooms are in the very front of the ship on the 15/16th floors. Le Muse is in the very back so you have to go down to the 7th floor and fight your way through the mobs of people looking for their pictures in the the photography center. The buffet. I could complain for days. Lunch is decent with the most selection. Food is still terrible quality, I think the best food there are the french fries, and I am not the typical American that only likes "American food". For dinner I was slightly offended at the buffet. They have a special section for INDIANS ONLY. WTF? They were serving delicious Indian food with curry, nann, etc, and they would not allow any white people in there. I think that racism at its finest. Excursions Excursions were fantastic, except for one. You were the first off the boat again. For Venice I recommend staying overnight a day before your cruise. Bari was not very appealing so we chose to go to Alberobello (great decision). In Katakolon we went to olympia. Take a cab. You get bored very fast. There is one structure standing and the rest is ruins. The tour guide was terrible that talked about everything on her mind even politics. I'm surprised the bus driver didn't eject her out of the door. Izmir was beautiful, we went to the Sheraton at Cesme, very beautiful! Istanbul was also beautiful. I recommend the deluxe excursion even though it is very pricy. Dubrovnik was my favorite. We did the wall excursion and the views were absolutely stunning. Shows Advertised as Broadway quality it fell very far. Same people singing every day, it got old by the second day. Only went twice. Casino. Very small and the whole room is an ashtray. Smell is horrific you need a gas mask. Overall Very disappointed in the quality, especially when paying a premium at the yacht club. Had high hopes and they were all let down. I will not sail MSC again. I do not recommend it. Great itinerary though! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
The ship is beautiful. Our cabin is spacious and airy. The dining and cleaning staff attentive and friendly. There is no tea or coffee at dinner time. The photographers are intrusive everywhere on the ship. I had reserved 4 shore ... Read More
The ship is beautiful. Our cabin is spacious and airy. The dining and cleaning staff attentive and friendly. There is no tea or coffee at dinner time. The photographers are intrusive everywhere on the ship. I had reserved 4 shore excursions over a month before sailing on the MSC web-site. They had no record of them so I missed the tour in Bari and had to re-book the others. Coffee only available in the cafeteria. All the bar staff are aggressive in pushing booze. We don't drink. Coffee only available in one bar and they charge. A welcome aboard sign on the sparkling water is words only. You are charged for the water. Ice cream only in the Coffee Bar. You are charged. In short, if you have cruised before you will be irritated very quickly. The ships layout in the public areas is design by a disoriented wanderer. Reboarding after a port of call requires climbing 3 decks before you get to a deck that the other elevators are accessable. Having grand time. I only choose the cruise because of Venice, Istanbul and Dubrovnik. I should have paid a bit more on gone on Holland America or Royal Carribean. If you like being irritated then this is the line for you, otherwise choose Costa, at least you can have some excitement ;) Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We chose the MSC Devina because it was a new ship and we wanted to experience another cruise line It took one hour to board the ship and a further hour to organise dinning times. We had booked second sitting dinning nine months ago but ... Read More
We chose the MSC Devina because it was a new ship and we wanted to experience another cruise line It took one hour to board the ship and a further hour to organise dinning times. We had booked second sitting dinning nine months ago but this had not been automatically allocated. Not the best start to our holiday. The ship was exceptionally clean and tidy as was our stateroom. We booked a balcony room which was very disappointing. The balcony was metal therefor we were unable to see anything when seated. On previous cruises we have had a glass balcony and feel this restricted view should have been flagged up prior to booking. The dinning rooms felt cramped and the standard of food and food presentation was poor. We spent most of our evenings at the speciality restaurants, which did involve additional payment, but service and food standards where excellant. Staff did not appear to be motivated to please, and some lacked basic customer service training. Ports of call were interesting but a little rushed. The ship was very noisy and children were allowing into every area including the adult only pool area and even the casino! Disembarkation was quick and easy, perhaps the best part of this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Let me start by saying that I was part of a large group and had no choice in selecting this ship or cruise line. The port of calls is what held our interest. At our first day get-together (about 3 hours on board) I soon learned how bad ... Read More
Let me start by saying that I was part of a large group and had no choice in selecting this ship or cruise line. The port of calls is what held our interest. At our first day get-together (about 3 hours on board) I soon learned how bad service was going to be. I decided not to have a drink (that was being passed around as part of our org's welcome party) but a simple glass of water. I was told by the bar tender that I would have to buy a ½ or 1 ltr. Bottle of water. From there on, it goes downhill. At dinner the wait staff will only take your order if you order all courses up front. You better know what dessert you want before you have your appetizer as that is what the waiter 'insists' upon. Now, you finish dinner and ask for coffee with that desert; they don't serve it. You are told to go to another deck and buy a cup at the coffee bar! Meanwhile, coffee and water are free and available at the buffet. Oh, and if you want water at dinner, you have to buy it too. I don't suggest the water package as it is too many liter bottles and the savings is insignificant and you won't use it up if you tried! Overall the food in the dining room was awful. One of their 'always available' items is a steak that is on par with the quality of a steak served at a mall food court. When I didn't eat mine past one bite, instead of the waiter asking if he could get me something else, he just took it away and said nothing. The buffet, where we had breakfast and dinner offered the same items every day. Only one very small area labeled as Ethnic changed their lunch offerings. The pastries were okay but nothing exceptional. And, here too you had to eat what they wanted to serve you. For example, my wife wanted tuna salad one day. Well, it was only offered on a roll as a sandwich. The person serving it would not put plain tuna on a plate. So, we ordered the sandwich with the intention of removing the tuna from the bread except the server kept mashing it into the bread. It wasn't a language barrier, he was doing what he was told and that is to do as instructed by management, not the customer! The Divina is a huge ship that is not designed well in my opinion. If you are at the bow on level 6 and need to go to the stern where the dining rooms are, be prepared to go up and down stairs. The Villa Rossa dining room is also on 6 but there is no straight path to it. At mid ship you must go up to 7 and then back down to 6 ridiculous. If you are a jogger, be prepared to push people out of your way as the 'jogging' deck is packed with deck chairs and people milling all around. When taking elevators, be prepared to run. Why? There are usually 4-5 elevators per bank but the door close button works great so most times when a crowded elevator reaches your floor someone on the elevator immediately hits the door close button and you usually miss it unless it opens right in front of you. If you hate cigarette smoke, this cruise line is not for you. It's everywhere. Instead of having totally separate rooms for smokers, they split the rooms but their venting system cannot keep the smoke out of the non-smoker's side. As for bar snacks, potato chips anyone? We pre-booked our excursion on-line while in Dubrovnik to receive the discounted rate. Well, we were informed the night before that it had been cancelled (not the ships fault as there were warnings that this could happen). However, when we went to the ship excursion desk to book a replacement we were told we would have to pay the on-board price which was about 25% more. Housekeeping was terrible. After a few days we realized that our water glasses left on the desk next to the ice bucket were not being replaced. They were just putting paper covers back over the used glasses. The bath robes they give you to use (which are never changed) are removed from your cabin on the last night. This cruise line is in for a rude awakening when they bring the Divina to Miami this fall. Expect to read about coffee riots in the news (oh, by the way, they don't offer decaf). Management runs the ship for the benefit of the cruise line not the cruisers. They have no idea about service. Now, I am only speaking for the regular side of the ship where we booked the top price cabin. I did not book in the Yacht Club level. However, we met someone who booked the YC as we were embarking. We actually met up with her at disembarking. We asked how her side was and all she could say was that she was headed to Barcelona for another cruise with MSC and she dreaded it. We found being on an international ship intriguing with all of the different languages. Europeans can be very pushy and rude. People will cut in front of you and push you out of the way. Don't worry about being an 'ugly American', just push right back and stand your ground while saying 'esscusa'. Thank goodness we ended our vacation back in Venice at a wonderful bed & breakfast where the owners understood service. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Myself and some girlfriends took a 7-night trip roundtrip from Venice to Venice on the MSC Divina. The ship was beautiful, with many impressive public spaces. The cabins (ours was a small (very small) cabin with a veranda), were nicely ... Read More
Myself and some girlfriends took a 7-night trip roundtrip from Venice to Venice on the MSC Divina. The ship was beautiful, with many impressive public spaces. The cabins (ours was a small (very small) cabin with a veranda), were nicely appointed but exceptionally small. The smallest cabin I have ever been in on a ship. We had room for 2 twin beds, 2 tiny bed stands and one table/desk which was just wide enough to fit a small cushion under. There was also a corner book shelf. It was too small for 2 people comfortably. The verandah was also small. So enough about the ship/rooms. The food was never hot - this is a LARGE ship - 4,200 passengers I think, so I should not have been surprised to find that hot food was just not possible. At best it was warm. The food quality was acceptable, but not great. Most ships offer some food in the late evenings around midnight, which I like since we enjoy nights at the casino. When I went to find something all they had was luke-warm and old-looking pizza and sandwiches. Since I did not want a sandwich I asked just for a scoop of the tuna-fish salad. they said it was only for sandwiches. After an exasperating discussion, I finally told him to give me the tuna-fish salad sandwich, but that I would throw away the bread. Only then did he comply with a sour puss. How stupid is that???? I did throw away the bread, how very wasteful. Then let's talk about the spa.....ooh boy. That staff is in great need of some training on how to deal with people, particularly the management. We had just finished a yoga class (which we paid for by the way) and wanted to use the spa restroom. We were told by the spa manager (male), that the restrooms were only for use by clients having a massage. We asked him to make "an exception" and he was firm - it was only for massage clients - did you ever hear of such a thing?? Further, during a subsequent facial, the woman giving the facial also gave me a neck/back massage (which I did not ask for and would have preferred a facial/scalp massage) which really hurt. I told her she was hurting me, and she just continued. I'm not sure she understood English at all. Everywhere on the ship was pretty crowded, and disembarking from the ship at each port of call was no exception. Our average time waiting on the stairwells to exit the ship was 30-45 minutes - in a hot, crowded, uncomfortable standing scenario - like sardines. Awful! Also, on the main floor of attractions, think it was the 6th floor, you could not walk from one end of the ship to the other to go from place to place. You had to go to the floor above or below it to get to the other end of the ship, where the other attractions were. What poor planning. All in all, the ship was too large, too many people, and a poorly trained staff which acted often like they were bored with the passengers and hated their jobs. I would NEVER recommend this ship nor this cruise line (it was our first time on a really large ship and on an MSC ship). Stick to the American liners if you want no unpleasant surprises - we like Holland America the best. They know how to take care of their customers. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We went on this cruise with great expectations. Wow a trip to the Mediterranean on the Divina! New ship ... Sophia Loren launched it. What could go wrong. Notes for the future: do not cruise in the summer holidays. Rude kids. Extra rude ... Read More
We went on this cruise with great expectations. Wow a trip to the Mediterranean on the Divina! New ship ... Sophia Loren launched it. What could go wrong. Notes for the future: do not cruise in the summer holidays. Rude kids. Extra rude parents. Kids put their hands all over the food. It is a great ship in size. Perhaps too big. 3,000+ pax. Lifts were often full. Buffet on 14th deck was often full, no matter where you tried to sit. Few speak English ... mainly Italians. Restaurants better. Service good especially when you try to speak Bahasa. But for us Aussies there were a few Aussies to talk to on our restaurant table ... they were a good mob. Excursions were expensive. Some were good. Others were terrible. Bari we did our own thing. Katakolon we did an ok tour of Olympus. Izmir we did a tour to Efasis and Mary's house and an ambush at an artisan centre; but interesting. Istanbul and another ambush at a carpet sales place (be prepared to spend a lot of money) but the lunch and Bosporos Cruise were good. Then came the problem day ... The second last day of the voyage the ship birthed in Dubrovnik. We were booked on tour DUB09  Dubrovnik and its old city walls. This was supposed to be a 3 tour. The tour went for 2 hours. We registered well before the prescribed time. We were then told to follow the excursion customer service officer. However, she was lost in the crowd trying to exit the ship. My wife and I were separated and she was told to exit from another exit on the ship while I was stuck in a crowd which was not moving. This, in itself, was quite a frightening experience because I could see the Occupational Health and Safety Risk had anything untoward happened. After 40 minutes, I exited the ship and was told where the bus was. As I was moving to where the bus was supposedly waiting, my wife found me and told me the bus had departed. My wife explained to me that she advised the Customer Service Officer (CSO) that I must have been held up but the CSO said the coach has to go now! A frantic discussion occurred with several CSOs. Finally, we were told that we should catch the general shuttle bus into the Pila Gate where someone (no name given) would be waiting for us and would direct us to our excursion group. We caught the shuttle to the Pila Gate. When we arrived at the Pila Gate, there was no CSO waiting anywhere. Then we started searching for our group both outside the gate and inside the walls. It took about 20 minutes of searching both sides of the Pila Gate before we found the tour. My estimate is that we lost 40 minutes of the tour through this and we were very lucky to find it. The MSC Divina CSO assigned to this tour refused to make eye contact with my wife or me after we joined the tour. Once the tour had been completed and we returned to the ship, I went to the Excursions Desk. I spoke to a senior CSO and she was a very superior, arrogant and quite rude. Initially she was not very interested in hearing my complaint. After she finally relented to hear my issue, she blamed me for not getting to the tour coach on time, even though I explained that getting off the ship was impossible and a risk. This CSO then said that she was supposed to be our contact at the Pila Gate. She was not at the Gate. No one from the MSC Divina was at the Gate. She, begrudgingly, finally took down the details of my complaint, advised me that she would have to contact MSC head office and promised me that she would contact me before the end of the cruise. I am still waiting. I have written to CS in Australia requesting a refund for the tour but it has been pushed on to headquarters so I do not expect any result.My wife's luggage was mislaid after disembarking at Venice; before coach transfer to Genoa to embark on MSC Splendida cruise. We approached two Divina CSO's to advise them that the baggage was missing and that we would not board the coach until the luggage was found. They did not know that our friends had advised the coach driver that they would not allow the coach to leave until we were on board. The CSO's attitudes were did you put the luggage outside our cabin on time? [We had at midnight!]; did you put the blue tag on? [I did]; did you check the blue labeled tagged bags again? [we did many times.] The CSOs walked away from us providing no further help! I then asked one of the ship's officers for help. He asked the same questions and suggested that we should board the coach. We refused! He then, at least tried to find out where the luggage was. We were then looking at green coloured labels when we noticed a bag which looked like hers. The blue tag on our bag had been ripped off. The white tag for our next cruise for the Western Mediterranean on the MSC Splendida was still on the bag. This is really not a good look for MSC. Excursion customer service is really poor. Help with our lost luggage was non-existent.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
The ship is treated as a glorified day-care facility by the Italian holiday makers who are rude, pushy, don't adhere to the rules and are generally obnoxious. This is compounded by the ships staff who do not want to, or are not ... Read More
The ship is treated as a glorified day-care facility by the Italian holiday makers who are rude, pushy, don't adhere to the rules and are generally obnoxious. This is compounded by the ships staff who do not want to, or are not allowed to, pull people up on their bad behavior. Unaccompanied children(5yrs - 14yrs) running in the corridors, running up and down stairs, splashing in the pools and doing other stuff that kids do...they're kids who are trapped on a boat without enough activity to interest them. Unaccompanied teenagers 14yrs - 17yrs hanging out in the Nightclubs and bars till closing time(3am) with their parents drink card...but not their parents. When I asked if there was any bar on board that had a "No Children" policy I was laughed at by the reception staff(the worst service I have ever received was from the Reception Staff on this cruise). This is a MASSIVE ship with not enough activities organized for the number of passengers on the ship, not enough poolside spots and no-one checking that people adhere to the rules...therefore disadvantaging the rest of the passengers. Excursions were generally poorly organized with not enough shade, no water provisions and not enough transport forcing passengers to stand in the sun for the better part of an hour waiting for a bus...all the while getting pushed and shoved by other passengers. How fights didn't break out, I don't know?! We booked a family suit with balcony but could not use our balcony for much of the cruise because other passengers were smoking on their balcony...despite the safety regulations and the ships rules about no-smoking in cabins and on balconies. When we rang and complained(repeatedly) very little was done for 3 days...then we asked for the manager, who sent the cabin boy rather than actually doing anything about it themselves. Bathers in the Buffet...saggy old boobs in the salad and armpits over the food but no staff to correct the bad behavior. Our waiters and cabin staff were outstanding and the cabins were excellent. We made the most of our drinks package to ensure we got the most value for our money from this disastrous cruise. We refused to pay the service charge of 7-Euro per-person per day because of the terrible service we received from security and reception staff...we chose to tip the staff that were good to us, personally. I hope others can benefit from our poor experience with MSC Divina and this is the reason for my extensive review.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We normally cruise with Thomson and I know that is thought to be the budget end of the cruise industry. This time we chose MSC and the new ship Divina, so 4 of us (2 couples) eagerly boarded the ship in Venice. Embarcation was long but ... Read More
We normally cruise with Thomson and I know that is thought to be the budget end of the cruise industry. This time we chose MSC and the new ship Divina, so 4 of us (2 couples) eagerly boarded the ship in Venice. Embarcation was long but reasonably well organised. We were very impressed by our Balcony cabin. Also the whole ship was more glamorous that we were used too so we were very happy. That is where it ended, the Ports were very remote..we never arrived at them on time or left them on time. No information given when arriving at the ports except for MSC excurtions. Never had much time to do anything. Then came the mealtime experience. Wow I have never seen so many people at one time trying to clamber for food. Coffee, food and utencills were very often missing in action. Once at breakfast I could find no coffee at any of 3 stations so asked at the bar, I was very rudely told "go to the machines" while he served only the chosen few with fresh coffee..he could not have liked my face. I complained to one of the Manager types and to his credit he got us coffee himself. I have never come across such rude,greedy and arrogant people in any of the cruised I have previously gone on. Food quality I felt was very poor, even in the supposedly fine dining room, one night we had deep fried pork chop and chips!!!. Stage shows were good,but everywhere on the ship we went there was constant noise, loud music from every lounge, loud people as well so the combination did not make for relaxation. I am glad we tried another cruise line it has made us realise that the so called budget end has a lot going for it especially the food, the previous cruises had us looking forward to our evening dining experience, I am afraid this one had us dreading it. Last comment, we resented being told what to fill in on the questionnaire. Please put excellent and not just good was the cry of the day. Sorry but I prefer to be honest. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
In a few quick words.....if you expect any level of customer service on a cruise, DO NOT waist your money on MSC. Cruised on November 30th... I traveled with a large group on what was suppose to be an awesome cruise. When I heard it was ... Read More
In a few quick words.....if you expect any level of customer service on a cruise, DO NOT waist your money on MSC. Cruised on November 30th... I traveled with a large group on what was suppose to be an awesome cruise. When I heard it was MSC, I did some research and by all accounts, everything looked awesome. Now I am not a first time cruiser, having sailed on both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity a number of times. On each of those cruises, the level of service that you receive is second to none. Well, I am getting ahead of myself so lets go slower. Embarkation was short and simple with few lines at all. Once on the ship I saw that the staff was very well dressed and was excited to move forward. I liked the fact that my cabin was already available at 3:30pm and made my way there. The ship is kind of a strange design with silly turns and all. They seemed to have wasted a lot of valuable room space that could have been great balconies. The room was standard and my cabin steward saw us and introduced himself. During the cruise he kept everything up to my liking. Dinner that night (we asked for late seating but got stuck on early) was interesting. The wait staff seemed far to understaffed to wait on us fully. We had to ask for water to be refilled all the time and virtually every night in the dinning room. Special requests were not really possible as the staff spoke very little English. One of my cruise mates asked for a chocolate chip cooked for dessert one night and the wait person offered him drizzled chocolate on a plate..he never got the cookie! The food wasn't bad but on the surf and turn night, the "filet" was either pot roast or prim rib (which was an entree a few nights earlier) and it was covered in gravy. While food came out about the same time for all of our party, the service was slow. During lunch in the dining room, service was even slower! Bar service in the dinning room was virtually non-existent so we ended up getting our drinks before dinner and bringing them in with us. While at the table, we would get up and go elsewhere to get them. The buffet on the 14th deck had its own challenges. While there was a variety of foods, it was the same thing every day. During transitions from different dinning times, i.e. breakfast, lunch or dinner, all of the food would be removed for up to a half hour. So during those times, if you came up, there would be no food...anywhere!!! They served pizza till midnight and then after that, only one station of cold bread with egg salad, tuna salad for chicken salad. There were free juices but after lunch, they machines were changed to just water or tea. The staff did keep the area clean pretty well but there was the general language barrier if you needed something. Specialty dinning. Two restaurants, one steak place and one Italian place. Not what you would expect from a multi-million dollar cruise ship. In the steak house you sat at metal tables with plastic chairs. There was zero ambiance...just cold surfaces. Then the food was all ala-cart. The Italian restaurant seemed just a little bit nicer but while there was an entrance in the hallway, you were forced to walk through the back door of the steak restaurant to get into it. We didn't eat at either. Surprisingly we found that there were very few bars and those were understaffed. We would wait 20-25 minutes for waitstaff and then they were rude. The bar staff themselves seemed completely uninterested in us as guests. They also spoke very little English so special requests were out of the question. Also the drink consistency was laughable. Each day the ship had a "drink of the day" similar to what all the other cruise lines have, however, the drink was never the same. I and two friends got on on one day at various bars and none of them looked or tasted alike. Alcohol is bread and butter for cruise ships. As such, they "push" drinks on you all them time. On MSC, that never happened. The servers never asked you if you wanted anything. They would walk around with empty trays and wait for you to approach them, and when you did ask for a drink, they seemed uninterested in helping you. We also found that throughout the ship, there were several times when bars ran out of certain types of liquor. Entertainment. The main shows were OK but other than the Michael Jackson and ABBA show, it was the same cast doing the same thing with a different background. There were very few bands on board, mostly one or two people singing tunes and those were pretty poor. Disembarking...we took our own luggage off and didn't have any issues. In summary: This was the third cruise ever for MSC out of the United States. I've never been on a European cruise but I cannot imagine that they don't want service. Did anyone at MSC actually do any research on what an American cruiser would want? If MSC wants to survive in the American market, they have a LOT of work to do Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My wife and I recently sailed on a 3-night voyage on the MSC Divina, and this special introductory cruise sailed from Miami to Port Canaveral, where we remained onboard due to the inclement weather, and then headed to Great Stirrup Cay ... Read More
My wife and I recently sailed on a 3-night voyage on the MSC Divina, and this special introductory cruise sailed from Miami to Port Canaveral, where we remained onboard due to the inclement weather, and then headed to Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian’s private beach island), where the stop had to be canceled due to high winds and rough seas. As you may have seen or heard if you keep tabs on the happenings in the cruise industry, there was a tremendous amount of fanfare, and an extensive marketing effort by MSC, well in advance of the arrival of the Divina in the United States. Following a lengthy Trans-Atlantic voyage the ship, which is being heralded by MSC as “a Diva like no other,” sailed into Miami early on the morning of November 19th. A video of the ship’s arrival, where it was accompanied by a flotilla of Fiats that had actually been turned into zippy little motor boats, can be seen on MSC’s web site. MSC really pulled out all of the stops for this celebratory voyage. There was a great seven-piece band from Miami playing on the pool deck on the day of departure, and prior to heading to sea we were treated to a fantastic fireworks show. Sticking to the Diva theme which has been established for the Divina, MSC also went to the expense of hiring about half a dozen models for the occasion. These lovely young ladies were dressed in slinky red dresses, high heels and beautiful hats, and they spent their time strolling around the ship and posing for pictures with the obviously overjoyed and excited guests. All of these pre-cruise activities, combined with the open bar and the wait staff freely distributing cocktails, created quite a level of excitement and anticipation as our beautiful ship headed out to sea. Because the ship had been sailing from Europe for almost three weeks prior to our voyage the mix of passengers on our short cruise was also very different from what it will be in the future. Many of the passengers who had sailed on the Trans-Atlantic voyage remained onboard for the additional three days when we were sailing, thus there were a large number of guests from Australia, Turkey and China in addition to many other travel agents and other invited guests, media folk and industry bigwigs. Of course, when the Divina starts to sail from Miami on a regular basis, the vast majority of the passengers will probably be Americans. In addition, since children age 11 and under sail for free with MSC, and kids between the ages of 12 and 17 sail for reduced rates, there will be plenty of families sailing with their children. The Divina, as advertised, is an absolutely beautiful ship with unique and truly stunning décor in virtually every public area. There is a dominating black and silver color scheme in many areas, and, as on many other MSC ships, there is an extensive use of chrome and mirrors throughout the ship. As you navigate the ship and closely examine the décor, lighting, furnishings and fabrics you cannot help but be impressed by the skills and creativity of the design team that created this vessel. The numerous clubs and lounges that offer all types of live entertainment are beautiful and the main theatre is absolutely stunning with excellent sight lines from the orchestra or the balcony. The seats are offset to provide for better viewing although it would have been nice if the theatre had been designed with enough legroom to actually cross your legs. The public decks include angular or double entrances into many of the venues which are located in the center or on the outer edge of the ship. The ship is quite long, and with walkways often weaving back and forth I found that getting a handle on the layout was more difficult than usual. In addition, many of the balcony staterooms either extend out or are set back from the side of the ship which results in hallways which include blind 90 degree right and left turns as opposed to the typically straight hallways from bow to stern. The ship’s three-story atrium is extremely attractive with stunning Swarovski crystal embedded staircases and a crystal chandelier being the primary decorative features. Deck 5 is the lowest level of the atrium and it includes the guest services reception area, a small bar, an extremely small Internet center and the lower level of the Black Crab restaurant in the rear of the ship. The second level of the atrium (Deck 6) has another bar, the shore excursion desk, the future sales center and the upper level of the Black Crab. As you head towards the front of the ship you will find numerous boutiques, the Piazza del Doge (for drinks and small group musical entertainment), a cigar bar, more shops, the casino and the main entrance to the Pantheon Theatre. The third level of the atrium (Deck 7) includes more bars and shops, a small jazz club, a coffee bar, the art gallery, the dueling piano bar, and the balcony of the Pantheon Theatre. Heading towards the rear of the ship on that deck you will find the Eately Restaurant (a creation of celebrity chef Mario Batali), and a small specialty food store where you can purchase imported pasta, vinegars, olive oils or some truly delicious biscotti. This deck also includes the photo gallery and the beautiful Black & White Lounge which is a lovely spacious club with a large dance floor that is used for live music and special activities. The main, two-level dining room is named the Black Crab and there is another dining room called Villa Rossa which is located at the rear of the ship. The Black Crab has unusually low ceilings and the tables are spaced too close together which makes the room quite noisy when it is filled to capacity. The Villa Rossa, on the other hand, has a more spacious feel and offers a broad panoramic view of the ocean. The main pool deck has tables and chairs along the outer edges of the ship and loungers closer to the multi-level area where the pool and hot tubs are located. There is a band stand for live music and scheduled activities, plus a movie screen where MSC’s promotional videos were shown during the daytime and where regular movies are shown in the evening. Further forward there is a second pool and seating area with a retractable roof. On many ships this area is a solarium where one can escape from the noise and activity at the main pool, but on this ship there was music blasting there as well. There are two bars on the pool deck as well as the gelato/sorbet counter and a couple of free-standing stations where sodas and alcoholic beverages are available should you wish to procure them yourself. This is sometimes advisable since while there are plenty of cocktail waitresses on the pool deck we found that you can wait quite a long time for them to bring you a drink. The buffet, which consists of individual stations that offer a wide variety of hot and cold foods, is located on the pool deck and it extends for almost half of the length of the entire ship. The food and seating areas closest to the pool tend to be extremely crowded, and there can be quite a traffic jam where the people waiting at a counter to be served interfere with those guests who are trying to walk through the area towards the pool or the rear of the ship. The buffet area towards the rear of the ship is much quieter and well worth the extra steps that it takes to get there. We also discovered that you will often find completely different types of food in the rear section of the buffet than in the area closest to the pool. In addition, there can be different foods on one side of the ship compared to the other side. One would be well-advised, therefore, to take a long slow walk around the entire buffet to become familiar with the layout and the location of the many food stations in advance of actually having a meal. Heading forward from the pools you will enter the absolutely stunning Aurea Spa and the fitness center. This beautifully designed area includes an expansive health bar with a lovely seating area for relaxing before or after your workout or your massage. They offer an amazing variety of presumably remedial herbal beverages, there are individual rooms for all types of spa, hair, and facial treatments, and there is a terrific exercise area with lots of weights and equipment and a wonderful 270 degree view of the sea. The Divina does have a few other rather unique areas on the highest decks of the ship. Towards the rear of Deck 15, for example you will find an infinity pool and a nice service bar, plus the various venues that comprise the children’s center. Directly above there is a peaceful solarium with a couple of hot tubs and additional lounge seating. That deck also includes the sports area, the 4D cinema, the F1 racing simulator, and the Galaxy night club. The layout of the entire ship is a bit more complicated than most, so studying the deck plan and the relationship between particular elevators and specific public areas is definitely recommended prior to sailing on the Divina. We stayed in a balcony cabin which was about average in size, or perhaps a bit smaller than similar accommodations on other large ships. The décor was very clean and pleasant with nice wood furniture, attractive fabrics, a large sofa, a refrigerated mini-bar, a small flat-screen television, and a large floor-to-ceiling mirror across from the bed which made the cabin appear to be much larger than it actually was. One European feature of the cabin is a small box on the wall near the door where you insert your room key when you enter your cabin. Doing this enables you to use the lighting in the cabin, and it also activates a small light in the hallway above your cabin door. This is an excellent idea since the light lets your cabin steward know when you are in your cabin and when you are out so that he can perform his housekeeping duties while respecting your privacy. We had to figure this out on our own, however, since our cabin steward never explained anything about any of the features of the cabin when we met him later in the afternoon. The amount of closet space was quite limited and the number of drawers in the closet and in the tiny nightstands was far less than one would like, or need, especially if you were sailing on a 7-night or longer cruise. The bathroom included a very narrow counter with a sink plus there are three hanging shelves and one lower cabinet for your belongings. The shower was unique in that it is made of two rotating Plexiglas doors which remain open or closed when a magnet on the top of each doors latches on to another magnet on the ceiling. Opening and swinging back the right-hand door when you are not in the shower provides you with more space to move around and this is also beneficial because the toilet is installed next to the shower door. The cabin steward did not tell us about this either. Unfortunately, the amenities that were provided in the bathroom did not even come up to the level of a basic Best Western. There are dispensers of body wash and shampoo on the wall inside the shower but MSC does not even provide their guests with a wash cloth. There was a liquid soap dispenser next to the sink which did not work properly even after we asked our cabin steward to have it repaired, and this problem affected many other passengers that we spoke to during our cruise. With the soap dispenser being completely useless we then discovered that there are no bars of soap on the ship even though there is a soap dish on the wall next to the counter. As a result, we had to reach into the shower and pump some body wash onto our hands any time that we wanted to wash them. Lacking a wash cloth made cleaning ourselves in the shower, or in my case shaving, a far more time consuming and inconvenient procedure than it should have been. In addition, MSC did not even provide a nice welcoming tray of body lotion or hair conditioner which one will find in any basic hotel room. One would think that if they can afford to let hundreds of children sail for free that they could afford wash cloths and bars of soap and little bottles of conditioner and hand lotion for their guests, and the omission of these items was very disappointing. The evening turndown service was also lacking in that there were no chocolates or other treats placed on our pillows. The most expensive accommodations on the Divina are found in the exclusive MSC Yacht Club which is a private enclave located on Deck 15 and 16 at the very front of the ship. This “ship within a ship” concept enables guests to enjoy complimentary wine, drinks and beverages, a private pool, hot tubs and sun deck, a special room service menu, a complimentary mini-bar, butler service, their own private restaurant and a private elevator to transport them to the spa. You do receive complimentary champagne and canapés upon your arrival and special edible goodies during the day on the sun deck. As a really nice extra benefit, you and your luggage are personally transported from a special greeting area outside of the cruise terminal directly to your suite by a butler when you arrive for your cruise. The grand entrance to the Yacht Club features a circular concierge area and a stunning Swarovski crystal staircase which leads to the second level of accommodations. The suites themselves, however, were only a bit larger than the standard balcony cabin where we were staying. There was more closet space and a fancier bathroom but the balcony was no larger than ours. My overall opinion of these accommodations is that it is quite a stretch to refer to them as suites. A few unusual aspects of this “exclusive sanctuary at sea” left us quite mystified and less than impressed. On the private sun deck, for example, all of the lounge chairs are out in the sun and the only shade that is provided is near the bar where there are tables and chairs under a large awning. Since this ship will be sailing in the Caribbean year-round one would think that guests would be provided with an area where they could stretch out on a lounger without being in the direct sun, but apparently this thought did not occur to the designers of this space. The other truly inconvenient feature is that the Yacht Club’s private restaurant, The Muse, is located all the way on the other end of the ship as opposed to being in close proximity to the suites. The restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, wraps around the rear of the ship. However, far from being an elegant, private venue, the floor-to-ceiling windows actually look out on to a public sun deck, where people of many shapes and sizes wearing bathing attire can be viewed while you are eating. Inconsistent is the first word that comes to mind when I think about the many different meals that I had while on the Divina. The ship’s galley definitely has its strengths (most of the Italian dishes and their excellent pizza and gelato), but while some of the dishes can be excellent, other preparations and the way that they are plated leave a lot to be desired. Our culinary experience began the day that we boarded when we discovered that lunch was being served in the Black Crab restaurant. Rather than head for the buffet like the vast majority of arriving passengers, we headed for the dining room and enjoyed an absolutely wonderful meal. The appetizers were excellent, I had a fantastic filet mignon as an entrée, and we devoured a lovely selection of Italian desserts that included panna cotta, a small cannoli, and a delicious tiramisu. The breads were excellent, the maitre d’ was charming, and the service was precise and professional. After the disappointing dining experiences that I had experienced on my only other MSC cruise (Orchestra – March 2009) I was absolutely blown away by this meal. Skeptic that I am, I asked the maitre d’ if this was a typical daily lunch menu on the ship or whether it had been specially prepared for our 3-night voyage. Based upon his assurances that it was similar to the regular lunch menus, I left the table looking forward with great anticipation to my future dining adventures, for if MSC had really gotten their culinary act together, so to speak, then we really might be in for something special over the next three days. However, when I was discussing my superb lunch later that afternoon with some Australian passengers who had been sailing on the Divina for the past three weeks, they informed me that they hadn’t seen any filet mignon during their entire cruise and in general they were pretty unimpressed with the food that they had been served. One couple had even upgraded to the Yacht Club mid-voyage and they did not have anything complimentary to say about their dining experience in the private restaurant. Sadly to say, my lunchtime euphoria lasted only until dinner that evening. The food was no better than mediocre to good, dishes arrived lukewarm, and the service was something that had to be endured rather than enjoyed. Dinner the first two nights was fair to good, but on the final evening of our cruise, the meal, which included a superb baked Alaska for dessert following the traditional parade, was excellent from start to finish. Besides our evening meal in the dining room we had breakfast and lunch in the buffet. The breakfast selections were about the same as on most cruise ships but many cooked items were set out in serving trays where they cooled off far too quickly. Cold pancakes, rock-hard French toast, and horrid scrambled eggs may be suitable to some people, but a cold breakfast of fresh fruits, cheeses, breads and cereals would be a much more reliable and satisfying way to start the day. On a positive note, however, MSC’s coffee, which is available at well-positioned, recessed service areas, was far better than that which I have had on many other cruise lines. Lunch provided many more hot and cold choices including MSC’s excellent pizza which was prepared and served at two large stations in the buffet. There are usually four to six different types of pizza being made at any one time, but they cool off very quickly after they are sliced and then placed onto serving platters under heat lamps. One would be advised, therefore, to hang out at the counter and grab a slice or two immediately after a pie comes out of the oven when it is nice and hot and really, really good. Pizza was being made late into the evening and many people were enjoying it as a midnight snack on every evening of our cruise. MSC does offer thirteen varieties of pizza and you can order a whole pie and have it delivered to your cabin or enjoy it for lunch on the pool deck for a nominal extra cost. Through the years, difficulties communicating with the onboard staff, poor service and problematical attitudes at the guest services and shore excursions desks have been some common criticisms of the cruise line. MSC continues to crank out new ships at an amazing pace, but staffing each of them with thousands of experienced people, and training them to provide passengers with the level of service that is available on other major cruise lines, has been one of MSC’s continual challenges. What may be acceptable in Europe simply is not going to cut it when the vast majority of passengers are Americans who, as we know, want what they want when they want it and generally do not easily suffer fools. The Divina is going to be sailing from Miami year-round, so to accommodate the needs of the North American cruise passenger MSC has eliminated the constant migraine-inducing barrage of announcements made in five or six languages. They brought an English-speaking cruise director onboard in Miami for our voyage and all of the announcements, except for the one made during the mandatory lifeboat drill, were in English. To accommodate their foreign-speaking guests MSC has gone to the trouble and expense of printing their daily program in six different languages and they should be commended for taking this step. Where the vast majority of the dining room, housekeeping and deck staff are concerned, it appears that MSC has basically airlifted a good percentage of the population of Bali, Indonesia to work on the Divina. These people are very sweet and sincere and they work extremely hard, but despite MSC’s claims to the contrary the vast majority of them still have a very limited ability to communicate in English. When it comes to providing crisp, choreographed, professional service in a dining room many of them are obviously inexperienced and they were clearly not provided with adequate training after being hired to work on the Divina. The Divina’s return to this country has, of course, been in the planning stages for a very long time. This ship has been sailing for almost a year and a half, and that should have been more than enough time to drill the most basic tenets of dining room service into the heads of even the most inexperienced waiters and busboys, even if they were honing their skills in the Mediterranean. One would have thought, therefore, that by the time that the Divina arrived in Miami that everything related to passenger communications and service would have been hitting on all eight cylinders, especially for this inaugural cruise where MSC would be trying to impress all of the travel agents whom they will be relying upon to fill the ship every week. In the main dining room, however, we experienced and observed service that can only be described as uncoordinated, erratic, and unprofessional. Even on the first evening of the cruise, when one’s waiter traditionally introduces himself to the guests at the table and tells them what a pleasure it will be to serve them during their cruise, our waiter simply walked over and asked us if we were ready to order after we had been sitting there for at least ten minutes. This oversight can be forgiven, however, since it turned out that our waiter had been promoted from his position as a busboy only one day earlier, and thus he was not familiar with the standard operating procedures of his new position. Amazingly, one of the most basic rules of serving food, where a dish is served by reaching over a guests’ right shoulder, had not been ingrained into the heads of the staff. As a result almost every dish, from bowls of hot soup to entrees, was served by reaching across another person to serve the person seated next to him. In addition, the waiter or his assistant would often arrive with the entrees and then ask, for example, “Who gets the veal?” This demonstrates nothing but laziness on the part of the order taker and is the type of service that one might expect when having a meal at a roadside diner in New Jersey. Ordering a pre-dinner cocktail was yet another disaster, as it took a full twenty minutes for the cocktail waitress to appear at our table to take my order after I had asked my waiter to send her over, and it then took another twenty minutes until the cocktail actually appeared long after I had already eaten my first course. Perhaps I am being overly critical here, but Americans can be an impatient and often demanding lot. If this ship, therefore, is going to effectively compete with Carnival, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean, for example, their service and food quality had better be at least as good, if not better, than that which these other cruise lines currently provide. Speaking of guest relations, MSC has also gone to the trouble of producing some wonderful promotional videos where they show the ship’s officers strolling the decks, stopping to straighten the towel of a bikini-clad sun worshiper, and pausing to greet couples, families and their children as if they were long lost relatives. What I saw was quite different, however, as I constantly observed officers walking the decks talking on their walkie-talkies or to one another, and rushing past the passengers as if they didn’t exist at all. One aspect of our cruise where MSC really did an outstanding job was by providing live entertainment that truly offers something for everyone. The smaller lounges offer performances by solo artists, duos, and larger bands, and the dueling pianos bar was an extremely popular gathering spot in the evenings. There was a steady stream of recorded and live music on the main pool deck which made it an extremely noisy place throughout our cruise. The best live band, which is based in Miami, was only brought onboard for this introductory cruise as was the Abba tribute band which performed once in the main theatre. We saw all of the production shows in the main theatre and found them to be extremely entertaining and enjoyable. The shows are, however, quite different from the standard singing and dancing, often Broadway-based song and dance productions that are found on most major cruise lines. For example, the first show began with the ships’ troupe singing and dancing while dressed as pirates (which was the advertised theme), then all of a sudden there were four male acrobats tumbling across the stage. Their appearance was then followed by four female gymnasts contorting themselves in a way that no human body should be able or allowed to do. Confused and not knowing what to focus on at that point we soon realized that the show really had no plot at all and that we should not bother searching for one. The next show, entitled the Witches of Paris, began with the lead female singer treating us to a truly superb number. This was a much better show than the previous one, and this young lady and the lead male singer are truly exceptional talents. Every number that they performed by themselves, or as a duet, was as good an exhibition of professional quality singing as we have heard on any cruise ship. The final show was a Michael Jackson tribute and this was undoubtedly one of the best shows that we have ever seen on any cruise ship. The male lead reenacted every move and dance step that Michael Jackson ever did and then some, and the background dancers, great costumes, interaction with the audience and the superb music made the show one that richly deserved the standing ovation that it received. MSC appears to be focusing more on visual effects, acrobatic and gymnastic performances due to the higher than average number of foreign-speaking passengers. Their stage productions are thus quite different from what is presented on most other cruise lines, but if you take it all in and enjoy the talents of the various performers that take the stage you will definitely have an enjoyable time. Looking back at our 3-day experience on the Divina, one thing that we can say for sure is that we really did have a good time. We loved the ship, thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment, and we met a lot of great people. While we were obviously less than pleased with a number of aspects of our onboard experience, I believe that the Divina has the potential to become a great cruising experience and an excellent vacation value.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was about my 10th cruise, first time on msc. Positives, beautiful ship, nice amenities, personally I enjoyed the food. Entertainment was ok to good. Shows were good in the theatre. A few of the musical entertainers were good and had ... Read More
This was about my 10th cruise, first time on msc. Positives, beautiful ship, nice amenities, personally I enjoyed the food. Entertainment was ok to good. Shows were good in the theatre. A few of the musical entertainers were good and had something for most musical tastes. Crew generally nice and helpful. Our cabin steward was fantastic. By far the nicest most modern ship I have been on, which makes the following observations so frustrating. Negatives 1. Embarkation, luggage did not arrive in our or most staterooms until after dinner, even for some who were on the ship first. 2. Debarkation, what a disaster. Haven't seen anything like it in 25 years. Over an hour plus line and a pissing match between US customs and msc. Both blamed each other. Ultimately, since it hasn't been this way on my other recent cruises, it must be an msc issue. 3. TV selection in the rooms and on the ship was terrible. Hey msc, Americans like their NFL football! They finally got the message and had the NFL games on TV on Thanksgiving day. Lots of upset passengers. Kids need to have nickelodeon and/or Disney channel 4. On all my recent cruises I had cell service or at least the ability to pay for it, not on this MSC. My AT&T did not work. 5. Bowling alley was broken all week and they could never get their story straight when it would be up. Three different stories by three different people. Not good. 6. Lots of nickel and dimeing, and pettiness, like my daughter not being able to bring dessert from dinner back to her stateroom. 7. Dinner, took way too long. Really think it was lack of staff. Getting drinks at dinner was a chore and getting service was not easy. Lunch in the dining room took over an hour and a half. 8. Bottom line, their customer service and follow up leave a lot to be desired. Hopefully they respond to their customers because it is a beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Much misinformation about what was to take place in this maiden transatlantic crossing of MSC's Divina. I must say that the ship is gorgeous. Good looks are, however, deceiving. The disorganization starts at the top and filters down ... Read More
Much misinformation about what was to take place in this maiden transatlantic crossing of MSC's Divina. I must say that the ship is gorgeous. Good looks are, however, deceiving. The disorganization starts at the top and filters down to all aspects of the cruise. As cruising is relative, the relationship is based on what you have experienced before and the anticipation that you are embarking on something similar or perhaps even better than you did before. I must admit, I made the mistake of ignoring the reviews I read as the ramblings of disgruntled previous passengers (they are the most likely to write where passengers that appreciated their trip tend to dismiss it as having gotten what was expected). Unfortunately those who complained in this case understated the reality. It took me 15 of the 19 days of this cruise to even find out the basis upon which the voyage was initiated. "We are going to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to the Caribbean to allow those in that area to experience it w/o the extra travel." Okay, fair enough but the taste left from this cruise would tell me that I would not want to experience more which is simply not true. If one loves travel, Italy and the Greek Isles should be high on the priority list, especially their culinary offerings. MSC Divina did not come close to the mark there. They awarded their own Pizza chef as the best in Italy. I think their pizza was adequate but noting to write home about. Unfortunately it appears that their head chef was promoted from the Pizzeria and should be put to whence he came. Overcooking and over salting foods was the norm. And heavy gravy for Au Jus - it is supposed to be a sauce, not a gravy. No problem, the English cut prime rib that was smothered by this foul presentation could not have hurt or helped it anyway. Lest you think that this is an example, it was carried on throughout the dining experience. Lobster butterflied and left in the shell (not even removed and then replaced - still attached). It tasted more like lobster flavored rubber. Two of my favorite dishes ruined, uneatable! I do know good food. Being a former restaurant owner and qualified chef give me a right to critique foods with some authority. And, comparison to other cruise lines culinary gives me another rating system to use in case I was to consider my own skills to be more than what they are. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Holland America, and Princess all offer way better culinary skills. OK, Costa fell below MSC but I will not cruise with them again either. It was so bad that I felt sorry for the dining room staff that was a go between having to deal with the abuse that so often is misdirected toward them because of lack of quality that they are required to present. The bright spot in the dining room was the fine effort made by the staff there and their efforts to do well despite the insurmountable odds against them. This, I might say, was also true of our cabin steward. Meeting all our expectation and providing little extras was his mission. He too did a spectacular job. It is a shame that those were the high lights of this cruise experience. I did have a meeting with the guest relations manager wishing to see this beautiful ship be successful in its transitional efforts. I fear, however, that little of what I had to say was even a consideration. MSC will not make it in the Caribbean!!! Especially if they continue with a line of arrogant stupidity and misinformation. And speaking of misinformation, we received information almost continuously via loud speakers on all the sales, and offerings that should have been handled on a want to know basis. And in five languages no less. In preparation for their entering the U.S./Caribbean market (they will be home based in Miami for the next two years) they were required to meet U.S. coastguard standards. They drilled their crew daily, especially when we were in ports of call. If anyone stayed aboard or came aboard after being out and about, they were blasted with crew drills over the loud speakers (at least they too were not in five languages). I have had and expect preparatory pre sailing drills for the passengers before but this is required and appreciated for all who want to wonder the deep blue seas. The incessant crew training drill needs to be done elsewhere or quietly so as not to disrupt the peaceful respite that one has paid for. And, it overflowed into almost every other aspect of their disorganized presentation. I am guessing that 30% of the crew came newly aboard in Malaga. Needless to say, they required the training that was given to them as we sailed away. Yes, some of it got better as the time passed but I will have a hard time forgetting the cappuccino served to me in a demi-tasse or the 1/2 filled demi of espresso. One bartender training five newbies while customers waited an hour for their miss-made drinks. I was told by another English speaking French Canadian that I spoke with that he had over heard a cruiser from Belgium speaking about the "stupid Americans that got what they paid for and considered fine dining to be hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza". Well this "stupid American" had fine dining tastes that were not met in any way, shape or form. Even the sommelier who visited us during our evening meal was frustrated when he spoke about the ship running out of wines that were offered. Apparently, they did not anticipate that so much wine would have been consumed (an Italian ship with a 4200 passenger capacity that had 3300 aboard for 19 nights wouldn't expect large consumption of a product in which they take so much pride - yes it is good and does rival the best of the French but???) Just another glitch in their organized chaos. Oh, and paying for what you get. I have paid less for far more with others that did not try to nickle/dime me for the "not included" Unless you were U.S or Canadian, you even paid for your bottled water - poor Australians and Brits. Oh heck, we even were required to pay for coffee with our evening meals, Never mind any on board. They too were pay as you go and pricey at that. 6 Euros each for a game of mini bowling. Mom was charged $15 per book for their used (left behind) book from their library - okay, they returned the funds when the books were returned but what an ultimate insult to one's integrity. Might have been more acceptable had they advised that they would assess a charge if they were still on your ship's card and not returned prior to disembarking but... The list is far more extensive but I am as tired of writing this as you are of reading it if you have gotten this far and I think if you have, you get the picture. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Our first booking on MSC was made with great expectations based upon the webinar viewed by my better half, who advises clients on the various cruise options one can take. We are both experienced cruisers with over 80 cruises between us and ... Read More
Our first booking on MSC was made with great expectations based upon the webinar viewed by my better half, who advises clients on the various cruise options one can take. We are both experienced cruisers with over 80 cruises between us and were so excited about trying this new ship. So excited, we invited 2 other couples to join us based upon those expectations. Let me identify the positives (which are few but important) first. The ship is very attractive and well maintained, the onboard entertainment is spectacular with high energy, and the casino is well laid out with attractive promotions to encourage activity. That's it for the positives. Now to the negatives. Let me give the MSC management some very important advice. If you expect to compete in the US/Caribbean market, against the experienced cruise lines which already know what I am about to say, you had better get your management act together in a hurry. The evening dining room service was a disaster. What should have been a pleasant opportunity to share our on-board and port experiences with friends over dinner, became an ordeal. Every meal, until the last two days, lasted over 2 and a half hours, with the staff service poorly undermanned (according to our waiter) and meals that were poorly prepared (under/over cooked on many occasions). The seating never started on time until half way through the cruise and was ALWAYS ending well after 11pm. Half the time we did not even try to have deserts since it was so late we could not make any of the late evening shows. That is not to say the waiter did not try; he did, but was also more than willing to tell us where the problems were and why the food was late, luke lukewarm and not very good. So much for the normal dinner service. Next, what MSC calls "speciality dining". First, compared to every other major cruise line, the speciality dining on MSC is not what you would expect. Second, on the Divina, their specialty dining is actually two separate dining rooms in one location. One room offers a steak menu with ala carte side dishes that are individually priced. The other room offers a fixed meal at a specific up charge of $34. That meal does not include steak and provides no options. It is fixed period. We were given a complimentary "speciality dining" meal for booking early and were not told about the distinctions between the two rooms. Our expectation was that Divina's speciality dining would be similar to other cruise lines only to find out that there was absolutely nothing in common with RCL, Celebrity, Princess or Carnival. It created a very uncomfortable situation with our guest couples who were joining us based upon our expectations. To the dining room's manager credit, he made good our what we were told to expect and what could have been a very ugly evening turned out to be very enjoyable. This was the only positive dining experience we had all week and even it started out badly. The cabin service was acceptable but we did not even meet our steward until the first day at sea. He did try but what about bar soap in the lavatory? He did not understand what I wanted so I just used the blue fluid provided and made due. The split shower doors (2) made it very difficult to get into and out of the shower if you are over 6 feet tall which I am. Most new ships have a single sliding door. The bed was comfortable but the small flat screen tv offered a minimal selection of channels. And what about the inability to broadcast the various football games on Saturday, Sunday, Thursday, and the Friday after Thanksgiving. They should have known those would be highly demanded by the American passengers. We went to the sports bar expecting to see the games and were told they did not have the correct satellite receiver to view the games. Of course, soccer, rugby and crickett were available. Really. Now do not get me wrong, I have enjoyed them, on occasion when I am in Europe, watching these games because they are of high interest OVER THERE, but Miami is not over there. They finally did get a few of the NFL games on but again this problem should never have existed in the first place. The buffet dining upstairs needs a lot of organization and physical work as well. There are a number of design "choke points" where passengers trying to get food and staff need to pass in a very tight area. They are blocked by some design lamp posts which serve no viable purpose other than obstruct passenger/staff movement. This Italian line also needs to understand that there are other food selections other than Italian which passengers enjoy. Yes we almost all like Italian but not to the exclusion of other cuisines. Queuing to disembark needs to be completely reworked. Almost all ships announce the status of disembarkation as the process moves along so people know when they can expect to leave. The first sign of a major problem was the announcement broadcast over the public address system that all departures had been stopped due to an "overload" in the terminal. That lasted almost an hour and yet when we finally got off at 11 am there were absolutely no lines anywhere in the terminal. Not at the baggage carousel and there was absolutely no line at customs/immigration. Yet we were stuck on the ship waiting for over an hour with no information as to the problem. Not the best impression to have your passengers leave the ship with. All in all, we had very high expectations, most of which were not even close to being met. If MSC does not seriously reconsider some of the points ,I and I am sure many other passengers have told them in their evaluation of the cruise, this ship's tenure in the Caribbean will be a short one.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I've taken about 25 cruises, and this was the worse cruise We've taken so far, the buffet was mostly Italian food, very little of everything else, if did not eat in the dining room and went to the buffet, half of the buffet ... Read More
I've taken about 25 cruises, and this was the worse cruise We've taken so far, the buffet was mostly Italian food, very little of everything else, if did not eat in the dining room and went to the buffet, half of the buffet restaurant was closed, only had a couple of different items, the second seating in the main dining room was at nine o'clock, every cruise I've ever taken, late sitting is 8.00 o'clock, they make you get out of the cabin at 7.00 o' clock on disembarkation day, in the cabin, they do not supply with wash cloth for using it in the bathroom with the liquid soap in the shower, We asked, and the steward told Us he had to get permission from the supervisor, the tv channels , which were very few, we're in Spanish, German, and French, The cabin was comfortable, except for the bathroom doors, instead of curtains, they put glass doors, once inside the shower , if you forget to hang the towel on the door, you would a hell of time to get the towel, because you can not open the right side door , curtains are a hell of lot better for this tiny bathroom because they are flexible. the only thing I really enjoyed in the ship, was the entertainment, the shows were magnificent, they had two shows daily, which Is quite unusual in a cruise, they have a lot to learn here in America from the other cruise lines, Americans do not eat Italian food every day, hopefully they will catch on, I was in the MSC Poezia, before it went to Europe, and I liked it so much, that I went and made a reservation for the first Divina cruise in America, it is a beautiful ship, but that's it,   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We just got back from a New Year's Cruise on MSC Divina. All descriptions and pictures were beautiful. There were no bad reviews, just comments about being open minded. We have been open minded all right. Please keep in mind that I am ... Read More
We just got back from a New Year's Cruise on MSC Divina. All descriptions and pictures were beautiful. There were no bad reviews, just comments about being open minded. We have been open minded all right. Please keep in mind that I am a very positive person and always look for good things, so I will start with good. The embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth, well organized, no problems. The shows were magnificent, great voices, amazing dancers and beautiful costumes. Music in lounges was great; Gorgeous atrium with 2 violonists playing every night. Public areas decorated for Holidays, look very festive. The crystal staircase is something out of this world. Our cabin had a full bath, which was unexpected and very much appreciated. Ports of call were good. Now, to the negative side. The ship is designed in such a way that you can see and feel all 4,300 passengers. It feels VERY crowded, although I have to say it was a fully booked cruise. Still, public areas, such as pools, atruim, etc. were packed with people at all times. At the buffet you basically have to push your way around in order to get through and very hard to find a table. The food in the buffet was so-so. Waffles soggy, nothing interesting for lunch, not even tuna salad. Lot's of pizza that didn't taste good. There is no way you can find a lounge by any of the three pools. There were lots of kids on vacation, plus they sail free, so they were out of control and parents were nowhere in sight. Impossible to swim. Spa design doesn't make any sense. It's coed and at the same time separate. It's not close to the pool, so you can go in and out. Dining rooms are packed with tables and chairs so tight that it's impossible to walk between the tables. I felt bad for the waiters that had to go around. Not all tables are round. If you have such luck sitting by the wall or window, those tables are rectangular and are accompanied by couches, which can only accommodate small people. Besides, if you are by the wall or window, there are pockets with no air, very stuffy plus these areas are separated by the particians from the middle of the dining room, so you can't see when the waiters are presenting something. The food came in cold most of the time. Again, more work for waiters, who didn't speak english for the most part and couldn't provide any explanation about the dishes on the menu. The worst was rack of lamb. It was like someone dumped them in the boiling water and just boiled. Discusting. Lobster was OK and they didn't mind providing extras. Pool towels situation was annoying. They were not just there for passengers to use. One has to stay in line and provide your cruise card, they recorded it and then return with the ticket, so they know you turned them in. Why? What could passengers do with those towels anyway? At the same time there were a bunch in the spa without any problem. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We booked this cruise because friends of ours were going and begged us to come with them on the Divina. I have always been a RC and Celebrity person but because of our friends and my husband being Italian I figured we would be treated to a ... Read More
We booked this cruise because friends of ours were going and begged us to come with them on the Divina. I have always been a RC and Celebrity person but because of our friends and my husband being Italian I figured we would be treated to a wonderful Italian experience...... Well far from the truth... within 15 minutes of being on board I fell to the ground ... FELL .. flat because the floor was wet and I know wetness to be expected on a ship the common areas outside were very slippery and dangerous. No one would be around to clean up or watch for these areas. I cut my foot and my toe turned purple I went to Medic to get bandaid or something but no one around went to main lobby area and at the desk informed them of my fall and the person at the desk didnt even ask my name or how I was or where the incident had occurred .. eventually she found a bandaid...WOW... food was ok entertain was ok the outside common areas were always dirty with other peoples coffee cups dishes etc left without some to clean up all day. Lots of Italian crew with white suits walking around but not doing much of anything No supervise of the staff I and my friend would every day try to get some to clean up the areas. Difficult to get drinks very slow staff and they did not speak English most staff from Thailand so a significant language barrier Dangerous as one in our group had a treenut allergy and no one could understand us not even the supervisors in the main dining room...HUH??? I don't usually write a review unless really pleased or really disappointed.. I even sent a letter to VP of Public Relations and 3 weeks later no response .. to me that just reflects MSC 's disregard for their guests...I dont think I will be returning anytime soon Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This Caribbean cruise was a special treat for our 30th wedding anniversary and I specifically booked with MSC as they advertise in the Coeliac UK magazine saying that they cater for gluten free guests. As I am both gluten free and ... Read More
This Caribbean cruise was a special treat for our 30th wedding anniversary and I specifically booked with MSC as they advertise in the Coeliac UK magazine saying that they cater for gluten free guests. As I am both gluten free and vegetarian I emailed the company in advance to check that they could cope with my dietary requirements and they confirmed it would not be a problem. On board ship I spent a week explaining to the waiters, maître d'hôtel , head of catering (and anyone else who would listen) that I was vegetarian by choice and gluten free by necessity. None of the choices on the gluten free menu were suitable and although the maitre d (Juliana) was lovely and tried really hard to help, I spent the whole week eating a small supply of energy bars I had taken on board. All attempts to negotiate meals that I could eat were rejected by the chef. For example I suggested that I could have a zuccini dish if they left off the breadcrumbs or a pasta dish if they left off the meat sauce. Each time I was told that they couldn't accommodate me because the food was already prepared. This is rather worrying as it suggests that the dishes served on board the MSC Divina are effectively 'ready meals' which cannot be altered. The lovely Maitre d' promised that if I went to a specific restaurant for lunch he would have advised the chef in advance and something would be prepared for me. I had to convince the waiter in the restaurant that he needed to speak to the chef as he was adamant I could have the pasta (in bolognese sauce). When he eventually spoke to the chef and agreed that something had been prepared for me, I was served with...... a plate of brocolli. I kid you not - a plate of broccoli was the best they could offer! After 3 days the maitre d' managed to convince the chef that I could eat omelettes and from then on this was my meal each night. Just an omelette of course - no vegetables or salad on the side because that would be too difficult to arrange. As if to add insult to injury, my omelette was served as soon as I sat down so I ate this as everyone else was ordering and then sat through their 5 courses trying not to make them feel awkward for eating while I was twiddling my thumbs. When I spoke to the head of guest services (who promised to resolve the issue but never did), he said that if I felt awkward sitting there while everyone else was eating they could move me to a table on my own. Not exactly the result I was hoping for. Sadly breakfast and lunch were similarly farcical. I tried the buffet service but the breakfast omelettes (yes omelette again) were often contaminated by people using the same food tongs they had used for foods containing gluten. Croutons in the lettuce at the lunchtime salad bar ruled out salad as an option too. Trying to give the buffet staff the benefit of the doubt I explained I needed gluten free and asked if they could help. They shrugged their shoulders and said 'No' without offering any alternative. To be absolutely fair I should point out that the choice for vegetarians who are not coeliac was equally poor - my husband and another guest on our table were veggie and only had one option on the menu each night. Everyone on the same table also told me that their food was cold at every meal and the meat eaters were disappointed that when they ordered steak they were not given a choice over how it was cooked. I suppose I should feel pleased that, thanks to Juliana, at least my omelettes arrived steaming hot and were perfectly edible. To say I feel let down by MSC is the understatement of the year. I planned and saved for a long time for this holiday because it was a special occasion and the attitude of their staff, from waiters to head of guest services was appalling. The only bright light on board was lovely Juliana who tried so hard to get things sorted for me. My recommendation to anyone with special dietary requirements is not to trust this company when they say they can accommodate you. From personal, unhappy experience I can assure you that this was the worst customer service I have ever experienced. One thing is for sure, although it may not be for the right reasons, I will always remember our 30th wedding anniversary!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We recently went for a week long cruise on the MSC Divina. The ship itself is a marvel and absolutely gorgeous, from the winding crystal staircases to the massive showroom, it is truly breathtaking, but unfortunately a beautiful ship is ... Read More
We recently went for a week long cruise on the MSC Divina. The ship itself is a marvel and absolutely gorgeous, from the winding crystal staircases to the massive showroom, it is truly breathtaking, but unfortunately a beautiful ship is nothing without a staff or food that meets the same standard. 99% of staff was slow, rude, and basically just seemed like they didn't want to be there or cared if you were having a good time on your vacation or not. Smiles were a commodity, and don't even bother to say hello because you WILL NOT get one in return. When I had mentioned to a bar manager that a smile from the staff would sure make our vacation a little nicer, I was told these exact words with a laugh "well, they are Eastern European", I am guessing he was joking that they don't smile in eastern Europe, this was not the answer we were looking for. Oh yea, too, if you decide to lay out on deck, don't look for a waiter or waitress to get you a drink, there are none, I believe we saw one the whole time we were onboard. The main dining room - The first night of the cruise the dinner special was "Shrimp Ravioli" which my partner, a grown man, ordered, they brought out three quarter sized round ravioli in a huge bowl and opened a can of tiny shrimp which they threw on top (yes, that was his entrée), I ordered the steak, which was like leather, and a baked potato which ended up being half of a full sized potato that when you took the tin foil off of was grey and cold (I think they like the word tepid, because that is what the food was throughout the cruise, I don't believe the words warm or hot are in their vocabulary)... The food got no better as the week went on, from the chewy lobster, the dried out turkey with no gravy, to the long black hair that showed up on my plate with the chocolate dessert (I shave my head so I know it wasn't mine!). The ordered coffee came after dessert was served and was cold as ice, we left it sitting there. Once again, don't look for a smile, hello, or a good bye, they could care less and spend more time yelling at each other than dealing with their guests. We understand that they need to cook for many, many people, but this being our 17th cruise, we have never before had food or service this bad, on any cruise line we have been on. On another note from the main dining room, don't bother order the wine they offer on their menu because they don't have it, we did not find this out until we had already given our ship card to pay for a bottle of wine we like and then were brought a bottle of swill that should have come in a box...they tried to tell us it was the same, as if we wouldn't notice? Sommelier? Don't even ask for one, they don't have one on the ship, and when I did ask to speak to one I was looked at like I was raven from the movie the exorcist with my head spinning around. Now on to the photography department, what a scam!!!! They have large signs everywhere saying buy 5 get 5 free, but what they don't post is the "rule" that the 5+5 is only applicable for the same event photos...meaning, if they take a picture of you at dinner on Monday night, then all five photos must be bought from that same Monday night photo shoot. Not knowing this we waited until the last day of the cruise and picked 10 pictures we liked, taken at different times during the week, figuring we would pay for 5 and would have gotten the other 5 free, it was then we were told about the "rule" stated above. It wasn’t until I pushed and pushed and said it was basically a bait and switch and false advertising and finally went as far as to take it to the deputy captain at the front desk, that they came back with the excuse of "the girl who makes the signs and prints in the daily program made a mistake and forgot to put the "rule" on all of it", so they would honor the 5+5 for us.....but I can only wonder how many others were duped by this? Again, the photography staff could not have cared less about you or preserving your vacation on film...so sad. Good stuff...the cabin housekeeping staff did a good job, and the specialty Eatily Restaurante which we did one night ($34 up-charge per person) was magnificent, I just really wish the head chef there could give the others chefs onboard some insight on how to cook and use gravy/sauces. The water slide onboard was fun, and the casino was ok (again if you can get past all the pouty faces dealing you cards) but be aware that if you don't want to play cards the slots are all .01 and .05 cent machines, I think we saw four .25 machines in the place and three of them were "offline" the whole cruise. The ship shows were also very well put together and entertaining. In the end it comes down to this....all the cruise lines out there are fighting for your business right now, and there are so many other lines that will go out of their way to make your vacation truly memorable, that it would be in your best interest to go to one of the others until such time as MSC gets it together and trains their staff in standard customer service and culinary, after all, they are on the front line of your vacation and you don't want it ruined!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
MAY I BE BLUNT ? -Beautiful ship. Simply sumptuous. -Great venues. -Perfect shows. -Great cabins. -So nice steward. -Just Ok breakfast buffet. -Quite Ok lunch buffet. -More than LOUSY dinner buffet. Same "slop" every ... Read More
MAY I BE BLUNT ? -Beautiful ship. Simply sumptuous. -Great venues. -Perfect shows. -Great cabins. -So nice steward. -Just Ok breakfast buffet. -Quite Ok lunch buffet. -More than LOUSY dinner buffet. Same "slop" every night. -No place to sit at main dining room. I was told "NO places for you" 6 times out of 7 days on this open seating chartered ship. I was also told NO for every "specialty restaurant". -Awful food & beverage staff, but I think it's not their fault. They are not well trained, they are obviously overworked and not well treated by this company - MSC. The head of staff personnel are snotty and treat guests like merchandise. -This company will never be able to do good cruises whatever nice ship the whip up. To sum it all: The second worst cruise in our 7 cruise history. The first worst was on MSC Poesia 2 years ago. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My spouse and I had been on 5 previous cruises. We had been on enjoyed cruises with both Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We found that Carnival was fine if we were traveling with other family members that had children but Royal Caribbean had ... Read More
My spouse and I had been on 5 previous cruises. We had been on enjoyed cruises with both Carnival and Royal Caribbean. We found that Carnival was fine if we were traveling with other family members that had children but Royal Caribbean had much better activities since they had bigger ships with rock walls, ice skating rinks, huge promenades, and both a higher quantity and higher quality of entertainers. For us, the food was comparable on Carnival and RC and the cabins were also about the same size. Our favorite ship had been Royal Caribbean's "Allure of the Seas." The only reason that we chose the MSC Divina this time was because it had been chartered by RSVP Vacations for a gay cruise and we had never been on a gay cruise and wanted to try one. RSVP was incredible but MSC lacked in several ways. On our first Carnival cruise, we were really impressed with the bedding in our cabin. The pillows and comforters just felt luxurious. The bedding was so good that it was available to buy on the ship! On each of the ships we were on after that, we never had issues with the bedding. All the ships were comfortable. We were very surprised to find MSC pillows felt like pillow cases filled with rags. It wasn't just one pillow in the room that was defective. ALL the pillows were lumpy and uncomfortable. Divina also had the smallest cabin of any cruise we had ever been on. We have always got a balcony cabin and both Carnival and RC balcony cabins have two single beds that can be put together and then a couch that can be folded out into another bed if there are three in the cabin. We were impressed on our first cruise with Carnival that, besides providing shampoo and body wash, they also provided small samples of toothpaste and other toiletries which was a nice touch. Our cabin on MSC had no sitting area. The only place to sit inside the cabin was on the beds themselves. The steward for our room was as nice as any we have had although this was the first time we were on a cruise with no towel animals or chocolate on our pillows or some small extra touch. The room was kept clean and fresh towels provided but nothing that felt "extra." The food on MSC Divina definitely seemed more mediocre than either Carnival or RC. To be honest, I am not a big fan of buffets where hundreds of people are serving themselves anyway. I took Microbiology in college and I always feel a little hesitant about cruise buffets where passengers are handling the utensils after sneezing or coughing into their hands and then they lay the utensils across the food itself. This has been common on every cruise we have taken. Apparently it doesn't bother everybody. Over time, it does seem like there has been more of an emphasis on using hand sanitizer as one enters the buffet but not everyone uses it and even though YOUR hands may be clean initially, after you have handled the utensils that a hundred other people have handled before you, your hands end up contaminated with every cold and flu virus or norwalk virus that someone before you was carrying. Unless you wash your hands again AFTER handling the contaminated utensils, you are still putting yourself at risk. I think this is why cruise ships are notorious for spreading such things like Noro virus. At the minimum, there should be plates on which the utensils are laid and signs directing passengers not to lay the utensils on top of the food after handling. Handing out disposable gloves at beginning of buffet line might help. Ultimately, it is best that only one or two people handle the serving utensils and passengers be served by staff. Add children into the mix and buffets are a little gross as far as I'm concerned, but I am digressing. One of my favorite things on the Allure was all the alternatives to eating at the buffet. There were plenty of alternative restaurants where one could be served. The MSC did have some alternative restaurants but all for paying extra except for the Black Crab and Villa Rosa. If neither of those two were open, you were pretty much stuck with either paying extra or eating at the buffet. Thankfully, there were no children on the cruise and I could only hope that these adults were more careful about washing their hands and basic hygiene. I was still careful to always try to reach back to the back of steam table where utensils had not laid across the food. The real problem was the repetitive dishes they offered. At EVERY buffet other than breakfast, there were warmed over hamburgers and cheeseburgers under heating lamps and pizza under heating lamps. We were so sick of hamburgers and pizza by the third day!! Breakfast at the buffet was okay, although every other ship we had been on offered an omelet station where you could get a fresh, made to order omelet that no one else had touched. I missed that! The Black Crab and Villa Rosa were pretty repetitive too. We saw the same menu almost every night. I think that one night they did have an alternative menu but most nights, the same dishes were offered. One of the things I liked on RC was the ability to just pay a few extra dollars for a fillet mignon steak in the main dining room. The Divina offered no extra's in their dining rooms and seating was problematic. We prefer sitting at a table for two and that always seemed a bit of a problem with Carnival although RC always accommodated us with no questions asked and no problem. On the Divina, on this cruise, the first problem you had with the dining rooms is that you had to be sure you showed up at the right door at the right time. First, they would open the downstairs area of the Black Crab. If you showed up at the upstairs door or the Villa Rosa, you were redirected to the downstairs door of the Black Crab to accommodate the needs of the maitre de apparently rather than accommodate the needs of the passengers to be seated. If there were just six seats left on the first floor of the Black Crab, there was no way that the upstairs or Villa Rosa was going to be opened, even if a long line had formed. It was cause for a lot of grumbling among the passengers waiting to eat in one of the dining rooms. One of the worst things for us for eating choices was the lack of choices after the incredible parties at night that RSVP Vacations provided. When we were exhausted from dancing and partying with RSVP Vacations, we would head to the buffet for a snack before going back to out cabin. Every night, warmed over hamburgers and pizza and maybe some pasta. You could not get the fresh pizza right out of the oven, until the warmed over pizza had all been consumed. On Carnival and RC, there were sometimes midnight buffets or chocolate or dessert buffets. I think they all depend on pizza way to much for late night snacking and that gets boring real quick but MSC offered no alternatives in the entire seven days while Carnival and RC did have a few other options in this regard. Speaking of repetitive, I was surprised by the lackluster entertainment the MSC offered. We saw their show in the Pegasus theater two nights in a row and the acts were essentially the same but different costumes and theme. Thankfully, we were traveling with RSVP Vacations and the entertainment they brought on the ship was amazing! I can't say enough about the RSVP Vacations for troubleshooting a lot of the problems we had with MSC. With exception of a bartender here and there on our cruises, staff have always been friendly and attentive. The staff on MSC, other than the stewards, seemed a bit aloof. For the first four days or so, it seemed like they didn't want to make eye contact. Below deck, the staff was typical of other cruises and friendly from various places in the world. Above deck, they were mostly Italian and maybe that had something to do with their attitude toward us? I overheard someone saying that this was the first American cruise for the Divina staff and they were not used to Americans and then there was the fact that the passengers consisted of about 3,000 gay men partying all week. Regardless, after about the fourth day, it did seem like the staff warmed up a little but still not as friendly as some of our previous cruises. We didn't use the spa services on MSC at all but I do want to mention that they did have a gym which was about the same as other ships we had been on. On the Carnival ships we have traveled on, anyone could use the steam rooms or sauna. We were surprised to find that the RC Allure did not allow passengers to use those facilities unless they booked expensive spa treatments. This was also the case on the MSC Divina. Overall, I would never choose to travel on an MSC cruise if I could avoid it. I would definitely travel with RSVP Vacations on another chartered ship of this size or larger, though. Since I like big ships with the most amenities, RC probably wins out for me overall and I would love to see RSVP charter one of their ships. I loved the fact that there were no children on this cruise because often on Carnival, you can't find a serene place on the ship that doesn't have screaming kids running by. I think it is great if you are parents traveling with kids but we are probably done with Carnival for that reason. The pools and hot tubs are often filled with kids on Carnival. The Allure of the Seas did have several jacuzzi and pool areas that seemed set aside for adults. That is another reason, RC gets extra points over Carnival. I am not sure how MSC Divina would be regarding this as there were no children on this cruise. There was a "European" nude sunbathing area, though. I'm not sure if that was a feature that MSC always offers or was something RSVP Vacations created just for this cruise. My ratings for this cruise do NOT include the RSVP parties or entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My husband and I got off the Divina this morning, and for once I was happy a cruise ended. The good points: 1. Great shows!!! There was a good variety of themes and the performers were terrific!!! 2. Great cabin steward 3. Excellent ... Read More
My husband and I got off the Divina this morning, and for once I was happy a cruise ended. The good points: 1. Great shows!!! There was a good variety of themes and the performers were terrific!!! 2. Great cabin steward 3. Excellent pizza!!! 4. Hardly any ship wide announcements The not-so-good points: 1. Poor disembarkation: not only were we still pulling into port at 7:30, there were no announcements to let us know what was going on. We were self-assist, and part of the first group that got off -- at 8:30!!! 2. I fully expect there to be a Norovirus outbreak soon. Not only were only a few hand sanitizers working or filled, but they were optional, and most people opted out. I didn't eat anything I had to pick up with my hands, only a knife and fork. 3. Some of the décor was good, but most was so gaudy, I couldn't believe it!!! The atrium stairs are filled with lights and Swarovski crystals -- don't look at them if you value your eyesight!!! 4. The most uncomfortable pillows I've had on a ship -- I'm not sure if they were filled with rice or wheat, but they crackled when I put my head down. 5. Except for the pizza, the food was hit or miss, and even when the flavor was good, it was seldom the correct temperature. This applied to both the buffet and the dining room. I didn't get a cup of soup that was hot until the last night. Some cabins got a survey form the second day of the cruise and I complained about the food temperature. I got a call the fifth day asking if I had noticed a difference, and I said no. 6. The theater shows were amazing, but the seats were very narrow; at least they didn't recline like some cruise line's. Each balcony row had a rail that was at eye level when seated. 7. There weren't a lot of activities, perhaps because of the many different nationalities on board the language difference was a factor. The safety briefing was given in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was my 20th cruise, the other 19 were on either RCCL, Celebrity or Princess. Without a doubt MSC is a very poorly managed cruise line. The ship itself is very nice, primarily because its less than two years old. Besides the ship there ... Read More
This was my 20th cruise, the other 19 were on either RCCL, Celebrity or Princess. Without a doubt MSC is a very poorly managed cruise line. The ship itself is very nice, primarily because its less than two years old. Besides the ship there is nothing else I can say that is positive about my experience. It started with a balcony room that had a TOTALLY obstructed view. It continued with a crew that just seemed to be going through the motions, never once did my room steward or waiter introduce themselves. The food was boring and for the most part tasteless. Programs on the ship were almost non-existent. I was planning on spending the day on the beach at the private island but after waiting in theatre for 1 1/2 hours to be called for the tender I gave up. Disembarkation in Miami was a nightmare....totally disorganized with crew members being totally ineffective in managing the process. And last but not least after being out to sea for two days I got either food poisoning or a shipboard virus. When I called the medical facility no one answered. When I found the location on the ship I was greeted by the doctor who told me not to waste his time and just take some immodium! Never ever again for MSC...they are not in the same league as the other cruise lines I have been on. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Staff including the cruise director himself seemed snippy and or rude. On a late night show he made a comment to all that we should have read the itinerary to know when we left ports:( We had to ask every night for refills on water at ... Read More
Staff including the cruise director himself seemed snippy and or rude. On a late night show he made a comment to all that we should have read the itinerary to know when we left ports:( We had to ask every night for refills on water at dinner and beg for bar service, for even cokes. The food lacked flavor and the lido deck food was always the same choices every day. Room service they charged for and once lido deck closed at 10 only pizza until midnight and then and only then could you get sandwiches. After 35+ cruises I've never been hungry or in search of food! On one night after waiting 30 mins for a wait staff to come for a virgin drink for our daughter she was rude to find that we only wanted one drink! There are no tables and no drinks allowed or served in the theater which I have to say were good shows however the same tricks each performance. There talent level for music is lacking and not a whole lot to do we found ourselves playing cards and reading a lot. From 8-10:45 same music and songs every day! One late night show played YMCA 3 times in 5 mins! We had to beg for face towels and extra towels every day. My husband never even saw our cabin steward. Staff in general doesn't speak good English even though they announced on the first night that English was the official language of the boat. Bar staff not educated in drink making. 1/2 of the lido deck every day had tables set up for shopping yet plenty of other areas available and the lido deck was in desperate need of more areas for people to sit with 3 days at sea. No smoking on the balcony which we never would have booked (my husband likes to read and smoke a cigar). Marie the woman in charge of trivia was very rude! To tender in the Bahamas ( NCL private island) our friends waited 2 hours to get off the boat and us an hour and 1/2! That are not efficient at all. They seem to miss the mark on cruising and I advise the management to go on any other cruise line and see how it is done! This is the first time we have gone on MSC and will not go again for some time maybe in a year or two they will get it right maybe container ships they should have stuck to. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We were on the 1-15 March back to back cruise, and I've never been so glad to end a holiday. This was our third cruise, previously we had done the Med on Celebrity Summit, and the Caribbean on the P&O Ventura. There was no ... Read More
We were on the 1-15 March back to back cruise, and I've never been so glad to end a holiday. This was our third cruise, previously we had done the Med on Celebrity Summit, and the Caribbean on the P&O Ventura. There was no comparison. I had read all the reviews prior to the cruise and foolishly thought that those folk giving negative reviews were being a bit picky. No, they weren't! Embarkation. Arriving in Miami, it didn't take us long to board - it was too early to access our cabin so we were told to go up to the buffet on deck 14. Accommodation. Our balcony cabin on Deck 8 aft was lovely, we even had a bath! Curiously we only had one small comfy chair in the room, but in the photos (on the dreadful MSC website) it showed a small sofa or two easy chairs. We didn't bother complaining since we didn't plan on spending a lot of time in the cabin. Food. The food quality in the buffet that first day should have been an early warning - I chose a plate of paella which was so disgusting I took a couple of mouthfuls and couldn't eat the rest. The buffet was so crowded it was difficult to get anything else so I didn't bother - we ended up calling it the "work canteen" which was quite apt. When we booked we were asked if we wanted the first or second sitting at dinner - the first sitting was supposed to be at 5.30 which was a bit too early so we opted for the second sitting at 7.30 and asked to be part of a table of 8. We then discovered that the second sitting was in fact at 8.30 which was far too late and were told that, due to the first sitting being fully booked with the Holistic Holiday vegan crowd, we couldn't change. Oh well, we found our table of 6 (yes, they hadn't even got that right). Our dining companions, however, were great and we had a good laugh. The food, which was repeated the second week, was pretty dire and some of it was so salty I found it difficult to eat (normally I love salty, savoury food but it was too much even for me). Very disappointing - I think I ended up ordering the grilled salmon most nights as it was the most palatable thing on the menu. We got on so well with our dining companions we decided not to change sittings for the second week. At lunchtimes, I tended just to have a couple of slices of pizza from the buffet as that was the only decent choice which wasn't luke-warm or tasteless. Staff. Our wee cabin steward, Mohamad, was very helpful and friendly over the two weeks, as were most of the waiters, bar staff etc even though you could tell they were tired and overworked. The more senior staff (Italian for the most part) could be quite arrogant and unhelpful (especially the fat man who seemed to be in charge of the towel boys, he was just a bully). First week. The first sea day we headed up to the deck 15 Garden Pool area to find it had been taken over by the vegan yoga people, totally preventing anyone from lying out in the sun for the first couple of hours. They proved to be a real nuisance that first week (however, the second week we wished we could have them back instead of the hordes of brats which infested the ship!). The vegans had their own food station at the buffet (good luck to them, it seemed to be a choice of brown slop, grey slop, white slop or broccoli!!). They walked round with their holistic healing bags and yoga mats under their arms - well, you've never seen such a bunch of scrawny, grey, unhealthy, not to mention self-righteous, folk in your life. I wanted to use the library one day but they were having a seminar in there. The library was supposed to be open at 3, I went up at ten past, then again at 4 but they were still there listening to some psycho-babble nonsense. Gullible lot. I did complain at reception that there were some facilities we were unable to use due to the nutjobs taking over. The girl at reception said that a lot of people had complained about them. It was quite difficult that first week getting a sunbed, so we tended to go up about 8.30, get a couple of beds and take it in turns to go for breakfast. Despite notices saying that diapers (nappies to us British folk) were not allowed in any pool at any time, there were loads of parents dunking their tiny tots in the pools - how unhygienic can you get - dirty people? Needless to say, neither of us ventured into the pools - mind you, it was standing room only most of the time. By the time the second week arrived, the ship was invaded by families - there were screaming, badly behaved kids everywhere! This made it even more difficult to find somewhere to lie and sunbathe on a sea day. We discovered Deck 18, which was for over 18s only and paid for a rattan chair on two occasions ($30 a day). Beware if you do this - make sure you turn up early, because each time we were there, they had double booked some of the beds and people were getting justifiably annoyed. It was really nice and peaceful, if you ignored the loud "entertainment" at the main pool, with a small bar and staff bringing round free fruit kebabs and cold towels. The only thing that would have made it better would have been some toilets - if you needed to go to the loo, you had to go down a couple of decks. The fat officer who I mentioned earlier in the review actually man-handled my husband after he tried to come back up to Deck 18, since my husband didn't realise he had to show him the booking card, which he'd left with me. The fat guy actually grabbed his arm and tried to pull him away from the stairs! Excursions. Oh dear, where do I start? I notice that MSC say that they take no responsibility for the excursions, which I thought was contrary to EU contract law. We booked some excursions through their website before we went away. Our first was supposedly a panoramic tour of San Juan - oh great, we saw loads of hotels in San Juan, some picturesque tramps living rough, stopped at a ghastly marble building which was quite boring. I was in tears there when I saw some poor, skinny horses, covered in sores and callouses, pulling heavy tourist carriages through the traffic. How cruel! Our second stop was the fort, which we realised we could have walked to from the ship. Quite an interesting place and great viewpoint. We headed down to the small square in the town and had some drinks before boarding the bus again. The guide told us the bus was going to park up over the road and we could have a look at the square (again), but he didn't seem sure when we should be back at the ship (worrying since it was leaving at 4), so we told him we were just going to walk back to the ship ourselves. We didn't book an excursion in St Maarten since we had been there before and just wanted to spend a day on the beach. The trip in Jamaica was simply a trip round some seedy back streets in Falmouth and then the beach - again we were again made to feel very unsure of the correct return time to the ship. Quite stressful. The ship did not stop at Great Stirrup Cay because the weather was wet and windy - it didn't stop there the second week either because it was slightly breezy. In this day and age you would think that the weather forecast would be available and they could have a Plan B and sail somewhere else. My husband remarked that it was saving them money by sailing very slowly to Miami. I quite believe it. Our excursion in Grand Cayman was truly appalling! It was supposed to be a quick sightseeing tour, ending up at Tiki beach. First of all we were driven past numerous hotels with the driver reading out the names, just after we'd seen and read them for ourselves, yeah, thanks. Then he parked in a lay-by behind some shops and said we were there for 30 minutes! Thankfully, everyone got back on the bus after 15 and we headed to Hell. A red and black shack with some tacky souvenirs - we were told we would be here for an hour - doing what, exactly??!!! The whole bus was in an uproar - we assumed we would spend a short time at each place and get a couple of hours at the beach. We all kicked up such a fuss that the time was cut down to 15 minutes - we did have an MSC excursion rep with us but she was worse than useless. Next was a Rum Cake Factory. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but to me a factory is where they make stuff, not just another shack selling rum cake. Ho hum, off to the Turtle Farm which was quite interesting. I just wish the people who were told NOT to hold the baby turtles in one hand and to hold them over the water, NOT the concrete, had actually taken some notice of the guide. The poor baby turtles were obviously in distress being out of the water for so long and being handed from one person to the next. I was just dreading someone dropping and killing one! Off to the beach finally. We had seen some gorgeous sandy beaches but, unfortunately, this wasn't one of them, just very small, scruffy and crowded. There was a complementary cup of rum punch which had never been near a bottle of rum - it was just watered down tasteless fruit juice. The beach beds were broken, I had to try four before I got one which was fit to lie on without it collapsing. The sand was coarse and full of cigarette ends and other rubbish. The sea was dirty with weed and not very enticing to swim in. Again, we felt stressed about getting back to the ship because it wasn't made clear when we would be picked up. When we got back to the ship, we tried to cancel our next excursion but were told that we could only do this if one of us was ill and we paid to get a medical certificate (mind you, the other person would still have had to take the trip). We showed our confirmation that said we could cancel but would have to pay a cancellation fee, only to be told this didn't apply. So we decided to bite the bullet and go, since our dining companions were going too. Thankfully, the trip on Cozumel was the best of the lot, with a professional guide (not just the driver), a proper coach and an assurance we would be back to the ship on time. Our second week was definitely spoiled by the amount of naughty kids on the ship - bad enough during the day but even at 9 or 10 at night, they were running riot in the bars. Not very pleasant when you're all dressed up, attempting to have an adult conversation while sipping cocktails surrounded by screaming brats. The shows were repeated the second week. We were impressed by the contortionists, acrobats, dancers etc but the shows just seemed to be these acts dressed up and performing against a theme - Wonderland, Witches of Paris, Pirates - with no particular connection, so a bit boring. Thankfully quite short though. The Michael Jackson impersonator was good but why they had the other singer doing Michael's songs in a more operatic style, I just don't know. We didn't bother with the Frank Sinatra night since it was the same singer and I think Sinatra songs need to be done in his own style. The duelling pianos men were diabolical - like the worst karaoke you've ever had the misfortune of hearing. We thought it was a joke at first and they were supposed to be crap! But no, they actually seemed to think they were entertaining. Think again lads! I wouldn't have paid them in Monopoly money. The disembarkation was the last straw - a total shambles. Really MSC couldn't organise the proverbial piss-up in a brewery! We had completed the documentation for self assist disembarkation but lo and behold, we received luggage tickets in our cabin for the normal luggage collection. So we went to reception and changed it for the correct option. We were told to vacate the cabin by 7 am and meet in the Piazzo del Doge coffee shop. We sat there with our luggage among loads of other people for about 30 minutes. After a while everybody started to get up and stand in lines at the door (didn't hear any announcement, think someone just got fed up and everyone else followed). We all stood there, complete with large cases, for about an hour. During the time, there were no announcements, no information, just nothing! There were people with yellow tagged luggage pushing past us in the other direction going to who knows where. Finally, we managed to escape from the ship, it only took us a couple of hours! The good things about the cruise. Well, the ship is gorgeous and beautifully clean, the staff are lovely (except for the more senior ones), the Allegrissimo drink package was terrific, I think we made a 100% profit on that (ha ha, we're Scottish, of course we did!). If anyone thinks I am being nitpicky about the cruise, I usually try to find positive things to say, check out my other reviews if you don't believe me. I was so stressed, I ended up getting Shingles when I arrived home and was very ill (hence the late review). Since you can only catch this from someone with chickenpox, I reckon I probably caught it from some child on the ship. My husband says he hasn't felt well since we got back either. I feel even giving this review 2 stars is half a star too many. We will be travelling with P&O in future.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We just completed a 7 day cruise on MSC Divina visiting St. Martin, Tortola, and Great Stirrup Cay. I have been on about 11 cruises to include Holland America, Celebrity, RCL, and Carnival. This was by far the worst of the bunch and for ... Read More
We just completed a 7 day cruise on MSC Divina visiting St. Martin, Tortola, and Great Stirrup Cay. I have been on about 11 cruises to include Holland America, Celebrity, RCL, and Carnival. This was by far the worst of the bunch and for several reasons. The Divina is an absolutely beautiful ship with lots of things you won’t find on other ships. Unfortunately they create a lot of problems in traffic flow and finding your way around the ship. The signage on board, or should I say lack of signage, makes no sense. Bathrooms are difficult to find and are generally quite small. Men’s rooms have no urinals and even crew members mentioned both those things as issues that need fixing. Embarkation was typical of Miami and went fairly smoothly. Disembarkation was a total disaster. It was disorganized and even though we were the second group off we didn’t get through immigration till 1015. The MSC rep began yelling at the port authority rep after he spoke to her about the fiasco that was unfolding with way to many people coming off at the same time and backing up the people to where no one could move. She yelled at him and he shut down people leaving until it got smoothed out. I spoke to a lady at the door to the Immigration section and she said it is the same way every week with MSC. They have 4,000 people on board and it is complete chaos! My past experiences disembarking in Miami have been the quickest and easiest of any Florida port. The rooms were larger than most and we had a balcony. My wife does smoke, but unlike some other cruise lines, MSC does not allow smoking on the balcony. When it came to the requirements with regard to attire in the evenings, they were pretty much ignored. One formal night I wore a tuxedo and others had on long pants and polo shirts. Jeans and shorts for men in the evening were seen throughout the ship and in the dining room on all nights. You would see a lot of people with bathing suits on with towels wrapped around them in the buffet, but that is largely a result of no snack bar on the pool deck. Food- While the first day’s buffet was pretty good it got old quickly and colder too! The pasta had a good flavor, but cold pasta isn’t my favorite fare. They had hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and hot dogs every day on the buffet but the buns were often hard and crusty. On a couple of mornings they ran out of coffee cups. Traffic flow was bad throughout the ship, but the worst was the buffet. Choke points everywhere to the point where only one person could get by the buffet line. I could have fixed it but it would require 5 other guys, chainsaws, and about 3 hours. We ate in the Black Crab and had to ask for our table to be changed after the first evening because the setup was such that the waiters couldn’t even pass us the food without asking others at the table to move around or help out like at grandma‘s house. They did move us which was nice, but service was still bad. Servers always reached all the way across tables to poor water, coffee, and such and I have never had that on other cruise lines. I and other people had courses not served and mistakes made. I asked for coffee and they mixed INSTANT COFFEE at the table! Never, ever had seen that on a cruse ship! The steak listed as a nightly option is about 4 oz and you can see through it! The Prime Rib was also very thinly cut. Lobster was ok but also quite small and was served without butter. I will say that dining room food on all the other ships were better and servings as well as service more consistent with what Americans expect. I know the European thinking on dinner is that it should be an ‘event’, but they need to adapt if they are going to sail out of the USA. Maybe having one dining room with the 2+ hour event while the other is more efficient would be in order. We had early seating at 6 and one night I ordered appetizer, pasta, and entrée as did my wife and we walked out at 8:15. Only the appetizer and entrée were delivered which happened to others at our table and mistakes on salad dressing requests occurred as well! That was the worst, but it was 8PM every evening. We complained to the asst. maitre de, but very little changed. We found a lot of things during the week that were in direct conflict with our previous experiences cruising in the Caribbean. In fairness to the line however a German gentleman we got to know, who has cruised throughout the world, said this was his 4th MSC cruise and this one was horrible. Service- Service on the pool deck was unlike anything I have ever seen on any cruise line. There would be 3 or 4 waitresses at the bar and if you went up and ordered a drink they would tell the waitress and she would take your card and tell you to go to your table. Sometime you would get it about 10 minutes later. We did enjoy the Cigar Bar as the staff there were always great and efficient! My impression and others were that the crew are generally unhappy and one person confirmed it saying the food they get wasn’t fit for a dog and the individual in charge of the service personnel was a complete ass and made life very difficult for the hard working service staff. He apparently uses a punitive method in dealing with the crew instead of correction and the result is not productive. The gelataria was really good and if you don’t try the sour cherry cake and white hot chocolate, you are truly missing out! The shows we went to were good, but heard we missed some others that were pretty good as well! Didn’t go to the Michael Jackson show but did peek in when I went to the restroom by the theater and saw a white guy with long blonde hair dancing like Michael. It just didn’t fit, but as I say I only stopped for a moment so maybe it worked well in the scheme of the show. To get from one area to another you were forced to walk through venues. On deck 6 when you went from the upper Black Crab dining room to the evening show you were required to walk right through the casino, which was already crowded in many cases. If you stopped to look at things, or to talk with someone, no matter how you tried you were in someone else’s way. Another strange requirement that existed was that you have to sign your bill that you get sometime after midnight on the last day and take it to customer service the last morning…..what a mess! Also we found it pretty strange that they leave you an evaluation form and the information channel briefing tells you to not mark anything poor. The guy says if anything was poor you should have already mentioned it to management to have it fixed. I had mentioned several things and with the exception of changing our table location, not one of them had changed! I had to get a new card for my wife as hers suddenly quit working and when I went to guest services I had to wait a while as there were a number of people complaining to the 4 reps there and all but one walked away shaking their heads. They did make her a new card, but I was made to feel like I was bothering them. All and all this was a very poor choice on our part and it did a great job of turning us away from cruising anytime soon. We were the first people in our group of traveling friends to take MSC, and our advice to them will be to stay away. I would say it was just us except we heard the same thing from many people and the most telling was from 2 travel agency owners. One said they would only suggest MSC to a very small part of their as it doesn’t fit the American mold or meet what she knew to be her clients expectations. Another agent and her husband, whose agency specializes in cruises, said they will do their best to talk people OUT of MSC due to the many failings and lack of service. I’m sure the Yacht Club is significantly different, but for those prices you can go on Azamara cruise line which is in a completely different class. I am not looking to be waited on hand and foot, but given the amount of travel I have done I can recognize good service and with a few exceptions I didn’t find it on here. Crew members seem to not care if they are in your way. I heard it from others and my experience was the same with that because even if your hands were full of food in the buffet, they would not allow you through. Some would even stand at places which obviously blocked traffic. On other cruise lines I have always seen the bartenders, waiters/waitresses, and others having pleasant exchanges when ships officers would come through. On Divina when officers would come into an area they became very tense without a smile or anything. Again, that may go back to the individual who I heard was void of any management skill and treated the service personnel poorly. I got the distinct impression that there is a real caste system on Divina unlike any of the other lines I have had the pleasure of sailing on. This is an unhappy crew and it came through very clearly to me.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
MSC Divina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.3
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 1.0 3.2
Service 4.0 3.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 5.0 3.7

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